12 Best Electric Guitars Under $500 in 2017

Getting an electric guitar with an unlimited budget is one thing, but getting one that is affordable without compromising any quality or features is entirely different.

If you’re not sure where to start to get the quality and the price combination just right, never fear! Our experts have all of the information you need to make the shopping process simple.

We have compiled a list of the top 12 best electric guitars under 500 dollars and point out some of the most important features you need to focus on when shopping for one.

Top 12 Electric Guitars Under $500 Chart

DesignNameType of GuitarWoods Rating (1-5)
  1. Epiphone G-400 Pro Electric Guitar with Coil-Splitting Standard Mahogany and Rosewood 4.7
  2. Yamaha FGX800C Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar Acoustic-Electric Nato and Rosewood 4.7
  3. Fender Modern Player Tele Plus Electric Guitar Standard Solid-wood and Maple 4.5
  4. Epiphone HUMMINGBIRD PRO Solid Top Acoustic/Electric Guitar Acoustic-Electric Mahogany and Spruce 4.5
  5. Squier by Fender Strat HSS Electric Guitar Pack Beginner Alder and Maple 4.5
6. Yamaha Gigmaker EG Electric Guitar Pack with Amplifier Standard Agathis and Maple 4.5
7. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD Electric Guitar Standard Rosewood and Mahogany 4.4
8. Traveler Guitar ULEL BLK Ultra-Light Electric Black Travel Guitar Travel Maple 4.4
  9. Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar Standard Rosewood and Mahogany 4.4
  10. Schecter OMEN-6 6-String Electric Guitar Standard Basswood, Maple and Rosewood 4.4
  11. Ibanez Grg121dx BKN (Black Night) Electric Guitar Standard Rosewood and Mahogany 4.4
  12. Gibson USA 2017 M2 Solid Body Electric Guitar Standard Maple and Rosewood 3.8

Affordable Electric Guitar Buying Made Easy

After you have set your budget to be less than $500, you can better get into the details of buying an electric guitar that fits your needs, level, style and more. There are plenty of solid options within this price range, but to find out which ones are the best, you should consider the features, the body type and the type of wood.

In terms of features, you should be considering your preferences for,

  • weight,
  • style,
  • color,
  • accessories included,
  • your level,
  • and your preferred genre.

Body Type

Whether you are just getting into electric guitars and want to find an affordable beginners instrument or are a seasoned musician looking to add to the collection, you should consider the body of the guitar before you even start shopping.

Each body type has unique characteristics, all of which will make a difference as you search the best electric guitar under $500.

  • Solid – This kind of electric guitar is the most common. It is when the guitar is made from a solid slab of wood. Within this type of body, there are options in style and electronics, but they all play similarly. As the body is solid, however, expect less resonance than you would with other body types.
  • Hollow – You can pretty much tell what this is just by reading the name. This electric guitar is hollow just like an acoustic guitar. This design helps to produce more resonance, but they can be more prone to feedback. This kind of guitar will give you rich and deeper bass tones.
  • Semi-Hollow – This is a guitar that has more resonance than a solid body, but with a solid center wood block it is also able to cut back on the feedback that might affect hollow guitars. This guitar produces a warm tone that can also become harsh making it a good option for a wide range of music genres.

Tonewoods

While the pickup and the magnets have a huge effect on the tone that you get, the wood can also make a difference in the sound.

Consider each of these types of woods and how they make a difference:

  • Mahogany – This is a strong wood that is very dense. It can be used in most parts of the guitar. This wood can be found on its own, comprising of the whole guitar, or can be found in combination with maple. It is not a hard wood and thus emphasizes a more mellow tone.
  • Rosewood – This is a very dense and hard wood that can come in many beautiful colors and finishes. It is most commonly used for electric guitar fretboards and can sometimes make up the entire body, but this makes the guitar very heavy.
  • Ebony – This is also a hard and dense wood. It is a more expensive kind of wood and is therefore used for the fretboards as it has a silky feel.
  • Maple – This is a commonly used wood especially for the guitar necks. It is hard and dense with detailed grain patterns that create an attractive style. The qualities of this wood mean it helps to produce a more brilliant sound while also bringing out the trebles.
  • Ash – This is a wood that is harder than mahogany but is still very resonant. It is often used for solid body guitars as it enhances tone without being too heavy. It is a material that will help maintain ringing in a bright tone and also keeps the mid-range clear.
  • Alder – This is a similar wood to ash but is less expensive. It is commonly used for the bodies of guitars and comes in a light tan color.
  • Agathis – This is similar to ash and alder but with less resonance. It is a more affordable material, however, so it is found in less expensive options.

