You may think it’s impossible to find a guitar in a low price range, but it’s not. This guide to the best electric guitars under 500 will help you find a quality guitar at a lower price.

I’ve played guitar for a long time and have tried many different guitars at various price points. I know it can seem hard to find a good guitar under 500, but today there’s more choice than ever before at this price.

Quick Look: Best Electric Guitars Under $500

#1 Best Electric Guitar Under $500 Overall: Schecter Omen Extreme


This guide will help you find a good guitar no matter what your playing level is now. I’ve picked guitars that sound great and won’t break your bank account at the same time.

Are There Good Electric Guitars Under $500?

I’ve found many great guitars under $500. These guitars are suited for beginner and intermediate players, but even pros will find a few guitars in this price range that fit their needs if they’re willing to change a few things on the guitar.

best electric guitar under 500

The key to remember is that at this price range, you can expect some guitars to need a bit of modification, such as installing better pickups. Beginners probably won’t have to do any modifying and can play right away.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Electric Guitar Under $500

Before you buy your guitar, you have to think about what you want. This short guide will show you what to buy at your current level.

Level of Experience

Your level of experience is going to determine the type of guitar that you buy. Not every lower-cost guitar is ideal for all styles and playing abilities. Here’s what you need to know.

Beginner Electric Guitars Under $500

Beginners should look at the various guitar packages. These have everything that you need to start playing. They usually ship with a gig bag, a small amp, picks, strings, and other accessories that you need.

Intermediate Electric Guitars Under $500

At the intermediate level, you have more options. You can pick a guitar with the pickups you like, body style, number of frets, and so on. You’ve played for a while and know what you like.

Pro Electric Guitars Under $500

At the pro level, you can pick and choose every aspect of your guitar. You may also want to modify the guitar to suit your playing style. Many players at this level choose to install pickups that have a custom tone.


Most players want a full-sized electric guitar when buying under 500, but younger students may require a 3/4 or shorter scale guitar that usually comes in a guitar package.

The Overall Tone & Sound

The sound and tone depends on the wood and the pickups. Higher-grade wood sounds better. Some lower-cost guitars use poor quality wood, so you need to be careful. Good pickups are essential in this price range.


You probably won’t find much under $200. Try to spend at least this much on your guitar. This will ensure that you get something that will be playable. As you get closer to $500, the quality improves quite a bit.

Best Brands for Electric Guitars Under $500

Here are some of the best brands when it comes to electric guitars under $500. All of these make great choices.

a variety of brands to the best electric guitars under 500

These companies produce excellent guitars at a lower price point.

Fender Squier

The Fender Squier is the lower-cost guitar in the Fender lineup. These guitars sound great and are perfect for beginner or intermediate players. This is the best Fender electric guitar under $500 and is great for beginners.


Yamaha makes a wide range of lower-cost instruments, which are perfect for students and younger beginners. They have both acoustic and electric guitars for beginners, which sound great and are easy to play.

Gibson Epiphone

The Gibson Epiphone is the lower-cost Gibson guitar. They have many electric guitars for under $500 in their lineup. They sound great and are modeled after traditional Gibson guitars to provide something with classic looks.


There are plenty of Ibanez guitars for the hard rock or heavy metal fan for under $500. Many of these feature great humbucking pickups and tremolo systems, so hard rock players have everything they need to sound great.


ESP has a wide range of different guitars that are under $500. Many of these instruments have vintage Les Paul style looks and double humbuckers. The ESP LTD Kirk Hammett is one of the best ESP electric guitars under $500.

10 Best Electric Guitars Under $500 Overall

Here is my list of the 10 best electric guitars under $500 overall. All of these instruments would make excellent choices for all playing levels, from beginner to advanced.

young woman holding electric guitar

You should find something here that works for you.

1. Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster Package

  • Pickups: 3 x single-coil
  • What’s included: Guitar, accessories, gig bag, amp
  • Frets: 21
  • Material & finish: Alder, maple, laurel, polyurethane
  • Best for: Beginners that want a great sounding guitar

Beginners will love the Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster package. This has everything that the beginner needs. You get a great-sounding Stratocaster guitar, one of the best Fender guitars under $500.

