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The Best Electric Guitar Brands

It has now been almost 8 years since we first published our list of the top 5 electric guitar brands. For this 2019 update, we continue with our expanded selection, which features today's top 10 best brands.


This page is sponsored by Sweetwater so you can click through to get the full specifications, the latest price, and purchase any of the Electric Guitars stocked by Sweetwater that we have recommended.

When we rated these to see which were the best of the best, we took into consideration their quality, reliability, popularity with professional guitarists, and the impact they've had on music.

After we originally published our selection of the top guitar brands, it became clear from the feedback we received that many of you wanted us to recommend individual models as well as the top brands, so here is our new selection that features a high-end and an entry-level model for each of the top 10 brands.

The Best Electric Guitar Brands 2019

Things To Consider When Buying An Electric Guitar

Musical Preference and Guitar Heroes
The style of music you prefer will greatly dictate the type of guitar you want, so it is safest to stick to the guns (or axes) of your heroes. This way you can get a good and inspiring instrument even when you don't have thorough knowledge of guitar types. For experienced players, you owe it to yourself to understand the pros and cons of different guitar types better, before making big investments. But even then, your preferred style, and the recommendations of experts and professional guitar players that play them will be invaluable.
Guitar Body Shape and Types
To simplify the many available guitar body shapes available, we can categorize them into three shapes: double cutaway shape (eg. Stratocaster), single cutaway (eg. Les Paul), and exotic shapes (eg. Flying V). While it maybe considered superficial, having the right guitar shape will add to how enjoyable an instrument is to play and look at - which in turn inspires you to play more and better. In addition to shape, getting a good grip of basic body configurations is essential, here's a primer of the three most common:
  • Solidbody guitars have no hollow space inside the body, this is the most popular and used in a wide range of modern music styles by artists like Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani, John Mayer and many more.
  • Semi-hollow also called thinline, are guitars where the body has a small hollow space inside with a center wood block for structural support. It was made popular by blues-rock players like BB King, Larry Carlton, Dave Grohl and more.
  • Hollowbody guitars feature full hollow bodies much like acoustic guitars do, and are used often in jazz and mellow style music as exemplified by Jazz greats that include Joe Pass, Pat Martino to name a few. It is however not limited to just that as exhibited by Brian Setzer and his Rockabilly style, along with Chet Atkins and his iconic country guitar playing.
The goal is to find the body shape and configuration that appeals the most to your eyes and ears. The most straightforward choice for beginners will be the solidbody for its durability. Players who are looking to expand their sonic palette are usually the ones who will take interest in semi-hollow and hollow body guitars. For more information on this topic read The Different Types of Electric Guitars Explained.
Guitar Neck and Playability
The specifications of the neck and string setup dictate the guitar's overall playability. As such, it is important to get a handle of important specs which include scale length (the length by which the string is stretched from the bridge saddle to the nut), nut width, fingerboard radius, and neck profile (shape of the back of the neck). Beginners normally want guitars to play easier, and will prefer those with shorter scale length, thin nut width and neck profile, and flatter fingerboard radius. On the other hand, experienced players will have grown accustomed to a specific neck configuration, if this is your case, you will want your new guitar to have similar specs to what you already like.
Guitar Pickup Configuration
Pickup configuration refers to the number and types of pickups installed on a guitar, and its position on the body. The two most common types of pickups include singlecoil, known for its crisp and punchy sound and the fatter sounding humbucker. For beginners, you'll have to once again look up to artists who play your preferred music genre, to see which pickups they are using to get their sound. In addition to getting the right sound, sonic flexibility is also an important consideration and the general rule is that the more pickups installed, the more sound varieties you can get. The most common configuration is HH, which stand for dual humbuckers, because of their overdrive and distortion friendly sound. The SSS (three single-coils) configuration is also popular, as seen on the Stratocaster, allowing for a more versatile tone options. There are other variations that combine both single coils and humbuckers, such as SSH (two single coils and a humbucker), for an even wider selection of tones.
Guitar Bridge Type
I remember choosing a floating tremolo equipped electric guitar as my first ever purchase, and I ended up being so frustrated at how hard it is to keep the guitar in tune and how complex string replacements were. To make the long story short, I felt relief when I traded it up for a simpler Fender Strat. These days, floating tremolos have gotten better and easier to setup, but I'd still recommend a guitar with basic stop tail piece or tremolo bridge for beginners - just so you can focus on learning the instrument and worrying about string setup when you have more experience.

