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Whether you are purchasing your very first electric guitar or your tenth, the process of finding the perfect guitar never gets easier. Picking an electric guitar is an incredibly personal choice. There is a multitude of shapes, styles, and brands to choose from that you can easily spend countless hours trying to research the right electric guitar for you. When you buy your next guitar, you might be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on your purchase. Have patience and research your decision thoroughly to make sure you are finding the right electric guitar for you.

Regardless of what your skill level or budget is, the team at Guitar Sumo has created a comprehensive list of guitars to help you in the search, as well as a detailed summary of each musical instrument.

Top 10 Electric Guitars

1. Fender American Special Stratocaster Olympic

A real Fender Stratocaster is one of the most iconic electric guitars out there and it is the one that gets recognized the most, even by people who don’t play or like music. This electric guitar has been played by everyone from Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and George Harrison. While the price is more expensive than you might want to pay, it is well worth the price tag. The hardware, electrics, and craftsmanship are top-notch and feature the classic double-cutaway shape. The Fender American Special Stratocaster Olympic also has a solid alder body, a bolt-on maple neck, as well as 22 jumbo frets.

Thanks to these high-quality features, the electric guitar produces an amazing sound and has three Texas special single-coil pickups that give the guitar an extra boost of clarity, versatility, and power. This guitar is a true classic and perfect for any style of music but is especially great for blues and rock ‘n roll.

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2. Ibanez RG6003FM

Currently, all of the popular Super Strat models being made are produced by Ibanez, so if that is the style you are looking for, you should definitely check out this brand. The RG is the most distinctive and well-known guitar in the company’s line. For the past three decades, it has been a popular choice for metal guitarists who want a high-performance instrument that allows for fast and strong playing.

The RG6003Fm model comes with a maple top over a mahogany body with a Wizard III neck shape that allows you to play your guitar with the maximum comfort possible. With a rosewood fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets, you can achieve bigger note bends and combinations of sounds.

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3. Gibson Les Paul Studio

Ever since 1983, Gibson’s Les Paul Studio has been a staple in the electric guitar industry. Even to this day, Gibson continues to produce a high-quality instrument that doesn’t disappoint. It’s especially suitable for players who want to achieve a heavier or harder rock n roll sound, and want to emulate players like Slash or Jimmy Page. The Les Paul guitar produces a thicker sound, with a warmer tone and longer sustain.

Some players might find the thicker neck is more comfortable to hold. With the Les Paul Studio, it comes with all the features you know and love in the Les Paul Standard like the carved maple top, solid mahogany back, and real Gibson humbucker pickups. While the guitar doesn’t come packed with tons of extra features, it doesn’t disappoint in the performance aspect.

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4. Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

This electric guitar is another reliable option from Yamaha. It has an alder body, a bolt-on neck made of maple, and a rosewood fingerboard. Thanks to the Maplewood neck, the sound quality from this electric guitar is phenomenal. You can choose between three different pickups and five positions that give you separate volume and tone controls, allowing you to produce a versatile tone like rock or jazz.

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5. Gibson ES-335

Introduced in 1956, Gibson created the ES-335 as part of its Spanish electric line, and it was the first commercially released semi hollow guitar. It has a solid center block and a hollow thin line body. This  revolutionary design helped to give a round and airy tone and reduced the amount of feedback you might hear on other guitars. This Gibson was a groundbreaking guitar that now is one of the most imitated guitars on the market.

The ES-335 comes with double humbuckers to help deliver a warm, woody sound. This guitar has been closely associated with blues players like B.B. King, but it also can produce nearly any type of genre of music and has been played by rocker Dave Grohl and Latino player Trini Lopez.

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6. Fender Telecaster

This instrument is perfect for any musician who is looking for an upgrade to a professional-grade guitar. The Telecaster was first created back in 1950 and quickly became the first mass-produced solid body electric guitar. It features a simple but elegant design that has become a distinctive style for twangy solos and has become a popular choice for country stars.

The Tele produces a unique sound and tone due to its body size wood density, and the metal plate where the bridge pickup is mounted. Rock, country, indie-rock, funk, blues, R&B, and jazz can all be produced using this guitar.

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7. Ibanez JEM

The Ibanez JEM is part of the series Steve Vai created and has become extremely popular with shredders in prog rock and metal. This electric guitar has a contoured alder body with 24-fret JEM neck. The alder helps to give a bright, full classic tone, with deep routed tremolo cavities that mean that pitches can be raised or lower.

The Ibanez JEM has 24 frets, but what sets the electric guitar apart from others is that the last four frets are scalloped, which give shredders the opportunity to really lay into high notes. The upper fret access is improved by a crescent-shaped school in the neck joint.

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8. Rickenbacker 360

The Rickenbacker 360 made its way onto the British scene in 1960 and has been improved over the years. The electric guitar has a semi-hollow body and with a particular shape around the body perimeter that leads to incredibly comfortable playing. The rosewood fingerboard is overlaid with triangular pearloid markers, which help to produce a classic look. When playing, you can control the volume and tone through the three-way selector found on each pickup.

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9. PRS McCarty 594

The McCarty Model was named after Theodore “Ted” McCarty, who was Gibson’s president during the company’s heyday in the ’50s and ’60s. The name also comes from the length of the guitar, which is 24.594 inches. The guitar was built to recreate the classic Gibson tone in a modern double-cut guitar.

The PRS McCarty 954 has a four-control layout that is comfortable for anyone who is used to the Gibson style of electric guitar. It can produce any type of sound you might want thanks to its rich sounding humbucking.

