Last Updated on
Are you picking your first guitar solely to impress someone?
Do you have any gear to help get you started?
How much are you willing to spend?
It’s easy to pick your first electric guitar based on what it looks like. But, does it come with what you need to get hooked up? Is your first choice within your budget? Are cheap electric guitars any good?
Not only do we provide you with a lineup of the top electric guitars for beginners, we also amp you up with features and considerations you need to know before you buy. You may have no experience in this department, but we do.
QUICK ANSWER: 12 Best Beginner Electric Guitars in 2019
- Gretsch G5426 Jet Club Review
- Epiphone Les Paul Special II LTD Player Pack Review
- Epiphone SG Junior Player Pack Review
- Leo Jaymz US Flag Curved Top Review
- Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster Review
- Epiphone Les Paul SL Starter Pack Review
- Oscar Schmidt by Washburn OE20 Review
- Donner DST 1S Review
- LyxPro Electric Guitar Starter Kit Review
- Steadman Pro YMC Review
- PylePro Beginner Starter Package Review
- Davison Guitars Beginner Starter Package Review
Our 12 Top Beginner Electric Guitars
|Gretsch G5426 Jet Club||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Epiphone Les Paul Special II LTD Player Pack||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Epiphone SG Junior Player Pack||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Leo Jaymz US Flag Curved Top||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Epiphone Les Paul SL Starter Pack||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Oscar Schmidt by Washburn OE20||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Donner DST-1S||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|LyxPro Electric Guitar Starter Kit||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Steadman Pro YMC||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|PylePro Beginner Starter Package||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Davison Guitars Beginner Starter Package||VIEW ON AMAZON|
Electric Guitar Reviews
When you’re looking to buy a guitar, it’s easy to be solely focused on what the guitar looks like. It’s not wrong to do so as it’s important to feel like the finish is an outward expression of you. Fortunately, electric guitars can come in multiple colors and finishes that will strike a chord with your aesthetic tastes.
However, there’s a lot more to ensure it’s suitable for your needs. The best starter electric guitars come with a beginner or complete kit that includes picks, amps, cables, and tuners. They can also come with online lessons, instructional DVDs, and booklets to help get you started.
These features are important to consider as it can get expensive to purchase all the gear separately when you’re just starting out.
But, filtering through guitars that are made for kids, or electric guitars that sound like tin is something you probably won’t pick up on unless you already know a little something about them. Leave the filtering process to us and scroll through the reviews to find the best beginner electric guitar packages.
Gretsch G5426 Jet Club Review
- Basswood body with an arched maple top brings a new voice to the Electromatic line
- Classic Gretsch humbucker tone, Fast-playing fretboard
- Master Volume, Master Tone, 3-way Pickup Selector
- D'Addario XL110 Regular Light, NPS (.010-.046 Gauges)
Gretsch is a highly respected guitar brand not often priced so low, nor are they considered a beginner brand. But, if you want a guitar that will last you long after your beginner curves are mastered, Gretsch should be your first choice.
- Arched maple top
- Single cutaway
- Gretsch pickups
- Adjusto-Matic bridge
- No starter packages
The price may be high for a beginner, but it’s low when it comes to name brand guitars. For this reason, it’s made it to this lineup since there are beginner players that want to make a worthy, long-lasting investment that they won’t have to replace down the road.
The Jet Club series of guitars is the most affordable line of guitars from Gretsch. This model has a two-tone finish on the solid body guitar. It has a silver arched maple top and walnut-stained back and sides. It has a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard that features 22 medium jumbo frets.
An awesome fact about buying this guitar is that you won’t have to replace the pickups as many beginner players end up doing after they’ve gained some skill. The Jet Club has Gretsch’s dual-coil humbucking pickups. Obviously, it’s an upgrade from single-coil pickups and they do what they imply – “buck” the “hum”. Essentially, they reduce the interference of the humming noise caused by pickups and help to balance out warm, loud, and resounding tones.
