Is there anything more exciting than a) deciding you want to learn how to play electric guitar, and b) beginning your search to find the best beginner’s electric guitar for you? We can’t think of much, which is why we’re so stoked to help you in your quest to find the very best electric guitar for beginners that suits your needs perfectly.
And you know what? Now is an excellent time to join the vibrant world of guitar players. That’s because there’s so much on offer in the way of variety and quality of beginner’s electric guitars. Manufacturing methods have improved greatly, raising the bar significantly on quality control in entry level guitars.
Put simply, it’s hard to find a six-string in our best beginner electric guitars round-up that doesn’t tick all the basic boxes.
In our easy to understand guide to electric guitars for beginners, we will give you an overview of what you should be looking for when searching for your first ever electric guitar.
From the different styles available, to the specific features and functions that matter most when you’re first starting out, our round-up has you fully covered. It’s the same approach we use in our acoustic guitars for beginners guide.
Best beginner electric guitars: Guitar World’s Choice
The choice you make will likely be based on a number of factors, including price, sounds, versatility and aesthetics. Each six-string in our guide has its own benefits, but as a solid all-rounder, we happily recommend the Yamaha Pacifica 112V as the best beginner’s electric guitar right now. A full three decades since its introduction, the Pacifica still provides that perfect balance between price and performance, and does so without compromising on visual appeal.
If the name on your guitar’s headstock is important to you, we’re very happy to report that both the Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster and the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro III are superb electric guitars for beginners and will complement your playing for years to come.
Finding the best beginner electric guitar for you
If you’ve narrowed your choices down as far as buying an electric guitar over an acoustic guitar, you’re on the path to choosing an instrument that will cover much more in the way of tone, style and variety. Electric guitars, when combined with a guitar amp, cover a lot of bases, and any of the guitars we list below provide plenty in the way of creative expression.
Specifically, when looking at electric guitars, there are a few things that will crop up regularly. Body shape is the key one. Arguably the most famous shapes of guitars – Stratocasters, Les Pauls - are catered for at the beginner end of the scale, but even with those two niches there is plenty of variation. Choosing the shape of guitar you want will also go a long way to dictating the style (or versatility) of music you want to play.
Strats are great for a mix of pop, rock, blues and soul, and are still to this day one of the most comfortable guitars to play sitting down. Les Pauls, on the other hand, suit harder and heavier styles of music, along with indie, country and rock. This is largely down to the guitars’ pickups.
These are the magnets embedded into the guitars body that convert movement from the strings into electrical signals, which an amplifier then converts into sound. Single-coil pickups, as found on Strats, are versatile, clean and glassy, while humbuckers offer a lot more in the way of girth and provide a fatter sound.
Elsewhere, you’ll want to consider the tone woods employed in a guitar’s construction as each has its own tonal properties and weight, while the included hardware – like the bridge and tuners - will also have a significant impact on a guitar’s durability and performance. Often, it is in the hardware that the biggest differences can be found between low-cost guitars and their more superior stablemates.
That said, if your goal is to commit to learning, it’s perhaps more important to find one of the best beginner’s electric guitars that feels and sounds great, as opposed to one that will last you your entire life yet won’t feel as great to play. After all, one of the biggest joys in a guitarist's life is the inevitable upgrades.
If you spend the time at the start of your playing journey working out what you enjoy playing, what is comfortable to you, and what is important to you in a guitar, your future self will be blessed with a life full of incredible instruments. Let’s now take a look at our top electric guitars for beginners…
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Best beginner electric guitars to buy now
1. Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster
The best beginner electric guitar overall
Launch price: $399 / £299 | Body: Pine | Neck: Maple | Scale: 25.5" (648 mm) | Fingerboard: Maple | Frets: 21 | Pickups: Fender Designed Alnico Single Coils | Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Middle Pickup) | Hardware: Chrome | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: 2-Color Sunburst, Black, Fiesta Red, White Blonde
While there are slightly cheaper models in their catalogue, the Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster takes our vote as the best beginner’s electric guitar. It’s well-made, so able to withstand your formative playing years, and is cost-effective too. Both important ingredients when choosing your first electric.
If the Strat itself doesn’t appeal to you, the beginner-friendly range extends to include Telecasters, Jaguars and Jazzmasters, so there is bound to be a guitar that suits you at this early stage in your guitar playing journey.
2. Yamaha Pacifica 112V
The best beginner electric guitar for small budgets
Launch price: $299 / £299 | Body: Alder | Neck: Maple | Scale: 25.5" (648 mm) | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 22 | Pickups: Alnico V Humbucker x 1, Alnico V Single Coils x 2 | Controls: Master Volume, Master tone with push/pull coil split | Hardware: Chrome | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Natural, Black, Old Violin Sunburst, Red Raspberry, Silver, Sonic Blue
First introduced in 1993, the Yamaha Pacifica 112V has earned its place at the table of quality electric guitars for beginners. While it doesn’t bring with it quite the same mojo as a Fender or a Gibson, the Pacifica range makes up for that with levels of playability and build quality that far exceed its smaller price tag.
A juicy-sounding humbucker at the bridge ensures overdriven sounds are well within reach, while the two single coils pickups provide a superb breadth of tones. While there are undoubtedly ‘cheap’ guitars you’ll outgrow in no time, the Pacifica has enough interest to remain a staple in your roster for years to come.
