best cheap electric guitar

The 7 Best Cheap Electric Guitars Under 500$ in 2024

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Victor Estevez

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“Discover the 9 Best Cheap Electric Guitars Under 500$ in 2024. Ideal for beginners and budget musicians, this guide helps you find quality guitars without breaking the bank.”

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“The 9 Best Cheap Electric Guitars Under $500 in 2024 include affordable models that offer great sound, durability, and playability for beginners and seasoned players alike.”

Introduction:
Ever dreamed of rocking out on an electric guitar without spending a ton of money? Well, you’re in luck! Our guide to the 9 best cheap electric guitars under $500 in 2024 will show you how to get the cool sounds and awesome vibes of a rockstar. By the end, you’ll know exactly which guitar can help you start your musical journey on the right note. Let’s dive in and find your perfect guitar to make some noise!

As a guitar lover, I understand that finding a high-quality instrument on a budget can be a challenge. However, I have found that there are many options available, from major guitar brands such as Yamaha, Harley Benton, Epiphone, Squier, and Gretsch. So if you are looking for the best cheap electric guitar for you, look at this list of the 9 Best electric guitars for under 500 in 2024.

With so many electric guitar brands offering good deals, cheap electric guitars have become viable options for intermediate players looking to upgrade their first guitar or even professional players searching for a new guitar as a backup instrument.

These guitars may not have all the features and quality of most high-end models, but they provide excellent playability and appearance at an affordable price.

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In this buying guide, we have outlined our top picks for the best cheap electric guitars currently available for purchase, along with some helpful advice to assist in making a decision.

What are the Best Cheap Electric Guitars under 500$ in 2023:

1. Yamaha Pacifica 112V:

The Yamaha Pacifica 112V – a guitar that has set the standard for quality and specification. The 112V is the embodiment of simplicity, focusing on the bare necessities and yet and its construction is very well done.

The design is based on the classic Stratocaster but has some details that make it look more substantial. The bridge humbucker pickup creates a rich and powerful sound, and the ability to split the coils allows for a wider range of tonal options, making it a versatile feature. The playability is top-notch, the neck feels smooth, the rosewood fretboard is easy to navigate and the action is set up well.

The single-coils percussive sound with a bit of added mid-range from the amplifier, produce the classic Texas blues sound.

The Pacifica 112V of Yamaha electric guitars is a good choice for beginners looking for a high-quality instrument and a budget electric guitar.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 22
  • Pickups: Alnico V bridge humbucker, 2x Alnico V single coils
  • Controls: Volume, tone (with push-pull coil-split), 5-way selector switch
  • Hardware: Vintage-style vibrato with block saddle
  • Left-handed: Yes (Pacifica 112J)
  • Finish: Natural Satin, Old Violin Sunburst, Raspberry Red, Sonic Blue, Black, Silver Metallic

Positive aspects:

  • + Very versatile instrument
  • + Suitable for those starting out on guitar
  • + Remarkably pleasing, full and rich sound
  • + Appealing aesthetic design
  • + Exceptional robust and quality construction

Negative aspects:

  • – The vibrato mechanism could be refined for better performance

2. Epiphone Les Paul SL

The Epiphone Les Paul SL is a powerful guitar that combines the features of the Les Paul Junior and the Melody Maker models. The poplar body is incredibly lightweight complimented with a smooth mahogany neck, yet it still has a substantial feel like the Les Paul Junior, and it is comfortable to play.

The SL also comes with a custom single-ply pickguard that surrounds the two Epiphone 700SCT (bridge) and 650SCR (neck) ceramic single-coil pickups, which provide a wide range of tonal options.

The ceramic pickups of the SL were designed with a lot of body and roundness which gives the single-coils a high level of responsiveness. They produce a well-balanced and clear sound even when played with high volume.