The Adjusto-Matic bridge is an excellent feature to have on an electric guitar. It’s compatible with the Bigsby Vibrato that you’ll learn to use later, but what we’d like to focus on is its ability to allow for adjusting all six strings. What is this needed for? Intonation, my friend, intonation.
Great tone. Great pickups. Great finish. Beginner’s don’t have to resort to cheap and bland-sounding instruments. Spend a little more for a longer-lasting, high-quality guitar to boost motivation and get you through the learning curves.
Epiphone Les Paul Special II LTD Player Pack Review
- Epiphone's Les Paul Player Pack has everything you need to start playing guitar right away
- It includes a genuine Les Paul Special-II LTD guitar featuring two classic hum bucker pickups and a 10-watt Electra guitar amp with a 10ft guitar cable
Epiphone is a favorite brand for players on a budget looking for quality and value without compromise. To get you started, the Les Paul Player Pack has everything you need and want.
- Special II guitar
- Humbucker pickups
- Tune-O-Matic Bridge
- Player Pack
- Guitar/accessories build quality
This player pack combo is an excellent choice for beginners who are still undecided on if they’re going to stick with learning to play the guitar. Grandparents and parents buying for a child and friends looking to gift can avoid spending a fortune but ensure it has everything a guitar player needs to get started.
The Player Pack includes a gig bag, 10-watt amp, cable, strap, picks, and a chromatic clip-on tuner. However, you should know that as a starter pack, the accessories are standard and if you decide to stick with it, you’ll likely need to upgrade your gear at some point.
Perhaps what brings value to the player pack, regardless of accessory quality, is the free downloadable lessons from eMedia that provides guidance to learn all sorts of genres from rock, metal, blues, country, and more.
The Les Paul Special II guitar is made of solid wood, likely basswood, that has a bolt-on hard maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. It has humbucker pickups, a StopBar tailpiece, and a Tune-O-Matic bridge. The Tune-O-Matic bridge allows for adjustable saddles of each individual string to attain almost perfect intonation.
Equipped with light gauge D’Addario strings, the Les Paul is easy to play out of the box, but it will likely require proper setting up to avoid fret buzz and achieve good tone.
Getting everything you need in one pack for the occasional, learning, or young player without breaking the bank is why you need an Epiphone.
Epiphone SG Junior Player Pack Review
- Classic SG Junior with Epiphone Humbuckers
- Electar-10 watt amplifier with EQ
- Strap, picks, and guitar cable
- Online lessons from eMedia in English, French, German, and Spanish
Looking for an electric guitar for your kid, sibling, or other young player? The lightweight, striking, and affordable SG Junior will make the best starter electric guitar for any beginner.
- Humbucker pickups
- Adjustable bridge
- Worn black finish
- Player Pack
- Accessories build quality
It should go without saying that most accessories included in any starter package are of mediocre quality. At some point, you’ll have to spend money to upgrade the gear like the Epiphone Electar 10 amp, and perhaps, the cable.
As a Player Pack kit, it comes with a strap, cable, picks, and a chromatic clip-on tuner. The open back cabinet 10W amp has a 6″ speaker with all the standard controls, such as a Master Volume, Bass, Treble, Overdrive/Clean, Aux in, headphone out, and Rocker switch. Included in this pack is access to eMedia’s multi-language guitar lessons.
Of course, the most important part of the Player Pack is the SG Junior guitar. It’s a 24.75″ scale guitar, so it’s slightly smaller than full size. It has dual cutaways, a screw-in pickguard, and Epiphone Junior branded headstock. The solid body is made of alder, the neck from hard maple, and fingerboard from torrefied composite.
The SG Junior has a Wrap-Around “Lightning” Stopbar and adjustable bridge and humbucker pickups that sit on a very attractive and slightly mature Worn Black finish – flashy enough for any preteen looking to impress.
