Today we are going to talk about the 15 best guitar brands in 2021 – the manufacturers and companies that produce the best-sounding guitars, the most durable necks, and the brands that equip the most advanced hardware to their axes.
Suffice to say, there are dozens and dozens of names that are more than suited to be on this list, so we’ve made sure to pick out only the prominent leaders in the industry for your convenience. Without any further ado, let’s dive into the reviews of the best acoustic and electric guitar brands in 2021.
Here are the best acoustic guitar brands 2021:
The best high-end acoustic guitar brand
C. F. Martin & Company or simply called ‘Martin’ is one of the biggest names in the acoustic guitar industry. This is one of the very few brands that have succeeded in remaining vital and relevant for almost two centuries. Martin was founded back in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin, and it remains in charge of his predecessor – Christian F. Martin IV.
These guys have brought a lot of innovations to the world of acoustic guitar playing and offer some of the finest acoustic guitar models that money can buy. You’ll be able to choose from a vast catalog of classic Martin guitars, but if you’re looking for something a bit more special, make sure to check out the Custom Shop.
The ‘main’ shop features a variety of series for you to choose from, including Custom signature acoustics, the ever so famous 15, 16, and 17 Series, the Road series for working musicians, X series for beginners and intermediate-level players, and plenty of other really cool guitars.
Despite the fact that their guitars are pretty expensive, Martin is the perfect place to stop by if you’re looking for a quality starter guitar as well. The Little Martins and Junior Martins are two generations of the finest beginner guitars that are equipped with top-grade features and are made of the most exquisite tonewoods. Furthermore, Martin also offers two ‘Backpacker’ guitars – they’re exceptionally slim and light, making them perfect companions for traveling guitarists.
Be it as it may, neither the huge catalog of top-shelf guitars nor the fact that they’ve been around since forever are the reasons why Martin is so popular. Namely, Martin is a brand that collectors value the most. They offer so many ‘priceless’ guitar models, such as the D-42 Custom, D-41K Purple Martin, or the 42SC John Mayet signature, each costing nearly ten thousand dollars apiece, John Mayer’s signature is actually even beyond that tag.
The best mid-priced acoustic guitar brand
Next up on our list of the best acoustic guitar brands is another company that specializes in manufacturing premium-quality acoustic stringed instruments – Taylor Guitars. It’s another American-based brand that is famous for using exotic tonewoods while maintaining the traditional craftsmanship, which has yielded numerous timeless designs, prototypes, and signature models.
Although they’ve been around for ‘only’ five decades, Taylor Guitars was among the first companies to start using oak wood for modern dreadnought acoustic guitars. Even though oak acoustic guitars were produced years and decades before, it’s pretty fair to say that Taylor popularized such use of this remarkable tonewood.
Obviously enough, these guitars were and are still to this day deemed as some of the most durable and sturdiest acoustic guitars ever built. The so-called Pallet acoustics were mainly sold to collectors; their price tags were a bit higher because of the unique inlays each model featured.
The reason why Taylor guitars are still relevant nowadays is that there’s something for everyone in the stock. Ranging from the classics such as 110e, 114ce, and 150e in the bottom bracket; over the 200 Series in the golden middle; over the exotic 500 series to the exquisite Koa series, the choices are almost limitless.
Of course, each generation of Taylor guitars features certain special components. For example, the 500 Series features guitars made of mahogany and cedar for the most part; the guitars that belong to the 600 series are mostly made of maple, and those from the Koa series, obviously, are made from special Hawaiian koa wood.
All things considered, even the priciest Taylor can’t even compare with most mid-priced Martin guitars in terms of price. Although the quality of the guitars aforementioned brands manufacture belongs to totally different and separate realms, it’s only fair to say that Taylor acoustics are among the finest the market has to offer.
The best acoustic dreadnoughts
Guild Guitar Company has been around for approximately 68 years, and it’s the third US-based guitar manufacturer in our review. This company is a subsidiary of the famous Cordoba Music Group, and if you are looking for a top-shelf dreadnought, you might want to take a look at GGC’s catalog.
What’s really interesting about Guild is that there was a time when this company worked under Fender. We’ll talk more about Fender and its importance in the evolution of guitar in general, but in short, it will suffice to say that GGC was a part of one of the biggest guitar manufacturing chains for several good years.
If you’ve been researching acoustic and electric guitar names, you might have come across Madeira, Burnside, or DeArmond. All of these are GGC’s important brands, predominantly for the Asian market.
