33 Best Guitar Brands: Top Acoustic and Electric Guitars 2018

Updated on February 2, 2018
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Guitar Gopher is a guitarist and bassist with over 30 years of experience as a musician.

The best guitar brands are known for producing quality acoustic and electric instruments. Manufacturers like Epiphone, Fender and Gibson are at the top of the list.
The best guitar brands are known for producing quality acoustic and electric instruments. Manufacturers like Epiphone, Fender and Gibson are at the top of the list.

Top Guitar Brands

The best guitar brands stay on top for good reason so if you’re looking for a new acoustic or electric guitar it’s smart to start with the big names. These companies have built up their reputations over the years by producing high-quality instruments used by some of the best guitar players in the world.

Some of these guitar manufacturers have even been around over a hundred years! You’ve probably heard of most of them, but there are also some less-famous names out there making amazing instruments.

If you’re new to guitar, or if you’re just now taking an interest in the different instrument makers for the first time, this guide is intended to help you sort out what makes each manufacturer unique and decide whether or not their products are a good match for your needs.

You can think of this article as a directory of sorts. There’s a lot of information presented here, but then again there are a lot of guitars out there in the world. I started this project a few years ago with the idea of creating a page where new and veteran players alike can find information about different guitar brands. I’ve got over thirty years of experience behind me, so maybe my opinions can help you make a better decision if you are looking for a new instrument.

This is a long article, and you may find it easiest to scroll around to the different sections you are interested in. Or you may prefer to read this whole article from start to finish. In my opinion it’s probably best to bookmark this page and come back to it later, instead of trying to digest the whole thing in one shot.

Note: If you don't see your favorite guitar brand listed here, don't freak out! (People seem to freak out over this for some reason.) This list is always evolving, so if you think there is a company unjustly omitted here just mention it in the comments and I may add it on the next update.

In fact, feel free to post your own list of your favorite guitar brands in the comments section.

Good luck on your guitar journey, and I hope you find this page helpful!

Guitar Reviews and Advice for Beginners

Are you here because you're looking for advice on choosing the right guitar for a beginning guitarist? Here are a couple of articles you may find more helpful:

Alphabetical Listing of Guitar Companies

Below you’ll find the 33 most prominent guitar manufacturers, listed alphabetically. Some specialize in one type of guitar (acoustic or electric), while others do well with both. Some focus on a specific genre, such as metal or jazz, and some do it all. I’ve tried to give a good overview of each brand, along with a few notes on any significant changes for 2018.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section!


Alvarez builds primarily acoustic instruments, but a few cool archtop semi-acoustics as well. They’ve been around for over 50 years, and their acoustic and acoustic-electric instruments are widely respected in the guitar world. This is also a company that covers every level of guitar players, from beginner to pro.

New players will want to check out guitars such as the AD60, which I picked for my list of top acoustic guitars under $300. For players will deeper pockets and a few years of experience under their belts, check out the Masterworks Series.

B.C. Rich

B.C. Rich specializes in guitars for the heavy metal and hard rock crowd. They’ve produced some of the most legendary designs in the history of metal, including the Warlock, Bich, Virgin, and Mockingbird. Their instruments helped to mold the hard rock and thrash revolution of the 1980s and B.C. Rich is still a great choice for any guitarist looking for an instrument that looks and sounds as edgy as possible.

Along with their classic designs, in recent years B.C. Rich introduced their Villain line of electric guitars. These guitars look incredible, with a classic superstrat style. The Mk3 Series is an affordable way to grab a Villain, or one of the more well-known B.C. Rich designs suck as the Warlock, Mockingbird and even the ferocious Warbeast.

Of course there are other series as well, from Mk1 for beginners, all the way up to Mk11 for professional players. If you play metal, B.C. Rich should be high up on your list of guitar companies to consider.

Guitar World Checks out the B.C. Rich MK5 Warlock


Blueridge makes some excellent acoustic guitars, many of them based on historic designs. So, what does that mean? Many players feel that acoustics made in the early days after the dreadnought design had been created used better construction methods, qualities and materials compared to guitars produced today. In their historic designs, Blueridge attempts to capture some of that magic.

Blueridge builds some modern designs in their Contemporary Series as well. This is a company that has earned some serious respect over the past several years when it comes to offering unexpected quality and appointments.