✅ Lots of accessories
✅ Amp
✅ Gig bag
✅ Great tone
❌ Some accessories could be better
❌ Amp is a low volume

Why I Recommend It

I’m a big fan of the Fender Squier guitar. It’s an excellent instrument for beginners because it sounds great and is easy to play. This package provides everything for the beginner to get started.

The guitar itself is a full-featured Stratocaster, with three single-coil pickups, volume control, two tone controls, and a pickup selector switch. The whole package comes at a great price and is a bargain under $500.



2. Jackson Rhoads JS32T

  • Pickups: 2 x humbuckers
  • What’s included: Guitar
  • Frets: 24
  • Material & finish: Basswood, laurel, maple, poplar, gloss finish
  • Best for: Rock and metal players on a limited budget

The Jackson Rhoads JS32T electric guitar has two excellent-sounding humbuckers. It comes with 24 frets, so it’s ready for hard rock and metal guitar. This guitar has everything that the rock player needs.

✅ 24 frets
✅ Great pickups
✅ Solid tone
✅ Excellent price
❌ No tremolo
❌ A bit hard to hold

Why I Recommend It

It’s quite difficult to find a decent hard rock or metal guitar under $500. Jackson has you covered with this model based on one of Randy Rhoads’s guitars. It has an excellent tone with double Jackson humbucking pickups.

This guitar is easy to play for hard rock and heavy metal, thanks to the V style. You’ll be able to play fast lines up and down the fretboard with no effort at all. It also has die-cast tuners to keep the instrument’s tuning stable.



3. Schecter Omen Extreme

  • Pickups: 2 x humbuckers
  • What’s included: Guitar, floating tremolo
  • Frets: 24
  • Material & finish: Mahogany, maple, rosewood, gloss finish
  • Best for: Heavy metal players looking for a great low-priced guitar

The Schecter Omen Extreme provides everything that the hard rock and heavy metal player wants. This guitar has two excellent humbucking pickups, a floating tremolo, 24 frets, and a double-cutaway for fast playing.


✅ Great pickups
✅ Deep cutaway
✅ 24 frets
✅ Smooth neck
❌ A bit expensive
❌ Tremolo can be picky

Why I Recommend It

I like the Schecter Omen as it has a lot going for it for just under $500. The pickups’ output is perfect for playing heavy metal guitar, and it has a nice fast 24 fret neck. Another great feature is the locking nut tremolo.

The instrument has a deep double-cutaway to access all of the higher frets for faster soloing. I also like the finish on this guitar. This is one of the best Schecter electric guitars under $500 that’s suited for hard rock guitar.



4. Ibanez Artcore AM53TF Semi-Hollow

  • Pickups: 2 x humbuckers
  • What’s included: Guitar
  • Frets: 22
  • Material & finish: Laurel, sapele, mahogany, gloss finish
  • Best for: Jazz and blues beginner/intermediate guitarists

The Ibanez Artcore AM53TF Semi-Hollow is an excellent introductory guitar for blues or jazz players. It features f-holes for both acoustic and electric tones. It has two humbucking pickups and a smooth playing 22 fret neck.

✅ Great tone
✅ Nice pickups
✅ Double cutaway
✅ Solid tuners
❌ No case
❌ A bit cumbersome to hold

Why I Recommend It

I like the Ibanez Artcore because it’s a low-cost introduction to jazz or blues guitar. It has excellent sounding humbucking pickups, and it’s semi-hollow, so you get more tone out of the instrument.

The neck is easy to play thanks to the double-cutaway that lets you hit the higher frets without too much trouble. It has great machine heads that help stabilize the tuning.



5. Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V

  • Pickups: 2 x single-coil, 1 x humbucker
  • What’s included: Guitar, tremolo
  • Frets: 22
  • Material & finish: Rosewood, maple, alder, polyurethane finish
  • Best for: Beginners/intermediate players that want a good Strat-style guitar

The Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V is an excellent Strat-style guitar. This model features two single-coil pickups and one humbucking pickup, so it can cover many musical styles. It comes with a tremolo for dive bombs and guitar tricks.

