Searching for the best beginner electric guitar can be a little confusing if you don’t know a lot about the instrument. This is the case even here in Manhattan where we have infinite options. Here are some tips to make your decision making process more clear. The first thing that comes to mind is quality versus price. Advertisements will tell you a lot of things. The truth is there isn’t much difference between a $100. and a $200. electric guitar. They are often even made in the same factory with different logo’s. Depending on what the logo is it may cost more. The best beginner electric guitar may have multiple names.. Keep this in mind when making your purchase. On high end guitars name can make a difference, but that’s not until you get above the $1000. range.
Any brand of $100-$200 electric guitar will do good to get you started. You really wont see a huge difference in quality until you get around the $400.- $500. range. What makes the biggest difference in the beginner range of electrics is the features. Electric guitars come in more flavors then acoustic guitars. It’s a good idea to understand what flavors they are and which ones you like.
A neck you can strangle and nobody gets hurt:
The best beginner electric guitar may vary on the way the neck is connected to the body. There are bolt on necks like Fender guitars made popular. This means there are 4 bolts on the back of the guitar that connects the neck to the body. There are also neck through body necks that the neck is glued into the body of the guitar which is the Gibson style. In general neck through bodies have more sustain. Bolt on neck guitars have snappy quality to them. Neck through bodies tend to be a little more sensitive. Bolt on necks are a little more durable.
Bridges, should I take Manhattan or Brooklyn?
Bridges vary on electric guitars. There are guitars with a system called tremolo’s on them. This is the Stratocaster style which is often considered the best beginner electric guitar by many. A bar that is called a whammy bar screws into the bridge and allows you to push it down while you’re playing effecting the pitch of the guitar. The downside to this system is if you break a string all of your strings go out of tune. This is because the tremolo is hooked up to springs and the tension of the strings pull on the springs. When a string breaks it adjusts how much tension is pulling on the strings.
Floyd Rose is a style of tremolo that involves locking the strings down. These were very popular in the 80’s. Because the strings are locked down it makes possible to do extreme dives with the bar without knocking the guitar out of tune. Although this sounds like it would be ideal for the best beginner electric guitar there is a problem when you break a string. It goes out of tune like a regular tremolo and you have to unlock the string to change it. This is not a quick process. I don’t recommend these to beginners as they are frustrating to deal with.
There are fixed bridges. A fixed bridge is one that doesn’t move. It’s permanently connected to the body of the guitar. These are great because if you break a string the guitar stays in tune. There are no springs involved. Changing strings is also easier with this style bridge. Fixed bridges have more sustain as well. I often recommend fixed bridges to beginners because they are the easiest to use and maintain.
Pickups by Ford or Dodge?
When searching for the best beginner electric guitar there are tow pickup options. You have Gibson style humbuckers and Fender style single coil. Humbuckers are chunky and don’t make a lot of noise. They tend to be favored by guitarists that play heavy music. Single coil pickups are more noisy but have really nice clean characteristics. A lot of blues guitarists like single coils. In a lot of cases humbuckers are paired with a Gibson style guitar and single coils are paired with a fender style guitar.
Eveyones got an Opinion!!
If I had to pick what I think is the best beginner electric guitar I would pick a Telecaster style. The reason is they have a bolt on neck that is strong, single coil pickups and a fixed bridge. There isn’t a lot that can go wrong with them and they take a beating. I often tour with one for this very reason.
One Stop Shopping:
Often you can find electric guitar packages at your local music store. It’s common these days for stores to put together a all you need kit for electric guitar. This means for a fixed price you can get the best beginner electric guitar with an amp, tuner and cable. This can be a good deal. If the guitar is in a box you should ask to see it. Sometimes quality control isn’t the best on beginner guitars and it will save you a trip back to the store for a replacement or repair.
Seeing it is believing it:
If possible it’s best to look at one in person. You should put the guitar in your hands and see how it feels. Fender stye and Gibson style guitars sit differently on your body. People often have a preference. You don’t have to know how to play when picking out the best beginner electric guitar if you’ve done some homework.
Best of luck venturing into the search for the best beginner electric guitar for you!!