Best Electric Guitar Under $300

Best Electric Guitar Under $300

It can be difficult to find a quality electric guitar at a lower price and you might struggle like I did as a new player to find a good one. I’ve been playing guitar for many years but remember the difficulty I had finding a good instrument at a lower price. If you have difficulty like I did, you don’t have to worry because I’ve reviewed ten of the best electric guitars under $300.

If you don’t know how to choose a quality electric guitar at a lower price range, I’ll help you out. It’s easier than it sounds as there’s a wide range of nice electric guitars under three hundred dollars that are easy to play, look great, and will leave you grinning ear to ear as you learn all those new songs. If you’re on a budget, these guitars will be just the ticket.

You’re going to have all the information that you need to pick up an amazing electric guitar that will sound superb but won’t break your pocket book. Let’s get started and look at affordable electric guitars under $300.

Top 10 best electric guitars under $300

Squier by Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Squier by Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar

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One of my first real guitars was a Fender Squire Stratocaster and I loved that guitar. The Fender Squier is great value price and you can use it in many different musical genres like rock, blues, jazz, country and so on. It has all the hardware that the more expensive regular Fender American Standard has, but at a lower entry-level price. They come in quite a few different colors with black, red, sunburst, and white being the most popular.

These guitars come with three single coil pickups like regular Fender guitars and they sound quite good. You can always put in the better pickups, but the ones that ship with the Squire aren’t that bad.  The guitar also has two-tone controls, volume, and a pickup toggle switch. You can get a maple or rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. The rosewood fretboard looks a bit better, but maple is a bit smoother. The Squier even comes with a whammy bar so you can begin to rock out and make insane sounds.

In fact, musician Jack White has been known to play them from time to time. I enjoyed my Fender Squier for many years before I upgraded to a Standard Fender Stratocaster. I put better pickups in my Squier, so you might want to do that for a killer sound. The Squier doesn’t quite match the sound range of a regular Fender, but they still play well and price that can’t be beat. They have a smooth neck and are a joy to play for beginners to advanced players.

Pros

  • Big sound without the big Gibson price tag
  • Easy to play for beginners through advanced pickers
  • Good hardware

Cons

  • Heavier than some guitars
  • A little smaller than a regular Gibson
  • Tuning pegs should be changed to better ones

You really can’t go wrong with a Fender Squier electric guitar. If you love Fender guitars, the Squier is the right option for you.

Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II Electric Guitar

Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II Electric Guitar

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Gibson guitars make some of the best musical instruments on the planet, but they are so expensive and often cost several thousand dollars. Thankfully, they have a lower cost brand called Epiphone. Don’t be fooled as Epiphone are some of the best electric guitars under three hundred dollars that you can buy. You get that classic Gibson sound with the Epiphone and the Epiphone Led Paul Special is almost like playing a real Les Paul, but without the major price tag.

The two double humbuckers allow you to play rock, blues, metal, hard rock, and other musical styles. The neck on this guitar is made from rosewood, it has 22 frets, and easy to play. The classic Gibson cutaway design means you can hit all the higher notes without cramping up your hand trying to reach them.

If you have wanted to play a Gibson, but your pocketbook is empty, go with the Epiphone. When I worked in a music store, we had many of these guitars come through and they really do sound great for the price you pay. The Epiphone has everything you need to begin to rock out and have fun on an electric guitar. They are so good that players like Noel Gallagher, The Edge, and others great guitar players use them.

Pros

  • Big sound without the big Gibson price tag
  • Easy to play for beginners through advanced pickers
  • Good hardware

Cons

  • Heavier than some guitars
  • A little smaller than a regular Gibson
  • Tuning pegs should be changed to better ones

This guitar will become like an old friend the more you play it as the Epiphone is just good overall value for the dollar.

