Are you looking for the best electric guitar brands? Yeah!

Okay, choose from the best electric guitar brands to suit your needs and look great too with this helpful guide for guitarists of all levels! Would you rather get the proven model, or trust a relatively unknown brand? This is especially true for those who are looking to buy their first instrument. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of top 10 electric guitar brands which you can trust. We will talk about each, and explain why they are the best guitar brands. On top of that, we will mention some models which we have had the chance to handle in the past.

I know we are all busy…So here is the list of top 10 of best electric guitar brands in the world:

BrandsBuild QualityDesignValue
Fender Impressive, both the Mexican and U.S. Made. Some of the most iconic guitar designs out thereNot the most affordable brand, but definitely a positive value
GibsonAmong the finest electric guitars available todayTimeless designs which have become classics Great value, despite more exclusive price tags
PRS Made in U.S, built for performanceUnique PRS designs, which different but goodYou definitely get more than you pay for
IbanezGreat build quality all aroundMostly sharper Super Strat, which has become the their trademark.Legendary bang for the buck
ESPBuilt like tanks, especially the more expensive modelsESP's own solutions which features some of te familiar design Great bang for the buck
JacksonGood across the range Unique designs with a lot of Super Strat mixed inGreat value for the money
EpiphoneImpressive, depending on the model All of the Gibosn legendary shapes are offeredBang for the buck champion
YamahaOverall solid build qualityYamaha's own solutions with a lot of inspiration from other brandsTruly a bargain at this point
SchecterExcellent build quality and choice of tonewoodSchecter's own, aggressive designsSome of the best metal guitars out there. Definitely worth the investment
SquierSolid build quality depending on the modelStandard Fender body shapes and stylesThe definition of great value.

 Important:  Below are our more detailed reviews

Top 10 Best Electric Guitar Brands

best electric guitar brands in the world

Best Electric Guitar Brands #1: Fender

Fender Electric Guitar
If there is one company that is known in the guitar business, it’s Fender. After all, they are the ones who created the first commercially successful solid body guitar. Leo Fender, one of the founders and the genius behind the brand, gave us some of the most iconic guitars of today. We are talking Stratocasters, Telecasters and more.

Today, Fender guitars are among the most refined and best sounding instruments you can get. There are two families of models which we need to mention – Stratocaster and Telecaster. Each of these comes in a variety of versions. The reason why Fender is by far one of the best guitar brands out there is the level of quality they offer.

Fender guitars are made either in the United States or Mexico. There is a limited number of guitars being made in Japan, but those are only sold on Japanese domestic market. The difference in quality between the U.S. and Mexican Fenders is obvious but not too great. No matter which one you go for, you will get the same refined tone that made this company famous.

  • Build Quality

The craftsmanship of Fender guitars has always been top notch. U.S. made models are the best example of what you can expect from Fender. Reliable, good looking, and refined, these guitars are still the standard in the industry.

  • Design

While Fender isn’t known for innovation, their designs are considered classic and timeless. It comes down to whether or not you like the aesthetic, and most people do. With that said, it’s no secret that Fender guitars are built for rock and other, less aggressive genres of music.

  • Value

Fender guitars were never cheap, however you can still get one for a rather reasonable amount of money. The value on these axes is great and you always get more than you paid for.

Notable Fender Models

1. Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster

Fender’s signature series have always been some of the best guitars this brand was capable of producing. Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster is one of the most notable models in the series. I’ve only had the chance to play this Strat once, and it was enough to make me fall in love with it. The whole thing is tuned for performance.

The most defining feature has got to be the neck. It’s thicker than the standard Strat neck, which gives extra meat to work with when bending those strings. Even the fretboard was designed around this technique, with its narrow frets and flat fretboard. It’s not the cheapest one out there, but Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster is definitely one of the best Strats around.

2. Fender Standard Stratocaster

Next Strat model is the base version that brings the best bang for the buck. The reason for this is the fact Fender Standard Stratocaster is built in Mexico. With that in mind, the I couldn’t find a single flaw in the craftsmanship and I’ve owned this guitar for years. Everything about the Standard Strat is as basic as it gets.

That means single tone or sunburst finish, C profile neck with either a rosewood or maple fretboard and standard Fender single coils. Even so, the guitar sounds great. You can squeeze out a variety of tone colors from it, and it just dominates when you need precision. For this price, it’s a steal.

3. Fender Modern Player Tele Plus 

Telecaster is the original solid body guitar. Ever since this iconic model has only grown in popularity. This Tele we look it at here is a bit different. It comes packing an H/S/S pickup configuration, which you don’t see that often on these guitars. With that said, it feels and sounds awesome. I had it setup with a vintage Marshall Plexi and the sound was just impressive. There’s definitely more tonal range than you get in a standard Telecaster.

