When you buy a guitar. You want a guitar that fits the music that you will be playing. But what guitars are good for the blues? This is a good question. After years of playing guitar it all comes down to tone. In this article I will reveal the pro’s and cons of guitars for blues playing.
If you are wondering what guitars are good for the blues. Then take a look at the best guitars for playing the blues.
- ES 335
- Gibson Les Paul
- Parlor Guitar
Yes, these guitars are the top 5 choices. But if you want to find out why. Then continue reading to get the low down on these guitars.
One of the best Guitars for the Blues
Like I said when you are buying a guitar. It depends on what kind of music you want to play. This will determine the kind of guitar you need. (want). Let’s start with some of the great blues guitar players. Like the King’s. BB King, Albart King, and my personal all time favorite blues man; Freddy King.
What made there blues pop? The ES 335. Also my favorite guitar of all time. What makes the ES 335 so Special? Is it because it was the first Semi Hollow Body guitar? First appearance in 1958. The Slick Semi Hollow Big Body and double cutaway that gives the ES 335 “the Look”. Even though the look is very desirable. It is much more than the look. That makes the ES 335 the go to guitar for playing the blues.
The Gibson ES 335 sets the bar high when it comes to standards.
There are also ES 335’s that have a block mark in the fingerboard instead of the Dot. Then you have the famous Humbucking Pickups. With so many tonal options with 4 control knobs. 2 Volume and 2 Tone. The ES 335 is the most versatile guitar.
The ES 335 body is made of maple wood. With a Rosewood fingerboard. And Two Humbuckers. Also with Dot inlays. If you want to play the blues. And you want to get that warm Tone. To really replicate that sound of many blues man. Like Eric Clapton, BB King, and Chuck Berry. Just to name a few. The ES 335 started it all.
Technically Freddy Kings Guitar was a ES 345. But for all purposes this was, and still is a great Vintage Blues Guitar. With the Cherry Red Finish. There were only 200 made. Have a look at one here on Reverb.
The Budget Friendly Epiphone Dot
The Guitar that is similar to the ES 335. But is a lot cheaper in price. The Epiphone Dot. Gibson actually acquired Epiphone, but the DOT guitar never came out until the 90’s. This guitar is made in China. But has warm tones like it’s older cousin the ES 335. Side by side the Epiphone Dot Semi Hollow body guitar for the price creates that Vintage Tone. See the latest price on the Dot at Reverb.
First Semi Hollow <<<<Body Guitar.
Budget Friendly Guitar. >>>>>
Both of these guitars are very versatile. You can play some clean slow blues. Then put a little grit in there. And then really dial in some Rock N Roll Tones. The Semi Hollow body really gives you that Rich Warm tone.
|Side By Side the|
ES – 335 Verses
|The Epiphone ES-335 Dot|
Semi Hollow Body
|Double cutaway, Semi Hollow Body|
|Body Material||Nitro-finished laminated,|
Maple Tone Block. & Bindings
|Laminated Maple Wood Top & Body, Mahogany tone block. Body Bindings|
1958 round fingerboard.
12 inch Radius Joint-in,
Standard Truss rod
|Mahogany Wood with Slim Taper D Neck|
Gloss finish, Joint-in with Standard Truss rod
|Scale Length||24.75 Inch||24.75 inch|
|Fretboad||12 inch Radius|
Dark Rosewod fingerboard
|Rosewood Fretboard, 12 inch|
medium 22 Jumbo frets.
|Pickups||Humbuckers Alnico||HH Configuration Alnico Classic Push/pull volume controls|
|Controls||2 Volume, 2 Tone, 3 way switch||Master volume, Volume, 3 way|
pickup switch, coil tap or split
|Hardware||Fixed Bridge, Tune-o-matic,|
Tuning Machines Chrome.
And Hard Shell Case
|Fixed Bridge, Tune-o-matic,|
Tuning Machines Chrome
|PRICE||See the current price on Reverb||See the current price on Reverb|
Gibson Les Paul for Blues & Rock
The Gibson Les Paul thought to be the ultimate Gibson guitar. While it is a great guitar. The ES-335 is the most versatile and popular sought after guitar for the blues and more. That being said, the Gibson Les Paul is well known. And played by many guitar virtuoso.
