The $1000 mark is where we consider guitars to start costing “serious money”. If you’re lucky enough to have this much of a budget for one, you need to make sure you’re investing wisely. In this article, we’ve rounded-up what we believe to be some of the best electric guitars under 500 dollars.
Best Electric Guitars Under $1000
If you’re the type of person who can sit and look at great looking guitars all day, you’ll love what’s in this next section.
Below we’ve listed 5 of the best electric guitars available for under $1000.
Fender American Special Stratocaster Olympic
Squeaking in under the $1000 mark is this beautiful electric guitar from Fender. Like all Stratocasters, this product has the Synchronized Tremolo that gives it a wide variation in pitches. There is a good range of tonal flexibility here with a thick overdrive as well as bubbly high-ends.
This instrument is a great blend of the tradition that stands behind Stratocasters as well as modern touches that make it a joy to play. The 25.5-inch string length is part of what gives this guitar its signature sound. It’s a 6-string electric guitar that is well suited for all types of music. The strong and sturdy feel combined with Fender’s excellent build quality means it’s an instrument that will last you for years to come.
If you’ve got the time, read our in depth Fender American Special Stratocaster review
Reverend Double Agent OG Electric Guitar
The shape of this guitar is very visually pleasing and sure to be a conversation starter. It has a single cutaway style. You will find Humbucker/P90 pickups to help you produce the sound you are after. It is possible to seamlessly transition between the two tonal styles without losing any of your punch or volume.
With its Tune-O-Matic bridge in combination with its Stoptail combo, tuning will stay stable no matter how hard you like to play. This guitar is very comfortable to play. One of the main reasons for this is the low-profile, angle-necked heel. This makes it very easy to reach all of those high notes. There are also custom dome knobs that stick out less. This means you are less likely to bump your hands on them while playing. There is a white dot on the knobs to help you see exactly where you are set.
The neck is made of roasted Maple that is treated at over 300 degrees to eliminate all sugars, moisture, and any impurities. It also helps to give it a beautiful caramel color that is unique to your instrument.
Schecter Guitar Research Keith Merrow Km-7
This great guitar has a body made of Swamp Ash while the neck is made of Maple. You get an Ebony fingerboard with white dot inlays, making for a very attractive instrument. The Ebony fingerboard also helps bring better playability and gives you a smooth sound.
This is a solid body instrument, meaning it has no cutaways. With the chosen wood types, it is a very lightweight instrument that is fun to play. This is a seven-string guitar that can be daunting for beginners but may inspire them to new heights.
Schecter has made this a string-through instrument. This makes the music resonate beautifully when playing it. Although it does not come with a case, it is still worth the steep price tag they are asking for it. This instrument is great for any type of music.
Traveler Guitar EG1C BLK V2
There is a lot to love about this traveler. It has a built-in headphone amp as well as clean boost, distortion, and overdrive. This allows you to practice in private until you are ready to wow the crowd. There is also aux-in to let you play along with your favorite music. This is a full 24 3/4″ scale instrument. You also get a gig bag when you buy this guitar.
The in-body tuning system is one of the best features on this guitar. It uses a standard tuning machine but it is placed inside the inside of the guitar’s body. This means you get a guitar with a full-scale neck, despite being quite a bit shorter than your standard electric guitar.
For the price, you get a very high-quality instrument here. The neck is bound African Mahogany and features gold hardware and white-black-white binding. All in all, this is a very attractive guitar.
Dean Zelinsky Tagliare Z-Glide
Coming in four different wood-type colors, this is a beautiful instrument that can help you produce beautiful music. The manufacturers took a very traditional 3-single-coil pickup and made it something unique and eye-catching. You will not find another guitar with a similar body carve and a narrow waist. In fact, the word Tagliare is Italian for carve.
The reduced friction Z-Glide neck makes this instrument a joy to play. Unlike other lacquered necks, there is no sticky feeling with this one. Locking tuners come standard on this instrument, another reason this is a very guitarist-friendly instrument. The special two-post floating tremolo system is yet another thing that sets the guitar apart.
Basswood is the material used for the body of this guitar, which gives you great music with a balanced tone. You can get either a Rosewood or Maple fingerboard, depending on the style you are looking for. The neck is Maple and has 22-frets.
Electric Guitar Under $1000 Buyers Guide
If you’re looking for that professional level guitar, it’s not easy to know which qualities to look for. This section of the article is a buyers guide which details exactly that. Below we’ve listed what to look for, what to avoid and thoughts on finding the best electric guitar available.
Benefits of A Quality Electric Guitar
With a higher price tag, top quality guitars have certain qualities that warrant them. This section lists benefits of getting a professional standard guitar over a beginners guitar.
We’re not saying that a beginners electric guitar will limit you playing wise. It’s just a good quality guitar, will help you achieve that next level up in your playing journey. After all, there’s a reason why you see the pros holding Gibsons and Fenders, not a beginners guitar. Remember, if you’re a poor guitarist then regardless of your guitar the music you play won’t sound good. So, if you’re a beginner we recommend checking out our post on the best beginner electric guitars.
A cheap guitar is often boring to play for advanced guitarists. But purchasing a guitar that’s too complex for you is also likely to be discouraging.
Generally professional standard guitars get made from higher quality materials. Cheap guitars are often made from plywood, giving them less of a good quality feeling in your hand. Professional guitars are generally made from better quality wood such as mahogany. Good quality guitars also have a better paint finish, meaning that they look good for longer. Lets not forget the hardware components used within guitars. It’s likely that the cheaper guitars use cheaper components.
