Are you searching for your first guitar?
Or have you been playing for a while and want to step it up a notch?
Either way, we are here to help you in your search for the Best Guitar Brands in India and, eventually, lead you to the guitar of your dreams.
Unfortunately in India, guitarists only have a handful of good brands to choose from. Imported guitars from America and Europe become very costly in India as the taxes imposed on them are generally very high.
Good luthiers are also hard to come by unless you live in big cities. Therefore, maintenance becomes a big issue!
Fortunately, due to the rise in guitar sales and the ever growing popularity of the instrument, some good manufacturers are producing models that are specifically targeted towards Indian guitarists. While some of these have a modest price tag, others are designed for performing artists and intermediate players.
Whether you have a shoe-string budget or are willing to sell off a few of your guitars in exchange for a new one, we have compiled a list of the Best Brands of Guitar in India to answer all your questions.
What is the Best Budget for a Beginner Acoustic Guitar?
The first guitar that you buy usually determines whether or not you continue learning the instrument or quit playing after a couple of weeks out of sheer frustration. This is why it is very important to choose your first guitar carefully.
There are many cheap guitars out there that cost a couple of thousand rupees. However, most of these guitars are unplayable because of one or more reasons.
Due to poor build quality, the action might be too high or the guitar might not stay in tune for more than a few minutes of playing. Factors like these can kill your enthusiasm. It might falsely lead you into believing that guitar is too hard for you.
At the same time, buying an expensive instrument does not really guarantee that you would not lose interest. Therefore, it makes no sense in spending too much on your first guitar.
In India, 8k-9k is a good budget for a beginner guitar. In this budget, you will get standard, all-laminate guitars from brands like Yamaha, Cort, etc. Once you buy the guitar, it is recommended to get it set up by a trained luthier. This will ensure a playable action and proper intonation.
What is the Best Budget for a Beginner Electric Guitar?
While most start their guitar playing days with an acoustic, there are several advantages of starting with an electric. An Electric guitar has a lower action and thinner neck. Moreover, they are usually fitted with a lighter string gauge. Therefore, electrics are much easier on the fingers than acoustics.
Having said that, the tone controls, volume/gain knobs, and pickup selector switches can seem a bit daunting for any beginner. Also, an electric guitar comes with the added cost of buying an amplifier. In fact, the amplifier is just as important as the guitar itself.
A good beginner Electric guitar and amplifier combo would set you back by around 20k.
What Makes for a Great Guitar Brand?
There are a lot of guitar brands out there. Even in India, new guitar manufacturers are cropping up every day. Sadly, most companies focus on quantity. This results in instruments that vastly vary in terms of quality of finish, playability, intonation, string spacing etc.
Before we get to the Best Brands for Guitar in India, let us first look at the parameters that set good brands apart from mediocre ones.
Brand Value is a very important factor to consider while buying guitar or any instrument in general.
This is because due to the mechanical complexity of a guitar, it is not possible for non-experts to discern flaws in a new instrument while purchasing it. Many tiny defects may go completely unnoticed. Hence it is safer to buy from reliable brands that are known for quality.
Product Features and Variety
A good guitar brand should provide sufficient features with a reasonable price tag. Sometimes brands try to market certain gimmicks under a fancy name. It is certainly a good idea to read authentic reviews of a guitar before purchasing it in order to be aware of such gimmicks.
Variety is also a criterion for judging any guitar brand. Good companies usually provide ample variants of a particular model in terms of the tonewood (mahogany/spruce etc.), fingerboard (maple/rosewood etc.), size, shape, and other things.
In this era of everything made-in-China, it is truly hard to find consistent quality. Even a decade back, a good number of guitars were made in countries like Indonesia and Taiwan. Unfortunately, it is a rarity these days.
On the other hand, some guitar brands like Yamaha and Ibanez have started manufacturing a couple of models in India.
Made in Mexico, Japan and US models have superior quality but are rarely available in the Indian market. Even if you do get your hands on them, they come with a hefty price tag!
Customer Support/Warranty/After Sales
Just like any other product, customer support and after sales is a big factor to be considered while purchasing a guitar. In India, companies usually provide service through the sellers. Therefore, while purchasing, it is a good idea to ask the sellers to have the guitar set-up according to your preference.
