In this list, we’ll take a look at some exceptional guitars offered by the best guitar brands, including Fender, Gibson, PRS, Schecter, Ibanez, ESP, Jackson, Gretsch, Yamaha, Epiphone, and Charvel.
One reason for tuning the guitar to the C standard tuning may be based on the guitarist’s preference. Some players prefer heavier, deeper sounds ideal for rock and metal genres. Creative experimentation may also be a factor in deciding to go for this lower-pitch tuning standard.
A guitarist may also want to match the guitars pitch to that of other instruments that the rest of the band is conforming to. If you decide to change the tuning of an instrument, seldom or frequently, you must keep the tuning requirements and the instrument’s limitations in mind.
Changing a guitar’s tuning may force adjustments to the string tension and, thereby, even changes in the instrument’s setup. Some artists who prefer simplicity, may see this as an unnecessary complexity to steer clear of.
Electric Guitars: 11 Best For C Standard Tuning 2023
1. Fender American Professional II Stratocaster
This guitar by Fender features significant improvements over its predecessor.
The early 1950s saw the Stratocaster quickly establish itself as a beacon of versatility and innovation. The guitar was also impressed with the sound it could produce ever since many artists have preferred this guitar series.
The guitar has built quite a legacy; amazingly, this version has gone on to impress further. The professional II variant of Fender’s fabled Strat series was launched on 13 October 2020 and has etched its legacy ever since. The guitar is available in a variety of color options.
- V-Mod II Pickups & Double Tap Humbucker
The V-Mod II pickups, along with the Double Tap Humbucker, shape the core of this guitar. Fender created these pickups to provide an expressive and balanced tonal range. The neck pickup introduces smoothness and warmth and is excellent for blues, jazz, and creamy lead tones. The middle pickup offers a classic Stratocaster sound, perfect for clean and funk, sparkling tones. The bridge pickup allows for crisp tones, ideal for blues and rock.
- “Deep C” Neck Profile
The guitar’s ‘Deep C’ neck profile feels great in the hand. This Deep C design is a modern take on the initial Strat’s classic design. It offers longevity in playability and comfort for a variety of players. The neck feels solid. Coupled with the neck’s satin finish, this neck is excellent for navigating across the fretboard, and the ergonomic grip lowers hand fatigue.
- 22 Narrow-Tall Frets
The size and number of a guitar’s frets significantly affect its tone and playability. This Fender offering hosts 22 narrow-tall frets. These are both, narrower and taller than the average frets. The combination assists with control and precision, especially in bending notes. You’ll also find it much easier to reach the upper register using the 22 frets. The upper notes come in handy as they make solos pop.
- Tremolo Bridge with Cold Rolled Steel Block
The synchronized tremolo bridge is a trademark Strat design, but the cold-rolled steel block makes it unique. This feature provides presence and clarity to notes, improves tuning stability, and substantially boosts the guitar’s overall resonance.
Character & Sound:
Although this guitar has improved and evolved since the Strat was first introduced more than 7 decades ago, it still hangs on to past styles while incorporating a modern touch. The guitar’s character and sound are just the same. You’ll still get the clarity of the previous models and a versatility that reaches out to vintage, traditional genres, and even modern playing styles. The guitar’s tonal palette makes it ideal for various genres, including funk, blues, classic rock, and modern metal.
This guitar is immensely versatile, so the player will be able to play around with a variety of music genres. The guitar features premium craftsmanship that further ensures durability, whereas the ergonomic neck profile adds comfort, and the guitar’s pickups are noiseless.
This guitar is priced at the higher end of the spectrum even though it justifies its value owing to the quality it brings. The guitar is available in several finish and wood types. Some of these wood types add weight to the guitar. Wood types have distinct features which may not suit all playing styles.
2. Gibson Les Paul Standard 50s
Here’s Gibson’s attempt to revive an iconic guitar from the golden era of music.
If you’ve been listening to your old records from the 50s wondering how you could recreate those tones in the modern age, the Gibson Les Paul 50s will get you there no problem. The main objective behind this instrument is to pay homage to the classic Les Paul released decades ago.
Although these instruments have been put together using modern manufacturing techniques in today’s factories, they incorporate all the aspects of construction, electronics, and tonal goodness found in the olden times.
- Body Construction
Everything about this guitar was meticulously hand-picked to conform with the older model. From every curve and contour of the single-cutaway Les Paul body shape to using mahogany in its construction, the modern version stays true to the original design. The top is made from maple and has a glossy nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The model comes in various colors, including Tobacco Burst, Faded Honey Burst, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Classic White, and the infamous Gold Top.
- The Neck
Every little detail from the vintage model has been added to this modern version. The Gibson Les Paul 50s has a set neck also made of mahogany. With a 12-inch radius, the 22 medium jumbo frets are very comfortable to play. The rosewood fingerboard is adorned with carefully cut acrylic trapezoid inlays that give the fretboard a premium look. The instrument has an overall scale length of 24.75 inches and comes with a GraphTech nut 1.7 inches wide. The guitar is great at handling lower tuning as the nut is self-lubricating and maintains tuning well regardless of the varying string tension.