4. Fender Classic Series ’70s Stratocaster

If you are a fan of vintage Strats, this Fender Classic Series ’70s Stratocaster is something you need to check out. It comes packed with a U-shaped neck instead of the standard C shape, while also bringing a set of vintage single coils. The headstock is an older design that perfectly matches the theme Fender was after.

In terms of tone, it feels every bit as bright as a modern Strat, but it brings a different tone color. I had it hooked to a Fender Twin Reverb with a fuzz stompbox in the middle. The tone I managed to dial in was straight out of a Hendrix manual.

5. Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster

Speaking of Jimi Hendrix, Fender also makes a signature model inspired by this legend. We all know Jimi was a leftie playing a standard right-handed model. This led him to play it upside down, which became his trademark thing. Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster brings a lot of that aesthetic in a right-handed configuration.

We are talking flipped headstock and pickups, just like Hendrix had it. The guitar itself feels great to play, even though it took me a minute to get used to the reversed components. The tone is all there and is very reminiscent of Jimi’s earlier sound. Overall, it’s a great guitar for those who want something a bit different.

Fender is a brand that completely changed the music industry. With that said, it’s not surprising that Fender is the leading authority in the industry. Fender Standard Stratocaster will always in my top 3 Fender guitars. That is for sure. If you are looking for proven quality and versatility, their guitars are a perfect fit.

Pros
  • Among the most legendary guitar brands in existence
  • Impressive tone and build quality
  • Iconic style
Cons
  • Can be quite expensive depending on the specific model you’re looking at.

Best Electric Guitar Brands #2: Gibson

If Fender is Ying, then Gibson is Yang. The former used to be the go to brand for single coil precision work, while Gibson was the main choice for those who needed a bit more meat in their tone. This company has been around for a while, and is still making some of the most refined guitars available on the market.

  • Build Quality

Gibson guitars are among the elites when it comes to build quality. This brand has been the go to choice for many legendary guitarists exactly because they build rock solid instruments. This is more than apparent when you look at one closely and feel it in your hands.

  • Design

Les Paul, SG, Explorer – these are just some of the Gibson’s legendary designs. Unique and iconic, Gibson guitars have been among the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing models for a long time. This is a trend that continues to this day.

  • Value

Gibson guitars wildly range in price. However, the overwhelming majority of models that have Gibson’s logo on the headstock will bring an impressive value to their users. You just can’t go wrong with a Gibson guitar, that’s a proven fact.

Top 5 Notable Gibson Models

Gibson Les Paul Standard Heritage Cherry Sunburst

Gibson offers a whole variety of models, but if you want to experience this brand, Gibson Les Paul Standard is a must. This is as old school as it gets from a brand new guitar. The finish on this one is Cherry Sunburst, which is as iconic as the model itself. With two PAF humbuckers, you get to experience the vintage tone that launched Gibson into stardom.

The first time you plug this Les Paul into an amp, the sound that comes out will put a smile on your face. It’s that vintage growl of a legit PAF that you can’t really recreate completely with anything else. We pushed a Plexi into overdrive and rolled off the volume a bit for that true rock tone. We weren’t disappointed. Gibson Les Paul Standard Heritage Cherry Sunburst brings that same epic tone which the whole series is known for.

Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded 2016 T

Next model is a bit of a contrast to the Les Paul Standard we’ve talked about previously. It’s a basic, stripped down modern version of this guitar. Even so, the level of detail and build quality isn’t too different. It’s still an American made Gibson, and it still packs a mighty punch.

What really puts Studio version aside is its reasonable price. If you want to get a traditional Les Paul, but insist on it being made by Gibson, this is as good as it gets. The one we tested a few months ago left a great impression, even when we pushed it outside its comfort zone.

Gibson Firebird 2016 T

Firebird is one of those less known, but legendary Gibson models. The 2016 version brings the core of what this bodyshape is all about, with more modern components. Even though my experience with Gibson Firebird is very limited, it’s one mighty guitar. It comes with mini humbuckers, and the sound is pretty unique. You can play anything from rock to metal on this bad boy, without being limited in any way.

Gibson Flying V Pro 2016 T

Flying V is a shape that became popular within the metal scene a couple of decades ago. Gibson Flying V Pro 2016 T brings that same design in a more modern package. Even though it looks unusual, the guitar is very well balanced. I was more than pleased with the tone, which was very versatile to begin with.