The Les Paul Standard is a 60’s classic guitar. And can be used for the Blues and Rock N Roll. This is a great guitar. If it’s good enough for Jimmy Page. Who was nominated the best guitar player of all time. And lead guitarist for the group Led Zeppelin. He was able to get the Les Paul to sing.
With Crunchy Melodic Sounds. That can be heard in songs like Kashmir. Where he used a Les Paul guitar and G A D A G Tuning to Rock the Stadiums. Jimmy also used a Les Paul to play the blues. A lot of Led Zeppelin’s music was based off of blues music.
Other Famous musicians that use the Les Paul. To amaze the fans with the deep, warm sound. Which is Unique to Gibson Les Paul guitars. These guitarists are known for playing the blues. Reverb.
Here’s A Cheap Guitar & Good for Playing the Blues
The Les Paul is sweet. But not everyone can afford a Gibson. Again Epiphone saves the day. With a more economical Blues Guitar. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Pro. It comes in the same color red as Jimmy Page’s Guitar see it on Amazon.
Get a Legendary Guitar Style. With great sound at Les than half the price. Epiphone is a solid choice when choosing a quality guitar. That is a fraction of the price. And you still get that warm deep tone for playing the blues. If you want to dial in some more muddy sounds. You can do that too.
Buddy Guy One of the Greatest Blues players. Says when asked; What is your favorite guitar. He replies “Fender”, He saw one of the greatest guitar players. He ever saw came into Batten Rouge. When he was 16 or 17. The guy had a Strat.
But at the time Buddy didn’t know what a Stratocaster was. He had never seen one. That’s when he fell in love with the Fender Stratocaster. And like they say the rest is history. The Fender Stratocaster is an excellent Value for the Money. Get it for the best price on Amazon Here.
Classic Series in Surf Green
Two brothers, and both play the Stratocaster. They also play The Blues. Stevie Ray Vaughn & Jimmy Ray Vaughn. Both agree that one of the Best guitars to play the blues on is the Stratocaster. This Green Fender Classic I found on Amazon it’s a 50’s Series. Check out the Specs Here.
Fender American Performer Stratocaster
Smooth Blues Tones
That is just one in a series of Stratocasters. They all have a 5 way switch with 3 single coil pickups. But they are not all the same. Some have a maple kneck. Which if you want to play faster the maple neck gives you the lead. But some have a rosewood beck for a warmer tone. See the different Stratocasters on Amazon.
Can You Play the Blues with a Telecaster?
Some people think that you can’t play the blues on a Telecaster. Ask Robben Ford. I’m sure he would beg to differ.
Fender Player Stratocaster
Parlor Guitar the Best Little Blues Guitar
Now that we have covered some great electric guitars for playing the blues. What about acoustic? I find that a little parlor guitar that sounds great. And is so much fun to play. Is a parlor guitar. And not just the blues. My go to guitar for the blues and for sitting on the couch watching TV. Then practicing on commercial breaks is my Washburn Parlor Guitar.
This guitar is so small and is easy to play. And no need for an amp. You can take it any where. Due to the small size it is easy to transport. And it is nice to play. Like I said just grab and play. The Washburn Parlor Series comes in different models. These guitars are based off of the pre Civil War guitars over 100 years ago. If you want to read about all the different models and prices click here.
Learn the Secrets to playing the blues with this Easy Blues Composition Video Lessons.
How to Build a Blues Guitar
You could always choose another rout. And that is build your ultimate blues guitar. You would think to do that you would need a wood shop. Not any more! What if I told you for a couple of Benjamin’s you can get a complete guitar kit. Where you simply put the pieces together. And then you have the guitar of your dreams for less than 1/3 of the price. Check out the different kits here.
Beginner Blues Guitar
A Good beginner Blues Guitar is one that fits nice in your lap. Where you are not struggling to wrap your arm around it. Feels good to play. A nice fit on the fretboard. So that your fingers fit nice on the fingerboard. So that you are not struggling to make the chords. And the price should be right on. When you are starting out. There is no need to buy the most expensive guitar. If your looking for a guitar that has all of these benefits. Then take a look here.
Must have Accessories to go with your Blues Guitar
- The Best Beginners Amp
- Top 5 Amplifiers
- Best Overdrive Pedal for Blues Guitar
- Guitar Picks, straps and more