Best Electric Guitar

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Electric GuitarWell into the 20th century, the electric guitar has been a symbol of all that is cool, rebellious, innovative, and creative. Nearly every genre of popular Western music employs the electric guitar while utilized by some of the most popular and significant musical icons in existence. While many musical greats have used it to carve out their legacy and shape the evolution of music, it’s still an instrument used in garage rehearsals by countless artists who may change music in the years which lie ahead. If you’re looking to buy an electric guitar, you have a wide range of options to choose from. We’ve outlined some important things to keep in mind in our electric guitar buyer’s guide below.

Best Electric Guitar Overall:

Electric guitars are like ice cream flavors because there’s no right answer as to which one is the best, although some people might be able to make a pretty passionate argument for their favorite. The electric guitar plays such a prominent role in nearly every facet of popular music, from rock to jazz to soul to R&B to metal to country and beyond.

Finding the right electric guitar can be a mission in and of itself, but we’ve compiled a list of what we’ve deemed the best overall, with each entry offering increased space on the fingerboard allowing for flexible and comfortable fretboard acrobatics as well as pickup switches to allow players to jump from one tone to another with ease and precision. Additionally, these selections present a variety of finish options to "wow" your audience because with electric guitars, great looks DO matter.

Paul Reed Smith SE Zach Myers

Paul Reed Smith has made a name for itself in the guitar manufacturing community for their practice of crafting great sounding, meticulously designed instruments that impress across the board. The PRS 245 Semi-Hollow is something of a best-of-both-worlds, offering electric guitar tones as well as acoustic guitar tones in one instrument. It’s a vintage-inspired guitar for players who prefer shorter scale necks, but quite frankly, it’s hard to imagine anyone not enjoying this guitar. Read Full Review

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    Paul Reed Smith SE Zach Myers

    Fender 2012 American Standard Stratocaster

    The Fender Stratocaster is iconic as an electric guitar, having been the axe of choice for legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Edge, Buddy Holly, and so many more. Whether you’re looking to play rock, blues, pop, funk, soul, or anything in between, the Strat is always a safe bet. With their American Standard Stratocaster, Fender has provided a guitar that plays just as well as it sounds, making it an overall versatile axe worth adding to any collection. Read Full Review

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      Fender 2012 American Standard Stratocaster

      Fender Vintage Hot Rod '52 Telecaster Electric Guitar

      Popular music continues to evolve and grow as we enter new realms of sound and style, but in many ways, some aspects were perfected back in the 1950s. Electric guitars may very well be one of those factors. In keeping with that belief, Fender’s Vintage Hot Rod ’52 Telecaster is a throwback to the classic sound and feel of an era long gone, but with modern day improvements that ensure that you’ll still be able to hang today. Read Full Review

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        Fender Vintage Hot Rod '52 Telecaster Electric Guitar

        Gibson Les Paul Supreme 2015

        Les Paul electric guitars already occupy a significant corner in the lexicon of popular music their thick and deep sound is just a staple of the world of guitars. But with the Les Paul Supreme 2015, Gibson has taken things up a notch, offering an axe whose sound is equal parts solid body and hollowbody. It’s a visually stunning instrument that also sounds amazing, too. Read Full Review

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          Gibson Les Paul Supreme 2015

          Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

          Gibson’s 1959 ES-335 is the world’s first commercial thin line archtop semi-acoustic electric guitar. The axe was all the rage when it first was released the public at the close of the 50s, so it makes sense that it would get the reissue treatment years later. It’s a versatile guitar that can easily handle rock, blues, jazz, country, and more. Read Full Review

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            Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

            Best Electric Guitar for Classic Rock:

            There’s a certain magic inside of rock music ranging from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, so much so that that era has been forever dubbed as “classic rock.” This is music that not only connects with those who grew up listening to music in that era, but has resonated with every generation that followed. A huge part of the classic rock sound is the role that the electric guitar played in this movement, and years later, guitarists still seek to capture the sounds of the past. Here are the best electric guitars for classic rock, each instrument listed here has a skillfully crafted one-piece neck, is equipped with a pick guard to protect the axe’s body while you rock out, and offers no less than 22 frets to make sure you’ll have room to move all over the fretboard.

            Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

            Fender’s Stratocaster is a versatile instrument that has been a constant throughout the various chapters of classic rock. Icons like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour all made the Strat an integral component to their sound. Fender’s American Deluxe Stratocaster brings the rock with single-coil pickups designed to eliminate any hum and a two-point synchronized tremolo bridge for a charged, sustaining tone. Read Full Review

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              Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

              Fender American Deluxe Telecaster Thinline

              Who says you can’t harness the sounds of the past while also embracing the technological advances of the future? With the American Deluxe Telecaster Thinline, Fender bridges that gap, offering a semi-hollow ash body instrument equipped with noiseless pickups, locking tuners, and the elegant bound top design that has made the Tele a staple in classic rock music for decades. Read Full Review

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                Fender American Deluxe Telecaster Thinline

                Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold Pearl

                Gibson’s Les Paul is an American standard in the world of electric guitars, having been a part of history in the hands of iconic guitarists like Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Slash, and Randy Rhoads, to name a few. The Les Paul Standard Golden Pearl captures the magic that so many players of the past have pulled out of the axe, with the classic mahogany body for deep tone and blazing Alnico V pickups. Read Full Review

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                  Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold Pearl