I’ve been enamored with Breedlove guitars since I discovered them at a local guitar shop a couple of years back. They look cool, with the sharp lower-bout cutaway, but most importantly they sound good, and incorporate some interesting build ideas.

One of those ideas is the Breedlove Pinless Bridge design. This not only eliminates the need to yank out bridge pins when you change your strings, but also improves the sound of the guitar due to fewer holes in the soundboard.

New guitarists will want to check out Discovery Series, where more advanced players can look to the Oregon Series for premium instruments with some really cool tonewood choices.

The Gorgeous Breedlove Oregon Series

Carvin / Kiesel

Carvin is a guitar company with a different business model than the rest. You won’t find them at your local music store because Carvin only makes custom guitars. Their instruments are based around a handful of templates and each feature components that are individually chosen by the buyer. For this reason, it’s very rare to find two Carvins that are completely identical.

There’s a Carvin model for just about every musical style, from metal to jazz to country to plain old rock and roll. These are high-quality, American-made instruments, and pretty good deals too. If you’re a guitar player looking to stand out from all the rest, Carvin is a great option.

A few years ago we saw a change to the Carvin company, as their guitars and basses took on the Kiesel brand name. So, Carvin is Kiesel now. But they are still Carvin. So what gives?

In a nutshell: Lowell Kiesel is the name of the guy who founded Carvin. He originally sold guitars under his own name, but later changed the company name to Carvin, a melding of the first names of his two sons. So, when Carvin changed the name on their guitars to Kiesel, they were actually reverting back to their roots. Kiesel is Carvin, and Carvin has always been Kiesel.

Got it?

Check out my personal experience with Carvin guitars here: Carvin guitars review.


A few decades ago, during the Golden Age of Shred, Charvel guitars were front and center as one of the best guitar brands for hard rock, metal, and brain-melting soloing. Then came the 1990s and the grunge revolution, and for a time anyway all things shred were out, in favor of droning guitars and melancholy lyrics.

But the universe could only take so much of that, so it was only a matter of time before brands like Charvel came back to power. That time is now.

Charvel’s So Cal and San Dimas models are just as hot as their ancestors of the ‘80s. In my opinion, these are still at the top of the list of best superstrats in the world.

Hear the Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1


Cordoba is one of my favorite guitar companies when it comes to classical and nylon-string acoustic instruments. They make everything from student-sized guitars for beginners, all the way up to pro-level gear. They even have acoustic-electric nylon string guitars, for players who need to amplify their sound.

I always recommend the Cordoba C5 for beginners who are looking for their first classical or nylon string guitar. It’s comes at a very wallet-friendly price, but it sounds and plays exceptionally well for a guitar in its price range. More experienced players can look to other C-Series Cordoba guitars like the C12, which is built for advanced guitarists.

Daisy Rock

Daisy Rock? Sounds like guitars for girls or something. It is! Daisy Rock is a company dedicated to empowering girls and young women and giving them the resources they need to learn to play the guitar. They have starter, short-scale acoustic guitars for little girls, and some really cool electric guitars in the shapes of hearts, butterflies, and flowers.

But don’t think they’re all about foofy shapes and pastel colors. Daisy Rock also produces some really high-grade stuff: guitars with professional-style appointments like the Stardust and Rock Candy models. This is company that really has a great mission statement. We need more girl guitar heroes!


If you are into metal, Dean is a guitar company you’ll want to check out. Their classic ML design has become an icon in the extreme rock genre, thanks to the late Darrell Abbott of Pantera and Damageplan. In the 1990s Dime brought the old ML back to life, and Dean expanded the concept with some sharper, more modern designs.

These days there are several versions of the ML to choose from. Plus, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth endorses Dean with his signature V, and the Dean Vendetta Series is worth a look for any level of guitar player.

Dean also makes some great guitars for rock, blues, country, and even some quality acoustics.


They are now owned by Gibson, but at one time Epiphone was one of Gibson’s biggest competitors. Nowadays they are considered Gibson’s budget-minded little brother.

Even so, Epiphone is one of the best electric guitar brands, known for producing quality instruments in the Gibson mold. You might think choosing an Epiphone Les Paul means you are compromising tone and quality, but it may surprise you to know that many veteran guitar players hold their Epis right up their with their Gibsons.