✅ Good pickup config
✅ Solid tone
✅ Tremolo
✅ Nice look
❌ Tremolo can go out of tune
❌ May need some setup

Why I Recommend It

I like the Yamaha Pacifica because it’s the perfect guitar for any beginner or intermediate player. This one even has a push-pull for the humbucker, so you can change it to a single coil if you want.

It comes with a simple volume and tone control, so beginners can pick up and play it right away. It has a nice smooth playing 22 fret neck. This one has a standard Strat-style tremolo which is ready for rock guitar.



6. Epiphone Les Paul Studio

  • Pickups: 2 x humbucker
  • What’s included: Guitar
  • Frets: 22
  • Material & finish: Mahogany, ebony, rosewood, gloss finish
  • Best for: Beginners/intermediate players that want a Les Paul-style guitar

The Epiphone Les Paul Studio is a great introduction for beginner or intermediate players that want a Les Paul-style guitar. It has two nice-sounding humbuckers and a full set of controls. It produces a great tone.

✅ Good pickups
✅ Vintage look
✅ Full controls
✅ Good tone
❌ May need some setup
❌ No pickguard

Why I Recommend It

This is one of the lower-cost Les Paul-style guitars on the market. While it’s not going to sound as good as a regular Les Paul, it sounds pretty good for what you get. It has two tone controls, two volume controls, and two humbuckers.

The guitar is easy to play, and it has solid machine heads for the instrument to stay in tune. This is one of the best Epiphone electric guitars under $500. It has the sound and looks that you want in a lower-cost instrument.



7. Fender 3/4 Kids Stratocaster Package

  • Pickups: 3 x single-coil
  • What’s included: Guitar, accessories, amp
  • Frets: 20
  • Material & finish: Rosewood, maple, alder, polyurethane finish
  • Best for: Small children looking for their first guitar

The Fender 3/4 Kids Stratocaster Package is ideal for children ages 6 to 12. It’s the perfect introduction to music for younger children. You get an amplifier, guitar, and accessories all in one low-priced package.

✅ Lots of accessories
✅ Easy to play guitar
✅ Amp included
✅ Lesson DVD
❌ No gig bag
❌ May need setup

Why I Recommend It

Full-size guitars are not ideal for smaller children because they’ll struggle to hold and play them. This is a nice 3/4 size Strat-style guitar, which sounds great. I also like the fact that it comes with plenty of accessories.

Children will love playing the guitar, and as a parent, you’re going to save money. You should probably have it set up, so it plays a little bit better. Guitars like this tend to have a bit higher action than what you need.



8. ESP LTD KH-202 Kirk Hammett Signature

  • Pickups: 2 x humbucking
  • What’s included: Guitar, tremolo
  • Frets: 24
  • Material & finish: Basswood, maple, rosewood, gloss finish
  • Best for: Rock and metal guitar fans

The ESP LTD KH-202 Kirk Hammett Signature is an excellent hard rock and metal guitar. It’s got two excellent-sounding ESP humbucking pickups. It comes with a full Floyd Rose tremolo and 24 frets so you can blaze away at solos.

✅ ESP pickups
✅ Floyd Rose tremolo
✅ 24 frets
✅ Great tone
❌ Tremolo is picky to tune
❌ No case

Why I Recommend It

This guitar is pretty impressive for just under $500. It has excellent ESP pickups, and there’s a full-featured Floyd Rose tremolo system. Many other guitars in this price range don’t have the Floyd Rose, so this is a great deal.

It has a 24 fret fingerboard which is smooth and easy to play, so you’ll be playing fast solos in no time at all. It also includes skull designs on the fretboard fret markers, which is a great touch.



9. Ibanez GRGA Electric Guitar

  • Pickups: 2 x humbuckers
  • What’s included: Guitar, tremolo
  • Frets: 24
  • Material & finish: Rosewood, maple, alder, polyurethane finish
  • Best for: Rock guitar players

The Ibanez GRGA is an excellent introductory guitar for any rock guitar player. This has a smooth playing 24 fret neck, locking tremolo system, and a deep cutaway for easy access to all frets.

