When you’re just starting to get into jazz having a guitar that suits the jazz style is a great bonus.
It’s true that jazz can be played with any normal acoustic or electric, after all, the tone is really in your fingers. However, there are some specific tones that only a true guitar meant for jazz can achieve. It also helps to set the mood and draw a line between your other guitars and the one you play only jazz with.
Since the signature model of your idols is probably too expensive, or you don’t need that good of an instrument yet, we suggest you first buy an affordable beginner jazz guitar.
In this article, we are listing some of the best beginner jazz guitars and a short review for each.
What makes a good beginner guitar?
We always hear horror stories from guitar players about how in bad shape their first guitar was. Some old acoustic with horribly high action and lots of buzz in the sound. But, it doesn’t have to be always like that!
Today there are many quality affordable guitar brands from which you can choose. You don’t have to play what you happen to have at home. We advise however that you look at two main criteria when choosing a beginner guitar.
- Tuning stability
No matter the genre, a guitar that stays in tune and is intonated well wins over any amazing-sounding guitar that goes out of tune often. Especially for a beginner, having a guitar that gets out of town often can be a great turn-off.
You don’t want the guitar to fight you. Having the action fitted to your taste, smooth fretboard, and easy access to high frets are a must.
Always try to find an affordable guitar that has these two criteria covered. With today’s standards, it’s easy to find a new budget model or give a used guitar a proper set up so that it’s both easy to play and reliable.
Best Beginner Jazz Guitars
Jazz electric guitars usually fit in one of the three categories. Hollow body, Semi-Hollow, and Solid Body Guitars. Each guitar type has a different feel and tone that depends a lot on what you like to like to play.
Some of the most affordable beginner jazz guitars are the following:
Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Thinline
Squier is the affordable range of instruments from Fender. They are inspired by premium mainline models and live up to the expectation with a similar look, feel, and tone to the original guitar–all with a price tag up to 10 times less than the original.
The Telecaster Thinline is a Semi-Hollow guitar that perfectly suits rock players who want to switch to jazz or jazz players who are into more modern genres. It plays smoothly and is reliable just like any Telecaster. The tone is bright but can be deep and mellow when tweaking the tone knob.
A Squier is still a Fender, so the quality is good. This is a great instrument that suits beginner and intermediate players alike.
Epiphone Dot (Semi-Hollow)
A budget reissue of the famous ES-335, this guitar is inspired by probably the most versatile jazz guitar ever. It’s a double-cut archtop design that ensures maximum playability and a warm tone coming from the two humbuckers.
This guitar is very loud acoustically and can sound mellow if played softly or aggressively when kicking in overdrive. Compared to the Squire, this guitar can handle jazz-rock better as the humbuckers are very versatile.
If you want a versatile instrument for most jazz and some rock, this is the perfect guitar for you.
Related: 20 Drills That Will Make You a Better Player
Ibanez Artcore AF55 Hollow body
A hollow-body electric guitar is a perfect instrument to play classic jazz standards up to modern tunes. Quality hollow bodies guitars tend to be more expensive, however, Ibanez thought it out for beginners with Artcore AF55.
It’s perfect for muted jazz tones, warm muddy ones, and flexible for blues and some light rock. We would suggest this guitar if your idols are all players from the 50s or 60s. The tone of a Hollow body guitar is a staple for jazz guitars and hard to imitate.
For under $400, this guitar is very comfortable to play and has the Jazz elements you need in your beginner years.
Ibanez Artcore AS73
This Semi-Hollowbody or Semi-Acoustic design packed with two very vertical and warm-sounding humbuckers is ideal for classic and modern jazz.
The electronics on this guitar capture the acoustic nature of the instrument nicely and avoid the typical hum of hollow instruments. Ibanez compromises somehow on the tone and hardware of this model to make it as playable and flexible as possible – 2 traits a beginner needs.
It’s important to realize that a quality guitar is not only meant for professionals that play for other people. As a beginner, you need to have an instrument that inspires you to play and practice. Especially in jazz, where learning tends to be hard in the early days.
Look for a budget instrument that assures you have a good playing experience, easy to play fretboard, and is reliable enough for jamming with friends.