Best Electric Guitar Review in 2018

Electric guitar evoke many strong ideas. This may stem from the huge impact rock music has had on our culture. From the hip shaking days of Elvis to the death metal bands of today, electric guitars have played a significant role in shaping musical stylings. Choosing one has more to do with personal preferences than anything else does.

Several important questions to ask before buying an electric guitar.

What is your budget?

Best Electric Guitar

Most people will start with this question. They have a good reason to when you consider how expensive musical instruments can be, particularly once a person’s drive and skill have progressed further along towards professional competency.

Not counting accessories like amps, bags, straps, and a stand, you can expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars on an entry-level guitar. This is a good starting point for someone who is not sure if the guitar is for him or her. However, even these guitars have great longevity and will always be useful.

The next price level is about $300 to $500. This price jump represents better aesthetics, hardware, and assembly methods. Once you cross over to the next price level, $500 to $1000, you can expect a near perfect guitar. These are the guitars that new professionals play. However, you may be surprised to learn they are very similar to the less expensive guitars. They are set apart by increasing the quality of individual components.

If you are looking to spend over $1000 on a new electric guitar, then you will most likely be buying one handmade in the United States of America. The price reflects higher labor costs as well as components that are more precise.

What are the different body types?

There are three body types for electric guitars and they all produce a different sound.

Hollow Body

These are most like an acoustic guitar. Their design results in greater resonance that is popular with jazz guitarists. Most likely, you will experience some feedback when playing a hollow body because they usually have an arched top.

Semi-Hollow Body

These are similar to their hollow cousins, but there is a solid wood block in the center that increases stability and lengthens the sustain. They also have less feedback and are more versatile than hollow bodies. They are more popular with blues and punk rock players.

Solid Body

Just like it sounds, these guitars are made from a single piece of wood, often cut into ornate shapes. Resonance is not such a big factor when choosing a solid body instrument, and there is more reliance on the electronic components to create the sound you desire.

How does the pickup make a difference?

There are two main styles of pickups available and they each interact differently with the body type to create a variety of sounds.

Single-coil pickup

These are made by wrapping a single piece of thing wire around a magnet. This creates a magnetic field that converts the strings vibrations into an electronic signal.

Humbucker pickups

If you were to wind two single-coil pickups together, arranging the magnetic polarity opposite of one another, you would have a humbucker. These produce a louder sound and work for harder styles of music like heavy metal and rock.

It is possible for there to be more than one pickup on a guitar. In fact, there often is a pick up on the bridge and the neck. They do not have to be the same kind of pickup either. It is better to have at least two types of pickups to increase the tonality of the guitar. Better guitars have toggles that let you switch which one you are controlling at any moment.

How is the guitar constructed?

A quick way to know the budget level of the guitar you are considering is to look at how the neck is constructed. Lower value guitars will have bolt-on necks. This is the easiest to assemble and the easiest to break. However, it does not offer the best resonance.

Set necks are slightly higher in quality. They are glued into place and provide more stability than bolt-on necks. The added cost also gives you better resonance and sustain.

Neck-through guitars are going to produce even more resonance and sustain. They will also be less likely to experience damage. The downside is they are more difficult to repair if they do break.

Who will use the guitar?

Finally, this is definitely the most important question to ask. The player’s preferences will supersede anything other people might know about guitars. Understanding the type of music that you, or the player, will practice and perform makes a difference. Your skill level will also affect how much you want to invest in a new instrument.

Understanding these two things will help you choose a basic guitar. Even if it is not perfect, it is possible to upgrade and tweak the various components to achieve exactly the sound you are hoping to achieve.

Five Best Electric Guitar

Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster Beginner Electric Guitar

As an entry-level guitar, this one will satisfy many new players. The price is reasonable enough for someone who is just learning how to play. Stringed instruments often take a beating during shipping so it is best to budget some time for this guitar to be tuned. Less expensive instruments like this one often benefit the most from a quick trip to an expert for setup and tuning. This is part of the normal cost of owning a guitar and should not be cause for alarm.

Best Electric Guitar

Fender designed this guitar to evoke the nostalgic tones of the original solid-body guitars by using two single-coil Telecaster pick-ups. They are top loading which makes changing the strings easier. It also makes these guitars easier to turn. Fender made this guitar comfortable to hold by using a c-shaped neck, which fits the curve of your palm perfectly. Whether you choose the maple fingerboard or the rosewood fingerboard, you will still experience the specially shaped neck.

Note intonation is important for new players to begin enjoying the sound they produce. This guitar has a six-saddle bridge design to increase the accuracy of note intonation. It is also possible to adjust the string height, making it closer or further away from the fingerboard. The three way pickup selectors make this guitar suitable for a wide range of musical styles.

Pros

  • Available in 11 colors and two fingerboards
  • Available in both right and left-handed versions
  • Solid entry-level guitar

Cons

  • Switch is low quality
  • Goes out of tune quickly
  • Will benefit from a professional setup and tuning out of the box

Schecter OMEN-6 6-String Electric Guitar

It used to be that Schecter just made aftermarket accessories for guitars.

Best Electric Guitar

Eventually, they decided to use their own parts to create a custom line of Schecter guitars. This is one of their entry-level offerings for the beginner player. It does not look or play like an entry-level instrument though. The rosewood fretboard is not only aesthetically pleasing but it has 24 x-jumbo frets on a 25.5” scale maple neck. This is ideal for heavy music, but you can also use it for jazzier styles with some adjustments. A basswood single-cut body compliments this six-string guitar. The neck and bridge humbucking pickups are Diamond Plus by Schecter.

