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Blues music is a true American traditional music genre that is sure to be relevant for many years to come. Throughout its history, many musicians have made their mark on the genre. Their musical voices have helped to push the music beyond its 12-bar progressions.
An electric guitar is a vital tool if you’re looking for an instrument to convey your musical identity in blues. The following is a list of some of the best guitars currently available for blues.
Table of Contents
Fender Player Stratocaster – Best Overall
The Fender Stratocaster has been an influential guitar in many genres, especially the blues. Guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray have all used this model as their main guitar.
The Fender Player Stratocaster is a great modern take on this classic guitar. You’ll find everything you need here to give you those classic blues guitar tones.
The body of this guitar is crafted from Alder and has a gloss polyester finish. You can choose from a number of different attractive color options including:
- Polar white
- Tidepool (blue)
- Tobacco sunburst
- 3-color sunburst
- Aged cherry sunburst
In true Fender style, the neck is made from Maple with a modern C-shaped contour for comfort. The neck has a scale length of 25.5” and features Fender’s modular bolt-on design.
With the Player Stratocaster, you have the option to choose between a Maple fretboard or a Pau Ferro fretboard. This fretboard has a 9.5” radius and 22 frets. The extra fret is one modern feature found on this guitar (as vintage Fenders usually came equipped with 21 frets).
For pickups, this Stratocaster is stocked with 3 x Player Series Alnico V Strat single-coil pickups. These are going to give you those signature Stratocaster tones with a bit of a modern touch. A 5-way switch gives you access to a large range of usable tones.
Another modern feature on this Stratocaster relates to the tone knobs. In true Stratocaster fashion, this has 2 tone knobs. However, one knob relates to the neck and middle pickup, with the other dedicated to the bridge.
You’ll also get a synchronized tremolo with this Stratocaster, which is a mainstay and a must with any Strat.
Item Weight: 10.25 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 15.2 x 4.4 inches
PRS S2 McCarty 594 Thinline – Best Premium
If you have no budgetary concerns and are looking for a versatile guitar, be sure to check out this PRS. The S2 McCarty 594 Thinline will provide playability and tone sufficient for blues and many other styles of music.
This guitar’s body is crafted from Mahogany and features a gloss finish that enhances the color of your choice. You can choose to have the S2 McCarty 594 Thinline in the following colors:
- Mahi blue
- Antique white
- Vintage Cherry
- Frost green metallic
- Frost blue metallic
- Tobacco sunburst
The strings will feel extra slinky with this guitar’s 24.594” scale neck made of Mahogany. This neck has a thin contour to provide a comfortable playing experience in any position.
A Rosewood fretboard with a 10” radius is featured with this model. You’ll have 22 frets adorned by the signature PRS bird inlays.
Perhaps one of the most attractive features of the S2 McCarty 594 Thinline is the pickup selection. This guitar is stocked with a pair of PRS 58/15 “S” humbuckers.
These humbuckers can be split into single coils via a coil tap. You’ll be able to reap the benefits of humbuckers and single-coil pickups at the push of a button. Furthering your tonal options is a 3-way switch as well as a pair of volume and tone knobs.
Elsewhere, this guitar features a 2-piece stop-tail bridge, vintage-style tuners, and a synthetic nut.
A padded gig bag also comes included with this guitar. This is a handy addition as it means the guitar is gig-ready as soon as you get it.
Item Weight: 18 pounds
Package Dimensions: 47 x 17 x 7 pounds
Ibanez AX120 – Best Budget
The Ibanez AX120 is perhaps one of the best budget guitars you can find on the market. This is a highly playable guitar that is perfect for beginners purchasing their first guitar.
With the AX120, you’ll have a double-cutaway guitar with a body made of Basswood. You’ll have the option for many different color choices accented with a gloss polyester finish. These include:
- Copper metallic
- Baltic blue metallic
- Candy apple red
- Metallic forest green
- Metallic light blue
The double-cutaway design makes this guitar feel extremely comfortable in the higher ranges of the instrument. Aiding in its comfort is a Maple neck with a scale length measuring 24.75”.
A 22-fretted Jatoba fretboard with a 12” radius provides excellent playability as well. Adding to the aesthetic of the guitar are large white block inlays on the fretboard.
You’ll get a pair of Classic Elite humbuckers in the AX120. These have an excellent range of tones that can be dialed in easily. A 3-way switch and a pair of volume and tone knobs allow you to make the most of these.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a plastic nut, Ibanez tuners, a Gibraltar Performer bridge, and a Quick Change III tailpiece.
