Electric Guitars For Church Worship – Buyers Guide And Reviews

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Considering an electric guitar? You have come to the right place! It is my goal to give you the best information available on electric guitars so that you will be knowledgeable and prepared for your first purchase. There are many options, so I am reviewing the five top-selling electric guitars for you.

 Electric Guitar Buyers Guide

Before choosing an electric guitar, there are several things to consider:

What is your budget?

Yes, consider this first. You want to be reasonable and you should include any accessories (amplifiers, cables, effects) that you will need as part of your budget. If this will be your first purchase, choose entry-level to mid-tier guitars. However, if you are an experienced player, consider going with mid-tier to premium instruments.

What is your musical preference?

What style of music do you like best? Listen to your favorite guitarists and choose the guitar that they prefer.

What is your preference of guitar body shape and types?

Choose what appeals most to your ears and your eyes.

There are three basic shapes:

  • Double cutaway like the Stratocaster
  • Single cutaway shapes such as Gibson Les Paul
  • Exotic shapes, for example, the Flying V

There are three body types:

  • Solidbody – There are no hollow spaces inside the body. These are the most popular guitar types and are used by the best guitarists.
  • Semi-hollow, also called Thinline – These have a small hollow space inside the body with a center wood block for structural support. These are the preferred guitars for blues artists.
  • Hollowbody – These are guitars with full hollow bodies and area, often used for soft mellow sounds.

There are several specifications to consider:

Guitar Neck and Playability

The setup of the neck and strings provide for the overall playability of the guitar. You need to find out about specs which include:

  • scale length (the length by which the string is stretched from the bridge saddle to the nut)
  • nut width
  • fingerboard radius
  • neck profile (shape of the back of the neck)

If you are a newbie regarding electric guitars, do start with something simple.  Choose as your first guitar one with shorter scale length, thin neck width and neck profile, and a flatter fingerboard radius. If you are an experienced player, choose something with specs similar to what you know you like.

Guitar Pickup Configuration

There are two common types of pickups on an electric guitar:

  • Singlecoil (S) – gives a crisp and punchy sound
  • Humbucker (H) – gives a “fatter” sound

To decide your preference, go back again and look up your favorite guitarists and see what pickups they are using to get their sound. Generally, the more pickups installed, the more sound varieties you can get. Probably the most common configuration is HH (dual humbuckers) because of their overdrive and their distortion-free sound. SSS (three single coils) is also popular for more versatile sound options. Other combinations work as well, like SSH (two single coils and one humbucker).

Guitar Bridge Type

I recommend a guitar with a basic stop tailpiece or tremolo bridge for beginners. That way you need not be concerned with string setup and keeping the instrument in tune, but you can focus on learning to play your new electric guitar.

The Top Five Electric Guitar Brands

  • Gibson
  • Fender
  • PRS
  • Ibanez
  • Epiphone

Reviews Of The Best Electric Guitars For Church Worship

I will give first the popular and then the entry level for each brand:

Gibson

Think Les Paul. He is the iconic figure behind this most popular brand. Though smaller than #2 (Fender), Gibson’s popularity is because of him.

The Les Paul Traditional 2019 is the most popular, the most sought after and the design most copied. Priced as low as $2799.00, the Les Paul Traditional 2019, is the latest version of this guitar with the same pleasing appearance and rock friendly tone as the original. The modern methods of production give it more reliability, consistency and expanded tone options.

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Gibson USA LPTDM15ANNH1 Les Paul Traditional Mahogany Top Solid-Body Electric Guitar, Antique...

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$2,985.38

Features that give it a sound like the vintage Les Paul:

  • Classic mahogany body with no weight relief
  • AA Grade figured maple arched top
  • 75” scale length mahogany neck
  • 22 fret fingerboard
  • Nut width of 1.675
  • A classic voice from Burstbucker 1 & Burstbucker 2 humbuckers
  • Orange drop capacitors

Its combination of extremely classic look and great rock tone are the reason that the Les Paul Traditional 2019 is the most sought-after design in an electric guitar.

The Less Paul Tribute 2019 is about half the price of the Les Paul Traditional 2019. Priced at approximately $1199.00, it is a stripped-down version of the original which allows you to own a true Gibson Les Paul at a very reasonable price. Many of the original features carry over to this model and it looks much like the original. Some guitarists actually prefer it because it has a more streamlined appearance.

