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Best Electric Guitars 2022: 16 Fine Electrics For Beginner To Pro Players

Gibson Les Paul electric guitar on wooden floorboards
(Image credit: Future)

The electric guitar is one of the most ubiquitous instruments in music. From rock, to pop, to R&B, to country, metal, soul, jazz and beyond, you’ll likely hear the sound of an electric guitar somewhere in the mix. Players; beginners and pros alike, often ponder on what is the best electric guitar, if there is one at all. Well, we’re here to answer that age-old question with a rundown of the best electric guitars currently on the market. 

The electric guitar can cover a massive range in terms of musical genres, and as a result, different players are likely to want different things from their instrument. Some might want a solid workhorse to gig night after night. Others might want a versatile, do-it-all guitar for recording purposes. The best electric guitar might also look different to a professional player with a few decades worth of experience under their belt, than it will to a beginner seeking their first entry into the world of guitars. 

As such, we’ve covered a lot of ground in our list of the best electric guitars currently available. So, whether you’re an experienced shredder, or you’ve always fancied dipping a toe into the sonic landscape of jazz and blues, or anything else, we’ve got you covered. All the guitars on this list, regardless of price or style, are gig-worthy, can record well and are built to a good standard, so if you’re seeking a selection of the most killer electric guitars out there right now, then read on.

Best electric guitars: Guitar Player picks

The single best electric guitar available is hard to pin down, however, if you’re going down the route of bright, spanky single coil sounds, then the Fender American Pro II Strat is hard to beat. It offers superb build quality, a wide range of clear and defined quintessential Strat tones, amazing playability and some great finishes. It’s everything a Strat should be, without having to spend an extortionate amount.

If you’re more into humbuckers, then you don’t need to look much further than the Gibson Les Paul Standard 60s. It’s a classic for a reason and Gibson’s Original series harks back to the company’s golden era, with vintage style tones, looks and feel. The Les Paul offers up a ton of beef and sustain, with plenty of punch in the mid range, and has been the number one choice of rockers for over half a century. 

For those on a budget - or indeed a newcomer to guitar - it's worth considering the quirky nature of the Squier Paranormal Offset Telecaster. This striking guitar certainly has a bold look but also has the tone to match - and with such a wallet-friendly price, it's hard not to fall in love with this crooked axe. 

Best electric guitars: Product guide

Best electric guitars: Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe

(Image credit: Fender)

1. Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe

Kick-off your guitar journey in style

Specifications

Body: Poplar
Neck: Maple
Scale: 25.5"
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22
Pickups: Ceramic Humbuckers
Controls: 2 x Volume, 2 x Tone, 3-way Toggle Switch
Hardware: 6-Saddle String-Through-Body Hardtail With Block Saddles
Finish: Charcoal Frost Metallic, Black, Burgundy Mist

Reasons to buy

+
Great look 
+
Very playable 
+
Extremely affordable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Some players may prefer single-coils 

If you wanted to start playing the electric guitar back in the day, your choice of weapons was very limited. Today, however, there are more entry-level guitars than you can shake a stick at - with lots of them looking almost identical to their more expensive counterparts. 

Our pick for the best beginner option has to be the Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe. This lightweight starter guitar draws inspiration from the classic ‘72 Fender Deluxe Telecaster and is loaded with a set of Squier humbuckers, delivering bags of rich, rock tones. The slim and comfortable C-shaped neck profile is incredibly playable and is a great jumping-off point for most players. 

It’s hard to believe just how affordable this stylish guitar is. It may have a wallet-friendly price, but it certainly doesn’t scrimp on quality - or playability for that matter. 

Best electric guitars: Squier Offset Telecaster

(Image credit: Fender)

2. Squier Paranormal Offset Telecaster

The Telecaster just got wonkier

Specifications

Body: Poplar
Neck: Maple
Scale: 25.5"
Fingerboard: Maple
Frets: 22
Pickups: 25.5"
Controls: 3-Position Blade Switch, Master Volume, Master Tone
Hardware: 3-Saddle Vintage-Style Strings-Through-Body Tele with Chrome Barrel Saddles
Finish: Olympic White, Butterscotch Blonde, Shell Pink

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Classic Tele sound 
+
Nice finish options

Reasons to avoid

-
Offset body not for everyone 

Sometimes you just need a guitar that will allow you to stand out from the crowd - and the Squier Paranormal Offset Telecaster certainly does that. Combining the feature set of a Telecaster and the fabulously wonky body of the Jazzmaster, this unique guitar is more than the sum of its parts.

