Top 10 Worst Guitar Brands

The Top Ten
1 First Act

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT under ANY circumstances use First Act guitars for playing music of any kind. These are only guitars in the philosophical sense, they're guitar-shaped, they have frets, six strings and are made of of something that, at some point, qualified as wood. However, when it comes to PRACTICAL uses, these so-called "guitars" are rather excellent for any one of the three following jobs:
1. Smashing (on the ground, over someone's head, etc. )
2. A prop for a low budget film studio or theatre company.
3. All-natural endorphin booster: Whenever you feel down, simply set this plywood abomination across from your favorite chair, grab a drink, and have a seat. Now, point at the "guitar" and laugh at it.

Comes in a cardboard box one would be forgiven to believe is from a knock off Lego set. The body is born from the hands of the utmost prestigious luthiers in the world... (he said sarcastically) Even for beginners, you'd be better off using a cereal box with rubber bands as a guitar. at least that one would have been well made.

No joke though, the best beginner guitar should be one that makes you want to pick it up and play it. Unless your goal is think you sound bad purely off the fact your instrument is poor, I recommend going out and trying guitars at different locations with someone you know that has experience in the field.

2 Squier

Personally, I don't like the fender and gibson knockoffs, and squire's aren't the best brand, but I have a squire telecaster, which is actually great quality, better than I expected, and it has a slightly more drier, shaky tone that an actual tele, which is a nice feature. My friend has a squire precision bass, and upon hearing it, I honestly thought it was an actual precision bass at first, so, if you must get squire, than consider either the tele or the precision.

Squiers. New bullets- very bad. Affinity series: made in China- wouldn't even take a free one. Made in Indonesia-pretty solid and nice playing guitar. Any in the standard series or better are wonderful! Every time I walk into a pawn shop or guitar shop I play the different squiers and ever single one China-bad, Indonesia-good and if you come across an old Japanese or Korean made (especially the Japanese) for a good price, like under $200 BUY IT(not that it will ever happen).

3 Yamaha

Unbelievable how people are ignorant. Yamaha makes number of products but the origin and set up are totally different. Its music division was used to be specialized manufacturer called "Nippon Music Instrument". Yamaha took over and still maintains the specialty.

If you don't know what brand to buy, buy Yamaha. There's a reason this brand is chosen by almost every music education establishment, they are the best available. The only downside is a lack of style, which I personally prefer, fashion is for sheep.

All in all have pretty bad guitars. They have a few high end guitars which sound pretty good, but even their mid range stuff isn't that good quality.

4 SX

I realize this list is for the worst, uyt being a musician for the past 40 years, I don't look for the worst or cheapest... Every guitar manufacturer, from Gibson to First Act, have variations in their instrumentsa that can be tweaked to suit the playability of a particular instrument... I have an early model SX guitar, that has a great action and the electronics and quality of wood, make this my back-up on stage and the one I always practice with...!
No one guitar is going to sound, OR play, exactly like another of the same model, and I'm sure the newer/cheaper manufactured SX guitars will not compare to the vintage instrument I own...

I strongly disagree with anyone who says SX are bad. I play a Gypsy Rose, which is an SX guitar, and I absolutely love it. I've had it for years and nothing has ever gone wrong with it. Easy to tune, the strings won't kill your fingers and none of the strings have broken. And It sounds amazing.

5 Washburn

Washburn is an EXCELLENT brand. I have owned an N4, 2 N2's, and their latest, cheapest Nuno model for my daughter. My daughter's guitar is amazing for the price I wish I had such quality for my starter guitar. I would put my N4 up against ANY guitar- period. Plus, whenever I have contacted the company, they have top notch customer service. I know this isn't about amps, but I wrote them about an issue I had with my Randall amp ( a division of Washburn). Without me asking, they mailed me an amp part with an apology. Top notch.

I've played on the same old Washburn dreadnought for over 30 years and it is still in top shape, still great sound, and still plays nice and smooth. Used it in my band for almost as many years and only ever got compliments on how great sounding the guitar was/is!

Washburn was the brand of guitar I chose when I decided to start playing guitar after 20 years of inactivity and I was not disappointed. My electric experience been great and I didn't have to break the bank!

6 ESP

ESP LTDs are a ripoff. All the money goes into the finish and nothing else. Cheap hardware and poor electronics. All of the LTDs I've ever owned couldn't stay in tune worth a damn, have noisy, pop-y switches and crappy pots. I have the Viper 400, and it's an overrated turd. Luckily I got it for a steal. Thing can't stay in tune AT ALL. I will be replacing the alleged Grover tuners with real Grover lockers. That still doesn't solve the issues with the soft finish and ultra-noisy electronics. Plus it has a humpy neck, a cracking neck joint (like all of my LTD set-necks) and the frets were likely leveled by a monkey considering the quality.

