The 10 Best Electric Guitars of 2018

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Best Electric Guitar for the Money
Best Beginner Electric Guitar
Best Electric Guitar for Rock
Best Affordable Electric Guitar

Any aspiring guitarist or accomplished musician needs the right instrument to work with and navigating through the complicated market of electric guitars is no easy job. Besides prices, there are lots of things to consider before you finally jump in and make a purchase. It can be also considered a very personal process because in the end, only you know best what is your skill level and which musical style you prefer. If you don’t want to make a mistake and spend your hard-earned money on some overrated guitar then you’re in the right place. Whatever budget you have, in this list you can find something to suit you. Beginners especially are very welcomed because at that level it’s usually the hardest to make your selection right. See our articles about the best digital piano and best dac

It’s tempting to spend hundreds on some premium instrument but if you’re just starting then maybe it’s not such a good idea. You can upgrade eventually if you feel like you want to expand your horizons as a guitarist. If you’re wondering how we made this selection the answer is simple. After sustained research, these electric guitars have demonstrated that they are worth their money through every aspect that defines them including design, hardware, construction, and sound. Without further ado, let’s find out exactly which electric guitars are currently considered the best investments.

Best Electric Guitar for the Money

1. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD Electric Guitar

Epiphone has a long history in making the most high-quality guitars in the market. The legendary guitarist Les Paul has gained worldwide fame with his impressive designs and innovations. After 50 years since the first issue, the Les Paul Standard remains one of the most revered guitars on the planet.

Featuring a timeless design, this guitar is made from an exquisite combination of a mahogany body and maple top which provide that classic tone and sustain characteristic to an authentic Les Paul. With a 14 degree headstock, you can have more pressure at the nut which in turn gives you considerable more sustain without as many tuning hang-ups. The rosewood fingerboard together with trapezoid inlays adds a lot of style to the overall look of the guitar.

The warm and rich sound generated by this guitar is possible in part thanks to the pair of Alnico Classic humbucker pickups. For a quiet operation, limiting as much as possible the microphonic hum, Epiphone integrated a very complex waxing process. Something that contributed significantly to the manufacturer’s reputation is the dedication to only using the highest quality parts for basically all the elements of their guitars and this Les Paul is no exception.

Hardware-wise, this guitar features a locking StopBar adjustable bridge. They added some technological updates and now the new design doesn’t require any tools for auto-locking the bridge and tailpiece firmly in place. The Standard makes use of 1” diameter potentiometers and the all-metal toggle switches with spring-steel contacts should guarantee long years of reliable service and performance. A proprietary output jack has been reinforced with a heavy-duty spring steel and due to its improved contact shape, it should make the connection more reliable.

If you are looking to buy from the best guitars on the market, choosing a Les Paul by Epiphone is surely one of your safest bets. You will get an incredibly gorgeous looking guitar which has that classic rich sound and is only made of the best quality materials. This guitar incorporates all the aspects that define how a great electric guitar should be in all regards including sound and reliability and therefore it is highly recommended.

Key Features:

  • Alnico Classic humbuckers
  • Grover machine heads
  • Locking Tune-o-Matic StopBar
  • Rosewood fretboard, 24.75 scale
  • Mahogany body & Maple top

Best Beginner Electric Guitar

2. Squier by Fender “Mini” Strat Beginner Electric Guitar Rosewood Fingerboard

The Squier Mini is an excellent choice for your kid’s first guitar as it represents everything a beginner needs to delve into the magical world of this popular musical instrument. Fender Squier Mini comes in lots of color variants and it offers quite a lot for the money.

This electric guitar was designed to be more easily handled by younger players. As such, the scale length is only 22.75 inches compared to the standard length of a Stratocaster. Thanks to the shorter scale, there’s less tension on the strings and the user is able to reach between frets more comfortably. With a simple set-up, it offers quite a versatile platform, especially when considering the 5-way switching. Single-coils are ideal for creating bright and dynamic tones which should suit most playing styles with ease.

While most Stratocasters use a Floating Tremolo system, for this model Fender decided to go with a Hard Tail bridge that has a very vintage feel to it. This design choice can offer a few benefits for those just starting their guitar career. Because setting up and maintaining your guitar is often a difficult process and sure to overwhelm beginners. The hard tail bridge will simplify these processes and soon enough restringing and intonation will be a breeze to get the hang of. Another aspect worth mentioning about this hard tail bridge is how it can also contribute to better sustain and transference. This is due to the greater surface area contact.

