Looking to take your guitar playing to the next level? Look no further than the best intermediate electric guitars. Designed for players who have advanced beyond beginner status but aren’t quite ready for professional-level instruments, these guitars offer the perfect combination of quality, playability, and affordability. With a wide range of options available, you’ll be able to find the perfect guitar to suit your style and help you continue your musical journey. Whether you prefer the classic sounds of a Stratocaster or the heavier tones of a Les Paul, there is a guitar out there that will inspire you to keep strumming and shredding. So, grab your pick and get ready to unleash your inner rock star with the best intermediate electric guitars!
1. Fender Stratocaster
The Fender Stratocaster is not only iconic but also boasts a classic design that has remained largely unchanged for decades. Its sleek and elegant body shape, with its double cutaways, is instantly recognizable. The Stratocaster’s timeless appeal lies in its ability to effortlessly blend vintage charm with a modern aesthetic. Whether you’re playing blues, rock, or even jazz, the Stratocaster’s design is versatile and appealing to a wide range of musicians.
Versatile Tone Options
One of the key reasons why the Fender Stratocaster is highly regarded among intermediate guitarists is its remarkable tonal versatility. Equipped with three single-coil pickups, this guitar offers a wide range of tonal options, from bright and crisp cleans to fat and raunchy overdrives. The five-way pickup selector switch further enhances its flexibility, allowing you to easily switch between different pickup combinations, and explore various sonic possibilities.
Reliable Build Quality
Fender has earned a reputation for its high-quality construction, and the Stratocaster is no exception. Crafted with precision and attention to detail, this guitar is built to last. The combination of a solid alder or ash body, a maple neck, and a rosewood or maple fingerboard ensures durability and stability. Whether you’re gigging regularly or practicing at home, you can rely on the Fender Stratocaster to withstand the demands of your playing.
Ease of Playability
For intermediate guitarists looking for a smooth playing experience, the Fender Stratocaster is an excellent choice. Its slim and comfortable neck profile allows for quick and effortless fretboard navigation, making it ideal for fast-paced solos or intricate chord progressions. Additionally, the Stratocaster’s well-known body contours provide excellent ergonomics, ensuring that you can play for hours without discomfort or strain.
2. Gibson Les Paul
Legendary Rock Sound
When it comes to rock music, the Gibson Les Paul is often hailed as the ultimate electric guitar. Its thick and powerful tone has graced countless legendary rock anthems, making it a go-to choice for many intermediate guitarists. The Les Paul’s mahogany body, combined with its humbucker pickups, delivers a meaty and sustain-rich sound that is perfect for driving riffs or soaring solos. It’s the instrument of choice for those who crave that timeless rock sound.
Gibson is renowned for its commitment to craftsmanship, and the Les Paul exemplifies this dedication. Each Les Paul is meticulously crafted with the utmost attention to detail, ensuring high build quality and reliability. The guitar’s mahogany body not only adds to its sonic characteristics but also provides a solid and substantial feel when in your hands. Additionally, the Les Paul’s set neck construction enhances sustain and resonance.
Wide Range of Tonal Possibilities
Despite its association with rock music, the Gibson Les Paul is impressively versatile when it comes to tonal possibilities. With the combination of humbucker pickups and the individual volume and tone controls for each pickup, you can achieve a wide range of sounds, from warm and smooth jazz tones to gritty blues and everything in between. The Les Paul’s ability to adapt and deliver nuanced tones is what sets it apart from other instruments.
Smooth and Comfortable Neck
Intermediate guitarists prioritize playability, and the Gibson Les Paul delivers. The guitar’s neck profile is known for its thickness, providing a substantial feel in your hands. It’s comfortable to grip and offers stability as you navigate the fretboard. The Les Paul’s rosewood or ebony fingerboard adds to the overall smoothness of the playing experience, allowing for effortless string bending and accurate intonation.
3. PRS SE Custom 24
If you’re searching for an electric guitar that not only sounds great but also looks stunning, the PRS SE Custom 24 is worth considering. This instrument boasts breathtaking aesthetics, with its carved, figured maple top and vibrant finish options. Its sleek and modern design exudes an air of elegance and sophistication, making it a guitar that you’ll be proud to showcase on stage or in the studio.
