Last update 27/07/2023
Our electric guitar buying guide will help you choose the best electric guitar that is the right one for you. This guide is for anyone from beginners to experienced players. Choosing an electric guitar is much easier if you know how to make an informed decision.
Table of contents
You will be ready to purchase once you understand the differences and variations between various manufacturers’ vast selection of electric guitar types. Hang on to your hat tightly; we will now begin. Get ready for first things first.
Which is the best electric guitar for you?
Your budget is the first consideration above all others. With this in mind, we recommend buying the best electric guitar you can afford. Indeed, a high-quality electric guitar will inspire you to play and maintain your enthusiasm to keep playing. However, know that an inferior ( not cheap) guitar will not inspire you; this is especially true if you are a beginner.
Inferior guitars are hard to play and are notorious for consistently going out of tune. Furthermore, those are disincentives for any guitar player, beginner or experienced.
Consider your budget for your new electric guitar and any accessories you may require for the guitar. The obvious one will be amplification.
Amplification is not needed to play an electric guitar. However, it will not be tough to hear. We will cover amplification and accessories later in this guide.
The workings of an electric guitar
You do not need to understand how an electric guitar works to play one. However, it’s most definitely helpful to have a basic concept about the workings of electric guitar components when shopping for one.
Guitar pickups simplified
Electric guitars use one or more pickups fixed to the guitar body. In its simplest form is an inductive sensor. An inductive sensor is a wire wrapped around permanent magnetic pole pieces or pole pieces.
Guitar strings are near the pickups. A string or strings vibrate when plucked. Vibration from the strings generates an electric signal within the pickup. Furthermore, the signal is sent to the amplifier via a cable. The amplifier boosts the signal and creates the sound of the guitar.
The construction of electric guitars varies; the components of an electric guitar often differ from different manufacturers and their guitar models and types. Furthermore, we will discuss all the variables found in electric guitars to grasp them well.
Construction of an electric guitar
Understanding the differences between the construction type of electric guitars is essential. However, each style has its quirks.
Types of electric guitars | Body Shapes & Sizes
The most common types of electric guitars are the following types.
Hollow Body | Semi-Hollow Body | Solid Body
Often used for playing Jazz.
British Rock, Classic Rock, Low Gain Blues
Fender Telecasters, Fender Stratocasters,
Woods used | Electric Guitars
The choice of wood is essential for all guitars, including electric guitars. The option of woods for electric guitars is arguably not as important a consideration as it is for acoustic guitars. We will now discuss the most popular wood choices for electric guitars.
Alder is a medium-lightweight wood similar to Basswood. Both kinds of wood are often compared. Alder features large swirling patterns in its grain. Fender guitars use Alder extensively.
Alder is clear and robust; it produces full-bodied sounds with firm mids, excellent lows, and decent sustain. Its natural color is light brown and is often used under opaque finishes.
Ash, as is the case with Alder, Ash is a popular wood. Fender often used them for the Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitars.
However, due to shortages of Ash, Fender is only using Ash in its high-end electric guitars and Alder in its other models.
Ash has a beautiful grain and is often used with a translucent finish. The tones are bright, sweet, twangy, and airy, with a slightly scooped midrange, very nice clear highs, and good sustain.
Basswood is an inexpensive, softwood, lightweight wood; it features a tight minimal grain light in color. It is often associated with affordable to midrange guitars; do not mistake Basswood for inferior wood.
Solid basswood bodies with flat well-balanced tones and solid dynamics.
Mahogany is a prevalent wood often used to construct acoustic and electric guitars. The wood is an attractive hardwood used in guitar bodies and guitar necks.
It features a light color with minimal grain. When used alone, Mahogany has an impressive depth and a warm, soft sound.
Maple is often used to construct a guitar’s Body and or neck. Maple offers a bright but tight tone and is often used where a light wood color is desired. It is often favored for constructing semi-hollow electric guitars for clarity and brightness.
Mahogany/Maple is a prevalent combination of woods favored for constructing laminated guitar bodies. The combination of Maple and mahogany features impressive sustain with a warm and rich look.
In addition, clarity and definition are added to the Maple cap’s use.
Rosewood is a popular choice for fretboards; it is a heavy wood with a warm sound. It’s rarely used for the Body of the guitar. One notable exception is George Harrison from the Beatles Fender Telecaster.
Walnut has a tone touted to be a little warmer than Maple. It features decent sustain and looks very attractive with an oil finish.
It is a very dark wood that offers excellent sustain, a bright attack compared to Rosewood. Ebony is far cheaper than Rosewood.
Maple is a prevalent choice for the fretboard and the neck. It is favored because of its lighter color and beautiful grain.
It is a very common wood for the guitar fretboard.
Every day suitable playing situations for the electric guitar
Common Musical Genres for electrics?
