5 Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

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I still shudder at the thought of my first electric guitar: it looked cool and of course, I treasured it because I didn’t know any better at first. Honestly though, with strings that seemed to be an inch above the fretboard, it was near impossible to play. I’m sure guitars like that kept many from not progressing in their development and surely led some to quit outright. Today, this should not be an issue with so many great, affordable electric guitar builders on the market. It’s relatively easy these days to find an instrument that will bring you endless hours of enjoyment while you improve your chops. Here I share a few at different price points so you can choose what best fits your budget. I did stay away from very inexpensive guitars as I’ve found they need more modification than it is worth over time to bring them up to spec.

1. Fender Squier 40th Anniversary Jazzmaster

If this guitar looks suspiciously like the much-heralded J. Mascis Squier from a few years ago you may not be hallucinating. It’s one of the best buys on the market at around $599 retail and is a real player.  The pickups are great right out of the box and it has many appointments of much pricier guitars. The bridge and saddle are much more stable than classic Jazzmasters of old and the neck is fast and comfortable to play with a nice C shape. A real winner. No case is included at that price.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

2. PRS SE Standard 24

An incredible value at $649 retail. PRS has one of the best reputations in the guitar manufacturing realm with many, many great, professional guitarists using their axes. For a fraction of the price of those custom guitars, the SE Standard 24 model gives you many of the features albeit without all the appointments and bells and whistles. The humbucking pickups have push-pull splits via the tone knob which allows instant switching between the humbucker and a single-coil response for greater tonal versatility. It has 24 medium-jumbo frets and a 10” neck radius which should be comfortable for almost any player in any style. Oh, and it looks terrific too and comes with its own gig bag.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

3. Pure Salem Jimmy

I’ve played a few Pure Salem models and they are extremely well-built, great sounding and are set up well from the factory, and easy to play. They come in many classic styles but the Jimmy is my favorite for beginners as it has a thinner body (thus more comfortable for beginners), a modern C shape neck for comfort, and a 2 3/16 string spacing which could make fingerpicking easier when you develop to that level and a combination single-coil pickup in the neck position and a humbucker in the bridge. The Jimmy is a bit pricier than other models here at around $940 but Pure Salem often runs specials via their website. Just a great, all-around terrific guitar that will outlast your beginner phase.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

4. Reverend Double Agent OG

One of Reverend’s first models and its best-selling, the Double Agent OG is a terrific place to start if you think you’re going to stick with the guitar for more than a year or so. It’s just a great guitar period and Reverend is a solid, reliable company with good quality control and consistency. It has a 25.5-inch scale neck, a medium oval neck profile, a stop-tail bridge, a humbucking pickup in the bridge position, and a P-90ish pickup in the neck position. It’s very comfortable against the body and comes in a variety of colors. Not the cheapest at around $900+ retail but also worth holding on to as you grow.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

5. Yamaha Pacifica 112V

The Pacifica has been around for many, many years and a countless number of great guitarists got their start on one. At $309 retail it’s certainly not hard to guess why as it’s the least expensive axe to make our list. It offers a very lightweight alder body, a smooth, C-shaped Maple neck, a Rosewood fingerboard, and three different pickups to allow you many combinations as you learn. You should have no trouble copying your favorite players and licks as you progress, regardless of what guitar your hero may use. It has a scale length of 25.5 inches and boasts 22 medium frets. It isn’t the fanciest on this list but if you are on a budget or unsure whether or not you’re going to stick with guitar, it’s the most sensible choice and one that you should enjoy.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

So there you have it, five recommendations to get you started whether you’re a true beginner or whether you have some experience on guitar already. The sea of choices is vaster than ever but I hope when you start researching which guitar fits your style best you at least have a template here from which to gauge the rest. Enjoying your instrument certainly makes learning much easier from my experience but most importantly, have fun.

**All products are independently chosen by American Songwriter editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

**All products are independently chosen by American Songwriter editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

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