Leo Jaymz US Flag Curved Top Review
- Perfect single cut design, curved surface that with Amaaaazing US flag design in gloss sunburst.
- With the wonderful sound heavy pickups on solid mahogany body and there is cavity inside of the body.
Leo Jaymz is a very young brand to the music industry, but they’ve made quite the statement with their flashy and patriotic guitar finishes. This full-size guitar for adults features the American flag in a sunburst design with a high gloss finish to really stand out from the crowd.
- US flag design
- Grover machine heads
- Colored ball end strings
- Accessories included
- Quality control issues
There are various quality control issues from blemishes in the finish to control knobs being broken, but surprisingly, no issues are mentioned about playability or sound. Control knobs have been replaced by the buyer or the seller sends out a replacement, and it seems the company has upgraded their packaging due to complaints.
But, packaging won’t fix this common flaw – filed down nut where it’s too wide for the strings causing fret buzz. Some buyers have replaced the nut with a new one, and from there, setting up was a breeze.
Obviously, its flag motif is the number one reason buyers are after this guitar. It looks good, it’s worthy as a wall-hanger, and it resonates with Americans. It’s also designed after Les Paul guitars with its wider, rounder neck, 24.75″ scale length, single cutaway, multi-layer white binding including the headstock, clipped design headstock, set-in neck, curved top, fixed bridge, humbucker pickups, pearl inlays, and mahogany body.
Upgrades to the tuning pegs now include Grover machine heads, and it also has color ball ends on the super light gauge strings for easy string identification for beginner players.
Although this is isn’t a complete starter package, it does come with a Leo Jaymz gig bag with foam padding, cable, and an extra set of electric guitar strings. You’ll still need to buy an amp to get plugged in.
If you wanted to make just as much of a statement with its aesthetic appeal as you do with sound, this US flag in sunburst guitar nails it.
Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster Review
- Maple neck with "C"-shaped profile
- Maple fingerboard
- Vintage-style single-coil Telecaster pickups with three-way switching
- Top-load Telecaster bridge
- 21 medium jumbo frets
The Affinity Telecaster series of electric guitars are designed with affordability and value in the same package. It comes without extra accessories, but that’s how you know all the value is in the guitar.
- C-shaped neck
- Adjustable saddle/bridge
- Single coil pickups
- Solid body
- No starter package
There are many buyers that would prefer to buy the guitar without the bundle kit when the accessories are mediocre. Not only do you get the chance to carefully select the accessories yourself, you also ensure all the value is in the guitar. So, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that it doesn’t come with any extras.
The Telecaster has a vintage style, and this Butterscotch Blonde color tone with two single-coil pickups reflect the old school vintage theme. It features a cutaway, a C-shaped neck, and an adjustable string height feature to ensure playability for the learning guitarist.
The body has a polyurethane finish with a 3-ply black pickguard. The neck is made of maple with a satin urethane finish and Indian Laurel fingerboard with 21 frets. Good news for lefties, the Affinity Telecaster is also available in left hand models.
If you want a guitar that will get you through the beginner stages and long after that, the Telecaster is a decent buy. When you’re ready to upgrade, it’ll still be a favorite, go-to guitar that you can also have fun customizing with pickups and more!
Epiphone Les Paul SL Starter Pack Review
- Everything you need to begin learning guitar today
- Les Paul SL with single coil pickups
- 9V Battery operated “MityPRO” mini amp
- Gigbag, picks, and strap
- Online lessons by eMedia and EON Mobile App
Epiphone brings the most affordable Les Paul guitar to the masses with their Les Paul Starter Pack specifically designed for beginners needing a leg up to get started.
- Starter Pack
- Slim body
- Ceramic pickups
- Accessories issues
There are few complaints about the Les Paul SL guitar, but there are more than a few about the accessories that come with it. The starter pack consists of a mini amp, gig bag, cable, shoulder strap, picks, and free online eMedia lessons. It’s more than what a beginner would need to get started.
