Buying the best guitar for under 1000 dollars means a lot of things. It means you've improved beyond entry-level guitars, and you're looking for something to elevate your guitar skill. It means you've decided on a particular music style or genre and you're ready to commit long term. If you’re a beginner, it means you’re willing to get a mid level option and therefore ready to stick with the guitar until you step up your game.
Thankfully, at this price range, there are a multitude of choices for you. You have many decisions to make, including brand, style, features and so on. It’s totally up to you to make the final decision.
Most people looking for the best guitar under 1000$ price range have a pretty good idea of what they need, but the choices can still be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to make the process easier and more convenient for you. In this post from Carroll / Fletcher, we’ll review 17 best guitars for under 1000 dollars in-depth, and we’ll provide some information for you to select the best electric guitar for yourself.
Best Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars Comparison 2020
Best Overall Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars
Best Value Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars
Best Looking Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars
** Below, you will find our detailed reviews of the best guitar for under 1000, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Detailed Reviews Of Top best guitar for under 1000 Dollars
Here comes the first item for the best guitar for under 1000 dollars. The SE Custom 24 Floyd is a better version of the Custom 24 made in the 80s. The curvy, pointed shape of it makes it stand out from the crowd. The design and tone are vintage and beautiful. The wide thin neck and the tremolo bridge allow players to shred.
The humbuckers help deliver metal tones with a high gain amplifier. If you want to find something bluesy and twangy, plug it in with a clean amp setting with split coils. It is indeed a versatile instrument which can be used for different styles of music.
- Outstanding curvy, pointed shape
- Vintage, beautiful design
- Easy to shred
- Versatile for different music styles
Inspired by London and Tokyo street-racing motorbikes, Revstar RS502T has successfully reflected the uniqueness of Japan engineering excellence and the reputation of Yamaha craftsmanship.
The guitar features a new neck joint for easier access to upper frets. The contour and body are designed for comfort, so you can play it for a long time without any irritation. The Dry Switch is versatile, while offering an outstanding tone. It provides the clarity and the punch of a single coil pickup, and eliminates the hum and hollow tone.
The RS502T comes in a variety of color choices, all of which look as unique as cool bikers. It surely will take you for one hell of a ride, and can certainly be the best guitar for under 1000$.
- Easy to access upper frets
- Contour design is comfortable
- Dry Switch is versatile
- Clear, punchy tone, eliminate hum and hollow tone
ESP has produced various iconic guitars for different guitarists as well as music genres. Every guitar has to go through a rigorous quality control process to ensure the high quality, and this ESP LTD EC-1000 is no exception. Though it’s quite lightweight, it still delivers a thick tone.
The black version has a satin-smooth finish and classy gold hardware, giving it a vintage and retro look. There are switches for you to customize tone, volume, making the guitar more versatile.
- Well made build quality
- Thick tone
- Retro, vintage look
The HH FR features an Alder body, a maple neck with 22 jumbo frets and the dual graphite reinforcement truss rods for adjustments. It creates a loud, powerful sound with a rich bottom end and warm mids.
The guitar has a solid and sleek design. Its neck profile allows you to play fast and easy. The low action and the smooth jumbo fretboard make the guitar easy to play and shred. With premium components and a good looking design, the guitar will surely turn heads. More importantly, the sound quality won’t disappoint.
- Loud, powerful sound
- Rich bottom end and warm mids
- Solid, sleek design
- Fast neck
- Premium components
The deluxe Roadhouse Strat is durable and powerful for shredding all day long. It’s able to deliver a wide range of sounds, from tough to mellow. The controls make it so versatile that you can play it with different styles.
This guitar’s basic tone has a unique Strat tone with sparkling treble and percussive bass. Roadhouse means that this guitar is specifically designed to be on the road and ready for gigging.
The switches make it easy to quickly change the guitar’s tones, from fat midrange to sparkling treble. The vintage noiseless single coil pickups offer great tone without hums or noises. Overall, this is a perfect option for gigging musicians and those who love the Strat tones, and it’s the best guitar for under 1000 dollars that gives the biggest value.
- Durable and powerful
- Deliver a wide range of sounds
- Versatile for different music styles
- Sparkling treble and percussive bass
- Offer great tone without hums and noises
- Great for gigging
The Les Paul Standard is one of the most sought-after guitars in the guitar world. Here comes the new Les Paul Standard PlusTop PRO from Epiphone, giving a fresh start to the old legend. The new version offers all the familiar features you can find on a classic Les Paul Standard - a maple top on a mahogany body and a set neck, a AAA flame maple veneer top, dual humbuckers, and the tonal versatility.
