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Best electric guitar under $300, $500 and $2000 in 2023

Cameron, in Music lessons
Feb 03, 2023 | 3 min read

With so many choices, buying the best electric guitar under $300, under $500 and under $2000 can be impossible. We’ve done the work for you!

Looking to understand guitar specs first before buying? We’ve got you covered here in this article.

Best electric guitar under $300

Squier Affinity Stratocaster

Body: Alder 
Neck: Maple, C-shaped
Fretboard: Maple
Frets: 21
Pickups: Squier Single-Coil Strat

Squier Affinity Stratocaster | Fender.com

Options for sub-$300 guitars have traditionally been limited (and not great), but luckily modern guitarists are presented with a wide range of options.

The guitar of choice for many beginning guitarists, the Squier series is an affordable gateway into the world of Fender guitars.

The Affinity series offers a classic Stratocaster body, along with single-coil pickups and a C-shaped maple neck, making it great for achieving vintage tones on a tight budget.

Ibanez RG421

Body: Meranti
Neck: Maple Wizard III
Fretboard: Jatoba
Frets: 24
Pickups: Quantum humbuckers

Ibanez RG421 | Ibanez.com

The Ibanez RG421 is a great guitar for beginners or those on a budget. It features a thin and fast maple Wizard neck as well as Quantum humbucking pickups. Unlike some of Ibanez’s other models, the RG421 has a fixed bridge, making it great for beginners. This is an excellent guitar for those looking for speed and playability.

Yamaha Pacifica 112v

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple, C-shaped
Fretboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22
Pickups: Yamaha Alnico V Single-Coil

Yamaha Pacifica | rimmersmusic.co.uk

The Pacifica 112v is an extremely affordable electric guitar from Yamaha with a C-shaped neck, rosewood fretboard and 22 frets. Another great feature at this price point is the H/S/S configuration, which gives you the versatility to play a wide range of styles.

Best electric guitar from between $500-$1,000

This price range is normally where you get the best value for money. Guitars in this category come packed with features at a price that is still highly affordable. Because you are paying slightly more, there won’t be as many corners cut when it comes to building quality or specifications.

Fender Player Series Stratocaster

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple, Modern C
Fretboard: Pau Ferro
Frets: 22
Pickups: Player Series Alnico 5 Strat Single-Coil

Fender Player Series Stratoscaster | Fender.com

The Player series by Fender represents the best value in their entire lineup at the moment, providing excellent specs and modern features at a great price. This Mexican-made Strat comes with an alder body, a Modern-C neck profile and three single coil pickups, as well as 22 frets on a maple fretboard. This is essentially the best Stratocaster you can get for under $1,000, with specs good enough for beginners and professionals alike. 


Body: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany Thin U
Fretboard: Pau Ferro
Frets: 24
Pickups: EMG 80/61

Despite looking like a classic Gibson Les Paul, this ESP guitar has been built from the ground up for high-intensity shredding. 

ESP LTD EC-1000 | espguitars.com

Besides offering 24 frets instead of 22, the EC-1000 also comes fitted with a set of EMG 60/81 active pickups, allowing for extremely thick high-gain tones. When paired with the right amp or distortion pedal, these pickups will truly pack a punch. The ebony fretboard and comfortable mahogany neck are also ideal for speedy guitar solos. If you’re looking for the perfect metal guitar under $1,000, this is it.

PRS SE Custom 24

Body: Mahogany with Beveled Maple Top and Flame Maple Veneer
Neck: Maple, Wide Thin
Fretboard: Rosewood
Frets: 24
Pickups: 85/15 “S”

PRS SE Custom 24 | Guitarcenter.com

While PRS are best known for their high-end US-made guitars, they also offer an SE line with affordable Korean-made guitars. The SE Custom 24 is one of these. With a beautiful mahogany body and maple top, as well as 85/15 pickups that offer both humbucking and single-coil tones, this is a highly versatile all-rounder. Playability is also excellent, thanks to the Wide Thin maple neck and rosewood fretboard. If you’re looking for a guitar that can do it all for under $1,000, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Best electric guitar between $1,000-$2000


Body: Mahogany with maple top
Neck: Maple, Pattern Thin
Fretboard: Rosewood
Frets: 24
Pickups: 85/15

PRS CE24 | Sweetwater.com

Although it comes in at just under $2,000, the CE24 is still one of PRS’s more affordable models. At this price point, you get a US-built guitar for half the price of comparable models from PRS.  Key specifications include a bolt-on maple neck, 85/15 pickups and of course 24 frets. Compared to the even more affordable SE Custom 24, the CE24 features a thinner neck, higher-quality electronics as well as a flamed maple top compared to the SE’s veneer. The neck on the CE24 has a smooth satin finish, while the SE’s is glossy. Another important difference is that the CE24 features a bolt-on neck, while the SE has a set neck. 

Fender American Professional II Telecaster

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple, Deep C
Fretboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22
Pickups: V-Mod II Single-Coil Tele

Fender American Professional II Telecaster | fender.com

The new Professional II Telecaster features a bolt-on Deep-C neck, 22 frets and V Mod II Tele pickups. In terms of woods, the body is made from alder, with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard. It also comes with a sculpted neck that makes it easier to reach higher frets. For the money, this is one of the best telecasters you can buy.

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