Gibson SG Standard 2016 T

Along side Les Paul, SG is probably the next most popular Gibson model. Double cutout design makes it perfect for reaching those higher notes comfortably, while the whole guitar feels very solid. Rock comes natural to this axe, although it brings a lot of range to the table. Playing a legitimate Gibson SG should be on every guitarist’s to-do list.

There are only a handful of brands today which are on the same level with Gibson. This brand has been the backbone of guitar world for a long time. No matter which one of their models you’re interested in, the level of quality will be on a high level. When it comes to Gibson’s Les Paul Studio is the one I personally count on to deliver every time.

Pros
  • Variety of legendary designs
  • Great build quality and finish
  • Iconic tone
Cons
  • A bit expensive

Best Electric Guitar Brands #3: Paul Reed Smith

While it’s not as popular as the two previous brands we have mentioned, PRS is on a level of their own. American owned and made, these guitars are an epitome of quality and great sound. They have a completely unique appearance and offer a tone which has a distinctive color. Best thing about this brand is the balance price and performance. You get a lot more than you pay for with PRS.

Build Quality

For the most part, PRS get you that premium American made quality. This varies from model to model, however in most cases build quality is excellent. PRS likes to use various tonewood for their guitars, which sometimes results in an interesting tonal range and color.

Design

Unlike a lot of other brands which recycle the already established designs, PRS delivers their own creations. From our experience, PRS guitars are comfortable, easy to play and pretty capable on all fronts. If you want something that is different and somewhat exotic, PRS is definitely a good option.

Value

The value PRS guitars bring to the table is great. You can easily get a fine crafted instrument at a more than reasonable price. There is nothing overblown or overstated about Paul Reed Smith models, that is for sure.

Top 5 Notable PRS Models

PRS S2 Vela

PRS S2 Vela comes as one of the more extraordinary models in this company’s lineup. This is made apparent by the body shape that stands out from their usual designs. When I had some one-on-one time with this axe, it left a good impression. One thing that really stuck with me was just how light it was. That usually means a thinner tone, but not with this PRS. It plays great, and is pretty smooth.

PRS TRCGB SE Mark Tremonti

Much like any other brand out there, PRS has their own series of signature models. PRS TRCGB SE Mark Tremonti is one that stands out with the amount of warmth in its tone. This is a Les Paul design, but one that has a twist of its own. If you’re a fan of Tremonti, this PRS will get you pretty close to his trademark tone.

Paul Reed Smith PRS SE Carlos Santana 2010

Another name that is usually associated with PRS is Carlos Santana. He has a number of guitars that bear his name, and this one is probably the most popular one. It’s affordable, sounds great and plays like a dream. After mere hours playing it, I’ve realized just how expressive you can be with it. It impressed me enough to take a high place on my list of guitars that I have to get. Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to make one a part of my collection.

Paul Reed Smith Guitars SE Standard 24 

Paul Reed Smith Guitars SE Standard 24 is their baseline model that brings a lot of the features you can find in more expensive PRS guitars. It offers a great combination of electronics, hardware and tonewood. All at a price that makes it a bargain. If you’re looking for a neutral sounding guitar with enough punch to play whatever genre you’re into, Paul Reed Smith Guitars SE Standard 24 is worth checking out.

PRS SE Custom 24

Custom 24 series have been the bread and butter of PRS for a long time. This guitar has proven to be a really capable axe that can keep up with you no matter where you go in terms of music. A good friend of mine used to own one for a long time, which allowed me to play it numerous times. It’s one of the smoothest and best sounding guitars I’ve ever had a chance to play.

PRS guitars are among the best on the market. Their style, tone and design are unique, giving them a pretty good chance against much more established brands. PRS Custom 24 has been my go-to choice, and will remain so in foreseeable future. If you are looking for good old American craftsmanship combined with a killer tone, PRS is definitely worth checking out.

Pros
  • Great build quality
  • Great value for the money
  • Good tone
Cons
  • Pretty unique tone that won’t sit well with everyone

Best Electric Guitar Brands #4: Ibanez

If you have ever played or listened to metal, you probably know about Ibanez. This brand has been around for a while and has become a patron saint of those who like harder sounding music. Built for speed, Ibanez guitars bring are finely tuned instruments which enable the player to explore the limits of their skill. On top of that, any Ibanez guitar is going to be great value for the money.

Build Quality

While they aren’t known for hand crafted guitars, Ibanez build quality is legendary. Of course, that depends on the model at hand, but anything aside from their entry level stuff is going to be rock solid. More expensive models will let you know just what kind of quality you’re dealing with as soon as you pick them up.

