Best Electric Guitar for Beginners Under $200
Any of these 5 models would make a great guitar for beginners (listed in no particular order, just pick the one that suits your style). If you want more specific tips on buying your first electric guitar, check out A Guide to Buying Your First Electric Guitar
1. Yamaha PAC 112: The Pacifica is a well built and reliable strat style guitar, and an excellent choice for beginners. Not every store carries them, so buying online will sometimes be your only option. They sound good and are usually well set up out of the box. A nice and solid guitar for the money. Yamaha has been in the musical instrument business for a long time and their guitars are known for their quality and value. They make excellent entry level acoustic guitars as well. You really can’t go wrong with a Yamaha.
2. Squier Affinity Fat Strat and Squier Affinity Telecaster Special: Squier is Fender’s entry level brand and one of the most popular choices today for beginners. Great bang for your buck as they say. Squier offers a Strat Value Pack that includes the Fat Strat, an amplifier, and accessories (strap, picks, strings, tuner, cable, etc). Pretty much everything you need to get started. This pack currently sells for $349, but if you are on a budget, you can get a Similar Strat Value Pack with less features for $249. The first pack comes with a better guitar and amp, but the latter is a pretty good option as well. Also, don’t forget to check out their Telecaster model, specially if you are going after the Keith Richards, Tom Morello or country music look and tone. The maple fretboard on these Telecasters looks great (the Tele is the one shown in the second picture).
3. Epiphone Les Paul Special II and Epiphone SG Special: A different looking and sounding beast than the Strat or the Tele, the Les Paul is a good option for those searching for the Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Slash or Zakk Wylde vibe (among others). In the other hand, the SG offers a wilder and heavier look, perfect for the Angus Young, Tommy Iommi, Derek Trucks or Thom Yorke fans. Epiphone is Gibson’s entry level brand and they are also pretty good guitars for the money. Just like Squier, Epiphone offers a Les Paul Value Pack that includes the guitar, an amp and accessories for $249. I haven’t tried the amp in this pack but overall looks like a good deal (I’m really not a fan of the amps that come in these packs in general). Fender and Gibson are the two best known manufacturers of electric guitars in the world, as mentioned before, Squier and Epiphone are their entry level, more affordable brands.
- Buying the guitar, amp and accessories separately would be ideal as you can purchase better equipment (but can also be more expensive). The amps that come in the mentioned value packs are usually low quality and don’t sound very good.
- TIP: The Roland Micro Cube amplifier is a great little practice amp that costs $125.
- Visit your local music store and check out a few guitars in person, you can always buy online later if you find better deals.
- The input jack on entry level guitars such as the ones mentioned, tends to brake/fall off after some time. Replace it with a metal upgrade when this happens.
- Strings need to be changed every 2 or 3 months, so get a couple of sets along with your guitar
- Note: If a string pops while you are learning to tune the guitar, it doesn’t mean your guitar is of bad quality. It happens!.
- Having your new guitar setup by a professional will cost money but it’s probably worth it. Some guitars are not playable out of the box and need adjustment.
- If buying new, buy from a store that has a return policy in case your guitar is defective or you change your mind and want to get a different one.
- For even better deals, buy used from craigslist or eBay, but please ask your guitar player friend to help you out with the deal. You don’t want to be ripped off.
- And last but not least, DO NOT buy guitars from Walmart, Target, Costco or any store where you buy gorceries or clothes (these are just toys).