The relationship between the two companies was both amicable and symbiotic. Retrieved May 23, Epiphone Explorer EX in Ebony. Martin makes some incredibly beautiful and expensive instruments like the D and D, along with more affordable guitars that will fit into the budgets of up-and-coming players. Early Matsumoku made Epiphone archtops and hollow-body basses had four-point bolt on necks. In fact, my first decent acoustic guitar was a Madeira by Guild. Collectors of Matsumoku guitars from this period have often solved this problem by fabricating and installing permanent custom neck shims.
But for many players nothing but an American Fender will do. For Fender gets back to basics with the American Original Series.
These are pro guitars with premium components and vintage features that take us back to legendary designs of the past. At Fender, it seems the more things change the more they stay the same. If it ain't broke don't fix it, it seems. Fender is one of those brands that somehow manage to be both classic and cutting-edge at the same time. The most famous Gibson guitar is the Les Paul, which has been a mainstay in the music world for decades. Like Fender, Gibson has remained fairly consistent with their styles and designs.
Their classic acoustics include the Hummingbird. Gibsons are legendary for their tone and craftsmanship, and for many players nothing else will do except a real Gibson guitar. Yup, that Leo Fender. Many of the design are reminiscent of Fender classic instruments, with some improvements to form and design. Godin is a Canadian company, the same folks who bring us Seagull acoustic guitars. Under the Godin brand they make some excellent electric and acoustic electric instruments, and even a few bass guitars.
These are classy-looking instruments, and Godin covers a lot of ground with their lineup. For rock and blues players there are gorgeous single and double-cut designs like the Summit and Sessions. I think the archtop and semi-hollow instruments like the 5 th Avenune are what really make Godin stand out. Gretsch is a guitar company that makes some truly beautiful instruments, especially if you are into hollow and semi-hollow body guitars.
The Gretsch White Falcon is a legendary instrument with a price tag to match its reputation, but there are other models in the Gretsch lineup and something right for any level of player.
The Electromatic Series offers some very affordable options for intermediate players and working pros. Guild is an American guitar company that makes some amazing semi-hollow electric guitars such as the Starfire and the Aristocrat.
These are guitars that nail the retro-rock sound and have the looks to match. Many classic Guild models have been revived through the Newark Street collection. While these guitars are cool beyond words, where Guild really shines is in the acoustic arena. Guild acoustic guitars are played by some of the best professional musicians in the business. From this standpoint, Guild is on par with Martin and Taylor, and completes the triumvirate of American acoustic guitar titans.
However, the GAD series offers a way for intermediate players to get a Guild acoustic for a reasonable price. Ibanez started out as a Japanese company specializing in quality copies of famous American guitars. Today it is known to many as a great guitar company in its own right, mainly for metal and hard rock players.
In truth they make guitars for just about every style and genre, but heavy music is definitely where they shine, and the metal crowd has flocked to Ibanez for decades.
The RG is probably their most iconic instrument, but the S series is also beloved by shredders. Of course they've also been innovators in the field of 7-string guitars, starting back in with the Universe , the first 7-string guitar on the market. Another brand that is well-known among metal players is Jackson.
Back in the s, it seemed like Jackson guitars were in the hands of just about every metal and hard rock player on the planet. That tradition continues today, and models like the King V, Kelly, Rhoads, Soloist, and Dinky are still coveted for their great sound and performance.
Jackson models are available in very expensive custom-shop and made-in-the-USA versions, as well as less expensive guitars with downgraded appointments aimed more at beginning and intermediate players. This means metal guitarists of any level and budget are able to own a Jackson and get started the right way.
In fact, Eddie Van Halen even played a Kramer for a short period of time. Anyone who remembers Kramer during this period probably also remembers a website called MusicYo, where Kramer guitars could be purchased direct and at bargain-basement prices. These days, Kramer has seen something of a resurgence.
Many players remember those glory days of the s and models like the Beretta, with its single-pickup design and double-locking tremolo. Martin is an American guitar company specializing in acoustic guitars. Most of their instruments are still built at their facility in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and their legacy dates back all the way to Martin, in many ways, has helped to shape the look and sound of the American acoustic guitar.
In fact, they invented the now-classic dreadnought shape in an effort to help American country musicians who wanted more projection out of their guitars onstage. Martin makes some incredibly beautiful and expensive instruments like the D and D, along with more affordable guitars that will fit into the budgets of up-and-coming players. I grabbed one a while back and couldn't be happier with it.
It sounds fantastic, with the kind of rich, full tone Martin dreadnoughts are known for. Ovation acoustic-electric guitars are unique, innovative and, for some players, almost addictive!
