These are the best new electric guitars of 2023 according to the Guitar.com team

From signature stunners to boutique beauties, these are the 10 best new electric guitars the Guitar.com team has encountered over the past 12 months.

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It’s remarkable that we can sit here, 90-odd years after George Beauchamp first designed the ‘frying pan’ and kick-started the whole electrified guitar thing, and find that brands big and small are still doing interesting and innovative things with that same mixture of wood, steel and magnets.

Okay, 2023 might not have seen wild evolutionary leaps that became commonplace in the 1950s and 60s – but that’s rather the point. For an instrument that most people will agree was broadly perfected in the Golden Era, seven decades of refinement and expansion has got us to where we are today.

And while that point might not be as revolutionary as decades past, there’s an argument to be made that electric guitars are more consistent, more varied and more affordable than perhaps at any other point in the history of the instrument – and that’s pretty exciting for players of any stripe.

So let’s dive in and explore the biggest prize of the lot – the best electric guitars of 2023, according to the Guitar.com Editorial team.

The 10 Best Electric Guitars of 2023, at a glance:

Guild S-100 Polara Kim Thayil

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

A testament to the idea of good things coming to those who wait, a Guild signature model for the S-100’s most famous user has been in the pipeline since the 90s, but for whatever reason it never happened. But the reason the S-100 Polara Kim Thayil is our best electric of 2023 is because it’s so much more than a grunge guitar. Mix up the heft of a Les Paul and the all-access freedom of an SG, give it a good dusting of pawn-shop charm, and price it somewhere between the top end of Epiphone and the low end of Gibson, and you have one damn appealing guitar, one that goes well beyond the needs of just smashing out Soundgarden riffs.

Today’s best deals on the Guild S-100 Polara Kim Thayil

Fender Vintera II 50s Jazzmaster

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

The headline of Fender’s Vintera II range was the addition of rosewood ’boards instead of the pau ferro of the first iteration of the Mexican-made vintage-inspired collection – and for sure it’s a welcome return. What we weren’t expecting, however, was how impressive the 50s Jazzmaster turned out to be – with stunning revoiced pickups, unbelievably impressive playability and a package that has to be one of the best Jazzmasters Fender has produced in recent years full stop.

Today’s best deals on the Fender Vintera II 50s Jazzmaster

Jackson American Series Virtuoso

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

Another impressive entry into Jackson’s USA-made production line, the Virtuoso was launched to no small shreddy fanfare and let’s face it – a guitar named the Virtuoso had better not have any impediments to performing the impossible. Impressively, this guitar does an elite job of getting out of the way no matter how ambitious you are – a wonderful platform for the new breed of guitar magicians to hone their craft.

Today’s best deals on the Jackson American Series Virtuoso

Heritage Custom Core H-150 P90

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

With the company’s legal issues with Gibson resolved, Heritage strode into the latter half of 2023 with some impressive high-end releases, including adding P-90 pickups to its popular Custom Core singlecut, the H-150. As a company borne out of the builders Gibson left behind in Kalamazoo, there’s always going to be a familiarity to the designs at play here, but it doesn’t stop this being a nuanced and exciting guitar that’s familiar and different all at the same time.

Today’s best deals on the Heritage Custom Core H-150 P90

Gretsch G5232T Electromatic Double Jet FT with Bigsby

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

If you’ve ever thought that a Gretsch isn’t for you, the Double Jet might be the guitar to change your mind – it’s not laboured with the legacy of some of Gretsch’s more famous models, but still has plenty of cool alternative cachet. And with sparkling Filter’Tron tones and looks that feel more edgy than the traditional Gretsch fare, this G5232T is a fantastic guitar that’s waiting for someone to make it a star.

Today’s best deals on the Gretsch G5232T Electromatic Double Jet FT with Bigsby

D’Angelico Excel DC Tour

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

D’Angelico has earned itself plenty of fans for its ornate art deco takes on classic semi-hollow instruments over the last few years, but the Excel Tour Collection take that recipe and strips it back so it’s ready for the road, or as the brand itself puts it, this is a “minimalistic powerhouse designed with the travelling player in mind”. The DC is far more than just a road-warrior though – with genuine versatility that means it’s capable of delving into rock and jazz territories with ease, this is one of the best bang for buck semis out there.

Today’s best deals on the D’Angelico Excel DC Tour

PRS SE Silver Sky Maple

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

PRS has been been a key force driving the rapid improvement in import guitars since it began producing guitars in Korea over 20 years ago, and the SE version of John Mayer’s Silver Sky has continued to challenge the rest of the industry about how good a guitar in the sub-$1,000 price bracket can be. The latest iteration adds a little more attack and spank to proceedings, while also offering a fuller and thicker profile for fans of vintage Strat – the best value S-type on the market? Don’t tell Fender we said so…

Today’s best deals on the PRS SE Silver Sky Maple

Shergold Telstar

Image: Shergold

Original electric guitar designs are few and far between in 2023, certainly at the lowest end of the market, and look, nobody’s pretending that the Telstar is wholly original in its thinking – but it’s not a slavish copy either. With elements of Telecaster, Firebird and Gretsch all coming together to make a proper affordable Cabronita alternative, this is a seriously impressive machine for very little money.

Fender Steve Lacy ‘People Pleaser’ Stratocaster

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

Fender has had a strong year of signature models that have pushed the envelope, from Tom DeLonge to Bruno Mars, but Steve Lacy’s People Pleaser is the one that stands out from the crowd. With its unique ‘Chaos Burst’ finish, it certainly stands out from the crowd visually, but it’s what’s inside that really interests – how many Fender-made Strats have a built-in fuzz circuit? This one does, and it’s outrageous amounts of fun.

Today’s best deals on the Fender Steve Lacy ‘People Pleaser’ Stratocaster

Guild Surfliner Deluxe

Photo by Adam Gasson / Guitar.com

Guild’s first foray into a new electric guitar design in four decades was suitably well-received when it debuted in 2022 with just one caveat – can you really call something a Surfliner and not have a whammy bar? Fear not, 2023’s Deluxe answered the question and more – with stunning metallic finishes, block inlays, simplified controls, and of course a floating vibrato of Guild’s own design.

Today’s best deals on the Guild Surfliner Deluxe


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