Top 3 Best Electric Guitars For Beginners Under $200

Best Electric Guitar To learn OnThere is no need to spend a ton of money on your first electric guitar. Of course, if you already have a particular brand/model in mind, go ahead – nothing wrong with that. But for those of you who have yet to get an instrument and wonder: what’s the best electric guitar for beginners to start on, below are my Top 3 picks for that category. All of these guitars are great beginner instruments and the come with an amp and a variety of other accessories. The best part is: they are all under $200! So, as I said, there is really no point in spending more than that on your first electric guitar starter set. After you have a few months of playing experience under your belt, you may treat yourself for something more sophisticated – but just to get going and learn the basics, the three options below are perfect to get you started.

So I thought for today, I will share with you my 3 Top Picks for “Best Electric Guitar For Beginners”, all of which come at a price of under $200. As a matter of fact, we are not just talking about the guitar itself, but rather bundle options that come with an amp and some other accessories to get you started. I either own these products or know them well enough to give share with you my opinion and recommendations.

We will thoroughly look at each of the three options and compare them to each other. Additionally, we will also briefly touch upon a number of related topics, such as best strings, amps, etc.

1. Best Way To Learn Electric Guitar
2. Why You Don’t Have To Spend A Lot
3. Video Discussion
4. Top 3 Best Beginner Electric Guitar Packages
5. Recommendations and Buying Options
6. Additional Resources

1. Best Way To Learn Electric Guitar

Best Way To Learn Electric GuitarSo, you decided to pick up guitar, or electric guitar, to be more specific. That’s awesome. I remember my excitement in the late 80ies when I finally got my first electric axe. It was a cheapo ‘Rockson’ Stratocaster copy. It couldn’t have been more than $100. But it didn’t matter, I loved that instrument. Actually, I still have this guitar, even though I don’t play it any more. It is now retiring in my daughter’s room after I had spray painted it pink so it fit its surroundings – you get the point, EVERYTHING in my daughter’s room is pink!

Anyway, so I got my guitar and now I had to figure out what’s the best way for me to learn electric guitar. Of course, back then the options were rather limited. There was no YouTube, Internet or DVDs. Ultimately, I learned most of my guitar basics from guitar books and with the help of a beat up cassette recorder.

Nowadays, things are a little bit easier for any one who has the ambition to learn the instrument. Not too long ago, I put a very thorough article together on this topic, in order to provide people with guidance around finding out, what guitar learning methods are available and which one to choose in order to meet their individual and unique needs.

All things considered, I think it’s fair to say that learning guitar online via a logically structured course or program, is often the most flexible yet cost efficient option for the majority of people. You get the guidance you need by following a methodically structured course, yet, you can do things at your own pace and you are geographically completely independent.

Now, one of the challenges with all these online guitar learning options is to find the right one for you. Or, fist of all, weed out all the nonsense from all viable options. Then you will need to determine, which online guitar learning route is the best for you. Again, I believe the above referenced article could be of help in that regard. Alternatively, here is an even broader take on guitar learning methods in general:

Click here for my guide on the Best Way To Learn Guitar

2. Why You Don’t Have To Spend A Lot

Best Electric Guitar For BeginnersSo, what is the best electric guitar for beginners? Well, this is obviously a very tricky question, because there is no such thing as the one and only “Best Beginners Electric Guitar”. The term ‘best’ is always relative and whats’s ‘best’ for somebody else may not be the ‘best’ for you. But looking at this question from a broader angle, I would think that factors such as play-ability and cost play a major role. In other words, you want to make sure that you get yourself a decent instrument at a good price.

So, what does ‘decent instrument’ mean in this context? Well, you obviously want to make sure that you get yourself a beginners electric guitar that you can actually play versus a guitar that would merely make for a good decoration accessory. Or to put it this way: don’t buy a toy, but a real guitar.

The good news is, even the best electric guitars for beginners don’t have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, sometimes these unplayable toy-guitars actually cost more than the real thing. The three models we are about to discuss do meet all the criteria – specifically, they are real guitars and you can get them for under $200. Even better, they come as a bundle, meaning each option comes as a bundle package, so you get an amplifier along with other accessories in addition to the actual guitar.

Quite frankly, I don’t see the point in spending more than that on a decent electric guitar for beginners. If you had given me a $2,000 guitar instead of my super unsophisticated ‘Rockson’ back then, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference. The Rockson was more than adequate for my purposes. Of course, once you got some time under your belt, it’s only natural that you would likely end up with a better and more expensive guitar – but for the start, I really don’t think it makes sense to invest large amounts of money. In my opinion, the best beginner electric guitars are those which fit your budget and allow you to learn all the basics you need. And that can be definitely accomplished with the three candidates that I’m about to introduce to you.

3. Video Discussion

In this short video I will highlight and summarize the keynotes relative to my thoughts around the question: what’s the best electric guitar for beginner level players?