The guitar is suitable for rock and blues, as it has a unique tone that stands out on its own, thanks to the quality setup that Epiphone has applied consistently across their instruments. The guitar plays very smoothly, a budget electric guitar, that is a pleasure to use.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Scale: 24.75″
  • Frets: 22, medium-jumbo
  • Pickups: Epiphone 650SCR Ceramic Single-Coil (neck), Epiphone 700SCT Ceramic Single-Coil (bridge)
  • Controls: 3-way pickup selector, Master Volume, Master Tone
  • Left-Handed: No
  • Finishes: Ebony, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Pacific Blue, Sunset Yellow, Turquoise, Vintage Sunburst

Positive aspects:

  • + Extremely lightweight and easy to handle
  • + Playability is effortless
  • + Pickups deliver a powerful and distinct sound
  • + Low price

Negative aspects:

  • – Doesn’t produc the traditional Epiphone tone

5. Squier Affinity Stratocaster FMT HSS

The Squier Affinity Stratocaster FMT HSS is a budget-friendly version of the iconic Fender Strat, equipped with a high-output ceramic humbucker for added versatility. So it is a good pick for everyone who likes the look of fender guitars and looks for versatility

Despite being an entry-level guitar, the Affinity series boasts impressive quality, with an attractive flame maple top, comfortable C-shaped neck, and large 70s headstock, if that is what you are looking for, this could be the best cheap electric guitar for you.

What sets this guitar apart is its Squier humbucker and single-coil neck and middle pickups, providing a wide range of tones with the 5-way selector switch.

This electric guitar is a great option for those looking for a versatile and budget-friendly electric guitar.

Specifications:

  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Frets: 21
  • Pickups: Ceramic Humbucker/Ceramic Single-Coil/Ceramic Single-Coil
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck/Middle Pickups), Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup) 5-way switch
  • Hardware: 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Block Saddles
  • Left-handed: Yes
  • Finish: Sienna Sunburst, Black Burst

Pros:

  • + Versatile sound due to the combination of a ceramic humbucker and ceramic single-coil pickups
  • + Attractive flame maple top and slim, comfortable C-shaped neck
  • + Large 70s-style headstock adds a touch of classic Fender styling
  • +Affordable price point, making it accessible to a wide range of players. Versatile HSS pickup configuration
  • +Eye-catching flame top design
  • +Vintage-inspired 70s large headstock

Cons:

  • -The poplar body may not have the same tonal qualities as higher-end woods like alder or ash
  • -The 2-point synchronized tremolo system may not stay in tune as well as more expensive tremolo systems
  • -The ceramic pickups may be too bright or harsh sounding for some, the by some preferred traditional SSS pickup set, is not available on this model

7. Epiphone SG Standard ’60s Maestro Vibrola

The Epiphone SG Standard ’61 Maestro Vibrola is another guitar that perfectly combines vintage style with modern features. The mahogany body and neck provide a warm and rich tone, while the Indian Laurel fretboard adds a touch of brightness to the overall sound.

The slim taper neck profile and 22 frets make this guitar comfortable and easy to play, even for those with smaller hands.

One of the standout features of this guitar are the ProBucker-2 and ProBucker-3 pickups. These pickups accurately replicate the tone of the original Gibson PAF pickups and provide a wide range of tonal possibilities. The two volume and two tone controls, as well as the toggle switch, give you even more control over your sound.

The Maestro Vibrola Tailpiece is another feature that sets this guitar apart. This tailpiece is a throwback to the original SGs from the 60s and adds a touch of vintage charm to the overall aesthetic of the guitar. The Locktone ABR Tune-o-Matic bridge and Epiphone Deluxe Vintage 18:1 machine heads also contribute to the guitar’s vintage vibe.

All of these features come together to create a guitar that is perfect for both vintage enthusiasts and modern players. Whether you’re playing rock, blues, or even jazz, the Epiphone SG Standard ’61 Maestro Vibrola is sure to impress. The vintage cherry finish is a cherry on top, giving it a unique and elegant look, making it a guitar that is not just great to play but also to look at. All in all a versatile guitar worth a second look.

