America has a love affair with the guitar. It’s such a versatile instrument and so important for so many different kinds of music. Guitars have truly become the basis of almost every band out there. Learning to play one can be incredibly fun. However, if you’re going to do that, you need to get your guitar first.
Soon after you get comfortable playing the guitar, you'll quickly develop a feel for what kind of guitar you enjoy playing the most. From there, you'll appreciate the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between good guitars and great guitars. Let's look at some of the top quality models of guitars for the most popular types of music.
1 - Fender American Performer Stratocaster
An iconic guitar manufacturer, Fender is a leader in the world of electric guitars. This is an American-made, solid body made of alder wood. The neck is made from maple and the fretboard is rosewood, features twenty-two jumbo frets and is inlaid with white dots. The classic electronics give the Strat its unique sound. It has three single-coil pickups with a hidden push/pull tone pot that widens the tonal palette. There's also a 6-saddle synchronized tremolo bar. Warmth and a wide variety of pickup configurations gives the guitar the versatility to play in several styles.
2 - Gibson Les Paul Standard 60s
Dual Gibson BurstBucker '61 pickups bring this Les Paul back to its roots. The body is made from mahogany and the top wood is AA figured maple and the colors can, of course, be customized. The neck is also mahogany, and the fretboard is made from rosewood with trapezoid inlays. The clarity of the '61 pickups is a big reason it was a favorite guitar of the likes of Jimmy Page. This Gibson has a classic heavy metal sound.
3 - PRS Paul Reed Smith Custom 24
PRS has always distinguished itself by building handcrafted guitars that are made with outstanding materials. The Platinum Series Custom 24s embrace that foundational ideals. This model has a mahogany body and the top wood is maple. The neck is made from mahogany and the fretboard is made from East Indian rosewood. There are two humbucker pickups controlled with a 5-way switch. The finish on this guitar will never be overlooked. It's an eye-catching finish that is the hallmark of a PRS guitar. They definitely sound as great as they look. This is truly an heirloom investment.
4 - Gretsch G6136T Falcon with Bigsby
The Gretsch Semi-hollow body guitars are recognizable by the f-styled holes and oversized pickguard. The body and top are both made from maple. The neck is also made with a three-piece maple configuration. The fretboard is ebony and the inlay is "Pearloid" and set in Gretsch's familiar thumbnail style. To ensure that you get the classic Gretsch sound, there are two of Gretsch's own Filter'Tron humbuckers; one at the neck and one at the bridge. This is coupled with the Bigsby string-thru vibrato tailpiece and Rocking Bar Bridge.
5 - Taylor Builder's Edition K24ce V-Class Guitar
The first of Taylor's Builder's Edition models were released in 2018. The K24ce was conceived as a sustainable model with all Koa wood which brings a warmth across the entire range of the instrument. The back can be a two or three piece design. The V-Class bracing acoustic design increases sustain and creates a wider range of dynamics. The fretboard and body are inlaid with paua shells. This K24ce is built with an ES2 Expression system for easily plugging into an amplifier for recording or live performance. Builder's Edition models have design contours that make the line very comfortable to play with. There's an arm rest at the top and a bevel at the heel near the cutaway on the K24ce that makes it easier to access the higher frets.
6 - Martin D35
Embraced by the likes of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, the D35 acoustic dreadnought continues to evolve and improve since its first release back in the 1960s. The back and sides are made from East Indian rosewood. Forward Shifted X-bracing makes the guitar lighter and increases the dynamic range. The back comprises three pieces and the top piece is made from Sitka spruce. The neck is made from select hardwood and the fretboard is made of ebony with a Mother-of-pearl inlay. The bass has a soft, glowing presence. This guitar works both as a finger picking front piece and a strumming legend. It's a great guitar for studio work.