The Squier Mini delivers that mellow, warm tone with the help of its rosewood fingerboard. The Rosewood ranges in color and hue and you can be surprised to find many orange, green, and purple highlights combined with the usual deep rich browns. A solid advantage of these fingerboards is the natural oil they contain, enough to offer the player a more pleasant tactile experience.

A guitar designed to deliver performance in terms of sound, it doesn’t disappoint in the comfort department. Its C-shaped neck profile was constructed for comfortable playing but to also impart a vintage feel. The thinner body profile also adds to the easier playing experience thanks to enabling a shorter reach over the instrument.

All in all, this is an extremely suitable choice for aspiring younger guitar players. It doesn’t offer ultra premium features but considering its price, you get quite a lot. Absolutely one of the good options for an electric guitar for kids you can find.

Key Features:

  • Small neck profile
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Laminated-wood body
  • Hard Tail bridge
  • 3 single-coil set up with 5-way switching

Best Electric Guitar For Rock

3. Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012DLX Electric Guitar Old Violin Sunburst

Part of one of the most appreciated series of guitars, the Yamaha Pacifica PAC012DLX represents a ton of value for an electric guitar. Getting an instrument from this series means you’re getting a high-quality product built with versatility and performance in mind.

In terms of design, the defined edges and the elegant curves of this guitar are similar to more expensive models in this series. This unit has a solid Agathis body which is also known as basswood. It provides a bit of weight to hold during longer sessions but the overall impression is of lightness. It’s adorned with a vintage-looking Violin Sunburst paint job but there are also other colors available.

It offers three passive pickups, two single-coils positioned at the neck and in the middle as well as a humbucker at the bridge. While the configuration may not be highly advanced, the range of sound you can obtain is not bad at all as the pickups are sufficiently clear and crisp.

The tremolo bridge gives an old-school vibe with its chrome finish and it allows for some interesting effects during rock licks or soloing due to its whammy bar. The controls are minimal, the usual single volume and tone control knobs found on every Pacifica guitars. You can also discover a five-way pickup selector switch that can be used for comfortable toggling between the pickups. No matter what genre you play, you can find the right one to suit your particular style of music.

Agathis wood may not be a very expensive choice for a guitar but it does a solid job in keeping a warm tone and it offers a good level of resonance. This guitar produces a nice sound though it depends on what kind of amp you use. In general, there aren’t any complaints but keep in mind that the tuners aren’t that great at keeping the guitar tuned especially if you abuse the tremolo too much.

Going for a flat neck seems to be a good decision as it helps for smooth action during both chords and lead playing. This Yamaha can be considered a solid solution for those trying to learn guitar from scratch but it’s also a viable choice for those coming from an acoustic guitar, and are looking to improve their skills. Taking all that’s been said into account, you will be very pleased to use this beautifully crafted Yamaha Pacifica series guitar to accomplish your musical endeavors. For the money spent, it delivers great sound quality and performance.

Key Features:

  • Agathis Body
  • Maple Bolt-On Neck
  • Sonokeling Fingerboard
  • Vintage Tremolo
  • 5 Position Switch
  • Rosewood Fretboard

4. Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar

The Epiphone Les Paul 100 is the instrument you need if you want to take your guitar playing to the next level. It features a mahogany body and a maple top which offer that classic Les Paul solid tone. Coupled with a rosewood fingerboard and the 700T/650R open-coil humbucker pickups, this one brings a lot of value for the money.

This instrument is great for players that are fans of classic looking guitars and want an affordable and reliable product. The Les Paul 100 has all the powerful goodies like the original one from 1952 while at the same time keeping it fresh and up to today’s quality standards for a modern instrument.

One of the first things that grab the attention is the construction. The all-mahogany body of the guitar makes the instrument look very imposing. Epiphone managed to keep the weight low thanks to the lighter maple top and this guitar is also slimmer than other Les Paul models, which translates to easier holding for long practices and gigs. Keeping it classic, the Les Paul 100 has a scale length of 24.75” and a nut width of 1.68” as well as a rosewood fingerboard. You’ve got a few color variants to take your pick from.