Some of the most established guitarists who have (or still are) using a Guild guitar are Eric Clapton, Brian Erickson, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Pete Townshend, among many others.
Of course, Guild Guitars does not only manufacture dreadnought guitars exclusively; their catalog also features great quality concert-sized acoustic guitars, Jumbo-fretted guitars, and guitar models that were specifically designed to be used in an orchestra.
Anyway, dreadnought-style guitars are their specialty, so you’ll get to pick from over 30 different styles of guitars scattered across the price point categories.
What’s also really interesting about Guild dreadnoughts is that almost all models are either mid-priced or entry-level guitars. They do, however, offer a range of opportunities for people to design their own guitars with their own specs, or to pick a special edition or signature guitars at a bit steeper price.
Dreadnoughts made by GGC feature beautiful aesthetics, exceptional playability, superb hardware, and most importantly, excellent tone.
The best intonation acoustic guitars
We’re moving on to Canada with Seagull Guitars. This brand was founded quite recently in 1982 by Robert Godin, and it’s one of the fastest rising stars in the guitar-making community.
One of the flagship models of Seagull Guitars is undoubtedly the classic S6 guitar, which is not just the most popular model, but also the one with the most versatile and powerful specs. Of course, we should also mention that this brand rocks numerous other series of guitars, such as the Artists series, Maritime SWS series, Performer’s Flame Maple series, Coastline, Entourage, and plain Walnut.
What speaks volumes about Seagull’s versatile approach to guitar making is the fact that they offer nine different body designs, including Grand, Folk, Folk Cutaway, Dreadnaught, Dreadnaught Cutaway, Mini Jumbo, Mini Jumbo Cutaway, Concert Hall, and Concert Hall Cutaway.
Now, apart from boasting a massive catalog of guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, and various guitar accessories, this guitar company also offers a selection of unique M4 instruments. Essentially, all of the variations of M4 are some sort of ‘hybrids’ that borrow from the conceptual designs of acoustic guitars, banjos, and ukuleles. They have a petite body, four strings, and they are available in mahogany and spruce.
Seagull earned their fame through premium-quality guitars and exceptional craftsmanship, but we should also mention that they’ve brought numerous innovations globally. One of the most notable and most unique inventions of this brand was the exquisite headstock placement technique. Namely, Seagull guitars come supplied with a special headstock that positions the machine heads parallel with the guitar’s nut, which in turn significantly enhances the instrument’s tuning stability.
Furthermore, this company has a broad range of semi-acoustics as well, most of which are outfitted with Godin electronics.
Among the most respected and established guitar players that own a Seagull guitar are Peppino D’Agostino, James Blunt, Kim Deal, and Michelle Lambert, as well as many others like Emm Gryner and Michalis Hatzigiannis.
The best custom/speciality acoustic guitars
Ovation Guitar Company or OGC operates from New Hartford in Connecticut, and they’ve graced the market with thousands of premium-quality acoustic guitars, basses, ukuleles, similar stringed instruments.
Before we get to the reasons why Ovation’s specialty and custom guitars are among the highest-rated models on the market, let’s take a few steps back and see where the brand originally comes from.
Ovation was founded by Charles Kaman in 1965 when some of the first prototypes came to be. It’s interesting that Charles was an aerodynamicist by trade while being nothing more than a guitar enthusiast. In fact, he initially founded Kaman Aircraft, a company that dabbled in all sorts of things, including the testing of nuclear weapons, helicopter flight, chemicals testing, various helicopter bearings testing, and oddly enough, entertainment.
As someone who was already accustomed to industrial workings, shaping of rugged materials, bending of both plastic and metal, as well as working with more delicate components, Charles Kaman had no trouble putting together a team of luthiers and guitar-making artisans who took a mere year to come up with the first Ovation guitar design.
Again, an interesting thing is that the first Ovation guitar makers were actually aerospace engineers, most of which were apprentice woodworkers too. Charles McDonough was in the first Ovation team, and he created and tested one of the first Ovation guitar models – the Adamas guitar.
Nowadays, Ovation Guitar Company offers a premium selection of 6 strings, 12 strings, double neck, D-scale, lefty, bass, and specialty guitars; even though all models in their assortment are absolutely fantastic, we suggest that you pay a bit more attention to custom models that are both unique and superb in virtually all fields of performance.