Design

One of the features that defines Ibanez guitars is aggressive design. They combine sharp edges with great hardware to give you a guitar built for speed. No matter which Ibanez model you lay your hands on, those high notes will be easy to reach.

Value

For years, Ibanez has been the price to performance ratio king. That is simply their business policy. Even the cheapest entry-level models are going to hit hard and rank above their weight class.

Top 5 Notable Ibanez Models:

Ibanez JEM7V

Ibanez produces a number of signature series, but none of them even come close to Steve Vai’s JEM guitars. JEM7V is by far one of the most intriguing electric guitars Ibanez has to offer, and in general. It’s performance is legendary, just like the man who designed it. I’ve had a chance to play it once and it completely blew my mind. The thing was built to be an extension of your body, plain and simple.

Ibanez S770PB

Moving on to more neutral designs, we have Ibanez S770PB. It’s a beautiful guitar that packs a mean punch. The quality of tonewood, hardware, and components, in general, is pretty high considering the price. It’s a working musician’s guitar and an excellent choice for your primary axe.

Ibanez S670QM

This is a similar model to the one we just talked about. However it’s a more basic version. Aside from a different finish and several other factors, it’s the same guitar. Tone-wise, everything is on point and you can dial in a variety of great tone colors. S series is definitely one of my favorite. I have a lot of hands-on time with them, and they are on my list of favorites.

Ibanez JEMRWH

This JEM is an entry level version of the 7V we mentioned earlier. While it doesn’t have the same range as the guitar it was inspired by, Ibanez JEMJRWH still brings you a good portion of Steve Vai’s core tone. In a lot of ways, it’s a great substitute for those who are on a tight budget. I compared the two and the playability was almost on the same level.

Ibanez GRX70QATBB

Remember how we said that Ibanez has some pretty rad entry level guitars? Well, Ibanez GRX70QATBB is one that is worth mentioning. It belongs to the legendary GRX family, and brings a well-balanced performance for the money. I actually bought one of these for my nephew, and had to put it through its paces before I handed it over. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but one visit to a guitar shop took care of that.

Ibanez is the type of brand that offers a top tier guitar, as well as a beginners model that brings on the thunder. I definitely think that JEM7V is yet to be dethroned as the best Ibanez model, but the rest of the guitars we talked about are definitely quality stuff.

Pros
  • Built for speed and metal
  • Great quality
  • Value for the money champions
  • Rich range of models
Cons
  • Limited range of tone that is mostly oriented towards harder genres of music

Best Electric Guitar Brands #5: ESP

What started as an aftermarket parts company has grown into a real giant. ESP is a brand that is currently building some of the best guitars in the mid range segment of the market. Even though they are often associated with metal scene, ESP offers a wide variety of models. In all honesty, you will rarely find the same bang for the buck that ESP is capable of delivering. On top of that, their guitars are good looking as well.

Build Quality

Build quality is generally going to depend on the price of the model in question. Some of the more expensive ones are built like tanks, using quality materials and components. Entry level ESP guitars will bring the same type of tradeoffs other brands do, but the level of quality is generally at a pretty decent level.

Design

ESP guitars are utilitarian above anything else. With that in mind, there is beauty in their simplicity. ESP offers a variety of body shapes and finishes, however the most basic models are the ones that define the brand. In case of ESP, it’s all good in terms of design.

Value

The range of models ESP offers includes some pretty expensive guitars as well as entry level models. No matter which end of the spectrum you are interested in, you will see the same type of value for the money ratio. Needless to say, it’s going to favor the user every time.

Top 5 Notable ESP Models: 

ESP KH-2 Kirk Hammett

Both Kirk and James have a long and fruitful relationship with ESP. KH-2 is just one of many Kirk Hammett signature models which are available. It is also one of the most refined. The guitar is a beast, to put it simply. It has the range, the output and the finesse to push just about any playing style. Although I only briefly played it, the guitar left me in awe. Everything was smooth, easy to reach and just comfortable.

ESP E-II Horizon FR

For a more neutral experience, we bring you ESP E-II Horizon FR. This is one of ESP’s top tier models which packs a set of high output Seymour Duncans. Build quality is top notch, and so is the performance. We tested this guitar some time ago, with a number of us having the chance to play it for several days. Anyone who picked it up was in love it at the end of the day. It’s just that good.

ESP LTD Iron Cross James Hetfield Signature Model

Everything about this guitar just screams James Hetfield. From its design and finish, to its tone. It’s a Les Paul style body shape that is packed with two hard hitting EMGs that bring on the thunder like nothing else. Even though the guitar is made by LTD, ESPs daughter company, it’s definitely one of the more refined models in their lineup.

