5 Best Beginner Electric Guitars


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The electric guitar has to be one of the most iconic instruments of the 20th and 21st centuries.

It is the instrument of choice for virtually every rock and metal band that has existed and is able to cover a whole range of different genres and musical playing styles.

Have you ever heard an electric guitar is used in a full symphony orchestra? I’d highly recommend finding a recording or track. It is a wild experience.

Because of this popularity, many people, when wanting to learn an instrument for the first time, will turn to electric guitars as their first choice to start out with.

However, not all guitars are made to be beginner-friendly. Depending on the make, an electric guitar can quickly add a ton of extra that, whilst fun to play with for an experienced guitarist, can be very intimidating for a newcomer to the talent.

That’s why we have created a list of beginner electric guitars to help you out. Many of these guitars are made by some of the biggest names in the industry, with years under their belt, and plenty of models for new players to get to grips with.

ESP LTD EC-256

ESP LTD EC-256 Electric Guitar, Black

If you’re looking for a reliable name in the Electric Guitar business to start off your musical journey, then you can’t go wrong with the LTD EC-256 from ESP Guitar.

You would hope that over 40 years of working in this business would mean that ESP is a master of its craft. And judging by the level of care put into this guitar model, that certainly seems to be the case.

The wood that makes up both the body and the fretboard of the guitar are made from beautifully crafted mahogany, treated in a beautiful black finish that’s a great treat for the eyes, especially when it is paired with the finish on the rosewood that makes up the neck of the finished product.

The wooden body, combined with the nickel steel guitar string that comes as standard with this guitar, and you have an amazing instrument of music, for guitar newbies and veterans alike.

Pros

  • Excellent design – It’s a classic single-cutaway model, but the angular design that ESP has given to it cuts a unique silhouette that all great electric guitars have.
  • Reliable name – With over 40 years of experience in making guitars, this is a brand that regularly delivers amazing, limited edition instruments, and the LTD EC certainly feels right at home with the others in this company’s line.
  • Outstanding quality – Whether it’s the guitar’s body build or the excellent sounds that this piece of kit makes, it is an excellent instrument for guitar players of all experience levels

Cons

  • A pricier start for beginners – This is certainly an exceptional starting point and investment for a beginner. But with the usual price range this model occupies, that’s only if you know you want to pursue electric guitars. If you’re still unsure about how seriously you want to take this, whether as a hobby or as a craft, you may want to look for another reliable name to get started with.
ESP LTD EC-256 Electric Guitar, Black
  • Offers a classic combination of a single-cutaway design with a mahogany body and neck and roasted jatoba fingerboard
  • An amazingly affordable way to get into the look and sound of an all-time great guitar for every style of music
  • Features great-sounding ESP Designed LH-150 passive pickups
  • Even includes set-neck construction and body, a three-piece neck, and headstock binding
  • The controls are Vol/Vol/Tone(P/P) with a 3-way toggle switch

Buyer’s Experience

The guitar works just as you’d expect a well-designed guitar from a trusted name too. This feels like a guitar that is just begging to be used by an experienced shredder.

It almost feels like it’s begging you to gain the experience needed to shred on this thing. That urge to play and learn is almost infectious!

One important detail that I didn’t take into account when first buying this guitar though was the shape of the cutaway.

It looks great and is fine to play for a short burst, but it starts to feel like it might be cutting into your arm after a while.

While that may be an issue for playing it for long periods of time, it’s perfectly fine for brief spells.

The fact that you’ll want to keep playing though might make that an issue in the long run though, so it is definitely something to consider if you are buying this guitar.

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster

Squier by Fender 303030500 Classic Vibe Telecaster Electric Guitar Custom - 3-Color Sunburst - Rosewood Fingerboard

For a guitar make you know you can trust, from a high-quality brand? Then Fender Classic Vibe has just what you’re looking for, with their Squier electric guitar.

The first thing that will grab your attention when it comes to this instrument is are the colors.

With a 3-color sunburst design, sculpted into an alder wood body, attached to a beautiful maple neck, along with runs a rosewood fretboard that fits perfectly into the overall, almost burnt look to the guitar.

It almost looks like whoever made it played such a tune so fire, the flames just tinged the edge of this guitar, forever marking it.

Okay, perhaps that’s a little too much imagination on my part, but you get the idea. It’s a gorgeous design. Once you start playing with this guitar though, you know that there’s no feeling of wear or use in it.

