Best Guitar Brands

The Top Ten
1 Gibson

I will never understand why people like this company's instruments. Never.

The Les Paul is the one-trick pony of one-trick ponies. You plug it into a Marshall stack with the gain turned all the way up and start shredding. That's all it can do. It's heavy, uncomfortable, poorly-balanced and sounds like a mud puddle. Same goes for every other Gibson with the possible exception of the SG (which I only recently stopped hating).

If you want something to plug into a Marshall stack with the gain turned all the way up, go for a Gibson, especially a Les Paul. If you want a guitar with "Gibson" on the headstock, go for a Gibson. If you want great tone and playability, go for anything else you can find with similar build quality. Gibson drools.

Just think about taking your Gibson Custom Les Paul Custom home with you for the first time. It makes you feel like a 10 year old on Christmas morning all over again. There is nothing like it. Period.
Fenders have their ability to hit those bright sounds and most PRS guitars you spend some money on are going to be works of art. Other brands rock too in their own way. However, nothing compares to the first time you hold that Les Paul, hit a note, and think to yourself, I can really FEEL the sustain from this bad boy. Wow! I've never felt a guitar reverberate through my arm and into my body like this.

I am a "professional listener" as I cannot play them. Yet nothing can replace that 3D creamy rich sound of a Gibson Les Paul. Listen to Eric Clapton or Mark Knopfler. When playing Strat, the sound is "flatter" than when doing the same piece on a Les Paul. Money for Nothing. Perhaps it is in the pickup but it is as if the sounds converse a bit longer, loiter outside and have a yarn before they finally depart.

Oh, on bass: a certain Mr P. McCartney used to play a Gibbey bass that was just awesome to look at and fantastic to listen to.

Oh, but we can never leave a Strat out in the cold. It can be played to produce the tiniest little notes, each in its own time and space.

The Best Guitar is not in price but in model it's a tip the heavy wood makes the guitar heavier so I think this is the best

The best guitar tone ever comes from a Gibson Les Paul. The heavy wood makes the tone rich and full, and if you replace the pickups with some nice bareknuckles, you have the best guitar ever. Period.

Greatest guitar company of all time. It is simply, awesome. The rich tones when its on clear, and the amazing rock crunch when you flip on the overdrive. I have many Les Pauls, and they are the best. I have both a 1958, and 1959 burst colors and they are amazing. I also end a few stratocasters, they suck compared to my Les Pauls!

GIBSON EXPLORER! My explorer is the most kick ass of all my guitars, Killer shape and tone, nice and heavy too, so it stays in place when playing live, best guitar brand ever (if affordable )

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2 Fender

Fender and Gibson are quite different, and therefore impossible to compare with any real accuracy. Not to sound cliche but it IS apples and oranges. A Les Paul is built with a different wood, different electronics, and different pickups. Gibson guitars use humbuckers, which are much more mid-range than Fender's single coil system. They are both great brands, and deserve to share the top spot. But if I had to choose, I would go with a Fender, simply because the range of tones you can get from the single coil combinations is much, much greater than Gibson's humbucking systems. I play a 20th anniversary Les Paul, an American Strat, and a Nashville Telecaster (My Preference). I love the Les Paul's deep tone and low action that make it so simple to play. But the Les Paul just doesn't get those bright tones a Fender can produce. That being said, I can adjust the tone of the pickups and use the 5-way switch on my Telecaster to get almost any sound. I can make my Telecaster sound like a ...more

I say Fender for a few reasons: comfort, tone, and iconic status.

Fender guitars have a knack for being some of the most comfortable guitars of all time. The Tele, the Strat, the Jaguar, the Jazzmaster, just about everything that they have is insanely comfortable to play when sitting down, as well as standing up. All of their models are a good weight as well, so I don't feel like I can shatter it from thinking about it too hard.

The Fender tone is the cleanest, most bell-like sound that you can find from single-coil pickus. The fender sound is used by several artists, and can be used in so many ways that I have yet to see a Gibson compete with.

What do Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Bruce Springsteen all have in common? They all pay a fender. Be it a Strat, Jaguar, or Tele, they all play one of Fender's master instruments. Three of the greatest guitarists and musicians of all time play a Fender something. Coincidence? I think not!

We can debate looks. I will admit Gibson has fender beat there. But I care about how it plays. The Strat is literally a universal machine. The sg comes close with fast neck action. But compared to the Strat the les Paul's versatility is nothing. Want jazz play the bridge pickup, want blues play the middle pickup, want rock, play in the 4th position, and for biting leads, play the bridge pickup. Finally that double cutaway body allows such easy access. I actually started off as a Gibson lover, I mean the les Paul was my dream. But when I played my first Strat with the maple neck it was so smooth. It is so natural I highly recommend you try. If it doesn't feel right try a rosewood neck, they're great as well. While the les Paul is brilliant there's a reason they call the Strat the standard. Plus is there any guitar with a better roster of players than the Strat, no way! And for all you county lovers out there, the Gibson lovers are going to argue with me on this but they're wrong, a ...more

I honestly cannot even decide which color combination to choose from of a Fender Guitar, there are so many possible choices to choose from!
-White + white
-Black + white
-Blue + white
-Red + white
-Baby blue + white
-Brown + white
And there could also even be a yellow + white, or a light green + white. I don't know what to choose! I'm so desperate to get my own Fender guitar because I have Guitar class this coming year!

