17 Best Electric and Acoustic Guitars for Beginners (2021)

Best for Kids

Mini Squier Strat

Best Acoustic

Fender CC-60 SCE

If you have never played guitar before, or if you are just starting out as a guitarist, it can be difficult to know which guitar is the right one for you. The truth is that there are many different types of guitars out there, and finding the perfect fit can take time. But don’t worry! We’re here to help you find the best guitar for beginners! 

In this article we will discuss some of the important things to consider when purchasing an electric or acoustic guitar. By knowing about your options and what makes each type unique in its own way, choosing a new instrument won’t seem so daunting anymore. If anything, you’ll feel more confident in your purchase than ever before!  We will surely help you find the best guitar for beginners!

How to Choose a Guitar for Beginners

The best way I know to choose a guitar for beginners comes down to the three P's.  Price, Playability, and Prettiness.  We want a guitar in our price range, that plays well, and is very pretty.

Some people scoff at the prettiness factor, but for beginners, how cool their guitar looks, is a huge factor.  If your guitar looks cool you are way more likely to pick it up and start playing.  

The Best Way to Learn Guitar

The best and easiest way to learn guitar changes from person to person.  That's why we have a whole article about how to learn guitar, and actively improve every day.  Click here to Read!

The Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

Our Top Pick: Squier Classic Vibe 60's Stratocaster

Pros: 

  • Extreme playability
  • Classic Sound
  • High Versatility

Cons:

  • A little pricier than other guitars on list

The Squier classic vibe 60's Stratocaster is quite possible the best case scenario for a beginner guitarist.  They are the highest quality instruments that you will find within a beginner's price range.  

They are so good that even professional gigging musicians will use them.  They are a nice tool to professionals because the professionals don't have to worry about them like they would with a guitar that costs four to eight times the price.  To a professional they are simply a guitar that plays great, sounds great, and comes in at a great price.  

Why is This the Best Electric Guitar for Beginners?

We chose the Squier classic vibe 60's Stratocaster rather than the 50's Stratocaster for a few reasons.  The first reason why we chose this guitar over the 50's Stratocaster is the size of the neck.

The neck on a 60's Stratocaster is much thinner than that of a 50's Stratocaster.  Beginners often times have trouble getting their fingers and hands to cooperate with them on the fretboard.  The last thing we need is more neck in the way to keep you from reaching the fretboard, making it far more difficult than it needs to be.  

The next reason is the pickups are more exciting on the 60's Stratocaster.  The pickups on a 60's Stratocaster are much higher output pickups than the ones on a 50's Stratocaster.  Basically what this means is that more signal get sent out of the guitar.  This makes the guitars sound fuller and more powerful.  All of this and more makes it the best electric guitar for beginners.

What Does it Sound Like?

Stratocasters are guitars with single coil pickups.  Single coil pickups are known for sounding bright and light.  

They are most commonly used in genres like Soul, Funk, R&B, and Jazz.  Some legendary guitar players that are famous for playing Stratocasters include the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Steive Ray Vaughan, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Mayer, and David Gilmour.  

There are tones more of legendary Stratocaster players, but we could go on and on for ever, so we will keep it just to those names.  All of these legends makes them a great place to begin a guitar journey, and cements them as one of the best starter electric guitars.  

If you are interested in any of the guitar players mentioned above, a Squier Classic vibe 60's Stratocaster might be for you.  

Personal Favorite: Squier Classic Vibe 60's Jazzmaster

Pros:

  • Exceptional Value
  • Unique, but Versatile
  • Plays Insanely well

Cons:

  • May be out of price range for some

The Jazzmaster is one of the most under appreciated guitars out there today, and I cannot figure out why.  They are amazing guitars that constantly deliver.  Especially these classic vibe Jazzmasters.  There are very few low priced guitars that play as well as a classic vibe Jazzmaster.  

Why is This One of the Best Guitars for Beginners?

Our reasoning for why we choose the 60's classic vibe over the 50's classic vibe is the exact same as our reasoning for doing so with the Stratocaster.  The 60's classic vibes simply offer specifications that are far more friendly to beginners.  Also the price is within the range of many beginners.