It has three separate controls for you to handle just below the strings, that can change the master tone, the master volume, and a pickup selector switch with three positions.

This is a finely tuned tool that you will be able to learn so much about playing electric guitars from. Definitely, a great beginner model to consider.

Pros

  • High-quality design – The polyester finish on top of the wooden body, neck, and fretboard is beautiful to look at. This will look great on a stand, or in your arms, shredding a solo.
  • Great starting prices – This is a very reasonably priced starting point when it comes to electric guitars for beginners.
  • Experienced makers – Squier has been making high-quality guitars for over 100 years, and they have it down to a science at this point.

Cons

  • Classic guitar outline? – If we had any criticism of this guitar as a beginner guitar, it could be that maybe the cutaway and the silhouette aren’t that distinct from other instruments in the industry, especially at this level. But if the worst criticism I have of the Squire by Fender is ‘the guitar looks like a guitar should’, then you’re probably on to a winner here.
Squier by Fender 303030500 Classic Vibe Telecaster Electric Guitar Custom - 3-Color Sunburst - Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Alder body with gloss polyester finish ; Vintage-tint maple neck with "C"-shaped profile and 21-fret rosewood fingerboard
  • 1-Piece Maple, Modern C Shape neck, 9.5 in radius rosewood fingerboard and 21 medium jumbo frets.Mint green pickguard
  • 2 Custom Vintage Style Single-Coil Tele Pickups with AlNiCo V Magnets ; Dual custom vintage-style Telecaster pickups with three-way switching
  • Vintage Style Strings-Thru-Body Tele Bridge with 3 Threaded Steel Barrel Saddles
  • Master volume and master tone controls with 3 position pickup selector switch

Buyer’s Experience

This guitar just feels at home being played with, trying out new chords in a chair. The aesthetic means that it’s at home with any genre.

That might sound a little strange, but if you’re playing in a band, and you have a favored genre, the fact it’s at home in a country-rock band, classic rock band, or hard rock band, is a great little design choice on Fender’s part.

This is built like a classic guitar should be. Definitely a great guitar to have for newcomers to the music world.

Ibanez RG450DX RG Series

Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Electric Guitar Starlight Blue

We have another entry from a well-established manufacturer again. This time, we’re taking a look at the RG Series by Ibanez.

Probably one of the earliest guitar companies to make it big overseas from its home country of Japan, Ibanez has been making guitars since the ’60s, so they know a thing or two about the craft at this point.

And with the RG450DX from the RG series, they’ve put that expertise to good use for beginners to guitar learning.

Coming in a starlight blue color, the mahogany body of this instrument is striking, to say the least. It’s attached to a maple wood neck, on top of which, rests the rosewood fretboard, a popular choice with the beginner guitar options we’ve discussed so far.

These different woods resonated amazingly with any great guitar string make, and the three pickup options you can adjust on the guitar body are a great touch for that customizable experience, though that may need to be something you pick up on the way if you are a beginner.

Pros

  • Beautiful design – The deep blue, and the double-cutaway designs give this guitar an immediately iconic design. It’s almost devilish with the shape it cuts.
  • Metal lover favorite – Ibanez has even stated that this guitar is practically made for metal music. Definitely, one you’ll want to consider if you’re a fan of the genre, and want to make your start with an absolute shredder.
  • Great pickup options – They’ll be no issues trying to hear you with this guitar. The pickup options have you covered!
  • Lightweight – Easy to carry around in your home, or on a stage!

Cons

  • Perhaps a little too tailored? – This is undoubtedly a guitar built with shredders and metalheads in mind. It can absolutely be used for other genres of music, but if you’re looking for an all-around guitar to start with, maybe look at the other options on this list. But if you are here to learn how to play metal, then, by all means, this Ibanez will be right up your alley!
Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Electric Guitar Starlight Blue
  • Neck type: Wizard III Maple neck
  • Body: Mahogany body
  • Fretboard: Bound Rosewood fretboard w/Sharktooth inlay
  • Fret: Jumbo frets
  • Bridge: Std. DL tremolo bridge

Buyer’s Experience

I cannot overstate how metal this guitar feels. I’ve already mentioned it at least twice in this guitar comparison alone! The cutaway makes it feel like I’m playing with a tool made to shred.

The guitar holds a note super well, and just feels great to hold, whether you’re strumming away at home learning a new chord, or absolutely giving it your all at practice.

There seem to be a few issues with the volume sensitivity control on this guitar, but that’s pretty much the only practical issue that I’ve faced so far, and I’m not sure if that is an in-built issue that others have found or just a problem with my guitar.

