electric guitar reviews | electric guitar buying guide for beginners

I listen to so many different kinds of music, my playlists are kind of nuts with classical followed by Steve Morse, then some country song. Listen and watch Keith Richards in that Stones documentary, “Return to Hyde Park”.
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Hard-rock and heavy-metal guitarists use power chords with distortion to create a heavy or ominous sound. They achieve this mood by playing low notes with distortion. The distorted tone they use really limits them to power chords, because full chords (chords with more than two different notes in them) can sound like mud with heavy distortion.
What’s the perfect electric guitar for you? For many experienced players, that answer changes with the song and their mood. If you’re unsure where to start, find inspiration in your favorite music. Even the greatest guitar players of all time have idols and influences. As you progress as a player, you’ll find a style and tone that’s all your own.
Jackson’s JS22 Dinky is an affordable guitar that would suit advanced players as much as it would beginners! With a good dose of edge and elegance, it’s perfect for anything from soft rock to thrash metal. It’s a great looking instrument – featuring an arched-top basswood body with a deep double-cutaway design, allowing ample access to 24 jumbo frets on the neck, which is a bolt-on graphite-reinforced maple ‘speed’ neck. It’s fast, sturdy, and fun to play on. The guitar is voiced by two high-output Jackon-designed humbuckers, which offer the classic Jackson tone, and make light work of both clean and distorted tones. The black hardware, tremolo bridge, and classic Jackson headstock finish it off nicely. Check out our full review of the JS22 here.
B.C. Rich manufactured a ten-string six-course electric guitar, the Bich, whose radical shape positioned the machine heads for the four secondary strings onto the body, avoiding the head-heaviness of many electric twelve-string guitars. However, many players bought it for the body shape or electrics and simply removed the extra strings. The company recognized this and released six-string models of the Bich, a shape now generally incorporated into their standard Warlock.
The need for the amplified guitar became apparent[according to whom?] during the big band era as orchestras increased in size, particularly when acoustic guitars had to compete with large, loud brass sections.[citation needed] The first electric guitars used in jazz were hollow archtop acoustic guitar bodies with electromagnetic transducers. Early electric guitar manufacturers include Rickenbacker in 1932; Dobro in 1933; National, AudioVox and Volu-tone in 1934; Vega, Epiphone (Electrophone and Electar), and Gibson in 1935 and many others by 1936.
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Several magazines and websites have compiled what they intend as lists of the greatest guitarists—for example The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, or 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World magazine.

Obviously it’s difficult to have a list that caters to everyones personal taste… and it’s also difficult to tell on exactly what makes a ‘great’ guitarist (technical ability? songwriting prowess?) … but to have Kurt Cobain to appear higher up the list than Nuno, Dimebag, Hammett, Satriani and Vai…. I’m a little confused. Still, some great names in there. Good on ya bro 🙂
Guthrie Govan’s Creative Guitar is the end all be all for learning guitar. Buy it and you will gain an amazing insight into playing and philosophy behind it. It’s honestly great for everyone, from beginners to experts. Get it my friend.
I keep coming back to this point because it’s absolutely essential: learn how to solo over chords. I don’t mean simple chord arpeggiating, even though that has its place, too. If you can follow the chord changes with smooth, soulful playing, you will never be fenced in. You can drop into any style, any band, and any situation. Most of us get stuck playing a given scale pattern for years before something shakes us up. Make this the foundation of your learning with this book. It’s yet another Hal Leonard book (that guy really wanted you to learn to play), with the same audio perks as the guide above. This guide is perhaps a little over the head of most beginners, but if you grapple with it early, the rewards could be considerable. Fourteen scales across 96 pages means this isn’t an enormous volume of information to digest, so give it a whirl.
