The Best Electric Guitars Under $1000

The $1000 price range is the sweet spot for finding great guitars with exceptional value. Here you will find the best budget-friendly workhorse guitars in this price range, particularly those that come close to more expensive models, without the hefty price tag.

The guitars listed here have tone, features and specifications that matches, if not rival, more expensive models. Wood configuration, profile and playability is comparable, with the main difference being in the aesthetics aspect, which is trimmed down to reduce the cost.

To keep things interesting, we made sure that various guitar shapes and configurations are well represented, to cater to the many different musical styles and preferences. Whatever your playing style is, you will find a great value viable instrument that will suit your needs right here.

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Fender American Special Stratocaster

With its iconic looks, vintage vibe and upgraded pickups, the Stratocaster is a truly powerful workhorse instrument. It helped establish rock icons by helping them create some of the best guitar music available - including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson John Mayer and many more. The Stratocaster continues to be the go-to choice for musicians that require a versatile instrument for various musical genres - you simply can never go wrong with the Strat. Thanks to the American Special Stratocaster, you can now have a genuine American made Strat without going over one grand.

This affordable and modern incarnation of Fender's best selling electric guitar features the same vintage feel and a trio of Fender Texas Special pickups which are highly acclaimed for its overwound tone. These single-coil pickups come straight from the company's high-end models, giving the American Special Strat the flexibility and voicing that were previously only found on more expensive models.

Everything great about the classic design is retained, including a maple neck and fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets carved into a modern C shape profile that is very comfortable to play.

Other refinements like its large '70s style headstock, and retro color finish selection makes this Strat pleasing to look at, while the Greasebucket tone circuit allows for tone flexibility, it reduces treble without increasing bass. If you're looking for a classic workhorse electric guitar in this price range, this is the safest pick.Manufacturer: Fender | Get the latest price & reviews at

Ibanez S770PB

Ibanez S770P

If you want a super-fast and versatile instrument, then get yourself the Ibanez S770PB. This shred machine is a true jack-of-all-trades, with an HSH pickup configuration that gives you a wide array of sounds, and you'll have plenty of change to buy accessories and other gear. While other brands have been challenging Ibanez in the shred market, they continue to raise the standards that other manufacturers try to follow.

Ibanez is known in the industry for producing great value and quality instruments, and the S770PB is an excellent example of what they can do. They packed this instrument with as much features as they possibly can while still retaining a reasonable price tag. The result is a guitar with versatility and great aesthetics that exceed the expectations for instruments in this bracket.

The guitar's versatile HSH pickup configuration allows for a wide variety of tones from classic to modern, thanks to the trio of Ibanez INF pickups. The most notable feature of this guitar however is its 24-fret Wizard II neck, which both beginners and expert players will find to be a pleasure to play. If you're looking for a versatile instrument for rock and other musical styles, and you want one that looks flashy, then you should check this one out. Manufacturer: Ibanez | Get the latest price & reviews at

Gretsch G5620T-CB Electromatic Center-Block

Gretsch G5620T-CB Electromatic Center-Block

The Gretsch G5620T-CB Electromatic Center-Block is an elegant thinline electric guitar that sits comfortably below the 1000 dollar mark. Its vintage appeal and tone, along with its Bigsby vibrato functionality makes it a standout from among the instruments in this price bracket, and as expected from Gretsch, this guitar does not take aesthetic embellishments lightly. It comes with a great looking arched maple on top of its semi-hollow maple body, and has a bunch of pearloid thumb inlays positioned to guide your fingers through the guitar's 22 medium jumbo fret rosewood fretboard.

The G5620T is currently available in three finishes - black, rosa red and green. All of which comes with the same feature set, the most notable being the distinctive thin semi-hollow with center block body. And I just have to say that this guitar looks really good, now wonder talents as diverse as Brian Setzer, George Harrison, Duane Eddy and Chet Atkins all fell in love with the design.

The Bisgby B70 tailpiece further enhances the guitar's vintage vibe, while at the same time provides extra expressive control over your notes. To get that genuine Gretsch sound, the guitar is equipped with a Black Top Filter'Tron pickup on the bridge and a Dual-Coil SUPER HiLo'Tron on the neck position, both of which sound really great for the price and are already very well received by many guitar players. This is highly recommended if you want a non-conventional head-turner instrument. Manufacturer: Gretsch Guitars | Get the latest price & reviews at



ESP's LTD line is known for producing quality affordable instruments that are built for speed, and the EC-1000 series is their best example. Without going over one grand, you get looks, playability and tone that is on par with more expensive models. This guitar is basically a single-cutaway guitar designed for rock and metal music, and it comes in multiple variants with different finishes, pickups and hardware options.

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 active humbucking pickups, which for the see thru black finish is the EMG 81/60 set. The build quality of this instrument is a testament to why so many of today's modern rock, metal and progressive players support the brand, including Michael Paget, Stephen Carpenter, Kirk Hammet, George Lynch and many more.

