The brand of guitar that you choose is an important thing for new players to think about. Here’s a breakdown of the best guitar brands to help you choose.
The love of music is not born in a vacuum. For most of us, we start out as music lovers then decide to emulate our guitar heroes.
Take the classic example of Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival. The image of him on his knees, coaxing flames from the guitar he’s been shredding is the epitome of cool. If you’re a rock ‘n roll lover, you might’ve thought “I wanna play guitar like that.”
The only problem is you don’t even know what to look for if you’re brand new to playing guitar.
Here’s a guide to some of the most famous guitar brands to help you or someone you love to find an axe that will make them lifelong music lovers!
The Best Guitar Brands Of All Time
The guitar has a long, long history. Obviously, acoustic guitars make up much of that timeline as it was created in the 15th Century.
While there are plenty of well-known best acoustic guitar brands, like Martin or Taylor, we’ll be focusing on the best electric guitar brands.
You could write an encyclopedia on the subject and still find things to talk about.
1. Fender Guitars
That wasn’t always the case, though. They had to fight tooth and nail for their place in the rock pantheon as rockabilly favored semi-hollow body guitars. The electric guitar wasn’t even associated with rock, initially, which was initially dominated by piano.
Fender’s distinctive scoop-neck design is best suited for shredding, which helped the company gain traction as the style came into its own.
The fact that they have numerous excellent models doesn’t hurt, either.
Whether you’re looking to play country rock or brutal metal, there’s a Fender guitar for you.
There’s a wide price range, as well. If you’re just getting into playing guitar, you might want to consider whether you’ll need a Telecaster, Stratocaster or a Squier, depending on how much money you’re looking to spend.
Popular Fender Guitars
- Fender Player Telecaster HH
- Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special
- Fender American Standard Stratocaster
- Fender Mexican Standard Stratocaster
- Fender Mexican Standard Telecaster
2. Gibson Guitars
If Fender is the staple rock ‘n roll electric guitar, then Gibson is the gold star standard. That’s largely to do with the presence of Les Paul, who could qualify as the Patron Saint of Rock ‘n Roll.
Gibson’s best-known for the line of guitars that bear his name. Gibson hired Les Paul to help them segue into the post-war era.
He created the first solid-body guitar for Gibson, as well as the first guitar to use a humbucker pick-up, which would solidify their place in rock ‘n roll history forever.
If you’re looking to own a piece of history or play the same electric guitar brands that some of the greatest guitar players of all time, from Charlie Christian to B. B. King.
Popular Gibson Guitars
- Gibson Les Paul Standard ’50s
- Gibson USA SG Faded T Electric Guitar
- Gibson SG Special T Electric Guitar
- Gibson Explorer
- Gibson Hummingbird
3. Danelectro Guitars
Danelectro is best-known for producing authentic recreations of rockabilly-style guitars and effects. They’re no knock-offs, though. Danelectro is actually one of the original electric guitar manufacturers. Jimi Hendrix even learned to play on a Danelectro.
If you’re looking for an awesome-looking guitar with a distinctive sound for one-third of what you’d pay for a retro guitar, Danelectro’s your best bet. Its lipstick-style pickups have a unique sound that will help you stand out from the imitators.
Their 12-string is known to be on-par with brands that are twice as expensive.
Popular Danelectro Guitars
4. Ibanez Guitars
This one’s for the shredders. Ibanez has transcended its origins building replicas of more popular brands to become one of the most well-known manufacturers of heavy guitars on the planet.
Some of rock music’s most famous fret monsters came to prominence playing Ibanez guitars. Some have even designed signature models for the brand, like Steve Vai’s Super Strat.
If you’re looking to play a more technical style, with tapping and shredding, Ibanez’s distinctive thin neck will make that as easy as possible.
They’re not only good for “stunt guitar,” however. Both Beck and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett also played Ibanez, so clearly you can coax out more Classic Rock or psychedelic tones out of them as well.
Popular Ibanez Guitars
5. Jackson Guitars
Speaking of metal guitars, no electric guitar is more synonymous with heavy metal than Jackson’s iconic Flying V. They’re a newer addition to the history of rock ‘n roll, hitting the scene in the late ’70s. That’s when heavy metal and hard rock were truly hitting their prime, however, and is more of a blessing than a curse.
