Jimmy Page, Kurt Cobain, David Gilmour, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer. Do you know what all those names have in common? Well, it is pretty simple: They all are legendary guitarists. And behind every legend, there is a legendary electric guitar. In this article, I will tell you a little more about them.
The two most used brands of these instruments are Fender and Gibson. This is because they have created some industry standards like the Stratocaster, the Telecaster, the Gibson Sg, and the Gibson Les paul. Those instruments have been used by persons like Eddie Van Halen, Jack White, George Harrison, and other rock music legends.
This article will feature some of the most well-known signature guitars that almost everybody has seen. This way, you will know how much those Electric guitars are worth and if you want to spend all your money on that precious Fender or that Ibanez you want.
I will also share with you some interesting facts about the history of rock music. But most importantly, I will share some interesting stories about the people who have made this genre what it is today: The artists.
The Best Electric Guitars of all time
This Stratocaster is a little bit expensive. However, it is worth every single penny. With a deep C-Neck and a pretty soft fretboard, you will feel that you are in heaven and are with the angels when you play with it. I had the opportunity to use it at a music festival in my city, and it is one of the most comfortable guitars I have ever play.
It comes with two new model V-Mood II pickups of a single coil. This allows the player to have better control over the sound quality. The instrument has one of the best volume control that I have ever experienced.
Some guitarists that have used these guitar brands are Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, and Bruce Springsteen. So if you want to sound like those famous players, well, now you know which Electric guitar brand you will need to buy.
The Rolling Stone magazine wrote about this solid body guitar as “The perfect choice for any guitar player that wants to have a piece of rock history in his bedroom.”
4 out of 5
- The design of the body shape has many features that allow the user to play more comfortably.
- It has the Fender quality seal.
- It is one of the best Stratocaster that you can found in the market.
With a maple body, the sound of the guitar is one of the favorites of many artists.
This is one of the most popular and famous Gibson Signature editions. Tens of guitarists have used this instrument, from Eddie Van Halen to Dave Mustaine, Kirk Hammet from Metallica, Billy Gibson from ZZ Top, or Paul Stanley from Kiss. This Electric Guitar is the second most used from Gibson, just behind the Gibson Les Paul.
So why does this electric guitar is so special? Well, it is pretty simple. It has one of the most interesting sound qualities with a single-coil, one of the most comfortable solid bodies, and allows the user to have better Rhythm control.
This Gibson is a solid body guitar with a combination of various tonewoods, especially using laminated maple, mahogany, and sometimes even ivory. This is one of the most important guitars in music history.
Everybody just thinks about the Gibson Les Paul when they think of this brand; however, this is a perfect option if you want to have a solid body guitar that is above the average.
4 out of 5
- The perfect brand if you want to play some classic rock.
- Guitar of choice of so many guitar legends.
- Perfect for using with middle positions.
With an iconic body style, this guitar is a historical piece that you may want to have in your personal collection.
With a semi-hollow mahogany body, a SE 245 pickup of single-coil, and enhanced volume control, this guitar has been the preferred one of many folk musicians. You can use this semi-hollow body guitar with more calm genres, like blues or jazz.
The blues musicians prefer to use completely hollow-body guitars. However, most blues guitars lack an important feature: Volume control. Any professional player knows that if you want to make incredible music, you will need to have enhanced control over how high the volume is.
Even though the price is a little bit high, this is a perfect guitar if you want to have an incredible experience playing deep and calm music with energetic rhythm and other different genres.
4 out of 5
- It has one of the best necks of all the guitars in the market.
- The electronics part of the guitar is of great quality.
- Perfect if you are a beginner player.
A nice vintage guitar that will make you sound like bob Dylan while playing your favorite songs.
This guitar is one of the most interesting guitars in the world. Most of the users of this guitar have been some of the most famous guitarists in the world of genres like power metal, heavy metal, and hard rock. This is a guitar that has a very low price, so you can buy it without going bankrupt.
This guitar has a switching system that allows you to change from different pickups without making any kind of effort. It has a pretty standard body shape, and the use of a combination of laminated mahogany and maple makes this option a pretty solid choice.
I would recommend this guitar for beginners and intermediate persons equally; however, if you are an intermediate guitar player, I only recommend you to switch to this option if you don’t like the standard options in terms of sounds and volume.
The Rolling Stone magazine wrote about this guitar: “If you want a single coil and solid body option, this guitar is one of the best options. Without any doubt, this is one of the most iconic guitars in all history.”
- The body of the guitar is pretty solid.
- The volume control is of great quality.
- You can easily switch from each pickup thanks to the enhanced volume control.
Even though Ibanez is not one of the most popular brands, this guitar is as good as any Gibson or Fender that you can find in the market.
This is a legendary piece of music history. Some of the artists that have used this guitar are Paul McCartney and George Harrison From the Beatles, Jimmy Page From Led Zeppelin, even Eric Clapton has Used this guitar (even though he would later switch to use the Fender Stratocaster).
Why is this guitar so special? Well, it is mostly because it has settled a standard set of rules in how a guitar should look, how many pickups a guitar should have, and, most importantly, how a guitar should sound.
