My First Electric Guitar - Decisions!

Hi, I’m looking for my first electric guitar. I’m a beginner - Grade 2 Module 11. Favorite artists include Neil Young, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Beatles. Pearl Jam, Nirvana. Black Pumas. I like to think I appreciate most music except metal and rap/hip-hop (though I respect many of the artists). I enjoy jazz and blues but am not well-versed in either.

I’m looking for a light guitar, and because I’m learning, something versatile. I’d settled on an Epiphone ES-339 (semi-hollow, smaller body), but guess what - the only one I can find is in a color I don’t find pleasing. I’m now looking at two very different guitars - Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard and Fender Player Duo-Sonic HS. They are both light. They’re both available in red. :smiley:

The Epi looks nice, but I see SGs mostly associated with heavier/harder music than I gravitate toward (well, Sister Rosetta Tharpe did play one!). The Fender looks nice, but for some reason doesn’t speak to me.

I know I should play before buying, but I don’t have access to a lot of instruments where I live. (I did play the ES - it felt fine!) I’m aware that the neck radius is different on the instruments I’m considering, but honestly I’m such a beginner that I’m not sure I could form an opinion on which would be better for me.

With that background - what are your thoughts and experiences? I’m also open to other instrument suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Judi,

Are you sure the ES-339 isn’t available in red to you? I mean, here in Europe it seems to be. Maybe you would need to wait a few weeks until it’s delivered.

For example, the Thomann website says:

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It may be a bit of an ac/dc kinda icon but its just a dual humbucker guitar like many others (les pauls etc) and this is the main thing for sound.

The Fender is a humbucker (splittable) / single coil which will give a different sound for the bridge pickup, not better or worse really. Cant say I’ve heard that particular guitar tho.

Looks like the fender has a shorter scale? 24" vs 24.75?
Fender has a more rounded fret too.

Thanks Jozsef! I should have mentioned my location: Oregon, U.S. Epiphone are out of stock; I’m hoping to buy from Sweetwater and they’re out of stock as well. Did see a Pelham Blue one at GC, but that’s the color that didn’t make me smile. Darn!

Thanks Rob! I saw the cutaways referred to as “devil horns”. Maybe that’s why the ac/dc crowd is drawn to them. I understand the Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard has Gibson pickups - I’m naive, but that seemed like an unusual feature for a guitar in my price range!

Your observations about the Fender neck match my understanding.

$900USD for an Epi is towards the higher end for them I think? they have some LP’s there that also use gibson pickups. A genuine gibson is what $1300 or so?

You can (within reason) make an electric guitar sound like anything you want esp if you go though modeling software, but they will have their own natural sound .

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Weird that a US company should be out of stock in the US but not across the pond. I hope you’ll find a suitable guitar soon. :wink:

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Have you thought about a Fender Mustang? They are light, shorter scale length and can do most of the sounds you’re interested in. I’m not sure about cherry red but I think Red may be a possibility. If the fender is a bit expensive then the Squier classic vibe version is a great alternative, same with any Fender!

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Check this out
G&L Tribute Fallout Electric Guitar - Candy Apple Red | Sweetwater


I wasted a couple of years of my (guitar) life because I bought an Epiphone Les Paul for my first electric, without trying enough other guitars first. I knew almost nothing about guitars then, but had somehow developed the opinion that Les Pauls were better than Strats…so I never even tried to play one.

Turns out, the ergonomics of the Strat style guitars are much better - for me. You might find the opposite.

The point is…you will probably be living with the instrument for a long time. It’s worth spending additional time actually playing the major different styles of electrics to find the one that is most comfortable and easy to play.

If shopping online - make sure they have a good return policy!

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Thanks for sharing your experience, Tom. Add to that the great comments others have provided (including being more mindful about how much I spend on what), it’s clear I need to slow this process down - and to take time to enjoy the search!


Good call, that looks rather nice!

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