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If I was upgrading from a beginner guitar this Cyber Monday, these are the guitars I’d go for

If I was upgrading from a beginner guitar this Cyber Monday, these are the guitars I’d go for
(Image credit: Squier/Fender/Epiphone/Martin)

As someone who writes about guitars every single day, I’m always getting asked ‘which guitar should I get?’ by my friends and family - especially seeing as the Cyber Monday guitar deals are producing offers that are pretty irresistible.

One question I never get asked, however, is ‘James, what guitar would you get next?” Now, it may be because I never ever shut up about the next guitar I want to buy, but it did make me think. 

Recommending an acoustic or electric guitar for someone else is a difficult task, especially if it’s their first ‘proper’ guitar, or an upgrade from their first ever axe. 

Guitars are designed to become like extensions of your limbs, so every single person will want their guitars to match a different set of criteria.

Now, I already own a pretty wide collection of electric and acoustic guitars which all have their uses, but if I was going to be upgrading from my beginner guitar this Cyber Monday, I’d be choosing one of the guitars in this round-up. These guitars all shine brightest in certain musical scenarios, but possess enough versatility to cater for nearly all styles.

UK deals

Harley Benton Fusion-T HH: £333

Harley Benton Fusion-T HH: £333, now £299
Fancy a hot-rodded T-style guitar as your next axe? This cracking electric guitar has a roasted maple neck for enhanced tuning and playing stability, 22 stainless steel frets, a Wilkinson 50IIK two-point vibrato, Graph Tech TUSQ nut, dual Alnico 5 humbuckers and staggered locking tuners. With 10% off, it’s just £299! This guitar also has push/pull volume and tone controls, meaning you can split your pickups into single coils - making this a super versatile guitar. 

Harley Benton SC-DLX Gotoh: £299

Harley Benton SC-DLX Gotoh: £299, now £249
This beefy single-cut guitar looks great in Pelham Blue, but it’s got a spec sheet to match with a nyatoh body, rosewood fingerboard, Graph Tech TUSQ nut, and Gotoh hardware. The Tesla VR-2 alnico 5 pickups are also fitted with a coil split for extra versatility. It’s a stone cold bargain at just £249 (16% off), delivered to your door. As a second - or 'upgrade' instrument, it's hard to see how you could go wrong here. A single-cut, with great specs, for less than £250? Sign me up. 

US deals

Epiphone Les Paul Custom: was $729,

Epiphone Les Paul Custom: was $729, now $599
This Inspired By Gibson Epiphone 'Tuxedo' Les Paul Custom oozes class, with the tonal muscle to match. Its PAF-inspired ProBucker pickups mean it will sound as good as its bound Antique Ivory finish looks. If I wanted to upgrade to a happily giggable single-cut, then this is the guitar I would buy. 

Squier Classic Vibe '60s Strat: $449

Squier Classic Vibe '60s Strat: $449, $399
There are few guitars more iconic or versatile than the Strat, and now you can grab a piece of the action for $399 thanks to Sweetwater, who've knocked $50 off this Olympic White '60s Classic Vibe. You've got all the standard Strat appointments including three single coils and synchronized trem - but with that extra touch of '60s class. The Classic Vibe series of Squier guitars is seriously capable, whether you're recording, gigging, or just taking practice a bit more seriously. If I wanted a Strat on a budget, I'd be all over this. 

Fender Player Stratocaster: $824.99

Fender Player Stratocaster: $824.99, now $699.99
I absolutely love a shell-pink Strat - and I love them even more when they are on sale! Right now you can save a whopping $125 off the amazingly popular Fender Player Stratocaster at Guitar Center. This Strat is part of Fender's cheapest Mexican-made range, and for the money, it'll happily accompany you for years to come as your number one gigging companion.

Acoustic guitar deals

Martin GPC X Series Macassar Ebony Top: 15% off

Martin GPC X Series Macassar Ebony Top: 15% off
Okay, this isn’t exactly what you think of when you think of Martin, but this Macassar Ebony Topped GPC will most certainly turn heads at the next open mic night. The Grand Performance body design gives you greater access to the top frets and the tapered neck profile is effortless to play. With acoustic guitars, you really get what you pay for - and for that little bit extra, this Martin is worth every penny.

Epiphone Dove Studio Ltd Ed: $459.99

Epiphone Dove Studio Ltd Ed: $459.99, $389.99
With its ornate pickguard and classy appointments, the Epiphone Dove is already an absolutely stunning guitar. Throw in a brilliant white finish, and it takes this instrument to a whole new level. Featuring the Fishman Sonitone pickup, this acoustic sounds just as good as it looks. In the acoustic world, there aren't many guitars more iconic than the Dove - and with a solid construction and Fishman pickup on board, this acoustic will take you all the way from your bedroom to the stage. 

James Farmer

I’m one of MusicRadar’s Junior Deals Writers. Along with the rest of the eCommerce team, I manage and update buyer’s guides, as well as bringing you deals on the latest and coolest gear. I’m a drummer and guitarist and I’ve worked in various parts of the industry for the last three years including online music distributors RouteNote, and local music store Modern Music where I was the drum department manager for nearly two years. I’ve also toured the UK and Europe with my old band Hypophora. When I’m not matching players with their perfect gear, you’ll find me getting very nerdy about coffee, writing songs, or on the beach with my dog.