5 Best Electric Guitars of 2017: From Beginner to Expert Level

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you’re out hunting for the best electric guitars to add to, or start, your collection.

To add to the stress, the choice of the guitar you pick will say everything about your funky style, mean skills, and unparalleled talent (or lack).

But, don’t worry, we won’t let you look like a fool on stage or in the mirror.  We’ll only recommend the best!

We’ve laid out everything for you to know about the best guitars in the market – from its jamming abilities to its flaws.  Even if you’re a beginner interested in becoming a strumming pro, we’ll provide the tools to help you make the most informed buying decision you can.

Part of those tools require a basic knowledge of guitar anatomy, who the heck Les Paul was, and whether or not you need to rethink your electric versus acoustic guitar buying decision.  Be sure to strum by our Buying Guide before you decide your choice of guitar looks better on you than your audience does!

Our Top 5 Electric Guitars for 2017

Squier Bullet – Best Beginner Electric Guitar

squier-bulletThis Squier Bullet Electric Guitar is Fender’s most affordable electric guitar for beginners!  But, with the Fender name behind your novice status, you’ll be considered a pro in no time!

Despite its low price tag, the Bullet is complete with many of the makings that has put this type of guitar on the map.  It has a 3-system HSS feature to allow you to rock it has hard as you want and as loud and true as you can!

The handsome and “C” shaped guitar is constructed with solid basswood to keep costs to a minimum, but the soft tonewood allows for warm and bright sounds true to its tune.

Speaking of tunes, the bridge is fully equipped with a more complex, synchronized tremolo for a greater range of vibrato effects – a bonus for a novice guitarist!  It also has two tone control dials and a volume dial.

If its hard rock or the blues that’s your kinda style, the best starter electric guitar will give you all the practice you need to become a pro and hit the stage!

Main Benefits:

  • Price
  • Feature loaded
  • HSS
  • True sound
  • Stratocaster design

Main Drawbacks:

  • Tuning issues
  • Quality control

Customer Reviews

Hundreds of users love the Squier Bullet Electric Guitar!  The thing they most rave about is the unbelievable price for a Fender!  The finish is beautiful, the sound is warm and deep, and the ergonomic cuts in the body make it comfortable to play!

However, many users find they need to re-tune the bullet often, but the silver lining is it can provide a lot of much-needed practice for a beginner.  Quality control issues are uneven wood staining and cheap strings.

But, the Bullet is absolutely playable and worth every penny to have a Fender guitar as a first time guitar!

Popular Questions (and Answers)

What does HSS stand for?

What Kind of Finish does the Bullet Strat Electric Guitar have?

Does Fender have Another Squier Beginner Guitar?

Are there any other Color Finishes of the Squier Bullet Beginner Electric Guitar?

Squier Bullet Electric Guitar Features:

  • Number Of Strings: 6
  • Hand Orientation: Right
  • Body Material: Solid-wood/Basswood
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood

Best Choice Products Starter Package – Best Cheap Electric Guitar

best-choice-products-starterWho says playing the guitar has to be bank-breaking?  If you’re on a tight budget but you want all the works your dollar can possibly buy, then the Best Choice Products Starter Package is for you!

Typically, if you’re looking for a cheap guitar, you’re only using it to prevent wear and tear on your vintage version or you’re just starting out.  Whatever the case it may be, this package is about as low cost as you’ll find it.

This complete and ultimate guitar kit comes with a full-size electric guitar, 10W amp, guitar pick, shoulder strap, and even a spare set of strings.  But, what about a case for storage and traveling?  It comes with a nylon case too!

The solid hardwood of the guitar also sports three single coil pickups for decent sound either in your basement or in the garage.  The 22 frets are laid on a rosewood fretboard and the neck is made from maple – some nice touches!

The six steel strings on the guitar lend to a bright and singing sound, especially if you’re in the mood for some higher treble playing where you’ll need the definite note separation that steel strings offer!

Main Benefits:

  • Price
  • Complete kit
  • SSS
  • Steel strings
  • Various color finishes

Main Drawbacks:

  • Quality issues

Customer Reviews

Several hundred buyers of the Best Choice Products Starter Package are very pleased with their bargain buy!  Because of the very economical price tag, this is one of the best starter electric guitars for beginners because it includes the cost of the entire kit – amp and all!

