Top Ten Worst Guitar Brands

The Top Ten

1 First Act

Who the heck put Fender and Gibson on this list?

First Act is a very peculiar guitar company. They have guitars that sell at Toys R Us that will literally fall apart in your hands. They sell pedals that are a complete joke, leaving you with the impression that they must be a bad, bad joke. Then something strange happened, I did a little research and found some info that was stunning. First Act has a couple of guitar lines that are some of the finest guitars I have ever seen, heard, or even read about. They have guitars that go for $3000 plus and are better guitars than any person commenting on this board will ever have the opportunity of even being in the same room with (including myself) Who would have thought?! Go figure.

Like 39% of the people said, they are simply the worst. The first guitar I owned was the Ibanez Gio, I thought it was amazing. I play it every now and then, but not too much anymore. For its price, I think it is the best starter guitar, 10 times better than any first act. I owned a first act, it was the worst guitar of all time. Me finger killed after playing it because the strings are so hard to push down, the frets don't even stay attached to the guitar. All beginner guitarist, don't get 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.

2 Squier

I have a Squier Jazz Bass and Precision Bass.
These are great sounding basses. they rarely get out of tune, and they are fun to play.

I love squire guitars because they are cheap and affordable. I love the fact that I now have a stratocaster so if you think that they suck think again. I can play under the bridge and scar tissue etc on my squire stratocaster honestly for those that can't afford a fender this is the best thing that has ever happened to me because I can now play an electric guitar which is not only good but it is brilliant

Are people retarded!? There's no better cheap guitar brand then a squier. They're made to be cheaper and even then they still sound amazing.

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.

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.

The Fact That Taylor, Gretsch, Gibson, Fender Are On The List. Is Blasphemy

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.

Yamaha branding suffers from having a wide spectrum of guitar, from the very cheap to professional quality. When you don't discriminate what you put your name on, your rep suffers.

4 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.

Excellent sound and eaasy fretting! Well made, attractive and improves with age.

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!

I do believe that Washburn is a quality guitar. A good and excellent sound, super easy fretting and its affordable one. By the way, I own an Oscar Schmidt by Washburn guitar, and I hope it will last long to me :D

Don't Buy Fernando Guitars.

5 SX

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.

SX still is my main stage and recording guitar. Its great when you pimp it up...

SX guitars are made from good tone woods, have a good feel and sound. They do need some tweaking for the best playability, however they have good quality for the price. I've played Fenders and Gibsons that aren't worth 1/4 of what they cost.

Yo what the hell there is no way a SX is crap it is one of the best guitar companies I know of and I hold an SX high above a Fender or Gibson

6 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"

This is the worst guitar in the world

Never heard of it

7 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.

Low cost version of the Ovation, not too bad.

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

8 Taylor

Over-priced, under featured.

Simple answer is, if you have money for the higher end of Taylor, buy a Collings. I've been working as a repair tech in a store that stocks Taylor for around 5 years. Went to lutherie school under one of the best guitar builders in the country. I've played dozens of examples from nearly every model range Taylor has to offer, as well as a few of the more limited edition high $$$$ range. I will give credit where it is due, on the USA made models fit and finish is above many other brands.

However, regardless of price range in normal models you will never get a solid neck (Martin puts solid Mahogany necks even on the 00-15M for ~$1,100. You won't get a lacquer finish but a UV cured poly finish, unacceptable in high end guitars in my opinion.

I read another comment mentioning the bright & dull tone of Taylor. Without boring you with the science behind it, take a look inside and see how tall the braces are on the top, what they do is ...more

Taylor guitars have the sonic personality of a can of Campbell's Soup.

I do not mean the soup, I mean the can.

Who in their right mind pays thousands of dollars for a multi piece bolt on neck in an acoustic.

Just buy a Martin.

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.

False, the only acoustics that might come close to as sweet a sound as taylor is martin, and there are only a handful that may make the list. I have never been disappointed with any taylor I have picked up.

Taylor Guitars are the gold standard and to just see them on this list proves how worthless this list really is

9 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 love my Mitchell! It's my second acoustic and my favorite by far! It does sound a little too bright acoustically but over an amp it sounds GREAT especially for the price!

I have a Mitchell now and I absolutely hate it. It sounds horrid

Mitchell is an amazing guitar brand they sell you the best quality for the money you're paying.70% of the time it's not the guitar.It's your skills and practice level

10 ESP

Switching to ESP was the best decision I ever made? Who put this here?

I have esp and it sounds and feels beautiful!

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.

Who put ESP on the list, whoever made this list doesn't have a brain

The Contenders

11 Epiphone

Honestly, this is a pretty good brand. If you're looking for a Gibson sound on a budget, Epiphone does a really good job of replicating that Gibson tone. Granted, it's not going to be perfect, but it's one of the best in the price range.

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.

Seriously Epiphone is way better than a "Daisy Rock". That is not a good name. Epiphone should not even be in the top 20

All things considered, Epiphone is better value than their parent, Gibson. I sometimes wonder if Gibson makes a guitar, it has some trivial flaw that bumps it, and they put the Epiphone headstock on.

12 Gibson

Gibson is the greatest guitar company ever. The only other comparable brand is Ruokangas in Finland. People who don't like gibson hate gibson cause they want one of their guitars and can't afford one.