Jackson JS32 Rhoads Electric Guitar

Jackson JS32 Rhoads Electric Guitar

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If you’re looking for an inexpensive shred guitar under $300, look no further than the Jackson Randy Rhoads model. It’s hard to believe, but this guitar does sell under 300 bucks. It features the heavy metal and hard rock V-shape style that many players have come to love over the years. If you want to play metal, hard rock, and other advanced styles, this one is going to serve you well without that major price tag.

This guitar has 24 frets which are easy to access due to the V-shape of the guitar. The neck is smooth for fast-finger lead and rhythm playing styles. The guitar has a Jackson locking-nut bridge, so the instrument will stay in tune longer than other guitars will. It has a full, solid whammy bar for all those metal dive bomb tricks. The pickups are Jackson humbuckers and give you excellent sound.

The Jackson JS32 Rhoads Electric Guitar is one of the most inexpensive guitars for hard rock and metal guitars styles. This guitar looks amazing and for the price, you just won’t find better on the market. If you want to sound like Randy Rhoads and all the great metal players, pick this one up as it’s well worth it at this amazing price. It’s not quite as good as full-price flying V Gibson, but it comes pretty close.

Pros

  • Excellent value at this price
  • Big rock-metal style tone
  • Great for new players

Cons

  • V-shape not ideal for some musical styles
  • Harder to play sitting down
  • Locking nut can be a problem for beginners

I found this guitar to be a very good value and it will do almost everything you want to do in terms of metal and rock. Anyone that loves metal will want to play this Jackson.

Schecter Guitar Research 437 C-7 Deluxe Seven-String Electric Guitar

Schecter Guitar Research 437 C-7 Deluxe Seven-String Electric Guitar

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Guitar music is advancing to new levels like never before and on top of this new wave of music is the seven-string guitar which is growing in popularity. One of the problems with the seven-string is the major price tag that comes with it.  Schecter features their 437 C-7, seven-string which gives you amazing value for your money and one of the best electric guitars under three hundred dollars.

This guitar is a double-cutaway with 24 frets so it’s easy to hit all the high notes up the guitar neck. It’s a sleek design with a rosewood fretboard which is smooth under your fingers. The bridge is a hardtail through the body design, so string changing is easy. The double humbucking Schecter pickups sound great and allow you to pay all the advanced seven string guitar styles you love.

It’s hard to a find a quality seven-string guitar without spending a fortune, but Schecter has done it with their 437 C-7 Deluxe Seven-String. The guitar sounds amazing at this price and you’re not going to find a better seven-string on the market for under three hundred dollars. The best feature is the great neck which allowed my fingers to fly up and down the fretboard with ease. You’ll feel like all your favorite seven-string players with this guitar.

Pros

  • Best value for a seven-string guitar
  • Simple design lets you begin playing right away
  • Nice chrome hardware

Cons

  • No whammy bar for advanced guitar tricks
  • Not a beginner guitar

If you’re just getting into seven-string music and need a good guitar to play this advanced style, this is the one to buy.

Oscar Schmidt OE20FTPB 6-String Solid-Body Electric Guitar

Oscar Schmidt OE20FTPB-A-U 6-String Solid-Body Electric Guitar

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It’s vary rare you can get a full guitar kit for under $300, but you can with the Oscar Schmidt OE20FTPB 6-String, kit. This kit features an electric guitar, hard shell case, strap, tuner, and extra strings all for a great price. This is the perfect kit for a beginner that wants a quality guitar and most of the accessories you need to play guitar right away.

This guitar features a Tone-O-Matic bridge and stop tail, so the strings are easy to put on and take off without hassling with extra parts. There’s two volume and two-tone controls for great sound selection. The pickups are standard humbucking pickups, so you can play most modern guitar styles like rock, blues, jazz, and similar styles. It’s easy to access the frets with the cutaway design and it has a smooth rosewood fretboard.

I really like this Oscar Schmidt OE20FTPB 6-String. It’s very comfortable to play and it sounds great for this price. It has a classic Gibson guitar style to it and the maple neck feels good in your hands, so string bends will be a breeze. You’re not going to find much better in a guitar kit at this price. It’s not for more advanced metal players, but it will cover just about everything else.

