Welcome to our big electric guitar test 2020. Here we present all electric guitars that we have tested in more detail. We have put together extensive background information and added a summary of customer reviews online.
We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best electric guitars for you.
You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy an electric guitar.
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The essentials in brief
- An electric guitar is an electrically amplified guitar that is available in countless models. Well-known models are the Stratocaster, Les Paul, SG, Telekaster, semi-acoustic guitar and the Superstrat. However, there are other unusual designs and also individualized electric guitars.
- When buying an electric guitar, you should pay attention to the quality and workmanship. The electric guitar should be purchased from the music store or from a trusted online retailer with a return guarantee.
- Well-known guitarists like Kurt Cobain started out small. It’s best to start with a guitar teacher. The most important accessories include cables and amplifiers.
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ESP LTD KH-602 Signature Series Kirk Hammett Electric Guitar
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Sterling By MusicMan 6 String Sterling by Music Man
Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster – Olympic White
What is an electric guitar?
The electric guitar is actually a conventional guitar, which was only produced for electrical sound processing. In contrast to conventional guitar, this guitar can produce a variety of sounds. All you have to do is connect the guitar to the electric guitar amplifier using a cable and you’re ready to go. The electric guitar amplifier is the most important accessory of an electric guitar and is responsible for the high volume at which you can then play.
This type of guitar was actually only developed because the guitarists of jazz with their acoustic guitar did not counter the volume of the piano players or wind instruments arrived. So that the guitarists’ playing was not lost in sound, a guitar with amplifier was developed. In modern times mostly young people play electric guitar so that they can do the same as the rock stars . In a test of the best electric guitars, the good models from well-known manufacturers were compared to determine a test winner. You can benefit from that.
How does an electric guitar work?
With the electric guitar, the string vibrations are received by an electromagnetic pickup (in English this means pick up) and increasingly transmitted . In the area of different pickups, a distinction is made between humbuckers and single coils . This type of pickup has been known and used since the 1930s. For this purpose, permanent magnets are mounted, which are located directly below the vibrating steel alloy strings.
These magnets are wrapped in a coil and when the strings vibrate, the magnetic field is disturbed. These disturbances cause an induction of the electrical AC voltage in the coilforth. Although this signal is very weak, it is sent to the amplifier and amplified there. Thus, the electric guitar is not an electronic, but an electrical musical instrument . The vibrations of the strings are influenced by the vibrations that run through the guitar neck and body.
Different selector switches and pickups are used so that this sound can be varied . This attached to the guitar pickup to as the guitar player optionally, a compound of each pickup manufacture or it can be easily switched back and forth. The pickups can also be influenced by a height control and a potentiometer in the output volume and in the voltage to be output.
High-quality branded products in terms of electric guitar are rather limited in terms of sound influence. It becomes singlech the effect of the capacitor , which is connected in parallel to the pickup, controlled with a tone control. So the sound has more or less high parts. Depending on the setting, the electric guitar can sound dull or less dull. With more active sound carriers , you have more options to increase the variety of sounds.
Only the best electric guitars can convey feelings and emotions with a hard guitar grip with a successful player . Especially if you are an absolute guitar beginner and want to get the first “good piece”, you will be almost overwhelmed by the sheer variety of electric guitar manufacturers with their countless models . Therefore, you should get an orderly overview of the best electric guitars. The following test of the best guitars and the information about the electric guitars should help you with this. This way you can determine your personal guitar comparison test winner, take lessons and then “rock the house”.
In addition to countless advantages, the active pickups also have disadvantages in terms of sound properties. You should z. B. sound undistorted sterile and of course the active electronics need their own voltage source (battery). Several models are equipped with a piezo pickup , which skillfully imitates the sound of the acoustic guitar. Most Parker Guitars models have had these piezo pickups since the early 1990s.
