15 Best Rated Electric Guitars (From $100 to $1000) – The Right Approach

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying an electric guitar – whether it’s your first or twenty-first! With so many brands and models on the market today, which one is best for you?

But there are more questions – are you a beginner, or do you have 20 years playing experience under your belt? Are you on a tight budget, or is money no object? Do you prefer funk, or are you a full-on metalhead? Somewhere the perfect guitar is waiting for you, and – with hundreds of reviews on this site – chances are we have featured it on these pages!

As a side note, if you’re looking for an acoustic instead of an electric, check out our complete round-up of the top rated acoustic guitars.

Top 15 Best Electric Guitars

PRODUCT

FEATURES

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PRODUCT

FEATURES

AR​​​​ RATING 97/100​​​​

  • One of the oldest successful electric guitars out there.
  • Texas Special single coils capture that true Telecaster sound.

AR​​​​ RATING 97/100​​​​

  • The most legendary guitar of all times.
  • Great bang for the buck ration for a Strat.

AR RATING 96/100

  • Very easy on the eyes but also ergonomic.
  • Massive tone courtesy of EMG active electronics.

AR RATING 96/100

  • A great, classic design that's quite refreshing.
  • Top tier build quality as well as materials.

AR RATING 89/100

  • Probably the most popular signature model out there.
  • Unique aesthetics that make it stand out.
  • A classic but also functional V body shape.
  • The entire body features a detailed graphical design.
  • A true workhorse that can be had on a budget.
  • Great build quality and attention to detail all around.

AR RATING 75/100

  • SG body and looks that won't go out of style.
  • Build quality that inspires plenty of confidence overall.

AR RATING 75/100

  • Great build quality all around with good attention to details.
  • A classic body shape with a very stylish twist.
  • A worthy tribute to one of the best guitars.
  • A set of humbuckers which pack a heavy punch.

AR RATING 74/100

  • Great body shape and materials make it comfortable to play.
  • An awesome neck design that's fast but easy to grip.
  • One of the best Strat copies you can find.
  • Great level of details which give it an authentic feel.
  • Combination of a classic design and beefier electronics.
  • A sound that is easy to work with and overdrive.

AR RATING 67/100

  • Super Strat body which has become legendary by now.
  • Standard Ibanez level of build quality and control.
  • A good take on the classic Les Paul design.
  • Pretty decent fit and finish for a starter model.

AR RATING 97/100

Being the oldest successful solid body guitar, it is really not that surprising that Fender Telecaster has found its place on our list. The specific model we are looking at today is a Fender American Special Telecaster that comes with a blonde finish and a soft, maple fretboard. Best thing about this guitar is that it's retro but still modern.

Fender has opted to go with a Texas Special single coils for this build. These are Telecaster specific pickups which definitely capture a lot of that classic Telecaster sound the whole world has grown to love. On top of that you get Fender's standard hardware which is probably the most solid thing about their guitars. Overall a must have model.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the oldest successful electric guitars out there.
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    Texas Special single coils capture that true Telecaster sound.
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    Standard Fender build quality, detailing and finish.
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    One of the most comfortable necks you can find.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Many might find this guitar a bit limited sound wise.

AR RATING 97/100

When you run into a Telecaster, chances are that a Strat is not too far behind. Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster was our model of choice for this list. It is a Mexican which captures what a full blooded Strat is all about, without costing way too much. As you can tell, it's not the most classic edition out there.

With that said, this particular Strat has a lot to offer. The tone it delivers is pure awesomeness thanks to Fender's vintage style single coils. Everything that is good about a classic Strat has been revamped for this build. If you want a classic workhorse that will keep on delivering day in, day out, this guitar is definitely for you

WHAT WE LIKE

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    The most legendary guitar of all times.
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    Great bang for the buck ration for a Strat.
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    Vintage singles pack that old school tone.
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    Rock solid hardware which oozes consistency and reliability.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    The blonde finish isn't the most canonical choice.