There are single tone and single volume controls that are well placed to reduce distractions or accidents while playing. Nothing is worse than knocking these controls in the middle of a song that has you enthusiastically playing. This is an excellent guitar for the player who just wants to jam with friends on the weekends or play in a garage band. Small venues are a good place to test the limits of this guitar’s performance abilities. When you get on stage with this guitar, no one will know how inexpensive it was.

Pros

  • Playable out of the box with minor tuning adjustments
  • Beautiful construction and coloring
  • 25.5” maple neck

Cons

  • Fret is rough and needs some minor filing
  • Very heavy for size
  • May need professional setup and tuning before it can be played

ESP LTD EC-256FM

Both rhythm and lead players like this guitar. It has been called “an aggressive rock machine” because of its lengthy sustain and thin neck. The humbucking pickups help its reputation as well because they are so tonally versatile. They come with standard LTD tuners and the three-way toggle switch controls volume, volume, and tone.

Best Electric Guitar

A TOM bridge and tailpiece are standard issue for this guitar. Most guitars below $500 have a bolt-on neck, this ESP has manages to utilize set-neck construction and still keep the price low. The reward is greater sustain and a fuller wallet. The neck is thin and u-shaped for comfort. There are 22 extra jumbo frets on the 24.75” scale neck. The shark cutaway may seem like a style choice, but it actually makes it easier to access the top frets and get the most sound possible out of this lightweight guitar. Under seven pounds, except for the cherry version, it is easy to wear this one for several hours a day.

This gorgeous guitar will often be mistaken for something much pricier. Taking it with you to open mic nights or with your traveling band will draw a crowd whether you choose See Thru Green, Black, or Lemon Drop finishes.

Pros

  • Sharp cutaway for easy access to top frets
  • Coil-splitting is for both pickups
  • Set-in neck also provides longer lasting sustain

Cons

  • Light buzz on low-E string that can be fixed by adjusting the bridge
  • Cherry version is heavier than other colors
  • May need to upgrade the pick-ups depending on playing style

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Electric Guitar with Coil-Tapping

Best Electric Guitar

Essentially, this guitar is a Les Paul Gibson without the price tag. In fact, Epiphone specifically created this guitar to be just that. Epiphone engineered the Les Paul Standard Plus using less expensive components and Chinese labor to sound like the more well-known Gibson guitars. They did this by using ProBucker "PAF"-style pickups with coil tapping. The Tune-o-matic fully adjustable bridge auto locks the bridge and the LockTone tailpiece together to increase the sustain without the use of tools.

Five vibrant colors make this a topic of conversation at every show. You can choose between Cherry Sunburst, Honey Burst, Translucent Blue, Vintage Sunburst, and Wine Red. It still maintains a vintage look though with a flame maple veneer and one ply cream binding.

Like traditional Les Paul guitars, the neck is slimmer on these Standards. It has 22 frets and a rosewood fingerboard. This oilier wood absorbs unwanted noises for a cleaner sound. The body is solid mahogany and the top is carved, flamed maple. Chrome hardware is the final touch that makes this guitar stage ready.

Pros

  • Available for both right and left-handed players
  • Five rich colors to choose from
  • Sounds more expensive than it really is

Cons

  • Manufactured in China
  • Not a beginner’s guitar
  • May benefit from a professional setup after delivery

Fender Classic Series 50s Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Best Electric Guitar

Everyone seems to want his or her electric guitars to have a vintage style and Fender delivers with this model. It has a single-coil neck and a maple fretboard. The one ply, eight-hole pickguard is reminiscent of the 1950s. It does not hurt the vintage feeling that Fender aged the switch tip and nobs for a throwback look-a-like. A v-shaped neck and deep contours complete this nostalgic package.

A cool looking guitar is never enough though. The real measure is how good it sounds. This guitar lets you have a full range of classic Strat tones because of the way the middle and bridge pickups are wired to a five-way switch. The frets are well dressed and there is a floating action 1/8” above the deck. The sound comes across exceptionally well when recorded, so long as a distorted sound is not the goal. This guitar is built to produce a sound that was popular in the 1950s and that is important to remember before making a purchase.

Pros

  • Made in North America
  • Vintage styling is very accurate
  • Produces an authentic, vintage sound out of the box

Cons

  • V-shaped neck makes it hard to reach frets
  • Pick-ups hum and need to be adjusted or replaced
  • Not good for harsh metal sounds or distortion

Conclusion

As I stated at the beginning, so much of what you will look for in an electric guitar is influenced by your personal preferences. However, if you are still looking for a recommendation, I choose the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus.

It was not easy to come to this conclusion, especially since the Fender has some gorgeous styling. However, as great as it is, the sound it produces is too limiting. It is not an entry-level price, but anyone who learns on this guitar will appreciate their skills much sooner and have to wait much longer before upgrading.

The coil tapping and locking bridge increase the variety of sounds you can produce with this guitar, which contributes greatly to its versatility. Based on the reputation of this company, the components are unlikely to need to be replaced out of the box or even need to be professionally set up. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus is one of the most versatile guitars on the market.

Stephanie Su
 

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