In the mid-1980s, the MIDI standard was introduced, which is a system with which the vibrations of the strings are converted into MIDI signals in real timebecome. It is possible to control the sound generator with the MIDI commands. The electric guitar has been able to effectively play the sounds of samplers, drum computers and synthesizers since the 1980s . The audio signal of the pickups is not used to generate the sound, such as. B. the guitar synthesizer. However, there are also modeling guitars that record the vibrations of the strings via a piezo pickup and can imitate the sound of the different guitar models with a computer.
Where is an electric guitar used most often?
What can an electric guitar cost and where can I buy it?
Electric guitars can be very expensive. At the beginning, you may be able to rent an electric guitar, borrow it, or buy a cheaper electric guitar.We recommend this because as a guitar beginner you first have to find out whether you enjoy playing the guitar and whether the electric guitar is the right instrument for you. It would be a shame if you invest a lot of money in your instrument beforehand and then don’t use it.
You can often get a cheap electric guitar with accessories from just 150 euros. High-quality electric guitars for advanced players can be found from 500 euros. Professionals usually buy their electric guitar for several thousand euros.
Which types of electric guitars are there and which is the right one for me?
An electric guitar has steel strings and is electrically amplified. This makes it louder and achieves a variety of sounds that can be created. Many people don’t look at an electric guitar closely enough and think that they’re basically all the same. A mistake.
Depending on your music taste, a different electric guitar model suits you. It’s best to try a few instruments in a music store.
The types of electric guitar include:
- Les Paul
- Semi-acoustic guitars
- Other designs
There are an incredible number of models and styles of this amplified guitar. These guitar models differ mainly in their weight, but also in the use of the music style, in the sound and in the materials.
The Stratocaster is probably the electric guitar that laypeople would call the usual electric guitar. Nowadays a guitar is only called a Stratocaster if it has the shape of a Fender Stratocaster . But what does that mean now? This guitar has an ash or alder body. The neck is either light and maple or dark and rosewood.
Thanks to its shape, the Strat can adapt perfectly to the guitarist’s body. This electric guitar differs from the other models mainly in its sound. It has a snappy sound and a vibration lever.
The Les Paul guitar sounds really “fat”. That comes from the heavy mahogany body with a glued maple top. This guitar can make distorting sounds, but they are not as versatile and are often used in classic rock.
The weight that helps with the sound naturally depends on your shoulder or arms. If you’ve played a lot with lighter guitars before, this can be a noticeable change.
The characteristic sound, as great as it is, can also be a disadvantage if you only have a Les Paul but want to be more musically diverse on the road.
The SG guitar used to be a Les Paul guitar. However, it became its own electric guitar model because it is now quite different from its mother electric guitar.
Above all, the SG is lighter than the Les Paul and also lighter than the Stratocaster guitar. It is a dynamic guitar that is often used in blues rock. The body is also made of mahogany. This guitar is especially popular with young bands.
This guitar typically has a long maple guitar neck and ash body. Thanks to the neck pickup, the Telecaster can be used in the blues.
This type of electric guitar became particularly famous in country music. With her rocky country sound she is therefore preferred to be used in this genre.
The special, interesting sound is also a weakness of the guitar, similar to the Les Paul. You can’t be too versatile on the road because you run the risk that each piece will sound a bit country-like.
A semi-acoustic guitar is built relatively flat. In addition, these guitars are hollow on the inside. This also gives the unique sound. This sound can best be described with songs from the Beatles.
The semi-acoustic guitar is known but unfortunately for uncontrollable feedback. Nevertheless, the pure and slightly distorted sound is a true sound experience and is often used for the rhythm. This guitar also finds its place in the blues.
The Superstrat has a longer scale and different types of wood than the previously mentioned forms. This guitar is a variation of the Stratocaster electric guitar. It delivers a diverse sound experience.
Sometimes this guitar can be found with a pickup and sometimes without it. There are often several variations within a guitar model.
There are of course many other electric guitar models. Among other things, the Flying V , which stands out due to its special V-shaped body. The Paul Reed Smith guitar , which lies with the size of the scale and also with the sound between the Gibson and the Stratocaster or Tele guitar.
