You can spend hours trying to find the best guitar, the best practice amp, the best headphones, the best monitor speakers.
Research can be fun, of course, but if you’re brand new to guitar or you’ve only been playing a year or so, finding the best gear at the right price can be tricky.
How To Find The Best Guitar Gear?
Most new players don’t even know what to look for, let alone which brands are worth their time and money.
This is why we built this resource page. Put simply, it is a list of our favorite guitar gear in one place. This is the gear we use, the gear we couldn’t live without, and the gear, if you’re new to playing, you should be looking at getting.
Do you need ALL this gear? Of course not – this is just a guide of what’s available for each type of guitar (from budget to premium) to amps, pedals, and things like DAWs and guitar plugins.
Either way, whatever you’re after, if it is listed below that means it is legit, that it has been road-tested by our team, and that it is well worth your time and money.
Best Electric Guitar (Under $500)
Epiphone SG Standard
The Epiphone SG is perfect for those new to guitar who a looking for a versatile, easy to play electric guitar. It is inexpensive, made to exacting standards, and it plays like a dream. It looks absolutely stunning too with its iconic double cutaway. For me, this is the perfect all-round guitar.
Best Electric Guitar (Over $500)
ESP LTD EC-1000
Arguably the best guitar for metal and rock under $1000, the ESP LTD EC-1000 is a Les Paul style axe that not only looks stunning but also plays beautifully.
It also runs Seymour Duncan and the active EMG pickups that sound huge. If you’re in the market for a high-end guitar that sounds incredible and retails for less than $1000, the ESP LTD EC-1000 is unbeatable right now for those that want to play metal and rock music.
Best Electric Guitar (Over $3000)
Gibson Les Paul Custom
If you’re looking to drop $3000+ on a guitar, the Gibson Les Paul Custom is about as good as it gets when it comes to tone, specs, craftsmanship and overall playability. Nothing else comes close.
From the neck feel to the pickups and the body, everything is meticulously crafted and integrated. If you want a professional-grade guitar for playing live and recording, the Gibson Les Paul Custom is impossible to beat, even in 2021…
Best Practice Amp
Positive Grid Spark Amp
The Spark Amp is something of a game-changer. Not only does it give you access to thousands of guitar tones and amp profiles, but it does all of this via your phone and Bluetooth.
The amp itself is a 40W unit, so it is properly loud. You can also link it to your computer too, so it can be used for recording. Add in AI drumming and bass that plays along with you and things like auto-tabulation from YouTube and it is easy to see why this amp cleaned up at NAMM…
Best Guitar Plugin Software
BIAS FX 2
There are a lot of very decent guitar plugins on the market. But my current favorite (and the one I use the most) is BIAS FX 2 by Positive Grid.
This software will turn your PC or Mac into a guitar tone factory. You can run tube amp simulations, effects, different pedals. It is great for recording and messing around. I couldn’t live without BIAS FX 2.
Best Guitar Strings For Rock & Metal
Ernie Ball 10 – 46
The Ernie Ball 10-46 gauge strings are my absolute favorite for rock and metal.
These strings have a higher tension feel that makes them better to play, in my opinion. They allow for easy note bending, while at the same time keeping the lower strings tight.
Why Ernie Ball? Like I mentioned earlier, this is just a personal favorite. I find that they are pretty consistent when it comes to quality and longevity. Plus they come in a cool neon pack!
Best Electric Guitar Picks
Dunlop Jazz III
The Dunlop Jazz III has been around for a long time and has been used by many famous guitarists. But it wasn’t always used for Metal guitar. It’s popularity began with it’s namesake.
But it wasn’t long before the Dunlop Jazz III made it’s way into the Metal Community. But what makes it one of the best picks for metal? It has a ton of advantages for a Metal player.
It’s small and compact, it is great for fast and technical picking, and it feels great in the hand. For me, this is the #1 pick for metal on the market right now.
The Products Listed Above Are What I’d Called “Essential Gear” – The Type of Stuff ALL Guitarists Actually Need To Use and Own.
But there is a plethora of other gear and accessories that you might also need. Things like DAWs, USB Audio Interfaces, Cables, and things like guitar cases and guitar straps . Let’s now take a look at some of the best guitar accessories you can buy.
Detailed Product Guides
If you need more information on more advanced things relating to guitar – stuff like building your first pedal board or buying your first distortion pedal, then we have plenty of additional content on this which you can see below.
As you progress with guitar and song writing in general, you’ll naturally start gravitating towards additional, supplementary gear – things like effects, pedals, different types of amps.
And that’s great: this is how guitarists define their own, unique sound. Just don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with gear – it can be addictive! Focus on getting better on ACTUALLY playing guitar.
This is the most important thing. Gear can make a great guitarist sound incredible, but no amount of gear or effects will cover poor playing. A solid foundation comprised of fretboard knowledge, picking techniques, and scales is more important that having a massive pile of plugins, amps, and pedals.
Best Guitar FAQs
What is The Best Guitar For A Beginner?
The best guitar for a beginner is one that you can afford, that plays well, and doesn’t totally suck. This is why we ALWAYS recommend the Epiphone SG Standard. Not only is it a brilliant all round guitar but it is great for beginners thanks to its lightweight design, thin neck, and amazing tone.
It isn’t what you’d call “cheap” but it is very accessible with respect to price (less than $500) when compared to guitars from Fender and Gibson, and even brands like ESP and PRS. With the SG Standard, you’re getting a brilliant guitar that will grow with you as a player, so when the time comes you can play it live and record.
What Are The Best Guitar Brands?
When it comes to the best guitar brands, you have the household names: Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, PRS, ESP, and Ibanez. These are the biggest and most popular guitar brands on the planet. Used by professionals and hobbyist players alike, they’re popular for a very good reason.
If you go with a Gibson, you’re getting a piece of history. Ditto Fender. But it will cost you a lot of money. With brands like Epiphone and Ibanez, you have options for considerably cheaper guitars that are still very good with respect to overall playability, specs, and tone.
Bottomline? If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to be looking at guitars from Epiphone and Ibanez over guitars from Fender and Gibson. Unless you’re a millionaire, then just get whatever you want from Fender and Gibson…
What Do I Need To Get Started Playing Guitar?
There is a lot of gear available. Too much, arguably. And this can complicate things. But all you need to get started with guitar is as follows: a guitar (a good electric one), a decent practice amp, some decent picks, and a spare set of strings. Once you’ve this, you’re good to go. You can acquire more advanced gear as you progress. If you’re just starting out, keep it simple.
How To Practice Guitar Without An Amp
If you don’t have an amp – or you don’t have room for one – then you should definitely check out the Fender Mustang Micro. This tiny little accessory plugs into your guitar and, once you’ve connected some headphones, you have your choice of 12 amp profiles from Fender’s awesome GTX platform.
You can take this little device with you wherever you go, it will literally fit in your pocket, and it only costs $90. If you have neighbours or a baby and you cannot make a lot of noise, the Fender Mustang Micro is just what the doctor ordered.