For the most part, Iron Cross is everything you would expect it to be. We like the neck profile and how the action sits. Add to that the massive output from those EMGs, and you have a winning combination.

ESP LTD MH-100QMNT

Another LTD model that is easily on the same level as the standard ESP stuff is the MH-100QMNT. The guitar comes from the very top of LTD’s entry level lineup, and brings a great price to performance ratio. I’ve had a lot of time to play with this guitar, and at first it didn’t sit right with me. As I played it more, I got used to the contour of the neck and the way its body ‘moves’. From that point on, ESP LTD MH-100QMNT grew on me rather quickly.

ESP LTD M Series M-100FM

Lastly, we have the M-100FM. This guitar features a body that is similar that Super Strat style Ibanez is known for, packed with a great set of pickups. This is a mid range guitar, but one that is very capable compared to its immediate competition. If you need an axe that looks good and plays good as well, ESP LTD M Series M-100FM is the ESP for you.

ESP guitars are centered around the heavy sound, there’s no doubt about that. However, the models we have shown you above are pretty neutral for the most part. If I had to pick the one that I can comfortably recommend to anyone, it’s the Iron Cross. Sure it’s a signature model, but it just has that core performance which I think is important.

Pros
  • Great value for the money
  • Good build quality
  • Great performance
Cons
  • Centered around heavier sound

Best Electric Guitar Brands #6: Jackson

Jackson is another great American guitar manufacturer that has been at the peak of popularity a couple of decades ago. These days they are still considered to be an authority in the industry. Current Jackson lineup includes some of their legendary models revamped in a new edition, as well as brand new guitars. People are usually divided when it comes to Jackson, but no one can claim that their guitars are not among the best.

Build Quality

For the most part, build quality of Jackson guitars is great. Some of their entry level models will occasionally have some issues, however that is not something that only Jackson has to deal with. On average, you are looking at a solid guitar.

Design

Jackson guitars always featured that Super Strat body with straight edges and more accentuated cutouts. That hasn’t really changed. While they might come across as crude at first, there is a fine balance in this type of design.

Value

Jackson guitars are still considered to be some of the best bang for the buck axes you can pickup. The value is definitely there, but it differs from model to model. In most cases you will get what you paid for and then some.

Top 5 Notable Jackson Models

Jackson Pro Series SL2

While it’s not the most refined thing out there, Jackson Pro Series SL2 is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Minimalist design combined with bulletproof components is the type of recipe you want if you’re looking for a solid guitar. Playable, with great tone, this Jackson definitely spiked my interest in the brand again. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced considering what it offers.

Jackson King V KVXMG X Series

King V has got to be one of Jackson’s most iconic guitar families. The one we are looking at here is a but underpowered compared to the original King V, however it also comes at a much lower price. The whole package is well made and quality control is top notch. It takes some time to get used to the Flying V body shape, but once you do you’ll refuse to go back. Aside from looking good, this thing also brings a mighty sound.

Jackson JS32 Dinky

JS32 Dinky is one of those old school models that has stuck around, and for a good reason. The guitar is similar to the SL2, however it brings a much more neutral experience. It’s all about that Floyd Rose style tremolo bridge, two kicking humbuckers, and a fretboard that is built for speed. While I wouldn’t say it’s the best guitar I’ve ever played, Jackson JS32 Dinky gives its competition a run for their money.

Jackson JS32T Kelly

This model stands out from the rest due to its modified Explorer body shape. It’s one of the more affordable guitars with such an exotic design. However, it not only looks good but it also sounds good as well. There’s enough juice in those pups to make any amp scream. Explorers aren’t really my thing, but I can’t say that Jackson JS32T Kelly was bad when I played it. On the contrary, it’s actually quite good.

Jackson JS22 Dinky

Finally we have the good old Jackson JS22 Dinky. This is more or less Jackson’s default entry level model. As such, it brings the type of performance every beginner wants. Especially if they plan on playing metal. The pickups on this thing don’t have a whole lot of range, but I’ve managed to squeezer a light fuzz out of them. There wasn’t much range, but the consistency of tone was more than satisfactory.

A lot of people will tell you that Jackson is not what they used to be. I’m not really going to try to refute or prove this claim, but their guitars are holding up pretty well at this moment. It’s still a brand you can trust to build you a solid guitar. Case in point that JS32 Dinky. It’s my favorite Jackson even though there are much better models in their current lineup.

Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Good build quality
  • Great tone
Cons
  • A bit rough around the edges
  • Pretty niche oriented

Best Electric Guitar Brands #7: Epiphone

What started out as Gibson’s daughter company that was tasked with producing affordable guitars, has grown into a giant. Not so long ago, Epiphone was the brand you turned to if you wanted a legit Les Paul but didn’t have the money for Gibson one.Today, things are vastly different. Gibson stepped up their game across the board, producing some of the absolute best guitar on the market.

Build Quality

While no one expects to see Gibson level of build quality, Epiphone is definitely up there with the greats. Their entry level models might come with some compromises, but the high end stuff is spot on. Long gone are the days when Epiphone meant questionable build quality.

Design

In terms of design, you are looking at the very same stuff Gibson has to offer, only done in a more cost effective package. Every legendary body shape found in Gibson’s lineup will also be present in Epiphone’s. Needless to say, these designs are timeless.

Value

Price to performance ratio has always been the strong suit of Epiphone guitars, ever since they first appeared. There is a variety of models which bring anything from entry level deals to much more refined packages. Those who are on a budget but still want some of that Gibson vibe will find that in Epiphone.

Top 5 Notable Epiphone Guitars

Epiphone Riviera Custom P93

Let’s kick things off in style. This guitar is one of Epiphone’s mid range semi-hollow models. As such, it has to meet much more refined standards. Many wondered if Epiphone was capable of delivering such a guitar, but the answer is a strong yes. With its three Dogear Alnico pups, this thing is a beast. If you know how to handle a semi-hollow, you will find that Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 brings a lot of range. At least that’s the type of impression it left on me.

Epiphone WILDKAT Royale

Next models is another semi-hollow design, only this time we are looking at a bit more neutral guitar. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s somewhere between a solid body and a semi-hollow. That would simply be wrong, but it does have a harder tone for a model of this type. It didn’t take me long to find the right setup, and off we went. Sound, playability – everything is on point.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Now that we mentioned some of the exotics, it’s time to go back to the roots. Epiphone Les Paul Standard is as old school as it gets. Legendary LP body style that brings a no-nonsense combo of hardware has always been the way to go. I actually have one of these, and after years of playing it keeps surprising me. I’d say it easily punches way above its price range.

Epiphone Les Paul-100 

The LP-100 is among the most affordable, but also the most popular Epiphone models. It is the quintessential beginner guitar. Epiphone Les Paul-100 brings you that classic aesthetic in a package that is affordable and capable of sounding rather great. While it’s not something you’d want to do a world tour with, this Epiphone is perfect for beginners and intermediate players.

Epiphone SG-Special

SG Special is pretty much the same thing as the Les Paul 100. The most obvious difference is the body style. Other than that, you get very similar electronics and overall build quality. A lot of people learned their first chords on this guitar, still keeping it as one of their favorite axes. I’ve played this thing a few times and it definitely has some juice.

Epiphone has been, and remains to be one of the best budget friendly brands out there. With that said, they also have top notch guitars in their offer. This type of policy only solidifies their position in the industry, which is something we are glad to hear. Their Les Paul Standard always was and remains to be our favorite Epiphone model.

Pros
  • Great value for the money
  • Good build quality
  • Decent finish
Cons
  • Often rough around the edges depending on the model you go for

Best Electric Guitar Brands #8: Yamaha

Yamaha is one of those names that you don’t often see outside the realm of keyboards and digital pianos. While their footholds in fairly limited on the stringed instruments market, their quality is well known. Yamaha builds some of the most balanced and best performing electric guitars in their respective categories. That is simple the truth. Now, they might not be as popular as other brands, but that is a whole different story.

Build Quality

When it comes to guitars, Yamaha operates at high levels of precision. Even their more affordable models are going to be solid right off the bat. It’s not the hand made type of craftsmanship, but rather high precision machine manufacturing, which they seem to have perfected.

Design

Yamaha’s guitars offer an interesting blend of modified Super Strat body shapes combined with Stratocaster-like pick guard. The end result is pretty interesting and unique, no matter how familiar it may be.

Value

One area where Yamaha simply shines is the value of their guitars. Due to their limited popularity, Yamaha is the type of brand that will set you up with an awesome guitar for a bargain price. Realistically, most of their models are undervalued to some extent.

Top 5 Notable Yamaha Guitars

Yamaha RevStar RS420

For a guitar that sits comfortably in the mid-range segment of the market, Yamaha RevStar RS420 packs a decent punch. Body shape is more reminiscent of a PRS than anything else, but Yamaha definitely infused it with their unique details. The sound is tight, very flexible, and I had no issues dialing in the type of tone I was looking for. A well rounded model, that’s for sure.