Jackson guitars aren’t just about a flashy gimmick, either. They have the same thin neck as Ibanez’s, making technical feats like tapping or furious flying solos a total breeze.
Their reverse headstock also allows unprecedented access to all of the frets.
No more bending your wrist in weird, unnatural directions. Not only will that slow you down and eventually cause physical problems, but it also creates unhealthy habits and poor technique that you’ll need to unlearn later.
As you can see, there’s been a lot of innovation and a fair share of genius in the short history of electric rock ‘n roll. These electric guitar brands will let you take part in that history and help draw it into the future.
Popular Jackson Guitars
- Jackson X Series Soloist SL5X
- Jackon Dinky JS22 DKA
- Jackson Dinky JS11
- Jackson X Series Signature Adrian Smith SDX
- Jackson Rhoads JS32T
6. Guild Guitars
Guild was founded in 1952 producing solely arch-top jazz guitars manufacturer that continues its long-standing reputation of iconic acoustic, electric, and bass guitars.
This venerable American maker was founded in the late ’40s to make jazz-style guitars, but they are best known for their folk, acoustic instruments of the ’60s. Not as celebrated as Gibson or Martin Guitar, Guild nevertheless makes dependable instruments.
Guild has an affordably priced and one of the most consistent manufacturers with its vintage models is outstanding. The brand now makes a range of mid to high-end guitars in California.
Popular Guild Guitars
- Guild D-150 Acoustic Guitar
- Guild M-240E Acoustic Guitar
- Guild OM-150 Acoustic Guitar
- Guild F-1512E 12 String Acoustic Guitar
- Guild A-150 Savoy Electro-Acoustic Guitar
7. Seagull Guitars
Godin owned an acoustic guitar brand which is Seagull.
One of their most distinguishable features is their head-stock shape which aligns the tuning machines and nuts and provides better tuning consistency. They also have a body that curves ever so slightly around the sound-hole instead of being flat-topped. The step away from traditional guitar design propels their inexpensive guitars into the reams of sound quality levels that rival high-end boutique models.
They have been used by a number of acoustic guitar artists including Peppino d’Agostino, Kim Deal and James Blunt.
The company aims to produce affordable guitars made to high-level specifications. Sustainability is also a focus of the company. Their mid-level range of guitars is available in a range of traditional designs.
Seagull has an affordably priced that has an impressive range of great guitars for beginners but also well-loved by seasoned players.
Popular Seagull Guitars
- Seagull S6 Original
- Seagull Entourage Autumn Burst
- Seagull Coastline Cutaway Dreadnought
- Seagull Maritime SWS Natural
- Seagull Artistic Mosaic
8. Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha’s piano and reed organ are manufactured in Japan by the Yamaha Corporation. They’re making a huge range of electric and acoustic instruments, also manufacture motorcycles, electronics, and sports equipment.
Their heavy involvement in music education led them to be one of the most successful acoustic brands for practicing musicians because of its uncompromising quality despite mass production methods and their notoriety for producing fantastic quality instruments, affordable beginner instruments are common knowledge this sometimes leads to a misconception that their guitars are entry-level however they produce many models which complement the most seasoned of players.
Yamaha produces fantastic bass guitars with accessible price ranges which is great for beginners. Despite this wide variety of products, the Japanese multinational’s acoustic guitars have been consistently well-made.
Popular Yamaha Guitars
- Yamaha A5R A.R.E
- Yamaha CG-TA TransAcoustic Classical Guitar
- Yamaha Pacifica 112V
- Yamaha Revstar RS720B
- Yamaha Pacifica PAC 611VFM
9. Ovation Guitars
Ovation has been crafting Acoustic and Electric-Acoustic guitars for over 5 decades. The Ovation Guitar Company founder specialized in aerodynamics, their original guitar was produced by luthier Gerry Gardener and featured a highly researched parabolic body shape. To give it its full name is known for its characteristic round-backed guitars and original headstock design.
Ovation was designed by aerodynamic engineers and master luthiers for optimization. They produce guitars in most price ranges, including entry-level instruments. The multiple smaller sound-holes yield better volume levels acoustically and also help to reduce feedback issues from amplification in electric-acoustic models.
Popular Ovation Guitars
- Ovation CS24 Celebrity Standard
- Ovation Applause Standard Nylon
- Ovation Celebrity Elite Exotic
- Ovation Exotic Wood Elite
- Ovation Elite D-Scale Acoustic-Electric Guitar
10. Washburn Guitars
In 1883, Washburn was founded in Chicago. It made guitars, mandolins, banjos, and zithers until the 1940s.
