Best Electric Guitars under $1000 of 2019 – Reviews and Top Picks

Electric Guitars under 1000

A great guitar doesn’t mean an expensive guitar. One doesn’t have to spend several thousand dollars to get a good quality, excellent sounding guitar. It’s is very much possible to get one of your best guitars for under $1000. These guitars usually use cheaper materials and more basic electronics. But they are just as reliable, powerful and good-quality, as the more expensive ones. Don’t believe me? Take a look at one of these and your mind will be blown.

Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster - Olympic White
  • Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster
  • Rating:
  • Body type: Solid
  • Body shape: Stratocaster
  • Body wood: Alder
  • Neck: C-shaped
  • Neck material: Maple
  • Pick up: 3 Pure Vintage ’65 Gray-Bottom Single-Coils
  • Fretboard wood: Maple
  • Frets: 21, Medium Jumbo
  • Bridge: 6-Saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo
  • Tuners: Vintage style
Fender Alternate Reality Meteora Electric Guitar
  • Fender Alternate Reality Meteora HH
  • Rating:
  • Body type: Solid Body
  • Body shape: Offset
  • Body wood: Alder
  • Neck: C-modern, Bolt-on
  • Neck material: Maple
  • Pick up: Dual Player Series Alnico 2 Humbuckers
  • Fretboard wood: Pau Ferro
  • Frets: 22, Medium Jumbo
  • Bridge: Adjusto-matic
  • Tuners: Die-cast sealed
Schecter 237 Solid-Body Electric Guitar
  • Schecter 237 KEITH MERROW KM-7
  • Rating:
  • Body type: Solid
  • Body shape: S-style
  • Body wood: Swamp Ash
  • Neck: Ultra-Thin
  • Neck material: Maple
  • Pick up: Seymour Duncan Nazgul / Sentient
  • Fretboard wood: Ebony
  • Frets: 24, X-Jimbo
  • Bridge: Hipshot Hardtail
  • Tuners: Schecter Locking
Name
Body type:
Body shape:
Body wood:
Neck:
Neck material:
Price
Name
Body type:
Body shape:
Body wood:
Neck:
Neck material:
Price
№1
Solid
Stratocaster
Alder
C-shaped
Maple
№2
Solid Body
Offset
Alder
C-modern, Bolt-on
Maple
№3
Solid
S-style
Swamp Ash
Ultra-Thin
Maple
№4
Solid Body
Single Cutaway
Mahogany
Thin U
Mahogany
№5
Solid body
EVH
Basswood
Bold-on
Maple
№6
Solid body
Single Cutaway
Alder
C modern
Maple
№7
Revstar
Solid body
Mahogany
Medium
Mahogany
№8
Solid body
PRS Mark Holcomb
Mahogany
Wide thin
Maple
Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster - Olympic White

This flipped-over Strat is a no-brainer for all you Hendrix fans that look for an affordable, high-quality axe. Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster has a solid alder body and features a signature reversed neck and headstock. A versatile axe with plenty of power and effortless playability, it has quite a “different vibe” due to the warmer sound and enhanced harmonics at the upper strings.

Body type:
Solid
Body shape:
Stratocaster
Body wood:
Alder
Neck:
C-shaped
Neck material:
Maple
Pick up:
3 Pure Vintage ’65 Gray-Bottom Single-Coils
Fretboard wood:
Maple
Frets:
21, Medium Jumbo
Bridge:
6-Saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo
Tuners:
Vintage style
PROS

• Excellent workmanship and Strat chime

Optimized string tension and easier bending

Bright response and enhanced harmonics at the higher strings

Tight, warmer sound

Versatility

Cons

Poor Pick up

Fret buzz

Fender Alternate Reality Meteora Electric Guitar

Fender Alternate Reality Meteora HH is a powerful, exceptionally balanced axe with a retro-modern offset body. A classic 60’s Fender offset look features some serious kick-ass electronics: 2 fat-sounding, explosive Alnico 2 humbuckers, crazy accurate Ajusto-Matic bridge, and precise 3-way toggle switch. It’s a reliable option for innovative and adventurous musicians.

Body type:
Solid Body
Body shape:
Offset
Body wood:
Alder
Neck:
C-modern, Bolt-on
Neck material:
Maple
Pick up:
Dual Player Series Alnico 2 Humbuckers
Fretboard wood:
Pau Ferro
Frets:
22, Medium Jumbo
Bridge:
Adjusto-matic
Tuners:
Die-cast sealed
PROS

Phenomenal sound balance and articulation

Wide sonic range

Individual volume controls

Playability and versatility

Cons

Poor factory set up

Schecter 237 Solid-Body Electric Guitar

What you get from a Schecter Keith Merrow KM-7 is a mean, sturdy, metal beast, worthy of its creator Keith Marrow. Light as a feather, this 7-string axe with an ultra-thin neck delivers fast playability, suitable for all kinds of shredding, chording, bending and rhythm playing. It features Seymour Duncan Sentient and Nazgul humbuckers, Hipshot Hardtail with String thru Body design and a push/pull 3-way volume switch.