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Gibson Les Paul Tribute 2018, Satin Faded Honeyburst

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Features:

  • No high-grade tonewoods used
  • Same mahogany body and maple top combination as the original
  • 75 scale length is the same as the original
  • 22” rosewood fretboard
  • 675 nut width
  • Slim taper neck profile that modern players like
  • 490R humbucker for the neck
  • 490T humbucker for the bridge
  • Reproduces the sound of the old Les Paul from the 1960s

The Les Paul Tribute 2019 allows you to play the Les Paul at a significantly lower price than the original.

Fender

It is the largest guitar company in the world with more sales than any other guitar manufacturer.  Their first solid body electric guitar was the Telecaster. Although it was very successful, they are more known for the Stratocaster, preferred by Eric Clapton and put on the map by Jimi Hendrix.

The American Professional Stratocaster has much the same look and feel of the original made famous by these iconic artists. However, as with most guitars, modern technology has given it more reliability and more soundness of the structure. It sells for around $1450.00. Most of the stats and hardware design are much like the original Strats from Fender’s original production line. It features:

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Fender American Professional Stratocaster - Olympic White w/Rosewood Fingerboard

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$1,449.99

  • The same double-cutaway alder body
  • bolt on maple neck
  • Scale length of 25.5”
  • Narrower nut width of 1.685”
  • SSS (Three Strat V Mode Single Cells) pickup configuration
  • Very close to the sound of the original
  • Stellar reputation and legacy

It is really hard to go wrong with the Fender American Professional Stratocaster!

The Standard (Player Series) Stratocaster is a great value at approximately $680.00.  How can it be so inexpensive and yet so difficult to tell from the American Professional Stratocaster? It is made in Mexico; hence it has a lower cost of manufacture. It is a true to form Stratocaster, just not made in the USA. Its features that are the same as the American Professional Stratocaster:

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Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar - Pau Ferro Fingerboard - Polar White

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  • The same double-cutaway alder body
  • bolt on maple neck
  • Scale length of 25.5”

Slightly different features:

  • Narrower nut width of 1.65” makes it more user-friendly for modern players
  • SSS (Three Strat V Mode Single Cells) pickup configuration
  • Does not have the vintage voiced pickups but it still has the distinctive Strat tone loved by all

The Standard Stratocaster has been called a workhorse guitar and at the modest price, it comes highly recommended. It simply depends on your budget.

PRS

PRS stands for Paul Reed Smith. He is somewhat of a newbie as he founded PRS Guitars in 1985. Very rapidly, PRS has made a substantial impact on the world of guitars. Carlos Santana, Ted Nugent, Dave Navarro, and Mark Tremonti have preferred them and PRS is now the third largest guitar manufacturer in the USA.

The PRS S2 Custom 24 is a somewhat stripped-down version of the PRS Custom 24 guitar and because of this, it has been more available to modern guitarists. Its attention to detail and quality rivals that of PRS more expensive guitars. It sells for approximately $1550.00.

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PRS S2 Custom 24 - Violin Amber Sunburst

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$1,499.00

It features:

  • A mahogany neck and body
  • Book matched frame maple top
  • Double cutaway shape
  • Detailed arch
  • Distinctive 25” scale length
  • 24 fret rosewood fingerboard
  • Narrow nut width of 1.656”
  • Dual humbucker pickups (S2 Vintage Bass and the S2 HFS Treble)

The PRS S2 Custom 24 guitar has clear and open tones due to the dual humbucker pickups. Single coil tones are available if you need them, requiring only that you push a button! It is fancy, yet still affordable.

With the PRS SE Standard 24, you can own a fine PRS guitar at a much lower price point than the PRS S2 Custom 24. It retails for approximately $500.00. How can this be? Answer: the country of its origin is South Korea and the production is accomplished in Indonesia. PRS high standards and attention to quality and detail are maintained in this very budget friendly guitar. Its features include:

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PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Standard 24 Electric Guitar, Translucent Blue

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  • Mahogany body with elegantly carved cutaway shape
  • 25” scale length mahogany neck
  • 24 fret rosewood fingerboard
  • Nut width 1.6875”
  • Bird inlays serve as fret markers
  • PRS Designed Vintage humbucker on the neck
  • PRS Designed HFS humbucker on the bridge
  • Both humbuckers are wired to a volume and tone knob and a 3-way pickup selector

I recommend this fine guitar that is premium looking and very affordable, should that be what you are looking for.