The dual Fender-designed alnico single-coil pickups and string-through bridge design ensure you get the classic Tele twang you are looking for, while the slim neck - with gloss finish - is effortless to play for beginners or pros. 

So if a traditional guitar simply won’t cut it, then it’s worth considering this surprisingly budget-friendly offset. This Squier not only offers superb value for money but also a fun take on a classic.

Best electric guitars: Yamaha Revstar RSE20

(Image credit: Yamaha)

3. Yamaha Revstar RSE20

The straight-shooting rock and roll machine

Specifications

Body: Chambered Mahogany
Neck: 3-Piece Mahogany
Scale: 24.75”
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22
Pickups: Alnico V Humbuckers
Controls: Volume, Tone (Dry Switch Push/Pull), 3-way Toggle Switch
Hardware: Tune-O-Matic Bridge
Finish: Black, Neon Yellow, Swift Blue, Red Copper, Vintage White

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable 
+
Well-built

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most exciting guitar 

This new and improved entry-level Yamaha is as simple as it comes, choosing to forgo fancy features in favor of a fairly no-nonsense approach. This striking horned axe is reminiscent of the old-school Yamaha SG, giving you the look and vibe of this cult classic at a far more affordable price. 

Housing two pretty high output humbuckers, the Revstar RSE20 most definitely brings the noise, making it the perfect choice for hard rock, punk, or even metal. There’s also a Dry switch that enhances the top end a little, and controls the low end. The chambered mahogany body is light and resonant so is ideal for gigging, while the reshaped neck profile is a joy to play.  

If you are looking for a back-to-basics rock and roll machine that would break the bank, then definitely consider the Yamaha Revstar RSE20.

Best electric guitars: Epiphone ES-339

(Image credit: Epiphone )

4. Epiphone Inspired By Gibson ES-339

A shrunk down ES with a massive tone

Specifications

Body: Laminated Maple
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 24.75"
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Pickups: Epiphone Alnico Classic PRO
Controls: Neck Pickup Volume, Bridge Pickup Volume, Neck Pickup Tone, Bridge Pickup Tone
Hardware: LockTone Tune-o-matic
Finish: Cherry, Pelham Blue, Vintage Sunburst

Reasons to buy

+
Very playable neck
+
 Great pickups 

Reasons to avoid

-
Finish can feel a little thick  

It's hard to deny how good an ES-335 sounds. They are full-bodied, rich, and bell-like in their tone, but one stumbling block some players have is the excessive size of the instrument. That's why Gibson introduced the ES-339 in 2007. This kept everything players loved about its big brother but shrunk the body down to a more manageable size. 

Epiphone now offers the pint-sized hollow-body at a far more affordable price and doesn't scrimp on the quality. The Alnico Classic PRO humbuckers do a surprisingly good job at recreating the PAF tone, and the rounded neck profile is incredibly satisfying to play. You have to constantly remind yourself that this guitar is under $/£500 while playing it. 

The Epiphone ES 339 may not be the flashiest - or indeed the most expensive guitar on this list - but its tasteful looks, unmatched comfort, and glorious tone mean it can most definitely hang with the big boys in this guide. 

Best electric guitars: ESP LTD EC-256

(Image credit: ESP )

5. ESP LTD EC-256

For those seeking a single cut on a budget

Specifications

Body: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 24.75"
Fingerboard: Roasted Jatoba
Frets: 22
Pickups: LH-150N/B
Controls: Volume/Volume/Tone(Push/Pull)/Toggle Switch
Hardware: Tune-O-Matic
Finish: Black, Snow White

Reasons to buy

+
Very affordable
+
Lightweight/ slim body 
+
Beginner-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Not an exact replacement for a Les Paul 

The ESP Eclipse may have started life as a tribute to another very famous single-cut - and the guitar that takes our number one slot - but it has gone on to develop a following all of its own. While a full-fat EC can cost a pretty penny, the LTD EC-256 allows you to get the bone-crushing tone of its big brother, at a much more manageable price.

