Electric Guitars Expert Guide
Types of Electric Guitar
The Strat is arguably the best electric guitar for blues with guitar gods such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour all loving it.
The legendary Stratocaster offers the most versatility in sound and is typically fitted with three single coil pickups, though it sometimes has a humbucker pickup. Having three pickups gives you excellent tonal flexibility, meaning you don’t need to switch guitars to achieve entirely contrasting sounds.
As the neck is bolted to the body, it can take a whack or ten, unlike the similarly popular Les Pauls.
The Les Paul offers more sustain than the Stratocaster due to its set neck that is ‘set into the body’ rather than bolted on – this prolongs vibrations after a string is struck. It usually has humbucker pickups that give a warm, chunky tone and a smoothness which is well suited to modern blues and heavier playing. As a short scale electric guitar, it’s easier to play than the Strat and Tele especially if you have small hands. It’s been favored by guitarists including Slash, Jimmy Page and Peter Green. If the price tag scares you off, a guitar like the ESP LTD EC-256 (which is arguably the best Les Paul Copy available) retains much of the brilliant resonance and playability, at a cheaper cost.
The equally superb Telecaster offers a harsher, ‘jangly’ tone, that cuts through a bit more than a Strat, and sounds very different to a warm Les Paul. It’s often fitted with single coil pickups, though sometimes has a humbucker to reduce feedback or to offer extra tonal options. It doesn’t sustain particularly well – making it well suited to authentic blues playing – and like the Strat, they can take a bit of a bashing, thanks to their bolt-on necks. It’s been popular with Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, and Mike Campbell, among countless others.
Hollow bodied guitars such as Gretsch’s are often a decent choice. They’re associated with rockabilly or jazz styles, but their lack of sustain and boomy low end can be perfectly well suited to the blues and great for clean, acoustic tones and will suit those who don’t want their electric sound to be distorted at all. Brian Jones, Neil Young, and George Harrison have all been seen with a hollow bodied six-strings in their hands.
Heavy Metal Guitars
Certain guitars lend themselves to different genres of music, and none more so than heavy metal guitars. In this genre of music that demands high-intensity playing and a powerful tone, you need high gain ‘hot’ pickups. The best metal guitars also have necks that tend to be thinner and flatter. In some instances, players opt for seven or eight string guitars to shred with.