Electric Guitar Buyer's Guide

    Advice for First Time Buyers

    Before you start searching for your first guitar consider the following:

    1. Price range
    Set an appropriate price range. You can easily filter your search results on AMS using the price range selection filters on the left side of the page or sort by 'Low to High' or 'High to Low' to see all products in order of price.

    2. Size/age of the player
    Electric guitars are available in numerous shapes, sizes and weights so it's important to find one that will be the best physical fit for you. Consider your age, height and the size of your hands. If youare younger or smaller in size you will do best with guitars that have thinner necks, shorter scales and are lighter in weight. If you are tall or have large hands you will probably be more comfortable with heavier guitars with wider necks and longer scales. In order to properly play your instrument you have to be able to handle it comfortably.

    Electric Guitar Starter Packages Check out the complete listing of Electric Guitar Packages 3. Style of music you want to play
    Rock, blues, metal, punk or jazz; the style of music you play will require the right tool for the job. Some guitars are known for their versatility and are used across several genres of music and some guitars are favored by specific genres. Identify your favorite bands and guitar players and research the gear they use, the guy in the jazz trio most likely isn't using the same gear as the guy in the metal band.

    4. Starter Packages
    AMS offers several Electric Guitar Packages for new guitar players. These packages are a one-stop-shopping experience for the essentials needed to get started.

    Electric Guitar Diagram

    Electric Guitar Diagram

    Types of Electric Guitars

    Six-String Guitar

    Six-String Guitar
    The standard guitar comes with six strings.
    Standard Tuning:
    High to Low EBGDAE

    Browse Six-String Guitars
    Seven-String Guitar

    Seven-String Guitar
    Features a low B string.
    Popular with metal guitarists for its low and heavy sound.
    Standard Tuning:
    High to Low EBGDAEB

    Browse Seven-String Guitars
    Eight-String Guitar

    Eight-String Guitar
    Features both a low B and a low F# string.
    Popular with metal guitarists looking for extreme lows.
    Standard Tuning:
    High to Low EBGDAEBF#

    Browse Eight-String Guitars
    12-String Guitar

    12-String Guitar
    Although played like a 6 string, each of the four low strings are paired with another string tuned to the same note but an octave higher while the two high strings are tuned in unison. The two strings are paired to ring as one but produce the sound of two, creating a very rich and full sound.
    Standard Tuning:
    High to Low eebbGgDdAaEe

    Browse 12-String Guitars

    Necks & Fingerboards

    Necks
    Maple Neck

    Maple
    Look: Blonde
    Sound: Maple creates a bright, sharp tone with plenty of sustain

    Mahogany Neck

    Mahogany
    Look: Light to dark brown
    Sound: Mahogany creates a warm sounding tone with good sustain

    Fingerboards
    Rosewood Fingerboard

    Rosewood
    Look: Light-dark brown
    Feel: Smooth
    Sound: Warm

    Maple Fingerboard

    Maple
    Look: Blonde
    Feel: Hard
    Sound: Bright

    Ebony Fingerboard

    Ebony
    Look: Black
    Feel: Hard
    Sound: Bright

    Scale Length & Neck Setting

    Scale Length
    Short-Scale

    Short-Scale
    24"
    Low tension
    Round sound

    Les Paul

    Les Paul
    24-3/4"
    Lower tension
    Warmer tone

    Custom

    Custom
    25"
    Mid tension
    Blend of warmth and clarity

    Long-Scale

    Long-Scale
    25-1/2"
    Higher tension
    Sharp sound

    Neck Settings
    Set Neck

    Set Neck
    The neck and body are separate pieces, the neck is permanently attached to the body to look seamless.
    Great sustain and resonance.

    Bolt-On Neck

    Bolt-On Neck
    The neck and body are separate pieces with the neck bolted to the body.
    Easy to adjust.

    Neck-Through-Body

    Neck-Through-Body
    The neck and middle of the body are one piece with two separate pieces used to create the top and bottom of the body.
    Great sustain.

    Body Types & Wood

    Body Types
    Solid Body

    Solid Body
    The standard body used for the majority of electric guitars. The body is completely solid except for the cavities that house the guitar's electronic components.

    Chambered

    Chambered
    A solid body which has several separate sections carved out which decreases the weight of the guitar while enhancing resonance and sustain.

    Hollow Body

    Hollow Body
    The entire body of the guitar is hollowed out creating a better acoustic sound.

    Semi-Hollow Body

    Semi-Hollow Body
    The center of the body is solid wood but the two sides are hollowed out creating a hybrid of a solid body and hollow body guitar.

    Body Wood
    A major part of a guitar's tone is shaped by the wood used to create the body, neck and fingerboard. The most commonly used woods include Alder, Ash, Mahogany, Maple and Rosewood. Each type of wood has its own color, grain and density and creates its own unique tone.
    Body Wood Alder

    Alder
    Look: Light blonde
    Feel: Light
    Sound: Full with a balanced mix of high, middle and low frequencies

    Body Wood Ash

    Ash
    Look: Light blonde
    Feel: Ranges from light to heavy depending on the type of Ash
    Sound: Bright sound with good sustain

    Body Wood Mahogany

    Mahogany
    Look: Light to dark brown
    Feel: Medium to heavy
    Sound: Warm tone with good sustain

    Body Wood Mahogany Body and Maple Top

    Mahogany Body and Maple Top
    Look: Light to dark brown (Mahogany), blonde (Maple)
    Feel: Heavy
    Sound: The Maple top sharpens the warm tone and good sustain of the Mahogany

    Body Wood Maple

    Maple
    Look: Blonde
    Feel: Heavy
    Sound: A bright and sharp tone that has plenty of sustain

    Pickups & Electronics

    Pickups
    Pickups capture the mechanical vibrations created when the strings on the guitar are strummed converting these vibrations into an electrical signal which is transmitted to the amplifier. Pickups come in two styles, Single-Coil and Humbucker, and guitars can come with one, two or three pickups. The pickup switch allows guitar players to select one, all or even a combination of pickup settings in order to create different tones. Some Humbuckers are capable of turning one coil off to function as a Single Coil. This feature is called Coil Tapping and can be activated by either a toggle switch or a with one of the volume or tone knobs.
    Single-Coil Pickups

    Single-Coil Pickups
    Specs: Each pickup has one coil and one set of magnets. The narrow magnetic field produces a very focused tone that cuts through a mix well and is perfect for recording.
    Sound: Bright and clear. Great for clean, funky “quack, quack” or “honking” tone.