However, the mini, 9V battery operated MityPro amp seems to disappoint when it comes to performance. It might do for the child who picks it up once a week, but for an adult that wants to stick with learning guitar, it is less than acceptable. It’s more of a speaker, and there have been complaints regarding its durability and build quality. You’ll need to replace this amp if you want to play the Les Paul for more than just practice.
This Les Paul guitar has the Vintage Sunburst finish with a slimmer body made from poplar for a lightweight hold and mahogany neck. It has the 1960s SlimTaper D profile neck that’s made to make playing easier, and it also has a 24.75″ scale – so, so it’s full-length with 22 medium jumbo frets. Adding to its Les Paul flair is its “Clipped-Ear” headstock, bell-shaped truss rod cover, and 60’s Epiphone logo.
True to the Les Paul design, it features single coil pickups notorious for their tonal versatility, especially if you plan on strutting your newly found skills with some solos. They’re made of ceramic, which is known to help bring out the low-end, balance the mid-range, and pronounce the top end for rock guitarists.
Although there shouldn’t be too much setting up to do out of the box, you can always give it new light gauge strings, adjust the action as low as you can while avoiding fret buzz, and smooth out fret ends if they’re a little rough.
All in all, the Les Paul SL is a great buy for an up and coming rock guitarist in the making.
Oscar Schmidt by Washburn OE20 Review
- Mahogany Body and Maple set neck
- Alternative/engineered/Tech wood Fingerboard and Bridge
- Tune-O-Matic Bridge with stop tailpiece
- 2 humbucker pickups
- Classic single cutaway style
Heard of Oscar Schmidt? Sure, you have. They’ve been around for ages, and they’re currently a subsidiary of Washburn Guitars. The model featured here for beginner players is the OE20G-A-U – a gold top guitar that resembles the classic Les Paul.
- Gold finish
- Engineered fretboard
- Dual pickups
- Requires setup
Most guitars will need a little setting up out of the box, but it seems the OE20 will require a little more work than expected. You may need to change the strings, check fret edges, adjust the truss rod for action, and intonate the guitar. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, taking it to a professional may take away from the value of the instrument, but it will be a long-lasting, quality-sounding guitar for more than just practice.
The OE20 mimics a Les Paul with its single cutaway and clipped-ear headstock design with well-done white binding. It has standard humbucker pickups that sound better than decent, but professional players will likely replace these at some point to achieve greater sound and split coils.
Although it’s a gold top, it doesn’t have the weight of one. Made from mahogany with a set maple neck, the full-size guitar weighs approximately 8 lbs. The OE20 has an engineered wood fretboard that may stand up to a lifetime of use and may be easier and faster to navigate.
The Oscar Schmidt guitar does not come with any accessories, so you’re still out of pocket on getting the amp, cables, and all that good stuff. But, if gold bling with humbuckers and a low price is your kind of thing, this is a guitar you can learn on and keep for a long time to come. It’s not just for beginners as intermediates and even pro players can further customize this guitar to make it a rocking, shiny axe for show-stopping performances.
Donner DST 1S Review
- Full-size 39" electric guitar and all the accessories necessary to start playing, perfect for beginner and intermediate players.
- Ebony fingerboard, Canadian maple neck, Solid basswood body, S-S-H pickups, One-way tremolo, Pickup switch, Volume & tone controls.
Great bang for the buck? That’s what Donner does day in and day out. The DST 1S is the brand’s first electric guitar and a beginner’s ultimate buy for getting started on a tight budget.
- 39″ full-size
- AAA solid wood
- C shape neck
- SSH pickups
- Requires setup
It’s typical for cheap guitars to require some setting up out of the box to achieve a playable state. You may need to adjust the action, change the strings, do a little fret smoothing, and intonate. These setups are usually expected to be done on commercially, mass-made guitars, and once you’re setup, you’re all good to go.
