Best Electric Guitar for Country Music

Tele best guitar for country music

The answer to "What is the best electric guitar for country music?"  Can have a few different answers depending on what era and style of country music you enjoy.  Although it would be great to list all the guitars that have been big fads throughout Nashville.  There has been one single guitar that has reigned supreme for the past 4 or 5 decades.  

This guitar shouldn't surprise you.  It is an absolutely classic guitar model that is so closely associated with country music that you can't tell the tale of one without the other.  

The best electric guitar for country music is of course the. . .

Fender Telecaster - The Best Electric Guitar for Country Music
Fender Tele best electric guitar for country music

The Fender Telecaster was first released in 1951.  It was the very first widely produced solid body guitar.  At first many thought it was a silly idea.  A guitar guitar that cannot be played acoustically?  What a stupid idea, right?

That is what many doubters thought until they got their hands on it.  Many instantly noticed how easy it was to play.  The big and bulky fully hollow body guitars of that era were massive and could be very uncomfortable to play.  The new Telecaster was nice and compact.

The best thing about it was that the Telecaster delivered a sound that not many people had heard before.  A bright and punchy sound that brought the guitar to the forefront of the band.  Rather than the rhythm section.  

Because of all these factors every guitar company from here to Timbuktu was designing solid body electric guitars, and thus a guitar revolution was born.  

Why is it the Best electric Guitar for Country Music?

Fender Telecaster Head Stock Best electric guitar for country music

The Fender Telecaster is the best electric guitar for country music because it has an unmistakable twang to it that is perfect for country music.  There is almost something magical about the bridge pickup of a Fender Telecaster.  That is why if you were to take a trip to Nashville, you would see tele's in almost every single band you watch.  They are everywhere in Nashville.

Chicken pickin is a style of guitar that is almost exclusively played on a Telecaster in the bridge position.  Here is a video of Brad Paisley chicken pickin.  Before you think that Brad Paisley is just a "pop" country artist.  You should look at this.  The dude can fricken play.  He's one of the best country guitarists you'll ever see.

That is pretty fricken cool...  And it shows how a Telecaster reigns supreme as the best country electric guitar   Besides maybe fancier Telecaster copies.

Another reason why they are the best electric guitar for country music is that they are on all the country records you a listening to.  Almost every country song made in the last 20 years has a telecaster on the track somewhere.  If you hope to replicate the sounds of those great records then getting that type of guitar is a good start.  

Best Telecaster guitarists list

The first one we will mention is the player we already have talked about.  

Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley is a super underrated country guitar player.  He can play with the best of them, but is often times written off as a "pop country artist".  Say what you want about the guy, but he can certainly play.  He's been rocking Fender Telecasters, or Telecaster copies, since he was coming up in the Nashville scene, and still is to this day.  

Brad Paisley is so well known for playing a Telecaster that he has his own signature model produced by Fender

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters shows that although the Telecaster might be the best electric guitar for country, country is not the only thing the Telecaster can do.  

The Telecaster is a killer blues guitar if utilized correctly.  Just listen to the telecaster in song.  It is the perfect sound for this deep delta blues.  It is a very similar sound found in country music, but is just in a new context.  Again there is something magical about the bridge pickup no matter what genre it is within.  

Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard is mostly known for his songwriting.  That doesn't change the fact that he wrote and performed some of the most iconic country licks of all time.

Who doesn't know the intro lick to mama tried?

Keith Richards

Keith Richards shows once again that although the Telecaster is great for country, it can also be used for other genres as well.  As the guitarist for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards innovated the guitar, and brought new sounds to the forefront of popular music.  

The guitar he is most known for playing is, of course, his Fender Telecaster.  Here is a recent video of The Rolling Stones performing "Paint it Black".

Best Electric Guitar for Country for Everyone

Something great about the Telecaster, and really all Fender guitars, is that they come in a wide range of prices.  They start at around $230 and can go all the way up to $5,000.  There is one in the price range of almost anyone.  Here are our favorite ones, and who they would be best for.

Best Country guitar for Beginners

When we are looking for a good beginner guitar we are looking for a guitar that plays good, feels good, and is low in price.

 We really want a guitar that plays and feels good because learning guitar is already hard enough.  We do not need the instrument fighting against us.  When you are just starting out is when you are most likely to quit playing, and because of that we want to make your first playing experiences as good as possible.  An instrument that fights you is going to upset you and make you want to quit more.  

We want a guitar that is lower in price because beginners are far less inclined to spend a lot on a guitar.  They are very easily deterred by a price tag that says $500 or $600 on it.  

Lower Priced Option: Squier Bullet Telecaster

The Squier Bullet Telecaster is the best electric guitar for beginners looking to get into country music.  It is everything you need to start out, and not much more.  The best part about them is that they are extremely cheap, so almost anyone can afford one. 

The downside of this guitar is its quality control and quality of parts.  Obviously when you are buying a guitar for a super low price, odds are that the guitar is not going to be the highest of quality.  This makes playing a little more difficult, and it creates a sound that is not as pleasant as the other guitars on this list.  Also it means the guitar will have more issues with its electronics than the other models.  