                  Gibson Custom Shop SG Standard Reissue

                  When the Gibson SG first was released in 1961, it fulfilled the role of the Les Paul’s more brash, attitude-driven axe. The guitar has been a prominent factor in classic rock in the hands of players like Pete Townshend, Robby Krieger, and Eric Clapton, to name a dew. Gibsons’ SG Standard Reissue remains true to the original design and specs of the classic guitar, but augments it with new features that the company began implementing in 2013. Read Full Review

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                    Gibson Custom Shop SG Standard Reissue

                    Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                    Gibson’s ES-335 electric guitar snuck in just as the 1950’s were coming to a close, but the instrument would go on to play a significant role in the music of the following decade. The design and construction of the axe made it an ideal guitar for a variety of genres, from rock to jazz to blues to country. The Dot Reissue of the ES-335 continues to walk that line between hollow and solid electric guitar and shows why it was the tool of choice for guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Joe Perry, and more. Read Full Review

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                      Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                      Best Electric Guitar for '80s Rock:

                      The 1980’s were a bombastic time for guitar players. Subtlety was not necessarily the name of the game, as the biggest bands and songs of the time embraced an over-the-top aesthetic that would go on to define the decade. But that doesn’t take anything away from the actual technical prowess that guitarists from this time period brought to the table; on the contrary, the ‘80s showcased some of the skilled players in rock music. The style and aesthetic of this time period is still sought after to this day. Here are the best electric guitars for ‘80s rock with each of these instruments equipped with humbucker pickups to push out the edgy, screaming tones of the decade, as well as featuring a 25.5” scale length designed to bring forth a cutting tonal quality. These guitars are designed to not just sound like the decade that they hail from, but have crafted to invoke the larger-than-life appearance of guitars from that era.

                      ESP George Lynch M-1 Electric Guitar

                      Without a doubt, Dokken guitarist George Lynch was one of the most influential and popular 80's metal guitarists, so it should come as no surprise that he’s got his own signature model via ESP’s M-1 Tiger. For fans of the axe slinger’s style, this guitar is a no-brainer, as it is properly equipped to pull of his sound and technique. This guitar proudly represents the decade from which it came from with a yellow tiger graphic finish which is the perfect icing on this extremely loud and rocking cake. Read Full Review

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                        ESP George Lynch M-1 Electric Guitar

                        Ibanez JS1200 Electric Guitar

                        Ibanez’s JS1200 is a guitar in their Joe Satriani signature series, and as a result it’s designed for the type of fretboard heroics that defined the 1980's. Equipped with a pair of diverse DiMarzio humbucker pickups and an original Edge tremolo bridge supplying classic Satriani feel and tone, this is an axe that will have you surfing with the alien in no time. Read Full Review

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                          Ibanez JS1200 Electric Guitar

                          Floyd Rose Kramer Pacer Classic Electric Guitar

                          Kramer’s Pace Classic isn’t just a guitar that screams this thing straight up screams the 80s. As the axe of choice for guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Kramer defined an entire generation of players, and with the Pace Classic, the company aims to provide the classic sound and feel with some new and improved features. Read Full Review

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                            Floyd Rose Kramer Pacer Classic Electric Guitar

                            B.C. Rich MG1BK Mockingbird One Electric Guitar

                            B.C. Rich’s Mockingbird electric guitar took the world of 80’s rock/metal by storm, leading the sound of that era in the hands of esteemed players such as Slash, Kerry King, and Chuck Schuldiner. Decades later, the axe is still a staple of the company, and their Mockingbird One provides all of the frills and thrills of the original model that makes it a must-have for players looking to rock out with style and finesse. Read Full Review

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                              B.C. Rich MG1BK Mockingbird One Electric Guitar

                              Charvel Warren DeMartini Signature Snake Pro Mod Electric Guitar

                              There were few metal gods who could be held in the same class as Ratt was in the 1980s. Guitarist Warren DeMartini inspired a generation of players who would follow him, and now they’ve got the axe to continue that mission with Charvel’s signature Snake Pro Mod. It’s equipped with features necessary to play shrieking solos and chunky riffs, with a snakeskin look that will turn heads immediately. Read Full Review

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                                Charvel Warren DeMartini Signature Snake Pro Mod Electric Guitar

                                Best Electric Guitar for '60s Rock:

                                There’s a lot that can be said about what made the music of the 1960’s so special. Things such as the innovation in sound, the expression of new ideas, as well as the expansion of new genres of music are what come to mind. But one key factor tying almost all music together from this beloved era is the electric guitar. While the 60’s era is long over, guitarists today are still chasing the tone and feel of its sound. Here are five of the best electric guitars for playing ‘60s Rock, each wired with vintage-style pickups crafted to approximate the tones of yesteryear, equipped with beautifully crafted rosewood fingerboard to ensure players can quickly and seamlessly maneuver their way up and down the frets, and finally each is meticulously designed to emulate the visual style of guitars first produced over 50 years ago.