The Top 10 Electric Guitar Brands in Order:

1. Fender

Fender overtakes Gibson this time around, as they continue to rate well across all price ranges, from their entry-level Squier brand guitars to their custom made ones. And it's not surprising because they are still the biggest guitar company in the world. Legacy wise, they are also the company to beat, with a long list of guitar legends who used or is still using their guitars, from Jimi Hendrix, to John Mayer, and many more of today's artists.
  Premium Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster

Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster

  A high-end reproduction of the highly sought after Stratocasters from the '50s. Detailed information below
  Popular Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster

Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster

  Another all important guitar in Fender's production line is the Telecaster, this one comes with an artificially aged finish and is based on '50s era specifications. Detailed information below

2. Gibson

Gibson is the brand behind the iconic Les Paul, ES335, Flying V and many more. This time around, they take the second spot behind Fender, but there is no denying their impact on the electric guitar. As someone here at once said about having a Gibson, "It's like carrying a trophy and a guitar at the same time!"
  Premium Gibson Custom 1961 ES-335 Reissue VOS

Gibson Custom 1961 ES-335 Reissue VOS

  A premium recreation of the venerable ES-335 based on '60s specs. Detailed information below
  Popular Gibson Les Paul Studio Tribute 2019

Gibson Les Paul Studio Tribute 2019

  A more affordable version of the iconic Les Paul with vintage style hardware. Detailed information below

3. PRS

Paul Reed Smith is a relative newcomer having been born just 2 years after the Stratocaster was created, and founding PRS Guitars in 1985, but in that relatively short period of time PRS have made a huge impact on the guitar world, have been used by the likes of Carlos Santana, Ted Nugent, Dave Navarro. and Mark Tremonti, are now the 3rd biggest electric guitar manufacturer in the USA, and have earned their place among the best electric guitar brands.
  Premium PRS Santana Retro 10-Top

PRS Santana Retro 10-Top

  Carlos Santana helped put PRS Guitars on the amp, and this is one of the more premium models that carries his name.
Detailed information below
  Popular PRS SE Standard 24

PRS SE Standard 24

  The SE Standard 24 carries over the PRS' passion for detail and quality while keeping the cost down. Detailed information below

4. Ibanez

Although Yamaha are a better known Japanese musical instrument company, Ibanez stands out from the crowd in rock guitars, not just in Japan - but the world over - with a number of big name guitarists such as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Paul Gilbert having signature models. They originally built their American presence in the 1960s on the back of Gibson and Fender copies, however the RG series introduced in the 1980s was a more original design, based on Steve Vai's JEM Universal, and became one of the biggest selling metal guitars of that period and beyond.
  Premium Ibanez JEM7VP

Ibanez JEM7VP

  If it's good enough for a true master of the instrument like Steve Vai, then it should be good enough for everyone... now if only the guitar came with instant Vai skills. Detailed information below
  Popular Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550

Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550

  The RG series is essentially a more streamlined version of Steve Vai's Jem, and it continues to Ibanez most popular line with its balance of playability, quality and affordability. Detailed information below

5. Epiphone

Prior to being acquired by Gibson back in 1957, Epiphone once competed with the most popular guitar brands in the market - including Gibson. These days, Epiphone is known for being the affordable sub-brand of Gibson, producing cost-effective alternatives to many of their premium guitars. Many experienced players today credit this brand for manufacturing their first ever instrument, and their popularity in the entry-level market continue to soar high.
  Premium Epiphone Tony Iommi SG Custom

Epiphone Tony Iommi SG Custom

  This Tony Iommi approved SG guitar is black and ready to rock, at a price point that will not rock your wallet. Detailed information below
  Popular Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus

Les Paul Tribute Plus

  Epiphone's tribute to the iconic Les Paul, this one bearing elegant cosmetic appointments while still keeping the price very accessible. Detailed information below

