The most popular instrument (especially when you are starting as a musician) is the electric guitar. You can found a lot of information about this instrument on the internet. Since it is so popular, in this article, I will show you some of the best budget options for you on the market. So, here is my top 5 best cheap electric guitars.
I will also show you some important and curious information about it. From which are the most friendly brands for beginners to which are the ones with the most interesting features. I will also tell you some history about the most important brands like Squier, Epiphone, Ibanez, Fender, or Yamaha.
The most important thing that you want to know about this article is that I have used every one of these guitars, at least for Jamming Sessions. I will choose these guitars based on three points:
- The price (it is very important).
- How they sound (from the volume to the tuning).
- How they look (the fretboard’s construction, which type of wood and body is used on the guitar).
- If it is good for entry-level users or if you should have mastered the instrument first before using it.
I will also consider if they come with an option for left-handed people (call it a left-Handed Configuration or an alternative version to help them touch the guitar). With these in mind, let’s get started.
5 best cheap electric guitars on the market.
Maybe you haven’t heard about Lynx in your entire life, don’t worry, you don’t have to know who they are to call yourself a guitarist. However, they are one of the most important budget line brands if we talk about Musical instruments. This specific guitar is a pretty solid option if you don’t have much money.
It has a standard bridge that allows you to put your fingers in very comfy positions and also has three pickups on its body, allowing us to get one of the best sound quality in this price range. The best thing about this guitar is the vibrato that you will get from it.
This specific pack comes with plenty of gadgets that will come in handy. It comes with a digital tuner that will help you get the right tunes every time and also allows you to switch from your standard tunning choice to higher pitches or lower ones. It also comes with an electronic amp, perfect for your jamming sessions.
3 out of 5
- It comes with three single-coil pickups. It is a perfect Entry Level Offering.
- Perfect budget option because of all the gadgets that it includes.
- Pretty solid construction. You can feel the quality, especially on the frets and on the bridge.
The rosewood bridge makes it one of the most completes guitars in the cheaper price range.
If you are a guitarist is more than obvious that you know what a Stratocaster is. So you will also know why this electric guitar is one of the best options if you are a beginner. With a Black poplar body, a full-size fretboard, and the standard six-string neck, this is a perfect entry-level guitar.
It has a classic design that you may have seen on many media (from photos to videos). This is because this construction allows you to get a bigger scale of sound configurations. If you have the budget, I will totally tell you to pick up this electric option.
4 out of 5 stars
- It comes with a simple left-handed configuration that allows everyone to play with it.
- It comes with a tuner, three picks of tortex material, an amplifier, a backpack, the cable to connect to the amp, and a strap.
- It comes with three single-coil pickups for a vintage Strat tone.
Best Squier guitar for beginners. A nice Entry level offering
With a blue solid mahogany wood body, it allows you to get one of the warmest music. This model allows you to get high electronic sounds with great fidelity. I remember that I used this specific model on an open mic night to play some Blues because it has one of the best bass split.
I would recommend it if what you want to get is a vintage sound or something that gets more close to the typical sound of Jazz, blues, and soft rock. If you want to get more hardcore sound (like metal or hard rock), I wouldn’t recommend this electric at all.
In the technical part, it has a solid basswood body, perfect for beginner players. If you can find one in excellent conditions, You will have a wide range of sounds.
3 out of 5
- The upper part ( the fingerboard, neck, and head) allows you to get a pretty solid vibrato response.
- It has a glossy finish. So it is a very pretty guitar.
- I would call it a modern classic because it allows advanced players to have a distortion boost thanks to its single-coil pickup.
A classic Style Ibanez with a premium quality finish. Totally a Budget-Friendly Guitars.
It is very probable that the last brand you think about when talking about electric guitars is Yamaha. However, the Pacifica series is one of the best ones when we talk about quality musical instruments.
The most important part of this one is its hardware. This is because it has a maple bridge, a maple neck, and a maple headstock. This, combined with a black Agatha body, allows a better tune. If you have the money and want a guitar with plenty of perks and features, this one is for you.
5 out of 5
- Perfect if you are learning to play.
- It is a two pieces guitar that allows better use of the internal space of the hardware.
- It has one of the best tone control on the market so that you can use it on any amplifier.
With a nice shape and a Matic bridge, this is the electric guitars’ jewel on the Pacifica series.
This is a semi-hollow model. It is in the cheap range of price, so if you want an Electric Guitar that allows you to play every note on the musical scale, this one will be your best option. The principal profile for this specific Electric Guitar is that you can use it to play Jazz.
