The 4 Best Guitars for Funk – Reviews 2024

best guitar for funk

Photo by Beaver on the Beats / CC BY

Getting the right guitar for funk is all about the groove. The tight rhythms demand precise articulation from every instrument in the band. When you’re shopping for a funk guitar, you’re looking for one that’s easy to strum and gives you a sparkling clean tone, with the front-end punch that keeps you in the pocket.

There are a lot of guitars out there fitting that description—and choosing the right one for your style can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve picked out our favorite funk guitars below. Whatever style of funk you play, we’re pretty sure at least one of them will speak to you.

These are our recommendations for the 4 best guitars for funk on the market:

Guitar for Funk 1: Fender American Professional Stratocaster

A Stratocaster is a solid recommendation for almost any genre of music. When it comes to funk, it’s one of the most popular choices. There are two big reasons for this: it gives you a great clean tone, and it plays well with basically any amp or effects, thanks to its unique pickup layout.

Rather than making you choose between a humbucker and a single-coil, the Strat (see full specs) gives you both: a humbucker at the bridge and single coils in the middle and neck positions. With the toggle switch, you can use one or all of them—or any combination thereof—giving you true control over your tone. We like the single coils for funk, personally. You’ll get a nice punchy attack and just the right amount of sustain.

Playing the Fender Player Stratocaster is a treat, too. It uses a modern C neck, in our opinion the most comfortable style out there. The action is perfect for getting into a funky groove, and the intonation is solid. While sound is the most important factor, it also helps that it has the right look, with a dramatic body shape and a variety of vibrant finishes to choose from.

Fender American Professional Stratocaster 2017 Antique Olive, Demo and review

Guitar for Funk 2: PRS SE Standard 24

Paul Reed Smith (or PRS) Guitars are best known for their hand-made custom instruments. Their focus on artistry and craft extends into their mass-produced models. Many musicians can spot a PRS guitar easily thanks to their distinctive headstock and body shape. They give you a sound that stands out, too, one that’s both rounded and articulate—and absolutely perfect for funk.

The PRS SE Standard 24 plays and sounds like a high-end guitar. They use the same hardware you’ll find on PRS Custom 24 guitars, all of which is designed by PRS. From the tuners to the pickups, you won’t find any generic factory components here. The intonation is solid, and the wide, thin neck plays surprisingly fast, though players with smaller hands may find it a bit uncomfortable for chords.

There’s more to the distinctive PRS body shape than just looks, too. The slightly rounded front makes it more comfortable to play. We especially like the contour on the cutaway—you’ll have no problem reaching your upper frets. This guitar’s priced in the mid-range, but it’ll give you pro-level performance. It also plays nice with pedals, maintaining the integrity of your attacks even through multiple levels of effect. All in all, this is one of the best guitars for funk at any price.

The PRS SE Standard 24 | PRS Guitars

Guitar for Funk 3: Epiphone Les Paul Classic Pro

People think of Epiphone as the poor man’s Gibson. While they are best-known for making affordable versions of Gibson classics, their product range extends into professional-level instruments, too. The Les Paul Standard Classic PRO (see full specs) is a shining example of this. From the tuners to the finish, it’s a guitar that would be at home on any stage.

This is another option that gives you great versatility. It’s equipped with two ProBucker pickups, but both are set up for coil splitting. This gives you the choice of that thinner, brighter single-coil sound that many funk players prefer. The Les Paul body style in general is known as one of the most versatile in rock. The Epiphone Les Paul Classic Pro is a very playable guitar, with solid intonation and a smooth action.

One other advantage of this Epiphone Les Paul that’s worth noting is its weight. At under 10 pounds, it’s about half the weight of your typical Strat, for example—a much lighter load, and one of the reasons it’s so comfortable to play. For both sound quality and playability, the Classic Pro is definitely worth any funk guitarist’s attention.

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro - Sounds Demo

Guitar for Funk 4: Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster

For the best funk guitar on a budget, our top choice is the Squier Telecaster. Teles are a classic choice for funk players, for a lot of the same reasons people like Stratocasters: they sound great clean, and they’re really fun to play.

Don’t be fooled by the Squier name. This guitar is just as much a Fender as its more expensive counterparts. It uses a C-shaped neck and a top-loaded six saddle bridge. This translates to stable intonation, easy to change strings, and a very playable guitar. It’s wired for two single-coil pickups with a three-way selection switch, just like the classic Telecaster.

Sonically, this is the brightest guitar on the list. While this can be a good thing for funk, it can sound a bit too thin and chimey for some players, or paired with certain amps. That’s mostly thanks to those single-coil pickups mentioned above. You may want to upgrade one or both of the pickups to combat this. Even if you need to make some tweaks, though, the Squier Telecaster is still an incredible value. For the money, it’s easily one of the best guitars for funk period.

Squier Affinity Telecaster Demo Review - One Of The Best Cheap Guitars Around!

Choosing the Right Funk Guitar

The right funk sound is more about the pickups than the build. The best are bright and thin without going overboard. Guitars with a pickup switch are a great choice, letting you fine-tune your tone. You also want to think about the feel of the instrument. There’s a lot of strumming and chordal playing in funk, along with techniques like hand mutes. The right funk guitar lets you do all of them easily.

The funk guitar sound is just as much about the effects as it is the guitar itself. If you’re on a budget, you might be best served going with something like the Squier Telecaster, saving more money for your amp and pedals.

Any of the options above could be a fantastic funk machine in the right hands. While there’s no one best guitar for funk, there is one that’s perfect for you. Hopefully this article has helped you find it! Good luck!

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

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