Best Electric Guitars Under $500

Since the market has become very competitive, getting an electric guitar within the range of $500 is not hard. With the current market, you can get any model you want, and they will perform outstandingly. Before you decide to buy an electric guitar that costs $500 and below, makes sure you understand the following;

The Guitar Model

One of the things that you must keep in mind is the model you are about to buy. There are different electric guitars that fit this price range, but their model and brands differ greatly. Make sure you research all the brands that have the qualities you need before buying.

The Quality of the Sound

Even though some guitars may appear the same, you should know that the sounds they produce are different. Some guitars are meant for Jazz and soft rock, while others are meant for heavy metal and hard rock. Knowing the purpose of your guitar will help you narrow down the huge market.

The Electronics of the Guitar

What does the guitar park? Are you interested in sophisticated electronics or average ones will suffice? These are some of the concerns you need to address first before buying any guitar.

PictureNameOur RatingCheck It Out
Best Budget-FriendlyYamaha RevStar RS420
Best LooksFender Squier Classic Vibe
Best ValueEpiphone Les Paul Standard
Best For MetalIbanez JEMJR Steve Vai
The Most VersatileYamaha Pacifica PAC311H
Best For RockContemporary Active Strat
Easiest To PlayESP LTD EC-256FM
Best VintageSilverstone Classic 1478
Best PlayabilitySchecter Omen Extreme-6
Best QualityESP LTD KH-202

10 Best Electric Guitars Under $500

10. Yamaha RevStar RS420

The RevStar RS420 is a great guitar for anyone who is looking to spend less than $500 and still get a good electric guitar. The manufacturer took the inspiration for the design of this guitar from the stripped-down street-racing motorbikes that were common in Tokyo and London. The guitar stands out in the store, and it’s easy to see why.

The body of this guitar, as well as the maple neck, is made of a solid nato. The fretboard is made of rosewood. Yamaha has placed great value on the aesthetic part of this guitar where they have included vintage finishes including Black Steel, Fire Red, and Factory Blue.

The guitar produces a vintage output thanks to the two VH3 humbuckers that contain the Alnico V Magnets. The humbuckers are kept in check by the master volume, master tone, and a three-way selector switch.

The guitar is great for heavy rock jamming because of the vintage tone of RS420. However, with proper tuning, you can use this guitar for any genre.

Why this Guitar?

If it’s not the price tag that should attract you, the performance of this guitar should. It might not be a premium guitar made by Yamaha, but it does get the work done. You can read our full Yamaha RevStar RS420 Review if you want more information.

Pros

  • You get a gig bag
  • The versatility of a coil split through the dry switch
  • Amazing sound for a guitar of its class

Cons

  • You may be required to do some tuning when you buy it

9. Fender 6 String (Squier Classic Vibe)

If you need a Fender and you are on a budget, the Squire Classic Vibe is the best option for you. The guitar is known for its vintage design and tone, which impressive for a guitar under $500. The smooth design is comfortable for anyone regardless of the position you prefer to play.

The guitar has a single-cutaway shape, which helps to maintain the vintage look. The maple neck has a vintage-tinted gloss finish which helps to reflect both worlds. The fretboard is also made of maple where the 21 medium jumbo frets are easily accessible. You also get to choose from two major designs; the lighter Vintage Blonde, and the Butterscotch Blond.

The guitar sports two single-coil Telecaster pickups that contain Alnico III Magnets. The pickups are controlled by the master tone and master volume, together with the three-way switching system. The vintage Telecaster bridge has three brass barrels as opposed to the six which is common in modern days. The guitar has a synthetic bone nut and standard chrome tuners with a vintage style.

The guitar delivers a warm retro tone which plays well with Jazz and blues players. However, the inclusion of single-coils and Alnico III Magnet makes the guitar versatile and can be used for classic rock.

Why this Guitar?

The look and feel of this guitar are vintage and offers you the comfort you need. The fact that it can be used in different genres is another advantage. It’s affordable enough and provides more for a guitar of its class.

Pros

  • Outstanding sound output
  • Very light and comfortable
  • Vintage look

Cons

  • The standard electronics are not ideal for a big gig

8. Epiphone Les Paul Standard

The guitar is an excellent substitute for the original Gibson Les Paul. You will experience the same performance, only that you pay less than $500 for this. The design is flawless, and the guitar has been accepted by many people on the market.

As we mentioned in our Epiphone Les Paul Standard review, the Les Paul Standard body design was inspired by the original version. The body is made of Mahogany and includes a treated maple top. The neck has maintained the maple design which has become a standard design, while the fretboard is made of rosewood. You will notice the white binding on the neck, as well as the abalone inlays.

The guitar has Alnico humbuckers and Alnico pups that help to improve the quality of the sound. The classic controls play a major role in keeping the two in check. There are two volume and tone controls together with a pickup selector switch.

The guitar has a Tune-o-Matic bridge that has die-cast tuners on one side, and six adjustable saddles on the other side.

The versatility of this guitar is amazing when it comes to sound. The guitar has been compared to the original Gibson model and is worth the money.

Why this Guitar?