The neck is comfy and slim enough for fast playing and easy playability. The pickups offer well balanced and responsive sounds with warmth and clarity. The sustain is smooth and the midrange is bold and rich. The coil-tapping feature allows the guitar to add versatility to your playing experience.
- Familiar features of the classic Les Paul Standard
- Well balanced, responsive sound with warmth and clarity
- Smooth sustain
- Bold, rich midrange
- Tonal versatility
Each Premier Series model from D’Angelico is equipped with chrome hardware, enhancing the beauty, uniqueness and luxury to the guitars. The Premier SS offers a full, warm, clear and crisp tone. It features humbucker pickups, providing a rich and balanced tone.
The attention to detail in the design and craftsmanship of these guitars is impressive. There’s also a stop tailpiece, but there's an option for the trapeze chrome stairstep tailpiece. With a semi hollow body, the guitar is powerful, offering dynamic and full tone with strong midrange.
- Chrome hardware
- Full, warm, clear, crisp tone
- Impressive design and craftsmanship
- Strong midrange
- Laminated woods
The original Ibanez RG550 was first made in 1987. This Genesis Collection reissued models take the design of the classic RG550 and are added some extra features. Though some don’t prefer the flashing colors of these models, some give special love to these finishes. It’s up to personal preferences.
The RG550 features a contoured basswood body designed for comfort, resonating with a warm growl and adding definition to midrange. The Edge locking tremolo allows you to bend and twist freely.
The pickups enhance the versatility of the RG550. The S1 offers the sound of a single coil. The V7 humbucker allows you to play sharp rifts and leads. The V8 adds compression to higher gains. The neck is super thin, which is great for fast playing. There’s no gig bag or case included.
- Contoured body designed for comfort
- Warm and well defined midrange
- Versatile pickups
- Thin neck, great for fast playing
- Love and hate flashing finishes
- No gig bag or case included
The Hellraiser C-1 features a quilted maple top which provides a punchy sound, and a mahogany for smooth and well defined tone. The red finish and the grain spread a unique and rocky vibe.
The guitar also features Schecter Locking tuners which lock the strings and keep the tuning stable. The Rosewood fretboard is smooth and makes the sound richer. The pickups add versatility to the guitar. The 81TX is flexible, creates crunchy sounds and fatter, clearer tones. The EMG 89 allows you to customize outputs for single coil and dual coil modes.
The 3-piece mahogany neck is durable and stable which can be long lasting, making this guitar a lifetime soul mate. The neck is set and easy to access upper frets. The Hellraiser C-1 is available in many beautiful color choices. It’s designed to be solid and sturdy even when you adjust the action or intonation. The sustain is great.
- Punchy, smooth, well defined sound
- Unique design
- Tuning stability
- Smooth fretboard
- Versatility pickups
- Durable and stable neck, with fast playing ability
- Beautiful finish
- Great sustain
The American Special Telecaster from Fender has a classy look and a classy tone. It’s perfect for many kinds of music, especially Country, Pop, Rock and Blues. The jumbo frets and the satin-finished neck are smooth and easy to play. You can bend and twist however you want.
You won’t disappoint when you plug this baby in the amp. The sound is twangy and jangly. When played at high frequencies, the boomy bass is reduced. The Telecaster is only available in Vintage Blonde color, and it looks good, so you don’t have to be confused about what color to choose. It comes with a gig bag which is convenient.
- Classy look and tone
- Great for many kinds of music, especially
- Country, Pop, Rock and Blues
- Smooth and easy to play
- Twangy and jangly sound
- Boomy bass is reduced when played at high frequencies
- Gig bag included
- There’s only 1 color
Here’s another outstanding guitar from the PRS Paul Reed Smith SE trio - the PRS SE 245 electric guitar. The build quality is amazing, as quality control and the craftsmanship of PRS exceed our expectations.
The fat and wide neck make it easier and comfortable for you to play, and fit in your hands like a glove. The tuners and the stop-tail bridge give the guitar an excellent tuning stability.
The pickups and the controls allow you to play around with different sounds, adding versatility to your playing experience.
