10 Best Electric Guitars Under $1,500

Best Electric Guitars Under 1500

If you’re in the market for the best electric guitar under $1,500, you’re in the right place!

At this price point, you’ll be able to choose from various high-end guitars from the most iconic brands in the industry, including Gibson, PRS, Fender, ESP, and more. 

But which one should you choose? With thousands of options available at this price point, finding the perfect electric guitar that suits your needs as a player can be complex. 

This guide reviews our picks for the best electric guitars under $1500. For each guitar, we’ll look at factors such as brand, build quality, performance, sound, and more to help determine which guitar fits you best. 

Let’s get started!

The Best Electric Guitars Under $1,500

PRS SE Paul’s Guitar – Overall Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500

Let’s start with our pick for the best electric guitar under $ 1,500. So, why’s it so good?

First, let’s look at the neck. Made from three pieces of mahogany, it’s a set neck with a durable connection.

The ‘Pattern Wide Fat’ profile harkens back to early PRS neck shapes played by Santana. It’s bold yet comfy. While the sophisticated finish allows your hand to glide with fantastic playability.

Filed by hand, the neck is a standout feature. But we’ve come to expect this; it’s a PRS.

Adaptability is crucial to why the SE Paul is one of the best. Thanks to the TCI pickups and their many tonal capabilities, it’ll suit most genres.

The TCI (Tuned Capacitance and Inductance) “S” humbucker pickups have coil-tap capabilities. So, there’s access to both single coil and humbucker tones.

Mini toggles on the body make splitting easy. Not to mention, the electrical workings make the single-coil tones more accurate.

Here’s the thing: PRS reserves this premium advanced pickup wiring for the likes of Core models.

And there are more similarities to expensive Core models. The Bridge is the same. With American-made Core models costing around $4,000, it’s high-end hardware.

The stock PRS-designed hardware does the job. Even so, locking or Gotoh tuners would improve this guitar. 

The PRS SE Paul is an Indonesian-built guitar that looks the part. With a lavish top and real abalone shell bird inlays, it’s classic PRS.

It doesn’t boast the prestige of an American-built PRS. But the price reflects this for tonal versatility, PRS playability, and downright good looks. 


  • Classic PRS playability
  • Expensive genuine abalone shell bird inlays.
  • Coil-split for humbucker and single-coil tones.


  • Stock tuners
  • Not American-made

Read Also: The 10 Best PRS (Paul Reed Smith) Guitars

Gibson Les Paul Tribute – Most Versatile Electric Guitar Under $1,500

Most Versatile
Gibson Les Paul Tribute

The Gibson Les Paul Tribute is a nod to timeless elegance and rock heritage. It boasts the legendary Les Paul tone, a comfortable weight-relieved body, and vintage-inspired aesthetics. 

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Now for the Gibson Les Paul Tribute. Not Epiphone, you read it right, Gibson.

Many guitarists and collectors crave American-made Gibsons.

Etched into the rear of the headstock is the ‘Made in USA’ calling card. Carved with vintage styling in true Gibson fashion, it looks fantastic.

Why does the country of manufacture matter?

It’s all about craftsmanship. All the materials are high-grade and put together by skilled luthiers.

You’ll notice every fine detail has meticulous care and attention. For example, the fretwork is silky smooth, with no sharp edges.

Many users have reported that Gibson has let their guard down, declaring sketchy setups. If you find the out-of-the-box setup not your liking, get it to a technician who’ll refine it to your needs.

The neck revisits the classic Les Paul shape and finish. Maple necks are comfy from the off. But with the traditional rounded profile, playability is through the roof.

But it doesn’t just look and play like a classic. The Gibson Les Paul sounds like one, too. With the 490 humbucker pickups, there’s a similarity to the Classic 57 PAF-style humbuckers.

Guitarists strummed and plucked early Les Paul guitars in many genres. Replicating the early tones, this guitar will do everything from jazz to hard rock and everything in between.

If you’re familiar with the weight and playability of a cheaper Les Paul. Then, the Les Paul Tribute is an affordable upgrade with a classic, versatile tone.