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3. Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro III
Rock royalty at a rock-bottom price
Launch price: $399 / £299 | Body: Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 24.75” | Fingerboard: Pau Ferro | Frets: 22 | Pickups: Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers | Controls: Volume x 2, Tone x 2 | Hardware: Chrome | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Metallic Gold, Ebony, Pelham Blue, Pacific Blue, Wine Red
Chances are, if you’ve heard any recorded music from the past 60 years you’ve heard the sounds of a Gibson Les Paul. Played by some of music’s biggest and best names, these iconic guitars are synonymous with rock and heavy music. So what better place for a beginner to begin than with their own slice of musical history?
The Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro III is the Gibson offshoot brand’s flagship beginner’s electric guitar, and it packs all that knowledge and understanding into a near-perfect package here. Two humbuckers deliver a great palette of tones, while the mahogany body ensures sustain that goes for hours.
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4. Gretsch G2420 Streamliner
Big sounds and iconic looks for an entry level-friendly price
Launch price: $449 / £419 | Body: Maple | Neck: Nato | Scale: 24.75" | Fingerboard: Laurel | Frets: 22 | Pickups: Broad’Tron BT-2S humbuckers | Controls: Master volume x 1, pickup volume x 2, master tone x 1 | Hardware: Chrome | Left-handed: No | Finish: Walnut, Aged Brooklyn Burst, Village Amber
If country, folk and jazz are more your musical cup of tea, the Gretsch G2420 Streamliner could be the ultimate beginner’s electric guitar for you. Coming from a brand with a rich heritage, this hollow-body electric delivers a much different playing experience to the other guitars featured in this list.
For a start, the tones it produces are much more vibrant and expressive on account of its semi-acoustic nature. Where other guitars require an amp to mould and shape a tone, this guitar simply requires its inherent tonality to be made louder, such is the richness on offer. Don’t be put off by its size either – the G2420 has curves in all the right places and playing it is no more difficult than any other guitar.
5. Epiphone G-400 Pro SG
The best beginner electric guitar for Angus Young devotees
Launch price: $419 / £359 | Body: Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 24.75 | Fingerboard: Pau Ferro | Frets: 22 | Pickups: Alnico Classic Pro | Controls: Volume x 2, Tone x 2 | Hardware: Chrome | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Cherry, Alpine White
As the Gibson stable’s ‘other’ big marque, the SG found itself a niche in players who wanted to retain a bit of individuality over the plethora of Les Paul players. As a result, the SG found its hands into some of rock’s biggest names, including Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and AC/DC’s Angus Young, who favored its raw, edgy tones and striking visual appeal.
The Epiphone G400 Pro continues this vibe by delivering good on the promise of rugged, rock-ready tones and exemplary construction. A nice touch comes within the pickups themselves, which are coil-tappable, meaning you pull the volume control up and it becomes a single-coil pickup. This makes for an extremely versatile, and incredibly attractive, electric guitar for beginners.
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6. Squier Bullet Mustang
The best beginner electric guitar for kids
Launch price: $179 / £109 | Body: Basswood | Neck: Maple | Scale: 24 | Fingerboard: Laurel | Frets: 22 | Pickups: Squier humbuckers | Controls: Master volume, tone | Hardware: Chrome | Left-handed: : No | Finish: Imperial Blue, Sonic Gray, Black
As many (but not all) beginner guitarists are young, it makes sense for us to include a guitar that suits those among us with smaller hands. Enter the Squier Bullet Mustang. While it’s not a ‘mini guitar’, it does have a slightly reduced scale size, making it ideal for younger players to get to grips with techniques that will serve them as they develop.
That said, having played one ourselves, we can confidently say that this guitar is no toy. In fact, we loved its rough-and-ready playability and happily recommend it as one of the overall best beginner’s electric guitars. For a shade under $200, you can’t go far wrong.
7. Epiphone Dot ES-335 Semi-Hollowbody
Lose yourself in the vintage vibes of this classic semi-hollowbody
Launch price: $449 / £399 | Body: Maple | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 24.75” | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: : 22 | Pickups: Alnico Classic Humbucker | Controls: Volume x 2, Tone x 2 | Hardware: Chrome | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Cherry, Vintage Sunburst
Rounding off the list is the Epiphone Dot, which marries vintage tones and vibe with incredible construction and playability. The Dot is the affordable version of Gibson’s famous ES-335 model, which has been used on countless blues and rock tracks ever since its introduction in the late 1950s.
What we particularly liked about the Dot was its incredible warmth and clarity when pushed through a clean channel using the Alnico Classic neck humbucker. The resonance and sustain had us purring, and we’re certain that if this is on your shortlist, you’ll feel the same.
8. Ibanez Gio GRGR120EX
The best beginner electric guitar for metal fans
Launch price: $199 / £179 | Body: Poplar | Neck: Maple | Scale: 25.5" (648 mm) | Fingerboard: Pine | Frets: 24 | Pickups: Infinity humbuckers | Controls: Volume x 1, Tone x 1 | Hardware: Black | Left-handed: No | Finish: Black Night, Jewel Blue, White
Ibanez guitars will be familiar to anyone who listens to the heavier end of the musical spectrum. These Superstrat-style guitars typically boast humbucking pickups, vibrato bridges and wafer-thin necks, enabling you to quickly traverse the fretboard at ever-increasing speeds.
The Ibanez Gio GRGR120X is the perfect metal guitar for anyone looking to join this club. Its ergonomic design makes it lightweight and easy to handle, and a pair of Ibanez humbuckers ensures even the gainiest of gain sounds cut through in a band situation. If you plan on learning how to play songs by your favorite metal bands, this is the best beginner’s electric guitar for you.