Basically I will be tearing it down and rebuilding it. Imagine if a luthier did it? We're talking $600+ worth of work. Any company that puts their name on this deserves to be on this list.

MOST ESP guitars are great for playing metal and stuff. I love to play riffs on my Iron Cross. However, having worked at guitar center for 5 months, I've gotten a lot of complaints about the ESP LTDs, and how they won't stay in tune, how the tremolo systems are cheap, and the dislike for tone, etc. ESP is a good company, just a few flaws.
But while we're here; WHO put Dean on this list? Their stuff is awesome.

7 Essex

What is an Essex? Also who compiled this list? It definitely wasn't guitar professionals. Every guitar maker has top line and then entry level guitars. Top line for those that can play and entry for the beginner who 9 out of 10 stop playing and they don't care that a $60 to $200 mistake lays in the closet for years. Yamaha makes 100's of styles and a lot are great guitars and some stink. It goes with the territory in a very competitive market. This should have been better defined and broken down by cost levels. Because this could have even been titled "The 10 Best Guitar List"

Never heard of it

8 Applause

I disagree totally, I had a applause about 20 years ago and I wish I never had to sell it. It was a great guitar for the price and it sounded great hooked up to a decent amp.

I own an '80s Applause Strat and when played clean, sounds better than a MIM strat. Dirty sounds a little muddy but that might be because I have a crappy 60 watt Peavey amp.

My first acoustic was an Applause and was given to me by my grandfather, it's an amazing guitar and my first acoustic.

9 Epiphone

I learned my lesson after owning a few and will never again

If they were as great a guitar (even as a bargain) as some make out, you wouldn't find millions of them for resale on Craigslist, Ebay etc...even moreso people willing to take almost anything including non musical instruments in a trade for them

Yet the LP clones of the pre lawsuit era, are harder to find and command higher price.

Truth be told they're just not that good, cheap electronics, bad finish, fret work was bad on every one I owned, cheap tuners, and bridge, sure you can dump another 500 into a guitar to bring it up, but then you have a $800.00 Epi on your hands that nobody is going to give you $400.00 for, and it still wont sound as good as a Gibson.

Save your money there's better Gibson alternatives out there.

Gibson look-alikes with cheap Chinese pot metal components. Any day, you can grab one of the millions for sale on Craigslist or eBay, which begs the question: why are there so many of them for resale or trade?

Epis are good if you don't have an issue with sound or if you're just looking for something that looks like a Gibson and are willing to risk damage to a more expensive instrument, perhaps while gigging. But if you play one next to a Gibson, you'll see why their American counterparts are so much more expensive. Even the top-of-the-line Epiphones are just okay.

Epi fans argue that they are "just as good as Gibsons" and claim that Gibson's quality has gone down recently, but in the same breath, they'll say, "all you need to do is swap out the pickups for better pickups and pots and wires, have the action lowered, get better tuners," etc.

However, by then, you've thrown another couple hundred dollars into an Epiphone.

Spend the money on a pre-lawsuit LP copy, and you'll be happier and less likely to add yet another Epi to the Craigslist graveyard.

10 Ashton

I actually own two Ashton guitars as well as a Gibson, a Maton and a few others. In my opinion, the Ashton guitars get a very bad rap for a very good little guitar (the electrics anyway). The only field they tend to fall down in is the pickups and tuning pegs they use. However, those are easily replaced and you can have yourself a beautiful guitar with a low action that sounds every bit as good as any other mass produced guitar on the market.
Way too many people put too much emphasis on "Branding" - every brand can have a lemon occasionally, Gibson and fender are no different in that regard...PRS are the only ones you'll find that are high quality every time.

The Ashton I was working on could not be intoned high e fully wound back was still 1mm short which made the rest of the strings impossible to set.

I myself own an Ashton and I think that they are overall really great guitars. I own an Ashton SL29CEQLTSB Acoustic Electric and it is simply amazing. It comes with a built in tuner and the strings last for quite a very long time. I have owned a couple guitars in my time and I am happy to say that the sound is impressing. So all of the other people who put down this guitar either know nothing about guitars, are super spoiled and want the best of the best, or just had bad luck with them.

The person who said "I have a friend who plays an ashton, and he actually thinks it's a good guitar, while he constantly has to put paper under the strings because otherwise everything above the 3th fret is literally unplayable. Poor guy" MAY I POINT OUT that they just stated how the guitar was in a poor condition but said nothing about why or how long the guitar has been played and all these essential details.