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10. Epiphone SG G-400

The SG was created as an alternative model to the Les Paul. It’s perfect for lead players who want low frets for fast-action shredding. The SG features twin horns on the upper bout, which help it to stand out from everything else on the market. The historic design is one of the most original styles in rock.

The G-400 is built around a four-piece mahogany body, with a thin mahogany veneer on the top and back. That veneer stays smooth, with a detailed grain that gives the guitar a vintage look. The G-400 Pro got a significant upgrade in its hardware, which is why it made it onto this list. It has a pair of alnico 5-powered Classic PRO humbuckers, which can be coil-tapped via push and pull switches. The pickups make it easy to produce low-gain blue leads, classic rock rhythms, or even more aggressive styles like modern rock and metal.

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Best Electric Guitars For Beginners

1. Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar

Epiphone is a well-established brand, so you can ensure that you are purchasing a top of the line guitar that will produce a quality sound. The guitar stays in tune for months, which for a beginner, is an added bonus that saves tons of time and headaches when you are first starting to get to know your guitar. With this instrument, it comes with twin open-coil humbucking pickups, a tune-o-matic bridge/stop bar tailpiece, and the fully-carved SG body that gives you the look you’ve been craving in your first guitar.

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2. Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Yamaha is another world-renowned guitar marker, that has produced high-quality instruments for years. The Yamaha Pacifica Series is an excellent example of the company’s craftsmanship and features a solid alder body, a maple bolt neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. It also has a five-position switch with coil tap and a tremolo. Even if you buy this guitar when you are a beginner, it is so well-made that you will still go back and play it even after years of experience.

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3. Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe

Fender is the brand that many new and experienced players covet. The Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe gives new players a chance to play a quality instrument. The guitar has both soft and aggressive tones due to its two MP-90 pickups. It has a 9.5-inch radius, which makes it comfortable for new players to play and is incredibly easy to tune. Even better, it stays in tune and consistently has fantastic sound quality.

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Electric Guitars Starter Kit

1. Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Package

If you have your heart set on a Les Paul style, then this is the right electric guitar starter kit for you. It comes with the Les Paul Special II LTD guitar that has two classic humbucker pickups that give the instrument some growl. The guitar is made with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard that is perfect for any beginner.

It is paired with an Epiphone Electar 10-watt amp, which gives you the necessary power and a robust tone. It also comes with an Epiphone digital tuner, strap, cable, plectrums, and branded gig bag. And, if you are a beginner, it comes with online lessons from eMedia to help you get started.

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2. Squier by Fender Affinity Stratocaster

This starter kit packs a lot of value without breaking the bank. It isn’t the most expensive kit out there, but it is a reliable option for people on a budget. The electric guitar has Fender’s iconic Strat design, with a rich sounding humbucking bridge pickup and two single-coil Strat pickups. All of these features come together to allow you to create just about any style of music.

Also included in the kit is a Fender Frontman 15G amplifier which gives you 15 watts of power, and provides you with clean and overdrive channels. This guitar’s features make it perfect for both practicing and jamming because you can either connect a media device through the aux input to play along with your favorite songs or utilize the headphone jack to practice silently. The kit also comes with a padded gig bag, strap, cable, and picks, as well as a free three-month subscription to Fender Play to help you learn how to play.

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3. Ibanez IJRG220Z Jumpstart Electric Guitar Pack

As it says on the box, this Ibanez kit has “everything you need to get out and gig!” It comes with a guitar that has a classic glossy black poplar body, with a maple neck and a rosewood fretboard.  It boosts Ibanez-designed Infinity humbuckers at the bridge and neck positions, which are versatile enough if you  want to play rock or metal.

The starter kit also comes with a 10-watt IBZIG amplifier that isn’t as powerful as you might need for actual gigging because it is a little quiet. However, it does come with some quality branded goods like a gig bag, plectrums, a cable, and a guitar strap.

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Electric Guitars for Kids

1. Squier Strat Mini

Built specifically for tiny rockers or jazz aficionados, the Strat Mini designed and produced by Squier is the mini version of the popular Bullet model, which is a copy of the Fender Stratocaster. It comes with three single-coil pickups and a five-way switch that allows your child to switch between a multiple of musical styles including the lighter tone of jazz, or the bass-filled tone of rock.

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2. Ibanez GRGM21BKN

Do you have a young metalhead or future shredder? Then this is the guitar for them. This model comes in a sleek black and has a 22-inch maple neck that has low tension. The GRGm21BKN model holds true to its roots and has a slim and playable neck piece that is ideal for shredding. With two humbucker pickups, it is one of the best mini versions of strong metal guitars.

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3. Peavey Iron Man Rockmaster

For the kids who love Iron Man, the Peavey Iron Man Rockmaster guitar is a must. The ¾ sized electric guitar is geared towards kids with smaller hands. The guitar has the popular Super Strat shape with a basswood body, that allows for excellent playability and comfort. While it is basic in its hardware, it does the job well and still produces quality sound. It only has one humbucker with coil-splitting capabilities, tone and volume controls, and a fixed bridge.

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Cheap Electric Guitars

1. Squier by Fender Bullet Mustang HH

Squier is Fender’s budget line, and it delivers with the Squier Mustang Bullet. It is perfect for someone with smaller hands or wants a more laid back style. As one of the cheaper options on this list, it is a great deal because it has a classic design, solid build, and still delivers fantastic sound. The Squier Mustang Bullet has a basswood body, C-shaped maple neck, and a slightly shorter scale length, making it ideal for someone looking for a lightweight model. While it has more basic humbuckers to keep the price down low, the tone that it produces is full and is suitable for making any type of music including indie, punk, and rock.

