There are so many factors that will influence which electric guitar you buy: looks, sound, features, brand familiarity. Undoubtedly, one of the top factors is price. While you wish you could find an amazing electric guitar for under $1,000, this seems like little more than a dream, right? What if we told you it’s possible to nab a great guitar for less than four figures? Which ones fit the bill?
The following 15 electric guitars are the best of the best for under $1,000:
- Schecter Hellraiser C-1
- Fender Classic Series ‘50s Stratocaster
- Yamaha Pacific PAC611HFM
- Fender American Special Telecaster
- ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000VB Electric Guitar
- Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro – Limited Edition
- PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Mark Holcomb
- PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24
- PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 245
- Ibanez S Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM
- Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollowbody
- Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style
- Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550
- Sterling by MusicMan Majesty
- Sterling by MusicMan JP70 – 7-String
Yes, that’s right, you can get the above amazing 15 guitars for under $1,000 each. Unsure of how to choose? You’ll want to keep reading then, as we’ll review each of these guitars in-depth, sharing more on features, pricing, specs, pros, and cons.
The 15 Best Electric Guitars for Under $1,000
1. Schecter Hellraiser C-1
The first guitar we’ve got here is an absolute beauty. It’s the Schecter Hellraiser C-1. This Amazon’s Choice product costs you less than $850, so already the price is right. Available in such hues as Gloss White (plain white with a shiny finish), Gloss Black (plain black with a shiny finish), and Black Cherry (burgundy with a tiger stripe-like pattern), you can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose.
The awesomely-named Hellraiser boasts gothic cross inlays and abalone binding with a sturdy, appealing body made of mahogany (the top is maple). The locking tuners, a Schecter staple, have their own locking screw pin to keep the strings immobile. This increases your stability when tuning. The locking tuners include a peg hole with a diameter of 10 millimeters as well as threaded peghead brushing, removable knobs, and a 19:1 gear ratio.
The set-neck construction allows for easy access to the higher frets and feels very comfortable to play. The Hellraiser series of guitars from Schecter has been a favorite of guitar players since 2006. That could be in part to the dual-mode split-tone you get from this electric guitar, which allows you more freedom with your tone than ever before. When you pull out this guitar at band practice, a gig, or the recording studio, don’t be surprised if you make all the other musicians jealous. They won’t believe you got it for such an affordable price.
- The rosewood fingerboard complements this attractive and affordable guitar.
- You get TonePros TOM components with your purchase, which prevent the tailpiece and bridge from moving. This allows you to keep your intonation and action the way you put it, making your tones more sustainable and pleasing on the ears.
- The Hellraiser includes EMG Active 81TW or 89 pickups.
- Some users have noted the guitar sounds are tinny and stuffy.
- Others mention the guitar does not arrive with the right action, enough that a pro might have to fix it for a fee.
2. Fender Classic Series ‘50s Stratocaster
Yes, that’s right, you can get a real Fender (not a Squier) for less than $1,000. In fact, the Classic Series ‘50s Stratocaster costs under $850. It’s got that vintage styling from a bygone era that adds to your playing and, man, it sure does look good.
This stunner of a guitar includes some features that will make it feel like you entered a time machine and walked out straight into the 1950s. For instance, Fender dutifully aged the switched tip and the knobs for that old-school style. The maple fretboard also harkens back to another time when rock n’ roll was just beginning to come to the forefront. The fretboard includes a 7.25-inch radius, another vintage touch.
The unmistakable V-shaped neck adds body and character to this Strat. A pickguard with eight holes and single plying are also featured only found in older guitars but are available now. The bridge, middle, and neck with a single-coil will make you feel like a retro rocket as well.
The Fender Classic Series ‘50s Stratocaster comes in such hues as Daphne Blue, Surf Green, and Fiesta Red.
- It’s a real Fender and you can have it for less than $1,000. Enough said.
- Fender is even nice enough to throw in a deluxe gig bag with your purchase so you don’t have to worry about transporting your guitar. We still recommend you get a case though so you can take care of this beauty the right way.
