As a beginner, you either start from an acoustic guitar, learn the basics, and eventually find yourself strumming and picking out some strings on an electric guitar OR you’re exposed to an electric guitar right away as a beginner and all the wizardry that comes with it. If it’s the latter and you don’t know much about guitars to begin with, you’ll have to research a bit and that’s when things can get overwhelming. Lucky for you, we’ve put together this extensive buying guide that will not only hook you up with the best electric guitars for beginners in 2021 but it will also have a plethora of information about guitars in general. At the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped and confident while going about your electric guitar shopping.
If you’re ready to rock out and knock some chords out, let’s get started! And don’t worry even if you’re a parent looking to buy an electric guitar for their child, we’ve got you covered as well!
In this section, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about electric guitars. However, we’d like to start with one of the most frequently asked questions about a guitar.
Which One’s Better As A Beginner? – An Electric Or An Acoustic Guitar
To understand this, it’s important for you to learn the difference between the two. The primary difference between an acoustic and an electric guitar is that the former one comes with a sound hole that lets you play and listen to the guitar right through the soundhole, without the need for any amplifier or secondary device.
The other differences are the variation in the sound of the two and the action of your guitar. The strings for an electric guitar are easier to hold down, primarily because of the shorter neck width of your guitar – this is a significant plus point of an electric guitar, relief for your fingertips, and helps you get a grip on chords easily!
If you’re looking to play guitar as a hobby, you just want to strum some tunes in your lawn, and you want to keep things minimalistic, then perhaps it’s best for you to get your hands on an acoustic guitar. However, if you’d want to take a step up, you’re okay with carrying an amp with you, and you want to grow as a musician, you can buy yourself an electric guitar.
Price-wise, an electric guitar is usually a tad bit expensive than an acoustic. Oh, and you can also get your hands on a semi-acoustic electric guitar – that one comes with a soundhole, looks like an acoustic guitar, but you can also plug it into an amp!
What Are The Different Parts In An Electric Guitar?
Before buying an electric guitar and playing one, there are a few analogies and concepts that you should build a grip on. Let’s get you on top of them!
The head is the top-most part of the guitar that holds down the tuners.
The tuners help you set your guitar’s tuning. It basically helps you adjust the tension in your strings to fit the desired tone. There are a couple of tunings out there in addition to standard tuning.
The fretboard, also known as the fingerboard, is a long strip of wood on the front side of the neck. This is where you do certain finger placements to form tune placements that are known as chords.
Your guitar’s neck has a rod inside it that lets you change the tension in your guitar’s neck. This helps you change your guitar’s action – to keep it close or away from your strings.
The string retainers help keep your strings in place at the bridge of your guitar – even when you’re strumming them intensely.
The strings? Well, they’re the steel strings that help create the magic.
The pickup on an electric guitar picks up the signal from your strings and sends it to an amplifier.
The volume controls help you adjust the EQ frequencies on your pickup. They’re usually bass, treble, and gain.
What Should I Look For In An Electric Guitar?
Since you’re now aware of the basics, here are the things you must look for when buying an electric guitar:
An amplifier is a must if you’re planning to buy an electric guitar. This is exactly why most electric guitars come with the bare essentials as well as a mini amp! However, more often than not, you’ll have to invest in a better amp after a while.
Think of an amplifier as a speaker, but with effects to produce those cool guitar sounds you might have seen on Instagram/YouTube.
The guitar’s action is basically how much force you have to put on your strings to form a chord. With a high guitar action, your strings will be away from your fretboard, making you want to press harder to form the right chord positioning. A low guitar action will allow you to form the guitar chords without having to put much stress on your finger/fingertips.
When you’re buying a guitar online, make sure to go through the reviews and find a guitar with good action.
The body of your guitar defines the core of the sound created through it. A body with hollow areas will generate a different kind of resonance and a filled, solid body will create a louder, firmer sound. If you’re just starting out, you can start with a guitar that’s hollow/semi-hollow – the advice is valid for both electric and acoustic guitars.
Again, we’d advise you to go through the customer reviews and figure out what people are talking about. Is the guitar’s tone warm, deep, or mellow? Does it give you the room to create your desired sounds or not?
Comments around questions like these will help you zero in on a versatile piece!
There are generally two types of guitar pickups; humbucker or single-coil. The former ones produce less noise while the latter ones are usually louder ones! These pickups also help define the sound quality and texture of your guitar.
How Much Should You Spend On A Beginner’s Electric Guitar?
If you’re just starting out and you don’t have much to spend, we’d suggest you keep your budget around $150 - $200 – this includes the electric guitar and all the accessories you need to get going for a while.
However, if you’re serious about it and would want to grow rapidly, we’d suggest you keep your budget around $400 - $600 and get yourself a guitar that’ll last you through your beginner-to-professional journey.
If you’re buying for a kid, we’d suggest you look no further than the guitars mentioned above!
Best Beginner Electric Guitar FAQ
Q: What are electric guitars?
A: An electric guitar is a guitar that doesn’t have a sound hole like acoustic does and doesn't have that pluck-strings-only mechanism. Instead, it features a pickup switch that engages with the frequencies created from strings to produce sounds and forwards the signal towards an audio output device.
Q: Is an electrical guitar easier to learn than an acoustic?
A: This is a complete beginner question and here's the answer:
There are two types of guitarists; lead guitarists and rhythm guitarists. The lead guitarists usually play the main chords and the rhythm guitarists add those lovely harmonics to the overall sound. There's absolutely no difference between how the two guitars (acoustic and electric) are played. The difference only exists in the tone of the two. In other words, both types of guitars have the same difficulty level in the learning spectrum.