3 Best Electric Guitar For Blues – Reviews of The Most Icons Models!
The history of the blues guitar dates back to the early 1870s, but I expect it was being played even before that.
Some of the earliest, successful pioneers of the blues guitar are Sylvester Weaver, Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Charley Patton. But these are only a few on a long list of tremendous late 1800s and early-1900s blues players who began a movement still very much alive today.
Some of the best blues guitarists in the 2000s so far are Joe Bonamassa, Otis Taylor and Derek Trucks. But great blues players exist everywhere and anywhere. You could stumble across one on the corner of your closest downtown, or in a coffee shop across the street, or a pub while visiting friends.
You, yourself, could be the next great blues guitarist in fact. All you need is the passion, a little creativity…. and the right guitar.
Top Rated Electric Guitars For Playing Blues
The Fender Stratocaster
- Solid signature Ibanez construction
- Very Short Scale Length
- Fast Playing Neck
- Affordable Quality
I’m not sure we can start anywhere else than with the Fender Stratocaster. This guitar is synonymous with the blues thanks to amazing players like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie Earl and Buddy Guy.
Created in 1954, the Stratocaster is more than just a blues guitar – it’s more than just a guitar. What other guitar model has been used in so many genres and has been held by so many amazing players?
Check out the diversity of sounds in this list of the 15 greatest Stratocater players ever published by Fender.
My Recommendation: The Strat has many successful models. Some will fit the blues better than others. But it’s hard to compete with Fender’s American Special Stratocaster.
- Perfect vintage feel and look
- A sound that resonates with playing the blues
- Available in many different models and design
- Tested and loved for over 60 years
- The same as other Fender guitars, the Stratocaster has only 21 frets
- No fancy or unique look
The Guild Starfire V
- Chunky full sound
- Available in range of popular models
- 2/3 body size
On a completely different note, a guitar like the Guild Starfire V can completely rock your socks off., more distinct and a guitar that can be tough to completely pull off. But if you can, it’s yours and you’ll be able to create some sweet, sexy sounds.
This is a Korean-made remake of the original 1960’s Starfire V, and Guild has hit a home run.
My recommendation: Recommended: The Guild Starfire V is the perfect blend of ‘look + sound = blues’.
- Thick, mature sound
- Strong, sturdy guitar
- Excellent quality
- Some people may not like the large and chunky body
- More pricey than other guitars
- Less selection for purchase, compared to a Stratocaster
The Gibson Firebird
- Clear, crisp, balanced tone
- Sounds good for many music styles
- Slim, short neck
Here’s another excellent guitar, but is one not a closely related to blues music as the previous two recommendations.
The Gibson Firebird owes famous Blues player Johnny Winter a ton of thanks. He rocked a Firebird and rocked it well. It is an excellent guitar (not surprising when we’re dealing with Gibson) with a unique look and feel.
My Recommendation: I suggest to get the classic Gibson Firebird Studio – but stop into a nearby music store and spend 30 minutes with one before spending the $2000 or so on it. It’s a great guitar, but it’s not for everybody.
- Mature, electric sound with an extremely sturdy body
- Less Firebirds out there, so will appear somewhat unique
- A good price point and a variety of models and colors to choose from
- The Firebird is another heavy guitar
- Tough to get comfortable playing a Firebird while sitting down, because of its design
How to choose an electric guitar for blues?
This question could read: how do you choose the right electric guitar, period. No matter if you’re playing the blues, prog-rock, or heavy metal. There’s no real algorithm behind choosing the right electric guitar. There are so many variables:
Yada yada. It’s very comparable to purchasing a vehicle, to be honest. There are a ton of models on the market specific to certain activities.
Even when you find the vehicle that fits your price range and feels just right, you’ll still have to decide on a color! Sometimes, purchasing a vehicle (or a guitar) can be completely overwhelming.
So, first things first, don’t let the task of selecting the right electric guitar for the blues become a negative experience.
If you have the money, the time and the freedom to purchase an electric guitar to play the blues, you are one lucky S.O.B. Remember that!
Plus, if you know you’re buying an electric guitar to play the blues, you are already one step ahead.
You know the style of music and you probably know the type of sound you’ll want to resonate from those strings.
The very first thing you’ll need to decide on is a budget. You can find guitars in the thousands that will try to draw you in with their secret aura.
But if your budget isn’t quite that high, you’ll have to restrain yourself and focus on something a little cheaper.
But don’t worry, there are excellent guitars for purchase that will only cost you a few hundred dollars.
Obviously, budget is different for everyone, but my recommendation on what to spend to get yourself a high quality electric guitar that will last you a lifetime, would be between $1000 and $1200.
A good place to start when you’re deciding on an electric guitar to buy would be answering: solid body, hollow body or semi-hollow body – they have very distinct differences and sound very different. If you decide on a solid body, you’ll know to start looking among the Stratocasters, Les Pauls, SGs and more. A hollow body or semi-hollow is a whole other market.
Body type is a crucial question you need to answer right out of the gate.
My advice: unless you are absolutely blown away and sold on semi-hollow or a hollow body, stick with a solid body.
There’s tons in the market and are more easily adaptable to any style of music. Solid body guitars are easier to manipulate in terms of sound, can be easily resold, are less work to maintain and are better to play on.
Afterall, there’s a reason why there are so many more solid body guitars vs hollow & semi-hollow body guitars.
Another important question is what type of tone you’d like to accomplish. Different guitars will bring you different styles and sounds, so deciding exactly what you’d like is important. If you have an idol blues guitar player, look into what setup he uses and decide if it is a fit for you.
Especially for playing the blues, the combination of the guitar, the strings, the pickups and the amp should be considered. Sometimes, certain styles just don’t fit with a certain amp, for example. It just seems impossible to get that exact sound you want.
Take a look at the amp you will be using and do some research into how the guitar will mesh with that specific model. If you can, test out the exact setup you’d like to replicate to guarantee complete satisfaction.
There are a ton of options out there but, especially if you are an extremely fussy player, you’ll want to nail the mix of guitar + strings + pickups + amp. And it all starts with the guitar.
My final recommendation
If you want to become the next great blues guitar player, and want a guitar that ticks all of the boxes, go buy yourself a Fender Stratocaster. It’s tried and tested, has been used by countless successful blues players and is the best fit for the money you’re going to spend.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Eric Clapton (who is one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time) about the Fender Stratocaster.
“I’ve moved around with many guitars and tried many different things, and I’ve always come back to the Stratocaster”.