The Best Electric Guitars Under $500

These are what we recommend as the best electric guitars in the $130 to $500 price range - updated for 2014. Although it is possible to find some that are cheaper if you look hard enough - we haven't found any below this price range that are of good enough quality for us to recommend them.


The models below are listed in order of price - not the manufacturer's suggested price - but the lower prices you can actually buy your electric guitar for at online music gear stores.

We've broken these down into two categories:
1. Best Under $200
2. Best Under $500

Best Electric Guitars Under $200

For the best in the budget price range, suitable for beginners, there is a clear leading brand - Epiphone. They produce budget versions of some of the more famous Gibson guitars like the 'Les Paul'. The other big name brand here is Squire, and they make affordable versions of Fender guitars like the famous Stratocaster. If you are looking for your first guitar then you might like to read this advice from experts.

But they're not the only good guitars in this price range, so here's our recommended Top 5 electric guitars under $200:

Squier Bullet Strat

Squier Bullet Strat
The Squier Bullet Strat is an affordable and practical electric guitar with the familiar Fender Stratocaster body shape and tremolo. It is a light weight solidbody electric guitar, designed to produce basic yet versatile single coil Fender tones. The Squier Bullet will introduce you to the feel and sound of Fender guitars.

Look around and you'll find this selling for a little under $130. Go to the Squire Bullet page for more information.

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Definitely one of the best guitars in this price range, it's Epiphone's top selling guitar, and it's not hard to see why. It is a popular Les Paul stunt double, allowing you to rest your expensive Gibson Les Paul and carry an affordable road worthy look-a-like workhorse. The Epiphone Les Paul Special II is designed to produce something close to the Gibson Les Paul tone and feel by using inexpensive materials.

It usually sells online for $149. Go to Sweetwater for complete specs.

Ibanez GRX70QA

Ibanez GRX70QA
By using affordable tonewoods and parts, the Ibanez GRX70QA offers the same playability, look and set-up as expensive guitars at affordable prices. It offers the same fast and low action neck that Ibanez is known for, making it ideal for aspiring shredders. While the quilted grain top gives it an elegant look, which is quite rare in this price range. Although it looks like it is meant for rock, the guitar's HSH triple pickup configuration allows it to work well with other genres.

The street price is $199.99. Go to the Ibanez GRX70QA site for full specs.

Best Electric Guitars Under $500

There are some great guitars in this price range, including actual Fender model. Here is our pick of the Best 5 electric guitars under $500:

Epiphone SG G-400 Pr

Epiphone SG G-400 Pro
Another iconic rock guitar is made affordable by Epiphone. The Epiphone G-400 Pro SG is designed to capture the feel and sound of classic Gibson SGs. The shape and size follows the traditional SG path while its Alnico Classic PRO pickups and push/pull coil-tapping gives it a modern twist for tonal flexibility. It gives you the same classic rock sounds and then some more.

You can buy it for only $349.00 online. For the complete specs, visit the Epiphone SG G-400 Pro page.

Ibanez RG450DX

Ibanez RG450DX
The RG450DX is the epitome of Ibanez, featuring hot rod looks and specs at a very reasonable price tag. Its striking appearance are matched by its sleek playability and tonal versatility. If you want to play fast, then you will appreciate Ibanez' "Wizard III" neck, considered by many as the most comfortable neck profile in the world. The Edge Zero II vibrato bridge and HSH pickup configuration allow for expanded musical expression, which in this price range is a great deal.

You can buy it online for only $399.99. For more info visit Sweetwater.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Epiphone Les Paul Standard
A great value guitar under $400! This is Epiphone's take on the original Les Paul design and it looks and plays very much like the more pricey original. Being affordable and mass produced, it doesn't have the same expensive woods and components as the Gibson version, but you will find the Epiphone Les Paul Standard can nearly match the expensive Gibson Les Pauls in terms of sound quality.

Current Retail price is at $399. For more info, visit the Epiphone Les Paul Standard page.

Fender Standard Stratocaster

Fender Standard Stratocaster
The Fender Standard Stratocaster embodies the classic Fender Strat features including 3 Standard Strat single-coil pickups. It has the classic vintage style tremolo, however they have added a high mass bridge block to give it even more sustain than the original strats.

It is currently selling for just under $500. Visit the Standard Strat page for further info.

Parker PDF35

Parker PDF35
For its price, Parker PDF35 gives you the flexibility of producing dual humbucker tones and acoustic-electric tones via the built-in Graph Tech Ghost piezo pickup system. I've personally tried the Graph Tech Ghost piezo and I must say that I was impressed, it will get the job done without having to switch to an acoustic in band settings. Aside from its tonal versatility this guitar is also amazingly light and comfortable, definitely worth checking out.

This guitar is retailing online for $499. Check it out at the Parker PDF35 page.

Ibanez S520

Ibanez S520
If you are looking for an axe to shred with, then your 500 bucks is best spent with an Ibanez. The S520 in particular provides the most fast-licks-inducing specifications, most notable of which is the super comfortable Wizard III neck profile. The guitar's curvy body shape and extended cutaway adds to the overall shred friendly appeal of the instrument. Finally, the Ibanez S520 comes with the Edge Zero II tremolo, loved by many players for its low profile and reliability.

You can order this guitar online for just under $500. For further details visit the Ibanez S520 page.

Sweetwater Thank you to Sweetwater for their sponsorship and providing the full specifications for the guitars above where possible. You can see more electric guitars at

Related Items:

electric guitars Check out this collection of electric guitar brands which our team here are have rated as the best.

acoustic-electric The 5 Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars Under $500.

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Electric Guitars

Oh wow these guitars are just so good! I loved each and every one of them! In fact, I was planning to give a gift to my younger brother and your blog has solved my issues ;).. Thanks for sharing mate!

You people should all take a

You people should all take a look at the Agile AL 2000 and 3000 series guitars. The list of standard tone woods alone should put them on the list! But combine build quality that matches or exceeds that of the Japanese and Korean built Epiphone Les Pauls from a few years back,(now a cult classic and for good reason quality, big name hardware, D' Adario, Grover18:1 tuners, Tusq nuts with string saver saddles on the bridge, full triple bindings, set neck or neck through, choice of regular, slim or wide necks, real tone woods wide choice of finishes and better tone, it is THE clear choice over the Chinese made Epiphones! Try one yourself and you will see from the first note you won't need much convincing! In my opinion it's embarrassing how superior these guitars truly are to the Epiphones. The Epiphone advantage? You walk into any music store and try one or ten out. The Agile advantage, more and more young new bands have them on STAGE with them! And as with the Elitist Epiphone L.P.'s, for good reason

This list is bogus. It's

This list is bogus.
It's alwasy fender and gibson listed.
I have hagstrom guitars which blow away the playability of either of those brands...

Hagstrom definitely make

Hagstrom definitely make some great guitars.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think they made any electrics that sell for less than $500 - which is why they weren't considered for this roundup.

Hagstrom pricing

The Ultra Swede Flame goes for 499.99 on musiciansfriend so it fits if you consider 1 cent under to be "under" 500 $ ;)
They are indeed great guitars!

no ESP love

Typical, all Fenders & Gibsons. How about some love for ESP? Gotta say, love my ESP LTD M-103FM. Can't beat it for under $350(picked mine up new for under $270). Granted, this is an under $500 list, but ESP needs some love here also.

Indie Electric Guitars are

Indie Electric Guitars are exceptional value for money. I now have 7 all different.

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