Longer Lasting Tuning
Cheaper guitars don’t tend to stay in tune for as long as professional standard guitars. This isn’t to say that good quality electric guitars don’t go out of tune; they do, but take longer in doing so.
Things to Consider When Looking For Electric Guitars
When looking for a great quality electric guitar you should make the following considerations:
You need to consider price. Cost of professional electric guitars can run away into the thousands. Great if you’re willing to pay this for one. If your budget is tighter, it’s about getting the qualities you want for within your price range. Some of the guitars in this guide do stretch into the higher price bracket. If your looking for something cheaper check out our budget electric guitars article.
Electric Guitars can come in all different shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a professional standard guitar, you might have a certain body type in mind. In case you don’t below we’ve listed some of the different body types electric guitars can have.
1. Solid Body – This is the most common body type for an electric guitar. The wood is a solid slab and the type of wood used to make it can effect the sound. They do not produce as much resonance, a quality that is deep and full, compared to the options below.
2. Hollow Body – This resembles an acoustic guitar, these guitars are hollow. Producing a great deal of resonance, making it a popular choice for jazz musicians. The major drawback of this body type is they are prone to feedback.
3. Semi-Hollow Body – Striking a balance between solid and hollow, this guitar style has a solid wood block in its center. This adds stability while cutting back on the amount of feedback. The fact that it is not completely solid allows for some resonance as well. Popular with blues musicians, they can also be a favorite of musicians playing jazz and punk rock.
The next choice you will have to make when choosing your guitar is the type of pickup it will have. Other than body style, this will have the biggest impact on sound. The options are:
1. Single Coil Pickup – This was the original and remains the most basic. It consists of a single magnet that is wrapped in wire. This creates a magnetic field that captures the vibration of the strings. It then converts it into an electric signal. While they produce crisp sound, they are also prone to humming. They can also be subject to magnetic interference.
2. Humbuckers – This pickup is made of twin coils at opposite ends. It’s meant to try to contain the hum sound produced by electric guitars. Having two coils, it increases the output of the pickup. This also reduces some of the higher frequencies. As a result, they produce a very rich and warm sound.
Pickups fall into one of two categories – active or passive. Most of the electric guitars used today have a passive pickup. An active pickup involves a battery powered circuit. This increases the power and provides a well balanced tone across the frequencies. They seem to be more popular among bassists.
Type Of Wood
Another consideration to make is the type of wood your guitar will be made out of. Although not as significant as body or pickup style, it can impact your sound. Nato and Agathis are not included on the list below. This is because they’re usually used for beginner guitars, rather than professional standard.
Maple – A very common wood for making guitar necks. It is a very dense wood that often has an attractive, natural pattern. It is quite hard and a good choice for someone wanting to bring out the treble in their guitar.
Mahogany – This wood can be used in the construction of almost every part of the guitar. It is not as hard and as a result it provides a very mellow sound.
Which Qualities Make The Best Electric Guitar
One of the most important things a high quality guitar will have is a high quality build. The neck should be straight and made from a high quality wood. Look for things like screws or nuts that seem to badly inserted. Also look for parts that do not seem to line up well, or loose feeling tuning pegs or knobs. If your guitars made from high quality material, but has the above there’s likely a construction issue.
Certain combinations of tone woods, such as mahogany and maple, produce great sound. There is some debate on how much of an impact tone woods have on sound, but high quality wood also serves to make your guitar more durable. The frets should feel smooth and the contour of the neck should fit well in your hands. Sharp or protruding edges are going to make your playing experience more difficult. The pickup on your guitar should be well made.
Be sure to check out the quality of the bridge of the guitar you are purchasing. It is widely believed that a bridge with a bigger mass provides a better tone. The bridge placement is important as well. If the bridge looks amazing but makes playing the guitar difficult, it’s better to keep looking. While many bridges are fixed, some guitars are equipped with a tremolo bridge. This allows you to bend all the strings at the same time. This can cause your strings to become out of tune, so it may not be ideal for a beginner.
Ease Of Use
The guitar should be easy to use. Any guitar with a well-adjusted action should be easy to hold without hurting your hands. A more difficult to check but important factor is the intonation. This determines whether the guitar will be in tune all the way up the neck as you play. Consider where your guitar was made. Once upon a time, guitars made in America was the only way to go. Now many domestic guitar makers offer models built outside the United States. It may take longer to get it to you, but you can get a high quality guitar at a good price. They often come from countries like Korea, China, Mexico, or Japan.
Things to Avoid When Buying an Electric Guitar
The first thing you want to avoid when buying your guitar is choosing one solely on looks. Some guitars look amazing but are very hard to hold and play. If it isn’t a high quality instrument that you can play comfortably, you probably won’t ever play it.
Another thing to avoid is the temptation the stretch outside your budget. If you’re looking for a professional guitar under a thousand dollars then stick to this. After all, it’s great having a budget in mind for your guitar. When you start looking it’s important to stick to this so you don’t buy something you can’t afford.
Electric Guitars Under $1000: Final Thoughts
If you’re at the level where you’re ready to take the plunge into a professional electric guitar good for you! Professional quality electric guitars are amazing full stop. They warrant a slightly higher price tag than most budget options, but boy do they feel good to play. Make sure that it’s not something you jump into, and buy one that you feel matches your level expertise. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful guitar wasted on someone who can’t play it.
We hope you find the perfect electric guitar for you. All the best on your journey to rockstardom, happy strumming!