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3 Ibanez

Years ago I played an original of the famous eagle jazz bass that was reissued recently. It's no surprise to me that Ibanez are still making amazing guitars and basses today. I'm hoping to get one of their fretless ones to replace my disastrous stagg bass.

People like Gibsons and Fenders for their tones, and I won't argue on that--that's a matter of opinion. But for playability, Ibanez is King. The necks are faster, the action is much better, and the pickups are usually hotter. They are normally equipped with better tremolos. And if you're playing with a lot of effects or distortion, the natural tone of the guitar isn't going to matter as much. The combination of all these factors makes Ibanez ideal for heavy metal/virtuoso types like Satriani, Vai, and originally Petrucci (although he has moved on to an Ernie Ball Music Man). But they make good jazz and acoustic guitars as well. For playing quickly, precisely, and accurately, Ibanez beats everyone else by a mile. And their better models are no slouch on tone, either, arguably as good as Fender/Gibson.

Comparison and comparison... everyone got their own opinion. Wats with ibanez is they are working very hard to improve and go beyond expectation. Very impress with their sound quality even compare to gibson and fender. It's a very modern look with rich tone and sound. Sometimes I'm wondering it should hit #1 spot sometimes. Is it just because its made in Asia tat not qualified to hit number 1? They have more quality style and rich tone compare to gibson and fender (well depend on genre). Very well balance and comfy to hold. Speed kill play. Awesome. I have 4 fender, 5 Gibson lp and custom, 3 PRS SE, and guest what... 12 Ibanez which 11 is Prestige and 1 RG. Yeah I agree Ibanez should be number 1. Its Awesome in every way.

Just brought an Ibanez GRG20Z for $150 for my first electric guitar (I'm a beginner) and it is KILLER! I am still in theory learning how to play it, but it still sounds amazing and I know once I become a decent guitar player, it will always be my main instrument of choice. I'm amazed this beauty didn't cost about 3 times as much as it actually did. This is undoubtedly the best first electric guitar guitar for any beginner like me (I'm 16, so it's not too late). Ignore Squire Stratocasters and Epiphone Les Pauls just because they look like their better quality counterparts. Get this! Rock and roll forever! Ibanez guitars forever!

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4 Paul Reed Smith

I've owned Gibsons, Fenders, PRS, Jackson, Taylor, and other guitars over more than 45 years, and have played many of them live. For many years, I played a Gibson Les Paul for its lead tone and heartiness. Honestly, Fenders have not worked well for me. My American-made Strat was always going out of tune on stage, and the pickups were thin sounding and difficult for me to tweet through my different amps. In the end (so far), PRS is the best. The guitars are very versatile, for all kinds of different music styles. They never go out of tune on stage (even with a lot of whammy action), and rarely need to be set-up. Add to its utility that they look beautiful, and PRS gets my vote. They are also relatively light, which is important for real world uses.

Top 3 yes, none of the other 2 will ever have the tone, simplicity of a fender, or price. Gibson, prs wow really over priced for machine made guitars. Played prs that 25 scale to me sucks they tried to come up with something new going in-between fender and Gibson sound. Now that said I own a lot of fenders and gibsons. You really can't compare head to head. When I want to play rock or need that rich low to mid sound I grab my gibsons but when I want to play blues very slow or fast twang, hey come on nothing will ever come close to a fender. You can ask Eric Clapton true Gibson player in the old days why is he playing only fenders the last 15. 20 years? I'll tell you why it's called what type of music are you playing. The right guitar for the right tone period. So 3 different scale length's can not be compared. Compare each guitar in there own scale category's, makes sense to me it's a no brainer people.

OVER-PRICED; that should be the FIRST word that comes to mind with PRS guitars. I've played several in local music stores, and the finishes are beautiful, but I found poor electronics, bad fitting of volume knobs, and unimpressive action and neck feel on several. There is literally nothing about these guitars that makes them command the hallucinatory prices that are asked for them. For literally half, or even 1/3 of the price, you could buy the best-made guitar in America--Carvin. I have played and owned five different Carvins over the last 25 years, and still own three of them. For their price, I would put them farther DOWN on the list.

PRS guitars are the best hands down. I own two Gibson les Paul's, two strats, a rickenbacker 360, and an epiphone les Paul. They are all ok but nothing compares to my 4 prs guitars. Hands down the best quality, sound, and customer service out there. Yes there expensive but do you want quality and a guitar that you rarely take to have adjusted or a les paul that you have to adjust all the time. Whoever put because rich, yamaha, and Ibanez above them are clearly on drugs. And I'm sorry epiphone come on you guys seriously? Obviously these people have never played a prs and don't play enough brands of guitars to clearly make a conscious decision. Don't get me wrong Gibson, fender and the like make some nice guitars but they are a joke compared to the quality that paul reed smith is putting out. I know I have played them all. Like the rest of the prs supporters say, I challenge you to play one.

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5 Epiphone

The hate for this brand demonstrates why guitarists are generally dumb people who don't research their gear. So I'm not going to explain further. As a brand they've made missteps but it looks like they're trying to repair that damage and what we really need to see from all guitar makers is an end to Asian-spec electronics and make CTS an across-the-board spec. It's the biggest failing of most of your "2nd-brand" makers and is a false economy.

