10 Best Electric Guitars Under $2,000
Please keep in mind that electric guitar prices are subject to change and tend to increase every year. We will try our best to frequently update this list accordingly.
If you’re a seasoned musician or a serious guitar enthusiast, you know that investing in a premium electric guitar can make all the difference in your playing experience.
While guitars in this price range may not be the most budget-friendly, they offer top-of-the-line sound, craftsmanship, and playability that can take your music to the next level.
We’ve compiled a list of the best electric guitars under $2000 from the most iconic guitar brands in the world that are sure to impress even the most discerning players.
So, whether you’re looking to upgrade your current instrument or add a new addition to your collection, our list has got you covered.
The Best Electric Guitars Under $2,000
- PRS CE 24 – Editor’s Choice
- Gibson Les Paul Classic – Most Versatile
- Fender American Ultra Telecaster – Best for Blues
- Fender American Ultra Stratocaster – Best for Country
- ESP E-II Eclipse – Best for Metal
- Gibson SG Standard ’61 – Best for Rock
- Strandberg Boden Standard 6 – Best Headless Guitar
- Ibanez Prestige S6570Q – Best for Shredding
- Ibanez Prestige RGR752AHBF – Best 7-String
PRS CE 24 – Overall Best Electric Guitar Under $2,000
The PRS CE 24 is a fully spec'd American made Paul Reed Smith Guitar at a more affordable price than the Core line. Aside from the maple bolt-on neck and thinner body, it's the exact same guitar as a PRS Core Custom 24 at a fraction of the price.
Read our full PRS CE 24 Review
While $2,000 may seem a lot, considering the PRS Core line of guitars can cost more than $5,000, the price looks more reasonable. And here’s the thing, the PRS CE 24 offers a lot of the same benefits as a top-end PRS Core model… but without the price.
So what are the differences?
You’ll have to dig deep. The PRS CE 24 has a maple bolt-on neck whereas the Core line has a mahogany set neck. The Core line has TCI-tuned pickups, and the finish looks more refined.
But all things considered, these are minor differences.
Especially when many guitarists prefer the sharp bite and woody attack of the maple bolt-on neck.
And, the 85/15 pickups are essentially the same in both guitars. The TCI (Tuned Capacitance and Inductance) just means the pickups are ear-tuned to fit the model.
The CE 24 is an American-built PRS. It has the prestige of coming from the famed PRS Maryland factory. Beyond the stature, the country of manufacture also comes with guarantees of build quality.
The PRS CE 24 offers playability to accommodate on-stage performance with its thin body and comfy neck.
For the professional gigging musician on a budget, the CE 24 delivers it all and in an American-built package.
- American-build quality
- Coil splitting for tone versatility
- Classic PRS looks with bird inlays
- Smooth and speedy playability from the thin body and pattern thin neck.
- The gloss polyurethane finish isn’t as sophisticated as the gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish on Core models.
Gibson Les Paul Classic – Most Versatile Electric Guitar Under $2,000
A Gibson Les Paul needs little introduction. It’s one of the true iconic guitars played by greats like Slash and Jimmy Page.
The Gibson Les Paul Classic has the characteristics of an early 60s Gibson but with some modern appointments.
The maple back combined with the maple top is a time-honored Les Paul tradition.
Throw in the BurstBucker 61R and 61T open-coil pickups and you’ve got the classic 60s Gibson tone. The Burstbuckers re-create the tonal nuances of the original humbuckers. If you want the tried and tested Les Paul tone, look no further.
But alongside the classic sounds, the Les Paul Classic offers tonal versatility. There are 4 push and pull dials for coil-tapping, phase-switching, and pure bypassing.
What does pure bypassing mean?
In short, the pure bypassing feature circumnavigates the tone and volume controls for a direct out to the jack output. Without the loss of signal, this feature creates sonic purity.
The push and pull volume dial allows operating between single-coil and humbuckers. While the phase switching scoops out some mid-range frequencies.
Varying tones make this Les Paul an ideal studio companion for a session musician. From hard rock to mellow jazz, the Gibson Les Paul Classic does it all.
Made in Gibson’s Nashville factory, the craftsmanship is of prime quality. With a lifetime warranty, you have the reassurance that this is a guitar for the long term.
