1 . Carvin
Carvin is a guitar company with a different business model than the rest. You wont find them at your local music store because Carvin only makes custom guitars. Their instruments are based around a handful of templates, and each one features components individually chosen by the buyer. For this reason, its very rare to find two Carvins that are completely identical.
Theres a Carvin model for just about every musical style, from metal to jazz to country to plain old rock n roll. These are highquality, Americanmade instruments, and pretty good deals too. If youre a guitar player looking to stand out from all the rest, Carvin is a great option.
2 . Charvel
A few decades ago, during the Golden Age of Shred, Charvel guitars were front and center as one of the best guitar brands for hard rock, metal and brainmelting soloing. Then came the 1990s and the grunge revolution, and for a time anyway all things shred were out in favor of droning guitars and melancholy lyrics.
But the universe could only take so much of that, so it was only a matter of time before brands like Charvel came back to power. That time is now.
Charvels So Cal and San Dimas models are just as hot as their Superstats of the 80s, and their Desolation series offers something for metalheads old and new.
3 . Daisy Rock
Daisy Rock? Sounds like guitars for girls or something. It is! Daisy Rock is a company dedicated to empowering girls and young women, and giving them the resources they need to learn to play the guitar. They have starter, shortscale acoustic guitars for little girls, and some really cool electric guitars in the shapes of hearts, butterflies and flowers.
But dont think theyre all about foofy shapes and pastel colors. Daisy Rock also produces some really highgrade stuff, guitars with professionalstyle appointments like the Stardust and Rock Candy models. This is company that really has a great mission statement. We need more girl guitar heroes!
4 . Dean
If you are into metal, Dean is a guitar company youll want to check out. Their classic ML design has become an icon in the extreme rock genre, thanks to the late Darrell Abbott of Pantera and Damageplan. In the 1990s Dime brought the old ML back to life, and Dean expanded the concept with some sharper, more modern designs.
These days there are several versions of the ML to choose from. Plus, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth endorses Dean with his signature V, and the Dean Vendetta Series is worth a look for any level of guitar player.
Dean also makes some great guitars for rock, blues, country and even some quality acoustics.
5 . Epiphone
They are now owned by Gibson, but at one time Epiphone was one of Gibsons biggest competitors. Nowadays they are considered Gibsons budgetminded little brother.
Epi makes both electric and acoustic guitars, and many of their models are based around Gibson designs. In fact, they are the only guitar company allowed to use Gibson specs to make Les Pauls, Explorers, SGs, Flying Vs and other Gibson classics.
This is good news for young players, or anyone looking to get a great guitar that looks like a Gibson, sounds a lot like a Gibson, but doesnt cost nearly as much as a Gibson.
6 . ESP and ESP LTD
During the 80s and early 90s, ESP was a guitar company known for creating incredible customshop instruments, and highquality original designs.
They still do that, and ESP guitars are still used by some of the best professional musicians on the planet, especially in the hard rock and metal genres. But when they branched out to their ESPLTD designs, ESP brought their legendary guitars to the masses.
ESP LTD guitars feature ESP designs like the Eclipse in a more budgetfriendly package, such as the EC1000. The ESPLTD EC1000 is an amazing rock guitar with quality appointments and quickly becoming a classic. If you are looing for a great Les Paul alternative, the EC1000 might be the right choice for you.
7 . Fender
Along with Gibson, Fender is probably among the most recognized guitar names in the world. Of course models like the Stratocaster and Telecaster are etched into history as some of the greatest guitars ever made. Their USAmade instruments have shaped just about every genre of music for over 60 years.
Even though Fender offers a myriad of different Strat and Tele designs and configurations, along with other classics like the Jaguar, they still remain firm to their roots. If it aint broke, dont fix it, apparently. But Fender does offer lessexpensive guitars, such as their Mexicanmade Standard Strats and Telecasters along with other classic guitars, plus the affordable American Special series. This makes them accessible for almost any player.
8 . Gibson
The most famous Gibson guitar is the Les Paul, and it has been a mainstay in the music world for decades. The Gibson Les Paul is a highend, madeinthe USA instrument, and comes in a few different variations. Like Fender, Gibson has remained fairly consistent with the styles and designs that made them so great to begin with. In addition to the Les Paul, other famous Gibson electric guitars include the SG, Flying V, Explorer, ES335 and Firebird, and classic acoustics like the Hummingbird.
As mentioned above, many of these models are available as Epiphone copies, but that doesnt detract from the mystique of Gibson. Gibsons are legendary for their tone and craftsmanship, and for many players nothing else will do except a real Gibson guitar.
9 . G and L guitars
G&L is a guitars company founded by Leo Fender. Yup, that Leo Fender. Many of the design are reminiscent of classic Fender classic instruments, with some improvements to form and design. Because of this, some guitar players feel G&L is a solid alternative to, and even an improvement over, owning a Fender guitar.
No doubt youll see Leo Fenders mind at work when looking at guitars like the ASAT and Legacy. But look a little deeper and youll find some innovative hardware and electronics designs, plus a few models that separate G&L from any of the other best guitar brands out there.
10 . Gretsch
Gretsch is a guitar company that makes some truly beautiful instruments, especially if you into hollow and semihollow body guitars. The Gretsch White Falcon is a legendary instrument with a price tag to match its reputation, but there are other models in the Gretsch lineup, and something right for any level of player.
From signature Chet Atkins and Brian Setzer models, to the Jet and Duo Jet, Gretsch is to rockabilly and jazz what Jackson is to metal. The Electromatic Series offers some very affordable options for intermediate players and working pros.