Best Electric Guitars Under $1000
Here are the best electric guitars under $1000, versatile and stylish instruments that are mid-priced and reliable.
With improved technology and stiff market competition, the $1000 price range has become the sweet spot for finding versatile guitars with the best value. These guitars usually have tone, features and specifications that can rival more expensive models, albeit with some aesthetics trimmed down. We have picked out our top favorite, along with some worthy competitors that were selected based on their value for money.
The 2012 American Standard Stratocaster is the latest incarnation of Fender's best selling electric guitar, now featuring aged plastic parts and improved Fender Custom Shop Fat 50's pickups.
With its iconic looks, vintage vibe and upgraded pickups, this modern day Strat is a truly powerful workhorse instrument. It is the play-it-safe choice for musicians that require a versatile instrument for various genres. Everything great about the classic design is retained, including a maple neck and fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets carved into a modern C shape neck that is very convenient to play on. The Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s come straight from Fender's high-end models, giving this strat the same flexibility and brightness as the Custom made instruments have. Other refinements like its thinner undercoating finish, two-point synchronized tremolo helps improve your overall sound and playing experience. Manufacturer: Fender | Retail Price: $949 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
Finding the Gibson L6S just below the $1000 mark is a pleasant surprise, this means that at this price range, you can get a unique sounding Gibson made instrument that still carries their premium quality build and construction.
Instead of the usual mahogany body, the original Gibson L6 was released back in 1973 as an all-maple alternative to the Les Paul. It follows the shape of Gibson's popular archtop guitars, but with a solid maple body. The current production model Gibson L6S treads the same unconventional path, but with modern hardware and electronic implements, making it a cool instrument to pick if you want to stand out from the crowd. Its 490R neck and 498T bridge pickup works with the maple body to produce chimey sounds that are not usually associated with Gibson. An impressive six position pickup switch allows for a variety of tones including convincing single coil tones that are unexpected from a humble HH configuration guitar. Manufacturer: Gibson | Retail Price: $999 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
ESP is known for producing quality affordable instruments that are built for speed, and the EC1000 Deluxe is a great example. For a little over three quarters of a Grand, you get looks, playability and tone that is at par with more expensive ESP models.
Reviews of this guitar are unanimous (and we agree) in saying that the quality of this instrument is way beyond its price tag. It follows the stereotypical shred machine design - mahogany body and neck along with a pair of EMG 81/60 humbucking pickups. ESP however decided to spice it up with premium hardware and upgraded aesthetics to match its "Deluxe" label, including TonePros locking bridge and tailpiece, ESP locking tuners, abalone flag inlays, Ebony Fingerboard, beautiful bindings and a flamed maple top - pretty impressive features that is not normally found on instruments within this price range! The ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe will truly let you shred and rock in style. Manufacturer: ESP Guitars | Retail Price: $949 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
The Gretsch Double Jet with Bigsby is a stylish workhorse electric guitar that sits way below the 1000 dollar mark. Its vintage appeal and tone, along with its vibrato functionality makes it a standout from among the instruments in its price bracket.
As expected from Gretsch, this guitar does not take aesthetic embellishments lightly. It comes with a great looking arched maple on top of its chmabered basswood body, and has a bunch of pearloid hump-block inlays are positioned to guide your fingers through its 22 medium jumbo fret rosewood fretboard. Its Bisgby B50 tailpiece further enhances the guitar's vintage vibe, while at the same time providing nifty vibrato controls over your notes. To get that genuine Gretsch sound, the guitar is equipped with Black Top Filter'Tron pickups which are very well received by many guitar players. This is highly recommended if you want a non-conventional looking instrument that works conventionally. Manufacturer: Gretsch Guitars | Retail Price: $595 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
The Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro, brings the tuxedo look that Les Paul himself suggested, at a very affordable price tag. It faithfully reproduces the original Gibson Les Paul Custom's solid-black and antique white finish and gold hardware combination.
Although the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro will not have the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail as uber-expensive Gibsons, it comes close when it comes to style and functionality, and it is easily the more practical choice for guitar players that work within realistic budgets. This guitar's main wood of choice is mahogany, featuring a mahogany body, carved mahogany top and a mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard. Following Gibson and Epiphone's current push for coil tapping technology, this guitar comes with ProBucker pickups and coil-tapping circuitry, adding extra tones to the guitar's already impressive looks and features. Manufacturer: Epiphone | Retail Price: $459 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
Schecter C-1 Hellraiser is a mechanical monster that has impressed guitar players world over. Its top notch craftsmanship and high gain friendly configuration continues to win over unsuspecting guitarists, turning them into Hellraiser guitar zombies.
