electric guitar for beginners

For anyone at the start of their musical journey, there are a couple of obvious beginner electric guitars to recommend. As an all-rounder, the Yamaha Pacifica 112V ticks almost every box. It has a great set of pickups which cover most bases tonally, and its classic design and careful choice of tonewoods means it is a comfortable guitar to learn your trade on. We’d go as far as to say that the Pacifica 112V is the sensible choice for most learners. So what is the best Electric Guitar For Beginners, best beginner electric guitar packages and first electric guitar to buy options?

That said, who wants to be sensible all the time? For that reason, we’d happily also point you towards the Squier Bullet Mustang. It doesn’t have the familiar body shape of a Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul, but it is an absolute blast to play and brought a smile to our faces every time we picked it up.Today’s best Yamaha Pacifica 112V and Squier Bullet Mustang HH deals

Best beginner electric guitars: buying advice

Despite how they may appear, electric guitars are fundamentally fairly simple things. At the start of your playing career, you may wonder why there is so much in the way of variation and, let’s be honest, cost across the entire range. How can two identical-looking guitars often be thousands of pounds/dollars apart in their valuation? Put simply, the devil is in the detail. Broken down into component parts, there are plenty of ways for manufacturers and brands to add value or enhance a guitar. Everything from the hardware they install through to the choice of woods in the body and neck.

When you’re starting out looking for the best beginner electric guitars, it’s wise not to worry too much about the small details though. The time for obsessing over scale lengths and the merits of a compound radius fretboard will come, in time. Indeed, that’s the best advice we would offer. 

Your first guitar hopefully won’t be your only ever guitar, so don’t get too hung up on making certain every single detail of it is perfect. One of the (many) joys of playing the electric guitar is having a constant eye on the next one, so relax and allow yourself to choose an instrument that is easy to play, that you like the look of, and that sounds good.

At a basic level, you’ll want to find something that suits the kind of music you’re looking to play. Some guitars suit rock and metal, while others are better for blues or jazz. If you know the type of music you want to play, you may even have an idea of the shape or style of electric guitar you want. Great! All of these choices you make narrow the field down, and make it easier to find the right beginner guitar for you. 

Sticking to established brands like Yamaha, Squier and Epiphone gives you the best chance of finding a beginner guitar with a decent level of build quality, and will have a big impact on your future journey. Nobody ever forgets their first guitar, so trust your gut instinct. Choosing a guitar you like the look, sound and playability of gives you the best chance of sticking to it. Let’s look at some of the best beginner electric guitars…

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

1. Epiphone SG-Special Beginner Electric Guitar –  (Our Top Pick)

Epiphone SG-Special

Epiphone is one of the pioneers when talking about the production of musical instruments. In the year 1928, the company produced its first guitars. It was acquired by CMI in the year 1957, CMI also owned Gibson another guitar giant. Now when you have Gibson and Epiphone under one brand name there is no point in doubting the quality of the product.

The Epiphone SG-Special Beginner Guitar is also one of a kind product. It is very important for any music or instrument learner to start with an instrument that has everything on offer for him or her in order to make him learn in a perfect manner.

When talking about the quality of the sound, it is just picture perfect. The looks of the guitar are just what a rock star dreams about. The Epiphone SG-Special Beginner Electric Guitar with its Mahogany finish makes it sound just perfect. The guitar stays in tune for months, and for a beginner, it is just a revelation.

Pros:
+ The sound quality of the Epiphone SG-Special Beginner Electric Guitar is unmatched.
+ This guitar is a pretty lightweight which makes it easy to handle by the beginners.
+ Amazing price for the quality.

Why We Liked It – The looks combined with the quality of the sound and then the price at which the Epiphone SG-Special Beginner Electric Guitar is available just makes it the best choice for any beginner. See more budget-friendly electric guitars here.

2. Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Electric Guitar for Beginners – (Best Value)

Yamaha Pacifica Series

Yamaha is famous around the world for its incredible, quality, instruments. Its electric guitars are no exception. The Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Electric Guitar, Old Violin Sunburst is another example of Yamaha’s on point production. This guitar has a solid alder body, a maple bolt neck, rosewood fingerboard, and a five-position switch with coil tap. Plus there’s the tremolo – a vintage tremolo with block saddles.

Pros:
+ Amazing value for money.
+ Has that world-class Yamaha sound quality.

Why We Liked It – As a beginner, the Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Electric Guitar; Old Violin Sunburst is a fantastic first electric guitar; even seasoned pros would love to have this guitar in their studios.

3. Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe – (Great All-rounder)

Fender is a guitar pioneer. Its history of making quality guitars stretches back decades. The Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe is another classic by Fender. This guitar offers both sweet and aggressive tones thanks to its two MP-90 pickups. With its 9.5-inch radius, this guitar is incredibly comfortable to play. There are 22 medium-sized frets and a six-saddle hard-tail bridge. This guitar is easy to tune and stays in tune.

Pros:
+ The Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe is easy to play because of its 9.5-inch radius.
+ Incredibly affordable, which is perfect for a beginner.
+ Fantastic sound quality.

Why We Liked It – All in all this Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe is an excellent choice if you’re looking to pick up your first electric guitar.

4. Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Starter Electric Guitar

Ibanez RG450DX RG Series

A Japanese company which is renowned for its amazing guitars, Ibanez is a great brand for beginners. Since the Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Starter Electric Guitar has a maple neck, mahogany body, and a rosewood fretboard. Together, these give this guitar a great sound. The Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Starter Electric Guitar is a pretty fine looking guitar with amazing sound to boot.

You’ll need one of these cables as well, if you want to buy this guitar.

Pros:
+ The Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Starter Electric Guitar is easy to play because of its neck shape.
+ The aesthetics of this guitar add to its overall value.
+ It’s a standout performer in its price range.

Why We Liked It – The Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Starter Electric Guitar is a really nice guitar for you as a beginner guitarist.

5. Squier by Fender Vintage Modified ’51

Squier by Fender Vintage Modified '51

This is another classic in Fender’s guitar roster. The Squier by Fender, Vintage Modified ’51 is another example of how phenomenal Fender is as a company. This guitar is capable of producing versatile tones because of the SH pickup configuration and rotary pickup selector. The neck of this guitar is C-shaped which makes string bending easy as you like. This guitar has a strat body shape which adds to its cool, classic look.

Pros:
+ World-class sound quality courtesy of the geniuses at Fender.
+ A great value for money.

Why We Liked It – As far as beginner electric guitars go, you’d have a hard time finding something better than the Squier by Fender Vintage Modified ’51.

6. Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar

Epiphone Les Paul-100

The Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar is another renowned guitar by the Epiphone Company. This guitar comes with 700T Humbucker pickups and the fretboard of the guitar is made out of rosewood. It has separate tone and volume controls to make it more user-friendly. The body of the Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar is made from mahogany but has a maple top. It’s thanks to the mahogany body that this guitar produces such a great sound. For a beginner, this instrument is a must-have.

Feel like you’re ready for the next step up? Take a look at our review of the best electric guitars for intermediates and pros.

Pros:
+ Has the same look as the traditional Les Paul.
+ Amazing Epiphone sound quality.
+ Even though this is a starter guitar the price is just outstanding.

Why We Liked It – All in all, the Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar is a great starter guitar, with a nice, affordable price tag attached to it.

7. Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster Electric Guitar

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster

The Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster Electric Guitar is another example of Fender’s high quality standards. Add even more vibe with a modern uni-vibe pedal.

This guitar has an alder body and a gloss polyester finish. The neck is C-shaped with a fingerboard made out of rosewood. There are separate controls for the master volume and master tone and a three position pickup selector switch.

Pros:
+ Has a very high-quality polyester sunburst finish.
+ Amazing sound quality compared to other guitars at this price point.
+ Available at a low price.

Why We Liked It – There are absolutely no flaws in the Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster Electric Guitar, making it a solid choice for any beginner.

8. Epiphone Les Paul Beginners Electric Guitar

Epiphone Les Paul Beginners Electric Guitar

Just starting your electric guitar journey? The Epiphone Les Paul Beginners Electric Guitar is specially designed to cater to the needs of beginner guitarists. With the Epiphone named attached to this instrument, you know you’re getting top quality. The Epiphone Les Paul Beginners Electric Guitar comes with Alnico Classic Humbucker pickups which give a lot of warmth to this guitar’s sound. The neck and body are made of mahogany which gives the best sound quality. The slim design makes for fast learning.

Pros:
+ The sound quality is far better than most similar guitars on the market.
+ The price range is phenomenal.

Why We Liked It – With an amazing, warm sound, great price, and some serious aesthetic appeal, this Epiphone is the perfect first electric guitar for a beginner.

9. Jackson JS32T King V Beginners Metal Guitar

Jackson JS32T King V Beginners

Jackson is renowned for producing top quality metal guitars. It is rated among the top five metal guitar producing companies and is arguably Jackson produces the best out of the lot.