AR RATING 96/100

Starting out as a parts dealer, Schecter has become one of the giants of modern guitar world. They may not have the same pedigree as some of the brands on the market, but they certainly have the know-how necessary to defend that reputation. None of that is surprising when you look at models such as the beautiful Schecter Hellraiser C-1.

This guitar combines a lot of things which you don't get to see too often on metal axes. It's stylish, ergonomic and most importantly powerful enough to push an aggressive sound. Schecter has made sure of that by using EMG 81 and EMG 89 active humbuckers. With such a legendary setup, it really isn't hard to be excited about it.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Very easy on the eyes but also ergonomic.
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    Massive tone courtesy of EMG active electronics.
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    Great hardware setup that is simplistic but very functional.
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    Comfortable and fast neck make all the difference with shredding.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Might require a setup job upon arrival.

AR RATING 96/100

PRS guitars have often been labeled as the option for those who are tired of both Fender and Gibson. As such, they have always had a large following. PRS SE Custom 24 sheds some light on where that following comes from. It's a more affordable model that aims to deliver the sound of a full-blooded Custom 24 on a budget.

One thing you will notice right away is the build quality, attention to detail and overall fit and finish of just about anything on this guitar. Being a new model designed to fill a very niche void, PRS has taken its development quite seriously. As things stand right now, this is easily one of the best values you can find.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A great, classic design that's quite refreshing.
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    Top tier build quality as well as materials.
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    A unique and recognizable sound of a full-blooded Custom 24.
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    Hardware that brings consistency and reliability to the table.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Could use a change of strings on arrival..

AR RATING 89/100

If you are into rock music, chances are that you know who Steve Vai is. If you don't, he is one of the largest legends of guitar world ever to grace this earth. Fortunately for Ibanez, they were the lucky ones to get a cooperation deal with Vai. As a result we have the awesome Ibanez Steve Vai JEM JR.

JEM series of Ibanez guitars are recognizable for a number of reasons, one of them being the cut out carry handle. Where most other signature contracts usually see the artist barely involved with their guitars, Steve Vai was pretty much on top of every decision made regarding JEM series. If you live Vai's tone, this guitar is a no brainer.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Probably the most popular signature model out there.
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    Unique aesthetics that make it stand out.
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    Quantum pickups which bring that classic Vai tone.
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    A proper Floyd Rose to lock everything down.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Might be too hot for some players.

AR RATING 89/100

There are only so many guitar body shapes that have become popular. You know about the Strat and Les Paul, and the Flying V is up there with them. It may not be as widespread, but Dean is doing a good job at keeping it relevant. Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine "Peace Sells" is a model we want to show you.

As you can tell, we are looking at a Dave Mustaine signature model, one of many that Dean has created with Mustaine. What sets this one apart from the rest is its bang for the buck value. You are getting that raw, classic Mustaine sound in a guitar that looks unique a plays incredibly well for what it essentially is.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A classic but also functional V body shape.
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    The entire body features a detailed graphical design.
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    Proper hardware perfect for aggressive playing styles.
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    Great tone that comes with a lot of width to it

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Might be too niche for some users.

AR RATING 88/100

Pacifica series of Yamaha electric guitars are the ones you have probably heard of once, mistaken for a Strat a couple of times, but never really considered. Needless to say, that was a mistake. One quick look at Yamaha Pacifica PAC510V OVS reveals why. Before even getting into details it doesn't take much to recognize the apparent quality all around.

Yamaha went with a modified Strat body shape, indicative of the Pacifica series, and high quality Alder. Pair that with a maple neck and a Seymour Duncan Trembucker P Rail pickup and you have a very capable setup. The sound this bad boy delivers is quite something, especially if you are into more vintage vibes. Overall, it's an amazing guitar.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A true workhorse that can be had on a budget.
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    Great build quality and attention to detail all around.
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    That single Seymour Duncan Trembucker P Rail pickup sounds mighty.
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    Wilkinson's VS50-6 bridge ensures consistency and reliability.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Lack of a second pickup is felt in some situations.