They produce a wide range of stringed instrument choices acoustic and electric, their acoustic basses are popular (see these beginner bass guitar options). Their entry-level acoustics are highly popular with junior players they make a lot of themed guitars.
The company began trading in the early 1880s however most of their work was engraving and customizing, or repair jobs. It has low affordable prices with some great models.
Popular Washburn Guitars
- Washburn Heritage Series HG12S
- Washburn Festival EA15 Mini Jumbo
- Washburn Michael Sweet Signature
- Washburn WI200 PRO
- Washburn WG587
11. Epiphone Guitars
Epiphone was founded by a greek owner last 1873 in Turkey which he moved to the United States in 1903, bringing the company with him.
Epiphone is an American musical instrument brand that is made with a wide range of electric and acoustic guitars, many of which are ‘value’ versions of higher-priced by Gibson models or Gibson guitars. Some of their best-received models are the Casino, Sheraton/Sheraton II and of course the Les Paul which is lighter than the Gibson Les Paul.
They have manufactured numerable worthy models and many have been played by a list which is so extensive even Wikipedia limited it to particularly notable “especially significant” players. Epiphone has an affordable and a rival higher-priced guitar because of its Solid/hollow-bodied models.
12. Gretsch Guitars
Gretsch was founded over a century ago around 1883 by Frederic Gretsch a german immigrant. He started a small instrument manufacturing company in Brooklyn, New York. The company flourished for generations, especially due to the popularity of their hollow body guitars with rockabilly, blues, and jazz musicians.
Gretsch had heavily endorsed the brand with its twangy, country, rock n roll/rockabilly tones, and beautiful designs and sound-hole aesthetics. Their models were adopted by rockabilly players and later bands such as The Animals, and The Rolling Stones recorded with Gretsch guitars.
13. Taylor Guitars
Taylor was a brand that began out of passion and the back of a car which has a similarity to PRS. It is the number one seller for acoustic guitars in America and has been running production for over forty years. Friends and coworkers Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug joined together to purchase the American Dream last 1974. They Geared toward producing the most high-quality USA made acoustic guitars wherein they name their business to Taylor Guitars.
Taylor himself was very innovative with design concepts Schemmer was a luthier with skills which outshone the majority of other luthiers worldwide together with the business brains of Listug they began their venture. It is proficiently built and expertly designed with exceptional high-end guitars that could produce a fantastic tone have great intonation and fret accuracy and are durable and expertly crafted with high-quality woods but obviously cost a little more.
14. Paul Reed Smith Guitars
Paul Reed Smith or PRS for short, was started by Mr. Paul Reed Smith in 1985 as a true bootstrap brand and passion project that is located in Stevensville, Maryland. They design and wind their pickups in-house and produce a spectrum of tonal qualities from a chiming Fender single-coil Strat, to humbucking Gibson sounds.
The high-end bespoke guitars they were producing had little competition so they had a good niche in the market but they have achieved plenty in a short space of time and are one of the few high-end bespoke brands to break into the mainstream industry. PRS had a great consistency and a superior quality guitar in high-end models with ultimate boutique customization.
15. Rickenbacker Guitars
Rickenbacker Guitars was started by Adolph Rickenbacker and George D. Beauchamp in 1931 with the intention of creating fully electric instruments which are favored for their distinctive ‘Jangle and Chime’.
Rickenbacker flourished as one of the most iconic brands both in the looks of their instruments and their sound which are associated with pop, pop-rock, rock, and progressive rock music they are also sought after for their smaller necks.
Rickenbacker is known for its epic range of stock and solid/hollow-bodied that have a range of low priced entry-level instruments. Their high-end guitars are absolutely unbelievable. and great craftsmanship.
16. Martin Guitars
Martin Guitars is more than twice the age of some of the previous brands they produce a range of acoustic stringed instruments as well as electric-acoustics. These high-end models are made in the USA. The company also manufactures guitars in its Mexico factory. It makes some classical and acoustic-electric instruments but basically is known for its large-bodied, Dreadnought styled guitars, the standard for acoustic players.
Martin Guitars has an affordable price and easy to play which is also good for beginners because of its consistent quality.
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