12 Best Electric Guitars Under $500 (2018 Review)

Electric Guitars Under 500

Basically knowing your budget is knowing the guitar you are going to have. You set expectations on guitars based on budget that will normally lead you on guitars that you should focus more, and to take a good look at. However, it is still hard to tell whether a specific price point is enough to guarantee anything or a sweet spot, because realistically at the end of the day, we play what we can afford, and everyone has an opinion if a guitar is good or not whatever the cost.

I think it is fair to say that a big majority of electric guitars these days has a place and are considerably well built to deliver impressive sounds. Factories that makes these guitars for well-known brands when they outsource are now also modern. Using computer controlled CNC router machines that handles most of the precise cutting of wood. Aiding luthiers and letting them to put their skills more on the assembly and finishing of guitars.

Even affordable guitars using decent components creates a great opportunity for players, beginners and veterans alike of finding a pretty solid guitar to accomplish things, and can already be considered a good back up guitar. So as you move up in budget, it will only get more interesting as the selection becomes wider enabling to touch on guitars that are made from finer woods and better hardware, which mainly contributes to the overall quality, playability, and sound.

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Gibson USA 2017 M2Gibson USA 2017 M2 Electric Guitar

Read Full Review This new guitar from Gibson is no cash pour that you can rock on a budget and have a bang for your bucks. The guitar has a more slimmer body than the traditional Les Paul we know, making the guitar lightweight while maintaining the iconic body shape with a single cutaway. This time Gibson kept it simple with the finish and accenting the guitar only with a pickguard maybe because to level the price of the guitar on the budget range.

Gibson M2 has a poplar single cutaway body in ebony with 3-ply tortoise pickguard. The set slim taper neck is made of maple with a 22 fret rosewood fingerboard. It has chrome die-cast mini button tuners and adjustable wrap-around bridge for performance and compliments the looks of the guitar as well.

The sound is anchored by Gibson Pro-bucker pick-ups for the neck and bridge controlled by a toggle switch, master volume and tone knobs that gives the guitar a good creamy rich tone that Gibson always offers.

This guitar gives Gibson purist out there a different outlook on a Gibson made guitar. The simplicity on the design and lightweight body presents a totally new experience on playability, feel and looks of a Gibson guitar.

Where to buy: Gibson USA M2 Electric Guitar Ebony with Gig Bag $386.14 Amazon

Ibanez RG450DXIbanez RG Series 450DX Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Ibanez is a Japanese brand that makes Superstrat guitars which are esteemed for fast play. Their guitars are equip with slim tapered neck called wizard neck and some of the models has a floating tremolo system bridge with locking nut for guitar players who wants to incorporate huge dive-bomb and pulls on the way they play.

The guitar has a contoured double cutaway body made of mahogany with a startlight blue or in white finish. Wizard III neck is bolt-on to the body crafted from maple then top of by a 24 Jumbo fret rosewood fingerboard. It has a cosmo black plated floating tremolo bridge system with locking nut and chrome tuners.

Sound is produce by a passive ceramic Quantum humbucker neck and bridge pick-ups controlled by a 5-way switch blade for pick-up selection, master volume and master tone.

This guitar is an evolution from the classic stratocaster guitar that we are very familiar of. It is well expressed through the pick-ups, hardware and modern Superstrat body & neck design.

Where to buy: Ibanez RG Series 450DX Starlight Blue $399.99 Amazon


Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster Electric GuitarSquier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Squier is still Fender on a affordable guitar model that the tones in your hands will also appreciate. The feel and look of the guitar is close to its predecessor, so as you put the guitars side by side with each other, the similarities are more striking than their differences especially for the 50’s vibe and 60’s vintage Squier models.

The 50’s era Squier Stratocaster body is crafted using alder with a gloss polyester sunburst finish protected by a single-ply scratch plate. Its bolt-on C-shape neck is made from maple in tinted gloss finish with 21 frets medium jumbo rosewood fingerboard. Vintage-style tuners and 6-saddle tremolo bridge holds the strings, keeping it in tune and for vibrato effect using the whammy bar.

Contributing to the classic sound a Stratocaster in known for are custom vintage-style single-coil pick-ups for the neck, middle and bridge controlled by a 5-position blade master volume and two tone knobs.

The sunburst finish together with the aged look neck, and other parts well complimented by the bright sound with a southern twang in it by the alnico pick-ups gives players the qualities on how a proper Stratocaster should look and sound.

Where to buy: Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster Electric Guitar Sunburst $399.99 Amazon

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster Electric GuitarSquier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Up to date the telecaster is the flagship guitar model for Fender since first introduce in 1952. The telecaster design was carried through Squier when it became a brand, making their own versions of the famous telecaster guitar on a much cheaper price.

Squier by Fender 50’s Telecaster has a pine body in butterscotch blonde finish with a 1-ply black pickguard. The bolt-on C-shape neck and fingerboard with 21 medium jumbo frets are all made of maple. 3-saddle vintage-style strings-through-body Tele with brass barrel saddles for bridge, and vintage-style tuners completes the major parts of the guitar.

