Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?
When buying an electric guitar for a beginner there are important things to consider. The size, sound quality and the player’s musical preferences matter. Firstly, the guitar size is important to ensure that the player can be comfortable. Choosing one that is too large or too small can limit physical comfort during practice sessions.
Secondly, sound quality is a priority. Most entry-level guitars provide decent sound at an affordable price point but upgrading from basic models may provide better tone and sustain.
Finally, consider what type of music the budding guitarist wants to play; different types of music require different guitars with specific features like pickups and construction materials.
For beginners just starting out on their electric guitar journey, the instrument they choose makes all the difference. It’s important to prioritize a guitar that is easy to play and stays in tune. Cosmetics, body style, electronics, and tone matter too. With so many different factors at play, choosing the right electric guitar can be daunting for beginners.
In this Electric Guitar Buyer Guide, we’ll break down the process into some easy sections. Preferences to playing styles and technical feature requirements are good to know. With this, you can make an informed decision when purchasing your first electric guitar. We also provide plenty of resources for learning more about guitars so that you can find what works best for you. By following this guide, you won’t have to worry about making the wrong choice. You’ll have confidence knowing that your purchase will last for years!
Intermediate To Advanced
The electric guitar is a popular instrument among musicians of all skill levels. For someone who’s been playing for a while, the options when it comes to purchasing an electric guitar are a little different. An experienced player may already have a certain type of guitar in mind. Getting what they want is important.
It’s important to consider factors such as body shape, size, pickups, neck wood, fretboard material, number of strings and electronics before buying an electric guitar. Different makes and models offer various features that can be tailored to fit the individual player’s needs.
When looking for an electric guitar for the experienced player, one should consider their level of experience with the instrument and whether or not they would benefit from specific features such as humbucker pickups, locking tuners and/or a wammy bar.
For the aspiring guitar player, electric guitar buying can be a daunting task. Buying an instrument is a big commitment and there are so many choices to consider. There are guitars to fit just about every budget, no matter how limited your funds may be.
Remember, if a new player starts with a higher quality guitar, the more likely they will be to stick with it and make progress on their musical journey. When shopping around for an electric guitar, you’ll want to think about factors like tonal quality, playability, build quality and looks.
Many of these factors come down to personal preference but it helps if you have an idea of what you’re looking for before you start shopping. If this all sounds confusing or overwhelming at first – not to worry!
$300 And Under
Guitar players who are just getting started or on a budget will be pleased to know there are some great electric guitars available for under three hundred dollars. These guitars may not have the same range of features as more expensive models, but they provide an entry-level option for those looking to learn the instrument.
Whether you’re looking for a solid body, hollow body, or semi-hollow guitar, there is something in this price range that will satisfy the needs of any beginner or intermediate guitarist. Take into consideration factors such as sound quality, playability, and even aesthetics when narrowing down our selection to find affordable yet reliable instruments.
$300 To $1000
Guitars that cost between $300 and $1000 can offer great value. They can appeal to both novice players and seasoned veterans alike. Whether you’re looking for a full-fledged electric guitar or an acoustic/electric hybrid, there are plenty of choices in this price range.
It’s important to do your research before investing in a guitar of any kind, but the rewards can be huge when you find one that fits your style and budget. Usually in this price range, you can find upgrades that improve the overall quality of the instrument. There might be better pick ups, tuners and internal parts that make up the instrument.
$1000 And Up
Guitars that are $1000 and over are an excellent choice for the serious electric guitar player. For those looking to invest in a quality instrument, these guitars provide superior tone and craftsmanship that will last a lifetime. These higher-end models come with features such as improved tonal quality, better hardware components, and greater versatility. With so many choices available at this price point, it is important to find an electric guitar that suits your playing style and musical needs.
This Electric Guitar Buyer Guide provides all the information needed to make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase a higher quality guitar. It covers everything from body types and tonewoods to pickups and preamps, giving readers all the tools they need to choose the perfect instrument for their needs.
Whether you’re looking for a classic Stratocaster or something more modern like a semi-hollowbody with active electronics, there are plenty of options available in this price range. We’ll discuss different body types available, as well as considerations such as tonewoods, bridge type, pickups and electronics. With the right information at hand, you should have no trouble finding a guitar that meets all your needs!
Electric Guitar: How It Works?