                                Fender Classic Player 60s Stratocaster Electric Guitar

                                The look and feel of a Stratocaster is undeniable, and part of the reason why it’s considered to be an iconic electric guitar, particularly when considering the 1960’s sound. With vintage style pickups, control knobs, and synchronized tremolo bridge, Fender’s Classic Series 60s Stratocaster feels like you’re holding a piece of rock history. Read Full Review

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                                  Fender Classic Player 60s Stratocaster Electric Guitar

                                  Gibson SG Special Electric Guitar

                                  Gibon’s SG Special Electric Guitar hits straight for the jugular, providing the same biting tone it had when it first debuted in 1961, making it a go-to instrument for rock, blues, and fusion players. Although some tweaks have been made to improve on the original design, Gibson has remained pretty faithful in recreating one of the definitive rock guitars of the 1960s. Read Full Review

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                                    Gibson SG Special Electric Guitar

                                    Gretsch Guitars G6128T George Harrison Duo Jet Electric Guitar Black

                                    Gretsch recreated what George Harrison once referred to as his first real decent guitar for their G6128T-GH George Harrison Signature Duo Jet, and fans of the Beatle’s guitar playing won’t be disappointed with the results. Two DynaSonic single-coil pickups nail that tone that is synonymous with Harrison’s playing, and a visually distinct bar-style bridge adds sustain and a cool aesthetic value to this axe. Read Full Review

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                                      Gretsch Guitars G6128T George Harrison Duo Jet Electric Guitar Black

                                      Classic Series 60s Telecaster Olympic White 6-String Electric Guitar

                                      Fender’s Telecaster is the older brother to the aforementioned Stratocaster, and make no mistake, it’s a crucial instrument which has helped shape music from many genres since its debut in 1950. The Classic Series 60s reissue of this iconic blues/rock guitar features vintage-style pickups, tuning machines, bridge design along with a classic single cutaway body that just screams cool. Read Full Review

                                      Classic Series 60s Telecaster Olympic White 6-String Electric Guitar

                                      Les Paul 60s Tribute Guitar

                                      The Gibson Les Paul electric guitar has evolved throughout the decades and with their 60s Tribute model, the company captures the instrument at a time when it truly began developing its signature crunch and iconic design. Equipped with BurstBucker humbucking pickups and a slim taper neck profile, this guitar can make a genuine 60’s noise that encapsulates the mood of that bygone era. Read Full Review

                                      Les Paul 60s Tribute Guitar

                                      Best Electric Guitar for Rock Blues:

                                      Any experienced musician will agree that blues music is a genre that some find easy to play, but most find difficult to master. Rock blues can become a bit challenging as you have the subtle complexities that define the blues, yet at times, the volumes can get pretty high and the road a little bumpy. You need equipment that can provide a wide range of tones, yet hold up at high speeds.

                                      These five guitars offer the rock blues player a way to sculpt tones that can range from glassy to snarly and pretty much everywhere in-between. It’s not easy to provide absolutes in this arena, so we factored in variables considered to be critical to this musical genre. This includes ability of to coax gentle and pretty sounds from these guitars but they’re also capable of unleashing powerful sonic thumps at a moments notice. All of the guitars selected for this list have been included for their great blues tone, as well as their versatility to produce a wide range of blues rock sounds.

                                      Fender 2012 American Standard Stratocaster

                                      There’s little that can be said about the Fender Stratocaster which can compete with just viewing some of the greats who have created amazing rock blues with that axe in their hand including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck, to name a few. Fender’s American Standard Stratocaster comes with all the right features to ensure there will be future guitarists who will be well equipped to possibly join the other greats on that list. Read Full Review

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                                        Fender 2012 American Standard Stratocaster

                                        Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                                        Gibson’s reissue of their ES-335 electric guitar from 1959 brings the world’s first commercial thin line archtop semi-acoustic electric guitar to a whole new audience of eager guitarists. A versatile instrument well-suited for styles including rock, jazz, blues, and country, this is an electric guitar with a distinct sound that has been utilized by players like Chuck Berry, Warren Haynes, Eric Clapton, and Eric Johnson. Read Full Review

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                                          Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                                          Gretsch Guitars G5810 Bo Diddley Signature

                                          The world of blues and rock makes no room for squares, but they might make an exception for a certain rectangle we know of. Gretsch’s 5810 Bo Diddley guitar is not just notable for its unique body shape, but also because of its capacity to churn out screaming sounds which are more than appropriate for blues, rock, and all sub genres in between. Read Full Review

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                                            Gretsch Guitars G5810 Bo Diddley Signature

                                            Fender American Deluxe Telecaster Thinline

                                            Fender’s American Deluxe Telecaster Thinline is a student of rock blues history who took great notes in class, but wasn’t afraid to implement some fresh and new ideas into the mix either. Following in the long line of world-renown players such as the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, this is an axe that can get loud but also offers the subtlety needed to really nail that classic blues sound. Read Full Review

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                                              Fender American Deluxe Telecaster Thinline

                                              Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold Pearl

                                              Gibson has got a golden pearl on their hands, and you can too, speaking both figuratively and literally of course. The company’s Les Paul Standard Golden Pearl can crunch like the hardest of rock songs require, and can sing and wail just as blues music demands of its guitarists. With an elegant look and some truly impressive specs, you’ll be following the golden rule in no time once you pick up this instrument. Read Full Review

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                                                Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold Pearl

                                                Best Electric Guitar for Chicago Blues:

                                                Chicago has long been an incubator for the style of American music we call the blues, so much so that the city has spawned its own subgenre. Labels such as Chess Records and Cobra Records helped Chicago blues flourish, carried by the talents of guitarists such as Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, and Elmore James. Years later, the sounds of Chicago are still sought after by players who want to dip their toes into the art form, and there are a variety of axes that can help in getting that job done. These are the best electric guitars for Chicago blues, with each instrument featuring a neck specifically designed for extra-comfort necessary for effortless blues licks, tone knobs to dial in the specific sound you're looking for while playing bluesy leads, and each guitar been designed to replicate previous models of electric guitars that were monumental in helping to shape the direction and legacy of blues music.

