It’s easy to get intimidated when buying your first guitar with the wide selection of choices—and prices. And they’re so many decisions too. What brand should I get? What kind of amp is best? Fortunately, you’ll find them sold as a part of a kit with everything you’ll need to plug in and get started. And remember, it’s never too late to start playing.
You can expect to pay anywhere from under $100 to over $300 or more, depending on the components and the goodies that are included in the kit. You’ll find both value and top brands in the mix. It’s worth investing in something that is decent because it’ll be easier to play which will, in turn, keep you—or your child—motivated to stick with it.
Even the best electric guitar starter packs are often stepping stones to better instruments and amps. Their purpose is to make it easy for you to catch the music bug with a complete kit that makes the decisions for you. Let’s run down our favorites to get you thinking about your big purchase.
Top 10 Electric Guitar Starter Packs
- Yamaha GigMaker EG
- Squier Short Scale Stratocaster Pack
- Epiphone Special-II Les Paul
- Ibanez IJRG220Z
- LyxPro Complete
- Rogue Rocketeer
- Epiphone Slash "AFD" Les Paul
- Dean Vendetta
- Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster
- ZENY Electric Guitar
Yamaha GigMaker EG Electric Guitar Pack
The Yamaha GigMaker EG Electric Guitar Pack is a great value for under $300. The guitar is a Yamaha PAC012 Pacifica. It has a solid Agathis body with a double cutaway that comes in your choice of black, dark blue, or red. The electronics include two single-coil pickups and one Humbucker. It has vintage-style floating tremolo. The finish is gorgeous.
The kit includes a digital chromatic tuner, strap, gig bag, picks, extra set of strings, and a 15-watt, 2-channel amp that delivers great sound, albeit, with a slight buzz. If it bugs you, you can upgrade the included cable. The bag isn’t the best either. It comes with an instructional DVD that you may find helpful. You can also upgrade to get digital lessons.
The guitar is easy to tune and fun to play. It’s has a good feel to it too. It’s versatile for playing a lot of different styles which is great for a beginner just starting out and looking for a niche. Some of the add-ons like the strap and bag aren’t quality stuff which is sometimes the case when you buy a kit. However, the instrument alone is worth it.
Squier Short Scale Stratocaster Pack with Frontman 10G Amp
The Squier Short Scale Stratocaster Pack with Frontman 10G Amp is worth a look if you want a lightweight instrument and have smaller hands. The guitar is part of the Affinity series. It has a solid poplar body with a maple neck and a beautiful gloss polyurethane finish. It comes in your choice of black, brown sunburst, and brown sunburst HSS. It is manufactured in China.
The electronics include three single-coil pickups with a five-way switch. It also has a hard-tail bridge. Bear in mind that it is a 20-fret model. The tone and sound quality are great which we’d expect from this manufacturer. The package includes a Squier Frontman 10G amp, cable picks, instructional DVD, and a strap. It doesn’t come with a gig bag.
Overall, the electronics of the guitar are decent. It has a good hand feel to it. The amp is adequate for what it is. It’s fine for a beginner’s kit, but we could easily see upgrading some components to improve it even more.
Epiphone Special-II Les Paul Player Pack
The Epiphone Special-II Les Paul Player Pack features one of the manufacturer’s signature guitars. The body is single cutaway with a solid mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fretboard. It has 700T Humbucker pickups with a three-way switch. The kit includes the usual roundup with a gig bag, strap, picks, pinch-on tuner, cable, and a Studio 10 amp.
The guitar and amp combo deliver good sound with a great tone. However, there is no pickguard. There is a bit of fret buzz too. The amplifier is basic and isn’t going to fill Carnegie Hall even if you take it to 11, but it’s okay for what it is. The cable isn’t the best, but you can easily swap it out for something better. The tuner is small, but it gets the job done.
While the gig bag leaves something to be desired, the guitar is worth it even if it is a bit heavy. The electronics are solid. Overall, it’s a lot of guitar for the money. This is one that you’ll keep around as a spare or for practice.
Ibanez IJRG220Z Electric Guitar Package
The Ibanez IJRG220Z Electric Guitar Package bills itself as the jumpstart package which is a fitting description. The kit includes a 10-watt IBZ1G amp, electronic tuner, strap, picks cable, and a gig bag, albeit, a cheaply made one. It also comes with an online lesson card to get you started quickly.
The guitar has a double cutaway, GRG maple neck and a solid poplar body with a rosewood fretboard. The electronics include Infinity R pickups with your standard tremolo bridge. It comes in your choice of blue, orange, or black. Overall, it has a good feel to it with decent sound that is ideal for metal or rock. The chrome-finished knobs are a nice touch that makes it look slick.
The amp is your basic model with controls for treble, bass, and volume. It’s fine for what it is as a practice amplifier. The sound is okay, but it’ll suffice until an upgrade. The other accessories look great and give the package a polished look.
LyxPro Complete Beginner Starter Kit
The LyxPro Complete Beginner Starter Kit lies on the value end of the spectrum, price-wise. The pack includes the usual suspects with picks, digital clip-on tuner, strap, cable, and a gig bag. The amp is a bit of a surprise at 20 watts with volume, bass, treble, grind, and gain. It’s a nice step-up from the 10-watt versions we usually see in these packages.
