First Electric Guitar Guide

first electric guitar beginner guide

Playing guitar is one of the most wonderful things to do out there! You will be glad to hear that you already took the most important step – considering it in the first place. Ten years ago I’ve been exactly in the same spot as you right now: I decided to start this wonderful hobby and had to decide on my first electric guitar to buy. Fast forward ten years and I’m sitting here having played lots of concerts in front of thousands of people. Back then I wished I knew someone who could give me an unbiased opinion on what to buy – which is why I want to help you out in this first major decision. Below you will find my recommendation on the first electric guitar you should buy!


What makes a good “first electric guitar”?

As a beginner, there are certain features to look for when buying a guitar. These are the most important things to consider for your first electric guitar:

Although you might be a complete metalhead, you will need a tonal flexibility in your first instrument. The quality of guitars varies heavily. Although you want something inexpensive, it has to be well-built. As you might lose interest (please don’t) in playing guitar in a few months, you should get something reasonably priced at the beginning.


My Top 5 First Electric Guitars

The following guitars are my personal recommendations for your first electric guitars. They all have their pros and cons, but score very well with the three categories mentioned above. They all will be a great choice for your first steps into the beautiful world of playing the guitar!

Beginner Guitar #1: Squier Fat Strat

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The Stratocaster is the most iconic guitar shape ever built – so I could not let a Strat out of the mix here! Squier basically is the more affordable line of instruments by Fender. These instruments are not produced in the USA and have more inexpensive components to achieve this great price. But don’t be fooled – these guitars are still worth their money of course! If you want these classic Strat sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton, you should definitely go for this Squier Stratocaster (oh, and practice your ass off). You will have all the classic Stratocaster features like a tremolo, a bolt-on neck and the typical hardware. To be more flexible, this is the “Fat Strat” model with a humbucker at the bridge position. This allows you to have more power to your rhythm sound and more flexibility (doom metal country here we come). All in all a very versatile instrument for a great price!

guitar-blog-buttonPrice: Around 100 USD


Beginner Guitar #2: Epiphone Les Paul

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The second most iconic electric guitar in history is the Les Paul. Gibson invented this shape more than 60 years ago and it’s still beautiful today. Epiphone is a sub-brand of Gibson, so this is as close as you get to the real deal in the entry-level department. Epiphone’s Les Paul has nearly all the features of the original: the correct shape (these differ from guitar brand to guitar brand), two humbucker pickups, a mahogany body and a fixed bridge. The Epiphone models are made in Asia and deliver a great value to enter the Les Paul world – a world with famous members like Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Zakk Wylde. With the neck humbucker you can expect some sweet solo sounds, but of course it lacks the “pearly” single coil sound of a stratocaster.

guitar-blog-buttonPrice: Around 100 USD


Beginner Guitar #3: Yamaha Pacifica 112

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Yamaha produces boat motors, motorcycles, golf cars, helmets – and guitars. While this might seem like a strange composition, their guitars are actually pretty good! With a solid alder body, a bolt-on neck and a very flexible pickup combination (humbucker – singlecoil – singlecoil) you have all the necessary ingredients for a great instrument. Its shape is roughly similar to the Stratocaster, but it still has its own style. Time for a flashback: I also started out on a Yamaha guitar and considering where I am now, it couldn’t have been that bad – right? On a more serious note: the Pacifica series are great instruments at a low price!

guitar-blog-buttonPrice: Around 100 USD


Beginner Guitar #4: Ibanez GRG150DX

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Although it sounds Spanish, Ibanez is an awesome Japanese manufacturer of guitars in all price ranges. It mainly rose to fame when guitar heroes like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai picked them up and play them ever since! The GRG150 is a great first electric guitar, as it offers great versatility. With two humbuckers and a single coil you can get many different tones out of it, and the neck is very thin and easy to play on (great for small hands!). The vibrato bridge might be a little bit hard to set up at the beginning, but it’s worth it! Combined with the basswood body you’ll get a great little piece of gear at an affordable price.

guitar-blog-buttonPrice: Around 100 USD


Beginner Guitar #5: ESP LTD M-100

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I have to admit that I’m a little bit biased here as I play ESP guitars on stage all the time. But the LTD sub-brand of ESP really produces some awesome musical instruments, even in the entry-level sector! The M-10 is clearly aimed at guitar beginners who prefer metal music (ROCK ON!), so don’t buy it if you’re into smooth jazz. It features a licensed Floyd Rose Tremolo bridge (not easy to set up, but a great system anyway), two ESP high-output humbuckers and an agathis body with a maple top. Plus: with the dark see-through finish it looks pretty awesome as well. A great first electric guitar overall!

guitar-blog-buttonPrice: Around 100 USD



Which guitar of the five recommended above you chose depends on your musical taste and design preference. If you want to mainly play metal, the ESP LTD MH-100 might be perfect for you. If you’re a big fan of Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton, you should definitely consider the Squier Fat Strat for a start. One thing that is for sure: each of these guitars will be a great first electric guitar to start your guitar career!

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