Jazzmaster Specs

  • Two Alnico Pickups
  • 25.5 Inch Scale Length 
  • Vintage Saddle
  • Poplar Body
  • Laurel Fingerboard

Let's talk about the pickups on this Jazzmaster.  They are called Alnico pickups.  An Alnico pickup is no that much different than the pickups you know of.  They simply are made of aluminum (al), nickel (ni), and cobalt (co).  The combination of these three metals creates a super strong pickup. 

The reason is because the aluminum and nickel are highly magnetic.  This allows for more signal to be sent from the guitar to the amp.  The cobalt adds corrosion resistance to the mix.  Making Alnico pickups high output, and long lasting.  

So to put it simply Alnico pickups are high output single coil pickups that last a long time.  

What Does it Sound Like?

The sound of a Jazzmaster is very similar to that of the Stratocaster because of them both being single coil Fender guitars.  With that being said there is a slight difference between the sound of the two.  

A Jazzmaster will have slightly hotter pickups, meaning they output more sound into the amp than a Stratocaster.  This results in a warmer and more powerful sound than the Stratocaster.  

The most popular Jazzmaster player right now is probably Chris Stapleton.  He is not the most technical guitar player, but he plays with crazy amounts of emotion, and has made the instrument an extension of his voice.   

Here is a video where you can see what a Jazzmaster sounds like in the hands of a professional.

Finally here is a video review of the Squier Jazzmaster.

Best Beginner Metal Guitar: Ibanez RGA42FM

Pros:

  • Great Value for Price
  • Great tuning stabilization
  • Unique 5 way selector

Cons:

  • Pricier than average on this list

This guitar is a premium choice for a beginner that is looking to getting into the metal realm.  Here 's why we think this is the best beginner guitar for metal.

Why is This the Best Beginner Guitar for Metal?

The number one reason is because of the value of the guitar.  This guitar could easily sell for a few hundred dollars more, but ,luckily for us, it doesn't.  

The electronics within this guitar are of high quality, and are known to last.  The pickups are very modern sounding metal pickups, and can really pump out a ton of output.  

The guitar plays super well for the price.  The frets aren't poking off the side of the fretboard, the neck plays fast, the frets don't buzz.  All of these things make this one of the best guitars to learn on.

To put it simply this guitar is an amazing value for the price.

Not only that, but many of these features benefit the beginner greatly.  

Ibanez RGA42FM Features

  • 16 Inch Fretboard Radius
  • 24 Jumbo Frets
  • Ultra Thin Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 5 way pickup selector switch

The feature I would really like to highlight is the 5 way pickup selector switch.  Typically you will see 5 way switches on guitars like a Stratocaster.  Guitars that have 3 single coil pickups.  This guitar only has 2 pickups though.  

What you can do though with this guitar that is unique, is that you can coil split.  This means that instead of using the pickups as humbuckers you can use them as single coils.  

So lets give a quick rundown of which pickups are active in which position.  In position 1 the bridge humbucker pickup is active,  In position 2 the bridge pickup is active as a single coil,  In position 3 both pickups are active as humbuckers,  In position 4 the neck pickup is active as a single coil, and finally in position 5 the neck pickup is active as a humbucker.

This allows for extreme tone versatility.  This allows for the Ibanez RGA42FM to be able to play perfectly in genres like funk and soul.  Genres where you wouldn't normally hear humbucker pickups.  

This is ideal for the beginner, so they can explore every sound, and really learn what it is that they like.  

Maybe they begin wanted to play metal, but find a passion for blues.  That's completely alright because this guitar can do both.  

That is why this could be the best guitar for beginners.

Most Affordable Metal Guitar: Jackson JS22

Pros:

  • Great for Rock and Metal
  • High playability
  • Low Price

Cons:

  • Some quality control issues

The Jackson JS22 is the best cheap guitar for beginners.  This Jackson guitar is ideal for rock or metal music.  The first reason why it would be best for those genres is because the pickups.  

The pickups on the Jackson JS22 are different than the pickups on the Squier Straocaster and the Squier Jazzmaster.  The Jackson JS22 has humbucking pickups instead of single coil pickups.

What are Humbucking Pickups?

