Best Electric Guitars for Intermediate

It can be hard to find a quality intermediate guitar that offers a lot of value for your dollar. As you progress from a beginner to next level guitars, its time to buy a better guitar that has more to offer you. I know just how hard it can be to find a quality intermediate guitar, so I’ve made it easier for you with this guide. You don’t have to be confused or worry about getting that next guitar as I have picked stellar instruments at a good price which offer exceptional value.

A best intermediate guitar is something you will treasure for many years. It’s going to get a lot of playing as you learn more about the guitar, so you need something that has value, but won’t break your bank. These guitars are all exceptional and they are at a reasonable price.

List of 10 Electric Guitars for Intermediate recommendations

Product

Rating

Body

Fretboard

Bridge

Pickup

Neck

Buy Now

Solid-wood

Maple

Tremelo

Single-coil

Maple

Mahogany

Rosewood

Tune-O Matic

combination

Mahogany

Mahogany

n/a

Stop Tail

humbucker

n/a

Alder

n/a

Hardtail

combination

n/a

Mahogany

Rosewood

Floyd Rose

humbucker

Maple

Maple

Rosewood

n/a

humbucker

Mahogany

Basswood

Rosewood

tremolo

humbucker

Maple

solid-wood

Rosewood

Hardtail Bridge

combination

Mahogany

Mahogany

Rosewood

fixed

humbucker

Wizard III 3pc Maple

Maple

rosewood

Tune-O-Matic

humbucker

Mahogany

1. Fender Standard Stratocaster

Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar

One of the best electric guitars for an intermediate player is the Fender Standard Stratocaster. This guitar has everything you need without the major price tag of other Fender guitars. Here’s all this guitar has to offer you.

This guitar has a nice C neck so it’s very comfortable to play. You get 22 frets on a maple neck and fretboard. This guitar ships with regular Fender single coil pickups that sound great and give you many tones for rock, blues, and similar guitar styles. The bridge is nice because it’s a high-mass block and synchronized so it gives you more tuning stability and extra sustain of the notes when you play. There’s one volume knob and two-tone controls on this guitar as well as a pickup selector switch to round out your hardware.

Pros

  • Very easy to play
  • Solid chrome hardware

Cons

  • Single coils pickups tend to hum with higher gain settings
  • Not suitable for some guitar styles

Final Verdict

I’ve owned several Fender Stratocasters and for the intermediate player, the Fender Standard is a very solid buy. It gives you almost everything that you need to begin to forge your own guitar sound. I love the neck of the standard as it makes it easy to hit all the high notes and it’s comfortable in your hand.  The Strat is such a versatile guitar and you’ll have a lot of fun playing it. The tuning pegs are also very good, and I find my Fender hardly ever goes out of tune much when I play. Tuning on any Fender is usually very good so this one will keep its tuning as well. This is an excellent buy for an intermediate price.

2. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO

Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO Electric Guitar

Most intermediate players dream of playing a Gibson Les Paul, but most can’t afford them. Epiphone is the lower Gibson brand, but these guitars are a real value for any intermediate player such as the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus-Top Pro.

This guitar plays and looks like a Gibson les Paul. There’s a ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 humbucker pickup for tons of blues, rock, and even metal guitar sounds. These pickups are better than standard humbucking pickups, so you get better sound out of your guitar. You get a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard which is comfortable and easy to fret. There’s a Tune-O Matic bridge which makes it easy to change guitar strings and it helps to keep the tuning of the guitar stable. There’s two volume, two tone, and a pickup selector switch to round out the hardware.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • Smooth playing neck

Cons

  • Heavier than other guitars
  • Thin headstock

Final Verdict

The Epiphone Led Paul Standard is as close to playing a Gibson Les Paul as you can get without the huge price tag. I love the coil tap feature in the pickups as it gives you more tonal variations.  You can get single coil sounds out of the humbuckers when you activate the coil tap which means you’ll get nice Strat type sounds out of this guitar as well as the humbucker sounds. There’s a very nice Les Paul logo on the headstock which is a great touch on this instrument. I found the sounds you can make with this guitar to be very “Les Paul” like which is surprising considering th lower cost, but the Epiphone delivers them. Of course, it’s not quite as nice as the Les Paul sound, but for the intermediate player, you really can’t go wrong here - one of the most playable electric guitar, especially for rhythm.