Body type:
Solid
Body shape:
S-style
Body wood:
Swamp Ash
Neck:
Ultra-Thin
Neck material:
Maple
Pick up:
Seymour Duncan Nazgul / Sentient
Fretboard wood:
Ebony
Frets:
24, X-Jimbo
Bridge:
Hipshot Hardtail
Tuners:
Schecter Locking
PROS

Modern metal tone

Compound radius fretboard

Seymour Duncan Sentient and Nazgul humbuckers

Hight output and punchy tones

Cons

Bad quality of hardware

It may seem like this guitar is a classy vintage-sounding Les Paul, but don’t be confused – this is a real metal beast. This model has been specially adapted for the metal players and is capable of mean shredding, high outputs, sonic attacks, and rhythm work. The mahogany single-cutaway body is equipped with premium hardware, including genuine Seymour Duncan JB’/59 pickups, Tonepros Locking Tune-O-Matic bridge, and a tailpiece.

Body type:
Solid Body
Body shape:
Single Cutaway
Body wood:
Mahogany
Neck:
Thin U
Neck material:
Mahogany
Pick up:
Seymour Duncan JB/’59 passive pickups
Fretboard wood:
Macassar Ebony
Frets:
24
Bridge:
Tonepros locking TOM bridge
Tuners:
LTD Locking Tuners
PROS

Quality hardware

Versatile Seymour Duncan JB’/59 pickups

Tuning stability

Sound sustain

Playability

Cons

Fret work

VH Striped Series is a tribute to the iconic Frankenstein guitar played by the one and only Eddie van Halen. And don’t be distracted by its catchy design and seemingly simple set up, it is a true shredding machine. Created with the rock and metal in mind, this solid body basswood guitar has a comfortable compound-radius fingerboard. The hardware is rather straightforward but rock-solid: single directly mounted humbucker and genuine Floyd Rose tremolo bridge.

Body type:
Solid body
Body shape:
EVH
Body wood:
Basswood
Neck:
Bold-on
Neck material:
Maple
Pick up:
EVH Humbucker
Fretboard wood:
Maple
Frets:
22
Bridge:
Floyd Rose 100 Series with D-Tuna
Tuners:
EVH Tuners
PROS

Fast neck

Exceptional tone

Floyd rose with D-Tuna

Responsiveness

Tuning stability accuracy

Cons

Occasional static and buzz

Another incarnation of Fender’s Telecaster is the old-school, high-quality, and simply die-hard axe. This American-built classic finds a place in almost every studio and delivers a famous warm and meaty Tele tone. As it goes, the axe traditionally has an alder body, maple neck and fretboard. It features two Texas Special single-coils, responsible for that signature tone, and vintage style 3-saddle Tele bridge. And a little modern twist – Greasebucket tone circuit for exceptional sound control.

Body type:
Solid body
Body shape:
Single Cutaway
Body wood:
Alder
Neck:
C modern
Neck material:
Maple
Pick up:
Dual Texas Single Coil Pickups
Fretboard wood:
Maple
Frets:
22
Bridge:
3-saddle vintage-style bridge
Tuners:
Die-cast sealed
PROS

Classic Tele sound

Dual Texas Single Coil Pickups

Greasebucket tone circuit

Sound control and sustain

Clarity of tones

Playability

Cons

Fret finish

A guitar that combines two classics: rock and motorbikes. Inspired by the vintage Café Racer motorbike, the axe is a piece of art with some serious hardware and sound. Solid mahogany body, with a smooth set-in mahogany neck is equipped with active VP5 Alnico V P-90 single-coil pickups, dry switch, and Tune-O-Matic bridge. The axe has great sonic power, clean overdriven tones, and exceptional sustainability.

Body type:
Revstar
Body shape:
Solid body
Body wood:
Mahogany
Neck:
Medium
Neck material:
Mahogany
Pick up:
Dual VP5 Alnico V P-90 Single-coil
Fretboard wood:
Rosewood
Frets:
22
Bridge:
Tune-o-Matic
Tuners:
Die-cast
PROS

Dry switch

VP5 Alnico V P-90 single-coil pickups Dry switch

Smooth playability

Sound sustainability and clarity

Cons

Occasional Humming

This guitar, created with Mark Holcomb, the band’s lead guitarist, embodies everything that a progressive metal guitar should be. This affordable Maryland-made model features a solid, mahogany body with a 25.5” scale maple neck, Mark Holcomb Signature Alpha & Omega Seymour Duncan humbuckers, and fixed plate-style bridge. A versatile axe made with plenty of power, versatility, control, and character.