AR RATING 75/100

Epiphone has been around for a while. Although they started out as a discount Gibson brand, they have evolved into a giant of their own. Today guitars such as the Epiphone SG Special aren't mere copies of another instrument, but rather a worthy tribute to a great design. Best of all, you can snatch one of these on a budget.

At this point many are wondering where's the catch? There really isn't one. Epiphone's SG series are known for their good sound, great build quality and overall great performance .The Special model we are showing you here even more so. At this price, it is really quite hard to ignore this guitar, especially if you are a fan of Gibson.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    SG body and looks that won't go out of style.
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    Build quality that inspires plenty of confidence overall.
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    Rock solid selection of hardware.
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    A chunky yet balanced sound that just works.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Might need a proper setup upon arrival.

AR RATING 75/100

ESP is one of those brands who are known for producing a solid Les Paul guitar. However, they offer an SG of sorts as well. It goes under the name of ESP LTD Viper 10 and it is chock full of surprises. For starters, it isn't really your regular SG. They have modified the body and made it super aggressive.

As a result you get a hot rodded SG that here to kick buts and take names. ESP used their in-house designed and made passive humbuckers to give this guitar all the juice it could need. The sound is pretty hot for a passive setup but also quite malleable. It is a brute, but one you can definitely work with.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Great build quality all around with good attention to details.
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    A classic body shape with a very stylish twist.
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    Set of passive humbuckers which have plenty of heat to give.
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    Hardware that is simple but ultimately functional.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    This guitar will benefit from a change of strings.

AR RATING 74/100

Speaking of Les Pauls, it is time to mention one of the most favorite versions you will find these days. It goes under the name of Epiphone Les Paul Special II and it has been the staple of guitar enthusiast community for a long time. It is no secret that Epiphone is much more than just a discount Gibson brand.

When you take one of these and give it a good inspection, you will definitely understand why this is the case. Epiphone has done a great job with this one. They've used great materials, good hardware and a set of 700T humbuckers which sound almost too good to be true. At this price, Les Paul Special II is a steal.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A worthy tribute to one of the best guitars.
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    A set of humbuckers which pack a heavy punch.
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    Mahogany body which works well with both cleans and distortions.
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    Reliable and consistent hardware.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Factory strings should pretty much go right away.

AR RATING 74/100

In to days world, 7 string guitars are slowly becoming the part of the main stream. Whether it's the added complexity or the deeper sound, the fact is that many guitar players are shifting over that way. ESP LTD M-17 is a very interesting model. It is an affordable 7 string guitar that actually works rather well all things considered.

We say that because many brands tend to skimp out on neck scale and other important factors which define the quality of these guitars. ESP LTD has done their homework when it comes to hardware and electronics, making the M-17 a fairly safe bet. Truth be told, it is one of the best budget 7 strings out there right now.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Great body shape and materials make it comfortable to play.
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    An awesome neck design that's fast but easy to grip.
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    A pair of beefed up humbuckers ensures a hard sound.
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    Good hardware keeps everything in order and in tune.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Might need a proper setup job upon arrival .

AR RATING 68/100

Squier used to be the brand whose guitars you bought when you didn't know anything and were just starting out. These days they have risen through the ranks and became a pretty strong competitor. Squier by Fender Bullet Stratocaster shows you just how far they have managed to get over the years. Compared to their early models, this thing rocks.

As you can tell, the price also reflects the boost in quality. Fortunately for us, all of that is quite justified. Squier's Bullet series are among the most authentic Strat copies you can get these days. That goes for both aesthetics and sound. You can look forward to some pretty awesome times with a Bullet Strat. It won't disappoint you.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the best Strat copies you can find.
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    Great level of details which give it an authentic feel.
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    Good tonewood as well as hardware.
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    Electronics which went above our expectations.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Still lacking the width for more aggressive genres of music.

AR RATING 58/100

If you are just starting out but you want something that can handle distortion, Squier by Fender Bullet Mustang might be the model you are looking for. The main issue most users have with Squier's Strats are the single coil pickups. They are great for rock or blues, but when it comes to metal, they tend to fall pretty short.