Electric guitars have pickups which detect the vibrations of metal strings within the guitar body and convert them into sound. The sound gets shape through the guitar’s preamp circuit using the tone and volume controls then sends the signal to the output jack.
The guitar cable in the jack delivers the sound to a guitar amplifier. It passes through the amplifier preamp which can further shape the tone and then sound goes to the power amp section. Here, it is amplified by increasing the strength of the signal before sending it out via loudspeakers or headphones.
Body Types: Electric Guitar
Solid body electric guitars are designed with a single solid slab of wood. Some simple configurations can consist of only one pickup. They might also have a tremolo system but if a less expensive design there might just be a fixed bridge without a wammy bar.
These guitars are designed with a solid wood block in the center. This cuts down on feedback, adds strength and can help with improved sustain.
A hollow bodied guitar is hollow. They usually have an arched top and may produce more feedback.
Electronics: Pickups and Switches
Single-coil pickups have thin wire wrapped around a set of magnets, each string will have a magnet, which allows them to pick up signals from strings vibrating above it. This design gives single-coils their characteristic bright and cutting sound with plenty of top end sparkle. Single-coils are slightly noisier than other types due to their design, but this can be managed by using noise canceling circuitry or shielding within the body cavity or control panel.
Basically, these are 2 single-coil pickups wired together in series and the polarity of the magnets is reversed. This helps to reduce hum. Known as humbuckers, they usually have a thicker, fatter sound that delivers power compared to single-coil pickups.
They work by generating an electrical charge in response to the vibration of a string. This charge passes through the guitar’s output jack to be amplified and heard. The most notable difference between piezo pickups and traditional magnetic pickups is that piezos don’t rely on magnetism to generate sound. Instead, they use a quartz crystal or ceramic element that vibrates when activated by a plucked string, generating a signal.
Piezo pickups deliver a more ‘acoustic’ sound than other types of electric guitar pickups. They also have less noise interference than their counterparts since there isn’t any magnetic disturbance from other nearby instruments or amplifiers. Piezos can be highly sensitive and respond well even at low volumes. To capture low-level sounds accurately, piezo pickups can achieve this, making them ideal for recording situations.
Active and Passive Picksups
Active pickup systems utilize a preamp for the sound but require a battery for power. Usually you might see a 9-volt battery compartment on the backside of an electric guitar. This would be for the active pickups. They generally have higher output and have clear sound.
Switches and Toggles
You can see on electric guitars that there is a switch to select the pickup configuration. For example, you might see 3 way switch on telecasters. All the way back is the setting for the just the bridge pickup, the middle is the combination of the bridge and neck pickups. Lastly, the setting closest to the neck obviously is for the neck pickup only.
Stratocasters usually have a 5 way switch. Depending on the amount of pickups ,and if there are push-pull knobs there can be a multitude of configurations.
I’m starting to see these as a stand alone switch on newer models as well. These can temporarily turn the sound on and off without delay, kind of using like a volume pedal but with much faster velocity. You can hear someone like Tom Morello using this applying to his technique. You can actually do this with a Les Paul by turning off the volume on a pickup and using the toggle switch as the kill switch. But I’d prefer an actual kill switch as to avoid damaging the toggle switch.
The EVH 5150 Series Deluxe Guitar features a kill switch, check it out below:
In the video below Louie starts to use the kill switch at 39 seconds into the clip. He rips out an amazing solo then includes some stuff using the kill switch.
Measuring from the nut to the saddles on the bridge, this is overall length of the open string that vibrates. Longer scale length gives a tighter feel from the tension on the neck. In comparison, there is less tension with a shorter scale length.
Scale Length numbers:
Fender: Most Fenders use the 25.5 inch scale length
Gibson: Most Gibson’s use a 24.75 inch scale length
Lastly most Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars uses a 25 inch scale length
Generally speaking there are 3 types of neck design on guitars.
- Neck Through
- Set Neck
The neck extends through out the entire length of the body with the sides attached or glued on. Some higher end guitars may have this and it helps improve stability but one con about this is, it can make neck repair challenging.
The neck is attached to the body via a joint and glued in. This improves the stability as well but at the same time neck repair can be difficult as well.
The neck is screwed onto the body. The body is altered where the neck joins and can be attached by being bolted down. Although the neck can be easily repaired or completely replaced, this design allows for less sustain.