However, if you’re looking for a long-term and career instrument, this isn’t your money-making guitar.  The finish is prone to scuffs and scratches and pieces are prone to falling apart.

But, if you’re only looking for something to get you started, don’t spend more than this!

Popular Questions (and Answers)

What Other Colors does the Full Size Guitar come in?

What Controls are Featured on the Best Choice Products Starter Package Guitar?

How Long is the Amp Cord?

What Level of Action does it take to Play the Best Choice Products Full Size Guitar?

Best Choice Products Starter Package Features:

  • Number Of Strings: 6
  • Hand Orientation: Right
  • Body Material: Hardwood (non-specific)
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood

Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD Package – Best Electric Guitar Under $500

epiphone-les-paul-special-ii-ltd-packageIf you want a guitar from a Gibson subsidiary but without actually paying the costs of a Gibson, then the Epiphone Less Paul Package is a buy you can’t pass up!

The Les Paul Special-II LTD guitar has the iconic Les Paul design of a clipped dovewing headstock and two 700T/650R open-coil humbuckers to eliminate the buzzing interference and keep the attention on your tune.  As with all “real” Les Paul guitars, this one also sports Les Paul’s signature on the head of the guitar.

But, the solid-wood guitar isn’t the only item in this purchase.  It also comes with a 10W Electar guitar amp that has a 10 foot guitar cable!  You’ll also get a clip-on headstock chromatic tuner, guitar straps, medium picks, and a carry case.

If you thought that was all, you’d be wrong.  You’ll also learn how to play better with the eMedia Guitar Lesson Software that’s available in English, French, German, and Spanish!

The sound is incredible for overdrive use!  Whether it’s heavy metal or the blues you wish you make ring, toggle between the humbuckers using the heavy-duty, three-way pickup selector switch and melt into the warm, rich, and deep sounds!

Main Benefits:

  • Price
  • Les Paul Design
  • Complete kit
  • 700T/650R Humbuckers
  • eMedia Guitar Lesson Software

Main Drawbacks:

  • Poor quality strings

Customer Reviews

Over 1000 buyers of this iconic and affordable Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD Package are over the moon with excitement because of the money they saved!  You’re practically getting a Gibson at a steal price for high quality humbuckers and an excellent build.

But, the strings aren’t the best as many users expressed.  However, strings are affordable to replace and a truss rod adjustment may be in order if you know what you’re doing.

Popular Questions (and Answers)

What is the Clip-On Chromatic Tuner?

What does the 10W Electar Amp Feature?

Is this Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD Guitar Easy to Use with Small Hands?

Does the Ephiphone Les Paul Guitar come Pre-Strung?

What Other Colors are Available?

Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD Package Features:

  • Number Of Strings: 6
  • Hand Orientation: Right
  • Body Material: Solid-wood (non-specific)
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood

Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded Guitar – Best Electric Guitar Under $1000

gibson-les-paul-studio-faded-guitarNo guitar collection is complete without this one – the Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded Guitar!  If you’ve always coveted a legit Gibson Les Paul guitar, then this will be the cheapest price you’ll pay for one!

This Les Paul Studio Faded guitar is as good as it’s going to get for under $1000!  It’s American-made, has legitimate Les Paul features, and the 490R and 498T unit humbuckers are new and improved!

One of the most iconic features of this guitar is its gently-aged look with its faded satin nitrocellulose finish.  To add to its timeless ethos, it also sports a dark and dense maple fingerboard with historic trapezoid pearl inlays – exquisite yet intricately simple!

It also keeps many traditional Gibson Les Paul characteristics such as the standard high quality manual tuners, Graph Tech nut, traditional neck heel shape, and the original neck width of 1 11/16″ at the nut.

The sound on this guitar belies its price category by miles!  The sound punch provides warm but clear and crisp tones and the variations of the frequency range makes for a saturated overdrive an easy achievement, whether it’s blues, heavy metal, rock, or country!

Main Benefits:

  • Price
  • Traditional design
  • No binding
  • Faded satin nitrocellulose finish
  • American-made

Main Drawbacks:

  • Amp static

Customer Reviews

The Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded Guitar is very new to the market, but it’s one of the best of its kind out there!  Users love the gorgeous, faded finish and its sound is true and pure.  It stays in tune, the neck is fluid to the fingers to use, and it’s a high quality instrument!