Update: The price has gone up, so it is now slightly over the 500$, depending on which dealer you choose. I kept it in here because it still is a good choice for the price.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel
  • Inlays: Trapezoid
  • Neck profile: Slim taper
  • Frets: 22
  • Scale: 629 mm (24.75″)
  • Nut width: 43 mm (1.693″)
  • Pickups: ProBucker-2 (neck) and ProBucker-3 (bridge) humbuckers
  • Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone, Toggle switch
  • Electronics: CTS
  • Bridge: Locktone ABR Tune-o-matic
  • Tailpiece: Maestro Vibrola
  • Tuners: Epiphone Deluxe Vintage 18:1
  • Finish: Red Cherry

Positive aspects:

  • + Lightweight and easy to play
  • + Vintage tone with plenty of output and clarity.
  • + The Maestro Vibrola tailpiece adds a classic touch and allows for smooth vibrato effects and has very good tuning stability.
  • + Timeless and elegant look.

Negative aspects:

  • – The slim taper neck profile may not be comfortable for all players.
  • – The trapezoid fretboard inlays may not be to everyone’s taste.
  • – The Maestro Vibrola tailpiece may require some getting used to for players who are not familiar with it.
  • – The guitar may require some setup adjustments out of the box for optimal playability.

8. Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club IS

The Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club IS is an impressive electric guitar that offers a unique blend of vintage style and modern features. The nato body and bolt-on neck provide a warm, resonant tone that is perfect for a variety of musical styles. The laurel fretboard and Pearloid Neo-Classic thumbnail inlays add a touch of elegance to the overall design.

One of the standout features of this guitar is the Broad Tron pickups, which offer a powerful, articulate tone that is perfect for both clean and overdriven sounds. The master volume and tone controls, along with the 3-way toggle switch, provide a wide range of tonal options for players to experiment with.

The compensated Wrap-Around bridge and die-cast machine heads ensure that the guitar stays in tune and plays smoothly. The single-layer tortoise shell pickguard adds a touch of vintage charm to the overall aesthetic. The Imperial Stain color gives the guitar a classic look that is sure to stand out on stage.

Overall, the Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club IS is a versatile and stylish electric guitar that is perfect for players looking for a unique instrument with a classic vibe.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Streamliner Junior Jet series
  • Body: Nato
  • Bolt-on neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Laurel
  • Pearloid Neo-Classic thumbnail fretboard inlays
  • Fretboard radius: 305 mm (12.01″)
  • Scale: 629 mm (24.76″)
  • Nut width: 43 mm (1.69″)
  • Nut made from synthetic bone
  • Neck profile: Thin U
  • 22 Medium jumbo frets
  • Pickup: 2 Broad Tron (bridge and neck)
  • Controls: Volume and Tone
  • Switch: 3-Way toggle
  • Single-layer tortoise shell pickguard
  • Compensated Wrap-Around bridge
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • Hardware: Nickel
  • Finish: Vintage White

Positive aspects:

  • + The nato body and bolt-on neck provide a bright and punchy tone with good sustain.
  • + The Broad Tron pickups offer a unique and versatile tone that can handle a wide range of genres.
  • + The Pearloid Neo-Classic thumbnail fretboard inlays add a touch of elegance to the overall aesthetic.
  • + The compensated Wrap-Around bridge ensures accurate intonation and easy string changes.
  • + The Imperial Stain finish gives the guitar a sleek and sophisticated look.

Negative aspects:

  • – The thin U neck profile may not be comfortable for all players.
  • – The nato wood may not have the same tonal characteristics as traditional tonewoods.
  • – The single-layer tortoise shell pickguard may not be as durable as other materials.

9. Squier Affinity Series Telecaster Deluxe

The Squier Affinity Series Telecaster Deluxe Electric Guitar in Black with Maple Fingerboard is a fantastic option for guitar players looking for an authentic Tele feel at an affordable price point.

This electric guitar is designed to be lightweight and resonant, making it perfect for hours of comfortable playing on stage, in the studio, or the garage.

One of the standout features of this guitar is its poplar body with a solid “C” shape and bolt-on maple neck. The maple neck is designed for fast and comfortable playing, making it ideal for lead runs and chords up and down the fretboard. The 21 medium jumbo frets provide added comfort, allowing you to continue playing for hours without hand fatigue.

Another great aspect of this guitar is the versatile pair of ceramic humbuckers. These pickups offer a wide range of tones and with two volume and tone knobs, you have a spectrum of sounds to dial in, giving you near-infinite stylistic colorings to explore. Whether you’re playing blues, rock, or country, the Affinity Series Tele Deluxe can handle it all.

