TOP 10 best electric guitars


So, today the topic of our discussion is precisely the best electric guitars, and the article itself is intended primarily for novice musicians who, fearing to make a mistake when choosing a guitar “from hand” (here the author let out a nostalgic tear, remembering how he bought his first Ibanez for the same price, like its current Fender), go to music stores. In the end, having learned to play and choose your own style, you yourself can then pick up or assemble a suitable instrument, n’est pas?

That is why we will consider two categories, based on understandable definitions – we will find the best guitar for relatively easy styles (the choice of a novice punk), and the oar illuminated by the darkness of Satan for lovers of black metal. (The author warns in advance: keep in mind that in a few years you can all hit the blues).

The best electric guitars for classic rock:

  1. Squier Affinity Telecaster
  2. Squier Bullet Stratocaster
  3. Yamaha Pacifica 112
  4. Cort G110
  5. ARIA STG-003

The best guitars for heavy styles:

  1. Dean Zero X Dave Mustaine
  2. Epiphone Les Paul Special II
  3. Jackson Monarkh SC JS22
  4. Jackson JS11 Dinky
  5. Schecter C-7

The best electric guitars for classic rock

1 – Squier Affinity Telecaster

Squier Affinity Telecaster

Once Fender Telecaster made a kind of revolution – let this guitar and not be called a design standard (here, without a doubt, the Stratocaster who came out for it wins by several times), but its simple and technologically advanced design allowed electric guitars to go to the masses, not burdened with money. It was no joke – at a time when guitars were made almost by hand, Telecaster could be produced using the conveyor method with a predominant share of machine operations. And it was these masses who received the “Telecasts” that, in fact, gave us rock in all its subsequent forms, and they did a lot for the blues.

Naturally, this electric guitar with an alder body and two singles is not for the “heavy”, and the difference in the quality of manufacture with “Papa Fender” is easily noticeable. But for its entrilele class this is a pretty good “telly”, and to be honest, I don’t want to find fault with the noticeable noise of pickups – the original “Telecasts” have done exactly the same thing since the fifties. Yes, the system does not stay rooted to the spot – but, again, this is not supposed to be for Telekaster. The guitar is pleasant in the hands, and allows you to nostalgic “for relatively inexpensive” in full measure: clear sound, overdrive, light crunch – this is for it.

The main advantages:

  • For such a price – a very “telecast” sound
  • Decent build and finish


  • Absolutely typical for all telecasts over the past 70 years

2 – Squier Bullet Stratocaster

Squier Bullet Stratocaster

The legendary guitar! Legendary is primarily among beginner guitarists who do not have money, but want to touch the legend. Indeed, among all the Fender Stratocaster clones, this one is not just made according to the drawings of that same stratum of 57 (here even the pickguard is still mounted on 8 screws, and the machine on 6), but it also proudly carries the inscription “Genuine Fender Product” (owners immediately erase the bottom line of “Crafted in China”).

Despite the unorthodox origin, according to the purists, this guitar will really give you the opportunity to play beautifully with a clear sound and completely stretch the classic crunch or medium overload (singles, although very high quality, will still turn the sound into a mess). Bullet’s case is an honest gluing of three pieces of linden, and it gives good sustain, and the famous “glass” can even issue a good device. The only thing that can cause difficulties is, again, a neck with a neck of 40 mm, made according to the canons of the 57th year, but after some practice it is easy to get used to it.

In the future, before you will be a huge space for improvements: all the classic “Fender” iron and its high-quality copies stand on this guitar as a native. And, believe me, after even the simplest modifications (copper shielding plus competent soldering of electronics by the master, for lovers of heavy sound – rail pickups) the guitar will be able to play much better, and in the hands of a sophisticated master will be able to reach its full potential.

The main advantages:

  • Ready for the game “out of the box”, high build quality
  • Great potential for improvements


  • The classic need for initial refinement: lock or additional springs in the tremolo and so on.
  • Playing in an ungrounded cheap amplifier, you can catch the Mayak radio (however, as with any guitar with singles)

3 – Yamaha Pacifica 112

Yamaha Pacifica 112

When looking at this guitar, one recalls how the Japanese cloned the Harley-Davidson WLA long ago under the Rikuo brand, how the DKW RT125 clone became the first Yamaha motorcycle (in fairness, which also became our “Moscow”). Indeed, before us, as in the case of Squier, is a clone of a vintage stratocaster, only with a humbucker in a bridge, and exactly the same made in the budget region of Asia.

Of course, installing a humbucker in the bridge made it possible to play heavier music, but in terms of versatility the guitar clearly lost the “license of the“ second copy ”from Squier: firstly, instead of the five-position switch (bridge, bridge + middle in antiphase, middle, middle in antiphase + nek, nek) here is a rather boring HSS switching scheme, secondly, only one tone control – Squier, like the original “stratum”, makes it possible to play with much greater differences in sound and adjust the tone for two pickups (bridge and middle) . So the purchase of “Makhi” will be more justified if you immediately set your sights on a heavy game on a bridge pickup. And do not forget that the case here is made of agatis, not linden (all the markers are different, but still the linden sounds better on the wedge).

