The Top 20 Best Guitars for Beginners

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Few instruments have a richer history than the guitar, which spans diverse genres from classical flamenco to electric rock and has long been revered as a highly versatile instrument with attitude. Its accessibility and the depth of its musical language make it an ideal choice for beginners and seasoned musicians alike, whether you're picking it up as your first instrument or learning it as a second.

Selecting the right axe to carry on this journey is a pivotal decision that will influence your musical expression in many ways. It's a social instrument, often serving as the centerpiece in gatherings and as a foundation for bands. This blend of personal and communal music-making is why it's so attractive to many musicians.

However, weeding through the options when making a purchase can be a daunting task. By considering factors like body shape, size, sound quality, and price, this article will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your musical goals and budget. We've organized our lists by price, from lowest to highest, and grouped them by electric, acoustic, and electric basses, to help you easily find a guitar that suits your immediate needs and supports your growth as a guitarist.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

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The electric guitar has electrified audiences for decades, creating iconic sounds across genres from rock and blues to jazz and beyond. For beginners, choosing the right electric guitar is crucial in laying a solid foundation for their playing journey. These are our pics for the best electric guitars for beginners, ordered by price from lowest to highest, and offering a selection that balances playability, affordability, and the thrill of electric amplification.

Epiphone Les Paul Special

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The best beginner guitar for rock and heavier styles

Price: $180

The Epiphone Les Paul Special is celebrated as one of the best electric guitars for beginners who are enthusiastic about rock and heavier music genres. This model features a poplar body paired with a sturdy mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard, delivering robust sound quality and durability. Equipped with two humbuckers, it excels in producing rich, overdriven sounds that embody the classic Les Paul vibe.

With 22 frets, a master volume and tone controls, and a 3-way pickup selector, this guitar offers great versatility within its genre. While it might not deliver the cleanest tones, its design and build are optimized for vibrant and powerful outputs, making it a top choice for those drawn to the rock style. Available in finishes like Cherry Sunburst, Ebony, and Vintage Sunburst, the Epiphone Les Paul Special offers excellent value for money, standing out as a foundational piece in any beginner's equipment.

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Squier Bullet Mustang

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Great first guitar for teens

Price: $200

The Squier Bullet Mustang stands out as one of the best electric guitars for beginners, particularly appealing to the younger crowd with its dynamic design and playability. This model features a basswood body which contributes to its lightweight feel, making it one of the top choices for budding guitarists who might find heavier instruments daunting. The maple neck and Indian laurel fingerboard ensure a smooth play experience, and with 22 frets, it offers ample space for exploring different sounds and techniques.

This guitar is equipped with two humbuckers, master volume and tone controls, and a 3-way pickup selector that together provide a versatile sound palette. Whether cranking out punky chords or mellow riffs, the sound is impressively huge when amplified. The shorter 24-inch scale is perfect for smaller hands, making it easier to form chords and play for longer periods without fatigue. The sleek finish options of Imperial Blue and Black give it a cool aesthetic that matches its sonic capabilities.

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Bullet Stratocaster HT

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Best budget-friendly electric guitar

Price: $200

The Bullet Stratocaster HT is one of the best guitars for beginners, especially those on a budget. Featuring the classic Stratocaster body, this model is known for its lightweight and thin profile, making it easy to handle for new players. The C-shaped neck ensures comfortable playing across its scale. Equipped with three Squier standard single-coil pickups, it delivers a crisp and rich sound that can vary widely in tone, allowing beginners to explore different musical styles.

This guitar comes in five different colors, offering aesthetic versatility on top of its sonic flexibility. Priced at just $189.99, the Bullet Strat HT provides excellent value without compromising on quality, making it a top pick for those looking to start their musical journey without a hefty investment. It's a great example of an affordable instrument that still offers the feel and response of more expensive models.

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Squier Mini Stratocaster

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Best electric guitar for small hands

Price: $200

The Squier Mini Stratocaster is the ideal electric guitar for beginners with small hands or younger players. Its smaller body and shorter 22.75" scale make it particularly accessible for those who might find full-sized guitars too cumbersome. The thin and lightweight design aids in easy handling and comfort over long practice sessions.

This model features a C-shaped neck and a 9.5” fingerboard radius that enhance playability, making it easier to navigate the fretboard and form chords. With three single-coil pickups and a 5-way switch, it offers the same rich and versatile tonal quality expected from a Stratocaster. Despite its compact size, the Mini Strat doesn't compromise on sound, providing a vibrant tone that can adapt to various musical genres.

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Affinity Series Stratocaster HH

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Best beginner electric guitar overall

Price: $250

The Affinity Series Stratocaster HH is our top choice among the best electric guitars for beginners. With its iconic Stratocaster body, this guitar offers a blend of lightweight comfort and robust sound capabilities. The thin design paired with a C-shaped neck promotes ease of play, suitable for long practice sessions without strain.