- Amazing build quality
Easy to play, fit in your hands
Excellent tuning stability
The Pacifica series is specifically designed for versatility, which means these models are great for different styles and genres. The pickup configurations are built in and allow you to produce a wide range of different sounds, from clean to distortion, from mild to heavy.
The Yamaha Pacific PAC611HFM comes with a Custom 5 Trembucker that has coil tapping and a Seymore Duncan SP90-1 pickup, allowing you to play from light pops to metal shreds. The Grover locking tuners lock the strings in place and help you tune the guitar more easily.
The guitar is lightweight and delivers smooth sound. It comes in a variety of colors, so you don’t have to worry about lacking the option that you like.
- Versatile for different styles and genres
- Tuning stability
- Smooth sound
- Many color choices
This is a very good looking, modern and sleek guitar from the PRS Paul Reed Smith SE trio. It is designed with contributions from Mark Holcomb of the band Periphery. It has a special and unique design with liquid-like top, giving it a mysterious look.
The pickups deliver a decent amount of clarity and articulation whether you’re practicing or performing. The sound is loud and clear, not muddy. The maple neck is sturdy and durable for long term playing. The small downside is that drop tuning this guitar can take a bit of time and effort.
- Good looking, modern, sleek, mysterious design
- Pickups deliver decent clarity and articulation
- Loud and clear sound, not muddy
- Sturdy and durable neck
- Drop tuning can be difficult
The Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 2H FR is the perfect guitar for high speed playing. It features humbucker pickups that allow you to crank out rock n roll tone with mellow overtones.
The controls add to the tonal versatility of the guitar as you can play around with different sounds. The neck comes with graphite reinforcement rods that resist warping and make the guitar more durable. The speed neck profile makes playing the guitar fast and comfortably.
The Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style guitar comes in a variety of color choices, all of which look cool and stunning.
- Great for high speed playing
- Versatile for different styles
- Durable materials
- Many color choices
The Ibanez S Iron Label SIX6FDFM takes your playing experience to a whole new level. It’s lightweight, but provides a great tone and sustain. It has a stunning and unique gradient look with a thin body. The neck is stable and sturdy. The fretboard is responsive and provides decent articulation.
DiMarzio Fusion Edge pickups have been designed to deliver a powerful, distinctive tone with a crisp high end, and a tight bottom end, eliminating muddy mid-range. The Gotoh locking tuners help with the tuning stability. The thin body provides you extra comfort and you can play the guitar for hours without any fatigue.
- Lightweight, thin body, extra comfort
- Great tone and sustain
- Stunning, unique gradient look
- Stable and sturdy neck
- Responsive fretboard, decent articulation
- Pickups deliver powerful, distinctive tone, no muddy midrange
- No case included
Here’s another best guitar for under 1000 dollars price range. The G5420T has a hollow body, producing dynamic, bold tones. The maple top and body are well crafted and look sturdy. The controls allow you to customize the sound to your liking.
There are many valuable features on this guitar, including the Pearloid thumbnail fretboard inlays, B60 vibrato tailpiece, etc. These components work together to create a vintage and funky look, amazing durability as well as decent sound quality. The G and A strings might produce a tiny buzzing sound if you have very sensitive ears.
- Hollow body
- Dynamic, bold tones
- Well crafted and sturdy
- Valuable, durable features
- Tiny buzzing sound on G and A strings
We want to wrap up this post with Sterling John Petrucci by MusicMan, one of the best looking electric guitars. The design and playability are similar to the original Majesty signature guitar of John Petrucci. The guitar shape fits your body and provides ultimate comfort. The frets and controls are placed logically for easy access.
The guitar features Ernie Ball strings which are durable and long lasting. Its neck provides balance and easy playability. The pickups and controls give the player wonderful tonal versatility, and deliver clear and crisp sounds. The guitar comes with a padded gig bag.
- Similar to the original Majesty guitar of John Petrucci
- Ultimate comfort
- High playability
- Durable materials
- Pickups and controls provide tonal versatility
- Clear and crisp sounds
- Gig bag included
Things You Need To Know When Choosing The Best Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars
Choosing the best guitar for under 1000 dollars can be a very thrilling experience, but it can also be an exasperation due to the diversity of choices available on the market from different brands. This guitar buying process can be daunting even for experts, and beginners usually find themselves lost in a confusing whirlpool of options.