PRS (Paul Reed Smith) guitars have long been associated with exceptional craftsmanship, and the SE Custom 24 lives up to this reputation. Each guitar is meticulously crafted using high-quality materials, ensuring reliability and durability. From the smooth finishes to the flawless fretwork, the attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the guitar’s construction. The PRS SE Custom 24 is a testament to the brand’s commitment to excellence.
The PRS SE Custom 24 is equipped with a pair of versatile humbucker pickups, offering a wide tonal palette. These pickups deliver a balanced sound with excellent clarity and note definition. Whether you’re playing clean, crunch, or high-gain tones, the pickups in the SE Custom 24 excel in providing the necessary sonic versatility. The guitar’s push-pull tone control further expands your sonic options, allowing you to split the coils and access single-coil tones as well.
PRS is known for its innovative electronic design, and the SE Custom 24 benefits from this expertise. The guitar features a 3-way pickup selector switch, which enables you to quickly toggle between pickup configurations. The addition of a master volume and tone control ensures easy access to shaping your sound. The SE Custom 24’s electronics are designed to offer a wide range of sonic possibilities while maintaining simplicity and ease of use.
4. Yamaha Pacifica 112V
If you’re an intermediate guitarist on a budget, the Yamaha Pacifica 112V is a fantastic option that doesn’t compromise on quality. It offers an affordable price point without skimping on features or performance. Yamaha has managed to strike the perfect balance between quality and affordability, making the Pacifica 112V a great value for the money.
Great Value for Money
The Pacifica 112V is often praised for its exceptional value for money. Despite its affordability, Yamaha hasn’t cut corners when it comes to construction and components. The guitar features an alder body, a maple neck, and a rosewood or maple fingerboard, ensuring solid, reliable performance. With its excellent build quality and versatile sound, the Pacifica 112V offers incredible value for intermediate guitarists seeking a reliable instrument that won’t break the bank.
Yamaha’s commitment to quality is apparent in the construction of the Pacifica 112V. The guitar’s solid alder body provides robustness and resonance, while the bolt-on maple neck contributes to stability and bright tonal characteristics. The Pacifica 112V’s build quality is comparable to higher-priced guitars, ensuring that it can withstand the demands of regular playing and gigging.
Intermediate guitarists often prioritize playability, and the Yamaha Pacifica 112V delivers in this aspect. The guitar features a comfortable “C”-shaped neck profile that is suitable for players of various hand sizes and playing styles. The smooth satin finish on the neck allows your hand to effortlessly glide along the fretboard, facilitating smooth chord changes and lightning-fast solos. With its excellent playability, the Pacifica 112V is a joy to play, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player.
5. Ibanez RG Series
Metal and Rock Oriented
If your musical preferences lean towards aggressive metal and rock genres, the Ibanez RG Series is an ideal choice. Renowned for its ferocious sound and fast-playing neck, this guitar is designed to cater to the needs of shredders and heavy music enthusiasts. The RG series is synonymous with high-performance guitars that can handle the speed and intensity required for intense riffing and face-melting solos.
Fast and Thin Neck
For intermediate guitarists who prioritize speed and technicality, the Ibanez RG Series delivers with its lightning-fast and ultra-thin neck profile. The slim dimensions of the neck allow for effortless fretboard navigation and facilitate blistering-fast runs and intricate licks. Whether you’re tapping, sweeping, or shredding, the RG Series offers a comfortable and highly responsive platform for your technique.
The Ibanez RG Series is recognized for its high-output pickups, which are specifically designed to deliver the aggressive and punchy tones required in heavy music. These pickups excel at pushing amplifiers into saturation and producing tight and articulate palm-muted chugs. Whether you prefer the raw aggression of active pickups or the dynamics of passive pickups, the RG Series offers different pickup configurations to suit your tonal preferences.
The Ibanez RG Series features a bold and aggressive visual design that reflects its tonal characteristics. With sharp contours, sleek finishes, and eye-catching inlays, this guitar exudes a sense of power and intensity. The RG Series’ aggressive aesthetics are a perfect match for the heavy music genres it is commonly associated with, ensuring that you can make a strong visual statement on stage.