Then there is the Parker guitar , which stands out from other electric guitars due to its light plastic body and additional sounds and a new shape. Guitars can also be customized. Of course, the sound changes here and the costs are enormous.
What types of guitars are there and how do they differ?
There are many types of guitars that differ in appearance, design, sound and playing style. We have put together a selection of guitar types with their properties in the following table:
|Guitar style||Designs||Sound box||Strings||Sound hole|
|Classical guitar||The classic guitars differed only in optical subtleties.||Yes||Nylon (mostly 6)||Yes|
|Western guitar||Dreadnnought, Jumbo and others||Yes||Steel (mostly 6)||Yes|
|Electric guitar||ST, TL, Single / Double Cut, and many others, some of them very experimental.||No||Steel (mostly 6)||No|
|Semi-resonance guitar||ST, TL and single||Yes||Steel (mostly 6)||2 holes|
|Acoustic bass||Similar to the western guitar||Yes||Steel (mostly 4)||Yes|
|Electric bass||There are two traditional ones: Precision and Jazz. But individually designed ones are also possible.||No||Steel (mostly 4)||No|
Advantages of electric guitar
- more sound possibilities
- louder sound
- different sound to acoustic guitar
- forgives mistakes, therefore easier to play
- easier to play (less force required than with acoustic guitar)
- wider frets
- thicker neck
Disadvantages electric guitar
- needs an amplifier
- less mobile because a power connection is required
- not so clean sound quality – sometimes swallowed whole chords
- mostly without sound box, therefore lighter
- more aggressive form of guitar playing.
The test criteria for testing the electric guitars can look different. On the one hand there are tests that are based on the appearance of the electric guitars and tests for guitars that are suitable for the different music styles . Since the appearance is always a matter of taste, no comparison result can really be present, because here everyone gives their own top grade. Especially with the electric guitars there are a variety of different shapes and colors , so as should definitely have something for everyone.
The shapes of the “guitar belly” range from the curved W shape to the V shape and the most bizarre shapes, which are almost impossible to describe. Of course, the guitar shape should be chosen to suit the desired music genre, but in order for you to enjoy playing the guitar, it should also correspond to your wishes in appearance.
Of course, the price also plays a major role in the tests, because the electric guitars, which everyone knows from the stars, cost a fortune and are not necessarily the best on the market. An entry-level guitar should cost around 100 euros . These electric guitars are available in a set with amplifier, cable and guitar, but cannot keep up with the professional guitars in terms of sound quality.
Most sets also include a guitar bag and strap. The amplifiers of cheap guitars are usually quite small and simply equipped and the material quality of the wood from the sound body is not particularly high.
In a test series, the pickups are particularly important, which are attached to the guitar belly as small microphones under the strings. There are pickups as double coils, the so-called humbuckers, and single coils, the single coils. The humbuckers look like two single coils next to each other , but are twice as wide as the single coils. The humbuckers also have a softer and center-weighted sound compared to the single coils , whereas the single coils usually have a clearer soundhave overtone sound.
The humbucker pickups have better protection against noise, such as z. B. can be generated by the radiation from power supplies. In various tests, of course, the pickups were placed against each other.
With almost all electric guitars you can switch between the pickups and two adjacent pickups can also be operated simultaneously. This was also tested and rated on the models from the test series of the best electric guitars.
What should I look for when buying an electric guitar?
What should I consider when buying an electric guitar?
Without specialist knowledge, it is often difficult for beginners to find a good electric guitar or to be able to assess the properties. In general, it is important that your future electric guitar is well made and of high quality. This affects the sound and playability of your guitar. The wood should be firm and hard. No cracks or material defects may have occurred during processing. For beginners or guitarists with little knowledge of the electric guitar, competent advice is definitely necessary.
Give yourself enough time to choose and buy your electric guitar. Then you can check everything in peace and get advice.