The beginner-friendly guitar market is a fiercely competitive one. Still, this stylish, well-built guitar carves out its own place, delivering the single-cut tone you’d expect but in a slimmed-down and lightweight package. 

We also have the inclusion of a coil-split, which allows you to turn this hard rocker into the ultimate clean machine with a pull of the tone control. So, if you’re looking for a versatile LP style axe, that’s extremely friendly on your wallet, then look no further than the ESP LTD EC-256. 

Best electric guitars: Gretsch Electromatic G5622T

(Image credit: Gretsch )

6. Gretsch Electromatic G5622T

An affordable option for the country gent

Specifications

Body: Laminated Maple
Neck: Maple
Scale: 24.6"
Fingerboard: Laurel
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Pickups: Black Top Broad’Tron
Controls: Volume 1 (Neck Pickup), Volume 2 (Bridge Pickup), Master Volume, Master Tone
Hardware: Bigsby B70
Finish: Aspen Green, Dark Cherry Metallic, Georgia Green, Imperial Stain, Orange Stain, Single Barrel Burst

Reasons to buy

+
That Gretsch sound on a budget 
+
Great variety of finishes 

Reasons to avoid

-
Bigsby not for everyone  

Gretsch guitars can sometimes get overlooked by many players who think that they are just a one-trick pony used for country twang. Well, it’s simply not true. Yes, Gretsch does the country thing better than most, but they can do so much more - go ask Billy Duffy. 

Over the last few years, the Gretsch Electromatic range has been going from strength to strength, with the release of new models, exciting new finishes, and updated revoiced pickups. One of the most popular from this range is the G5622T - and it’s easy to see why. 

The addition of the center block gives the Gretsch an added power and aggression not present in the fully hollow options. While the dual Black Top Broad’Tron™ humbucking pickups deliver the classic Gretsch chime you’d expect while retaining the guitar’s natural dynamics. It just wouldn’t be a Gretsch if it didn’t sport the iconic Bigsby, and the one on offer here works very well-staying in tune beautifully - and adds just the right amount of wobble to your chords and lead lines.  

Best electric guitars: Reverend Double Agent

(Image credit: Reverend )

7. Reverend Double Agent

A double agent that won't double-cross you

Specifications

Body: Korina Solidbody
Neck: Maple
Scale: 25.5"
Fingerboard: Pau Ferro/Roasted Maple
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Pickups: HA5 Bridge, 9A5 Neck
Controls: Volume, Tone, Bass Contour, 3-way
Hardware: Tune-o-matic
Finish: Venetian Gold, Rock Orange, Metallic Alpine, Metallic Silver Freeze, Midnight Black

Reasons to buy

+
Unique shape
+
Humbucker and P-90 combination very effective  

Reasons to avoid

-
The bass contour control not useful to every player  

It's easy to think we've seen every possible shape for an electric guitar, but then along comes Reverend with the Double Agent. The love child of a Telecaster and Les Paul, with maybe a little offset thrown in there for good measure, this is a truly striking looking guitar. 

The South Korean guitar not only looks different but is also concealing a number of tone-shaping features, such as a treble bleed circuit to maintain your high-end when rolling off the volume and a passive bass roll-off control for tightening up the low-end. 

This is also the only guitar on this list made from the mythical Korina - also known as White Limba. Arguably most famous for being the original material for the '58 Gibson Explorer and Flying V, this alluring wood is famed for its lightweight and resonant qualities. So if you are looking for something a little different, then you should definitely check one of these out.  

Best electric guitars: Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSS

(Image credit: Charvel)

8. Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSS

A shred-friendly guitar, that’s more versatile than you might think

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Caramelized Maple
Scale: 25.5”
Fingerboard: Caramelized Maple
Frets: 24
Pickups: 1 x Custom Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B, 2 x Seymour Duncan Custom Flat Strat SSL
Controls: Volume, No-Load Tone ,5-way Toggle Switch
Hardware: Gotoh Custom 510 Tremolo, Locking Tuners
Finish: Shell Pink, Snow White

Reasons to buy

+
Superb Seymour Duncan pickups
+
Covers a lot of ground
+
Great looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too much for purists

This high-performance super-Strat style guitar caters for a massive range of players. Shredders will rejoice at the hand-rubbed, speed neck profile and heel cut, while its more traditional body style and overall aesthetic appeal to a much wider audience. 

