Best electric guitars for beginners

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Buying an electric guitar for a beginner player is a fun process. With a little research and some basic understanding of the instrument, you will quickly find your ideal guitar.

Whether you are just starting out playing, or buying for your child, you’ll find a range of beginner electric guitars below. Above all, they should be good quality and easy on the budget, and fun to play!

Beginner electric guitars work well for guitar students. They are something that may be replaced or upgraded as the player progresses. Though some of the guitars in this list will work well for intermediate players too.

Check out our electric guitar buying guide for some basic tips on the instrument.

Our top picks

Here are our top picks for beginner electric guitars.

Yamaha Pacifica

YAMAHA PACIFICA 112
Yamaha Pacifica 112

The Yamaha Pacifica is a great electric guitar for beginners and pros alike. There are a variety of models and configurations to choose from. 

Our favorite Pacifica for beginners is the 100 series, especially the 112J or 112V. Those models feature the popular and versatile humbucker single single (HSS) pickup combination. 

You’ll have some tonal range to play different musical styles. Dual humbucker models are also available (120H).

The Pacifica features a fast and thin neck for easy playability, and a 22 fret fretboard. The 112V model adds alnico pickups, block saddles, and a push-pull coil split.

Yamaha Pacifica 112J Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Neck Finish: Satin Polyurethane
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius: 13 ¾”
Number of Frets: 22
Fret Size: Medium
Scale Length: 25.5”
Neck Joint: Bolt-on
Neck Pickup: Single Coil, Ceramic
Middle Pickup: Single Coil, Ceramic
Bridge Pickup: Humbucker, Ceramic
Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
Pickup Switch: 5-Position Selector Switch
Bridge: Vintage-Style Tremolo
Cost:$179

Yamaha Pacifica 112V Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Neck Finish: Satin Polyurethane
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius: 13 ¾”
Number of Frets: 22
Fret Size: Medium
Scale Length: 25.5”
Neck Joint: Bolt-on
Neck Pickup: Single Coil, Alnico
Middle Pickup: Single Coil, Alnico
Bridge Pickup: Humbucker, Alnico
Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone with Push-Pull Coil Split
Pickup Switch: 5-Position Selector Switch
Bridge: Vintage-Style Tremolo and Block Saddles
Cost:$299

Squier Stratocaster

Looking to get that classic Fender sound and style on a budget? Look no further than Squier. Squier is owned by Fender, and produces the same lineup of guitars at more affordable prices.

Squier Bullet Stratocaster

Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS
Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS

The Squier Bullet Stratocaster is the least expensive Strat offered by Squier and can be had for $179. 

Don’t let the low price fool you, this is a great guitar for a beginner. You’ll get the classic Strat style and playability at a very affordable price. 

The Bullet Strat features a fixed bridge to help with tuning stability. The Bullet is also available with the HSS configuration.

Squier Affinity Stratocaster

Squier Affinity Stratocaster HSS
Squier Affinity Stratocaster HSS

The Squier Affinity Stratocaster is the second least expensive Strat offered by Squier at $199 to $229. 

There are two pickup configurations, the standard three single coil lineup, and the HSS or humbucker single single setup. 

Both guitars feature 21 frets. Unlike the Bullet, the Affinity Strat has a tremolo and the body is alder instead of basswood. Otherwise, the hardware and electronics are very similar.

Squier Bullet Specifications

Body:Basswood
Neck:Maple
Neck Finish: Satin Urethane
Neck Shape: C Shape
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
Fingerboard Radius: 9.5”
Number of Frets: 21
Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
Scale Length: 25.5”
Neck Joint: Bolt-on
Neck Pickup:
Standard Single Coil
Middle Pickup: Standard Single Coil
Bridge Pickup: Standard Single Coil
Controls: Master Volume, Two Tone Controls
Pickup Switch: 5-Position Selector Switch
Bridge: Hardtail
Cost: $179

Squier Affinity Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Neck Finish: Satin Urethane
Neck Shape: C Shape
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
Fingerboard Radius: 9.5”
Number of Frets: 21
Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
Scale Length: 25.5”
Neck Joint: Bolt-on
Neck Pickup: Standard Single Coil
Middle Pickup: Standard Single Coil
Bridge Pickup: Standard Single Coil
Controls: Master Volume, Two Tone Controls
Pickup Switch: 5-Position Selector Switch
Bridge: Vintage-Style Tremolo
Cost: $199–229

Ibanez RG Series

Ibanez RG Gio
Ibanez RG Gio

Ibanez is a well-respected guitar brand when it comes to rock and metal. The RG Series includes a wide range of guitars from $200 beginner guitars, to over $1,000 professional instruments. 

In the $200-$300 range, you can get an RG with a fixed bridge or tremolo system, dual humbucker pickups, and a full 24-fret neck. 

The Ibanez RG comes equipped with the legendary thin Ibanez neck and flatter fretboard radius. The thin neck and flatter radius encourages fast playing and makes it easier to get to the top frets. 

With a 5-way selector switch, you have a variety of tones between the two humbucking pickups. Those playing rock, hard rock and metal, will enjoy the RG series.