They have a different look and feel than most other acoustic guitars due to their design, which incorporates a wood top with a rounded, synthetic bowl shape instead of the traditional back and sides.
The result is a light, comfortable guitar with a distinctive sound. For players who prefer the feel of an electric guitar but need to play an acousitc, an Ovation is often the perfect compromise. Ovation makes some incredible professional-level instruments, featuring some quality components and electronics.
They also have the entry-level Applause series of reasonably priced guitars for beginners or those who are looking to get their feet we with the Ovation design. Today these instruments are recognized as some of the finest guitars in the world, on par and often surpassing high-end Gibsons.
Eventually they capitalized on this trend and made the PRS more accessible by introducing the SE line of lower-budget guitars. PRS guitars are used by players of every genre. This is a very unique guitar company, known for high-level acoustic instruments. If there is any company that derails the tonewood debate it is Rainsong. They make their guitars from stuff other than wood — carbon fiber. The result is an instrument with better tuning stability, better resistance to climate changes and excellent craftsmanship.
Rainsong guitars can be a little pricey, but they are certainly worth it, especially for musicians looking for something a bit off the beaten path. Rickenbacker may be a name more closely associated with bass guitar, but it is a brand that makes some of the best acoustic and electric guitars as well. Like their four-stringed brothers, Rickenbacker guitars feature some space-aged designs that have now become classic.
This is a guitar company that has been around since the s, and they played a key part in the early days of rock and roll. Bands like the Beatles helped to bring the Rickenbacker name to the forefront. Schecter Guitar Research is a company that has really established themselves as one of the best guitar brands out there in recent years. Many of their guitars are focused on the heavy metal market, but players of any genre can find a Schecter that meets their needs. While Schecter is one of the best guitar brands for metal out there today.
With hot pickups, fast necks and Floyd Rose tremolo systems, these guitars take me back to a time when everything was good and right in the world. Seagull acoustic guitars are among the best values you are going find. The Seagull Artist series is the top of the lineup. The Seagull S6 Original is a bare-bones acoustic, perfect for beginners and intermediate players.
Squier is the baby brother of Fender and makes inexpensive guitars players based on classic Fender models. The quality varies, but some of these are very good instruments. These Stratocasters and Telecasters feature better components than typical Squier instruments, and some are even on par with lower-priced Fenders.
If you are thinking of starting out in guitar, it is a smart idea to choose a Squier by Fender starter pack. These kits have everything you need to start playing today, including the guitar, amp, cable, strap, picks, and even some materials to help you learn to play!
Taylor guitars are among the best in the world. This American guitar company makes some incredible acoustic guitar designs and a few cool electrics too.
Taylor and Martin are really the upper esheclon when it comes to American-made acoustic guitars. Like Martin, Taylor makes many acoustic and acoustic-electric instruments that find their way into the hands of professional musicians onstage. But they make a few that are more suited for working players as well. Their series is reasonably priced, and a great value for a Taylor guitar.
They also make the Baby and Big Baby, and the GS Mini—smaller-bodied guitars perfect for intermediate players and beginners with a few extra bucks in their pockets. These are awesome acoustic guitars with a big sound.
They might be small, but veteran guitar players love them for the tone and portability. In the s it seemed like Washburn guitars were everywhere, and they were leaders in the hard rock and metal guitar genre.
From metal to jazz and anywhere in between, Washburn has you covered. With signature models for Paul Stanley and Nuno Bettencourt, they still have strong name recognition in the rock world. Yamaha makes a little bit of everything, from organs and bass guitars to electric guitars and band instruments.
Their acoustic guitars are always excellent, and there are options for all levels of guitar experience. Beginning and intermediate players especially can find some outstanding instruments in the Yamaha lineup. This is a Japanese company that has stood the test of time over the years. The Yamaha FG is widely considered one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners , not only because of its surprising sound qualities but also for its ease of play.
Moving up the line, the L Series offers high-level craftsmanship and solid-wood designs. Though the brands listed above are the best-known guitar companies out there, there are many others. If you come across a guitar manufacturer you have never heard of, it always pays to check it out.
You never know what kind of hidden gem you may uncover, and you might find yourself on the leading edge of a new guitar revolution! Finding the right guitar is a process, and it pays to take your time, consider your needs, and learn as much as you can about the different options. So who are the best of the best? Below you'll find my ranking of guitar companies, sorted by electric and acoustic guitar.
Still stumped when it comes to figuring out which guitar brands make the instruments you need to get the sound you want? Here are a few more articles that may help, based on your playing style and favorite genres:. When it comes to acoustic guitars, I suggest Yamaha. They make a couple of instruments — the FG and FS — that are fantastic first guitars.