For an acoustic guitar, it is enough to get the action adjusted and the frets crowned and polished. For an electric guitar, the bridge, tremolo/Floyd-rose (if any), pickup selectors, tone, and volume control knobs must be properly inspected. Spare parts should be readily available for replacement.
Best Guitar Brands in India
Here is a list of the Top Indian Guitar Brands:
Best Guitar Brands in India (Acoustic) for Beginners: Budget-Friendly
This is one of the very few Indian guitar brands that produces some decent beginner instruments at a very low price. Although in terms of quality, they still need some work done, they they are one of the best guitar brands in India under 10000 INR.
Surprisingly, they are venturing into all-solid wood semi-acoustic guitars (like the Slowhand series) which are of much better quality than their budget range. No other guitar brands have an all solid-wood body in this price range and that too with Fishman pickups!
Vault is a product from online music retailer Bajaao. They not only make guitars but also a lot of other instruments like ukulele, harmonica etc. Their instruments provide good value at a reasonable price. We were particularly impressed with the build quality and looks.
Yamaha has been consistently producing beginner-friendly guitar models. They are one of the Best Acoustic Guitar Brands in India with their best-selling budget models.
Yamaha’s acoustic guitars are a bit costlier than Kadence and Vault but their latest made-in-India model has a very competitive price.
Best Guitar in India for Beginners: The first-ever Made-in-India Branded Acoustic Guitar on Amazon.
Cort has been in the Indian guitar market for a very long time. This brand has some nice acoustic guitars for beginners. However, compared to other imported brands like Yamaha and Ibanez, the models can be slightly expensive.
The AD810 is a great-sounding guitar that can be used by beginners and intermediates alike. Check it out on Amazon.
Epiphone is best for guitarists who have started out with an electric guitar and want a transition to an acoustic. This is because Epiphone acoustic guitars have excellent playability and action.
Here is a great beginner acoustic guitar from Epiphone on Amazon. Even intermediate players would find it to be a great buy.
Best Electric Guitar Brands in India for Beginners: Budget-Friendly
Vault electric guitars are even more value for money than their acoustic counterparts. Their design is pretty similar to Ibanez and Gibson Les Paul models but priced within a beginner-friendly budget. The pickup quality is decent and the overall playability of the guitars is quite good for the money.
Along with great acoustic models, Yamaha also has one of the best-selling beginner electric guitars in the world – PacificaPAC012 (Check it out on Amazon). It is a strat-styled model that has excellent build quality and tone for the price point.
However, Yamaha does not have enough variety in the electric guitar segment.
Epiphone models their electric guitars only after Gibson. You can either get a Les Paul or an SG-type model from them. Epiphone guitars are very playable with low action and smooth fretboard.
In the budget-friendly range, only Fender Squier models are available. Although they are made-in-China, they are of excellent quality. In India, mostly Stratocasters and Telecasters are available.
Squiers have many different series of models that adhere to different budgets. Bullet and Affinity are two of the most affordable ones.
In our opinion, this is one of the best electric guitar for begginers on Amazon.
Beginners who want to venture into the world of humbuckers will fall in love with what Ibanez has to offer. People who are strictly into heavy music like progressive rock, metal etc. tend to prefer this brand due to its large variety.
If you are into metal or other heavy genres, then check out this guitar.
Best Acoustic/Semi-Acoustic Guitar Brands in India: Premium
Alavrez makes premium, entry-level electro-acoustic guitars. Most of their guitars have a solid-top while the higher-end guitars have an all solid body. The guitars have a scalloped bracing with their signature Bi-level engineered bridge.
In general, Alavrez acoustics are very responsive and good for finger-picking.
If you are a performer and looking for a long-term investment, then here is a great option for you!
Takamine has all-laminate, solid-top, and all solid variants in its acoustic line-up. Fingerstyle players greatly favours Takamine guitars due to their bright tone and responsiveness. Electro-acoustics come with Takamine’s own TK series pickups.
Go get this one!! (If you are lucky!)
Faith is a relatively less known UK-based brand. It is run by chief luthier Patrick James Eggle. Every guitar from Faith is hand-made.
