I’ve been playing the electric guitar for over 15 years, but I can still remember the first electric guitar I owned: a second-hand Yamaha that was, quite frankly, falling apart at the seams. I loved and hated the thing. It gave me the motivation to practice harder, but it also stunted my improvement.
As an aspiring guitarist, don’t make the same mistake I did! Get yourself an electric guitar that sounds good from the get-go to make your transition from newbie to intermediate an easy one. You can fix your technique but can’t fix a bad-sounding guitar.
To help you find the best electric guitars for beginners, I’ve cherry-picked five of the best electric guitars for beginners you can buy today. I’ve also written a comprehensive buyer’s guide to lead you to your next purchase. Let’s dive right in!
Our top picks
The 5 Best Electric Guitars for Beginners at home
|1.||25.5” (648 mm)||Yamaha Pacifica Series|
|2.||25.5||Ibanez GRGA 6 String|
|3.||25.5″||Fender Bullet Stratocaster|
Here are the top five beginner-friendly electric guitars, individually chosen for their build quality, functionality, and sound:
Despite being in the market for over two decades, the Yamaha Pacifica is still recognized as one of the best entry-level electric guitars.
It’s a little bit out of a beginner’s price point, but if you can stretch your budget a little further, the Pacifica is well worth the price You are not confined to the traditional red or black because it comes in different colors and models. Built with a mixture of premium wood, including maple, alder, and rosemary, the Pacifica is well-loved for its excellent playability and impressive tone.
Thanks to its five-way switch, this guitar responds to a multitude of genres and playstyles, allowing you to experiment with various sounds and techniques without holding yourself back.
Like the Strats, the Pacifica features an alder body with smooth contours but deeper cutaways. It also has a C-shaped neck, a pickup configuration of two single coils, and an Alnico V humbucker, all of which contribute to a full and energetic sound—perfect for powder chords and lead playing.
- Various color options
- Killer looks and design
- Well-rounded sound
- Great for all types of music
- Above-average cost for a beginner guitar
Ibanez is one of the world’s most popular guitar brands, and the Ibanez GRGA120 is the brand’s gift to all beginners out there.
Whether you’re looking for enhanced playability, robust sound, or high-quality tonewoods, the GRGA120 has you covered.
Available in black, white, and jewel blue, the GRGA120 has a solid, double-cut RGA body, a maple neck, and a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard.
It also has two Infinity R humbucking pickups and tremolo, making it an incredibly versatile guitar. You can play with a lot of tonal options with this, including single-coil tones.
The Ibanez GRG does have several pitfalls, though. The whammy bar and strings aren’t the best, so you might have to replace them in the future. Additionally, its tuning stability has a few minor problems. Still, unreliable tuners are to be expected on an affordable guitar, so I can’t complain too much.
- Good build quality
- Versatile sound
- Reliable controls
- Tuning stability issues
The Bullet Stratocaster is the quintessential electric guitar for beginner players. It has everything a beginner guitar should, including stylish looks, a lightweight body, and a user-friendly design.
It borrows a ton of elements from the classic American Stratocaster, so it looks somewhat similar to what a professional would use on the regular.
It does cut some corners on the build quality, tonewood, and pickups, though. Still, it delivers a gorgeous sound with its synced tremolo bridge a feature almost unheard of in guitars under $200.
Plus, this guitar is specifically engineered for enhanced sustain and tuning stability, so you can have fun with this one.
The Bullet Stratocaster produces fat, warm tones with a balanced sound. It isn’t anything mind-blowing, but even experienced guitarists can appreciate the sound for what it is, especially at this price point.
It’ll carry you to your first recording sessions and gigs until you’re ready to invest in a more powerful electric guitar.
- Classic Stratocaster design
- Decent range of features
- Easy to handle
- Good tone quality
- Pickups could be better
Recommended by experienced guitarists and music teachers alike, the Ivy Solid-Body Electric Guitar impresses in both quality and function, especially at the price it comes with.
At under $170, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an entry-level electric guitar that plays or sounds better than this one.
The Ivy Electric Guitar sounds great right out of the box, with a few minor adjustments. The frets are properly dressed and cut. It doesn’t sound as strong as some of the more big-name brands, but for the price it comes with, there’s nothing to complain about.