The Squier Affinity Series Telecaster Deluxe Electric Guitar also features a 6-saddle string-thru-body bridge and tailpiece, die-cast tuners, and a 3-way toggle pickup switch. The black gloss polyurethane finish gives the guitar a sleek and classic look, making it perfect for any performance setting.

Overall, the Squier Affinity Series Telecaster Deluxe Electric Guitar is a fantastic option for guitar players looking for a versatile and comfortable guitar at an affordable price point and like the look of the fender guitars. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, this guitar has everything you need to take your guitar playing to the next level.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Maple with black dot fretboard inlays
  • Neck profile: C
  • Scale: 648 mm (25.51″)
  • Fretboard radius: 241 mm (9.49″)
  • Nut width: 42 mm (1.65″)
  • Nut: Bone
  • Frets: 21 Medium jumbo
  • Pickup: 2 ceramic humbuckers
  • Controls: 2 Volume, 2 tone, 3-Way switch, 3-Ply
  • Pickguard: Black
  • Saddle: hardtail bridge with string guide through the body and block tailpieces
  • Tuners: Enclosed DieCast with split shafts
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Finish: Black

Positive aspects:

  • + Lightweight and resonant tone, perfect for long hours of playing on stage or in the studio.
  • + Comfortable playing experience
  • + Ideal for a wide range of genres and playing styles
  • + Versatile range of tones, from crunchy and growly to clean and bright, that can be easily shaped with the volume and tone knobs.
  • + The sleek black color and gloss polyurethane finish gives the guitar a sleek and professional look.

Negative aspects:

  • – The 9.5″ radius on the fingerboard may not be suitable for players who prefer a flatter radius.
  • – The maple fingerboard may require regular maintenance and conditioning to prevent drying and cracking.
  • – The ceramic humbuckers may not provide the same level of warmth and complexity as Alnico pickups.
  • – The string-thru body bridge may not provide the same level of sustain as a traditional Telecaster bridge.

How to choose the right electric guitar?

Choosing the right electric guitar can be a daunting task, especially for beginners. There are many factors to consider such as size, weight, and style.

So here we want to address some of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing an electric guitar.

1. Balance: High-quality guitars should not have the issue but many affordable guitars have. If the balance of the instrument is off, the neck can drag to the floor, this is known as a “neck dive“. You can easily check for it by using a strap. Without holding the guitar with your hands it should still stay level.

2. Size and weight: Another factor to consider is the size and weight of a guitar. Because every person is different in body build and hand size. What some may find perfect is a hardship for others. Electric guitars come in three basic styles: solid body, hollow body, and semi-hollow body. And you might guess it by the names alone, the weight can vary considerably.

3. Size of the fretboard: Like I said in number 2, not just the body size but also the hand sizes differ. So do you have long or short fingers, small or big ones? There are several sizes of fretboards and different neck shapes to choose from, depending on your preference.

So in short: choose a guitar that is easy to play and comfortable for you and look for balance and tuning stability. Be sure to try different guitars because what matters most is fantastic playability for your size and style, so it is effortless and fun to make music on your new guitar.

And if you are looking for something small you can take with you on the road, maybe a travel guitar is what you are looking for.

Are budget electric guitars worth it?

Now, let’s talk about budget electric guitars. Are they worth it? The answer is, it depends. A budget guitar can be a great option for a beginner who is just starting to learn the instrument or if you need a backup instrument or something less valuable for some occasions.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that with electric guitars, like most instruments you get what you pay for. So, cheaper guitars may not have the same level of craftsmanship and quality as more expensive ones. Therefore, it’s important to do your research and read reviews before making a purchase.

In conclusion, choosing the right electric guitar can be a complex task, but by considering factors such as balance, size and weight, and style, you can make a more informed decision.

Whether a budget guitar is worth it or not, ultimately depends on the individual’s needs and preferences. It’s important to do your research and read reviews before making a purchase to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money. I hope my pick of the 9 Best cheap electric guitars under 500$ was helpful. If you are not sure, if you an acoustic guitar would be better to start on, check out our article about acoustic vs. electric.

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