It doesn’t matter if a guitar is expensive or cheap; the price that you will pay for having one of the most important pieces of music history in your hands will always be the cheapest.
If you buy this option, you will have in your hand the legacy of countless guitar players. You will have in your hand what many famous musicians have once used, and that is priceless.
5 out of 5
- The quality of the pickups of this Epiphone guitar is one of the best in the market.
- You can switch between channels with easiness.
- The mahogany neck and the basswood body are very light.
This is one of the best Gibson instruments that were ever made.
I know that when I said the word “Yamaha,” the first thing that will come to your mind is the Pacifica series (or a motorcycle, I don’t know). However, I rather choose this model because it is the premium version of the Pacifica series.
We are talking about the best guitars of all time, so why would we go with the budget version series when we can go with the one that has a higher price but also has the highest quality of sound.
This is a pretty standard guitar, with a configuration of volume that allows you to switch between pickups. Maybe not many figures have used this guitar; however, I can assure you that you can be a very good guitar player if you choose this model.
Among the popular guitars, this is the jewel of the crown when talking about Japanese instruments. The versatility that it offers allows you to switch from Surf Music to Metal Music in the blink of an eye.
5 out of 5 stars
- It comes with all the features that make the Pacifica series one of the most important models of guitars.
- Perfect for experimented players and newbies alike.
- It has a pretty nice finish.
It may not be a telecaster; however, if you want to have a great quality option, this guitar is perfect for you.
How to recognize the different types of electric guitars?
Solidbody Guitars: Are those that have no holes inside their body; it is one of the most popular types and has been used by countless modern music composers such as Joe Satriani, Eric Clapton, and John Mayer.
Semi-hollow: Also known as “Thinline,” they are those guitars that have a small hollow in its interior, and that is supported by a kind of structural block in the middle. This type of guitar was popularized at the time by recognized blues musicians like Dave Grohl, BB King, and Larry Carlton.
The “Hollowbody”: Those guitars that have bodies full of holes. Similar to the acoustic guitars. These types of guitars are widely used by Jazz musicians. They are also known to have been used in soft music genres like jazz, rhythm, and blues, among others.
What is the difference between the use of a single-coil and the use of Humbuckers Electronics?
Many guitar brands used different kinds of coils. We can say that even though the difference in the kinds of bodies is important (a Solid body guitar and a semi-hollow guitar will have different tone), the different tones is what allows to have the characteristic clean tones.
The main difference between the Humbuckers electronics and the single-coil guitars is that the humbucker pickups use two coils, which allowed Countless guitar players to get a louder sound and cleaner tones.
However, many famous musicians have used single-coil instruments (as an example, the famous music man Carlos Santana), and their music has clear tones as good as any other option, so which one should you choose?
Single coil pickups are characterized by a brighter sound, with less compression, with more definition between strings.
They have a simpler design, which favors the simplicity of construction. As they have less winding than humbuckers, the signal generated is lower (although it is nothing that can’t be solved with a good amplification).
However, they have a disadvantage compared to their alternative, and that is the well-known “hum” (buzzing) that they inevitably generate due to the interaction between the magnetic fields of their winding. The more distortion, the more hum.
Their popularity is largely due to the fact that they have been the choice of most Fender guitar models.
They are very common pickups in musicians of the rock, pop, country, blues, funk, and punk genres.
They have been the main choice of artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ritchie Blackmore, Albert Lee, Roy Buchanan, Jerry Donahue, Keith Richards, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton, among many others, throughout their careers.
On the other hand, the Humbuckers electronics appear in 1955, when Seth Lover (engineer at Gibson Guitar Corporation) realized that, combining two single-coil structures in the same pickup, he was able to buck the hum or buzz that single-coil pickups presented.
At that moment, the now mythical humbucker pickups were born (named after their own function, “hum” + “buck”).
These pickups have a great sound versatility, besides a higher gain in the generated signal, as well as the already mentioned noise reduction (the reason for their creation).
However, not everything can be good since their construction makes their sound lose brilliance and clarity, which are the main characteristics of the single coils. In certain genres such as funk or country, that brilliance is a practically indispensable characteristic.
Since their creation and popularization, Gibson models (among many other brands) are mostly built with double-winding pickups.
The great versatility of these pickups makes them very present in genres as diverse as Jazz, Metal, Blues, or Classic Rock.
This type of pickups is the standard for artists such as Allan Holdsworth, Tony Iommi, Eddie Van Halen, Dave Mustaine, Jimmy Page, Dimebag Darrell, Joe Bonamassa, and Randy Rhodes, among many others.
Active or passive pickups?
Passive pickups are the ones we usually find in our guitars. They are pickups that do not require an external current source to provide a signal. This type of pickup is the most common choice among guitarists for their comfort.
Active pickups, on the other hand, require an external power supply to provide a signal. The reason is that their winding is smaller to minimize as much as possible the already mentioned “hum.” Its reduced winding makes the output signal very low without auxiliary power.
