It’s a big decision when you have around $1500 to spend on an electric guitar. If you’re spending this much, you have come a long way in your guitar playing and are looking for a stellar guitar for advanced or even professional playing. I’ve gone through many expensive guitars at under $1500, so I know how confusing or even scary it can be to spend this much cash on a guitar.
I’ve made it much easier for you to find that top quality guitar for under $1500 with this guide to the best electric guitars under $1500. There’s a lot of great choice at this price point but all the options can make it very confusing for you as a buyer.
All of these guitars are stellar and you’re going to get a lot of use out of these instruments for years to come, so let’s have a look at this list of amazing electric guitars that you’ll want to play.
List of 10 Electric Guitars under $1500 with reviews
1. Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar
Kurt Cobain was a musical icon in the 1990s and now you can own his signature Jaguar guitar for under $1500. This guitar has many quality features and it’s a joy to play for classic rock, alternative rock, and similar musical styles.
The Jaguar was once a lesser known Fender brand, but not it’s more popular thanks to Kurt Cobain. This guitar has a Dimarzio humbucking DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary neck pickup, and a DP100 Super Distortion bridge pickup, so you can get many different sounds out of this guitar. It features a rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets and an alder body. There’s a volume and two-tone controls, but I love the extra selector switches on this guitar which mean you can get even kore cool tones out of it just like Kurt Cobain did. The tremolo is a vintage style "floating" Tremolo tailpiece, so you can make dive bombs and perform guitar tricks.
- Solid chrome hardware
- More sound variety
- Lacks single coil pickup
- Tremolo isn’t for everyone
The Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar LH NOS is a unique guitar which gives you a lot of options you just won’t find in other guitars in thus range. I found this guitar to be very easy to play and the neck is smooth. It’s a little different, but don’t let that scare you off as it does sound very good. If you’re into alternative music and love the sounds that Kurt Cobain made, then you’re going to wane to pick this guitar up. In terms of signature guitars, this is one of the better ones on the market and all for under $1500.
2. Ibanez S Premium S1070PBZ
If you want to play hard rock, metal and other advance forms of music, you need to buy an Ibanez guitar. Many Ibanez guitars can be quite expensive, but you can get the amazing Ibanez S Premium S1070PB at under $1500.
This guitar features two humbucking pickups as well as a single coil so you get many different sounds out of this guitar. I love guitars that have three pickups because there’s just so much more you can do with them and this one includes quality Dimarzio, so they sound amazing. The body is made out of mahogany and it has a rosewood 24 fret fingerboard. It has an Edge-Zero II tremolo bridge which has more sustain when compared to other bridges and it’s a locking nut, so it stays in tune longer. The neck is a very fast wizard 7, so your fingers will fly up and down it. This neck is made from 11-pieces of panga, maple, walnut, and purpleheart wood. These are excellent quality tone woods for the very best in sound out of your guitar.
- Nice design
- Dot inlays are easy to see
- Locking nut not for beginners
I love the Dimarzio Tone Zone's patented dual-resonance coils. These pickups give you very nice sounds that are too good to be true. I loved playing this guitar as it can create just about any sound that you might ever want. You’re getting huge value for your money with this Ibanez. The deep cutaway makes this guitar very comfortable to play so you can hit those high notes without any struggle which you have with other guitars. This guitar is an exceptional instrument at under $1500.
3. Fender Kotzen Signature Telecaster Electric Guitar
You could only get the Fender Kotzen Signature Telecaster in Japan at one point, but not it’s available worldwide. This guitar has a lot going for it and it’s one of the better Fender Telecasters you can buy. The fretboard on this guitar is maple and you get 22 frets. There’s a Dimarzio DP384 Chopper T Bridge Pickup and a Dimarzio DP173 Twang King neck pickup so the pickups are a lot better than on standard Fender Telecasters. There’s a volume as well as a tone knob and a selector switch for your pickups.
- Jumbo frets for easy playing
- Nice gold hardware
- Not suitable for some playing styles
- No tremolo system
Final VerdictIf you’re in the market for a wonderful signature guitar like the one Ritchie Kotzen plays, you can’t go wrong with this stellar Telecaster. It has so many nice features and it sound just as good as any other Telecaster you’ll play and even more so thanks to the excellent pickups. I find standard Tele pickups to lack some tones, but these Dimarzio are very good for a Telecaster which is why this is one of the best guitars under $1500 that you’ll ever play.
4. ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Series Iron Cross Electric Guitar
Metallica are a very well-known band and there’s several signature guitars you can get such as the ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Series Iron Cross. If you have ever wanted to own a signature guitar from a famous payer without spending a fortune this is the guitar to buy. Here’s what this nice guitar kit offers you.
The first thing to love about this guitar is that it has a nice maple top, 3-piece mahogany neck and an ebony fingerboard with 22 frets. You get locking Tone Pros bridge, so the guitar stays in tune for longer as well as LTS locking tuners for even more tuning stability. The pickups are active EMG JH Set humbucker pickups which have a very nice sound. You get two volume knows, one tone control and a selector swatch to round out your electronics.
- Cool design on body and attractive fretboard marker inlays
- Easy to play and comfortable neck
- Not 24 frets
- No locking tremolo system
Final VerdictThis ESP guitar is a very attractive package for not a whole lot of money. You get plenty of accessories too like picks, guitar strap, cable and a gig back which just adds to the value of the entire guitar. I found the guitar very easy to play as it’s comfortable in your hands. If you want a total guitar package which is far exceed the cheaper ones on the market, this is the one to get as the added cost is well worth it as this ESP guitar sounds amazing and all for under $1500.
5. Schecter Hellraiser C-7 Floyd Rose-Sustainiac Black Cherry
Schecter has been making a name for itself by producing some quality guitars. They not only make excellent 6-string guitars but produce top quality 7-string instruments as well such as the Hellraiser C-7.
This guitar is designed for hard rock, metal and other advanced guitar styles where you need a quality 7-string guitar. The guitar has a solid mahogany and the top is quilted maple. The fingerboard is rosewood with full access to the 24 frets. The instrument has very nice pickups with an EMG Active 81-7 and a Sustainiac active humbucker. There’s switches to control the various pickups, two volume knows, tone control, and a selector switch. The bridge is a Floyd Rose with a locking nut, so it stays in tune for a long time. I love the Grover tuners as they help with tuning stability.
- Excellent price for a 7-string
- Nice finish
- 7-stirngs aren’t beginner friendly
- Tremolo system can be picky to tune
The Sustainiac pickup on this guitar is a highlight. You get solid humbucker tones when you have the Sustainiac off, but when it’s on, there’s feedback sustain so the notes ring for a longer duration as you play. This is a very nice feature and the best part about this 7-string. This guitar sounds amazing and the fretboard is easy to play. The neck is also very stable, and it will stay straight due to the 3-piece neck.
6. Gibson SG Faded 2016 T Electric Guitar
It’s very hard to find a quality Gibson guitar for a low price, but there are several of them under $1500, that you might want to consider such as the Gibson SG Faded 2016 T Electric Guitar. This instrument has several amazing features that you’ll love. The nut is Graph Tech, so it helps keep the guitar in tune for longer. You get two volume, two tone controls, and a pickup selector switch which are standard on most Gibson guitars. It has genuine Alnico humbucking pickups which sound great and give this guitar a full and rich tone. The neck is very easy to play and feels nice and smooth.
- Great for smaller players
- Nice lower cost Gibson
- Lightweight when compared to other Gibson guitars
- Might be too small for some players
Most Gibson guitars cost several thousand dollars, but you get amazing value with this Gibson SG as it’s under $1500. I found that this guitar plays well and gives you a great rock, metal, or blues sound that you’ll love. The rich finish on tis guitar is another highlight that I like. If you have always wanted to own a Gibson but can’t afford the most expensive ones, this SG is a solid buy at this price.
7. Fender American Special Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar
Fender makes great guitars, but you end up spending quite a lot for a good one. Thankfully, you can get an amazing guitar for under $1500 with the Fender American Special Stratocaster HSS, which has many features that make this guitar a solid standout.
Most Fender guitars have three single coils pickups and while this is fine, it makes the guitar less that ideal for some forms of music especially harder rock styles. This all changes with the HSS as it also includes a humbucker pickup as well as two single coils for even more rock, blues, and even hard rock tones. You get Texas single coil pickups and an Atomic humbucker. All the pickups sound great and give you plenty of nice tones from your instrument. The fretboard is rosewood with 22 frets. I like the jumbo frets it has as they are easy to play and allow your hand to slide up and down the neck without difficulty. The guitar has the standard two volume, one tone control, and a pickup selector switch. There’s also the famous Fender tremolo system for whammy bar tricks.