6. Yamaha

From its small beginnings as a piano and organ manufacturer back in 1887, Yamaha has grown to be a multinational company that continues to be among the top music gear manufacturers. These days, they are well known for student-friendly and great value instruments, including electric guitars that give their competition a run for their money.
  Premium Yamaha Revstar RS720B

Yamaha Revstar RS720B

  The Yamaha Revstar RS720B is a stylish and unique looking guitar that combines retro styling with modern playability and build quality. Detailed information below
  Popular Level Yamaha PAC112V Pacifica

Yamaha PAC112V Pacifica

  The Yamaha PAC112V is a great value "super strat" style guitar that's ideal for up and coming shredders. Detailed information below

7. Rickenbacker

While it can be said that the Beatles made Rickenbacker popular, it cannot be denied that Rickenbacker played a major role in the iconic band's sound. It all started when John Lennon picked up a Rickenbacker 325 in the early '60s, which he widely used during the early years of the Beatles. George Harrison also had a Rickenbackel 360/12, which was widely heard in their popular "A Hard Day's Night" album. Even Paul McCartney had used a left-handed 1964 4001S FG Rickenbacker bass. Rickenbacker continued to stay in the limelight thanks to artists such as The Who, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers R.E.M., and many more.
  Premium Rickenbacker 325C64 - Jetglo

Rickenbacker 325C64 - Jetglo

  If you are looking for a true to form "British Invasion" Rickenbacker, then this maybe the guitar for you. Detailed information below
  Popular Rickenbacker 620 Deluxe

Rickenbacker 620 Deluxe

  If you are looking for a true to form "British Invasion" Rickenbacker, then this maybe the guitar for you. Detailed information below

8. Gretsch

Gretsch was founded in 1883 and started out making banjos - it wasn't until the 1930s that they began producing guitars - but during the 1950s their guitars began to take on legendary status. During the 1960s their popularity hit stratospheric levels because George Harrison was playing a modified 1957 Gretsch Duo Jet that he bought second hand for £70 from a ship crew member in Liverpool who had bought it brand new in New York. Most collectors agree that the 50s & 60s are the most sought after Gretsch guitars.
  Premium  Gretsch G6136-55GE Vintage Select 1955 White Falcon

Gretsch G6136-55GE Vintage Select 1955 White Falcon

  It's white and magnificent to look at, the Gretsch White Falcon is what dream guitars are supposed to be like. Detailed information below
  Popular Gretsch G5420T Electromatic

Gretsch G5420T Electromatic

  The Gretsch G5420T Electromatic is an affordable single-cutaway hollow body guitar that has that distinctly Gretsch look and tone. Detailed information below

9. ESP

ESP is another Japanese guitar brand that makes this top 10 list with its many artist endorsements and actual user recommendations. Founded in 1975, it started as a builder of custom made parts for guitarists who want to personalize their existing instruments. Now ESP is known worldwide for their hot-rodded versions of popular guitar shapes, and other unique and eccentric designs, built to please modern rock and metal players.
  Premium ESP Kirk Hammett KH-2

ESP Kirk Hammett KH-2

  While this guitar may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is as close as you can get to what ESP actually makes for Kirk Hammet. Detailed information below
  Popular ESP LTD EC-1000FM


  ESP's most popular guitar in the market comes from their sub-brand LTD, a hot-rodded take on the single cutaway LP body designed for today's players. Detailed information below

10. Godin

Godin (pronounced Go-dan) was founded in 1972 by Robert Godin in Canada and now owns a number of highly respected acoustic guitar brands including Art & Lutherie, Simon and Patrick, La Patrie and Seagull. Their electric guitars, produced under the Godin brand, have been played by greats including Roger Waters, Elliott Sharp and John McLaughlin. Many of their high-end models come with 3 types of pickups - regular electric guitar pickups, piezo pickups for producing an acoustic-like sound, and Synth/MIDI pickups for making any kind of sound you want.
  Premium Godin 5th Avenue Uptown Custom

Godin 5th Avenue Uptown Custom

  The 5th Avenue Uptown Custom showcases Godin's brand of quality and modern reliability on an archtop hollowbody guitar.
Detailed information below
  Premium Godin LGXT

Godin LGXT

  The Godin LXGT trumps all the guitars in this list when it comes to sonic versatility, it lets you switch from conventional humbuckers to transducer pickups for acoustic sounds, and go beyond that via the built-in synth pickup.
Detailed information below


The Best Electric Guitars - Detailed Information...

Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster

Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster

There's no denying the popularity of the Stratocaster, thanks to it being the weapon of choice for a long list of iconic players that include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck to name a few. The American Original '50s Stratocaster is among its more recent iterations, carrying over much of the look and feel of the original, but more reliable and roadworthy.

As a testament to how effective the original design is, most of the specs and even the hardware design of the original are followed even to this day. The main distinction of this iteration is its wider fretboard radius of 9.5", which makes it easier on the hands. Everything else is pretty much standard, from its double cutaway alder body, to its 25.5" scale bolt-on maple neck, down to its narrower nut-width of 1.65". Giving this guitar its '50s era voicing are three '59 Pure Vintage Single-coils pickups.

With its legacy, reputation, and its continued feature improvements, it's hard to go wrong with today's Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster.

Here's a classic video of the Stratocaster in the hands of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix:

Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster

Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster

While not as cheap as Squier Teles, the Road Word '50s Telecaster lets you own a genuine Fender branded guitar at a more affordable price point, thanks to it being made in Mexico. It follows the Telecaster formula right at the get go, with its single-cutaway body, pickguard design and two single coil pickup setup. But what sets it apart is its artificially aged "road word" look, which appeals to many guitarists.

As the label implies, the overall design is inspired by Telecasters from the 1950s. Even the Tex-Mex single-coil Tele pickups are voiced in the same way. It is currently available in two color sunburst or vintage blond, both of which feature nitro-cellulose finish.

From country twang to gritty rock, this affordable workhorse guitar is definitely worth considering.

Gibson Custom 1961 ES-335 Reissue VOS

Gibson Custom 1961 ES-335 Reissue VOS First released in the '50s, the Gibson ES-335 is considered as the first mass-produced semi-hollow electric-guitar. And up to this day, it continues to be among the most sought after guitars in the market, spawning multiple variant models that have been put to use by professional guitarists like Larry Carlton, B.B. King, Eric Johnson, Steve Howie and many more. It even invaded pop culture in the hands of Marty McFly, which incidentally went on to influence many other players.

This particular version has period-correct specifications, tone, and aesthetic embellishments, based on early '60s models, to make it look and sound as close as possible to existing vintage ES-335s. Gibson even modified the truss rod to mimic the original and used hide glue for the neck joint instead of synthetic glue. Other features include Adirondack spruce bracing, 3-ply top and back crafted from maple and poplar, Kluson Double Ring vintage style tuners and MHS humbuckers. As expected, it does command quite the premium price tag.

With its jaw-dropping looks and classic tone, the Gibson Custom 1961 ES-335 is well worth investing in.

If you haven't yet, check out the video below, and see the ES-335 in the hands of virtuoso Larry Carlton:

Gibson Les Paul Studio Tribute 2019

Gibson Les Paul Studio Tribute 2019

Developed by the collaboration of Ted McCarty and Les Paul, this "signature" guitar went on to become the "gold standard" in rock guitar and continues to be one of the most sought after and copied guitar designs to this day.

The Les Paul Studio Tribute is a streamlined version of the original, meant to compete with other mid-tier guitars. The 2019 version of this guitar doesn't stray too far from the more expensive models in terms of looks. While there are no high-grade tonewoods involved, it does follow the tried and tested formula of having a single cutaway mahogany body and carved maple top. The same goes with its 24.75" scale neck, 22-fret rosewood fretboard, and 1.695" nut width. Finally, it is equipped with a 490R humbucker for the neck and a 490T humbucker for the bridge, which reproduces the sound of old Les Pauls from the '60s.

In conclusion, the Les Paul Studio Tribute 2019 lets you play the guitar that many iconic players played at a lower and more accessible price point.