3. ESP LTD EC-256FM

ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar

For those looking to make that next step up into intermediate guitar playing look to ESP guitars. The ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar is a solid buy and has many features that you’ll find appealing in an intermediate instrument.

This guitar features a Les Paul style shape so it’s a familiar looking guitar. There’s a three-piece mahogany neck which is comfortable in your hand. The fingerboard is rosewood and there’s 22 frets on this instrument. The two humbucking pickups are LH-150 pickups, so they sound better than other humbuckers and they’re made by ESP. To help the guitar stay in tune, there’s a solid Tune-O Matic bridge so the guitar tuning will be stable. You get a volume and two-tone controls on this guitar. The deep cutaway makes it easy to hit all the higher notes for searing fast solos.

Pros

  • Easy to play
  • Nice chrome hardware

Cons

  • Havier than some guitars

Final Verdict

The ESP is a solid guitar for any intermediate play. I love the coil tapping feature on this guitar as it gives more options for sounds out of the tone controls. Many guitars don’t have this feature and it’s a nice to see in an good intermediate guitar. The coil tap delivers Strat like sounds in addition to the humbucker sound. This gives this guitar so much more value for an intermediate price. This instrument also has jumbo frets which are easier to play than other frets are, so that’s an added feature which makes this guitar well worth the intermediate price. This is one of the best guitar solos for intermediate players.

4. Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM

Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM

For intermediate guitar players, a Yamaha guitar is a good choice. These instruments have a lot to offer you as a player and the Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM, is a solid guitar for a good price for several reasons.

This guitar has a flamed maple top and the body is made out of alder. The bridge is a hardtail, so it stays stable giving you good tuning. The strings are also kept in tune with a Graphtec String Saver saddle. To further enhance the tuning, there’s a Graphtec nut and Grover locking tuners. The pickups in this guitar are excellent Seymour Duncan SP90-1 & Custom 5 humbuckers which give you a ton of sounds for rock, metal and other styles. The neck is rosewood with 22 frets and its quite comfortable to play. You get a tone control, volume know and a pickup selector switch to round out your electronics.

Pros

  • Solid design
  • Nice double cutaway for easy playing

Cons

  • Needs another tone control

Final Verdict

For those that want a Strat style body, but with more gain and output from the pickups, this Yamaha Pacifica is a solid choice. The pickups in this guitar are excellent and make this guitar perfect for many guitar styles. This is a solid rock style guitar for any intermediate player. I found that this guitar sounds great and it would make the perfect intermediate guitar that’s more versatile than others are since it has many solid features. I do wish it had some sort of tremolo system, but its still a very nice guitar for the growing player which you’re going to love.

5. Schecter Damien Special

Schecter Damien Special Electric Guitar

For players that need a solid intermediate guitar, I would look at Schecter as they have a ton of excellent guitars at very good prices. The Schecter Damien is a solid guitar for any intermediate player looking for a bit more.

This guitar is the perfect options for heavy metal and shred players. You get a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard that is easy to play and built solid. The body is made out of maple which helps improve the tone of the instrument. There’s two EMG Active pickups which give this guitar the perfect tone for many guitar styles. This guitar also has a Floyd Rose tremolo system, so you can play dive bombs and other guitar tricks. It’s stable and holds its tuning well on this guitar. There’s a tone, volume, and pickup selector switch to round out the hardware.