- Versatility of sounds
- Classic Les Paul shape
- Expert setup at Gibsons Nashville factory
- American build quality, including a lifetime warranty
- The number of controls can confuse novice guitarists.
Fender American Ultra Telecaster – Best Electric Guitar Under $2,000 for Country
The Fender American Ultra Telecaster is a top-of-the-line guitar that takes everything you love about a Telecaster but adds some modern appointments to make the guitar easier to play.
The Telecaster has qualities making it an amazing guitar for country. Players like Muddy Waters and Keith Richards use a Tele, and this speaks volumes.
Bright and with a twang, Telecasters are perfect for intricate riffs and picking techniques found in Blues.
The Fender American Ultra Telecaster has all the features to accommodate your blues playing.
2 Ultra Noiseless Vintage Tele Single-coil pickups supply the punch of a vintage Tele. But, a huge positive is the lack of hum that mar vintage pickups.
A modern D-profile neck with rolled fretboard edges ensures the playing hand can slip and slide its way through the 12-bar blues with comfort. The neck has a satin finish which is super smooth on the riffing hand.
When you’re hanging on a blue note, a genuine bone nut helps sustain the moment. However far you bend, the sealed locking tuners enhance tuning stability. And if your jam finds you high up the fretboard, the tapered neck heel allows for easy access to the higher registers.
The American Ultra Tele has all the tonal charms of a vintage Tele but with modern playability.
Sure, many reports suggest the Fender setup isn’t as meticulous as it should be. But for the blues player, this American-built Fender will cut through any live performance.
- Tuning stability of sealed locking tuners
- Sculpted neck heel for access to the high frets.
- Punch and twang of a classic Tele but without the vintage hum
- Modern d-profile neck and rolled fretboard to smooth playability
- Factory setup could be better. Many reports suggest intonation isn’t prime out-of-the-box.
Fender American Ultra Stratocaster – Best Electric Guitar Under $2,000 for Blues
If you like your country guitar licks with a bluesy or rocky edge, the American Ultra Stratocaster is a prime candidate.
Like the Ultra Tele, it’s a premium guitar made in Fender’s Corona, California factory.
Modern appointments include the compound radius. This means the radius varies. At the nut, the radius is 10″ whereas towards the body it increases to 14″.
Because the fretboard is flatter towards the higher registers, riffing is easier. The rounder radius towards the nut allows for smooth chord forming. For country music, flowing between chords and riffs is an essential part of playing. So, the Ultra Strat hits the spot.
The noiseless pickups are full of Strat character but light on noise allowing for you to drive a tube amp for a great tone.
But, the pickup configuration is versatile with a 5-way switch. An S1 switch on the Master Volume adds the neck pickup to the other two.
An Ultra Strat is for a guitarist who wants higher specs than an American Professional Strat but cheaper than a Custom Shop.
Furthermore, while it has the vintage looks, this is every bit a modern guitar. Some find the noiseless pickups lose some of the Stratocasters’ snappy attitude. But if clean and modern are your thing, this guitar will deliver.
For an expensive guitar, it’d be nice to see stainless steel frets. But minor discrepancies aside, for ‘chicken pickin’ country techniques, it’ll pop through a mix.
- Ultra-smooth satin neck for comfort
- Sealed locking tuners for tuning stability
- 3 single-coil pickups and S1 switch for versatility
- Compound neck radius for transitional playing techniques.
- The nickel ones as standard may need re-fretting down the line. As an expensive guitar, stainless steel frets would be preferred.
ESP E-II Eclipse – Best Electric Guitar Under $2,000 for Metal
The ESP E-II Esclipse is made in Japan, top of the line Single-Cut guitar made with shredders in mind. It's a step up from the ESP LTD line, meaning you'll get better build quality, electronics and quality control.
Some guitars can’t handle a full metal onslaught. You’ll need a guitar suited to the genre. The ESP E-II Eclipse DB is a guitar made with metal in mind.
The vintage black finish with skillful binding is easy on the eye and looks premium quality. It showcases the full ingenuity of the workforce at ESP’s Japanese plant. The E-II Eclipse DB looks like a metal heads dream, but how does it help sculpt the sound?
