Finest electrical guitars beneath $500 of 2022

Up to date Sep 6, 2022 11:12 AM

Due to the instrument’s wealthy historical past, a long time of design and growth, and the prevalence of high-quality CNC machining, it’s by no means been simpler to search out an electrical guitar beneath $500. In contrast to the finances guitars of years previous—which regularly suffered from points with sturdiness, tuning stability, and total playability—approachable electrical guitars right now are constructed to express requirements and designed for consolation and reliability above all else. Whether or not you’re on the lookout for an inexpensive approach to construct your current guitar assortment otherwise you’re purchasing for a beginner-level instrument, a sub-$500 electrical guitar is an effective way to get very near the sound and really feel of the pro-level devices after which they’re modeled whereas spending lower than half the cash. On this article, we’ll dive into one of the best electrical guitars beneath $500 presently out there and element what units them aside from the group.

How we selected one of the best electrical guitars beneath $500

When choosing the right electrical guitars beneath $500, we mixed private musical and manufacturing experiences, in addition to the opinion of trusted friends, printed critics, and on-line person impressions. We additionally thought of a handful of standards when compiling our listing, starting with the sound of a guitar, so we chosen merchandise which can be able to delivering a few of the most versatile and well-known tones from well-liked music all through historical past. Within the case of the purely electrical guitars, tone is dictated largely by the pickup configuration, whereas the acoustic-electric guitar’s physique and pickups each contribute equally to its sound efficiency.

The design and supplies of an electrical guitar generally play a major function within the total playability of the instrument, so we aimed to pick out electrical guitars with woods, finishes, and designs which can be simple to play and comfy to carry. However nice devices have gotten extra inexpensive each day, so we made certain to pick out devices that supply one of the best price-to-performance ratios out there, whether or not as a standalone guitar or as part of a bundle. Lastly, model status goes a good distance in figuring out whether or not an electrical guitar is prone to fulfill its customers. Producers like Fender, Gibson, and Martin have a long time of expertise beneath their belts, and their sub-$500 devices are designed particularly to emulate their costlier guitars at a friendlier worth.

Issues to think about when shopping for top-of-the-line electrical guitars beneath $500

What dimension of guitar do you want?

Not all electrical guitars are the identical dimension, so it’s a good suggestion to think about and examine the arm size and hand dimension of the potential participant to the size size and neck profile of the guitar earlier than making a purchase order. The measurement from a guitar’s nut to its bridge is called its scale size, with the commonest electrical guitar scale being 25.5 inches. Gibson and Epiphone guitars just like the Les Paul Particular-II have a 24.75-inch scale size, which makes them slightly extra compact and requires much less attain whereas taking part in. Scale size variations are much more pronounced in electrical bass guitars, the place the commonest size is 34 inches. For this listing, we picked the Squier by Fender Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass as one of the best bass guitar beneath $500 partly due to its shorter and easier-to-play 30-inch scale.

Do you might want to buy equipment?

Electrical guitars require amplification to perform correctly, so that you’ll have to issue within the additional price of at the least an amplifier and a cable when shopping for a guitar beneath $500. Some electrical guitars, such because the Les Paul Particular-II, are available in a bundle with every part you might want to get began. Choosing an electrical guitar bundle generally is a cost-effective approach to keep inside your finances however the high quality and sturdiness of the equipment normally pale compared to costlier piecemeal gadgets.

What fashion of music will you be taking part in?

Each sort of electrical guitar has its personal distinctive sound. For many pop, rock, and R&B-based kinds, a basic solid-body electrical guitar just like the Squier by Fender Basic Vibe ’50s Telecaster will cowl practically all of the bases. In the event you’re aiming to play pop, folks, or nation kinds of music, an acoustic-electric guitar just like the Little Martin LX1E could also be a better option due to its brilliant, shimmery tone that’s excellent for strumming. Electrical bass guitars are arguably probably the most versatile choice since they provide a sound that’s applicable for nearly each musical fashion, however they’re very completely different in perform and musical function than a normal guitar.

Finest electrical guitars beneath $500: Evaluations & Suggestions

Finest total: Squier by Fender Basic Vibe ’50s Telecaster

Why it made the minimize: The Squier Basic Vibe ’50s Telecaster pulls off the readability, responsiveness, and unmistakable twang of a classic Tele at a wallet-friendly worth.