The classic shape of the guitar contrasts the modern hardware and upgraded aesthetics that ESP decided to use on the ES-1000 Line. For this particular finish, the guitar comes equipped with a Floyd Rose bridge and locking nut, to make it even more shred friendly. Other hardware features include ESP locking tuners, abalone flag inlays, Rosewood fingerboard, beautiful bindings and a flamed maple top - pretty impressive features that are not normally found on instruments in this price range! The ESP LTD EC-1000 will truly let you shred in style. Manufacturer: ESP Guitars | Get the latest price & reviews at

Schecter C-1 Hellraiser

Schecter C-1 Hellraiser

Schecter C-1 Hellraiser is a shred 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 and super fast playability 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. These pickups are no classic humbuckers, rather it provides some of the grittiest sound you'll ever hear, fine tuned to work well with overdriven tones for low low-end riffs and ear piercing solos. Other premium hardware include thru-body design TonePros TOM bridge and Schecter locking tuners. With bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Black Label Society supporting them, we can expect reliable shred machines from Schecter. Manufacturer: Schecter Guitar Research | Get the latest price & reviews at

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

The Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro makes the tuxedo look that Les Paul himself suggested more accessible for us mortals with limited resources. It faithfully reproduces the original Gibson Les Paul Custom's solid-black and antique white finish with gold hardware combination - only this one has the Epiphone logo on the headstock. Although the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro will not have the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail as its uber-expensive Gibson counterpart, it gets close when it comes to style and functionality, and it is easily the more practical choice for guitar players that work within realistic budgets.

As expected this guitar's main wood of choice is mahogany, following the tried and tested single cutaway formula that uses mahogany for the body, carved mahogany for the 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 basic tones. Aside from sounding and playing good, this dressed up rocker comes with impressive aesthetic features like gold hardware, double binding all over, Locktone bridge and Grover tuners. This great bang per buck instrument will afford your one grand enough savings to buy a great amp! Manufacturer: Epiphone | Get the latest price & reviews at

Fender Classic Player Jaguar Special HH

Fender Classic Player Jaguar Special HH

The Classic Player Jaguar Special HH is another standout instrument from Fender that is available in this price range. It has the same distinct offset shape and killer looks, similar to vintage Jags that were used by big name artists like Kurt Cobain and Sonic Youth, but more importantly, this particular version comes with a reasonable price tag.

This guitar has Fender's traditional pairing of alder body and maple neck. What gives the guitar its edgy tonality however, is its two Enforcer humbucking pickups with split-coil capability. It even has independent Humbucking/Single-Coil Blend control for the two pickups, allowing for a wide variety of tones. You can basically get both classic single coil, and modern humbucker tones with just this one guitar, and as expected it works great for rock and grunge music.

This guitar also comes with improved playability thanks to its adjusto-matic bridge with vintage-style floating tremolo tailpiece and tremolo lock button. This allows for a more comfortable string action and improved tuning stability. If you are looking for a stylish and versatile instrument that's neither a Strat or LP clone, then you won't be disappointed with this one. Manufacturer: Fender | Get the latest price & reviews at

Fender 72 Telecaster Thinline

Fender 72 Telecaster Thinline

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 Tele Thinline went on to be used by a diverse range of artists the include Roy Buchanan, Johnny Lang, Mike Einziger and James Valentine just to name a few.

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 | Get the latest price & reviews at

Eastwood Airline Map

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-Glass 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

Related Articles:
The Best Electric Guitars Under $500
Cheap Electric Guitar Roundup

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Dead on article

Really nice selection of guitars. I'm a bit surprised that you didn't show a Telecaster here, as it has some of the best tones around and the American Special streets at $900. The Eastwood is really cool and I'm glad you included it here. I'm also sort of astounded that you didn't point out the Danelectro 12SDC twelve-string, which streets for less than $400. It has an interesting tone and is a good low-cost addition to any guitarist's arsenal. I especially loved the fact that the Godin xtSA showed up on top. This is a stunning instrument. I wouldn't necessary call the acoustic pickup pretty, but it can be blended into the electric to give your tone a bit of zing. In addition, the acoustic pickup has a three-band EQ, as well as a separate volume. Combine that with one of the best feeling necks I've ever played and you have a really fun, versatile, and inexpensive guitars.

Danelectro 12SDC

Actually the Danelectro 12SDC was included in our top 5 roundup of 12 String Electrics at

We've updated the list, and

We've updated the list, and there is now a Telecaster!

Nice choices. Consider Agile

Nice choices. Consider Agile guitars. Great build quality, and great pricing.

What about Carvin?

When compiling this sort of list, there are a lot of good guitars from which to choose. I think you guys have done a great job, but I do think Carvin should make the list. Of course, you can't go into a guitar store and play one (unless, per chance, you find a used one), and so this limits Carvin's exposure. However, the fit, finish, features, playability, and sound of a Carvin guitar are difficult to be at the sub $1000 price point.

I SO agree

Yep, Carvin (now Kiesel) should be on this list. I've played them for 30 years and not played another instrument I liked as well or fit my hands as well. They are basically a custom shop, hand crafted instrument for the price of a quality assembly line instrument.

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