As guitar players we dream of that killer electric guitar that costs thousands, but it’s just something that we can’t afford normally. Thankfully, guitars have some a long way in recent years, and its easier than ever before to find a best electric guitar under $400 that sounds as well as plays better than you could imagine. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money to get a quality guitar which will do almost everything musically.
If you have struggled to find a quality guitar under $400, you’re not alone. I could never decide what guitars under $400 dollars I should buy. I have made this process easier for you in this buyer’s guide. I’ve been playing guitar for a long time and have a lot of experience with lower priced guitars. This guide will put your mind at ease, so you can find a high-quality guitar for under $400, that you’re going to love playing all the time. Let’s have a look at our list of top electric guitars under four hundred dollars.
List of 10 Electric Guitars under $400 with reviews
1. Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster Electric Guitar
If you’re looking for a great Fender electric guitar, you’ll want to play the Fender Squier classic vibe. I’m impressed with this model and everything that it offers the player looking for a step above the cheaper Squiers, but one that won’t break the bank. This was my first real guitar and it’s one I played for many years. The Classic Vibe is a big step above the lower cost Squier models.
This guitar has nice alder body, so it’s not made with cheap wood, like other guitars. The neck is a Modern C shape, so it fits your hand nicely and it’s easy to play. The frets are jumbo which sound amazing on an instrument in this price range. A Fender Squier in this range is almost like playing a real Fender Stratocaster. The three single-coil pickups give you that authentic Fender clean sound and the crunchy distorted tones you want. The tremolo system on this guitar will stay in tune and there’s also two tone and one volume control. The instrument comes in many colors.
- Vintage Fender looks with good hardware
- Very easy to pick up and play
- Needs a bit of setup
- Lacks the full authentic Fender tone
I’ve played many Fender guitars and while this one is Chinese made, it has all the sounds you could want at this price. You’ll get full blues tones, rock, country, and even metal out of this high-quality guitar. This is as close as you’ll get to an authentic fender tone without having to dip far into your pocketbook. A Strat style body is very versatile and the Squier models are built quite well for the price.
I’ve never had any real problems with the ones I’ve owned over the years besides a few easy setup adjustments. This is one of the best electric guitars under $400 dollars that you’ll ever own.
2. Yamaha Revstar RS320
Most people don’t think of electric guitars and Yamaha, but they have bene making musical instruments for a long time. They have several guitars under $400 which are exceptional such as the Yamaha Revstar.
The guitar has a nice Gibson Les Paul style shape, but not as heavy an it features two big humbucker pickups for rock, metal, shred, and similar guitar styles. The pickups are H3 Hot output humbuckers, so they have more sound when compared to basic humbucker pickups that you’ll find on similar guitars in this price range. The fretboard is 22 frets with a rosewood fingerboard. I like the fact that it has a Tune-O Matic bridge as this makes string changing easy on this instrument. There’s a volume, tone, and a selector switch to round out the hardware.
- Neck is easy to play
- Sounds great
- Needs another tone control
- No locking nut
Final VerdictYou really can’t go wrong with this Yamaha, and at under $400, it’s a solid deal. It has a nice double cutaway which makes it easy to hit all the higher frets for easy lead playing. I’ve played several Yamaha guitars before and this one is a real joy to play. I found the neck comfortable and the tones the guitar produces are very good. It could do with a few more features, but for the most part, you’ll get good value for your dollar if you purchase this instrument.
3. Dean Boca 12-String Arched Top Electric Guitar
Dean makes some great electric guitars and one of the most famous Dean payers was Dimebag Darrell of Pantera, but many other artists also use them. This guitar has a lot to offer you as a player.
This guitar has a nice flame maple top with a rosewood fingerboard and 24 frets, so you can play styles from rock to metal and everything in between. The neck is a C shape, so it’s more comfortable to play than other guitar necks. The pickups are Dean DMT design humbucker pickups, so you get excellent sound out of them. The tremolo is a nice Floyd Rose, so it stays in tune for a long time. There’s a tone, volume, and a selector switch for the pickups
- Looks great
- Nice chrome hardware
- Locking nut can be hard to tune for beginners
If you’re looking for a top-quality shred guitar that’s in a reasonable price range and under $400, you can’t go wrong with this Dean. It has everything you need to paly hard rock and other advanced guitar styles. I love the feel of the guitar neck on thus one as its very smooth and comfortable to play. I also like the Grover tuners as they help stabilize the tuning once you have the Floyd Rose set in tune. You get a lot of value for your dollar with this guitar.
4. Schecter OMEN-6 6-String Electric Guitar
For those that want a hard rock and metal style guitar for cheap, the Schecter OMEN-6 6-String has you covered.
It has two humbucking pickups, so you can get all the rock, metal, shred and other tones that you want out of the guitar. The pickups are made by Schecter, so they are of a higher quality than other pickups you’ll find in guitars at this price. There’s a tone, volume and a selector switch for the pickups. The fretboard is easy to play, and the double cutaway makes helps you hit all the high notes on the guitar.
