It is customary that a request for closed eyes be made before the text that weighs heavily on imagination is given, but I do not have that luxury. Instead I’ll ask you not to close your eyes but instead dedicate your ears to the hearing of what I am about to suggest. Have you ever felt a love so strong but so hopeless you could not express it by any means other than screaming, and even then it felt not enough? A rage so strong your body tightened so hard it felt like it was about to break? A fear so powerful all you could do is freeze in place? A melancholy so deep that even the raindrops on your head or on the car window could barely reach down into the put? An emotion so strong it made you convulse in pain? You must then know how hard it is to be unable to produce a voice or a sound to reflect it. We all do. It is entirely human to feel it and to want to express and the only way I have found to express it is a guitar. And only the best electric guitar is capable of such expression. What else could describe the desperate ambiguity of human existence than the soul crushing whines of a well tuned, well played, electric guitar.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Best Electric Guitars – All Categories
- 2 Electric Guitars for Beginners
- 3 Cheap Electric Guitars
- 4 Under 300
- 5 Under 500
- 6 Under 1000
- 7 7 String
- 8 8 String
- 9 Hollow Body Guitars
- 10 Perfection in the Details
- 11 The History
- 12 The Little Details
- 13 Best Electric Guitar Brands
- 14 Conclusion
Top 10 Best Electric Guitars – All Categories
|1||Gibson 2016 T Les Paul Studio 50’s Tribute||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|2||Schecter Hellraiser C-7 FR||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|3||Fender Classic Player Jazzmaster Special||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|4||Epiphone G-400 Pro||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|5||Gretsch G5435T Pro Jet||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|6||ESP LTD EC100AT||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|7||Squier by Fender Deluxe Stratocaster||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|8||Jackson JS22 Dinky||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|9||Epiphone Slash “AFD” Les Paul||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|10||D’Angelico EXL 102||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
Perfection in the Details
What is it that makes an electric guitar the best? Well, many things. You see, every guitar has an anatomy to it, little details that make it perfect for one thing or another. These slight differences are what make a guitar perfect for you. Such details range from how the guitar is built and its electronics all the way to its price. The history of a guitar, how it was made, who played it, why it became famous. Maybe it just has a long history of “cool” associated with it. The look of the guitar plays a big role in why it could be perfect, after all a guitar after your own soul is what you are looking for, right? And finally, the price. Not everybody can, or wants to, afford the best electric guitar for 1000. Some of us are fine with playing a guitar that is just under 500 but is perfect for them. So, if you want to choose right instrument from the list above, why don’t you take a look at some of the details I talk more about below.
The electric guitar has a long history of being used. Glossing over its creation for the orchestra play, or its use as part of the jazz, blues and so many other genres, we come into the time when the instrument found its actual place: Rock and Roll. The electric guitar is, of course, not limited to this genre, ever. Any single musical genre may end up using the instrument. But if you are like me, you like to imagine yourself standing, guitar in hand, as a rock star on a stage, with men and women fainting to the sounds you create.
Thing is even if all electric guitars share some sort of history, each guitar also has its own little chapter in it. Most of the best electric guitars have been about for more than a minute and some of them have a history of being famous. There are times when this becomes a decisive feature for a fan buying a guitar. I mean what’s better than owning the same guitar that your favorite song was written on? It might not be the very same, but it still remains the guitar that was played by someone you admire, someone you want to be like. Or maybe the guitar was made in your hometown? Or maybe there is some other story about the guitar you enjoy? Whatever it is, if you see one that has a a tale you like, maybe that makes the guitar perfect for you?
The Little Details
Then again, the history of the instrument cannot be the only thing that makes you want it, right? I mean, the guitar is built of things and the better the guitar is, the more likely it is to be made for a very specific purpose.
When buying an electric guitar remember to check what you are buying for here is a quick checklist of questions to ask yourself:
- Are you going to be playing a genre that leans more on sustain or would you be playing something that sounds cleaner?