Humbucking pickups are simply two single coil pickups put right next to each other.  The reason they are called humbucking pickups is because they "buck the hum".  Typically when you play a single coil guitar there is a background static hum that is kinda just always there.  When you put two single coils right next to each other to create a humbucker.  The hum goes away.  

Humbuckers are typically used in heavier genres like rock and metal because they offer a more full and powerful sound.  Just the kind you want to hear in rock and metal music.  

Playability

This guitar not only has the electronics for rock and metal music, but also has the hardware for those genres as well.  

Here are a list of features that make this guitar ideal for those genres.

  • 24 Jumbo Frets
  • Jackson's Speed Neck Design
  • 12"-16" Compound Fretboard Radius

24 jumbo frets are exactly what you want for these types of music because jumbo frets allow you to play the note without having to push down too hard on the string.  This means you can play faster because not as much effort is needed for each note. 

Jackson's speed neck is ideal because in rock and metal a lot of speedy playing is required.  

Finally the 12"-16" compound fretboard radius is idea because a fretboard radius this high means that the neck will be very thin.  Therefore, there is not much between you and the fretboard.  This increases playing speed, and playing ease.

Why is this One of the Best Guitars for Beginners?

The Jackson JS22 is one of the best guitars for beginners because it comes in at a super affordable price, and is built with the beginner in mind.  All of the details of this guitar, from the jumbo frets, to the 12"-16" compound fretboard radius, all benefit the beginner massively.  

The Best Electric Guitar for Children: Squier Mini Strat

Pros:

  • Small Body for Children
  • Easy for Small Hands to Play
  • Creates a Classic Sound

Cons:

  • Control Quality Issues

Anything that can be said about a normal Stratocaster can be said about the mini Stratocaster.  They are super high quality instruments that are versatile, and pump out a classic sound.  

The sound of a Stratocaster is the sound of legends like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.  So what better guitar to get a child started than on the most famous electric guitar ever?

Why is This the Best Guitar for Children?

To put it simply, this is the best guitar for children because it is designed to fit the smaller body of a child, and it is a high quality instrument.  What else could you ask for?

The size of this guitar is a 3/4 sized guitar.  This means that just the body is 3/4 the size of a normal guitar.  The scale length is shorter than a normal guitar, but not 3/4 the size, so both aspects of the guitar are shrunk.  However, the body more so than the neck.  

Other than the size, this is just a normal run of the mill Squier Stratocaster.  All the same electronics and sounds as a full sized Stratocaster.   All of this and more make it a very good beginner electric guitar.

Here is a quick overview of the guitar.

Most Affordable Guitar for Children: Ibanez GRGM21BKN

Pros:

  • Small Body for Children
  • Perfect for a Little Metal Head
  • High Output Pickups

Cons:

  • Only a 3 way switch

This is the Mini Stratocaster's Metal cousin.  The Ibanez GRGM21BKN comes with two humbucking pickups, and a three way selector switch.  The selector switch allows you to change which pickup is active.  You have the options of having just the bridge pickup on, just the neck pickup, or both at the same time.  

The scale length (neck length) of this guitar is a little bit shorter than the Mini Strat.  It isn't shorter by a whole lot, but it does make a little bit of a difference when playing.  All this means is that it might be a little bit better for a child with small hands than the Squier Stratocaster.  

Why is This Guitar Great for Children?

This guitar is great for children because they are getting a full guitars worth of sound in a child size package.  This guitar might look a lot wimpier than a normal full sized Ibanez guitar, but if they were played back to back, not many people would be able to hear the difference.  

The short scale length is ideal for children because they have small hands.  This allows them to be able to maneuver the frets the same way an adult would on a regular sized guitar.

My favorite thing about this guitar, and the Mini Strat, is that it lets kids feel like they have a super cool guitar.  A lot of guitars that are for children are super lame.  Like just the most boring guitars imaginable.  

Once guitar players get older they start to care less about the looks of a guitar, and care more about the sound, but if a kid thinks the guitar looks super cool, they are going to pick it up way more.  Them picking it up more is going to mean they get better quicker and that is ultimately the goal.  

Overall both the Mini Strat and Mini Ibanez are super cool guitars that are perfect for children that are just starting out.