    Humbucker Pickups

    Humbucker Pickups
    Specs: Humbucker pickups are comprised of two single-coils. The two coils are wired out of phase, reducing the hum that is sometimes produced by single-coil pickups.
    Sound: Warm and full. “Singing tone with lots of sustain. Great for use with heavy gain/distortion while remaining hum-free”

    Passive Pickups

    Passive Pickups
    Specs: String vibrations are generated into a signal by coil-wrapped magnets, producing a minute voltage that is amplified externally.
    Sound: Traditional and vintage.

    Active Pickups

    Active Pickups
    Specs: Functionally the same as passive pickups these pickups are powered by a 9-Volt battery creating a higher output and wider frequency range.
    Sound: A fuller range of tone and very modern sounding.

    Electronics

    ElectronicsPassive/Active Electronics
    Specs: A less common feature that enables the option of switching between passive and active electronics on the fly.
    Sound: The best of both worlds.

    Passive Electronics
    Specs: Controls the basic volume and tone of the guitar (high frequency attenuation only).
    Sound: Vintage, traditional

    Active Electronics
    Specs: Active electronics are powered by a 9-Volt battery making them capable of boosting or cutting frequencies.
    Sound: Extra bass, treble and overall output.

    Bridges & Tremolos

    Bridges
    Wrap-Tail

    Wrap-Tail
    With a Wrap-Tail bridge the strings are fed through the back of the bridge over the saddles.

    String-Through Body

    String-Through Body
    The strings are fed through the back of the body over the saddles. Each string can be adjusted for height and length.

    Stop Tailpiece & Bridge Combination

    Stop Tailpiece & Bridge Combination
    The strings are fed through the tailpiece which is separate from the bridge. With this setup string height can be adjusted however not individually, while string length can be adjusted individually.

    Tremolo Bridges
    Tremolo Bridges come with arm called a Tremolo Arm or Whammy Bar. By pushing or pulling on this arm the guitar player can change the tension of the strings which will alter the pitch of the strings. Locking Tremolo systems come with a locking mechanism located at the guitar's nut which helps keep the strings from going out of tune while the Tremolo Arm is being used.
    Standard Tremolo

    Standard Tremolo
    The most common tremolo system is the Standard Tremolo. By incorporating a tailpiece with the bridge the Synchronized Tremolo is capable of a good range of motion when either pushed down or pulled up.

    Locking Tremolo

    Locking Tremolo
    The Locking Tremolo allows for a greater range of motion both up and down and is popular with metal guitarists and shredders. The locking tremolo adds tuning stability due to it locking the string at either one or two points.

    Bigsby

    Bigsby
    The Bigsby is a two-piece tremolo system with a separate tail-piece that is connected to the bridge. This design creates a wide and smooth vibrato.

    Fender American Standard Stratocaster Maple Neck Olympic White W/Case
    Fender American Standard Stratocaster Maple Neck Olympic White W/Case
    Fender Standard Telecaster Electric Guitar Lake Placid Blue
    Fender Standard Telecaster Electric Guitar Lake Placid Blue
    PRS Paul Reed Smith SC245 Electric Guitar with Case
    PRS Paul Reed Smith SC245 Electric Guitar with Case
    Gibson Les Paul Studio 2016 T Guitar with Gig Bag Faded Worn Cherry
    Gibson Les Paul Studio 2016 T Guitar with Gig Bag Faded Worn Cherry
    Gibson SG Standard 2016 T Guitar with Gig Bag Ebony
    Gibson SG Standard 2016 T Guitar with Gig Bag Ebony
    PRS Paul Reed Smith S2 Vela Bird Inlay Guitar with Gig Bag
    PRS Paul Reed Smith S2 Vela Bird Inlay Guitar with Gig Bag
    Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst
    Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst
    Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster 50s
    Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster 50s
    PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Tremonti Custom Guitar with Gig Bag
    PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Tremonti Custom Guitar with Gig Bag
    Ibanez RG655 Prestige Electric Guitar with Case Cobalt Blue Metallic
    Ibanez RG655 Prestige Electric Guitar with Case Cobalt Blue Metallic
    ESP E-II Eclipse DB Electric Guitar with Case Vintage Black
    ESP E-II Eclipse DB Electric Guitar with Case Vintage Black
    Schecter Synyster Gates Standard Electric Guitar Black Silver Stripes
    Schecter Synyster Gates Standard Electric Guitar Black Silver Stripes
    Dean Dimebag Dean From Hell CFH Electric Guitar
    Dean Dimebag Dean From Hell CFH Electric Guitar
    Dangelico EXL1 Hollowbody Electric Guitar with Case Blue Burst
    Dangelico EXL1 Hollowbody Electric Guitar with Case Blue Burst
    Godin xtSA Synth Access Acoustic Electric Guitar with Bag Koa
    Godin xtSA Synth Access Acoustic Electric Guitar with Bag Koa
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