- Hardware & Other Goodies
If you’re a seasoned guitar player, you’ll be quick to spot the Gibson Vintage Deluxe tuners on the headstock of this bad boy. Another great feature of this Les Paul is that these tuners do a great job of maintaining the instrument’s tuning. Further stability and sustain can be attributed to the ARB-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and the Stopbar Tailpiece. Ensuring proper intonation is made easy thanks to the mechanism behind the bridge’s individual saddles design. Laid across the body and the neck are Gibson 0.010 – 0.046 strings, which C Standard tuning well, among others. Another great aspect of the overall package is the inclusion of a hardshell case for protection while on the road.
- The Pickups
Now, on to the most important aspect of the guitar. The main reason why one may gravitate towards an instrument is its sound. Staying true to its predecessor, the modern version of the Gibson Les Paul 50s comes with Gibson’s Burstbucker 1 Humbucker for the neck and Burstbucker 2 in place near the bridge.
- The Controls
The Les Paul is equipped with an easy-to-access 3-way selector switch through which both humbuckers can be combined or used individually, depending on the situation. Also, each humbucker has a dedicated volume and tone control to get the most out of the pickup when needed. You can also get creative by turning one humbucker fully off and using the selector as a kill switch. Furthermore, you won’t find any push/pull pots on this iteration, as they weren’t part of the original Gibson Les Paul’s charm either.
Character & Sound:
The controls on the Les Paul are very responsive as each potentiometer has been combined with Orange Drop capacitors to keep things in line with the audio signal and to allow flawless tone shaping. The Burstbuckers sound magnificently close to the original PAF humbuckers. When played clean, there’s great clarity and articulation. Adding a bit of dirt makes the tone thick and creamy. The pickups are ideally suited for rock, blues, and even jazz. The mahogany neck and body also add a healthy dose of warmth.
As with all Les Paul guitars, this model’s sustain is second to none. The pickups have a tonal palette reminiscent of the 50s model, and the color choices are all sublime. Finally, the build quality and attention to detail is impeccable.
The Gibson Les Paul 50s has a lot going for it. But like most Les Paul guitars, weight is surely an issue. The guitar is made from solid mahogany without any chambers for weight relief. Secondly, the instrument is expensive, which may dissuade some of you from buying it.
3. PRS SE Custom 24
This guitar packs a unique combination of features at a relatively affordable price.
The guitar doesn’t compromise quality, so you’ll find great tonal versatility and craftsmanship. The SE Custom 24 brings a perfect blend of playability, sonic versatility, and aesthetics, thanks to the double-cutaway design, tonewood construction, and PRS’s “S” pickups.
PRS has a very diverse product line, offering something for everybody. The brand is well-known and respected the world over. Many of PRS’s host a heap-load of functions most brands can barely even imagine, and this guitar is no different. The tonal palette can easily cater to a wide variety of genres.
- Signature Design & Color Finishes
This guitar, by PRS, looks beautiful. The legendary double-cutaway shape gives it a mesmerizing appearance. The guitar features exceptional craftsmanship, and the attention to detail by PRS is exemplary. The design comprises contours around the body that significantly add to the guitar’s appearance. The shape of the body also enhances the level of comfort while holding the guitar. The cutaways assist a lot, especially during solos, owing much to the upper frets. The guitar is available in several finishes, including gold sunburst, bonnie pink, charcoal grey, faded blue, quilt gold sunburst, and quilt charcoal.
Every element of this guitar has been strategically selected and put together. The tone-woods are no different as they form the core of the instrument’s sound. Mahogany has been used in the construction of the guitar’s body. This material adds depth and warmth to the instrument’s sound. The maple top introduces brightness to the sound and adds to the guitar’s aesthetics. The maple neck and rosewood fingerboard enhance the resonance and stability. The tone-woods play a major role, and together, they assist playability and add richness to the tonal palette and brightness to the sound.
- SE 85/15 “S” Pickups
PRS created these pickups for an articulate and balanced tone. In the neck position, the pickups produce vintage, warm, and clean tones with exceptional clarity. In the bridge position, the pickups provide a high-gain, punchy distortion. The SE 85/15 “S” pickups allow the player to explore and master a variety of different genres.
Character & Sound:
PRS has inserted its own SE 85/15 “S” pickups onto this guitar to allow warmth and clarity. In the single-coil mode, you’ll get a clear, chiming sound ideal for pop, jazz, and country genres. On the other hand, the humbucker mode introduces creamy, smooth tones perfect for classic rock and blues. The guitar truly shines when the gain is increased as the humbuckers produce a powerful sound great for metal and rock. The guitar is truly versatile and packs a unique character and sound.
This guitar features great craftsmanship and the use of premium materials, makes the guitar reliable as well as durable. The instrument offers a wide range of tonal characteristics, adding to its versatility. The design is very ergonomic. You’ll also get extraordinary aesthetics with this guitar.
Although this guitar is relatively affordable compared to PRS’s main line, it may still be considered to be on the expensive side of the spectrum. The maple top, coupled with the mahogany body, add to the instrument’s weight, and this additional weight can become quite tiresome.
4. Schecter Hellraiser C-1
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is a formidable instrument that has many diverse qualities.