Even with these issues though, the guitar is a great beginner guitar that will help you on your way to playing more and more in the future, and maybe not having the budget for a different guitar is totally okay!  Any guitar is a good guitar when you are starting out! 

For beginners without a big budget it certainly is the best electric guitar for country music.

Higher Priced Option:  Squier Classic 60's Vibe Telecaster 

The Squier Classic 60's Vibe Telecaster is a great guitar.  Not just for beginners, but for anyone that is interested in a great playing well made Telecaster.  I was recently hired to play in a country band, and I no longer had a Telecaster.  I went and picked up one of these, and I love it.  

Since I am just using it for a few gigs, it is great.  It isn't my main guitar, but I figured if I was going to be in a country band I would need a Telecaster.  I am very happy that I chose to buy this Telecaster rather than a more expensive one because this one absolutely gets the job done that I need it to get done.  

If you are a beginner looking to buy a good quality guitar, this could be the guitar for you.  It is an extremely great value for the price.  I cannot emphasis how much of a great value this guitar truly is.  Seriously a guitar you can play for your whole life.  

Here is a review left on Amazon about the guitar.  

Simply put, Fender got it right. I would recommend this guitar to anyone playing electric country music. The classic vibe series is hands down one of the best. If you are on the fence about either the Strat or the Tele there is no need to be. Fender knocked it out of the park. I own both of them and I am the worst critic of guitars. If you were to upgrade the pickups ( really no need ) you would have a guitar that will keep up with any $1000 Tele or Strat. The folks who Paid $1000's for their guitar would probably never agree but, I'm telling you straight, Even though the guitars are made overseas the attention to detail is amazing. The only question I would have is, where were these guitars when I was learning??? Got to get you one!!!

Mick Dodd

Verified Amazon Purchaser

The Intermediate

Intermediate guitarists are looking for guitars that are high quality, but maybe not made in the U.S.A.  Guitars made in the U.S.A. tend to be super expensive for realistically not that much difference in quality.  I think intermediates should be looking in the $500-$900 price range.  This gives you guitars that are made in countries like South Korea, Mexico, and Japan.  

These Guitars tend to be great guitars that can last a lifetime, but maybe just don't have the, tip top, highest quality parts and electronics.  

Fender Player Telecaster - Best Electric Guitar for Country Music

This guitar is very similar to the Classic Vibe Telecaster mentioned before, but simply made with higher quality parts.  These guitars have a few advantages over the Classic Vibe Telecasters though.  

The first is that they will stay in tune better.  These guitars have higher a higher quality bridge than the Classic Vibe Telecaster, as well as higher quality tuning machines.  These overall greatly increase the tuning stability of the guitar.  

These guitars will also have more reliable electronics.  One of the worst things is when you plug in your guitar, and it just doesn't work.  You have no idea if it is shot, or if it is a simple 15 minute fix.  Buying a higher quality instrument will allow you to feel that terrifying feeling far less.  

Here is a review left on Amazon for this guitar.

I’ve been looking into getting a Tele for awhile now. I was a little skeptical of going with the new Player series since I was already sold on picking up one of the MiM Standards, but after reading a handful of favorable reviews (and there weren’t many since it was so new) I chose the Player. I’m so happy I did. This thing is gorgeous, aesthetically and tonally. It’s surprisingly light and feels really solid. Didn’t have any issues with shipping or handling. Had to adjust the saddles a tiny bit after I played for the first hour or two, but since then I haven’t had to adjust anything. My first Fender, and it certainly won’t be my last

geddy

Verified Amazon Purchaser

Advanced Players

Advanced players are looking for top of the line instruments.  The best guitar you can buy.  Most of the time advanced players make some of their living by playing music, or simply have played for a long time, and want to upgrade to a very high quality instrument.

Most of the top of the line guitars you will see, will be made in the U.S.A.  Along with that they use the highest quality parts.  These normally make the guitar stay in tune better, play better, and have less electrical issues.  

American Professional II Telecaster - Best Electric Guitar for Country Music

American Professional II Telecasters are made in... you guessed it, the United State of America.  This guitar is a mix of the classic Telecaster and modern innovation.

Fender says "If we were able to improve it with a new design or modern materials we did; if it didn’t need improvement, we left it alone". 

They essentially took the classic Telecaster and beefed it up with all the modern technology they have available to them.  The modernized features include newly designed skinny tall frets, this is said to make bending far easier, newly wired pickups, these are supposed to replicate the sounds of the classic Telecasters of decades past, and finally also small adjustments to the saddles to make the intonation more accurate.  

Here is part of a review for the American Professional Telecaster.

The Pro Telecaster’s calling card is the sonic possibilities and sound quality. It’s made to be a gigging warrior, providing modern and vintage sounds to suit whomever picks up this wonderful Tele. Personally, I don’t think there is any sound change with the switch in tone woods, with all the classic Telecaster tones pouring out of this guitar. Snappy chords and arpeggios in the bridge, smooth country twang in the neck, it’s all there.

matt dunn

Guitar for Idiots Writer

Conclusion
Our final word on the matter is that we believe the Telecaster to be the best electric guitar for country music.  Whatever your price range is.  You can find a Telecaster for you.  





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