Have you ever wondered what the most elite blues guitar players use to come up with those tantalizing, alluring, and enticing blues licks?
Well, the answer is simple. They understand two essential things. First, these musicians – whether it is BB King, Eric Clapton, or the “Great” Jimi Hendrix – realize that music is all about innovation. When you listen to each of them play, you will find out that each had a unique voice. And that is because all of them used similar theories but different applications.
The second thing is that these professionals need to have a good blues guitar to achieve the kind of sound they produced in their albums.
If you also want to become an elite blues guitarist, you need to understand these two aspects.
But should you really buy a blues guitar? The answer is yes.
The reason why it is essential is that the guitar market offers different guitars to fit various playing styles. And for any upcoming blues guitarist, getting a guitar that can help you become excellent in playing innovative blues licks should be the first thing you consider.
In our article today, we want to help you find a blues guitar that suits you. We will highlight the ten best blues guitars.
Note that it took a lot of research to come up with this list. And trust me: when combining it, we had to consider the best guitars in this niche in terms of budget, the construction, the appeal it brings, the sound quality, and whom the guitar suits most.
Therefore, sit back; relax, because the next time you are out shopping for a good blues guitar, you will have a clue of what you need.
Top 10 Best Blues Guitars 2020 Reviews
1. Squier Affinity Telecaster
On the very top of our list is a guitar that comes from the popular Telecaster series. Some of the musicians who used this guitar include Prince and Keith Richards.
Right out of the box, you will find a blues guitar with an appealing alder body. Primarily, it offers that reflective look that adds value to your guitar.
Other qualities include neck and bridge humbucking pickups, 21 frets, a C-shape maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and a thin headstock. Overall, this guitar is light, which is a good deal for people who play for long hours.
When it comes to sound, this blues guitar does not disappoint. Its humbucking pickups are super when it comes to sensitivity; hence, they pick up each sound, both low and high frequencies.
Musicians should also note that this guitar does not go out of tune quickly. One factor that facilitates this is the six-saddle bridge. If you did not know, such saddles facilitate easy tuning, easy installation of strings, and they maintain tonality. Therefore, you can play it straight out of the box.
2. Epiphone SG Special Electric Guitar
When you compare blues music in the 90s, and now, you will notice something significant. It is changing. Musicians are adapting to newer modes of playing and concepts. Also, with modern ideas, newer blues guitars models are also coming up.
The Epiphone SG special model is an electric guitar that brings in that new vibe in your blues guitar. It comes with an appealing construction that will light up any room and live performance. In short, you will look professional more than ever.
It features a mahogany body, a maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard with 21 frets, neck and bridge humbucking pickups, volume and tonal controls, a killswitch, and a 3+3 headstock.
Your licks are not going to be the same again with the SG model. Primarily, the sound and tone on this guitar are exceptional and balanced.
The two pickups offer different tones. If you want to switch between the two, you can use the three-way toggle switch on the body.
Another feature that makes this guitar ‘truly special’ is the Killswitch. You can suppress the tone control softly to kill the tone while building up your blues licks.
Well, after hearing this guitar play, we can conclude that the guitar is ideal for everyone. It offers an excellent start for musicians who want to get into blues music. Also, elite players will appreciate this guitar since it has different qualities to make your music sound unique.
3. Gretsch G9200 Roundneck Boxcar
Since electric guitars are not the only guitars used for playing blues music, we thought to include an acoustic blues guitar. The Gretsch G9200 comes from a reputable guitar brand, and it brings new characteristics to your playing.
The G9200 is a resonator guitar. It comes with a mahogany body, a single cone, which acts as the resonator, and two f-style holes near the neck.
Its neck is round, which makes it suitable to reach the fingerboard fully. The manufacturer also provides a square neck, but it is ideal for people who want to play the guitar on their laps.
Also, the neck is mahogany and has a 25-inch scale.
The guitar sounds perfect for blues playing, especially fingerstyle and slide. Its resonator ensures that the sound produced is pronounced and loud enough.
Apart from having a round neck, which offers an easy way to play, this guitar is suitable for playing traditional blues style. That includes Mississippi Delta blues, ragtime blues, as well as country blues.
