Top Ten Rock Guitars – Your Ultimate Guide To Buying Your Next Rock Guitar

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll look at the top ten choices for rock guitars that will sound and feel amazing!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Our top 10 picks for the best rock guitars
  • What to look for in your next guitar
  • Why pickup choice is so important
  • The best ways to try a guitar to make sure it’s right for you

Take A Look At Our Picks For The Top Ten Rock Guitars!

Rock music is pretty specific in its sound – it’s big, it’s brash and distorted and it’s extremely loud.

But that isn’t really all of it, is it?

Sure, you can have a massive Marshall JCM800, a Fender Red-Knob or a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier – all of which are amazing amplifiers, and they’ll surely help you get the gig done.

When it comes to rock guitars however, we can go a few different routes depending upon our preferences.

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Before we dive into our list of the top ten rock guitars, there are a few things you should look out for (especially if you’re a beginner guitarist):

  1. Don’t buy before you try! Guitars are all about feel, and the right guitar will feel right in your hands.
  1. Remember to get your guitar set up by a professional when you buy it – guitars that have been sitting in a music store aren’t set up that often, so it’s important to seek some TLC for your new instrument right away.
  1. Pickup choice makes a huge difference! Whether they’re humbuckers, single coils or even P-90s, you’ll want to make sure the guitar you buy has the pickup style you want most. Do your research first!

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In this lesson, we’re going to cover our picks for the top ten rock guitars that will play easy and make you sound huge whether you’re playing in your basement, a bar or an arena.

We’re also going to talk about what to look out for when buying a guitar in general, so you never miss when it comes to your next big purchase.

This lesson is going to cover a variety of guitars in varying price points, so there’s something in here for everyone, no matter your budget.

Here are our picks for the top ten rock guitars!

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Top Ten Rock Guitars #1 – Squier Affinity HH Jazzmaster

Squier guitars aren’t what they used to be by any means – these fine folks have stepped up their game significantly in the last few years, pushing out guitars that are durable & stage-worthy at every price point.

If you don’t favour the sound of single coil pickups but want a big Fender-ish sound out of your guitar, the Affinity series HH Jazzmaster is definitely the right model for you.

Check out this beauty right here in Squier’s “Arctic White” finish:

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What we love about it:

  • The offset design sits nicely when playing either sitting down or standing up.
  • A well-balanced instrument that carries its weight nicely for a guitar priced at the entry-level.

Downsides:

  • No tremolo arm/whammy bar means you won’t be doing any divebombs on this guitar

Of our picks for the top ten rock guitars, this one sits at the top due mostly to its value at its specific price point.

This guitar retails for $229.99USD – click here to check it out on Sweetwater.

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Top Ten Rock Guitars #2 – Epiphone Les Paul Muse

Another humbucking guitar that delivers on playability at the entry level, the Les Paul Muse makes our list for the top ten rock guitars due to its well-roundedness.

Les Pauls are rock guitars through and through, but seldom do we find one that delivers on all fronts at an affordable price point – until now.

Another big plus for us is the colours that this guitar comes in – they’re unique and not something we’ve seen much of elsewhere.

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What we love about it:

  • The classic appointments of an all-original Les Paul without the cost associated with it.
  • Ease of playability, big sound without breaking the bank

Downsides:

  • Not as versatile as some of the guitars on this list

This Les Paul Muse makes our list for the top ten rock guitars on the grounds of easy of playability and classic appointments, coupled with it’s lack of extreme weight (only 7lbs!) 

This guitar retails for $499.00USD. Click here to check it out on Sweetwater.

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Top Ten Rock Guitars #3 – Ibanez Standard RGA42FM

We can’t write a lesson on our picks for the top ten rock guitars without mentioning something from Ibanez.

Ibanez simply doesn’t miss when it comes to both playability and durability, and we’re big fans of the work they do.

Ibanez pride themselves on aesthetic and playability equally, and it shows in the gorgeous design and ease-of-use of this instrument.

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What we love about it:

  • Stock pickups sound fantastic at this price point
  • Signature Ibanez design and engineering means you’ll have a workhorse guitar that won’t quit 

Downsides:

  • Lack of a tremolo arm/whammy bar is unfortunate but not a complete loss
  • Stock Ibanez tuners leave a bit to be desired in tuning stability.

This guitar retails for $399.99USD. Click here to view it on Sweetwater.

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Top Ten Rock Guitars #4 – Fender Player HSS Stratocaster

We’ve already touched on Fender’s little sister company, Squier, but Fender deserves a spot of its own on our list of the top ten rock guitars.

The tonal possibilities are seemingly endless with this guitar, so you can play your rock gig with ease and hop on over to an R&B gig in the same night without switching instruments even once.

Convenient? We think so.

Practical? Definitely.

Affordable? Fairly.

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What we love about it:

  • Sturdy tremolo arm/whammy bar design means you won’t fall out of tune after a couple divebombs
  • Combined pickup design lends itself extremely well to a variety of different tones from clean to heavy

Downsides:

  • None that we can pinpoint, to be honest. This guitar is extremely worth it as one of the most versatile instruments on this list of the top ten rock guitars.

This guitar retails for $779.99USD. Click here to view this item on Sweetwater.

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Top Ten Rock Guitars #5 – Danelectro Stock ‘59

Although it’s a bit more of a niche guitar compared to some of the others on our list, the Stock ‘59 by Danelectro makes our list of the top ten rock guitars for its unforgiving personality and character.

The Stock ‘59 is a semi-hollow instrument, giving it a unique resonance compared to the other guitars on this list.