However, once this power supply is available, the output signal can be much higher than any passive pickup.
Why aren’t all pickups active? As I have mentioned, there is a reason, which is the convenience of not requiring power. However, another reason is the fact that passive pickups tend to have a greater dynamic range in their signal, which implies greater sound richness depending on the use.
What are the most legendary brands of guitars?
Some affirm that, at present, the Fender guitars surpass the Gibson ones, and it is because their creators have been perfecting their designs so that the models are more economically accessible, as well as the capacity to make them to the wished measurement.
Without a doubt, it is the largest company in the world. Some of the renowned musicians who used Fender are John Mayer and the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Among the most prominent models are the Stratocaster and the Telecaster.
What’s the difference between the fender Telecaster and the Fender Stratocaster?
The main difference between these two fenders is that the Stratocaster Classical guitars have three single pickups, while Telecaster Classical guitars come with two single pickups.
A notable difference from the Telecaster is that the bridge pickup is mounted inside the metal bridge. This gives it a distinctive and powerful tone that is more useful for the player.
It is another of the guitars companies that have marked boom at a worldwide level; there are those who debate between these and the Fender. Gibson is so great that some guitar players consider them “a trophy.” Among the most outstanding are the Les Paul, Flying V, and ES335 guitars.
Paul Reed Smith (PRS)
Positioning itself as the third-largest guitar manufacturer in America, Paul Reed Smith has been gaining territory, being relatively new compared to those previously described.
This brand was born approximately two years after the famous Stratocaster, being founded in 1985 as PRS Guitars. Without a doubt, PRS models have proven that the brand is here to stay and also have settled a standard in the music work.
The recognized artists that have used it are Ted Nugent, Carlos Santana, Mark Tremonti, and Dave Navarro.
This particular brand has set the standard in rock music over time. Generally, when naming a Japanese guitar company, musicians think of the famous Yamaha electric guitar brand; however, Ibanez has been used by great guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Paul Gilbert.
Its birth was in the 60s, and it stood out in the construction of guitars copying the structures of Gibson and Fender.
Later, in the decade of 1980, they presented the RG series, a very powerful and original design, so popular they were at the time, that they came to lead the number of sales worldwide.
The Yamaha company, through the years, has known how to persuade musicians from all over the world, although in its beginnings it stood out for building pianos and organs, nowadays its Pacifica series and other models are undoubtedly friendly to new players and have a very good quality with great prices.
It is important to mention that this brand was popularized mainly by the famous band The Beatles, something that was paid back by the Rickenbacker since it provided them with spectacular sounds since the beginning of the ’60s.
It was known that John Lennon in his beginnings had a Rickenbacker 325 model; likewise, his partner George Harrison also used a Rickenbacker of other series: the 360/12, which he shows in his album “Hard Day’s Night.”
Other recognized artists who also used this brand were The Who, The Rolling Stones, R.E.M., Tom Petty, and Tom Morello.
This brand was specifically founded in 1883, specializing in the manufacture of basses. Later, in the decade of 1930, they began to build guitars.
However, the years in which the Gretsch brand stood out were in the ’50s and ’60s, even more so when George Harrison appeared with a 1957 model: the Gretsch Duo Jet.
In the United States, this type of guitars of the 50′ and 60′ settled standard and are highly collectible. Without a doubt, it is a guitar that you will want to have in your hands.
How to recognize a high-quality guitar?
Those electric guitars that are considered high-end have three types of pickups as Piezoelectric pickups, ideal for acoustic sounds, regular pickups, and the Synth pickup, designed for all types of sounds.
How do I know if a guitar is in good shape?
There are three parts that you have to take into account when you buy an electric guitar:
- The headstock
Check that the pins are not worn out. To do this, tune the guitar and play it a little. If it gets out of tune right away, the tuning pegs may be of poor quality. Also, check that the eyebrow (or capo) is not cracked. Even so, this piece is cheap in case you have to change it (it costs about 15$ dollars to replace it).
- The mast and neck
The mast must be straight, and the frets must be flat and in good condition. Also, check that the neck does not have any glue or adhesive residue and that the strings do not rub, that is, that they do not touch the frets.
If this is the case, it may be because the bridge is worn or the neck is deformed due to improper storage. In any case, this is not good.
- The body
See if the varnish is in good condition, as you can negotiate if there are any scratches present on the guitar. Check that there are no cracks or dents in the wood. There is a difference between the usual wear around the coils from use and involuntary shocks.
A way to know if the guitar is in good shape is asking another guitarist (preferable a pro guitarist or someone that knows well how a guitar works) to go with you to buy the instrument.
The most important thing is to make sure that the bridge is well attached to the soundboard. It plays an essential role in the sound of the guitar. If you choose an electric or electro-acoustic guitar, remember to check the pickups and buttons’ condition: there must be no noise or interference.
In conclusion, an electric guitar is a nice instrument that has been part of rock music history. So if you want to have the best electric guitar in the market would be the Yamaha RS820CR RRT RevStar.
If you want to learn more about the world of electric guitars, I recommend you to read the rolling stone magazine.