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2. Jameson Guitars RWGT280 BK GCP

With a full size, black, high gloss finish, this guitar is designed for those who want to use their guitar to rock. It comes with a humbucking pickup to help you achieve that brassy, strong sound. The guitar features a basic wood build, with a maple fretboard. It also comes with a volume knob and tone control. However, the one major drawback to this instrument is that it doesn’t come with a pickup selector switch, so you won’t be able to switch your sound up as much as you would be able to with another electric guitar.

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3. Davison Guitars: Guitar with Accessories Pack

If you want an affordable guitar without sacrificing quality, this guitar from Davison Guitar company is a good option for beginners. Featuring a maple neck, it has a humbucking pickup so you can get a solid rock sound. It also comes with diecast tuners and a chrome bridge to assist with the tuning stability. It also has a contoured body, making it more comfortable to play than other styles. What makes this such a great deal is that it comes with a small amplifier, with a built-in headphone jack, and distortion built in already to the guitar.

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Under $2000

1. PRS CE 24

The CE 24 will not disappoint. With the beautiful nitro finish, it is designed with tonewoods and has a bird in flight inlay. Regardless of whether or not you are an accomplished musician, you will appreciate this gorgeous instrument. It is also able to produce any genre of music, including rock, metal, and Americana.

The pickups on this beautiful instrument are set up 85/15 so you have six different settings to play around with as you practice. The guitar is also incredibly lightweight and has a slender neck, which allows you to play incredibly fast. The only downside of this electric guitar is that it can take a while to get used to, but once you do, you won’t be able to put it down again.

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2. Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster

Eric Johnson is one of guitars greatest legends. He was an innovator who fused together a variety of genres, including rock, funk, and jazz to create a sound and style that is entirely his own. Because of his unique playing style, he created the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster to fit his distinctive needs.

The two-piece alder body has a thin lacquer on the body, which gives it its uncommon appearance. Eric went through nearly 20 different sets of pickups before he found the exact preferences that he wanted on his guitar. On this guitar, the pickups are on the neck and bridge instead of the Stratocaster’ normal position of neck and middle tone. This is truly a one of a kind guitar that is perfect for fans of Eric Johnson and his style of music.

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3. Gibson 2016 Les Paul Studio HP

While there are many Les Paul on this list, there are none equal to this Gibson 2016 Les Paul Studio HP. This guitar is an improved version of the Les Paul Classic. Gibson redesigned the heel from the body to neck and smoothed it out to help give this guitar even more versatility. Throughout the guitar, Titanium metal has been implemented to the hardware. This small addition improves the durability and adds brightness to the tone of the guitar. It features the legendary Gibson Humbuckers to help produce any sound you want.

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Under $1000

1. Gibson Les Paul Faded

This instrument is one of the most iconic electric guitars of all time. It is well worth the price tag and is one of the best guitars you can find for under $1000. You get the Gibson guarantee with this instrument, and you know that the craftsmanship quality is going to be superior to most other brands. The Gibson Les Paul Faded model has a worn, vintage finish with a mahogany body and beautifully crafted maple neck. It also comes equipped with a weight relief system which gives it a lighter feel than some of the older Les Paul models.

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2. Fender American Special Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster makes an appearance several times on this list, and that is because of the superior quality and versatility of the guitar. This Fender American Special Stratocaster is one of the best you can get for under $1000.

It has an attractive look and can produce a versatile tone, which is a few of the reasons why it has been one of the top-selling electric guitars for decades. The body is made of alder, and the fretboard and neck are made of maple. It also comes with the 3 Fender Texas Special Single-coil pickups that give you the sound that you are looking for in an electric guitar.

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3. ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe

ESP has built a name for itself as one of the most versatile guitar makers out there, and this ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe guitar is a prime example of that. The electric guitar is lightweight with very low action and has the ability to reach a variety of tones for any genre, depending on the amp you choose. It is built with a mahogany neck and body, and a rosewood fretboard. This guitar is able to sustain years of playing and could be the guitar of your dreams.

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Under $500

1. Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster

The Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster is a throwback to the original Telecaster, which was built at the height of rock and roll in the ‘50s. It offers the classic butterscotch blonde look with a solid pine body, maple C-shaped neck, and 21 medium-jumbo frets. All of these features come together to form a guitar that offers excellent playability.

It comes with two vintage-style single coil pickups that provide a twangy tone and warmth that is suitable for any type of style, including rock, pop, jazz, and blues. This instrument also keeps it simple with one volume and tone knob, making it an exceptional guitar for both beginners and experts alike.

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2. Epiphone Les Paul Standard

The Epiphone offers a classic instrument that delivers the Gibson Les Paul look and sound without the hefty price tag. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard has a mahogany body, flamed maple top, and mahogany set neck. It gives you tons of tone and sustain, especially because it also comes with a locking tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. With the two Gibson-designed humbuckers located on the neck and bridge, you will get enough tone and strength when playing this guitar.

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3. Silvertone Classic 1478

For those looking for a truly classic guitar that takes you back to the ‘60s, then this Silvertone Classic 1478 is what you might want. It comes with a retro style and is based on the original 1478 that was released back in 1963. However, it does have some modern upgrades to help produce a bright and punchy tone that can help you recreate surf rock, blues, and more.

This guitar has the standard asymmetrical double-cutaway mahogany body, maple top, and a modern C-shaped mahogany neck. Featuring a rosewood fretboard, the instrument comes with 20 nickel-silver frets. One of its modern upgrades includes a fully adjustable chrome bridge, including an authentic Bigsby tremolo tailpiece. It features sealed chrome vintage-style tuners. The Silvertone Classic 1478 is able to achieve the vintage sound thanks to two Silvertone-designed chrome-covered coil pickups. Because it uses similar materials as the original guitar, it produces a comparable sound and tone.