The humbucker is medium output, with strong bass frequencies and a slight mid-scoop. It’s enough for chunky metal tones, but dynamic and responsive enough for blues, rock, soul - even pop. Having the two single coils, and the five-way pickup selector allows for an array of chimey and glassy tones as well. High quality hardware, including locking tuners ensure great tuning stability and plenty of resonance. 

The Charvel DK24 is super versatile and boasts amazing playability and great looks, earning its place on our list of the best electric guitars. 

Best electric guitars: Fender Vintera 60s Telecaster

(Image credit: Fender)

9. Fender Vintera 60s Telecaster

A Mex-made Tele bursting with vintage mojo

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Scale: 25.5”
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 21
Pickups: Vintage-Style '60s Single-Coil Tele
Controls: Volume, Tone, 3-way Toggle Switch
Hardware: Bigsby-Licensed B50 Vibrato
Finish: Sunburst

Reasons to buy

+
Classic Tele tones
+
Mostly period-correct
+
Bigsby looks great

Reasons to avoid

-
Too limited for some

The Telecaster truly is a timeless guitar; nothing exemplifies this more than how little has changed over the years - if we don't count a name change and a very brief stint with no name at all. So many players have fallen for the Tele's bright, articulate attack and singing upper-mids that mean it's heard in even the densest of mixes.

This Mex-made Vintera Tele is a great replication of the renowned 60s models, with the addition of a Bigsby tailpiece (though if that trem unit isn’t your thing, it’s also available as a hardtail). Expect plenty of bite and twang from the bridge pickup, alongside mellow warmth in the neck pickup position, with some great sounds in between too. 

The guitar boasts a period-correct and comfortable early 60s C neck profile, vintage style frets and a 7.25” fingerboard radius lending it a vintage-style feel.

Best electric guitars: Gibson SG Standard

(Image credit: Gibson )

10. Gibson SG Standard

Shoot to thrill with this Gibson classic

Specifications

Body: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 24.75"
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Pickups: 490R/490T
Controls: 2 Volumes, 2 Tones & Toggle Switch (Hand-wired with Orange Drop Capacitors)
Hardware: Nickel ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic
Finish: Heritage Cherry, Ebony

Reasons to buy

+
Who doesn’t love a cherry SG?
+
Lightweight design 

Reasons to avoid

-
There are more versatile guitars out there 

The Gibson SG - the horned devil that has been the best-selling Gibson Guitar of all time. This solid mahogany guitar has not just been a firm favorite of Angus Young, but also Derek Truck, Tony Iommi, and Frank Zappa. 

We don’t need to tell you that the SG was released in 1961, as a direct response to the dwindling sales of the Les Paul, as this is pretty much common knowledge at this point, but one thing a lot of players get wrong about the Gibson’s “Solid Guitar”, is they think it’s just a slimmed-down LP. Well, in fact, the feel and - more importantly - sound completely different. Hence why both have earned a spot on our list. 

The Gibson SG Standard has a tighter bottom-end and more pronounced upper mids and means it cuts like a knife on stage - not to mention it is significantly lighter! This year’s version of the iconic guitar features a ‘60s rounded neck profile, bound rosewood fingerboard, long tenon, and of course a solid mahogany body. 

Best electric guitars: Fender American Pro II Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender )

11. Fender American Pro II Stratocaster

The American Pro gets a face-lift

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Scale: 25.5"
Fingerboard: Maple/Rosewood
Frets: 22 Narrow Tall
Pickups: V-Mod II Single-Coil Strat
Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck/Middle Pickups), Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup)
Hardware: 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles, Pop-In Tremolo Arm and Cold-Rolled Steel Block
Finish: Miami Blue, Black, Dark Night, Mercury, Mystic Surf Green, Olympic White, Roasted Pine, Sienna Sunburst, 3-Color Sunburst

Reasons to buy

+
Great pickups
+
Improved neck profile
+
Massive range of finishes  

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for the vintage purist  

The Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most versatile guitar of all time. The three-pickups and five-way switch offer a range of tones you simply can't achieve on other guitars - with clever switching and parlor tricks, you can get close, but you can't nail those Strat tones perfectly without a genuine Stratocaster. 