- If the answer is heavy – consider buying a guitar with humbucker pickups.
- If the answer is clean – consider buying a single coil pickup guitar.
- What type of material do you want? There are several options for the body, and all of them have a slight effect on the sound of the guitar, as well as price.
- Do you want natural woods? If yes, you guitar might end up a little more expensive if you go for some of the more expensive woods, but it might also end up with a better tonality, as well as being slightly on the heavy side.
- Do you want synthetic materials? This might end up being a cheaper option, but might also result in a slightly inferior tone. Though the guitar may be on the light side if you pick this option
- Do you want fully electric, semi-hollow body, or hollow body?
- Fully electric has no acoustic sound, is better fitting for heavy sustain and does not suffer from feedback.
- Semi-Hollow Body guitars combine the qualities of acoustic and electric guitars, where both worlds remain in harmony. While sometimes suffering from feedback, these guitars are some of the most versatile instruments, capable of both sustain and clean sound.
- Hollow-Body, or otherwise known as acoustic electric guitars, are the original electric guitars. These suffer from feedback the most, but also have the full capabilities of an acoustic guitar. They are unable to perform with sustain as well as the other two, because of feedback, and are usually bought for their ability to amplify clean sound without the need for a mic.
- Are you looking for a specific design? There are some iconic designs on the list that you might find fitting for your instrument, or you might be looking for something unique. Either way, in the world of the best electric guitars you will end up finding something you find attractive.
Thing is, no matter what your specification are, the only perfect or best electric guitar is the one you find to be the best for you. So go over this list many times before you actually choose. So that in the end your guitar reflects who you are.
Best Electric Guitar Brands
Gibson, by the standards of electric guitars, is an ancient manufacturer. It is one of the manufacturers that actually predate the invention of the electric guitar. The company started out working with mandolins and mandolin based instrument. This allowed them, once they acquired the rights to build electric guitars, bring their previous experience to the table. So, in the 1930s, when the first electric guitar was introduced, they got to making. Gibson started producing the first hollow body electric guitars, with the Gibson Super 400 becoming one of the most famous and most imitated models in the world. They introduced the idea of archtop guitars into the world of electric guitars, producing incredible, beautiful and innovative models. Though, their shining star, the invention that brought Gibson to the forefront of the best manufacturers in the world only came in 1952. The first solid body electric guitar ever produced by Gibson was also their smash hit. The Gibson Les Paul, the guitar that has become the most beautiful, imitated, most often bought and loved design in the world. The Les Paul has taken over the imaginations of the amateur and professional musicians alike, since the very first day it was introduced. Ever since then the company has produced some of the most innovative, interesting and high quality electric guitars to ever grace the market, as well as the Les Paul. Which is what earns Gibson the name of one of the best, if not the best, electric guitar brand out there. Goes to show that maybe having decades of experience with manufacturing instruments before producing the first electric guitar pays off much better than one would assume. Here is to loving the Gibson family of instruments!
Fender, or as its full name goes, the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, is widely known around the world. If you have considered purchasing any electric guitars in the past 6 decades, you have probably at some point encountered a Fender guitar, and have fallen in love with it the very moment you laid your eyes on it. The manufacturer does have a long story before they get to you though. The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has existed for more than 60 years at this point. While younger than the well known Gibson, the corporation has been no less successful than its rival. The company first started functioning as an electronics repair company, working with the very first amps and repairing them to their previous condition. The company also carried some records. Though, at some point, Fender started manufacturing Hawaiian lap steel guitars and more complex amplifiers. Thank god they did, because this resulted in the company taking a turn towards manufacturing and diversifying their manufacturing portfolio into something we tend to recognize more. Sometimes in the late 1940s Fender, the founder of the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, which at the time went by a different name, started prototyping the first Fender solid body electric guitars. They initially suffered from neck stability issues, sound issues, and other problems that made them not that viable. Though after installing a metal truss rod into the neck of their guitar (a great innovation at the time), Fender started getting better reviews. Then, in 1951, Fender came out with a smash hit. The Fender Stratocaster went on the market and became an instant hit. Hitting sale numbers similar to that of the Les Paul, the Stratocaster was a great design innovation and an amazing guitar overall. Ever since then the company has been producing the Stratocaster, later on the Telecaster, another smash hit which could be considered number 3 in the hall of guitar fame. They introduced superior electronics and til today produce some of the most interesting and good instruments on the market.
