The Different Types of Electric Guitars

Electric guitars have changed the music world, captivating people with their unique sounds and versatility. There are many types of electric guitars, each with its special features and appeal. 

In this journey, we’ll discover the different electric guitar styles, from the classics that shaped rock and roll to the new designs that push the boundaries of music.

Let’s explore the exciting world of electric guitars together.

What Makes Electric Guitars Unique

When it comes to things that make electric guitars unique, several key characteristics play a vital role:

The Guitar Body Type

The Guitar Body Type significantly influences the overall sound. There are three main types of electric guitars:

Hollow Body Guitars:

Hollow Body Instruments have a special warm and woody tone. It’s different from other guitar types because it resonates more, creating a richer sound.

These guitars became really popular during the jazz era of the 1950s. That’s why jazz guitarists love them, but they’re also great for playing different types of music.

Besides jazz, they work really well for blues-rock and surf rock because they can produce a wide range of sounds.

Semi-hollow body Guitars:

Semi-hollow electric guitars are a fantastic choice because they offer a sound that’s in between solid-body and hollow-body instruments.

These guitars have both a resonating top half and a solid bottom section, which helps reduce feedback when playing at high volumes.

With this type of guitar, you can explore a wide range of tones – from bright and vibrant strums to creamy clean chords – without worrying about unwanted feedback.

Solid Body Guitars:

Solid-body guitars are famous for being sturdy and able to stand out in any mix, even at high volume levels.

They produce a strong and clear sound no matter how hard you play. That’s why they’re perfect for genres like rock, metal, and more.


The tonewoods used in a guitar affect how it sounds. Some woods are denser than others, which can change the guitar’s overall sound. Some common types of wood used are mahogany, maple, and walnut.


Guitar pickups take the vibrations from the strings and turn them into electric power using magnets. Then, your amplifier changes that electric power into the sound you hear.

There are three main types of pickups: single coil, humbucker, and active pickups. Understanding these cool guitar parts helps you discover why different electric guitars have special sounds.

If you are curious about electric guitars, you can check out our article The History of Electric Guitars.

An Overview of Electric Guitar Types

electric guitar body

Fender Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster, the Strat, is a highly favored guitar across all music genres, especially rock.

With its bright and crisp sound, the Fender guitar is a perfect fit for classic and modern rock music, allowing musicians to achieve both lead sounds and chords effortlessly.

Its simple controls, lightweight design, and comfortable shape make it easy to play for extended periods without causing fatigue.


  • Boasts a wide range of sounds, courtesy of its three single-coil pickups and five-way switch.
  • Its design ensures extended playability without discomfort or fatigue.
  • The alder body can be customized with various finishes, allowing players to personalize their instrument.


  • Some players may find its sound too common or generic for their taste.
  • The tremolo system can pose challenges in keeping the guitar in tune, particularly during heavy vibrato use.
  • Single-coil pickups can produce unwanted hum and noise at high volumes.

Famous Stratocaster Players:

  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Eric Clapton
  • David Gilmour
  • George Harrison
  • Jeff Beck


The Telecaster stands out from other guitars with its iconic look and distinct sound. Its simple yet effective design includes two single-coil pickups and a metal bridge plate, enhanced by individual tone and volume controls.

Compared to the Stratocaster, the Telecaster boasts an even bigger sound, making it a go-to choice for lead guitarists who want to shine in a band setting. Its unique palette of crunchy and twangy tones appeals to both beginners and professionals seeking excellent playability and beautiful sounds.


  • Distinctive, twangy sound used across various genres.
  • Perfect for country and rhythm guitar playing due to its clean sound.
  • Well-suited for fingerstyle playing with its bright and clear tone.


  • Some players may find it’s sound too thin or lacking depth compared to other guitars.
  • The wider neck might be less comfortable for players with smaller hands.
  • Single-coil pickups can produce unwanted hum and noise at high volumes.