The person who said "I made the mistake of buying a cheap Ashton acoustic just for practice, big mistake my god they are awful" YES YOU DID MAKE A MISTAKE by bying a CHEAP Ashton, because come on, if it's a cheap one then of course it won't have the best quality so quit whining, you chose to get a cheap one. I mean didn't you ever stop to ask why it might be that cheap?

The Contenders
11 Taylor

Taylors are okay as guitars go, but... I've owned three, sold them all in mint condition and lost considerable coin in doing so. I think they belong on this list because they charge hand made prices for MASS PRODUCED guitars. Don't believe me? Take the Taylor that you own and do a search for it on eBay. That's right, at this very moment there are hundreds of guitars just like yours for sale on eBay. And that's only checking this one sales venue! These guitars are worth half of what you paid because the market is saturated with them. Taylor cranks out hundreds of them per day and 100's of thousands per year. If you're shopping and seriously considering a Taylor, you can get comparable quality and far better value elsewhere. Choose carefully and you'll see your investment go up in value. Aside from some special, collectable models of Taylor, you will loose money on this brand.

12 Mitchell

Not sure about all of the models but I recently purchase one of the new Terra line models and I couldn't be more pleased! I have the Mitchell T333CE-best Solid Top Mahogany Auditorium Acoustic-Electric Guitar Edge Burst. Came set up from the factory...Tuners are the only question mark but honestly, this isn't really a ding as the guitar stays in tune remarkably well. Great tone as this has a solid Mahogany Top, Sides and Back. I regularly use this guitar for singer/songwriter performances. Of my 16 guitars, this and my Tak are my go-to instruments.

I have two Michell guitars. An MD400 and an HD400. I have every guitar from the unknown guitar maker, Aspen, in the early70's, to LTD's. These are the best guitars I own. I say that because haven't played my Gibson, Fender, Gretsch,...in weeks!
These guitars are incredible to play and sound great! If you feel an inexpensive guitar isn't worth your while, move on. These are!

13 Ibanez

Ibanez is a heartless, soulless corporation run by dicks who don't know a guitar jack from their ass. Their amps were good, but known-nothing corporate dicks screwed over their owners when it came to for repairs, so their reputation is trashed for good. How much does a reputation cost, Ibanez? More than you can afford!

However, the necks on the RGs are flawless. Young growth mahogany is a trashwood that fractures too easily. Washburn does not make a guitar for any price that can match the quality of an Ibanez neck.

I had a Soundgear 5 string bass when they first came out and it was one of the worst basses I have ever owned. Crappy electronics, uncomfortable neck and the list goes on. I used it as a back up when I was touring 100+ shows per year and luckily my Tobias Killer B5 never had issues other than the occasional broken string. The best thing I can say about it is I lent it to a "colleague" and he ended up stealing it. Good riddance!

14 Gibson

Another brand riding on its history far beyond any sensible attempt to provide actual value to their customers. The headstock design is not just inefficient it's fragile to the point you may as well break it and fix it so that it will have the strength to be an effective neck afterwards. That's a complete failure of design. I didn't vote for Epiphone because its not their fault they are the junior brand that has an albatross like Gibson around their necks, and at least now the current models actually have CTS pots in them so there's no good reason not to consider an Epiphone instead of a Gibson. Just get a String Butler and be careful with the neck!

The problem of the recent Gibson bashing is well-founded. There were quality issues over the last maybe 15 years. The thing is that a Gibson is still a dream for a lot of people. They get better and giving themselves a present after putting money away. Then, after several years, maybe decades of anticipation they get crappy quality for several thousand dollars. The brand is alive, they can bounce back, but the managment...instead of the elevator, they should take the japanese business shortcut. As soon as the quality and passion is back, people will love to buy one. Hope they'll get back on track before 2020.

15 Daisy Rock

This guitar is absolutely terrible.

Perfect for girl beginners... Not good.

Daisy rock is terrible

16 Spectrum

The reason I hate this brand is because, they advertise like there toys are a real instruments. The fret board feels like ass, the whammy bar does nothing be put the guitar out of tune. It should be a Lil Wayne signature guitar, then they would have an excuse to make a Horrible guitar.

The guitar brand Spectrum isn't even that horrible. It sells great starting guitars, electric and acoustic, and are full sized. Some of the electric guitar kits even come with a mini amp. Although this brand is great, I would not recommend it for professionals.

This is like a starter guitar worse than Squier or First Act. They can't hold a tune, they can't play without feedback/buzzing, and they are worth about as much as a guitar pick.

17 Fender

I got my first guitar when I was 14 although I didn't know much about guitars I knew that I wanted to learn, so I did. I can't name the exact model, but it was worth a lot more then I had expected. I'm 16 now and I went from simple strumming patterns to complex fingerpicking and singing without any trouble from the guitar. Now that I know more about the differences of guitars I am certain that fender was a great start for me. I recommend this guitar to anyone, beginner or an experienced player.

