Choosing your first guitar can be a huge decision. The instrument you choose has to complement both your playing style, the level you can play at and the techniques you know. You also have to consider other factors such as budget and how much bang you can get for your buck.
Because this decision is so monumental we’ve put together a list of both electric guitar and acoustic guitar options that come highly rated from musicians all over the world. We have included a separate list for the best acoustic guitar for beginners as well as the best electric guitar for beginners. While this list is mainly aimed at novice guitarists there are some option in there for more advanced players. Our lists for both of these guitar options have price points that go from low to high so there’s something here to suit everyone.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks…
- 2 Electric Guitars
- 2.1 Yamaha Pacifica 112V – Best Guitar Under $500
- 2.2 Gretsch G2622 Streamliner – Best Semi-Hollow Guitar Under $500
- 2.3 Epiphone SG Standard – Best Rock Guitar Under $500
- 2.4 Fender Player Stratocaster – Best Entry-Level Strat for Money
- 2.5 Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy– Best Guitar with 24 Frets
- 2.6 No products found. – Best Guitar for Shredding
- 2.7 Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSS – Best Guitar for Modern Rock
- 2.8 Fender American Performer Stratocaster – Best Guitar for Tonality
- 3 Acoustic Guitars
- 3.1 Fender CD-60S – Best Acoustic Under $200
- 3.2 Art & Lutherie Roadhouse– Best Acoustic Guitar Under $500
- 3.3 Washburn Woodline WLO12SE– Best OM-Style Guitar for Low Budgets
- 3.4 Epiphone J-200 EC Studio– Best Vintage Looking Guitar
- 3.5 Taylor GS Mini Coustic – Best Guitar for Travelling
- 3.6 Martin Dreadnought Junior– Overall Best Acoustic Guitar
- 3.7 Yamaha A5R ARE– Best Plugged-In Acoustic
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 FAQs
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks…
Yamaha Pacifica 112V – Best Guitar Under $500
Yamaha make a huge variety of musical instruments and they are well known for their overall quality and strong build. The 112V from their electric guitar selection is a great choice for any beginner guitar player. It’s not a fancy piece that you will want to show off but it has enough of the basics to get the job done. The construction is solid and is made to a high standard so it won’t get damaged easily.
Overall this is a much more modern guitar that is lighter and has a brighter sound than a Strat. It definitely has the right amount of percussion thanks to the single coils and the overall amp voicing is really pleasant to listen to.
Gretsch G2622 Streamliner – Best Semi-Hollow Guitar Under $500
Gretsch came up with the Streamliner range because they wanted to make more affordable electric guitar options while still remaining true to their brand. The way the guitar has been constructed means it responds differently to other models from the brand. It also has different pickups so it moves away from the typical Gretsch sound. The construction is very solid but it still has a softer tonality to it.
If you’re looking for that classic Gretsch sound and tonality from your guitar, you’re not going to find it here. This is down to the pickups being a little beefier. If you want to replicate the classic tonality then the pickups are easy enough to replace. However, the ones that are included with the instrument broaden the potential for sound. This is especially true in the style area because you can play more genres of music with this axe.
Epiphone SG Standard – Best Rock Guitar Under $500
The shape of this electric guitar has its origins in rock and roll so it’s no surprise this is the best rock guitar you can get ona budget. Many popular guitar players such as Tony Iommi and Angus Young use SG guitars for their signature sounds. It’s one of Gibson’s most popular electric guitars, beating out their Les Paul competition.
This version is the Epiphone model and we’re listing it here because of the affordability. It’s clearly been inspired by Gibson and while you won’t get that exact sound, it still produces something incredibly similar. This beginner guitar is the perfect step up from your basic acoustic and will make any fan of blues, rock and metal happy with it’s sound.
Fender Player Stratocaster – Best Entry-Level Strat for Money
There aren’t many beginner guitar players out there that didn’t start out on a Fender Strat at some point. This is on the lower end of the brands electric guitars and this instrument features a two-point vibrato design. It also has the Alnico V single coils which is a newer addition to the Fender style. The neck of the guitar is slick and silky so it creates a really enjoyable playing experience. There’s not much to fault overall with this make, although the tuners can be a little bit on the jerky side.