- The MIM single-coil pickups you get with the guitar have staggered pole pieces to stick to that vintage look you love so much.
- People have almost nothing bad to say about this guitar, except that the body might not be aligned when it arrives. That would require a trip to the guitar shop and shelling out extra money.
- Other buyers have noted the guitar might not match the images shown, at least for all the colors available.
3. Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM
Next, we’ve got yet another guitar you won’t believe costs less than $650, the Yamaha Pacific PAC611HFM. Seriously, take one look at this bad boy and it seems like it should be priced at twice, maybe even thrice its actual cost. But hey, why look a gift horse in the mouth?
The Pacific line of guitars has been a Yamaha mainstay since 1990. Made for an assortment of play styles and music genres, the Pacific is versatile in that you can change the pickups to get a grungier, more metal sound or a lighter, poppier one.
Out of the box, this guitar comes with a Custom 5 Trembuckler that has coil tapping as well as a Seymore Duncan SP90-1 pickup. The Grover locking tuners get held in place with Graphtec nuts so you’re free to tune this guitar to your liking. There are more Graphtec features, too, such as the string saver saddle over the hardtail bridge.
You can select from a rainbow of hues for the Yamaha Pacifica. These include Translucent Purple, Tobacco Brown Sunburst, Light Amber Burst, Dark Red Burst, Root Beer, Caramel Brown Sunburst, Solid Black, and Translucent Black.
- The Yamaha Pacific has a smooth, lightweight body made of alder wood.
- The maple neck includes a beautiful rosewood fingerboard and has a finish with tinting.
- The range of colors will make you want to get a few of these electric guitars for your collection!
- Again, there’s very little bad to say about this Yamaha guitar. Some have mentioned the neck could have been made better, though.
- Other players noted the neck scale length is maybe a touch too long, but that could come down to personal preference.
4. Fender American Special Telecaster
Am American made Telecaster for under $1,000? And it comes new, not used? You might need someone to pinch you, but you’re definitely not dreaming. The Fender American Special Telecaster, one of the best of the best in terms of Fender guitars, can finally be yours for a price that won’t break the bank.
Once again, you get the gig bag for the short-term transportation of your new treasure. As soon as you plug this electric guitar into your amp, prepare to be blown away. The grease bucket tone circuit reduces the rate of high frequencies in your playing. With the Telecaster, you get the classic twang sound that you would expect. You also don’t get that bass boominess that some guitars add when correcting for high frequencies. Don’t get us wrong; we love some bass, but not when you don’t want it.
The neck with satin finishing, the oversized frets, and the freeboard radius of 9.5 inches gives you the freedom to move and manipulate the strings as you wish. They’ll feel more malleable than ever with this amazing Telecaster. Plus, think of all the street cred you’ll get when you walk around with this recognizable, beloved guitar.
- It’s an American made guitar, so the quality is the best of the best
- Dual Texas Special pickups sound great playing almost any genre of music, especially pop, rock, country, and blues.
- The body of this Telly is alder with a maple neck for stability.
- The entire thing has a gloss urethane finish so your guitar is sure to shine like new for years to come.
- The guitar only comes in a single color, Vintage Blonde. Some people might not mind, but this could disappoint those who like color variety with their electric guitars.
- Although complaints are rare, some have said the action is set too high and the frets have sharp edges.
5. ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000VB Electric Guitar
If you’re a fan of ESP Guitars, then allow us to introduce to you the LTD Deluxe EC-1000VB electric guitar. This awesome instrument will set you back less than $950. How about that? You can also choose from two styles right off the bat: the standard guitar or one designed for lefty players. Hey, they have to give us representation somehow!
Don’t let the price fool you, the ESP LTD Deluxe is made for professional musicians, and the guitar brand says as much. They also note how you’ll have a better feel and tone with this guitar than maybe ever before.