Taking one look at the Donner DST 1S, and you’ll notice it’s designed after a Stratocaster. It has a double cutaway, three pickups, and a tremolo bridge. Even though it comes with a tremolo bar, you don’t have to use it.
It features an S-S-H pickup system with two single coils and humbucker pickups. It has an on-board 5-way switch for versatile use of the pickups; however, it has two tone control knobs for the single coil pickups but lacks one for the humbucker. Sitting next to the tone control knobs is the Master Control that all top a white 2-ply pickguard.
The body is made from AAA solid African basswood, the C-shaped neck from AAA Canadian maple, and the fretboard made from ebony. The Donner guitar is a 39″ full-size guitar with a scale length of 25.5″ and 22 frets.
It comes with multiple accessories that add value to the buy: gig bag, 10ft cable, guitar strap, capo, tremolo bar, extra strings, clip-on tuner, and guitar picks. What about the amp? It’s a portable Donner 3W mini amp with a built-in battery that can play for 5 hours and recharge via USB port. With its Aux in, you can also use it as a speaker for your smartphone or as track music to jam along with.
With everything included, a portable mini amp, and a classic strat guitar in a Sunburst finish, this Donner packs a punch of value.
LyxPro Electric Guitar Starter Kit Review
- 39 INCH ELECTRIC GUITAR : Perfect for beginner and intermediate players Plug In Guitar Features High-Quality Materials Including Premium Rosewood Fingerboard, Canadian Maple Neck, Volume/Tone, S-S-S...
- COMPLETE GUITAR SET : Ultimate Starter Package Includes Full Size Guitar & All the Parts & Equipment They Need to Rock Straight Out the Box | Perfect Choice for Novice & Intermediate Players
Thinking about starting guitar lessons? Setting up your child to learn an instrument, but you’re not sure they’re going to stick with it? There’s no need to spend a fortune if you’re looking for a starter pack to get learning the guitar. The LyxPro includes everything you need while keeping you within budget.
- Stratocaster style
- 39″ full size
- SSS pickups
- Complete beginners pack
- Cheap accessories
Priced so low, the accessories are going to be mediocre. Don’t expect much by keeping the price low today as you should expect to pay more later. As a starter kit, it has everything you need, but later you’ll need to replace and upgrade gear as your skill increases.
It comes with a 20W amp, clip-on tuner, gig bag, and shoulder strap. Other accessories are thrown in that include a tremolo bar, extra strings, and two picks. The amp has a 6.5″ speaker, treble, bass, gain, and grind knobs, and input, headphone, and mp3 jacks.
As for the strat guitar itself, it’s good enough. Beginners looking to learn basic skills and intermediate players looking to modify can feel guilt free to do so on the LyxPro. Built with solid wood, Canadian maple neck, and an engineered rosewood fretboard, it’s of standard build. It has the iconic Strat double cutaway, three single coil pickups, and a tremolo bridge.
For a cheap electric guitar, there are very few reports of warped necks which is a good sign. Some setting up may be required to adjust the action and intonate, and with a new pair of super light strings, your child or you will be rocking in no time.
The idea behind this guitar is to provide everything you need at the lowest costs possible. For a practice and beginner guitar, it passes the standard. If you wanted to modify it, it’s not that expensive that you’ll feel guilty taking it apart.
Steadman Pro YMC Review
- Full scale electric guitar with maple neck
- 3 single coil pickups for rock sound
- Accessories included: Gig bag, case strap, electronic tuner, picks, string winder, cord, polish cloth
- Guitar amp with headphone jack & overdrive (distortion)
- Everything you need to start playing + more accessories
The Steadman Pro YMC guitar is not a kid’s guitar, but it can be played by older children and teenagers. It’s a full-size 39″ guitar that comes with loads of stuff to learn, test, and master newfound guitar skills.