Squier solved that by pushing out models such as the Mustang over here. It's basically a modified Strat which comes packed with a couple of humbuckers. As such it is much more compatible with heavy distortion. Not to mention that you don't have to deal with coil buzz every time you want to push some dist into your signal chain.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Combination of a classic design and beefier electronics
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    A sound that is easy to work with and overdrive.
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    Pretty good build quality and choice of materials.
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    Hardware which works great considering the price.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Only features a slower rosewood fretboard .

AR RATING 67/100

Despite the fact that there are many great beginner guitars out there, Ibanez holds the title of owning starters designed specifically for metal. The way they have achieved this reputation is quite ingenious. They have delivered the same body style shared with their higher-end models. Ibanez GRX20ZBKN is a good example. It is a basicguitar that packs a mean punch.

Aesthetics aside, you are looking at a guitar that you can use long after you have stopped considering yourself a beginner. The pickups in this thing may be from Ibanez lower tier segment, but they are perfectly capable of sustaining a distorted signal chain. If you're into heavier genres of music, do yourself a favor and check this guitar out.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Super Strat body which has become legendary by now.
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    Standard Ibanez level of build quality and control.
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    Great set of humbuckers for the price.
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    A decent amount of range for a starter guitar.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    A professional setup is pretty much a must.

AR RATING 67/100

Last but not least we have to mention a truly legendary starter guitar. You are looking at Epiphones entry level segment which has been the backbone of the community for a long time. Epiphone Les Paul Special VE may not be true to the original design, but inconsistencies are easily forgiven when you take it out for a test drive.

This guitar has answered the needs of those who wanted a set of humbuckers that weren't too hot. In other words, this is a blues guitar for beginners which can satisfy your craving for girth. Can it do metal? It most certainly can, but don't expect too much heat from it. Either way, it's one of the proven starter guitars.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A good take on the classic Les Paul design.
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    Pretty decent fit and finish for a starter model.
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    Plenty of girth coming from its two humbuckers.
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    Overall good performance considering the price.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    A setup and a change of strings are required.

Category Breakdown

Chances are, if you’re a complete newcomer to playing guitar you may not want to spend $4,000 on a custom Les Paul. And if you are a pro, an entry-level Squier Strat is unlikely to float your boat. This is why we categorize our reviews – Beginners, Under $200, Under $300, Under $500, Under $1000.

It also helps if you have a budget to stick to. If you have $300, you’re probably not going to want to be browsing the $1000 guitars, unless you want to be frustrated by all the guitars you can’t afford.

Remember that in each comparison article we summarize the guitars, but there are also links to more in-depth reviews for each one.

Remember that in these comparisons we only summarize the guitars briefly. By clicking on the title of each guitar you will find extended reviews with more information about the model’s design, features and performance.

Beginner Electric Guitars

Never picked up a guitar before? This is the section to start off in. The majority of these guitars will be in the cheaper end of the $100 to $600 price range, and what you go for will depend largely on your budget.

If you’re not sure whether you will stick with electric guitar, go cheap and cheerful. You can always upgrade at a later stage. However if you feel guitar is in your blood and you are aiming to become the next Joe Satriani, going for a guitar in the higher end of this section will definitely pay off in the long run.

There probably won’t be anything special when it comes to features on these beginner guitars – especially in the lower end – but you will have everything you need to start learning your first chords, riffs and solos. You’ll find all sorts of brands, with Squier, ESP, and
Yamaha all standing out as top manufacturers.

Make sure to check out our huge comparison article on the best electric guitars for beginners, which gives you everything you need to know about buying your first guitar.

Under $200

Think you can’t get a decent guitar for less than $150? Think again! You can actually find some insanely low priced guitars that function properly, perform well, and sound pretty good.

If you’re looking in this price range you may be a beginner who fancies giving guitar a go without breaking the bank. Or you may be more experienced, looking for something you can travel with, take to the beach, or leave on the couch without worrying about it getting damaged.