Epi makes both electric and acoustic guitars and many of their models are based around Gibson designs. In fact, they are the only guitar company allowed to use Gibson specs to make Les Pauls, Explorers, SGs, Flying Vs, and other Gibson classics.

Some of Epiphone's entry-level guitars like the Les Paul Special II and the Les Paul 100 place them among the best guitar brands for beginners. This is good news for young players and anyone looking to get a great guitar that looks like a Gibson, sounds a lot like a Gibson, but doesn’t cost nearly as much as a Gibson.

For serious beginners and intermediate players, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is a quality instrument that will get you through practice sessions and gigs alike. From there, take things up a notch with the Les Paul PlusTop PRO and the gorgeous but very affordable Les Paul Custom PRO.

It is no wonder Epiphone is considered one of the best electric guitar brands for beginners and intermediate players in the world today!

More on the Epiphone Les Paul Custom PRO

Ernie Ball Music Man

If you’ve been around the guitar world a little while the first name that comes to mind when you think of Ernie Ball Music Man is John Petrucci, guitar wizard of Dream Theater. You might also think if Steve Lukather of Toto.

This is a guitar company that makes some amazing high-end guitars, and signature models for these legendary players are only a few of them. The Axis is another amazing instrument, and if you are my age you might think of another famous guitarist associated with this guitar.

Check out the Ernie Ball Music Man collection, but if you don’t have the coins turn your attention to Sterling, Ernie Ball’s brand for beginners and intermediate players.


You know Eddie Van Halen, that legendary guitar player who pretty much knocked the music world on its ear with his innovative sounds and playing style back in the late ‘70s. For years he partnered with brands such as Kramer, Ernie Ball and Peavey to create signature models of his guitars, as well as the real guitars he used onstage. Now he has his own company: EVH.

Through the EVH brand we see not only several versions of the Wolfgang, Eddie’s personal guitar, but also the Striped Series, which recreates guitars he has used in the past.

I’ve said it before: While I’m not generally a fan of signature gear, Eddie’s stuff is top notch. EVH isn’t some kind of novelty; these are awesome guitars with quality components.


During the ‘80s and early ‘90s, ESP was a guitar company known for creating incredible custom-shop instruments and high-quality original designs.

They still do that, and ESP guitars are used by some of the best professional musicians on the planet, especially in the hard rock and metal genres. But when they branched out to their ESP-LTD designs, ESP brought their legendary guitars to the masses.

ESP LTD guitars feature ESP designs like the Eclipse in a more budget-friendly package, such as the EC1000. The ESP-LTD EC-1000 is an amazing rock guitar with quality appointments. It is quickly becoming a classic. If you are looking for a great Les Paul alternative, the EC-1000 might be the right choice for you.

You’ll also find some original and innovative designs in the ESP LTD lineup. These are great guitars for the money and feature many top-shelf components.

Check Out the ESP-LTD Elite Eclipse I


Along with Gibson, Fender is probably among the most recognized guitar names out there. Models like the Stratocaster and Telecaster are etched into history as some of the greatest guitars ever made. Their USA-made instruments have shaped just about every genre of music for over 60 years.

Fender is one of the best guitar brands in the world and the these are iconic guitarc. For players on a budget, Fender brings us the affordable Standard Stratocaster, or "Made in Mexico" series. These are excellent instruments for intermediate players and even working pros.

MIM Stratocasters come in at around half the price of their American-made brothers. I've been playing a HSS Standard Strat for years, and I can tell you first-hand they are amazing guitars.

And, like USA Fenders, you can choose between maple or rosewood fingerboards, HSS or SSS pickup configuration, and from an array of colors. There are also models available with a Floyd Rose tremolo and with pretty "plus" tops.

But for many players nothing but an American Fender will do. For 2018 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.

New for 2018: The Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster
Fender Stratocaster


The most famous Gibson guitar is the Les Paul, which has been a mainstay in the music world for decades. The Gibson Les Paul is a high-end, made-in-the USA instrument, and it comes in a few different variations. Like Fender, Gibson has remained fairly consistent with their styles and designs. In addition to the Les Paul, other famous Gibson electric guitars include the SG, Flying V, Explorer, ES-335, and Firebird. Their classic acoustics include the Hummingbird.