Even though it’s not an original Gibson model, the performance of this guitar is to die for amazingly. It’s light enough for anyone to handle. The manufacturer has maintained the vintage look of the famous Gibson model.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • The sound is amazing
  • Versatile and can be used for different genres

Cons

  • The gig case is not included in the deal

7. Ibanez JEMJR Steve Vai

The JEM model has remained to be among the best Ibanez guitars for many years. Nearly every known guitarist of our generation has used this model. The JEMJR is the affordable version of the JEM version. It has almost everything that it’s premium counterpart has, only that it’s under $500.

The guitar’s body is made of mahogany and has a Wizard III maple neck. The neck of this guitar has a jatoba fretboard that contains the 24 jumbo frets. This guitar has a yellow color with pink humbuckers, which will turn heads for sure.

The guitar has two humbuckers, three passive Quantum pickups, and a single-coil. The control area has two master volume and master tone, and a five-way pickup selector switch. The tuning of the guitar is kept stable because of the double-locking bridge and the locking nut.

This guitar may not be the best in terms of sound, but it does produce a flawless output. The two beefy humbuckers make this guitar ideal for hard rock and metal. The single-coil is responsible for a more refined sound, making this guitar impressive.

Why this Guitar?

Coming from a solid background of Ibanez, this guitar has lived up to the reputation of the brand. The sound is amazing, and the simplicity of the guitar makes it easy for anyone. It fits both beginners and experienced guitarists.

Pro

  • Impressive sound for a guitar of its class
  • It fits hard rock and metal players
  • Can be used by any guitarist

Cons

  • You may have to buy the gig bag separately
  • Extra tuning is required after you buy

6. Yamaha Pacifica PAC311H

Yamaha may not have the same name and prestige as Fender or Gibson, but it does hold its ground in terms of the electric guitar. The Pacifica PAC311H is as affordable and incredible electric guitar for anyone who in not willing to spend more than $500.

The Pacifica 311H has a striking resemblance to the 611HFM, and for a less skilled guitarist, it would be impossible to tell the difference. The guitar has maintained the double-cutaway style, which is common with the majority of guitars in its class. The body is made from Alder and has maintained the natural yellow finish. You can also choose the vintage white, metallic red, and black options which are equally impressive. The fretboard is made of rosewood, while the maple neck is left unfinished.

You will sport the Graph Tech Black Tusq nut, and Grover locking tuners. It also has a Yamaha-made bridge which substitutes the Tremolo system.

This model has maintained the Yamaha-designed-pickups which include the Alnico V open-coil that can be found on the bridge, and the Alnico V P-90, which is located on the neck. The coil-splitting capabilities on the humbucker help to improve the versatility of the guitar. The master control part helps to keep everything in check.

The guitar produces outstanding sound, and its versatility is what makes it better than most in its class. You will find that the guitar fits many styles and can be tuned to perform different gigs.

Why this Guitar?

It may look like the 611HFM, but the 311H is somehow different. The sound is incredible, given the price tag. The design is flawless, and it has maintained a unique look. The guitar is not bad for anyone who doesn’t want to spend too much.

Pros

  • Value for money
  • It has better electronics that help to improve the sound
  • Very versatile

Cons

  • You may be forced to tune it, which is not bad for a guitar of its price

5. Squier by Fender Contemporary Active Stratocaster

For metal lovers, it’s now easy to play this music with a Strat. The Squire is designed to provide what premium Fender guitars can, only that you have to spend less than $500. The electronics of the guitar are designed to support heavy rock players.

The guitar has maintained the famous double-cutaway design which is famous with other electric guitars. The body is made of solid poplar. The guitar comes in two colors; Flat Black and Olympic White. The ‘C’ shaped neck is bolted to the body and is made of maple. The fretboard is made of rosewood and contains 22 jumbo frets.

The guitar has abandoned the standard single-coils and adapted the Squire Active Humbuckers which can be found on the neck and bridge positions. You will also sport the master tone and master volume controls, as well as the three-way selector switch. There is an addition of a licensed Floyd Rose tremolo.

It may look like a Strat, but it doesn’t sound like one. The hardware delivers high output, which goes well with hard rock and metal. It may have a sterile pickup compared to premium guitars, but for a price you are paying, we believe you are getting the best value.

Why this Guitar?

The design is beautiful, and you are getting almost everything that a Fender may offer. It costs less than a Fender, and it also gives you the ability to play hard rock.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Outstanding sound for a Strat
  • Very versatile

Cons

  • It may not sound like a premium Fender, but it’s better than other guitars

 

4. ESP LTD EC-256FM

ESP has been designing amazing and affordable electric guitars, and so has its subsidiary LTD. They designed the EC-256FM which goes by the nickname of Lemon Drop. It costs less than $500 and will not disappoint anyone.

By looking at the guitar, you will notice that it has a combination of metal attitude and vintage Les Paul. The guitar maintains the famous single-cutaway design by Les Paul. The body of the guitar is made of mahogany while the bolt-on neck is made of maple. The guitar has a Lemon Drop finish added, which brings out its complete image. If you don’t like the golden amber color, you can always choose the Cherry Sunburst, and translucent black. The fretboard is made of rosewood.