The secret ingredient to the metal sound is the EMG humbuckers. You get an EMG 81 on the bridge and an EMG 60 in the neck. As pickups go, they’re very high output so you can blast out riffs with powerful distortion. Like a vintage PAF, they have a prominent honk in the midrange perfect for metal.
But this guitar also has a build to help you achieve metal riffs. A thin u-profile neck is for fast playing. Access to upper frets is easy thanks to a sharp cutaway, while the arched top provides comfortable positioning for the hand.
Extra jumbo frets suit bending without having to press too hard and deliver long-lasting sustain.
ESP E-II Eclipse DB guitars look more expensive than $2,000. Adorned with gold hardware including a Gotoh bridge and locking tuner, the elegant looks are born for the stage.
It’s worth tightening the tone selector switch as it loosens after some usage. But make no doubt about it, the ESP E-II Eclipse DB is a machine.
- Japanese craftsmanship
- Designed for fast playing
- High output level and sound of EMG humbucker pickups
- Rugged and alluring hardware, including Gotoh bridge and locking tuners
- Loose tone selector switch
Gibson SG Standard ’61 – Best Electric Guitar Under $2,000 for Rock
The SG is the weapon of choice for rockers like Angus Young, Pete Townshend, and Tony Iommi. So, with the Gibson SG Standard ’61, you’ll be in good company,
Made in Gibson’s Nashville factory, the Gibson SG Standard ’61 is a close replica of the first model. Decorated with the classic cherry color and nitro finish, this SG looks like a vintage instrument and will age like one too. It’s a guitar that’ll be in your collection for the long haul.
If you want the original Gibson SG vintage tone, the two Burstbucker 61 pickups do just that. Rounded low end, throaty midrange, and crystalline highs. These pups offer the perfect replica of the original 1961 humbuckers. This guitar produces a tone like you’ll have heard on iconic classic rock records.
The mahogany body enhances note sustain but is also lightweight so won’t cause shoulder pain during longer sets.
Combined with a SlimTaper neck, Plek’d frets, and a rosewood fretboard, this is a sweet playing instrument.
As standard, the SG ’61 comes with a setup. Out-of-the-box, the action is smooth, but you may need to adjust the height of the pickups to gain some volume.
The Gibson SG Standard ’61 is a piece of rock history. So for a collector, it’ll have its appeals. But the lightweight body and classic tone make this a prime guitar for rock players who play extensive sets.
- Lightweight for prolonged use
- Iconic rock sound reminiscent of the original SG.
- Classic SG looks that replicate the first models with a nitro finish.
- Plek’d frets. A plek is a computer-controlled leveling tool for amazing fretwork.
- Some stock needs pickup height adjusting for extra volume.
Strandberg Boden Standard NX 6 – Best Headless Electric Guitar Under $2,000
The Strandberg Boden Standard 6 Tremolo is a premium instrument for the player wanting a headless guitar.
You may be apprehensive about a headless guitar. So let’s talk of some advantages of the headless Strandberg Boden Standard 6 Tremolo.
Lightweight and well-balanced, there’s no heavy headstock causing the guitar to dive. It’s a comfortable guitar to hold with little pressure on your back.
Restringing the Boden Standard 6 is fast. While it’s a different proposition to restringing a standard guitar, once you’ve got used to the new skill, it’ll save time.
Once in place, the EGS Series 5 Tremolo bridge and string locks keep the guitar in tune. Then you’ll find intonation is harmonious from one string to the next for a consistent-sounding guitar.
This is an innovative guitar. If you’re seeking traditional looks and performance, it’s best to give this one a miss.
Further proof of innovation comes from the fanned frets.
Angled, fanned frets give this guitar a longer scale on lower strings while there’s a shorter scale on the higher. This causes the lower strings to have more vibration for a fuller tone. Whereas the higher strings are bright and clear.
So how does it sound overall? It balances warmth and fullness with brilliance in the upper frequencies. With a percussive attack and nice sustain, it’s a guitar suited to progressive styles of music.
In this price range, you can own a prestigious American-built guitar. Crafted in Indonesia, the Boden Standard 6 doesn’t have the same prestige.