Especially as a beginner, you should pay particular attention to a few things when buying an electric guitar. The neck of the electric guitar is particularly important because it must not be wider than you can grip. The strings should be within easy reach of your fingers with little effort. The distance between the individual frets must be observed, which must ensure that you do not cramp when playing. The following additional points should make your purchase decision easier and are also the subject of an electric guitar test:
The number of strings
A conventional electric guitar and most guitars in a test series have 6 strings . There are also models with 7, 8 or even up to 12 strings and guitars with two guitar necks. However, this is not recommended as a beginner, because these are models for professionals because they are difficult to play.
A scale indicates the length of the strings, which can vibrate freely when plucked, struck or struck . This section lies between the body side or bridge (the strings are stretched over this) and the saddle or the head side of an electric guitar. Ideally, this scale should be between 63 and 65 centimeters wide , whereby the length of the strings is irrelevant, since they are knotted on the bridge and turned on the head anyway.
This is a visual aid on the fingerboard . This help is broken down into the twelve-tone, chromatic, western scale . Normally the frets on the upper neck are getting narrower . Unimaginable for many, but the distance between the 12th fret and the saddle is half of a vibrating string. Beginners are well advised with 12 frets , so that a real benefit when playing is achieved. An electric guitar with 24 frets , a musical instrument for soloists, would be overwhelming for beginners, because this is too large a grip area.
The material of the electric guitar
This is one of the most important test criteria, because the material of the electric guitar and its processing decisively determine the sound of the tones. Of course, the material used also contributes to the look , but this should not be a decisive factor in the purchase. Here is a comparison of the most common materials and their differences:
Maple – for electric guitars, basses and jazz guitars – finely formed highs and lows – very clear sound – very solid wood – also for the guitar neck.
Alder – overtone-rich electric guitars with a balanced sound – no excessively loud bass and treble – is mostly used for the body of the guitars.
Linde – more for rock musicians – the tone is smooth and center-weighted.
Mahogany – optical beauties with a balanced, warm sound – plays excellent overtones with subtle highs – the combination with maple has proven itself as a concert electric guitar (Les Paul von Gibson).
Rosewood – very durable and strong – has a high density – is mostly used for BrBends and fretboards used.
Poplar – a light and very soft wood. The sound is pleasantly warm, but has deficits in the treble range because it lacks brilliance.
The bridge or bridge is also one of the elements of an electric guitar because it is responsible for ensuring that the string energy is transferred to the body. In contrast to acoustic guitars, several components made of steel are used for electric guitars . It is not so important for the electric guitar, because the induction pickup is responsible for the pickup. Finally, this pickup converts the sound of the electric guitar into tension. You will find two different models for the bridges, a fixed bridge or a vibrato system.
With the mechanical device, the tremolo , the bridge in the vibrato system of a Floyd Rose z. B. moved on the body. The tension of the strings is thus changed by the tremolo lever effect and thus a change in height of the tone is achieved. This has the advantage that the vibrations are damped, which is particularly beneficial in the heavy metal scene. The vibrato system also shows stability against detuning, whereas the loss of the energy of the string swing has to be seen as a disadvantage.
If the electric guitar has a fixed bridge, then no lever can move the bridge and it is fixed to the guitar body. Some models from the manufacturer ESP and the Les Paul guitars have invented such a fixed bridge and even their own kind. This is the Tune-O-Matic bridge, which consists of two bridges that are bolted to the body of the guitar. The tone can be changed by tightening the screws on these bridges to a greater or lesser extent. This invention is more of a fashionable appearance, but it is a trademark of Gibson guitars.
The sound produced by the electric guitar is transferred from the sound carrier to the amplifier using a cable . The pickups are also called pickups and are an electromagnetic property, which is called induction in physics. This is a bar magnet , around which a fine wire is wound. A metal part is guided through the resulting magnetic field, through which mutual current can then be conducted. The string of the electric guitar is the metal part. When you strike the string, the mechanically generated energy is converted into electrical energy using the pickup.