The Jackson JS32T King is a fine example of Jackson’s craftsmanship. This guitar has a poplar body with a gloss finish. The fretboard is made out of rosewood, giving the guitar unparalleled sound quality. The neck of the guitar is a bolt-on maple speed neck. There is a master tone and volume control as well.

Pros:
+ Easy to play compared to other metal guitars.
+ Has incredible sound quality.
+ Available at an affordable price.

Why We Liked It – The Jackson JS32T King V Beginners Metal Guitar is a must if you’re learning to play a metal guitar.

10. ESP LTD EC-256 Intermediate Electric Guitar

ESP LTD EC-256 Intermediate

ESP LTD is a big name when it comes to the production of electric guitars and has been making quality instruments for over 40 years. The ESP LTD EC-256 Intermediate Electric Guitar is just another example of the genius of ESP LTD. The body of the guitar is mahogany and the neck and fretboard are made out of rosewood. There is also a TOM bridge and a tailpiece attached to this guitar. The pickups of this guitar are the ESP designed LH-150 set. It comes in two color options, black and metallic gold.

Pros:
+ The sound quality is fantastic.
+ Well-made, great looking instrument.
+ Has ESP designed pickups.

Why We Liked It – The ESP LTD EC-256 Intermediate Electric Guitar is an unbeatable choice for any beginner guitarist.

Common Mistakes When Buying Your First Guitar

Often people get inspired to play guitar and jump straight to purchasing something that might not suit them. Here are seven common mistakes people make when buying their first guitar:

Mistake #1. Getting the wrong sound – Classical, Acoustic or Electric?

You have 3 basic choices of sound when you buy a guitar:

  • Nylon String Classical
  • Steel String Acoustic
  • Electric

A lot of people believe that the best choice is to start on an Acoustic Guitar and build up to an Electric Guitar. However, I think that your first guitar should be appropriate to the style of music you enjoy listening to.

If you like AC/DC, Green Day, or say the Foo Fighters, you really need an Electric Guitar to get the sound you want. If you like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper or Taylor Swift, an Acoustic Guitar could be a good choice. Nylon String Guitars sound great for flamenco music, classical music and a lot of traditional music.

Having said this, if it’s for a child under 12 we normally do recommend a nylon string as it’s easier for them to press the strings down. Some children can have tougher hands than others, so if you have a rough and tumble child, they mght be able to handle steel strings earlier than usual. Check out our buying guide for Choosing a Guitar for a Child for more information.

If you’re not sure what type of guitar is best for you, then just think of the music that you like to listen to the most, and call or email us. We will give you a personalized recommendation.

Mistake #2. Getting the wrong size

This is something that a lot of people get wrong. Electric Guitars are much smaller than Steel-String Acoustic Guitars and Nylon String Classical Guitars, they can basically be used by most people, but you do need to consider the extra weight. An Electric Guitar can weigh 5-6 Kg which can be difficult for children to handle. We would normally recommend children be at least 13 years before they try an Electric Guitar, but this is a generalisation and some children (sometimes as young as 10) have been ok. Every child is different, and some children may be capable at a younger age, so if you consider your child to be quite strong for their age, then by all means go for an electric. We carry a broad range of sizes in our entry level range. The correct size is most accurately determined by the player’s heightage and in some cases gender. If you can tell us these three details we can give you a personal recommendation.

Electric Guitar:

  • Smaller in size than acoustic or classical
  • Good for rock, metal, pop and country music
  • Has steel strings which can be hard on young fingers
  • Can be heavy, depending on the model.
  • Recommended for:
AgeHeight (cm)Recommended Size
5 – 1280 – 125 1/2 Size – See MiniS
12+125 +Full Size – See STH

SHOP BEGINNER ELECTRIC GUITARS

Acoustic Guitar:

  • Good for folk, pop, country, slow rock music
  • Has steel strings which can be hard on young fingers
  • Sounds bright and loud, great for strumming chords 
  • Light weight but bulky
  • Recommended for:
AgeHeight (cm)Recommended Size
5 – 12100 – 120 3/4 Size – See LSP34
12 – 15 120 – 165 Small Body – See LSPS
15+165 +Full Size – See LSP

SHOP BEGINNER ACOUSTIC GUITARS

Classical Guitar (Nylon String Guitar):

  • Good for classical, flamenco, Spanish music.
  • Available in the smallest size – 1/4 size.
  • Gentle on finger tips – perfect for young children
  • Sounds mellow and soft – not as loud as acoustic
  • Recommended for:
AgeHeight (cm)Recommended Size
2 – 575 – 100 1/4 Size – See CL14
5 – 8 100 – 125 1/2 Size – See CL12
8 – 12125 – 1653/4 Size – See CL34
12+165 +Full Size – See CL44*

* A full size classical guitar has a wider neck than other guitars. If you have small hands we recommend the CL44S slim neck classical guitar.