Featuring two Squier humbucking pickups, this model delivers a thick, rich tone that is well-suited for everything from blues to classic metal. The three-way tone switch and built-in tremolo bar add layers of sound customization, allowing beginners to experiment with different musical expressions and techniques. This guitar is an excellent starting point for those aiming to develop a distinct playing style and explore the breadth of guitar music.

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Yamaha Pacifica 112V

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The best beginner guitar for versatility

Price: $330

The Yamaha Pacifica 112V stands out as one of the best guitars for beginners, renowned for its excellent value and hard-to-outgrow nature. This model features an alder body, providing a balanced and resonant tone suitable for various musical styles. The maple neck paired with a rosewood fingerboard ensures a comfortable playing experience, supported by 22 frets ideal for beginners and intermediate players alike. The configuration of one humbucker and two single-coil pickups allows for a wide array of sounds, from deep, growling tones to crisp, clear melodies.

This guitar is well-appreciated for its tonal versatility, thanks to its 5-way pickup selector which offers significant sound variations. The finishes available—Natural, Vintage White, United Blue, Sonic Blue, Old Violin Sunburst, and Black—provide options for every aesthetic preference, though the design itself is straightforward and focused more on functionality than flash. The Pacifica 112V is designed to grow with the player, making it a great investment for those who want a guitar that will remain relevant as they improve their skills.
 

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Gretsch G5425 Jet Club

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A great beginner guitar for those that want to stand out

Price: $380

The Gretsch G5425 Jet Club is an excellent choice among the best electric guitars for beginners, especially for those looking to make a visual and sonic impact. It features a basswood body with a maple top, a maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. The 22 frets and two humbuckers deliver a bold and rich sound that is distinctly Gretsch, supported by a chambered body that enhances resonance and depth.

With controls including a master volume and tone, along with a 3-way pickup selector, this guitar allows for a variety of sound explorations. The unique silver finish might not appeal to everyone, but it certainly makes a statement. This guitar promises excellent build quality and a unique sound profile that can cater to various musical tastes, making it a standout choice for beginners eager to explore their musical identity.

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Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster

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For the more discerning learner

Price: $400

The Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster is recognized as one of the best guitars for beginners, especially those who appreciate iconic looks and high-quality sound. Constructed from pine with a maple neck and fingerboard, this guitar features 21 frets and three single-coil pickups, offering a clear, bright sound that’s versatile enough for various musical genres.

Its 5-way pickup selector, master volume, and dual tone controls allow beginners to explore a range of sounds, from crisp clean tones to rich, saturated outputs. The 2-color sunburst, White Blonde, Fiesta Red, and Black finishes provide options for personal style preferences, making it a visually appealing as well as aurally impressive instrument. While not the most affordable option, its exceptional build and tonal versatility make it a worthwhile investment for beginners.

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Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

ATL Maple Street Guitars Rack of Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars resonate with the warmth of natural sound, offering a direct connection between the musician and the music. This section in our list of the 20 best guitars for beginners provides acoustic options that combine ease of use with beautiful, rich tonality. These hollow bodies, ordered by price from lowest to highest, are selected to be particularly accommodating for new players, ensuring comfort and quality as you learn the ropes of musical expression

Epiphone PRO-1

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The best classical option for beginners

Price: $150

The Epiphone PRO-1 stands out as one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, specifically tailored for those interested in classical music. Featuring a cedar top with mahogany back and sides, this guitar is designed to produce a smooth, mellow sound with nylon strings that are gentle on beginner's fingers.

Its smaller body and reduced neck width make it easier for new players to handle and play, encouraging good technique from the start. The PRO-1 is an excellent starter guitar for those looking to learn on an instrument that facilitates easier learning of classical guitar techniques.

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Yamaha JR1

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A fantastic acoustic option for young kids

Price: $160

The Yamaha JR1 is an excellent choice among the best guitars for beginners, particularly for children. This ¾ sized acoustic guitar features a Spruce top with meranti back and sides, designed to be easy for smaller hands to manage. Its compact size makes it not only a great starter guitar for young learners but also a convenient travel companion.

The included gig bag adds extra value, making it easier to take the guitar to lessons or on trips. The JR1's size, combined with its quality construction, provides a solid foundation for developing good playing habits from a young age.

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Fender CD-60S

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A solid, budget-friendly entry to the world of acoustic guitar

Price: $200

The Fender CD-60S stands out as a great value among the best acoustic guitars for beginners. With a solid spruce top and mahogany neck, it delivers a warm, resonant sound that's easy on the ears and fingers, especially for those just starting out. Its rolled fingerboard edges make it comfortable for playing barre chords and other techniques.

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Tanglewood TWBB-OE Blackbird

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The best beginner acoustic with built-in tuner

Price: $210

The Tanglewood TWBB-OE Blackbird is known for its outstanding value and comfort, making it one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners. Its smaller orchestra body size and easy-playing neck feel make it an excellent choice for those just starting to learn.

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Ibanez PC12MHCE

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A brilliant electro-acoustic guitar for beginners

Price: $250

The Ibanez PC12MHCE is a top choice among the best acoustic guitars for beginners, especially those looking to perform live. This electro-acoustic model features an Okoume top with matching back and sides, providing a warm midrange tonality that's versatile across different musical styles.