They are affordable, well made and easier to play than most guitars in their price range. The FG has what is called a dreadnought-style body. This gives an instrument excellent projection and a deep, rich sound. It is also the style I recommend for most beginners. The FS has a smaller concert-style body. It, too, sounds excellent, but with a little less volume and depth.
Fender makes some good acoustic guitar for beginners as well, and if you are into classical music, you will want to check out Cordoba.
Other brands of note include Ibanez, Washburn, Dean and Applause. As for electric guitars, I recommend two brands for most beginners. The first is Epiphone. This is a company owned by Gibson, and they make a couple of affordable beginner guitars that take after more expensive Gibson models. Both guitars have simple designs that will allow a beginner the opportunity to experiment with different sounds without too much complexity.
The other electric guitar brand I recommend for beginners is Squier; specifically the Squier Affinity Stratocaster and Telecaster. Squier is to Fender as Epiphone is to Gibson, and so they make affordable versions of classic Fender guitars. Remember that this is all based on my own opinions. I encourage you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions. The Gibson Firebird immediately comes to mind.
This is a smaller, more rounded Explorer-style guitar first produced back in , and it has undergone a wide range of incarnations since. Gibson has produced many version of the Firebird, including some under their Epiphone brand. There is also the bass version, which is called the Thunderbird.
Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. You can find them in a gale search. There was a question from Benhur about Cort. If you lived in England you may know them better. Cort has a following in their own skin, and many with other well known names just may not know they are playing a Cort. I could only guess.
There are a few smaller luthiers with the initials MM but they don't have "MM" on the headstock. Maybe someone else will know. Is anyone familiar with the MM Guitar acoustical? MM is the brand of guitar. If so, can anyone tell me what the MM means? I believe they are the initials of the designers of the guitar.
Brad - I've noticed that too. Often but certainly not always it seems to be a humidity issue between the plant where the guitar is made and wherever it ends up. The fretboard shrinks a little and the frets get pokey. However I've had a lot of experience with Squier guitars. All have very sharp fret ends which discourage beginners not knowing they must be filed. IDK about any of the others but this is my only complaint. Squier quality and playability after fretwork is amazing at that price point.
Hi Rick - I did some research on this but unfortunately I'm stumped. Everything I read says he likes Gibson guitars and that looks like an ES copy of some kind. Maybe another reader will know the brand and chime in.
I recently saw M. Ward on CBS Saturday morning. He was playing a beautiful double-cutaway with a P on the headstock. I thought it was either a Gibson or Gretsch, but the P threw me. Do you have any ideas what brand guitar he was using? Thank you very much. There are some guitars in that price range but unfortunately I don't have a lot of experience with them. I would tread carefully at that price point, as really cheap guitars often end up being more trouble that they're worth.
Good luck, whatever you decide! Thanks for a great article. I have a question Am a beginner and left handed.. Tim - I think Ibanez Gio Series guitars are great for beginners, especially those who are into metal and hard rock.
I highly recommend them. Bob - Thanks for the kind words, and glad you hear you are getting back into guitar. As for opinions, I do get a lot of them on my articles, and that's okay. I always appreciate it, especially when people are nice about it.
Even when they aren't, I try to see things from their point of view. Long ago I decided I'd always write based on my own opinions, knowledge and experiences. Sometimes that's not popular, but I feel its the best way to go. What a great article, you've put a lot of helpful information in here. I have just got back into playing acoustic-electrics after a long absence. I am enjoying playing as much today as I did back in the '60's. The technology and consistency in manufacturing due to CNC technology has made a world of difference what your money will buy.
After reading all the comments to your article, it's clear, as with everything Looking forward to reading more of your articles. Avro - I agree Godin should probably be on here, though I think whether I'd prefer them to Epiphone depends on the situation.
Of course I understand that this is just your opinion as it would be anyone's. That is your opinion? Maton guitars from Australia are awesome. One of the best acoustic guitar of all-time, Tommy Emmanuel plays their guitars. Slash has an acoustic session and he was playing one of those as well. Epiphone may be the same company as Gibson, but it is a separate brand. While they make many Gibson copies, they have some designs specific to their brand.
Jackson is under the same company umbrella as Fender as well. Especially considering that Godin electric guitars are far superior to Epiphone? PRS is great but sometimes they sound muddy, brands like musicman and charnel deserve some attention as their guitars are really good. I think the guitar business is changing, there are very nice brands out there that are high quality: In my opinion Godin are really nice.
