If you have around $1000 to spend on a guitar, it can be pretty exciting. I remember when I bought my first real guitar which was a Fender Stratocaster. That was many years ago and today you have even more choice in the under $1000 guitar category.
If you’ve struggled to find a best guitar under $1000, this guide will help you out. I have reviewed several guitars for you, so you can find just the right guitar for a good price. There’s plenty of quality instruments out there, but it can be confusing to find the best one for your needs.
The guitars in this list are all stellar instruments and are perfect for beginners through to intermediate and advanced plyers that want a guitar which is better than the average instrument on the market. Here’s the top ten in the list which all offer you as a player, tremendous value for your heard earned dollars.
List of 10 Electric Guitars under $1000 with reviews
1. EVH Striped Series
Eddie Van Halen is one of the best guitar players of all time and many people seek his signature guitar. There’s quite a few models of this guitar, but most can be quite expensive. The EVH Striped Series is a one that you can get under $1000 and it has a lot to offer you as a guitar player.
This guitar has a body made out of Basswood and it features the classic Stratocaster style design for easy playing. The design in the iconic three-color pattern that Eddie designed during his playing career. The maple neck is Quartersawn so its very comfortable and there’s 22 frets along with a compound radius. For all those whammy bar tricks, you get a licensed Floyd Rose locking nut. The single humbucker is designed by EVH for searing high velocity leads and rhythm playing. The guitar also has one master volume knob.
- Tremolo system has D-tune to get you into D tuning quickly
- Simple to pick up and play
- Needs another pickup
- No tone control
Final VerdictI found this guitar to be very easy to play and while it lacks in some areas, it has everything you need in a top-quality guitar under $1000. The simple design means anyone is going to love playing it. The Floyd Rose stays in tune well and the sounds you’ll get out of this instrument are amazing. I think it would be well suited for someone that doesn’t want to hassle with their guitar and just wants to play. This guitar is a steal under $1000 and well worth this price point.
2. Fender Classic Series 50s Stratocaster Electric Guitar
Fender makes many high quality electric guitars, but they can cost you quite a bit of money, it’s possible to get a very good Fender under $1000 and you’ll find that with the Fender Classic Series 50s Stratocaster.
This Fender gives you that classic 1950s Fender style from the company’s early days. The guitar features a nice 22 fret maple fretboard which is very comfortable to play. I appreciate the fact that the neck has that vintage 7.25" radius. You get three classic Fender single coil pickups along with a two tone, one volume, and a pickup selector switch. The tremolo is also a classic Fender tremolo, so this guitar stays in tune for longer.
- Big Fender tone at lower price
- Authentic 50s look
- Not suitable for some guitar styles
There’s a lot to love about this vintage 50s look Fender Stratocaster. I love the fact that even the knobs on the guitar are faded a bit to give it a worn look. The instrument plays well and gives you all the tones you could want out of it. The neck on thus guitar feels great and it’s comfortable in your hand. I’ve owned several Fender guitars over the years and the Classic Series 1950s, really is a solid buy at under $1000.
3. ESP LTD EC-1000QM Electric Guitar
ESP is a leader in the electric guitar market and they have many amazing guitars that you can buy for under $1000. The ESP LTD EC-1000QM is one model you might want to consider in the under $1000 price range.
This guitar has a classic Gibson les Paul look to it, but it features 24 frets which normal Gibson’s don’t have. The fretboard is rosewood and it has a mahogany body with a maple top. The neck pickup is an EMG 60 and there's an EMG 81 in the bridge pickup location. These are solid pickups which will give you better tones when compared to similar pickups in other guitars. I find that EMG pickups sound quite good for harder rock tones. There’s two volume, one tone, and a pickup selector switch for the other electronics on this instrument. It has a TonePros bridge so the guitar stays in tune for a longer duration.
- Solid hardware
- Looks incredible
- No locking nut
This ESP LTD EC-1000QM is one fine guitar that plays as good as it looks. There’s a lot of output from the pickups which I loved. The neck is nice and smooth, and I also like the full 24 frets, so you can play most styles of music with ease. The deep single cutaway means you can access the frets on this guitar easily. You get a lot of value with this guitar and it’s under $1000, so it won’t break your budget.
4. ESP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett Electric Guitar
When you’re looking for a signature guitar from a famous artist like Kirk Hammett from Metallica, it can be real chore to find a good guitar for under $1000. ESP has a very nice Hammett signature guitar called the SP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett which you’ll want to take a good look at.