Out of the box, the action is high on this guitar. The knobs are a bit wonky to move at first, but otherwise all right. Unfortunately, the accessories are just what you’d expect for items through into a kit. However, the case is good. The best thing about it is that you have everything you need out of the box. We could see it as a kit for an adolescent interested in playing.
And later, when he or she graduates to something better, the guitar offers a decent start for upgrading components to tweak its performance.
Rogue Rocketeer Electric Guitar Pack
The Rogue Rocketeer Electric Guitar Pack is another offering in the value category. It includes a strap, cable, picks, instrument cable, gig bag, and a G10 Amp. The guitar is the RR100 model. It is a double cutaway, solid Paulownia body guitar with a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. It has two single-coil pickups and a humbucker with a five-way switch.
The amp includes the usual controls along with gain. It isn’t super loud, but that’s par for the course. Unfortunately, you can’t detach the cord from the unit. The vinyl gig bag is cheaply made too. You might need to do some tweaks to the action and sustain to improve the sound quality. Otherwise, the tone is nice. It’s easy to play with a good hand feel to it.
The guitar comes in wine burst, red burst, black, and blue. There is no pickguard on it which we like to see in a beginner’s axe to avoid the usual newbie scratches. It has a vintage-style tremolo but no floating bridge. It will serve you well as a backup guitar with decent sound.
Epiphone Slash "AFD" Les Paul Guitar Outfit
The Epiphone Slash "AFD" Les Paul Guitar Outfit makes a good choice for a budding musician who enjoys Slash. The guitar is stunning with an eye-catching yellow color that screams for attention. It is a single cutaway, solid wood model with a flame maple top and a mahogany body. It has a ceramic magnet humbucker with a three-way switch and built-in tuner.
The resonance and tone are spot-on, though it’ll need some fiddling to correct the intonation and fret buzz. Otherwise, it’s a lot of guitar for around $200. The price belies its great sound quality. The kit includes a strap, cord, and gig bag. There is no amp with this one where the added value is in the instrument.
To get you playing, it comes with E-media online music lessons, a welcome feature that we’re seeing more often in these starter packs. Everything about this kit is Slash down to the Slash Signature picks. It’s the only single cutaway axe in our list and one without an amp.
Dean Vendetta Guitar & Amp Pack
The Dean Vendetta Guitar & Amp Pack includes a mean-looking black axe with a satin finish. The kit includes a gig bag, amp, picks, strap, cable, and tuner. The XMT model guitar is a double cutaway, solid Paulownia body. It has a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. There are two Dean pickups and a Tune-O-Matic bridge. The guitar is lightweight and fun to play. It is excellent for rock and heavy metal but could easily serve other genres too. The M-10 amp stands out because it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It delivers great sound even in this smaller size with its 6-1/2" 8 Ohm speaker. The gig bag and strap are flimsy which aren’t unexpected.
The sound quality of the guitar is great. There was some fret buzz that is easily corrected. It’s another one of those guitars that we can see swapping out parts to improve it.
Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster Beginner Electric Guitar Pack
The Squier by Fender Affinity Series Stratocaster Beginner Electric Guitar Pack features a stunning, candy apple axe that sounds as great as it looks. This kit is more expensive than some of the others we considered. However, the components make it worth the extra money. It has a double cutaway, solid poplar body with a maple neck and a gorgeous gloss polyurethane finish.
It has two single-coil pickups and a humbucker with a five-way switch for plenty of versatility. It has a maple fretboard with 21 frets. The hardware is chrome which gives it a polished look. It is a joy to play with good tone and resonance. The kit includes a strap, picks, cable, and a Fender Frontman 15G Combo Amp that delivers decent sound. It doesn’t include a gig bag.
You’ll need to do the usual adjustments for fret buzz and the like—once you replace the strings. The sound is rich and clear. It’s the kind of guitar you’ll want to keep as a backup even if you move on later.
ZENY Electric Guitar Beginner Starter Package
The ZENY Electric Guitar Beginner Starter Package is another value package. Frankly, paying under $100 to find out if you really want to play is a small price to dish out on a kit. It includes the basics to get you started with a strap, cable, picks, and economy gig bag. It also has an extra set of strings and a 10-watt amp. That latter includes the usual and a two-band equalizer.
The guitar is a double cutaway, solid wood model with a maple neck. It comes in either black or blue. It has three single-coil pickups. It’s playable out of the box but would benefit from some tweaking with the action. It stays in tune quite well, all things considered. Beginner is the operative word with this pack. If you’re on a limited budget or playing for a child, it’s a good investment that won’t break the bank. It’ll give you the flavor of playing the guitar with everything you need out of the box. And if it doesn’t work out, write it down to experience.
If you’ve always wanted to play the guitar, getting a starter pack is an excellent way to test the waters without investing a huge amount of cash. While quality varies, you can get something decent that can get you in the game. Remember, either a year from now, you’ll be saying that you wished you took a chance, or you could be jamming to your favorite tunes. You choose.