                                                Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster Electric Guitar

                                                Some interesting observations to make about the blues is that it’s a style of music based as much on vibe and feel as it is reliant on sound. Although there are some young players who have stepped up to the plate to continue to rep for the time-honored genre, it is one of the few genres that feels hip while still being a style that favors the older, road-worn vets. So it makes perfect sense that Fender’s Road Worn 50s Telecaster is an ideal axe for playing Chicago blues, with its tattered appearance and smoking-hot tone and build. Read Full Review

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                                                  Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster Electric Guitar

                                                  Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                                                  The eye-catching design of Gibson’s 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue may be the first thing that comes to mind when examining this mighty axe, but there’s so much more to this classic. As the world’s first commercial thin line archtop semi-acoustic electric guitar, the ES-335 is ideal for a variety of styles, including rock, jazz, and the blues. Read Full Review

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                                                    Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                                                    Gretsch Guitars G5810 Bo Diddley Signature

                                                    As a guitarist, Bo Diddley did a lot to stand out from the rest of the pack, playing a monumental role in transitioning the blues into rock and roll as well as leaving an imprint in the way that all guitarists who followed him would approach rhythm. So it’s only fitting that Gretsch’s G5810 Bo Diddley Signature guitar not only captures the tone and approach the legendary Chicago bluesman brought to his music, but also stands out in the most visual and immediate way possible. Don’t worry, you’ll definitely know the rectangular shape of the G5810 when you see it. Read Full Review

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                                                      Gretsch Guitars G5810 Bo Diddley Signature

                                                      Fender Buddy Guy Standard Stratocaster

                                                      Without question, Buddy Guy is an icon of Chicago blues, having released music for a variety of the city’s record labels, including Chess, Delmark, and Cobra Records, all with his trusty Stratocaster by his side. Fender’s Buddy Guy Standard Strat is equipped with vintage features and a visually striking appearance that screams for attention just like the licks played by the man himself, all within a package designed to replicate the tone that Guy still plays around the world today. Read Full Review

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                                                        Fender Buddy Guy Standard Stratocaster

                                                        Gibson Guitar Gibson Custom VOS 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Electric Guitar (Antique Gold)

                                                        The sound of Chicago blues might be quickly associated with the classic sound of Fender, but make no mistake, Les Pauls know get a little blue, too. Well, maybe not in this case, as Gibson’s 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Reissue marks a return to the Golden age in sound, feel, and literal appearance. With a comfortably rounded neck and growling single-coil pickups, you’ll be too busy playing to get caught up in semantics. Read Full Review

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                                                          Gibson Guitar Gibson Custom VOS 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Electric Guitar (Antique Gold)

                                                          Best Electric Guitar for Texas Blues:

                                                          The blues is one of the earliest forms of American music, and since its humble beginnings, it has splintered off into a wide range of distinct sub genres, not the least of which is the beloved Texas blues. Featuring a heavier use of swing than most other styles of blues (as well as a deep integration of the electric guitar), it’s a style of music that has been propelled into popular culture by players such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, and even more recent guitarists like Gary Clark, Jr. These best electric guitars for playing Texas blues, with each instrument featuring a single coil or humbucker pickups that are configured to push your tone into a gritty biting sound perfect for blues leads,  a neck-shape conducive to fast and comfortable playing ideal for blues-style riffs and chords, as well a hardshell case provided with each guitar to protect your brand new axe on the road.

                                                          Fender Vintage Hot Rod '52 Telecaster Electric Guitar

                                                          They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in the case of Fender’s Vintage Hot Rod ’52 Telecaster, you actually can. This guitar not only looks like an authentic Telecaster from the era it was designed after, but has been built to replicate the sound of that time, particularly its ability to capture that classic Texas blues tone with similar accuracy. Read Full Review

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                                                            Fender Vintage Hot Rod '52 Telecaster Electric Guitar

                                                            Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster Electric Guitar

                                                            Stevie Ray Vaughan became an absolute icon of blues music in his all-too brief career, turning heads with his rapid-fire, emotionally driven licks and awe-inspiring tone. Fender’s Artist Series Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster is built to embody all of the characteristics that made this blues player an instant legend, complete with a reverse vintage-style tremolo bridge and Texas special pickups. Read Full Review

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                                                              Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster Electric Guitar

                                                              Fender 2012 American Standard Stratocaster

                                                              Even if you are a complete novice to the world of guitars, there’s a good chance a Fender Stratocaster is going to appear in your mind if you’re asked to envision one. The Strat is a classic instrument, and has played a huge role in the history of Texas blues. Its alder body provides a resonant tone that can sing and cut through frequencies with its jagged attack, while three single coil Fat 50s pickups drive the voice of this iconic guitar. Read Full Review

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                                                                Fender 2012 American Standard Stratocaster

                                                                Gibson 50th Anniversary Firebird

                                                                There are some guitars that don’t require much conversation to convey a point about them, and Gibson’s 50th Anniversary Firebird definitely stands as one of them. Its elegant look speaks volumes on its own, but once you plug this axe in and hear the incredible sustain and punch, you’ll see you were only getting a fraction of the full story. This guitar is a must-have for those looking to capture a wonderful Texas Blues tone. Read Full Review

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                                                                  Gibson 50th Anniversary Firebird

                                                                  Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                                                                  Gibson’s ES-335 was released just as the 50s were coming to a close, and its unique design - one that straddles the line between solid body and hollow guitars - made it a versatile instrument capable of playing anything from rock to jazz to blues. Once it became adopted by players like Eric Clapton, it instantly became solidified as a go-to axe for Texas Blues players; thankfully, Gibson has reissued this guitar so that its legacy can continue on. Read Full Review

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                                                                    Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue Electric Guitar

                                                                    Best Electric Guitar for Metal:

                                                                    Whether it’s lightning-speed guitar heroics or down-tuned, chugging monster riffs, metal is designed to melt the listener’s face off. Obviously it’s no secret that the most crucial element in the equation is having the right electric guitar for the job. When it comes to finding the right electric guitar for playing metal music, there are specific attributes that are best for capturing the perfect sound. To that end, these Best Metal Electric Guitars are constructed with a solid body for excellent durability, are equipped with tone-driving humbucker pickups, and manufactured with tonewoods such as mahogany, basswood, and alder to invoke metals trademark sounds of darkness.