As the name implies, this instrument is definitely not for the weak hearted, nor is it for ballad and pop players - it is designed to conjure metal tones that will satisfy hardcore rockers. It has the typical super-strat shaped body that metal players prefer, the body is made of mahogany and features an extended cutaway for easier to access the upper frets. It has a sturdy 3-piece mahogany neck topped by a rosewood fretboard. The 24 extra jumbo frets are marked by gothic cross inlays that matches the overall look of the instruments. To ensure that it will give you all the high-gain juice that you need, Schecter equipped the Hellraiser C1 with EMG active 81TW/89 active pickups. Other premium hardware include thru-body design TonePros TOM bridge and Schecter locking tuners. Manufacturer: Schecter Guitar Research | Retail Price: $749 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
The all-black Fender Special Jaguar HH is another standout instrument in this price range. Its killer looks and dark theme caters to the style of modern and alternative rockers and the best thing about it is its reasonable price tag.
This guitar comes with Fender's traditional pairing of alder body and maple neck. What gives the guitar its edgy tonality however is its two special design MIJ Dragster humbucking pickups. These are hot output and low-noise pickups that can really crank up your amp or mellow down to reproduce the original '60s era single coil bite without worrying about noise and feedback usually associated with old single coils. Finally the guitar's unique control gives you sounds that are unique to the instrument, allowing for flexibility that is useful especially in the rock music. If you are looking for a cool black instrument, this is a great deal. Manufacturer: Fender | Retail Price: $800 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
The Gibson SG '70s Tribute is based on the SG design that was prominent in what we now call classic rock. It gives you a taste of the rock dominated '70s era, featuring period correct specs and aesthetics.
This guitar retains the most prominent feature of the SG, which is its sharp double cutaway design that provides great upper-fret access. The body is made of solid mahogany and paired with a mahogany neck that is carved to a '70s era profile. This neck profile is highly favored by rock players because of its extreme playability. Trapezoid inlays are used as fret markers across its 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. Controls and electronics are kept straightforward and simple, allowing you combine or select either of the Dual Dirty Fingers Humbuckers. The pickups come without covers to give it a raw look that matches its raw but high output classic rock voicing. Manufacturer: Gibson | Retail Price: $899 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
Manufacturers tend to mix features around until they find ones that appeal to fickle players, one successful example of this is the 1972 Fender Telecaster Thinline, turning a familiar solidbody into a semi-hollow and equipping it with dual humbuckers.
The Fender 72 Telecaster Thinline is an authentic replication of the original instrument that caught many players by surprise. It follows the original specifications down to the smallest details including the 7.25" radius fingerboard, single f-hole accent, vintage '70s Fender F stamped tuning machines, 6-saddle string-thru-body bridge and its unique pickguard design. At the core of the guitar however is a semi-hollow ash body that comes in the shape of the ever familiar Telecaster. The guitar comes with two Fender Wide Range humbucking pickups that gives it a voice that is unique to the Tele Thinline, able to handle anything from soft plucking to high-gain riffs. Manufacturer: Fender | Retail Price: $900 | Get the latest price & reviews at Zzounds.com
If you want to play-it-all with your one grand, then heed our advice and get the Godin xTSA. A true jack-of-all-trades, it bears three "voices" - electric, acoustic and synth - giving you an amazing array of sounds that you will not find elsewhere in this price range. The competition did come close, but the overall value and versatility of the Godin xTSA makes it the best electric guitar under 1000 bucks.
Although not as hyped as other big name brands, Godin is respected in the industry for pushing the boundaries, creating some of the most versatile instruments in the planet. The xTSA is a prime example of Godin's design strategy, they packed it with all possible features while still retaining a reasonable price tag. The electric voice of the xTSA comes from its versatile HSH pickup configuration, while RMX transducer saddles provide convincing acoustic tones. Note that you can even blend the electric and acoustic "voice" to further expand your tonal palette. Finally, the guitar is synth ready, with built-in 13-pin connector for accessing synth sounds! For something under $1000, this is an impressive versatile instrument, perfect for session guitarists that play anything and everything, or for those that want to take their playing beyond their comfort zone. Manufacturer: Godin Guitars | Retail Price: $998.00
Eastwood Airline Map
Here at GuitarSite, we are fans of fresh and distinct looking instruments, although we love big name and iconic guitars, we do get tired of looking at rehashed variations of popular guitar designs. For this reason we included the Eastwood Airline Map on this list, we want to give you a more personable and unique alternative to conventional looking instruments.
Although it looks fresh, the Eastwood Airline Map is actually a tribute to the National Newport guitar made back in the early '60s. It is an ode to an era where guitar manufacturers were more open to experimenting with new designs. Since original MAP Res-O-Glas models are now rare and highly valued, the Eastwood Airline Map makes for a viable and affordable alternative to the rare and sought after vintage instrument. The sound of this guitar is as exotic as its appearance, thanks to its tone chambered mahogany body and its two alnico Hot-10 humbuckers. Other features that both look and work great include Grover tuners, Bigsby tremolo and a bound maple neck. With its retro vibe and impressive hardware, the Airline Map is definitely a great deal. Manufacturer: Eastwood Guitars | Retail Price: $879
Share This Article