Best Guitars Ever
Let's face it, guitars are awesome. They are one of the most versatile instruments on the planet. Almost every genre of music uses a guitar in one way or another. Whether electric, acoustic or classical, as long as you enjoy music, guitar is probably part of it. And if you love guitar, there are a ton of great opportunities to listen, play and perform in whatever genre you like. And within guitars themselves, you have a choice of whether to play by yourself, or in a band. You can play lead, rhythm or bass.
Best guitars ever? There's not even a top ten that everyone will agree on. There's no single answer, but I'm going to help you narrow it down. I'll never share a guitar I don't believe in, so while you're here, you can just focus on finding what you need.
The first answer is always – the best guitar is the one that's right for you.
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Sometimes it's not the one you want it to be. You'll think you want one model because it has a great reputation, or your favorite guitarist plays it, but it doesn't fit you right, or feel comfortable against your body, or it doesn't suit your playing style. In that case, you may need to adjust your expectations.If you're new to guitars, you might not know what you want. Well, I have all sorts of information for beginners. From the ground up, I discuss how to choose the type of guitar for the genre you want to play, for your budget, size, shape and personal style. I give you lots information so you can recognize a quality instrument that's still a good value, and understand the differences between the types of guitars. I talk about what various body woods and top woods sound like and how they favors certain music styles and sound profiles. Don't worry if you're a beginner, I've got you covered.
Of course, there are so many choices of guitar, that there's going to be more than one great guitar for you. You're going to have your own personal, Best Guitars Ever list. You may love a Stratocaster for blues and rock, but have a kickin' Taylor V-class acoustic for playing some classic country. Then you might pull out a Gibson Special SG to thrash the metal scene. Not planning on playing across so many genres? That's reasonable, but you'll probably still have several guitars you love for different reasons.
And don't think there's nothing for you here if you're an experienced player. We're going to discuss things like the best guitars and equipment for certain styles of music. We'll look at what makes a high end guitar worth the extra dough. We'll talk about the professional guitarists in the industry, what they play, their inspirations and accomplishments. What is that luthiers like to see in a fine guitar. We'll discuss the finer points of less common guitar choices, like resonator guitars, and the needs of specific styles of play, like the best guitar for fingerstyle. There's going to be plenty here for you.
Did you know?
Did you know that the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction went for $2.7 MILLION. It was the highly valuable Fender “Reach Out To Asia” Stratocaster and was signed by 19 big time, famous guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Dave Gilmour and Jimmy Page.
Are you right in the middle? An intermediate player? All of this information will help guide you to the right guitar. Whether some of it is refresher, or you're learning things for the first time, the more you know, the better off you'll be.
Maybe you're ready to move past your beginner guitar and are looking for something not only of better quality, but a six string that's vintage, or more genre specific. You've gotten past how to learn guitar and are hungry for more, ready to level up. I'll help you find your sweet spot, your style and your best guitar. This might be your first six string love.
If you have small hands and short fingers you deal with a specific set of challenges in the guitar world. I have oodles of information for you, covering both acoustic, and electric guitars. Even if you already have a preference, I recommend you read both pages because there's a lot of crossover info there. On the Electric Guitars for Small Hands page, I feature 5 famous guitarists that have had to deal with the same difficulties you do. Spoiler: There's no reason having small hands should keep you from playing guitar.
Did you know?
Did you know that Django Reinhardt, famed European jazz guitarist of the early 20th century, played with only three fingers on his left hand? A fire in a gypsy caravan in 1928 robbed him of the use of his 4th and 5th fingers. He had to devise alternate chord fingerings to deal with the physical challenges presented.
Are you here because you're thinking of getting a guitar for your kid, or even your toddler? You should take a look at the Guitar for Beginners page, as well as the section for Kids, or the one for Toddlers. I cover not only how to find the best guitars for these age groups based on size, style and interest, I discuss how to handle instruction and motivation as well.
My goal is to help people of all types play and enjoy guitar, and much of that starts with finding the right guitar for you.
Along the way I'll make sure you're well informed and understand your choices, but I'll also try not to get bogged down in too many technicalities. There are guitar gurus that love that stuff, and that's great, but my focus is on getting you playing and loving your ax.
I'm working on creating some genre feature pages. While lots of guitars function across genre lines, there are some that are especially good for certain styles of music. There are those that excel at shredding and those especially good for blues. Jazz and country have their favorite guitars, as do the different styles of rock. Some genres have both an acoustic and an electric sound and favorites within those. We'll look at what the pros in the different genres use, how they're similar, and how they differ.
Then, the minute you go electric, we have to discuss amps and pedals. Does the style you're looking into need overdrive or reverb, maybe distortion pedals are the order of the day. Or maybe the classic wah-wah pedal is what you're looking for. Of course, these things don't only apply to electric guitars, they add to the range of possibilities on acoustic-electric guitars, too.
Remember when I said that guitars are one of the most versatile instruments ever? This is why. There are so many variations to suit every style.
As I said, I'm working on those pages. Please be patient. This is a lot of information to pull together and it may take a little while. I don't want to just talk about guitars in the abstract sense. I want to discuss how you use and play them in real life.