The American Pro II is the sequel to the acclaimed guitar released in 2017. Like most second installments, this guitar is very similar to its predecessor, with a few minor changes. The popular "deep C" neck now sports rolled edges for a more comfortable feel, making it even easier to play those Jimi chords with your thumb. 

The newly updated V-Mod II single-coil pickups offer all the tones you'd expect from a high-quality Strat, while the redesigned 2-point tremolo with a cold-rolled steel block increases sustain and clarity. 

Best electric guitars: Yamaha SA2200

(Image credit: Yamaha )

12. Yamaha SA2200

For the player seeking elegance and class

Specifications

Body: Laminated Sycamore / Soft Maple Center Block
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 24-3/4"
Fingerboard: Ebony
Frets: 22
Pickups: Yamaha Humbucker/Alnico V
Controls: Front Volume, Rear Volume, Front Tone, Rear Tone, 3-Position Toggle Switch
Hardware: Gotoh GE103B
Finish: Violin Sunburst, Brown Sunburst

Reasons to buy

+
Playability is second to none
+
Superb build quality  

Reasons to avoid

-
At this price, some players might want a Gibson 

Whether Yamaha is making guitars, pianos, trumpets, mixing desks, or motorbikes they do it to the absolute highest standard - and nothing showcases this more than the Yamaha SA2200. This elegantly turned-out hollowbody proudly wears its influence on its sleeve, but strays from the proven formula slightly with the addition of immaculate gold hardware and heavily flamed Sycamore body. However, traditionalists will be happy to hear that there is a maple center block present at the heart of this classy guitar, and it provides the much-needed mid-range push and feedback-busting qualities you'd expect from an ES-style guitar. 

The mahogany neck feels thin, fast, and insanely playable. This is the type of guitar you could play for hours and hours without fatigue - which you will want to do once you plug it in! The ebony fingerboard carries on the theme of high-end and luxury, while the split block inlays clearly take inspiration from the likes of the ES-345.

Suppose you are in the market for a reliable, well-built, gorgeous semi-hollow guitar. In that case, Yamaha SA2200 is one of the best around. It really does have it all - the sound, the look, the feel - and certainly gives the Gibson a run for its money. 

Best electric guitars: Fender American Ultra Jazzmaster

(Image credit: Fender )

13. Fender American Ultra Jazzmaster

A Jazzmaster for modern sensibilities

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Scale: 25.5"
Fingerboard: Maple/Rosewood
Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo
Pickups: Ultra Noiseless Vintage Jazzmaster
Controls: Volume 1. (Neck Pickup, S1 Switch), Volume 2. (Bridge Pickup), Master Tone, Slide Switch, Volume Offset 1 (Neck Pickup), Volume 2 (Bridge Pickup)
Hardware: American Professional Jazzmaster
Finish: Cobra Blue, Mocha Burst, Ultraburst

Reasons to buy

+
Noiseless pickups that actually sound great!
+
Great finish options 
+
One of the most comfortable Jazzmasters on the market  

Reasons to avoid

-
Some players may not like having lots of switches  

The Jazzmaster hasn't changed all that much since it made its debut in 1958 - quite the year for the electric guitar! - and the Fender American Ultra Jazzmaster might just be the most technologically advanced the offset has ever been. 

Fender applies the Ultra treatment to this underground classic, turning it into the ultimate modern Jazzmaster. This guitar is a breeze to play, featuring an incredibly comfortable "modern D" profile neck with a 10"-14" compound-radius fingerboard. While the tapered neck heel allows unprecedented access to the higher frets. 

You never need to worry about excess noise, as the Jazzmaster comes loaded with a set of Ultra Noiseless Vintage Jazzmaster pickups, bringing all the vintage flavor you'd ever want, just without the hum! There are also other hidden tonal secrets under the hood, such as a treble bleed circuit to maintain high-end at any volume and an S-1 switch to override the pickup selector toggle and activates both pickups in series. So if you are looking for a modern take on a classic, then this guitar is definitely worth considering. 

