7 Best Left Handed Electric Guitars (Beginner & Intermediate)

best left handed electric guitars

There are so many excellent guitars available these days that choosing the best left handed electric guitar for your tastes, budget, and ability can be massively overwhelming. Especially if you are a complete beginner!

Throughout this post, we will delve into my top 7 guitars, from super affordable packages that include everything you will need to get started, to the higher quality options that could potentially last you for life.

I specifically stuck to a small handful of quality guitars so as not to paralyze you with options. Each instrument in this list has its place and I am confident that there is a guitar in here for all budgets and personal tastes.

Although this guide is mainly aimed at beginners and intermediate players, more advanced guitarists will also find some superb instruments towards the end of the list.

At the end of the article I will also answer a range of critical questions that newer players will likely have when considering a new guitar. For example…

  • What body size is best for you?
  • What is the most comfortable guitar?
  • Should you choose single-coil or humbucker pickups?
  • Why is scale length important?
  • Why should you consider a setup?

Shorter people or those with smaller hands may also like to check out my guide to the best ¾ sized left handed guitars.

What Is The Best Left Handed Electric Guitar?

Below you’ll discover my top 7 choices for the best left handed electric guitars for beginners and intermediate players this year. The list is ordered from the most affordable guitars at the start to the more pricey options at the end.

Disclosure: If you decide to purchase a guitar using the links in this article I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

If you’re in a hurry, you can use these links to head directly to the specific guitar reviews that you’re interested in. But be sure to also check out the end of this article where you’ll discover a ton of handy advice that you’ll want to consider before pulling the trigger on your new axe.

  1. Donner DST-100SL
  2. Yamaha Pacifica 112J
  3. LyxPro SBLH
  4. Ibanez GRX70QAL
  5. Squier Classic Vibe Series
  6. Fender Player Stratocaster
  7. PRS SE Custom 24

1. Donner DST-100SL

Best Left Handed Electric Guitar Package

Best Beginner Left Handed electric Guitar Package

The Donner DST-100SL is without a doubt the best left handed electric guitar package in terms of sheer value for money. You needn’t worry about spending time researching the perfect rig, as this bundle includes everything you could possibly need to get started with guitar.

Sure, cheaper beginner left handed electric guitar packages are available, but the poor quality and reliability of those kits means that I cannot recommend them with a clear conscience. While most of the less expensive bundles can essentially be considered as toys, Donner has managed to put together a solid kit here for a still relatively low price.

The guitar itself is a classic sunburst Stratocaster style model – one of the most iconic guitar designs ever. The important feature here is that while Stratocasters most commonly use 3 single-coil pickups, this model also includes a humbucker in the bridge position.

This more versatile pickup configuration means that the guitar is absolutely perfect for beginners as it will be able to comfortably handle any genre of music. You will be able to coax shimmering clean tones from the two single-coil pickups, while the thicker and warmer sounding humbucker is ideal for overdriven music such as rock and blues.

Psst… Not sure what a pickup is? Check out my guide to the different parts of the guitar.

The guitar body is made from poplar, a wood known for being light in weight while still providing a great tone. The low weight of the Donner will be perfect for new players who aren’t used to standing (or even sitting) with a guitar.

Other main features include a comfortable c-shape maple neck with a 22 fret purpleheart fingerboard, 5-way pickup selector for a variety of tones, plus 1 volume and 2 tone controls to further enhance the guitar’s range of sounds.

As far as the bundled accessories are concerned, Donner has included pretty much all of the goodies you will need to get going right away. You’ll get a quality padded gig bag, a portable 2-channel amplifier, clip-on tuner, a capo, a strap, and much more! See below for the full list.

As you can see, there’s a lot to love about this little bundle, but what about the negatives? The only real downside (for some!) is that the little amp is not quite capable of putting out the ultra heavy tones that hard rock and metal players will crave. It is perfectly adequate to get you going, but the rockers amongst you will probably be looking to upgrade after a few months.

For everyone else, the amp will serve its purpose well. It has a headphone out for quiet practice, plus you can even power it with batteries if you fancy trying your hand at busking, or playing anywhere without access to a power supply.

