The electric guitar – it’s one of the most iconic instruments in all of rock, metal, blues, country, and more. You could say this instrument transcends genres. It’s also fair to say it transcends generations, as it is still popular over half-a-century after its inception. It’s a versatile instrument, a fun one to play, and it looks cool – what could be the best beginner electric guitar?

Many people dream of learning to play the electric guitar. This usually involves checking out online lessons, doing a bit of music theory research to learn the basic terms, and of course finding your first instrument. But what is the best beginner electric guitar on the market? There are plenty of options, so how do you know what to look for?

For most people, their first guitar should offer a few things. First, it should look and play well to help them stay interested in learning it. Second, it should be durable enough to hold up over time as they’re learning and gaining more skill. Finally, it should have a modest price tag as it represents their first investment in electric guitars.

If you’ve shopped around for an electric guitar to start out on, chances are you’ve found quite a few options. Today we’ll rank them, and help you decide which ones are best to consider when you’re picking up the electric guitar.

How Do We Choose Our Rankings for the Best Beginner Electric Guitar?

For every Strat cat who swears by Fender, there’s a Les Paul lover who says Gibson is the way to go. Instrument preferences largely come down to subjectivity. While there’s no debate when it comes to comparing a top-of-the-line instrument to a beginner model, there is room for debate when comparing electric guitars of the same type.

Since our list is about the best beginner electric guitar choices, we’ll keep all selections in a modest price range (approximately $500 or lower), and we’ll take a look at how the design and features contribute to looks, playability, and longevity.

Price Tag

It’s understandable that a guitar with a lower price tag won’t have some of the features of higher models. But for this list, we’ll look at value – how the features match up to the price, and what beginning guitarists have had to say about these instruments after buying them.

Preparing to learn guitar can lead to an exciting, sometimes even anxious feeling – but having the right equipment will do the opposite. It will make you feel excited but confident. Rather than angst, you’ll enjoy a better path toward solid electric guitar musicianship.



Top 8 Best Beginner Electric Guitar
Comparison Table

PRODUCT

IMAGE

RATING

DETAILS

Squire Stratocaster (Affinity Series)

Epiphone Les Paul 100

PRS SE Standard 24

Jackson JS11 Dinky

Ibanez GRX20

Epiphone Limited Edition SG Special-I

Yamaha PAC112J

Dean Vendetta XM



Top 8 Best Beginner Electric Guitar
FULL REVIEW


Squire Stratocaster (Affinity Series)

Fender has come to be known among musicians as a company that stands for quality, trustworthy workmanship, and an ear that listens to what musicians are saying. Their electric guitars, particularly the Stratocaster, have evolved over time. The Squire line offers a lower price tag and a perfect set of features for beginners. The Squire Stratocaster comes with the S-style body, trio of single coil pickups, and 21-scale rosewood fingerboard. It even has that dive-style whammy bar – divebomb away without fear! This review is for the Affinity option, though there are several Squire Stratocasters to choose from – all of them hovering around the $300 price range or lower. It’s a great value buy for the budding electric guitarist.

PROS

  • Trustworthy workmanship
  • High-quality building materials.
  • Perfect set of features for beginners

CONS

  • Some customers who purchased the guitar have issues with its strings

The Fender Stratocaster has an iconic look and sound to match. You can look like countless guitar heroes from the past and present while making sure your start on the electric guitar doesn’t break the bank. The Squire Stratocaster is so popular it’s been the choice guitar for many starter packs – you can often find these guitars bundled with beginner amps, picks, tuners, and everything else you’ll need to get started.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

BEST

$$



Epiphone Les Paul 100

Les Paul’s name has become etched in guitar history thanks in large part to guitar giant Gibson’s efforts. By modeling their signature guitar line after him, they’ve helped many people learn about him and appreciate his (and Gibson’s) approach to guitars. Epiphone carries the same quality and workmanship as Gibson guitars without the hefty price tag.