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  • Pickups: 2 x single-coil Alnico
  • Scale Size: 25.5 inches
  • Supplies: Maple neck, Pine physique


  • Timeless and versatile single-coil electrical tone
  • Snug fashionable C-shaped neck profile
  • Fashionable {hardware} and wooden end


  • Comparatively heavy, weighing a mean of 9 kilos
  • Gloss neck end could really feel “sticky” to some gamers
  • Frets could require edge submitting out of the field

The Squier Basic Vibe ’50s Telecaster is without doubt one of the finest guitars beneath $500 presently out there, boasting a construct high quality and end that show you don’t must lay our a fortune to search out an instrument that sounds, feels, and appears improbable. It’s constructed from a sturdy and relatively heavy mixture of pine and maple and is available in two distinct polyurethane physique end choices (white blonde or butterscotch blonde) paired with a black pickguard to intently emulate the look of Fender’s legendary “black guard” Telecasters from the early Nineteen Fifties. The guitar’s two single-coil Alnico pickups gracefully ship Fender’s timeless palette of heat and woody tones on the neck coupled with a brilliant and snappy bridge sound, and its fashionable C-shaped neck includes a 9.5-inch radius to maximise consolation and ease of playability.

General, Fender’s high quality management of the Basic Vibe ’50s Telecaster is great, however its worth level corresponds to a relative lack of consideration to some small ending particulars. Whereas any guitar can profit from an expert setup to make sure that it performs at its finest, small points like sharp, unfinished fret edges and excessive string motion could make a setup roughly a necessity for this Telecaster straight out of the field. Some gamers may additionally discover its shiny neck end a bit too grippy, however that is largely a matter of non-public desire and shouldn’t have an effect on playability for almost all of guitarists. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re open to a little bit of preliminary upkeep and setup, the Basic Vibe ’50s Telecaster is constructed to sound and really feel practically an identical to costlier fashions just like the Fender Participant Telecaster, making it a improbable approach to take pleasure in one in every of music historical past’s most versatile and ubiquitous devices on a finances. If a Stratocaster is extra your fashion, think about the Squier Basic Vibe Stratocaster by Fender from the identical product line.

Finest acoustic-electric: Little Martin LX1E


Why it made the minimize: The Little Martin LX1E is a handy travel-sized acoustic guitar constructed from sturdy laminate wooden and outfitted with a built-in pickup for amplification.


  • Pickups: 1 x Fishman Sonitone piezo pickup
  • Scale Size: 23 inches
  • Supplies: Birch laminate neck, Spruce high, Mahogany laminate again and sides


  • Rugged medium-density fibreboard building
  • Spruce high delivers highly effective projection despite its small dimension
  • Features a padded gig bag for straightforward transport


  • The small physique delivers much less low-end than full-sized acoustics
  • Recessed truss rod requires a particular instrument for adjustment
  • Constructed-in tuner is usually gradual to reply

The Little Martin LX1E’s compact body, spectacular unplugged quantity, and easy-to-use electronics make it top-of-the-line acoustic-electric guitars out there beneath $500. As probably the most inexpensive acoustic-electric mannequin within the legendary Martin firm’s product line, the LX1E is a short-scale travel-friendly instrument composed primarily of a troublesome picket fibreboard that’s as cost-effective as it’s sturdy. The guitar options the identical conventional strong spruce high discovered on one of the best full-sized acoustic guitars, just like the Martin D-10E and D-18, which provides the LX1E outsize quantity and projection efficiency for its comparatively shallow physique. A single 1/4-inch jack and a built-in Fishman pickup enable gamers to attach the guitar to any PA or amplifier and revel in clearer and fuller amplified sound than could be achieved with a microphone. 

Like different Martin guitars, the Little Martin LX1E comes with a non-standard truss rod, so that you’ll have to buy a selected wrench to make neck changes. Due to its small dimensions, the LX1E additionally lacks a few of the spherical and open low-end resonance that’s typical of standard-sized acoustic guitars. Although its unplugged sound is brilliant and woody with loads of projection, amplifying the LX1E by plugging it in is the easiest way for gamers to take pleasure in a extra conventional and full bass response from the guitar. You probably have a bit extra to spend, the marginally bigger physique cavity and strong again and sides of the Martin 000Jr-10E ship an analogous unplugged sound with some added low-end presence. However if you happen to’re on a finances, the Little Martin LX1E provides a few of the finest sound and efficiency out there wherever within the sub-$500 vary.

Finest bass: Squier by Fender Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass

A Fender Squire Mustang bass against a blue and white background

Why it made the minimize: This short-scale bass from Squier has a basic and classy design that’s snug to play and delivers a wealthy low-end thump that’s ultimate for a variety of musical kinds.