Let’s talk features, shall we? There’s the lovely Macassar ebony fingerboard with 24 frets, a guitar neck, and body made of mahogany, EMG 81/60 pickups, and a TonePros TOM tailpiece and bridge, both of which lock. The LTD tuners lock as well. It’s no wonder ESP says this is one of their best-selling guitars.
The available colors for your ESP LTD Deluxe include Vintage Black, Koa Natural Gloss, See Thru Black Cherry, and standard Black.
- Some parts of this guitar, including the headstock binding, has gold hardware meant to give this ESP guitar a vintage flair.
- That you can choose between standard and left-handed guitars is quite considerate.
- The switches that let you adjust toggling, tone, and volume are another great feature of this guitar that deserves acclaim.
- Certain users have noted the guitar plays incredibly stiff, probably due to the way the bridge is set (which some claim is too high).
- Others say the screws may strip and the knobs might come off with a bit of use.
Check out my full review of the ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe Here
6. Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro – Limited Edition
Besides Fender, Les Paul is the cream of the crop in terms of guitar brands. You probably never thought you could get one for less than $1,000, let alone for under $700. Well, we’re here to tell you that you can, especially if it’s the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro. This limited-edition electric guitar will blow everything you’ve used to this point out of the water.
The Epiphone deluxe tuners make any kind of sound you play that much more awesome. If you’ve previously been bogged down by interference with your last guitar and amp setup, you won’t have to worry about that anymore. This guitar has ProBucker open-coil humbuckers for reducing that unwanted interference. The humbucker includes push/pull coil-splitting as well.
As if that wasn’t enough to love, there’s even more. For instance, the Les Paul has a fingerboard made of rosewood with a polished, smooth ebony finish. The antique binding that lends the Les Paul its timeless look is present here, as is the SlimTaper D neck from the 1960s that’s showcased in these guitars to this day.
The Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro comes in two colors, Ebony or Alpine White.
- A Les Paul Custom guitar available new for under $1,000? That’s the biggest pro of all.
- This lightweight guitar clocks in at only nine pounds, which makes it as easy to use as it is fun.
- The curvy body in historic styling stays true to the Les Paul brand.
- Some users have called the quality of this guitar into question.
- Others have said features like the rhythm pickup don’t work or that the treble pickup doesn’t work for all positions.
7. PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Mark Holcomb
We’ve got a trio of PRS Paul Reed Smith SE guitars coming at ya, with the first of these, the PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Mark Holcomb electric guitar. This is a stunning guitar designed with contributions from Mark Holcomb of the prog metal band Periphery. It’s a lot more modern than some of the other guitars we’ve covered thus far, but that’s not a bad thing at all.
One of the best features of this guitar is the Mark Holcomb signature Alpha and Omega pickups by Seymour Duncan. They offer insanely good clarity and articulation, even at high gain.
Chords sound absolutely huge on this guitar because you can clearly hear every single note ring out without any of the muddiness.
These pickups sell for over $250 on their own, so it’s awesome that PRS was able to include these on a guitar of this price.
The string-through plate-style bridge makes replacing those occasionally broken strings much more convenient. The fretboard should hold up, too, even if you’re a vigorous guitar player. The instrument also has an ebony base with white binding and small shimmery birds inlaid on the frets.
That’s backed by a neck made of durable maple. The stain finish will make holding this guitar a pleasure. Also, the fretboard is 20 inches and the scale length is 25.5 inches with 24 frets. This makes it one of the flattest neck profiles out there, meaning you can get some really low action.
The back and top wood of the body are made of two different materials, so you know this guitar is built to last. Around back, we’ve got tough mahogany while the top wood is maple with a quilted maple veneer. The top wood also has beveling to give this guitar a very cool, unique shape. It comes in one color, the Holcomb burst, which is black with a type of liquid-like effects on the body.
- The included Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega pickups generate epic articulation and output.
- Excellent value for the price
- Excellent for low tunings
- Some may have a hard time getting use to the flat 20 inch fretboard radius
- Doing other drop tunings besides drop C may take some time and finagling.
8. PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24
Second in our trio of PRS Paul Reed Smith SE guitars is the PRS SE Custom 24. This is another Amazon’s Choice pick, but despite that, you can still nab this guitar for under $1,000. Like the ESP LTD Deluxe, you can pick from a right-handed or left-handed guitar with the Custom 24 that suits your dominant hand best.
This guitar shares a lot of the same features as the other PRS Paul Reed Smith SE we covered before the Mark Holcomb version. For instance, the neck has birds inlaid on the guitar neck, and you also get a gig bag included with your purchase. Still, enough differences exist between the two guitars that make both worth considering and even owning.
The Custom 24 has a blade pickup selector with three-way features. You also get pull and push tone control on the knobs and a volume knob as well. The included 85/15 S pickups will deliver phenomenal, vivacious tone and sound. The tremolo bridge, a major feature, comes molded, which is a PRS staple.
You’ve got your pick of these colors for the PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24: Trampas Green, Fire Red Burst, or Tobacco Sunburst.
- The fretboard is once again made of maple and the back and top of this guitar mahogany.
- The curvy yet pointed shape of the guitar makes it stand out in the PRS Paul Reed Smith SE collection.
- The pickups promote better low and high-end extension as well as provide more clarity to your guitar sound.
- Some say the colors aren’t quite as they appear online, with the red a much brighter hue.
- Other users have noted the woods used for this electric guitar don’t blend in as seamlessly as in the images.
9. PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 245
The last of the guitars in the PRS Paul Reed Smith SE trio we recommend is the PRS SE 245 electric guitar. This one might be your favorite of the three, as it has a lot going on that’s different compared to the other two guitars we presented to you.
Don’t worry about the price, as the SE 245 is available for under $750. The manufacturer mentions that if you’ve always used single-cutaway electric guitars with short scales that this one will fit you like a glove. That’s because it has a fatter and wider neck than you traditionally see with Les Paul style guitars. The scale is 24.5 inches as well, making playing easier and more comfortable.
The neck and back wood of this cool guitar is made of mahogany, with a thick layer used for the back of the instrument. The top wood is maple with a flame maple veneer and beveling for a stylish curvy body. That rosewood fretboard that’s in all the PRS guitars we covered on this list comes back for yet a third time. As you can imagine, the neck is inlaid with birds. Your playing will take flight as well.
- The build quality is excellent as you would expect from any PRS. Paul Reed Smith doesn’t have a bad guitar in their entire lineup, regardless of the price or factory, it was produced in.
- The nickel bridge hardware includes designed tuners and a stop-tail bridge made by PRS which has excellent tuning stability.
- You get a whole range of knobs and switches for playing your way. These include a toggle pickup selector you can adjust three ways for the upper bout as well as pickup controls, tone and volume controls, bass pickup (245 S Bass), and treble pickup (245 S Treble).
- Some buyers said their guitar had fret buzzing on the lower E string fret, but this was subtle and they were able to fix it.
10. Ibanez S Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM
This Ibanez S series is an amazing value for the price as it’s spec’d to the gills. This guitar is an S Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM guitar, meaning you’ll have a nice thin body and modern design.
As with all Ibanez guitars, playability is the name of the game. The S series guitars have extremely thin bodies, meaning you’ll be able to play for long sessions without any fatigue.
In addition, would it be an Ibanez if it didn’t have an extremely thin Wizard neck?
It’s super comfortable and clearly built with shredders in mind.
This guitar also comes loaded with great features like black hardware, Gotoh locking tuners, a Gibraltar Standard II bridge, and a coil-tap switch.
The bridge and neck pickups are both courtesy of DiMarzio Fusion Edge, and boy, will you notice the difference. You won’t ever hear any muddiness in the mid-range frequencies with these pickups, even at high gain. They promise better bottom-end compression, tighter high-end compression that cuts right through, and a wonderful crispness that makes this guitar a delight to play.
The Ibanez S Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM guitar comes in two hues, Purple Space Burst and Blue Space Burst.
- The Nitro Wizard neck from Bubinga, three pieces, is made of sturdy maple.