The Epiphone Les Paul 100 offers a mahogany body with maple top, bolt-on tapered neck for comfortable playability and a 700T (bridge) 650R (neck) pickup combo. It’s great for a variety of styles and has everything the beginning guitarist could want in terms of great sound, looks, and longevity.

PROS

  • Quality and workmanship as Gibson guitars
  • Great sound, looks, and longevity.
  •  It has numerous models and variations

CONS

  • Quite pricey 

It’s right on the Squire Strat’s heels, but we put the Les Paul in second place only because it can be a little pricier. It’s still well within the beginner price range, and like the Strat, it has numerous models and variations. You can also find this guitar in beginner packs with the accessories you need to start learning right away. With the Gibson workmanship and Epiphone pricing, it’s a great combination.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

BEST

$$$



PRS SE Standard 24

Paul Reed Smith is another iconic guitar manufacturer whose top models can fetch thousands of dollars. But with the SE line, beginning guitarists can enjoy workmanship from the same company for a fraction of the cost. The PRS SE Standard 24 is a great choice, offering a beautiful mahogany body that produces great visuals and an impressive amount of resonance for an electric solid body.

The guitar has a 24-fret scale and a PRS 85/15 S pickup combination. Add in a dive-style vibrato bridge and the subtle aesthetic touch of bird-shaped fret markers, and you have a guitar that excels in looks and sound. It’s just under the $500 range, showing PRS SE’s commitment to quality and affordability.

PROS

  • Great visuals and an impressive amount of resonance
  • Great sound, looks, and longevity
  • Offers a distinctly appealing set of specs

CONS

  • A little pricier than the previous two entries

While a little pricier than the previous two entries, this one offers a distinctly appealing set of specs. If you like the unique body style and want a whammy bar, solid humbuckers, and sleek finish, this is the guitar to try.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

GREAT

$$$



Jackson JS11 Dinky

If you want a barebones shred machine that lets you save big, the Jackson JS11 Dinky is a great model to consider. It has a basswood body and glosses polyurethane finish with that distinct Dinky shape. It doesn’t utilize a pickguard, but that contributes to its low price – which traditionally hovers around $150.

The one-piece maple bolt-on neck uses graphite reinforcement and a satin finish along the 25.5-inch scale, accounting for 22 jumbo-sized frets. Both the bridge and neck pickups are Jackson High Output models, allowing you to churn out chugging metal rhythm parts or screaming lead lines.

PROS

  • Good guitar for the price
  • Sound and affordability
  • Great model to consider, easy to operate

CONS

  •  Lacks in flash and flare

What the JS11 lacks in flash and flare, it makes up for in sound and affordability. For the money, it’s hard to beat this guitar. Even if you wanted to spend a little more, there’s no guarantee you could get that iconic Jackson sound without the hardware included here.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

GOOD

$$$



Ibanez GRX20

Another model that usually can be found for right around $150, the Ibanez GRX20 is the epitome of a beginner electric guitar. It has all the fundamentals for the right price – a fast neck, great sound, and even a standard vibrato bar for adding that extra bit of flare and divebombing to your playing.

The guitar has a standard S-style body and is equipped with a set of Powersound humbuckers and a GRX maple neck. It also has 22 medium-sized frets, giving you the ability to reach those higher notes that really ring out in a solo.

PROS

  • Neck is really comfy and the pickups sound great for such an inexpensive guitar
  • Great-looking guitar with a powerful set of humbuckers
  • Fast neck and great sound

CONS

  • Need to take the guitar to the shop for adjusted

Another model that’s great because of the low price it comes with, this model shows that not every entry into Ibanez’s inventory has to carry a high price. You can still get a great-looking guitar with a powerful set of humbuckers – perfect for the beginner electric guitarist.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

GOOD

$$



Epiphone Limited Edition SG Special-I

The SG has an iconic body type and the design stylings of Gibson behind it. But thanks to the good people at Gibson’s beginner brand, Epiphone, beginner guitarists on a budget can enjoy the same iconic look. The solid double cutaway body is made from mahogany and has a beautiful glossy finish.