The guitar has two humbuckers which are located at the neck and the bridge. Each pickup has individual volume rotary control, three-way pickup selector switch, and master tone control. The chrome die-cast tuners help to stabilize tuning.

The guitar plays well with a heavy rock because of the high output. Splitting the coils makes the guitar versatile enough for any player. The overall sound of the guitar is amazing.

Why this Guitar?

The music output is something that stands out with this guitar. It doesn’t cost much and is very easy to play. The light-weight of the guitar makes it easy for you to play in any position. The design is amazing and offers a vintage look.

Pros

  • You get value for money
  • The sound is outstanding
  • Versatile enough for anyone

Cons

  • The guitar may be hard to tune for beginners

3. Silverstone Classic 1478

The first of these guitars was issued in 1963 where these models were sold out. However, more than fifty years down the line, the guitar is still doing okay, and there have been some improvements to modernize it.

The guitar sports the asymmetric double-cutaway that improves the vintage look of the guitar. The body is made of mahogany and has a maple top. You can choose between two colors; solid black, and a classic Red Silver Flake. The bolt-on mahogany neck has a C-shape, which makes it easy for you to play. The fretboard is made of solid rosewood.

There has been an upgrade on this reissued model where the rosewood bridge has been replaced with the adjustable chrome bridge.

You will sport two chrome-covered single-coil pickups which help to voice the guitar. Each of the pickups has single volume and tone control, as well as a three-way pickup selector switch. On the face of the guitar, you will notice the output jack.

The guitar has a vintage-inspired look and design, and so makes the sound. The guitar offers a 60 sound, which is more than amazing. The guitar is more suited to surf rock and blues. Learn more about it by reading our Silverstone Classic 1478 review.

Why this Guitar?

The vintage look and sound are amazing. It’s designed to fit any skill level and is very friendly for a beginner.

Pros

  • Impressive design
  • Value for money
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The control is too close to pick an area, and you may bump on it when playing

2. Schecter Omen Extreme-6

There is no denying that the success of Schecter has been coming. The guitar manufacturer has been doing an amazing job and has given metal scene impressive guitars. The Omen Extreme-6 is an amazing under $500 guitar that anyone who is starting or has moderate guitar skills should buy.

The body of this guitar is made of mahogany. It’s also covered by a quilted maple top, while the maple neck is designed for speed and accuracy. You will find the Pearloid Vector inlays on the rosewood fretboard.

The guitar has Schecter Diamond Plus passive humbuckers. They are controlled by two volume and tone knobs, plus a three-way pickup selector switch. You will notice the use of Metal Knurled and screw knobs.

The Tune-o-Matic bridge is very impressive and is one thing that has gotten the attention of many people. You will also notice the Floyd Rose bridge. The locking tuners on the headstock complement the bridge well.

The guitar is capable of handling heavy gain distortion, while also providing a decent sound. The in-house built pickups have proven to work amazingly well. You can also check out our Schecter Omen Extreme-6 review for a more detailed review.

Why this Guitar?

For starters, the guitar works amazingly well. The sound is above average from what you would get with a guitar with such a price range. The vintage design fits well with those who enjoy them.

Pros

  • 24 extra-jumbo frets for speed and comfort
  • The guitar offers value for money
  • The sound is not bad

Cons

  • You have to buy gig bad separately

1. ESP LTD KH-202 Signature Series Kirk

If you have been a fan of Kirk Hammett, you should try the ESP LTD KH-202. The guitar is designed with simplicity in mind, and everything about it screams metal and hard rock. It doesn’t cost much and will provide you with the same experience as other premium electric guitars.

It looks exactly like the KH models that are a bit expensive. The body of this guitar is made of solid basswood. The U-shaped maple neck is bolted to the body, which makes this guitar very unique. The fretboard is made of a roasted jatoba and has 24 extra jumbo frets.

The use of Floyd Rose Special Tremolo that includes the locking nut makes it easy for you to play without affecting tuning. The guitar also has two ESP-designed LH-301 humbuckers which can be found on the neck and bridge positions. They are kept in check by two master volume and master tone controls, as well as a three-way selector.

The KH-202 has proven to give off an amazing appearance, and the same can be said about the sound. The sound is detailed and warm. As mentioned in our ESP LTD KH-202 review, this guitar fits well with classic metal.

Why this Guitar?

The simplicity of the guitar is one thing that catches the eye. It’s designed to provide you with speed, and everything is arranged in a way that they can be accessed easily. If you need a guitar that has proven to work, you should get the KH-202.

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Better suited for classic metal
  • It’s very light

Cons

  • It needs more tuning and customization when new
  • You may need to buy a gig bag separately

Conclusion

Every guitar mentioned in this article proves that you don’t need a huge budget to get a fancy guitar. They all produce an amazing sound, and with a little customization, you can get them working well. The majorities of these guitars are versatile and have been used by many people. They are all beginner friendly, but they can also be used by anyone who has decent guitar skills. You can get an amp to go with any guitar of your choosing. If you have been struggling to get a great guitar that is under $500, you should try any of the ones we have mentioned above.