But note that guitars in this price range aren’t likely to be without their faults. You will probably need to take them to a local guitar pro for a set-up if buying online, as fret edges may be sharp and the action may be too high or low. Finishes can be a little rough in some places, and you won’t get anything in the way of luxury looks or features – there’s a lot more plastic used in the under $150 range!
But for a complete beginner, or a second (or third, or fourth) guitar, it’s hard to go wrong with something under $150 – just don’t expect perfection.

Under $300

The quality of guitars in the under $300 price range is naturally much higher than the cheapest guitars we have reviewed, although this is still budget territory and most guitars will be the manufacturer’s entry-level models. But look around and you can find some real quality from manufacturers like Epiphone, ESP, Oscar Schmidt, and Fender.

The finishes may not be flawless and you’ll still find a few sharp frets here and there, but generally things start to improve. Pickups – of course – will remain basic, and you won’t see any pro features, but body woods, necks, tuning stability, and overall versatility will certainly improve.

And if you’re looking for an instrument to modify – maybe adding new pickups or tuners – this is the cheapest price range you want to look at, as anything lower won’t give you as solid a base.

Under $500

If you can up your budget to $500, the quality and range on offer literally doubles. These are guitars that will allow you to jam, gig, and record with confidence.

Firstly you are more likely to find a style you love. In cheaper price ranges it’s hard to find much more than Strat, Tele, or Les Paul-influenced designs – although there are certainly exceptions – however in this $500 range you can find some awesome and unique looks suitable for just about any style, as well as some pretty cool signature models.

The build quality, finishes, woods, pickups, controls, and tuners all feel more solid and durable, and you are likely to find a great guitar to jam, gig, or record with. Yamaha, Dean, Ibanez, Fender, Gretsch, Schecter, and Epiphone all offer some seriously good guitars in this price range. 

Under $1000

Spending between $500 and $1000 will usually get you a lot of guitar, and one that will be able to handle anything you throw at it.
Mostly everything about a guitar in this price range feels premium, and the sound quality and playability is enough to put a smile on any guitarist’s face. You also start to find advanced features such as brand-name pickups, active pickups, and EverTune bridges, as well as unique signature models that are too expensive for manufacturers to produce as a budget line.

Ibanez, Jackson, PRS, and Schecter make some exceptional guitars in this price range, offering good value for money, while you also begin to see some genuine Gibsons and made-in-America Fenders on the market. Guitars in this price range should pretty much last you a lifetime, if you look after them. 

How We Rate Them

When rating a guitar we look at everything it has to offer in both looks and sound, although the ratings are separated into four key areas: Design, Features, Performance, and Value (the same criteria were also used when valuating acoustic guitars, bass guitars and ukuleles).

Design
First we look at the design of the guitar: How does it look? What is the paintwork like? Any outstanding graphics or colors? What wood is the body, neck, and fretboard made from? How many frets are there and what size are they? What is the scale length? It’s also worth noting that the design is the most personal of all the ratings. For example, some people will love ESP’s eye-meltingly unique George Lynch Signature Kamakazi, while others will pretty much hate it. So the design ratings are very subjective!
Features
Next we look at the features and hardware of the guitar. What brand are the pickups? Is the bridge fixed or is there a tremolo system? Is there a locking nut or anything else to help with tuning stability? Does it come with a case? We also take this opportunity to look at any special features that define the guitar – perhaps a bridge that never goes out of tune, or a control switch that makes the guitar do crazy things.
Performance
In this section we look at the overall performance of the guitar. How does it feel to play and what does it sound like? The ultimate sound you achieve will largely depend on the amp you play through, but the guitar itself will play a huge part in sounding good. Do the pickups give enough clarity? How comfortable is the neck to get up and down? Is it built for speed? The more expensive a guitar, the better the performance should be, and this is taken into consideration when rating it.
Value
The last rating is the value, which gives you an idea of how good a purchase the guitar is for the money. You’d expect most sub-$200 guitars would give you good value for money, while guitars in the $1000 have to work harder to justify their price tags. Finally it’s worth noting that each rating is relative to its overall price. Of course a $2000 Gibson is likely to play and sound so much better than a $150 Squier, but they may both receive a rating of around 8 for features because we keep the ratings relative to the price.