The electricity obtained in this way is then multiplied by the amplifier to a strength so that the sound can be reproduced through the loudspeaker. The most commonly used pickups in a test series are humbuck and coil pickups , with the single-coil pickups having a bar magnet for each string. With the Humbuck pickups you will find twice as many magnetic pens, which makes the sound audible and very fine . Ideally, you can connect headphones to the electric guitar so that you don’t disturb the neighbors.
What is the difference between Acoustic & Electric Guitar?
Basically there are no differences between the acoustic and the electric guitar, because it is one and the same musical instrument. However, the sound is totally different for both instruments . Beginners in guitar playing will often first pick up an acoustic guitar and only later consider an electric guitar. The obvious difference between the two musical instruments lies in the sound, because the acoustic guitar produces its sound by manually operating the strings using the resonance body of the guitar. The electric guitar also produces its sound.
However, this sound is through the electrical amplifier really brought to bear. The design of the electric guitar is also clearly differentiated from that of the acoustic guitar. When it comes to the sound box, the design of the electric guitar is less important, which is why these models are mostly handy and flat. The sound box, on the other hand, is very important for acoustic guitar, because it decides on the sound of the string vibrations. For this reason, the acoustic guitar must have a large resonance body, i.e. an enlarged design, so that a good sound can be produced.
Advantages and disadvantages of acoustic guitar
If the acoustic guitar produces its sound by playing the strings, which is reinforced by the body of the instrument, tones are produced that can differ depending on the construction of the guitar . However, this also depends on the material used for the guitar. Different acoustic guitars are also available for the differentiated music styles. The classic here is the western guitar with its large sound body and the narrow, long fingerboard.
Thus, a clear advantage of acoustic guitars is the large genre selection , because they can be used for both modern music and classical pieces. Likewise, an acoustic guitar for recreational guitar players has the advantage that it is mobile and no further equipment is required. It can be used as a musical background z. B. create a mood around the campfire and is less dominant than the electric guitar. The tones are also sound cleaner and the individual tones can be heard better than with the electric guitar. The greatest weakness of the acoustic guitar can only be blamed on the low volume . So it can only act as an accompaniment to singing or solo. With other musical instruments, the sound goes down quickly.
Advantages and disadvantages of the electric guitar
If the body of the electric guitar is made of wood, which is the case with most models, then this wood should be hard and light at the same time. Ash or maple are ideal for electric guitars, because then the sound of the game becomes rich in overtones and warm. However, you should keep in mind that an electric guitar only becomes a complete musical instrument through the amplifier becomes.
The steel strings are struck with the pick or the fingers and the electromagnetic pickup picks up the vibrations thus achieved. The tones are then reproduced more intensely by this pickup. With the electric guitars, however, just like with the acoustic guitars, there are different models that also influence the sound. A special form of the electric guitar is the 7-string , which is not suitable for beginners.
The clear advantage of the electric guitar lies in its assertiveness over other musical instruments, because by amplifying the sound this guitar form can hold its own even in a large orchestra . You can always hear them out. Therefore, the electric guitar is always used in the music areas of rock, jazz and metal. You can always hear the modernity of the electric guitar, but it is also used by good guitar players in the classical area.
The weakness of the electric guitar, however, has to be criticized, that one cannot play so clean tones with it and the sound is therefore less clear than with the acoustic guitar. The electrical distortion is responsible for this, the whole chords as well as fine sounds simply swallowed or only distorted. However, this can also be an advantage for beginners, because it can also make mistakes when playing.
What accessories do I need for an electric guitar?
Your electric guitar needs the necessary basic equipment. Of course, this includes a solid, flat body and a guitar neck with steel strings. Also included should be a connection for the cable, a volume and tone control and a switch for the pickup.
The following guitar accessories are important for the electric guitar itself:
- Guitar case / bag
- Music stand
- Guitar stand / wall mount
- electric wire
For insider tips, it’s best to speak to your music business consultant, well-known electric guitarist or your guitar teacher about your choice of electric guitar and the accessories you need.
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