As mentioned above, many of these models are available as Epiphone copies, but that doesn’t detract from the mystique of Gibson. Gibsons are legendary for their tone and craftsmanship, and for many players nothing else will do except a real Gibson guitar.

Gibson has made some interesting changes in their lineup in recent years, including the return of the classic Les Paul Studio design in the form of the Studio T, and the super-affordable Les Paul Studio Faded, which is still one of the best electric guitars under $1000.

Guitar Center Checks out the 2018 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded
Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded


G&L is a guitar company founded by Leo Fender. Yup, that Leo Fender. Many of the design are reminiscent of Fender classic instruments, with some improvements to form and design. Because of this, some guitar players feel G&L is a solid alternative to, and even an improvement to Fender guitars.

No doubt you’ll see Leo Fender’s mind at work when looking at guitars like the ASAT and Legacy. But look a little deeper and you’ll find some innovative hardware and electronics designs, plus a few models that separate G&L from any of the other guitar brands out there.


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 5th Avenune are what really make Godin stand out.

Godin 5th Avenue


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.

From the signature Chet Atkins and Brian Setzer models, to the Jet and Duo Jet, Gretsch is to rockabilly and jazz what Jackson is to metal. 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. As you’d expect, the prices follow suit. However, the GAD series offers a way for intermediate players to get a Guild acoustic for a reasonable price.

The Guild D-150CE


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 1990 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 1980s, 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.

Guitar World Reviews Amazing Jackson Guitars


Back in the ‘80s Kramer was one of the premier names in metal and hard rock. In fact, Eddie Van Halen even played a Kramer for a short period of time.

In the ‘90s things took a weird turn, and Kramer was eventually bought up by Gibson. 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 1980s and models like the Beretta, with its single-pickup design and double-locking tremolo. If that’s your bag, give Kramer guitars a serious look.


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 1833. 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-28 and D-45, along with more affordable guitars that will fit into the budgets of up-and-coming players. It’s also worth noting that Martin is playing a big role in spearheading the effort to protect endangered forests by seeking out alternate tonewoods where possible.

The Martin DX1AE is an outstanding for well under $1000, and it incorporates some environmentally friendly build techniques. 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.

Martin DX1AE Acoustic Guitar
Martin DX1AE Acoustic Guitar

Different Types of Martin Guitars


Ovation acoustic-electric guitars are unique, innovative and, for some players, almost addictive! Once you’ve played an Ovation, no other guitar may do. 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.


PRS is a guitar company founded by luthier Paul Reed Smith. Today these instruments are recognized as some of the finest guitars in the world, on par and often surpassing high-end Gibsons.

PRS really took off back in the ‘90s when it seemed just about everyone had swapped out their Les Paul for a PRS. Eventually they capitalized on this trend and made the PRS more accessible by introducing the SE line of lower-budget guitars. But these aren’t beginner’s guitars. Even though they cost less than a standard PRS, they’re still high-quality instruments.

PRS guitars are used by players of every genre. They’re a classy, if somewhat expensive, alternative to some of the more traditional brand names in the guitar industry.

Hear the PRS S2 Custom 22


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.

But, you’re thinking, they must sound bad because they aren’t made of wood. Wrong. I’ve played a few of them, and they really do sound amazing. 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 1930s, 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.

These days, Rickenbacker guitars are a unique choice for guitarists looking for something with a vintage style that’s a bit off the beaten path.


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. With superb craftsmanship and high-end appointments you’d expect to find on much more expensive guitars, they are also among the best values in the guitar world.

Many of their guitars are based around the Schecter “C” body shape model. This is a great design that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but also easy to play and sonically effective.

While Schecter is one of the best guitar brands for metal out there today. One design I’ve been really impressed with lately is the Sun Valley Super Shredder. 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.

Check Out the Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredders


Seagull acoustic guitars are among the best values you are going find. They’re made in Canada, and there’s an attention to detail and craftsmanship here you may not expect in guitars at these price points. The Seagull Artist series is the top of the lineup. You’ll find unique tonewoods and high-quality construction techniques at an affordable price.