In this guitar, you can discover some neat features including the humbucker tone which is achieved through the powerful two Alnico V Humbucker pickups. They each have tone and volume controls. They added an output jack and a convenient LockTone Tune-o-Matic bridge created according to the authentic Les Paul standard of excellence. Reliability is an important aspect of any guitar and this one was built to last considering the all-metal hardware including the StopBar tailpiece and the premium machine heads.

Epiphone has proven once again that they can still deliver the same quality and that same famous design but with a few modern tweaks. This is the ideal instrument for any style of music and its audible presence is difficult to match in this price bracket. The final verdict is certainly a positive one, this is a great choice for any guitar enthusiasts.

Key Features:

  • 700T and 650R humbuckers
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • 24.75″ inch scale
  • Mahogany body and Maple top
  • Nickel hardware
  • LockTone tailpiece
  • Bolt-on, tapered heel neck

5. Squier by Fender Bullet Strat Beginner Electric Guitar HSS

An excellent electric guitar for those just starting their musical journey is the Fender Squier Bullet Strat. With such a price tag you’re probably not expecting much but this model has enough features and can deliver a reasonably good sound. Its construction is quite solid too so this is actually a very interesting choice worth checking out further.

Material-wise, it uses basswood, which is a cheaper alternative to alder or maple though as a beginner you will most likely not even be able to notice a difference. The Bullet Strat resembles the look and the feel of the original Fender Strat. It also uses 3 single-coil pickups. Its Rosewood fingerboard has a naturally oily finish and the C-shaped neck adds a bit of a vintage flavor to the design and also contributes to a more comfortable playing experience.

If your sound expectations are quite low, then you are in for a little surprise. With the right adjustments, you can make the Fender Bullet Strat sound exceptionally well for such a low price. The five-way switch allows for a diverse range of sounds to be played and for solid feedback effects, the three single coil pickups have got you covered. For creating sharp and flat pitch disparities, you can make use of the synchronized chrome tremolo.

The instrument has a lightweight profile and its oval shaped body makes it ideal for players with little hands. Adequate for many kinds of playing styles, the Bullet Strat allows you to learn your musical craft with ease. It’s a perfect solution for beginners who want the right instrument to help them during their practice sessions. A minor drawback for this guitar would be the plastic tuning pegs which don’t seem to be of the highest quality but you can get used to them quickly.

Fender Squier Bullet Strat is one capable electric guitar that’s available in both HSS and SSS configuration. There’s quite a bit of flexibility for getting the correct tones according to your preferences and chosen musical style. Overall, this guitar is highly recommended for its performance, design, and comfort. The sound is quite solid for this price range too.

Key Features:

  • 3 single coils pickups
  • 5 way pick up selector switch
  • Chrome Synchronized Tremolo
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • Gloss polyurethane finish

Best Cheap/Affordable Electric Guitar

6. C-1 SGR by Schecter Beginner Electric Guitar

Schecter is a brand that’s been in the electric guitar business for quite some time and has managed to solidify their status among the world’s premier guitar companies. The C-1 SGR is their beginner model and it provides a set of incredible features at a highly affordable price.

Due to its arched top, it quickly becomes clear that this instrument was shaped for comfort. Players can navigate the controls and the fretboard with ease while standing or sitting. The versatile pickups used in this model are great for new users trying different sounds. Schecter designed the guitar’s sound to be clean and balanced right out of the box but if you prefer, there’s also the option to add certain effects to adapt it to your style.

The black chrome hardware adds a certain modern element to the overall look of the guitar. This guitar’s polished black chrome is a welcomed upgrade to the typical chrome and is a very noticeable detail that contributes to the sleek and contemporary design of the C-1 SGR. The tone and volume knobs have a truly premium look as the black chrome fits the black satin finish very nicely.

You won’t be disappointed about the humbuckers because they sound really great. The neck bucker has a deeper tone, ideal for things like melodic soloing while the bridge bucker gives a crunchier sound that translates to more distortion and heaviness in the rhythm. Because you have to take care of your guitar wherever you go, Schecter added in the package a gig bag. It’s a compactable zipper enclosed model ideal for storing your gear or to bring your instrument to lessons and shows.

If you try to analyze how much value you’re getting at this price, the conclusion could easily be that this guitar is seriously underpriced. Delivering such an amazingly clean sound, this is one of the best guitars you can get right now, capable of satisfying even more advanced players who are tired of overrated expensive models. You should definitely give the C-1 SGR by Schecter a chance because it has great potential.

