12 Best Beginner Electric Guitars in 2017
Learning to play an instrument can be difficult, but guitars have always been a nice entryway into music for many. That said, electrics are easier to play than acoustics for many reasons including the fact that it “sounds cool” even when you don’t have a clue what you are doing.
When looking for the best beginner electric guitar, you don’t have to know a thing about music. You do have to consider a few things however including the style of music you want to play and the tone. While the first one is easy our guide will help you find the sound you’re looking, so let’s take a quick look at our Top 12.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Beginner Electric Guitars Comparison Table
- Buying Tips for New Guitarists
- The Tone
- Sizing & Extras
- Top 5 Best Beginner Electric Guitar Reviews
Top 12 Beginner Electric Guitars Comparison Table
|1. Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar||Full||Solid Body||4.5|
|2. Squier by Fender Affinity Stratocaster Beginner Electric Guitar Pack||Full||Solid Body||4.5|
|3. Squier by Fender “Mini” Strat Beginner Electric Guitar||3/4||Solid Body||4.4|
|4. Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar||Full||Semi-Hollow||4.3|
|5. Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Package||Full||Solid Body||4.3|
|6. Squier by Fender Vintage Modified ’72 Telecaster Electric Guitar Thinline||Full||Semi-Hollow||4.3|
|7. Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Single Cutaway Hollow Body Guitar||Full||Hollow Body||4.2|
|8. SX RST 1/2 3TS 1/2 Size Short Scale Sunburst Guitar Package||1/2||Solid Body||4.1|
|9. Full Size Black Electric Guitar with Amp||Full||Solid Body||4.1|
|10. Epiphone Slash “AFD” Les Paul Electric Guitar Performance Package||Full||Solid Body||4.1|
|11. Full Size Black Electric Guitar with Amp||Full||Solid Body||4.0|
|12. Rise by Sawtooth ST-RISE-ST-3/4-BLK-KIT-1 Electric Guitar Pack||3/4||Solid Body||3.9|
Buying Tips for New Guitarists
New guitarists have a lot to think about before choosing their first guitar. Before we get to the style or talk about humbuckers, reflect on the type of tone you want to achieve.
While it may come as a surprise depending on your electric guitar knowledge, not every axe will sound the same. The tone wood used and body style has an impact on the way your guitar sounds and is the first thing to consider as it cannot be changed.
- Body – For electric guitars, you will deal with three types of body styles. There is solid body, semi-hollow body, and hollow body electrics. Hollow Body electrics have a lot of “twang” while semi-hollow body is a rock-n-roller, but not heavy enough for metal. If you want that, you’ll be better off with a solid body guitar and its full tone.
- Wood – We won’t dig through all the types of tone woods, but will highlight a few of the more popular options. Maple has a longer sustain with a bright tone while ash wood is more balanced. That’s just for the body, however, as the fretboard wood affects your playing speed as well. Rosewood is the most popular, but maple and ebony are also standard options.
Pickups are one part of your guitar you can change out if you want to alter your sound. There are several variations of the standard pickup due to the different types of materials used, but only two main styles you will need to know. The classic style of pickups are called Single-Coil, and they can “hum” by picking up interference from other objects. That can be good or bad depending on how you want to sound.
Dual-Coil pickups are called “humbuckers” as they have two coils and magnets to cancel out that hum. Hendrix and Clapton are two artists known for their single-coil sound while guitarists that prefer jazz or blues may want a humbucker. Again, regardless of what your guitar comes with, you can switch these out. That’s important for online buying as you may not be able to try before you buy depending on the model.
Sizing & Extras
No matter how cool a guitar looks on a listing page or in a shop, it is all for naught if it’s the wrong size for you. While there are several sizes of guitars to deal with, we are going to make it simple. If you have short arms, don’t go for a full-size guitar as you want something comfortable to play. Look for a 3/4 or 1/2 size model in our table if you are an adult. If you’re buying for a child, they can grow into things so a larger model may be an option.
The price is tied into the extras as well when it comes to electric guitars. You are going to need an amp, picks, and possibly a strap unless you’re guitar comes with one. That varies, and while you can choose a “combo pack” that has everything you’ll need out of the box, most just come with a case. Keep the amplifier in mind before you settle on a guitar if your budget is limited. You can’t have one without the other.
Top 5 Best Beginner Electric Guitar Reviews
Our number one choice for the best beginner electric guitar comes from Epiphone, a company you will see plenty of on this list. Their SG-Special Electric Guitar is a different type of beast however as it is an instrument that will make beginners sound like pros with a little practice, but is also suited for experienced players as well due to the excellent sound quality and a Kill Pot.