Further down the Seagull line, looking at models outside of the Artist Series, the components and woods aren’t the same but we still see an impressive attention to detail. The Seagull S6 Original is a bare-bones acoustic, perfect for beginners and intermediate players. This is a guitar worth checking out if you need a solid acoustic and don’t want to break the bank.


Squier is the baby brother of Fender and makes inexpensive guitars players based on classic Fender models. Along with Epiphone, they’re one of the best guitar brands for beginners or newbies looking for their first real guitar.

The quality varies, but some of these are very good instruments. Squier also make starter packs that come with a guitar, amp, and all the accessories you’ll need to get started playing.

A few Squiers that stand out above the rest are the Classic Vibe and the Vintage Modified Series. 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 guitars don’t come cheap, but like Martin, they are worth every penny.

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 200-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.

Check out the Taylor GS Mini!


In the 1980s it seemed like Washburn guitars were everywhere, and they were leaders in the hard rock and metal guitar genre. Even though they aren’t quite as prominent as they once were, they still feature some nice guitars in their lineup. 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.

It’s not likely Washburn is going anywhere anytime soon. They’re one of the oldest American guitar makers in the business, with roots going all the way back to 1883!


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 FG800 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.

There is a reason Yamaha has been around for so long, and is so revered in the music world.

Other Guitar Makers

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. It’s always smart to start with the big names. Remember, there’s a good reason they’re the best guitar brands in the world!

So who are the best of the best? Below you'll find my ranking of guitar companies, sorted by electric and acoustic guitar. It's based on my opinion after 30+ years playing guitar, but of course you will form your own opinions on who is the best.

Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Brands

  1. Martin
  2. Taylor
  3. Gibson
  4. Guild
  5. Seagull
  6. Yamaha
  7. Ovation
  8. Washburn
  9. Fender
  10. Epiphone

Top 10 Electric Guitar Brands

  1. Gibson
  2. Fender
  3. PRS
  4. G&L
  5. Rickenbacker
  6. Ibanez
  7. ESP
  8. Jackson
  9. Schecter
  10. Epiphone

More Guitar Brands

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:

Guitars for Metal

  • Check out some of the top guitars for heavy metal and hard rock from brands like Jackson, B.C. Rich, and Schecter. Pointy shapes only get you so far. These guitars have what it takes under the hood.

Guitars for Country

  • The right guitar brand for country and Southern rock can make the difference between great tone and, well, something else. Which would you rather have when you get up there onstage?

Guitars for Blues and Rock

  • Check out your best bets if you are looking for a guitar brand to play the blues. Hey, you can play the blues on almost anything, but grabbing the right instrument sure helps your sound!

Guitars for Jazz

  • The perfect jazz guitar should sound warm, woody, and clean. Here are some guitar companies that make great guitars for the jazz musician, or anyone who wants to sound like one.

Guitars for Shredders

  • If guitar acrobatics are your idea of a good time, check out these guitars built for speed and precision. Of course they're from some of the top guitar brands in the metal world!


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    • Guitar Gopher profile image

      Guitar Gopher 4 weeks ago

      @Tim - I think Ibanez Gio Series guitars are great for beginners, especially those who are into metal and hard rock. I highly recommend them.

    • profile image

      Tim 4 weeks ago

      What do u guys think of the ibanez Gio. Series

    • Guitar Gopher profile image

      Guitar Gopher 3 months ago

      @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. :-)

    • Mr-Moto profile image

      Bob 3 months ago from Murrells Inlet

      Guitar Gopher,

      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....everyone has an opinion.

      What works/sounds/feels right to me, doesn't mean it will for you. Looking forward to reading more of your articles.

      Keep up the great work!

    • Guitar Gopher profile image

      Guitar Gopher 4 months ago

      @Avro - I agree Godin should probably be on here, though I think whether I'd prefer them to Epiphone depends on the situation.

    • profile image

      Avro Arrow 5 months ago

      Of course I understand that this is just your opinion as it would be anyone's. So in your opinion, Epiphone makes superior guitars to the LGXT/SA, Multiac, Montreal Premiere and Park Avenue Kingpin? That is your opinion?

    • profile image

      Not accurate 5 months ago

      You forgot recording king in the mix. Easily in the top 5

    • profile image

      Bryan 6 months ago

      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.