PRS Santana Retro 10-Top

PRS Santana Retro 10-Top

Carlos Santana is easily one of the more recognizable PRS guitar users, if not the most, so it's only fitting for the company to do their best in designing and producing his signature guitars. The Santana Retro 10-Top is a premium recreation of the prototype guitars that Paul Reed Smith built for Carlos in the early '80, complete with the same double cutaway mahogany body with maple top, heel shape, and headstock profile.

Giving this guitar its voice is a 58/15 neck pick up that's tweaked to recreate vintage tones, along with a Santana signature bridge pickup that recreates the famous Santana tone and sustain. It also comes equipped with the best hardware in PRS inventory, including the PRS III tremolo which is the latest and most reliable tremolo design that the company has been producing.

Even if you're not a fan of Carlos Santana or PRS, this fancy guitar is quite the catch for those who are willing to invest.

See Carlos Santana don his PRS signature guitar in this very popular collaboration with vocalist Rob Thomas

PRS SE Standard 24

PRS SE Standard 24

Introduced in the late '90s, the PRS SE line was the company's entry into the already tough entry level market competition. With it, one can own a PRS guitar at a much lower price point, with the main difference being the country of origin. In particular The SE Standard 24 is a stripped down version of the expensive Custom 24, but it retains the same attention to detail and build quality.

The shape and overall profile of the guitar follows after the original, including the heel, headstock profile and neck specifications. For its price, this guitar even comes with a maple top on its mahogany body, a feature usually found on more expensive instruments. Sound wise, this guitar features a pair of PRS 85/15 S pickups with push-pull tone knob that allows for single coil tones.

The SE Standard 24 gives you true to form PRS quality at a more reasonable price point, its sonic versatility and overall quality makes it very easy to recommend.

Ibanez Steve Vai JEM7VP

Ibanez Steve Vai JEM7VP

Ibanez' strategy to have virtuoso guitarists as endorsers have paid off big time, allowing them to not only produce signature instruments, but to also improve on their production line guitars using the ideas they compiled from various artists. Among their many signature instruments, the Ibanez JEM series is one of the most easily identifiable, thanks to its affiliation with guitar wizard Steve Vai and its unique monkey grip handle, which is carved into the body.

The JEM7VP is a Steve Vai signature model based on early JEMs he helped create. It comes with 3 different DiMarzio Evolution pickups that were handpicked by Steve Vai himself to give him the various tones that he needs for his expressive solo work, and intricate rhythm textures. The body is crafted from alder, while the low profile 5-pc Maple/Walnut and 24-fret, 25.5" scale length rosewood fingerboard provide the fast playability expected of the brand. Other features include the Edge tremolo, 1.69" nut width, tree of life inlay, and it comes wrapped in the famous white finish.

It's going to be hard to find a guitar that can match, let alone outclass, this iconic shred machine. Even if you're not into Steve Vai's eclectic guitar style, the Jem7VP is still well worth looking into.

See the story behind the Steve Vai Jem signature guitar:

See the Ibanez Jem in the hands of a master:

Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550

Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550

Known for producing great value guitars, Ibanez sure knows how to keeps other guitar manufacturers on their toes. The Genesis Collection RG550 is based on the original RG guitars with some modern implements. It has all the makings of a premium instrument, complete with dive bomb capable bridge and great looking aesthetics, but at a more accessible price point.

At the core of this retro looking shred machine is a double cutaway basswood body that's based on the Ibanez Jem, sans the monkey grip. It is joined with a 5-piece maple/walnut neck that's very easy on the hands, thanks to its Super Wizard neck profile. Pickup configuration also follows after the original, with two humbuckers for the bridge and neck, and a single coil middle pickup. Finally it sports an all-black hardware setup, including its Gotoh machine heads and the Edge locking tremolo.

The Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 is a wallet-friendly shred machine, highly recommended if you're looking for a cost-effective way to play fast and furious.