In one of the comments a person wrote that Epiphone was started as being a Gibson knockoff. Unbelievable. These two companies are so woven together through their history and the first 'Gibson Les Paul was constructed at Epiphone... so to me, if the companies share the same designs, that's ok with me. A lot of the Epiphone guitars are equipped with Gibson's parts. This is how close these two companies are. Oh...as far as Epiphone being started as a knockoff company...excuse me, Epiphone was already around 3 decades before Gibson's startup. Who helped who get started? So...you haters show some respect.

I have a epiphone sg 50th edition and it does great by me in all I do. I play a lot of 60's music and otherwise all I want. It's very versatile and not to mention the cherry red wood grain finish makes it looks really awesome. Everyone I've ever met has bragged on it and I've been offered all kinds of guitars from Washburns to fenders. Just recently I went to a old guitar player of 30 yearsiin my grandfathers neighborhood and he absolutely loved the tone and playability. He said the only thing it might need to make it better was a professional setup which I'll soon be getting. When I first got it I complained a lot that the strings were a bit harder to push down due to the longer scale of the neck (the neck on it is pretty long) however. If you' work with it for about 2 days off and on its no problem. I love epiphone and judging from what I've played in ibanez guitars I might soon invest in one of them.

I have an SG and a Linkin Park Junior. Both hold their tune forever. Both sound good. I'm not a million dollar musician. I play for peace of mind. Epiphone gives me the release and that's all that matters. Are there better guitars? There are always better guitars. Every magazine every sales pitch profess' this fact. The key to music is simple. Does it move you. If the answer is yes on your guitar don't be pulled away by glossy ads. Play your music on whatever does it for you.

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6 Jackson

I think jackson (particularly the USA models) are truly the most versatile of all the high end electric guitars. The build quality is second to none as they are made at the custom shop by very experienced luthiers, the woods used are exotic and tonally superb. The hardware is the best around Floyd rose/ Seymour Duncan's and the action/playability is fantastic. All in all you feel although expensive, you feel like you're getting your monies worth. But the great thing is that they produce an incredible array of sounds which covers all aspects of musical style from the beefed up classic grind of a Gibson, to the stringy percussive violin sounds of a start and everything in between. The USA ones are expensive but I have 2 (an sl 1 and sl 2) and given the enjoyment and reliability they have given me, they owe me nothing.

The handmade USA Jacksons are simply the best. Best quality, look great, play like a dream, great sound. A bit pricey but you get what you pay for. Some of the Jackson imports, for the money, are great - I don't like the cheesy looking MOTO inlays though. USA models will take a beating and will last forever - not sure about the imports. I've had a 1990 Jackson Fusion USA with a saturn graphic for 21 years - I've had many others through the years but the Jackson remains my favorite and I refuse to part with it.

Jackson guitars are twice the guitar for half or a quarter of the price, depending on which model you buy, than that of a Gibson or Fender. I have a Jackson JS22 DKA-M seven string, and when I first picked it up and sampled it at Guitar center, I knew it was a quality instrument, even though it only cost $200. That same visit to GC I tried a Schecter, Ibanez, Gibson, and Fender that were each at least six times the price of the Jackson, and none of them came close to the Jackson. Jackson guitars are great for Rock and Metal distorted, great for anything else clean. End of story.

The most essential thing to look for when choosing your guitar is how it feels to play. Jackson always feel so natural in your hands. The quality of the workmanship is truly world class, the cutting edge design not only makes eye catching visuals but small details such as the angle of the headstock go a long way towards perfecting the playability and sustain of the finished product. Jackson guitars have it all, the looks, the sound, reliability, playability and that indistinguishable X factor.

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7 ESP

Real ESP guitars are phenomenal. ESP Standard Series guitars are legendary; they don't make them any more, you lot are all stuck with "E-II" on the head stock. Even when you buy one used, it still lives up to high expectations.

And then you have ESP USA, talk about premium ESP USA guitars are on par with the finest Suhr, Caparison, PRS you name it.

If you want to toss another 500-1000 dollars onto the price tag, you can get the mack daddy straight from Japan, an ESP Original series guitar that will probably be better built than anything else in your collection.

That is, unless, of course... *puts pinky to mouth* you score a five figure debit to your account and walk out of a boutique with an ESP Exhibition Series guitar that took a full year to build and only the finest, most experienced and most expensive craftsmen at ESP Japan has to offer.

ESP makes great guitars, hands down.

Seriously, Yamaha above ESP?! Japanese made ESP guitars are among the best in the world, no wonder so many people play them. They have great designs and an ESP standard is not to high in price compared to a USA Jackson or custom shop guitar. Ibanez prestige are very nice to (I hate the necks personally) but the build is really good. ESP blows Gibson out of the water by a VERY large margin. Gibson has lawsuits against them for selling "USA" made guitars that were discovered to be imports from cheap labor offshore factories. All ESP and Ibanez prestige guitars are made in Japan and are immaculate in terms of quality and consistency. ESP is more a metal guitar but they have much better tone than any of the others listed, the only one here that might have a sweeter tone is prs but for $8,000 and only a fractionally better tone that is subjective they can keep it. I personally like ESP and Schecter best but Jackson is really good too. Not to knock Ibanez, but their necks are way to thin ...more

There is no best or better in anything, and that includes guitars. It is all about personal preference. I am a guitar technician and in my 24 years of working and playing guitars all I can say for sure - ESP Made in Japan ONLY! (this does NOT include LTD models made in Korea or Indonesia) guitars are the highest quality guitars in the world PERIOD. Another brand that I would recommend with high quality is PRS. Any other brand high-end guitars are overpriced. Most overpriced junk is Gibson. You pay all that money for the logo and the fact is even in the high-end Custom Shop Gibson more that half of their guitars have serious issues. Gibson is for snobs.

