When you’re just starting out, it’s important to know what the best guitar brands in the world are. That way you end up focusing your attention on the ones that have a good reputation for quality rather than getting a lemon.
Although the answer to that question heavily depends on one’s style, personal preferences, and musical vibe, several notable manufacturers can be singled out. Here’s our list of some manufacturers that have helped shape the history of guitar music and won’t steer you wrong!
List of Best Guitar Brands
Founded in: 1902
Gibson is one of the true titans of rock guitar that rose to prominence with the rise of classic rock and hard rock, becoming tightly associated with the gritty sound of rock music.
We are talking about such iconic guitars as Les Paul, SG, Flying V, and Explorer, the axes that helped shape rock and metal music as we know it through the work of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Metallica, and more.
Notable guitars: Les Paul series including the Les Paul Standard and LP Special II, SG, Explorer, Flying V
Notable players: Jimmy Page, Slash, Duane Allman, Gary Moore, James Hetfield, Tony Iommi, Angus Young
Founded in: 1946
Brief info: And then we have the Fender boys! Also raw, but somewhat less gritty and more subtle and dare we say stylish than the Gibson, Fender guitars are associated with some of the most crucial virtuosos of all time.
We are talking about classic giants and the work of the greatest of the great – Mr. Jimi Hendrix, as well as such finger-flashing rock gods as Clapton, Blackmore, Malmsteen and more.
Notable guitars: Stratocaster, Telecaster, and the more affordable Squier-series
Notable players: Jimi Hendrix, Richie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Clapton
Founded in: 1833
Brief info: The icons of acoustic sound, the unbeatable Martin, deserve more than a fair share of kudos from the guitar realm. We are talking about a company founded over 100 years before Fender, a company that armed such legends as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson.
The sound of a Martin is impeccable and they are generally considered a high-end company, although they offer possibly the best affordable acoustic guitar in the world, the Little Martin.
Notable guitars: Little Martin, N20, 000-18
Notable players: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, Willie Nelson
Founded in: 1985
Brief info: If there was a single guitar manufacturer that epitomizes a modern well-rounded musician, it would be the Paul Reed Smith guitar, or the PRS. Founded in 1985, the PRS came a long way and truly offer a range of products that are versatile, stunningly good looking, and one of the best six-strings in the world today.
Notable guitars: SE Series, S2 Series
Notable players: Carlos Santana, Steven Wilson, Al Di Meola, Mikael Akerfeldt, Alex Lifeson, John McLaughlin
Founded in: 1975
Brief info: ESP is a guitar brand that has shaped up to an image of a lean and means metal guitar. Many of today’s most prominent metal guitarists proudly wield and ESP and it’s incredibly precise, punchy and rich sound, as well as masterful craftsmanship, have found their way to the hearts of metalheads around the planet.
Additionally, you might have noticed that ESP is the sole representative of Japanese manufacturers on the list. And indeed, the ESP axes embody the Japanese dedication, precision, and exquisite craftsmanship.
Notable guitars: The Deluxe LTD Series, the ESP 400 Series
Notable players: Dave Mustaine, Alexi Laiho, Kirk Hammett, George Lynch
Obviously, there is no answer to such a silly question, much like there is no answer to “Who is the greatest guitarist of all time?” question. Music is a subjective thing to be enjoyed in a different manner my every individual.
But much like with music, an objective set of guidelines can be established to determine a line of guitars that are good or great based on the criteria of the general public.
And guess what – the names listed above are among the best guitar brands, but don’t stop there, the world of guitars is an intriguing place, a vast plain for you to explore. So enough of internet and get fiddlin’!