- SSS pickups
- Tremolo bridge
- Beginner’s starter pack
- Requires constant retuning
To come right out with it, the Steadman Pro guitar is an entry-level guitar with the basics. As such, there are complaints about the constant retuning it requires. One way to help fix this issue on a brand-new guitar is to stretch the strings and allow them to settle. Tuning it will be a skill easily acquired since the beginner’s starter pack also includes a clip-on digital tuner that has been reported by buyers to be accurate.
The attraction to this guitar pack is its low price and all the included accessories that includes a gig bag, strap, picks, string winder, whammy bar, cable, and polishing cloth. A 10W amp is also included, but like most other beginner’s packs, you’ll want to replace it.
The electric guitar has a high gloss, very attractive red finish with a white pickguard. Made from basswood, it’s lightweight to cater to beginner players learning to hold the guitar. The neck is made with maple and the fretboard from rosewood.
It has an S-S-S (3x single coil) pickups with a pickup selector knob, Master Volume dial, and two Tone dials. But, to really make the most of dirty distortion, you’ll definitely want a new amp. But, it will be suitable enough to learn chords on before you’re ready to upgrade and tackle overdrive and distortion in your own style.
With the Steadman Pro, you don’t have to pull the trigger on an expensive guitar you may not even stick with. For today, your teenager can practice in the bedroom without disrupting the going-ons of the household.
PylePro Beginner Starter Package Review
- GREAT FOR BEGINNERS: The electric guitar kit was designed for beginners. It comes with everything you need to get started. The kit is the perfect gift for anyone looking to try their hand at electric...
- ACCESSORY KIT INCLUDED: Take your guitar amplifier kit to lessons, gigs or on vacation with the included travel/storage bag. Also included is everything you need to start playing right out of the box,...
With just one look at the Pyle guitar, you can immediately tell why it’s a hit in the entry-level market. Its striking, candy apple red color with a high gloss finish is an eye-looker. But, does it have more to offer than just a pretty face?
- SSS pickups
- Strat style
- Quality control issues
As is standard for a budget guitar, there are some quality control issues regarding build quality. At this price, it’s obviously not a long-lasting instrument, but to get started on learning the basics, it’ll do. To add to the attractive price tag, it comes with as a complete starter package that includes an amp with 5″ speaker, cable, strap, and gig bag. Smaller accessories include a clip-on tuner, pitch pipe, extra strings, and picks.
Again, the quality of the accessories is nothing to write home about, but they’ll get you through the learning curves. One noted drawback is the 10W amp, as it usually is with almost all beginner packages. You may want to replace it once you or your child starts to progress as the slightly noticeable hum may become frustrating as you finesse your newly found skills.
The guitar is made with Paulownia wood which is known to be warp-resistant. The neck is made from maple and the fretboard from rosewood. The tuning gears are chrome and may require a little touching up on tuning before you start your practice session.
While little setup is required out of the box, it’s smart to change the strings and check out the frets for smoothing to avoid fret buzz and to learn how to slide and make the most of the 22 frets. The body has an integrated white pickguard with a Master Volume and two Tone Control knobs. The top also features three single coil pickups and a toggle to play with tone. There’s also a feature to use a whammy bar with Stratocaster inspired guitar, but it’s not included.
With its striking red finish, double cutaway, adjustable bridge and truss rod, the guitar is a solid, entry-level instrument for the cost-conscious buyer. Add all the extra accessories, and it’s a decent, first-time buy for practicing at home and seeing you through the hard days of learning to play the guitar.
Davison Guitars Beginner Starter Package Review
- Full Scale Black Electric Guitar with Maple Neck
- Humbucker Pickup For Rock Sound
- Case Strap Pitchpipe Picks Stringwinder Cord
- Guitar Amp with Headphone Jack & Overdrive (distortion)
- Everything You Need To Start Playing
This starter package is a favorite by the masses. It’s cheap, the axe sounds good, and its minimalistic style is engineered specifically for beginners.