Most electrics are capable of playing almost any musical style or genre. You may be interested in choosing a well-known guitar for a particular genre.
The Position Markers
The position markers or fret markers are inlays located within the fingerboard, AKA the fretboard. They aid the guitar player by providing a visual reference for frets.
Using elaborate designs and materials, the markers can be as simple as a dot or more decorative. They are most commonly found on the following frets of an electric guitar. The 3rd, 5th, 7th, 12th, 15th, 17th, and 19th frets.
The fingerboard or fretboard
It is made from various types of would, typically Rosewood, Ebony, or Maple. Grooves are cut into the fretboard, and the frets are located within the tracks.
The frets are made from wire and located in the fretboard. The guitar strings are pushed down by the player’s fingers behind the unrest, effectively shortening the string and sounding a musical note.
The headstock is located at the top of the neck of the guitar. The string tuners and tuning keys are fixed to the headstock. As a consequence, most manufacturers attach their logos to the headstock.
The tuning keys allow each guitar string to be individually tensioned to the correct pitch.
The nut is cut into the fretboard where the headstock and fretboard meet. The nut is fixed into a groove, which spaces the guitar strings evenly across the fretboard.
The guitar has a fixed bridge on the Body of the guitar.
It locates each guitar string into a groove and spaces the strings evenly.
The pickups convert the vibration from each guitar string into a signal that can be processed into sound.
Different types of electric guitars | Important considerations
The neck is an essential guitar component; its size and type must be carefully considered. Guitar necks vary substantially; they are not one size fits all.
Chunky vs. Slim
One of the most important considerations for the neck is its overall size and girth. Additionally, chunky vs. slim refers to the neck’s size and how it fits the guitar player’s hand. Although preferences vary between players, some prefer a chunky neck, while others prefer a slimmer contour.
Incidentally, the right neck will feel right in the player’s hand. As a rule, every guitar player has a preference. Be sure to try as many guitars as possible to find your personal choice for the type of neck that works best for you.
Width of the neck
Moreover, another variable concerning the guitar’s neck is that the width can be wide or narrow. However, Classical guitars are generally wide. Again try as many different sizes as you can.
The guitar’s action
Furthermore, guitars are tuned to suit the player. The procedure is usually referred to as a guitar setup. Also, a guitar setup is generally done by a guitar tech or a skilled player.
The guitar’s intonation
A guitar’s intonation refers to the guitar’s ability to play a note accurately at every fretted position on the fretboard.
The scale length for a guitar is usually long or short. The distance from the nut to the bridge is the scale length. Scale length affects the string tension and will affect the guitar’s playability.
In consequence, a short-scale length is easier to play.
However, a long scale is difficult to play with when all other things are equal.
Electric guitar accessories
- A capo
- Spare strings
- Guitar picks
- A guitar strap
- An electronic guitar tuner
- A high-quality guitar stand
- A high-quality hard case or gig bag.
- Maintenance products
- Effect pedals.
Going Shopping: Store vs. Online
Finding a store is the best option if they have a range of guitars that interest you and are willing to give you a good deal. However, no two guitars are identical, so the rule is to try before buying.
Buying your electric guitar online is an excellent solution if you can’t visit a guitar store for whatever reason. Also, before pulling the trigger, be sure to check the store’s return policy.
Guitar service and support
Make sure you check the electric guitar manufacturer’s policy for service and report. Also, you should make sure you will get it in writing. Furthermore, reputable manufacturers will back up their products with assistance and support.
Financing your new electric guitar
If you need to finance your new electric guitars, be sure to only deal with reputable finance companies. Also, please read all the literature and be sure you understand what you are signing up for.
Tips for Test driving Electric Guitars
Play the guitars that interest you. However, that’s not always possible. Check the guitar vendor’s return policy if you buy online and need to return it.
Plug it in
Also, try to plug into an amp that is the same or similar to your own. If this is your first electric guitar, you will need an amplifier of some descript.
Etiquette | In-store Do and donts
- Treat the guitar with respect at all times.
- Be sure the guitar to return the guitar to where you found it. Alternatively, put it into a locking stand if one is available.
- If you finish evaluating it, give the guitar back to the salesperson.
- Don’t play with a high volume in the middle of the store. Ideally, play in an acoustically padded guitar room if possible.
- Make a list
You will need to consider a lot of information if you’re buying a new electric guitar for the first time. We believe in keeping notes to keep track of all the information you need to be mindful of as you search and try the electric guitars that fulfill all your criteria.
However, try to play some quality instruments when you have an opportunity to do so.
Last but not least, what will your new quality electric guitar be?
Finally, the market is confusing with such an extensive array of choices. Create a shortlist of possible contenders to fit your budget using our guide. If possible, find a store and try as many guitars as you can.
Read all the reviews you can find for the guitar types you are interested in. You may well benefit from the experiences of others.
Good luck on your quest to find the right electric guitar for you.