Skip to main content

25 Best Acoustic and Electric Guitar Brands 2022

The author is a guitarist and bassist with over 35 years of experience as a musician.

The best guitar acoustic and electric guitar brands of 2022.

The best guitar acoustic and electric guitar brands of 2022.

The best guitar brands stay on top for good reason. 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.

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.

Below you’ll find a list of the best acoustic and electric guitar brands, based on legacy, popularity, reputation. You'll see a basic overview of each brand, along with a few notes and updates for 2022.

And be sure to check out the manufacturer's websites for the latest info on their gear. Things are always changing in the guitar world, and the best place to get accurate info is straight from the source.

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

Electric and Acoustic Guitars 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:

1. Gibson

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 its 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.

Best Gibson Electric Guitar Models

  • Les Paul
  • SG
  • Flying V
  • Explorer
  • ES-335

Notable Gibson Acoustic Guitar Models

  • Hummingbird
  • J-45
  • J-50
  • SJ-200

Gibson has made some interesting changes in their lineup in recent years, including the return of the classic Les Paul Studio design and the simplification of the Les Paul lineup with the '50s and '60s models.

2. Fender

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.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Spinditty

One of the biggest changes over the past few years is the evolution of the Fender Player Series. These are the new MIM or "made in Mexico" Fenders, and the upgrades are subtle but significant. I've been playing a MIM Fender Strat for years and I highly suggest checking out the Player Series Stratocaster if you are looking for a pro-level guitar at a very good price point. I think they have proven to be a big step up from the old MIMs.

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, and for that you'll want to check out the American Original Series. These are pro guitars with premium components and vintage features that take us back to legendary designs of the past.

There is a reason the Stratocaster remains one of the best electric guitars of all time. 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.

Best Fender Electric Guitars

  • Stratocaster
  • Telecaster
  • Jazzmaster
  • Jaguar
  • Mustang
Eric Clapton and the Fender Stratocaster

Eric Clapton and the Fender Stratocaster

3. Martin

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 acoustic guitar 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.

Classic Martin Acoustic Guitars

  • D-28
  • D-18
  • D-45
  • D-35

4. Taylor

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 echelons 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 their tone and portability.

Taylor Acoustic Guitar Body Styles

  • Dreadnought
  • Grand Orchestra
  • Grand Symphony
  • Grand Pacific
  • Grand Auditorium
  • Grand Concert
  • GT

5. PRS

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 the Gibson Les Paul and some of the more traditional brand names in the guitar industry.

6. Guild

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.

7. G&L

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

8. Rickenbacker

Rickenbacker may be a name more closely associated with the 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 it 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.

9. Gretsch

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.

10. 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 of 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.

11. ESP and ESP LTD

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.

12. Rainsong

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.

13. Ibanez

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.

14. Godin

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 Avenue are what really make Godin stand out.

15. Jackson

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 the 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.

16. Cordoba

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 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.

17. EVH

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.

Eddie tragically left this world too soon in 2020, but his legacy lives on in his music and his gear.

18. Seagull

Seagull acoustic guitars are among the best values you are going to 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 at 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.

19. Schecter

Schecter Guitar Research is a company that has really established itself 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.

20. Charvel

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.

21. Yamaha

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 FG800 is widely considered one of the best Yamaha 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.

22. Epiphone

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 there 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. Epiphone has expanded its lineup in recent years, giving guitarists on a budget even more options in 2022.

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