You could just try to be careful, and only play the three strings of the chord, but that is really hard. It means that you will never be able to rock out and hit the strings with any energy, or run around on stage like a rock god…
If you’re looking for a beginners axe with a little attitude, the Ibanez GRX20 should be one of the top choices on your list. The poplar body has a deep double-cutaway RG-style shape, with two finishes to choose from (Jewel Blue or Black Night). It also features a good quality bolt-on maple neck that’s fast enough for beginners, with a rosewood fretboard and 22 medium frets. Two Ibanez-designed Infinity humbuckers at the neck and bridge positions give this entry-level offering plenty of bite for distorted tones, but works just as well for softer, cleaner numbers. Considering how affordable the guitar is, the overall feel and sound you get is a big surprise – as we mention in the full GRX20 review.
After reading through Teach Yourself to Play Guitar, my opinion is that if you are giving a guitar as a gift to someone, this might be an OK book to accompany that. If you wanted to spend a bit more, or are looking for a book for yourself, I would go with the 2nd book reviewed below, the Guitar for Dummies book. It has online video and audio demos, and hearing what you should be playing helps when learning music… 😉
Some steel-string acoustic guitars are fitted with pickups purely as an alternative to using a separate microphone. They may also be fitted with a piezoelectric pickup under the bridge, attached to the bridge mounting plate, or with a low-mass microphone (usually a condenser mic) inside the body of the guitar that converts the vibrations in the body into electronic signals. Combinations of these types of pickups may be used, with an integral mixer/preamp/graphic equalizer. Such instruments are called electric acoustic guitars. They are regarded as acoustic guitars rather than electric guitars, because the pickups do not produce a signal directly from the vibration of the strings, but rather from the vibration of the guitar top or body.
Looking at the hardware and a good fixed bridge is sometimes more important than a tremolo-style bridge – especially if you are a beginner. Save the vibrato effects and epic divebombs for later on, when you’re a more confident player. A fixed bridge will also help keep your tuning in tact.
Double-neck (or, less commonly, “twin-neck”) guitars enable guitarists to play both guitar and bass guitar or, more commonly, both a six-string and a twelve-string. In the mid-1960s, one of the first players to use this type of guitar was Paul Revere & the Raiders’ guitarist Drake Levin. Another early user was John McLaughlin. The double-neck guitar was popularized by Jimmy Page, who used a custom-made, cherry-finished Gibson EDS-1275 to perform “Stairway to Heaven”, “The Song Remains the Same” and “The Rain Song”, although for the recording of “Stairway to Heaven” he used a Fender Telecaster and a Fender XII electric twelve-string. Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Mike + the Mechanics is also famous for his use of a double-neck guitar during live shows. Don Felder of the Eagles used the Gibson EDS-1275 during the Hotel California tour. Muse guitarist and vocalist Matthew Bellamy uses a silver Manson double-neck on his band’s Resistance Tour. Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson is also known for using double-neck guitars in the live performance of several songs. In performances of the song “Xanadu” during the band’s 2015 R40 anniversary tour, Lifeson played a white Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck guitar with six-string and twelve-string necks, while bassist Geddy Lee performed with a double-neck Rickenbacker guitar with four-string bass and twelve-string guitar necks.
The white circles along the top of the chord tell you that you should still be strumming those strings with no fingers pressed on them. If you see an X above a string that means you should try not to strum that string while playing the chord.
An excerpt: “The Dobro brand name has been identified with resonator guitars since 1929 and is currently owned by Gibson Guitar Corporation. Despite its registered trademark status, the Dobro name has at times been used generically to refer to woodbodied instruments with 1) an aluminum cone or “resonator” mounted so that the cone opens toward the top of the instrument and 2) an 8-armed spider assembly supporting the bridge.”
Yamaha are the kings of quality on a budget, and we’d be out of our minds to leave a Pacifica off this list. As we state in our full review of the PAC012, this guitar is an awesome budget choice. And because you aren’t paying for the name, you get a lot more for your hard-earned cash. The PA012 has a well-defined, but comfortable double-cutaway body, made from solid agathis, with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, with 22 frets. The two single-coil pickups and humbucker, along with a five-way pickup selector switch and tone controls, give you plenty of versatility in your sound. Throw in a vintage-style tremolo bridge and you have a very playable, comfortable, and good-looking package, with the sound to match.