However, there’s minor complaint among buyers of this guitar that it creates too much amp static.  However, most buyers haven’t had any issues relating to this – perhaps it’s the amp – not good enough for a genuine Les Paul maybe?

Popular Questions (and Answers)

How much does the Gibson Les Paul Faded Guitar Weigh?

What is the Difference Between this Guitar and its High Performance Counterpart?

Why is this Les Paul Faded Guitar Half the Price of its $1500 Counterparts?

Where in the USA is the Gibson Studio Guitars Made?

Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded Guitar Features:

  • Number Of Strings: 6
  • Hand Orientation: Right
  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood

*Top Pick* Gibson Les Paul Standard 2016 T Electric Guitar –  Best All-Round Electric Guitar

gibson-usa-les-paul-tribute-guitarWhile there are many exquisite guitars that can easily take this spot, this one hit the shelves in 2016 and is the A-grade of what Gibson has to offer!  The Gibson Les Paul Standard 2016 T Electric Guitar is a testament to Gibson’s fine craftsmanship, tone, and reputation – that’s why it’s our top pick and is the best all-round electric guitar for serious users who want the prominence and notoriety of owning a Gibson!

Authentic Les Paul guitars were made from solid mahogany, but this specific one takes a two-tone approach with a mahogany back that’s been enforced with modern weight relief to provide ideal comfort and enhance resonance.

The top tone is made with Grade-AAA figured maple top that’s absolutely stunning!  The neck is made with mahogany and the fretboard is outfitted with a thick slab of rosewood with a hand-rubbbed oil finish and beautiful, trapezoid, traditional, acrylic inlays.

Only the best is expected with this Gibson, that’s why it has Burstbucker Pro pickups that are made with original humbucker comebacks like the mismatched coils and Alnico magnets – more bite, added clarity, and powerful sound!

You can’t risk shipping these kinds of electric guitars in a nylon case, no.  Instead, it also includes the purchase of a form-fitting Gibson USA hard shell case!  Only the best is reserved for the best guitarists!

Main Benefits:

  • Burstbucker Pro pickups
  • Mahogany back
  • Grade-AAA maple top
  • Modern weight relief
  • Traditional Grover locking tuners

Main Drawbacks:

  • Advertising year mixup

Customer Reviews

The Gibson Les Paul Standard 2016 T Electric Guitar has few and far users – the price is a gut-puncher!  But, the few that do actually own the Les Paul Standard T Guitar are open-mouthed about its quality and craftsmanship – there’s literally not a single complaint of this flawless art of perfection!

However, buyers of the 2014 and 2015 models haven’t yet realized the new and improved 2016 version is not akin to the one they currently own – they’re not even in the same ballpark!

So when the whiners quit whinging and realize the 2016 model is far superior to their current model, maybe they’ll sell it off and buy the bigger and better one without ignorant complaint!

Popular Questions (and Answers)

What are the Other Finish Options of the Les Paul Standard Guitar?

What are the Differences Between the 2014/2015 Models and the 2016 Guitar?

How do the Burstbucker Pro Pickups on the Gibson Les Paul Standard Guitar Work?

Gibson Les Paul Standard 2016 T Electric Guitar Features:

  • Number Of Strings: 6
  • Hand Orientation: Right
  • Body Material: Mahogany/Maple
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood

Electric Guitar Buying Guide

Electric vs Acoustic Guitars

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in the guitar industry – which guitar should I buy – electric or acoustic?  It can be the tipping nudge of a controversial and heated discussion or it can be a win-win situation.  Let me explain – buy both!

While they’re both guitars, they’re different creatures entirely like an automatic car and a standard one – there’s advantages and disadvantages of both! Then there is also the acoustic electric guitar to consider!