The story of Ibanez is long and riddled with instances that will surprise those who are unaware of the fact that the guitar manufacturing world is just as cutthroat as any other business. Ibanez started its existence as the Hoshino Gakko company, a musical instrument sales division of a Japanese bookstore. The humble beginnings of the company changed once the division started manufacturing spanish style guitars that sold all over the world. The company found moderate success, but true success was waiting Ibanez, as they renamed themselves eventually, in the late 1950s. Ibanez decided to join the electric guitar production world and started producing their own instruments. The designs from the time are rather interesting and unique, but they only found moderate success. Enough to keep the company floating, but not enough to earn them the name of one of the best manufacturers in the world. So the manufacturer started producing guitars designed after other manufacturers’ designs. Which is of course illegal and resulted in a number of lawsuits. Ibanez found a hard time selling their product after this. To fix this, they started producing original designs, such as the Iceman in the 1970s, that found incredible success at the time. Things got a little out of hand though after the company established a successful relationship with the famous rock legend Steve Vai. The manufacturer came with two innovative designs that quickly found a foothold in the world and, soon enough, the Ibanez name was taking off. Today, when we talk about Ibanez, we talk about some of the most successful designs of the past, as well as incredible manufacturing quality. Electronics, hardwoods and all other aspects of their instruments are top notch and always reliable. Which is why Ibanez is on the list of the best electric guitar brands.
If you want to talk about old instrument manufacturing companies, there is no other we should be talking about than Epiphone. This company has existed, as a manufacturer of stringed instruments, for more than a hundred and twenty years. It started out somewhere in Turkey, with the company making Fiddles and Lutes at the time. Even though the company spent most of its time since the founding in 1873 in Turkey, the owner and consequently the company, moved to the US in 1904. They kept making fiddles and lutes, but also diversified their portfolio. Sometime after world war one, the company started making banjos, becoming the Epiphone Banjo Company. Another few years later and they started producing their guitars. Sometime in the 1950s, the company dipped into the electric guitar market. They became the main competition to Gibson, producing some of the finest archtop guitars on the market. This competition went for a long while, until both Gibson and Epiphone were acquired by a parent company. Despite their relationship, the two companies remained in competition with each other. As a result, they started producing some of their best product yet, with Epiphone also getting to produce some Gibson guitars, as well as their originals. Over the years Epiphone originals have been owned by some of the greatest rockstars of the times. If you need any convincing, just know that John Lennon owned the Casino model, which is unique to the Epiphone manufacturing company. Today Epiphone stands at the top of the guitar manufacturing world together with Gibson, thanks to their high quality electronics, innovative technologies and beautiful designs. Definitely a company that deserves to be one of the best electric guitar brands.
PRS is something of a strange bird among the guitar manufacturing companies we have discussed up to this point. The story of the company begins with one man, Paul Reed Smith (whose name would become the now famous abbreviation) playing guitar in college. Thinking that the guitars he played did not have enough of anything he wanted, he built his own guitar by hand. This became the signature Paul Reed Smith approach. This young man would go on to build new, custom designs for some of the most famous musicians of his age, Carlos Santana being one of them. While Fender and Gibson were producing beautiful guitars for the mass market, PRS kept exclusively to the upper scale, made to order, custom design market. As a result the manufacturer carved out a niche for themselves, acquiring a strong, reliable name among the hundreds of people looking to get their hands on a Paul Reed Smith, hand built, custom design guitar. The guitar manufacturing company has evolved since then. While the manufacturer still produces the upscale, hand crafted, custom design guitars, they have now ventured into the more affordable realm of instruments. As a result most anyone can get their hands on a Paul Reed Smith design guitar that will be the love of their life. It is also a fortunate thing that PRS has decided to keep the quality of their production high, so that even those buying the cheapest guitars can get some of the best quality instruments for themselves. This commitment to their history, both through keeping the art of manufacturing high quality designs alive and producing cheap but high quality instruments for the less rich of their fans, is what earns the company at the seat of the best electric guitar brand table.