Best Beginner Guitar for Classic Rock: Epiphone SG

Pros:

  • Low Action
  • Powerful Sound
  • Thin Neck Ideal for Beginners

Cons:

  • Quality control issues specifically with tuners

When I see an SG one band comes to mind.  ACDC.  Their guitarist, Angus Young, really brought the SG to the forefront of popular rock music.  Classic songs like "You shook me all night long" and "Back in black" just wouldn't sound the same on another guitar.  

The SG used to be a sign of the rebellious nature of rock and roll, but, since time has passed, it has become a sign for classic rock lovers everywhere.  These guitars can emulate the sounds made in bands like Boston, ACDC, or Led Zeppelin no problem.  

Why is This One of the Best Guitars for Beginners?

This guitar is one of the best guitars for beginners for a few different reasons.  The first would be that it feels great in the hand of most players.  The neck profile is extremely comfortable, and won't fight against you.  Nothing is more detrimental to a beginner than having a guitar that fights against you.

The fretboard radius is 14".  That is a pretty good number for beginners.  It isn't exactly paper thin, but means the neck is pretty skinny.  That is a very good thing for beginners.  

Another reason it is one of the best guitars for beginners is that the sound it makes is timeless.  The sound of the SG will likely never go out of style.  It is a sound that has made its mark on music, and is here to stay.  

The final reason it is great for beginners is that SG's are just super cool.  I said it before in this article, but if you have a guitar that you think is super cool, you are far more likely to pick it up.  

The looks of a guitar can actually be extremely important.  Particularly for beginners.  A cooler looking guitar is just going to get picked up more, and the more a beginner wants to pick up their guitar the better.

The Most Versatile Guitar for Beginners: Yamaha Pacifica

Pros:

  • HSS Pickup Configuration
  • Highly Versatile
  • High Tuning Stability

Cons:

  • Electronics Known to Go Bad

This is the first beginner guitar we have come across that offers an HSS pickup configuration.  This just means that there is a humbucking pickup (H) in the bridge position, and then two single coil pickups (SS) in the middle and bridge position.  

This allows for crazy range of tones that can't be found elsewhere on this list.  An HSS guitar can do metal, hard rock, funk, jazz, blues, and whatever else you ask of it.  It is a real jack of all trades.  

Why is This One of the Best Guitars for Beginners?

This is one of the best guitars for beginners because it offers unmatched versatility at an unbeatable price.  HSS guitars are not nearly as common as guitars that are straight single coil or straight humbucker.  To find one that is this high of quality for how low the price is, is a great find.

Beginners need a guitar that isn't going to break the bank, is going to play well, and is going to sound good.  This guitar simply checks all those boxes, and then adds in its own twist of versatility.

The reason we really like this guitar for beginners is that beginners have the ability to explore their sound.  The humbucker in the bridge opens up a whole new world of sound for the player to unlock and explore.  Finding your sound is one of the most difficult things to do as a guitarist, but if you are able to explore early, hopefully you can find it sooner. 

The Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

Best guitar for beginners
Our Top Pick: Fender CC-60 SCE

Pros:

  • Great playability
  • High quality sound
  • Electric acoustic

Cons:

  • Steel strings are hard on beginner's fingers

Time and time again Fender puts out the best instruments in the beginner to intermediate range, and the CC-60 SCE is no exception.  This guitar is concert style guitar.  Concert style guitars have a rather balanced sound.  Not too bass, and not too much treble.  

This guitar also functions as an electric acoustic guitar.  This means you can plug it in to any amp, and your acoustic guitar will be amplified further.  

Why is This the Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners?

This is the best acoustic guitar for beginners because it is just a straight fastball down the middle.  A balanced acoustic guitar that is nice to play, and sound good.  What else do you need?  

Fender's low end guitars are known for having a high standard of quality compared to other guitars in the same price range.  Making this an excellent pick for anyone on a budget.

Another small reason this is the best acoustic guitar for beginners is that it has a built in tuner.  The tuner being right on the guitar makes it far more likely that the player will actually tune up before playing, and that's a huge positive.  It trains the beginner's ear to be able to hear when things are right, and it just sounds better to play in tune.

All of this and more is what makes this the best acoustic guitar for beginners.