At this price, this beginner guitar will give you one the smoothest and best operating systems out there. You won’t get any sort of issues when you try to return to pitch. The Strat is a guitar that has spanned decades but this model packs a punch and brings the model much more up to date for modern guitarists.
Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy– Best Guitar with 24 Frets
As far as metal electric guitars go, this Les Paul Prophecy from Epiphone has some impressive specs that will surely impress even the most passionate of metalheads. It has a darker take on the single-cut model which is a famous Les Paul style. The pickups are Fishman Fluence which are absolutely the jewel of this guitar. If can offer up an output that is high and gives out those riffs that shake the entire room – perfect for metal.
The looks of the guitar certainly match how impressive the tone is. It has a semi-gloss finish which adds to the overall metal feeling of the piece as well as featuring AAA figured maple wood. The neck also feels great in your hands which is what you should look for when buying a guitar. It has steel strings which are great when you want to play the electric guitar and is much more suited to the metal style of music.
No products found. – Best Guitar for Shredding
No products found.
No products found.
The Ibanez Rg550 is a 2018 reboot of a classic guitar that was made in 1987 and then discontinued in 1994. This guitar will give you everything that you want from a metal guitar that delivers great shredding potential. The lithe neck means you can glide your hand over the frets, making for some super speedy playing. It has been made to a high quality and the vibrato is also a solid feature. Tonally you will find that this model has you covered in a lot of different areas. Despite it looking like a metal guitar, it can easily stray off into other genres such as rock, blues, pop and classical without any fuss.
No products found.
Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSS – Best Guitar for Modern Rock
Want to feel like a real hot-rod when playing your guitar? The Charvel Pro-Mod gives you that modern rock feel that is ideal for pure shredding. The neck is slim but has been reinforced to be able to withstand heavy playing. It gives you slightly less range than a Floyd Rose but the ease of the string changing is more than worth the price tag.
What we love most about the DK24 is the attention that has been paid to overall quality and details. This is what makes it stand out far above any other competitors on the market. It’s easily one of the best electric guitars for tonal versatility and would suit anyone who loves any sub-genre in the huge rock category.
Fender American Performer Stratocaster – Best Guitar for Tonality
The Fender American is one of the newer guitars to be launched by the brand and is definitely an affordable entry point into the US Fender market. It actually is a landmark for the brand as it refreshes its price point for the first time in over a decade. The changes you will notice with this piece is that they have chosen new pickups that are included in every model in this range. These are Yosemite single coils and the electronics that go along with them.
It’s these single coils that make this guitar so good. They are some of the best we’ve ever experienced and when combined with the neck pickup, the musical blend is pure perfection. The sound is what will make this model stand out from some of the other cheaper models you can find in your local guitar shop. This guitar is an absolute workhorse that will play itself into the ground for you. There’s a huge range of tonal options and the hardware runs smoothly too, which is what will make you a strong overall performer.
Fender CD-60S – Best Acoustic Under $200
The first acoustic guitar in our list is a perfect reminder for how much you can actually get for your money. This beginner guitar is at the affordable end of the budget spectrum and it will surprise you what it can do. Many lower priced models can’t take a lot of action and show signs of poor construction and unstable tuning. That is absolutely not the case here. Instead what you have is a solidly made acoustic guitar with a mahogany top.
The overall construction of this beginner guitar means that the chord chime out nicely and it’s definitely one of the best options for newcomers to the instrument. It’s a comfortable guitar that allows you to be inspired and won’t be clunky to put you off playing. There’s no reason why this guitar wouldn’t be a great choice as a second instrument as well.
Art & Lutherie Roadhouse– Best Acoustic Guitar Under $500
Art & Lutherie are actually a sub-brand of the electric guitar makers, Godin Guitars. This model of acoustic guitar will give you everything you are looking for in an instrument under $500. The sounds it produces are earthy and clean and the attack it delivers will take you back to the deep south.
You’ll find that playing the Roadhouse is really enjoyable. It has some super strong upper and middle ranges. It can handle alternate tunings well for a beginner guitar which will make you wan to play the bass end of the instrument. This is definitely one of those acoustic guitars that are aimed and country and blues players mostly. It offers up a lot of clarity that those genres have and the subtle warmth as you play. Another pro for this model is that it’s compact so you can take it with you wherever you need it.