See the Ibanez Genesis Collection:

Epiphone Tony Iommi SG Custom

Epiphone Tony Iommi SG Custom

The SG started out as a lighter alternative to the Les Paul - which Les didn't like and eventually opted out of. But what seemed like a failure turned out into a success story because many rock and metal guitar players, like Tony Iommi, took notice of the SG's sharp look, faster neck and comfortable upper fret reach. These days, the SG continues to grace stages with modern production models like this signature SG made to meet the expectations of Tony Iommi.

Other than its black color, the main selling point of this Epiphone SG is its two Gibson USA Tony Iommi Signature Humbuckers. Another distinct feature of the Tony Iommi SG Custom is the use of iron cross inlays across its 24-fret bound rosewood fingerboard. Everything else is pretty much standard, including its twin horn double cutaway mahogany body, mahogany neck with a scale length of 24.75" and 1.6875" nut width.

You don't have to be a Tony Iommi fan, and you don't even have to be a metalhead, to appreciate the value that this guitar brings to the table.

Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus

Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus

Being a sub-brand of Gibson, it is Epiphone's task to get the Les Paul design out to as many hands as possible, and they did just that with many various iterations of the classic single cutaway design. For this list, we chose Epiphone's tribute to Les Paul, who incidentally also worked with the company in the late 30's, which is a bit in the mid-tier price, but worth every penny.

It wouldn't be called a tribute if it didn't follow convention, so having a mahogany body with an arched maple top is expected. Epiphone also designed the neck to mimic the playability of old LPs, giving this guitar a 1960s SlimTaper D profile. However, what makes the Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus stand out is the use of two Gibson USA '57 Classic humbucking pickups, which essentially gives this Les Paul a more premium Gibson voice, at a fraction of the price.

For a mid-range guitar, the Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus gives a you quite a lot of premium bang for your buck.

Yamaha Revstar RS720B

Yamaha Revstar RS720B

With its distinct double cutaway profile and retro style design inspired by vintage racing motorbikes, the Yamaha Revstar RS720B is meant to standout from the crowd. But it's not just the look that's unique because this one comes with overwound low-output humbuckers that give it an equally distinct voicing. Sonic expression is expanded thanks to its Bigsby B50 bridge, it also comes equipped with a dry switch that filters the low frequencies for single-coil like tones.

Another noteworthy features of the Yamaha Revstar RS720B include its set-in neck construction, which is quite special given its price tag. But more importantly, this guitar is backed by Yamaha's reputation for quality and value for money, which means that this guitar will most likely last you a lifetime.

If you're looking for a guitar that doesn't look quite like the others, but still has a familiar retro appeal, then check out the Revstar RS720B.

Yamaha PAC112V Pacifica

Yamaha PAC112V Pacifica

The Pacifica PAC112V is a popular entry-level guitar from Yamaha that's well known for its versatility, thanks to its HSS pickup configuration. It has two Alnico single-coil pickups for the neck and middle positions, and an Alnico V humbucker on the bridge. Also built-in to this guitar is a push/pull tone knob that allows you to split the bridge humbucker coils, allowing for quite a lot of voicings that you wouldn't normally expect in this price range.

Unlike other affordable strat style guitars that come with cheaper body wood, the PAC112V has an alder double-cutaway, which again adds to the overall value of a guitar. And as expected, the guitar's playability is up to par with the company's standards, making it the ideal first electric guitar for many up-starters.

It's hard to find fault on this great value student friendly guitar, hope you consider this guitar if your budget is constrained.

Rickenbacker 325C64 Jetglo

Rickenbacker 325C64 - Jetglo

The Rickenbacker 325C64 Jetglo is a modern reproduction of the original Rickenbacker 325, which John Lennon brandished in the early days of the "Fab Four". It has the same distinct double cutaway profile that oozes with vintage British invasion era appeal. What sets it apart is its set of three single coil "Toaster Top" pickups, with the middle and neck pickup wired together to work as one humbucker pickup. They are controlled by indpendent volume and tone knobs, as well as a neck blend knob that lets you adjust the balance between the neck and mid pickups.

The semi-hollow body of the Rickenbacker 325C64 is crafted from maple, with a hand-carved top. The neck is also made from maple, topped with a 21" scale length rosewood fingerboard which many may consider short in today's standards - but just the right length to give the guitar its distinct jangly tone and comfortable playability. Wrapping up its features is its vintage-inspired roller bridge and accent vibrato tailpiece.