Runner up Acoustic Guitar: Yamaha FG800

Pros:

  • Extremely low price
  • Solid top
  • Big sound

Cons:

  • Not electric acoustic

The Yamaha FG800 is actually the newer version of the best selling acoustic guitar ever, and is another great starter acoustic guitar.  The Yamaha FG700S.  What really sets these guitars apart from others in their price range is the solid top.  

Solid top guitars just sound better than guitars that are not made of solid tops.  It's one piece of wood resonating rather than a hodgepodge of wood from different trees trying to work together.  

You simply cannot find another solid top that's as proven as the Yamaha FG800 near the same price.  

Why is This One of the Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners?

This guitar is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners because, much like the Fender CC-60 SCE, it is a fastball straight down the middle.  Classic acoustic guitar tone in a package that plays nicely.  

I think this guitar can get you much further than most of the other guitars in the same price range.  You could play this one guitar for years and years.  

There really isn't much else to it.  The Yamaha FG800 is a guitar that sounds great and plays great for an amazing price.  Simple as that.

Premium Pick: Epiphone AJ-100CE

Pros:

  • Electric Acoustic
  • Massive sound
  • Highest quality acoustic on list

Cons:

  • Big body could be uncomfortable for smaller people

The Epiphone AJ-100CE is an acoustic guitar with a ton of sound.  This guitar can certainly fill a room.  It comes with a solid spruce top and mahogany body.  This is probably the highest quality acoustic guitar on this list.  The Epiphone AJ-100CE isn't the type of guitar you buy, and then need to upgrade.  It is the type of guitar you buy and then keep in your collection for the rest of your life.  

This guitar does come in at a little bit of a higher price than the other guitars on this list, but in my opinion the quality is worth it.  The guitar will last longer, sound better, and feel better.  All for less than $200 more.

Why is This One of the Best Guitars for Beginners?

The Epiphone AJ-100CE is one of the best guitars for beginners because it offers so much for the price it is at.  It is made by a trusted brand.  Epiphone is one of the world's leading guitar manufacturers, particularly in this price range.  They don't put out bad products.  There is a reason Epiphone is a trusted brand.

Another reason is because this guitar has a great action and comfortable neck.  The guitar being easy to play, but also comfortable is key for beginners.  The low action and comfortable neck of the AJ-100CE allow for beginners to play so much easier.  The worst thing a beginner can have is a guitar fighting against them.  Learning guitar is already hard enough.  No need to make it harder by having to fight with your guitar.  

The final reason it is one of the best guitars for beginners is a reason you might not see coming.  This guitar is a little more expensive than all the other ones on this list.  When you are financially invested in something you are far more likely to stick with it.  Many times beginner will buy themselves a $70 guitar, and then feel no stress when they don't pick it up because it is a "$70 piece of garbage".  You won't be able to say that with this guitar. 

The financial investment you make in the guitar will make you want to play it more, and that will lead to you getting better and better.

Best Acoustic Guitar for Children:  Mini Taylor

Pros:

  • Extreme quality
  • Lifetime lasting
  • Pro Level

Cons:

  • Pricey


The Mini Taylor line is probably the highest quality lines of 3/4 guitars you can find.  These guitars are absolutely killer.  These guitars really aren't just for children.  They are for any guitar player that wants the same Taylor quality in a more compact package.  

Taylor is on another level of acoustic guitar quality.  Everything they release could be used at the pro level, and this guitar is no exception.  

Why is This the Best Acoustic Guitar for Children?

This is the best acoustic guitar for children because it will last them their whole life.  Many guitar players that start when they are children will start with a guitar that will need to be upgraded eventually.  Once the player gets a better guitar the old one is kinda phased out, and never used again.  That wouldn't be the case with this guitar.

This is the type of guitar you keep in your arsenal for the rest of your life.  There are so many uses for it even after you purchase a more expensive guitar.  

Even after you "upgrade" this guitar could still be used for travel because it is so compact.  It could be used for specific recordings because mini guitars have their own unique sound, and maybe you want that specific sound in your recording.  They could also be great for live playing because they take up less space whenever you haul them around.  

There are so many reasons to get a mini guitar once you are a more developed guitar player, but if you could start with one from the beginning, that would be even better.