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Under $200

1. Squier Affinity Stratocaster

This instrument comes in just under $200. This budget model from Fender’s budget subsidiary, Squier, gives you everything you need from a Strat. It provides you with the classic double-cutaway body made from Adler and a bolt-on maple neck. The Affinity Stratocaster also comes with a maple fretboard, 32 frets, and three basic single-coil pickups and controls. The sound is about what you would expect from a budget guitar, making this affordable Strat worth the small investment.

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2. Epiphone Les Paul Special II

This Les Paul gives you everything you might want in an affordable guitar. With the familiar single-cutaway body, the mahogany wood helps to create a soft sound that is versatile enough for a variety of musical genres. It also has a bolt-on okoume neck, with a SlimTaper D profile, a rosewood fretboard, and 22 frets. To keep it easy for beginners, it comes with two humbuckers, a 650R, and a 700T that both come equipped with simple and reliable controls.

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3. Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

If you are looking for a budget guitar, one of the best places to look for is at the Yamaha line of electric guitars. The Pacifica Series PAC012 comes with a double-cutaway body, which is comfortable to hold and play and is made of solid agathist. The neck is made of maple, and the fretboard, which comes with 22 frets, is made from rosewood.

If you are looking for variety, this electric guitar is a durable option. It comes with two single-coil pickups and humbucker, as well as a five-way pickup selector switch and tone controls. When you use the classic tremolo bridge, you have a versatile instrument that can produce almost any sound you want.

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Types of Electric Guitars

Semi Hollow Body Guitars

Semi hollow body guitars were created as a solution to the resonance and feedback that occurs in loud environments when playing with a hollow body guitar. The semi hollow body guitars follow a similar design to hollow body guitars but also add a wooden center block beneath the pickups. This simple change reduces the amount of feedback, while also adding sustain as well.

Metal Guitars

While you can play metal on nearly every type of guitar, some guitars are better made for it. Look for a guitar that is made with a solid body of wood made of mahogany or basswood. The heavy metal guitar has a more distinctive look than a classical electric guitar. It might be more sharp, with pointy edges and an aggressive look. Metal guitars tend to have a humbucker, which gives the sound a thicker and beefier tone, and active pickups, which give you more control.  Six and eight strings are becoming more popular for metal players.

Blues Guitars

Generally, just about any guitar can give you the sound of blues, and much of it depends on the amp you are using. You will want to choose a high-quality one that can pick up on the sound and gives the sound warmth and a slight growl. You can achieve this sound through a good amp and decent guitar pickups.

Jazz Guitars

To produce jazz, you have to use an instrument that can handle a wide variety of sounds, styles, and instrumentation. There are many different makes and models that could work for you, so you simply have to figure out what your personal preference is. Some people prefer archtop guitars because it helps to create the jazz sound that bob and post-bop players want. Solid-body guitars are also an option for those who want a lighter and smaller bodied guitar. However, it can be hard to duplicate the traditional jazz tone on a solid body guitar. Semi-hollow can be an excellent in-between model. It is not as small as the solid body, and it is not as big as the archtops. While it does have some feedback issues, it can give you the warm jazz tone that is more versatile than even archtop guitars.

Sawtooth Guitars

Sawtooth guitars tend to be less expensive than other guitars on this list, but it still delivers pretty quality sound and value. If you want a budget guitar that emulates a Fender, then this is a good option. The guitars have sycamore bodies, maple necks, and three single-coil pickups. There isn’t as much information about Sawtooth guitars out there as for other guitars. But if you do want to find a good deal on a guitar, you surely can’t go wrong by choosing a Sawtooth one.

7 string guitars

First introduced into the mainstream industry by Ibanez, the Universe UV7 was the first mass-produced seven-string solid-body electric guitar. It became a popular choice for people because it expanded the electric guitar’s range. Guitarists who want a more massive sound have flocked to the seven-string guitar. The additional string it adds is typically tuned to a low B but can also be added to extend the treble range. The extra string can be put in a couple of different ways. You can choose to increase the width of the fingerboard so that the added string is fretted by the left hand. The option would be to leave the fingerboard untouched and add a “floating” bass string. This string will be next to the lower-tuned strings, but not touching the fingerboard.

8 string guitars

Eight string guitars are not as standard as six- and seven-string guitars, but have gained in popularity amongst a few classical, jazz, and metal guitarists. The eight-string guitar gives players a more extensive range of sound and tones as well as non-standard tunings. The main problem with eight-string guitars is the ability of the lower strings to hold the tune. The neck of the guitar tends to become too short, with the bridge having improper intonation, or the tuning stability is not set correctly on the guitar. Therefore, some eight-string guitars will have a multi-scale design, with the bass strings having more length than the treble strings. It helps to improve the overall sound and harmonic overtones.

9 string guitars

Nine string guitars are used by players who want to change the sound or expand the range of the guitar. There are typically two variations of the nine-string guitar: the coursed strings and the extended range. Coursed strings will use three pairs of coursed strings, much like a twelve-string guitar. Many times, you will find that the three wound strings are single, and the three thin strings are then doubled to six. By doing this, you can play dry power cords on the lower three strings, while achieving a chorus sound when all the strings are played together. The other style is the extended range, which builds on the seven- and eight-string guitar design by adding either an extra lower or higher tuned string. It might even come with a multi-scale fingerboard design, and the lower tuned strings are longer than the higher-tuned strings. Doing this helps to improve the tone.

