10 Best Intermediate Electric Guitars That Will Fit in Your Budget (2020)

Finding the perfect guitar that suits your style

Are you looking for the best affordable guitar that can be an excellent companion in your music journey? Here we review the top 10 best intermediate guitars for you. If you have been spending a lot of time researching the ideal instrument to suit your level and style of playing, then stop your search here. This article will take you through the best options that are available to the intermediate players. We have handpicked these options so that these are neither too basic nor very complex for the player in you. Spend some time to go through this article and you will be amazed to find some very exceptional instruments at affordable prices.

What to look for while buying an Intermediate Guitar?

Today buying a guitar is far easier than you thought. There is indeed n number of choices available to you. However, it is essential to note that today with the help of the internet, you can easily compare the features of the best variants in the market before choosing to settle with the ideal one. You can look through and do a bit of research on the internet at your convenience instead of relying on the expertise of the local music store owner. It saves a lot of cost and efforts of going around searching for the best.

What’s more exciting is that you need not start the process from scratch, as we have already researched on your behalf. This value editorial will help you understand what to look for when you are buying a guitar.

As a beginner, which one should I choose?

Buying a guitar at the start of your musical journey can indeed be a bit challenging. You will not be very familiar with the many features, amps, strings, etc. that will suit your style. You can always get some advice from a professional guitarist; it can also be from your instructor.

Even while looking for an affordable option, we recommend that you go for the version that is of reasonable quality in terms of sound, make, appearance, and durability. Cheap varieties can mimic the look of high-end guitars. However, it may not last longer or may have poor sound quality. While looking for a guitar within a specific budget, always go for the best or the expensive one, the price range you have set.

If you are buying the instrument for kids, consider the size that is right for the little hands, so choose accordingly.

As an intermediate player, you must be aware of the various technical specifications that will work best for you. If you are interested to know more about the technical stuff on guitar, the info content section towards the end of the article will help you. So, let’s take a look at the top 10 best intermediate electric guitars in the market to help you choose the best among the best.

#1 Fender Player Stratocaster – Best Intermediate Electric Guitar

Starting your musical voyage with an instrument that gives you the classic feel and modern look in one is a versatile choice. If you are the one who loves the Strat sound, then this is something you should consider at the top of your choices. It suits any style of music and gives enough room for the player to find his voice. The unique construction provides you with balanced and rich bass response, a punchy mid-range, and crystalline bell-like high notes.

This version combines all the classic features of a Strat while also giving you a modern look with its glossy finish. Within the glossy finish is a solid alder body, which makes it a favorite among novices and experienced professionals.

It has a modern neck profile with 22 frets that range from medium to jumbo. C shaped Maple neck with a smooth finish provides comfort for playing for long hours. The 9.5-inch radius fingerboard further enhances the ease of playing. Classic Fender design is instilled right from the rear strap button to the top of the headstock to give you the authentic Fender feel.

Pros

  • Ideal for any style of playing.
  • Balanced, bright and resonant tone.
  • Modern looking classic instrument.

      Cons

  • Being a beginner, you may require a professional’s help to set it up to get the adjustments right.

Most instruments will require the help of a pro to help set it up and fine-tune it as per your requirement. This really cannot be considered as a negative, and you can get it done at a local music store.


#2 Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD – Best Intermediate Guitar for Newer Players

If you have been wanting to have an original Gibson Les Paul guitar but cannot afford the high-end version, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard comes to your rescue. It sure gives you the same feeling and performance as the former one but at a more affordable price. Now you know why it is known as the patron saint of the beginners. This guitar has one of the iconic body shapes made from mahogany with a maple top. It provides for a comfortable play with its standard maple neck design with a high-quality rosewood fretboard.

It comes with a set of Alnico humbuckers, which can be controlled to give you the notes. The two-tone and volume controlling knobs gives you accurate and precise control. Solid bridges can handle the intonations very well. It is equipped with six adjustable saddles on one end with die-cast tuners at the other.