Operating as a musical instrument manufacturer since 1976, the Schecter brand has grown to become the producer of some astounding guitars and basses built to handle any genre or live stage/studio recording scenario. However, heavy metal and rock is their forte.
With its exceptional build quality and powerful electronics, this beast of a guitar can deliver mezmerizing sounds, especially when tuned down to dropped D or C standard tunings. Furthermore, the model comes in several variations based on user preference.
- Construction & Finish
The Hellraiser C-1 boasts a beautiful mahogany body with a quilted maple top that looks aesthetically pleasing. The polyester finish brings out the available color options, which include Black Cherry and Gloss Black. The body is well balanced as the double cutaway design has all the necessary curves and contours for accessibility and comfort.
- Neck Build
The instrument has a neck-through design. The set neck has a 14-inch radius, ideal for chord work, string bending, and lower string action. Made from maple, the neck features a rosewood fingerboard and 24 jumbo frets decorated by awe-inspiring gothic crosses. The 25.5-inch scale length handles a variety of tuning situations well. Another feature that stands out on the neck is the Graph Tech XL Black Tusq nut, measuring 1.65 inches in width. This material provides durability, sustain and is self-lubricating for enhanced tuning stability.
Installed on the headstock are Schecter’s locking tuners that are easy to use and do their job well. The Hellraiser C-1 features a Tune-O-Matic bridge with individual saddles for intonation adjustments. The body has six holes drilled into it through which the factory-fitted Ernie Ball Regular Slinky 0.010 – 0.046 strings are threaded.
A careful selection of pickups was essential to justify this axe’s name…the Hellraiser. Resting quietly in the pickup cavity are two ultra-silent but equally powerful EMG pickups. But not just any EMG pickups…active ones. Flip to the back side, and you’ll spot the battery compartment installed in the guitar’s body for holding the 9V battery that powers the EMG 89 neck pickup and the EMG 81 variant near the bridge.
- Tone Shaping Controls
To awaken the EMGs from their slumber, the guitar has 2 master volume controls for each humbucker and a master tone control to brighten or dull down the tone. Finally, the three-way selector blade provides various pickup selection options.
Character & Sound:
The guitar’s mahogany body provides warmth, and the set neck design is superb for sustain and articulation. The EMGs have a very high output, making this guitar the perfect choice for heavy metal, djent, thrash, and rock. The EMG 81 gives you the best of both worlds as it’s cleverly engineered to deliver humbucking tones and can switch to a single coil mode when needed. All these components combine to deliver unlimited clarity, plenty of distorted aggression, and the sustain to make your notes ring for all eternity.
Plenty of pros here. For starters, the C-1 looks phenomenal. Also, the active pickups can be extremely loud, chest-thumpingly powerful, and ultra-gentle when played clean. The build quality is also flawless, so you won’t see sharp fret edges or imperfections.
Active EMGs are somewhat of an acquired taste. If you’re into heavily distorted metal riffs, you’ll jump at the chance of grabbing the C-1. For players who prefer pickups with a slightly lighter output, there may be a need to look elsewhere. In addition, the C-1 is also quite heavy.
5. Ibanez Genesis RG550
Very few companies have etched a legacy like Ibanez has.
The Japanese brand has graced the guitar world with iconic pieces of art for decades. Ibanez has also established a super impressive product line, and this guitar truly stands out among these products. The instrument has withstood the test of time and constantly evolved through its successors.
The guitar revolution of the ’80s saw many new guitars enter the market. It was also at that time that this guitar emerged as an embodiment of the era. The bold, striking design captured the interest of many music enthusiasts of the time.
- HSH (Humbucker-Single-Humbucker) Pickup Configuration
Over the years, this guitar has evolved to suit the changing needs of the time. The HSH pickup configuration is one of the defining features of this guitar. The humbucker at the bridge brings a chunky, powerful sound suited to metal and rock music. The single coil center pickup produces a clean, sparkling tone. The humbucker at the neck brings smoothness and warmth to tones, assisting the guitar’s sustain. The pickups pack diversity and versatility thanks to their impressive tonal palette, suitable for many genres.
- Super Wizard Neck
This neck profile design is the crown jewel of this guitar. It enhances both precision and speed. The sleek, ultra-thin neck profile is easy to grip, brings comfort, and encourages quick hand and finger movements. The guitar’s wide, flat 24-fret fingerboard allows easy access to the frets from the upper register.
- Bold Design & Eye-Catching Finishes
The Ibanez incorporates the same iconic design as its predecessor. The bold aesthetics make this guitar look unique and instantly recognizable. The guitar was launched in striking finishes, including Desert Sun Yellow, Purple Neon, and Road Flare Red. All three finishes add to the guitar’s personality and provide a sight to behold.
- High-Quality Construction
Every inch of this guitar has been meticulously thought out. Every element has been carefully selected, and the craftsmanship reflects the brand’s class and dedication to quality. The basswood body supports a steady tonal spectrum with prominence given to the midrange. The sound is clear and warm, adding to the guitar’s versatility. The neck joint is sturdy and durable. It guarantees ample sustain and stability. Since the neck is bolted on, the player can choose to swap the neck, adding to customizability.