Responsible for producing the Telecaster sound are custom vintage-style single-coil Tele pick-ups placed on the neck and bridge controlled by a barrel type 3-way pick-up selector, master volume and master tone.

The Squier Telecaster 50’s vibe model mimics the classic look and feel of an old Fender guitar. It is presented and been put together as close as it could get with the Telecaster of that time.

Where to buy: Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster Electric Guitar Butterscotch Blonde $399.99 Amazon

Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD Electric Guitar EbonyEpiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Epiphone is a subsidiary of another well-known guitar maker namely Gibson Inc. The brand has a following like its mother company, and also famous for the Les Paul and SG models. So if you are looking for an LP or SG guitar, Epiphone is the brand that should come first into mind before going to other brands and for sure they have something in store to fit the budget.

The Les Paul Standard has a single cutaway body made of mahogany in ebony with an off-white pickguard. It has a set neck also made of mahogany with 22 frets rosewood fingerboard. The bridge for the guitar is Tune-O-Matic with stop-bar and uses Grover machine heads as one of its main features.

Sound are produce using Epiphone Alnico Classic humbuckers placed on the neck and bridge controlled by a toggle switch for pick-up selection. Separate volume and tone knobs for each pick-ups just like on Gibson guitar.

Epiphone Les Paul standard is not only good looking, but sounds great too. This is one of the many LP guitars Epiphone makes that puts you closer with a Gibson Les Paul for the looks, playabilty and sound.

Where to buy: Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Ebony $419.00 Amazon

ESP LTD EC-256FMESP LTD EC256FM Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Guitars made by ESP LTD became prominent on the thrash metal seen of the 80’s. Signing in artist from well-known bands like Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth. They offer a long list of good guitars ranging in price with a screaming rocking sound suited for musicians who is looking for an affordable go to guitar.

ESP EC-256LD guitar has a mahogany LP body design with archtop in flamed maple finish. The set Neck is made from 3pc mahogany with thin U-shape profile top of by a blackwood or jatoba fingerboard having 22 XJ fret wires. Tuners, Tom & Tailpiece bridge are all in chrome manufactured by LTD.

Powering the guitars are ESP Designed LH-150 humbuckers placed on the neck and bridge controlled by 3-way toggle switch for pick-up selection, 2 volume knobs for each pick-ups and a master tone.

A great piece of guitar with the looks and sound that most guitarist will enjoy playing with on gigs and adding to their existing guitar collection. As a beginner guitar, this is one of the best reasonably priced LP guitar to learn well and to make them start playing in no time.

Where to buy: ESP LTD EC256FM Brown Sunburst $429.00 Amazon

Schecter Omen Extreme-FR Electric GuitarSchecter Omen Extreme-FR Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Schecter brand is also owned by Hisatake Shibuya of Japan, founder of ESP LTD guitars. Schecter like ESP, also first started selling quality replacement parts that later in its history transitioned on making their line of guitars. Even though both brand are owned by the same person, the guitars Schecter makes has a distinctive look and feel away from ESP.

The guitar has a mahogany body with an arched top made of quilted maple that comes in different color finishes without a pickguard. It has bolt-on neck crafted in maple top of by 24 XJ frets rosewood fingerboard with vector inlays as garnish. Schecter design tuners and Floyd Rose Special bridge with locking nut are placed all in black chrome.

Schecter Diamond Plus are the pick-ups used for the neck and bridge controlled by a 3-way toggle switch for pick-up selection, two volume and push/pull tone knobs.

Out of the box, spot on this guitar lets you go out there and play. The guitars overall design is uniquely well balance complimented with the top finish and floating tremolo to execute huge dive-bombs and aggressive pulls unlike no other.

Where to buy: Schecter Omen Extreme-FR Electric Guitar, Vintage Sunburst $449.00 Amazon

G&L Tribute Legacy Electric GuitarG&L Tribute Legacy Electric Guitar

Read Full Review G&L are guitars designed by George Fullerton and Leo Fender many years apart from Fender and a different guitar company outside of Music Man were Leo Fender begun as a silent partner, then soon also became the president for Music Man after his legal restrictions had expired.

The Strat body of G&L Tribute Legacy is made with basswood that comes in different colors to choose from protected by a 3-ply scratch plate. It has a maple neck with 22 medium jumbo frets fingerboard in maple or rosewood. Hardware are 18:1 ratio sealed tuning keys and Leo Fender designed G&L dual fulcrum bridge.

G&L CLF-100 Alnico V single-coils for the neck, middle and bridge controlled by a 5-way switch blade for pick-up selection, and PTB system on the volume, treble and bass that functions in all of the pick-ups.

G&L Tribute Legacy is all about the classic Alnico sound with modern refinements on the guitar design done by Leo himself. It has a price within reach of every working musician and a guitar to recommend for beginners who wants to add a few more bucks in their budget.