Defining The Term “Best”

The beauty of an electric guitar is there are so many manufacturers, models, shapes and styles. Why? Because everyone has different tastes. So the word ‘best’ is relative to the player. For example, hand me a $350 Ibanez Roadstar and I will happily play it for hours. Give me a $2,000 Telecaster and I will probably shrug.

While I appreciate the style, heritage and importance of the Tele, I’m just not as fussed when it’s compared to an Ibanez – no matter how much the price difference! Playing guitar is a very personal thing, so a five-star review for me may not be a five-star guitar for you.

The Guitar Brands

From the giants like Fender and Gibson, to smaller brands like PRS and Schecter, there are so many guitar manufacturer out there catering to any style or budget. Here are some of the most popular:
Fender
Fender are perhaps the world’s most famous electric guitar brand. Founded by Leo Fender in California in 1946, they are famed for producing the first ever mass-produced solid-body electric guitar. Since then, Fenders have been used by some of the biggest names in music, from Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Holly, to Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton. These days the company’s headquarters are in Scottsdale, Arizona, and they still produce two of the most iconic models of all time – the Stratocaster and the Telecaster.
Gibson
Founded in 1902, Gibson began life producing mandolins and other instruments, before making hollow-body electric guitars in the thirties. Their first solid-body guitar came in 1952 – the Les Paul, which remains one of the most iconic guitars in the world. They are also well known for pioneering some classic guitar shapes such as the SG, the Explorer, and the Flying V. Used by everyone from James Hetfield to B.B. King, Gibson’s are manufactured in three American factories – two in Tennessee and one in Montana.
Squier
Originally a string manufacturer based in Michigan, Squier was acquired by Fender in the sixties, and in 1982 it became a subsidiary that produced low cost versions of Fender’s most famous guitars – now made everywhere from Mexico to Japan. Squier also make several original models, such as the Jagmaster, and the ’51.
Epiphone
Epiphone are a well respected subsidiary of Gibson, and have been making musical instruments since their founding in what is now Turkey, Europe, in 1873. After being acquired by Gibson in 1957, Epiphone are now best known for manufacturing affordable versions of some of the most iconic guitar models around, including the Les Paul and SG. However they do make a couple of original models, such as the Casino, which was famously used by the Beatles.
Ibanez
Ibanez are a Japanese guitar brand founded in Nagoya, Japan in 1957. They began by building copies of Fender and Gibson models, but – a couple of lawsuits later – they started creating their own models, which are now icons in their own right. Their line currently includes their famous Roadstar (RG), the thin-bodied S series, and several artist signature models, including guitars for Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Mick Thomson.
Yamaha
A real household name, Yamaha make everything from motorcycles to grand pianos! But the Japanese company also produce a great range of affordable electric guitars, which they have done since the early sixties. Their very successful Pacifica range was launched in 1990, and includes their entry-level PAC012 to their premium PAC611, and everything in between.
ESP
ESP started life in Japan in 1975 as Electric Sound Products – a single store that provided replacements parts for guitars. These days they are a huge guitar manufacturer and a big name in heavy metal, having supplied guitars for Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer, among others. ESP also own the subsidiary LTD, who produce low priced, entry-level versions of their guitars.
Dean
Dean Guitars is an American manufacturer, founded in Chicago in 1977. They build their guitars for speed players, and are famed for their eye-catching models, including the iconic Razorback. Signature models are also a specialty and they produce guitars for the likes of Dave Mustaine and Michael Angelo Batio, as well as huge line of Dimebag Darrell signature models.
Jackson
One of the newer brands on this list, Jackson Guitars was established in Glendora, California in 1980. However they’ve made a huge impact to the world of metal, and their guitars are used by some of the biggest names – Randy Rhoads, Adrian Smith, and David Ellefson to name a few. Some of their most famous models include the Soloist, and the Rhoads.
B.C. Rich
Another Californian company on this list, B.C. Rich have been producing heavy rock guitars since arriving on the scene in 1969. They are renown for creating guitars of weird and wonderful shapes, including the Warlock, and the Mockingbird. Their guitars have been used by Slash, Kerry King, and Paul Stanley, among others.
Schecter
Although originally founded in California in 1979 as a company that made replacement parts for guitars, Schecter now produce many models of their own – both mass-produced and custom shop guitars. Like the others on this list, Schecter provide guitars for some big names and have a range of signature models including the guitars of Dan Donegan, Keith Merrow, and Jeff Loomis.
Gretsch
Gretsch was founded in 1883 in Brooklyn, with their biggest boom coming in the fifties and sixties, at the birth of rock n’ roll. Famed for making hollow and semi-hollow models, their guitars were used by icons including Chuck Berry, Chet Atkins, Bo Diddley, and George Harrison. Since 2002 the production side of things has been run by Fender, although the Gretsch family still own the company.
PRS
Paul Reed Smith Guitars (better known as PRS) is a Maryland-based manufacturer, and relatively new in the world of guitars – founded in 1980, when they began making a series of hand-built guitars. Today they have a wide range of models, which are built in both Asia and America, as well as a full roster of artists playing their guitars; including Mike Oldfield, Dave Navarro, Carlos Santana, and Mark Tremonti.
Washburn
Born in 1883 in Chicago, Washburn Guitars are very good at what they do, and – while they are better known for their electro-acoustics – they also produce a wide range of solid body electric guitars, including their Nuno Bettencourt series. Washburn also own the subsidiary Oscar Schmidt, who produce some very good low cost, entry-level models.