The main advantages:

  • Tangible focus on the rhythm part.
  • High-quality assembly.


  • All the same, you need to screen, and ideally – change the pickups.

4 – Cort G110

Cort G110

A fairly well-known and widespread model of the “stratoid”, built according to the HSS scheme: the guitar is not for the “heavy”, but it can work for rhythm on overload. And on the solo it’s not to say that the passer for this level is one author’s acquaintance with this model who not only manages to constantly rehearse, but also uses it at concerts, albeit on a “near-the-bench” scale. Say what you like, they don’t take budget instruments to go with them to Wacken Open Air, and for their class this guitar can sound, assembled without frank jambs and, as this very concert practice has shown, is also durable: from changes temperature and humidity does not go by the screw, and, what is already there, quietly coexists in a trolley in one case with two bottles of vodka on the way to rehearsal (of course, some musicians heard that you can play sober, and even tried, but this is not the case)

Wiring here is a little easier than the classic one for “strata” – with one tone control instead of two. But the machine is nowhere more classic – a six-screw tremolo with all its pluses and minuses, which have been written about so much that it makes no sense to repeat. Her workmanship is “for the money”, therefore, most owners of this tremolo, if they don’t block it tightly, at least they just don’t use it. In combination with cheap tuners, we get a typical “incontinence” system for strata (and not only them) of the initial level, and this is worth remembering – either regularly tune the instrument, or modify the guitar according to the canonical scheme.

The main advantages:

  • Low price
  • Pretty versatile HSS scheme
  • If not perfect build quality, then at least strength and durability


  • Cheap fittings
  • Noone pickups, little suitable for high gain

5 – ARIA STG-003


This electric guitar is the best option for those musicians for whom a small difference in money is already becoming critical. Aria is a typical clone of a vintage stratocaster, partially modified by designers: if the case with the classic sunburst color and a pickguard with 8 holes clearly refers to the classic, then the Asian manufacturer modified the shape of the headstock somewhat.

As for the sound of the instrument, this is exactly the case when the guitar is taken to play at home in a cheap combo, but no more than that: further improvements will be required immediately, and even out of the box it will not hurt to at least roll up frets. But for this money you will get at least a quality alder case, and not a “sandwich”, known for (God forbid) Zombie guitars and (in Soviet Russia guitar plays YOU!) “Ural”.

Let’s just say: this is a good cheap and everywhere-selling guitar.

The main advantages:

  • Cheap and quite playable.


  • If the desire to play remains – there will come an understanding that it was possible to dig a little more.

The best guitars for heavy styles

1 – Dean Zero X Dave Mustaine

Dean Zero X Dave Mustaine

Although this guitar was attributed by the manufacturer to the “signed” series by Dave Mustaine, at its appearance, however, James Hetfield is remembered more – however, it doesn’t matter. In any case, we get a mahogany case with a top from it, two good humbuckers, a fixed bridge a la Gibson tunic. The pickups, alas, are not “seymours” as on the “older” (and, accordingly, more expensive) models of the line, but on their own brand – DMT Design, but they sound quite interesting both on clear sound and on overload.
With overload, however, the author personally would not advise much to get involved in them – the character of the guitar does not imply extreme sports, it is worth changing the pickups for “specific meat”. For each, the concept of “gravity” of music is different, after all. In general, the guitar is made nicely, the neck is suitable not only for persistent scratching of a pair of fifths, but also for parties requiring considerable work with the left brush.

But for what the author would definitely like to crack the creators of this guitar over the head with the Soviet “Ural” – so this is for the location and direction of the jack socket. For the inserted jack sticks up, respectively, the cable bends, going down, very strongly and along a small radius. Of course, you won’t pull it out by accidentally hooking it with your foot, like on the Stratocaster, but the cable will also “kill” faster and the jack itself. So without a traditional fly in the ointment again it could not do.

The main advantages:

  • Very decent build quality
  • Mahogany, anyway
  • Good, although not particularly “meat” humbuckers


  • Be careful with cable and jack

2 – Epiphone Les Paul Special II

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

The second category of the rating of the best electric guitars is headed by the “official clone” – this time a subsidiary of Gibson. But, if the Bullet Strat was a copy of the Stratocaster’57, then the Epiphone is just a variation on the theme of the equally famous “Paul’s Forest”.

The tonalblock design is most unpleasant here – if the original from Gibson had the Lead / Rhytm switch at the top of the deck, and the timbre and volume for each humbucker were separately built at the bottom, then everything was tidied up in one knot with a common timbre and volume. Yes, and the humbuckers themselves are ordinary two-reel, and not the classic closed “Lespol” ones.

The main complaint about the timbral block is the impossibility of an upgrade: on the original Les Paul, after replacing or soldering the humbuckers and installing push-pull potentiometers, the timbre could be played with cut-off, combining almost complete transparency of the singles with overtones of the mahogany deck. But this, of course, is already from the “for masters” series – for the beginning guitarist, Epiphone remains the only option to buy a new mahogany guitar on a budget.