✅ Locking tremolo
✅ 24 frets
✅ Easy to play
✅ Deep cutaway
❌ Not suitable for some styles
❌ Might need some setup

Why I Recommend It

I find it amazing that you can get a guitar like this for under $300. This is the perfect choice for any rock guitar player looking for something easy to play, and it sounds great right out of the box.

You get 24 frets, so the player can practice all of their favorite solos. It has two nice-sounding humbucking pickups, a deep cutaway, and everything you could ask for. With a bit of setup from a guitar tech, this instrument is set to rock.



10. Fender Squier Telecaster

  • Pickups: 2 x single-coil
  • What’s included: Guitar
  • Frets: 22
  • Material & finish: Alder, ample gloss finish
  • Best for: Intermediate Telecaster fans

The Fender Squier Telecaster is an excellent guitar for any intermediate player. It has a smooth playing neck and single-coil pickups so that you can get many different tones out of the guitar. It’s set up and ready to go out of the box.

✅ Great tone
✅ Nice pickups
✅ Easy to play
✅ Good price
❌ No case
❌ Not ideal for some styles

Why I Recommend It

For those that like Telecaster style guitars, the Fender Squier model is an excellent guitar. It sounds almost like a regular Telecaster and has the same great looks you would expect in this type of guitar.

The C-profile neck is smooth and comfortable, which will help the intermediate guitarist play chords and learn how to solo. The die-cast tuning machines allow for stable tuning.



What Comes With Electric Guitars Under $500?

Here are the factors that you need to look at when purchasing an electric guitar under $500.

electric guitar inside the box

You may have to pick and choose different features because you won’t get everything that you want in this price range for the most part.


The headstock style depends on the manufacturer. Most of them have standard die-cast tuners, but you’ll probably have to spend over $500 if you want locking tuners.


Most guitars that are under $500 have 21 or 22 frets, which is standard. Some may have 24 frets, but you may have to look a little harder to find them, and the price range is probably closer to $500.


While some electric guitars under $500 have great pickups, many of them may not have the sound you want. You may want to change the electric guitar pickups to something that you like. Pickups can be a weak spot on some instruments.


Most guitars under $500 have a decent bridge, so the instrument will stay in tune. There are a few with locking nut tremolo systems, but you may have to fiddle with these a little bit to get them to stay in tune.


It’s up to you to decide on the body style that you want for your instrument. You’ll find plenty of Stratocaster and Les Paul style guitars under $500. These are two of the main body types, but there are others in this price range.


When you purchase your instrument, you may have to buy a few extras. Many of the accessories included in some guitar packages are not that good, so you’ll probably have to buy your own. Here is what you need:

  • Picks
  • Strings
  • Good amplifier
  • Guitar cable
  • Music stand
  • Good guitar seat
  • Instruction books
  • Capo/slide

Electric Guitar Build and Materials

Here’s what you should look for in terms of the building materials of your guitar. Keep in mind that an instrument under $500 uses less quality wood compared to expensive instruments.


When you purchase an instrument under $500, you can expect that the wood is going to be lower quality. The guitar will still sound decent, but you won’t get the tone that comes from a higher-priced instrument.

  • Alder: Typical wood with a good tone that’s used in the construction of electric guitar bodies
  • Ash: A similar wood to alder with a decent tone
  • Mahogany: This is probably one of the better sounding woods for guitar bodies.
  • Basswood/poplar: These woods are used in lower-cost instruments.
  • Maple: This is often used for the guitar neck because the wood is solid.
  • Rosewood/laurel/ebony: These woods are used for the guitar fretboard.


Several types of finishes are used for electric guitars. Here is a basic guide on the most common ones.

  • Lacquer: This is a common finish used on electric guitars. There are many different types of lacquer. It offers a smooth shine and a hard finish.
  • Nitrocellulose lacquer: This is probably the most common type of lacquer used on electric guitars. It’s a durable finish that lasts a long time, and it provides an excellent shine.
  • Poly finish: This is a modern finish that offers a great shine and excellent durability, and it doesn’t fade as much as other types of finishes. The most common type is polyurethane.


