Buyer’s guide: how to pick the right electric guitar?

how to pick the right electric guitar

With so many varieties of electric guitars with various feature specifications available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right electric guitar. Whether your intent as a buyer is to play the guitar professionally or jam in the basement with friends, it’s vital to get a guitar that is appropriately sized, matches up with the budding player’s musical aspirations.
In this list, we aim to cover all the electric guitar buying tips to help you pick the right electric guitar choice for you, based on features and specifications, rather than only looking for specific brands in particular.

Consider different options and guitar types

Before deciding on the electric guitar you will choose, you need to know about the electric guitar body types and styles. Since each guitar type has its distinctive characteristics, it’s safest not to choose an electric guitar solely based on the guitars your favourite bands play.
There are three basic electric guitar body types worth consideration:

• Solid-body
• Hollow body
• Semi-hollow body

Here are some basic ideas about each guitar body type you should know about.


The most common electric body type is the solid-body electric guitar which is made from one solid slab of wood. Gibson and Fender- these two brands are synonymous with this electric guitar body type. From a single-pickup model to an ornately figured multi pickup model with different electronic option slews- solid body has different ranges, preferred by both professional musicians and budding beginners.

Hollow body

Electric guitars with hollow body types are quite like acoustic guitars that produce more resonance on the instruments’ sound and more profound bass response than solid electric guitar type. The hollow body electric guitars are mostly handmade with hand carved archtops and backs, specially designed to take leverage of the pure acoustic details, rich tones. The electrical elements of these guitars allow the guitar performance to be amplified.

Semi-hollow body

In many ways, semi-Hollow Body electric guitars combine the sounds, tones, stability, and styles of both solid body and hollow body guitar types. As the company, Gibson first began mass-producing semi-hollow body guitars and amplifiers with their ES series from 1936, this type of electric guitar is, till date, synonymous with Gibson. These guitars are structured and designed with a solid centre wood block to add better stability and increased attack—these guitars are great for different music genres, including genres like Jazz, Blues, and Punk Rock.

Hardware’s true value

Electric guitars feature many different hardware parts with different uses, which are directly connected with the guitar’s versatility and tuning stability. Some of the most significant hardware components of an electric guitar are tuning machines, bridges, and tailpieces. While choosing the right fit, you need to carefully examine every detail of the guitar’s hardware, including frets, bridge, pickups, and their proper alignments.
Check if there’s any lousy hardware with loose tuning pegs, switches or knobs. However, don’t invest too much money focusing on only quality hardware; instead- make a fair balance between budget and the hardware quality. Lastly, only quality guitar hardware upgrades won’t always assure the best results in terms of performing.

Check the scale length

Scale length refers to the calculated measurement of the distance from the nut’s front edge to the centre of the 12th (octave) fret. And when it comes to any musical instrument, especially electric guitar- the scale length is considered a significant factor. The longer a scale length is, the tighter and finer-defined string tension feels to the user. Long scale length also facilitates smooth string bending, bright shimmer, and better low-end, making it easier to play for beginners and budding players. Most fender guitars and other guitars of similar features have a 25.5-inch scale length.
A shorter length scale, on the other hand, captures a blend of a generally warmer tone. Most of the Gibson electric guitars and guitars of similar specifications use 24.75-inch short scale length. Compared to long scale length, sharp 24″ scale guitar with 9-42 gauge strings might feel more substantial and slinkier to play with a bit stiffer feeling. So it’s better to go for an electric guitar with a longer scale length initially.

Trial the guitar both unplugged and plugged

While going through multiple guitar options in stores, make sure you test both the acoustic and electric properties. At first, consider unplugging the guitar and try playing some chords like open chords, barre chords, single-note lines to taste the crisp, liveliness, and loudness of the tones with good inherent acoustic sounds.
To test the guitar’s electrical aspect, try the guitar through an amp instead of going for the mega-distortion mode right away. Make sure you pay attention to the guitar’s overall tonal characteristics by keeping the EQ controls to a moderate level. Excessive amp distortion previously set in the retailer shop makes the guitar’s sound way better than it is, so you need to check how full or flat the guitar’s natural sound is before determining which guitar to choose.

Know your woods

Along with the other elements of an electric guitar, it’s also essential to check the materials that have been used for the guitar’s construction. The quality of the electric guitar’s wood significantly influences the guitar’s overall characteristics. For instance, Mahogany wood as a guitar body offers a smooth tone and warm tone. Maple, on the other hand, bright sound with lively acoustic properties.

So, which electric guitar should you choose?

You will have to find an electric guitar that fits perfectly with your playing style, tempo, and, not to mention- budget. No matter your choice, it’s always safe to purchase electric guitars for an authentic instrument shop with an extensive collection and prompt customer service. If you have any confusion regarding the guitar preference, you can talk to the guitar professionals.