Tis guitar features an alder body and it has a maple neck along with a rosewood fingerboard. There’s 24 jumbo frets so you can play all styles of music on the instrument. I like the jumbo frets as they make playing the guitar easier. It has an active EMG 81 and an EMG 60 for the humbucking pickups which allow you to paly rock, metal, shred, and similar advanced style of music. You also get two volume controls, one tone control and a selector switch for the pickups. The Floyd Rose system keeps the guitar in tune for a longer duration.
- Well suited for metal guitar playing
- Very comfortable neck
- Locking nut can be hard to tune for beginners
I love this guitar as it has many nice features. The Metallica logos for fret marks are a nice added touch. It has a full double cutaway, so you’ll be able to play all those fast Metallica and other leads on this guitar. This instrument sounds very bice and it’s a real steal at under $1000. If you want that Metallica sound, you’ll SP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett.
5. Schecter Guitar Research Synyster Gates Custom Electric
Schecter is known for making some advanced guitars and if you want to sound like Avenged Sevenfold and Synyster Gates, you should have a look at this offering from Schecter. You get a full 24 frets on this guitar, so you can play a lot of different styles of music.
The first thing I love about this guitar is the unique design and look to it. the fretboard is ebony, and the body is made out of mahogany. You get two humbucking Duncan Designed SH-8 invader pickups. The pickups are a step above regular humbuckers which you’ll find on similar price instruments as they have more output and better sound overall. There’s a tone, volume, and a pickup selector switch on this instrument. The Floyd Rose tremolo system allows this guitar to stay in tune for a longer duration. The tuners are Grover, so this also adds to the ease of tuning for this instrument.
- Unique pinstripe design
- Easy to play neck
- Fretboard markers may confuse some
- Needs another tone control
If you want to play the advanced music of Avenged Sevenfold and similar styles, you should give the Synyster Gates Custom Electric a good look. It has a lot going for it and I was impressed at how well it sounds as well as plays. You’ll be shredding in no time with this solid design by Schecter.
6. Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar
Godin makes nice guitars and they have a stellar guitar under $1000 called the Godin 5th Avenue CW which has plenty to offer. This guitar is an archtop style and it gives you rich and vibrant tones.
This instrument features F holes which give an acoustic/electric flavour to the sound, the top is made from Canadian cherry wood, so it produces a vibrant sound. There’s two vintage style P90 pickups so you get tones of nice tones out of the guitar. The cutaway on the guitar allows you to hit the higher nots without hand cramping issues. The rosewood fingerboard is comfortable to play. This guitar is well suited to jazz, blues, rock n rook and similar guitar styles. There’s a tone, volume, and a pickup selector switch that rounds out the hardware.
- Nice sound at this price
- Old style bridge for authentic look
- Needs another tone and volume knob
- Not suitable for some guitar styles
If you’re looking for a guitar that can create some vintage sounds without a major price tag, look to the Godin 5th Avenue CW. I found that this guitar plays as well as it looks so it offers you plenty of value for your money. I was impressed by the rich sounds from the pickups and the feel of the fingerboard on this high-quality instrument. The cream-colored binding is also another nice touch on the guitar. This is a modern sounding instrument with that classic vintage look that you want.
7. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO Electric Guitar
Gibson’s lower cost brand is called Epiphone and they feature some very nice guitars under $1000. One of the better ones is called the Epiphone Les Paul and it has a lot of old-school charm that you’ll want to check out.
This guitar has a rosewood fingerboard and 22 frets. There’s two volume knobs and two-tone controls along with a pickup selector switch. This instrument has Epiphone ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 pickups, so you get both rich modern as well as classic tones out of the guitar. The bride is a standard Epiphone, but it keeps the guitar in tune for a long time. so your music stands out. The single cutaway makes it easier for you to play the higher frets on the instrument.
- Nice vintage sounds
- Looks great
- A bit big for some players
- It quite heavy
Epiphone makes some solid guitars and if you need a classic sound with a modern feel, take a look at the Epiphone Les Paul. I found that this guitar has a very nice tone and it’s well worth the price especially since its under $1000. It’s the perfect choice for jazz, rock, blues and similar guitar styles. It’s a classic style without that major Gibson price tag so you’re getting a vey good deal.
8. Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar
If you’re in the market for a good metal and hard rock guitar you now how hard it can be to find one. Schecter continues to impress with a lot of high quality guitars with process you can afford. One shred machine the offer is called the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 which has many great features.