- Easy playing
- Well-built hardware
- Lacks some traditional Fender tones with a bridge humbucker
I own a guitar similar to this one and the HSS models are real standouts in my opinion. This guitar not only looks great, but it gives you so much versatility with the added Humbucker in the bridge position. You’re going to be able to play a lot more different styles than you would if you bought a traditional Stratocaster with three single coils. The HHS Strat is areal winner and you’ll have a guitar that you love for years to come.
8. Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine Angel of Deth Electric Guitar
The Gibson Flying V is a staple of metal guitar playing but they cost a lot of money and not many can afford one. Dean makes it affordable with their Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine Angel of Deth model. This is a full featured metal guitar that you’ll want to own for several reasons.
This guitar has a D shape mahogany neck and an ebony fingerboard. Dave Mustaine himself said that the neck on this guitar is very comfortable so you know you’re getting a guitar that will feel great when you play it. There’s two Dave Mustaine Live Wire USA active humbuckers so you have plenty of metal tone options with this guitar. There’s two volume knobs, a tone control, and a pickup selector switch to round out the hardware on the instrument. The bridge is a Tone Pros, so it helps the guitar stay in tune.
- Cool metal style image in guitar body
- Smooth fretboard
- No locking nut or tremolo
- Shape isn’t for everyone
If you want a Gibson style Flying V guitar, this Dean is a good choice. It has that metal look you crave and it’s the signature Dave Mustaine model so it’s a quality guitar. It has a very good sound and it’s easy to play. The V contour shape means its simple to hit all the high nots as the neck joint isn’t in the way. I found this to be one of the best lower picked V style guitars I have ever played, and you will too.
9. ESP LTD EC-1000FM Evertune Electric Guitar
ESP makes some very solid guitars at all price points and their ESP LTD EC-1000FM Evertune is a very good guitar at under $1500 that you’ll want to own.
This instrument has a mahogany body and neck. The fingerboard is ebony and there’s 24 frets, so the guitar is suitable for most playing styles and musical tastes. I like the jumbo frets on the guitar as they are easier to play than regular frets. You get an Evertune bridge which helps keep this guitar in tune for a longer duration. The body is a Gibson Les Paul style so it’s comfortable to play for almost anyone. The pickups in the guitar are a Seymour Duncan in the bridge and a Jazz in the neck so you get a whole lot of different sounds out of this instrument. The guitar has a two volume, one, tone, and a toggle switch to round out the electronics.
- Looks great
- Easy playing
- Needs another tone control
- Heavier than some guitars
I love this ESP LTD guitar as it’s a solid design and it has a lot of nice features. I was surprised at the amount of great tones I could get out of this instrument. The pickups included are far better than standard pickups which comes with many guitars at a similar price point. At under $1500, this guitar is a very solid buy in my opinion.
10. Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
Guild makes some excellent acoustic guitars, but they also make high quality electric guitars too such as the Guild Starfire V. This is a full feature guitar that you’ll wan tot own for several reasons.
This instrument has an arched laminated mahogany top as well as sides. The neck is made from both maple and mahogany and its three pieces which adds to the stability of the guitar. There’s a rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets. The guitar stays in tune for longer with the Tune-O Matic bridge and there’s also a Guild vibrato. The instrument has little bucker Guild humbucking pickups. The guitar is perfectly suited for old-school music, rock, blues, jazz and other styles. You get both an acoustic as well as electric sound with the F holes. There’s two tone, two volume, and a pickup selector switch for the electronics.
- Nice hardware
- Smooth finish
- A little big for some players
- Vibrato isn’t for everyone
I love the ivory binding on this guitar as it looks wonderful and makes the guitar standout more. The Guild tremolo system isn’t for everyone, but it hounds good for playing several different styles of music. This isn’t a shred style guitar, but its well suited for many other styles. I found that the guitar stays in tune very well and that you can get a wide range of top-quality tones out of the humbuckers. This guitar is a steal at under$1500.
Things to Consider Before You Buy Your New Guitar
When you spend around $1500 on a guitar, you’re getting a lot of value for your money, but you have several things that you still have to consider even at this price. Here’s what you need to remember when you buy a quality guitar.
Most guitars at $1500 don’t need much setup, but they do ship from the factory with a standard setup that you may not prefer. You may have to adjust the string action, bridge height, even the pickup height to something that you prefer. You can get a lot more put of your guitar if you set the instrument up in a way that you like, not what is recommended. String action can impact how well the guitar plays or how fast you can play. A higher string action is better for bending notes because you’ll be able to grip the strings more, but lower action gives you a faster neck for quicker lead playing. It’s all really a preference that you’ll have to experiment a bit with to determine what works the best for your needs. Another thing to check is the intonation of the guitar which you may have to modify so the guitar is in tune up and down the neck. It might not be quite right direct from the factory.