  • Versatile traditional PAF tones
  • American prestige and building quality
  • Classic Les Paul design and playability


  • Below par Gibson setup 
  • Heavy if you’re used to lighter guitars

Read Also: 15 Best Gibson Les Paul Style Copy Guitars

Fender American Performer Stratocaster – Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500 for Blues

The Strat and blues is a marriage stamped into music folklore. Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton are a case in point.

Why is the Strat good for blues?

A significant reason that makes the Strat good for blues is the pickups. The single-coil tones have a snap optimal for a bluesy style.

Fitted with Yosemite Strat single-coils, the American Performer delivers an authentic spank tone.

It has all the tonal qualities that made the Strat synonymous with the blues.

But the frequent bending of notes in blues needs a guitar to meet the demands. The contoured body with two cutaways allows for high fret access.

A fingerboard radius of 9.5” has a nice curvature for both lead runs and chords. Likewise, fitted with jumbo frets, playing lead riffs is much easier on the Performer Stratocaster.

Plus, the modern c-profile maple neck balances tradition and everyday practicality.

What’s not to like? Well, nothing major. The tremolo system could be better. If you rely on heavy whammy use, then there are better options. Also renowned for natural buzz, Strats aren’t the cleanest.

As earlier discovered with the Gibson, the under $1,500 price range makes American-made guitars achievable.

The same applies here with Fender making the American Performer in their Corona, California factory.

It’s a great guitar, taking one of the most successful designs and adding modern touches. For example, Fender’s Greasebucket master tone circuit. This allows you to roll back the high-end without losing gain.

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster is a prominent guitar for blues and beyond.


  • American made
  • Classic spank single-coil Strat tone
  • Contoured ergonomic body for heightened playability


  • Low-level buzz
  • The Tremolo system isn’t as rugged as others

Read Also: 10 Best Fender Guitars: Review & Buying Guide

Fender American Performer Telecaster – Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500 for Country

Best for Country
Fender American Performer Telecaster

The Fender American Performer Telecaster delivers vintage vibes with modern enhancements. Crisp tones, smooth playability, and iconic Tele twang. 

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As part of the Performer Series, this Tele is another American-made guitar.

The Telecaster came before the Stratocaster, and it shows. The controls and shape are much more essential. Some prefer the added flexibility the Strat carries.

Yet with two pickups, Tele’s are manageable. There’s only a 3-way blade pickup switch with master tone and master volume. The layout is simple. Many find the user-friendliness of a Tele is liberating.

It allows you to concentrate on playing, and even a beginner can achieve a killer tone. 

As well as that, the body is pretty straightforward. A sizable chunk of alder wood with one cutaway. But this contributes to the definitive sound. 

The alder body, alongside the punch of two Yosemite Tele single-coil pickups, is the perfect combo.

This combo keeps the vintage Tele punch and twang sound. But, with hotter output, these pickups are punchier than older models. Not to mention the reliability of modern wiring.

The twang of a Telecaster is as country as cowboy boots. The chicken lickin’ you can hear in the background of Hank Williams tracks. That’s a Telecaster. Then, in more contemporary government, the drive of Brad Paisley’s guitar licks is also a Tele.

So, the Telecaster has stood the test of time, not just in country music. While less versatile than many guitars, it can crossover into blues, indie, and rock.

If you’re searching for the Nashville sound, the Fender American Performer Telecaster is your number one. It’s a guitar for a pro.


  • American build quality
  • Punch and twangy tone
  • User-friendly layout and dials


  • Not as ergonomic as a Strat
  • Doesn’t have enormous tonal versatility

Read Also: 9 Best Telecaster Style Copy Guitars

ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500 for Metal

The ESP LTD EC-1000 is metal through and through. If Les Paul was a metalhead, then this is the guitar he’d have created.

Following a similar shape to a Les Paul, the EC-1000 has a sharper, more dangerous-looking cutaway. But it’s also a lot shallower, meaning it’s lighter to hold.

Available in many finishes, the black matte with gold hardware is a standout design. The matte finish is smooth. The only problem is it’s prone to fingerprint marks. Under stage lights, this could be an issue.

The ESP LTD EC-1000 is home to top hardware. There’s a locking bridge and tuners. Efficient at keeping tune, these give you confidence when you’re thrashing.