SHOP BEGINNER CLASSICAL GUITARS

Mistake #3: Buying a guitar with strings that are too high and hard to play

String action is one of the critical things for getting an easy to play guitar. The easiest way to understand action is that it’s just the measurement of the gap from the bottom of the string, to the top of the fret and it’s measured at the 12th fret (the half way pint of the string).

For a beginner we recommend an action of:

  • Electric Guitars 2-2.3mm
  • Acoustic Guitars 2-2.7mm
  • Nylon String Guitars 3-3.6mm

A common issue with most entry level nylon string guitars is that the necks are usually made in a very traditional manner using a section of metal bar a few mm thick to keep the neck straight (you can’t see this bar it is built into the neck).

We started finding that this type of construction leads to the neck bending (or bowing) after about 6 months. Unfortunately with the traditional method there is not an easy way to adjust it back to normal – once it is bent it’s time to get a new guitar! This lead us to re design our classical guitars to use a truss rod. A truss rod is a much stronger example of the bar used in traditional manufacturing, but its main advantage is that it is adjustable. So if in the future you neck begins to bend it can easily be adjusted back into correct shape. Here’s our guide to adjusting your truss rod.

Mistake #4: Getting stuck with bad machine heads guitar that don’t stay in tune

Here is an example of a basic covered machine head:

These are made out of gears and pressed metal, it used to be the only way to make machine heads (so a lot of vintage guitars use this type). While it can look cool and retro, these vintage style tuners are often very hard to tune and to keep in tune.
Now there is a modern way to get a much better guitar – the die-cast machine head:


Made from a mould these machine heads are much smoother and more accurate than a covered machine head.

Mistake #5: Choosing a popular brand name because you think you’re getting a superior product

Most popular brand name guitars are indeed very good quality at the higher levels but their entry level guitars, in our experience, are not such a great deal.

In the entry-level market, brand-name guitar companies are usually forced to make their guitars with cheaper materials. There is a simple reason for this. Most major brand-name companies have a brand owner (sometimes an American company). That company buys from a factory in China, and in Australia they will have a distributor who will sell to a retailer (your local music store). It’s pretty easy to see why they can be forced to use cheaper materials. There is a lot of price pressure to get a guitar manufactured at a low enough price for everybody to take their cut of the profit down the chain.

At Artist Guitars we manufacture our Australian designed guitars at our trusted factory in China and sell direct to you. There is no need for us to choose inferior components because we don’t have the pressure of keeping the costs low.
 

Mistake #6: Buying a guitar without any support materials

When most people buy their first guitar they can be a little confused about what to do. A guitar can be a confusing purchase and most guitars don’t even come with a manual explaining how to use them. That becomes a problem because most people then have to search for the information (which
can be hard to find).
Unfortunately it’s during this critical time that a lot of people get discouraged and may even give up on playing altogether. The first 6 months of learning guitar are critical, statistics show that if someone can still be playing at 6 months they will be much more likely to go on to play guitar for life, so the first 6 months are actually the most important time.

Mistake #7: Paying for features you just don’t need

At the beginner level, you need a good quality instrument, but having a more expensive instrument generally doesn’t make your playing any easier. Higher level instruments are designed for high-level players who want the ultimate in sound.

As a beginner most people are not very sure of the sound, style or type of guitar that they would ultimately like to play, but after playing for 6 months or so I’m sure you will know a lot more about guitars and when it comes time to choose your next guitar it will be an easy choice. The key features a beginner needs is a guitar that is well set-up and easy to play, but you don’t really need to spend too much money on getting a better quality of sound. Higher level guitars will only sound better when your playing has progressed to the level that you can play quite well.
Most beginners find that during the process of learning (after a year or so) you will figure out your own sound. You will naturally be drawn to music that features guitar in it, and great guitar parts. So what usually happens is that your own musical tastes will change and with this change the type of instrument that suits your sound the best will also change. So when you’re ready to take the next step, you will have a much better idea of what you really want.


So in summary…

The 7 key mistakes when buying a beginner guitar are :

  1. Getting the wrong sound
  2. Getting the wrong size
  3. Buying a guitar with strings that are too high and hard to play
  4. Getting stuck with bad machine heads guitar that don’t stay in tune
  5. Buying a brand name and thinking you will be getting a better guitar.
  6. Buying a guitar without any support materials
  7. Paying for features you just don’t need


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