Not always the traditional and most sold is the best. Have you ever tried PRS acoustics before? They come with their SE line, and are fantastic quality guitars for the price. And their American acoustics are built by a small team of acoustic professionals. They only do "private stock" American acoustics now, but they used to have it as a regular lineup with about the same price tag as their custom I've only ever heard them in video, but they sound amazing, and I've only ever heard good things about them.
I have a slight bias I must admit, as I own a PRS SE acoustic, but I can say from my experience that it easily stands up to - or if not, tops over - Martins or Taylors of the same price range. Given that, I would have at least ranked them. But that's just my opinion. Next I bought a Gibson Les Paul Custom, wine red but they have a problem with the paint, it melts on contact to a guitar stand, you have to order a special one to avoid this problem. I'm a huge fan of Peavey amps.
As for their guitars, they aren't bad. Their basses a little better I think. If you have a Peavey dealer nearby it is certainly worth going in and checking them out. Yes, I know Guild. They are up there my list. In fact, my first decent acoustic guitar was a Madeira by Guild. It's a budget model, but a good guitar, and I still have it today. Have you heard of the guitar company website named the guild guitar company. They have an excellent guitar facts info and sell guitar parts. I really recommend going to their page.
That is if you haven't visited yet. I always recommend Yamaha acoustics for beginners. The question is what size you need to get. Some smaller kids do better on small-bodied guitars like the Yamaha JR2.
Of course he would outgrow this by the time he is a teenager, though it would still be a cool guitar to have around. If you feel he can handle a full-size guitar look at something like the FGS. It's a great starter guitar that will last him a long time, as long as he takes care of it. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.
A guitar which would last him atleast until he's teenager or adulthood! Sure, I'll comment on Ibanez. I loved it, and though it has undergone some extensive modifications I still have it today.
In fact, even today the neck is one of the sweetest of any guitar in my collection. I like Ibanez a lot, for both guitar and bass. They have a few very affordable guitars in the S and RG lineups that are great choices for the money, and their high-end gear is up to the standards of anybody in the industry.
For beginner instruments they are tough to beat too. I highly suggest checking them out. I like Martin a lot. Good luck finding a great acoustic guitar! I have been looking for a guitar and noticing what the bands touring and professionals of Nashville. Gibson, Taylor, Martin and Takamime are the big 4. I like the Martin sound.
My last lost guitar was a 1k copy of a Martin by Alvarez Yari. Yari was sued for making their copies as was Univox same quality half the price. No, I don't work in a guitar store. I've never heard of a guitar brand called "Clapton". Eric Clapton plays Fender guitars and has his own signature Stratocasters.
You may have heard the phrase "Clapton Stratocaster". Is that what you're thinking of? If anypne has heard about Clapton guitar brand.
I wonder if it really is a guitar brand so plz reply. I don't understand why everyone is so "Gibson is the best". They have been going downhill for years. Unless it's a custom shop job, it is hit or miss. Everyone likes them because of the mystique of the players that played them over the last decades. It's a "lifestyle cult" with name recognition.
If you want a guitar that plays and sounds like a Gibson of Fender is supposed to but want to be guaranteed of the quality you are receiving and spend for a fraction of the money, then get a used USA Custom Shop made Washburn. You will never look back. I say used because the Chicago custom shop has apparently closed.
Anything made there from about - that looks like a competitors guitar will outmatch the competitors version every time. You will notice that it is hard to find a used custom shop Washburn around.
That's because they are the guitar worlds best kept secret. The people in the know get them - at a massively reduced price - and keep them. People hang onto their USA Washurns for the most part and there i a reason for that. They are that good. I don't have a lot of personal experience with Alvarez but I am aware they are a respected brand, the Yairi series in particular. I update this article every so often so I may add them in the future.
Glad you found a guitar you love! One of my guitars is an Alvarez Yairi. It's an acoustic dreadnaught, priced up there with the Martin D28, has fantastic sound, and very comfortable to play. I haven't seen Alvarez mentioned in this article. I am just wondering how you think it compares to some of the other high-end guitars. For me Gibson is the best in electric and acoustic as well but the price so wow.
Epiphone so much affordable and it wont disappoint u because it sound really good tho. Gibson makes some amazing acoustic guitars, but I would not recommend them for beginners unless you have some serious cash at your disposal.
If you like Gibson designs check out Epiphone acoustic guitars. I also suggest checking out Yamaha guitars. In my opinion, they are a great choice for beginners. I think Yamaha is a great brand for beginners. That's where I recommend you'd start. You might also want to look at Fender, Epiphone, and Ibanez. Sorry, I don't know anything about Havana guitars. Not sure I've seen that brand around in the States.
