Most professional guitarists have a number of different guitars.
I have six of them myself. Plus three bass guitars.
If you’re just starting out, one is definitely enough.
But why not make your first one a good one?
Several of the guitars every guitarists should own below are far more affordable than you might guess.
Two are entry-level instruments that even pros can use.
Ready to see what models I included in this list?
Keep reading for a list of 7 guitars all guitars players should have. Or might want to have. I don’t even own all of them, since one is insanely expensive. Maybe someday.
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Guitars Every Guitarist Should Own
All of the following guitars are great ones to own. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to own all of them. Or even any of them. But the first two are very inexpensive and make great first guitars for any beginner.
Squier Bullet Stratocaster
- Pretty reliable and stays in tune
- Versatile choice of tones
- Classic Fender Stratocaster design
- Cheap and outperforms its price range
- Pickups could be a bit better, but you can't expect that for the price
Fender’s Squier is easily one of the most recognizable guitars on the planet. It’s one of the cheapest good-sounding guitars out there and it’s surprisingly durable.
Its “averageness” in all fields is what makes it so great. Decent playability, intonation, tone, everything – Squier doesn’t excel in anything but lacks nothing.
Squier is a good choice for touring musicians as a backup. It’s not the perfect choice for gigs, unless you have a solid amp, but you’ll never have to worry about banging it up too much. This guitar is surprisingly durable since it’s made of poplar and maple.
With 3 single-coil pickups, Squier packs quite a punch, although it can’t compare to beasts equipped with EMGs. Overall, no collection is complete without this cheap workhorse.
With a custom setup and a few good pedals, you’d be surprised by what this guitar can do. Give it a try with some of our best riffs to learn on guitar.
And if you eventually feel you’ve outgrown it, you can trade it in for a better model, or simply sell it. A lot of stores will buy back used guitars, like Guitar Center for example. To learn what’s involved read our article titled: Does Guitar Center Buy Guitars?
Epiphone Les Paul Special
Les Paul guitars cost an arm and a leg, and even though they offer the most authentic vintage sounds, most guitarists can’t afford one. Better said, that was the case, up until Gibson acquired Epiphone and received the green light to start producing budget LP axes.
Epiphone’s Les Paul is almost a carbon copy of the original. They even use the same tonewoods (maple & mahogany), although Epi technicians deploy a bit lighter and thinner versions to make the instrument a bit easier to use.
The main distinction between the “real deal” and an Epiphone-made Les Paul guitar is that they don’t sound the same. Gibson LPs feature vastly superior pickups and hardware, not to mention that their hulking bodies give a considerably fuller tone.
Even so, you should always have an Epiphone LP in your guitar collection for several reasons. First of all, you’ll have a guitar that sounds (almost), looks, and feels like a Gibson LP, but does not cost nearly as much.
Secondly, if you own a Gibson Les Paul as well, you won’t have to risk damaging it on a tour or at a gig.
B.C. Rich Warlock
This was the first guitar I bought with what little money I had more than a decade ago. The B.C. Rich Warlock is “edgy” in every way possible.
From its gorgeous wings to its sharp tone, the Warlock was made for metal. I still use it from time to time. Even though it’s a relatively old axe, it holds up well against more modern guitars, such as the Demon or Prestige.
What separates the B.C. Rich Warlock from every guitar I have ever played is unrivaled playability. The neck is so smooth and the frets so soft that shredding seems like an effortless venture. Part of the reason is that Warlock’s neck is a bit thinner and frets a bit smaller than average.
The only thing I dislike about Warlock is that you simply can’t store it anywhere except a case. But as far as the sound goes, the combination of top-tier mahogany and maple defines this guitar’s punchy, dark tone.
Ibanez AZ2402 Prestige
Ibanez is the place young metalheads and rock fans go when they start shopping for their first instrument. Even though the brand’s fanbase is mainly comprised of people who are into heavier music, the AZ Prestige is one of the most well-rounded guitars Ibanez has to offer.
I had an opportunity to play this guitar on stage once, with nothing but a small 30w Peavey to back me up. Its robust Seymour Duncan pickups and the gain set to 8 gave me more than enough crunch to pull through a set split between Iron Maiden and Slayer songs.
For fans of slightly lighter music genres, the Ibanez AZ offers a solid all-around performance. Its body is made of quality Alder that’s neither too bright nor too warm, complemented by the roasted maple fingerboard and neck.
Schecter Demon 7
I mainly recommend Schecter’s Demon 7 because it has been my go-to guitar for several years now, and it has served me better than any instrument I ever tried or owned so far.
Although it’s a bit heavier than you’d expect, the Demon is outstandingly playable. Its neck is firm but its frets are smooth and capable of supporting any playing style.
It’s absolutely gorgeous and boasts a sleek design based on the most popular of all electric guitar body styles: the strat. But what I fell for the most is its overwhelmingly powerful tone.
With the simplest of distortion pedals (Boss ML-2, to be precise), the Demon roars with hellish fury, while retaining its bright sonic signature. It’s a must-have if you’re into heavier styles of music.
PRS SE Custom 24
PRS guitars are usually a bit on the more expensive side, but they’re worth their weight in gold. Custom-built in exceptionally well-equipped USA factories, each PRS guitar is made with great attention to detail.
The Custom 24 SE is a magnificent beast made of flamed maple and mahogany. It rocks proprietary pickups that give it an exquisite tone, and some of the most advanced hardware out there.
When it comes to intonation, playability, and sturdiness (or in one word: “dependability”), it’s hard to match the PRS SE Custom’s performance.
EVH Wolfgang USA
EVH (as in Eddie Van Halen) is a brand of guitars built for aspiring rock stars. Similar to PRS, most of their models are custom-made in the United States and absolutely exude quality left, right, and center.
The Wolfgang USA model is a robust roadworthy guitar made of durable 5-ply basswood and maple. It was clearly built to outlast its first owner and is one of the few guitars I could name that could endure multiple tour cycles without needing nearly any maintenance (aside from cleaning).
In terms of sound, the Wolfgang USA is a highly versatile powerhouse that gives you the ability to crank chunky riffs and exceptionally expressive solos with a flick of a pickup selector switch.
Guitars Everyone Should Own: Final Thoughts
Some of these guitars are obviously quite expensive, especially the last one. Instruments like this are not in most of our budgets. Certainly not mine.
It is a guitar I would love to own, but can’t. At least not at this point in my life. But several of the guitars are very affordable. And I own all of those. I even own two of the more expensive ones.
Again, you certainly do not need to own any of these guitars, but several of them do make for great beginner instruments. If you’re looking for a few more good options, we have an article listing the best electric guitars for beginners here and one listing the best guitars for metal here.