                                                                    Jackson Pro-series KVMG King V Electric Guitar with SKB Hardshell Case

                                                                    If you’re going to call yourself king, you’d better be able to deliver the goods and fortunately the Jackson King V does just that. Its iconic design is as metal as a guitar could possibly be, and its screaming active EMG pickups and through-body neck ensure this axe talks the talk as well as it walks the walk. Read Full Review

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                                                                      Jackson Pro-series KVMG King V Electric Guitar with SKB Hardshell Case

                                                                      ESP KH2 Kirk Hammett Signature Electric Guitar

                                                                      Ever hear of a band named Metallica? Okay, enough with the flippant questions, guitarist Kirk Hammett employs ESP to craft him an axe made exactly to his specifications, and that’s what the KH-2 is. Original Floyd Rose tremolo, 24 XJ frets, alder body, and maple neck; if you want to sound like one of metals greats, look no further than this guitar. Read Full Review

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                                                                        ESP KH2 Kirk Hammett Signature Electric Guitar

                                                                        Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar (Black Cherry)

                                                                        Schecter’s Hellraiser C-1 electric guitar isn’t just a clever name, it truly does sound like it can summon demons from the netherworld with a mahogany body perfect for capturing those darker tones. And those gothic cross inlays on the fretboard? It’s just an added touch to emphasize the wicked sounds that this guitar is capable of producing. Read Full Review

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                                                                          Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar (Black Cherry)

                                                                          Charvel Warren DeMartini Signature Snake Pro Mod Electric Guitar

                                                                          Just from a quick glance, Charvel’s Warren DeMartini Signature Snake Pro Mod screams wild personality and character but then again, screaming personality was never an issue for 80s metal gods Ratt. True to form, this guitar was customized to nail shrieking solos and chunky riffs with ease. Oh, and did we mention it’s impossible not to notice the snake skin finish? Read Full Review

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                                                                            Charvel Warren DeMartini Signature Snake Pro Mod Electric Guitar

                                                                            B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock Tribal Fire Black Electric Guitar

                                                                            Known for its distinctively jagged body design and trademark dual humbucker pickups, B.C. Rich’s Warlock series of electric guitars have been the axe of choice for metal acts including Slayer, Poison, Slipknot, Trivium, and more. The Kerry King Metal Master takes a cue from Slayer’s axeman and delivers a guitar with low and easy action and a range of tones to choose from, courtesy of BDSM humbucker pickups. Read Full Review

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                                                                              B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock Tribal Fire Black Electric Guitar

                                                                              Best Electric Guitar for Pop:

                                                                              When it comes to musical genres, pop can be something of a slippery fish. The pop guitarist needs to be able to cover a diverse range of styles and sounds through his or her arsenal, mainly because the term itself is a broad genre classification. There are certain axes that are better suited for this chameleon-like approach than others, so we’ve listed the five best electric guitars for pop music. Each instrument features multiple pickup configurations installed in the electronics to provide a variety of styles, a pickup switch to seamlessly change tones during performance, and frets  wide enough for players to be able to play with ease and comfort, particularly when bending strings.

                                                                              Fender American Standard Telecaster

                                                                              The telecaster has played an integral part in the music of iconic artists within a variety of genres, ranging from country, to jazz, to rock, to blues. Being able to cover so much territory with one axe makes Fender’s American Standard Telecaster a smart move for pop guitarists seeking a one-size-fits-all type of instrument in their rig. It’s American-made, designed for maximum comfort, and sounds incredible. Read Full Review

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                                                                                Fender American Standard Telecaster

                                                                                Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar

                                                                                When you think of iconic guitar images, the Fender Stratocaster almost immediately takes to the top of our list; it’s simply the golden standard of what an electric guitar can do. The Standard Stratocaster HSS offers the single-coil tone synonymous with the brand, but also mixes things up a bit with an added humbucker pickup making this an instrument which can walk both sides of the fence, an ideal capability for the ever-expansive realm of pop music. Read Full Review

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                                                                                  Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar

                                                                                  Paul Reed Smith Guitars ST22PT SE Standard 22 Electric Guitar

                                                                                  Paul Reed Smith has long been the electric guitar of choice for players seeking a tone and feel all its own. The PRS SE Standard 22 is a versatile instrument, perfectly capable of carrying its weight onstage or in the recording studio. Able to capture sounds that are crisply percussive, warm and smooth, or crunchy and gritty, it’s a guitar well-suited for a guitarist to navigate through the expansive field of pop music. Read Full Review

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                                                                                    Paul Reed Smith Guitars ST22PT SE Standard 22 Electric Guitar