Professionals will love the sound that this guitar produces since it is uncompromised.
4. Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster Electric Guitar
If you are a blues fan, then you already know Eric Clapton. He is one of the greatest blues guitar players. Because of this, Fender decided to tribute him with a guitar. And since it belongs to the Stratocaster series, we have to commend the brand on the excellent job it did.
Musicians who would like to own one of these guitars should understand that Eric Clapton Stratocaster provides a unique vintage vibe. The body is alder and comes with three noiseless pickups. It also has a volume control knob, a tone knob, and a treble TBX knob.
You will also notice that the maple neck features a V shape and a rosewood fingerboard. The fingerboard maintains 22 vintage frets. We believe that the extra fret provides extra space for your blues licks.
Any guitarist who would like to sound like Eric Clapton should buy this guitar. The guitar provides a variety of tones and sounds, and with the noiseless pickups, the instrument sounds fantastic.
The Treble TBX control, which sits in the middle of the volume and tone controls, also ensures that your tube amps remain boosted.
Any tribute guitar is a high-end guitar. But if you are ready to invest in unique sounds, then this is a guitar worth trying. Nonetheless, beginners should be a bit wary when buying this guitar, since such an investment is too high.
5. Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar
If you are going to be a classic blues player, then you need a guitar that looks and sounds that way. The Godin 5th Avenue users conclude that this guitar comes in handy regardless of whether you are playing modern blues, jazz blues, or jazz.
Though it does not look like the conventional acoustic guitar, the Godin 5th Avenue offers a semi-hollow body with f Holes on its side. It comprises of arch wild cherry material on the top, back, and sides.
Also, the neck is a silver leaf maple neck and features a rosewood fingerboard. The headstock comes with black gloss, which adds quality and appeals to this guitar.
On its body, you will find neck and bridge P-90 single-coil pickups. Their work is to bring out those tones the way you play them.
The three-way toggle switch, which sits at the top, and the volume and tone controls ensure that you can change the sound of the guitar to suit your playing style.
We also noticed that the f-holes contribute to the mellow sound that you get when playing.
If you are an elite musician, the Godin 5th Avenue electric guitars are suitable for blues, jazz, blues-jazz, and rock players. When you connect this to your mix, you will enjoy each sound with precision.
Beginners who are getting into blues can also benefit highly from this guitar.
6. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO Electric Guitar
Epiphone is a subsidiary of the Gibson brand. And when you hear anyone mention Gibson, know you are in for a good ride. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus-Top Pro is a lesser version of the Les Paul. For sure, this instrument delivers.
The guitar comes with thrilling features, which contribute to durability and the overall tone of this guitar. It brings to you a mahogany body, back, and sides; a maple top; a neck with the classical slip D shape; and a rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets.
Its scale length is 24 ¾-inch; thus, it is ideal for people with smaller hands. On the
fretboard, you will also notice that it comes with trapezoid inlays. They are vital for easy playability, and they add a classical blues appeal to the guitar.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus- top Pro brings proper blues sounds to your mix. As in, it does not disappoint in any way.
On the body, you will find the neck and bridge probucker pickups. Each has its volume and control coil tab knobs. You, therefore, have a variety of tones to explore.
The body also has a tune-o-Matic bridge, which ensures that the tension on the string is ideal for a blues player. You can bend the strings confidently without fear of breaking them.
The guitar adapts to different playing styles since it can achieve a variety of tones. Hence, we can conclude that this is an excellent guitar for all kinds of players.
7. Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
Are you looking for a blues guitar for your next performance? Well, the Guild Starfire V is the guitar to buy. It brings life to the stage with its bright tones and colors. By the way, it comes with a variety of colors for you to pick.
Everything about this guitar is superb. The guitar features a semi-hollow, mahogany body. It also comes with F-holes, a guild Tune-O-Matic bridge, a vibrato tailpiece, pull and push pickups volume and tone controls, and two neck and bridge pickups.
The neck has a robust build, which consists of mahogany, maple, and mahogany. It is 24 3/4 – inch in length with a 12 mm radius.