EMG pickups have long been a favorite for metal. You can make some noise with an EMG 60 Humbucker on the neck and an EMG 81 Humbucker on the bridge. They’re hot and full of fury.

The thin profile neck is very manageable for your high-distortion rock-outs.

But not only growling high-gain tones. There’s a surprise when running it clean. The EC-1000 sounds excellent with its chiming pure style.

Now for the build quality. Upon inspection, although made in Indonesia, there’s a lot to love.

Out-of-the-box, there’s a consistent action from low to high e. The fretwork stands up to American-built guitars with polished frets. The ESP LTD EC-1000 proves that gauging build quality in the manufacturing country alone is outdated.


  • Great build quality
  • EMG Pickups for high-gain tones
  • Locking bridge and tuners for tuning stability


  • Fingerprint marks on matte finish
  • Some users benefit from adjusting pickup height

Gibson SG Standard Tribute – Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500 for Rock

Best for Rock
Gibson SG Standard Tribute

The Gibson SG Tribute encapsulates raw power and sleek design. With its unmistakable double-horned silhouette, punchy pickups, and streamlined playability, it's a testament to Gibson's legacy in rock and roll history.

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AC/DC and Black Sabbath are two bands with defining classic rock guitar tones. As avid SG users, listening to Angus Young and Tony Iommi will give you a clue about what to expect.

SGs have a timeless body shape. The double-horned cutaways look outstanding. But the form is also practical, allowing for high-fret access.

The Gibson SG Standard Tribute stands out from cheaper models. It’s a satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish that makes it look more classy.

A nitro finish offers a natural and vintage appearance. Over time, through use, it’ll look even better. That said, if you want a pristine guitar, then a nitro finish isn’t for you.

On the SG Standard Tribute, the necks are luxurious. You get a natural feel for wood quality through the satin finish. A rounded c-profile neck is comfy in the palm of your hand.

If you’ve never played an SG before, you’ll find the body of the SG Standard Tribute streamline.

It’s a feature that reduces shoulder fatigue. Plus, if you’re a pro-active stage performer, it helps. But, the lightweight design causes neck dives for many. Although an inconvenience, a leather strap usually resolves the issue.

While there’s some cost-cutting on the tuners, you can’t go wrong with an SG for a classic rock tone.


  • Quality of nitro finish
  • Lightweight for extended playing
  • 490 humbuckers for gritty classic rock tones


  • Weight imbalance causing neck dive
  • Vintage tuners are not as effective as Grover Rotomatics found on Standard

Read Also: 9 Best Telecaster Style Copy Guitars

PRS SE Hollowbody II – Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500 for Jazz

You’ll know PRS guitars offer fantastic playability and excellent build quality by now. The PRS SE Hollowbody II is as expected. But it offers some unique features that make it ideal for jazz.

As a hollow-body guitar, it offers unique tonal characteristics used in jazz since jazz began.

With an acoustic-like tone, the SE Hollowbody II is a present-sounding guitar. Also, big and bold in the low frequencies, it’s a tone suited to jazz.

Although smaller-bodied than traditional hollow-body guitars. There’s prominence and loudness when strummed acoustic. It’s this acoustic tone that’s the core of the sound.

The SE Hollowbody II is susceptible to feedback being a hollow body. But, PRS tries to limit this issue with a wooden block under the bridge. While it lessens input, it doesn’t eradicate it.

Feedback isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Through the years, Guitarists have discovered ways to use feedback to their advantage.

Complete with Korean-made 58/15 “S” pickups, which replicate vintage-style tones but with modern clarity. There’s a punch and chime to the style. Combined with the resonance of the hollow body, it’s the perfect tone for jazz licks.

It’s not a one-trick pony. But the SE Hollowbody II is a leader in this price range for jazz. On top of that, you’ll get the sleek playability and classic looks of a PRS.


  • Hollowbody resonance
  • PRS looks and playability
  • 58/15 “S” pickups offer vintage voicing with modern clarity.


  • Prone to feedback
  • It may need to be set to reduce fret buzz

Read Also: 10 Best Hollow Body Guitars Under $500

Schecter C-1 SLS Elite – Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500 for Shredding

Best for Shredding
Schecter C-1 SLS Elite

Boasting multi-scale design, Fishman Fluence pickups, and a sleek neck-thru build, this guitar promises precision, versatility, and unparalleled sustain. It's a modern player's dream, grounded in Schecter's reputable craftsmanship.