The American LX series is the most popular one in the US, obviously, but the other generations garnered just as much attention worldwide; the Main Stage Balladeers, the Exotic tonewoods models, and then, of course, there are the models in the ‘Timeless Collection’ that deserve your attention if you’re out on the market looking for the best acoustic guitars.
Here are the best electric guitar brands 2021:
1. PRS Guitars
The best pickups
Every guitarist worth their salt knows what Paul Reed Smith has done for the guitar industry, and nearly all pros actually have at least one of his beautiful guitars at home, be it as a backup or as their main instrument.
Despite being a relatively young brand (founded in 1985), PRS is nowadays put in the same basket with Fender, Yamaha, Ibanez, and other industry leaders. The main reason why Paul Reed Smith guitars are so popular is that they sport unique hardware, top-quality tonewoods, exceptional design, and most importantly, bleeding-edge technology in terms of pickups.
PRS-designed pickups are meant for intermediate-level guitarists because they are typically built to complement the 5-way selector switch, allowing players to heavily alter their sound in mere seconds. That’s why many famous rockers and metal players who largely depend on this on-the-fly sound adjustment method use Paul’s guitars.
On top of the fact that their guitars are well-rounded, Paul Reed Smith also has a keen eye for exotic tonewoods; in fact, it’s pretty fair to say that he developed a robust fool-proof formula, mixing mahogany and maple with ebony, which in turn yields sturdy, built-to-last guitars.
Hardware-wise, PRS equips most of their professional-tier guitars with quality tremolos, tail bridges, nuts, and machine heads, so you can expect your Paul Reed Smith guitar to sound good, last for decades, and remain in tune for every show, for every tour you play even.
A good way to acquaint you with PRS guitars is by going to a NAMM show, or by attending it via YouTube. They’re constantly releasing new models and improved versions of their flagships; last year they announced 3 new SE Signature guitars, including Santana’s signature Single-cut SE Trem, the SE Schizoid, and the acclaimed ‘Paul’s Guitar’ built after Smith’s personal spec preferences.
2. B.C. Rich
The best guitars for metal
B.C Rich is almost 51 years old now, as it was founded in 1969 in Los Angeles, America by Bernando Chavez Rico. Even though the brand started operating during the early 70s when metal was all but popular, they’ve significantly helped young shredders and screamers establish this genre of music by putting out guitars with very peculiar designs.
Namely, almost all (if not all) B.C. Rich guitars feature atypical and asymmetrical body shapes. They were immediately linked to various genres of metal, especially Death metal; oddly enough, even the lead singer and guitar player of the band called ‘Death’ was one of the most widely recognized artists to ever use a B.C. Rich guitar – Chuck Schuldiner.
This company began their beautiful work by using Gibson pickups; of course, they rewired them and used different potentiometers. A couple of years later they switched to Guild while also altering them in a much similar way. B.C. Rich partnered with DiMarzio at some point in 1975, who agreed to manufacture custom-build 4-conductor pickups for the brand. Finally, in 1980 they started making their own.
B.C. Rich guitars are generally pointy-ended and sharp, which is probably the main reason why rock and metal musicians loved them so much. As far as specs go, guitars made by this brand feature a relatively balanced soundstage with a bit of accentuation on the lower-end frequencies.
Some of the most popular B.C. Rich signature artists are Slash and Duff McKagan of Guns n’ Roses, Michael Anthony of Van Halen, Tom Araya and Kerry King of Slayer, Jimmy Bain of Dio, and Bob Kulick of Meatloaf.
There are hundreds of B.C. Rich guitar model designs, so we’ll mention only the most notable ones, such as the Assassin, the Beast (especially Kerry King’s 8-stringed Beast), Neal Moser’s Rich Bich, the Condor, Rock Clouser’s Dagger, Dan Lawrence’s Gunslinger, The Hydra, Ironbird, the Mockingbird, Gene Simmons’ Punisher, and Rick Derringer’s Stealth.
The best guitars for extreme music
Playing metal is one thing, but experimenting with extreme music requires a lot of specific gear, especially a proper guitar. If you are into technical, jazzy, or fusion types of music mixed with heavy beats and riffs, you are probably going to need a Dean guitar.
Dean Guitars started out in 1977 in Florida, and they originally supplied famous rock bands such as ZZ Top, Triumph, Heart, and Kansas with electric guitars. That’s mainly because Dean was founded by Dean Zelinsky; Dean’s focus group during the first two decades of the company’s existence was Latin bands that required low-spec, but stable guitars.