At $1500, you generally get high quality pickups in your guitar that will last you for years. These better pickups great and will be suitable for almost anything you want to play, but for some a change may be necessary. Some pickups even in high quality guitars may not be suitable for your individual tastes. For example, I took the standard pickups out of my Fender Stratocaster and put in Fender Lace Sensors which I felt sounded better. The original Fender pickups sounded fine, but for me I needed a little bit more. You don’t have to change your pickups, but you should know that the sound you get out of a high-quality guitar still may not be what you prefer so a pickup change may rectify that. The cost is more, but the change may be well worth it.
Guitar Should be Suited to You
If you play multiple guitar styles, you may find that one guitar isn’t suitable for all styles and you may have to buy more than a single guitar. Many players have more than one electric guitar because they play all types of music. You should also buy a guitar that’s suited to your own musical tastes and not what someone else likes. You will waste money of you just buy a guitar because it looks nice. You want a guitar that feels great in your hands not someone else. The feel of th neck is very important in terms of comfort and ease of playing in any guitar you buy so get one that works for what you want.
An example of this is Gibson guitars. Many players love them, but I can’t use one because I find the guitar too heavy. I would love to own a Gibson, but I wouldn’t use it as much as other guitars due to the weight. The Gibson looks amazing and plays great, but for me, it doesn’t work as well as other guitars such as my Stratocaster does. The point is to find a guitar that you love to play, not because it looks great or is considered the “standard” to own. This is critical when you’re spending a lot of money because you want to by happy with a high-priced investment in a quality guitar.
So, You Have an Electric Guitar Under $1500 Dollars Now What?
Creating Your Signature Sound
One you have a high-quality guitar, you need to begin to craft your own sound. This may include several factors such as amplifiers, effects, picks, stings, and so on. You have a lot of choice in terms of gear to begin to make your own music. Let’s have a look at a few things to keep in mind.
Your sound can be handicapped if you don’t have a good amplifier. It’s not a good idea to buy a poor-quality amplifier as it won’t bring out the full rich sound of a high-quality guitar. If you buy a high-quality amp along with a good guitar, you’re going to enjoy playing a lot more and you’ll sound better too. It’s not just the guitar as the amplifier is a big part of your overall sound. To get the most out of your guitar look at a good solid state or a tube amplifier. In general tubes amps will sound a bit better and give you more of a classic sound, but there’s also fine solid-state amplifiers out here that sound just as good. It’s a good idea to spend at least $500-$1000 or more on an amplifier and this is especially the case of you want to play live. A good choice for a practice amplifier would be a nice amp modeler as they can recreate all the sound you like without the high volume a stage amp gives you. The brand you buy is all up to you but spend some time to find one that has the sounds you like as you don’t want to be disappointed.
Guitar effects can also help to shape your sound. This is all based upon your own preferences. For example, I love the sound of the wah-wah pedal and a good chorus pedal, but you may have other needs. You’ll nee dot experiment a lot with effects pedals to find something that you love. Have a look at your amplifier and then determine what might work the best with what you have and pick up a few pedals to try out tones. This is one of the fun things about being a guitar player is that you can fiddle with pedals to create all sorts of sounds.
The choice in strings is all up to you, so try out several brands to find ones that work for what you need. There’s a lot of different types of strings you can use. In general, a set of 009s or 010s will work for most styles, but there’s other gauges too you might want to try out. Use a set of strings that you like and not ones that others may like. Make sure you change them often as this improves the tone of your guitar a great deal.
Take care of your new guitar by buying a good hardshell case. You want to clean your guitar periodically with a sift cloth and bit of guitar polish. You can remove debris from the fretboard with a soft toothbrush if the fretboard is ebony or rosewood. For maple fretboard just use a soft cloth to get the debris out as you don’t want to ruin the finish. Use a couple of drops of linseed oil to condition a rosewood fingerboard if it looks dry. You only need to do this once per year. If you play on stage, you can avoid your guitar strap accidentally falling off by using strap locks which keeping the strap in place.
There’s a lot of excellent guitars under $1500 and you’ll have an instrument you can play for many years. You can make a few modifications to it if you like such as new pickups or changing the string action, but they usually don’t need a whole lot of work as it’s usually just personal preferences of the player. You have a to to decide on a guitar under $1500, so I hope this list gives you a good starting point as all of these guitars are absolutely stellar in my opinion.