The beauty that comes with these semi-hollow guitars is that they sound more as an acoustic and electric guitar combined in one instrument. It also provides more room for your licks, which is something that the acoustic will fail to deliver.
When it comes to sound, you will achieve rich tones from the pickups. Also, the pull and push controls allow the player to try out different tone qualities to suit his or her playing style.
For players who like to add some vibrato to your instrument, then worry no more. The guild vibrato tailpiece offers that.
With this Guild V, blues players can enjoy each bit of this guitar. It adapts to all blues playing styles, and that includes deep roots, jazz blues, fingerstyle blues, and any other technique you would like to explore.
8. PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 Electric Guitar
If you are a lead guitarist and you have been looking for a guitar for your blues licks, then here is one you need to check out. The PRS Paul Reed Custom 22 offers a modern instrument with vintage qualities added to it.
The Custom 22 does not disappoint you in terms of build. Everything is built with precision, from the body, all the way to the headstock.
Its mahogany body offers you a maple top with a flame maple Veneer. That design adds color and style to the guitar, which is why it is a top ten blues guitar. Other than that, the body features pull/push volume and tone controls, a Tremolo Bridge, three-way toggle switch, and PRS neck and bridge pickups.
The neck is maple, thin, and comes with a 2¼ -inch radius. Also, the fingerboard comes from rosewood; it features 22 frets and has bird inlays. The inlays give the guitar a professional and jazzy look.
When it comes to sound, nothing on this guitar is uncompromised. Be assured that it will be a perfect fit for your rig and amplifier.
The pickups provide a warmer tone, and they are close to each other so that they can pick each sound from the strings.
In addition to that, the pull and push volume and tone controls provide other tonal qualities that you might not find from a low-priced guitar.
Guitarists that want to develop a unique touch to their playing should try out this guitar. It is perfect for players who are into blues, and especially if you love playing solos. Be assured that this guitar will be the center of attention during the entire performance.
9. Ibanez AS153AYS Artstar Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
If you are a blues player with an interest in blues-jazz, then this semi-acoustic guitar is what you need. The Ibanez AS153 comes with fantastic qualities, and with this, you are sure you are going to look and sound good during your next performances.
The semi-hollow guitar comes with two f-holes on its maple body. It also comprises of maple back and sides.
With its 3-piece neck, you will get a 24 ¾- inch neck with a thin radius. Hence, the sound is fuller and more vibrant. The fretboard provides 17 frets and has a fret-edge treatment, which brings smoother movement on the board.
Primarily, the guitar sounds fantastic. It features a neck and bridge pickup, which has a sustain block. The mounting ensures that the pickup offers smooth tones, and eliminates any form of feedback.
Although the pickups do not have individual pull/push controls, the ones available ensure that the sound provided is quality. You can also use the toggle gear to move from one pickup to the next.
Overall, the guitar is loud, and if you adjust the bridge, you will get a high action guitar with a more pronounced sound.
If you wish to upgrade your guitar gear, then this guitar is a worth try. You will look professional, and it is a suitable guitar for players that do solo performances regularly like Andy Brown. However, it fits in a band set up.
10. Epiphone “B. B. King” LUCILLE Signature Semi-Hollow-Body Electric Guitar
If you are an ardent blues fan, then you know BB King. And if you know him, then you understand why this guitar is among the ten best blues guitars. The Epiphone BB King Lucille Signature is a guitar with a great history.
Even though it is a tributary guitar, this instrument brings in memories. And if you have seen most BB King performances, you will mostly see him with this guitar.
The guitar comes with a laminated maple body and top, neck, and bridge Alnico classic humbucker pickups, six-way varitone rotary switch, a toggle switch, and gold plated hardware.
Its neck is a 24 3/4- inch scale, which provides a fuller tone ideal for most professionals. The rosewood fretboard has up to 23 frets with block inlays.
It is the dream of every blues player to play like BB King. And with this guitar, you will achieve those rich sounds that BB King produces on his licks and progressions. Furthermore, with the six-way rotary switch, you can explore different tones, which most guitars in its price range lack.