Sporting a set of single coil lipstick pickups, this guitar’s unique tone won’t be mistaken anywhere.

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What we love about it:

  • Sturdy and unique design gives you a guitar that doesn’t quit while standing out
  • Jangly tone has its own distinct characteristics

Downsides:

  • A niche guitar that won’t be for everyone
  • Not a ‘do-all’ instrument by comparison to a Stratocaster, for example

This guitar retails for $429.00USD. You can view it on Sweetwater by clicking here.

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Top Ten Rock Guitars #6 – Epiphone Modern Figured SG

No matter your preference, one thing’s for certain:

The SG is a classic rock & roll machine of an instrument.

This guitar doesn’t just make our list for the top ten rock guitars based on tradition alone, but also because of its tone and playability.

The SG serves gracefully when it comes to rock & roll tone and attitude, and it’s got the aesthetics to back it up, too.

If you want gritty tones and a gnarly look to boot, the Modern Figured SG is the right model for you.

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What we love about it:

  • Big sound without breaking the bank
  • Chock full of tonal and aesthetic attitude
  • Plays rock music like it was designed for it

Downsides:

  • Less tonal options than some of the guitars on this list
  • Not as well-rounded of an instrument by comparison to the other axes on our list of the top ten rock guitars

This guitar retails for $549.00USD. You can view it here on Sweetwater.

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Top Ten Rock Guitars #7 – Schecter PT Special

We figured we’d mentioned enough about Squier and Fender already, but there’s another company that does extreme justice to the Fender-originated Telecaster-style electric guitar design:

Schecter.

Their PT Special Tele-style electric guitar boasts a P-90 style pickup in the neck and a single coil in the bridge, bringing a gorgeous level of dynamic possibilities to the table.

This ax makes our list for the top ten rock guitars because of its vintage sound and modern engineering, which combine for a very one-of-a-kind guitar.

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 What we love about it:

  • Vintage tone from the P90-style neck pickup gives you a breadth of tonal possibilities
  • Just the right level of aggression in the bridge pickup

Downsides:

  • P90-style pickups aren’t for everyone
  • Not as much tonal possibilities as some of the other guitars on this list

This is definitely one of the more niche instruments on this list of the top ten rock guitars, but it earns its place due to the feel, variety of tonal possibilities and overall uniqueness.

This guitar retails for $599.00USD. You can view it here on Sweetwater. 

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electric-rock-guitar

Top Ten Rock Guitars #8 – PRS SE Standard 24

Paul Reed Smith is a company that prides itself on exquisite design, and so you would figure that the starting price for any of their guitars would be in the thousands, easily.

Well, that’s only the case for some of them.

The SE series presents an interesting option, however: All of the standard luxurious appointments of a PRS guitar with the same feeling and design at a semi-beginner level price point.

Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t. The SE Standard 24 secures its position on our list for the top ten rock guitars because of how it handles. This guitar feels like no other (partially due to the unique 25” scale length).

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 What we love about it:

  • 25” scale length on the neck is comfortable and extremely accessible
  • It just feels really nice to play, overall

Downsides:

  • Stock pickups may not come with enough bite for some rock guitarists

This guitar retails for $579.00USD. Click here to check it out on Sweetwater.

Top Ten Rock Guitars #9 – G&L Tribute Doheny

As we stated before, we love offset-style guitars.

There’s just something so vintage and ‘rock & roll’ about them that we couldn’t just name one on our list of the top ten rock guitars.

We chose this guitar for two distinct reasons:

  1. The unique jazz single-coil designed pickups in this guitar give it a distinctly defined tone that you won’t find in the same way with other guitars on this list
  2. It’s a guitar that feels especially good to play.

What we love about it:

  • Distinct and defined tone that will serve as an asset to any guitar arsenal
  • Vintage look gives this guitar a Surf-inspired look with a sound that can take on any genre just as well as any of the others on this list of the top ten rock guitars

Downsides:

  • Jazz-inspired pickups may not be aggressive enough for heavier rock players

This guitar retails for $599.99. You can check it out on Sweetwater by clicking here.

Top Ten Rock Guitars #10 – Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 2PT HH

In the last spot on our list is Charvel’s take on a telecaster-style guitar.

The big takeaway with this guitar is its Fishman Fluence Open-Core humbucker pickups.

These pickups are voiced in such a way that they can achieve just about everything from vintage cleans to searing, Texas-style leads and everything in between.

Although this one is priced slightly higher than most of the others on our list of the top ten rock guitars, this is an ax that won’t let you down and will absolutely grow with you as a player.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning as well that we love the addition of the tremolo arm on this guitar. Way to go, Charvel!

 What we love about it:

  • Fishman Fluence Open-Core pickups deliver an incredibly vast variety of sounds in one guitar
  • The horn is carved incredibly deep on this guitar, giving you complete fret access

Downsides:

  • The pickups in this guitar are active-style pickups, meaning you’ll have to swap a battery every now and again

This guitar retails for $999.99. Check it out on Sweetwater by clicking here.

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Remember: Try Before You Buy!

The best way to buy a guitar is to feel it in your hands and play it before purchasing.

Whether it’s ordering a guitar and taking advantage of a trial period (depending on where you buy from), or trying it out in person in a store, you’re going to want to ‘give it a whirl’ in your own hands. 

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Did you enjoy this list of our top ten rock guitars?

We hope you found some variety and some new instruments you might consider playing in the future.

If you loved this list, check out some more of our lists & lessons below:

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