If you’re in a hurry and want to cut to the chase, know that we recommend the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster HSS Pack as the top choice among the best beginner electric guitar packages. You can check its price on Sweetwater here.
Are you a beginner on a budget?
Or are you rekindling an old passion?
In both cases, getting an electric guitar pack is a smart move.
You won’t burn up money trying to buy all the pieces individually, or searching for “the perfect guitar.”
These packs will get you doing what really matters: playing your guitar.
Choosing The Right Package
Now you’re ready to plug in and take the plunge. But with so many makes and models out there, how do you know which electric guitar pack is the right one? The choice can definitely seem intimidating.
The good news? There’s no right or wrong answer, only what feels best for you. Just keep a few pointers in mind before you buy, though.
Generally speaking, you’re dealing with fewer options in any electric guitar pack.
So don’t worry about accessories like gig bags, or guitar picks. They don’t vary a lot, anyway. Keep the focus on your electric guitar and a decent amp for practicing.
Most amps in any beginner package should offer at least two channels, for clean or distorted sounds. For now, you won’t need many more options than that.
Are Electric Guitar Packs Worth It?
So you’ve made up your mind to learn the guitar. But a more basic question may still dog your mind: Are guitar packs really such a good option?
The short answer is yes, for a couple of simple reasons, starting with value for money.
As a rule of thumb, you could spend as little as $40 to get started.
But you could also shell out $500 or more on a “dream” brand name guitar. The problem is it might end up sitting on a shelf, or in a closet, gathering dust.
Which makes more sense, from the beginning or intermediate point of view? Also, consider the time and effort you’ll save. You don’t have to search and piece together everything you need.
You Get What You Pay For
With a pack, you sacrifice bit of sound quality and workmanship to start playing.
Pack guitars are typically manufactured in the Far East. Labor costs and quality standards are lower in those parts of the world.
So you may struggle with buzzing or sharp-edged frets, cheaper electronics, and lower-quality materials.
You could end up with a guitar that doesn’t intonate properly, or won’t stay in tune without a struggle.
Also, packs don’t allow you to mix and match items. You won’t have the luxury of topnotch players, who do that to their heart’s content.
In short, you’ll have to deal with whatever the manufacturer gives you, and whatever quirks pop up.
Keep in mind that you won’t face these issues forever. Like everything else, buying a guitar, and learning to play doesn’t happen in an ideal world.
Once you accept that idea, you’ll be more driven to overcome whatever problems you run into.
The better you get at your craft, the more likely you’ll earn the money you need to upgrade, when the time comes.
Other Pros And Cons
When all’s said and done, don’t forget why you’re plunking down for a beginner pack in the first place.
The aim is to get you started right away. To avoid the hassles of buying everything separately, without knowing anything about it.
With time, both your guitar chops and knowledge will increase. And you’ll shape that knowledge around your preferences and interests.
But until you start playing, you won’t know what those preferences and interests are. Manufacturers know this. They don’t expect you to stay at the beginner-electric-guitar-package stage forever.
You’ll probably upgrade to something else in two to four years. And manufacturers hope that when that day comes, you’ll stick with the brand you started out with.
Ultimately, guitar packs are all about building brand loyalty, but what that means is up to you. How do these issues work out in the real world? The following electric guitar packages for beginners should give you an idea.
A Roundup Of The Best Beginner Electric Guitar Packages
No doubt about it, there’s plenty to think about here. But once you take a look at some of the most popular packs out there, your final decision should be a bit easier.
To further guide you, here’s a quick roundup of the pros and cons of all the guitar packs that we’ve analyzed so far.
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Here’s your shot at getting the classic Les Paul growl, without breaking the bank.
The idea behind the Les Paul Player Pack is simple: if your guitar feels as good as it looks, you’ll play more often.
The Epiphone Les Paul has a glossy mahogany finish, which is a crucial element of the Les Paul look and feel. The emphasis is on a comfortable instrument for the beginner.
Also, a slim, tapered neck helps newbies get around the fretboard faster, with minimal fuss. And a clip-on tuner will keep you sounding right.
The same philosophy applies to the 10-watt Electra amp, which comes with a clean/crunch switch. You can further tweak your tone with the two-EQ band, or with the three-way pickup switch on the guitar itself.
Overall, this setup is as basic as it gets. But it offers great value for money.
You won’t have to mix and match your own guitar/amp combo in search of the Les Paul sound. You also won’t have to hunt around for the guitar cable, gig bag, straps, and pick, which are all included.
It also includes a downloadable lesson guide, so you can start learning right away.
- Great overall look and feel.
- Solid workmanship.
- Superior customer service.
- May have to upgrade your amplifier sooner rather than later.
- Notable fret buzzes.
- Wood in the neck may warp or shrink, forcing additional repairs.
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The AFD’s features reflect the attitudes of Guns ‘N’ Roses’s lead guitarist, Slash.
The AFD’s initials mean “Appetite for Destruction,” Guns ‘N’ Roses’ classic 1987 debut. It’s considered to be one of hard rock’s landmark albums.
The AFD’s body combines a flame maple and dark cherry mahogany body, with an ivory binding.
