Holiday shopping is never easy, and it is only made that much harder when you can’t touch and feel your prospective presents before they get delivered to your home. So yes, the concept of buying a guitar online for the aspiring musician in your life is difficult. But hey, it’s not impossible.
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All you need to do is keep your eyes towards the comments section. There, you’ll find candid feedback on the overall build, sound quality and construction of each guitar, all from real musicians who have put them to the test. And these aren’t just opinions from amateurs; in many cases, reviews come from seasoned players who have spent years (even decades) playing a whole range of electric and acoustic guitars. So when they say a certain model is good, it tends to be really good.
After vetting customer reviews across a whole slew of online retailers, we’ve picked six top-rated guitars below worth giving this holiday season. Each of these electric and acoustic models have been chosen based on the quality and quantity of their customer reviews. Consider them a fool-proof present for any musician on your holiday shopping list.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘60s Electric Guitar was designed to stay true to its roots. It closely mimics the original Standard first made in Kalamazoo back in 1958 and is crafted to recreate the sound of 1960s Era Les Pauls. It even features Epiphone’s ProBucker humbucker, made with 18 percent Nickel Silver unit bases and covers (the same used by Gibson when it was first invented). All things considered, it is no surprise that it has been given a seal of approval from a variety of current musicians, with one exclaiming that it is a “very beautiful piece of equipment” with a spectacular build quality and feel. They even go so far as to say “Honestly in my opinion, Les Paul Guitars are the best to feel and play”. Now that’s high praise.
With hundreds of positive reviews under its belt across retailers like Amazon and Walmart, the Fender Acoustic Guitar Bundle is pretty hard to fault. Aimed at true beginners, the set comes with the FA-115 acoustic guitar, which boasts the quality Fender sound we’ve come to expect, as well as access to online lessons, a carrying case, tuner, picks, additional strings, straps and an instructional DVD — and that’s all for just $199. While it’s probably not the axe you want to give to a seasoned pro, it’s a great fit for the up-and-coming musicians in your life who need an entry-level instrument to start with.
Another beginner-friendly acoustic bundle that we’ve spied comes from Kennedy Violins. Like the aforementioned instrument, it comes with a whole assortment of accessories, such as tuners and instructional guides, that make it easy for absolute beginners to pick up and start strumming. Plus, it is constructed with dual-action truss rods which reduces the guitar’s acclimation period when moved into a different climate. It also eliminates the need for seasonal adjustment. And as an added bonus, the 4.8 star rated bundle comes with fast shipping, so that even the last minute shoppers among us can get a stellar holiday gift for their loved ones.
Chances are, your guitar playing friends and family members love the sound of a Strat. With its punchy-mid range and solid lows, options from the Player Series reference the tones and styles that solidified the Strat’s position in music history, while also ensuring all the features are also designed for the modern player. Of course don’t just take our word for it. There’s countless positive reviews to its name, all with the running theme that the craftsmanship of the Fender Player Stratocaster is hard to rival. One shopper notes, “I can’t believe the quality of this guitar. I’ve worked in a music store for 10 years previously, and I can’t tell you how many guitars I’ve played…I was amazed by its quality, the tone and the feel.” Another reviewer backs this up by stating, “Super super impressed by this. I wanted an upgrade over the Squier I started on 7 years ago (I’ve had other guitars, but I wanted a direct upgrade) and I was between this and an American Strat. I don’t regret the decision at all. It’s a pleasure to play…the tone is just right, crisp and sparkly.”
If you really want to spoil the guitarists in your life, look no further than the Fender American Professional Stratocaster Electric Guitar. Instead of reinventing the wheel, think of the American series as an authentic version of the original model (the same that was beloved by the likes of George Harrison and Eric Calpton), only evolved. Yes, it is the most expensive option on our list. But it also happens to be the highest rated, too. Its warm tone, stellar craftsmanship, clear tone and stunning finish are hard to replicate with other models, means that this product may very well be the last electric guitar your family members ever own.
If your goal is to give your friends a solid acoustic guitar on a budget, consider the Grestch Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (at $169, it is the most affordable axe on our list). But don’t let the low price fool you into thinking it’s a sub-par instrument; The quality is outstanding, especially for the price. As one Amazon customer notes, This guitar is the surprise of a musical lifetime. I absolutely love it. It sounds amazing and is super easy and fun to play.” And thanks to its lightweight, small design, it’s easy to tote around while traveling. For the campers, beach-goers, buskers and anyone who loves an alfresco jam session, it’s a winning gift.