- This guitar is a metal musician’s best friend, giving you the vicious kind of aural attack you crave.
- The beautiful gradient in either blue or purple makes this guitar as gorgeous to look at as it is to play.
- Some say other pickup brands outshine the ones included with this Ibanez guitar.
- Others also mention that replacing the neck might be within your best interest.
11. Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollowbody
Another huge name in guitars that you can own for less than $875 is a Gretsch. Their G5420T Electromatic Hollowbody isn’t just named that for fun. The body is indeed hollow, making this the first of that type of electric guitar we’ve covered on this list.
Don’t fret (pun intended), as you don’t sacrifice articulation, dynamics, or boldness with a hollow-bodied guitar, we promise. Instead, the G5420T has a Filter’Tron voice that delivers presence and punch to every string you pluck on your guitar. The instrument also has a reliable build with a maple top and neck and a fretboard made of rosewood.
Gretsch included plenty of premium features that belie the true price of this fantastic guitar. For instance, you get the B60 vibrato tailpiece from Bigsby, Pearloid thumbnail fingerboard inlays from Neo-Classic, nuts from Graph Tech NuBone, and a headstock that makes this guitar look like something out of the ‘50s. You have your pick of three colors, Fairlane Blue, Aspen Green, or Orange Stain.
- The Gretsch G5420T has large bound F-holes for more efficient playing.
- The controls have been upgraded, now letting you toggle the master volume treble bleed circuit.
- The premium parts from big names in guitar accessories should last you quite a while.
- Some users have called the guitar “cheap.”
- Others have said the G and A strings produce a buzzing sound they couldn’t get rid of.
12. Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style
As yet another Amazon’s Choice product, you should also consider the Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style guitar. As part of the impressive Pro-Mod Series, this guitar has a classic look ala a Fender but at a reasonable price tag of less than $900.
Let’s jump right into the features, shall we? The Charvel Pro-Mod, like the other guitars in this family, has a locking tremolo bridge system from the Floyd Rose 1000 Series. Oh yeah, and while this locks once, it also locks twice. Further, there’s the truss rod adjustment wheel that’s heel-mounted.
The neck shape is a Charvel staple and does not disappoint, as it’s made to not only look way cool, but it feels great to hold and play for hours, too. Included Seymour Duncan TB-6/SH-6N direct distortion pickups will transform your sound for the better. This guitar also has a compound radius between 12 and 16 inches as well as a maple neck with bolted graphite reinforcements.
The Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style guitar is available in hues like Transparent Red Burst, Tobacco Burst, Snow White, Red, Metallic Black, and Black Burst.
- While lots of electric guitars on this list have had a locking system, none have dual locks like the Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo bridge system included in the Pro-Mod.
- The controls include no-load tone, push/pull, and three-way blade.
- The alder body lends this guitar great durability.
- Some players have complained that this guitar doesn’t retain your tuning preferences.
- Others say the Floyd Rose features contribute to the above problem and others.
13. Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550
Yes, you can own the iconic Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 for under $1,000, so you’re in luck.
The original RG 550 took the world by storm when it was first released back in 1987. The impeccable build quality and gorgeous neon colors really made this guitar stand out from the pack.
People loved this guitar so much that you’ll still see original RG 550 guitars floating around to this day, even though their colors are completely worn out after 20 years of use.
Luckily, Ibanez has recently re-released these guitars in all of their glory, so you can get them brand spanking new again.
It has such a sharp body and comes in so many bright colors that you’ll fool everyone into thinking you spent several thousand dollars for this sleek instrument.
The tremolo bridge from Edge will make playing more of a breeze than ever with better adjustments to intonation and better stability with tuning. It’s no wonder Ibanez themselves call this bridge a masterpiece. If you’re expecting pickups, you’ve got those, too. This time, it’s V7/S1/V8 pickups. The V8 is in the bridge, the S1 in the middle, and the V7 in the neck. You can switch between tones and sounds almost effortlessly now.