Ibanez RG Specifications

Body: Poplar
Neck: Maple
Neck Finish: Satin
Fingerboard: Bound Purpleheart
Fingerboard Radius: 15 ¾”
Number of Frets: 24
Fret Size: Jumbo
Scale Length: 25.5”
Neck Joint: Bolt-on
Neck Pickup: Humbucker, Ceramic
Bridge Pickup: Humbucker, Ceramic
Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
Pickup Switch: 5-Position Selector Switch
Bridge: Tremolo or Fixed
Cost:$199–399

Jackson Dinky

Jackson Dinky
Jackson Dinky

Jackson has made a fast playing and fun guitar for the shredders out there. Clearly aimed at those that want to play hard rock or metal, the Dinky is a potent rock machine. 

Crank up the sound with two high-output humbuckers. Simplify your tone control with a master tone switch, and a 3-way pickup selector switch. 

With it’s tremolo system, eye-catching shark tooth inlays, and fast playing compound radius neck, the Dinky will start you on your path to total shred nirvana. And it’s affordable at $199.

Jackson Dinky Specifications

Body: Okoume
Neck: Maple
Neck Finish: Satin
Fingerboard: Maple
Fingerboard Radius: 12” to 16” Compound Radius
Number of Frets: 24
Fret Size: Jumbo
Scale Length: 25.5”
Neck Joint: Bolt-on
Neck Pickup: High-Output Humbucker
Bridge Pickup: High-Output Humbucker
Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
Pickup Switch: 3-Position Selector Switch
Bridge: 2-Point Tremolo
Cost:$199

Squier Affinity Series Telecaster

Squier Affinity Telecaster
Squier Affinity Telecaster

The Squier Affinity Series Telecaster is another legendary Fender guitar style from Squier. It features two single coil pickups, a solid alder body, and a maple fingerboard. 

Players looking for a classic blues, country, or rock sound will be right at home with the Telecaster. The simplicity of the string-through bridge adds tuning stability.

Squier Bullet Mustang

Squier Bullet Mustang
Squier Bullet Mustang

The Squier Bullet Mustang is a fun guitar and a great choice for beginning players. The guitar features a shorter 24” scale length, which reduces string tension. Some players will find this easier to work with.

The Mustang has two humbucker pickups, 22 frets, a 12” fingerboard radius, and simplified tone controls. There is a master volume and master tone control, and a 3-way pickup selector switch.

Affordable at $179, the Mustang is a great choice for an entry-level guitar player looking for a different style, or just a fun instrument to play.

Epiphone SG Special VE

Epiphone SG Special VE
Epiphone SG Special VE

The Epiphone SG Special VE gives you that classic rock and roll look on a budget. With two humbuckers and an aggressive double-cut body, aspiring rock guitar players can emulate the guitar gods of yesterday. 

String-through body adds tuning stability, and the one volume, one tone control simplifies the guitar controls. In a variety of colors. The SG Special VE is a great choice for beginning rock players.

Epiphone Les Paul Special VE

Epiphone Les Paul Special VE
Epiphone Les Paul Special VE

The Epiphone Les Paul Special VE gives you classic LP-style looks for only $149. Pickup controls are simplified with one master volume and one master tone control. Switch between the two humbucker pickups with the 3-way selector switch.

The neck is a bolt-on neck instead of a set neck on its more expensive siblings. The body is a solid flat slab of wood. Much thinner than the more expensive versions, the Les Paul Special VE comes in a few different finishes.

Epiphone Les Paul SL

Epiphone Les Paul SL
Epiphone Les Paul SL

The Epiphone Les Paul SL is truly a budget rocker. It gives you an approximation of the LP-style guitar at a bare-bones price of $119. Instead of the classic LP two humbucker setup, the SL gives you two single coils instead. 

Unless you are really after the LP-style on a strict budget, we recommend spending a little more for the Les Paul Special VE or Studio line.

Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT

Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT
Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT

The Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT includes some of the features of the more expensive Les Paul guitars at an affordable price. The Studio LT features a bolt-on neck instead of a set neck. 

Otherwise, we have the standard LP-style three-way pickup selector switch, two volume and two tone controls, and two humbucker pickups. The contoured body and finish options give you some classic looks to choose from.

The Les Paul Studio LT is an excellent introductory LP-style guitar.

Conclusion

Choosing your first electric guitar may feel overwhelming at first, but with a little research, you should quickly narrow down the possible options. Today, you have a large variety to choose from in a lower price range. Spending about $200-$300 will get you a great guitar for a beginning player. 

Your choice will be based on the type of music you’d like to play and aesthetics. Our recommendation is the standard S-style guitar with an HSS pickup configuration. You’ll have two single coils and one humbucker for a wide range of tones and styles.

Starting out playing guitar is an exciting experience! As a beginner, the best part is learning how to play. With the right instructor, you’ll quickly start picking up the necessary skills. It will be no time before you can start playing a few of your favorite songs.

We hope one of these guitars will get you started on your musical journey.

Want more? Check out our roundup of best guitars for under $300.