Character & Sound:
The Ibanez offering is recognized for its character and sound, among other aspects. The guitar has a sleek neck profile design, ideal for playing effortlessly. The guitar is an excellent choice for technical players and those who enjoy shredding. The guitar is capable of producing high-gain, powerful sounds. The sleek neck feels comfortable and encourages precision and speed plating. The tonal palette makes this guitar versatile, and this versatility defines the character of the guitar. The guitar brings articulate, crystal-clear, crisp sound.
The guitar is hugely versatile, thanks to its HSH pickup that allows easy access to a wider set of tones. The exceptional fretwork and super wizard neck enhance the playing experience. You’ll get a ton of tuning stability in this guitar because of the edge-locking tremolo. The guitar looks and feels great.
The basswood body of the guitar is heavier than most, and the additional weight may affect comfort or reduce playing longevity. Budget-conscious buyers may choose to look elsewhere since this guitar is on the expensive side of the spectrum.
6. ESP LTD EC-1000
ESP has an impressive line of guitars that appeal especially to the modern metal head.
Mainstream musicians such as Metallica’s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, and Stephen Carpenter of Deftones have used ESP guitars predominantly to record their albums and play live sets.
This gives you an idea about how these guitars are engineered and the genres they’re built for. The LTD EC-1000 is an impeccable shred machine that brings you much value for your money. Being an LTD user myself, I can tell you that I’ve never had any complaints about these amazing axes.
- Set Neck
The EC-1000 has a set neck design, which has many advantages. Firstly, it provides ample sustain to the instrument so your notes keep ringing forever. Secondly, the neck merges so smoothly into the guitar’s body that you have no annoying neck joints hindering you from playing the higher notes.
- Neck Characteristics
Looking at the neck in greater detail, you’ll notice that it’s made of mahogany and has a thin “U” shaped profile. There are 24 extra jumbo frets for easy playability, with beautiful pearloid flag inlays spread over a Macassar ebony fingerboard. The neck has a 13.7-inch radius, while the molded nut has a width of 1.65 inches. Finally, the overall scale length comes to 24.75 inches.
- Body Construction
The instrument has an “Eclipse” shaped body, ESP’s version of the single cutaway Les Paul design. Carefully carved, the mahogany body has a flawless finish and exudes comfort and aesthetics. It’s hard to wrap your head around how ESP has released so many colors and finishes for this model. The EC-1000 comes in Vintage Black (satin), Violet Shadow (gloss), See Thru Black Cherry (gloss), Black Natural Burst (gloss), Amber Sunburst (gloss), See Thru Purple (gloss) and more. You also get a variety of bridge and pickup variations to choose from.
Speaking of the hardware, the EC-1000 possesses 6 locking tuners that, as the name suggests, ensure great tuning stability with various types of tunings. The model offers multiple options when it comes to the bridge. Commonly found on the EC-1000 is the Tune-O-Matic bridge and Stopbar Tailpiece combination. However, with subtle variations in price, you can get your hands on the Floyd Rose and Evertune Bridges as well, so it’s all a matter of what you prefer.
The most impressive aspect of this guitar from ESP is its sound. The EC-1000 is packed with an EMG 60 Humbucker in the neck position and an EMG 81 bridge pickup. Throw in the two-volume, one-tone control setup along with the three-way pickup switch, and you have an immensely satisfying instrument capable of producing a myriad of different sounds.
Character & Sound:
The EMG 60 has been designed especially for the neck, as it adds great mid-range projection and sounds warm with great clarity when played clean. Having a slightly lesser output, the pickup succeeds in delivering vintage smoothness when engaged. The EMG 81, however, has a much more aggressive approach and truly shines when used with distortion. You just cannot have a shredding machine without this high-output humbucker.
The EC-1000 has been manufactured by paying great attention to detail, and you’ll surely admire the fine craftsmanship this instrument boasts. The EMGs complement each other perfectly as each understands its responsibilities well. Finally, the available color options are unlimited.
Although moderately priced, players on a tight budget may struggle to take the leap. However, after a test run, you’ll realize the value the EC-1000 delivers. The only other con could be the weight, as the guitar is a bit heavy.
7. Jackson X Series Soloist SLX
Jackson is a legendary company known for its craftsmanship.
Grover Jackson founded the company in the late 1970s, and ever since, Jackson has contributed to the music world like only a few others. Grover held expertise in craftsmanship and a vision for guitars that could withstand the requirements of the most rigorous playing styles.
The company has cemented itself on a global scale and hosts a very impressive product line that continues to shape music. The product line has evolved with the time. It offers a range of series and models, that cater to various genres and styles of playing.
- Hardware & Finish
The guitar hosts black, aggressive-looking hardware that significantly adds to its bold and striking design. The black hardware adds a subtle touch of class and elegance. The guitar is available in a winter camo finish that looks unique and makes a bold statement, especially on stage. The fingerboard comprises sharkfin inlays that look distinctive and contribute to the instrument’s appearance.
- Body & Neck
The Jackson offering showcases the brand’s bold and iconic soloist-style body design. The body is constructed of poplar, a lightweight wood known for providing comfort and playing longevity. Maple, the wood used to craft this guitar’s neck, contributes to its stability and introduces brightness to the tonal palette. The neck has a sleek profile, perfect for guitarists who prefer rapid solos, lead techniques, and shredding. The neck hosts a scarf joint that boosts the guitar’s overall durability and stability.