The vintage sound the guitar produces is a highlighting feature that has made it quite famous. Even if it does not match up to the Gibson model, it is almost half Gibson when you listen to those individual notes.

Pros

  • Tunes very well with minimum effort.
  • Gives Flat warm tones
  • Great sustain and deep expressive distortions.
  • Flawless, smooth finish.

Cons

  • The knobs are of low quality.
  • Pickups are not ideal for a creamy tone.

You can opt for this strong performer if you have a flexible budget. It comes with all the great features of the high-end model at an affordable cost.


#3 ESP LTD EC-256FM – A Very Affordable Intermediate Guitar

Set-neck construction in an all-mahogany body with a flamed maple top makes it an exceptional choice for your stage performances. Speed and comfort are something you can be sure of with its rosewood fretboard. It comes with 22 XJ frets on the 24.75-inch-long neck.

The solid Mahogany body is designed as a single-cutaway contour to offer a great visual flair. It comes with two powerful ESP humbucking pickups that can be controlled with a 3-way toggle control; the individual volume controls buttons for each of the pickups, one master tone control, and a push-pull coil split button.

When you use the push/pull tone in conjunction with the three-way pick-up setting, you end with 6 different pick-up settings to experiment with. This gives you a more extensive range of sounds, starting from well-articulated clean tones to rock-infused distortions. It gives you a more significant and serious dose of sustain with the set-neck construction. Ideal for those blues, rock, hard rock, progressive rock, fusion, etc. However, the powerful and dynamic sound makes it suitable for other genres as well.

Pros

  • Ergonomically designed headstock.
  • Great mid-level guitar under $300
  • Different tonal abilities with split-coil humbuckers.

Cons

  • The pickups are of low quality.
  • Slightly Heavier than other variants.

Though it is a more substantial instrument, users point out that the weight can attribute to a better quality of sound. Also, the pickups can be upgraded over time, which will make this axe an excellent instrument to own.


#4 Schecter Guitar Research C-1 Platinum Electric Guitar – An Awesome Runner-Up!

A guitar that plays everything from blues, metal, or jazz to perfection. This is one guitar that has all the features of the popular C-1 make, plus it has some fantastic additions. It comes with platinum fingerboard inlays and satin chrome board hardware. The premium version consists of a double-cutaway body made of mahogany, a maple neck with a 25.5-inch scale set. The fingerboard is made from beautiful rosewood with 24 frets.

Enjoy the versatility of an incredible range of tones with the EMG pair of active 81/85 pickups. The EMG pickups offer a more organic tone than the standard active pickups. Comes with an Ultra Access neck joint is specifically designed to help the players access the entire fretboard with comfort and ease. It is equipped with finer Grover tuners in the ratio of 18:1 that provide for finer tuning and greater elimination of the backlash.

Powerful ceramic magnets are utilized in pickups for tones with detailed intensity, high-end cuts, and fluid sustain. This makes way for the slicing right through even the densest mixes. The natural oily nature of rosewood works well in providing rich sounds compared to the maple alternative as the oily pores absorb the stray overtones. It has a three-piece maple neck that offers more stability and lasts longer, ensuring excellent playability over a more extended period.

Pros

  • Maintains a modern yet classic look.
  • Ideal for both aggressive metals and clean notes.
  • Perfect weight and balance to carry our effortless performances.
  • Gives a natural tone.

Cons

  • The fretboard is dry initially
  • Platinum inlays are of low quality.
  • Armrest is too deep, causing discomfort.

Fretboards will need oiling for the first time to make it playable, and as you use it, you will feel it works great. These make for the best guitars for the intermediate players. It is sure a versatile piece with the many possibilities of music you can produce with a Schecter.


#5 Dean V Stealth Electric Guitar Satin Black – Best V-Shaped Intermediate Guitar

Are you the one to tread the unconventional path? If so, this design is sure to find acceptance with you. Dean V Stealth Electric Guitar is for those who love to try the new eye-catchy design with a high standard of professional sound. The not so common V-shaped body comprises solid mahogany with a set neck.