Pros

  • Smooth body finish
  • Solid hardware

Cons

  • Difficult to understand fretboard markers
  • Locking nuts can be hard to tune for some

Final Verdict

The Schecter Damien is a solid design for intermediate players. This is a good option for anyone that needs a bit more but doesn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on an intermediate guitar.  The guitar is very responsive and sounds great in the intermediate range. I love the neck on this guitar and the double cutaway makes it easy to play the higher notes on the instrument. You can’t go wrong with a guitar like this one as it has almost everything you’ll need to become a better guitar player.

6. OE30 Oscar Schmidt

OE30 Oscar Schmidt Electric Guitar

For intermediate players it can be very hard to find a jazz or blues style guitar as they are quite expensive. Oscar Schmidt has a great option in the OE30 which has a lot to offer you as an intermediate player.

This guitar has F holes, so it gives you both electric as well as acoustic sounds. You get 22 frets and a rosewood fingerboard. The neck feels good and it’s built well on this instrument. The bridge is a Tune-O Matic which helps keep the guitar in tune and makes changing the strings easy on the instrument. The pickups are standard humbucking pickups, but they sound very good and give you plenty of tones for blues, jazz, rock and similar guitar styles. There’s two volume, two tone, and a pickup selector switch so you have even more tonal variations with this guitar.

Pros

  • Double cutaway for easier playing
  • Very easy to play

Cons

  • Larger size hard to hold for some
  • Not suitable for some musical styles

Final Verdict

This Oscar Schmidt is the perfect choice for any intermediate player what wants to play older styles of music but doesn’t want to break their back book. The guitar sounds very good at this price and it’s the perfect step up for the beginner player that want more out of their instrument. This is one of the better electric acoustic intermediate guitars I have played at this price and its well worth a buy in my view.

7. ESP LTD GL200K George Lynch

ESP LTD GL200K George Lynch Electric Guitar Kamikaze Graphic

For many intermediate players, they want to own a signature guitar from their favorite players but can’t afford the big price tag. ESP make sit easy to own a signature guitar as they offer the ESP LTD GL200K George Lynch Electric Guitar which has many amazing features for the intermediate guitar player.

This guitar has a basswood body and maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard that gives you 22 frets. There’s an ESP Designed LH-150 humbucker and a single coil H-120 in the neck pickup so you get more sound options that other guitars in this range. There’s a Floyd Rose Special Bridge so you can put the guitar through all those dive bombs and tricks just like George Lynch. There’s a single master volume tone control on the instrument to get the sounds you want out of the pickups.

Pros

  • Solid hardware
  • Nice designs on the instrument

Cons

  • Needs another tone control
  • Could use 24 frets

Final Verdict

This ESP model has a lot going for it. I found that the guitar played well and the neck on it is solid. The jumbo frets make fast playing a breeze on this instrument.  I wish there was s bit more hardware, but you still get a lot for your money. It has good tuners and keeps its tune well for a shredder style guitar. This is a solid buy in the intermediate range for any player that wants something more than the average beginner guitar.

8. Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster HH

Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster HH Electric Guitar

For intermediate players a Fender Telecaster is a good choice, but some players are looking for a bit more in their Telecaster in terms of sounds. The Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster HH Electric Guitar offers you a ton of value in an intermediate guitar for many reasons.

This guitar has two humbucking pickups for a ton of tones out of the instrument. Most Telecasters have single cols so this one is built for hard rock and metal which is unusual for a Telecaster, but it sounds amazing. The pickups are Seymour Duncan, so they are high output. The fretboard is 22 frets and made out of rosewood with 22 frets there’s a tone, volume, and pickup selector switch. The bridge is a hardtail, so it keeps the guitar in tune for longer.

Pros

  • Very unique sound
  • Looks amazing

Cons

  • Lacks traditional Telecaster sounds

Final Verdict

For intermediate players that want a telecaster that has a bit more than average, this one is an amazing buy. The guitar can handle many different styles such as hard rock, blues, metal, and much more. It’s a very unique Telecaster which is well worth the price and it a solid buy for any intermediate player looking for new sounds.