Famous Telecaster Players:

  • Keith Richards
  • Jimmy Page
  • Prince
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Steve Cropper

Gibson Flying V

Since its debut in 1958, the Gibson Flying V has earned its place as a true icon in the world of rock music.

With its striking and unique design, it embodies the essence of classic guitars and stands out from the crowd.

Equipped with two humbucker pickups, a mahogany body, a fixed bridge on top of its neck, 22 frets, and a 24.75″ scale length, the Flying V delivers a rich, full tone with impressive note sustain.

Rock and metal players love this guitar for its exceptional tonality and consistent sound quality.


  • Comfortable to play, whether sitting or standing.
  • Stylish and eye-catching design that captures attention.
  • Easy access to higher frets for seamless playing.
  • Stable when performing on stage.


  • The larger case may require more space during transportation.
  • Generally more expensive than traditional guitars due to its unique features.
  • It may take some time to get used to holding and playing, especially for those accustomed to other guitar shapes.

Famous Gibson Flying V Players:

  • Michael Schenker
  • Billy Gibbons
  • Keith Richards
  • Tom Petty
  • Eddie Van Halen

Gibson SG

Since 1961, the Gibson SG has become an iconic electric guitar model.

With its double cutaway design and lightweight body, the SG is a popular choice among rock musicians seeking a powerful sound with punchy tones.

Famous for its ability to create intense gain and sustain, the SG is a top pick for metal and hard rock musicians. Yet, its versatility shines through as it can also produce gentle, clean tones, making it an excellent fit for blues and softer rock styles.

Perfect for live performances, the SG boasts a fast-playing neck, compact size, and dynamic versatility, injecting vibrant energy into any stage performance.


  • Easy access to high notes makes it ideal for lead guitarists.
  • P90 pickups, known for their raw and raunchy sound, complement the SG’s body shape and construction.
  • Lightweight and comfortable for extended play and easy movement on stage.
  • Various neck shapes and materials provide customization options.


  • When playing the SG while standing, its lightweight and body shape can cause the neck to drop down.

Famous Gibson SG Players

  • Frank Zappa
  • Eric Clapton
  • Ian MacKaye
  • Pete Townshend
  • Tony Iommi

Gibson Explorer

The Gibson Explorer is a special electric guitar with a cool and innovative design that sets it apart from other guitars, even from its sibling, the Flying V.

It has a 24 3/4″ scale length and a one-piece mahogany neck with a smooth rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays.

Equipped with Gibson pickups and controls, including a three-way switch, two volume pots, and a master-tone pot, this guitar produces a rich and full sound, making it perfect for both collections and live performances.


  • Explorer guitars use high-quality and expensive wood, which enhances the guitar’s tone and sustain.
  • Some have an Ivory Tusq nut, which helps with tuning stability and improves the overall tone.
  • They come with top-quality pickups that deliver a fantastic sound.


  • Some Explorer guitars may have low-quality fret wire, which can wear down quickly and affect playability.
  • Not all Explorer guitars have locking tuners, which may impact tuning stability.
  • While a neck-through build can improve sustain and tone, not all Explorer guitars have this feature.

Famous Gibson Explorer Players

  • The Edge
  • Dave Grohl
  • James Hetfield
  • Gary Moore
  • Elvino Rey

different types of guitars

Gibson Les Paul

Gibson Les Paul guitars are loved by guitarists worldwide for their beautiful design and comfortable feel.

They have a special warm and full sound with plenty of sustain, making them great for many music styles, from rock to blues and more.


  • Les Paul guitars have a unique and iconic sound with a warm tone.
  • They are versatile and can be used in various music genres.
  • They are known for their classic appearance, solid body, and various finish options.
  • Easy to perform string bends and other techniques due to their shorter scale length.


  • They are heavier than other guitars because of their solid body construction.
  • Generally more expensive due to their high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
  • Repairing or adjusting the neck can be more challenging because of their set neck design.

Famous Les Paul Players

  • Slash
  • Jimmy Page
  • Billy Gibbons
  • Neil Young
  • Billie Joe Armstrong

Offset Guitars

Offset guitars have always stood out with their asymmetrical body, giving them a unique appearance and sound. They are designed to make playing high notes easier and create one-of-a-kind sounds.