With its legacy, overall quality, and distinct pickup configuration, the Rickenbacker 325C64 is an excellent guitar to show-off to your friends.

See the Rickenbacker 325 make history in the hands of John Lennon back in 1964.

Rickenbacker 620 Deluxe

Rickenbacker 620 Deluxe

The Rickenbacker 620 Deluxe is a solidbody guitar with a unique double cutaway body profile that is described as a cresting wave, making it hard to mistake for a guitar from other manufacturers. Equally unique is its electronics, which include a pair of hi-gain single-coil pickups that can be output separately via the guitar's dual Rick-O-sound output. This means that you can route your neck pickup to a different amp and set of effects, and run your humbucker to something totally different. There's also a blend knob if you want to balance the mix of the two pickups when used together in the mid position.

The body of this guitar is crafted from Maple, which is an interesting choice for a solidbody guitar. The neck is also crafted from maple, with a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard that has a scale length of 24.75". Other features include Schaller tuners and a 6-saddle adjustable bridge with the famous "R" tailpiece.

While it's not the 620 12-String that George Harrison popularized, the Rickenbacker 620 Deluxe has the premium look, feel and sound that will easily appeal to any guitar player.

Gretsch G6136-55GE Vintage Select 1955 White Falcon

Gretsch G6136-55GE Vintage Select 1955 White Falcon

First unveiled in 1954, and released the year after, the Gretsch White Falcon continues to be among the most sought after premium guitars in the market. This particular model is a modern recreation of the original version, with period-correct specifications that include having an arched maple top and U-shape maple neck. The guitar's hollow body and neck are crafted from maple, while the fingerboard is made from premium ebony wood.

To match its old school looks with vintage style tones, Gretsch equipped the G6136-55GE with a pair of TV Jones T'Armond pickups. These are routed to two dedicated volume controls, one master tone control and one master volume control, a combination that's different from what others have to offer. Aesthetics is obviously its strong point, with its white gloss Nitrocellulose lacquer finish, black and gold hardware, and Mother-of-Pearl inlays.

With its elegant white finish and aesthetics, the Gretsch G6136-55GE Vintage Select 1955 White Falcon is a true dream guitar.

Gretsch G5420T Electromatic

Gretsch G5420T Electromatic

With their Electromatic line, Gretsch aggressiveness in the entry to mid-tier market is at an all time high, churning out a wide selection of affordable alternatives to many of their premium guitar models. In particular, the G5420T Electromatic is based on their popular hollow body models, with a more streamlined look and more affordable hardware to cut costs. At its core is the same single cutaway hollowbody design that is distinctly Gretsch, crafted from maple.

It features two Black Top Filter'Tron humbucking pickups, both of which are tweaked to reproduce Gretsch's distinct punch and twang all while keeping the price tag reasonable. In addition, it also comes with Bigsby licensed vibrato bridge, that allows for more sonic expression via pitch modulation. Its 24.6" scale maple neck is topped by a rosewood fingerboard. Completing its look are bindings on the body, fingerboard and f-holes.

If you're looking to get that genuine Gretsch look, feel and sound at a more wallet-friendly price, then check out the Gretsch G520T Electromatic.

ESP Kirk Hammett KH-2 Vintage

ESP Kirk Hammett KH-2

ESP's partnership with metal bands helped put them on the map, so it's not surprising for them to manufacture top dollar signature guitars. One such guitar is the KH-2 Vintage, it replicates the guitar that Kirk Hammet actually uses, from its electronics and specifications, down to the smallest cosmetic details. It is priced much like a boutique guitar, only this one is from a big name company.

The VH-2 Vintage is basically a super strat with active pickups, tweaked to meet the playability and tone demands of Metallica's lead guitarist. It has a double cutaway alder body in aged black finish, complete with chipped paint, stickers and other cosmetic details found on Kirk's actual guitar. Giving this guitar its metal friendly voice are two active EMG humbuckers, the EMG 60 and EMG 81. Other hardware include an original Floyd Rose tremolo, and Gotoh tuners.