Gibson is a Great Brand... But Martin Guitars Blow Gibsons out of the water for sound... Sorry but it is so true

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.

Don't agree - I tend to trade a lot, and have probably had a couple hundred Gibsons since 2012. Never a serious issue, and near all well playing guitars. I've heard some anecdotal stories, but my experience says their quality is still very good. Most issues I've heard about should probably fall back on the dealers, since they're the last check point for quality control. - bluesguitar1972

R U Bonkers! In my opinion Gibson are the best guitar brand, ever who wrote this list!

A friend of mine had a Gibson Acoustic Guitar. It was solid maple. It was a beautiful guitar. but it had the worst sound you could have in a guitar. We had a bluegrass band and he tried playing that piece of junk with us. No volume, no character, no bass and no boom. the only thing that guitar was good for was to look at it!

13 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.

Spectrum isn't really even that bad. For price, they are super worth it. I have a Spectrum, and it is pretty good. Not the best brand in the world, but good for cheap guitars.

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.

I own a spectrum and they're not that bad. They play just like a stratocaster I may be 13 but I know what a good guitar is because I am the best guitar player in my school.

14 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 LOVE THE GIBSON I HAVE J 200 AN AND I AM THINKING OF BUYING A LES PAUL!

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.

15 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.

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 ...more

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

I made the mistake of buying a cheap Ashton acoustic just for practice, big mistake my god they are awful

16 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.

I have a deep dish acoustic electric cutaway Ovation Legend that has been my main (and favorite) guitar for the last 20 years - excellent, deep sound - has onboard eq & never goes out of tune, even in the winter, by a bonfire - sturdy as an ox. I agree that the shallow body ovations don't have as nice a sound.

Ovation is the best these people above me are wrong

17 Gretsch Guitars

Eat it... Gretsch Rocks! Make list that means something

Gretsch guitars are the best guitars ever made. Just ask Chet Atkins. He was the best guitar picker/player of all time.

American Gretsch's are still amazing instruments. Korean Gretsch's are VERY NOT BAD (if you can get past the fact they were made by a guy who probably are a Chihuahua for lunch.

Gretsch has always sounded beautiful when I've played their guitars, I have one of their open back banjos and its by far my favorite banjo I've ever played on.

18 Ibanez

Ibanez make some of the best guitars I have ever had the pleasure of playing.

These guitars use very cheap materials. I bought a washburn WM24v PROE for $300 and it come with Mahogany body & neck, phenolic fretboard, emg81/85 and original floyd rose... Ibanez RG costs $400 and comes with basswood body, bolt on maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, shoddy pickups and a licensed floyd that WILL NOT stay in tune. Poor quality for money, if you get a Ibanez go for a fixed bridge/string-thru because their trems are HORRIBLE! Original floyd is the only way to go!

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!

The best guitar money can buy! The best guitar there is. Gibson is like the nostalgic VW van with a fresh coat of poorly chosen, environmentally disastrous paint and the Ibanez is the Nissan GTR, bristling with the best in technology for a reasonable price.

19 Daisy Rock

I have one from a long time ago, it's sounds like a farting crap

This guitar is absolutely terrible.

Daisy rock is terrible

Worst. Guitar. I've. Ever. Used.

20 Fender

What fender isn't bad, who the hell said it was top 8 of the worst?

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.

Fender is one of the best brands by the worst
That is one of the reasons it is so expensive!
You get what you pay for!

So you hate Fender because its overpriced?

Fender makes high quality guitars, of course its expensive. If you think price is the problem with this brand then just buy a cheap $20 First Act acoustic (because that thing ain't gonna last) instead of a $2000 Fender Stratocaster (which I assume might last forever)

21 Denver

Denver...the other white meat

I like chicken

22 Dean

Junky guitars made for hyperactive children who think ugly graphics are cool. I mean seriously, have you seen the garbage Dean puts out at Guitar Center? The one thing even more immature is the Dean Forum.

The original Dean's from the early 80's were truly amazing guitars, but the weird Neon Strat copy stuff with the Solid white necks that were branded dean would have been better off as firewood if it wasn't for any toxic side effects that would have come from burning the paint that they glopped on. --Total Garbage.

This company really does nothing for me. Hideous designs, cumbersome shaped guitars and the fact that they keep milking dime bags 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 to far behind them in my opinion.

Crummy guitars made in sweatshops in China and Indonesia. Top that off with the absolute worst Guitar Forum on the internet full of immature trolls and you have a brand to be ashamed of. Really sad as the original Dean Zelinsky guitars were amazing.

23 Thomson

Good guitar mate pickups are great

Affordable yet solid sound

Goddd sound

24 Givson

YUCK. looks good, but bad quality. great for beginners. but don't stick with it for more than a month.

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

Worst guitar brand you will ever find on earth

"The Difference Is Easy To See" Company Motto

25 Stagg

Wouldn't be seen smashing one these in a video. Would rather watch Pearl Harbour on a loop than play one of these.

I own a few Stagg guitars and basses, with a good setup and sometimes a rewire they are pretty good

Worst guitars ever. Bought one last year. I'd rather wipe my arse withe a grater then buy another

Terrible. Had the misfortune of playing one and the frets were wider than the neck!

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