This guitar has a full 24 frets, so you’ll be able to play most metal and hard rock style son the guitar. The fretboard is made from rosewood and the body is made out of mahogany with a quilted maple top for more tonal clarity. The neck is three pieces of mahogany so it’s more stable than other guitar necks. You get two EMG Active 81TW/89 pickups for rich tones and great sound. There’s two volume, one tone, and a selector switch for your pickups. The tuners are locking so this instrument will stay in tune for a longer duration. The bridge is a TonePros TOM, so the strings are easy to change on your guitar.
- Smooth finish and stellar look
- Solid professional sound
- Could use a locking nut
- Needs another tone control
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is a solid metal and hard rock guitar which has the sound you want. It has a very smooth neck and the double cutaway makes it easier to hit the higher frets on this guitar. I would prefer a locking nut, but the bridge is still great on the instrument. This is a well put together shred machine that doesn’t have many low points. This guitar is well worth the under $1000 price tag and should be one you have on your radar.
9. Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster Electric Guitar
Fender makes guitars in all price ranges, but as you get closer to $1000, the quality of these instruments improves a great deal. The Fender Classic series 1970s is one Stratocaster you may want to examine more closely
This guitar has a nice maple fretboard and neck with 22 frets for a full rage of classic as well some modern tones. The guitar has a larger than normal Fender headstock and a bullet truss-rod nut, so the guitar neck is more stable. There’s also a 3-Bolt neck-plate with the Micro-Tilt feature for even more options for neck stability and tweaking of the guitar action. The pickups are classic Fender single coils and there’s three of them. You also get the standard one volume control two tone controls, and pickup selector switch on this instrument.
- Wonderful natural color
- Excellent Fender tone
- Larger headstock might not be visually appealing to some players
- Pickups could be a bit better
You can’t go wrong with a good Stratocaster as long as you’re into blues, rock and similar styles. These guitars aren’t as versatile for metal guitar playing as they lack the locking nut and full 24 frets. If you want classic tones from the 1970s, this Fender is a solid bargain at under $1000 dollars. I was impressed at how easy it as to play and it does sound a lot better than the lower cost Fender Stratocasters on the market.
10. Ibanez S670QM S Series Electric Guitar
If you need a great rock guitar, you’ll want to grab yourself a good Ibanez. The guitars made by the Ibanez company are played by many top rock players such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and many others. The Ibanez S670QM S Series is a top-quality shred machine with plenty of features you’ll love.
The body of this guitar is lightweight, sculpted, and made out of mahogany. I love the fact that Ibanez guitars are so lightweight as there’s less strain on the shoulders and back which reduces injury. The lightweight also makes this guitar more responsive and gives you a better sound. You get two humbucker pickups one single coil for more tonal variety in your guitar. There’s a tone, volume, and a pickup selector switch to round out your hardware. The Edge-Zero II tremolo bridge makes the guitar stay in tune during string bending and other guitar tricks.
- Greta finish
- Nice fret markers
- Could use another tone control
- Floyd Rose is hard to tune for some players
I love the Wizard III Maple neck as it’s very comfortable to playa and your fingers will fly up and down the fretboard for fast lead playing. This guitar is easy to play, and the deep double cutaway makes this even easier. If you want to play fast, Ibanez is the way to go and this guitar is under $1000, so it’s a real bargain at this price. I really couldn’t find much wrong with it as it has everything you need for playing advanced musical styles.
Things to Consider Before You Buy Your New Guitar
When you buy a guitar under $1000, you’re going to get a quality instrument, but there’s a few things you need to keep n mind. Since your buying a guitar for more money, you should get a guitar that works for your needs. If you’re buying a guitar at this price point, you have probably been playing for some time, so here’s several factors that should weigh on your buying decision.
Your Playing Style
It’s important to buy a guitar that’s going to suit your playing style. If you play mainly shred guitar, it makes no sense to buy a jazz style guitar that’s too cumbersome to play for that style of instrument. You would want an Ibanez, Dean, ESP, or a similar guitar that’s suitable for that type of guitar playing. The guitar you want may look great but think of how you’re going to use it and if you will be happy with your purchase once you start playing the guitar. You should weight all of your options before you make a buying decision. The point is to buy a guitar you personally like and one that’s suited for you, not what someone else is playing or you can end up disappointed.