The guitar hosts 24 jumbo frets on its fingerboard. These frets allow the player to enjoy playing with a wide array of notes smoothly and precisely. The fingerboard’s laurel construction establishes a balanced, rich, warm tonal response. The neck’s maple construction produces more articulate and brighter tones.
- Floyd Rose Tremolo System
The inclusion of the Floyd Rose Special double-locking tremolo system in this Jackson introduces the player to a whole different experience. The iconic system is known for its capability of bringing extreme changes in pitch, simultaneously maintaining tuning stability and precision. This may prove an invaluable feature for those who enjoy squeals and frequent dive-bombs.
Character & Sound:
The Jackson offering possesses a character ideal, especially for metal enthusiasts and shredders. The guitar’s iconic design indicates that it was made with speed and precision in mind. The high-output pickups coupled with the poplar body produce an aggressive, tight sound stressing over articulation and clarity. The instrument brings a broad tonal range, ideal for several music genres. The bridge pickup is excellent for heavy riffing and blazing solos. The Floyd Rose tremolo system assists with dive bombs and dramatic pitch without compromising the tuning stability.
The sleek neck profile design adds to comfort and assists speed of playability. The humbuckers produce a prominent and powerful tone, ideal for a variety of playing styles. The Floyd Rose Special tremolo system brings stability in tuning and precision in sound.
The guitar is hugely versatile but may not be ideal for players who need a more comprehensive tonal spectrum with vintage, warmer tones for blues or jazz music. Although the guitar’s poplar body is lightweight, its resonance can’t compete with heavier tone-wood.
8. Gibson SG Standard ’61
Here’s another ageless electric guitar from the Gibson product line.
The SG guitar model has been made famous by legends of the industry. Played by Angus Young of AC/DC, Frank Zappa, Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, and even Carlos Santana in his early days, this iconic guitar is built to leave an everlasting impression on the player and listener alike.
Built to perfection, the SG model has hardly had any drastic changes in its approach to woo the rock ‘n’ roll musician of the modern era. This modern reincarnation of the 60s SG boasts superior craftsmanship paired with all the age-old specifications that made the model famous.
- The Shape
Featuring the timeless “devil horns” shape, the Gibson SG comes with all the delightfully undulating curves that make playing this guitar all the more fun. The body is made of mahogany and has a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The small black pickguard pops up over the vintage cherry paint job. The hallmark of the SG guitar is its thinner body, which makes things extra comfortable, but be sure to maintain control when on stage, as the neck will dive a little.
- The Neck
The SG Standard 61 has a slim, tapered neck with a 12-inch radius. The instrument has an oddly placed strap button behind the set neck joint. The rosewood fingerboard is divided into 22 medium jumbo frets that are adequately spaced for accurate fretting of notes. You’ll also find the trademark acrylic trapezoid inlays on the axe. Being a more expensive model, the guitar features a Graph Tech nut with a width of 1.695 inches. Finally, the guitar has a 24.75-inch scale length.
The SG Standard 61 has vintage deluxe tuners just like the vintage model for extra secure tuning. The guitar also features Gibson’s 0.010 – 0.046 strings threaded through the Stopbar tailpiece over the ARB-1 Tune-O-Matic Bridge. The ARB-1 has slightly more mass than the regular version, which adds more sustain to the instrument. In addition, the Gibson SG Standard comes with a brown leather hardshell guitar case lined internally with felt for safe transport.
- The Electronics
Two of Gibson’s finest Burstbucker Humbuckers give the Gibson SG Standard its sound. But these aren’t just any Burstbuckers. Modeled after the original SG from the 60s, these “60s” Burstbuckers will recreate the unmistakable soundscapes from the golden era of music that made the Gibson SG standard infamous. The usual 2 master volume and master tone knobs are also present to control the electronics and shape your tone. Next to the pickguard is the three-way switch for pickup selection.
Character & Sound:
All the tonal magic is conjured by the two 60s Burstbuckers on board. These humbuckers use Alnico II magnets that deliver tones that are slightly compressed and smoothly warm. Clean notes are projected clearly , and distorted tones sound equally impressive. The pickups are not too overpowering and have a moderate output, making them a good choice for lower tuning. The mahogany construction of the SG Standard’s neck and body adds exceptional sustain.
As Gibson guitars go, the slimmer profile on the SG is much more comfortable to play for extended sessions. The use of mahogany compensates for the sustain that may be lost due to a thinner guitar body, and the pickups get you sounding ultra close to your guitar heroes.
While the weight relief is a welcome feature, the weight distribution seems to be a bit off, which is why you may notice neck diving issues while playing standing up. The guitar also has a hefty price tag. However, you’ll surely appreciate the quality of the instrument if you can manage the purchase.
9. Gretsch G2622 Streamliner Center Block
This guitar represents the the brand’s exceptional craftsmanship and rich heritage.
In 1883, Friedrich Gretsch founded the company in New York, and the initial period saw the company grace the market with quality, innovative drums, tambourines, and banjos. In the 1950s, the company started producing electric guitars.