Donner App

New players will also most likely be interested in Donner’s iOS and Android app which is a great free learning resource.

It incorporates several features such as a community section and online store, but what will likely appeal to you as a beginner is the helpful lessons area. In here you will find a range of free videos and courses aimed at beginner players to help set you off down the right path.

A handful of the tutors are actually teachers at the world renowned Berklee College of Music, so these lessons are absolutely worth a look-see.

Key Features:

  • Body: Lightweight Poplar
  • Neck: Canadian Maple w/ 22 Fret Purpleheart Fingerboard
  • Pickups: Humbucker & 2 Singlecoils (HSS)
  • Controls: 5-way Pickup Selector & Volume/Tone Controls
  • Gig Bag: Yes
  • Accessories: Amplifier, Cable, Strap, Clip-On Tuner, Capo, Picks, Spare Strings, Cleaning Cloth, Allen Key, Lessons (via mobile app).

What I Like/Dislike About The Donner DST-100SL Package

Like:

  • Includes everything you’ll need to get started with guitar.
  • Low price without sacrificing quality and features.
  • 2 year warranty on the guitar (1 year on accessories).
  • Versatile HSS pickup layout will be able to handle any genre of music.
  • Has the look of a guitar which is much more expensive than it is.
  • Also a solid option for intermediate players desiring a cheaper guitar that they don’t have to be too careful with.

Dislike:

  • The amplifier isn’t quite capable of metal and heavy rock tones.
  • The amplifier will be too quiet to jam with friends in a band situation.
  • Brand snobs may not approve.
  • A handy guitar stand would have been a welcome addition to round off the package.

Still not convinced? Check out this video from our friends at Alamo Music to find out why they think the Donner is a great option for beginners.

Overall, I recommend the Donner DST-100SL as my pick for the best left handed electric guitar package. I don’t think you’ll be able to find a better lefty bundle for a lower price, and it’s clear to see why it is the number one best-selling beginner kit on Amazon!

If you’re sold, you can check it out at the links below!

LINKS TO BUY

2. Yamaha Pacifica

Best Cheap Left Handed Electric Guitar

Cheap Left Handed Electric Guitar

If you like the look of the Donner above, but would prefer to put together your own kit then you might like to check out the excellent Yamaha Pacifica 112J which is available in either black, or the yellow natural satin finish shown above.

The Pacifica has long been the go-to beginner left handed electric guitar. In fact, it was my very first proper guitar almost 20 years ago, so it’s great to see that Yamaha is still bringing the goods for fledgling southpaw players. I loved it so much that I’ve actually owned three of them over the years!

Yamaha is a brand that is well known for making guitars that punch well above their price point, and the award-winning Pacifica is certainly no exception. It is around $100 more than the Donner kit, but it is also a good step up in quality.

As with the Donner, the Pacifica features a really versatile humbucker-single-single (HSS) pickup layout which will be able to easily handle any style of music you throw at it. I was a wee metal guy, so I pretty much used the humbucker 100% of the time! The Pacifica’s pickups are made in-house by Yamaha, so you know you’re getting a quality product.

Upgrades over the Donner include an alder body, which is one of the most common woods you’ll find used for Strat-style bodies. Alder is a good lightweight wood that resonates well and provides a balanced, bright tone. The body is also slightly smaller and more ergonomic versus the traditional Stratocaster shape, so it is a really comfortable guitar to both sit or stand with.

A slim c-shape maple neck and industry-standard rosewood fretboard add to the premium feel of this instrument. A vintage-style tremolo bridge will stand up to plenty of whammy bar abuse whilst still keeping you perfectly in tune alongside the quality Yamaha tuners.

The Pacifica also ships with premium D’Addario EXL120 strings, which are on the lighter side and therefore perfect for beginner fingers where those necessary calluses haven’t yet formed!

The only real downside to this guitar is that it unfortunately isn’t supplied with a gig bag or case, so you will need to source your own if you plan to carry it around. Not exactly a deal breaker as you’ll be able to source one for as little as $10 if you decide that you need one later.

