The 11 Best Electric Guitars for 2021

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Maybe you’re a beginner, or maybe you’re an experienced player looking to improve. Either way, we’re here to help you navigate the market with recommendations for the best electric guitars at any price. The guitars here, from manufacturers like Fender, Gibson and Ibanez, range from budget to professional, and are capable of handling everything from country twang to R&B smoothness to heavy metal power.

While the electric guitar may not be as visible in popular music as it was when rock dominated the charts, it’s still everywhere: providing sing-song chords for Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars, or haunting arpeggios for Polo G and Lil Baby. For R&B polymath HER, who uses her prodigious guitar skills for subtle accompaniments and soaring solos, the instrument’s versatility is at the heart of its appeal. “When I play the guitar, it’s like another way of singing for me,” she says. “There are so many different sounds you can get from a guitar, whether it’s swelling, or a beefy sound, or it’s rhythm guitar, or it’s hot and R&B, or it’s rock The diversity is crazy.

Roots guitarist ‘Captain’ Kirk Douglas has an equally wide range, whether he’s tapping into the rhythmic tapestry behind Black Thought’s verses or providing opening music for an array of guests. on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. For him, finding the best electric guitars starts with how they feel in your hands. “I’m able to have a voice on an instrument because of the ease and comfort that comes with allowing myself to express myself,” he says. “There’s something very nice about moving your fingers a certain way and hearing the sound you want to get out.” A good instrument, he says, gives you “the shortest bridge between your imagination and what you hear, the shortest route to where you want to go.”

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The Squier Stratocaster, from budget-conscious beginner brand Fender, is perhaps the most popular first instrument choice for new electric guitarists. It’s standard for a reason, with timeless good looks and sounds inspired by its big brother, the iconic Fender Strat. It features three pickups – the magnetic devices that translate string vibrations into electrical current that powers your amp – that deliver a range of tones from full bass to warm mids and shimmering highs. As we noted in our guide to guitars for beginners, Squier also offers the Stratocaster with a variety of upgrades, including a bundle that also includes an amp, cable, and strap. This way you can plug in and start playing right away, without having to buy any additional equipment.

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Squier Bullet Stratocaster HT


In addition to its more stripped-down basic guitars, Squier also has several great models at a slightly higher (but still very affordable) price, which could work well for a beginner with a little more cash to spend, or an intermediate. or advanced. player looking for a fun second guitar. The ’70s Jaguar Classic Vibe is one of the coolest in this category, with retro surf-rock styling to set you apart from hordes of Strat players. Its 24-inch scale length—the distance from the nut at the top of the neck, where the playable length of the string begins, to the bridge, where it ends—is shorter than most other guitars, which makes it well suited for players with small hands. Notable Jaguar players include iconoclasts like Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher from My Bloody Valentine, and Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth.

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Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jaguar


Fender’s most popular guitars are those made in the USA, and the Performer series is the most affordable in this category. The Performer Stratocaster has all the smooth playability and tonal versatility you expect from a Strat, with top-notch construction and materials, including a solid alder body (a mid-weight wood with a versatile, full-bodied sound ). Rather than resting on the legacy of a guitar that’s been played by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to George Harrison to Nile Rodgers, Fender has modernized the Strat’s electronics, with updates including a push-pull tone knob that adds all sorts of new pickup combinations to its palette.

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