This offering from Ibanez makes a great solution for a beginner’s first electric guitar for blues. You’ll have easy access all over the guitar. Its affordable price lends itself to modifications if you wish to go that route in the future.
Item Weight: 10 pounds
Package Dimensions: 45 x 20 x 6 inches
Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster
The Fender Telecaster has been a staple in many styles of music. These guitars are known for their incredible versatility. Fender has managed to increase the Telecaster’s versatility with their Deluxe Nashville Telecaster model.
This guitar has a body made of Alder with a gloss polyester finish. Several colors and fretboard options are available with this guitar, including:
- Fiesta red with Pau Ferro fretboard
- Daphne blue with Pau Ferro fretboard
- 2-color sunburst with Maple fretboard
- White blonde with Maple fretboard
The neck of this guitar is crafted from Maple with a modern-C contour and a scale length of 25.5”. The fretboard has 22 frets with a radius of 12”, both of which are modernized features of the classic Telecasters.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of the Deluxe Nashville Telecaster is the pickups. You’ll have a pair of Vintage Noiseless Tele single-coils in the neck and bridge positions. In addition, you’ll also have a Vintage Noiseless Strat single-coil in the middle position.
A 5-way switch allows you to make the most of these pickup combinations. You’ll really be able to find some unique tones with the added Stratocaster pickup. A master volume and tone knob are provided for extra tone control.
Overall, this is an excellent modern take on a true classic. It's also a great example of how Fender can push the boundaries on an otherwise traditional guitar. This guitar has a ton of value and playability for its price.
Item Weight: 11.25 pounds
Package Dimensions: 33.5 x 15.5 x 4.5 inches
Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster
The Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster is an excellent affordable guitar with all of the traditional Stratocaster features. This guitar is modeled after the 1950s schematics, modernized for today’s players while retaining vintage stylings.
You’ll find that the Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster has a body made of Pine. A gloss polyurethane finish accents the color choices, which include:
- 2-color sunburst
- Fiesta red
- White blonde
In keeping with the Fender tradition, this guitar has a 25.5” scale length Maple neck with a C-shaped contour. The fretboard (also Maple) has a radius of 9.5”, with 21 narrow-tall frets.
You’ll get 3 Fender Alnico single-coil pickups with the Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster. These will deliver the classic Strat sounds you know and love. A 5-way switch, along with a master volume and 2 tone knobs, provides further tonal customization.
As is customary with most Stratocasters, you’ll get a vintage-style synchronized tremolo system. You’ll be able to add vibrato and dive-bombs to your performance with ease.
A massive upgrade with this model is the fact that it has a nut made of real bone. This ultimately helps to provide extra resonance to the notes that you play.
Overall, the Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster features all of the things that the traditional Stratocaster is known for. Its affordability provides an excellent entry point for the budget-conscious guitarist looking for a workhorse guitar.
Item Weight: 7.3 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44.5 x 15 x 4 inches
Semi-hollow-body guitars are known for their resonant profile and tonal versatility. An excellent affordable option in this category is the Ibanez AS73. This guitar will serve up tones that will be more than suitable for blues music.
The Ibanez AS73 has a body made of Linden laminate, which helps to produce its resonant qualities. This is a double-cutaway body design, allowing you to comfortably play all over the neck with easy access.
You have a few attractive color options with the AS73. These include:
- Tobacco brown
- Olive metallic
- Prussian blue metallic
- Transparent cherry red
The neck of the AS73 is made of Nyatoh and has a scale length of 24.7”. A 22-fret Walnut fretboard is featured on this guitar, with a 12” radius and large acrylic block inlays. Moving around on this neck will feel silky smooth.
Tonally, you will have a great range of options provided by the pair of Classic Elite humbuckers. A 3-way switch and a pair of volume and tone knobs allow for the easy dialing-in of tones.
For hardware, the AS73 has a plastic nut and closed gear tuners. A Gibraltar Performer bridge and Quick Change III tailpiece combination are installed at the bridge.
Overall, the Ibanez AS73 is a highly attractive semi-hollow-body guitar that can be pretty versatile. Its tones are very ideal for the blues player but can venture into jazz and rock as well. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another of its kind at such an affordable price.
Item Weight: 13.23 pounds
Package Dimensions: 47 x 21 x 6 inches
Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe
If you’re on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice tone, check out the Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe. This guitar gives you that classic Telecaster playability at a seriously affordable price.
The body of the Telecaster Deluxe is made of Poplar with a gloss polyurethane finish. You have several color and fretboard options with this guitar, including:
- Black with Maple fretboard
- Charcoal frost metallic with Laurel fretboard
- Burgundy mist with Laurel fretboard
A comfortable playing experience will be provided thanks to the large bevel cut in the back of the body. You won’t have any sharp edges digging into your body.