With a legacy covering over a century, Gretsch is known for its influence in the music world. The brand is appreciated for its excellent products, and this is no exception. This model upholds the brand’s tradition of absolutely gorgeous guitars yet also bring unparalleled versatility and performance.
- Vintage-Style Hardware & Finish
This guitar’s vintage-style design and hardware contribute to its aesthetics, durability, and performance. The hardware introduces subtle pitch modulation, adding a vintage flair to the playing experience. The burnt orchid color with a gloss finish and the vintage aesthetics make the guitar seem like a fresh take on an iconic design.
- Semi-Hollow Body with Center Block
The guitar’s semi-hollow construction is one of its defining features in terms of looks and sound quality. It brings the resonance and warmth of a hollow-bodied guitar and a solid-bodied guitar’s sustain. The hollow, wide wings of the instrument’s body improve its acoustic properties and overall harmonics. Running through the entire body of the guitar, the center block minimizes feedback at higher gain levels. The center block also ensures stability. The semi-hollow body, coupled with the center block, provides balance to the guitar’s tonal characteristics, making it ideal for several genres.
- Broad’Tron BT-3S Humbucking Pickups
The Broad’Tron humbucking pickups are designed specifically for these guitars and provide a unique tonal signature. The frequency response they produce is broad. It brings richness to the sound and makes the sound more articulate. The BT-3S humbucking design reduces interference as well as other unwanted noise. This, in turn, ensures that the signal remains clean and crystal clear even in high-gain situations.
- Versatile Controls
The guitar hosts an easy-to-understand layout for controls players may use to tune the sound. The instrument houses three control knobs for ‘Master Tone,’ ‘Master Volume,’ and ‘Individual Pickup Volume Control.’ The master control knob allows the player to set the overall tonal character of the guitar, and the master volume knob can be used to set the guitar’s general output level. The individual pickup volume control brings a host of options. It may be used to alter the bridge pickup’s brightness and the neck pickup’s warmth for a wide array of tonal options.
Character & Sound:
The Gretsch offering comes with impressive character and a rich sound profile that distinguishes it from other guitars. The body of this guitar brings warmth to a resonant tone, making it ideal, particularly for blues and jazz. The center block minimizes feedback significantly, making room for higher levels of gain without compromising clarity. The Broad’Tron pickups offer a well-balanced tonal palette. The player can experiment with greater versatility when the guitar’s pickups are combined with its tone controls.
Priced at the lower end of the spectrum, this guitar brings excellent value for money. The Gretsch offering supports an impressive set of features and build quality that you just won’t find at this price point. The guitar incorporates a unique, vintage-style design.
Although the center block significantly reduces feedback, the guitar may still be prone to feedback at high volume levels. While this difference in weight may be negligible for most players, it may be significant for those looking for a lightweight instrument.
10. Yamaha PAC112V Pacifica
This next guitar from Yamaha is a breath of fresh air as far as affordability is concerned.
The Pacifica is a great example of not having to break the bank to get a decent-sounding guitar. Costing a mere fraction of the cost of some of the Gibson models on today’s list, the PAC112V from Yamaha is a preferred choice for many budding guitarists and younger musicians.
Like most Yamaha instruments, the Pacifica plays well and doesn’t have a cheap feel. The pickup configuration and knobs give you decent control over how that instrument sounds and plenty of tonal variations can be created just through the PAC112V itself.
You get a whole lot of guitar for the surprisingly moderate price tag. The Pacifica PAC112V is equipped with two of Yamaha’s Alnico V single coils for the neck and middle position, while positioned near the bridge is an Alnico V humbucker. You also get one volume and one tone control to manipulate how the electronics sound. Furthermore, the tone control also has push/pull capabilities to switch the humbucker to single coil mode, and the 5-way selector blade allows you all the possible pickup configurations you wish to apply.
- The Bridge & Tuners
On close examination, the bridge positioned onto the body with six screws appears to be something found on most Strats with 6 individual saddles for intonation adjustments. The headstock features Yamaha’s tuning fork logo and the “Pacifica” branding. Also on the headstock are Yamaha’s 6-in-line sealed tuners. An added feature of the PAC112V is that it comes with 9-gauge D’Addario strings.
- Neck Construction
The neck has a bolt-on design and is made of maple. The C-shaped profile makes chord work and playing fast a breeze. With a 25.5-inch scale length, the Pacifica possesses a rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium frets. Since this is a budget model, you’ll find simple white dot inlays and a urea nut 1.6 inches wide on the neck.
- The Body
Inspired by the simple but effective Strat style body shape, the Pacifica looks decent, comfortable, and well-balanced. The body is made of alder with a gloss polyurethane finish. There are also six color options, including United Blue, Sonic Blue, Vintage White, Black, Old Violin Sunburst, and my favorite, the Natural finish. The white pickguard is a common feature for all these variations.
Character & Sound:
The HSS pickup configuration makes the Pacifica a supremely versatile instrument. The Alnico V neck and middle pickups are ideal for vintage Strat-like tones that complement the instrument’s look. Although noisy, the single coils are highly responsive and act differently depending on the pick attack and playing intensity. The Alnico V humbucker is a lot quieter and has a much higher output. Use it to add warmth and sustain to your guitar work. The Pacifica has all the firepower you need for genres like rock, blues, and even country music. In addition, the electronics are more than enough to handle C standard or lower tuning when needed.