6. Epiphone Sheraton II PRO
Classic Semi-Hollowbody Design
The Epiphone Sheraton II PRO is a guitar that combines vintage appeal with modern playability. With its classic semi-hollowbody design, this instrument not only looks elegant but also offers a unique tonal character. The semi-hollow construction enhances resonance and adds warmth to your sound, making the Sheraton II PRO ideal for genres such as jazz, blues, and rock.
Warm and Versatile Tone
The Sheraton II PRO’s semi-hollow construction contributes to its warm and resonant tone. The combination of a solid center block and hollow wings produces a balanced and harmonically rich sound. This versatility allows the Sheraton II PRO to excel in a wide range of musical styles. Whether you’re seeking smooth jazz tones or gritty bluesy overdrives, this guitar delivers with its characteristic warmth and depth.
With its vintage-inspired design and attention to detail, the Epiphone Sheraton II PRO is a visually stunning instrument. The guitar features a beautifully figured maple top, gold hardware, and intricate inlays, giving it an air of elegance and sophistication. The Sheraton II PRO’s aesthetics pay homage to the golden age of guitar design, making it a truly timeless piece that will turn heads wherever you play.
Excellent Value for Money
Epiphone is renowned for providing high-quality instruments at an affordable price point, and the Sheraton II PRO is no exception. This guitar offers incredible value for intermediate guitarists who are looking for a professional-grade instrument without breaking the bank. With its exceptional craftsmanship and versatile tonal options, the Sheraton II PRO proves that you don’t need to compromise on quality to stay within your budget.
7. Gretsch G2622 Streamliner
For intermediate guitarists who are enamored by vintage aesthetics and tone, the Gretsch G2622 Streamliner is a guitar that truly captures the essence of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll. This instrument takes inspiration from Gretsch’s iconic designs from the 1950s and 1960s and updates them for the modern player, offering a brilliant balance between nostalgia and contemporary performance.
Unique Hollowbody Sound
The Gretsch G2622 Streamliner is a hollowbody guitar, which means it delivers a distinctive and resonant tone. The hollow construction adds natural acoustic qualities to your playing, providing a warm and rich sound that is highly responsive to your touch. Whether you’re playing clean chords or adding a touch of overdrive, the G2622 Streamliner’s unique tonal character adds character and depth to your playing.
Intermediate guitarists often prioritize comfort and smooth playability, and the Gretsch G2622 Streamliner delivers on both fronts. The guitar features a slim and comfortable “U”-shaped neck profile, allowing for easy fretboard navigation and effortless chord changes. The G2622 Streamliner’s sleek and smooth finish further enhances the playing experience, ensuring that your hands can glide along the fretboard with ease.
Gretsch guitars are known for their high-quality craftsmanship and premium price tags. However, the G2622 Streamliner offers an affordable entry point into the world of Gretsch guitars without compromising on quality. Designed with intermediate players in mind, this guitar provides exceptional value for money, allowing you to experience the renowned Gretsch sound and aesthetics without draining your savings.
8. Schecter C-1 Plus
Great for Heavy Music
If you’re an intermediate guitarist leaning towards heavy and aggressive music genres, the Schecter C-1 Plus is a formidable instrument that will meet your needs. This guitar is designed to handle the intense and high-gain tones required in heavy music, making it a top choice for metal, hard rock, and progressive styles.
Schecter guitars are known for their solid construction, and the C-1 Plus is no exception. The guitar features a mahogany body, offering excellent sustain and resonance. Additionally, the set-neck construction enhances the guitar’s stability and tuning stability. The C-1 Plus is built to withstand heavy playing, making it a reliable choice for intermediate guitarists who want an instrument that can handle their aggression.
Powerful and Clear Tone
The Schecter C-1 Plus is equipped with high-output humbucker pickups, delivering a powerful and clear tone that is perfectly suited for heavy music. These pickups excel at driving amplifiers into distortion and producing tight, articulate palm-muted chugs. The C-1 Plus’s tone is characterized by its aggressive midrange and a balanced frequency response, ensuring that your notes cut through the mix with clarity and precision.
Versatile Pickup Configuration
The C-1 Plus offers a versatile pickup configuration, providing players with tonal flexibility. With its 3-way pickup selector switch, you can effortlessly switch between different pickup configurations, unlocking a wide range of sounds. Whether you desire searing lead tones or thunderous rhythm tones, the C-1 Plus’s pickup configuration allows you to explore various sonic possibilities and adapt to different musical situations.