As is common with Fender-style instruments, the neck is made from Maple with a C-shape contour. The scale length measures 25.5” with the fretboard radius measuring 9.5”. Similar to vintage Fenders, this Telecaster has 21 frets.
For pickups, the Affinity Telecaster Deluxe has a pair of Fender Ceramic humbuckers. These will give you a thicker sound than what you’d find with the traditional single-coils.
Aiding in your tonal options is a 3-way switch as well as a pair of volume and tone knobs.
Elsewhere on this guitar are die-cast tuners and a synthetic bone nut. A 6-string saddle bridge is also provided, which is typically found on Telecaster models.
In keeping with the tradition of Telecaster Deluxe models, this version features its signature large pickguard. However, the 3-way switch has been moved to the shoulder, which is a bit more convenient to use.
Overall, the Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe is a worthy instrument if you’re buying your first electric guitar. You’ll have access to some signature tones that you’ve likely grown to love over your years of listening to music.
Item Weight: 10.2 pounds
Package Dimensions: 45 x 15 x 4 inches
What To Look For In An Electric Guitar For Blues?
The blues genre has some flexibility when it comes to the guitar you should use. The reason for this is that the blues fundamentally allow for a guitarist’s unique voice to take center stage.
However, there are some things you should keep in mind when shopping for a blues-oriented electric guitar. The following points will help guide you to the right guitar for you.
Your signature tone may certainly be within your fingertips, but pickups can change the way your tone is delivered. Because of this, you’ll need to decide which type of guitar suits your musical voice the best.
Single-coil pickups have been widely used in blues music. They are known for their trebly, nasal quack. These have a degree of vocal qualities but are not necessarily very warm.
Humbuckers, on the other hand, can be bright but tend to be darker. The tones from these can also be thicker and more present.
Some guitars have a coil-tap feature, allowing you to split humbuckers into single coils. With this option, you get the best of both worlds without having to make any sacrifices.
Similarly, your guitar’s body style will also help shape your tone. A semi-hollow-body or hollow-body guitar is going to provide far more sustain and resonance than a solid-body guitar. These guitars may also be quite a bit warmer in tonal comparison.
Depending on your playing style, you may desire to have certain features on your guitar. A tremolo system, for example, will allow you to add extra expression to your playing.
When in doubt, buy the guitar that is going to allow you to be the player you want to be. Doing so will ensure you have everything you could possibly want or need in a playing situation.
Unfortunately, when it comes to buying guitars, your budget is going to be one of the biggest determining factors. You often get what you pay for, but you don’t necessarily need to break the bank for an excellent guitar.
Higher-priced guitars tend to be more ideal for the professional players who have the skills to pay the bills. These guitars will be built to a degree that a beginner likely won’t be able to appreciate.
Intermediate and budget-friendly guitars tend to be suitable for those who are still learning. They can be suitable for on-stage performances as well. You need to know what your performance needs are to justify the expense you can afford.
Best Brands For Electric Guitars For Blues
If you’re having trouble narrowing down which guitar is right for you, have no fear. There are some staples within the genre that are well-known for their performance factor. Knowing about these brands can give you a guideline of tried-and-true guitars that could be right for you.
Fender is one of the most well-known American guitar brands in the industry. Their instruments and amplifiers have played an influential role in some of the most famous music ever made.
Many blues players of years past have donned a Fender guitar to emote their musical stylings. Quite often, these have become a signature sound within the blues genre itself.
Squier is actually a sister company to Fender, offering affordable versions of Fender models to the market. These guitars are highly acclaimed for their provided value, and make a great choice for the learning guitarist.
Squier came about in the 1980s in an attempt to battle the massive flood of counterfeit Fender guitars. Today, Squier guitars are a great choice for the budget-conscious guitarist looking for iconic Fender tones. Squier guitars are also an excellent choice for those who enjoy utilizing guitar modifications.
Paul Reed Smith guitars are world-renowned for their extremely critical eye for detail in the craftsmanship of their guitars. This company, founded in 1985, has found its way into the limelight over the last 2 decades.
PRS guitars are incredibly versatile. Because of this, you’ll find them being used in almost any guitar-oriented music genre.
Best Electric Guitars For Blues, Final Thoughts
The blues is a very important genre and is responsible for the creation of many music genres. Playing the blues requires one to develop their own individual voice as a guitarist. A trusted guitar is often a critical tool in this process.
We will likely see the blues continue to be a mainstay traditional music genre. While it may not be mainstream as in years past, it’s a perfect platform for the right kind of guitarist.
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