The main feature of this one, as I said before, is that it is the perfect option if you like playing Jazz, or if you are learning to play Jazz, or if you are in the middle of a jazz lesson. I mean, the name is pretty specific. Don’t come to this option looking for metal sounds or hard rock, because you won’t find them here.
However, the playing style that you will get because of its controls allows you to get a little bit experimental with this version. In this price range, you won’t get a real semi-hollow tonewood action electric guitar with this clarity of sound and with a 3-way selector for the music. It also comes with a rosewood fingerboard, which is always a plus.
- The tone control in this Electric guitar is perfect for electronics amplifiers.
- It has an American Fabrication Process; this allows you to get one of the best Resonance on the market.
- The 3-way selector hardware that comes inside the guitar allows the bridge pickup to get a wider sound spectrum.
The best part of this jazz guitar is Maple Bridge that allows one of the best volume control on the market.
Which is the best Electric Guitar Brand on the market?
When talking about this instrument without taking price into account, there are some models and series that are better than others; these ones are:
Fender is the largest brand of electric guitars in the world, both in terms of sales and history. In fact, many consider it the best brand of guitars, period.
Leo Fender’s impact on the guitar world is unparalleled. In the 50’s he designed the Telecaster and the Stratocaster, the two most recognizable and imitated electric guitar models in history. This guitar brand has been featured in almost every rock music video in history.
Today, this brand is the property of Squier, which allows them to have control over the Budget Electric market. However, even though they make budget guitars, it doesn’t mean that they are bad at all; they are actually of high quality.
Where does Fender make its guitars?
The high-end models are made in California following the American fabrication method, the mid-range in Mexico, and the cheaper ranges in Korea, Japan, and Indonesia.
The other manufacturer that can rival Fender in terms of influence. Although it started as an acoustic manufacturer, in the early 50’s it became the reference brand for many artists in electric guitars.
In 1952 in collaboration with jazz guitarist Les Paul, Gibson designed its most iconic model. Together with the Gibson SG, they are the brand’s most recognizable models.
And not only that, some innovations that we take for granted today are also Gibson, such as the humbucker pickups. However, for a long time, they were the master behind the single-coil guitar, so some of their older models also work with the single-coil.
The jewel of the brand is the Epiphone Les Paul Special Ii. The Epiphone Les Paul Special Ii have a tonal clarity that allows the master volume to have an Excellent Condition. It is a real deal.
Where does Gibson make its guitars?
All Gibson guitars are made in the United States in three factories located in Memphis, Nashville, and Bozeman.
Following the Japanese tradition of copying Western products, Ibanez began making imitations of Fender and Gibson in the late 1950s. But of course, the complaints were accumulating, and they decided to change course.
And since the 80s, Ibanez began to become a brand of reference guitars with their own designs that today are true icons.
Their powerful pickups, fast necks, and floating bridges are today essential among artists of the stature of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, or Paul Gilbert.
They make cheap guitars, but with great quality, two things that any budget guitar must have to be useful. If you want an Ibanez, I recommend you to look over the ones that use a Mahogany Necks or alder body because they are perfect for beginner players.
Where does Ibanez make its guitars?
All Ibanez guitars come from Asia. The highest range is made in their factory in Japan and the rest in China and Korea.
Many people think of Cort when we talk about cheap electric guitar brands as a second-hand brand. What they don’t know is that they have been making for other brands since the 70s. If you’ve ever bought a cheap Fender Squier or Ibanez, Cort has probably made it.
Because when they decided to start designing their own instruments, they already had many years of experience, and that shows in the final product.
Moreover, thanks to their pricing strategy and recent star features such as Matthew Bellamy from the band Muse, they have a very promising future (and present).
Usually, the guitars that this brand makes have a very characteristic Body Shape; they use a Single Cutaway Body, which combines with a Humbucker pickup config, makes this brand of guitar one of the best value brands on the market.
Where does Cort make his guitars?
Cort is headquartered in South Korea, where it also makes some of its guitars. In addition, it has its own factories in China and Indonesia.
Yamaha does everything: motorcycles, boats, industrial robots, and it is also a brand of electric guitars. The company started to manufacture instruments at the end of the 19th century, but electric guitars arrived in the mid-’60s.
For years it went a little unnoticed compared to the classics of Squier and Epiphone until, in the 90s, it launched its most famous series to date: the Yamaha Pacifica. This series is one of the most used by beginners.
Where does Yamaha make its guitars?
We know that the brand has factories in Asia, but little else. Yamaha is quite opaque about its processes and location of its factories.
