12 Best Electric Guitars Under $1000 in 2017

Want to play the electric guitar? It’s easier than it looks thanks to an array of learning tools and games available today. You will need to own a guitar, however, which is where the tough part comes in. When looking for the best electric guitar under $1000, there are several things to consider although we’ve taken care of the two most important factors in our table below.

Even seasoned guitarists or consumers looking for the perfect gift can have difficulty navigating this price point. While there are not many as many options, the cost means most can’t afford to make a mistake. We have included three styles of guitars in our table to get you started along with a buying guide that touches on all the finer points.

Top 12 Electric Guitars Under $1000 Comparison Table

DesignNameRight or Left HandedStyleRating (1-5)
  1. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO Electric Guitar Both Electric 4.9
  2. Epiphone THUNDERBIRD CLASSIC-IV 4 String Electric Bass Guitar Right Bass 4.8
  3. Martin Road Series DRS1 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar Right Acoustic/Electric4.7
  4. Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar Both Bass 4.6
  5. Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Electric Bass Both Bass 4.6
6. Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM RB Solid-Body Electric Guitar Right Electric 4.5
7. Epiphone DR-500MCE Acoustic/Electric Right Acoustic/Electric 4.5
8. Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar Both Electric 4.4
  9. Yamaha A-Series AC1M Small Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar Right Acoustic/Electric 4.4
  10. Fender Standard Precision Electric Bass Guitar Right Bass 4.4
  11. Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar Right Electric 4.3
  12. Epiphone Les Paul “TRIBUTE” Plus Outfit Right Electric 4.0

How to Find a Great Electric Guitar for Less Than $1000

The wild world of pro-level electric guitars can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Before jumping in feet first, consider these quick tips below.

Skill Level

Guitars can range from under $100 to well over a $1000 although you will notice the “pretenders” tend to die off once you hit a certain price point. That means most of our best electric guitar under $1000 list consists of top-tier brands like Fender, Yamaha, and Epiphone, all names that should inspire confidence with consumers. While your new ax will be of the highest quality, you still need to keep your skill level in mind.

Some guitars are easier to play than others, even when dealing with electrics. If you have short arms or trouble between the frets, you may want a smaller sized guitar or an electric with a different body style or shorter scale which can make it easier to play. For beginners, you will want to be comfortable with your new baby, or you’re going to have a hard time getting started.

Style

When people hear the term “Electric Guitar,” many things come to mind including images of long-haired rock gods wiggling around on the stage. You can join that select group, but we’re not going to discuss your stage style. Instead, we will focus on the three types of electric guitars represented on this list with regular electrics, bass guitars, and acoustic-electrics.

  • Electric – This is the standard electric guitar that everyone will be familiar with and have 6 strings. There are some exotic body styles to choose from, but you will mainly find Stratocasters, Telecasters, and the occasional Flying V or Explorer.
  • Acoustic and Semi-Acoustic Electrics – As the name implies, this is a 6-string acoustic guitar with electric sensibilities. You can plug these guitars into any amplifier to get a big sound without sacrificing the sound of your acoustic. If you want something unique, look at the semi-acoustic style as it offers up the best of both worlds.
  • Bass – These are electric guitars with 4-strings built specifically for bass. Some will like regular electrics, but there are hollow and solid body bass guitars. These are good for “soft” bass in Jazz while solid body bass guitars are more suited for musicians playing other styles of music.

Woods

Regardless of whether you choose a classic Stratocaster or an acoustic-electric from Martin, the wood used plays an important part in the sound. As you will be using an amp, you can adjust the tone to a degree, but it all starts with the tonewood. We aren’t going to break down the types of sounds you’ll get, but the most popular and common woods you will encounter in this class will be Maple and Mahogany. There are plenty of exotics, but you will want to research the tone they will give beforehand along with the general style of the guitar itself.

Top 5 Best Electric Guitar Under $1000 Reviews

1. Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus-Top Pro Guitar

Epiphone is a name electric guitar players will be very familiar with, and they have several guitars on our list. Our top choice is their best however as their Les Paul Standard Plus-Top Pro model has everything you could ask for from a high-end electric guitar. That includes coil-tapping, a push/pull system that allows you to select a lower output from your pickup.

As for those pickups, this model has the company’s ProBucker 2, and ProBucker 3 installed to go along with neck pickup volume. The body is made from solid mahogany with a maple veneered top and a 14-degree angled headstock. This gives you longer sustain, which means less tuning in the long run. The neck scale measures 24.75” with a rosewood fingerboard sporting Pearloid trapezoid inlays. Both the ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 use Alnico II magnets as well.