When considering the kind of wood that you want for your guitar, you should not only consider the tonal effects but also the added weight as it relates to the body type.

Top 5 Best Electric Guitar Under $500 Reviews

1. Epiphone G-400 Pro

The build and the quality of the Epiphone G-400 Pro are undeniable. The body is made of pure mahogany while the fretboard is made of rosewood and the neck is completely maple. This combination in any color looks incredible and plays like a dream.

As a 6-string guitar, it is best suited for experienced players that are looking to add a solid but also affordable guitar to their collection. The tone is well rounded, and the responsiveness is perfect for playing faster songs with more notes.

The controls allow you more individual sound as you can fine-tune the tone and the volume. It should be noted that this is a heavy guitar. You need to be aware of this, especially when playing in a seated position. Regarding sound, you also get a full and rich kind of twang with a brighter overall tone when you play in the upper notes.

2. Yamaha FGX800C Solid Top

The Yamaha FGX800C Solid Top is a combination acoustic and electric guitar, so you get versatility right off the bat. If you are a beginner looking to upgrade, then this is a great option. Not only is the sound quality completely enhanced, but so is the build.

You will find that compared to other similar models, this is a guitar that is better in every way. It produces a more rounded sound, the size is easy to work with, and therefore the playability is increased. Of course, you can change out the strings if you want to, but the ones that come with this guitar already produce beautiful sound.

When you want good sound without having to adjust the way you are playing to get it, then this is a solid option. It is also durable enough to be taken to and from lessons or performances without risk of damage.

3. Fender Modern Player Tele Plus

The Fender Modern Player Tele Plus is the best electric guitar under 500 dollars for a few reasons. First of all, it comes from one of the most famous makers in the industry; this guarantees quality and also ensures you will easily be able to find tutorials on how to make adjustments as desired.

The body of this electric guitar is lighter than you might imagine. It is also more contoured to ensure it is comfortable to hold and play. The neck of the guitar is smooth making it easy for you to play quickly. It is a bit thicker than other models, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

The sound quality is superb, and it is versatile too. You will quickly find you can play in a variety of styles from jazz to metal. It should also be noted that this guitar can be played right out of the box.

4. Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is a combination guitar that gives you pure tone every time you play. This guitar has a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. This solid construction adds to the overall sound quality and the richness of each note.

With this guitar, you also get a Shadow Nano Flex pickup system; this gives you the edge that you want from a pickup with the exact sound and tone that you want; this allows you to control the volume, treble, and mass as well as adjust the dynamics too.

Regarding value, you get the same sound quality from this guitar that you would get if you spent thousands of dollars. It is the perfect combination of quality when considering the build and the sound as well as affordability. The best thing is that the guitar will practically be in tune and ready to play from the moment you take it out of the box.

5. Squier by Fender

The Squier by Fender is another great electric guitar option from the legendary company. This beginner guitar lets you explore different sounds in styles ranging from jazz to punk and more. You can play all of the different music genres because the guitar is so well made.

Not only is it made for comfort, but it is also made specifically for beginners. This guitar will help you train your ears and recognize good sound from the very beginning. This guitar also comes as a kit, so you get the accessories needed for the complete experience.

Whether you are a beginner or someone that has been a musician for many years, you will be able to play on this guitar without limitations. It is a guitar that you can really grow with as it is more basic but without leaving out any of the important features that you will need as your skills develop.

Ensure Quality

While all of the features for an electric guitar come together to create the affordable instrument of your dreams, this all means nothing without first making sure you are making a choice based on quality.

The instrument you choose should be well made, produce a good tone and last for many years and through many performances. With good overall quality, you are guaranteed to love the guitar that you buy.