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If you’re looking for a guitar for shredding. Congratulations, you’re a guitar virtuoso. It’s one of the most challenging techniques to master. But you need to make it easy for yourself with the right guitar.

So, what makes the Schecter C-1 SLS Elite suitable for shredding?

First, there are 24 frets, so you can crush those high notes. Moreover, every single fuss is reachable because of the dramatic cutaway. With the body joining at the 24th fret, there’s unhindered access.

Still, shredding is about speed. To play at speed, you need the right neck. The neck on the C-1 SLS Elite is as unique as it comes. Made from multi-ply maple, walnut, and padauk, its smooth satin finish is designed with speed in mind.

An ‘Ultra Thin C’ neck profile makes complex techniques more manageable. There’s no bulk, and for some players, this is an issue, but for shredding, it’s ideal.

Then, there’s a compound radius. What’s a compound radius? This means the curvature of the fretboard is different at the bridge compared to the nut.

From 12″ by the nut to 16″ towards the bridge, the fingerboard radius is flat throughout, perfect for lead runs. Towards the higher frets, it’s primed for speedy playing.

The neck-through design and Hipshot Hardtail Bridge combine for major note sustain. You can shred until your heart’s content by hanging on a note.  

Although not a versatile guitar, it’s a master of the shred. The pickup hardware, in fact, every inch of the Schecter C-1 SLS Elite, is a pure shred machine.


  • High fret access
  • Impressive note sustain
  • Speed of Ultra-Thin C profile satin neck


  • Limited tonal versatility
  • Not very practical for rhythm guitarists

Read Also: 10 Best Schecter Diamond Series Guitars: Review & Buyer’s Guide

PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN – Best 7-String Electric Guitar Under $1,500

Best 7-String
PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN

Crafted with meticulous attention to Mark's specifications, this 7-string beast delivers expansive tonal range, clear articulation, and signature playability. Its satin-finished neck and Seymour Duncan pickups make it a force to be reckoned with, truly epitomizing PRS's dedication to quality.

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It may come as a surprise, but 7 string guitars aren’t a new revelation. In fact, in the 30s, jazz musician George Van Eps would use one. The PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN is a 7-string that has many tones.

The PRS SE Mark Holcomb is a signature guitar catered to specific requirements. Holcomb is a guitarist in the prog-metal band Periphery. If you’re unaware of their music, tracks flow between progressive and heavy metal genres.

Designed for this purpose, the Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega humbuckers have the output for high-gain metal. Yet, with a coil-split, you can access lighter single-coil tones. So, although, in theory, a metal guitar, jazzy progressive tones are available.

It suits guitarists who want to launch between heavy distortion and soft prog.

There’s a scale length of 26.5″. It’s a sweet spot for Mark Holcomb because the scale length allows for low drop tunings, losing no playability.

This guitar’s a workhorse. So, whatever tuning you dial, it’ll remain stable. On that note, however long the tour is, the SE Mark Holcomb remains reliable.

The PRS SE Mark Holcomb brings 7 strings to the PRS catalog. And it maintains the PRS characteristics. It’s recognizable with the traditional PRS body shape and signature bird inlays.

While the plastic nut could be better, and 7-strings are niche, it’s a terrific guitar ready for heavy touring.


  • Stable for different tuning
  • Coil-split for humbucker and single-coil tones
  • Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega Humbucker pickups


  • Cheap plastic nut
  • 7 strings are niche

Read Also: 15 Best 7 String Guitars for Any Budget

How to Choose The Best Electric Guitar Under $1,500 – Buyer’s Guide

All the guitars listed in the best electric guitars under $1,500 are some of the best on the market. But, if you’re looking elsewhere, let’s give you some pointers when shopping for a guitar.

Materials & Build Quality

The country of manufacture shows the level of build quality. Yet, with modern guitars from overseas showing signs of peak quality, this needs to be updated.

Guitars built in the USA still offer peak craftsmanship. But guitars made in Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and Indonesia compete with the quality. Examples include the PRS guitars in this article, which are built to professional standards.