ESP are a Japanese based company, with a more recent founding than you would assume, and a history riddled with greatness. Their very first shop was not dedicated to selling guitars at all, but was more of an electronic parts replacement shop. Their name “Electronic Sound Products” would eventually morph into the famous guitar manufacturer name that you hear on every corner today. The company loved their instruments at the time, producing incredibly high quality electronic sound equipment replacement parts and, as a side business, creating custom design guitars for those looking to buy some. Ever since their humble beginnings the company has had a few things to boast about, other than their reputation as a quality supplier of electronics replacement parts. One of their greatest achievements was that their guitars were owned by Rolling Stones members, as well as members of the KISS, and so many other famous artists that it would be hard to count them on your hands, as you might have to use your feet as well. The thing is, ESP, despite being popular with the famous, did not make it into the public eye of the general population, at least not until nineteen eighty five. An american musician by the name of George Lynch walked into a Tokyo based store looking for a replacement neck. Instead he found the company that would make his famous ESP Kamikaze, and as a result, rock the world with the rest of their custom made guitars. ESP kept to their custom made designs for a while, until they decided to dip into the affordable market. They introduced the LTD series and kept the bar for quality high, so that even their cheapest guitars would be surprisingly lovely. Even today ESP produces some of the most loved guitar designs, giving it a justified spot on the list of the best electric guitar brands to exist.
Jackson guitars has not existed for a long time and it hadn’t existed for a long time before it became famous either. In the 1970s a man by the name of Grover Jackson acquired a small musical instrument repair shop, with a promise to increase the shop’s sales. By the end of the seventies, the original owner had sold the rest of his shares to the new owner and Grover Jackson now had a chance to produce his own guitars. At the time the company had already been producing guitars, which were very similar to Stratocaster and not original by much. Until in the year nineteen eighty a man approached the store with an offer to produce a individual styled guitar. The name of the man was Randy Rhoads. Yes the very famous Randy Rhoads who is now stuck in the mind of every metal head, ever. The design the Grover Jackson, and a bunch of other people, worked out together was something of a marvel. Taking notes from the famous flying V design, but customizing and changing it so much it was rendered unrecognizable, the company had produced its first custom design guitar. This guitar would go on to be famous and would lead the way for many more custom design guitars that you would see from Jackson. Producing the Soloist and the Dinky series guitars, Jackson became a major power in the guitar manufacturing world. They have produced some of the most famous designs, as well as some of the most beautiful designs, to have ever graced the hands of rockstars. As a result they have earned their place in the list of the best electric guitar brands, and are undisputable members of it.
Yamaha is a name that not only musicians will recognize. Motorcycle enthusiasts and extreme motorsport enthusiasts will know this company just as well, and so will many others that know all of the products Yamaha produces. Yet some of the best products they have ever produced have been guitars. This company with a recognizable name has been in the business of producing electric guitars ever since they became extremely popular in the world, the decade also known as the nineteen sixties. Yamaha, known for its tendency to be prolific in production, has ever since then produced hundreds (I think) of models of different electric guitars. All of these models have been known to be the best at one thing or another. Whether you are looking for a cheap guitar or a high end guitar, Yamaha has produced whatever you might want at some point or another. The beautiful thing about Yamaha is the fact that the manufacturer upholds a certain standard of quality, no matter what price level their produce is in. Which is why Yamaha has produced some of the best sounding and powerful electric guitars, across the range of prices. Whether you are looking at the Pacifica series or the RGX series of guitars, all of them have the Yamaha brand tendency of being high quality to them. Which is why I love Yamaha, even if they do sound like an evil corporation/conglomerate looking to get their hands on the production of everything that is cool. I wonder what their goal is? Well, whatever it is, the amazing track record of Yamaha, with a tendency to produce some incredible pieces of equipment, grants it the spot in the list of the best electric guitar brands.