The other negative I’ll mention could also be seen as a bit of a positive for beginners. The Yamaha has just a single volume and tone control which means that you’ll have slightly less control over the sound of the guitar versus the Donner. However, on the plus side you’ll have less complications to fiddle with as a new player. Swings and roundabouts!

Our buddy Shane from InTheBlues has an excellent overview video of the left handed Yamaha Pacifica which you can check out below. Sounds great, right?

Key Features:

  • Body: Lightweight Alder
  • Neck: Maple w/ 22 Fret Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Pickups: Humbucker & 2 Singlecoils (HSS)
  • Controls: 5-way Pickup Selection & Volume/Tone Controls
  • Gig Bag: No
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The Yamaha Pacifica 112J

Like:

  • Yamaha quality at an affordable price point
  • Versatile HSS pickup configuration can handle any style of music
  • 2-year warranty included.
  • Slim, beginner-friendly neck.
  • Choice of 2 colors.
  • Also a great option for intermediate players, or more advanced guitarists looking for a solid backup option.

Dislike:

  • No gig bag or accessories are included.
  • Only one tone control.

Overall, I recommend the Yamaha Pacifica 112J as the best left handed electric guitar for beginners. It has been serving new southpaw players for almost two decades (including me!), and will no doubt continue to carry the torch for many more years to come.

If you think that the Pacifica could be the ideal guitar for you, then please check it out at the links below.

LINKS TO BUY

3. LyxPro SBLH

Best Beginner Left Handed Electric Guitar For Rock

Left Handed Les Paul Copy

So, the Yamaha above is a super-versatile choice, but if you’re more into rock then you might like to consider a guitar with the classic double humbucker setup. This will give you a thicker, warmer sound which is better suited to a mainly overdriven style of music.

We can look at the LyxPro SBLH which will get a snarling, full-bore Gibson Les Paul style guitar into your eager hands for not a lot of money!

Main features include a mahogany body and neck, a rosewood style fingerboard with classic trapezoid inlays, 2 high-output humbuckers with separate volume and tone controls, and a tune-o-Matic style fixed bridge for excellent tuning stability. Everything that makes a Les Paul the legendary rock machine we all aspired to wield as kids!

The guitar is available in that iconic cherry sunburst finish we all know and love, but you can also pick it up in an eye-catching green finish if you’d like to stand out from the crowd.

Another great advantage to Les Paul-style guitars is that they have a shorter 24.75” scale length. That is, the distance between each fret is slightly smaller than on a Strat style guitar. This is ideal for new players (as well as for people with smaller hands) as you won’t have to stretch as far to correctly finger chords and scales.

The downside is that the guitar is not supplied with a gig bag to cart your new axe around in. In addition, Les Paul style guitars are known for being on the heavier side due to their thick bodies and all-mahogany construction.

A final slight disadvantage is that access to the upper frets on these instruments is not quite as good as you’d find on a Stratocaster.

Want to hear what it sounds like? Check out the quick demo video below – unfortunately this black model isn’t available as a color choice for us lefties.

Key Features:

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany w/ 22 Fret Engineered Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Pickups: 2 Humbuckers
  • Controls: 2-way Selector & Volume/Tone Controls For Each Pickup
  • Gig Bag: No
  • Accessories: Picks and Beginner Guide

What I Like/Dislike About The LyxPro SBLH

Like:

  • Les Paul looks at an affordable price.
  • Dual humbucker pickups are ideal for rock and blues.
  • Shorter distance between frets is easier for beginners and smaller hands.
  • Choice of 2 colors.
  • Also a great option for intermediate players, or more advanced guitarists looking for a solid backup option.

Dislike:

  • No gig bag is included.
  • Upper fret access is more limited.
  • Heavier weight vs a Strat-style guitar.

So! If you’re on a tight budget and are looking for a hard-rocking axe, or just love the looks of a Les Paul, then the LyxPro is absolutely your best option. Looking at well-known brands, the next most affordable lefty Les Paul is probably from Epiphone – and that will cost you almost 3 times the price!

If this single-cut beauty ticks all of your boxes then you can check it out at the link below.