You’ll find a wide range of instruments in different colors in this price range. Typical colors include black, blue, white, and sunburst. You can pretty much pick and choose whatever color you want.

Buying New vs. Used

If you’re going to buy a guitar for under $500, it’s best to buy new. This is because a warranty covers you, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re getting.

close up of electric guitar

If you already have some guitar skills and understand the instrument, you can buy one used because you’ll have a better idea of what you want. If you don’t understand guitars, shop with someone that does.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some frequently asked questions that people ask about guitars under $500. These answers will help you make an informed decision before you purchase.

What Pickups Are Best?

The type of pickups that you get depend on what you like to play. Single coil pickups are great for regular rock, blues, country, and so on. They don’t excel as well as humbucking pickups when it comes to a lot of distortion.

Today there are plenty of instruments that have both single coil and humbucking designs, so you can get the best of both pickups in your guitar. You’ll have to experiment until you find something that you like.

How Can I Make My Guitar Sound Better?

Guitars under $500 may sound pretty good, but they’re not going to sound like a professional instrument. To make your guitar sound better, you may have to change the pickups or electronics to better components.

A good set of strings, a high-quality amplifier, and a shielded guitar cable will also improve your tone by a wide margin. You should also ensure that the instrument is set up with proper intonation at your local music store.

What Strings Should I Use?

A good rule of thumb is to use 009 gauge strings. These are easier to bend and play, especially for beginners. If you have some playing experience under your belt, then you can use whatever strings you like.

When I was teaching guitar students, I found that the 009 gauge strings were easier for them to play. You’ll probably find that this is the best option. Coated strings will also last longer, but they cost a bit more.

Is My Guitar Good Enough?

You can find a great electric guitar for under $500. Depending upon where you are in your playing career, your guitar probably is good enough now. Some players like to modify the pickups and put in ones that they like.

If your instrument is easy to play, and you’re relatively satisfied with it, it’s probably going to be something that you’ll enjoy for years to come. I played a simple Squier Stratocaster for years and loved that guitar.

What Are the Best Electric Guitars Under $500?

Here are my top three picks for the best electric guitars under $500. These are great choices whether you’re a beginner or a professional player.

Schecter Omen Extreme: Best for Professionals

The Schecter Omen Extreme guitar has everything that the professional will want for under $500. It has two excellent humbucking pickups, deep cutaways so you can solo with ease, and 24 frets.

Yamaha Pacifica PAC122V: Best for Intermediate Players

The Yamaha Pacifica is an excellent intermediate Strat-style guitar. This particular model has two single-coil pickups, one humbucker, and a tremolo system. It sounds great right out of the box.

Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster Package: Best for Beginners

The Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster package features an excellent Stratocaster guitar and all of the accessories the beginner needs to start playing right away. This makes it one of the best Fender guitars under $500.

Where Are the Best Electric Guitars Under $500 Made?

Most of the best electric guitars you’ll find under $500 are made in the United States. This is where the major manufacturers are located.

What Is the Best Sounding Electric Guitar Under $500?

The Schecter Omen Extreme is your best bet for a guitar under $500. It has great-sounding pickups, a double-cutaway for easy access to the frets, and a locking tremolo system.

Where to Buy Electric Guitars Under $500

There are a few places, both offline and online, where you should consider purchasing your instruments. This guide will help you find an instrument that works for you.


I recommend that you purchase your instrument from Amazon. I’ve shopped there in the past, and I’ve always had great customer service. They have excellent prices, fast shipping, and you can read reviews before ordering.

Online Music Retailers

Both Guitar Center and Sweetwater are two other locations online where you can purchase musical instruments. They have fast shipping, an excellent selection of instruments, and good customer service.

Your Local Music Store

Your local music store is also a place where you can find an excellent instrument. Take someone with you if you’ve never bought a guitar before, as they can help you pick out the right guitar.

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In Conclusion

This concludes my guide to the best electric guitars under 500. You’ll find plenty of different instruments on the market that are under this price range. You’ll probably find something that works for you and your playing level now.

Please share this article, leave a comment, and ask questions about guitars in general. I look forward to hearing from you. Now, go plug in your new electric guitar and have a lot of fun with it.