What Is the Best Electric Guitar Brand in 2020?
The search for the best electric guitar is a personal one to be sure. For one, the absolute best electric guitar on the market is likely out of most people’s price range, so the real question is “what’s the best electric guitar at a price I’m willing and able to pay?”
But beyond that, there are a dozen or more factors that you might consider, and every guitar player will weight these differently.
Electric guitars are used across a wide range of genres, and different models and styles are better suited for one than the other. Some have different sounds thanks to the electronics in use, and some have differing feels. And of course the look of a guitar is a big part of the discussion, too.
Though the journey to finding your perfect electric guitar is a personal one, we’ve developed a top 10 list of best electric guitars that finds a sweet balance across genres and price points.
Here are our top 10 electric guitar brands for 2020:
|D'Angelico Premier EXL-1 Hollow-Body Electric Guitar w/ Stairstep Tailpiece - Ocean Turquoise||Prime||Buy Now|
|D'Angelico Premier EXL-1 Hollow-Body Electric Guitar w/ Stairstep Tailpiece - White||Prime||Buy Now|
|Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack (Ebony)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Epiphone SG Special VE Electric Guitar (Heritage Cherry Sunburst)||Prime||Buy Now|
|ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000VB Electric Guitar, Vintage Black||Prime||Buy Now|
|ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar, Dark Brown Sunburst||Prime||Buy Now|
|ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar, Dark Brown Sunburst||Prime||Buy Now|
|Squier by Fender Affinity Series Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar - Laurel Fingerboard - Montego Black Metallic||Prime||Buy Now|
|Squier by Fender Affinity Stratocaster Beginner Pack, Laurel Fingerboard, Brown Sunburst, with Gig Bag, Amp, Strap, Cable, Picks, and Fender Play||Prime||Buy Now|
|Gibson 2016 T Les Paul Studio 60's Tribute Electric Guitar, Satin Honey Burst||Prime||Buy Now|
|Schecter Guitar Research C-1 Platinum Electric Guitar Satin Black||Prime||Buy Now|
|Yamaha RevStar RS720B Electric Guitar - Bigsby Tremolo with Gig Bag, Wall Fade||Prime||Buy Now|
Note: If you’re looking for an acoustic-electric model, you won’t find those here. We included several acoustic-electrics in our Best Acoustic Guitars page, so head on over there if that’s what you’re looking for.
Top All-Around Pick
Given everything we said above, it’s hard to make the call on a top all-around pick, because no matter what we choose, some readers will think we’re crazy. That said, we’ll give it a shot!
Our top all-around pick for beginning to intermediate players for most pop music is the Epiphone Les Paul 100 Electric. It’s Amazon’s #1 selling electric guitar at the time of this review, and for good reason. It hits a sweet low midrange price point, and it’s got that great Les Paul electric look and a classic sound and feel.
Since Epiphone is an imprint of Gibson, you know you’re getting quality—but at a much lower price.
Advanced players or those looking for specific features or styles should read the rest of the list, but if you’re just starting out and have $300-400 to spend, you won’t regret this model.
Top 10 Best List: Compared and Reviewed
Below you’ll find more in-depth reviews of all ten of our top picks above, this time ordered from most expensive to least.
Gibson Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional Electric ($2,629)
Gibsons are fantastic electric guitars—at fantastically high prices. If you’re looking for a top-quality American-made electric, Gibson has plenty of options to consider. It’s hard for other brands to overcome their incumbent status.
Now, we’ll tell you that the Gibson Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional Electric is a highly respected model, with a vintage look and dual BurstBucker pickups in a solid-body mahogany package. If you’re looking for a classic electric guitar of the highest quality, this is it.
Is it worth a roughly $1500 premium over the next brand on the list, though? That’s for you to decide. Check it out…
Gibson Les Paul Standard ’60s Electric ($2,499)
Just about everything we said about the above model is also true about this Gibson Les Paul Standard ’60s Electric, which is Guitar Center’s top-selling electric guitar. This solid-body electric features dual calibrated Alnico V BurstBucker 61 pickups and controls that are hand-wired. It features a maple top on a body made of solid mahogany. And did we mention it’s drop-dead gorgeous? It’s reminiscent of everything good about guitars from the 1960s.
Here again the only con is price. If you’ve got the cash, get this guitar (or the Traditional above). If it’s a stretch, mosey on down this list and find a guitar in the three-figure range.
ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 Electric ($899-$949)
Japanese company ESP is known for its quality electric guitars and basses (acoustic aficionados may know its sister brand, Takamine), and its ESP USA division handcrafts high-end electrics right in North Hollywood, California.
While ESP is primarily known for edgy, rock-style guitars, the LTD deluxe EC-1000 has a more balanced visual appeal. It lands somewhere between the classic Gibsons and the “ready to rock” SG Special below.
This model is full of intricate touches, like abalone flags and an inlaid model name on the fretboard. Keep in solid tune with the TonePros locking bridge and tailpiece, too, and enjoy the active EMG-81/60 pickups (in most configurations).
Yamaha RevStar Electric with Bigsby Tremolo ($899)
If you’re looking for a guitar with some meticulously designed tech, the Yamaha RevStar Electric with Bigsby Tremolo is a serious contender. It’s also one of only two guitars on this list (and the only outside the budget tier) with a tremolo bar built in.
Yamaha is known for its meticulous craftsmanship from motorbikes to guitars to pianos, and the RevStar series is no exception. Loaded with great tech like a proprietary dry switch (for the clarity and punch of a coil split, without the downsides) and custom-wound pickups, you get a great and customizable sound.
As an added bonus, the RevStar has a distinct, subtle aesthetic to it.
D’Angelico Premier Series EXL-1 Hollowbody Electric Guitar with Stairstep Tailpiece ($749.99)
Some guitars work well in a wide range of genres, but some genres need specific attention. Jazz is one of those, and the D’Angelico Premier Series EXL-1 Hollowbody with Stairstep Tailpiece is made with the discerning jazz guitarist in mind.
Featuring a “balanced, organic tone,” the Premier EXL-1 has all the hallmarks of a classic jazz guitar. It features a single floating mini-humbucker in addition to the natural acoustics good jazz guitars produce. The Premier EXL-1 is available in white, black, and a beautiful wine finish.
Schecter Guitar Research C-1 Platinum Electric ($599)
Schecter Guitar Research manufactures guitars across a wide range of price points, and for the most part they’re all ready to rock! The C-1 Platinum Electric boasts a Fender-esque body style, but with some nuanced refinements that put it in a category all its own, like platinum fingerboard inlays and satin chrome hardware.
The C-1 Platinum features Schecter’s Ultra Access neck joint plus two EMG Active 81/85 pickups. You can produce a solid tonal range on this instrument, and you’ll feel (and look) good doing so.
ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric ($449)
Our second ESP entry on the list, the ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric is the most wished-for electric guitar on Amazon at the time of this review. The LTD EC-256FM is a much more budget-minded entry that’s still quite popular among players. With a classic single-cutout full-bodied look, this guitar feels right at home in a wide variety of settings and sounds great, too.
From blues to rock to fusion, this guitar is a workhorse. If you’re looking for a lower price point entry to a classic electric look and sound, this one’s worth a look.
Note that this model is also available as a left-hand guitar, something that can be a bit harder to find.
Epiphone Les Paul 100 Electric ($299)
Amazon’s best-selling electric guitar was also our top pick. It’s hard not to love the classic lines and looks of the Epiphone Les Paul 100, and the price point is highly attractive as well.
Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster HSS ($249.99)
If you’re looking for an entry-level electric guitar that comes bundled with all the essentials you need, the $249.99 Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster HSS is a great choice as it has everything you’ll need to start playing in one convenient package.
The Stratocaster HSS features dual single-coil Stratocaster neck and middle pickups along with a humbucker bridge pickup. This guitar also features a synchronized tremolo bridge, giving you access to that classic wah wah sound.
Epiphone SG Special VE ($179-$250)
If you just wanna rock and roll and you need a slick little two-horned guitar to do it, don’t miss the Epiphone SG Special VE Electric (in Ebony for maximum badness!). It’s hard to understand how Epiphone crammed this much goodness into a sub-$200 guitar (depending on finish). It’s got a stellar look perfect for all types of rock, including a vintage worn finish.
Epiphone’s dual open-coil humbuckers with ceramic magnets offer a quality tone full of tight low ends, smooth mids, and pronounced highs. Adding to the package is the 1960s slim taper D profile bolt-on mahogany neck and the premium machine heads.
What’s Best for You?
In conclusion, remember that no list can make the final decision for you. You have to take into account what’s most important for you! And when possible, always put your hands on an instrument. It needs to feel right for you, the way you play.
We’re certain though that within this list you can find a guitar that’s just right for you.
main list in order