LINKS TO BUY

4. Ibanez GRX70QAL

Best Beginner Left Handed Electric Guitar For Metal & Shred

Left Handed Metal Guitar

So the LyxPro above is ideal for you rockers, but what if you need even more power for super-heavy metal riffs and solos? Well the Ibanez GRX70QAL (catchy name, right?) is perfect for you budding shredders and chuggers!

Ibanez made their name via their lightning-fast, high-output guitars, and this GRX is going to be your most affordable route to owning one as a lefty player. In fact, it’s probably the most affordable dual-humbucker southpaw guitar currently available from any of the big brands! 

And you wouldn’t know it from looking, right? With its stunning transparent blue burst finish this gorgeous speed demon looks like it should cost way more than its meagre price tag.

Pickup duties are handled by a trio of high-output Ibanez Infinity pickups in a humbucker-single-humbucker (HSH) layout. Choose the bridge humbucker for searing lead tones, switch to the neck humbucker for a warmer, thicker sound, or select the middle single-coil for a brighter, clean voice. The Ibanez certainly has an impressive tonal range!

A beginner-friendly lightweight poplar body provides a resonant and balanced tone, and is paired with an eye-catching quilted maple veneer for a striking look. The smooth and fast maple neck and 22 fret jatoba fingerboard will have you shredding in no time with its super-flat radius.

Related post: Check out my guide to the best shred guitarists of all time!

Crucially for many players, the GRX is equipped with a tremolo system that should allow you to have some fun with the whammy bar. This isn’t a locking Floyd Rose style system however, so don’t expect to be performing extreme dive bombs and remaining perfectly in tune!

As with the Yamaha above, this model ships with quality lighter gauge D’Addario strings which are absolutely ideal for un-callused beginner fingers.

Again, the only real negative to this guitar is the fact that it does not ship with a case or gig bag. A little disappointing, but you’ll be able to find some great options in part 8 of this guide where we delve into accessories.

Key Features:

  • Body: Poplar w/ Quilted Maple Veneer
  • Neck: Maple w/ 22 Fret Jatoba Fingerboard
  • Pickups: 2 Humbucker & 1 Singlecoil (HSH)
  • Controls: 5-way Pickup Selection & Volume/Tone Controls
  • Gig Bag: No
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The Ibanez GRX70QAL

Like:

  • Looks far more expensive than it is.
  • Versatile HSH pickup layout offers thicker tones ideal for heavier music.
  • 2-year warranty included.
  • Slim, flat neck is perfect for fast soloing.
  • Also a great option for intermediate players, or more advanced guitarists looking for a solid backup option.

Dislike:

  • No gig bag or accessories are included.
  • Tremolo system won’t handle extreme whammy bar action.

Overall, I can happily recommend the Ibanez GRX70QAL as my number one choice for left-handed rock and metal guitarists looking for an affordable option. The guitar looks and plays like a million bucks and will see you through many years of shredding to come!

LINKS TO BUY

5. Squier Classic Vibe Series

Best Beginner Left Handed Electric Guitars

Left Handed Squier Classic Vibe

In my opinion, the Squier Classic Vibe Series forms the best bang-for-your-buck range of electric guitars currently available left handed. These are the highest quality instruments that Squier produces and will easily go toe-to-toe with USA-made Fenders which can cost at least 3 times more.

The even better news is that this affordable range of guitars offers up an impressive 4 different left handed models, so there is an option to suit all tastes and play styles here.

First up we have the left handed Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Telecaster, which is available in that iconic butterscotch blonde finish. Main features include a lightweight pine body, slim c-shape maple neck with a 21 fret maple fingerboard, Fender-designed pickups, and a vintage-style 3-saddle bridge.

Prefer a more indie-inspired offset design? You might prefer the Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster – which is actually one of very few left handed Jazzmasters on the market. You’ll also get Fender-design single-coil pickups, a vintage-style tremolo bridge, and an eye-catching tortoiseshell pickguard.

Players into a more traditional Strat-style guitar will favor the Classic Vibe 60s Stratocaster which comes loaded with all of the iconic features you’d find on an original Fender Stratocaster. Main appointments include a nyatoh body, slim c-shape maple neck and 21 fret Indian laurel fretboard, 3 Fender-designed single-coil pickups, and a vintage style tremolo bridge with steel saddles.