As far as semi-acoustic -- that's up to you. In my opinion, a standard acoustic is fine for a beginner and will cost a little less. Thanks for the kind words! As somewhat of a newbie, you may find a semi-hollow-body guitar more flexible and versatile, especially if you are still finding trying to figure out what genre you are going to focus on. If you are set on the hollow-body go for, but ,if you are on the fence, the versatility of the guitar is something to consider.
Those are my thoughts. I'm kind of a beginner guitar player just started last July, in fact and I have a Fender T-bucket but I would really like to get a nice electric. I'm stuck between a semi-hollow body Guild and a hollow body Gretsch. I love the look and sound of both and I'm unsure of which to get. What do you think? You're making me think a little deeper on Rickenbacker, PooreBoy. It has good clarity and balance combined with a tight bass.
This results in a neck pickup that sounds very much like a slimline PAF and a bridge pickup that produces the mini humbucker equivalent of the baseball bat in the face sound, so long associated with the best Les Pauls. If you want a mini humbucker that can turn from nice to nasty with the flick of an overdrive switch, this is the one. P's The P90 format provides opportunities for some great variations as well as some very traditional tone.
Our Unicorn and Werewolf designs provide two of the most traditional flavours while our Retro's and the Wraith offer some very distinct alternatives. Humbucker Sized P90's There have been attempts to make humbucker sized P90's for around 30 years. The technical issues involved have resulted in some killer pickups but few, if any, that really sounded like a P Thanks to a very simple idea that it took me 3 years to think of Gemini Pickups now has humbucker sized P90's available that sound exactly how they should.
The key problem is that a P90 coil extends up to Fitting into a humbucker format, there is only 7mm available at the ends. Gemini P90H's use a butterfly design bobbin. Under the strings, the coil is the traditional shallow, wide P90 coil. At the ends, the coil exopands vertically by an additional 3. Almost all the others use either finer wire or a taller coil, either of which makes a big difference to the tone.
These are not vaguely like P90's, they're the real deal. If you're not convinced, listen to this. It's a cut and paste of pieces from the sound samples for the Unicorn neck pickup in soapbar and humbucker sized formats. You should be able to spot some of the joins but can you tell which is which? Epiphone Wildkat and Casino. Most replacement pickups, including Gemini's can be fitted in the bridge position but not in the neck position. A standard P90 will not fit and would be much too close to the strings, being 3.
However, we do have a modified Seraphim Special design that will fit and is similar but slightly thicker toned. Please contact us for details. Unicorn A classic P, with traditional P sound. The Unicorn is vintage wound but at the fatter end of the vintage range. Very simple, very effective and very versatile. The Werewolf provides higher levels of performance and a slightly crisper, more focused sound.
Tapped, it produces a more open sound with extra highs, just like adding one third strat to the mix. The Alnico IV magnets provide plenty of output without the pickup becoming overly aggressive or thin. A first layer of very heavy wire is used for the CC sound.
This is then overwound with a finer wire to produce the full P sound. The CC sound is very open, has great clarity without any of the harshness normally found on bright pickups. It's designed for Jazz, so don't expect rich mid-range harmonics for good overdrives. However, switch up to the full P sound and the Seraphim delivers that as well. A first layer of wire is used for the beatbacker sound. The beatbacker sound drove the british invasion of the 60's, as well as being famous for it's use in 12 string folk rock.
The Cherubim provides this for any guitar that takes a P, with the additional advantage of switching up to a full P sound for a wide range of blues and rock sounds. The rod magnets provide a stronger but narrower magnetic field than a conventional P Alnico III was chosen to give a softer attack more in keeping with P90's. A typical P90 winding gives the Wraiths plenty of output for most situations. Bright, percussive bridge, warm smooth neck and lots of jangle in the middle position.
Mini Humbuckers Firebird style mini humbuckers are a wonderful alternative pickup, providing enough clarity to satisfy most single coil addicts but combined with humbucker performance. The Gemini models take two different approaches to this, with the primary difference being in the mid structure rather than in brightness. Our Deluxe style mini humbucker models use the same principal but with carbon steel blades in both coils, thus retaining the clean looks of the Satyr and Manticore and allowing mixing of the two designs as sets.
It's often said that mini humbuckers are somewhere between single coils and full sized humbuckers in sound. Firebird style pickups are much nearer the single coil end of this scale and deluxe style pickups much nearer to full sized humbuckers. All of our mini humbuckers are also now available in a full sized humbucker package. They use the same bobbins, magnets and blades but are mounted on a full sized humbucker baseplate with full sized cover.