The best electric guitar for your money requires a bit of research. Thankfully, that’s part of our job, so we’ve done that for you. We cross-referenced the most authoritative and dependable sources of info to arrive at five options below. You’re welcome. Please note, these aren’t the only options, but they’re all very trustworthy purchases.
In the interest of time, we’ll start from least expensive and move on through to reasonably serious instruments.
As a general rule, a guitar worthy of an artist who wants the best sound and ease of playing shouldn’t cost much less than around 800 USD, but let’s be realistic. Most of us aren’t real flush with dough, and many of us are still learning the ropes, anyhow. We’ll cap our suggestions at $500 and presume if you’re spending more than that, you probably don’t need us to suggest anything for you, anyhow.
1. LES PAUL SL by EPIPHONE
At just 120 American bucks, this legit Les Paul guitar isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off. But you know what? Turn up the gain and power chord your way through the Sex Pistols’ catalog of songs, and it’ll definitely get the job done. And besides, for a hundred cash, you can almost afford to smash it onstage. Awesome present for your niece or nephew (and way better than that off-label generic axe you saw at Target the other day for $50).
2. YAMAHA PACIFICA 112V
This Yamaha is a tried and true classic used by beginners since the early ’80s. It’s $300 today in 2018, and all that money definitely went into making a great-sounding guitar which can take more of a beating than the average home appliance. It’s definitely heavy and looks a little corny, but nobody’s going to turn up their noses at you. After all, virtually everyone who plays has practiced on one of these at one point or another.
3. MODDED 1972 TELECASTER THINLINE by SQUIER
These next three guitars are getting into the serious business and cost around $500 today. This one is a Squier Telecaster modeled after their ’72 design. It sounds as good as it looks, and it looks great. You’ll definitely want a case for it, rather than a gig bag.
MusicRadar says of it, “you’re unlikely to find tones quite like the Thinline’s anywhere else, certainly at this price. Cleans from the neck and middle positions are punchy and persuasive, not dissimilar to fat P-90-ish single coils, but flicking over to the bridge humbucker yields a burly, resonant voice that screams for big open chords and an overdriven valve amp. That’s why it’s one of the best electric guitars for Indie and alt-rock players.”
You can do a lot worse.
4. FENDER DUO-SONIC HS
Also at $500 is this little powerhouse from Fender’s Offset Series. If it looks small, that’s because it is, but don’t underestimate the Duo-Sonic. It plays like a dream, sounds big, sounds clean, sounds almost anyway you like it to sound until you’re such a great guitarist that you absolutely, positively need a specific thing to fit your own, personal style. It has a short scale, so you won’t be playing crazy fugues or anything, but it’s twice the guitar the Yamaha Pacifica is for a couple hundred more. People of smaller stature with smallish hands will love this thing.
5. LES PAUL STANDARD by EPIPHONE
The everyman’s guitar. Some people learn on one and never quite like the feel or sound of anything else the rest of their lives. The Les Paul Standard is also $500 and comes in pretty much any color you like.
MusicCritic says, “The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar is one of the best guitars you’ll find on the market. It’s a gorgeous instrument with outstanding sound.This guitar comes in quite a few colors, so you can select the one you like. Let’s talk specs. The pickups are Alnico Classic ™ Humbucker; the fretboard is made from rosewood, and the top and body are 100 percent mahogany. All this means one thing: amazing sound which you’ll get many hours of enjoyment from.”
Once you leave the $500 range, most guitars worth spending more cost around $800-1200, and this money goes into any number of stylistic or technological attributes. You’ll need to do your homework on those, yourself, because there’s way too much to get into here.
Hope this little list helps! Cheers from us to you. And don’t miss last week’s MondoDIY on EDM trends moving into 2019.