    • Guitar Gopher profile image

      Guitar Gopher 6 months ago

      @Avro - I appreciate your constructive criticism. In answer to your questions:

      1. 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.

      2. I write these articles based on my personal opinion.

      2. See #2 above.

      Hope this helps!

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      Avro Arrow 6 months ago

      Two questions:

      1) How is it that you put Epiphone separate from Gibson when they're nothing more than a Gibson band-name that makes nothing but cheap Gibsons?

      2) Why do you recognise Godin's greatness by acknowledging their Seagull brand but have no mention of Godin, even though their guitars are vastly superior to Epiphone?

      2) How is it that you recognise one of Godin's brands, Seagull, but not the Godin name? Especially considering that Godin electric guitars are far superior to Epiphone?

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      BLAKTORX 6 months ago

      PRS is great but sometimes they sound muddy, brands like musicman and charnel deserve some attention as their guitars are really good. In Gibson and Fender you’re basically paying for the brand

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      David 8 months ago

      I think the guitar business is changing, there are very nice brands out there that are high quality: GODIN, CHARVEL and Ernie Ball - MusicMan...In my opinion Godin are really nice. Not always the traditional and most sold is the best.

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      Chris W 9 months ago

      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 24. I've only ever heard them in video, but they sound amazing, and I've only ever heard good things about them. I would argue that PRS should have made that top 10 acoustic list at least over Fender or Epiphone.

      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.

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      Wolf_Entity1223 11 months ago

      my ibanez is my pride and joy and i wouldnt trade it for the world

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      Gary Bross 15 months ago

      I finally bought my American made Fender Strat, I loved the color blue.

      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.

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      Rockerzt 15 months ago

      For best playability .... Ibanez

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      Nick 15 months ago

      Check out larrivee!!

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      Guitar Gopher 16 months ago

      @Mason. 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.

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      mason 16 months ago

      So what would u say to a Peavey are they good?

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      Guitar Gopher 17 months ago

      Hi Braydyn. 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.

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      Braydn 17 months ago

      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.

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      Gerry 18 months ago

      I own a Webber and I am quite pleased with my round body guitar.

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      Guitar Gopher 20 months ago

      Hi Learmonth! I always recommend Yamaha acoustics for beginners. The FG and FS Series both offer affordable, quality instruments. 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 FG700S. 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.

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      Learmonth 20 months ago

      Hi, can you recommend a good quality/brand of "acoustic guitar" for my 10y.o. son who's keen on taking up guitar lesson? A guitar which would last him atleast until he's teenager or adulthood!

      Appreciate your feedback with the above.

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      Guitar Gopher 20 months ago

      Sure, I'll comment on Ibanez. :-) My first "real" guitar was an 1985 Ibanez PR1660, which was like a Rhoads copy kind of thing. 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.

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      Aldren 20 months ago

      How about ybanez guitar? Anyone wants to comment?

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      Pedram 20 months ago

      Ernie Ball Music Man guitars not in this list!!!!!!!!!

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      Guitar Gopher 22 months ago

      @dereck: I like Martin a lot. While many of their guitars are pretty expensive, they do have some nice options in $1000-$2000 range. Good luck finding a great acoustic guitar!

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      dereck 22 months ago

      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. and bought a great copy by Univox, 3-5k for the Martin.

      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.

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      Guitar Gopher 23 months ago

      Hi Matthew. No, I don't work in a guitar store. But I have been around guitars for 30+ years and have probably spent more times in stores than some people who do work there! :-)

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      Matthew 23 months ago

      S you basically listed every guitar brand. Do you work at a guitar store or something?

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      Guitar Gopher 23 months ago

      Hi prabhat. 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?

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      prabhat 23 months ago

      Hey guys. . plz tell me. If anypne has heard about Clapton guitar brand. I wonder if it really is a guitar brand so plz reply.

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      Scott 23 months ago

      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. the same with Fender. 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 1993 - 2008 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.

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      Guitar Gopher 23 months ago

      Hi JMDean. 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!

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      JMDean 23 months ago

      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.

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      Joe 2 years ago


      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.

      By the way, Godin and Cort also sounds good if u know about it.


