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Are you looking for a great new guitar? You can’t go wrong with a nice American-made guitar. But if you live in the United States and want to support US-based companies, you might struggle to figure out which guitars are manufactured in the US and which ones are made abroad.
Here are five of the best American made electric guitars to suit all different budgets. These brands consistently make exceptional instruments that will provide you with killer tones for a wide range of musical styles.
What Are The Best American-Made Electric Guitars?
American-Made Electric Guitars Reviews
Fender has manufacturing plants in Ensenada, Mexico, and Corona, CA, but any of their guitars with “American” in the name are from California. Stratocasters are one of the most fun guitars to play and have that classic American look.
The Fender American Professional II is an upgraded version of its first American Professional Stratocaster. Its single-coil pickups are designed to sound old-school while keeping your tone complex and detailed.
The body is contoured to be lightweight and highly resonant, so it feels distinctly sleek and modern in your hands. The neck is also painted with a “Super-Natural” satin finish, so it’ll look great for a long time and play extremely easily.
If you want a classic American electric guitar with several modern upgrades, the American Professional II will tick all of your boxes!
- Super-Natural satin finish on the neck.
- More than ten different styles to choose from.
- Narrow frets for easy playability.
- Single-coil pickups don't have the buzz-reducing effect of humbuckers.
Unlike Fender, which does have some manufacturing facilities abroad, Gibson guitars are all made in the United States. They have facilities in Nashville, TN; Memphis, TN; and Bozeman, MT. The Gibson Les Paul Standard ’60s is just as high-quality as any Gibson Les Paul, with some great features that are all its own.
Like most other Les Pauls, the Standard ’60s has a mahogany body and a carved maple top, making the sound of this guitar much richer. The neck has a slim, tapered profile and a rosewood fingerboard, so you won’t struggle to press down on your frets.
It also uses Gibson’s patented Burstbucker pickups. These humbuckers use Alnico V magnets, which Gibson says have a much higher-frequency output and greater sensitivity to touch than other humbuckers.
Les Pauls are much heavier-duty guitars than Stratocasters, so this guitar won’t be as lightweight in your hands, but it’ll hold up against wear-and-tear. Les Pauls are some of the best electric guitars made in the USA, so if you’re looking for something that will last a lifetime, this is a great place to start looking.
- Mimics the sound of '60s Les Pauls.
- Heavy duty; won't break or damage easily.
- Tapered rosewood neck that’s easy to wrap your hands around.
- A bit more costly than some other US-made guitars.
- Heavier than your average Strat or Telecaster.
If you’re considering a Fender guitar but aren’t interested in a Stratocaster, the Fender American Ultra Telecaster is another great option. Like the Strat, it’s light and easy to play, so you won’t be struggling with neck or back pain after a shredding session.
This guitar comes with single-coil Ultra Noiseless Vintage Tele pickups fitted onto it. That means you’ll get virtually zero hum, no matter what kind of amp you’re playing with. Unlike a Stratocaster, you only have two pickups fixed to the guitar.
Not only that but this Telecaster is fitted with a ton of extra features that will take your playing to the next level. Sealed locking tuners will prevent you from falling out of tune. It also comes with strap locks, so your Tele won’t fall off your body because of a broken guitar strap.
- Surprisingly little hum for a single-coil pickup.
- Locking tuners will keep strings in tune.
- Won't cause stress on your neck or back.
- Only has two pickups, instead of the three like a Stratocaster.
Players who love Les Pauls but find themselves weighed down by their heavy bodies will love the Gibson Les Paul Studio. It has a weight-relieved body that makes it over a pound lighter than other Les Pauls, including the Standard ’60s model.
Like the Standard ’60s, this US-made electric has a slim mahogany neck, so you’ll be able to play with speed and ease. Plus, the neck has gone through a Plek machine, which helps further fine-tune your fretboard.
It also is fitted with coil-tapped 490R/498T humbuckers, which means that you’ll have access to an extremely wide variety of tones. Its Rotomatic tuning pegs mean that it’ll stay in tune even when you play on your strings as hard as possible.
With several different colors and styles, the Les Paul Studio is one of the most attractive and playable American-made electric guitars out there.
- The body is designed to be lighter than regular Les Paul and easier to hold.
- Coil-tapped humbuckers will help you access a wide variety of sonic textures.
- Plek'd neck that will feel great on your fingers.
- Not quite as sturdy as a standard Les Paul.
Fender and Gibson aren’t the only brands that offer high-quality electric guitars made in the USA. Paul Reed Smith guitars are favorites among players who want a great guitar with a unique design, and they’re all made in Stevensville, MD.
The PRS S2 Custom 24 has a double-cutaway body and an extended 24-fret fingerboard. If you love playing high-register solos, this guitar makes it easy to play at the top of your neck.
It’s made of mahogany wood and has a maple top, just like a Les Paul. That makes the tone of this great guitar warm with a huge amount of sustain. Add the two custom humbuckers, and you can get that perfect sound every time.
- Designed for soloists who love high notes.
- Similar design to a Les Paul, with the same great tone.
- Push-pull coil included to help alter your tone.
- The name brand isn't as well known as Fender or Gibson.
Buyer’s Guide to American-Made Electric Guitars
There are plenty of great guitars out there, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that’s made in America. But why, exactly, should you buy American?
Here’s a more detailed look at what makes buying American electric guitars so great.
Reasons Why You Should Buy American
Several guitar experts explained the benefits of buying American, including Matt Masciandro, CEO of ESP Guitars, and Andy Powers, a Master Guitar Designer at Taylor Guitars. They outline several reasons that US-made electric guitars are favorites among players across the US.
- Consumers are closer to the manufacturing process. Buying American means that you’re buying a product that was made close to home. That means that they work with distributors based in the US and can easily gain feedback about what their consumers want. Plus, if you have an issue with a guitar, you’ll likely be able to get it fixed or replaced with much more ease.
- The United States is highly regulated. The labor laws in the US mean that working conditions at US factories will generally be very good. The US is also required to maintain certain levels of cleanliness and environmental responsibility. Because of this, the US can produce consistently quality guitars.
- Shipping will be less likely to damage your guitar. Shipping your guitar from another country simply means that your guitar will have to make a much longer journey to make it to you. The longer your instrument is in transit, the more likely it is to get damaged.
When NOT To Buy American
Some guitarists have a bias against internationally-produced electric guitars, believing they’re shoddily-made. This may have been true in the past when factories around the world had wildly different processes.
However, other parts of the world have the same level of advanced manufacturing techniques that the US does. Fender manufactured guitars in Japan for some time, and some guitarists actually prefer these Japanese exclusive instruments to the US-made ones.
If you’re looking for a particular brand of guitar, or are looking to add a unique instrument to your collection, then you might consider branching out and start looking at international guitars.
That said, if you’re just looking for a great, long-lasting starter guitar, US-made instruments are the way to go.
These five guitars are all made in America and are marked by American craftsmanship and consistency. American guitar manufacturers have always cornered the market on electric guitars, and they continue to come out with better products. Take a chance on one of these electrics, and you won’t be disappointed.