This imparts a unique tone to each guitar. The Apollo series is specifically aimed at South-Asian countries with a solid top (laminate back and sides) and their own CnR pickup system.
Check out this wonderful electro-acoustic from Faith!! -one of the best guitars for finger-style!!
Taylor makes the most playable acoustic guitars in the world. Everything from the nut-width to the neck radius and the fingerboard itself, falls beautifully into place. Tone-wise, they are incredibly sweet sounding.
Taylor acoustics are quite hard to find in the Indian market. This brand is recommended for intermediate players and live performers. Artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Jason Mraz endorse this brand.
If you have the money, then you shouldn’t have any second thoughts about buying this one!!
The holy-grail of all acoustic guitar brands, Martin guitars have been endorsed by some of the greatest names in the music industry like Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and John Mayer.
Unfortunately, high-end Martin guitars are very expensive. Although there are some all-laminate models in the Indian market (DX series) but other brands offer solid-wood guitars at a much lesser price.
Founded in 1906, Gibson makes some premium quality acoustic guitars. Although the number and variety are greatly limited in India. Gibson acoustic guitars hold incredible value but are quite expensive at the same time.
The Hummingbird model is one of the most popular acoustic guitars ever. Gibson is recommended for professionals only.
Best Electric Guitar Brands in India: Premium
The Professional series is completely made in USA but quite expensive to buy in India. Custom shop models are rarely available in India directly through sellers. Some more affordable signature models like the Jimi Hendrix Monterey strat could be available depending on your luck.
The legendary Gibson Les Paul, along with the Fender Stratocaster, is one of the most copied Electric guitar models ever.
But, nothing can beat the original right? True, if you are willing to pay the price. Then again, quality is rarely affordable. Even an original hard case for a Les Paul would cost more than a beginner range guitar.
If you ask for a truly value-for-money electric guitar of premium quality, then look no further than PRS. They are providing features, like noiseless pickups, at a much lower price than Fender.
Moreover, their designs are slowly moving away from what is traditional to a more modern direction. It is true that some people are still miffed about the PRS headstock on a strat-body (talking about the Silver Sky here!). However, it is revolutionary, nonetheless, and will need some getting used to.
The Custom 24 is a mid-range electric guitar that is any performer’s dream!
If you are into metal, hard rock and other heavy genres, then Jackson is the brand for you. Their build quality is exceptional and they have models suited for both intermediate and professional players.
Although some players still prefer Ibanez due to its playability, Jackson has truly proved its mettle in this genre. The guitar bodies usually have an aggressive design preferred by metal and hard/prog rock guitarists. (Something like this one!!)
Interestingly, Fender acquired Jackson back in 2002 after which they have started reissuing Fender styled headstocks which make for a unique combination.
If there is one brand other than PRS that can give Fender a run for its money, then it’s Suhr. In fact, some guitarists claim that they find the tone and playability of Suhr guitars to be better than Fender Custom shop models.
They are costly though! Mateus Asato is a well-known Suhr endorsed artist. Indian guitar legend Warren Mendonsa, a.k.a, Blackstratblues (Check out his amazing Instagram feed) also plays Suhr guitars.
Also Check Out: The Handpicked Electric Amplifiers in India 2021!!
Some Words of Advice…
The Indian guitar market is mainly aimed towards beginners. In the budget category, you will find a good variety from the best guitar companies in India.
However, if you are an intermediate player and want an instrument that can define your sound, then you will get very few options to your liking. But don’t be disappointed! There is a better way but only if you live in a big city with access to good luthiers.
Instead of buying a product straight off the market, you could have a custom guitar made by an Indian Luthier.
I know what you are thinking, “Wouldn’t it be expensive?” Not really! There are many competent guitar makers in cities like Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore etc. who make top-notch guitars at a much lesser price than an instrument of similar specifications from a brand like Martin or Taylor.
In case of electrics, you could have your existing model upgraded with new electronics and hardware. This is really easy to do if you have even a little experience with electronic circuits and soldering. Otherwise, you can get help from a luthier.
So, where can you find good luthiers near you who can build you your dream guitar? Perhaps that’s a discussion for the future. So, stay tuned!