- Single humbucker
- No toggle switch
- Contoured body
- Starter package
- Only for beginners
There’s not much that can be modified on this guitar but that’s not what it’s for. It’s designed for beginners to get started with the basics to learn the basics.
The Davison starter package consists of a contoured, double cutaway, solid body guitar that’s lightweight, slim, and made of basswood. It’s important for beginners to look for neat and simplistic design features that makes it easier to learn and play. The easy to grip, bolted neck made of maple and decked with a rosewood bridge is standard.
Although it features a single humbucker pickup, no toggle switch, a Volume, and Tone controls, we consider it a benefit. Keeping the configuration minimalistic enables a green player to learn and grasp the basics required to play the electric guitar without that annoying hum.
When it comes to sound, this guitar is made for rocking, stressing, and aggressive leads that you can experiment with the Overdrive control on the included 10W amp. For a cheap guitar, it sounds good, and it could sound even better with a higher-quality amp after you’ve learned a few tricks.
To get started, the Davison beginner’s package includes the guitar, amp, strap, gig bag, string winder, pitch pipe, and picks. It shouldn’t require much to get setup, but because it is a 39″ full-size guitar, you may want to adjust the action to improve playability.
The Davison guitar package is priced to be a guilt-free buy. You can start learning the guitar without breaking the bank, and if you find yourself benching it for a new hobby, you spent less than a hundred bucks. It’s a win-win for the beginner searching for their groove.
What to Look for in a Beginner Electric Guitar
Where do you start when you know nothing about an electric guitar? Enter, our buying guide to get you started.
It’s not all about looks and classy finishes that make up a guitar as there are pickup systems, build construction, and of course, budgets to think about, too. We lay out the major features a beginner needs to think about when choosing the best electric guitar packages to get started. We help educate you on what the features are, what they will mean to your playing, and what’s important at this stage in the game.
A primary factor in buying an electric guitar is price, and how much you set aside for your budget will play a large role. Are you looking to spend the entirety of the budget on just the guitar? Are you purchasing a cable and amplifier separately? Or, are you going to save some bucks and buy an electric guitar starter kit instead?
Generally, beginner’s kits will start at $100 and will increase in price to around $300. While there’s a lot of advice to buy just the guitar and the rest of the gear separately, you’ll still need to budget at least $100 for the accessories as you must have an amp, cable to connect the guitar to the amp, and a bag for safe transportation and storage.
Every electric guitars starter kit will be slightly different between manufacturers and sellers. Typically, they will include:
- Gig bag (soft, nylon carry case)
- 10W amp
- Cable (3ft or 10ft)
Look out for other accessories that includes straps, clip-on tuners, whammy bars/tremolos, string winders, extra strings, picks, pitch pipes, access to online lessons or instructional DVDs/booklets.
Although it’s cheaper to buy the beginner’s starter package, the accessories included are often cheap and poorly made. However, buying the guitar alone and then purchasing the extra accessories separately can get expensive. If you’re hesitant to fork up a ton of cash up front, stick with the beginner’s package. You can always upgrade your accessories as time goes on and skills are gained. This way, you can also judge the level of motivation and commitment to learning the guitar over time to justify the costs.
Electric Guitar Body Types:
As a beginner, you’re likely unfamiliar with the Les Paul, Stratocaster, Telecaster, and all the various types of electric guitars. Add to that solid body, hollow body, and semi-hollow body types and it’s too easy to get confused. The guitars in this lineup consists of solid body electric guitars that are made from a solid piece of wood. Obviously, resonance is restricted with a solid body, but you’re plugging in to amplify sound anyway. As the most common body type, the solid body will widely available in the beginner’s price range.
