Embarking on the thrilling journey of learning the electric guitar is an exciting moment in any musicians life. The electrifying riffs, the pulsating rhythms, and the sheer power that comes from strumming those strings can be incredibly exhilarating. However, before you can channel your inner Hendrix or Clapton, the first step is to choose the perfect companion for your musical adventure—a starter electric guitar that resonates with your ambitions.
In this blog post, we have meticulously curated a list of the top 5 best starter electric guitars, perfect for beginners eager to start their rock 'n' roll journey. Whether you're on a budget or someone looking for a reliable first axe, our recommendations will surely strike a chord with you. So, let's dive into the world of guitars and find your perfect six-stringed ally!
Included in this guide:
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Fender’s Squier Affinity Stratocaster is known for its loud, fat tone. That’s all thanks to the high-gain humbucker (H) ceramic pickup in the bridge position. However, there are also two single-coil (SS) pickups in the middle and neck, ideal for classic tones. In terms of playability and comfort, the c-shaped neck keeps the profile slim, while the poplar body reduces the weight, making the guitar easier to handle.
But the lightweight guitar isn’t the only thing you’ll receive. The pack includes a 10’ cable, a strap, picks, a padded gig bag, and a 15-watt Frontman 15G amp. With adjustable gain control, the amp is suitable for both tube-emulated overdrive and uber-saturated distortion.
Out of all the electric guitars in the Pacifica lineup, Yamaha chose the HSS PAC012 for this starter pack. That’s understandable when you consider that it’s the most affordable option in the Pacifica 100 models. Despite the price, the guitar quality is still surprisingly good, from the frets to the knob responsiveness. Along with the PAC012, you get straps, picks, a cable, a clip-on covered tuner, and a small, two-channeled GA15II 15-watt amp.
At the core of Epiphone’s Player pack is the full-bodied Les Paul Special II. This guitar features a three-way toggle control switch (rather than the typical five-way one), two humbucking pickups, and two master knobs. Epiphone sends the kit with a 10-watt Electar amp, a 10’ cable, medium picks, straps, and a dust cover. The guitar comes with a clip-on headstock chromatic tuner as well.
The double-cut Kramer Focus (part of the Kramer Original Collection) features an HSS configuration with one humbucker pickup and two Alnico V single coils. On the body, you get two volume controls and one knob for the master tone. Putting the guitar itself aside, the kit covers all the basics, from the picks to the clip-on tuner. Just note that the included amp is a 10-watt one rather than 15 or higher.
With a 203S humbucker and two classic single coils pickups, the HSS DST-100 is great for Texas blues and rock music. Thankfully, it comes pre-strung since it’s made (and priced) with beginners in mind. But just because the starter kit is affordable doesn’t mean you won’t get a lot of extras and accessories.
After all, the pack includes basics like a 10’ cable, a gig bag, a tuner, and straps. Plus, Donner threw some colorful celluloid picks, a guitar capo, a truss rod wrench, a whammy bar, and an extra string set into the mix. The kit’s amp is a three-watt mini model.
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It depends. Some beginners prefer researching every accessory and buying items separately. For many others, it’s easier to grab a full kit. Even if the quality isn’t the best (it rarely is with starter packs), at least you’ll be able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
There are two main types. The first pickup type is the single-coil (S), while the second is humbucking (H). The former is basically one coil wrapped around a magnet, but the latter is made of two coils with opposing polarities.
Humbucking pickups are usually great for warmer, bolder tones. Meanwhile, single coils sound more bright and snappy. Overall, an HSS arrangement (humbucking in the bridge with single coils for both the center and neck positions) can be quite versatile, but an HH will do fine for heavy rock and blues.
Solidbody is the most popular option. In fact, our top picks are all solid. While the hollow and semi-hollow counterparts tend to do better in terms of weight relief, the solidbody provides increased sustain, tighter low ends, and better feedback rejection.
Some people find a smaller radius better for playing cords since it creates a more curved fingerboard. On the other hand, a large radius could be more suitable for bending. However, it’s all a matter of personal preference.
For the most part, a solidbodied model with an HSS pickup configuration will make a great first guitar. Take, for instance, the Squier Affinity Stratocaster. The guitar itself is easy to play, and the kit makes the experience even better. The Yamaha GigMaker is a close second. But if you’re on a particularly tight budget, give the well-rounded Donner DST-100S kit a go.
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