Where to buy: G&L Tribute Legacy Electric Guitar Candy Apple Red Rosewood Fretboard $449.99 Amazon

Gretsch G5435T Pro Jet Electric GuitarGretsch G5435T Pro Jet Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Owning a Gretsch is like having a 60’s pimp out Cadillac with all the chrome grills, wheels, and hardware to it. The looks of the guitar is stunning for it’s gold top complemented with all the die-cast parts. It has the classic body that never goes out of style and has the sound to back all of the bling featured on this guitar. Today Gretsch is a part of Fender for the distribution of their guitars while still maintaining the ownership of the brand.

The guitar has a chambered single cutaway basswood body with an arched top laminated maple in gold sparkle complete with scratch plate to protect the finish. It has a maple neck and 22 medium jumbo frets rosewood fingerboard. Adjusto-matic bigsby bridge and vintage-style machine heads are placed to hold the strings and keeping it in tune.

Sound source of the guitar are pair of Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers for the neck and bridge controlled by 3-position toggle swtich for pick-up selection, separate volume for each pick-ups, master volume and master tone.

This guitar respectively is at the level of a Fender and Gibson guitar as pioneers that gave way to other brands and guitars that came after. A great sounding guitar on a budget friendly price, with all the flavor of a solid chambered body classic guitar.

Where to buy: Gretsch G5435T Pro Jet Electric Guitar with Bigsby Gold $499.99 Amazon

PRS SE 245PRS SE 245 Standard Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Some says that the SE 245 is a guitar directly inspired the by the Gibson Les Paul guitar for their many similarities in design. Anothe reason suggested it is because of Ted McCarty the former president of Gibson, creator of Gibson ES-345 and Gibson Flying V who became Paul Reed Smith mentor.

PRS SE 245 by Paul Reed Smith is a LP design guitar with a solid mahogany body without a pickguard. Its neck is also made of mahogany with 22 fret rosewood fingerboard having bird inlays as markers and garnish. Tuners and stoptail bridge are PRS design.

Its loaded sound is produce by two 245 PRS design humbucker pick-ups for the neck and bridge controlled by separate volume and tone knobs for each pick-ups with a 3-position toggle switch for pick-up selection.

The guitar is somewhat in between of a classic guitar and modern guitar for its design and features. It will win you over not only because of the looks of the guitar but also the sound it produces for being very articulate sounding even when over-driven maintaining it’s clear rich tone.

Where to buy: PRS Guitars 245STVC SE 245 Standard Electric Guitar Vintage Cherry $499.00 Amazon


Fender Modern Player Tele PlusFender Modern Player Tele Plus Electric Guitar

Read Full Review Everything looks familiar with this guitar except for the pick-ups use on the guitar. It has a standard telecaster pick-up for the neck, a single-coil stratocaster pick-up for the middle and humbucker for the bridge that you can split with a click of a switch, giving you the option playing the bridge pick-up in humbuker or in single-coil mode.

The guitar is made of pine wood with a honeyburst finish protected by a 3-ply pick guard. It has a gloss maple neck a fingerboard with 22 jumbo fret compete with black inlay dots. Chrome finish vintage-style tuners and 6 saddle vintage style Strat strings through body hardtail for the bridge.

For the sound, the Telecaster is equip with modern tele single-coil on the neck, single-coil Strat middle and humbuker for the bridge controlled by toggle switch, 5-way pick-up selector, master volume and master tone knobs.

A cool guitar for just a fraction of a price compared with it’s much expensive cousins in the telecaster line. Having all the features needed in one guitar, great sound and playability for a price that is reasonable.

Where to buy: Fender Modern Player Tele Plus Electric Guitar Honey Burst $499.99 Amazon

Fender FSR Standard StratocasterFender FSR Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Read Full Review This Stratocaster is a FSR, factory special run. These guitars are built only in limited numbers for distribution, commissioned by dealers exclusively for their shop that you won’t see the guitar in the official Fender catalog. Unique on this guitar is the vintage logo on the headstock, tinted gloss finish for the neck and aged look on the plastic parts.

It has an alder body in tangerine glossy finish protected by 3-ply pickguard. The guitar has a bolt-on maple neck with 21 medium jumbo fret rosewood fingerboard. Chrome vintage-style tuners and vintage-style synchronized tremolo for bridge are placed for a standard model Fender Stratocaster.

Giving life to the guitar are noiseless single-coil pick-ups for the neck, middle and bridge controlled by a master volume, two tone control knobs and 5-way switch blade for pick-up selection.

The FSR is still comparable to a Fender Standard Stratocaster with slight difference on the parts, like on the vintage style pick-ups the guitar uses because it is noiseless. It’s a very nice guitar and has a good price, cheaper than a regular Fender standard.


Where to buy: Fender FSR Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar Tangerine $499.99 Amazon