Picking Your First Electric Guitar

Ready to buy your first electric guitar? The endless variables available can be overwhelming. Read on for some guidance.

Basic Body Types

Most beginner electric guitars can be divided into 3 basic types: Strats, Teles, and dual-humbucker Gibson-style guitars. (There are tons of others too, these are just broad generalizations.)

Strats are based on the Fender™ Stratocaster. They usually have 3 single-coil pickups, a contoured dual-cut body, and a "tremolo" system that lets you bend the strings to add vibrato to your notes. Strats are often described as sounding "chimey" or "glassy". The neck/ neck+middle pickups on a Strat are VERY popular for bluesy rock guitar solo tones.

Famous players: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, David Gilmour

Teles are based on the Fender™ Telecaster. They have 2 single-coil pickups, a single-cut slab body, and a hardtail (fixed, no tremolo) bridge. Teles are often described as sounding very "bright" on the bridge pickup and "smooth" on the neck pickup. The bridge pickup is the most iconic sound on the tele: from country-style chicken pickin' to jangly indie rock chords, it just CUTS.

Famous players: Keith Richards, George Harrison, Jeff Beck, Brad Paisley

Dual-Humbucker guitars are based on the Gibson™ Les Paul. They have 2 humbucker pickups, a single or double-cut body, and a hardtail bridge. Les Pauls are often described as sounding "fat" and "warm". Humbuckers put out lots of signal, which leads to more crunch for heavier genres. As a bonus, they also get rid of 60 cycle background hum. Humbuckers rule for long, sustaining leads and massive sounding power chords. If you want to play hard rock or metal, start here.

Famous players: Jimmy Page, Slash, Billy Gibbons, Randy Rhoads

It's important to note that you can play nearly any genre on most guitars. Following the above recommendations just puts you one step closer to getting the tone that you hear in your head!

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