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Best Guitars Under £200: The Adventure Begins!

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Best Guitars Under £200: The Adventure Begins!

Chase your dreams!

So you want to start playing the guitar but don't know where to begin? What shape looks cool? What does fingerboard radius mean? What sounds do different woods make? We get it! It can be a far too daunting prospect for even the most budding musician, young or old. With so many variables to contend with it can be difficult to know whether you've made the right choice, or whether you should have followed alternative advice.

So our advice? Let's take it back to basics! When you first start playing the guitar, we always try to encourage new students to adopt the mantra that the guitar will find you and that everything else is secondary, trust us. So the main questions to ask yourself at this point are; what do you want to achieve in your new, flourishing guitar-shredding career? What is your inspiration for playing, furthermore WHO are your inspirations for playing and WHAT guitar are they playing?

Let inspiration guide you.

For the vast majority of us, when starting out we tend to sway primarily toward what are our idols playing, why? Well, because they're the ones that look cool and ignite that feeling inside us to play along! It really doesn't have to be more complicated than that. So ask yourself what guitar shapes and styles do you see your heroes playing, because chances are we'll have something perfect for you. And the best part is that you don't need to tuck away your hard-earned cash for months on end to afford the dream of playing the guitar, because music is exclusive for everyone! So now that we've decided what our goals are and what guitar we want to nail that rock n' roll edge, let's take a closer look at the best guitars for UNDER £200!

Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster HH IL

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First introduced as a double-punch alternative to its Stratocaster sibling, the Jazzmaster actually found popularity in the '60s amongst legions of surf rock fans as well as jazz players of the era due to its easy-going playability, dynamic tonal range and effortlessly cool, offset styling. Crafted with a poplar body, silky smooth "C" shaped maple neck and Indian laurel 22 fret fingerboard, the Jazzmaster bears all the hallmarks of a classic Fender design and packages it into an affordable axe that sings from the moment you plug in, making the Jazzmaster the perfect option for budding guitarists who want to nail a variety of tones.

But what we all want to know is how it sounds! Expect thick, chunky Cobain-esque tones from the matching humbuckers in neck and bridge positions when you want to turn up the volume and rock out, before intuitive, easy to use controls switch to deep, warm and rich surf vibes when you really want to embrace your inner Khruangbin and kick back to chilled ocean rhythms.

Stagg Silveray Custom

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Oozing that quirky '50s rock n' roll ray gun aesthetic, the Silveray really is a breath of fresh air to guitars that are often swamped with dated and tired designs, putting that razor-sharp edge into your playing and turning heads with every stage you set foot upon. The really awesome part about this guitar is that although it is a thoroughbred rock machine, its versatility lays in a combination of humbucker and single-coil pickup configuration with 5-way switching ability.

What does this mean? Basically, it does it all! Turn up the humbucker in the neck for smooth, soaring blues solos, switch to the single-coil pickup for raw, razor-sharp, Ramone punk tones circa 1978, or combine both pickups to explore the unknown and craft your own rock n'roll identity!

Just because it's a punk rock machine doesn't mean it cuts corners, your tone and tuning are in solid hands as the Silveray boasts a solid alder body, 22 fret bolt-on maple neck, Nubone nut for ultra-strong tuning and a Telecaster style bridge for lightning-fast string changes.

Encore E99

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Instantly recognisable design and an even more recognisable tone, the Encore E99 tips its hat to the legendary Les Paul guitars of rock n' roll folklore. Taking inspiration from the likes of Jimmy Page, Zakk Wylde and Guns N' Roses icon, Slash, this truly is one of the most iconic designs in music history. One of the greatest aspects of the design actually lies in its heavier weight in comparison to its counterparts, which in a parallel world may not be a desirable characteristic, but hang on! Stay with us, ok...weight is good, weight equals sustain, weight equals tone!

Ever wonder how Les Paul players get that unbeatable, grizzly bite with every note while huge, swooping bends seem to last an eternity? It's no secret; dual humbuckers for full-fat flavour coupled with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard and contoured, single-cutaway basswood body; perfect for dark and creamy tones to whisk you away to Paradise City. 3-way tone controls engineered for maximum tonal output give you the power to blend and sculpt killer sounds on the fly, with different pickup and tone combinations at your disposal for endless tone hunting.

Yamaha Pacifica 012MKII

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Introducing Yamaha's most affordable electric guitar, the 012MKII. As far as affordable axes go, the Yamaha is definitely up at the top! And do you know why? Trust the name, trust the brand. Yamaha dedicates a wealth of time and experience to every design they research and produce, and the 012MKII is a testament to that dedication to crafting excellent instruments. Taking inspiration from the Stratocasters of the '50s, Yamaha flipped the idea on its head and reinvented the idea of what versatility and quality mean in modern guitar design. Vintage meets modern.

A mahogany double-cutaway body allows for excellent upper fret access and the satin-smooth, maple neck will have you shredding pentatonics across the full range of the sculpted 22-fret walnut fretboard with complete ease thanks to a contoured, ergonomic Superstrat body shape that personally fits you. Enhancing the opportunity to rock out further, an HSS style pickup configuration gives you the luxury of not only a full-fat, beefy humbucker in the bridge position for no-nonsense Van Halen riffing, but also two single-coil pickups sing across the full range of the guitar for deep, unbeatable clarity, liquid-smooth soloing and bell-like Biffy Clyro chimes.

Not only that, but the Yamaha takes the old meets new aesthetic even further and introduce a vintage-style tremolo system, giving you the power to manipulate insane string bends and Dimebag style dive bombs, while also optimising tuning capacity to its maximum potential! So if you want something classic yet modern, old meets new, high-spec yet affordable, then look no further!

Ready to rock!

So, now that you've got an idea of what you want from the guitar and what you want to sound like, it's time to get out there and start carving out your own style! One of the joys of playing the guitar is that we can feed our inspiration, inspire others with our playing and share those moments of pure musical brilliance! So if there was ever a time to embrace your dreams of hitting the stage, it's now!