I think ESP guitars should be at the top of the list. If you look at performance, durability, quality, and value nothing even comes close to an ESP. I own PRS, Gibson, Fender, and Jackson guitars. But nothing gives me more enjoyment than my ESP's. Second place would be PRS, and rounding out the top three would be Jackson. Don't get me wrong my Gibson SG and Fender Telecaster have good sound for select songs but they are not as versatile as ESP. But if price is your main factor in your purchase Epiphone guitars have some nice starter guitar which are very inexpensive. Overall as guitar players we all have distinct ideas in we are looking for in our sound, so try out many different guitars and find right guitar for your sound.

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8 Yamaha

Superbly crafted stuff. I love their basses, the current generation made in Indonesia is incredible value for money, there's no skimping on the electronics or build, it's a great sound and lasting quality.

Yamaha guitars all seem to be an exceptional value, in general, across a broad range of price points. And let's face it, their top end guitars are as good, or even better than, anyone's.

The SG2000, and the recent SBG2000 reissues, have top notch build, finishing, and appointments directly comparable to similar guitars from Gibson for far less money. (And they have features, like thru-neck construction, seldom seen on a Gibson or Fender or PRS... And combine things like a double cutaway with a thick body and a maple cap. They made double cut Les Paul's. Try finding one. For a good price. It won't be as elegant if you do).

Don't get me wrong. The Les Paul set the standard. Is beloved by countless players the world over. And has an iconic look and sound.

I dig my Gibson Les Paul, it is a sirloin steak with a distinctly American flavor all it's own.

But my Yamaha SG2000 is Kobe steak with onion soup AND shrimp... And the waiter doesn't expect an extra large ...more

Been playing Yamaha guitars for years and I own several. Working in a music store gave me opportunity to play a lot of different brands in a lot of different price ranges and none of them were as consistent throughout the spectrum as Yamaha. When a $600 Yamaha sounds, feels, and plays better than a $1500 Martin or an $1800 Taylor I think it's easy which decision to make.

Currently I have 1 Yamaha Bass guitar and 5 Yamaha guitars and I wouldn't trade them for anything else.

I have a yamaha SG 1000, bought it for $2100 (stock prive 2500)(aus and after haggling) and also tested gibsons from the same price range. From that I found out that although the quality of gibson is good, it's way too over priced especially comparing my sg to a les paul at $4000 that is not even as good as my sg.
Secondly, this is Japanese, need I say more? Japanese are all ways known for cheap electrical products however they're also the most RELIABLE products that's why customer support is a not needed thing.
Thirdly, yamaha has been known for musical instruments for a long long time and is the biggest producer of musical instruments. On its logo, it has got two tuning pegs meaning unlike any other musical brand, it is the most diverse. The only reason that people say fenders and gibsons are better is because they were the original makers of contempory electric guitars and the fact that they're well known. So basically, all you're paying for is the badge.

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9 Rickenbacker

I've owned a Gibson Les Paul's & a Fender Strat as well as a Fender Lead I. The action on the two Rickenbackers I have owned is better than Gibson & Fender. Don't get me wrong I like Gibson Les Paul's for their sound quality. But if your looking for action on the neck that is easy to play this one is it. I've owned my latest Rickenbacker for 12 years now and will never sell it. That was the mistake I made with my 1966 335 when I sold it to its 4th owner in 1976, only to find out its worth somewhere in the vicinity $10,000 at this point. This is something that I have always lamented. So if you are fortunate enough to get hold of a Rickenbacker, don't let it go!
DDW

It's sad to see Rickenbacker and Martin outside the top 10. Definitely classic guitars! Nothing looks or sounds like them. They've never made a guitar outside of the United States too. I play a 325c64 (Reissue of John Lennon's guitar) and have gotten MANY complements on it. A lot of people associate Rics with the Beatles which I understrand, but they can be used for so much more! John Fogerty also used a 325 with Creedence and his style of playing is completely different. You go from the jangling sound from the early Beatles to the gritty sounding riffs with CCR. Tom Petty too. Rickenbackers are what give his music that really large sound. So many guitarists have used them it's hard to list. Today you don't see many played however...

Rickenbacker's designs are classic and timeless. They created a very unique sound that was very influential on the music of the 1960's, thus helping to shape the tones we hear today. As a guitar designer (not a luthier, I only design) I find Rickenbacker designs to be a great inspiration. Also to be said, they make the coolest bass ever the 4003.

John Lennon used to play this guitar on many of the Beatles early songs, and it gave their music that rich and knowable sound we all love and recognize. Also, in the A Hard Day's Night album, George plays most of the songs with a 12-string Rickenbacker. It was a great guitar for the 60s, many legends used it like
Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys)

10 Gretsch

Whe played well, it is the best sounding and most versatile guitar. Absolutely playable and beautifully made. The Chet Atkins Country Gentleman renders the early Beatles' sound gracefully. Not only for rockabilly. With serious gain, it distorts and sustains with a singing tone. Amazing. I love filtertrons. Pedro Arizmendi -George Harrison fan.