Pros

  • Best guitar kit at this price
  • Great finish and solid hardware

Cons

  • Good use better pickups
  • A bit heavy for smaller players

I got some nice rock and blues tones out of this which sounded almost as good as my other more expensive guitars I own, so it’s a fantastic deal you’ll want to pick up.

Ibanez RG421PFM RG Standard Electric Guitar Pearl Black Fade Metallic w/Gig Bag

Ibanez RG421PFM RG Standard Electric Guitar Pearl Black Fade Metallic wGig Bag

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Many rock players dream of playing an Ibanez as this is considered one of the top rock and metal guitars to own. The main drawback is to usually costs you a thousand dollars or over to own an Ibanez. This Ibanez kit is one of the best inexpensive guitars under $300 dollars that you’ll ever own, and it comes with some accessories like a gig bag, music stand, tuner, and a killer Ibanez electric guitar.

This guitar has a deep double-cutaway which makes it very easy to fit all of the 24 frets on the rosewood fingerboard. The two humbucking pickups allow you to get al the rock, metal, and other sounds you want out of this guitar. The neck is smooth for fast lead playing and the bridge makes string changing easy as it’s through the body. The volume, tone, and pickup selector switch are solid on this guitar, so you’ll get lot of sounds out of it.

For guitar players that love rock, metal, and other fast music, you need an Ibanez. The Ibanez RG421PFM RG Standard provides that for you and then some. I like the fact it has jumbo frets as these are easier to play than normal frets. If you’ve ever wanted to own Ibanez, but couldn’t afford one, this guitar has everything you need to get started with the brand. Ibanez has a great deal here with this guitar so pick one up today as it’s one of the best electric guitars under $300 dollars.

Pros

  • Excellent value for an Ibanez rock guitar
  • Amazing guitar for beginners to play
  • Great sounds out of the instrument

Cons

  • No whammy bar, like normal Ibanez guitars
  • Lacks some of the punch of a high-priced Ibanez

I had a lot of fun playing this guitar and it gives you just about everything you need in this price range.

ESP F JB-F10KIT-BLK-KIT-5 Electric Guitar with Tuner, Picks, ESP Gig Bag, Cable and Guitar Amp

ESP F JB-F10KIT-BLK-KIT-5 Electric Guitar

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Not many people think you can get a good electric guitar and amplifier under three hundred dollars, but you actually can if you buy from ESP. This kit is incredible as you get a rock guitar, amplifier, tuner, picks, gig bag, and cable for under three hundred dollars.

This ESP guitar features ESP pickups with both a humbucker and a single coil pickup so it covers most styles of music like rock, blues, metal, similar styles very well. The strings go through the body, so they are easy to change, and you get good stability and tuning with the bridge in this guitar. The 24- frets are easy to get to with the double cutaway design. This guitar has a smooth rosewood neck for easy fingering of guitar chords and scales.

There’s not much to complain about the ESP F JB-F10KIT-BLK-KIT-5 Electric Guitar Kit. This set will get anyone up and running quickly and learning guitar. The guitar you get plays well and its one of the best guitar kit values in this price range. The guitar lacks some of the tonal characteristics of higher priced ESP guitars but has everything a beginner or intermediate player is going to love.

Pros

  • Massive value at this price
  • Cool looking guitar with unique shape
  • Beginner friendly kit

Cons

  • No whammy bar for dive bomb tricks
  • Included amp isn’t the best

I was quite pleased with this package as it has a lot going for it which you don’t find in similar kits.

Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series, Single Cutaway Electric Guitar Black

Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series Electric Guitar

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Hardware

Sound

Price

Most people don’t really know the Cort brand, but I do as I own one. Cort makes some excellent inexpensive electric guitars under $300 dollars that have good value.  If you’ve ever wanted a solid electric guitar that will play all styles from blues to metal, you want to buy a Cort.

The Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series is a fantastic guitar at this price. It has two volume and two-tone controls, so you have tons of tonal variations with the guitar. The Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tail piece make changing strings easy. The humbucking pickups sound great and are a cut above the basic humbuckers you get on other models in this price price range as they are Powersound pickups. The rosewood fingerboard and single cutaway make reaching the high notes easy.

I’ve played many Cort guitars and they do make some nice sounding instruments at a low price. I still own my Cort and I have no plans to sell its as I love the pickups. There’s a lot to like with this guitar and at this price, there’s no need to spend thousands on a guitar when you can own a Cort like this one. Then necks are great, and you’ll get good tones out of it.

Pros

  • Sleek black design that looks amazing
  • Great rock sound

Cons

  • Heavy guitar
  • Lacks bite of real Les Paul

Cort makes great guitars and if you crave the Les Paul sound without spending thousands, get this Classic Rock Series guitar from Cort.


Jackson JS32 Dinky

Jackson JS32 Dinky

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Hardware

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Price

The Jackson Dinky is sought by many players that want to play rock, metal, and heavy guitar music. There’s a reason why the Dinky is a popular guitar and its because you get exceptional value at just under $300 dollars when you buy this instrument. If you love to play rock and need a good guitar, but don’t want to spend thousands, the Dinky is it.

This guitar feature s a locking nut system so it stays in tune with ease. This is important for playing advanced rock and metal and you just don’t find a lot of locking nuts on inexpensive guitars under $300 dollars, but the Dinky has one, so you’re all set. There’s a good double-cutaway so hitting all the 24 frets on the rosewood fingerboard is simple. You get high-output ceramic-magnet pickups, so all those rock leads and crunchy rhythms sound good though your amplifier. The whammy bar is solid, so you’ll be able to make all these dive bombs and squeals.

The Dinky is a very popular and I’ve played a few of them. I’m still amazed they sell for so little as they do give you all the sounds you could ever want in harder styles of music. The Dinky is literally the guitar that many rock players learn on because it’s so solid and dependable. My friend has one, and it sounds as good as it looks. You might want to change the tuning pegs, but other than that, you’re good to rock with this guitar.

Pros

  • Best value metal guitar
  • Very easy to pick up and play

Cons

  • Need to fiddle to tune with locking nuts
  • Not suitable for some guitar styles like jazz or country
  • A bit smaller than a regular Jackson

If you love metal, you’ll love the Jackson Dinky. There’s no other real option for this style at this price range.


Squier by Fender Standard Telecaster Electric Guitar

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar

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Hardware

Sound

Price

For those looking to play basic old-style rock, country, blues, and similar styles, there’s not much choice in inexpensive guitars under three hundred dollars, but that changes with the Fender Squier Standard Telecaster. This guitar has a lot of features that players of all ages are going to love.

The first thing about this guitar is that its all Telecaster without the high price of a full Fender American Standard Telecaster. The guitar has two single coil pickups which are Alnico Magnet style, so you get all the “twangy” style music you want out of your instrument. The cutaway makes it easy to reach the 22 frets on the rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is through the body style, so string changing is easy to do. The volume, tone, and selector switch are all solid on this instrument.

I’ve owned a Squier before and they are excellent instrument for those that don’t want to pay the full Fender price tag for their electric guitar. It’s not quite as bright and full sounding as a real Telecaster, but the sound you want is there and it’s quite good for what you end up paying. The neck is highlight on this model as its comfortable for rock and blues type bending.

Pros

  • Bright sound
  • Easy to play for beginners

Cons

  • Single coil hum with heavy distortion
  • Not suitable for some musical styles
  • A little heavy

The Squier Telecaster is an exceptional value at this price. You get a full sound out of this instrument.


