Sorting out the best guitar brands is a daunting task, to say the least. Most lists and comparisons are generally made for historical relevance, without considering what is available today and is of interest to most players' budgets. Having devoted a lifetime to the instrument and enjoying the best (and the worst!)famous brand guitarsI'd like to share my list from the perspective of a professional musician who can't always afford high-end guitars.
My goal is to give you insight into which brand suits you best now and what to look for in the future. The names here, or the ones you probably already know, are the best, but the approach I'll use might be more practical, finding some lesser-known modern builders along with suggestions for trying out a few models.
How do you rate guitar brands?
Sorting guitar brands solely by their premium lineup of instruments would be like ranking car brands solely by their luxury models. This works for a sports brand that releases a few models a year, and it works for luxury guitar brands as well.However, it might not work if the primary market isn't a $3,000+ instrument, but everything in between that and your first guitar.
The main criteria I used to rank the brand ishow their guitars adapt to different levels of players.Sure, a 59-foot Goldtop Les Paul outperforms most guitars in every way, but that might not be relevant to the casual player looking for a midrange guitar.
The next criterion is morespecific genre and style.I would never put Schecter above Fender on a regular list, but when it comes to metal, there's no comparison of who the best guitar company is.
- The general build quality.it's a broad topic that depends on several factors that change almost annually. I will focus on what brands are offering in 2022, taking into account all modern factors such as offshore production.
- multiple choices are essential for a brand at the service of the guitarist. Nothing worse than liking a brand, but discovering that it has few models available with the specifications you are looking for, and none of them are exactly what you wanted.
- HistoryIt is also important, but nothing to remember or increase the price. A brand leaves a big mark on music when it revolutionizes the way musicians think and use their instruments for decades. It shows that they built fantastic instruments in the past and probably still exist today.
I'm not the biggest vintage purist, but I'll admit that a pre-war Martin was not only great back then, it's still a good instrument, more so than 100 years ago. The same goes for most of the classic brands that never made it past the 60's models.
With five great brands for each category, you have more than enough websites to shop your next guitar.
The best guitar brands for beginners
The best guitar brands for beginners offer the best value for money at the lowest price. Second, here's the story and what you see when you walk into a guitar shop.
Fine woods and vintage tones don't matter so much if you're still figuring out how to make cowboy chords sound good.
Fender tops the list
I played a Squier Strat, which sounded almost as good as a US Strat. In fact, the sound was not the same and I would not play in a stadium; However, this does not apply to beginners.
Even if you like heavy genres, a Squire in the form of a Strat with a humbucker bridge is more than enough for your early days. Furthermore, they doExcellent guitars to modify.
Although guitars are not their forte, the brand has been building quality lately.cheap acoustic guitarsthat rivals any specific acoustic brand.
A strong runner-up is the Epiphone, the Gibson equivalent of the Squire. Not surprising, considering the two biggest guitar brands in the world are leading the way.
I think the Epiphones match the Squires in almost every way and sometimes even offer better built instruments. When comparing their most expensive models, I always choose the best Epiphone over the best Squire. Their tone has more character and they tend to hold their value longer than the ubiquitous Squires.
Aside from minor fixable issues with tuning stability, high-quality Epiphones can last well into old age. Even Slash plays an Epiphone and not a Gibson as everyone thinks.
The one thing that makes Squire the best sub-brand is the widest range of prices and models available for beginners.
Yamaha guitars have always delivered, especially when it comes to acoustic guitars. The selection of affordable guitars is huge and fits any budget, ensuring top-notch performance. They are undoubtedly the best option on the list of classical guitars for beginners.
Yamaha acoustic guitars are as original as an inexpensive instrument can be. The level of standardization and quality control is so high that it surpasses many top US manufacturers in this regard. They might not seem exceptional, but they never failed.
The electric model that Yamaha put on the list is the Yamaha Pacifica, which has sold hugely for decades, and with good reason. It is one of the best instruments to play.
American guitar maker Washburn has never been a headliner, but it has kept its acoustic and electric guitars solid and affordable. It doesn't have the huge catalog that Fender has, but it won't suffer with options either.
