The 4 Most Versatile Guitars – Electric Guitar Reviews 2023

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Photo by Dirk Knight / CC BY

So why get a versatile guitar? Well, while many of the best-known electric guitars have a distinctive tone, there are others that you’ll find represented across genres. Their sound is versatile enough to adapt to a wide range of different situations. If you’re a professional guitarist who plays with multiple bands, it’ll simplify your life tremendously to have one guitar that’s a tone chameleon rather than buying a different axe for every situation.

The guitars on the list below all fit this profile to a tee. The combination of build and included electronics give them a sound that works in nearly any situation, making them some of the most multipurpose guitars you’ll find.

Here are our recommendations for the 4 most versatile guitars on the market:

Epiphone Les Paul Studio Guitar

Epiphone is to Gibson what Squier is to Fender: the lower-cost alternative for players who want a Gibson sound but don’t have a Gibson budget. The Les Paul Studio from Ephiphone brings you the same tone and feel as the Gibson Les Paul, but at usually a much lower price.

Like many Les Pauls, this guitar uses mahogany for the body and neck, both built with speed and player ease in mind. It also gives you the same high-end hardware, including a Tune-O-Matic bridge and a stopbar tailpiece for precise tuning and adjustable action. The most noticeable difference is in the pickups. This one uses Zebra-Coil Ceramic humbucker that give you a warm tone, and sound equally good paired with a wide range of equipment.

There are some features on the Gibson Les Paul you might miss on the cheaper version, maybe most notably the coil-switching pickups, but if you’re looking for a balance of value and versatility it’s a great option to consider.

Epiphone Les Paul Studio review

Ibanez RG Prestige Guitar

Ibanez is maybe best-known for their hollowbody and semi-hollowbody designs, but if you’re looking for the most versatile guitar in their catalog a solid body model like the RG Prestige is going to be more up your alley. It uses a distinctive double-cutaway design that will look at home on any stage. The precision craftsmanship and top-tier electronics give it a sound that will match the look.

Ibanez uses ash for the body of this guitar (see full specs), the same wood that Fender uses on many of its most popular models. It’s a naturally more porous wood than many of the hardwoods used for guitar construction, and that gives guitars made with it a sweeter, more resonant tone. This is paired with a maple and walnut neck, what Ibanez calls their “Super Wizard High Performance” neck design, which is smooth-playing and lets your fingers fly on fast lines. The Prestige-edged jumbo frets allow for more bends and freedom with the notes, too.

This guitar was designed with metal players in mind, which is the main reason it’s built for speed and power, but it’s certainly not limited to just that genre. The same things that make it great for metal are equally well-suited to other genres, including the installed DiMarzio Air Norton pickups. It’s not the cheapest option, but for a guitar that’s both flashy and versatile, it’s hard to beat.

Ibanez RG652AHM Demo

Squier Guitar by Fender Affinity Telecaster

We name-dropped Squier before as an example of an affordable brand and here’s an entry that lives up to that reputation: the Affinity Telecaster. Since it’s built to the same specifications as the original Fender Telecaster, the build and sound quality are both higher than you’d probably expect, given the price.

The single-coil Telecaster pickups are perhaps the most important part of the classic Tele sound, and the pickups installed on this model deliver. And that sound is pretty versatile, working well for rock, country, and even metal with a bit of tweaking, although it may be too bright for softer genres.

In terms of playability, it gets top marks, as well. It has the classic top-loaded bridge that makes it easier to tune and change the strings. The C-shaped neck is a modern upgrade to the classic Tele design, making it easier to play in any style.

Squier Affinity Telecaster | How Does It Sound?

Fender Classic Series ’70s Stratocaster Guitar

The sound of a Fender Strat is synonymous with the classic rock tone of the ’70s. Rock players of any style will find a lot to love in this modern re-creation of those beloved vintage instruments. It not only sounds great, it’s also very playable, with a U-shaped neck that lets your fingers really fly over the frets.

The pickup system on this guitar is maybe its best feature when it comes to versatility. It uses a three-pickup system rather than the two found on most guitars. You can toggle between them using the selector switch, giving you access to multiple tones right there on your instrument. In this case, the pickups are all Fender single-coil pickups, vintage styled to give you those ’70s tones.

There are a lot of little details to love about this guitar. It has F-style tuners as another vintage touch, and the bullet truss rod is super easy to adjust. Taking all these qualities together, you could argue it’s among the most versatile guitars for the money.

Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster Electric Guitar Demo & Review

Versatile Guitars Conclusion

The guitar itself isn’t the only thing that goes into creating your sound. The other equipment you use is just as important to crafting that perfect tone, and one thing that all of these guitars share is that they work well with a variety of different set-ups.

In the right hands and with the right amp and effects, almost any guitar could be made to fit into almost any style of music. The options on this list just make it a little easier to bring out those varying tones. If you’re looking for the so-called most versatile guitar, any of these four above are worth a look. 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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