    • Guitar Gopher profile image

      Guitar Gopher 2 years ago

      Hi Ankit! 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.

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      ankit singh 2 years ago

      hi i am a biginner but can not find which brand is best for acoustic giuitar.

      i thik gibson is the best brand of acoustic guitar

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      Guitar Gopher 2 years ago

      Hi Sumit Das. I think Yamaha is a great brand for beginners. Check out the FG700S and FS700s. 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. Good luck!

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      Sumit Das 2 years ago

      i m just a beginner, searching for an acoustic guitar

      which brand would be the best ??

      and have u heard about the brand havana?

      and u have got an excellent list!!!

      is semi acoustic preferable

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      Guitar Gopher 2 years ago

      Hi Dan! 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. Good luck!

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      Dan 2 years ago

      Love the list! 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?

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      Guitar Gopher 2 years ago

      You're making me think a little deeper on Rickenbacker, PooreBoy. I am aware of the storied history behind the brand, but have to admit I have never been a huge fan. As a bassist I love the 4003, but the guitars never did it for me. Perhaps I may take a new look.

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      PooreBoy 2 years ago

      Nice list, but I would it would have been nice to see more than a mention about Rickenbacker guitars. (After all they were the first to make an electric guitar in 1932)

      Some of the greatest rock songs ever recorded contained a Rickenbacker. And if you look back on the guitarists who've used them...that list is staggering.

      People like John Lennon, George Harrison, Roger McGuinn, Pete Townsend, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell...well the list goes on an on.

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      Guitar Gopher 2 years ago

      Sorry, Deepak, I am not familiar with that guitar brand name.

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      Deepak Eapen 2 years ago

      Have you heard about a brand called GC - I presume it is Guitar Club. If Yes, where is this company located?

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      John G 2 years ago

      I own 24 guitars that include many of the brands that you mention. My collection is heavily oriented to the acoustic and acoustic / electric models. In my experience. Gibson, Martin, Guild, Ovation and Takamine have the best sound and playability. Taylor is not in the same league. I owned one and sold it

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      ainie 3 years ago

      I think GIBSON and Fender are the best

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      Gretsch is on there, Frankie. Between G&L and Guild. :-)

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      Frankie Cars 3 years ago

      Hey , What happened to mentioning some of the nicest guitars still made? Gretsch!!!

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      han 3 years ago

      in my opinion a the Gibson guitars are the best guitars out there

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      I don't know much about them, Marquis. After some quick research, it appears they make high-quality guitars in very low quantities. I have never seen one, but if I had to chance to get one and I had the funds I just might go for it. Some of their models look pretty sweet.

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      Marquis 3 years ago

      I just find out about this French company that makes very good electric guitars. The name is "Vigier", has anybody here ever heard of them?

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      Take a breath, Bruce! Saying Taylor is "among the best" certainly leaves room for other brands as well. No offense intended! :-)

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      Bruce 3 years ago

      Who are you to state that Taylor guitars are among the best in the world? Are you from California? I don't and many other don't feel that way. Taylor just does not have the sound of other fine acoustical guitars. I'm not putting Taylor down. It's a well built acoustic but I don't quite like the sound of them. That's a biased and very bold statement you made about Taylor and it's not true. There are so many great acoustic guitar builders around this planet that do build superb guitars. Please, lets not put a Californian Company biasedly on top of everything on the planet. Can we do this please? I apologize for this email but what you stated is so unfair for all of the others guitar companies that build outstanding guitars, worldwide.

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      Good point, cc. Anyone with the skills, or willingness to learn, can build their own guitar and get exactly what they want.

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      cc 3 years ago

      I find it much more advantageous to build my own electric guitars. Selecting the woods ,necks with profiles that fit my hand and fingers , quality hardware and electronics that fit the sound and play style. For the price of a trad pro or an American std. Etc. You can build a better guitar for less that's exactly the way you want it.

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      Kaleb W 3 years ago

      Check out McPherson guitars, spectacular commitment to tone woods and to creating new tone wood combos that are high quality with great sound, and pioneers of the asymmetrical sound hole. Love them!

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      @Bart: Congratulations! The journey is worth it and I hope you stick with it. No point in regretting the past, just get to making up for lost time, preferably with one of those Guilds! Good luck and glad to hear you are playing more!