Best electric guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard

(Image credit: Gibson )

14. Gibson Les Paul Standard '60s

One of the best electric guitars setting the standard

Specifications

Body: Mahogany/ AA Figured Maple Top
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 24.75"
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Pickups: Burstbucker 61R/61T
Controls: 2 Volumes, 2 Tones & Toggle Switch (Hand-wired with Orange Drop Capacitors)
Hardware: Nickel ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic
Finish: Iced Tea, Bourbon Burst, Unburst

Reasons to buy

+
A tone to die for 
+
Hand-wired with Orange Drop capacitors 
+
Gorgeous looks  

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be heavy for some players  

Originally released in 1952 - albeit in a very different guise - the Les Paul has gone on to define rock 'n' roll and become a cultural icon. Gibson has taken a back-to-basics approach with the Les Paul Standard '60s and released a guitar that harkens back to the golden era of this stunning single-cut. Featuring Gibson's tried and true combination of a solid mahogany body, an elegant flame-maple top, and a highly playable slim taper neck. 

This guitar behaves exactly how you would expect for a Gibson Les Paul, offering an intense amount of sustain, and righteous mid-range bark. This is capped off with the classic Tune-O-Matic bridge, aluminum stop bar tailpiece, Grover Rotomatic "Kidney" tuners, and gold top-hat knobs with silver reflectors completing the 1960s aesthetic. 

Bringing the noise is a set of Burstbucker 61R/61T pickups. These Alnico V pickups are dripping with vintage mojo and offer a clear, punchy tone that can't help but invoke sounds of rock royalty. 

Best electric guitars: Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Goldie

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

15. Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Goldie

A new gold standard for Music Man

Specifications

Body: Okoume
Neck: Figured roasted maple neck
Scale: 25-1/2"
Fingerboard: Ebony (Cashmere & Silk Charmeuse); Rosewood (Velveteen)
Frets: 22 medium
Pickups: 3 Music Man custom mini-humbuckers with chrome covers and gold foil
Controls: 250kohm volume and tone - .047µF tone capacitor/ 5-way lever pickup selector
Hardware: St. Vincent Modern tremolo with solid brass saddles
Finish: Cashmere, Velveteen, Silk Charmeuse

Reasons to buy

+
Very versatile
+
One of the most comfortable necks you'll ever play  

Reasons to avoid

-
The look isn't for everyone 

This has to be one of the most unique-looking guitars on the market today. Its hour-glass figure is reminiscent of the Gibson Firebird but more angular and futuristic - maybe if Ray Dietrich designed hover cars, this is the guitar he would have made. 

It's not all about the looks, though. This striking guitar has a pretty impressive list of specs. The Okoume body - similar to the more traditional mahogany - is complemented by the figured roasted maple neck and jet black ebony fingerboard. The gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax gives the neck an incredibly smooth feel. Trust us, this is one of the best feeling guitars you'll ever play - it's effortless. 

At the center of this guitar is a trio of gold-foil-ish pickups. Like the original St Vincent, these pickups are actually mini-humbuckers, not true gold-foils. Don't be disappointed, though, as there's plenty of top-end and harmonic content in these mighty little pickups to give you the complex tone you're looking for. So if you are looking for a truly unique guitar that's deceptively versatile and effortless to play, then this might be the guitar for you.

Best electric guitars: PRS Special Semi-Hollow

(Image credit: PRS )

16. PRS Special Semi-Hollow

Is this the most versatile PRS ever?

Specifications

Body: Mahogany/ Flame Maple Top
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 25"
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Pickups: 58/15 LT Treble, PRS Narrowfield, 58/15 LT Bass
Controls: Volume and Tone Control with 5-Way Blade Pickup Switch and Two Mini-Toggle Coil-Tap Switches
Hardware: PRS Patented Tremolo, Gen III
Finish: Antique White, Aquamarine, Black Gold Wrap Burst, Charcoal Burst, Charcoal Cherry Burst, Dark Cherry Sunburst, Faded Whale Blue, Fire Red Burst, Yellow Tiger

Reasons to buy

+
Unbelievably versatile
+
A work of art to look at
+
So many finish options    

Reasons to avoid

-
Some players may find it a little complicated
-
Expensive

The latest offering from Paul Reed Smith guitars is a marvel of engineering, beautifully combining artful looks with practical features, resulting in one of the most versatile PRS guitars we've ever played.  