It seems that most guitar manufacturers that I have spoken of on this list have at one point just been a guitar repair or supplies shop. I guess it makes sense though, because becoming one of the best guitar manufacturers means you have to have a certain level of love and attention to detail of a guitar. Schecter is no different. This manufacturing company has its routes in a small shop in California, where they supplied the people with custom replacement and upgrade parts for their guitars. They also had a small selection of custom, hand built guitars for those willing to pay a high enough price for them. Eventually the company would end up designing 20 guitars, that were deeply rooted in the Fender tradition, that would be considered of extremely high quality and sold only in special shops across the United States. This brought the company to a more widespread attention, so that the guitar manufacturer would eventually start producing custom design guitars. The company had a long time of turmoil and uncertainty over the next few years, only arriving at the point of becoming one of the best in the late eighties. The Schecter Guitar Research, as its full name stands, is a company that has demonstrated its dedication to customers and quality. They have been manufacturing custom made designs, as well as providing the market with more affordable, mass produced models, for the past 20 years. Whether you are Jack White looking for a custom guitar, or just another Dan from the corner looking for a schecter guitar, you can find an instrument with this company. And one thing you can be sure of: it is going to be a guitar from one of the best electric guitar brands out there.
The Dean Guitars company is one of the names on the market that has been through a lot of turmoil and has come close to disappearing from the United States market one time too many. Yet through intelligent leadership and wise decisions the Dean manufacturing company has come back to the market. The company has existed since about 1976, when the company became more and more famous for their guitars being used by a large number of big name rockstars. Eventually though grunge music came about and the superstart conquered the market. Dean left the United States market for a while to go to the European market, selling Spanish guitars. A dark time for all of us electric guitar fans. Though the musical instrument manufacturing company soon made a comeback, and what a comeback it was. Ever since that the musical instrument manufacturing company has produced a whole lot of musical instruments. Famous or not, expensive or affordable, the guitar manufacturing company has named a slew of instruments after their founder, Elliot “Dean” Robinson. These high quality instruments have fueled the rock and roll world with their sound for a number of lovely decades. The amazing quality of theirs is what lands the manufacturer on the list of the best electric guitar brands, as well as among one of my favorite guitar manufacturers overall.
If you have ever wondered what despair sounds like, take a gander at the now critically acclaimed but once a critically failed song, Since I’ve Been Loving You by the good, old Led Zeppelin. Some of you might actually hate them and that is perfectly natural. I do have one question for you: how can you deny Jimmy Page’s almost indecent ability to make the guitar cry the tears of true, stretched, heavy emotion? Now, I might be biased, but I feel like every note in this song is dedicated to making you feel the harrowing nature of a love so strong and insane that it cannot be requited the same way. I might be subjective in this case, judging by how I Love Zeppelin, but I cannot help but feel Jimmy Page pulling at the strings of my heart as I listen to his guitar. Proof, once more, that there are few instruments in the world, that are any better than the guitar at making you feel the heavy, almost unbearable, part of what makes us so human.
Even the best musicians require the best electric guitars to play our emotions right. Which is why this list was made – there is nothing more in the world that I’d like than to have another one of you darn musicians play with my feelings. Maybe, one day, when I break up with my next girlfriend, I’ll be listening to your song instead of Since I’ve Been Loving You. Or maybe I’ll be listening to it when I fall in love again. Whichever it is, I hope I helped you find whatever you were looking for.