What better way to get into the world of music than with an electric guitar?
Sure, acoustic guitars may seem as an obvious first step, but let’s face it, electric guitars are much more fun!
Different musicians will tell you their thoughts on what the best electric guitar should feel and sound like.
However, the best beginner electric guitar should also be fairly easy and fun to play.
As newbie musician, it’s really hard to find an adequate instrument for yourself. In a myriad of unknown words, numbers and specification sheets, it’s easy to get lost.
That’s where we come in. This is one of those electric guitar reviews where we don’t just list our pick of the best ones, but we also cover the basic and most important terminology when it comes to electric guitars.
- What is a Good Beginner Electric Guitar?
- TOP 10 Best Electric Guitars for Beginners
- Wrapping things up
What is a Good Beginner Electric Guitar?
As electric guitars keep evolving, and new features are added every so often, there is truly a wide range of different types and models you can get.
We’ll try to cover the basics, explain the most important specifications, and give advice on what we think would help you when you start playing.
Price Often Dictates Quality
If you’re buying an electric guitar for someone who is an absolute beginner, opting for a less expensive one shouldn’t be a problem.
Electric guitars, as many other instruments, have a wide price range.
On the other hand, if you or the person you’re buying the guitar for already has one, and wants to upgrade, think about the style of music, and the overall skill level, and choose the new guitar accordingly.
There are, of course, cheaper models that prove to be of excellent quality. However, most of the time, the quality depends on the money you’re ready to spend.
As there are three types of body when it comes to electric guitars, let’s see what are the benefits and downsides of each.
- Hollow Body – As you may have guessed, these electric guitars have a body similar to acoustic guitars. This means you get quite more resonance, but at the same time feedback can be a problem.
- Semi-Hollow Body – A solid center wood block is positioned inside the body in order to provide stability in the structure of the guitar, but you still get great sustain and warm sound.
- Solid Body – The most common option. Though it may not offer that much sustain and resonance, it’s definitely the most sturdy one.
So, what should you pick as a novice guitarist? It really boils down to personal preference.
If, however, you still don’t know what to get, our personal advice would be to go for a solid body guitar, as you won’t have to think about it breaking that much if you accidentally hit your chair or the wall while playing.
Pickups are the part of the electric guitar that detect the vibrations of the strings and translate them into a signal the amplifier can understand and transform into sound.
There are two important things to have in mind when talking about pickups: The Type, and The Layout.
The most basic pickup type or design is called a Single Coil Pickup. Single coil pickups tend to produce bright and crisp sound.
It’s a good choice because the tone can cut through the overall mix when playing as a part of a band.
The downside of this type of pickup is that it often generates hum and unwanted noise in the background.
Your next choice would be Humbucker Pickups. Designed as a solution for the mentioned hum with single coil pickups, they also offer a different sound.
As they offer more power and tend to sound thicker and heavier, they are a good choice for playing hard rock, metal, or even jazz.
Active Pickups aside from needing a battery to operate, offer a preamp, as well as some additional sound shaping controls onboard the guitar.
These are primarily used for higher output needs and offer a more controlled, cleaner sound.
Pickup Layouts are a bit more complicated. Different models offer different solutions.
Now that you know what single coil and humbucker pickups are, you can understand different layouts. S stands for single coil, and H stands for humbucker.
Going from the neck, down to the bridge, there are different combinations of these two types of pickups.
The crucial thing for you to understand is, Bridge Pickups provide a sound with more treble, and by going towards the neck, pickups offer more of the mid and low range of the sound.
Simply use the dedicated knob or switch, and experiment with different pickup combinations.
This refers to the length of the strings, from nut to bridge.
In order to avoid any kind of confusion, your best bet would be to go for guitars with a scale length of 24- 25 inches.
Neck Shape and Type
Hosting a fretboard (the part where you press the strings) from ebony, maple or rosewood, necks come in different sizes.
If you have smaller hands, go for a narrower, more shallow neck, as it will definitely feel more comfortable.
There are also different types of neck construction options, which is the way that the neck and body are joined together.
Bolt-on – The neck is simply bolted to the body. This is probably the most common and cost- effective type of neck construction.
The downside is that it provides less sustain and resonance as opposed to other options.
Set necks – The neck is glued to the body of the guitar.
Though that means you’ll be getting more sustain and resonance, any potential repairs can be difficult and expensive.
Neck-through – As the name suggests, the neck goes through the body of the guitar.
If you’re looking for maximum resonance and sustain, this is your best bet.
This also makes the whole construction more stable, minimizing the chances of any cracks.
The type of wood used for the guitar is one of the more important factors when it comes to sound quality and characteristics.
Without getting into too much detail, let’s go over some of the most common types of wood used for guitars, and their impact on the sound.
- Maple – more trebles
- Mahogany – very resonant, great sustain
- Ebony – hard, dense wood, balanced sound
- Rosewood – most common, balanced sound
- Ash – bright tone, nice sustain, punchy midrange
- Alder – similar to ash, but not that expensive
- Agathis – not quite resonant as Alder
- Nato – warm sound
The bridge is the piece of hardware located on the lower end of the body, over which the strings are routed.
Different options provide you with different possibilities when it comes to doing vibratos, as well as adjusting string height.
- Tune-o-Matic – A common design, offers individual string intonation and height adjustment
- Fulcrum Vibrato – Every string sits on an individual saddle, which you can adjust in terms of height and intonation
- Floyd Rose – Provides the same benefits as a fulcrum vibrato, but with more space for the vibrato motion
- Bigsby – Offers a vintage vibe, as it’s commonly found on old- school guitars
- Six point locking tremolo – All the benefits of a fulcrum vibrato, but also offers better vibration and resonance
- String-through – The strings go over the saddles, and through holes in the body, giving a bit more sustain
TOP 10 Best Electric Guitars for Beginners
This would pretty much round up the most important specs and features electric guitars have to offer.
With this knowledge and understanding, reading through the next part of this guide should be easy.
Now that we’ve cleared things up, let’s jump into our pick of the best electric guitars for beginners!
Wrapping things up
So, what is the best electric guitar you can buy? It really depends on your preferences.
There is no such thing as the best electric guitar in the world. An important part of every electric guitar is the way it feels in your hands, and the way it sounds in your opinion.
As a beginner, it’s important to start on the right foot and work your way up.
By presenting our pick of the 10 best electric guitars for beginners, and some of the most important tips when buying one, we hope we helped you on your quest of getting the perfect one for yourself.