Search for the electric guitar you want to compare
How to compare electric guitars using this table
The important thing to keep in mind, when comparing electric guitars, is the features that are most important to you. Make sure you take stock of this before you start searching. When you select guitars to compare from the above table (from our database), you'll be able to see basic specs and pricing on the screen via the compare bar at the bottom of the page.
You can then click on the product page to browse more specs or get more details from the retailers listed. In this manner, you can evaluate electric guitars side-by-side and look at features like pickup type, ideal style, price, and other features that are important to consider.
Compare electric guitars based on these features
The pickup type and configuration are going to have the most significant impact on how your guitar sounds. First, you need to consider the type of pickup and then the style/voicing. There are two main categories of pickups to choose from.
- Single coils
Single coil pickups are most commonly used in Stratocasters and Telecasters, though other brands will make use of them as well. These pickups typically have the following sound qualities:
- Snap/or quack response
- Light and airy
The other type of pickup, which is far more common, is the humbucker. Humbuckers typically have the following sound qualities:
- Warm and smooth
- Heavy and percussive
- Better for distortion
Traditionally, single coil pickups are used for bluesy and vintage musical styles that are more subtle, while humbuckers are used for more modern styles that require a heavier sound. Deciding which of these styles you want to aim for is an important starting point in your electric guitar search.
You can find a lot more info on guitar pickups here.
Budget is obviously a factor, though we'd still recommend nailing down the style of music you want to focus on before looking at your budget. All style categories of electric guitars can accommodate a wide range of budgets.
As a general rule, we'd recommend beginners spend less on their guitar. As your commitment to the guitar and skill level increase, your budget should as well.
Here's some more info on electric guitar cost and what to expect.
The next most important consideration is the brand of electric guitar you want. While you might not be familiar with all the electric guitar brands, here's a very brief rundown of what to expect:
- Fender: Blues, jazz, clean tones, subtle distortion, and classic rock
- Gibson: Rock, metal, classic rock, heavy distortion, and lead tones (soloing)
- PRS: Rhythmic, percussive, versatile, modern rock, and metal
- ESP LTD: Heavy, modern rock, metal, and rhythmic
- Epiphone: Similar to Gibson, versatile, classic rock, modern rock, metal, good for beginners
- Gretsch: Clean tones, subtle distortion, church worship, versatile
- Squier: Similar to Fender, clean tones, classic rock, good for beginners
Of course, there are other brands you might want to consider. You can read up on our electric guitar brands guide for more info.
All of the specs of an electric guitar boil down to one thing: Do you like how it sounds and feels? And while there are other variables that play into how an electric guitar sounds (the amp you use, your playing style, the guitar pedals you use), there's no replacement for hearing a guitar or, better yet, getting to try it out.
Tonewood is a more subtle spec, and beginners shouldn't really worry about it. But if you're looking at a more expensive guitar, check the tonewood of the body, top piece (if it has a top piece) and neck. Typical tonewoods include Mahogany, Maple, and Alder.
Another detail that intermediate to advanced players should pay attention to is whether or not the guitar uses a top piece for its body.
The most notable brands that do this include Gibson and PRS.
In most cases, the body is Mahogany while the top piece is Maple.
This helps create a heavier sound that's also balanced and versatile. Keep in mind, guitar's with a top piece of wood tend to be a lot more expensive, especially if they have detailed carving like the core PRS models.