Beginners Electric Guitar Buying Guide

Buying your first electric guitar?

There was a time when choosing your first guitar was a potential minefield. With a limited range of styles, often massively inferior components compared to the mid-range guitars on offer, you might not be certain of getting the bang for your buck you desired. Your first guitar after all could be the most important one!

Nowadays however, the advent of more precise manufacturing and the explosion of online shopping means that the choice and breadth available to beginner guitarists is vast in comparison to previous times. So, we at Scan Pro Audio look to give you a helping hand in making that first choice.

There are several classic styles of electric guitar – the most popular shapes you will commonly see are often repeated across manufacturers, but with different names to avoid copyright infringement. Below we will take a look at some fantastic starter guitars in some of these classic styles to kickstart your playing journey!

The Squier Bullet Strat

What we call “S” style guitars is in reference to the Fender Stratocaster, also known as a “Strat” for short. With its distinctive offset double horn, the Stratocaster body is synonymous with blues, rock and pop music. Its versatility is legendary and is often an ideal beginner guitar. The Stratocaster can be found at an incredible variety of prices, with specifications and features to suit. The “S” shape is used by almost every guitar manufacturer in some form - whether it being a direct copy or taking inspiration from the classic shape.

Coming in at under £125 the Squier Bullet Strat has been a long serving friend to the student or beginner electric guitarist. With its lightweight poplar body it is slightly less cumbersome than some of the more expensive Fender Strat’s - although sacrificing a little sustain the Bullet Strat body still will still provide that classic Strat tone. The Laurel fingerboard provides a snappy tone much like rosewood, and is supported by a comfortable “C” shaped maple neck that will give a pleasurable and easy playing experience.

You will find Bullet Strats featuring 2 different combinations of pickups, HSS and SSS. HSS refers to a humbucker in the bridge position and single coils in middle and neck, with SSS being single coils in all positions. A humbucker will provide a bright strong tone that is much more rounded than a single coil, which alternatively will give you a thinner jangly sound which is more suited to clean playing tones.

With a simple tremolo bridge system based on classic designs the beginner guitarist will be able to experiment with tremolo effects using the provided whammy bar, all the while staying in tune with sturdy tuning machines mounted on the iconic shaped Stratocaster headstock.

The Bullet Strat is a fantastic all-round guitar, perfect for most styles and ideal for aspiring blues, indie or pop guitarists with the classic clean tones provided by the single coil pickups. With that being said, if you are a metal fan there are more suited alternatives at around the same price point, however with the humbucking pickup option there is nothing stopping you experimenting and playing around with new sounds!


The Squier Affinity Series Telecaster

Similarly, “T” style guitars refer to the Fender Telecaster shape, known as a “Tele” for short. Originating in the 1950’s this style has again been copied by many different manufacturers over the years. With its distinctive single horn body shape the Telecaster was long regarded as a country guitar, with its snappy tones and distinctive twang. However, over time it has evolved to be almost as versatile as the Stratocaster, with rock and even metal guitarists adopting it for its extreme playability and crisp, bright tones.

Still very much an ideal instrument for blues, pop and country, the Affinity Telecaster is an incredible beginner guitar and one that may not need upgrading way past the learning phase. With similar components to the Bullet Strat, the Affinity Telecaster has some slight differences in hardware, notably the style of bridge used.

The slightly larger but simpler bridge is referred to as a “hardtail”, not sharing the same tremolo functionalities as the Bullet Strat. The bridge also houses a different style of single coil pickup to that of a Strat, providing a very distinct tight bright tone. You will also find a similarly voiced single coil in the neck position for slightly different sounds, although unlike the Bullet Strat there is no middle Position pickup on the Affinity Telecaster.

You may notice there are 2 different options for fingerboard wood with the Affinity Telecaster – Indian Laurel or Maple. Aside from the visual aspect of light vs dark, the wood you choose will have a slight effect on the sound the guitar produces – Laurel will produce a more mellow and “warm” sound, whereas Maple has a much tighter grain and produces light “snappy” tones with a tight low end. This will also feel somewhat smoother under the fingers due to the tighter grain, whereas with Laurel you will be able to see and sometimes slightly feel the more open grain when playing.


The Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club

With “S” and “T” style guitars covered, the final classic shape would be the Les Paul made famous by Gibson, or what we refer to as “Single Cut” due to its single cutaway in the body. The Gretsch Streamliner is Gretsch’s own take on this body style, sharing features such as dual humbucking pickups, 3-a-side headstock construction and a raised hardtail bridge mounted on 2 posts - all of which you will notice is quite the contrast to the Squier guitars seen above.

Single Cut guitars are often regarded as having a heavier sound, with slightly stronger mid and bass frequencies to the Strat or Tele mentioned above. Typically, Single Cut guitars will also be made from heavier tone woods such as mahogany - helping to embolden the tone, which makes this body style ideal for rock guitarists.

The Gretsch streamliner is made from Nato, a wood similar to mahogany but much more sustainable as a wood for manufacturing. The Laurel fingerboard provides snappy accurate tones, and the hardware at this price point will be very reliable. The dual Broadtron humbucker pickups will give a very distinctive bright almost crunchy tone - ideal for rock but can also achieve really clear tones great for pop, country and rhythm guitarists alike!

The choice may be a little daunting at first but as always If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] and our team of professionals will be happy to assist in making that all important decision to kickstart yours or a loved one’s musical journey!