Yamaha Pacifica PAC311H

Pacifica is by far Yamaha’s best known family of electric guitars. PAC311H we’re looking at here brings a very attractive combination of pickups. It comes with Alnico V P-90 at the neck and Alnico V Humbucker at the bridge. The tone is something completely different, which I found to be rather refreshing. Especially if you need lots of expression.

Yamaha Revstar RS320

While it might look identical to the RevStar RS420, Yamaha Revstar RS320 is very different. The shape is the same, along with the most of the hardware. However, the tone is a whole different story. While RS420 comes with vintage humbuckers, the RS320 packs a set of extremely hot pups which are more modern. I personally liked this configuration more than the vintage one, simply because it offers extended versatility.

Yamaha Pacifica PAC120H

The relation between the PAC120H and PAC311H is similar to one those two RS models have. 311H is an old school design, while 120H packs a lot of that modern heat. What’s great is that both models feature Alnico based humbuckers. This means that you can count on having some of that vibe no matter which one draws your attention.

Yamaha PAC012

Last but not least, we have the Yamaha PAC012. This is their entry level model that features some Fender solutions and a hardware configuration that is pretty great considering the price. Even though I went into the studio knowing it’s a bare-bones beginner model, this Pacificia grew on me quickly. The guitar is simply playable and keeps up.

Yamaha electric guitars are considered to be the hidden gem not many people know about. That is a shame really as they deliver some of the best bang for the buck ratios you can get. Yamaha Revstar RS320 is definitely my personal favorite for a number of reasons. However, all of these models are just solid in their nature.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good build quality
  • Great tone
  • Lots of configurations to choose from
Cons
  • Lack of innovation

Best Electric Guitar Brands #9: Schecter

Much like ESP, Schecter started out as a parts company which decided to start building their own guitars. Right from day one it was apparent that their mission was to deliver ultimate metal guitars. Everything from their design, to the choice of electronics pointed in this direction. It didn’t take long for Schecter to become one of the go to brands that has reached the elite level.

Build Quality

One of the best defining features of Schecter guitars is their build quality. It seems that they always go an extra mile. Schecter’s bodies are solid, made of great tonewood depending on the application, and the array of finishes they offer are just impressive. In simple terms, build quality is not something you need to worry about with this brand.

Design

Schecter pretty much uses rather original designs for their guitar. There’s some of that Super Strat DNA in there, but you will be hard pressed to find many guitars which don’t have it. Comfort was always something this brand thought about, as well as aesthetic appearance.

Value

If you are looking for a top tier metal guitar, Schecter offers the best value for the money at the moment. That is simply the way things are. Their more elite models bring more versatility, but still retain that positive performance to price ratio.

Top 5 Notable Schecter Guitars

Schecter Blackjack Slim Line Series C-1 FR Sustainiac

Let’s kick things off with one of Schecter’s top tier models. Blackjack Slim Line C-1 FR is by far one of their more refined guitars. It’s slim, lightweight, and brings the kind of thunder that will give you goosebumps. With a set of premium Seymour Duncans, we expected nothing less. My brief encounter with this axe was one of the most enjoyable playing sessions I’ve ever had, and I’ve played many, many guitars.

Schecter Damien Special

Unlike the Blackjack, Damien is made for metal thru and thru. It features a fast neck, a set of hot EMGs and a sinister look. The guitar takes kindly to gain rich configurations, as well as drop tunings. You can djent, you can shred, Damien will keep up with ease. Overall, it’s my go to model in Schecter’s lineup.

Schecter Hellraiser C-1

Here’s one more metal marauder that is worth mentioning. Schecter Hellraiser C-1 comes packing a lot of output and a tone that handles all kinds of distortions naturally. We are talking mahogany body combined with a set of EMG 81/89s, which should be enough to spark your imagination. Plugged into a Messa/Boogie Dual Recto’s red channel, this puppy simple felt at home

Schecter S-II CUSTOM

Those who appreciate a more vintage design will love the Schecter S-II CUSTOM. It’s an original design which borrowed a lot of ideas from Gibson’s legendary SG series. Pickups are also in line with the overall theme, and they sound pretty great. There’s balance in the tone, the kind you don’t really expect to get from a Schecter. It definitely took me by surprise, a very pleasant surprise.

Schecter Omen Extreme-6

Lastly, we have the bread and butter of Schecter’s mid-range selection. Schecter Omen Extreme-6 is one of their oldest and most popular models to hit the market. This guitar brings a decent balance of price, performance and build quality. While it’s not as fancy as the previous models we have mentioned, as soon as you pick it up you know it’s made for serious business.