The entire landscape of the brand’s environment changed in 1995 when the company was purchased by Elliott Rubinson. What’s interesting about Rubinson is that he was both a businessman and a guitar player. In fact, he played bass with Uli Jon Roth, Michael Angelo Batio, as well as with Michael Schenker, all of which are established shredders.
The shift towards building more aggressive and progressive guitars was slow, but steady as more extreme artists such as Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Dimebag Darell of Pantera took on the first endorsement deals with Dean.
Some of the most popular artists of today who use a Dean guitar are Michael Amott of Arch Enemy, Eric Peterson of Testament, Karl Sanders of Nile, and the acclaimed shredder Rusty Cooley, all of which utilize super-fast guitar playing techniques and typically play in dropped tunings.
The main difference between Dean Guitars and other brands that mainly cater to the needs of metal guitar players is that Dean’s instruments are slightly more specialized. Neither Megadeth nor Pantera ‘traditional’ metal bands. A Dean guitar can fit a style that is comprised of both heavy riffs and jazzy licks.
If you need any recommendations on some of the best-selling guitars from this brand, we can name a few.
Their ML Select Classic is indeed a ‘classic’ guitar, although it hides a more sinister nature with specs that are characterized with ultra-high gain and plenty of basses; the Thoroughbred Select is a more balanced guitar, although it’s still one of the best axes for technical genres of metal. Lastly, we highly recommend checking out the entire Vendetta series if you’re looking for a loud guitar with a quality tremolo.
The best guitars for rock
Many rock fans associate the word ‘guitar’ with Gibson, and rightly so. Even though this brand didn’t invent this remarkable instrument, they surely did ‘reinvented’ it and given it another purpose. Gibson has steadily improved the conceptual design of the electric guitar over the course of over a century, and it’s only fair to say that they continue to do so even to this day.
The Gibson Guitar Corporation was founded in 1902 by Orville Gibson in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and they’re not just the biggest name, but also one of the biggest guitar-making corporations worldwide.
This brand has originally started producing mandolins, and they are credited for the first single-piece design of this instrument. Some of the earliest Gibson guitar designs were the 1928 L-5 Acoustic while one of their first electric guitars was the acclaimed ES-150 in 1936. They’ve stuck with the big dreadnought hollow-body guitar concept up until the early 50s.
It wasn’t until the mid-50s before they modernized and branched out into the field of the realms of making modern-looking guitars, and ever since then they’ve been an unstoppable force.
You might recognize the Gibson guitars world-class rock musicians use, such as the Explorer, the famous Les Paul Goldtop, the L-5 CES, the Byrdland, but it goes without saying – their most popular creation is the Flying V.
Now, as for the reason why Gibson is the go-to brand for a rock musician, why don’t we list just some of the names you’ll surely recognize that use a Gibson guitar? First of all, Slash from Guns n’ Roses, then Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Ace Frehley of KISS, Angus Young of AC/DC, Pete Townshend of The Who, Robby Krieger, Jimmy Page, Gary Moore, Steve Clark, and the list goes on and on.
The overall best guitar brand
Leo Fender founded this brand, and there isn’t any shadow of a doubt why Fender is our list of the top 15 classical guitar brands. This brand’s catalog is essentially comprised of hundreds of best-selling and top-rated guitars, including the Telecaster, Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Mustang, and many others.
This story began with the design of Leo’s lap-steel guitar back in 1944, which completely changed the global picture of guitar playing, giving birth to new styles of playing as well as numerous other genres of music.
We wouldn’t be wrong to say that Fender is at least partially responsible for the invention of the electric guitar as we know it today. During the 50s (when many brands claim to have started designing their own versions of the first electric guitar), Fender finalized the first Telecaster. In fact, the works were well underway even years before – it was the year of 1950 when it became mass-produced.
Fender guitars look very recognizable, but they also sound very authentic and original. What’s really paradoxical about Fender electric guitars is that every professional artist tends to ‘make their own sound’ regardless of what instrument they are using. In this case, a Fender will allow you to express your creative spirit, but at the same time it will also retain its authenticity, blending two exquisite components in an organic, unique one.
Another interesting thing about Fender is that they also offer a huge selection of basses, acoustic guitars, amplifiers, effect pedals, and numerous other accessories. What better way to let a Strat bloom than by using a Fender amp with a Fender guitar?
Some people might be confused about seeing Fender’s name stamped on guitars made (and sold) by other brands. That’s because Fender (partially) owns Bigsby, Charvel, Gretsch, Jackson, and Squier brands.