Electric Guitar FAQ

The electric guitar, as we know it, was created by George Beauchamp in 1931. His creation built on the ideas of others, but his Rickenbacker “Frying Pan” guitar was the first of its kind. It was created because people weren’t able to hear the classic guitar at large venues. Beauchamp teamed up with Adolph Rickenbacker, who helped to manufacture and sell the electric guitar. Because Beauchamp wasn’t awarded a patent for his electric guitar until 1937, many other companies produced similar creations during that period.

While it is more versatile than other guitars, playing the electric guitar is no harder than learning how to play acoustic guitar. Because of the thin and long neck, you can string together notes faster. If you want to learn how to play electric guitar, there are multiple options. You can take a class with a teacher who plays the style of guitar that you like, such as blues, rock, funk, or jazz. Or, you can choose to learn from a private teacher at music school classes or a club. Learning online through an online course or via YouTube videos is also a good option for many.

However, before you get started, make sure that you have your guitar set up properly. This is the first step you must take to ensure that you have a good learning experience. You can either do this at a music store, asking a professional musician or learning how to do it on your own. Having your guitar correctly set up is important because it impacts the intonation. When your guitar is in tune, and you play the right notes, the sound it produces will be accurate. However, if the guitar has a bad intonation, it might tune only on some of the strings. For example, the low strings might be in tune, but the higher strings might be out-of-tone. This makes it hard for new players to gain momentum, and they can become quickly discouraged.

Setting up the guitar also affects how easy it is to play the instrument. If a guitar is set too high, it might be impossible to play on because it will take an incredible amount of finger pressure to hold the frets down against the frets to play the desired note. While you will develop calluses on your fingers, which will reduce the pain that you feel, it will still be hard to play fast notes or switch up chords quickly.

As you start to learn how to play, you will realize that nearly every song has a recognizable melodic pattern. You don’t have to start by learning just guitar solos; you can also work on learning to listen to the whole song and try to recreate what you hear. If you are having trouble figuring out the melody for a song, there is likely a YouTube tutorial on it, or you can find shots of the band playing the song to try and recreate the chords they play.

Make sure to give yourself both hard and easy stuff to practice. After you have spent some time working on something particularly challenging, give yourself a break and switch it up by playing something easy. By rotating between hard and easy, it will help you grow as a guitarist without feeling discouraged. Spend time practicing the things that give you trouble to make sure you improve.

When you are practicing, try to avoid using stomp boxes. While they do make it fun and add a shredding tone and sustain forever, it also hides the mistakes you are making in technique. Playing with a pure guitar tone shows you exactly what you are doing wrong, and what you are doing right. Use the stomp box when you are playing around with friends or for just a few songs to cut loose on your own.

As you start to grow as a guitarist, make sure to spend time learning music theory. Instead of learning everything by ear, having a background in music theory can help you know what the likely chords will be. It can be especially helpful as you start to play with others. If you are working with a keyboardist, they will understand you better if you tell them you want to play a series of three specific chord names like A7, B7, then A.

Learning how to play guitar means you have to take time practicing. It requires you to build strength and endurance in your fingers, as well as build muscle memory to recall the chords and where the notes are on the guitar. All these skills take time to develop, and you might find some aspects of the guitar come more naturally to you. The more you practice, the better you will be.

Learning how to restring an electric guitar can be intimidating. However, getting rid of old strings for a brand new set can show how much your strings are affected by the tone and sustain. You should change your strings when they become rusty, gummy, or you find that you constantly have to retune your guitar. If you are about to play at a big event, you should change your strings the night before to avoid any unexpected breaking when you are on stage. Some of the tools that you might use to make changing your strings easier include strings, headstock stand, string winder, string cutter, and tuner.

Keep your guitar in a stable position through the process. Use something to support the neck of the guitar on a flat and solid surface. You can also choose to keep the neck securely against your body as you unwind the strings. To get started, release the tension on the strings and grab your string cutters. Place your hand where the neck meets the body and cut the strings between your hand and the bridge. By keeping your hand over the strings, you can reduce the chances of them springing up and poking out your eye. After the strings are cut, remove the strings from the bridge and unwind it from the tuning machine. Don’t yack or pull the guitar strings with too much strength. Try to protect the guitar as much as possible by being patient and taking your time.

After you have removed all the strings, take this opportunity to clean your guitar with a lint-free cloth. Remove all the dust, grime, and dirt from the neck of the instrument. This cleaning will help your guitar look and feel better, as well as allow you to play faster. You can also purchase a bottle of fret-cleaner at the local music store for a deeper clean.

Make sure you have purchased the right strings for your electric guitar. Most of the time, you should be using a regular weight or lite strings. Strings that are too heavy or thick for your guitar will warp or bend the neck if you don’t make the proper adjustments. Therefore, you should stick to the regular weight or lite strings until you have more experience and know more about your guitar.

Now, take the new set of strings and check to see if it includes a color guide. If it does, all you have to do is match the ball-end with the color on the string color chart provided. Most guitarists prefer to begin with the heaviest string, which is the 6th string or the top E. If you have a Gibson style guitar, thread the new string through the tailpiece under the body. If you have a non-locking Fender style guitar, you should take the new string into the tremolo cavity.

Keep the eye of the tuning machine perpendicular to the headstock and parallel to the nut. Once that is done, thread the string through the eye of the tuning machine from the inside and keep the string tight, with a bit of slack. Remember, the tuning pegs won’t be marked. Therefore, you should just replace the strings in the same pegs and order that you took them out. Most electric guitars will have the first peg for the top string, then each one down the tip of the head is for the adjacent string further down. If you are worried you won’t remember where the strings go, either look at a picture of your particular electric guitar online or take a picture beforehand of your instrument.