4. Top 3 Best Beginner Electric Guitar Packages

Okay, let’s get started. Below are my three candidates for best electric guitar for beginners for under $200. Again, all three instruments come as a bundle, so you’ll get an amp along with other guitar accessories. I personally have either played these guitars or I know them well enough to make a reasonable assessment – or, I still own them, as in the case of the Fender Squier. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that there are not dozens of other suitable electric guitars for beginner level players out there. But as a matter of principle, I prefer to talk about items that I actually know something about, rather than just arbitrarily pulling a few instruments together that fit the profile. I hope that makes sense. So again, these three candidates for “best electric guitar for a beginner” I can vouch for an wholeheartedly recommend, because I played them or I still own them.

So, in a first step, I will introduce each beginner guitar starter bundles to you and give you my personal opinion. When we’re done with that, we will put the three options side by side for comparison purposes – this is also the time when I will share with you specific purchasing information, etc.

1. Davidson Guitars, Beginner Starter Package

Davidson Beginner Guitar

8.5
Price/Value
8
Buyer's Rating
8.5
Ulrich's Rating
Overall Rating 8.3/10
Summary

Best Beginner Electric GuitarsLet's start with the Davidson model. This is actually a very interesting offer, because when you consider the price, it's a lot of bang for your buck. The guitar itself is a so called 'full-scale' instrument, which means it has a regular size and it features a full scale maple neck with a black body. The Davidson has one Humbucker pickup which offers a decent range in terms of sound; you can get anything from a nice clean tone to an earthy rock-sound. This is a bundle, which means it does come with an amp. The amp is obviously not something that would allow you to perform at huge gigs - it's a practicing amp and for that purpose it does a really good job. A nice plus is the headphone output - which means you can use your headphones in case the family complains about the noise you're making. Also, in addition to your regular 1/4" input jack for your guitar, the amp has another input for an additional external device (iPad, iPhone, tape player, etc.) which is great if you want to play along with your favorite tunes. Lastly, you'll get a bunch of other accessories, however, those are definitely on the cheaper side. While the extra picks, the cable and the strap are somewhat useful, I wish they would have included a real guitar tuner instead of a pitch-pipe, which is really not ideal for beginner of the electric guitar.

All in all, though, you can't beat the Davidson Starter Electric Guitar Package in terms of price. The instrument is easy to play and feels good in your hands. The amp is perfectly sufficient to get you started and have some fun. Granted that the rest of the accessories may not be of the highest quality standards, you still get an amazing guitar at a dirt cheap price.

2. Epiphone Les Paul Special II Guitar Player Pack

Epihone Les Paul Beginner Guitar Kit

10
Price/Value
9.5
Buyer's Rating
9.5
Ulrich's Rating
Overall Rating 9.4
Summary

Best Beginners Electric GuitarAlright, so now things get really exciting. Our next contestant is a beautiful Vintage Sunburst Epiphone, "Les Paul" style. It comes with two classic humbuckers. The standard size maple/rosewood neck fit the body perfectly. So, this guitar is definitely a step up from the Davidson - this is also true for the accessories. The 10 Watt amp can be reasonably viewed as one of the best beginner amp for electric guitar models, the cable, picks, the clip-on tuner and strap are of great quality, too. So yes, this package is twice the price, but that's for a good reason. As I said, this is definitely a step up in terms of product quality and versatility. Nonetheless, you still get everything for under $200 which makes this almost a no-brainer.

3. Fender Squier Bullet Strat Electric Guitar Starter Kit

Fender Squier Bullet Guitar Starter Kit

10
Price/Value
9.5
Buyer's Rating
10
Ulrich's Rating
Overall Rating 9.7/10
Summary

What Is The Best Electric Guitar For BeginnersOkay, between this one and the Epiphone, it's really a toss-up. I personally may slightly favor the Fender, but that's probably because I played this model the longest. As a matter of fact, I still own a Fender Squier Bullet - see the picture on the left. It too comes with a 10Watt amp, a clip on tuner, cable, strap and picks. In typical Strat fashion, the instrument features three single-coil pickups. As a nice little extra, you even get a tremolo. Since I still play this guitar, I can assure you that you would get yourself an excellent beginners electric guitar. With regard to the price, it's pretty much the same as the Epiphone. And again, the only reason why I would give the Fender a slight advantage is because of the fact that I know this particular instrument better - so it's not a matter of a factual and objective assessment, but rather merely personal preference. Either way, you will be in excellent hands.

5. Recommendations and Buying Options

Okay, now that we discussed the three options, below is a side-by-side comparison with purchasing/ordering information.


6. Additional Resources

In this last section, I want to share a couple of additional resources with you that I thought might be helpful.

Best Acoustic Electric Guitar for Beginners:

Now, people use the terms “Acoustic/Electric Guitar” and “Electric Acoustic Guitar” interchangeably. Essentially, in most cases in can be one of two things: a regular acoustic guitar that has an integrated pre-amp and an output jack. In other words, while an amp is not required to play this type of instrument, you can hook it up to an amp if you wish to do so. As for the other option, people typically speak of an electric guitar that incorporates features of an acoustic guitar (e.g. hollow body).