Key Features:

  • Pearloid Dots with 12th fret Custom Inlay
  • Black Chrome Hardware
  • Arch Top Carved Body
  • Maple Neck with Rosewood Fretboard
  • Gig bag included

7. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO Electric Guitar

Epiphone makes some of the highest quality electric guitars on the market and their portfolio of instruments is quite large. For those looking to get to the next level and evolve as a musician, a solid guitar like the Les Paul Standard Plustop PRO seems to be a great match. It’s basically like a more advanced Standard version as it comes with pickups featuring coil-tapping.

This guitar begins a fresh start in the Les Paul series with its flame maple top and many color finishes included to match your style. The solid mahogany body delivers a classic tone and design. To complete that vintage look, it features cream binding. A 14-degree headstock allows for more pressure at the nut. This means that you will get longer sustain and there are way less tuning hang-ups.

The Plustop comes with pickups which help to achieve that unique Les Paul sound. These pickups feature magnets which are present in the highly appreciated humbuckers. These magnets are capable of delivering a warm, rich tone with a brilliant high end and a balanced low end. The ProBucker-3 found in the bridge position is slightly overwound to maintain balance with the ProBucker-2 neck pickup. This also helps with obtaining a bit of edge for lead play.

Both ProBuckers feature coil-tapping which allows players to go wild with their pickup tone. You’ve got basically an infinite variety to choose from including single-coil bark and full humbucker bite. An interesting aspect regarding the winding process of the humbuckers is that the manufacturer uses a double vacuum waxing process to keep things quiet, free from that annoying microphonic hum.

An electric guitar needs to sound good but reliability is also an essential factor to consider. This Les Paul makes use of the most powerful hardware ever developed by Epiphone. A great example is the LockTone and the StopBar. It’s nice to see careful attention to details like how the metal toggle switches use finely crafted spring-steel contacts or the improved contact shape of the output jack.

When going over the aspects of this guitar, it’s becoming clear that this is one of the best electric guitars on the market. It’s pricier than the Les Paul Standard but it’s totally worth it for the more advanced players looking to perfect their sound and fully develop the potential of their music skills. This Les Paul is a very solid investment.

Key Features:

  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Trapezoid inlays
  • Epiphone ProBucker 2 and 3 pickups
  • AAA flame maple top
  • Coil tapping via controls
  • Grover machine heads
  • Mahogany SlimTaper D profile neck

8. Gibson USA Les Paul Faded T 2017 Electric Guitar

 

Gibson USA is a company built on the tradition of innovation and raising the manufacturing process of guitars to a constantly higher standard. All the instruments are produced in the USA in accord with Gibson’s ideal of maintaining the hand-craft art of the guitar. The 2017 lineup includes the Les Paul Faded T, a very distinctive electric guitar in all regards.

This guitar looks like the kind of instrument that has already experienced years of intense playing. It comes with a new Faded Gloss finish that creates its authentic worn-in look. Apart from the faded design which many players will love, Gibson worked on keeping the perfect shape and matching the guitarist’s hand in the best way possible.

Despite the vintage look, this guitar’s capabilities are more rightly placed in the modern era. It boasts stunning 490R and 490T humbuckers, 22 polished frets and a slim-taper neck profile. The frets will redefine your bends and contribute to a fabulous feel overall while the sleek neck profile allows fast and comfortable soloing.

The Faded T has a maple top and a mahogany body with Ultra-Modern weight relief which adds a new level of comfort and helps to enhance the resonance. It’s created only with the most powerful hardware such as the nickel-plated TOM and aluminum Stop Bar. Complete with old-school keystone tuners and elegant black top hats, there are only amazing vibes all around for this electric guitar. Gibson also provides some goodies in the package including a padded gig bag, strap, and a special cloth used for polishing the guitar.

In terms of sound, your ears are going to be delighted. Thanks to the weight relief, there is indeed a nice natural resonance and a lengthy sustain. The classic tone of a Gibson can be heard here and no matter your playing style it’s very well balanced to deliver a quality sound. It is perfect for recreating those original PAF vintage tones while the 490T adds a lot more crunch, great for lead playing.

Gibson Les Paul Faded T is an accomplished electric guitar from all points of view. It has solid pickups, a sleek finish, excellent playability and a superb sound. If you want an outstanding electric guitar and have a bigger budget, this can be an extremely viable choice.