The reason why Fender is the best guitar brand overall is that they’ve managed to draw guitar players from all genres at one place – jazz, rock, metal, funk, pop, R&B, soul, you name it. A Fender guitar is a good guitar, and this applies to every single model they’ve released, be it a top-end Jaguar, or an entry-level Strat.
The best hollow guitars
Professionals and experienced guitar players usually prefer hollow-body over semi-hollow guitars mainly because the former offer more versatility. Hollow-body axes eliminate feedback in a more efficient way, they can survive tons of gain, and they make the clean sounds actually come out as ‘pristine’ in most cases.
Knowing this, you might want to take a look at what Gretsch has to offer, as they are among the best electric guitar brands that offer a plethora of top-shelf hollow-bodied guitars.
First of all, we should begin by mentioning that Gretsch’s hollow-bodied guitars are absolutely huge, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, most guitarists love these axes for the way they are – big guitars make ‘you’ look big on stage, their weight confirms that the hardware installed in it is great, and to top it all, they sound as big as much as they weigh.
What separates Gretsch’s hollows from the rest is that these guitars have a fuller tone, better resonance while retaining their clarity. Furthermore, the hardware equipped on these guitars is absolutely impeccable; Bigsby and Chromatic are two main Gretsch tailpieces unique to this brand.
The majority of Gretsch hollow-bodied guitars are high-end models available in at least three colors (each model is available in different, unique colors). We should mention some of the most prominent models so as to narrow down your potential research – if you decide to hunt for a Gretsch guitar, we recommend checking out the Rat Rod, the Streamliners, the Custom Shop Rich Robinson’s Magpie, the Steve Wariner’s Signature Nashville Gentleman, and Brian Setzer’s Signature Hot Rod.
Guitarists who use Gretsch guitars usually develop a very healthy habit of depending on their instruments rather than on other gear (amps, pedals, and such). The fact that these guitars sound so ‘big’ means that they will never leave you needing for more gain, presence, or treble, that much is certain.
The best for live-performing guitar players
Jackson is among the handful of guitar making companies that can actually contest Fender’s title of the best guitar brand for rock players, mainly because of its origins. Namely, Jackson was founded in 1980 in California by Grover Jackson, and needless to say, this brand has a rich, vibrant history.
Originally, Jackson had a partial ownership of Charvel guitars, which eventually transformed into full ownership in 1978. It wasn’t until two years later that the famous late Randy Rhoads (the former guitarist of Ozzy Osbourne’s band) approached Jackson and proposed the idea of creating his signature model.
Long story short, Randy’s ideas combined with the resourcefulness of Grover resulted in the unique version of the Flying V, which propelled the brand upwards along the streams of the electric guitar marketplaces. Ever since then, Jackson listed a huge number of professional live performers, including Gojira’s Christian Andreu, Hatebreed’s Chris Beattie, Def Leppard’s Phil Collen, Machine Head’s Phil Demmel, Megadeth’s David Ellefson and Marty Friedman, and others.
Just like Gretsch guitars, Jackson models are dependable and self-sufficient in terms of that they provide the guitarist with means to sound huge regardless of what type of gear and accessories they are using.
Jackson guitars are categorized in six different series, including JS, X, Pro, Artist, USA, and Custom, each offering different body styles, hardware, and specs. What’s so unique about Jackson guitars is that they look absolutely ravishing and they sound phenomenal in almost any sort of ambient, be it a small, intimate venue or an arena show.
Obviously, the brand that has its roots in building guitars for live performers should be the first stop for any up-and-coming touring musician. Jackson’s catalog of guitars is incredibly versatile, mainly due to the fact that they catered to so many different musicians (and their different styles).
The best guitar brand for beginners
Squier is Fender’s subsidiary, and basically it’s a brand for people who want to own a Fender-style guitar but who also don’t want to spend a small fortune on it.
This is also the sole reason why Squier is so good for beginners. You’ll be able to get a top-tier guitar with perfect-quality specs at a very approachable price. However, for someone who doesn’t know a lot about guitars, this description might be a little vague.
Simply put, Squier guitars came to be in 1982 with the Fender’s Lead generation. Fun fact – prior to this event, Fender hadn’t produced or sold low-end guitars that were based on their flagship Strats and Teles.
The Squier guitars come in five different series, including the Affinity Series, the Artist Models, Bullet, Classic Vibe, and Contemporary. Even though these guitars are all phenomenal, let’s stick with the Classic Vibe series, as it’s the biggest, as well as the most popular line of Squier guitars up to date.