The Pacifica is an affordable guitar that puts a cool spin on the Strat shape, offering comfort and ease of use. A lot can be done tonally with the two single coils and humbucker available. Furthermore, the guitar comes in several cool color options.
The vintage tremolo bridge is for subtle vibrato at best. Rest assured, you can’t do too many dive bombs without making instant tuning adjustments. Also, some of the fretwork is a bit average, as you may feel some sharp edges when you run your hand down the side of the neck.
11. Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard
This guitar is a tribute to its brand’s heritage and the legendary guitarist Slash.
In 1873, Epiphone was founded in the USA by a Greek immigrant named Anastasios Stathopoulos. After being founded, the brand traces its humble beginning to a modest luthier shop in Izmir, Turkey. Gibson acquired Epiphone in 1957 and set it out as its ‘budget brand’.
The brand’s high-quality craftsmanship soon started making a name for itself, but it was 1903 when the brand moved to New York when things really changed. With the introduction of an electric guitar, the Epiphone Coronet, in 1957, Epiphone established itself globally.
- Signature Design
This guitar shares the classic Les Paul body design and shape. The iconic design has truly stood the test of time. The bold design makes the guitar instantly recognizable even from afar. It’s a reflection of the rock ‘n’ roll’s heritage as well as attitude. While the signature design looks great, it also feels great with the prominent curves. The single cutaway also lets the player access the upper frets with ease. The guitar is available in anaconda burst, appetite burst, metallic gold, November burst, and vermillion burst.
- Quality Construction
When it comes to overall performance, the guitar owes much to its high-quality construction. The body and neck of the guitar are made of mahogany, a wood known for its warm, resonant qualities. The mahogany construction also enhances the already strong midrange. The instrument features a solid body construction that significantly adds to its sustain and stability. The Slash custom C neck provides comfort and grip and encourages speed and precision in playing.
- LockTone Tuning System
The guitar features a LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece that greatly improves tuning stability, allowing it to maintain tuning even through rigorous sessions of aggressive string bending. The tailpiece and bridge also add to the sustain, clarity, and extended decay.
- Epiphone Vintage Deluxe Tuners
The guitar’s playability experience is enriched significantly by including Epiphone’s vintage deluxe tuners. These tuners allow precision and accuracy in tuning adjustments. Players will also notice that adjusting the tuning doesn’t take very long either, and the general playability is a treat thanks to the significantly reduced string slippage.
Character & Sound:
The Epiphone offering hosts a character and sound based on Slash’s legendary playing style. The guitar, aptly named, incorporates characteristics of Slash’s playing style. It provides a fat, powerful tone with a warm, well-defined midrange presence. The custom humbucker pickups at the neck and the bridge positions contribute to the tonal palette’s versatility. The mahogany used in constructing the guitar’s neck and body adds to sustain and overall resonance.
The guitar features a classic Les Paul body design. It stands out of the crowd thanks to the AAA flame maple top. The 22-fret Slash custom C neck comforts the player and assists with navigating fretboard. The LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge, and the guitar’s tuners, enhance tuning stability.
Although the guitar offers excellent value, it carries a price tag some may consider quite steep. Most guitars that incorporate the Les Paul design tend to weigh slightly more than other guitars, and this guitar is no different. Weight affects playing longevity.
1. Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1
Charvel is a brand that’s always been known for the innovation and quality it delivers.
In the 1970s, Wayne Charvel established the brand in California. Ever since, it quickly built a reputation catering especially to the unique requirements of virtuoso guitarists. The brand has always stuck to its commitment to providing innovative guitar design and premium craftsmanship.
Eddie Van Halen used a modified San Dimas model, the “Frankenstrat.” This move and endorsements from other legendary artists played an integral role in establishing the brand on a global scale. The brand has heavily influenced the world of guitars ever since.
- Body & Finish
The guitar’s design makes it instantly noticeable. The guitar body is constructed of alder. The tonewood material is known for its resonance and lightweight properties. The design strikes the perfect blend between stability and comfort. The guitar is available in Snow White color with a gloss polyurethane finish.
When it comes to controls, the guitar brings functionality and simplicity. It features a tactile control layout with 2 control knobs and a three-way switch. The first control knob is for volume, and the other is a tone control knob. The three-way switch is a pickup selector. The instrument is known for seamless tone adjustments. These controls bring a ton of versatility. The simplicity makes this no-nonsense guitar ideal for beginners as well as professionals.
- Neck & Fingerboard
The guitar’s neck is a testament to the brand’s commitment to high-quality construction and design. The maple graphite-reinforced bolt-on neck brings durability and stability, allowing the guitar to endure even the most aggressive playing styles. The guitar’s 12″ to 16″ neck provides ease and comfort in playability, allowing players to navigate across the fretboard effortlessly.
The guitar’s Seymour Duncan SH1N ’59 Humbucker pickup at the neck and the Seymour Duncan JB TB4 Humbucker bridge pickup greatly add to the guitar’s tonal capabilities and versatility. The instrument allows everything from aggressive high-gain rock to warm vintage classic tones so players can shift between playing styles.