Acoustic Guitars

  • Pairs excellently with vocal singing
  • Rich acoustics
  • Excellent for picking
  • Indefinitely portable
  • Requires more finger and hand strength
  • Prone to string buzzing
  • Wider fret boards

Electric Guitars

  • Ability to take on many different sounds and voices
  • Exceptional to play alone without vocals
  • Narrower fret boards
  • Softer strings
  • Much easier to play requiring little finger and hand strength
  • Can play with headphones in
  • Requires amp and accessories
  • Finding right tone for music can be difficult for beginners

Discover what kind music speaks to you and how often you’ll be playing that type of music.  Is it the soothing sounds of a campfire beat or country? – then acoustic it is!  It might be rock and roll, modern country, or even metal – electric for you baby!

Electric Guitar Features

Body

Nearly all electric guitars have a solid body, but the shape can vary from manufacturer to design and type of electric guitar.  However, the shape of the body of an electric guitar has little to do with the effects of sound, instead, it’s all about the quality of wood.

Some common body types include the Les Paul, Stratocaster, and the Telecaster.

Tonewood

The type of wood the electric guitar is constructed from has a huge impact on resonance, tone, and sound.  Each type of wood offers its own unique resonance due to the density and hardness of the wood.

Some common tonewoods are ash, alder, agathis, basswood, mahogany, maple, and rosewood.

Neck

The bolt-on neck is the most common and cost-friendly option to both the consumer and the manufacturer.  It’s bolted onto the body of the guitar, easy to repair, and cheap.

Set-necks are also known as glued-on necks because they’re glued to the body of the guitar.  They provide more resonance and sustain than a bolt-on neck but they can be extremely difficult to repair.

The neck-through-body design is pretty self explanatory – it runs through the entire body of the guitar.  This is the most preferred style of neck on electric guitars but also happens to be the most expensive option!

Bridge

There are many different types of guitar bridges out there and several adjustments you can make to them, but one thing remains consistent between them all – it has a huge impact on the guitar’s sound and performance.

While the decision to choose between bridges can be an overwhelming one, to simplify things, it’s better to choose one that’s appropriate for your skill level and your personal taste in music.  One bridge for the heavy metal genre may be absolutely frustrating for a country player.  For those with numerous guitars, you might have a different bridge on each instrument to suit that situation or style of music.

However, the most common bridges are the Hard-Tail Fixed Bridge, Tune-O-Matic, Synchronized Tremolos, Floyd Rose, and many others!

Pickups

Every electric guitar has a some form of electronics on it whether it’s a single coil or a humbucker.  It’s what allows you to convert vibrations from the strings into signals to be picked up by the amp.

Single coil pickups are timeless and consist of a magnet that’s been wrapped in several yards of thin wire.  They offer bright and crisp sounds but are prone to distortion or static most likely due to magnetic interference.  These work just fine for those playing lighter genres of music.

Humbuckers are pretty much two single coil pickups used to polarize the magnetic effect by being joined close together.  This results in the bright, crisp, and powerful sound without the static, noise, and hum.  These are excellent for those playing heavier genres of music.

About Les Paul Electric Guitars

Les Paul was an extraordinary pioneer of music and instrument development, and he also paved the way for popular music today from blues and jazz to rock, country, and metal.  The Les Paul electric guitar stems from one of the best electric git brands to date – Gibson.  This came to be with Paul’s and Gibson president Ted McCarty’s collaboration to find the best electric guitar with resonance and sustain but with less distortion.  Since they couldn’t find one, they had to make one.

It started with “The Clunker”, developed into “The Log”, which then resulted in the birth of the “Les Paul” in 1952.  The iconic design elements are the solid body that still imitates the look of carved-top hollow body guitars, set-neck construction, trapeze tailpiece, two humbuckers, and a Tune-O-Matic bridge.

Several noted guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Freddie King, Michael Bloomfield, Billie Joe Armstrong, Jimmy Page, Slash, Pete Townshend, and plenty more – and all of these within a range of various music genres!  It’s clear that everyone wanted to have a Les Paul then and still do now!

If the high quality and perfections of the Les Paul earned the respect of some of the most noted artists in music, it’s good enough for you.  That’s why owning the Les Paul guitar is often only dreamed about but still remains one of the most coveted and popular guitars in the industry.

Find Your Groove!

Yes, shopping for electric guitars is a feat in itself, but once you’ve found the one for you, you’ll be able to find your groove!  With the basics under your fingertips, you can find a great deal, high quality, and an excellent musical experience if you really want it.  So jam it, strum it, and pick it – it’s music to your ears!