Where To Buy?

So you’ve read all the reviews, watched the videos, tried a few out, and finally found the right guitar for you – now you’ll want to buy it! And there are several options available to you.

An online retailer is likely to be your first port of call. Places like Amazon, Musician’s Friend, and Sweetwater have a huge selection of guitars in all price ranges. It’s easy to compare prices and find the best deals pretty quickly, and it’s usually hard to beat online retailers for price.

But while online is a good starting point, the advantages of buying in a store are just as good. Firstly, it can sometimes work out cheaper if you are able to strike up a deal – ask them what they can do if you buy a guitar and amp together and you may be surprised.
Another advantage of heading to your nearest Guitar Centre or local independent guitar store is you will have the chance to test out any models that take your fancy. You also get to inspect them for any imperfections that may cause problems at a later stage.

Finally, one of the biggest advantages of buying in store is that the guitar will be usually set up correctly by a pro, which can be the difference between a decent and a great sounding guitar. It’s also much easier to return a guitar to a store if there’s a problem – no need to fuss around with posting and packaging.

Don’t Rush

Purchasing a new guitar isn’t something you’re going to do often, unless you have an endless stream of cash (and if that’s the case, lucky you!). So you will want to ensure you are buying the right guitar for you, because it’s not a nice feeling playing on something you regret buying – your licks and riffs will sound very sad indeed!

So when you do go to buy a new model, have an idea of what you want to do with it. Is it something for you to learn on? Do you plan to gig, or even record, with your band? Your aspirations will define what you should spend.

Make sure to try out as many guitars as you can, if possible. Chances are you may find something you didn’t originally consider, but something that makes complete sense when you are holding it.

To Conclude

Buying a guitar is not always as easy as walking into a store, pointing at the first one you see, and saying ‘I want that one’. It’s a very personal experience that will depend on your budget, style, and aspirations. Put some time into selecting the right one and you will have years of great playing ahead.

By reading our guides and reviews you should get a much better picture of what guitar will suit you best. Keep checking back, as we update our reviews regularly and there’s always something new to read. While you are here, sign up for our newsletter for more tips, news and opinion.

Good luck!

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