When looking at the best guitar for under 1000$ price range, you’re going to see better quality – on the build as well as the sound, which is great for professional musicians or intermediate players.
The best guitar for under 1000 often features special attributes, denser wood, high-quality pickups, luxurious finish, and a wide range of modification techniques. You can easily customize the sound and play round with the knobs and controls of the guitar.
Being a step up from the cheaper beginner options, electric guitars under $1000 are made of excellent craftsmanship and durable materials, which ensures a lifetime use. Of course, you can always upgrade to a high end guitar, but the idea of a long lasting environment is attractive.
The important thing when buying the best electric guitar is to have a better idea of guitar characteristics, what makes them decent, what makes them valuable. Let’s go through some important aspects.
There are various types of bridges and each of them serves a specific purpose. Many guitarists believe that a bridge with a bigger mass provides a better tone. The bridge placement is also critical. Many bridges are adjustable and many are set. With an adjustable bridge and adjustable saddles, you can change the intonation however you want in order to meet your needs. If you prefer a set intonation, a set bridge is enough.
Some guitars are equipped with a tremolo bridge, allowing you to bend all the strings at the same time. This sounds great, but can cause your strings to become out of tune, so it may be more difficult for a beginner.
The look of the guitar is one of the most important things you need to consider because the guitar is something you’ll look at every day. A nice-looking guitar would urge you to pick it up and inspire you to keep practicing. At under 1000$ price range, you’ve already got guitars that are long lasting and you can own them for life, so it’s gotta be something that you love to look at.
But you also need to avoid choosing a guitar solely on looks because some options have beautiful designs but have poor playability. So you should check if it’s a high quality instrument that you can play comfortably, too.
Although mid level guitars are able to deliver great sound for most music styles, for the trained ears, certain options are more suitable for specific genres and purposes. Some are made for solos, some are for shredding, some are versatile. Some are perfect for classic rock, some are ideal for hard metal. Getting the perfect guitar for your favorite genre will surely give you the ultimate joy when playing it.
Besides the genres, you should also consider your purposes when buying an electric guitar. Are you buying it for home practice and to fulfill your hobby? Are you planning to bring it on stage and perform in front of a large audience? Are you buying it just for the sake of collecting guitars? Are you a lead or a rhythm guitarist? These are the questions that help you limit the choices and think about the features that you actually need in the best guitar for under 1000$ for yourself.
Electric guitars are made in different body types, each of which features different characteristics. There are 3 common body types that you often see when browsing for an electric guitar:
This is the most common body type for an electric guitar. It uses pickups, amplifiers and speakers to produce the sound. It is often used in situations that require minimum feedback such as recording or playing on stage.
This resembles an acoustic guitar, these guitars are hollow, in other words, there’s nothing inside them. The pickups capture the resonance of the strings which reverberates with the inside of the guitar body. Hollow body is subject to feedback, and doesn’t work well with distorted tones. It’s great for jazz and subdued music genres.
Guitars that are semi-hollow only have a portion of their body hollowed out, such as the top of the guitar. There’s often a swirly-looking “F-hole”. Some semi-hollows have most of their body hollowed out, but keep a solid centerblock to house the pickups and bridge mount. Striking a balance between solid and hollow, these body types deliver more resonance and are great for blues, jazz and punk rock.
Pickup TypePickup Type
The pickup type that your guitar features will also impact the sound. Pickups are used to convert vibrations of the strings into electric signals so that sounds can be amplified and then broadcast. There are 2 common types of pickups:
Single Coil Pickup
This is the most basic and original pickup type. It electromagnetically converts the vibration of the strings to an electric signal, producing crisp sounds. Single coil pickup is susceptible to humming and magnetic interference.
Humbucker pickup uses two coils to "buck the hum" (or cancel out the interference) caused by electromagnetic interference. Therefore, it’s able to deliver richer and warmer sound.
Pickups are also put into 2 categories: active or passive. Active pickups require an individual power source such as batteries, while passive pickups don’t. Active pickups are more expensive and provide more control. They also deliver a fuller range sound. Most of the electric guitars used today have a passive pickup.
Expensive pickups tend to have higher quality magnets and more innovative design. They sound less muddy than cheaper options.
The tonewoods that the guitar is made out of affects the majority of your guitar sound. Some common woods that you see on the best guitars for under 1000 dollars include maple, mahogany, alder, basswood, ebony, rosewood and walnut. Maple and mahogany are the most common ones.