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  • Pickups: 1 x Alnico break up single-coil
  • Scale Size: 30 inches
  • Supplies: Maple neck, Nato physique


  • Punchy single-coil pickup delivers timeless and versatile bass tones
  • Brief 30-inch scale is snug for smaller gamers
  • Bone nut provides higher maintain and tuning stability than plastic


  • Requires a setup out of the field for optimum efficiency
  • Single pickup offers restricted tone-shaping choices
  • Susceptible to low-volume electrical hum in sure conditions

The Squier Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass is without doubt one of the finest bass guitars beneath $500 due to its mixture of excellent construct high quality, punchy tone, and easy-to-play design. Its single split-coil pickup configuration is much like that of the legendary Fender Precision Bass, delivering a comparable tonal vary that’s applicable for nearly each musical fashion from rock to R&B. Like different basses within the Mustang product line, the Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang is a short-scale instrument, measuring in at 30 inches from nut to bridge. This smaller scale, mixed with the neck’s C-shaped profile, offers the bass an accessible guitar-like really feel within the palms that makes it simpler to play than commonplace full-sized basses, particularly for gamers with smaller palms. Regardless of its small dimension, the Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass provides up loads of beefy low-end and outlined assault with glorious maintain and tuning stability due to its actual bone nut and string-through bridge design.

Like different devices on this worth tier, the Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass will carry out and really feel its finest if it’s given a correct preliminary setup. This will likely contain neck and bridge changes, fret submitting, and different small concerns which can be ignored on the manufacturing line. The bass may additionally be liable to buzzing audibly when gamers’ palms aren’t in touch with the strings, which can catch new homeowners off guard regardless of being a reasonably frequent incidence on the earth of electrical guitars. All in all, the Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass is an unimaginable choice for a punchy and easy tone, however In the event you’re on the lookout for a wider palette of sound choices, the Squier Basic Vibe ’70s Jazz Bass is a strong, equally priced various to think about.

Finest newbie: Epiphone Les Paul Electrical Guitar Participant Pack


Why it made the minimize: The Epiphone Les Paul Participant Pack is constructed round a dual-humbucker Les Paul Particular-II electrical guitar and consists of all of the equipment a newbie must get began.


  • Pickups: 2 x open-coil humbuckers
  • Scale Size: 24.75 inches
  • Supplies: Maple neck, Alder physique


  • Contains gig bag, amplifier, strap, cable, and extra
  • Twin humbucker configuration provides quite a lot of tones
  • Snug 24.75-inch scale appropriate for newbies


  • Small 10-watt amp limits tonal choices
  • High quality management of elements necessitates preliminary changes
  • Barebones equipment could lack long-term sturdiness

Assembling all of the necessary equipment for an electrical guitar generally is a daunting activity if you happen to don’t know the place to start. This all-inclusive Participant Pack from Epiphone consists of every part you might want to hit the bottom working—together with an amplifier, cable, strap, gig bag, and tuner—making it top-of-the-line values in the marketplace for starting guitarists. The Epiphone Participant Pack is constructed across the Les Paul Particular-II, a strong physique electrical guitar with a dual-humbucker pickup configuration able to a variety of sounds appropriate for rhythm and lead guitar. Just like the Gibson Les Paul after which it’s modeled, the Epiphone Les Paul Particular-II includes a 24.75-inch scale that’s slightly simpler to play than the extra frequent 25.5-inch scale discovered on guitars just like the Fender Telecaster. This, mixed with the neck’s flat 12-inch radius, make the Les Paul Particular-II excellent for taking part in chords, fundamental lead strains, and getting acquainted with the instrument total.

The star of this bundle is unquestionably the guitar itself—whereas the inclusion of an amp and cable presents an important worth, the low worth level of the bundle is mirrored within the restricted sturdiness and total high quality management of the equipment included. For instance, the 10-watt amplifier includes a comparatively small 6-inch speaker that’s nice for fundamental apply however lacks the element, quantity, and tonal vary of extra substantial designs. Different elements—just like the cable, strap, and gig bag—aren’t as sturdy as different choices in the marketplace, however they need to maintain up wonderful to gentle use. In brief, the Epiphone Les Paul Participant Pack is an absolute steal for any starting guitarist, however anticipate to wish to improve the amplifier, cable, and different equipment down the road if you wish to proceed rising your relationship and growing your efficiency with the instrument.