Body type:
Solid body
Body shape:
PRS Mark Holcomb
Body wood:
Mahogany
Neck:
Wide thin
Neck material:
Maple
Pick up:
Seymour Duncan Alpha/Omega humbuckers
Fretboard wood:
Ebony
Frets:
24
Bridge:
6-saddle string through body
Tuners:
PRS designed
PROS

Signature Mark Holcomb guitar

25.5” scale neck

Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega humbuckers

Playability and Versatility

Clarity of tones

Cons

Tuners

Nut quality

How to choose an electric guitar under $1000 – Buyer’s Guide

New vs Used Guitars

It’s really hard to draw the line between which guitar – new or used – is the absolute best. ‘New’ doesn’t mean perfect, and ‘used’ is nowhere near being horrible. But what’s good and bad about them?

Well, to start, the feeling of a new axe in your hands gives you so chills. Straight from the factory, it’s glossy, smooth, in perfect condition, and sometimes comes with some handy accessories. There is a higher chance that it will serve you longer, and it’s possible to buy new axes at a very affordable price.

Used guitars, however, have history, that none of the new axes have. The bad side is, well, they are used, and there is some wear and tear to them. It might be as minor as just a few scratches, and as grave as internal damage; which is noticeable only after you purchased it. Yet, some models are not issued any more, and if you are a great fan and looking for that one unique axe that has been gone since the ’60s, you gotta buy used.

Are Guitars Under $1000 Only for Beginners?

Rumour has it, only newbies should aim for a guitar under a grand.
To put it bluntly, this is not true.

Guitars manufacturers have come such a long way, and cheap doesn’t mean bad anymore. The majority of the guitars in this price segment have excellent quality and feature some kick-ass hardware, like the Yamaha REVSTAR Series RS502T, for example. With a proper amp and some effect pedals, no one will even notice how cheap or expensive your guitar is.

For a beginner, an affordable axe is an obvious choice, but trust me, even veteran guitarists can’t avoid guitars for a grand. You need to be able to afford six or seven axes, right?

Guitars $1000 Guitar: 101

Despite the increasing quality of these kind of guitars, there are still a couple things to keep an eye on. To start with, make sure the guitars are made from quality tonewoods: alder, maple, mahogany, and rosewood. It will increase the sound sustainability. Also, check the hardware – even if the bridge and pickups are basic, they should be well made and set up correctly. Be extra careful with the fretwork and finishes, as guitars for a grand have a tendency to be a bit rough around the edges. And most importantly, try it out first and check how it sounds. Nothing will tell you how good the axe is better than this.

What’s the Difference Between Expensive and Affordable Guitars?

There are a couple of things that differentiate guitars of various price segments. It would be weird if there weren’t.

The critical thing is the quality of materials and hardware. Yes, cheaper guitars use cheaper woods, paint, finishes, and basic, rather ordinary hardware and mechanics. Yet less expensive, doesn’t mean bad. Both $3000 and $800 guitars can have an alder body, and the sound sustain will be great on both of them. Some guitars like EVH Striped Series have a pretty basic set up, but its sound is as sick as, well, a pretty tricky to play Schecter Hellraiser C-1. You can never know until you try.

Another big thing is the manufacturing process. The majority of guitars are now done mechanically, at the factories. Thus, the cost of production for these guitars drops significantly. While expensive and, I might add, premium axes are hand-made, at least some parts are.

And lastly, place of origin means the world in the guitar industry. Traditionally, American-made guitars have higher quality and are more expensive, while Mexican, Korean, and Japanese guitars are usually cheaper. These are slowly becoming obsolete, though, as more and more small brands enter the market. Besides, big American brands like Fender, Les Paul, and Gibson are launching affordable versions of their classics.

Conclusion

Guitars are becoming more sophisticated, and it’s getting easier to find a genuinely gorgeous, reliable, and kick-ass sounding axe. No matter what kind of guitar you are looking for, you can find a great sounding axe in no time. If you are looking for something traditional, go for the twangy warm-sounding Fender American Tele. If you are a metalhead, there is nothing better than an ESP LTD EC-1000. If I were to choose the best guitar from the list, it would be nothing else but a crystal clear, versatile Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster.

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By Max Hudson
    about author

    My name is Max Hudson, born and raised in Chicago. I'm 30 years old and like many other people, I discovered guitar in my teens and have never looked back since. It has quickly evolved into a passion and has given me a creative outlet, something to redirect my time and unlimited energy toward. I want this website to be a handbook for players of all skill levels. It can become a starting point for your new hobby, where you can find the right instrument, get tips for playing effortlessly or anything else music related.

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