Best Electric Guitars Under $1000 – [2020] Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Thalia
| Last Updated: December 29, 2020

The top reason why most people never have the chance to play an instrument or never finish learning how to play a musical instrument is the price factor that haunts so many of us.

At times, the desire to learn can’t be acted upon due to unaffordable costs, but, sometimes, people fail to progress due to buying cheap products that make them think they sound terrible.

Let's take a look at the best electric guitars under $1000.

Comparison of the Best Electric Guitars Under $1000

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Legendary Stratocaster sound
  • Lifetime companion thanks to durability
  • Best electric guitar under $1000 overall
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  • beautiful vintage looks
  • Excellent performance quality
  • Ideal for both beginners and pros
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  • Best for the money
  • Brilliant for contemporary genres
  • Offers great sound with good looks
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  • High-quality design from Taylor
  • Compact and travel-sized for comfort
  • Best acoustic-electric guitar under $1000
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  • Ideal for jazz lovers
  • Easily usable by left-handed guitarists
  • Made with quality and durability in mind
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Can You Find a Quality Electric Guitar for Under $1000?

String along as we take a look at a few electric guitars and try to find a way around the above-mentioned factor. We will finally answer the question - can you find a quality guitar for under a thousand dollars? 

Because of the variables in design between acoustic guitars (also called box guitars) and electric guitars, it is much easier to find a quality electric guitar as opposed to a box guitar. To get the best sound from an acoustic guitar, the craftsmanship behind the creation and design, as well as the quality of the materials used, has to be absolutely perfect. 

To get that quality, you will have to spend money. Electric guitars, on the other hand, have a much simpler design. 

How to Choose an Electric Guitar

When investing in an electric guitar, there are four main factors to consider about the instrument itself before purchasing. The first of these factors is type, which is specific to what genre you want to play because some guitars focus on specific sounds. Also, we will discuss the quality of the strings, the neck, and the pickups as the other three factors.

Type​

Electric guitars come in many shapes and types, some even sporting up to twelve strings. The primary variations are electric, bass, or acoustic-electric. 

Strings​

Many people believe that nylon strings, used only on acoustic guitars, are more suitable for beginners to practice on. However, considering that the tension of an electric guitar is lower, it often offers milder conditioning with the added benefit that your fingers get used to the feel of steel strings.

Neck​

The necks on electric guitars are usually thinner than those used on acoustic guitars, which is ideal for use by musicians who have smaller hands and who may struggle to reach across the neck to press chords and notes. Always check that the neck is not damaged in some way or does not have factory defects. The neck is the most important component of the guitar. 

Pickups​

Most electric guitars will have between one and three pickups mounted to the face, along with the dials and knobs to control the functions of the electronic components. The purpose of the pickups is to transfer the sound generated by vibrating the strings to an amplifier that renders the sound through a speaker.

Reviews of the Best Electric Guitars Under $1000

Here is our list of what we consider the best electric guitars available on the market for under a thousand dollars. Each was chosen for specific categories, and, as we look at key features and discuss the reasons for each pick, you can decide if the perfect guitar for you is among our selection. 

Fender American Special Telecaster, Maple Fingerboard, Vintage Blonde

PROS

  • The neck is made with a satin finish and, by standard Strato-design, features a 9.5-inch radius
  • Its quality is up to Fender standards and will prove to be a lifetime companion for any musician
  • The tuning pegs are Fender’s legendary Tromello F-tuners that promise the best in tone retention and, unless misused, will not easily lose tuning
  • It features two Texas Special Tele pickups to produce that sound that is best associated with the greatest in classic and contemporary genres, such as blues, country, and rock
  • If there is one body shape in the history of electric guitars that was celebrated for being the sleekest, most attractive, and accommodating, it would have to be that of the Stratocaster. The American Special is no different. What you pay for is Fender excellence, which is well worth the price

CONS

  • It is not suitable for heavier genres like metal
  • You will not be able to afford the amp and guitar for under a thousand dollars

What Recent Buyers Report

To no one's surprise, there weren’t any known complaints about the Fender American Special Stratocaster. Every soul who invested in it loved it and no doubt took it as a lifetime companion.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Seriously, it's the most affordable quality that you will find out there. Few, if any, other electric guitars can compare to the quality of a Stratocaster. It is simply the guitar to buy if you want to take up this instrument for a lifetime commitment. It will last you that long.