This is a full sized guitar sporting a solid body construction with a mahogany body and maple neck. The scale is listed at 24.75” with a rosewood fingerboard featuring 22 medium frets. It’s geared towards right-handed guitarists so unfortunately, lefties will be out of luck with this one. The fingerboard radius is 12, ” and there’s a 2-layer pickguard that contrasts nicely against the cherry finish. As for those pickups, there is a 650R humbucker in the neck position to go along with a 700T humbucker on the bridge.
The Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar comes in three configurations and two colors. You can scoop it up in cherry with the black pickguard or go with a blacked out model. You also have the choice to buy the guitar alone if you already have the equipment and want to save a few bucks. If you are a beginner, you’ll want the Amp Bundle which lets you get rocking straight out of the box.
In our quest for the best electric guitar for beginners, we came across bundles more often than not. Even the big brands are getting in on the action these days including Fender. While they have several kits available, it is tough to beat the Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster which comes with everything you need including an excellent guitar.
This Strat has a classic look that helped make the company famous, and it’s a full-size guitar with two single coil pickups in the neck and body with a humbucker pickup set at the bridge. You’ll get a broad range of sounds from this one, and can alter them at will with a quick pickup switch if you so choose. Tech specs for the Squier Affinity include 5-way pickup selector switch, rosewood fingerboard with 21 frets, and die-cast tuners. This one is lightweight as well due to an alder wood body. You’ll get a choice of amp with either the Fender Frontman 10-watt or Frontman 15-watt amp. Both are perfect for beginners and have aux out jacks in case you want to set your background track.
There’s a lot to like about this guitar, and it’s a step up from many entry level models with similar price tags. In addition to the amp, you will also receive a cable, picks, a tuner strap, and case. Color options include black, cherry red, and brown sunburst.
As mentioned, size should be one of the first things you consider when looking for the best beginner electric guitar. Our first “undersized” model comes from Fender and is another guitar from their Squier lineup, just a little smaller than usual. It’s the Fender Mini Strat, and it is your best option if you don’t want a full-size electric guitar.
This little beast has a 22.75” scale set on a 3/4 sized body. It’s solid with a C-shaped neck made from maple and a rosewood fretboard. The fretboard radius is 9.5 and features 20 medium sized frets. It has a hard-tail 6-saddle bridge as well with three single coil pickups in the usual positions. Want tone control? You’ve got it along with a master volume dial and 5-way pickup selector switch. Another perk is the fact you can adjust the truss rod to accommodate different gauges of guitar string.
Kids enjoy music at early ages, and if you want to give them a jump start, the Fender Mini Squier is a wise choice. The same can be said for adults with smaller frames who need a guitar with a smaller scale, but don’t want to sacrifice anything in the sound department. It’s available in a few different bundles or by itself in Torino red, black or pink.
Our first semi-hollow body guitar comes from Epiphone. It’s their Riviera Custom P93, and it’s the type of guitar that makes you do a double take when you see in in a shop. It’s a beautiful instrument that pros will go wild for but still suitable for new musicians that want a semi-hollow body electric guitar.
The Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 has a double cutaway design with a laminated maple body in the semi-hollow style. The neck wood is made from mahogany with a set-in joint and a standard scale length of 24.75” on the rosewood fretboard. The radius is set at 12” with 22 medium frets and a parallelogram inlays. Wilkinson handles the tuning while the tailpiece is a Bigsby. The pickups are all listed as Dogear P-90s which are passive and run in a series down the line. Three volume pots, a master tone, and gold hardware round things out for this one.
If you’re looking for a guitar to put you on the level with your favorite rock-n-rollers, you will want to look elsewhere as this one is ideal for jazz music, the blues, and country. That said, we feel this one offers you the best bang for your buck if you dig the type of tones it produces. The only downside is the fact this one does not come with anything, so you’ll need an amp, case and everything else if you don’t already have the equipment.
Rounding out our top choices is another guitar from Epiphone. This time around we’re going to take a look at a Les Paul model with a full player package. While this particular guitar is only for right-handed players, it is the only setup on our list that comes complete with gear for gamers as well.
Before we get to the extras included with this package, lets’ talk about the Les Paul Special II. It features a solid body made from mahogany with a fast playing rosewood fretboard. At 24.75” scale, it is a full sized guitar although the SlimTaper D style makes it a fantastic option for teens as well. The popular 700T and 650R humbucker pickups are present along with 500K potentiometers and a stout 3-way pickup selector. Regardless of which hue you choose to go with, it’s a good looking guitar that will turn some heads with its design and tone.
You can scoop up this guitar alone or in a special bundle dubbed a Player Pack. One package includes the game Rocksmith, which can teach you to play guitar. The other is a full kit complete with a 10-watt Electra guitar amp, cable, several picks, a guitar tuner and case. You’ll also get free lessons through eMedia if video games aren’t your thing.