Character & Sound:
Often linked to aggressive, high-octane playing styles, the guitar’s character and sound are centered on rock and metal. However, it packs the versatility needed for other genres as well. The guitar is ideal for lead guitarists and players who love shredding. The compound-radius fretboard assists with intricate phrasing and effortless bending. The instrument packs excellent sustain and resonance and outshines most when it comes to high-quality performance.
With its tank-like construction, this guitar is built to last. The guitar packs a unique tonal character and sound that provides a ton of versatility to the player. Thanks to the guitar’s neck design, players will enjoy the playing experience with the speed and precision this guitar brings.
Although this guitar is packed with quality beyond a shadow of a doubt, its price tag may be unaffordable for some. The alder body construction adds some weight to the guitar’s body, and this may be a point to consider for those accustomed to lighter options during performances.
2. Schecter Omen-6
Here’s another excellent guitar from the Schecter line with high-quality features at an affordable price.
The California-based company carrying the Schecter name has been around since 1976. Specializing in stringed instruments such as acoustic guitars, basses, electric guitars, and even guitar accessories, the company has carved a name for itself among the masses.
While you can find a wide variety of guitars at different price points in the company’s arsenal, the Schecter Omen-6 can surely be categorized as a budget-friendly offering that’s a great place to start for beginners. However, the quality it brings is enough to arouse the pro guitarist’s curiosity.
- Finish & Color Options
The Omen-6 comes in exciting colors and finishes, including Gloss White, Satin Walnut, and a Gloss Black left-handed model. In all cases, the body is made of solid basswood. The body, right down to its cuts and curves, is reminiscent of the Hellraiser C-1 model discussed earlier. You won’t find a pickguard on the Omen-6 as with most Schecter guitars.
- The Neck
The neck has a “C” profile, which is often extra comfortable to play, especially for budding guitarists. Regarding the tonewood choices, the maple neck has been put together with a rosewood fingerboard. The 24 extra jumbo frets are decorated with impressive pearloid semi-goth inlays that give the instrument the feel of a much more expensive model. In addition, the Omen-6 has a scale length of 25.5 inches.
- The Nut & Tuners
This model from Schecter has a bolt-on neck with a Graph Tech XL Black Tusq, having a width of 1.65 inches. The nut brings multiple advantages, such as durability, better tonal delivery, and self-lubrication, which improves tuning stability. Regarding the headstock, the Omen-6 has 6 Schecter standard tuning machines.
- The Bridge & Strings
Furthermore, the instrument has a string-through design, so the strings are threaded through the back of the body and laid over a Tune-O-Matic bridge, similar to what you find on Les Paul guitars. Another cool aspect of the Omen-6 is that it comes with long-lasting Ernie Ball Regular Slinky strings (0.010 – 0.046).
- Pickups & Controls
Let’s now see what gives the Omen-6 its sound. Fitted inside the pickup cavities are two Diamond Plus Humbuckers. The nice thing about these humbuckers is their noiseless nature. The control section of the guitar includes a single volume and single tone control alongside a three-way selector switch.
Character & Sound:
The Omen-6 has very impressive sonic capabilities. The modest-looking humbuckers are designed to handle distortion and aggressive playing well. Your guitar solos will cut through the mix and sound intense with great articulation. Cut back on the distortion to experience creamy, clean tones. Keeping the pickup selector in the central position will engage both pickups simultaneously for a more balanced sound.
The Omen-6 is especially at ease with genres like rock and heavy metal as the two diamond humbuckers come into their own with some distortion thrown into the mix. The body construction is solid and well-balanced. All this for such a low price is a great deal.
Because of the characteristics of the humbuckers in place, the Omen-6 is somewhat limited when it comes to genres other than rock and metal. Also, unlike the Hellraiser C-1, the color/finish options are few and far between, and the model only comes in a string-through design.
Many factors come into play when looking for the perfect guitar for Dropped C tuning. While there isn’t the ultimate best-stringed instrument for the situation, some guitars are more suitable for it than others.
All instruments discussed today have been carefully selected after ensuring they possess the necessary traits to facilitate lower-tuning setups. For instance, the ESP LTD EC-1000 has locking tuners to ensure impeccable tuning. Its dual humbucker configuration provides enough power for dropped C and D tuning.
The Jackson X Series Soloist and Charvel’s Pro-Mod San Dimas are equipped with Floyd Rose tremolo systems, so you can keep the tuning in check with intense dive bomb tricks. So, regardless of the varying string tension, your instrument will stay in tune.
The Schecter C-1’s neck through design provides great sustain, and the high output humbuckers are just what you need to get your Standard C tuning sounding great. The Omen-6, the other hand, is a more budget-friendly option that provides similar tonal versatility.
Other great options for lower-tuning can include the Les Paul and SG models from Gibson/Epiphone. Finally, if you’re looking for more sonic options, consider the Ibanez RG550, Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V, and Fender American Professional II models that offer multiple pickups and controls.
Sultan Zafar is a guitar player from Islamabad, Pakistan. He has been playing music with various mainstream musicians for over 20 years. He is a song writer and music producer. These days he spends his time exploring different music genres and collaborating with fellow musicians on various projects. Read more..