It also has a slim mahogany neck and a 24.75-inch scale, offering a 22-fret setup with standard dot inlays. You’ll also get a 650R (neck) 700T (bridge) humbucker combination. That’s enough power for thick rhythms, clear lead lines, and everything in between.

PROS

  • Beginner guitarists on a budget
  • Beautiful glossy finish
  • Very reasonably priced for the craftsmanship

CONS

  • The bridge is cheap as is the machines so both will need to be replaced

It may not have the same type of sound as a Gibson SG, but the Epiphone alternative still offers a lot of playability. With a price that sits around $150 at the moment, this is another guitar that’s very reasonably priced for the craftsmanship behind it. Definitely a worthy contender for best beginner electric guitar, and a worthy member of the SG family.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

GOOD

$$



Yamaha PAC112J

Yamaha is another brand that offers great value and makes guitars for musicians of all skill levels. Beginners will like the PAC112J. It has a solid alder body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and 22-fret scale. It has an S-style design and die-cast chrome tuners, as well as a vintage dive-style vibrato bar.

The PAC112J also comes with a unique pickup set up that combines a humbucker in the bridge position with two single coil pickups – providing options for a wide variety of unique sounds. It’s also available in multiple colors to suit any stylistic preference.

PROS

  • Available in multiple colors to suit any stylistic preference
  • Good feel and fun to play 
  • Great guality 

CONS

  • No accessories like cable, amplifier and case included

At around $200, this guitar costs about as much as some of the others on our list. Yamaha has a good reputation among guitarists, particularly for their beginner models, and the PAC112J will have listeners doing a doubletake, swearing you were jamming on a Fender Strat.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

GOOD

$$



Dean Vendetta XM

Dean makes some solid guitars, and the Vendetta XM is one of the best options for beginners. With a Paulownia body and natural finish, it has a basic and old-school like that many people enjoy. The 25.5-inch scale gives you access to 24-frets on the maple neck and rosewood fingerboard for smooth playability.

Enjoy a Tune-O-Matic bridge and string-through-body setup, which offers better intonation and more precise tuning. Finally, this model comes with a set of Dean certified humbuckers to help you get a lot of grit out of this cost-efficient shred machine.

PROS

  • Available in multiple colors to suit any stylistic preference
  • Good feel and fun to play 
  • Great guality 

CONS

  • No accessories like cable, amplifier and case included

Another guitar that’s only around $200, this one has a basic design. But basic doesn’t always have to mean bad. In this case, the Dean Vendetta XM is a testament to how quality can come with a reasonable price tag and from a name that is sometimes overshadowed by bigger industry competitors.

QUALITY

PRICING

RATINGS

GOOD

$$

Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Beginner Electric Guitar

What makes the best beginner electric guitar? Is it a longer scale? A certain type of wood used for the body? A particular pickup combination? The truth is, all these factors and more will impact the way a guitar looks and sounds.

It’s also true that subjectivity plays a big role when you’re considering an electric guitar to start on. Some brands like Squire, Epiphone, and SE are automatically worth considering. This is because they have the respective talents of Fender, Gibson, and PRS behind them. But even for brands that are somewhat lesser known, like Yamaha or Dean, sometimes there are great gems waiting to be found.

Set a Budget

When you’re buying the best beginner electric guitar, the first thing to do is set a budget. Ideally, you’ll want to search for something between $200-$500, with about a $50 variance on either end. This gives you some room for flexibility as you look for the right features – for beginners, fast necks and basic humbucker combinations can be the best options to go with.

Your style may also play a role in your choice. Some may argue it’s easier to get a country sound on a Strat thanks to the single coils, or that it’s easier to play metal on a 24-fret guitar thanks to the higher scale.

No matter what your style preference or budget, any guitar on this list is a great candidate for the best beginner electric guitar on the market.




Featured Image via Canva.com logo, text and banner added.




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Why I use Guitar Trick to learn guitar (and maybe you should too)

x