Now, the Classic Vibe Squier guitars are vintage guitars for the most part. Starting off with the 70s Strat, there are a lot of similarities with this particular model and the Fender’s original Stratocaster. Of course, you’ll be able to find the Jazzmasters, Telecasters, Jaguars, and Mustangs here too.
Even though some people might consider Squier guitars as ‘downgraded Fenders’, these models are unique and exquisite in their own right. These guitars are fully functional, pretty versatile, and they boast exceptional playability and intonation – everything a beginner needs to fall in love with the instrument.
Squier doesn’t have a standalone shop online, so if you’re looking for one of their guitars, you can find them under the ‘Squier’ category of the Fender’s official website.
The best for solo guitarists
Charvel is another subsidiary of Fender, but this brand’s story is slightly different from Squier’s. The brand was founded in 1974 by Wayne Charvel who started a repair shop that mainly maintained and re-fashioned old and out-of-warranty Fender guitars.
After a while, Charvel’s shop started doing custom finished, advanced maintenance, and even upgraded certain parts of Fender guitars. It wasn’t long before this company started manufacturing full guitars under their own name, mainly because several Asian companies copied and re-sold these unpatented parts at a lower price.
With the skillful use of tools at the time and vast knowledge of guitar tonewoods, Charvel earned a massive reputation, luring superstars such as Van Halen, Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, Warren DeMartini of Ratt, Jake E. Lee from Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, Vinnie Vincent of Kiss, George Lynch of Dokken, and numerous other rock idols.
It shouldn’t be surprising that guitar heroes of today are still using Charvel guitars; Guthrie Govan from The Aristocrats, Joe Duplantier of Gojira, Satchel of the Steel Panther, and Angel Vivaldi are just some of the names that have made Charvel’s name even more popular in 2021, all of which have their own signature models available for the public with the exact same specs the artists themselves are using.
Speaking of specs, we should mention some of the strongest and best-selling guitars before moving on to the next brand. Charvel guitars are categorized in ten different series with some of the most notable being Pro-Mod, Artist, Limited, USA Select, Custom Shop, and DK.
The Custom Shop generation of Charvel guitars is, to some, the most interesting ones, mainly due to the fact that these models all feature unique finishes, unique outlooks, and they offer plenty of variety in terms of tonewoods and hardware.
The best for intermediate-level players
Yamaha is one of the biggest companies in the world that dabbles in musical instruments, audio equipment, and electronics. You could easily spot professional musicians sporting their synthesizers, pianos, DJ consoles, and guitars in movies and various music videos, and that’s mainly due to the fact that they offer thousands of unique instruments fit for musicians of all styles and levels of experience.
Obviously enough, Yamaha offers professional-grade musical equipment as well, but the reason why we’ve labeled them as one of the best guitar brands for intermediate-level players is that their catalog of mid-priced instruments is absolutely unparalleled.
They’ve started out with solid-body guitars in 1966 hence their series got named ‘SG’ (for ‘solid guitar’). This generation of Yamaha electric guitars was followed by two successions (SG2 and SG3) through the 70s and up until early 80s, and all models belonging to these categories are now considered classic vintage guitars.
The two game-changing generations of guitars Yamaha released were the RGX and the RGZ, which were widely considered as responses to Ibanez’s launch of the RG series, and Jackson’s release of the ‘Soloist’. This kind of ‘healthy competition’ resulted in three generations of top-rated guitars scattered across three generations of minor tweaks and improvements.
The reason why this is so great for intermediate-level guitar players is that they have the option to choose between dozens and dozens of models equipped with different kinds of pickups, tailpieces, tremolos, and tuning pegs; each Yamaha guitar is slightly different from the next, but since there are so many series and generations, these differences are palpable (and audible) when we compare the earlier versions to the most recent releases.
With that being said, any beginner who feels like they’ve outgrown their first budget guitar should visit Yamaha’s store for an upgrade.
We’ve only included 15 brands, but you’re probably aware that there are hundreds and hundreds of guitar-making companies out there. Each company typically has different catalogs for their budget and boutique guitar series, and each brand focuses on certain aspects of a guitar’s performance.
Now, even though the answer to the question ‘which brand is the best’ largely depends on what you are looking for, we’ve picked 15 names that have changed the industry and that offer the most versatile selection of electric and acoustic guitars.