Beautiful, deep sounding hollow and solid body guitars. Strong and rich tone with overdrive and smooth, reversed clean sound. Pickups are amazing, good value, lightweight and are authentic! A no crap beautiful looking and playing quality guitar!

It's such a beautiful instrument just looking at it gives me a thrill, when I saw George Harrison playing his in the early/mid sixties I so wanted one but I could not afford one. Two years ago I bought the Country Gent and I just love the sound it makes.

For sheer playability Gretsch guitars are fantastic. Add to that the price and quality of the new Electromatics with the black top Filtertron pick ups & you have, in my humble opinion, the best guitars around. And if they were good enough for George Harrison they are good enough for anybody.

The Contenders
11 Martin

I play electric guitar and have ever only owned Ibanez, however, I got my fingers on my uncles Martin and played a few classical tunes I usually play suited for acoustics. These guitars deserve a spot at the top through sheer performance and unrivaled resonance for acoustic guitars.

They are wrong when they say Jesus plays a Martin. Jesus is actually the creator of Martin and sends these pieces of art down from heaven to keep the world from exploding into an everlasting war.

Even as an Electric Guitar player, Martin will always remain the #1 brand for Acoustic Guitars to me.

I bought two martins I had $30,000 in my pocket I tried every Gibson, Alvarez, Taylor, PRS acoustic, takimine, I walked out with two Martin X series Mexico custom x series. 1 is mine all composite, 1 with a spruce top,

I gave the second one to my dad for letting me hack away on his 1982 Ovation Collector series #532 or close number.

I'd put my dads against any guitar on the list, I've spent time at studio 19 I've heard perfect guitars, those 2 Martins were the best 1700$ I ever spent.

Martins are the best and the oldest guitar company in USA.

My dad cried cause first guitar he picked up was an old Martin 40 series.

Just take notice of what the accomplished acoustic guitar pros play. You have to separate from electronics but celebrity guitar the higher percentage of guitar celebrities end up playing a custom acoustic Martin. Their reviews are consistent and dedication to the Martin tradition is more of a love affair because it is partially responsible for shaping their careers. Martin Guitars are the reference standard that all guitars are measured up against in design, workmanship, and sound quality.

Martin's and Taylor's are by far the best guitars. They have a rich tone and are unquestionable of the highest quality. If in doubt, check the pricetag, as these guitars price in the thousands. With guitars, you always get what you pay for. Epiphone and Fenders are very run of the mill brands, very basic stuff. Yamaha is really the best quality for the price in my opinion. I bought one for roughly $500 and it sounds like a $2,000 Taylor. Give that a try!

12 B.C. Rich

I generally play folk rock so I use an acoustic. At first I only had a Martin D15M but when I turned 18 and was allowed to start playing gigs, I got a BCr3 electro-acoustic just to have a travel tool. When I got that guitar I literally could not put it down. Sounds better than a Gib J-45! Now it's my gig guitar, my practice guitar, and my...everything. A mate of mine has a because for metal and it sounds great but I'd rather rave about the unexpected $150 brilliance of a because acoustic.

Just picked up a Warlock Metal Master Tribal for very cheap. The kid who had it didn't take care of it and needed some real TLC. I got it as a project guitar but also as a 2nd for drop D or C. Once repaired I immediately fell in love with it. The most comfortable neck, playability and sound is great. Best lower priced guitar I've found. I love it even more than my Epi SG400.

I ordered a Eagle classic deluxe, maybe it was a lemon I'm not sure. The finish was brutal, the fret board was actually missing a sliver of wood, the mother of pearl was a shade of mother of tobacco and someone slipped with the file and flattened a fret. I sent that @#$! Back! And no it was not purchased online.

B.C. rich is way better than any other guitar brand. There has been so many tests that B.C. rich sounds better than any other guitar including Gibson. They also look way better! I am not an owner of one but I am a guitar teacher and B.C. rich is totally underestimated. B.C. rich should be at least 2nd.

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13 Schecter

Its very obvious very few on this list have never picked up a guitar in their life as this looks like a what brand does my favorite band play list... Considering Gibson these days are garbage and only were good for a few style to begin with no way they're number one... Fender has very solid build quality, but to diversify them to play numerous styles takes heavy modification. As far as electric are concerned there is a number that can top the list, as schecter, esp and Jackson are too low on the list and I've heard good things about rickenbacker. Ibanez is also excellent. Its really a toss up for me...I haven't played much esp do I phased them out...I have extensive time with Ibanez schecter and Jackson... Ibanez is gone because the build quality is no better and the playability is pretty much the same as a Jackson but the Jackson gives you far more bang for the buck... As for schecter and Jackson they put out some fully loaded guitars that are only going to rock you maybe a weeks ...more

Schecter is a really great guitar brand. When I was looking for my electric I searched through many guitar brands most of which are on this list and the only one that really felt right in my hands was the Schecter I play. Its got awesome tone quality, gorgeous body design and fret inlay along with very nice balance and it will stay relatively in tune for up to a few days at a time without the pegs slipping. Great for metal and rock and even really lots of other genres as well. Performs very well it should be at least top 5 if not top 3.