The Super Wizard HP Neck ought to pique your curiosity as well, what with its thickness of only 17 millimeters at the first fret and then two inches more by the 12th fret. Those frets are also oversized for your convenience. The Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 guitar comes in the following colors: Road Flare Red, Desert Sun Yellow, White, and Purple.
- Any way you slice it, with those dayglo colors and majestic shape, this guitar looks so legit.
- It also sounds legit thanks to the pickups, which includes two humbuckers to reduce interference.
- The guitar doesn’t include any kind of bag or case.
- Some users have mentioned the quality doesn’t match the price tag.
14. Sterling by MusicMan Majesty
Getting to the end now, we want to wrap up with two Sterling by MusicMan picks. The first is the brand’s Majesty. Now, “majesty” is a word that has come to mind with a lot of these guitars, but we think this one should have been nicknamed something more cutting. That’s because it’s one of the most badass-looking guitars on the planet.
This guitar is based on John Petrucci’s signature Majesty guitar. The design and playability are nearly identical to the original but at one-third of the price.
The Majesty was designed from the ground up to be the perfect guitar for John Petrucci’s playstyle. The shape is supposed to mold to your body and completely get out of your way. All of the frets and control knobs are designed to be easily accessible with little effort.
Everything about this guitar suggests it should be tons more expensive than it is, such as Ernie Ball strings sure to hold up.
The pickup selection offers three positions that all go through an active “Push-Push” boost switch at 12 decibels. Try playing around with the Volume Control too to experience some variety with your tone. As if this guitar didn’t look legendary enough, you can get it in Iced Crimson Red or Stealth Black.
- This guitar has the best playability out of any guitar out there.
- The pickups produce very high output while maintaining clarity.
- Seriously, just look at this guitar. Every metal musician should have one.
- The design could be a little too modern or “edgy” for some players.
- There’s pretty much nothing else bad to say about this guitar, except maybe it could come in more colors.
15. Sterling by MusicMan JP70 – 7-String
Then we’ve got a nice companion piece, the Sterling by Musicman JP70 seven-string electric guitar. This is another result of the collaboration between Sterling by MusicMan and John Petrucci, and it’s part of the John Petrucci Signature Series.
This guitar’s design is based on John Petrucci’s signature Music Man JP 7 model but at a fraction of the price.
If you’re someone who’s interested in playing some heavier metal and djent music, then having a 7 string guitar definitely comes in handy.
As will all JP Music Man guitars, the neck is super thin and easy to play on. Playing on Music Man guitars is addicting, as they just make you want to shred.
At this price range, you probably won’t find another 7 string guitar that’s quite as reliable.
If you’re interested in learning more about 7 string guitars, be sure to check out my complete buyer’s guide on 7 string guitars for any budget.
The modern tremolo promotes seamless operation and intonation that your fingers or guitar pick dictates.
Weighing less than seven pounds, you can bring this guitar with you anywhere and everywhere, and you’re definitely going to want to.
The included Sterling by MusicMan padded gig bag makes it easy to do just that. The color selection is great, too, as you have options like Trans Purple Burst, Trans Green Burst, Pearl White, and Black Metallic.
- Since it’s in the John Petrucci Signature Series, the JP70 has an inlaid fret JP Shield and a headstock signature from the man himself.
- Again, you get the padded gig bag and the Sterling by MusicMan guitar inspection for quality.
- If you’re looking for a unique guitar that will turn heads, this is one of your better picks.
- A few guitar players have said the bridge pickup may cut out sometimes.
- Others say the pickups leave something to be desired.
While you may think the only way you can get a guitar for under $1,000 from the likes of Ibanez, Fender, Gretsch, or Yamaha is if you bought a used one, that’s not quite true. All the 15 must-have guitars on this list are under $1,000, and yes, they’re available brand new. There are no catches, no strings attached, just high-performing guitars at a fraction of the cost you’d normally pay for one.
Now comes the hard part, picking which guitar you want. That’s entirely up to you, but this guide will help you make a great choice, as you really can’t pick wrong. Good luck!