Things to Consider Before You Buy Your New Guitar under $300

  • Pickups

The pickups that come with budget guitars under three hundred dollars will do the job, but they lack the punch, brightness and overall fuller sound you’ll get with a higher priced instrument. This isn’t to say they aren’t good, they just don’t sound quite as “good” as guitars in the higher range. For example, I owned a Fender Squier and I changed the pickups which made the guitar sound fuller and that made a big difference in the tonal characteristics of my Squier, you might want to change pickups, but it’s not a necessity. For metal rock and similar styles, humbuckers are a must as the single coils are best for blues, basic rock, country and other less extreme  styles.

  • Necks and Fretboard

Lower price guitars tend to have decent necks, but some adjustment may be necessary. For example, the intonation may be off which needs to be set by a professional at a shop or you can do this yourself. You will also want to lower the action or raise it to meet your requirements. The frets may be a bit rough on some models, but this can be addressed by a guitar tech. The thing to remember is not to expect perfection in a guitar under $300 dollars, they tend to need a bit of setup first before they sound great. For beginners you might not even be able to tell the difference, but more advanced players will want to adjust the guitar.

  • Do I Need a Whammy Bar or Tremolo?

The whammy bar or tremolo system is great to have on a lower priced guitar, many of them ship with them, but there’s a few things to know. On lower priced guitars the tremolo can have tuning issues. For example, the locking nut style allows you to stay in tune longer, but they can be hard to get into tune for beginners which may lead to a bit of frustration. The locking systems they ship with aren’t as good as the high prices guitars, so you may want to change this if you plan to use the tremolo a lot. Just be prepared tot tune a guitar with a tremolo a lot more than one that doesn’t have one on a lower cost instrument. They are fun, but just require a bit of fiddling till you’re in tune.

So, You Have an Electric Guitar Under $300 Dollars Now What?

Once you buy your guitar there’s several things to address which I outline for you below.

  • Strings

The type of strings you buy is up to you. I would go with nickel strings as they are the best or ones with coating as you don’t have to change them as often. In terms of gauge, 009s are easier to bend, but don’t sound as full as the 010s gauge will. If you tune low for songs often, heavier 011s are ideal on your guitar. Make sure you wash your hands before you play and wipe down the strings after each use to preserve their life. You may need to experiment a bit with strings until you find ones you like as there’s many brands out there to choose from.

  • Amplifier

You have a lot of choice in amplifiers to buy. There’s great lower priced ones out there but expect to spend at least $300-500 for a decent one. It’s not a good idea to spend less as the cheaper amplifiers just don’t sound very good even with pedals. You’ll need to play a few of them to see what you like the best. Solid state amplifiers sound pretty good, but the lack the more authentic sounds of the classic tube amplifiers. You can also buy decent amp modeling amplifiers which recreate classic amplifier sounds which have come a long way in recent years. The amp is just as important as the guitar, so you’ll need a decent one to enjoy your new guitar.

  • Accessories 

At the minimum you need picks, a guitar strap, a good tuner, guitar stand, and music stand. You should buy a good guitar tuner because you’ll be tuning all the time. The ones that clip on the headstock are ideal because you can tune on the fly with ease. You should also buy a metronome as this helps you keep the beat as you learn.

  • Lessons

Many new players skip lessons, but this isn’t a good idea. I would take some lessons to learn the basics if you’re new. You can always take advantage of many of the free lessons on YouTube and similar sites if you don’t want to pay a teacher, but you need that hands-on approach that a teacher can give you as a beginner.

Conclusion

You have a lot of choice in the best electric guitar under $300. There’s many different guitars for all musical styles and tastes. These guitars don’t sound quite as good as the more expensive brands, but they are a big step above the extremely cheap guitars and they don’t require as much setup. The best thing about them as they are made well for the price and offer few headaches for beginners. The downsides are quite small as most of them only suffer from a small drop off in sound that the higher priced models bring to the table. They all offer you good value for your money and you’re sure to have plenty of fun with them without the added expense other guitars bring.

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