And last, but certainly not least, we have the Classic Vibe 70s Stratocaster. The biggest difference between this and the 60s model above is the addition of a humbucker in the bridge position, allowing the guitar to handle thicker, heavier tones with ease. You also have a larger headstock style which was common on 70s-era Fenders, a maple fretboard, a poplar body, and all-black hardware.

But which one to go for? As a beginner player, you just aren’t going to notice a massive difference between the 4 Squier models, so I would suggest opting for whichever you prefer the looks of. You can also check out what your favorite artists use and make a decision based on that.

If you can’t make up your mind, I would suggest that the 70s Strat with its HSS pickup layout will offer the most versatility. It is also the model to choose if you want to play heavier music.

As an intermediate or advanced player, the choice is a little more difficult as each guitar does have its own advantages and disadvantages. Check out the video below for a great tone comparison between the 3 different guitar styles we’re looking at here.

The only real downside to this excellent range of guitars is that they do not ship with gig bags, which is something I would really expect at around $420 each. You may also get a few brand snobs scoffing at you for not buying a real Fender, but they’re easy to ignore!

Key Features:

  • Body: Poplar, Pine, or Nyatoh
  • Neck: Maple w/ Indian Laurel or Maple Fingerboard
  • Pickups: Fender-Designed
  • Controls: Various Layouts Available
  • Gig Bag: No
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The Squier Classic Vibes

Like:

  • Options for all tastes are available.
  • Fender quality for a fraction of the price.
  • 2-year warranty included.
  • Slim necks and lightweight bodies are ideal for new players.
  • Also a great option for intermediate players, or more advanced guitarists looking for a solid backup option.

Dislike:

  • No gig bag or accessories are included.
  • Brand snobs may patronize you for not buying a real Fender.

For new and intermediate-level players I can recommend the Squier Classic Vibe series as being the best left handed electric guitars currently available. I’ve been playing for over 20 years now and have a Classic Vibe Strat and Tele in my collection that both get regular playtime.

For the money, it is going to be a real challenge to find a better lefty electric guitar. So the only real issue is, which one are you going to choose?! You can find links to each model below.

6. Fender Player Stratocaster

Most Popular Left Handed Electric Guitar

Most Popular Left Handed Electric Guitar

So, you love the looks of the Squier Classic Vibes above, but yearn for that famous logo on the headstock – and who could blame you? The good news is that the left handed Fender Player Stratocaster is available for a surprisingly affordable price.

Thanks to their accessible price, easy playability, quality craftsmanship, and widespread availability, the Fender Player Stratocaster has become the most popular left handed electric guitar in the world. 

If you’d prefer, there is also the Player Telecaster to check out, but I have highlighted the Strat here due to it being slightly more versatile. The Stratocaster should be able to handle any genre of music apart from heavier rock and metal. Both guitars are great choices, however.

Main features include a solid alder body, maple neck, upgraded Fender single-coil pickups, a modern 2-point tremolo, and a choice of maple or Pau Ferro fingerboards depending on which finish you opt for. 

Another small feature I really appreciate is the satin finish on the neck which provides a nice smooth play feel, rather than the sticky feeling you often get with gloss necks. Fender also introduced an extra fret to this range, giving a total of 22 for additional versatility.

It is currently available in 5 different colors (sunburst, blue, white, orange, and black) so there should be something for all tastes here. As they are the world’s most popular southpaw guitars you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking one down at your local music store.

Check out Fender’s video below for a quick overview and demonstration of the Player Stratocaster.

Unbelievably, the Player Strat does not ship with a gig bag. For this kind of money, I would absolutely expect one to be bundled in, so this is a pretty surprising downside. The only other negative is that a Stratocaster won’t be the best choice for heavier styles of music such as hard rock and metal – see my next suggestion if you need more power!