You can reach for the high notes with ease using the Dean’s ultra-access neck joint. It comes with active EMG pickups capable of producing a wide variety of tones. The ebony fingerboard is smooth and easy to play. Comes with pearl block inlays and Grover tuner to give you the best tuning experience.

This masterpiece comes to you from the finest guitar producers in the world, so there is no worry about the quality or performance. It is an excellent addition if you want to add a V-shaped axe to your existing collection. Wow, your audience with Out of the box design and the fantastic music.

Pros

  • Unconventional design.
  • EMG 81 and 85 Active pickups to do your favorite mixes.
  • Single-ply white body and headstock binding.
  • Sturdy tune-o-matic bridge.

Cons

  • Is on the higher end when it comes to price.
  • The design may not suit everyone

The high price will not deter people who wish to have a great looking and versatile instrument as it is not only the looks but also has a promise of excellent performance.


#6 Fender Player Telecaster – Best Telecaster

This vintage piece that was initially developed in the 1950’s by Leo Fender has stood the test of time and has been re-launched with many enhanced features. Known for its rich heritage, this guitar has gone through many upgrades to appeal to the current generation.

Made from solid Alder wood, it gives the players great sustain, sharp attack, and a more pronounced upper midrange. It comes with a modern C shaped neck with a fingerboard that is 9.5 inches in radius. Express your music more efficiently using the maple neck with 22 Frets with comfortable contours and smooth finish.

The instrument sure honors the Fender legacy on its classic fender tone styling. It is also one durable instrument that can withstand the roughest use. You can play any type of music, starting from the blues to the most aggressive metal and rock. It has sealed die-cast tuners with thru-body strung 6 saddle bridge with steel saddles. Neck has a nice smooth satin finish for that fluid playing experience.

There is a slight difficulty in reaching the higher frets owing to the design of the neck. However, players who have been using other guitars feel this is like their favorite as they can easily switch between genres.

Pros

  • Ideal for both casual and professional players.
  • Authentic tele tone and vibe with a modern touch.
  • Long and storied heritage.
  • Great for rock and roll, jazz, etc.

Cons

  • Fret buzz at the higher notes.
  • The neck is a bit thick and wider.

This guitar may not be the one you would want to start with, but it will find a place in your collection as the most played instrument.


#7 ESP LTD EC-401 – Best Modern Metal Sound

Touted to be the little brother to the famous EC-1000, also happens to be an ideal choice for intermediate players. This All mahogany body guitar comes with a set-in neck and single-cutaway body. You will enjoy playing this electric guitar with an innovative sleek U-shaped neck with 24 extra-jumbo frets.

It comes with enhanced tonal deliveries with the active EMG-81 pickup at the bridge position and EMG 60 at the neck positions. All your modern metal genres music will sound exceptional with this combination. You can also include extra humbuckers to give you traditional genres. The black nickel hardware and Earvana compensated nut offers improved intonation abilities to this guitar. A comfortable neck design facilitates easy and faster access to the higher frets. Rosewood fretboard on the Mahogany body gives more sustain and resonance.

This gorgeous instrument gives you a pleasant classic look and feel. For this reason, it is often considered as an alternative to the famed Les Paul series. However, the many numbers of additions you can make with the EMG pickups, hardware, and the sleek body will make it the most innovative and modern guitar.

Pros

  • Endless capabilities about the tone.
  • Lightweight guitar.
  • Eye-catchy flag inlays on the fingerboard.
  • Great for jamming and solos.

Cons

  • It requires extra additions to play different genres.
  • Rosewood fingerboard is average.

Own this great looking guitar at an affordable price when compared to the other ESP models. It’s not only the looks, but the sounds are also excellent and make it the go-to guitar for covering the heavier bands.


#8 Epiphone G-400 PRO – Best Budget Intermediate Guitar

Are you the SG fan? Want to experience the magic of the famed Gibson Les Paul sound without having to spend a bomb? The Epiphone G-400 Pro is the guitar you should be choosing.