Ibanez

Although Japanese, Ibanez is popular, not just in Japan but all over the world.  It is mainly a rock guitar made popular by Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Paul Gilbert. They were introduced in the USA in the 1960’s similar to Gibson and Fender copies. Then in the 1980’s, they produced a more original design, based on the JEM Universal by Steve Vai. This version became one of the bestselling metal guitars from that time on.

The Ibanez Steve Vai JEM70V is by far the most exquisite of the Ibanez signature instruments. It is easily identifiable by its monkey grip handle carved into the body. It is preferred by guitar virtuosos. It features 3 different DiMarzio Evolution pickups hand-picked by Steve Vai to give him the various tones he needs for his expressive solos and intricate rhythm textures. The retail price is approximately $1500.00.

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Ibanez JEM70V Steve Vai Signature - Sea Foam Green

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$1,499.99

Other features include:

  • Body crafted from basswood, 5-piece maple/walnut
  • 24 frets
  • Edge tremolo
  • 5 scale length rosewood fingerboard
  • 69” nut width
  • Tree of life inlay
  • Fast playability

While the original seafoam green may be hard to find, there is a variety of other colors to choose from. It has been called a “true to form shred machine” in the style of Steve Vai. If you are an experienced rock guitarist, the Ibanez Steve Vai JEM70V could be just what you are looking for.

The Ibanez GIO GRX70QA is a great value guitar produced by Ibanez. It has an amazing price of approximately $200.00. It is a super affordable instrument, but it resembles a mid-tier instrument with its great ascetics and, top-grade features. Also included:

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Ibanez GRX70QATBB Electric Guitar - Transparent Blue Burst

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$199.99 $207.46

  • Great dive bomb capable bridge
  • Basswood body
  • Beautiful quilted art grain top
  • A trio of pickups for a variety of tones
  • Standard tremolo
  • 5 scale maple neck
  • 22 fret rosewood fingerboard
  • 65 nut width
  • Power sound pickups in HSH configuration

This guitar has a versatile rock and shred-friendly tone and it is gorgeous to look at.

With it, you will have fast and furious playability that is totally cost effective!

Epiphone

Epiphone is a sub-brand of Gibson whose task is to get the Les Paul design out to as many guitarists as possible. Les Paul worked with Gibson in the late 1930s.

The Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus is a mid-tier guitar with a price of approximately $850.00 and it is worth every penny. This guitar:

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Epiphone 6 String Les Paul Standard Plustop PRO, Trans black ENLPTBNH3

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  • Follows convention with a mahogany body.
  • Has an arched maple top.
  • Has a neck design that mimics the playability of old LPs, giving it a slim taper D profile.
  • Has 2 Gibson USA 1957 classic humbuckers that provide a more premium Gibson sound.
  • Has a cost that is a fraction of the price of the original Les Paul.

With this mid-range guitar, you will get a ton of bang for your buck!

The Epiphone SG Special started out as a lighter alternative to the Les Paul. However, he didn’t like it and eventually opted out of it. It became famous because many rock and metal guitar players really loved it. With its sharp looks, faster neck and comfortable upper fret reach, they got the sound, appearance, and quality that they wanted.  The Epiphone SG Special, at approximately $180.00 is designed to be as affordable as possible for future rock stars to learn on. It is a super value although the original mahogany neck is exchanged for maple with 12” radius rosewood fingerboard. Features that remain true to the original are as follows:

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Epiphone SG Special VE Electric Guitar Heritage Cherry Sunburst

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$179.00 $299.99

  • 75 scale length
  • 68” nut width
  • Generic pickups can be exchanged for more hard-hitting humbuckers if desired.
  • Can be upgraded as needed.

At approximately $180, there’s really not much to complain about the Epiphone SG Special, a true beginner friendly rock instrument that can be upgraded when needed.

In conclusion

In this guide, I have given you the top 5 brands of electric guitars and within each brand, I have chosen the most high-end professional and then the most entry level guitar. Consider your budget, the sound that you are after and then the body shape and style of guitar that you prefer. The top brands and the two types within each brand are as follows:

It’s your choice! I encourage you to do plenty of research so that you get the electric guitar that best suits your needs. Happy shopping and happy playing!

Last update was on: April 25, 2019 5:13 pm

Duke Taber has been a Senior Pastor of various churches since 1988. Prior to that, he was involved in the Christian rock scene opening for such notables as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Rez Band, and once played briefly with Darrel Mansfield. Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.Currently he is serving as a Technology Consultant for Living Waters Fellowship In Mesquite Nv.