Best Electric Guitars for Beginners – Under $600

If you’ve read my article on the different types of electric guitars and are getting ready to make a purchase, then this buying guide is for you.  I’ve reflected on the hundreds of hours I’ve spent researching and playing different electric guitars and have broken down my top three favorites frequently associated with various styles of music.  This article focuses on my top recommended best electric guitars for beginners that can be purchased for $600 or less.  In fact, I’ve provided you with three lists: one for solid-body electric guitars for rock, blues and country, one for solid-body electric guitars for heavy metal, and one specifically for semi-hollow body electric guitars.  Let’s get started!

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners – Rock, Blues & Country

Solid Body – Under $600

Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top ProFender Stratocaster Electric GuitarFender Telecaster Electric Guitar
Top Musical StyleRockBluesCountry
Other StylesBlues, CountryRock, CountryRock, Blues
ModelLes Paul Plus Top ProStratocasterTelecaster
Pickups2 Humbuckers3 Single Coils2 Single Coils
BridgeLocking Tune-o-maticVintage TremoloFixed
Body MaterialSolid Mahogany w/ Maple TopSolid AlderSolid Alder
Neck MaterialMahoganyMapleMaple
Fretboard MaterialRosewoodMapleMaple
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Before I describe some of the details of each of these guitars, let me just say that the “Les Paul”, the “Strat” and the “Tele” are considered by many to be the holy trinity of electric guitars.  They are all incredibly versatile and can be used to play virtually any type of music.  As you climb up the cost ladder in the $1,000-$1,500 range, you will basically find these same guitars offered, with the major difference being that they are made in the USA versus made in either Mexico (Fender) or Asia (Epiphone/Gibson).  Yes, some of the American craftsmanship may be superior and they may include some fancier bells and whistles, but for any beginner or intermediate guitarists, these three guitars will serve you extremely well for many, many years.

Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top Pro

  • The humbucking pickups on this beauty include coil-splitting technology which means they can be easily “switched” to sound like single-coil pickups just by pulling one of the tone knobs.  Another nod to its versatility!
  • The set mahogany neck combined with the locking Tune-o-matic bridge create an extremely solid guitar that produces incredible sustain, which is the length of time that a note rings out once the strings are plucked or strummed.
  • The flamed maple top, cream binding and chrome hardware make this guitar a striking instrument to look at and an absolute pleasure to play

Fender Stratocaster

  • The basic shape of the Fender Stratocaster is considered to be one of the best industrial designs of all time.  The contoured body is carved in just the right places to make this guitar extremely comfortable to play for long periods of time, whether you’re sitting or standing up.
  • The alder body combined with single-coil pickups produce a range of tones from classic bright and glassy, to punchy and gritty.
  • The vintage-style tremolo system allows any guitar player to creatively adjust string tension either slowly for epic sonic dive-bombs or more rapidly for voice-mirroring vibratos.
  • Famous guitarists who preferred Fender Stratocasters include:  Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, David Gilmour

Fender Telecaster

  • In the spring of 1950, the Fender Telecaster debuted as the first mass-produced electric guitar and since then they have been played by countless musical artists, largely thanks to their incredible versatility and musical range.
  • It is known for a more powerful tone that is full of twang, making it extremely popular with country musicians.
  • Famous guitarists who favor Fender Telecasters include: Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners – Heavy Metal

Solid Body – Under $600

Jackson SLX Soloist X Series Heavy Metal Electric GuitarDean ML 79 Heavy Metal Electric Guitarschecter omen extreme 6
Top Musical StyleHeavy MetalHeavy MetalHeavy Metal
Other StylesRock, Blues
ModelSL3XML 79Omen Extreme-6
Pickups2 SC + 1 HB2 Humbuckers2 Humbuckers
BridgeFloyd Rose TremoloFloyd Rose TremoloFloyd Rose Tremolo
Body MaterialBasswoodMahogany w/ Flamed Maple TopBasswood
Neck MaterialMapleMahoganyMaple
Fretboard MaterialRosewoodRosewoodRosewood
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Jackson SL3X

  • The hot humbuckers on this guitar are designed by Seymour Duncan and feature a high-output ceramic pickup at the bridge and alnico magnets in the neck.
  • A Floyd Rose double-locking two-point tremolo system is included which is a great feature at this price point.
  • The distinctive shark-fin inlays on the fretboard contribute to the stunning looks of this heavy metal machine.

Dean ML 79

  • The flamed maple top on the mahogany body with a set mahogany neck really makes this solid guitar from Dean stand out on the stage or just among friends with its great sustain and looks. It is also quite versatile in rock and blues music as well.
  • The Floyd Rose-licensed tremolo system is one of the best on the market and provides the player with an outlet for their sonic creativity.
  • The incredible red finish on this guitar is both sinister and beautiful at the same time.

Schecter Omen Extreme

  • The active humbuckers on this guitar, which come with a 9-volt clip-in battery compartment, are designed by Seymour Duncan, one of the premier pickup makers in the guitar world. These demons deliver plenty of punch and plenty of sustain.
  • The pearloid gothic cross inlays on the fretboard are pure heavy metal.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

Hollow Body – Under $600

Ibanez Artcore AF75GGretsch G2622T Streamliner Hollow Body Electric GuitarEpiphone ETCNVSNH1
Top Musical StyleEarly Rock n’ Roll, Vintage Country, Blues, Rockabilly, Jazz
ModelArtcore AF75GG2622T StreamlinerETCNVSNH1
Pickups2 Humbuckers2 Humbuckers1 Single Coil P90
BridgeFixedBigsby VibratoFixed
Body MaterialMapleMapleMaple
Neck MaterialMahoganyNatoMahogany
Fretboard MaterialRosewoodRosewoodRosewood
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Ibanez Artcore AF75G

  • This guitar is simply gorgeous to look at and to play.  The flat black finish, tortoise shell pickguard, gold hardware and exquisite binding all make for a genuine piece of functional art.
  • A true full-hollow body creates incredible acoustic sounds to overlay the smooth, twangy tones that make this guitar great for rockabilly and country.

Gretsch G2622T Streamliner

  • This guitar features a center block between the two hollow chambers that is made of spruce. Combined with high-output pickups, this beauty produces pristine highs and a powerful midrange that sounds great when playing with other instruments in a band setting.
  • The Bigsby vibrato bridge on this guitar provides any player with articulate bends for a broad range of vintage country, blues and rockabilly sounds.
  • Attractive pearloid block inlays and white binding complete the look of this impressive instrument.

Epiphone ETCNVSNH1

  • Yes, this guitar costs just a bit over the $600, but it’s definitely work a look.
  • Inspired by the “1966” Century electric guitar, this classic thin line all-hollowbody arch top is part of Epiphone history.
  • The versatile and expressive P-90 single coil pickup on this timeless Epiphone are the sound of the Beatles, Gary Clark Jr, U2’s The Edge, Dave Grohl and Keith Richards.