Guitar design can use many different combinations of tonewood. The wood also helps shape the sound by allowing the pickups to “breath”, how long the strings vibrate and their movement shape.
Ash is common in solid body guitar design. It allows for bright tone and improves sustain. Compared to mahogany, it is harder.
Alder is less expensive but when referring to tone, it offers characteristics similar to ash.
This wood is found more in lower priced guitars. Its tonal characteristics are similar to alder and it may have less resonant qualities when used in guitars.
Used mostly for fingerboards on higher end guitars, it is very dense and hard. It’s common for it to be entirely black in color.
With the exception of bridges and fretboards, it is a dense strong wood used in many parts of guitar making. Although not very hard it improves midrange and bass frequencies delivering a relaxed tone.
Maple is very hard and dense. These characteristics allow maple to be used to make guitar necks. It delivers bright tone and with its figuring qualities you will see this used as a veneer or top laminate on high end guitars. It can also be used for fretboards delivering a crisp high tone.
Having similar properties as mahogany, Nato is very strong and used for necks in lower priced electrics.
Commonly used for fretboards in electric guitars. Along with its beautiful looks, it is very dense and hard.
Guitar tuning machines are an essential component in guitar design. Whether you’re just starting out on your electric guitar journey or you’ve been playing for years, quality guitar tuners can help ensure that your instrument is always in tune.
In terms of ratio for guitar tuners, one might see 14:1 or 18:1. For an 18:1 ratio, it means that it takes 18 turns of the tuner post to get one full rotation. The higher the left number is the more precise the machine head can tune. Also high end guitars might have locking tuners.
In this Electric Guitar Buyer Guide, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of some of the most popular guitar tuning solutions available today. We’ll go over everything from how they work to which type might be the best fit for your playing style and preferences. Plus, we’ll review some helpful tips for newcomers so you can make sure you get the perfect guitar tuner without breaking the bank!
You might have composite, plastic or bone nuts. A hard nut is better for keeping a guitar in tune. Bone is more durable than plastic which can break more over time. Also, there are locking nuts where on top of the nut there is a bar or individual plates that is locked down by thumb screws further stabilizing a guitar to stay in tune.
There are roller nuts that have tiny ball bearings embedded on each side so that the string slides better to avoid friction when played. Higher end guitars might have locking and/or roller nuts. Some Fenders have rolling nuts.
One little trick I’ve learned over the years is if you have a regular nut, bone or plastic, you can get a #2 pencil and shave some lead dust into each nut slot. This helps the string slide. I started to do this to the saddles as well but that is just me, only doing the nut suffices.
Standard bridges are where each string goes through a bar and rests on a saddles then towards the headstock. Gibson has the tune-o-matic bridge like this. Some Fenders have only 3 saddles which a pair of strings share. This might be challenging when trying to do intonation to a guitar. If you have a 6 string guitar, having individual saddles for each string gives you more control when intonating them.
Locking tremolos are locked at the bridge and nut. You can cut the ball end off and lock the string on the bridge end with thumbscrews. On the nut, the string can be locked down as described above.
Bigsby bridges have a rotating bar that the strings are attached to, this is a vintage style of bridge. There are no springs embedded in a routed out cavity within the guitar body.
String-through body guitars have the strings start from the back of the guitar through the body then slide over saddles. If you see a guitar with this you might see the metal ferrules on the back side.
There are many bridge and saddle designs offered, but remember the more isolation for each string the more control you have when tuning and setting up the intonation.
Buying That Electric: Wrapping Up
When shopping for an electric guitar, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Often, the price tag on a guitar is reflective of its quality. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest option available but this might not give you the best playing experience in the long run.
For those who are serious about their playing, it pays off to invest in a high-quality instrument that will endure through years of practice and performance. Paying a little extra now will provide you with a great return on investment down the road as your skills improve and your needs become more specific.
With so many different types of electric guitars available on the market today, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which one is right for you. At the end of the day, pick the one that feels the most comfortable and use your instincts. If it were me and I was going to buy an amp with the guitar, I’d choose the guitar first and with that same guitar plug it into the amps I was looking at buying.
Also it might help if you are able to have an experienced friend come along with you or talk to them if you order a guitar online. I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope you find the ONE guitar that you’ll be happy with for the long haul! Happy rocking!