Alder is a medium-weight wood and is often used for guitar body. It delivers a clear, strong and full sound with excellent lows. It may produce highs that are sizzle a bit, but not too harsh. The amount of sustain is decent. You can usually see electric guitars from Fender made of Alder.
Basswood is affordable and is often seen on mid level of budget guitar choices. It’s very light in color and in weight. It’s soft and produces fat, well balanced tones. If the guitar is well crafted, basswood can achieve decent dynamics and definition.
Harvested in Africa and Central America, mahogany is a quite dense, medium-to-heavy wood. Mahogany’s tone is warm and soft, but well balanced with good grind and bite. The sound is deep and full. This wood can be used in the construction of almost every part of the guitar.
Maple is dense, heavy and hard wood. That’s why it’s often made with another light wood type. Maple delivers bright tones with tight lows.
This is the most popular combination of wood types of all time, giving the best tonal properties of both woods. The solid maple/mahogany body is warm, rich and resonant. You get the smoothness and sustain of mahogany, as well as the clarity and definition of maple.
This wood is often used for fretboards. It’s heavy and expensive. It produces very bright sounds. It’s made more for look rather than tone.
Walnut is dense and quite heavy. It produces a warm, full tone with tight low end.
Ebony is very dense and hard, producing nice bass and snappy highs. It’s also very durable and can last for years of intensive use. This pairing gives you the warmth from mahogany, and the tightness and clarity from ebony.
With this pairing, you get the warmth and mellowness of mahogany and complex highs from rosewood.
Rosewood softens the tone of maple, creating sparkling highs and thick lows. The mids are more open.
All of the above wood types are great choices, so you just need to pick the ones that suit your taste most. One small tip is that the thicker the wood is, the longer it will last, and the more sustain it will have.
A high quality, well made build makes the best guitar for under 1000 dollars. The neck should be straight, not bent and made from a high quality wood type. The quality control and build quality issue would give you so much frustration when receiving your guitar. Check if the screws or nuts are badly made. Beware of parts that do not line up well, or loose.
The frets should feel smooth on your hands and enhance the playability. The contour and profile of the neck should fit well in your hands and don’t cause you any discomfort. Sharp or protruding edges may affect negatively your playing experience.
A well-adjusted action would give you easier playability. A high action may hurt your hands more and is suitable for those looking for an advanced experience. A low action is easier to play, but you have to sacrifice some bottoms and mid range tones.
Checking the intonation of the guitar is also important. It decides whether your guitar is in tune up and down the neck.
One reminder is that a specific model might be changed by the manufacturer. There might be various versions and models of the same series, so make sure that the one you’ve decided to buy is actually the one that you’re waiting for.
There are so many well known guitar brands out there trying to fight for your attention by making the best guitars at all price ranges. You’ll never lack options for the best guitar for under 1000 dollars price range. Take the time to look through our list of the best guitars for under 1000 dollars, which is a great starting point. Going online and listening to the sound of the guitars to find out which one gives you the eargasm.
We’ve stumbled upon a great electric guitar buying guide video that we’d like to share with you. You can use it in conjunction with our guide to make the best decision on the best guitar for under 1000 dollars budget:
Final Thoughts of Best Guitars For Under 1000 Dollars
Browsing for the best guitar for under 1000 dollars can be challenging since the market offers a plethora of mid level choices. At this price range, the looks and designs of the guitars are beautiful and well made, the sound quality is great for beginners, intermediates and even advanced players. That’s why it might be overwhelming to plump for the best option for yourself.
Based on our knowledge and the strengths and weaknesses of each option on our list above, we’ve wrapped up this post with 3 top picks of the best guitars for under 1000 dollars.
Best Overall Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars
Best Value Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars
Best Looking Guitar For Under 1000 Dollars
If you’re at the level where you’ve decided to take the plunge into a mid level electric guitar, congrats! You’re ready to level up your game. With a higher price tag compared to budget instruments, these guitars offer you great looks and great sounding.
Now comes the hard part, actually selecting which guitar you want. It’s entirely up to you, but if you’ve already come to this part of our post, we’re confident that you can’t go wrong.
Have you found the best guitar for under 1000 dollars for yourself out of all the above suggestions? Or maybe you have a better idea? Don’t hesitate to let us know by leaving a comment or question in the section below.
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