The brand started producing guitars at the same time as Gibson, but it only emerged in the late 1980s, when its electric guitars fell into the hands of virtuosos like Nuno Bettencourt. Your flagship guitar might be too expensive for this list, but the acoustic istrain seriesis one of the best affordable modern acoustic options.
HeSonamasterThe electric guitar and Yamaha Pacifica might be your best bet for an inexpensive guitar that suits multiple genres. From personal experience with his electro-acoustic guitars, I can wholeheartedly attest to his stage reliability and playability.
My first guitar was a Harley Benton, and two decades later it's still a great tool to practice with. Harley Benton deserves a spot on this list because it probably offers the best vintage guitars for a ridiculously low price. could you land a solid
The brand is part of the Thomann instrument retail giant, where all music lovers can find the best affordable equipment. As such, they reduce marketing and distribution costs and can make Haelry Benton guitars extremely inexpensive while maintaining quality.
The downside is that there isn't a lot of information online about specific models, and sometimes it's a matter of luck whether your guitar is a cheap standard guitar or an amazing "I can't believe I got this so cheap" model.
The Best Guitar Brands for Intermediate to Advanced Guitarists
As you move up the capability and price scale, guitar brands start to be categorized differently as a certain standard of quality is taken for granted. Decade after decade, that list changes as the range of instruments to consider expands.
Paul Reed Smith founded PRS guitars in the 70's with the intention of making better instruments than Gibson and Fender. It was a huge success, repeatedly proving that mid-range and high-end PRSs always offer something more than their competitors.
The best examples are thosePRS 24 customizedand the affordable counterpart; HeCustom PRS SE -24They are fantastic instruments with a huge difference in price. The best part is that you won't feel much of a difference when playing, as if the prices aren't that different.
They make up for the slight lack of options by offering comprehensive solutions that cover all aspects of the game. A top PRS can be used for rock, blues, funk, metal and jazz, whereas I wouldn't be surprised if the best Strat or Les Paul does. Suhr Guitars is another much smaller, more versatile manufacturer that does the same thing.
The brand is so confident in the quality of its guitar that it offers a limited lifetime warranty on all instruments.
Fender is always present in any guitar list, as the brand is present in almost every part of the guitar world. Manufacturers of the world's most popular electric guitar model offer a wide catalognew and old equipmentFor intermediate and advanced guitarists.
Of all the great historical manufacturers, I think Fender is the best at making new guitar products. While I think Gibson is a bit stuck in the past, Fender continues to push its value player lineup and continually revamps older models with their custom guitars. They even launched their guitar lessons website, one of their many attempts to bring something new to the guitar world.
Telecasters remain the most reliable and best-recorded guitars of all time, while the Stratocaster can't add much that hasn't already been said about their versatility.
Read too:Guitar History Gibson vs. Fender: Which is better?
High quality Gibsons, especially vintage models, become more of a unit for rock guitarists than instruments. They're so expensive they're an artifact, but you can't beat the sound you get out of them.
No brand can match Gibson's storied catalog of high-quality guitars, and even a Jimi Hendrix or Clapton Stratocaster is as coveted as the Les Pauls of the 50s and 60s. another company.
As soon as gain control started to increase or the first overdrive pedals appeared in the 60's, Gibson stood out from the crowd. The SG Beats and Les Paul Standard/Custom Beats surpass nearly all rock guitars in playability and character.
I find them among the best brands, even on the jazz or acoustic side. Gibson archtop guitars and vintage acoustic guitars are among the finest instruments of modern times.
i rateFender louder than Gibsonbecause I feel like the company almost went bankrupt a few years ago. This is slowly changing as Gibson was on the cusp of making a huge comeback.
On the rough side of things and the world, Ibanez was and is the maker of precision guitars for rock and metal. although I'm not a fan of them
What I find exceptional about Ibanez are the exclusive models. They have hundreds of signed artists and each model is different from the others. From hollow body jazz guitars to 7 string chuggers, they cover every possible musical genre.
The first thing I would recommend is the Ibanez GEM Steve Vai Signature, which is the best selling signature guitar of all time for a reason. Along with Van Halen's"Frankenstrat”,how a standard shredder electric guitar should look, feel and sound.
interesting to read:Ibanez vs. Schecter: Which brand is best for you?