Also, there are some cheaper Ibanez guitars that sound great. Fender Squires are not bad either, though I’ve seen some badly set up ones with really cheap fittings, so be careful. Buying a proper USA-built Fender Stratocaster will always be awesome though if you have the budget!
Also note that electro-acoustics are not electric guitars. They are acoustic instruments with electronics fitted so that they can be amplified, but you would not normally need to plug them in to get a good sound out of them.
If you’ve ever stepped foot into a music store, you’ve seen a Hal Leonard book. They’re iconic in the annals of guitar-learning lore. They’re not the hippest or the most accessible, but they nevertheless remain key fixtures. This compendium combines the three books of the method into one. Just about everything you need to know is in here somewhere, though it’s commonly said that an instructor is needed to parse the flow of information. Still, it’s a great reference and if it makes sense to you out of the gate, there’s the potential to learn a lot from this classic tome.
^ For more on this subject see Tomaro, Robert (1994). “Contemporary compositional techniques for the electric guitar in United States concert music”. Journal of New Music Research. 23 (4): 349. doi:10.1080/09298219408570664.
I have five great beginners products that will help you make the most of this course and you’ll find them all at The Official JustinGuitar Store. If you want to really support the site then please buy direct from us. 🙂
So we went for affordable, which still means budget-friendly, but with a bit more emphasis on quality. There’s no need to splash out $1000 dollars on a guitar – everything on this page is within the $200 price range, and are all excellent solutions for both beginners and experienced players alike.
Another negative I found was that this book focuses more on traditional music notation, and places guitar tablature into the background. As a guitar teacher, I believe that tabs are the next best thing to sliced bread, since it makes learning soooo much easier for beginner guitarists. And since learning the guitar is hard, anything that makes it simpler is more than welcome. On the other hand, if you want to learn to read standard music notation, this will be the way to go for you.
There are two main types of pickup you’ll find on a guitar suitable for beginners: a single-coil pickup and a humbucker pickup. Without bogging you down in the details of how they work, the single-coil is the classic original pickup, which typically offers a bright and sparkly sound. As they cut through the mix, single-coils are excellent pickups for lead players. Then comes the faithful humbucker, which – as the name suggests – ‘bucks’ the hum, meaning less background noise. Humbuckers produce full, meaty sounds found across the world of rock and metal, and are great for lead and rhythm guitar. However you can still play fast punk rock powerchords with a single-coil, just like you can play an upbeat country number with a humbucker! You’ll usually find two or three pickups on a guitar, although some models will offer just one. Guitars with two or more pickups will come fitted with a pickup selector switch to quickly change between them.
If you’re looking for one of the best Strats Fender has to offer, be sure to check out the Fender American Professional Stratocaster. Developed with pickup master Tim Shaw, its brand-new V-Mod single-coil pickups are voiced specifically for each position, mixing alnico magnet types to produce powerful, nuanced tones with original Fender sonic DNA. For metalheads, have a look at the Jackson JS32 DKA electric guitar. Swift, mean, and easy to play, this guitar offers classic Jackson tone and playability at a more than affordable price. If you’re looking for a Les Paul guitar, a great choice is the Epiphone Les Paul Custom PRO electric guitar. If you’re ready to step up to a Gibson Les Paul, the new lineup of Gibson 2018 USA electric guitar models is in-stock, so check out the collection page for more info. You’ll find the Les Paul Custom, professionally upgraded with a bound body, neck and headstock.
Learning to play a musical instrument is a challenging but ultimately rewarding experience. The guitar is no exception. If you are thinking of getting a guitar, you don’t need to head out to a specialty guitar store. Best Buy carries a range of acoustic and electric guitars for sale that will accommodate beginners as well as experienced musicians. An acoustic guitar does not require additional amplification to be heard, but an electric guitar does. Some acoustic guitars come with electronics built in so you can create your music both ways. If you buy an electric guitar, you will also want to purchase a guitar amplifier. As you progress, you may want to buy guitar pedals to create different sounds.