                                                                                    Gibson Les Paul Supreme 2015

                                                                                    Les Paul electric guitars have been a staple of popular music for quite some time. With their Les Paul Supreme 2015 model, Gibson has created an axe which provides the best attributes of both solid and hollowbody guitars. This hybrid style (along with the diverse range of pickup sounds and playability) make it an ideal candidate for guitarists making their way in the world of pop music. Read Full Review

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                                                                                      Gibson Les Paul Supreme 2015

                                                                                      Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird Electric Guitar

                                                                                      Gretsch’s G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird definitely looks like a straight-up rock ’n roll guitar, and that’s not far from the truth; it’s been prominently used by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons as well as White Stripes/Dead Weather frontman Jack White. But the axe has also found plenty of use in the world of pop, being notably favored by Katy Perry guitarist Patrick Matera. Plainly put, this is a tough-looking guitar designed to work in a variety of different pop contexts. Read Full Review

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                                                                                        Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird Electric Guitar

                                                                                        Best Budget Electric Guitar:

                                                                                        For those about to rock, we salute you. But if you’re still in the early chapters of your rock and roll star story, we also understand that you may not have a ton of cash to procure the axe that will surely propel you into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There are no shortages of electric guitars on the market today, with a significant portion of them priced with a conservative budget in mind. And while cheaper doesn’t always equal better in the minds of most musicians, a lower price tag doesn’t have to mean a detrimental dip in quality. Here are five of the best budget electric guitars, each instrument is equipped with a bolt-on neck for easy adjustment and comfort, built durably enough to take on the hazards of the open road, and each also offers a pickup switch designed for quick and specific tone adjustment for both beginning and intermediate players.

                                                                                        Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar

                                                                                        Gibson’s Les Paul electric guitar is an iconic standard in the world of music, and its little brother the Epiphone Les Paul Special II accurately mimics its best traits for a fraction of the price. With a classic design and open-coil humbuckers, it’s the perfect electric guitar to kick off your career. Read Full Review

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                                                                                          Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar

                                                                                          Squier by Fender Bullet Strat with Tremolo Brown Sunburst

                                                                                          Fender’s Squier Bullet Strat is priced like it’s a toy but offers rich sound and easy playability that makes it an ideal choice for guitarists of all levels. Its three single-coil pickups mirror that of a more expensive Stratocaster, and it also offers a tremolo bridge so you can get your Hendrix on in no time. Read Full Review

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                                                                                            Squier by Fender Bullet Strat with Tremolo Brown Sunburst

                                                                                            Jackson JS22 Dinky Electric Guitar

                                                                                            The word dinky may not necessarily do the Jackson JS22 justice; this arch top model is an assassin’s axe, perfectly capable of capturing that classic Jackson tone, look, and playability at an affordable price. Although it may seem like a logical first-choice for metal guitarists, it’s suitable for players of all genres and it’s far from a rinky-dink instrument. Read Full Review

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                                                                                              Jackson JS22 Dinky Electric Guitar

                                                                                              Ibanez GRX20 Electric Guitar

                                                                                              Whether you’re looking to shred your days away playing aggressive music or play other styles of rock music, the Ibanez GRX20 is the axe for you. With two grit-inducing humbuckers and a solid tremolo, this is a guitar that brings on the rock at a very affordable cost. Read Full Review

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                                                                                                Ibanez GRX20 Electric Guitar

                                                                                                Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series AX3 Electric Guitar

                                                                                                Who says you can’t get classy on a budget? Sterling’s S.U.B. AX3 takes a page from the classic single cutaway body style of the Axis guitar popularized by Music Man in the 80s. Multiple pickup configurations ensure that there’s something for everybody sound wise and an extremely playable neck suits all styles. Read Full Review

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                                                                                                  Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series AX3 Electric Guitar
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  Electric Guitar Buyer's Guide

                                                                                                  Before you even enter a store or go online to purchase an electric guitar, there are many questions that you should ask yourself. Who are you buying this instrument for? Will it be used for a child, a beginner, or an expert? A musician working strictly in the studio or a touring guitarist who’s on the road half the year? Assessing what kind of sound and style you’re looking to play will also help determine which axe best suits your needs. And of course, determining what your budget is like will also help narrow down some of your best options.

                                                                                                  Body Types

                                                                                                  There are three different body types for electric guitars with each producing its own distinct sound suited for specific kinds of tones.

                                                                                                  Solid Body
                                                                                                  As the name might imply, a solid body electric guitar is comprised of one solid piece of wood. It is the most common of the three body types, and is exemplified by some of the most popular guitars (think Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul). Depending on the type of wood and electronic pick-up configuration, solid body electric guitars can pretty much be used for any genre or style of music.

                                                                                                  Semi Hollow
                                                                                                  The semi-hollow body electric guitars are hollowed out in the middle, much like an acoustic guitar. However, they also feature a solid block of wood positioned in the center of the instrument. Because the instrument is hollowed out on the inside, it tends to resonate more, which adds greater warmth, while the solid block prevents unwanted feedback and provides a greater sustain. Blues legends like B.B. King favored a semi-hollow body guitar.

                                                                                                  Hollow Bodies
                                                                                                  These guitars are completely hollow, and are usually played by jazz musicians because of their warm tones and deeper bass range. They are more prone to feedback, but they definitely have a sound all their own.

                                                                                                  Neck Types

                                                                                                  Just as a guitar’s body plays an important role in its sound and playability, the neck is an equally crucial factor to consider.