Tech and Accessories
I already mentioned how your choice of genre might guide your choice of pedals and amps. Some of you are just going to want it all so you can experiment and create your own sound. That's great. Nothing about playing guitar says you have to copy what's been done in the past. In fact, it's the people who take chances and change things that are remembered for decades. So take the tech and try new things. Let us know here what you discover. I want to know what you're up to.
Accessories are the other inevitability of playing guitar. At minimum, you need a case, strap, tuner, picks and strings. Having a stand for your guitar is nice. Let me know what your favorites are. Is there a strap that is super comfortable, or glows during your solo on stage, that you just love? Clue me in. Do you have a jar with 50 picks, all the same, or are you happy to use anything you pick up? Tell me about the bad things, too, so we can discuss what to avoid. We're going to get to all of it.
Types of Guitar
Beyond acoustic and electric, there are more choices to be made.
Acoustic guitars come in steel string and classical (with nylon strings) and result in very different sounds and playing styles, with the steel string acoustic being the more versatile of the two. I have a discussion of those here. Within acoustic guitars, you also have to decide if you want to go acoustic-electric so you have the option of plugging in. Are you going to use a pick, or play fingerstyle? And then there are other variations, like resonators, flamenco and travel guitars that might suit your needs better. We're going to discuss them all.
Electric guitars have three main types – solid-body, semi-hollow body and hollow body, which I discuss in detail here. These models range from the best metal guitars, to multi-genre work horses, to jazz guitar elites. It all depends on what you're looking for.
There's hardly a genre where you can't place an electric guitar.
You might not have considered a semi-hollow electric guitar, but you might once you learn more about their incredible range and flexibility. These are truly genre-hoppers and are great at a lot of things – if they're to your liking. I have a Special Feature on a famous little Gibson semi-hollow, known as Lucille.
As you look through these pages, I just suggest that you keep an open mind. There are so many choices, it never hurts to be open to them
Construction and Quality
This is something that's very important to me. When I buy a guitar, I want to know that it's well made and smartly designed. I want woods that make it sound great and construction that'll last forever. Of course all guitars need adjustment sometime, but I don't ever want to buy something that will break easily, or not stay in tune, or not be worth fixing if something unfortunate does happen. I want a guitar that's going to sound great, and last forever - and I'm sure you do too.
This is a biggie. Most of us have lives that necessitate budget considerations. The most important thing is to get a good guitar in your hands. Your first might not be one of your best guitars ever, but it needs to be good enough to make you want to play. Learning guitar is not the easiest thing and you need an instrument that you're going to enjoy spending time with.
If you have a little more to spend on a guitar, I still want you to spend wisely. I want you to know what to look for and know what you're getting for the money. We'll discuss whether you need to buy American, or if a Mexican Fender Strat is equally good. Or is it worth it to seek out a classical guitar that actually comes from Spain? I want you to feel secure that any guitar you purchase is the right guitar for you. And I hope it's one you'll enjoy for many years.
Then there are those that are in-between. The same elements of quality apply across all types and models of guitar. So take what you learn on both the beginner and advanced pages and simply apply it to your budget range. The most important thing for you is getting a fun, but quality guitar that really suits your needs, one that you won't evolve out of easily.
Done right, a well-chosen mid-range guitar can last you a really long time and may make your personal list of best guitars ever.
Best Guitar Brands
There are a lot of great companies out there making great guitars. Two infamous guitar manufacturers, of course, are Fender and Gibson. They make top quality guitars in many different types, but both are known for, and excel at electric guitars like the Stratocaster and Telecaster, and the Les Paul and the SG355. Then there's their sub-companies, Squier and Epiphone, putting out more affordable variations of Fender and Gibson classics. While more affordable, they're still excellent guitars.
They're not the only game in town. If you're looking at electric guitars you've got to consider Ibanez, who make great guitars across the board, but they really show up for the metal crowd. Schecter is another guitar maker that emphasizes the deep, dark needs of a shredder with well-made instruments. Gretsch really gets the job done with some of the best hollow and semi-hollow electric guitars while Godin consistently puts out excellent quality with custom level craftsmanship.
In acoustic guitars, you've got to look at Martin and Taylor as the industry leaders, and with good reason, both companies have been doing this for a long time and have guitar making down to a science. Fortunately, they haven't stopped innovating and they're always looking for ways to improve on their already impressive designs. Ovation is innovation personified with awesome solid woods atop a synthetic, curved back that many players find infinitely comfortable. Washburn is another company paying attention to comfort as they have their Comfort series, designed with stylish armrests that make playing an acoustic guitar more comfortable for everyone.
So, just like there is no single best guitar ever, there's no single best brand ever. And, of course, the best is only the best if it's what's right for you.
The world of guitar is huge and can be defined by an incredible range of possibilities. You don't have to become an expert bent on being a rock star to enjoy playing guitar. Guitar is awesome at whatever level you want to get involved. Playing for yourself, or your family and friends? That works. Doing small gigs? Sure. Busking your way around the world? Why not? Starting a band? Of course you're in the right place. Love to play but don't like performing? Maybe you're an awesome studio musician everyone wants to hire.
Whatever your personality type, whatever your style, whatever you goals, there's a guitar that's right for you. It's great to have you here. Just remember one thing. No matter who you are, your level of experience, your age, or the style you like to play, you're always welcome at the Whammy Bar.