Playing power chords right up at the ‘dusty’ end (past the 8th fret) gets difficult, because the frets are so close together. In the next stage we’ll learn how to play power chords with a fifth-string root too, which solves that problem. However, it’s important not to rush ahead, so make sure you put your effort just into the sixth-string root chords for now.
I don’t write what I write lightly, and the above article is based on my experience with the majority of my students. Lots have tried to learn though books, and failed. You can’t learn music by reading about is.
In the 21st century, European avant garde composers like Richard Barrett, Fausto Romitelli, Peter Ablinger, Bernhard Lang, Claude Ledoux and Karlheinz Essl have used the electric guitar (together with extended playing techniques) in solo pieces or ensemble works. Probably the most ambitious and perhaps significant work to date is Ingwe (2003–2009) by Georges Lentz (written for Australian guitarist Zane Banks), a 60-minute work for solo electric guitar, exploring that composer’s existential struggles and taking the instrument into realms previously unknown in a concert music setting.
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“American-Professional-Stratocaster-Rosewood-Fingerboard-Electric-Guitar-Sienna-Sunburst/J46191000004000”, “brandName”: “Fender”, “stickerDisplayText”: “Top Rated”, “stickerClass”: “”, “condition”: “New”, “priceDropPrice”:””, “wasPrice”: “”, “priceDrop”: “”, “placeholder”: “https://static.guitarcenter.com/img/cmn/c.gif”, “assetPath”: “https://media.guitarcenter.com/is/image/MMGS7/American-Professional-Stratocaster-Rosewood-Fingerboard-Electric-Guitar-Sienna-Sunburst/J46191000004000-00-60×60.jpg”, “imgAlt”: “” } , { “name”: “Olympic White”, “sku”: “sku:site51500000030240”, “price”: 1449.99, “regularPrice”: 1449.99, “msrpPrice”: 1450.01, “priceVisibility”: “1”, “skuUrl”: “/Fender/American-Professional-Stratocaster-Rosewood-Fingerboard-Electric-Guitar-Olympic-White-1500000030240.gc”, “skuImageId”: “American-Professional-Stratocaster-Rosewood-Fingerboard-Electric-Guitar-Olympic-White/J46191000002000”, “brandName”: “Fender”, “stickerDisplayText”: “Top Seller”, “stickerClass”: “”, “condition”: “New”, “priceDropPrice”:””, “wasPrice”: “”, “priceDrop”: “”, “placeholder”: “https://static.guitarcenter.com/img/cmn/c.gif”, “assetPath”: “https://media.guitarcenter.com/is/image/MMGS7/American-Professional-Stratocaster-Rosewood-Fingerboard-Electric-Guitar-Olympic-White/J46191000002000-00-60×60.jpg”, “imgAlt”: “” } , { “name”: “3-Color Sunburst”, “sku”: “sku:site51500000030239”, “price”: 1449.99, “regularPrice”: 1449.99, “msrpPrice”: 1450.01, “priceVisibility”: “1”, “skuUrl”: “/Fender/American-Professional-Stratocaster-Rosewood-Fingerboard-Electric-Guitar-3-Color-Sunburst-1500000030239.gc”, “skuImageId”: “American-Professional-Stratocaster-Rosewood-Fingerboard-Electric-Guitar-3-Color-Sunburst/J46191000001000”, “brandName”: “Fender”, “stickerDisplayText”: “Top Seller”, “stickerClass”: “”, “condition”: “New”, “priceDropPrice”:””, “wasPrice”: “”, “priceDrop”: “”, “placeholder”: “https://static.guitarcenter.com/img/cmn/c.gif”, “assetPath”: 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His live performances are the greatest EVER in Rock n’ Roll history. He should be #1. Jimi SUCKS. Just watch live performances for Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, T.N.T, Moneytalks, (pretty much ALL of AC/DC’s songs)
Keith Richards on 10 and John Williams and Julian Bream on 74/75? That must be a kind of joke. Both, Williams and Bream, will easily knock-out 90 % of the Rock heroes, when it comes to guitar technique. Also some Jazz guitarists like John McLaughlin are much underrated. Musical skills are more important than fame regardless of the style a guitarist is playing.