Popular offset guitar models like the Fender Jazzmaster, Mustang, and Jaguar combine vintage aesthetics with modern features.

If you’re into garage rock, shoegaze, or post-punk music and want to experiment with new sounds, an offset guitar might be the perfect choice.


  • Allows for an excellent range of movement for vibrato dives.
  • Vibrato produces a powerful and wobbly character in the sound.
  • Offers good tuning stability for consistent playing.
  • Widely available and relatively affordable.


  • Some geometry issues with the folded bridge cradle and intonation adjustment screw heads.
  • Modern low-tension strings can cause skipping or jumping out of string slots.
  • Over time, lack of tension and downward pressure can cause the bridge height to sag.

Famous Offset Guitar Players

  • Kurt Cobain
  • Patti Smith
  • Robert Smith
  • Elvis Costello
  • Christian Fennesz

Electro-acoustic guitars

Electro-acoustic guitars offer the flexibility to play softly or crank up the volume, making them suitable for various music genres.

These guitars are lightweight and have thicker strings, allowing for faster playing. The pickups also play a crucial role in shaping the sound.

Combining acoustic guitar features with additional electronics, electro-acoustic guitars deliver better sound and performance.


  • Built-in electronics enable easy amplification and sound customization. You can control volume, tone, and other effects for your desired sound.
  • The price difference between electro-acoustic and non-acoustic electric guitars is not significant.
  • You can play electro-acoustic guitars both plugged in and unplugged.


  • When plugged in, electro-acoustic guitars require a power source to play.
  • Repairing the electronic system on an electro-acoustic guitar can be challenging.

Famous Electro-acoustic Guitars Players

  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Eric Clapton
  • John Lennon

Seven and eight-string guitars

Seven and eight-string guitars are especially favored by metal guitarists who benefit from the extended range to play more notes.

While these guitars excel in the metal genre, they can be challenging to play due to the extra strings, demanding more finger strength and agility.

Traditional ways of learning scales and chords might not be sufficient for these guitars.

If you want to know how to tune your seven strings guitar, read our guide “How To Tune 7-String Guitar.”


  • More strings provide a wider range of notes and an extended sonic palette.
  • The extra strings allow for lower notes, creating a robust low-end sound.
  • Despite the additional strings, these guitars are not significantly harder to play than traditional guitars.


  • The wider fretboard needed for extra strings may be less suitable for players with shorter fingers.
  • 7 and 8-string guitars are less common than standard 6-string guitars, making it more challenging to find the right model that fits your needs.

Famous Seven and Eight-string Guitar Players

  • Stephen Carpenter
  • Chris Letchford
  • Sarah Longfield
  • Adam “Nergal” Darski
  • David Davidson

Headless Guitars

Headless guitars are loved by many musicians because they offer some special benefits. They’re great if you want to reduce stress on your neck and shoulders.

Without a headstock, these guitars are lighter and better balanced. This means you can play for a long time without discomfort. Plus, their tuning stays more stable.


  • Headless guitars have better balance than regular ones.
  • They are smaller and easier to carry around.
  • Tuning is more reliable without tuning machines.
  • Some players love their sleek and futuristic look.


  • Headless guitars are usually more expensive because of their unique design.
  • They need special strings that might not be as easy to find.
  • The tuning system is different from traditional guitars.
  • Some players prefer the look of regular guitars over the unconventional style of headless guitars.

Famous Headless Guitar Players

  • Allan Holdsworth
  • Per Nilsson
  • Sarah Longfield
  • Lee McKinney
  • Ichika Nito


Electric guitars offer a wide range of styles and sounds to suit every musician’s preferences. From the classic elegance of Les Paul to the innovative headless guitars, there’s a perfect fit for every player’s unique musical journey. So, explore and find the one that resonates with you, and let the magic of electric guitars inspire your musical adventure!

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