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      Bart M. {TEXAS} 3 years ago

      I just recently started to try to" really learn" to play guitar. I've known a few "not too difficult" songs for years. Now at 45yrs. old I bought a couple of cord books and it's bittersweet. It's such a wonderful feeling to play songs all the way to the end with a friend of mine who told me years ago that I had a good natural musical ability. I've learned more in 3 or 4 months than in 25 years. But enough about that... I was handed a jumbo GUILD from I believe around the early 70's. I've never heard anything like it. I must have one!!!

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      Christian Álvarez 3 years ago from Tamaulipas, México

      Epiphone is my weakness. I needed to say it.

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      Thanks for the kind comments Holly and erorantes!

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      Ana Maria Orantes 3 years ago from Miami Florida

      Hello mister guitargopher. I like your article about tbe electric guitars. I love the sound. They make when some one play them. I like a few guitar players. My favorite is Carlos Santana. He is amazing. I like the guitar players from the Hard Rock Casino. They are amazing. Thanks for awakesome article. I like your hub.

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      HollyThompson1 3 years ago

      I'm a huge fan of Godin guitars. They are a Canadian brand who actually own Seagull guitars. Their Session series is fantastic for only about $500. They play like a guitar double that price.

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      Oscar Jones 3 years ago from South Alabama

      I've had a Sunburst pattern Ventura when I was a teenager.. it was a nice guitar and played well. recently i saw a really well made Oscar Schmidt gs-1 . not expensive at all. My main guitar for many years was a Gibson howard roberts "artist" dove style. wine red and mother of pearl inlay and gold plated. I eventually sold it to a lady in alaska that plays a lot of blue grass and pop. I got full money out of it. I had it 25 years, so it was vintage by now.

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      You're right, John. I'm considering adding them and a few other guitar brands next time I edit.

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      John S. 3 years ago

      Where are the TAKAMIME ??? They are worth being here...

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      Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

      Thanks for the kind words, Mr Smith. Nothing wrong with an Epiphone Les Paul!

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      Mr. Smith 3 years ago from California

      Super list! Well presented and interesting. I've had a Yamaha acoustic for about 36 years, and would miss the sound if I didn't have it. Treated myself to an Epiphone Les Paul a few years ago. It may not be the greatest, but it's good enough for this amateur.

      Keep up the good work!

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      Dave 4 years ago

      Electrics - Heritage builds a very nice guitar, as does PRS and Tokai.

      Acoustics - Old Martins, old Gibsons, and Takamines.

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      Guitar Gopher 4 years ago

      Thanks Gary! Not all writers here review comments, but IMO it is smart standard practice. Welcome to HubPages!

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      Gary Dykes 4 years ago

      Sure. My comments here were my very first attempt at posting on Hub Pages. I'm brand new here, don't know how it all works yet. Great article! Just for my own information are you saying the authors of Hub Page articles review all comments regarding their posts before those comments are posted?

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      Guitar Gopher 4 years ago

      Hi Gary. Sorry about that. Comments are set for moderation and they don't appear until I get a chance to review them. I've done a fair amount of research on Blueridge guitars and I'm very impressed with their designs and quality. You're right: I should add them to this article when I get a chance. Thanks for your input!

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      Gary Dykes 4 years ago

      My comment on Blueridge guitars just disappeared. Why? I'll try again. Not a very well known acoustic yet but comparable in tone and playability to Martin and Taylor. Check it out.

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      Guitar Gopher 4 years ago

      Top 3, yikes! I'd agree with Fender and Gibson. Third place might go to Schecter. I'm always impressed with their build quality and components. Then again, PRS guitars are gorgeous, and Carvin makes some great stuff that flies a bit under the radar. Can I have a top 5 instead? :-)

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      Hugo Furst 4 years ago from Australia

      Cool! But if you guys were to pick your top 3, what would they be? I've always been a fan of Fender and Gibson :)

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      Guitar Gopher 4 years ago

      I agree, aparkhurst7. I've never owned an Epiphone I was unhappy with.

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      aparkhurst7 4 years ago from Wilkes Barre, PA West Hartford, CT

      Love Epiphone. Mine never goes out of tune and sounds great with most settings.