I purchased this guitar in November after trying it out at the guitar store. The tremolo system is outstanding and stays in tune no matter how you beat on it. But you must choose between standard tuning or other, like drop D, and stay with that while practicing or jamming as changing the tuning takes longer than just tuning a few strings. But by design, once you get it tuned it stays amazingly in tune. The pick ups that came with it were just OK and the tone knob didn't noticeably change tone. I wanted to try some active pick ups anyway, so I installed some EMG 85/81's (yeah that was fun dismantling the entire electronic section) and now this guitar is even better and sounds amazing. The action, for me, is perfect. If you're looking for an electric guitar and want bang for your buck, this guitar is excellent. You may even like the factory pickups depending on what you like to play. Just another guitar players opinion. Some like Strats and some like Les Pauls. Both are outstanding ...more

Have an older American made kramer Stagemaster. Which was probably my 5th or 6th guitar I've had since I started playing 25+years ago had a Jackson Soloist before that. After having the Kramer a while I sold the Jackson to a friend. But they were my main axes for a few years. The Jackson had a bolt on maple neck and Duncan pickups and original Floyd Rose. It played and sounded awesome. Then I got the Kramer soley on feel. This is a top of the line USA made Kramer they were only made a couple of years. It's a neck thru with Floyd rose, carved top, ivory bound neck and headstock, ebony fret board I mean could go on but it basically looks like an ESP Horizon. Fact these were made just before Kramer started switching to Japan made crap and went out of business. ESP and Kramer were in some way affiliated at that time and I think ESP stole the design. Any way back to the point I paid almost $1000 dollars for it used in like late 90's. I had since installed a set of EMG 85/81 pickups ala ...more

14 Mosrite of California

Mosrites were hand crafted, fast action, electric guitars with driving sound made famous by the Ventures. Their low speed, zero frets, made playing a breeze. Their finishes appeared miles deep and are now prized by collectors.

These guys who have never owned nor played a Mosrite will never know what a great guitar plays and looks like. Owner Mosrite 1963 #1 Ventures model Sunburst, original case and bill of sale where I purchased it.

I have a 67 Celebrity. Super low action, thin narrow neck. Great for small hands. You can effortlessly barre chord and play rhythm all night with almost no pressure.

Smoothest playing guitars ever made. Thin necks, super low action. Perfection.

15 Carvin

Gibson and Fender have been ripping the public off for years, they're not even close to being worth what they charge especially Fender with such a mass produced bolt on neck and lame finishes design. Carvin is a superior guitar in every way and what people fail to mention is that you can choose what wood and finish you would like as well as bolt on neck, set neck or neck through designs and their pick up's are impeccable. A truly great guitar co. With excellent customer relations and real musicians will all show respect for Carvin when mentioned if not already owning one.

The person who made up the Top Ten list of best guitars has it all wrong! Of all the guitar companies he lists, Carvin is the only company that still uses ebony as standard material for the fretboard. This is because most other companies refuse to take the time and expense of this type of production. The others all use rosewood because it is cheap, relatively soft and can be "slammed" together quickly by machine; an indication of how they make their guitars in general! No other company who makes guitars even comes close to using the hand selected grade of wood (start to finish) that Carvin does. Take a hint from someone who knows how great guitars made step by step; if you want a guitar made from the best materials you can get, with critical operations still done by hand, order one one from Carvin, try it for ten days, if you really don't like it just return it... No questions and no hassles... Really. If you are not the type of person who cares, or are not willing to do your ...more

Carvin makes the best guitars in America, PERIOD. They are absolute gems, pure classic beauty and absolutely unmatched in their playability, set-up, sound and electronics. MUCH more reasonably affordable yet higher quality than the bloated PRS guitars that populate eBay.

The inclusion of "Epiphone" on the "Top Ten" list should give you a good amount of suspicion as to the experience and perspective of whoever included those cheap pieces of junk. Seriously?

Get a Carvin. You will need, nor want, any other.

My Carvin Cobalt 750 is one of the sweetest acoustics I have ever played. Seriously surpasses Gibson, which has too much finish on the neck, and feels clunky. I also own a Carvin ICON 5 string electric bass, which is beautiful in style, color, workmanship and sound. The Carvin acoustic bass was, however, a disappointment. Neck bowed, tuners rattled during playing. Sweet sound though. My daughter still uses it regularly. She loves the feel of it, and with some rubber bands over the tuners it's got a smooth sound.

16 G&L

G&L are frankly better than Fender in many respects. I think Squier is giving the Tribute line a run for their money but by no means are the Tributes bad, my Tribute Fallout is a fantastic guitar as is my Ascari GT-90 and my SB-2. It'd be lovely to have a USA version but honestly I'm good with these, I get the sounds I need.

I have played a ASAT Telecastor Bass for about thirteen years. I keep purchasing other bass guitars for many other reasons. But I have sold them all. I am down to just one bass that's all I need with my G&L, it very responsive, it has many opitions with pick ups and the action is good. It took along time for me to figure out how to use the pick ups because there is so many different ways you adjust it. They are built with better quality parts than a fender. They are numbered from the factory in america. But watch out for the Tribute series that is fake or cheap want to be G&L. A real G&L will be a little more expensive but the quality is excellent

Have played a ASAT Telecastor Bass for about thirteen years. I keep purchasing other bass guitars for many other reasons. But I have sold them all. I am down to just one bass that's all I need with my G&L, it very responsive, it has many opitions with pick ups and the action is good. It took along time for me to figure out how to use the pick ups because there is so many different ways you adjust it. They are built with better quality parts than a fender. They are numbered from the factory in america. But watch out for the Tribute series that is fake or cheap want to be G&L. A real G&L will be a little more expensive but the quality is excellent
+8George Fullerton Leo Fender. Better built and with innovations. What FMIC should have been.
I owe 6 G. & L. And their quality is excellent, better than the Fender of the same range: excellent Woods, smart hardware and good price for the value

Plays like a Fender, sounds like a Gibson! Absolutely amazing and incredibly versatile guitar. The pickups are really impressive, the playability is second to none. I sold my first G&L, I'll never live down the regret, so I bought another one. I haven't played a PRS yet, but I own a Fender Strat and a Gibson Les Paul, Schecter and an ESP Eclipse, but it's my that G&L gets the most play time!