Other brands that you should know about
Although not as famous as others on this list, Epiphone is the oldest with over 140 years of history.
During the 1940’s it was Gibson’s main competitor until it absorbed the brand. Today Epiphone is considered Gibson’s “cheap” electric guitar brand, making inexpensive recreations of the brand’s classics perfect for beginners and persons without much money.
Although not as recognizable as others, many famous artists have adopted ESP guitars. We are talking about people like James Hetfield (Metallica) or George Lynch (Dokken).
Perhaps the Japanese brand is more famous in its country of origin, although it has a very good reputation in the world of heavy metal.
In addition, through its brand ESP LTD, it makes economic versions of its more top guitars that stand out by their quality and their unique designs. So if you want a guitar with a great design ESP LTD is the solution.
Some of the most popular Esp’s Ltd modules are very similar to other famous series (for example, the Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS series); however, the main difference between the Esp’s Ltd models is that they typically use Rosewood fretboards in their guitars.
Paul Reed Smith
Paul Reed Smith is the name of the brand and its founder, although it is better known as PRS.
Since 1985, the brand has focused on making high-quality guitars, even applying manual processes. For that reason, it is not surprising that their more “economics” guitars are easily approaching the thousand dollar range.
It has not been until recently that they have started to bring out more economical models manufactured in Korea, which still start at the 500 hundred dollar range.
Since its founding in the 1980s, Jackson has been a brand associated with the world of heavy metal.
Jackson accompanied many artists (Marty Friedman, Scott Ian, Randy Rhoads…) during the metal explosion, creating perfect instruments to run their masts at full speed.
Their cheaper guitars don’t have a very good reputation but can get a very good quality instrument.
B. C. Rich
If this brand of electric guitars is famous for anything, it is for its unique designs that are perfect for the local heavies. Just see Kerry King with his Warlock model.
B.C. Rich has always focused on creating high-end instruments, so it is difficult to find a guitar from this brand that costs least than one thousand dollars.
Most of their models have a great tone clarity and a rosewood fretboard of great quality. Some of their models have a bolt-on Maple Neck (Or other Bolt-on necks, the bolt-on Maple Neck you will only see it on the High-end series).
However, the real deal comes with the rosewood fingerboard options. These options usually come with a whammy bar and also with active pickups in case you need to make minor intonation adjustments. These active pickups allow getting incredible tonal clarity.
This brand is well known because it was the brand that bought Fender, they are now known better for their Squier Affinity Stratocaster Sss series. The Squier Affinity Stratocaster Sss series is similar to the Epiphone Les Paul Special Ii; however, the main difference is the body and the tonal clarity.
Squier uses mostly a combination of Rosewood fretboards (especially if we watch the Squier Affinity Stratocaster Sss); however, they combine that with pickup selector switches (for better personalization) and a basswood body.
They also use other options, for example, a bolt-on maple neck (this is a little bit weird when we look at other bolt-on necks in the market), but most important than that is the price. They have a very affordable price.
Squier is also well known for their entry-level guitars, like the fender telecaster (there are two versions of this series, the fender telecaster made by Fender and the one made by Squier). The principal difference between both versions is the bolt-on neck and also the pickup selector switch.
Wich is the best tonewood for an electric guitar?
When buying a guitar, it is probable that you get carried away by the manufacturer’s brand, and you don’t pay attention to the types of woods used for the instrument. However, what most influences the sound and quality of the music you will play is the hardware of the instrument.
The tonewood determines not only the duration and resistance but also the timbre, volume, and general quality of the sound.
I will tell you a little bit about the most used woods when building a guitar:
- Most common electric guitars tonewoods: poplar, mahogany, ash, North American linden, maple, Holly-wood. Also, agathis, walnut, meranti, New Zealand pine, sapelli, and laurel.
- Less common electric guitar wood options: panga panga, Okoume, jatoba, Bubinga, nyaton, pau ferro.
- The wood that you will get will depend on the price of the instrument; if the instrument is more expensive, it will have better wood.
- If you want to know what are the best options:
- Walnut has a more stable sound response.
- Mahogany tends towards the low and medium frequencies.
- Alder is equivalent to walnut, but with less stability.
- Low-density woods are used in the manufacture of electric guitar bodies because they are more stable.
- The modal frequencies in walnut reach 3675 Hz, while ash reaches 3573 Hz. This means that walnut has a better response.
So without any doubt, the best option when talking about woods is the walnut.
In conclusion, there are lots of different brands of guitars and different woods that are used on those guitars. However, the best option for beginners on the cheap range of price is the Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC12, and the best wood for electric guitar is the walnut.