It boasts of the power and endless sustain that can keep you going for long hours of playing. Made from a solid Mahogany body and neck in the double-cutaway body shape gives a beautiful attractive finish. The Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers give you the required high output. There are separate volume controls and tone controls for each of the pickups, so you are in better control of the sound produced. It also allows the players to choose from a myriad possibility of tones.

It provides a significant distortion and also works well on a clean channel through its coil-tapping pickups. The trapezoid inlay and Wilkinson tuners make it a classic rock instrument. It is a heavier instrument when compared to other under $1000 options. You can go in for easy string change with LockTone tune-o-matic bridge and stop bar tailpiece. The double deep cutaway body provides for easy accessibility of all the 22 frets.

Pros

  • Gibson authorized version of the excellent ’66 SG.
  • Gloss Rosewood fretboard with a radius of 12 inches.
  • 22 Medium Jumbo Frets.
  • Slim Taper Neck enhances the ease of playing.

Cons

  • May sound brittle and bland.
  • A bit too noisy when on the single-coil mode.

The unusual sound at the beginning can be made better with better tuning skills. This guitar will make a great start if you are a beginner or an intermediate player, and give you all the inspiration to rock your performances.


#9 Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM – Great Value for Money

We captioned it as excellent value for money to emphasize that it is just not any other cheap guitar. It comes with hardware that is of high quality and exceptional finish. Pickups, tuners, and the Graphtech all give you cues that this is no ordinary guitar to start with.

The body is made from alder wood, which is known to provide you with a more balanced and bright tone. Flamed maple top pairs beautifully with the tinted gloss finish to provide you with an attractive and enviable piece. It comes with a thin neck with an amber tint that gives a vintage feel. The frets are also medium in that it does not take you too far from the tall vintage frets. It comes with Seymour Duncan TB-14 humbucker for that killer humbucking tone. Hardtail bridge combined with the string saver saddles for better tuning.

You can comfortably play on the Yamaha Pacifica for long hours as the design perfectly fits any style of playing. It provides for an overall bright and warm tone, which is perfect for your solos. Watch this video for more details.

Pros

  • Grover locking tuners for better control overtones.
  • C shaped maple neck for improved playability.
  • Superior quality hardware.
  • Distinct Coil Tapping feature

Cons

  • Polyurethane looks not very appealing.

The negative of having a polyurethane coating is off set by the great music you can play with this axe. It is great to buy for the money considering the astounding sound output it provides. Yamaha Pacifica is an excellent instrument for both chords and lead.


#10 G&L Tribute S-500

Leo Fenders very own improvisation of the traditional double-cutaway design with bolt-on neck comes as a great alternative to a Fender Stratocaster. The G&L Tribute S-500 features a trio of single-coil pickups and has a Mahogany body which is not usually used in the mid-range guitars. This wood provides for a warmer and deeper sound with a medium C neck for ease of playing.

Dual-Fulcrum vibrato gives a lot of stability even during frequent bending up or down. Neck wood made from hard-rock maple with rosewood fingerboard. It comes with a 5-way switch that can control the MFD pickups to give you bright, sparkly top-end notes and robust bottom ends. There is also plenty of punch you can add to the music with the help of MFD pickups combined with the Passive Treble and Bass System. You could also combine the neck and bridge pickups with exploring infinite tone possibilities.

Pros

  • Innovative bolt-on design
  • MFD single coils made in Fullerton.
  • The aluminum vibrato arm provides a great silky feel.

Cons

  • The initial set up is a bit confusing.

You can take the help of a professional to get you started. It is hard to keep this axe down once you start playing it. Go for it if you are the one in high spirits while playing as it is available at a price that is affordable to most musicians.