17 Taylor

Taylors have a "happier" sound and I like the feel of them. I am a novice but from what I have seen for a beginner with an acoustic guitar, they felt and sounded warmer and less tinny than the laminated wood ones. A good rosewood taylor isn't on the cheap side of things but it feels like you can play better than you can. And the model I looked at had strings that were nice and close to the frets so you didn't feel like you were pushing in deep like the keys of an old typerwriter. Go into a Guitar Center or somewhere you can actually feel what you are getting before you buy anything. I got a cheap Gibson online less than a month ago and got what I paid for when it came with the bridge completely missing and a brassy sound when it was played. Buy your stuff in person. I think that Gibson is probably still a good brand, but the quality control of the cheaper models they put their name on is something I might question from my first experience with them...

I adore Taylor guitars. My father introduced me to them when I was 13 and I have been in love with them ever since. I really like their acoustics. They have an amazing sound, clear, good action, and just nice to play. I'm currently teaching my best friend- who is a drummer- to play guitar. She tried my Ovation, but it wasn't a good fit for her. When she comes over, she has been trying my Baby Taylor and loves it. Definitely a favorite for the both of us.

I have a Taylor 110ce and I love it to bits; it has an absolutely beautiful and bright tone which really blew me away. The necks on these guitars are the best you can get making them so easy to play. Surprised that they are only 21st because they sound so much better than many other guitars. Anyone who hasn't played a Taylor go and play one now; you really don't know what you're missing! I swear you will want not be disappointed.

I just gotta say.. Whoever voted for fender is a total idiot who knows nothing about guitars. It's a close tie between martins and taylors for quality. Then it comes down to personal preference in style and sound between the two. Gibsons are overrated. I'm pretty sure most of the people voting on this website are people with no musical skill and only hammer out power chords or little electric riffs rather than devote time to learning the methods of acoustic artists such as andy mckee.

18 Les Paul Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor.

There are so many Les Pauls in the market that one may call it a company.
Faded, Tribute, Studio, Classic, Traditional, Standard and there are Traditional and High Performance versions of them. Not to mention the Black Beauties and '59 Standards that are flying around and the Epiphones and the copies around there.

I agree that Les Paul might be a model. But separate it from Gibson and it will still be great for playing.
I love the guitars as they are cheap plus have great designs. And for now they are with Gibson so they obviously rock! And make you ROCK OUT!

Les Paul is the Model not the Brand. Les Paul guitars are made by Gibson - number 1 in this list.

Everyone knows this is the creme de la creme of guitars. I can't believe this is rated so low!

19 Kramer

The first ever guitar I played was an old semi-acoustic Kramer. The electronics didn't work, so it was essentially a shallow bodied acoustic. It sounds beautiful, and I just love playing it. Because of my experience with this guitar, I'm all for Kramers. They're just cool.

I have 2 Kramer guitars, Pacer Classic and Assault 220 Plus. Honestly, every Kramer guitar I've ever played never disappointed me. The first time I played a Kramer guitar, the sound was like no other.

This brand of guitar is a solid proper built brand mine has been passed down to me from my dad he would of had it for about 20-30 years gone camping travelling never gets dented or scratched and Eddie van halen plays one Mick Jagger plays my one. I REST MY CASE thank you

I have an 87 Kramer Pacer II Custom American - that's a mouthful
Made in the USA when Kramer was Kramer. The solid ash body makes my GLP Custom Studio feel cheap. The Kramer is at least as good, and the longer fretboard gives it a fatter sound. I love the GLP, but I put the Kramer American one up.

20 Music Man

The other guitar in the Leo Fender Trinity, it's a sound you can mimic but you can't replace. Sooner or later you're going to have to get one.

Music man make the best regular production (I.E. non custom shop) guitars on the planet. Nobody else comes close. This is the quality that everybody else should be reaching for. The fit and finish and playing comfort are second to none. And the oil finish on the necks is to die for! These guys don't just churn out minor variations on the same 60-year old theme, they actually innovate, they challenge, they dare. Wonderful new designs, made for real players. The results are outstanding. Roasted maple and all-rosewood necks, new chambering and tonewood construction ideas. They are so far ahead of the game it makes you wonder why the rest of the industry stays so stagnant. Music Man are the only guitars I will buy now. I'm so proud to support them!

These guitars have the smoothest necks. Their oiled and waxed naked necks are the most comfortable necks I have ever played on. They offer a lot of great options, but they especially accommodate those of us with smaller hands. Every Music Man is fully loaded with ergonomic and functional features. No fatigue, they stay in tune well and set up easily.

Great clean tones, but if you want metal, grab a John Petrucci model or throw in a new bridge pickups to make them scream. All of their guitars can work across genres.