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe, Maple Fingerboard - 3-Color Sunburst

For another guitar made by the folks over at fender, we’re going to take a look at the Modern Player.

Unlike the Squier Classic Vibe, which I would say definitely felt like a modern guitar trying to feel like a classic guitar like the name suggests, the Modern Player is a guitar that is built with modern functionality in mind in its design.

The body and back of the guitar are made out of fine mahogany, which has been darkened to give it a more subtle character, especially when compared to the in-your-face 3 color pickup from the Classic Vibe we talked about earlier.

The maple wood and fretboard add a dash of brightness to the design, making it pretty easily readable from a distance. That might sound a little weird. All guitars have a wider body and thin neck, after all.

But the distinct 2-color design, with the black pickguard, is great to look at from a distance, especially if you have a tendency to move whilst you’re playing.

Fender’s Modern Player line of guitars allows them to create a line that has both great modern equipment, whilst also being a great jumping-on point for new guitarists.

Able to cover a whole range of notes and chords that can be as gentle or heart pounding as the guitarist can play, this is a great tool for if you like trying something new every time you pick up your instrument when you’re learning and playing.

Pros

  • Unique finish – The design’s choice to use a finished wood for its 3-color sunburst, rather than go with a polyester, glossy finish like many other guitars have, makes it stand out from other electric instruments. It’s not ashamed of the fact that it is a wooden instrument and owns that look with its mahogany body, and its maple neck and fretboard.
  • Smooth sounds – whether it’s a gentle bass, or a shredding melody, this guitar covers all the ranges you might be looking for in a new guitar. Great for figuring out what your play style is.
  • A precise tool – Once you have got to grips with the basics, the hardtail bridge, equipped with six saddles, gives you much better options for adjusting your strings to your own needs. Take your skills from amateur to intermediate, to a guitar expert. This instrument can cover you at any step of the way of your musical journey.

Cons

  • Not unique enough? – Although the modern adjustments on the pickguard and the tail bridge are welcome, you may not find that there is much of a difference between this guitar and Fender’s other lines, which might raise the question: ‘Why should I buy this newer model when I can get the already established guitars that others have been playing for years, and get tips from them?’ This is something you should consider, especially if you feel in the long run, that you have mainly bought this for just its unique finish. But to be fair, isn’t that half the fun with a new guitar?
Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe, Maple Fingerboard - 3-Color Sunburst
  • Two MP-90 pickups offer a huge range of sweet and aggressive tones.
  • With a 9.5" radius and 22 medium jumbo frets, this model offers comfort and speed.
  • Six-saddle hard-tail bridge allows for more precise intonation and individual string-height adjustment.

Buyer’s experience

This is generally a very well-rounded guitar when you’re actually holding it. The outputs are a little on the lower side of things for my tastes, but that may be different from how other owners of this guitar feel about it.

Still, this is a sturdy design, feels nice to hold as I just mentioned, and is great for anyone who considers themself an amateur when it comes to guitar playing.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Electric Guitar; Sonic Blue

For an absolute icon of the guitar world, we turn to Yamaha, a company known for making a whole range of high-quality instrument products, especially their line of guitars.

This one, the Pacifica Series PAC112V, has been around for decades at this point, and is an absolute favorite among guitarists from all stages in their learning experience, from people just beginning to get to grips with the basics, all the way up to seasoned musicians and teachers.

This is actually one of the core strengths of the PAC112V. Because it is so popular across the world, not only is it easy to find one of these simple electric guitars, but you’ll also be able to find others who are using this guitar, so you’ll be able to learn and share feedback and advice with others.

The community you can build around this instrument is something you can always count on from very popular and high-quality products, and the PAC112V is no exception.

Now, on to the guitar itself. The body is made of beautiful alder wood, attached to a maple neck, with a fretboard made of rosewood, like many of the other products we have already talked about.

The shape itself is a clean design. The continuous curve of the guitar from one cutaway to the other gives it a strangely soft appearance, that disguises the range of high-power notes and chords it can let you play with.

There’s a reason this guitar has been on the market for so long.

The coil tapping option that this product comes with is also a great way of giving yourself more control over the sounds you’re making when playing with this guitar.