Our Top Recommendation

After a thorough analysis of the top 10 recommendations we have put forth in this review, we bring you the best, unique in all ways starting from the vintage design to the new age additions. The perfect axe that suits all styles of music and capable of rendering a punchy mid-range noted to the bell-like high-end notes. Here, we present the best intermediate guitar to Fender Player Stratocaster for its universal acceptability among beginners and the professionals.

As you move up with your guitar lessons, a Strat will mean that you can experiment with a wide variety of tones with the medium to jumbo frets. The glossy shine over the solid alder body is worth showing off while you are at concerts or any other stage performances. Pau Ferro fingerboard with a 9.5-inch radius provides for easy bending. The modern neck profile combined with all the classic features of a Strat is just the thing the modern musicians are looking for. Vintage looks with a modern edge.

The reason we chose this Fender Player as number one in our reviews is primarily that it is a classic piece that is made affordable for working musicians. This will continue to be your favorite companions throughout your musical journey, whether you play it for a pastime or a profession. Our recommendation is purely based on the feedback from users who have been playing this instrument for years and are not willing to replace it with any other advanced version that is available in the market today.


Everything You Need to Know About Intermediate Electric Guitars:

Understand the parts of a guitar – It is worth getting to know about the various technical specifications of the instruments and what it can mean to you as a player. This section will help you explore the component parts of the guitar so you can look through each of it in detail while making the purchase.

  • Body Make – You will find three main types of styles, such as a hollow body, a semi-solid body, and a solid body. This relates to how the body is designed, and the intensity of resonance each one creates. Each type of music created from the guitar may require you to win a solid, semi-solid, or hollow one. The solid versions are for those who prefer heavy music and fast numbers.It will be great for any kind of metal, rock, punk forms of music that require louder sounds. The solid ones will also not have any feedback issues that are common in the hollow versions when you play the music at increased volumes. Players who are more likely to play softer music like jazz, blues, and country music should go in for the hollow or semi-hollow guitars. The novices should opt for the solid body to make as these versions are considered easy to handle.
  • The shape of the instrument – You are going to be holding the guitar for longer durations, and hence it is essential to choose one that will stay comfortably in your grip. You will find that there are many fancy shapes in the market today, such as the Y-shaped and Z-shaped guitars. These are for those guys who love to take the less frequented path. The shape will, however, not affect the music produced by the instrument. This is entirely a personal preference. The most conventional types are single-cutaway, double-cutaway, etc.
  • The type of wood used – This might seem like a minor attribute. However, the quality of the material used to make a lot of difference in the tone and sustain of the notes produced. The tonal abilities of each type of wood are different. While alder and basswood give you a well-balanced tone, mahogany wood is known to provide a warmer tone, and swamp ash wood can give you a brighter one. Your budget can also decide which type of wood will be used in the guitar. The moderately priced ones often use paulownia, poplar, basswood, or alder. The high-end varieties might use mahogany, pine, and swamp ash.
  • Neck – There is not much of a preference on the material used in making the neck, and it does not affect the instrument’s performance in any way. You will find that the neck is usually made of maple or mahogany. You have to simply choose one that seems comfortable in your hands and is smooth to handle. Today most guitarists have a personal preference for the C-shaped neck. The U-shaped neck is for those professionals who are into fast music such as metal, rock, or punk.
  • Pickups – You can choose from two main types of pickups, such as single-coil pickup and a humbucker pickup. The single-coil is the traditional one that produces sharp and bright sounds. The humbucker is the one that produces less background noise and can produce deep sounds that work great for rock or metal. Ideally, most guitars will come with only one type of pickup, while some models have two or three that can be switched over as per your need.
  • Frets – The thin metal bars on the neck of the guitar is what separates the notes so you can play individual notes and chords. Some versions have more than 24 frets. However, most of them will have around 22. If you are a beginner, you need not pay much attention to this. As an experienced player, you should be able to decide which one suits your style the best.
  • Bridge – this refers to the place at the bottom of the guitar where the strings are attached. There are two types of bridges you can choose from – fixed bridge or a tremolo bridge. Tremolo bridge is ideal when you are the lead player and want to experiment with full-on dive bombs and vibrato effects. A fixed bridge is for those who want to have better control over tuning and sustain.