Key Features:

  • Tektoid nut
  • Thick rosewood fingerboard
  • Slim taper neck profile
  • Maple top
  • Vintage style keystone tuners
  • Faded Gloss finish process

9. Ibanez GRX70QA GIO RX Series Electric Guitar

The GIO series from Ibanez has been created for those who want a quality electric guitar at a more affordable price. The GRX70QA is part of this lineup and it packs quite a punch for the price. It comes in stunningly vivid color choices and has the same quality sound you can expect from Ibanez.

It has a maple neck and a poplar body featuring a quilted art grain top. Its shape offers a snug feel against the body, making it ideal for holding it onstage. The poplar gives the guitar a lightweight feel and provides a spectacular range of bright tones. Combined with the maple it produces a good overall range of responsive tones.

The smooth maple neck was built for intense playing as it feels very sturdy. With a GRX profile, it’s very firmly fitted and pleasant to the touch. A rosewood fingerboard tops the neck and has 22 medium-sized frets nicely decorated with white dot inlays which can help to guide you along.

A trio of infinity pickups powers the strong sound output of this Ibanez guitar. It uses the HSH pickup configuration masterfully combining humbuckers with just one coil. These pickups have a lot to offer in terms of versatility and responsiveness to your particular style of playing. They have the ability to produce the right sound for any complex chording or harmonic riffs.

In the lower part of the body, you will discover the FAT-6 tremolo bridge that has a screw-in tremolo arm. Performing extreme string bends and vibrato with ease is very achievable and the good news is that your strings aren’t going to fall out of tune. The tremolo is ready no matter what you throw at it and it faithfully does your bidding to the microtone.

The Ibanez offers a sumptuous sound and an impressive appearance providing everything you need to perform onstage in style. At such a low price, you can get your hands on a very capable electric guitar that’s well suited for playing many different musical styles. Recommended for beginners and more experienced players alike.

Key Features:

  • Medium frets
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Pearl Dot Inlay
  • GRX Maple Neck
  • Poplar Body/ Quilted Art Grain Top

10. Epiphone Les Paul CUSTOM PRO Electric Guitar with Coil Tapping

The final Epiphone that made it to this list is the Les Paul Custom Pro, which brings a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity in the form of a superb electric guitar. It comes with lots of the innovations that contributed to its reputation in the industry as one of the most revered instrument makers around.

While Les Paul guitars share many design elements, the original Les Paul Custom distinguished itself from the others through its imposing mahogany body. Now this model follows the tradition but this time Epiphone decided on a maple veneer top. This adds a slight ’bite’ to the classic tone of the Custom.

It boasts a solid mahogany neck with a standard scale that’s been specially engineered to fit well in your hand. For optimum neck-to-body contact, the joint has been glued-in. Another added effect of this is the ability of the guitar to resonate like one solid piece of wood. Featuring pearloid block inlays, the rosewood fingerboard has a 12” radius and 22 medium-jumbo frets.

The most popular neck profile for the modern Les Pauls is the comfortable SlimTaper D profile which allows for some super fast playing. Another beautiful design choice worth mentioning about it is the 5-ply binding which envelops the maple veneer top and the single-ply cream binding from around the body. The rod in the shape of a bell from the Kalamazoo era has the logo in white silkscreen to mark a timeless design.

Cutting edge technology in the form of the pickups from Epiphone can also be found in this model. These pickups can reliably recreate the sound of vintage hand-wound PAF humbuckers from the late ’50s. It’s no wonder that’s the case as these ProBuckers are crafted from the same ingredients including magnets. What it achieves in terms of sound is incredible as over time these unique pickups give your guitar a one of a kind ”voice”.

The pickups feature coil-tapping done through a push/pull control which is placed at each pickup’s volume knob. With this feature, your Custom PRO’s true potential can be unlocked. The full-size potentiometers along with the 3-way rugged toggle pickup selector switch complete the performant and flexible image of this electric guitar.

Defying all expectations, the Epiphone Les Paul is an electric guitar to enjoy for a lifetime. It has incredible hardware features, a stunning design, and a beautiful sound adequate for any kind of musical style. If you want to make one of the best investments in an electric guitar, this is your safest bet.

Key Features:

  • Grover machine heads
  • Mahogany SlimTaper D profile neck
  • Pro-Bucker pickups
  • Gold hardware
  • Coil tapping via push/pull controls