Washburn Woodline WLO12SE– Best OM-Style Guitar for Low Budgets
The WLO12SE was originally based on the Martin OM and mimics that body shape. However, this is a more orchestral style classic guitar. If offers up plenty of dimensions with high notes ringing out and bass notes being expertly defined.
You can see the brands signature style throughout this beginner guitar. They often use a walnut bound body made out of mahogany on their acoustic guitars. The WLO12SE also features the scalloped backing which makes the overall guitar look elegant. The slighter neck is an advantage for fingerstyling. This is definitely a high-quality instrument that punches above its price tag massively.
Epiphone J-200 EC Studio– Best Vintage Looking Guitar
Another Epiphone guitar that pays tribute to its Gibson inspiration is the J-200 EC Studio. It comes with a vintage look but still gives you those modern steel string acoustic stylings you’re looking for in a classical guitar. It is also available in a nylon string acoustic version depending on your preferences. Different to the Epiphone Les Paul version, this model gives you a bulkier instrument that can boom out strummed chords like a boss. The highs it can reach are articulate but it’s those warm bass notes that really show how impressive this guitar can be.
Taylor GS Mini Coustic – Best Guitar for Travelling
You can tell from the overall look of this piece that it was inspired by Mexican classical guitars. This model is a handy travel size so you can easily take it wherever you want. Depsite being on the dinkier side, this isn’t a toy. The build quality is faultless and the setup is stunning which are both plus points you wan to look for when you go to buy a guitar.
While we would prefer this to be a nylon string acoustic, the compactness doesn’t affect the sound quality. It would be fine for recording if that’s why you are buying a guitar because it gives enough tonal space for other instruments to join in. This is the type of guitar that you would look past in a guitar shop because of its unassuming looks, but it’s far from the gimmicks of other string acoustic guitars. It has its own unique voice and vibe that could suit rock, blues or even pop and would be ideal for a beginner guitar player.
Martin Dreadnought Junior– Overall Best Acoustic Guitar
While the Martin Dreadnought Junior is the little brother of the full-sized version, it still made it into our list of guitar buying advice because of how amazing it is. It’s still a grown up classical guitar that has been built from solid wood. While it may not have the same harmonic depth as the normal version, it still can play those mid-range notes with some punch and clout. Any old school player who walks into a guitar shop looking to buy this type of guitar should definitely spring for this choice.
For a serious young player who wants to invest into a solid first guitar, look no further than this piece. It gives you the perfect entry into the Martin brand which allows you to play on both steel strings and nylon strings. The compact size can still suit older players too as it’s not overly small like some other junior guitars.
Yamaha A5R ARE– Best Plugged-In Acoustic
Usually when it comes to acoustic guitars there’s a huge gap between how they sound plugged in and how they sound without help. Of course, Yamaha enters the stage here as a leader in acoustic sounds for decades. The A5R ARE gives you a great plugged-in acoustic option that will be desirable as a new guitar option.
Guitar playing is made much more enjoyable thanks to the rounded edges of the fretboard. It’s the overall balance and resonance of this piece that showcases how well it’s been made. You can’t actually dial up a bad sound of it because of how the treble controls mirror the bass which is a truly dynamic design option.
What is great about this entry level guitar is that it gives you that electro feel while still delivering on the sound of an unplugged guitar. It’s the closest one we’ve found to hitting this sound yet and it will definitely appeal to anyone who wants a controllable and consistent sound on stage.
We hope you found the information in this guide helpful and that it will help you make a more informed choice when purchasing your next, or first guitar. We’ve tried to make this list as affordable as possible but no matter which one you choose, we’re sure your guitar will be by your side for many years to come. Making the right decision at this stage is crucial so take on as much advise as possible and always try to play the instrument before you buy. We hope you found your next dream guitar from our list and have fun considering your purchase options.
How do I know what guitar is best for me?
The best guitar for you will suit your playing style, your playing level and your size. Going into a music store is essential if you are buying your first guitar. This will allow you to test out the instrument and get advice from the staff to see what guitar is best for you.
What are the 3 types of guitars?
The three main types are classical guitar, electric guitar and acoustic guitar.
What is a good quality guitar?
Most of the famous brands for guitars will give you a great quality instrument. You can refer to our list above to find out the best guitars ranked.