The pickups are going to have the largest effect on sound of an electric guitar. The single coil pickup is basically a magnet with coil wrapped around it. It enhances bright and ringing tones that are crisp and loud enough to cut through ambient noise and other instruments. However, single coil pickups are prone to producing a “humming” sound due to magnetic interference.
Humbucker pickups consist of two coils wrapped around a magnet in opposing order and polarities to essentially cancel out the hum produced from a single coil pickup. They’re noted for powerful, warmer, and thicker tones versus single coil pickups.
Beginner electric guitars can have multiple configurations of pickups from one single coil to two single coils, or even two single coils and a humbucker pickup all on the same guitar. The more coils it has, the more controls should be provided to switch between the pickups to customize and provide tonal variation.
While these two are the most commonly seen pickups on a beginner guitar, there are also Piezo pickups found under the saddle and battery-operated preamps designed to shape sound.
Scale length refers to the length of the string from the nut to the bridge. Most beginner players won’t bother themselves with this information, but it can be helpful to know how it affects playability and intonation.
Longer scale lengths like that of a Stratocaster is generally around 25.5″, often a feature on Fender guitars. They produce brighter high-end and resonant low-end tones but can be difficult for beginner players to master as the string tension is tighter and higher.
Shorter scale lengths like that of a Gibson guitar with 24.75″ is generally easier for beginners to play due to its lower action, bendable strings, and can be user-friendly for those with smaller hands producing warmer tones.
How your hand feels around the neck when holding the guitar is an important consideration. Smaller hands will want to look for narrower, slimmer necks while those with larger hands will look for wider, thicker necks. The most common neck shapes would be the C and D-shaped necks, although, many manufacturers may have their own terms for their style of neck.
Most guitars in this price range will have a bolted-on neck that is the cheapest manufacturing option, and it’s the easiest type of neck construction to deal with when repairs or customization is needed. Set and neck-through necks are more costly to manufacture and are more expensive to the buyer. However, they tend to be more durable and offer greater sustain and resonance.
Beginner players shouldn’t worry themselves too much over tonewood as they’re just getting started with learning how to play. As skills are gained, then you can think about how tonewood can help to further enhance sound and your personal style of playing. We won’t get into too much of this here as you can read all about specific tonewoods in our guide. However, you might think what kind of role does tonewood have on an electric guitar with pickups when plugged in?
Tonewoods play a crucial role in sound shaping, tonal variation, how long the string vibrates, and it also allows for movement of the pickups. However, beginner guitars are usually doused with a gloss surface that dampens resonance and sustain. Lighter finishing coats allow for maximum tonewood influence. Mahogany is popular for guitar bodies and necks, maple for necks, and rosewood or a composite material for the fretboards. However, many beginner guitar bodies will be made of basswood for its lightweight benefits that makes it easier for a beginner player to handle.
Consider everything from the machine heads to nut construction and the type of bridge, saddle, and tailpiece installed on the guitar. Quality machine heads, also known as tuning gears, help to keep the guitar strings in place to maintain tuning.
The nut must also be properly placed and filed down to the correct width for correct string placement. Often seen on cheap guitars, the nut will be filed too deep or wide that causes the strings to move within the nut and cause fret buzz.
The bridge and saddle are also important to consider as they have a lot to do with a guitar’s intonation and string’s action (height of the strings from the fretboard). Some bridges are adjustable to allow for intonation and they may also allow for use of a tremolo bar to adjust the pitch of the notes being played.
The Best Beginner’s Guitar is the One that is Played!
What is the best electric guitar for a beginner? It’s the one that keeps them motivated to keep on strumming. It doesn’t always mean it must be a $500 guitar, it just has to be good enough to allow them to develop skills, be heard, and appreciated.
But, you can’t be heard if you don’t have a cable and amp. You can’t be heard if you don’t have the budget to spare. Two problems – one solution. With a beginner’s guitar bundle, you can get plugged in right away, be heard, and applauded by all without over-spending. Now’s the time to start your beginner’s experience to learning the electric guitar!