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone looking to play the guitar within the classic and contemporary genres would appreciate the Fender American Special Stratocaster. If you want the best for the best price, invest while stock lasts.

Bottom Line

Searching for the best, you may have heard about the legend of the American Stratocaster. You must have heard of it if you ever listened to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, who made historic use of American Stratocasters. Did you ever think that the best could come at the best price? For under a thousand dollars, you can own the Fender American Special Stratocaster.

ESP LTD EC-1000 Duncan Electric Guitar, Vintage Black

PROS

  • The design brings excellent performance to the front
  • It looks amazing, feels good, and fits perfectly with any player
  • Its two EMG active pickups are suitable for every genre from blues to metal
  • The ESP LTD EC-1000 sports the look of a Les Paul that will fall be favored by any guitar lover
  • The thin U-neck of the ESP LTD EC-1000 is suitable for any quick-play techniques due to its 2.75-inch radius fingerboard

CONS

  • It is specifically aimed at pleasing metal lovers
  • Because of its integration of many styles, it might not be suitable for beginner players

What Recent Buyers Report

The common opinion among recent buyers is that it is a shredding machine, making it an ideal investment for any metal enthusiast, no matter whether you are a beginner or a pro. Plus, when you look at its price, you will be surprised at the quality you get for a reasonable cost.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are looking for great quality no matter what genre you want to play and for the most affordable price, we will point out the ESP LTD EC-1000 without a doubt. The design of this guitar makes it stand out visually, but the tone makes it stand out audibly - in the best way possible.

Who Will Use This Most

The ESP LTD EC-1000 should be useful to just about every kind of guitarist, but especially to shred players. If you want the best metal guitar at a good price, this is it as the ESP EC Duncan will not disappoint if you are looking for a cheaper model.

Bottom Line

Before the appearance of the Fender American Special, the ESP LTD EC-1000 Duncan was the go-to if you were looking to find the best quality at an affordable price. It made its way onto our list as the runner-up, only because it is not a Fender.

Schecter Corsair with Bigsby Electric Guitar (Gloss Walnut)

PROS

  • The Corsair is a classic, semi-hollow body electric guitar
  • It has a comfortable neck that makes it ideal for beginners
  • Its added Bigsby B-70 vibrato adds plenty of flavor to your music
  • The two Duncan-designed humbuckers offer plenty of power to reach the rock tones that this guitar is loved for
  • Solid Gotoh tuners will ensure it keeps its tune and tone, even when it is used for laborious, intense play and practice

CONS

  • Some customers reported that the frets are not the best quality and are often received in poor condition

What Recent Buyers Report

Most people who have invested in the Corsair have found it to their liking, save for a few who reported that the products had reached them in faulty conditions. The neck is very comfortable for longer practices and the look of the guitar is very attractive.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For its exceptional quality, we have chosen the Corsair as the best budget-friendly electric guitar available. It has all of the features you could possibly want in an electric guitar, all without costing too much, making it perfect for beginners or those who want a backup guitar.

Who Will Use This Most

The Corsair is ideal for every classic rock lover looking for an affordable, quality guitar. If you are just starting out and want a great guitar without spending a fortune, this is the guitar to consider. You will be shredding those riffs in no time at all!

Bottom Line

The Schechter Corsair is the most affordable, good quality electric guitar that you can find on the market. Whether you purchase it as your main instrument or as a backup for when you are performing or traveling, it is well worth the money.

Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $1000:
Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top ESB

Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top ESB w/Gig Bag with case

PROS

  • This is an excellent hobby or parlor guitar
  • It features easy amplification with ES-B Electronics
  • The performance of this guitar is excellent thanks to the tone produced
  • Its small and compact size makes it the ultimate in traveling guitars or as the best practicing guitar for a child
  • With superior quality make and design featuring the best that Taylor has to offer, it includes a high-grade neck and tuning mechanism that can be expected from Taylor’s acoustic guitars

CONS

  • It is not a real performing guitar

What Recent Buyers Report

Nearly everyone who bought the Taylor GS Mini-e was surprised at its excellent performance, but the general opinion is that it best serves as an additional instrument and not as the primary choice.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Taylor GS Mini-e is exactly that - a miniaturized version of the bigger acoustic-electric guitar that is ideal for traveling or teaching children. The GS Mini-e was chosen for being the best quality acoustic-electric guitar on the market because of the excellent detail in the craftsmanship of its design.

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone looking for a little acoustic guitar to accompany them on camping trips or holidays will appreciate the Taylor GS Mini-e. You can also use it for recording or practicing -- not only does it look great but it sounds pretty smooth too!

Bottom Line

If you are looking for the best acoustic-electric guitar for camping entertainment or to teach children how to play the guitar, then this is the best investment for you. It is a fantastic small guitar that you can take with you everywhere, and it is quite durable too so you don’t have to worry about it being damaged.

D'Angelico Premier EXL-1 Hollow-Body Electric Guitar w/ Stairstep Tailpiece - Ocean Turquoise

PROS

  • It looks gorgeous
  • It is very aesthetically pleasing
  • This guitar is awesome for playing jazz
  • This item offers a balanced and organic tone
  • It is not restricted to only right-handed players

CONS

  • It might need returning upon first use

What Recent Buyers Report

People who have bought this guitar have fallen in love with it. It plays well and doesn’t cost a fortune, making it a great investment for any guitar player. You get high-quality and exceptional sound with this guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This guitar is the ‘editor’s pick’ because it’s a really great buy. The most prominent feature of this guitar is that it is ideal for people who enjoy making music with jazz as the main influence. The D’Angelico Premier is a popular, trusted brand in the guitar world.

Who Will Use This Most

As you can guess by now, jazz lovers will adore this guitar. It is simply the best for playing that soulful music so many people love. The look of this guitar is very suave, and you will enjoy playing dulcet tunes to impress your friends and family on this guitar.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a guitar that will help give you that classic blues sound while looking absolutely stunning, this is the one for you. It is beautiful, it sounds great, and the balance and tone is something that you would normally have to pay a lot more money for.

What Do You Need to Know Before Buying an Electric Guitar?

Before running out and buying an electric guitar, there are a few things you need to know. Here are the main considerations:

Sounds and Tones

Before buying just any guitar, there are plenty of things that you need to know and do the proper research on. For one, you will need to know the differences in the sounds that different styles of guitars produce, whether electric or acoustic. Consider if it is the kind of sound and music that you are interested in playing, and, with this knowledge, you can then determine for yourself if the guitar you are purchasing is the right one.

Sizing

Measure your own stature and build. Check that the size of the guitar is comfortable for you, as some may be too big and have too broad a neck or they might be too heavy.

Interest

Taking up an instrument is a lifelong devotion. If you are going to waste money to buy the perfect guitar but never learn or practice playing it, then it was not an investment. Be patient. Artists like James Hetfield, Metallica’s lead singer and guitarist, learned and practiced for probably a lifetime to master the art that he presented to us. Take your time to learn and practice and then practice and practice again until you reach that level of mastery that you want to reach.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the best quality at the best price, go for the Fender - you will not be disappointed. If it does not fit what you are looking for, feel free to try any of the others. They are all excellent options that will have you wondering how you got them at such a steal of a price.

Thalia

Thalia has spent most of her life loving two things - writing and music. Thalia's passion for music saw her learning to play several instruments throughout her childhood and teen years. This passion also led to her earning two qualifications in Sound Recording Engineering, which she now uses by writing about musical instruments, studio gear, and the processes involved in making and producing music.