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Finest finances: Donner Electrical Guitar DST-100R


Why it made the minimize: The Donner DST-100R is an extremely inexpensive finances electrical guitar that’s able to a variety of sounds and comes with a ton of extras.


  • Pickups: 2 x single-coil, 1 x humbucker
  • Scale Size: 25.5 inches
  • Supplies: Maple neck, Basswood physique


  • Stratocaster-style electronics provide a spread of basic guitar tones
  • Amplifier, cable, and different necessities included
  • Straightforward-to-play C-shaped neck with satin end


  • Funds-level construct high quality impacts longevity
  • Points like jagged frets make some preliminary person setup necessary
  • Tuner, amp, and different equipment have restricted performance

In the event you’re purchasing for an electrical guitar under $200, the Donner DST-100R is without doubt one of the higher finances values presently out there in the marketplace. Consisting of a Stratocaster-style electrical guitar bundled with an amplifier, gig bag, tuner, capo, and extra, the DST-100R provides a superb steadiness of sound, worth, and performance that will likely be sufficient for many gamers who’re ranging from scratch. The guitar itself is constructed from strong basswood and options two single-coil pickups and a humbucker within the bridge place, giving customers entry to 5 completely different tonal variations appropriate for quite a lot of musical kinds. The DST-100R’s C-shaped maple neck includes a clean satin end that’s snug to play and conducive to speedy actions and fast fretting.

The Donner DST-100R provides good construct high quality and machining total, however the sturdiness and end of the elements make it extra of an instrument to start out with and graduate from than the rest. It suffers from just a few points generally discovered at this worth level like unfiled fret ends, however some customers have reported high quality management points like chilly solder joints and unfastened connections as properly, which might make a setup all however necessary. Important equipment, just like the amplifier and tuner, provide a barebones person expertise that ought to suffice for studying, however you’ll undoubtedly wish to improve them for something apart from easy apply use.


Q: How a lot do electrical guitars price?

Electrical guitars can price wherever from round $100 as much as the tens of 1000’s of {dollars} for classic and collector-grade devices. Due to the reliability and high quality of contemporary machining, low- to mid-tier devices are a lot better right now than they had been even a few a long time in the past, so it’s not exhausting to discover a guitar beneath $500 that may sound nice and final for years.

Q: Do electrical guitars want amps?

When you can actually play an electrical guitar unplugged, electrical guitars want amps to be heard at any quantity louder than human speech. Acoustic-electric guitars are the exception to this rule, since they’re normally designed to supply average sound ranges with out the necessity for an amplifier.

Q: Do acoustic-electric guitars sound completely different?

Aside from nontraditional designs, the overwhelming majority of acoustic-electric guitars sound an identical to regular acoustic guitars when unplugged. When amplified, acoustic-electric guitars have a singular sound that’s normally brilliant, clear, and considerably compressed.

Q: Do electrical guitars have batteries?

Most electrical guitars don’t have batteries resulting from being outfitted with passive pickups, that are powered by the guitar’s connection to an amplifier. Nonetheless, the piezoelectric pickups present in most acoustic-electric guitars are energetic designs that require a battery to supply adequate electrical sign.

Q: What are the three sorts of electrical guitars?

The three sorts of electrical guitar design are strong physique, semi-hollow, and hole physique constructions. Stable-body guitars just like the Fender Telecaster are probably the most generally discovered sort of electrical guitar and provide good maintain with minimal potential for producing suggestions. Semi-hollow guitars sometimes incorporate hole chambers and strong interior blocks of wooden to supply a hotter and rounder sound than a strong physique guitar. Hole physique guitars are well-liked for conventional kinds of music together with jazz due to their distinctive and woody resonance.

Ultimate ideas on one of the best electrical guitars beneath $500

For our cash, one of the best electrical guitar beneath $500 total is the Squier by Fender Basic Vibe ’50s Telecaster, due to its classic appears to be like, timeless sound, and nice construct high quality. The Squier by Fender Basic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass is improbable for a similar causes and it’s a lot smaller and simpler to play than a standard-sized bass guitar. If folks music is extra your factor, the Little Martin LX1E is without doubt one of the finest acoustic-electric guitars beneath $500 resulting from its travel-sized body and loud quantity projection. To economize on equipment, think about an all-in-one newbie bundle just like the Epiphone Les Paul Electrical Guitar Participant Pack or the Donner Electrical Guitar DST-100R, which each characteristic solid-body electrical guitars bundled with an amplifier, cable, strap, and extra.