Key Features:

  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple w/ Pau Ferro or Maple Fingerboard
  • Pickups: Fender Player Single-Coils
  • Controls: 5-Way Selector & Volume/Tone Controls
  • Gig Bag: No
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The Fender Player Stratocaster

Like:

  • A real Fender at a still affordable price.
  • Wide choice of colors.
  • 2-year warranty included.
  • Classic looks with modern features.
  • A guitar for life.

Dislike:

  • No gig bag or accessories are included.
  • Not the best for heavier music.
  • Twice the price of a Squier Classic Vibe alternative.

The Fender Player Stratocaster is the world’s most popular left handed electric guitar for a reason. It is the perfect fusion of vintage aesthetics and modern features, breathing new life into a legend of the guitar world.

For beginners, it would give a fantastic introduction to the instrument, plus it is a guitar that will last you for life so you should save money in the long run. It is also a guitar that is regularly rocked by professional players on stages around the world. Guitarists of all abilities should be able to find a place for a Player Strat in their collection!

You can shop for this best-selling model at the links below.

LINKS TO BUY

7. PRS SE Custom 24

Most Versatile Left Handed Electric Guitar

PRS SE Custom 24 Left Handed

The Fender above is perfect for all styles of music apart from heavier genres which require the thicker, warmer tone of humbuckers. For the same money, we can also check out the PRS SE Custom 24 which comes equipped with dual humbuckers!

PRS is a brand that isn’t desperately generous when it comes to catering to lefties, but luckily this modern classic from their more affordable SE series ticks all of the boxes. The craftsmanship and playability is spot on, and just look at it, it’s gorgeous!

Main features include a mahogany body with a carved maple top, maple neck with 24 fret rosewood fingerboard, quality PRS 85/15 pickups, a super-stable PRS tremolo, and those famous bird inlays. 

The modern wide thin profile neck is both comfortable and fast, ideal for jamming out solos and complex riffs. It also features a slightly shorter scale length of 25” which should make bending easier and bring wider stretches closer together.

Its versatility is further enhanced by the ability to split the humbucker coils for a brighter single-coil sound. This PRS can really do it all – a true swiss army knife of a guitar!

PRS is so confident in the quality of this guitar that they actually offer a limited lifetime warranty along with it. So you can be safe in the knowledge that if something does go wrong you are fully covered.

It is available in a charcoal burst color as well if you’d prefer, but I have highlighted it here in a stunning faded blue burst finish. And the good news is that finally on this list we have a guitar that ships with a gig bag! Huzzah!

As far as downsides are concerned it is really tough to come up with anything more than a minor quibble. And that is that the wide thin neck profile may not be to the tastes of players who prefer a chunkier neck shape.

Check out the demo video from PRS below to hear the SE Custom 24 in action.

Key Features:

  • Body: Mahogany w/ Maple Top & Flamed Maple Veneer
  • Neck: Maple w/ 24 Fret Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Pickups: PRS 85/15 ‘S’ Humbuckers
  • Controls: 3-Way Selector & Master Volume/Master Tone (Push/Pull Coil-Split)
  • Gig Bag: Yes
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The PRS SE Custom 24

Like:

  • PRS quality and looks at a fraction of the price.
  • Choice of two colors.
  • Limited lifetime warranty included.
  • Incredible versatility.
  • A guitar for life.

Dislike:

  • The looks may not be for everyone.
  • The wide thin neck shape isn’t for players that prefer a chunkier profile.

Overall, the PRS SE Custom 24 is an excellent all-rounder of a guitar that will last you for life. It gives you a taste of a USA-made PRS at a fraction of the price and the versatile pickup options let the guitar handle any style of music with ease.

Check it out at the link below!

LINKS TO BUY

Electric Guitar Buying Advice

What Brand Of Electric Guitar Is Best?

There is no BEST brand of electric guitar as the best choice for you will depend on a number of factors including your budget, tastes, and current playing ability.

Instead of looking to get a specific brand, consider the questions I have answered below to help find your ideal electric guitar.

Which Electric Guitar Is The Most Popular?

Ask any guitar store what their best selling instruments are and you will likely get a list including the Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, and Gibson Les Paul amongst others.

I have recommended several of these styles of guitars in the list above!