Put the string on both sides of the peg in order to shape it into an “S.” This is easier than it sounds, so there is no need to overthink it. Try to grab both sides of the peg in a firm grip, then turn your hand all the way to the side to crimp both edges of the string. Once you pull the string out, you will see that it has ended up in an “S” shape.

Next, wrap the end of the string around it keep it tightly in place. Grasp the end of the string and pull it under the side of the other string that is being put into the tuning post first. Once you have gone underneath, bring the end back over the top and pull it taut to the end tip of the guitar. You want to create a loop around the last bit of string you have left.

As you hold the string, you should begin to tighten it into place. Place a finger on the string a few inches before the tuning peg. Don’t press it too tightly in place; make sure it is held down securely though. Turning the tuner in a counter-clockwise fashion, slowly watch as the string winds around the peg. If you doubt how much you should tighten your strings, it is better to err on the side of looser rather than tighter. You can use a tuner to help get yourself to the right tension, but if you tighten too much at the start, you might cause them to snap.

Once you have finished the first string, you can continue the process with the rest of the strings. As soon as you remove a string, make sure to clean the fretboard because this is the best time to do it.

After you have finished all the strings, cut the ends of the strings using wire cuttings. You might want to leave 1/2” or more to allow for a deeper tune. After the strings are cut, you will want to tune the guitar frequently. The strings will get used to the tension and will slowly stretch over the next couple of days. You might have to regularly tune it when you first put the strings on to keep them in the right pitch and at the proper stretch.

Small things like temperature or humidity changes can throw the tune of your guitar off. Luckily, there are several ways to tune your guitar. A few examples include a tuning app, digital tuner, or by ear using harmonics.

The notes that make up your electric guitar are (starting from the highest, or closest string to you if you are right-handed) towards the sharpest (thinnest string) are E A D G B E.

An electric tuner is one of the easiest methods out there. It costs around 20 dollars and can be found online or at your local music store. Simply plug in the tuner, or put in the batteries, and play an open string. It will then determine if it is the current note. Look at the machine’s needle, and if it is in the middle, then it is in the current tune. If it isn’t, you will have to tighten or loosen the string to find the right sound.

To start, place the tuner’s microphone in the general area of the guitar, or plug it into your guitar through the jack. Start at the 6th string, or the low E string, and decipher what the guitar tuner says to begin to make the proper changes. If the needle is on the left, that means the string is too loose, and if it is to the right that means the string is too tight. To test out if you adequately tuned the guitar after making adjustments, wait until the sound has completely died down before vibrating the string again. That way, the electric tuner can correctly analyze the sound.

A tip for tuning your guitar is if the needle is slightly off center to the right, take the string that is out of tune between two fingers and pull it about a centimeter. This will help release a bit of the string’s tension, and you won’t have to keep using the key. It keeps the string stable but tunes it.

You can also use an online tuner. However, this method is a bit less practical, but there are two options: a tuner with audio capture, and a tuner without audio capture. For online tuners, without audio capture, it just produces a reference sound for each string of your guitar. You will have to match the tone to the online sound, which will help improve your ear.

Or, you can opt for an online tuner with audio, which records via the microphone on your computer and then analyzes the sound your electric guitar produced.

One last option you can use is an app through your smartphone. There are tons of free or paid apps out there that you can download on your smartphone. The guitar tuning app works just like an electric tuner.

Or, if you want to go old-school, you can choose to use a tuning fork or pitch pipe. Both of these produce an A note, which gives you the reference sound you need to tune your guitar.

Once you have tuned your guitar, you can start to play your guitar. Play a few chords that use E, G, B, and A chords strung together. As you begin to play, you will realize that the act of playing and that energy will gradually loosen the strings. Therefore, you shouldn’t play the guitar fast from the beginning. As you tune your electric guitar, pull the strings with your hand to help keep the instrument tuned for a longer period of time.

It is possible to play the electric guitar without an amp, and actually, it is a good idea to practice without an amp because then you can hear your mistakes clearly. However, electric guitars are too quiet if you are playing without some kind of aid like an amplifier. Instead, if you don’t want to use an amplifier, you can use headphones. Plug them into your electric guitar, and then you can play your guitar wherever you want. As you play the guitar normally, you will start to realize that you can use the volume and tone controls on your guitar as you would normally. Some headphone boxes even produce the same effects as regular amplifiers, like gain, reverb, tone controls, and processors.

You can also choose to use a home stereo or boom box. Use a special, inexpensive adapter that costs roughly $3 to connect the adapter and the guitar cord together. The adapter will have a female quarter-inch jack on one side with a male RCA or phono plug on the other side. Before you plug anything into a stereo or boom box, check to make sure that the volume control on the receiver is down as far as possible. If the volume is up, it could cause a sudden sound pop or surge in the system, which could end up damaging the speakers.

Once you plugged into the boom box or stereo, you can now turn the guitar’s volume up as far as you want. Next, turn up the volume on the receiver until you can reach a comfortable listening volume. You can also play with the tone control of the receiver’s to help control and shape your sound.

Once you get your electric guitar, you will have to take a few steps before you can start to play it properly. The guitar set up will usually entail you making adjustments for action, intonation, and string buzz.

Change the guitar strings

The first step you should take is changing your guitar strings. As we mentioned above, the simple act of changing your guitar strings can completely change the sound of your guitar. Start any guitar setup with a set of new strings. If you want, you can switch up the string gauges or strings sizes. Just be aware that a different string gauge will pull on the neck and bridge differently, so you will have to change your set up of the guitar accordingly.

After you have changed the strings of your guitar, you should tune the guitar to the pitch you want before you change anything else about the electric guitar. Tune it to the standard pitch, or if you play in a different pitch, tune it to the pitch that you play in normally.

