The best electric guitars under $500: 10 great options for players on a budget
Spend a little and get a lot with these guitars.
Do you need to spend lots of money to grab a good guitar? Not at all! There are plenty of options out there under the $500 mark, whether you want a classic rock machine, a razor-sharp shred guitar, or even a baritone. Let’s dive in to the best electric guitars you can buy in 2023 for under $500.
- Squier 40th Anniversary Telecaster Vintage edition
- Ibanez GRG120QASP
- Yamaha PAC012DLX Pacifica HSS
- Epiphone Coronet
- Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster
- Squier Affinity Stratocaster
- Harley Benton DC Junior
- Hartwood Charger
- Squier Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster
- Epiphone Les Paul Special
Squier 40th Anniversary Telecaster Vintage edition
They say life begins at 40. That’s up for debate – but what certainly does begin at 40 is a line of excellent and affordable guitars, all with aged hardware and anodised pickguards. If you’re Squier, that is. In the Tele department, we have a blond finish, alnico pickups, black binding and a black anodised pickguard. For under $400. That’s how you celebrate a birthday.
Today’s best deals on the Squier 40th Anniversary Telecaster Vintage Edition
It’s a little-known fact that Ibanez employs a cat to walk across a keyboard when it needs to name a guitar. But that aside, this eminently affordable guitar is a great entry point into the world of speedy shredders. With a thin neck profile, modern vibrato and two high-output humbuckers, this guitar’s ready for everything from At The Gates to Polyphia.
Today’s best deals on the Ibanez GRG120QASP
Yamaha PAC012DLX Pacifica HSS
Hey, that cat from the Ibanez office named this one too! But Yamaha Pacifica’s are some of the most well-regarded affordable guitars for a reason. This guitar geartures a modern, flat-radiused fingerboard for comfortable lead playing, and a carved body shape for comfortable everything else.
Today’s best deals on the Yamaha PAC012DLX Pacifica HSS
Fancy a single-P90 instrument, but don’t want to go down the Fender route? Or even the Les Paul Junior route? Enter the Epiphone Coronet, a revival of one of Epiphone’s first-ever solidbody electric designs. It’s an odd looking thing, with its two dramatic cutaway horns and symmetrical pickguard – great if you want to stand out.
Construction consists of a mahogany body and set neck, paired with a 12” radius Indian Laurel fretboard. The single pickup is paired with some high-quality CTS potentiometers, and the bridge is a compensated wraparound ‘Lightning Bar’ unit.
Grab today’s deals on the Epiphone Coronet:
Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster
J Mascis’ signature Jazzmaster is a modern classic of Squier’s line, and for good reason. The tune-o-matic bridge paired with the offset vibrato also provides a little bit more stability, especially if you pick like the guitar owes you money. Doing this on a Jazzmaster with a rocking bridge can occasionally jiggle it out of alignment and ruin your intonation.
And the pickups, rather than the understated traditionally-spec’d ones you might find in a Classic Vibe, are closer to P90s, with screw pole pieces providing a thicker and more confident sound.
Grab today’s deals on the Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster:
Squier Affinity Stratocaster
Squier’s Affinity range are some of the brand’s most accessible guitars, but that by no means leads to bad instruments. The Affinity Stratocaster is a great entry point into the world of Strats, plus a brilliant affordable mod platform if you’re handy with a soldering iron.
Today’s best deals on the Squier Affinity Stratocaster
Harley Benton DC Junior
Harley Benton’s DC Junior is the German brand’s take on the the set-neck, double-cut, wraparound bridge and P90-loaded solidbody. Harley Benton guitars are famously good guitars for the money – plus, An ebony fretboard? At this price? You’d be mad not to.
Today’s best deals on the Harley Benton DC Junior
This affordable offset is not only a great guitar for the budget, it’s also got tonnes of character all its own. While it looks like a very surfy guitar, it’s hardtail bridge and high-output pickups make this instrument a sleeper rock beast.
Today’s best deals on the Hartwood Charger
Squier Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster
In the last couple of years, Squier has seemingly realised that the healthy appetite for baritone guitars means it should stop making them limited edition. Luckily, that means that the Cabronita Baritone Telecaster has stuck around: this dual-P90 tele offers a 27” scale length, making it perfect for tuning to B-standard or lower while retaining clarity and snap.
Today’s best deals on the Squier Cabronita Baritone Telecaster
Epiphone Les Paul Special
This stripped-back instrument was originally introduced as a student model in the 1950s – and now has returned as this updated Epiphone version. With a flat mahogany body and two soapbar P90 pickups, the Les Paul special offers a great platform for those who want a no-nonsense instrument loaded with a famously versatile set of pickups.