Many of us learned listening to him and Dickey. There’s never been anyone like him since. He is unique and sorely missed by all of the folks for that era and anyone else that has listened to him play.
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In the most commercially available and consumed pop and rock genres, electric guitars tend to dominate their acoustic cousins in both the recording studio and live venues, especially in the “harder” genres such as heavy metal and hard rock. However the acoustic guitar remains a popular choice in country, western and especially bluegrass music, and it is widely used in folk music. Even metal and hard rock guitarists play acoustic guitars for some ballads and for MTV unplugged acoustic performances.
On any given day, you can walk into Norm’s and see some of your favorite musicians and artists rocking out. Norm’s offers lessons, repairs, trade-ins, and written appraisals. Although Norm’s vintage guitars are the main attraction, he also carries an impressive collection of basses, amps, accessories, and clothing. You can purchase Norm’s popular Lucky Brand shirt that appeared in the hit feature film Forgetting Sarah Marshall or the infamous Norman’s Rare Guitars shirt that Nigel wears in the classic rock comedy Spinal Tap.
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One Reply to “electric guitar reviews | electric guitar buying guide for beginners”

  1. Until the 1950s, the acoustic, nylon-stringed classical guitar was the only type of guitar favored by classical, or art music composers. In the 1950s a few contemporary classical composers began to use the electric guitar in their compositions. Examples of such works include Luciano Berio’s Nones (1954) Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gruppen (1955–57); Donald Erb’s String Trio (1966), Morton Feldman’s The Possibility of a New Work for Electric Guitar (1966); George Crumb’s Songs, Drones, and Refrains of Death (1968); Hans Werner Henze’s Versuch über Schweine (1968); Francis Thorne’s Sonar Plexus (1968) and Liebesrock (1968–69), Michael Tippett’s The Knot Garden (1965–70); Leonard Bernstein’s MASS (1971) and Slava! (1977); Louis Andriessen’s De Staat (1972–76); Helmut Lachenmann’s Fassade, für grosses Orchester (1973, rev. 1987), Valery Gavrilin Anyuta (1982), Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint (1987), Arvo Pärt’s Miserere (1989/92), György Kurtág’s Grabstein für Stephan (1989), and countless works composed for the quintet of Ástor Piazzolla. Alfred Schnittke also used electric guitar in several works, like the “Requiem”, “Concerto Grosso N°2” and “Symphony N°1”.
    Following the death of Les Paul, TIME website presented their list of 10 greatest artists in electric guitar. As in Rolling Stone magazine’s list, Jimi Hendrix was chosen as the greatest guitarist followed by Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses, B.B. King, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page,and Eric Clapton.[11] Gigwise.com, an online music magazine, also ranks Jimi Hendrix as the greatest guitarist ever, followed by Jimmy Page, B.B. King, Keith Richards and Kirk Hammett.[12]
    From the award winning team that produced the best selling Ultimate Guitar Book comes the most comprehensive book about the electric guitar. Its A-to-Z format covers more than 120 makers from around the world and details their successes and failures through 1,200 unique color, studio quality photographs. The book focuses on the iconic electric guitar with an introduction that places the electric guitar in a historical context, running from early acoustic instruments in the 16th century to amplification experiments in the 1930’s. The main body of the book is the A-to-Z of brands, covering the key 65-year period from 1935 to 2000.
    Of course, you will have to read at some points of your guitar studies (ie.: guitar theory, modal studies, etc.), but that’s not beginner stuff anymore. That’s why it’s nice to have a book as well, to be able to read up on the details of something you’re interested in. I recommend the Guitar for Dummies book for this, since it holds a lot of valuable info.
    I would have put Rory Gallagher and Mark knopfler a lot further up the list. And what about Chet Atkins? None the less, this is a great list and must have taken a huge amount of time and effort to do it. Thanks.

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