The Best Beginner Electric Guitar

Everything You Need To Know

Here is your complete guide to buying your first electric guitar. It’s hugely helpful to get this right at the beginning. As you’ll see below, not only does it make your musical journey more enjoyable, it also makes learning the guitar  easier.

best beginner electric guitar

Do Not Buy A Guitar Online

I will never buy a guitar online. I have to feel how it plays in my hands, hear the sound, check the intonation, set up, string gauge, and more. Also a good music store has a guitar workshop area where you can get your guitar set up when you buy. You won’t have to pay extra as they usually include it in the cost of purchase. And you can go back if there’s a problem in the future.

Avoid Starter Packs

Starter packs seem like good value for money. You may get a reasonable guitar but the amplification may not to be great. I have yet to see a starter pack with everything I would want to use. The accessories are not of the best quality. Especially the guitar tuners. And if you’re a beginner you definitely need a very user friendly guitar tuner. And even though the guitar bag looks big, it’s usually not well padded. Once you progress you will definitely want to upgrade everything.

So it actually costs less if you invest in a better quality guitar, amp, and other accessories from the start. If you’re a beginner, here’s what you need to look for when buying an electric guitar. More importantly, You learning journey will be much easier, and more enjoyable.


A Really Helpful Guide

Especially If You’re A Beginner

A Slim Neck

Almost all professional guitarists play slim necked electric and acoustic guitars. So Should You, especially if you’re a beginner. Because the fretboard is narrower on slim necked guitars, all chords are easier to learn and play. This is very important if you’re a beginner as it greatly speeds up your progress.

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Strings Close To Fretboard

Because strings buzz when they’re too close to the fretboard, manufacturers set them slightly higher (High Action) when leaving the factory. This means there is always room for adjustment. When buying your guitar ask to have the strings lowered closer to the fretboard (Low Action). This makes the guitar so much easier to play, especially if you’re a beginner.

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And it’s the most important reason why you should buy in a music store. When buying your guitar, they will make all the right adjustments at no extra cost. If you buy online, you will still have to go somewhere if you want your settings done. But you will have to pay for the service.

Good Intonation

Good intonation means an accurate pitch in all the notes on your guitar. Sometimes a guitar will be in tune at the first 3 frets. But it can be completely out of tune as you move up the fretboard. I also check the 12th fret when buying a guitar. If the 1st fret and 12th fret are in tune, all the other frets in between should also be in tune.

As you just saw, improving the action makes your guitar easier to play. But it also helps greatly to improve intonation. My guitars sound so much better up and down the fretboard with a reasonably low action.

Light Gauge Strings

The one short-term disadvantage of learning guitar on a slim neck is that you also have to learn on steel strings. But it will be worth it in 3 to 4 weeks. All the guitars in the video above have light gauge steel strings. This makes it much easier for a beginner to develop the right sound. And without hurting your fingertips.

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A Guitar Amp

Because electric guitars are too quiet, they cannot be played on their own. The sound needs to be amplified. This is done by a built in pickup that converts string vibration into electrical impulses and sent to an electric guitar amplifier. Only then will you hear the sound.

To make an electric guitar sound louder you need a guitar amp and guitar lead. Then you’ll be able to electrically enhance your sounds. And this opens up a whole new world with sound effects such as reverb, wah wah, and distortion pedals.

I use a Roland Micro Cube for home practice. It has built in chorus, reverb, delay, and more. And my acoustic guitar sounds quite good through it also using chorus and reverb only.

Pauric Mather Signature Tip

best beginner electric guitar

Acoustic and classical guitars can be played softly. But the electric guitar often needs to be played loud. It’s a loud instrument. This becomes a huge problem for beginners as the noise will upset everybody where you live. When buying an amp, make sure it has A Headphone Input.

That solves the problem. Now you can practice for hours as loud as you need to, into your headphones. And nobody will hear a thing.


About the author

Author of 3 Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Pauric Mather is from Dublin, Ireland. A professional guitarist since 1987 he has played with many successful artists. He is also a leading expert in guitar teaching and one of the very few to have achieved outstanding success as a performer, writer, and guitar teacher. His ground breaking guitar books and lessons are truly unique. And easily the most individual and personalised you will ever find. What’s even more remarkable is that you need no knowledge of music to learn from his teaching style.
7 Responses
  1. Emily

    Just browsed through your website. It seems very thorough and easy for people to understand. Especially beginners. Thumbs up for all your accomplishments too!

    1. Thank you Emily. I try to keep all my teachings very specific, and easy to understand for beginners. It may even be a bit boring at times. But you’re guaranteed a solid foundation. Lots of Simple Tips &
      Lessons. And no sudden jumps to something too advanced for a beginner.

  2. Juliet

    Hi Pauric,
    The guitar is one instrument I would love to play. Currently I play the violin. Does guitar and violin have anything in common? Will my violin knowledge help learn the guitar faster?

    There are so many types of guitars out there, which is the best one for a beginner? Must it be electric?

    1. Some of the hand / finger playing positions are the same for both instruments. So Yes, it will be helpful. And you should learn guitar quicker than if you never played an instrument before.

      A steel string acoustic guitar is by far the best option for a beginner. But some people insist on learning electric guitar only. However many of them do move onto acoustic guitar a year or two later.

  3. Dashana

    I find this article very informative. I recently bought my niece a guitar online and it was the worst experience ever. Wish I would have seen this article first!

    Never heard about starter packs though. I bought the guitar online at amazon. Thanks for this article, very thorough.

  4. Unfortunately if it’s not right when it arrives you have to repack it and send it back. And because electric guitars are heavy and the box is big, it’s costly to send it back. And with no guarantee of solving the problem either.

    It’s absolutely fine to buy guitar accessories online. But because the guitar itself is so personal, it’s much wiser to do your research first. And then go to a good music store, and see how it sits in your hands and how it sounds. Then you know you’re getting the right guitar.

  5. Danny

    The headphones and getting an amp that has a headphone jack is that last little Big part that is easy to skip, I’m a newbie to the the guitar scene so thanks for the tips. I wish I would have known about your site before I bought my equipment. Well I guess, I will make better choices in the future.

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