What makes a great gigging guitar, and should you upgrade?

Back to Live: what you need to know to upgrade your guitar to something giggable
(Image credit: Future)

BACK TO LIVE: Last year you suddenly found yourself with a lot of time on your hands and an urge to do something productive to fill the days. So, naturally, you bought a beginner electric guitar. You’ve been practicing every day, putting in the hours, and playing through the pain. Luckily, all your hard work - and questionable renditions of Mustang Sally - has culminated in you landing your first gig, but is your electric guitar up to the task?

While your beloved entry-level guitar will be totally fine for a one-off show, or a couple of appearances at your local open mic night, the truth is beginner guitars aren’t designed to stand up to the harsh conditions of gigging. You don’t want to find yourself backstage scrambling to fix your guitar, that you assured everyone was “working fine a minute ago” with nothing more than a rusty old screwdriver and a roll of electrical tape - yes, these things actually happen to us gigging guitarists, and more often than we’d like to admit! 

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Daryl Robertson
Senior Deals Writer

As a Senior Deals Writer at Guitar World, I help create and maintain the site's 200+ buyer's guides, scour the internet for the best possible deals on a range of guitar products, and spend a lot of time getting hands-on with the latest guitars, amps, pedals, and more. My gear reviews have also been featured in many prominent publications, including Total Guitar and Future Music magazines and MusicRadar.com.

During my career, I have been lucky enough to talk to many of my musical heroes, having interviewed members of Sum 41, Foo Fighters, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators, Creeper, Thrice and more.

In a past life, I worked in music retail. For a little under a decade, I advised everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned pros on the right gear for their needs. 

I also have a passion for live sound. I'm a fully qualified sound engineer who holds a first-class Bachelor's degree in Creative Sound Production from the University of Abertay and I have plenty of experience working in various venues around Scotland.