The main advantages:

  • A dense, “meaty” sound on highgain.


  • The timbral block is absolutely unsuitable for modifications.

3 – Jackson Monarkh SC JS22

Jackson Monarkh SC JS22

A very interesting clone is “Forest Paul”, although with a non-canon head of the neck. Case – combined, mahogany combined with a maple top. Humbuckers – of their own brand, even by the standards of sophisticated guitarists and lacking stars from the sky, but rather “hot” – and, accordingly, disposed to wind a heavier sound.
The sound came out interesting – the guitar on the wedge is not lost in the mix and is “tasty” in the solo parts, as the level of overload increases, the sound remains legible and does not merge into porridge, sustain is not bad. Of course, it’s already felt on the highgein that there are no Seymour Duncan type labels on the pickups – where to go, the guitar is still an entry-level one. But replacing the pickups “for yourself” is the usual thing for guitarists, and the “Monarch” is far from sadly glorious in Zombie music circles, which any improvements do not really help.

Accessories … Accessories – this is an eternal headache for owners of budget-made electric guitars made in China, unless, of course, they are punks (they calmly manage to play with a half-torn bridge, and backlash pegs are all trifles). At Jackson, it’s not bad, let’s put it this way: you can rebuild a guitar without loud curses, if you already have experience with tunomatics, and the system keeps pretty well. Simply put, only a complete perfectionist will not be able to play it and in a state of “out of the box”. But to change the bridge and splitting over time, we would still advise.

Therefore, the guitar has earned its recommendation, and even more likely not as an instrument specifically for “Rubilov and Mochilov”, but a completely successful “station wagon”.

The main advantages:

  • Pleasant sound with a good backlog under the “heaviness”, but without loss of versatility
  • Build and finish quality
  • Body ergonomics


  • Accessories, albeit far from the worst of those that could be, still betrays “Chinese”

4 – Jackson JS11 Dinky

Jackson JS11 Dinky

This is the case when a cheap series of a well-known brand is quite playable and adds bonuses to charisma. Indeed, the younger “jacks” looks quite grown-up and can produce a good sound on overload. The main thing is not to touch the lever of the two-support tremolo, which without a file is traditionally quickly frustrating the instrument.

Let’s say right away: this is not a guitar that can be connected to a home computer, launch Guitar Rig and begin to chop mitall. There are none at all – but with a normal apparatus, warmed up with a suitable lotion, you can squeeze out thick and heavy distortion without unnecessary garbage in the sound, if you put more “meat” pickups on the guitar right away… But this is already a general recommendation for the entire budget class.

The main advantages:

  • +5 Charisma in Performances
  • It’s quite interesting to play out of the box


  • It is not clear why it was necessary to complicate the design and raise the price for the sake of an unnecessary tremolo.

5 – Schecter C-7

Schecter C-7

Two humbuckers, strings through the body and the seventh string so beloved by beginner “meat choppers” – in fact, according to this recipe, Shakhtar was assembled, as it is usually called in everyday life. Well and, of course, the guitar should be as black as a Norwegian forest on a moonless night. Even if it’s not exactly Schecter, but only SGR by Schecter.

In general, the guitar is well-assembled for this class, the fretboard is comfortable and quite capable of withstanding the “fat” strings, which they will probably put here instead of the demonstration ones (however, they are usually also lowered even by a tone, so they won’t pull so much his). Of course, crystal “glass” and solos that go into the ultrasound with half an hour sustain cannot be expected from simple humbuckers on a linden case, but now we are talking about completely different styles of music.

Since the electric guitar, of course, is manufactured all in the same Asian republic so beloved by us, there is inevitably room for improvements. And they, in general, are classic – full-time tunes and the “a la tunomatic” bridge sometimes peel off elementarily, not to mention the general quality of materials, so they, as always on “newbie” guitars, go right underneath the good replacement. It remains to properly shield the cavities – and, in fact, it is already possible to start unloading the overload on the amplifier, and even undoing it with the pedal. For the “newbie” meat row this will be enough. Then, the pickups will change in the same way “according to the classics” – someone will put active “hedgehogs” from the guitar flea market (though the fact that they are sold actively and not as expensive as they hinted at …), someone will prefer Fokin – and he’ll make a good choice, which, in addition, will make it possible to quickly transfer sounds when switching to a guitar a class higher, returning the regular ones for sale to Shakhtar.

The main advantages:

  • No cars – no problems
  • Durable and quite comfortable neck


  • Accessories are traditionally weak in quality – alas, for such money there are no miracles

The main rule when choosing a tool is to touch it with your own hands. Therefore, our article is only a recommendation: in any case, we advise you to listen to several instruments through a good amplifier. Through the cheap and the Stratocaster Custom Shop, nothing can be gained in comparison with the Zombies, the only question is money and the desire to grow further.

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