Any guitar priced around $1,500 with build quality or materials should be fine. However, every guitar is flawed.

Here are a few tricks to assess build quality:

  • Ensure the neck isn’t twisted or bowed.
  • Play each note on each string to ensure there’s no buzz.
  • Check the action, and look at the distance between the strings and the fingerboard. 
  • Test through an amp to check for any loose wires. Give the cable a slight wobble to test the input jack.
  • Run your fingers along the fret edges. They should be smooth without sharp edges.


Although $1,500 is a lot, guitars retail at much higher prices. It’s easy to find guitars for $4,000.

But, when buying a guitar, you must be realistic about your budget. Don’t overspend.  

While the pull of an American-made Gibson is enough to get any guitarist waving a credit card. There are options.  

If the under $1,500 is out of budget, some guitars mimic more expensive models. For example, Epiphones share similar traits to Gibsons but are more affordable.

Don’t be disheartened if a guitar is out of budget. After all, if you’re playing killer licks, the crowd will be none the wiser.

Read Also: How Much Does an Electric Guitar Cost?


Pickups are critical to the sound of a guitar. You’ll find two different types in this article: humbucker, and single-coil. These are the two main types.

Pickups cater to different styles. A single-coil pickup is a traditional type that uses one wire wrapped around a magnet. Humbuckers, on the other hand, have two coils per pickup.

Because of the extra coil, humbuckers are more powerful and have higher output. Hence, they are more suited to heavier genres.

Single coils are brighter with more emphasis on treble. The thinner and sparkling tones have made them a go-to in jazz, blues, country, and funk.

Some guitars offer the best of both worlds. A coil split turns off one coil, changing a humbucker into a single coil.

Body Style

Guitar bodies range in size. From large old-school archtop jazz boxes to streamlined super-strats. Consider your frame when choosing a body shape. 

Arch-tops are deep and are hard to reach over if you have shorter arms. At the same time, deeper bodies produce more low frequencies. So, deeper bodies have their positives.

You must pick between a solid body, semi-hollow, or hollow. Hollow bodies produce a more resonant and fat tone. Whereas solid bodies are sharper with more bite.

Also, pay close attention to contours. If you want comfy, ergonomic bodies, plush the guitar against the player.

Of course, the look of a guitar’s body will decide. The body is the centerpiece that an audience will look at. So, you’ll have to pick the one you like the look of.

Read Also: 20 Different Types of Guitars Explained: The Complete List


Playability relates to how easy the guitar is to play. But this is personal. You might find a guitar easy to play, but another guitarist might need to. 

So, what are the factors affecting playability?

While the body size will play a part, a lot depends on the neck. Necks come in different profiles. Standard profiles are C, U, and V. C is the most typical, while V profiles are expected on vintage guitars.

Also, the size varies. There are big, bulky baseball bat-like necks and slender, thin ones. It’s worth playing before you buy. Or, if buying online, use a site like Sweetwater, which has a no-hassle return policy.

There are things you can do to play without changing the guitar.

If the action isn’t your liking, you can get a professional technician to set the guitar up. They’ll lower or higher the action according to preference and what makes it easier for you to play.

Also, different gauge strings suit other players and styles.

Genre of Music

The genre of music you play is pivotal to deciding which guitar is right for you.

Certain guitars have tried and tested tonal nuances that suit specific genres. The Strat, for example, with its snap, is a long-standing favorite in blues.

Manufacturers have a target audience that involves a genre of music. They cater the guitar to a guitarist’s needs, depending on which genres they play. For example, a metal guitar will have high-output pickups for distortion.

Likewise, a guitar catered towards rhythm players won’t have high fret access.

Moreover, the looks matter. A heavy metal guitar with sharp horns will look out-of-place playing twee pop.


So there we have it! These are our picks for the best electric guitars under $1,500.

The genre of music you play will be a powerful guide. Although there are crossovers, and some guitars are more versatile than others, identifying the genre is a good starting point.

So, which one takes your fancy?

Whichever, these are the top performers in the price band. You can expect a guitar with pro-quality that’ll be in your collection long term.

I hope this article has helped you decide which guitar is right for you.

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