That’s not to say the Indonesian build is inferior, it’s a well-crafted instrument. For the progressive player, the Boden Standard 6 offers unique features and looks to help you stand out from the crowd.
- Fan fretted design
- Innovative looks and performance
- Lightweight, easy on the back and shoulder
- All the benefits of a headless guitar like fast tuning and stability
- Built-in Indonesia, it doesn’t have the prestige of the US or Japanese-built guitars.
Ibanez Prestige S6570Q – Best Electric Guitar Under $2,000 for Shredding
Shredding is a tough nut to crack. If you want to learn to shred or want a guitar to make this technique easier, you’ll need the right guitar.
An Ibanez Prestige S6570Q guitar has shredding techniques on the mind.
Let’s start with the Super Wizard HP neck. It’s the slimmest neck in the Ibanez armory, so it is super fast. The feel enables you to execute runs with speed.
As you fly along the neck, you won’t experience any unwanted sharp edges. The prestige fret-edge treatment ensures rounded edges throughout.
Such a speedy and slim neck can have you concerned about durability. You’d be right to have this concern. But Ibanez has thought about this issue and fitted the Super Wizard HP with a titanium truss rod. Titanium is a durable corrosion-resistant metal providing a sturdy backbone to the neck.
The pickup setup has guitar solos in mind. Fitted with three high-class DiMarzio pickups, there’s a variety of tones at your fingertips. There’s a DiMarzio Tone Zone on the bridge which is a high output humbucker. This compliments the S6570Q’s DiMarzio Air Norton in the neck position for warmth yet clear capture.
Between both is the DiMarzio True Velvet single-coil. Sparkling and clean, engage this pup for a cutting solo. The configuration is flexible for many genres and techniques.
The Ibanez Prestige S6570Q is one for an expert player with all the tricks in their locker. It may need a setup out-of-the-box to fine-tune the playability, but for the speed demon, it’ll match your needs.
- Prestige fret edge treatment
- Speed of Super Wizard HP neck
- The comfort of the S-shape body
- Three high-performance DiMarzio pickups
- Benefits from a setup upon arrival
Ibanez Prestige RGR752AHBF – Best 7-String Electric Guitar Under $2,000
The Ibanez Prestige RGR752AHBF provides some sharp-edged eye-popping looks to the 7 string market. Visible grain textures provide the ash body with character while the white pickups and binding add a tasteful accent.
Ibanez’s Gibraltar Standard II-7 bridge is worthy of recognition. It’s a bridge built for stability and sustain. The sleek low profile results in a low action for fast playing techniques.
Furthermore, with the locking tuner, this guitar keeps its tune for on-stage performance.
Fitted with the Super Wizard HP neck, this is a guitar designed for runs and riffs. When factoring in the DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbuckers for a powerful tone, this is a guitar suited for hard rock and metal.
The Fusion Edge round character helps capture note clarity. For lead players, solos will pop. Where they aren’t so good is the rhythm playing because of their low attack.
A 7 string guitar offers something different from the norm. If you like the idea of this guitar but are apprehensive about an extra string, the Ibanez Prestige RGR752AHBF is available in 6-string too.
The Ibanez Prestige RGR752AHBF is for the pro lead guitarist in heavier or more progressive and metal genres. While it may not have the versatility of other guitars, it’s a master for riffs with an added string for extra doom.
- Ash body grain texture
- Available in 6 or 7 string
- Strong hardware for tuning stability
- Designed for lead playing and riffs
- Not very versatile. While the low attack is perfect for lead and riffs, there are better pickups for rhythm.
How to Choose The Best Electric Guitar Under $2,000 – Buyer’s Guide
The above guitars are top performers in the under $2,000 price range. But it makes sense to know what you’re looking for to identify a good guitar. Here’s a guide to help your search.
Materials & Build Quality
If you’re paying around $2,000 for a guitar, the materials and build quality shouldn’t be an issue.
It’s always worth checking the country of manufacture. The United States and Japan create high-end guitars with excellent woods, hardware and electronics. The factories in these countries also have strict quality control and the setup, mostly, will see you ready to play from the point of arrival.
But the gap in quality isn’t what it was 10 years ago. For example, the Strandberg Boden Standard 6 is a product of Indonesia and is a quality guitar.