9. Ibanez RG421

Ibanez RG421 Electric Guitar

Ibanez makes a wide range of electric guitars and there’s many that are perfect for intermediate players. The Ibanez RG421 Electric Guitar is a solid choice for any intermediate player looking for something more in a guitar than a beginner instrument.

This guitar has two humbucking pickups for plenty of rock, metal, blues, and other tones. There’s a tone control, volume, and a pickup selector switch. The neck offers you 24 frets and it’s very comfortable to play. The bridge is a hardtail, so it keeps the guitar in tune and stable. The jumbo frets on the fretboard are easier to play than standard frets and this makes it perfect for fast leads and runs. The double cutaway on this guitar is very deep, so even the very top frets are easy to play with ease.

Pros

  • Solid hardware
  • Nice design

Cons

  • No locking nit
  • Needs another tone control

Final Verdict

This Ibanez is a simple design, but it sounds very good at this price. You’ll be able to play many different styles of music with this guitar and its responsive to your playing style. I wish it had a locking nut and Floyd Rose tremolo system, but the guitar is well built, so it won’t go out of tune. I like the tuners as they are very good at this price and also help the guitar keep its tune. If you’re looking for a best intermediate guitar that sounds great, have a look at this Ibanez as it’s a solid buy.

10. Epiphone ES-339

Epiphone ES-339 Electric Guitar

If you’re looking for a good soli semi hollow guitar as an intermediate player, this can present a big challenge as they usually cost a lot of money. Epiphone makes some amazing guitars at a good price for the intermediate player such as the Epiphone ES-339 Semi Hollow body.

This guitar has two Epiphone pickups which have more output than regular humbucking pickups, so you have access to tons of sounds for rock, blues, jazz, and similar musical styles. The F-holes mean you have both acoustic as well as electric tonal options with this instrument. The humbuckers feature coil tapping so its easy to switch to a single coil sound as well which is an added bonus. The neck is a nice D profile so its comfortable to hold and you get 21 frets on a rosewood fingerboard. The guitar has two tone, two volume, a pickup selector switch.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • Easy to play

Cons

  • A bit big for some players
  • Not suited to aggressive playing styles

Final Verdict

This guitar by Epiphone ha s a lot to offer. I found it quite easy to play and you’ll love all the sounds you can get out of it. The bridge is a Tune-O Matic so it’s easy to change strings and this type of bridge also keeps the guitar in tune for a longer duration. I also like the added bonus of the Epiphone logo on the pickguard which is a nice touch on the guitar. For those that want a solid intermediate guitar that offers you a lot of value, the Epiphone ES-339 Semi Hollow is a solid buy.


Things to Consider Before You Buy Your New Guitar

Before you buy that new intermediate guitar, you have a few things that you must consider. I’ve outlined some tips that can help you avoid headaches with intermediate guitars, so you have an instrument that you’re going to love for many years.

Pickups

In general, the pickups in an intermediate guitar can be considered good, but not great. Intermediate guitars have pickups that will get the job done but can suffer from a lack of sustain or can hum a lot if they are single coil pickups. You can make an intermediate guitar sound even better of you change the pickups, but this is up to you. The pickups in this type of guitar are usually just a standard pickup so while they sound fine, they don’t offer a hole lot of extra sound like you would get with a very expensive guitar. If you change the pickups you may find that an average intermediate guitar will sound even better and give you more options for different sounds.

Action and Setup

Intermediate guitars ship with a standard setting from the factory and this can present a few problems. Although this setting can be fine for most playing situations, you may want to change it by adjusting the guitar action, neck, and other settings. The thing you will probably have to change is the action. You should have the guitar setup for an action which feels comfortable for you. This is the height of the strings from the fretboard. In general, higher action makes bends easier, while a lower action can make it easier to play fast. A good guitar tech can make this change for you or you can do it yourself as its not that hard.