Pros

  • Trusted parent company – Yamaha has been making guitars of all kinds for decades. From acoustic to electric, they know what they are doing with these instruments
  • Reliable design – The Pacifica Series 112V has been around for over 30 years at this point, with some minor adjustments over the years being all it has needed to stay relevant in a competitive market.
  • A huge hit with all walks of life – There are so many communities built around the make and model around the world, it won’t be hard to find others who are in the same boat as you, able to rock out and help each other with learning tips along the way. And that isn’t even mentioning the number of experienced players out there who have mastered this tool of music!
  • Simple, yet effective design – Made from sturdy materials, and able to cover a whole range of musical functions, you’re covered for your musical learning needs for years to come.

Cons

  • A little outdated? – Because it has been on the market for so long, many other makes of the guitar have been released with more features and designs. Against these, the Yamaha Pacifica line might look a little basic.
Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Electric Guitar; Sonic Blue
  • Solid Alder Body
  • Maple Bolt-On Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Vintage Tremelo with block saddles
  • 5 Position Switch with coil tap

Buyer’s experience

Again, I feel like I have to explain why this particular line of guitars has been so popular since the early ’90s, but the quality speaks for itself. Every part of this instrument is solidly made.

It feels like this could take a good amount of punishment, and you’d still be able to get a great tune out of it.

Plus, I was able to find a forum of other Pacifica uses with just a short search, and they have some great advice and tips for newbies just getting into playing music and guitars.

I’ve heard the argument that the Yamaha Pacifica is a little on the ‘basic’ side when it comes to guitars for new players. Many other beginner’s instruments might have more bells and whistles, or come in a whole range of new shapes and designs.

But really, if a design is basic, that just means that everyone else knows that it’s reliable, and is trying to break away from the reputation this has garnered. After all, since when did basic ever mean bad?

Buyer’s Guide

Type Of Wood

The wood used in guitars isn’t just for making them look good in one way or another. Not that they don’t look great, but that most often they will have a finish of some kind that disguises or hides the wood underneath in any case.

The way they resonate with the vibrations made from the guitar means that certain woods will have a disposition to certain sounding genres.

For example, mahogany tends to generate a slightly warmer sound when it is played in a guitar body and is quite often a part of guitars that musicians will have if they are playing the blues or rock.

The ESP LTD guitar model we discussed has a mahogany body.

Alder, meanwhile, is very well balanced when it comes to the vibrations and sounds it makes when in a guitar, and so is used in guitars that are suited to pretty much any genre.

The Yamaha Pacifica has an Alder wood body and is not tailored to any one genre.

Solid-Body VS Hollow Body VS Semi-Hollow Body

Whether or not the body of a guitar is solid or not will also affect the sound and tone that comes from the guitar.

This means that many guitars will be suited to certain genres if they are hollow-body, semi-hollow, or solid-bodied. More so than even the type of would be used.

A solid guitar, like the Yamaha Pacifica Series, is a great versatile type of body for rock, hard rock, and metal music, and is the most common kind of electric guitar.

A Hollow body, meanwhile, allowing the instrument to carry and vibrate the sound sit makes in its body more, is more often used by guitarists and musicians that play blues, or jazz even.

Most acoustic guitars, as well as models like the Gretsch G2420 Streamliner, another popular beginner’s guitar, are hollow-body guitars.

Semi-hollow bodies are in the middle of the other 2 types, and can be semi-acoustic, or electrical, depending on the make, and are often used in blues or hard rock music, depending on the musician.

Epiphone, another guitar manufacturer, has several models of semi-hollow guitars, like the ES-335.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I Too Old To Learn How To Play Electric Guitar?

Anyone of any age is more than capable of learning how to play any instrument, especially the guitar.

When it comes to picking up a new hobby or activity like learning an instrument, the only important things that matter when learning to play the guitar are that, so long as you are having fun, you find it rewarding, or have the motivation, there is no reason why you should be worried about learning to play!

Is It Easier To Learn Acoustic Or Electric Guitar?

This is a tricky one and will vary depending on how it feels for you to hold and play each kind of guitar.

Electric guitars tend to be a little easier for beginners to adjust to, because the string is a little thinner, and won’t wear on a new player’s fingers as quickly.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that although a beginner might adjust easier to an electric guitar, they may find it easier to actually learn on an acoustic guitar.

Plus, there is no need for any extra equipment to get the best experience out of them. You don’t need an amp or anything else to get instant feedback on how you sound.

Think carefully about where and how you’ll be learning to play the guitar. If you’ll be needing to move it around, an acoustic is more portable overall.

If you’ll be getting to grips with the instrument in just one place, maybe the electric is the way for you to go.