Martin guitars represent a huge part of the acoustic sound of modern music. From early 20th century folk songs, to a name synonymous with American heritage, and a warm, rich, "woody" guitar tone, Martin's are second to none.
the majesticMartin D-28crossed the folk line and fell into the hands of some of rock's greatest songwriters. The same is true today with advanced and professional musicians of all genres who take their Martin into the studio or concert hall.
What I appreciate about the brand, aside from the vintage models, is that they still produce guitars that sound like old instruments. Each Martin looks aged and well-crafted, as if you're hitting a good note just by looking at it. Even if the price is high, you can't go wrong with a Martin.
The next brand that comes to mind when marting is mentioned is Taylor. Both tend to aim at the same target, howeverone does betterfinally.
Read too:Best Martin Guitar Picks: How to Choose the Right One
Among the many brands of guitars, some have a lot of "acquired taste" that you only like if you like a genre.
Gretsch is in a class for quality and design. They hold the crown as an elegant guitar brand that is equally great to play and beautiful to look at. What sets Gretsch apart from other '60s throwback brands like Rickenbacker is the excellent playability and versatility in both tones and price range.
Its modern mid-range instruments are exceptional and in some ways superior to older models, a rare statement in classic brands. They are much easier to play and sometimes more reliable than older models. Some exceptions, such as"White falcon"and similar high quality vintage models are legendary.
even the modernStreamliner SeriesIt looks like it's straight out of a Chris Issak music video and has the clean, glassy, shimmering tone that you just can't copy.
Rickenbacker was the first company to promote and market the electric guitar. The Beatles played one each, and this is how the world saw theirsRickebacker 4001in action and playing rock 'n' roll songs.
Rickenbacker has managed to keep his guitar's value intact despite the fact that the company has had a lot of financial problems and is not the best example of how to run a guitar company over the long term. If you're looking to recreate the crisp, clean tone of the '60s, there's no doubt that no other guitar or bass will do it as well as a Rickenbacker.
The main disadvantage is that they are difficult to find, very expensive and take time to get used around the neck.
Schecter is the extreme metal guitarist's new favorite brand. Their 7 and 8 guitars are not only amazing, but also more affordable than most heavy guitar giants like Ibanez. The American manufacturer has excellent midrange guitars and professional instruments custom made in the USA that metal players prefer over other big brands.
For beginners and advanced I recommend MassiveDiamond Series.
Headless luthiers are nothing more than headless when it comes to building guitars. Over the years they have regularly emerged asniche choiceEveryone's favorite player used to get up and play.
If you like complicated chord shapes and equally complex playing, the short scale length and overall playability make them second to none. However, they are relatively difficult to find.
Charvel makes only top-of-the-line instruments and limits its exclusive players to technical players who need everything an electric guitar can do. It is a brand that listens to the needs of guitarists and manufactures guitars adapted to them.
They are expensive, but I can't deny that I would invest in one and replace 2-3 of my guitars on tour.
Question: Why did Gibson go bankrupt?
Responder:The main reason, according to experts, was the brand's decision to become a lifestyle brand and not just focus on musical instruments.
Question: What brands does Fender own?
Responder:Squier, Gretsch, Jackson, Charvel and EVH are owned by Fender.
Question: Which brand sells the most guitars?
Responder:Fender and its sub-brands are market leaders in guitar sales.
Final thoughts on the best guitar brands
After all, the best guitar brand is the one that matches your style and not the other way around. It's a somewhat clichéd conclusion that requires some work to determine what works best for you. My advice is to work with wide brushes and not worry too much about details that aren't essential to your game.
No matter how big the name is, it's good to change if you've played an instrument for a while and it doesn't suit you. If you're a gig or session musician like me, give your new guitar at least two gigs and don't get too hung up on vintage gear.
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Altin lives for the guitar; Picking up his beloved guitar is one of the first things he does when he jumps out of bed in the morning. But he doesn't just strive to develop as a musician. Rather, he also wants to help others thrive by playing the guitar. It always saddens Altin to see musicians with potential stop playing out of frustration. After seeing many people give up their guitars for good, he is now dedicated to helping all budding guitarists learn to master their problems.
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