So I hear you’re looking for an electric guitar on a budget. I hear you’re ready to tune it up, turn it on and crank it to 11! Good for you and welcome to the long line of illustrious musicians in this club from the first “modern” electric guitarist Charlie Christian to innovators like Hendrix and Van Halen right on through to the great musicians in all styles who play the electric guitar today.
As an avid professional guitarist for many years now myself, I’ll offer some insight and expertise to help you get started by taking a look at five guitars currently available on Amazon. We’ll give consideration to price range, sound, tone, what the guitar comes with, brand name and a little background on each company to help you make an informed purchase.
The Schecter C-1 SGR
It features a very utilitarian all black finish and a sort of generic “hard rock” look and can be purchased alone, or in a “bundle” with a small 10 watt Sawtooth amplifier – again, the cranking it up to 11 part.
It also comes with a Hosa guitar cable or with an accessory bundle including a set of D’Addario strings, and a simple Planet Waves black guitar strap and a 25 pack of medium Planet Waves guitar picks.
For just getting started inexpensively you won’t go wrong here. Schecter has been around since 1976, when they started by making only replacement parts for other guitar manufactures and have grown into producing their own line of low, medium and high end guitars with acoustics, bases and even seven string models available.
Over the years many well known guitarist have played and endorsed the brand, including the great Joe Walsh.
The Epihpone Les Paul Package
With a dark “vintage” sunburst finish and the classic Les Paul shape. Epiphone is a brand the Gibson Guitar Company bought years ago, and is the name they use to produce their lower end electric and acoustic models.
With this package you’ll get a few more accessories (and who doesn’t love to accessorize?) then the Schecter, including a clip-on tuner and a lightweight gig bag. The “player pack” has one more added value, a few free online guitar lessons to get you started if you are a beginner.
With its two classic hum bucker pickups, plugged into a decent amp you should be able to get this starter guitar to sing and growl a bit.
Squier Strat Electric Guitar Pack
Not unlike Schecter, Squier started out as a string manufacturer, and similar to Gibson’s relationship with Epihone, was bought by Fender years ago to compete with knock off brands in the mid to lower end market.
The other main difference here, then, between the Epiphone pack and the Strat pick is going to be tone. The Epiphone is known for a more mid to low end tone while the Strat has a higher more biting, singing tone.
A great example in classic rock history is the difference in sounds of Jimmy Page, a Gibson player, to Jimmy Hendrix a Strat guy.
Of course both brands will offer a distinct tone, both are terrific and with the type of strings, picks and amps you use you can approximate either sound. It’s just a matter of preference for design, look and sound.
Ibanez Artcore AF55
Ibanez is a company that over the years has produced well known “signature” models in the jazz and rock worlds, including guitars designed by a diverse group of artists including John Scofield, Pat Metheny, George Benson, Joe Atriani and Paul Gilbert, among others.
If you have an ear for jazz, blues and rock and want an inexpensive guitar that’s versatile enough to get those diverse sounds by simply alternating the toggle switch between the front, back or both pickups, the Artcore is for you.
It’s a simply beautiful guitar with a plain “flat tobacco” wood finish that enhances the natural wood look of the instrument.
Ibanez has a rather interesting backstory as well, starting out as the small division of a book company making and importing Spanish acoustic guitars in the 1930’s. In this price range this is a great value for a beautiful, unique and really well rounded instrument that you can play with or without an amplifier.
Fender Modern Player Telecaster
Famous guitar heroes and stars from all genres have played a “Tele” from rock and rollers like Joe Strummer, Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards to one name pop stars like Prince and Sting to bluesmen from Muddy Waters to Albert Collins and Roy Buchanon. The Tele, one of the most popular models of electric guitar ever, was the first to be mass produced.
The Modern Player is a beautiful instrument with a bit of country flair in its soul and appearance and with it’s awesome looking f-hole it’s also a semi-hollow body guitar which helps add and blend a bit of an acoustic natural tone in with the amplified electric growl. This guitar features two MP-90 pick ups for three way toggle switching, like the Artcore, and some neat looking things like the vintage tuning pegs and vintage hard-tail bridge. This guitar is at the high end of this list, as it is a professional model ready to go out and do gigs with type of instrument.
Some Final Words
When getting started on this journey to owning and playing an electric guitar there is a lot to consider. I hope this short list has helped you make the right decision for you as there are no shortage of electric guitar companies and products available. Good luck, happy guitar hunting and when you get your ax, make it sing!