At the heart of the guitar sits the PRS Narrowfield, sandwiched between two 58/15 LT humbuckers - a deadly combination that certainly delivers a massive range of tones. The Narrowfield delivers the single-coil clarity and bite, with the added benefit of zero hum, whereas the two humbuckers could easily bring the house down. In case that wasn't enough, the 5-way position switch, and dual toggle switches mean you can have 12 different tones! 

This guitar is available in a jaw-dropping 19 finishes! From Charcoal Burst and Faded Whale Blue to the delicious Dark Cherry Sunburst there really is a finish to suit every player’s tastes. The smooth mahogany neck isn’t too dissimilar to a vintage style Gibson and feels suitability reassuring in your hands. 

Read our full PRS Special Semi-Hollow review  

Best electric guitars: Buying advice

Close up of Yamaha SA2200

(Image credit: Future)

Choosing the best electric guitar for you

As they say; beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this can be applied when looking for the best electric guitar. What might be the best for one person, won’t necessarily be right for another. However, all the instruments on this list sound great, are reliable and will tick a range of metaphorical boxes for players with a specific set of needs.

Consider your budget

To find the best electric guitar for you, it’s worth making a few careful considerations before parting with your cash. Initially, you might think that the best electric guitar has to be expensive - this isn’t the case, as proven by some of the great, more budget-friendly options on our list. If you’re just starting out playing, then you probably won’t benefit from some of the features on many top-end models, so you needn’t spend loads to get a great electric guitar.

Identify your sound

Think about what sound you’re after. There are no hard and fast rules about using certain guitars for specific types of music; in a nutshell, any guitar can be used for anything - it’s all down to the player. That said, you’ll often see some of the biggest rock guitarists in the world favouring the likes of a Gibson Les Paul or SG; country players are often drawn to the twang of a Fender Telecaster; semi-hollow and hollowbody guitars are great for jazz and blues, and the likes of the Fender Strat is great for pretty much anything. 

Pickups play the biggest part in your guitar’s sound. There are various different styles of pickup, all with their own unique tonal characteristics, but they can largely be split up into single-coils, humbuckers and P-90s. Our list of the best electric guitars features instruments with a variety of pickups so there’s sure to be something that suits you. Some even feature different pickup types within the same guitar allowing you to get a range of different sounds all in one instrument.

If you know your own playing style, and you like to stay in that lane, then you won’t need too many tonal options. For example, a guitar with two humbuckers and a three-way pickup selector might have everything you need. However, if you’re playing different types of music, and want a single guitar to tackle it all, then look for something that has the ability to yield different sounds. This might be in the form of coil split, or tapped humbuckers, as seen on the LTD EC-256, different pickup styles like on the Reverend, or clever switching systems, like the one on board the Fender Ultra Jazzmaster. 

Consider going leftfield

If you’re adding a new guitar to an existing collection, then perhaps consider something different to what you’ve already got - that way, you can cover more ground, sonically. Say if you’ve already got a Les Paul, then going for a Strat or Tele, for example, is going to provide you with a whole different palette of tones. 

Neck profile and fingerboard radius

Neck profile is another thing to think about, as this can directly affect playability. What’s best for you boils down to personal preference, though many fast lead or shred-style players feel more at home with a thinner neck profile, while others find a chunkier, more vintage or rounded profile better. Fingerboard radius can also play a part in how the guitar feels in your fretted hand, so that’s worth keeping an eye on too.

First and foremost, I'm a guitar enthusiast – a fanatic, some might say. I'm a firm believer that most of the world's problems can be solved with a Gibson SG and a catastrophically loud amp. Before writing about guitars for a living as a Junior Deals Writer on Guitar Player, I worked in music retail for 7 years, giving advice on guitars, basses, drums, pianos, and PA systems. I also have a passion for live sound; I'm a fully qualified sound engineer with experience working in various venues in Scotland.