9. ESP LTD EC-256
Classic Single-Cut Design
The ESP LTD EC-256 is a guitar that pays homage to the classic single-cut design, reminiscent of guitars that helped define rock music. With its sleek and streamlined appearance, this instrument radiates a timeless charm that will appeal to intermediate guitarists seeking a guitar that embodies rock ‘n’ roll spirit.
Suitable for Multiple Genres
While the ESP LTD EC-256 is associated with rock music, it is surprisingly versatile and can handle a variety of musical styles. From blues and jazz to hard rock and metal, this guitar excels in delivering the punchy and expressive tones required for these genres. Whether you’re strumming chords or playing soulful solos, the EC-256’s tonal range and articulation make it an excellent choice for intermediate guitarists exploring different genres.
Comfortable to Play
The ESP LTD EC-256 is designed with playability in mind. It features a comfortable and slim “U”-shaped neck profile, allowing for smooth and effortless playability. The guitar’s smooth satin finish on the back of the neck further enhances the playing experience, ensuring that your hand can glide along the fretboard with ease. Whether you’re playing complex chord progressions or lightning-fast runs, the EC-256’s comfortable neck profile makes it a pleasure to play.
ESP guitars are known for their high-quality craftsmanship and professional-grade instruments, often commanding premium prices. However, the EC-256 offers an affordable entry point into the world of ESP guitars without sacrificing quality. This guitar provides incredible value for intermediate guitarists seeking the renowned ESP sound and build quality without breaking the bank.
10. Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2
Designed for Shredders
The Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2 is an electric guitar purpose-built for shredding and high-speed playing. If you prioritize technicality, precision, and speed in your playing style, the SL2 is a instrument that will meet your demands and take your shredding abilities to the next level.
Fast and Shred-Friendly Neck
The SL2’s neck is designed for rapid-fire playing and optimal shred performance. It features a slim and fast neck profile, with a compound radius fingerboard for effortless playing across all 24 frets. The neck’s satin finish enhances playability, allowing your hand to navigate the fretboard with unparalleled speed and precision. Whether you’re executing lightning-fast legato lines or intricate sweep picking, the SL2’s neck responds with lightning-fast agility.
The Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2 comes equipped with high-output humbucker pickups, delivering the signature aggressive tone associated with shredding and heavy music. These pickups excel at pushing amplifiers into saturation and producing tight and articulate tones that cut through the mix. Whether you’re playing squealing pinch harmonics or blistering solos, the SL2’s pickups provide the necessary definition and clarity required for high-speed playing.
Sleek and Modern Look
The SL2’s design reflects its high-performance capabilities. With its sleek and modern aesthetic, this guitar exudes an air of power and dominance. From its slim and pointed headstock to its ergonomic and contoured body, every aspect of the SL2’s design is geared towards optimal playability and aesthetics. With its striking finishes and attention to detail, the SL2 is a visual representation of the speed and intensity it is capable of delivering.
In conclusion, selecting the best intermediate electric guitar requires considering various factors such as design, tone options, build quality, and playability. The Fender Stratocaster stands out with its classic design, versatile tones, reliable build quality, and easy playability. The Gibson Les Paul, on the other hand, offers a legendary rock sound, solid construction, a wide range of tonal possibilities, and a comfortable neck. The PRS SE Custom 24 boasts stunning looks, high-quality craftsmanship, versatile pickups, and flexible electronics. The Yamaha Pacifica 112V provides an affordable option with great value for money, solid construction, and smooth playability. The Ibanez RG Series caters to metal and rock-oriented players with its fast and thin neck, high-output pickups, and aggressive design. The Epiphone Sheraton II PRO combines a classic semi-hollowbody design, warm and versatile tones, elegant aesthetics, and excellent value for money. The Gretsch G2622 Streamliner offers vintage vibes, a unique hollowbody sound, smooth playability, and affordability. The Schecter C-1 Plus excels in heavy music with its construction, powerful and clear tone, and versatile pickup configuration. The ESP LTD EC-256, with its classic single-cut design, suitability for multiple genres, and comfortable playability, proves to be an affordable option. Lastly, the Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2 is designed for shredders, featuring a fast and shred-friendly neck, high-output pickups, and a sleek modern look. Choose the guitar that resonates with your preferences and embark on your musical journey with confidence and style.