                                                                                                  Woods
                                                                                                  When looking at different neck types, the first thing to look at is the kind of wood it’s made from. Rosewood, mahogany, and maple are some of the more common types of wood utilized in neck construction. The weight of the wood as well as the grain type can have an impact on the sound of the instrument as well as the feel of how it plays.

                                                                                                  Neck-to-Body Attachment
                                                                                                  The way in which the neck attaches to the body of the guitar is also significant. There are three types of ways in which these necks join with the rest of the instrument.

                                                                                                  Set-In
                                                                                                  The set-in neck configuration means that the neck is glued into place, a configuration more commonly found in acoustic guitars but also some electric guitars such as the aforementioned Les Paul. Set necks provide greater sustain and are very stable; they are, however, much more difficult when it comes to repairs.

                                                                                                  Bolt-On
                                                                                                  The bolt-on neck configuration finds the neck attached to the body through four screws. This setup typically has less sustain, but allows for much easier repairs.

                                                                                                  Neck-Though-Body
                                                                                                  This style features a neck extending throughout the length of the entire guitar. This configuration is exclusively used for solid body electric guitars, and provides the greatest amount of sustainability and sturdiness. However, they are much more costly and difficult to repair.

                                                                                                  Bridge Types

                                                                                                  An electric guitar’s bridge is the piece on the body of the instrument that supports the strings. Bridges can be divided into two main types: tremolo bridge and stop tail bridge.

                                                                                                  Tremolo bridge
                                                                                                  Commonly referred to as the whammy bar; by pressing down on said bar, the pitch of the notes takes a dive or can be bent up ala Jimi Hendrix or metal bands. Although this feature can be useful, this approach also will often bring the strings of the instrument out of tune.

                                                                                                  Stoptail Bridge
                                                                                                  This option is much more stable and provides more sustain, although it doesn’t give guitarists the ability to alter the pitch of notes as the tremolo does.

                                                                                                  Tonewoods

                                                                                                  The effect that tonewood has on the sound of an electric guitar is actually quite a controversial topic. Many players will swear up and down that the wood used to construct the body of their axe makes all the difference in the world, while others vehemently insist that this is a factor that makes absolutely no difference at all, citing that the tone comes largely from the pickups/neck/bridge.

                                                                                                  While the jury is still out on just how impactful this variable is in getting to the end result of your sound, here are some attributes regarding the way in which tonewoods affect other type of guitars – as well as the actual physical feel of the wood.

                                                                                                  Alder
                                                                                                  Lighter weight with an even tone.

                                                                                                  Ash
                                                                                                  This wood is often used for electric guitars with a transparent finish. Tone is also balanced.

                                                                                                  Basswood
                                                                                                  Great for warm tones that favor stronger mid-level frequencies.

                                                                                                  Mahogany
                                                                                                  Ideal for players looking for greater sustain. Can be medium to heavy weight.

                                                                                                  Maple
                                                                                                  Similar to mahogany, with more brightness on the high-end of frequency.

                                                                                                  Poplar
                                                                                                  Light weight, with a very bright tone. Also ideal for players seeking long sustain in their playing.

                                                                                                  Pickups

                                                                                                  Single-Coil
                                                                                                  The original pickup configuration for all electric guitars, single-coil pickups have been used by legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and more. They tend to have a distinctly clean and thin tone, making them ideal for a variety of styles including rock, blues, funk, country, and pop. Fender axes such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster most commonly utilize the single-coil pickup. The only drawback to single coil pickups is that they can sometimes pick up unwanted external frequencies and electromagnetic frequencies from the air, which can include the hum coming from a building’s wiring or a computer monitor.

                                                                                                  Humbucker
                                                                                                  Humbuckers were created in order to solve the aforementioned problem with some single-coil setups. By employing two coil pickups, the unwanted buzz/hum is cancelled out. This pickup setup is most prevalent in Gibson guitars like the Les Paul. The tone of a humbucker is traditionally a bit thicker, warmer, and smoother. Famous humbucker enthusiasts include Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, BB King, and John Lennon.

                                                                                                  Scale Length
                                                                                                  Scale length refers to the distance between the bridge and the nut on an electric guitar. This distance can determine both the tone and pitch of an instrument. There are two prominently used scale lengths that are used today. The first is the “Fender” scale, which gives a clear and more “cutting” sound at 25.5 inches. The other scale length is the “Gibson” scale, which is more round, warm, and favors a greater bass sound; its length is 24.75 inches.

                                                                                                  Pickup Switch

                                                                                                  The number ways that an electric guitar can switch between its pick-ups can have an effect on how guitarists can shape their tone. In general, guitars tend to have 2-3 pickups, with one at the neck, one at the bridge, and then sometimes one in the middle. The neck pickup will provide a thicker sound, whereas the bridge is thinner and more trebly.

                                                                                                  Some electric guitars have a switch with three positions, allowing players to choose either one pickup sound or a blend between the two. A five pickup-switch allows players to do this but also change their phase relationship, which can result in an interesting tweaking and blending of the sounds that the instrument is capable of producing.

                                                                                                  Tuning Machines

                                                                                                  The tuning machines of an electric guitar are simply the tuning peg systems located at the headstock of the instrument. They enable players to tune their instrument (as the name implies) and keep the guitar in tune. There are two main types of tuning machines: open-gear and enclosed-gear.

                                                                                                  Enclosed systems have a mechanism that is housed in a small metal piece, whereas open systems are exposed and unprotected. Enclosed tuning machines are more ideal in theory, as they prevent any kind of damage, dust, or rust to affect the mechanism, but both work types of systems work fine.