But appearance is only half the story. For its users, the Les Paul Special II is the star of the show. It delivers all the familiar overdrive that you’ve come to expect.
Two open-coil humbucker pickups achieve Slash’s characteristic, overdriven crunch. They supply all the grit and growl you’ll ever need for styles like classic rock and metal if that’s what moves you.
The same philosophy carries over to the AFD’s 15-watt amplifier. It offers two channels. One for Slash’s signature Guns ‘N’ Roses overdriven leads, and another for clean sounds. A full EQ section ensures additional punch.
Of course, you get all the usual accessories that manufacturers throw into these packs. Cables, gig bag, picks, and strap, plus an Epiphone digital tuner
Once again, the philosophy is simple, and to the point: to spend less time searching, and more time playing your guitar
- Great for beginners or hobbyists.
- Surprisingly powerful for a beginner guitar pack.
- Wide variety of sounds and tone for your money.
- Fret buzzing and crackling may appear after extended use.
- Short shelf life, especially for the amp. After six months, you may look for something else.
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When it’s time to crank up, you may find yourself reaching for this guitar pack first. It offers a wider range of guitar and amp tones than you find in most electric guitar packs. This keeps it near the top of aspiring guitar stars’ lists.
Dedicated beginners get a shot at achieving the classic Strat tone through the Squier’s combination of two single-coil pickups, and one humbucker.
The lightweight poplar body and C-shaped maple neck ensure a smoother playing experience than most beginner models. It’s particularly suitable for those interested in blues, rock, jazz, and metal styles.
The Squier’s five-pickup selector switch makes it easy for newbies to find a unique tone. And the three-month Fender Play Subscription will boost your motivation.
The HSS pack’s 15G Fender Frontman amplifier packs a greater punch than the 10G included in most starter packs. Five extra watts doesn’t seem like a big deal on paper. But you’ll feel the power surge as soon as you plug in through the Drive channel. For cleaner sounds, you’ll go through the Normal channel. What else do you need?
The closed-back speaker design gives you extra beefiness. And if you wanna rock out through the night without waking up the neighbors, you’re covered. That’s what the auxiliary input and headphone jacks are for.
In short, you’ll get everything you need to rock, right out of the box.
Here’s a great review of the Frontman 15G by Swedish Guitar Nerd. The video is from 2013. Swedish Guitar Nerd seems to have been a beginner back then, so it’s a realistic example of how you’ll probably sound when you plug your guitar into it.
- Authentic Fender style and feel.
- Greater variety of amps and tones than most packs.
- Suitable for many styles, including punk, rock and metal.
- Amp design beats most competitors, but you may want to upgrade at some point.
- Recognizable, but basic, guitar body.
- Slightly more expensive than most packs.
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This is a more basic setup than the Squier HSS. Still, this pack paves the way to the classic bright Fender tone, without shelling out big bucks.
The guitar is very comfortable, thanks to the maple neck and laurel fingerboard. Its three single-coil pickups and five-way selector empower you to achieve the tones you hear in your head.
All the classic Fender blackface visuals — black panel, skirted knobs, and silver grille cloth — are present in the Frontman 10G amplifier. An adjustable gain control allows players to explore every sonic option, from tube-emulated overdrive to uber-distortion.
Three switches, for volume, treble, and bass, allow you to further fine-tune your approach. Auxiliary and headphone input jacks will keep you rocking into the wee hours.
Like other packs profiled here, it includes a bunch of accessories. And the three-month subscription to the Fender Play learning series provides all the motivation — and perspiration — you’ll ever need to work on your guitar chops.
- Adaptable and versatile for most styles and situations.
- Classic sounds and tones at an affordable price.
- Lightweight body is ideal for beginners.
- Quality control varies at times.
- Tough to keep in tune.
- Won’t last a lifetime.
If you’d rather buy this guitar than the pack, check out our Squier Stratocaster review article.
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Now that you’ve seen the major options for yourself, which way should you go?
In our book, there’s only one clear winner.
And that’s the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster HSS Pack. It simply has a great balance of adaptability, reliability and versatility.
You start off with the signature Fender body style. And the HSS Pack’s major features help you nail that classic bright Fender tone as well.
The humbucking bridge pickup makes that result more likely for players interested in harder rock, punk, and metal styles. At the same time, you can shift gears toward cleaner, mid-range sounds.
The other key building block in this equation is the Fender Frontman 15G amp. The 15G’s additional wattage and tone control options give you a more well-rounded playing experience.
This is true whether you’re playing, practicing or recording, without compromising on the power you’re seeking.
Last, but not least, you get a three-month Fender Play subscription. This allows you to easily track your progress, and develop the techniques you’ll need to become a better player.
It’s the finishing touch for a guitar starter kit that gives you all the tools you’ll ever need to succeed.
What To Do Next
Once you choose an electric guitar package, perhaps you’d like to complement your fledgling musical arsenal with a cheap acoustic.
Or maybe you feel that a beginner electric guitar package is just too basic for you.
If so, check out our selection of the best electric guitars under $1,000. Any of these guitars will be of significantly higher quality that the ones included in packages, without breaking the bank.
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