While the core tonewoods can resemble a guitar half the price, there’ll be a difference. The woods on more expensive guitars go through a period of drying and aging to improve stability.
A good way to recognize excellent craftsmanship is to look at fine details. Run your fingers down the fret edges to ensure they are smooth and not sharp. Look to see if the inlays and binding are plush and level with the tonewoods. These details mean that skilled luthiers have crafted every detail.
You’ll need to be careful of fakes. You’ll often find these on unreputable sites and retail at a price that’s too good to be true. Shops like Sweetwater and Guitar Center are reliable companies with favorable return policies. This is important if the materials or build quality don’t meet your demands.
Budget is a major player when buying a guitar. $2,000 may seem expensive, but you can pay double this with ease for a premium guitar.
There’s no denying that it’s often the case that you’ll pay for what you get. But, it’s important to have a budget and stick to it.
If $2,000 is out of reach, you can still find a great guitar. It may not have the prestige of an American build, but there are options. Many manufacturers offer great affordable alternatives. For example, Fender builds guitars in Mexico. The difference between an American and Mexican-built Fender is less than you’d think.
Remember, a large proportion of listeners will not hear the difference between a $5,000, a $2,000 or a $700 guitar.
The pickups capture string vibrations and turn this movement into an electrical signal. Often referred to as the heartbeat of a guitar, they’re important to your sound.
At this price, the guitars will have excellent pickups. You’ll find leading brands like EMG, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Fender, and Gibson.
But, because the brand name is suitable, it doesn’t mean the pickup itself is. You’ll need to find a pickup to suit your genre and tone. For distorted guitar tones, look for high output pickups.
Here are the common pickups types:
- Single coil: Bright and with a jangle, singles coils excel in country, blues, pop, and rock. Adding an overdrive to a single-coil creates a tone ideal in harder rock and heavier blues.
- P90: The middle ground between single coils and humbuckers. P90s have grit when digging into the strings. First released in the 40s, the P90 went out of fashion until the punk scene. They’re versatile, ideal for most genres, including jazz and rock.
- Humbuckers: These are the highest output pickups, so will handle hard rock and metal. Ideal for distortion and overdrive, they’ll also work in genres like prog, classic rock, and blues.
Some guitars have a combination of single coils and humbuckers. These are versatile guitars for multi-genre performance.
You’ll find guitar bodies in different shapes and sizes.
First, you’ll have to like the look of it. There’s no point in spending big bucks on a guitar you don’t find cool.
But, it’s also worth thinking of practicality. For example, if you have a smaller frame, a small body will assist playability. Also, if you like to put on a show with plenty of movement, consider lightweight guitars.
If you want versatility, look for more dials and switches to engage pickup combinations.
Playability relates to how comfortable the guitar is to play, and this varies from player to player.
Many factors impact playability, such as neck profile, scale length and fret size.
If you’re unsure, go into a local shop to give the guitar a tryout. Try playing chords and barre chords. Then bend notes to ensure there’s no fret buzz.
This is where the Sweetwater return policy comes in handy. You can send the guitar back if you don’t find the playability to your liking.
But remember, a pro setup will improve action, thus enhancing the playability. Also, many guitarists find lower gauge strings easier to play, which is a quick fix.
Genre of Music
Certain guitars are a mainstay in specific genres. This is largely down to pickups and the tone they produce suiting the style.
We often see a Stratocaster and Telecaster as great guitars for blues, rock, and country. This is in large to the bright tone delivering note clarity. For heavier genres, high output pickups will take to distortion.
But beyond the tone, guitars cater to playing styles found in a specific genre. Metal and hard rock guitars have very slim necks with a flat fretboard. This allows guitarists to fly through fast techniques like shredding used in these genres. Whereas rounder fretboards are easier to form chords on.
There we have it. The best electric guitars under $2,000.
This list contains some serious big-hitting brands including PRS, Gibson, Fender, ESP, Strandberg, and Ibanez.
But the guitars on this list all have three key ingredients, playability, sound quality, and peak craftsmanship.
So, narrowing your search, consider your genre and the prominent playing technique you will use the guitar for. This will help find a guitar to suit your needs.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on your search. We wish you luck finding your perfect guitar!