The cutaway design and smooth neck facilitate easy access to higher frets, while the built-in electronics make it simple to plug in and play out loud. The PC12MHCE is an excellent option for beginners eager to explore both acoustic and amplified performances.

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Martin LX1 Little Martin

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The best beginner acoustic guitar for big tone in a small package

Price: $400

The Martin LX1 Little Martin is an excellent choice for those looking for a compact yet robust sounding guitar among the best acoustic guitars for beginners. Despite its smaller size, it offers a classic Martin design and a surprisingly big sound, making it perfect for younger players or those with smaller hands.

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Epiphone Hummingbird Studio

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The best acoustic/electric for beginners

Price: $450

The Epiphone Hummingbird Studio is visually stunning and tonally versatile, making it a top pick among the best acoustic guitars for beginners. Its rich, deep tone and Fishman electronics make it suitable for both practice and performance.

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Best Electric Bass Guitars for Beginners

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We couldn't leave out our bass thumpers! For those starting their musical path on the low end, finding the right bass is pivotal. This final section of our top 20 best guitars highlights the best electric bass guitars for beginners, also ordered by price from lowest to highest. Each bass has been thoughtfully picked to ensure new players can easily adapt to and enjoy their role as the rhythmic foundation in any musical ensemble.

Squier Mini Precision Bass

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Best electric bass guitar for small hands

Price: $200

It's no secret that we love Fender basses here at Band Pioneer, with the Jazz bass as our best bass of all time, and the P-Bass a close second. The Squier Mini Precision Bass is from the same mold as these elite basses, but specially designed for beginners with small hands, making it one of the best bass electric guitars for beginners in this category. This bass follows the iconic Fender Precision Bass design but scaled down to a 28.6" scale. Its lightweight and thin profile make it easy to handle and play.

Equipped with a split single coil pickup, it offers a powerful sound packed into a smaller frame, ensuring that younger players or those with smaller hands don't have to compromise on tone or quality. Its approachable size and playability make it a standout choice for new bassists.

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Squier Bronco Bass

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Best budget-friendly electric bass guitar

Price: $210

The Squier Bronco Bass is an excellent choice for those seeking the best bass electric guitars for beginners without breaking the bank. It features a thin, lightweight body with a short 30" scale, making it extremely manageable for new players. The single coil pickup offers a full, rich sound that belies its budget-friendly price tag.

Perfect for those just starting on their musical journey, the Bronco Bass is available in classic colors and provides a comfortable playing experience. Its affordability and quality build make it a smart choice for beginners eager to learn without substantial initial investment.

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Ibanez Talman TMB30

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A quirky offset offering from Japanese shred royalty

Price: $230

The Ibanez Talman TMB30 stands out as a top choice among the best electric guitars for beginners, especially those who prefer a stylish, offset design. This model's body is crafted from poplar, with a maple neck and a jatoba fingerboard, which together provide a dynamic and responsive playing experience. Its scale length of 30" makes it accessible for players of all sizes.

Featuring Dynamix P neck and J bridge pickups, the TMB30 offers versatile and dynamic tones suitable for a variety of genres. Its playability is enhanced by the comfortable, slightly wider neck and ergonomic body design, making it a fantastic starter instrument for those new to bass guitars. This model, available in Black, Ivory, and Mint Green, delivers exceptional value and performance, securing its spot as one of the best bass electric guitars for beginners.

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Affinity Series Precision Bass PJ

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Best beginner electric bass guitar overall

Price: $280

The Affinity Series Precision Bass PJ is the pinnacle among the best bass electric guitars for beginners, offering a blend of quality, versatility, and affordability. Its thin, lightweight body and slim C-shaped neck ensure comfortable playability, perfect for long practice sessions.

This model features a unique combination of a split single-coil P Bass neck pickup and a single-coil J Bass bridge pickup, allowing beginners to explore a range of tones. Available in four cool colors, it provides flexibility and style, making it an attractive option for those starting their bass playing journey.

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Yamaha BB234

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A classy build with an awesome vintage-modern vibe

Price: $300

The Yamaha BB234 is one of the best bass electric guitars for beginners, thanks to its solid build and versatile tone. Featuring an alder body and a bolt-on maple neck, this bass offers a 34" scale length that's perfect for those starting out. The rosewood fingerboard is smooth, making it easy to navigate the 21 medium frets. It's equipped with Custom V3 single-coil and split-coil pickups, providing a wide range of sounds that are great for experimenting with different styles.

This model includes dual volume controls and a single tone control, allowing beginners to fine-tune their sound easily. Although it lacks a blend control, the setup is sufficient to cover most musical styles, ideal for beginners still exploring their sound preferences. Available in finishes like Vintage White, Black, Raspberry Red, and Natural Satin, the BB234 not only sounds great but also has a look to match, making it a top pick for the best bass electric guitars for beginners.

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