You don't have to be a fan of Metallica or Kirk Hammett to appreciate this guitar.



With so many guitar manufacturers hot rodding the Stratocaster, it is refreshing to see brands like ESP going after the other popular guitar shape, resulting in the "Super LP" guitar like the ESPT LTD EC-1000FM. This souped up version of the classic single cutaway body combines traditional looks with modern tones and playability, resulting in a fast playing axe that's easy on the eyes, and not too edgy.

ESP calls the body shape "Eclipse", which in the case of this guitar, is crafted from mahogany and paired with an arched flame maple top. The body is then wrapped in amber sunburst finish that complements the beautiful grains of the top. The guitar has a maple neck with a thin U profile and a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. It is meant to play fast and smooth, with its 24.75" scale length and narrow 1.65" nut width. ESP opted for two Seymour Duncan pickups for this guitar, the '59 Humbucker for the neck and the hotter JB Humbucker on the bridge - both of which can handle both clean and high gain tones.

Instead of going through the all too familiar Super Strat route, why not shred on a hot-rodded LP style guitar like the ESP LTD EC-1000FM?

Godin 5th Avenue Uptown Custom

Godin 5th Avenue Uptown Custom

While vintage archtops look and sound great, they are usually very expensive and many of them are probably not sturdy enough for regular use on the road. The 5th Avenue Uptown Custom aims to provide you with the same old school tone and visuals, with Godin's brand of modern structural stability, improved intonation and better overall reliability. Like all Godin guitars, the 5th Avenue Uptown Custom is crafted in Canada using locally sourced Canadian wild cherry wood, which is a staple in all their guitars.

The neck is crafted from silver leaf maple, topped with a 16" radius fingerboard that's made of Richlite, a modern composite material that's highly sustainable, it is described as resin-infused paper. Neck specifications indicate that it has a nut width of 1.72", a scale length of 24.84" and a total of 21 frets. Completing its old school appeal is a Bigsby bridge. Soundwise, the neck position has a Godin Kingpin P90, voiced to replicate vintage P90 pickups. The bridge position comes with a Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1b, which is based on late '50s humbuckers.

If you're looking for a roadworthy archtop with modern reliability, then don't look past this Canadian gem of a guitar.

Godin LGXT

Godin LGXT

For several years now Godin have been producing some of the most sonically versatile guitars available with their combination of regular pickups, piezo pickups and synth pickups built into their higher end guitars. Note that the synth pickups are 13-Pin and compatible with the Roland GR series guitar synths - if you want MIDI you have to first plug into a Roland synth then take the MIDI out from the synth.

The LGXT comes with 2 Seymour Duncan custom humbucker pickups that give it a classic electric guitar sound. The piezo pickup with custom preamp EQ makes it sound very much like an acoustic guitar. With the built-in synth pickup you can get just about any sound you want via a Roland GR series synth. It has a silver leaf maple solid body with a figured maple top and a mahogany neck with a richlite fingerboard on top which Godin says makes the action even better when using a synth. It has a full 25.5" scale length and 1.6875" nut width.

This is a guitar for experienced players and I wouldn't recommend it for beginners as the string tension on the longer scale can be difficult to get used to when you're starting out.

Related Articles:

electric guitars The Best Electric Guitars Under $500.

electric guitars The Best Electric Guitars Under $1000.


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I agree. Rickenbacker is

I agree. Rickenbacker is incredible to play at gigs large and small

What a comprehensive article on brands!

This is about the longest, most comprehensive page I've seen yet on guitar brands. I'm a big fan of G&L Guitars myself, but each brand has their own unique appeal. You should see how many new brands are popping up. There are quality builders all over the world stepping into the game. Its very encouraging.

A resourceful, must-read article! Strongly recommended

Impressive, I will recommend this article to young 'uns who want to get hold of the best of electric guitars. Indeed, there are plenty of brands showing up. Still, these brands are yet the bests and trusted worldwide. Thank you for adding the high-end and entry-level choices. From the list, An ESP LP 100O FM single-cutaway boasts my shelf. I like its simplicity and traditional (not too flashy) look. P.S. Don't make us wait for another eight years for further updates!

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