It's all been said but, lets hear it again Gibson & Fender trade on past reputation and aggressive marketing. Dare I say this:But with the number and brands to choose from today they are way off the mark. I bought a '67 Tele in '67 and still have it the neck is like a railway sleeper the Gibson L/P I had was used as fire wood- believe me. But at the moment I've been having a long love affair with Ernie, Ernie Ball that is, the finest damn guitar I've ever had. All others pale into - yeah just another guitar built to cheap specs for here today gone tomorrow museo's except the JS, TA, NH and DG brands and my next guitar of course, that being the very first one ever (left handed) off the bench a Melancon.

21 Lâg Guitars

I have owned a Lag guitar. Sorry can't remember the model name. Yet another brand that is underrated. Mine certainly sounded beautiful and the look of it it - well to die for (in my opinion).

This guitar has a tery awesome sound, and yes, I agree it is underrated. From rich sound to its finish artcraft, I consider it the best.

Lag guitars have a very good sound that is hard to get with a lot of acoustics. This guitar is underrated

Lâg just deserves a lot more. The most warmest and cleanest sounds a guitar can make. Simply amazing. This should be in top 30 at least.

22 Ovation

USA Made Ovation Guitars are still built by hand using only the best materials and guitar building techniques. The difference between them and other guitar manufacturers is that Ovation has mastered the art of combining traditional guitar bulding techniques with modern technological advances in materials and proven scientific research. The result is an instrument that equals or surpasses any of the other top named brands (in tone, playability, reliabilty, and awesome looks), while keeping prices down below their competitors... AND keeping the the work and workmanship here in the USA.

I've been playing basic acoustic Fenders, Gibson's, etc etc my entire life. And just recently I purchased my first Ovation! It is the way different feel of having the electric guitar feel while at the same time have an acoustic sounding guitar in your hands! If your trying to switch to acoustic from electric then this would be a great guitar for you! Its also (to me) the greatest show guitar! Because they look great on stage! New favorite brand!

Ovation have some really amazing acoustics. People like Eddie Van Halen, Bryan May, Yngwie Maalmsteen, Adrian Vandenberg, Bob Marley, Paul Simon and even Mick Jagger played one. Those are all crazy cool legend rock god guitarists! Their bowl shape body amplifies the sound beautifully. My entire family who have been in the music business for a long time have used Ovations. Ovation guitars are easily played without effort nor difficulty. In my opinion they are probably as good as a Gibson or maybe a Taylor, take into account that many people don't like the way the guitar sound is amplified, however, Martin are still next level to any other acoustic guitar out there.

I have an 82 and 91 collector series and a celebrity. Preferred over any other guitars that I have.

Ovation sound best when run through the amp, however what you prefer is entirely up to you.
- Nicolas Vandenberg

I've found there to be a bit of snobbery about Ovation in guitar circles. There are better made guitars out there but Ovation provide good value, well made guitars. I've had a Summit Series electro acoustic for 20 years and it has served me well. You might need to make a few tweaks to it out of the box but it's worth it.

23 Danelectro

White summer/Black mountain side, Kashmir, In My Time of Dying, All the song do have this little percussion in the sound, And they are all played with his danelectro, So its just your preference of sound, but I think it sounds very good. Not to forget Syd barret also had one!

I've recently purchased a 2005 Danelectro 56 Pro and I must say a great guitar from the most underrated brand. 10/10, everyone should have a Dano and there is definitely something for everyone eg. Hodad, U2, DC, Dead on, Long horn, Wild thing etc. Amazing!

Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, John entwhistle all used it. Usually the 59DC. Amazing guitar for the money and amazing guitar period.

Jimmy Page? Jimi Hendrix? The Hodads they made for a limited time in the late 90's are superb.

24 Charvel

Charvel are quality guitars which even guitar gods like Guthrie Govan use. Even the entry models have great feel and tone. Best guitars that stand out of the usual Ibanezs and Les Pauls both Gibson and Epiphone (both have amazing guitars). Has the 80's vibe but the magic is in your hands!

A Charvel is the best guitar for the best price. The Floyd rose on it is killer, it is always in tune and I've never had any problems with it. The neck is smooth and totally made for shredding. Charvel guitars are the holy grail.

Without a doubt the best guitar made for the money. Compound radius next, floyd rose, light body with a great feel. Adjusting the volume knobs gives you a softer tone if you want. Fantastic guitar!

Charvel is so awesome! Very light and lasts a long time. Has a lot of power like a gibson. Strings are easy to bend and my charvel has emg automatic pick ups and they are really good. Very good for its low price. I have a Charvel Desolation DC-1-ST.

25 Magma

These guitars suck! They are cheap guitars. I have one Magma stratocaster shape. I bought it new just because I wanted to spend my 70 euros to see why is it so cheap... Though it's new it has problem on the E high string and on the bridge.
Also this guitar goes out of tune very fast. The wood is ok.
I do not recommend you buying this brand guitar, Go for Epiphone, Squier (these two brands are great for beginners) or if you don't want to spend much money buy a Granite. - Experienced guitarist, 10 years player

Don't buy magma brand guitar, I will be disappointed! Out of tune every moment, cheap wood but it's not a problem.
Hardware: 4/10
Electronics: 5/10
Pickups: 6/10
Playability: 7/10
Sound: 6/10

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