                                                                                                  Buying Tips

                                                                                                  There are hundreds of electric guitars out there, and in a way, they’re like snowflakes – each one is different, and different players will all tell you which one they think is the best. The truth is that it’s a completely subjective topic. That’s why it’s most important for buyers to try their instrument out in person before actually making a purchase.

                                                                                                  While online stores and services can offer a great advantage of convenience in sending the axe directly to your doorstep, it is most beneficial to go to guitar stores in person and hold the instrument, play it, and see how it feels. Hearing how it sounds and feeling how it plays is the best way to decide if it’s the best instrument for you.

                                                                                                  Leave a Question or Comment
                                                                                                  12 comments
                                                                                                  • RondaDollard RondaDollard

                                                                                                  Wow you have a great site!!! I found another that has all the best covers on guitars and equipment. check it out it's cool.http://bestelectricguitarreview.com

                                                                                                  Posted on 11/10/2012 4:29 am | Reply
                                                                                                  • nedslaps nedslaps

                                                                                                  I want to expand on my comment...there are many very versatile guitars under $1000...heck, under $500 that could make this list. I would remove "value" from my list of criteria when all the listed guitars are over 99% of guitarists budget.

                                                                                                  Posted on 1/13/2011 12:18 pm | Reply
                                                                                                  • nedslaps nedslaps

                                                                                                  Value? LoL. Otherwise, not too surprised that Parker is so well represented.

                                                                                                  Posted on 1/13/2011 12:15 pm | Reply
                                                                                                  • billowee billowee

                                                                                                  I would love to see some reviews of 7-string guitars. I switched all my guitars from 6-strings to 7-strings about five years ago. It took forever, but was well worth it, since the bottom 6 regular plus a fourth higher 1st string allows you to do much more in finger picking. I have several of these guitars, from Oribe classicals -- the best I've ever heard -- down to Strats and Wendlers and kit guitars from All Parts, WD Music etc.

                                                                                                  Posted on 12/29/2010 11:04 am | Reply

                                                                                                  Hi Billowee,Thanks for your comment. That is a great suggestion! I will suggest a review for 7-string guitars to the editors.Best Wishes,Kevin

                                                                                                  Posted on 12/29/2010 11:27 am. In reply to billowee | Reply
                                                                                                  • mwp mwp

                                                                                                  You fail to mention even one gibson classic. Have you even played a fly? I own one. I can tell you that I usually go to my les paul first. sure the fly is a great guitar but what the hell are you even doing trying to rank guitars. EVERY single instrument made has a different sonic quality.

                                                                                                  Posted on 11/10/2010 10:24 pm | Reply

                                                                                                  Hi mwp,I appreciate your feedback and such well-expressed thoughts, but I would encourage you to read the introduction at the top of the list because it appears that you may have skipped it before leaving the comment. You will see that I the picks above are meant to be helpful for players who need a broadest possible range of features and sounds. For those players seeking out a versatile guitar, it would be hard to argue that any of these picks shouldn't be on the list. Kevin

                                                                                                  Posted on 11/11/2010 12:58 pm. In reply to mwp | Reply
                                                                                                  • Green Eagle Green Eagle

                                                                                                  I have only one word to say to you- well, actually two letters and three numbers:ES-335Any list of best electric guitars that doesn't have this on the list has really run off the rails.And this is coming from the owner of an old Les Paul and a pre-CBS strat.

                                                                                                  Posted on 7/8/2010 7:46 pm | Reply
                                                                                                  • Anonymous Anonymous

                                                                                                  I'd take a G&L Legacy over the Strat any day of thw week.

                                                                                                  Posted on 4/29/2010 6:59 am | Reply
                                                                                                  • Jimbo Jimbo

                                                                                                  I can definitely see why the American Deluxe got the nod for the top slot and I do agree with it. I own one.I must also say that I have many dual h-bucker guitars including Gibsons, Guilds, Peaveys, Vantage, Epiphones, Fenders, etc..The Am-Deluxe with DH-1 Humbucker is a very versatile axe with both classic Fender twang and jangle but can also pull off the EVH "Frankenstrat" tone. The DH-1 has to be adjusted low to get that classic PAF sound because of its high output and inherent "brightness".If Gibson took Neal Schons signature LesPaul (with bridge H-Bucker, vibrato equipped)) and added fender type single coils, in similar configuration to the Am-Deluxe HSS, you might get close to the Fenders expanded tonal and performance options. You still would have the differences in construction and materials that are limitations.Even my best mahogany bodied Gibsons do not have the playability, performance and tonal range of the Am-Deluxe Fender HSS.

                                                                                                  Posted on 2/15/2010 10:29 pm | Reply
                                                                                                  • Anonymous Anonymous

                                                                                                  I'm shocked that the Gibson Les Paul is not number 1...I've been a musician and session player for many years and myself and many of my peers call on the Les Paul or one of its imitatorssuch as the ESP eclipse for the majority of my work...the Fender Strat is good...even great...but its a 2 trick pony, it does those 2 tricks amazingly well...and thats ...1) the trebelly jangle of reggae and some jazz and country or 2)the wound out sound of Jimi Hendrix or the more refined David Gilmour... but the Les Paul does everything else! Bar none...

                                                                                                  Posted on 12/8/2009 8:20 pm | Reply
                                                                                                  • billowee billowee

                                                                                                  What do you all consider to be the best electric 7-string guitars?

                                                                                                  Posted on 12/5/2009 5:39 am | Reply