Just played a 3000 dollar custom shop model, the low E string was next to the neck and totally off the pickup poles, not the first one I've seen this way, they play terrible as well, if you think these are by the best of the guitar world then you are looking at it moneywise as most of the owner who swear by them only know 2 companies. Try some others and you will see Fender is actually crap! Leo Fender wasn't even a guitar player, and it shows!

18 Ovation

I've had an Ovation Celebrity for over 5 years. Great action, wonderful sound with or without an amp. Stays in tune. Play anything from classical to rock. The Ovation can do it. The sound is unique, so making it your only guitar may not work if your in a band. If you're a beginner, the string tension is really low so it's easy on your fingers. It is a hollow body accoustic, but it plays like an electric. I've owned and still own several guitars. This is the one I reach for the most.

Personally I like my Ovation it has one of the best necks I've ever played on a guitar acoustic or otherwise and when you plug it in it delivers powerful crisp clean tone and a one of a kind presence. Plus the body are made from Apache helicopter blades! So that's sick too I love mine Eat it!

Unique sounds, especially the ones with the tuned sound holes. Good guitar if you stand up and use a strap.

19 Dean

I played a Dean 3/4 size black guitar at a gutiar store on sale for 50% off, and immediately fell in love with its raw, funky, almost crappy tone. Really - there is just a certain something it has that I love: blues especially. Admitedly, the intonation is terrible, and not even fixable because the bridge is routed incorrectly. But I can get some pretty pleasurable tonal variety out of it, and for funky picking with harmonics and such, oh yes! Sort of OK intonation if you stay well below the 5th fret. Of course I changed the tuners to better quality. I have D'Addario lights, and put on a.017 solid steel G string - because I dig bends. I love jamming blues with this thing.

This company really does nothing for me. Hideous designs, cumbersome shaped guitars and the fact that they keep milking Dimebag's name just makes me feel like they don't have much else. There are definitely worse brands out there like first act and daisy rock (shudders) but I've always thought dean just always sucked as a metal guitar company and b.c. rich isn't too far behind them in my opinion.

20 Thomson
21 Switch

I have had some dog bad guitars! You and every one passes up Rickenbacker. I just dumped mine, I had two in my life they are bad out dated guitars. I saw people come in a store to buy one, they play one with a great Fender amp and walk out with some other brand. You do not see and of the greats play them. The sounds of the 60's is not a Ricky. Look for them and you will only see old photo of Lennon play one, no solos!

I( picked one up in a pawn shop, totally ignorant of the brand, quality, string action, etc. I'm actually very pleased with the guitar. It has tremendous tone and sustanibility. String action is terriffic top to bottom. For a brand that I understand is no longer in production, I am glad to have it in my collection.

I just watched a PBS special of Hulabaloo. Of the more than thirty groups and least 20 were using Rics. This is not even including Suzanna Hoffs, Steppenwolf, Roger McGuinn and a host of others. The fact that there is a waiting list for them would suggest that no nothing about Rickenbackers, the guitars or their history.

22 Denver

Denver...the other white meat

I like chicken

23 Givson

Worst guitar company in the world... This company is must be shut down asap.
They make such crappy guitar.. After a week you get fret buzz and after a month they are totally junk of firewood.

Coming from experience.. Save up buy a yamaha or takamine..

It's Givson, an Indian ripoff the Original brand... Sucks!

Really the worst. It is the fake brand of 'Gibson'. The guitars are third class..

24 Stagg

This brand all in all is bad. I've played probably 5 or 6 different models with varying price tags. Most low price guitars will be pretty crappy compared to a higher end guitar, but even Staggs pricier guitars just aren't good. They feel cheap, especially in the neck. They're les paul is the worst for that. It feels like you can just snap the neck right off the body. The sound is ok, but if you're paying 500 for a Stagg I'd rather get an epi, schecter, even a Squier over a Stagg. Stagg does have some decent instruments that aren't guitars, but as far as guitars go I'd stay away.

Worst guitar ever... I have a Stagg Stratocaster copy and an Ibanez RG321MH. I never use my Stagg it keeps on distuning and it have a buzz sound that comes even with you put the channel on clean, and when it is overdrive... It is just for beginners, but still awful.

Awful, cheap brand. I have a broken fretless bass. The pickup is junk, the wiring so bad it was unfixable once it broke, the neck warped, at least it only cost me $300 I can just say goodbye to that.

25 Elevation

Good for newbies but seriously the worst guitar I've ever owned! Why the hell is Gibson on this list? My favourit brand by miles, expensive yes but the quality you get is amazing!

8Load More
PSearch List