Straighten the guitar neck

Once the guitar is tuned, the next step is to straighten the guitar neck. You should do this before you do any other action or intonation adjustments because the straightness of the neck will affect every other adjustment. Therefore, the neck should always be straightened first.

To adjust the straightness of the neck, you must first tighten or loosen the truss rod. This step can be a bit tricky, so if you aren’t comfortable doing it your guitar, you should take it into the local guitar or music shop. If you do an improper truss rod adjustment, your guitar will be difficult to play, impossible to tune, and it might even break the neck.

The truss rod is a metal rod that is encased within a channel or cavity in the neck of the guitar to strengthen it. It helps to reinforce the neck while bending it back into a straight position. Almost all modern guitars have an adjustable truss rod that can be tightened or loosened using a simple tool like an Allen wrench or screwdriver. Truss rods in electric guitars come in two styles: one-way truss rods, or dual action truss rods.

Truss rods that are short single action will bend the neck in one direction when it is tightened. However, when the single action rod is loosened, it does not cause the neck to bend in the other direction. Instead, it eases up the pressure on the neck, which allows the tension from the strings to pull the neck the other way.

If your guitar has a dual action truss rod, or two-way, it will bend your guitar neck in both directions. When you tighten or loosen a two-way truss rod, it will cause the neck to bend either way.

When you adjust the truss rod, you might need truss rod wrenches, wrench set, and a notched straight edge.

The first step to changing the truss rod is to check the relief or back-bow in the neck of your electric guitar. Using a straight edge or a notched straight edge makes this much simpler to do. The easiest way to test it is to play the straight edge against the fret or fretboard and then shine a light behind it. If you can see light between gaps, then that means that your neck is not straight.

However, if you don’t have a straight edge, you can use your strings as the straight edge instead. Press the string at the first fret and then press down the string down on the fret where the body and neck merge. You will see that the string becomes a straight line. You can use a capos to keep the string down and in place as you measure the distance between the frets and the string using feeler gauges. If the neck has some relief, you will find that the sixth and seventh fret has the most distance. As you get closer to the capoed frets, the gap between the string and the frets will decrease. If you measure and the opposite is true, then that means your guitar neck has back-bow. However, if the neck is straight, you will find that the distance between the frets and string is all equal. Therefore, the neck will not have to be adjusted.

There is no correct amount of relief you should be aiming for in the neck. When adjusting the neck, aim for a slight amount of relief, but ultimately it is up to each player’s personal preference. The amount of relief will also be affected by the guitar type and the style of music the guitarist plays. Therefore, you should try to adjust your truss rod until it is flat and then play it to decide what fits you. You can add more relief slowly until your guitar neck feels comfortable to you.

The guitar neck changes with the seasons, so you will have to get used to doing the truss adjustment before too long. You will also get used to how much relief you want in the neck for more comfortable playing. That being said, the average relief at the 7th fret is roughly .007 inches.

Before you start to adjust the truss rod, make sure never to over tighten it. When it is tightened too much, a number of issues might occur, including the neck snapping, the fretboard warping, or the neck becoming twisted. All of these problems are expensive and time-consuming to fix, so it is best just to take care from the start and never over tighten the truss rod.

One precaution you might take is to loosen your rod one complete turn. Once it is released, measure your guitar neck to see what the distance between the string and fretboard is. By releasing some tension from the start, you can get an idea of how tight the rod was before you begin the adjustment process.

Adjusting the truss rod on a Fender style guitar

Where the truss rod is placed will depend on what style of guitar you have. The Fender Telecaster gives you access to the rod in the heel of the neck, which means the rods can be adjusted when the neck is still bolted to the guitar. You will first have to remove the neck partially or entirely from the rest of the body. For adjusting a Telecaster and Stratocaster truss rod, first, loosen the strings and the two neck bolts that are farthest from the headstock/peghead all the way. Loosen the two neck bolts that are nearest to the peghead about 1/3 of the ways. Taking your time, remove the guitar neck away from the body so you can see the truss rod.

Next, use a flat-head screwdriver to turn the truss rod screw right or left. Take great care that the guitar does not hit the body of the guitar, or that your screwdriver does not slip and accidentally dent your guitar.

As you tighten or loosen the screw, only move the screw 1/8 of a turn. To add neck relief, loosen the screen. To reduce neck relief and add back-bow, tighten the screw.

Having patience through this stage is vital. Once you have turned the screw one-eighth of an inch, tighten the neck bolts and tune the guitar, keeping string tension on the neck. That way, you can measure the relief and see if you need to make further adjustments. If the neck still isn’t straight, continue to tighten or loosen at just 1/8 of a turn at a time.

Adjusting the truss rod on a Gibson style guitar

The Gibson style guitars give you access in the headstock or peghead, which is easier to adjust than the Fender rods. Because of this, many guitars have started to use the Gibson style rod more frequently for convenience of the guitarists. Many guitars will even have a decorative cover to hide the access hole, so you don’t have to remove the entire back of the guitar.

To get started, tune the guitar. Just like with the Fender style guitar, you need to have tension on the neck; otherwise, you cannot see how much you are moving the neck each time you adjust it. Next, remove the rod cover using a micro-screwdriver. If needed, try to lubricate the nut.

The tools you might need will vary depending on the guitar style you have. You might need a nut driver, screwdriver, or Allen wrench to perform this adjustment. Just like we discussed with the Fender style rods, you should only turn the rod 1/8 of a turn at a time. To add neck relief, loosen the screen. To reduce neck relief and add back-bow, tighten the screw.

