Best Guitars for Playing Blues Rock

Rock Guitars

If you are looking for the perfect guitar to express your inner rocker whose deep rooted soul loves to play the blues, warm up that old tube amplifier and get ready to take a look at the best guitars suited for playing blues rock.

Blues rock, one of many sub-genres of the blues, emerged as guitarists sped up the tempo of blues and beefed it up by using distortion. This innovation resulted in the production of some of the finest guitarists the world has ever known and has paved the way for numerous sub genres and styles of playing.

If you want to achieve that classic blues rock sound, you’ve got to take a look at the guitars that were played by those who defined it. We will be covering some revisited classics and what gave them their unique and legendary sound, as well as offer some budget friendly equivalents.

Fender American Original ’50s Stratocaster

 Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster Maple Fingerboard Electric Guitar

Made famous by such legends as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, the Original 50’s Stratocaster was released in 1954. Fender typically used ash for the body which gave the guitar perfectly balanced tonal qualities that are bright and warm with a nice low end and plenty of sustain. Armed with 3 single coil voiced pickups this revised version is able to emulate that classic sound that was best known for being sweet on the high end.

The Fender American Original 50’s Strat is a brilliant piece of recreated blues rock guitar history that will ensure every bend, hammer-pull and harmonic that you play will shine with pristine clarity while maintaining the perfect amount of low end to crank out rock style power chords.

Pros
Comfortable short scale frets
Classic sound, look and quality

Cons
Bolt on neck
Weighs heavy

Best Cost Effective Equivalent – Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster

Squier, owned by Fender, offers entry level guitars that are more budget friendly without making huge sacrifices in sound. The biggest notable difference is the “C” neck offered by Squier Vs, the “V” neck of the Fender, even though the fret ratio is smaller you’ll still benefit from a distinctive sound and excellent playability.

Gibson Custom Historic ’59 Les Paul Standard

Gibson Custom Historic '59 Les Paul Standard

Favored by such artists as Jimmy Page and Keith Richards, the Les Paul Standard doesn’t just revise a classic. The composition comes closer to the original more so than any other guitar. Often referred to as the “holy grail of guitars” with its mahogany body and neck, this solid body, single cutaway guitar is one of the most sought after. Each of the two custom bucker humbucker pickups has an independent tone and volume knob.

If the depths of your soul could be transformed into sound, the Les Paul 59 standard would deliver a concise storyboard of every emotion you could emit. Boasting fast action, for smooth and easy lead playing and a tune-o-matic bridge for palm muting, the ’59 LEs Paul Standard wont drop tune. Once you hear this remake you’ll appreciate this guitar as one of the best for blues rock.

Pros
Highs, Mids, Lows sounds great on stock pickups.
Premium wood and electronics.
Has sustain that will last until the end of time.

Cons
Pickup covers not to spec.
Price.
The finish doesn’t fade like the orginal.

Best Cost Effective Equivalent – Epiphone Les Paul Special Vintage Edition

While there is only the 1 tone control and the 1 volume control and the toggle being located at the bottom of the guitar, rather than the top, Epiphone has created a lighter weight Les Paul style copy that will get the job done without breaking the bank. The special vintage edition does have similar features such as the tune o matic bridge, stopbar tailpiece and 2 humbucker pickups.

Fender Custom Shop 60th Anniversary Series Esquire

Fender Custom Shop 60th Anniversary Series Esquire

Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughn have been known to sling a Fender Esquire. The Esquire was once considered a cheap telecaster due to only having one pickup. The reason for only having one pickup is to have more of a steel guitar tone in an electric guitar. The lack of a neck pickup also results in less magnetization on the strings which makes the Esquire highly responsive. The use of pine for the body of this guitar makes it lighter weight, however it is more prone to show nicks, dings, and age. The Custom Nocaster Vintage Tele single-coil pickup in the bridge position gives this guitar a percussive attack and a deeper low end.

Pros
No truss rod.
Lightweight.
Cons
Susceptible to minor dings.
More twangy sound.

Best Cost Effective Equivalent

There really isn’t one. While you may find the correct shape, you may find 2 pickups or one pickup in the wrong position. The combination of pine wood, the single pickup and the lack of a truss rod, there really isn’t anything that can come close to a considerable equivalent.

Gibson SG Special 2019 Solid Body Electric Guitar

Gibson SG Special 2019 Solid Body Electric Guitar

If you want more of a rock edge, you’ll agree with heavily blues influenced guitarist Angus Young and his axe of choice, the Gibson SG. The SG is made with mahogany for superb sustain, a slim neck for faster playability and 2 P-90 single coil pickups with independent tone and volume knobs. Since it is a set neck guitar and not a bolt on, this helps with elongated sustain and a thicker, fuller sound.

Pros
More bite.
Lightweight.

Cons
“Mains hum” from the pickups.
Neck dive and intonation issues.

Best Cost Effective Equivalent – Epiphone SG Classic Worn P-90s Solidbody

This guitar comes very close to the Gibson SG. P-90 pickups, mahogany solid body. The few differences are that the Epiphone has medium jumbo frets where the Gibson has medium, the neck is made of different material and a couple of hardware differences.

John C

is the editor of CompressorHead. In this blog, you will find the latest reviews, guides, and tips related to playing rock music, as well as news on the latest rock bands.

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