FAQ Section

Now that we have discussed extensively on the best guitars that are available in the market. Let’s take some time out to answer some commonly asked questions on electric guitars.

What are the additional accessories I have to buy to play the guitar?

Apart from investing in a good quality guitar, you might also want to have the amplifier, cables, a strap, plectrums, and a bag to enhance the use of your instrument.

Amplifiers – it is essential to have this accessory as it will help you better judge your playing. It is important to note that there is no hard and fast rule that you need an amplifier to play the guitar. The music will sound better if you have one. Even without one, you should be able to hear your music. Professional practice will require that you have one, so do not resort to aggressive playing. The benefits that are offered by an amp is much more than you can ignore. So, it is wise to invest in one.

Cables, strap, plectrums, and bad are required to make sure your instrument lasts longer and makes it more versatile. This requires you to factor the additional costs of getting these accessories as part of the guitar costs, so you know how much is the actual cost.

Is there something like the easiest electric guitar?

The simple answer is that there is no easy guitar as such that you can play. It depends on your comfort and preference to choose the one that perfectly fits your playing style. As you start playing with a particular instrument, you tend to get comfortable with it over time. Most people go for the solid body to makeover the other choices simply because of the ease of playing and handling it. Like we discussed earlier, this also depends on the style of music you are likely to play more often.

How much will it cost to buy an intermediate guitar?

This depends on what features you are looking for in the guitar. As a beginner, if you can invest in a higher-end version, you will not be required to make upgrades as you begin to master the art. Intermediate guitar costs can ideally range between $350 to $750. These are the ones that are designed to last for a longer period than the inexpensive beginner’s guitar. You will find that these guitars will have more detailed concerning tone, distortion and will have more pickups.

What is the difference between beginner and advanced guitar?

Well, there is no real distinguishing features between a beginner’s guitar and the advanced versions. If you have the money, you can always start with the advanced versions. However, to point out why we need a beginner’s instrument while learning against an advanced one, we will find a few differences between the two.

It is best if beginners start with an instrument that is not too heavy and complicated as it might discourage him from the art. So, we have the beginner’s guitars that are lightweight and easily manageable.

The advanced versions will have a heavier body to provide for a better tone and sustain.

Basic versions will not have many pickup possibilities, and coil-splitting capabilities as beginners are still at the chords. On the other hand, the advanced players will want to try a range of pickups with different controls. Advanced versions may have a kill switch too.

Basic versions will mostly have fixed bridges as the focus is to learn the notes and chords where there are not many roles for the tremolos. Tremolo bridge requires you to know how to tune the guitar, and hence it is mostly found in the advanced versions.

What is the next step after I have got the guitar of my choice?

Check if you have received it in good shape (assuming it was an online purchase). Well, it is time for you to set it up, and this might require some professional help, even if you have a manual. You could take it to the local music store to make sure it is tuned properly. You can also find many online videos that help you set up the instrument.

What is the easiest way to learn guitar?

If you happen to be a self-starter and have a great passion for music, then online classes can be beneficial as you do not have to pay for it. Many videos are streaming on online platforms such as YouTube.

You can subscribe to paid online classes if you need those professionals coaching classes. This will help you grasp the technicalities faster as you will be required to pass certain levels to move forward.

Again, we cannot ignore the effectiveness of learning the art from the Pros directly. You can attend music classes in your vicinity to get the real feel of learning it from the experts.

How long will it take me to master the art?

There is no definite answer to this. You should be able to learn the chords in a matter of a few hours. However, mastering the art is not an easy task as it is an ever-evolving process. The more you dive into it, the deeper it gets. Happy Guitaring!

 

References:

  1. Leo Fender https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Telecaster
  2. EC-1000 https://www.guitarworld.com/news/watch-stephanie-bradley-put-the-esp-ltd-ec-1000t-through-its-paces
  3. video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bcwg1HDTpE

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