The guitar comes with a fantastic aspect that you will love. It has the conventional tuners on the headstock. It also features TP6 tuners present at the bridge, which help to maintain the string tension.
Passionate blues players should buy this instrument because it could be what your next live performance requires. It is also a high action guitar, which offers a suitable instrument for practicing at home.
Note that, although it is a tribute blues guitar, it comes at an affordable price.
Best Blues Guitars Buying Guide
It’s almost every musician’s dream to be able to play the blues. But if you want to be good at it, then you need the right guitar upfront.
We get many questions concerning the best blues guitars to buy. Because honestly, there’s a whole host of them in the market, and selecting the best one for your needs can be quite tricky.
And do you know how we answer them?
Well, you’re lucky enough to have stumbled on this article since we are going to talk about some of the factors you should consider when buying the best blues guitars.
Your budget matters
Primarily, as a musician, always have this mind. If you want a good guitar (and this applies to every kind of instrument by the way), you have to invest. An excellent guitar for blues may mean that you have to dig deeper into your pockets and maybe break the bank this time around.
Note that it’s possible to find a good guitar at a lower price. But these guitars may only be suitable for beginners.
That’s why we tell musicians who want to get into blues to invest good money into their guitar so that they can use it for a while. Furthermore, why wouldn’t you want to start your blues-playing journey with a bang?
Electric or acoustic guitars
The reason why musicians love blues music is that it’s one of the most versatile genres.
So, as a guitarist, you can use an electric guitar, acoustic, resonator, lap steel, or the parlor guitars.
One the other hand, you may wonder why most guitarists prefer to use an electric guitar instead. The answer is simple.
Electric guitars have an extended range; as in, you have more room for your solos. They also provide a modern sound for guitarists. Hence, they are a top choice for many gigging musicians and songwriters.
However, that’s not to say that acoustic and parlor guitars are not a worthy choice. They are still a viable choice if you won’t need to solo so much.
The construction of the guitar
If you are going for the best blues guitar in the market and decide that the electric guitar would fit suitably to your rig, you need to check how the manufacturer constructed it.
Start by examining its neck profile, the fretboard, the body, and the construction of its electronics.
Resilient guitars will last long, if not forever, and so go for one that looks good in appeal and build. Note, semi-hollow guitars are also suitable for blues music. The f-shaped holes on them contribute to the overall sound of the instrument.
Check the electronics
You have to test or review the guitar to find out how it sounds. It can be quite tricky for beginners to know what really to look at here, but you can ask a friend who is conversant with these instruments to take you.
Check out the pickups, how they can shape the tone of your guitar on a clean and distorted sound, and know whether the pickups provide a clean signal without any humming. On the other hand, if you go for a blues guitar with humbucker pickups, they can have a bit of humming. But don’t worry, that’s normal for such guitars.
Customized or non-customized
As a guitarist, we always have people who we look to emulate. People like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, or the fantastic John Mayer.
Now, we can agree that all these musicians have their unique touch. If you want to sound like them, you can buy a customized guitar since most of them configured their guitars to sound the way they liked.
These customized guitars can be quite expensive. Hence, you can go for them if you have the money. But we don’t think that going for a non-customized one is a problem.
That’s how you choose the best blues guitars. If you put your needs first, you’ll get an instrument that you’ll use even after becoming a proficient guitarist.
And note, it’s not that these guitars are only useful for blues music only. They also adapt to other different genres and styles effortlessly. So, if you are a versatile player, you’ll use the guitar for various gigs, even if they are not blues-related.
We have listed the ten competitive best blues guitars from reputable brands. Each of them comes with distinct features; each feature performs a particular job. Therefore, ensure you have this in mind as you choose the best blues guitar for your needs.
Also, all these guitars seem to be high-end guitars. By the time you consider buying any of these, you should have some knowledge about the guitar. Meaning, for people who are learning the basics of a guitar, the above guitars may not suit their needs.
Finally, in the above list, we found the Squier Affinity Telecaster to be a guitar with great sound and physical qualities for any blues player. The guitar is also affordable and is adapts to different playing styles, apart from blues.