If you are after that harder tone, Schecter is by far one of the first brands you should check out. We listed some of their more popular models, with Schecter Damien Special definitely being my personal favorite. With that said, you can’t really go wrong with any Schecter.

Pros
  • Great build quality
  • Awesome finishes and details
  • Hard hitting tone
  • Great value for the money
Cons
  • Generally oriented towards metal

Best Electric Guitar Brands #10: Squier

Fender’s quality is as widely known as their steep prices. It’s no secret that not everyone can afford one of their guitars. This is why they acquired Squier a long time ago, and tasked the company to build more affordable versions of their guitars. In the beginning the quality was iffy at best, but today the situation is completely different. Squire of today is a trustworthy brand that brings cost effective Fender style guitars to those on a budget.

Build Quality

On average, the build quality is going to be good. Some models are pretty questionable, but others are on the same level with more expensive counterparts. If you are looking for a first electric guitar, or just a practice axe that you can use as a backup, Squier is most definitely up to the task

Design

Every design Squier offers comes straight from Fender’s book. Stratocasters, Telecasters and other iconic models are reproduced with a great level of accuracy. If you ignored the logo on the headstock, you’d have trouble figuring out if you’re looking at a Squier or a Fender.

Value

Being generally affordable, Squier is still the king when it comes to value for the money. They offer a wide variety of models, including the most basic one as well as high end stuff.

 

Top 5 Notable Squier Guitars:

 

Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Telecaster

Telecaster is considered to be the oldest solid body electric guitar in the world. Capturing that type of pedigree is not easy, but Squier managed to pull it off. Handling the Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Telecaster brought back some of the best memories of my youth, when Telecaster was the go to axe. This is definitely one guitar worth trying out.

Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazzmaster

Jazzmaster is not the body style most people go for, but this particular model is too good to overlook. We are talking great build quality, authentic design and a tone that takes it that extra mile. The guitar is definitely not meant for heavier genres of music, although we had a lot of fun putting it through its paces.

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster 

These days it’s hard to determine where Squier’s end and Fenders begin. Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 60’s SStratocaster is a perfect example of what we meant. It’s a well built guitar that brings admirable craftsmanship and a tone that is equally as good. To me, the difference between this model and a Mexican Strat was too small, which made me somewhat uncomfortable.

Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster

Affinity series is where you will find all of Squier’s beginner models. A decent size of today’s guitarists sharpened their teeth on one of Affinity Squiers. This Telecaster is not going to give you the authentic Tele experience, but it’s a great learning tool what brings an abundance of style.

Squier by Fender Bullet Strat

Similar to the previous model we mentioned, Squier by Fender Bullet Strat represents the Stratocaster beginner family. It’s a guitar full of tradeoffs, but you are rarely going to find a model more capable in this price range. I’ve played a lot of these, and even have one which I use strictly for practicing at home. I like it, even though it’s somewhat limited.

At the end of the day, Squier has come a long way in this pas decade. They upped their game in terms of build quality as well as selection. If you are just starting out, Squier is one brand you can trust to give you a perfect tool for the job. If I was starting all over again, I’d go with Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster in a heartbeat.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Authentic Fender style
  • Good tone
Cons
  • Not overly versatile or flexible
  • Needs a setup right out of the box

Things to consider when buying the best electric guitar brands

The brands we talked about today are considered to be the most trusted on the market. Even so, you might want to skip the bare-bones entry level models as those are bound to come with a flaw of some sort. We showed you a number of guitars from each of the brand’s current lineup. Those represent well rounded and balanced choices for beginners and intermediate players alike.

How to evaluate an electric guitar brand

Remember that each cited Mark has many different models, some better than others. Above all, the definition of how good a brand or model will depend on the personal taste of its user. When it comes to music, there is a lot of controversy and discussion about what are the best tone, the best touch, and the most beautiful design, ultimately the perception of each person is different. We try here only give direction for those seeking to know good guitar brands. This list is not intended to be exclusive or limiting. Of course, the amount you are willing to pay too much regard to the definition of the right guitar. Soon we will be adding this list marks a bit cheaper and cost-effective. If you think we missed any brand that deserved appear here in the list, send your suggestion to onlineguitarlab@gmail.com.

Finishing Thoughts

At the end of the day your personal preferences will prevail. The brands listed above are going to include just about every style of guitar you can wish for. This goes both for aesthetics and tone. I can safely say that sticking to my personal picks won’t leave you disappointed. Hopefully you have found this guide helpful. Do you like my choices? If so, leave a comment bellow and give me your two cents.

Read More: Best Electric Guitar Brands 2016