Now, it’s not that I tested a lot of instrumentBest Beginner Acoustic Electric Guitart of either category, but I do own both, and electric-acoustic as well as an acoustic-electric guitar. As for the former, my Ibanez Am200 was my first real “above beginner level” electric guitar. This instrument is still one of my favorite guitars ever. it plays like butter and the sound spectrum you get out of that axe is just phenomenal. To be clear though, this guitar is now over 25 years old and I don’t think they make them anymore – I know Ibanez continued the series, though. This is not your typical electric guitar for beginners, but rather an instrument for the advanced player – or those who already know that they will stick to the guitar and are therefore willing to pay more.

When people ask me what’s the best beginner acoustic electric guitar, I answer them honestly with: I don’t know. I can tell you though that my Takamine EG-Series would not fall into this category. While it has a beautiful sound, it can be a little challenging to handle. I always feel I have to fight for each note and chord. Some guitars are just build that way. I got used to it, but I don’t think that I would want to recommend this particular instrument to the aspiring guitar starter.

Best Electric Guitar Strings For Beginners

Best Beginner Electric Guitar StringsSo, having spare strings is always a good idea, obviously. Also, it may happen that when you buy an electric guitar, you don’t like the strings that are on the instrument. I personally always recommend mid-gauge guitar strings for beginners. Those are, as the name suggests, right in the middle of the spectrum. If you feel they are too thin, you can always go for a higher (thicker) gauge or alternatively they other way around. But in general, start with a 10-gauge string as a baseline and see how you like it.

Best Beginner Electric Guitar Amp

Best Electric Guitar Amp For BeginnersSo, let’s say you already have a guitar but you don’t have an amp yet. In that case, the next question would be: how serious are you with regard to your guitar playing? If you already know that you will stick with it, then I would definitely recommend to get yourself an amp that is a little bit more sophisticated compared to the amps we discussed earlier as part of the bundle options. There’s tons of options. it would deserve a separate article on this topic, and maybe at a later point I will put something together on that, but for now, here is what the model that served me well for 15 years, namely the Marshall MG30.

This amp is now available for under $200 (back then I paid MUCH more). Withing the same line, you can also get a 15 Watt version or a 50 Watt or 100 Watt model. But the 30Watt version that I had was absolutely fantastic. Great sound, handy and of rock solid built. You can’t go wrong with this. I’ll give you a link below with more details and price info regarding this awesome starter amp!


Okay, that’s it. Again, I strongly encourage you to read my article on “The Best Way To Learn Electric Guitar” as it’s packed with tons of valuable information to get you started. One last word before I let you go: I’ve been asked many times, what are the best electric guitar brands for beginners? Honestly, I don’t think there is such a thing. If there’s one thing I learned over the years, it’s that preferences in aspects such as brands, models and price are all highly subjective. I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue that Fender makes better beginner guitars than Gibson, or vice versa. And especially on a beginner level, don’t overthink this too much. Unless you already know exactly what kind of guitar you want, go with something inexpensive such as the guitars/bundles we discussed today. Get some experience, find out what you like or don’t like about your instrument and then go out and get yourself your ‘dream guitar’. This makes more sense to me than seeing someone plunking down $2,000 on his first guitar, just to see it sitting abandoned in the corner after a couple of months.

The best electric guitars for beginners don’t have to be expensive – quite the opposite, actually. But if you have any questions on this topic that I failed to answer, I’d be more than happy to chat. Just leave a comment below or send me an email.

Published date: May 21st, 2016 by Ulrich Peise

This article has 3 comments

  1. I also like inexpensive guitars for the price and playability I have the epiphone special ll player pack plus a epiphone special with a smaller frame both excellent beginner guitars! Also have many other models of guitars like them all! Thank for your input on beginner guitars, p.s. forgot to mention I have spectrum strat model plays very nice and sounds nice also, for the price great axes! Play on! Your truly, E.Holland

  2. Thank you for the video and article. I am hitting that mid-life point and have been tossing around the idea of learning electric guitar for my own enjoyment. I have settled on using the Rocksmith 2014 software as the main driver of my progress and tutoring, to be supplemented as I need through the resources like yours.

    My biggest hang-up was figuring out if those bundles on Amazon were actually worth the money, not in terms of “value” but in being worthy of a beginner’s instrument. I look at it like the first car you learn to drive with; no one NEEDS the $50,000k Mercedes sedan, but you at least need something that is functional and has all the main parts. Your information is very appreciated in knowing that of the bundles, I’m able to get something that meets that functional parts requirement. The instrument is likely to never see public performance, unless you count my dogs and wife which I don’t.

    Since I can afford it, I’ll probably end up with one of the $200 bundles – Epiphone or Fender, just because it seems there’s a little more quality there in the whole package. Now to determine just how dedicated I am to this . . .

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