A huge perk of the Les Paul Standard is the fact you can buy it for both Left and Right handed players. It’s also available in bundles including on with accessories and another with an amplifier. All models feature the company’s two-tone style although you can choose between Translucent Blue, Cherry Sunburst, Vintage Sunburst, Wine Red, Honey Burst and Cherry Sunburst.

2. Epiphone Thunderbird Classic IV Electric Bass Guitar

In the market for a bass that brings the thump? Well, you have found it with the Epiphone Thunderbird Classic IV. This electric bass guitar is a beast with Gibson USA T-Pro humbuckers built especially for bass players. These are special as they have active electronics and an EQ baked in.

The tech is powered by a 9-volt battery, which can be accessed through the back. That’s a good thing as you can suck through batteries, so frequent changes could be required depending on how often you play. The build quality is superb thanks to a 7-piece neck with through-body construction and mahogany body wings. It’s full-sized with a 34” scale length and a rosewood fingerboard with 20 medium jumbo nickel alloy frets. While it is a large bass, the rounded profile does make it a little easier to play.

Epiphone’s Thunderbird Electric Bass guitar is available in three different shades with Vintage Sunburst, Alpine White and with a “natural” body sporting an oiled finish. We chose the standard version, but there is a PRO model available as well with a different set of humbuckers and without the through-neck design.

3. Martin Road Series DRS1 Dreadnought

Our first Acoustic-Electric guitar comes from a company that makes some of the best acoustic guitars on the planet. The Martin Road Series DRS1 Dreadnought is a lock for our list although you won’t sound like Slash. This baby is best electric guitar under 1000 bucks for guitarists that prefer James Taylor and want a clear acoustic sound.

This beauty is a big acoustic with solid Sapele construction on the top, back, and sides. The belly bridge and fingerboard are made from Richlite, which is a resin-based material that is a fantastic substitute for ebony although it does increase the cost of the guitar overall. The neck construction is comprised of a multilaminate Stratabond system for strength while a Fishman Sonitone system takes care of the electronics. It runs off a standard 9-volt battery and can be replaced with ease.

This guitar is only available in one hue with a natural wood look, and you will have to be a right-handed guitarist to enjoy this particular model fully. You will get a hard case to keep your new baby safe, however, and it comes with a lifetime limited warranty to boot.

4. Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar

The Fender Standard Electric Bass is a guitar geared towards those who prefer Jazz. That means it’s built with two Jazz Bass single-coil pickups and has “reduced hum” thanks to shielded cavities in the body of the guitar. The neck is the Modern C shape and is made from maple wood with a rosewood fretboard sporting 20 medium jumbo frets.

The body of this bass is made from alder wood, and it is certainly stylish, especially if you dig guitars with a classic vibe. Your knobs give you full tonal control along with the chrome plated hardware up top. When it comes to options, you will get more than most on this model as you can choose between a maple, rosewood or fretless fingerboard. Are you a leftie? No problem, as long as you like rosewood and there is a V-String model available as well.

Fender’s Standard Jazz guitar is a solid option for bass players that need an instrument for jazz-styled music. All models have white pickguards although the body style comes in your choice of Black, Arctic White, Brown Sunburst, Candy Apple Red, and Lake Placid Blue.

5. Schecter Stiletto Studio 5-String Electric Bass

Our second electric bass guitar comes from Schecter and is their Stiletto Studio-5. As the name implies, this is a 5-string bass, with an exotic look and a 35” scale. It features a neck-through construction and EMG HZ pickups to go along with Schecter tuners on the head. As it is a 5-string you’ll get three on one side and two on the other.

Quality construction is what you will get with the Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 as it’s made from mahogany with a Bubinga center. There is a diamond custom bridge with offset dots for your inlays, and the electronics are top-notch as well. The guitar has a 3-band equalizer built-in with mid-control and a 12db cut-boost control for the mids, highs, and bass. It also requires not one, but two 9-volt batteries for the pickups which are passive but have an active tone control.

The Stiletto Studio-5 is available in Honey Satin or See-Through Black Satin if you want something that looks a little meaner. The only downside would be that it does not come with a case despite the price tag, so you’ll want to have one on hand when it arrives. It does come with a limited lifetime warranty however like many high-end guitars in this class.