Which Electric Guitar Is Easiest To Play?

If you are buying a guitar for a child you might like to consider a ¾-sized model which will be easier for them to handle. Check out my guide to left handed guitars for kids.

Most of the guitars that I have suggested above are broadly the same size, however, the weight of the instrument is also a factor that you should consider. New players will probably prefer to opt for something a little more lightweight to begin with as they will be easier to sit and stand with for longer periods.

Stratocaster-style electric guitars are generally the lowest-weight models, so they are ideal for beginners. Les Paul-style guitars are often the heaviest thanks to their thick mahogany bodies, so these are probably best avoided if you have any back issues!

Consider Ergonomics

In addition to the weight of the guitar, you should also think about how comfortable it will be to sit with for hours on end. A Flying V-style axe may look awesome, but you might come to regret your choice when it keeps sliding off your lap!

A Stratocaster-style instrument is one of the most ergonomic designs to sit with. They have soft, curved edges to the body, comfortable bevels, and are well-balanced. This is one of the reasons I have recommended so many Strats above!

Conversely, a Les Paul tends to have harder body edges which might dig into your ribs.

Single-Coils Or Humbuckers?

The pickups in your guitar will play a big role in determining how it sounds, so it is important to choose the right tool for the job.

Single Coil vs Humbucker

The image above shows the two most common styles of electric guitar – on the left a Fender Stratocaster, and on the right a Gibson Les Paul.

The thin pickups on the Stratocaster are called Single-Coils, and the wider pickups on the Les Paul are Humbuckers.

Single coils typically produce bright and lively tones with low to moderate output. This makes them better suited to clean or lower gain play styles. Humbuckers generally have a higher output and produce thicker and warmer tones which sound great with distortion added.

As a beginner, you might like to consider a guitar that is equipped with a humbucker and single coils. This is a very versatile setup that will enable you to explore a ton of different genres as you expand your knowledge.

Alternatively, some guitars with humbuckers (such as the PRS I have recommended above) will allow you to ‘split’ the coils for additional single-coil sounds.

How Much Should I Spend On An Electric Guitar?

This depends entirely on your budget! Spending more will undoubtedly get you a better playing and sounding guitar, but there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on your first guitar.

The guitars I have recommended above range from around $200 up to $850. Spend whatever you are comfortable with, and make sure to also budget for additional expenses such as an amp and a tuner.

What Scale Length Should I Choose?

Although scale length won’t have a massive effect on the sound of your guitar, it will affect how it feels to play.

If you’re not aware, the scale length of a guitar is the distance between the bridge and the nut and determines the spacing between each fret. You can find out more in my guide to guitar scale length.

A shorter distance between frets will make the guitar a little easier to play for people with smaller hands. It will also give the strings a slinkier feel, making them easier to bend.

Conversely, people with large hands might find the spacing on a shorter-scale length instrument a little too cramped.

The Stratocasters I have recommended above all have the longest scale length of 25.5”. The PRS is slightly shorter at 25”. Finally, the LyxPro Les Paul is the shortest at 24.75”.

Get Your Guitar A Setup

Although you’d hope that your new guitar will be in perfect playing condition when it arrives, that can often not be the case!

Changes in humidity could have warped the neck, the strings could be too high or low, intonation could be slightly off, certain frets might buzz – the list goes on! This might lead you to believe that you’ve been sent a dud guitar, when in reality it just needs a couple of common tweaks.

So to ensure that your guitar is in the best possible playing condition it could be worth taking it to your local music store for what is known as a ‘setup’. You can find out more about this in my guide to guitar setups.

It is a minor additional expense but is absolutely worth the outlay.

Next up, you’ll either want to check out part six of this beginner series below if your chosen guitar isn’t bundled with an amp. Otherwise, head to part 8 where we’ll look at a few essential accessories you will also want to pick up.

Part One : Tips Before You Buy
Part Two : Beginner Electric Guitars
Part Three : Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Part Four : Beginner Bass Guitars
Part Five : Beginner Classical Guitars
Part Six : Amps
Part Seven : Effects
Part Eight : Accessories
Part Nine : Lessons