The F-holes add to the guitar’s unique tone, and the wood grain aesthetic while not everyone’s cup of tea is certainly nothing to scoff at.
With that said, you might have to replace the strings for it to produce a more high-quality sound, which isn’t that unusual for a budget guitar.
You might also have to sand some parts a bit so it won’t feel as uncomfortable to play. It’s a bit restrictive on the harmonics as well.
Overall, the Ivy Electric is a solid entry-level guitar for those on a budget. Nothing about it feels “cheap.” It’ll look quite nice on display!
- Made from real spalted maple
- Fantastic-sounding tone and sustain
- Comfortable, thin profile
- Tuners are a little difficult to use
- Some parts of the body need to be polished
If this list was ranked based on appearance alone, the Jackson JS22 Dinky would make it at the top. I’ve always been a fan of the dark satin-matte look, and the Jackson JS22 implements this look perfectly.
In terms of playability and functionality, the Jackson JS22 passed with flying colors. It’s simple yet reliable, boasting full, rich tones and all the articulation you could ask for.
It’s not the best guitar in the world, not by a long shot, but it certainly gives some of the more premium models a run for their money.
Made of poplar wood, the JS22 features two cutaways and a traditional Dinky shape. Its bolt-on neck is made with maple and reinforced with graphite, so durability is guaranteed.
In terms of electronics, the JS22 is equipped with two Jackson High-Output Humbucking pickups and a three-way switch. In addition, the sealed die-cast bridge comes with a two-point Fulcrum tremolo and a standard tremolo arm.
With an expensive amplifier and speaker, the JS22 has the potential to sound like a top-tier guitar. Don’t get me wrong, though; it sounds impressive even without pricey equipment.
- Gorgeous design and satin finish
- Lightweight at less than 9 pounds
- Reliable hardware
- Isn’t the most versatile; designed for heavier genres like hard rock and heavy metal
- Tremolo could be better
Factors to Consider When Buying a Beginner Electric Guitar
While it’s tempting to buy the first affordable electric guitar you can get your hands on, your skills won’t improve with unreliable, poor-sounding electric guitars.
Consider the following factor to make sure you’re receiving the most value for your money:
Solid, semi-hollow, and hollow are the three body types available for electric guitars.
Solid-body guitars are the most versatile and beginner-friendly, as they allow you to play a variety of music genres and styles. They’re less prone to feedback and they deliver a more profound, focused tone.
Semi-hollow guitars fall in between solid body and holly body guitars. They produce lively, resonant sounds with a slight acoustic factor. They also handle amplification quite well and are much lighter than solid body guitars.
Hollow body guitars are the ideal choice for jazz and blues musicians. They feature the most resonant acoustic tone, making them unsuitable for music with high amplification, such as metal or rock.
Fret Size and Number
Electric guitars come in 21, 22, and 24 frets. If you want to make the most out of your guitar sessions, search for a guitar with 24 frets.
Guitars with 22 frets are often seen as the “standard” for beginners, but it may limit you from playing the music style you want.
Still, 22 frets are ideal for rhythm work and soloing, so if that’s your main focus, go for it.
Guitars with 21 (sometimes 20) frets are ideal for classic jazz and Strat neck tones.
Pickups and Configurations
An electric guitar’s tone is dependent on its pickups, which come in many different types and configurations.
Single coil pickups, for example, produce a brighter and more nuanced tone, similar to that of Bruno Mars with his song Uptown Funk. It’s suitable for blues, rock, pop, soul, funk, and country.
Humbucker pickups have a dual-coil, noise-canceling effect that “bucks” the background hum typically heard in single-coil pickups, hence the name. Humbuckers are best suited for metal, rock, and blues.
Finally, we have the P90: a vintage-style pickup that falls in between single-coil and humbucker pickups. They’re more expensive than the latter two, but for good reason; they have the brightness and nuance of single-coil pickups, as well as the oomph of humbucker pickups. They’re an extremely versatile choice.
There you have it, folks; my top five picks for the best electric guitars for beginners! If I had to choose just one, I’d pick the Ibanez GRGA120 Electric Guitar. It’s a gorgeous-looking electric guitar with all the bits and bobs you need as a beginner.
The GRGA120 flaunts 24 frets, high output Infinity R pickups, and a solid body. You might need to replace the strings in the future, but it sounds awesome straight out of the box, which makes it a good beginner’s choice.