Once you have slightly turned the screw, retune the guitar to re-add tension in the neck. If you skip this step, you won’t be able to tell if you have accurately adjusted the neck. Repeat these steps as often as necessary and replace the truss rod cover when the neck of your guitar is straight.

As you adjust the truss rod, it is better to take your time. It can take a few minutes for the neck to settle into its new shape. You might have to tune the guitar to pitch and then let it sit for a few minutes to give it time to adjust.

Set the guitar’s string radius

Before you can set up the action and intonation, the strings must be set to the same radius as the fretboard. Most guitar bridges will allow you to adjust the string radius through screws. Depending on the guitar type you have and what bridge the electric guitar you have will dictate how you do the adjustment.

Adjust the action of the guitar

Guitar action, or string action, is the height of the strings off of the fretboard. How high or low the action is will be determined by your playing style. A guitar with higher action is harder to play, but the advantage is that it gives the strings more room to vibrate. On the other hand, a guitar with low action is easier to play, but the string won’t have as much room to vibrate. How much action is on a guitar is the difference between long sustain and one with terrible sustain. If the action is too low, it might mean that there will be string buzzing. You might have to adjust the nut and the bridge to set the action on an electric guitar.

Set the guitar’s intonation

The intonation is the last thing you should adjust because it is the relative tuning of the guitar while you play up the fretboard and is affected by how straight the neck is the action of the guitar, and the string radius. Intonation is the reason why your guitar either sounds amazing or terrible. If your guitar isn’t correctly intonated, open chords will sound in tune while chords and solos played higher up on the fretboard will sound out of tune.

There is no easy answer to this question because the answer depends on what your budget and skill level is. The right electric guitar for you likely won’t be the right guitar for someone else, unless you have similar musical goals and talents. Here is what you should look for in an electric guitar depending on your needs.

Body Style

The electric guitar will come in three different basic styles: solid body, semi hollow, and hollow body. Which body you choose will depend on the sound you want to produce. If you want loud amplification with lots of effects, you should opt for a solid body guitar. Semi hollow guitars are more suitable for an acoustic sound and can handle high amplification volumes. Hollowbody guitars are best for creating jazz sounds at lower amplification levels because they can be prone to feedback.

Wood

The wood that your electric guitar is made of will impact the tone and weight of the guitar. If your guitar is made of more expensive wood, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your guitar will produce a better sound. For example, a wood like alder is lightweight, and creates a more balanced tone, whereas a mahogany guitar carries a medium to heavy weight and produces a warm sound with great sustain. The type of wood you pick for the body of the guitar will affect the tone, so consider this carefully.

Neck

The neck of the electric guitar is another variable you should consider. There are many options you can choose from, and you should select a neck based on your hand size. Necks can come in a “C,” “V,” or “U” shape. Depending on the length of your fingers, you might want to opt for a smaller “C” if you have smaller hands or are a beginner, and a “U” shape is better for players with longer fingers.

Some guitar makers don’t label their guitars through the letter system and instead judge it by width. Therefore, you might have to choose between “wide, regular, or narrow” and the depth range of “fat, regular, thin.” This type of system helps people who are shopping online to understand better what kind of neck they will be receiving.

Set Neck vs. Bolt-on

People have preferences when it comes to the neck, and believe that a set neck (or glued-in) provides a better sustain than a bolted-on neck. Some guitars like the Fender Stratocaster are only made with a bolt-on neck, whereas the Gibson Les Paul is always made with a set neck.

Scale Length

Scale length is the vibrating length of the string or the distance between the nut and the bridge saddle. The tonal quality your guitar can produce and the tension of the string at each particular length are affected by the scale length.

When you are looking for an electric guitar, you will notice that most companies produce one or two scale lengths. The first is the “Gibson” scale, which is 24.75” and is what gives the Les Paul its thick bass. The second length is the “Fender” scale, at 25.5”. This length is what provides the Strat with more clear, cutting sound production. While it is less common, you will also find a third scale length of 25”, which is what is utilized by Paul Reed Smith and other brands to produce its own distinctive tone.

Intonation

Intonation is the ability of notes to be played in tune as you move up the neck. Many times if the frets are too far apart, you will never be able to play the guitar in tune, making it useless to play it in a recording or performance piece. The fret distance above the 12th fret is where this problem most likely occurs.

Number of frets

During your search, you will realize that most guitars do come with 22 frets, but if you require a guitar that plays at a high register, you will need to purchase a 24-fret neck. It gives you a full octave above the 12th fret.

 

Finish

Luckily, electric guitars are not affected by the finish like acoustic guitars are. The guitar producers will take it into consideration when they make the instrument.

 

Bridge

Electric guitars tend to have either a tremolo bridge or stoptail bridge. The tremolo bridge, which is also known as a whammy bar, gives you the ability to dive or bend all the strings at the same time. People who want to achieve a metal style will want to have this ability, but they should be aware it does cause the strings sometimes to get thrown out of tune.

Pickups

Most guitars on the market will have two pickups, located close to the neck and to the bridge. The pickup closer to the neck helps to produce a thicker sound, while the other provides a treble “twangy” sound. On the guitar, you will see a three-position switch that gives you the ability to choose which pickup you want to use, or even to blend a sound between them. You can also find guitars that have a five-position switch, which allows you to combine the pickups together even more, and will change their phrase relationship to give you tones that sound more “glassy.” Not as common is a third or middle pickup, which provides you with even more sound blending choices.

Tuning machines

The tuning machine is a crucial element to your electric guitar. The tuning machines are what helps the instrument to fine tune and hold pitch. You can choose between an enclosed machine head, which resists rust and airborne corrosives, or open tuning machines, which might need more care or replacement.

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