Most Affordable Acoustic for Children: Yamaha JR1

The Yamaha JR1 is what's known as a 3/4 sized guitar.  These guitars are typically made for children, but also can be very useful for smaller sized people. (My 5 foot 1 girlfriend uses one). 

So many guitarists start out on a guitar like this one, a 3/4 sized acoustic guitar.  I didn't start out on this exact guitar, but it was a guitar that looked almost exactly the same, and was the same size.  

Why is This one of the Best Guitars for Children?

This is one of the best guitars for children for a few reasons.  The first would be the size obviously.  A 3/4 sized guitar is significantly smaller than a normal guitar.  This makes playing and practicing so much easier for children.  Using a guitar that is way too big for your body is a pain, and is something that makes a lot of people quit.  

The next reason would be the price.  The price of this guitar is almost unbeatable.  Imagine this, you just went out and bought your child a premium guitar.  It was super nice, and was almost considered professional grade.  This would run you about $800-$1,200.  Then your kid just stops playing.  Wouldn't you be upset about the money wasted?  Kids quit all the time, and you don't want the decision of buying a guitar for your child to cause any unneeded financial stress.  

The final reason this is one of the best guitars for beginner children is that it has simply been tried, and has stood as the best choice for children over and over again.  People everywhere trust these guitars to get their child started off on the right foot because they have performed over and over again, year over year.  

Best Classical Guitar for Beginners

Best Guitar for Beginners
Lucida LG-510

Pros:

  • High tuning stability
  • Low action
  • Great sound

Cons:

  • I can't really think of a negative to this guitar at its price... sorry

This is actually the exact classical guitar I use if I ever want the sound of nylon strings in a recording.  I am not much of a classical player, but I have had this guitar since I went to school for music, and it has never served me wrong.

I needed to find a cheap classical guitar because when you go to school for guitar they make you play classical guitar.  I bought this at a local music store for $70.  For the use I have gotten out of it, this may be the best value I have ever got out of a guitar.

Why is This the Best Classical Guitar for Beginners?

This is the best classical guitar for beginners because it offers great value at a low price.  The playability of this guitar is off the charts.  It feels good in the hand, the action is perfect, and there isn't a single fret that buzzes on it.

Something extremely notable for a guitar this cheap is that it stays in tune extremely well.  I just picked mine up after not playing it for weeks, and it was perfectly in tune.  Crazy!  My guitars that I paid 10 times as much for don't even do that.  

Honorable Mentions

Best Guitars for Beginners
Squier Classic Vibe 60's Telecaster

The Telecaster is like the Stratocaster's twangy cousin.  A Telecaster is a tool that everyone needs in their arsenal of guitars eventually.  The sound of a Telecaster on the bridge pickup is iconic, and can be heard all over popular music.  

The Telecaster is particularly popular in genres like country and bluegrass.  It produces what can be best described as "twang", and really captures the essence of country music wonderfully.

Martin LX1 "Little Martin"

The Martin LX1's have recently seen a surge of popularity due to Ed Sheeran using them.  Sheeran has been using Martin LX1's since his first hit, and has had multiple iterations of signature guitars in the style of the Martin LX1's in recent years.  

These guitars offer much of the same as the Mini Taylor guitars do.  A unique sound profile and great portability.  The difference between the Mini Taylor and the Little Martin is really just a preference thing.  

ESP LTD EC-256

The ESP LTD EC-256 is a guitar that is perfect for the modern day metal or hard rock guitarist.  It is one of the highest quality instruments on this list, but that also makes it the priciest.

We chose to leave it off the main list due to its price, but if you are looking for a metal or hard rock guitar, it would be silly to overlook this one.  

Conclusion
Best guitar for beginners

The best guitar for beginners isn't the same for everyone.  If you are really into heavy metal, why would you go buy a blues guitar?  It doesn't fit you.  Figure out the type of guitar that is best suited for you.  That's how you find the best guitar for beginners.

If you were interested in our other beginner articles, here are some.

Best Cheap Guitar Pedals, Best Cheap Amp for Guitar, How to get Better at Guitar





Best Guitar for Beginners - Dwane's Music
Best Guitar for Beginners - Colin J

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