Most guitars under $1000 will ship with pickups that are far superior to the average pickups that ship with guitars that cost a lot less. You’ll start to see brand names such as Dimarzio, EMGs, and similar pickups in these guitars. For the most part, they sound good, but you may want to change some of them to pickups that you prefer. This should be something you consider, but its not a necessity unless there’s a certain pickup you must absolutely have in your new guitar. Just remember that new pickups tend to cost a lot of money and this will add more cost onto your guitar so weigh the advantages and disadvantages before you go this option.
Most guitars under $1000 are going to be setup better than guitars that cost less, so there’s not a whole lot to do, but you’ll still need to tweak things match your own preferences. Make sure you set the action to how you like it and if you don’t know how, see a guitar tech to help you out. Small changes in action can make a big difference in how the guitar plays. A guitar with higher than normal action can be easier to bend strings, but a guitar with lower action is better for faster leads so get the action how you like it and experiment a bit with it to find that sweet spot. You can also tweak the truss rod to make the neck easier to play, but only do this in small increments and check before you adjust it too much. A guitar tech will do all this for you, if you don’t want to mess with your guitar.
So, You Have an Electric Guitar Under $1000 Dollars Now What?
Once you have a new expensive guitar, you have a few major decisions you have to make. Here’s some of the things that will make your new guitar something you’ll treasure for years to come.
You may already have a brand of string you like that you put on a previous guitar, but your new guitar may require something totally different. It’s a good idea to experiment with guitar strings to find just the right brand for your new guitar as a certain brand can change the tone drastically on the guitar. The gauge and brand you buy is up to you but experiment some as it can make a big difference in your overall tone. For example, I used D'Addario for years before I switched to Elixir, because I liked the sound after trying them out.
It’s also a good idea to experiment with amplifiers more often as this is when you want to shape your overall sound even more. There’s more choice than ever before in amplifiers. I tend to go for both solid state and tube amplifiers because each amplifier has its own tonal characteristics. It’s a good idea to play through many amplifiers before you buy one because what sounds good to someone else may not sound good to you. I’ve made several mistakes in this regard as I have bought amps I thought would sound good but didn’t work for my needs. Like guitars, amps are a personal preference, so you need one that works for you. If you can’t afford more expensive amps, look to a good amp modeler as there’s may on the market which sound pretty good. These amps recreate the sounds of older style amplifiers and can open up a world of new tones for you.
Your new guitar may sound even better depending upon the effects you buy. At the minimum you’ll want a good distortion pedal, chorus, digital delay, and maybe a wah-wah pedal. A good set of effects along with a quality amplifier will help you shape your sound even more. Many amps have effects built-in, but nothing will replace the sounds you can create with a good effects pedal in front of your amplifier. There’s a wide range of effects on the market to choose from and you’re basically unlimited din terms of the sounds you can make with effects pedals. As with your guitar purchase, you need to experiment with effects pedals to find the right sounds for your own needs.
A quality instrument under $1000 needs some care to keep it working well. make sure you give the guitar a polish at least once per year to remove grime with a bit of guitar polish. You don’t need to do this with every string change. In general, if there’s smudges on the finish just wipe them off with a cloth rag. You should change strings often as old and worn strings will damage the guitar neck and deposit a lot of dirt. Wipe the strings down after you play to remove dirt from them. If the fretboard is dirty, scrape this off carefully with a soft toothbrush, but don’t do this on a maple fretboard as it will ruin the finish. A couple of drops of linseed oil with condition the fretboard of it needs it. See a guitar tech if the guitar tech if you don’t want to clean the guitar yourself. Try to remove dust and debris around the pickups and bridge when you change strings. Try not to stress over dings and scratches your guitar gets because this adds character to your guitar. If the damage is severe, a good tech can help. Make sure you invest in a good hardshell case for your guitar to keep it safe. Some cases also come with locks, so you may want this to protect your investment and insure the guitar if you want, but that is up to you.
Now that you have a new guitar under $1000, you’re all set to make a big leap forward in your guitar playing. Your new instrument is going to last you a long time and you have more sound options than ever before with a quality guitar. Make sure you take care of your new guitar and change the strings often, so it sounds great and invest in a good amplifier to bring out the best sound in your instrument.
There’s nothing like owning that first expensive guitar. I still have that Fender Stratocaster I bought and it’s an old friend now. You’ll grow to love your new guitar and it’s going to bring you many years of joy. You can find a great deal on a guitar under $1000 and this list is the perfect place to find that special guitar you’ll treasure for years.