The next change is the intonation. From the factory the intonation can be fine, but there still may nee dot be a slight adjustment. If the guitar isn’t properly intonation it can sound out of tune further up the neck. This is also fairly easy to do and can make a big difference in how your intermediate guitar sounds. You can also adjust the neck a bit if you like. You should only do this in rare cases as for the most part the guitar neck should be just fine. A neck adjustment changes how straight or curved the neck is. You use an Allen wrench for this and never give it more than very small turn at a time. Ask a guitar tech how to do it if you don’t want to attempt this adjustment yourself. They can tell you if the neck needs any adjustments.

Strings

The next thing you need to focus on is the strings. Make sure you use high quality strings from a major brand and change the strings the guitar shipped with because the ones that whip have probably been on the guitar since the factory. In most cases 009s and 010s are perfect for electric guitars. You will need to experiment to find the right gauge for your needs. I find 10s are suitable for most situations, but 009s are easier to bend. You can also get coated strings which will last longer than regular steel strings although these may break more often.

I have a best intermediate guitar, Now What?

One you have an intermediate guitar you have other things to think about such as the gear you use in addition to your guitar you have such purchased. Here’s a few things that you need to look at as an intermediate guitar player.

Try New Gear

As an intermediate guitar player, you should begin to experiment with other types of gear. One of the top things you should consider are guitar pedals. A good pedal can make an intermediate guitar sound even better. For example, a distortion pedal can open up more sounds with your guitar and an amplifier. Many amplifiers don’t have quality distortion, or it might not be exactly what you want. Other pedals to consider include digital delay, chorus, flanger and a phaser, but this is all up to you. Pedals will help you shape your sound as you grow as a guitar player so don’t be afraid to experiment with them. There’s a wide range of excellent pedals on the market from companies such as Boss, Jim Dunlop and many others which make your guitar sound amazing.

Amplifiers

If you haven’t already done so, get a good amplifier for your intermediate guitar. You emend a good amp as this will bring out the best sounds from your guitar and make you sound better. Plan to spend around $300-700 or so for a high-quality amplifier. Tube amplifiers are the best choice, but the tubes can burn out, so you need to keep that under consideration. There’s many great solid-state amplifiers that you may also want to consider. These amps tend to cost less and have coms a long way in recent years, so they can be great options especially if you can’t afford a more expensive tube amplifier. Other amps include amp modelers which recreate the sound of all the classic amplifiers we all love. These amps give you a very wide range of sounds and come with tons of built in effects, so they can save you money. You won’t have to buy as many guitar pedals when you use an amp modeler type of amp.

Lessons and Playing with Others

You should continue to take lessons if you’re not still taking them. Lessons will help you grow faster as a guitar player and help expand your knowledge of the instrument. On sites like YouTube, you’ll also find a lot of free lessons if you can’t afford to go see a teacher so take advantage of these when you can.

If you can, try to join jam sessions at clubs or other locations or even start a band with friends from school if you’re a younger player. You want to play with other people as much as possible as this helps you grow as a guitar player. I find jamming one of the best ways to learn new thigs from other guitars players as you can exchange ideas, licks and tricks which just help round out your playing. You should also learn a lot of songs from your favorite artists and use jam tracks on website such as YouTube as these will help you define your sound even more and just make you a better player.

Conclusion

There’s great intermediate guitars that you can buy. You will find that intermediate guitars sound a lot better when you compare them to lesser prices instruments and there’s a lot less setup required. These guitars may require some setup by it’s not as much when compared to lower cost instruments.

When you buy an intermediate guitar, you will have a guitar that lasts for a long time and gives you tons of enjoyment. Make sure you take care of your new guitar and don’t be afraid to experiment with music to create new sounds. You’ll take your playing to a new level when you purchase an intermediate guitar.