- Great guitar for rock/metal beginners
- Amazing look and solid hardware
- Not as versatile as other metal style guitars
- Needs another tone control
Final VerdictWhen I was learning metal guitar, I had a cheap guitar with a poor tremolo system that never stayed in tune. I wished in those days I had a Schecter OMEN as this guitar will give you all the sounds you need and it’s under $400 dollars. I think this guitar has everything you need to start playing solid hard rock and metal guitar. You can’t beat this guitar for what it offers you in terms of value for your hard-earned dollars.
5. Ibanez RG Series RG450DX
For serious rock, metal, and advanced guitar playing, nothing beats an Ibanez. Top players from Steve Vai to Joe Satriani use them and it’s for good reason. The Ibanez is the cream of the crop in fast shred style playing and you need one for this type of music. Most metal players dream of owning an Ibanez, but they can be out of their price range. This changes in a big way with the RG series of Ibanez guitars and this one is loaded with features to boot.
This guitar features a blazing fast 24-fret rosewood fingerboard, so you’ll hit all the leads and rhythms with less effort. The high notes are easy to reach with the deep double cutaway so there’s no fighting the high ranges with your fingers. There’s two big humbuckers as well as a single coil in the middle position so you get a wide range of tones out of the guitar. I like the inclusion of the single coil as it gives more tones than just three straight humbuckers. The range of sounds you can get of this guitar is just awesome. There’s also a full locking nut tremolo system for all those strong bending tricks. The guitar is rounded out by a tone, volume, and pickup selector switch which are all solid.
- Full features for cheap price
- Easy playing
- Lightweight when compared to other guitars in this range
- Locking nut isn’t for beginners
- Single coil pickup could be better
I’m amazed that Ibanez can sell these RG guitars for such a low price as they should be more. These guitars are very easy to play for advanced guitar playing as well as so many other musical styles. I didn’t have much of a problem with mine and there’s not much setup to do as it play great out of the box for the most part. You may have to tweak the guitar a bit to your preferences or change the pickups, but it’s really not necessary. I find you get a whole lot of guitar with this Ibanez for under $400.
6. ESP LTD EC-256 Electric Guitar
Many players crave a Gibson style guitar, myself included, but we can’t afford the thousands of dollars these guitars cost. ESP has been making lower cost electric guitars for some time now and they are a favorite of many players like James Hetfield of Metallica, Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, and many others. The ESP EC-256 is a sleek Gibson Les Paul style guitar that has a whole lot to offer you.
This guitar has a Tune-O Matic bridge for easy string changes and two humbuckers for tons of rocks, blues, metal and other sounds. The neck is smooth and easy to play with a rosewood fingerboard. There’s two volume knobs and one tone control. The tone control features a coil-tap, so it gives you more sounds. I like this feature as one of my guitars has it. The coil tap opens up more tonal options and even gives you a Strat style sound as well as the humbucker sound. The coil tap is a feature that adds a lot of value to this instrument.
- Nice sound at this price
- Beautiful black guitar with gold hardware
- Comes with accessories like cords and a gig bag
- Pickups a bit weak
- Lack a bit of bit that higher priced guitars have
ESP has produced an amazing guitar at this price that almost compares to a real Gibson. This guitar has such a classic look to it and they sound fantastic at this price. There’s not a whole lot of negative points about this guitar as it’s definitely one of the better inexpensive guitars to own under $400. You get a total guitar kit with this guitar and when you need to save money, that’s a huge plus.
7. Ibanez RG7421PB 7-String Electric Guitar
Today we have more choice than ever in electric guitars and the 7-string guitar is very popular due to some advanced musical styles. If you want to play a seven string, you need to fork over a lot of cash. The Ibanez RG7421PB is easy on your pocketbook and has a ton of nice features for a seven-string guitar.
The most impressive part of this guitar is the nice double cutaway which Ibanez guitars all have. This makes it so easy to reach high motes that the guitar almost plays itself. The neck on this guitar is maple with a rosewood fingerboard and comes with a full 24 frets. I like the jumbo frets as they make the guitar even easier to play. The guitar has Quantum humbuckers with ceramic magnets. These humbuckers pickup the extra sounds made from the seven-strings. There’s a volume, tone and selector switch for the pickups on this model.
- Nice smooth finish
- Comfortable to play for anyone
- No whammy bar for dives
- Pickups could be a bit better
Final VerdictFor an inexpensive electric guitar under four hundred dollars that’s also a seven sting, this Ibanez is a solid deal. Its perfect for all the advance music you want to play, and it sounds great. You’re going to get a lot of nice sounds out of this guitar. I found it to be one of the better seven strings I have played at this price and it’s a solid deal you’ll want to pick up and own for yourself. You don’t need t feel intimidated by 7-string guitars as this one is a solid starting point if you’re into that type of music and want a good guitar that has value.
8. Epiphone G-310 Electric Guitar
For anyone that love good old rock music, you need a Gibson style guitar. The problem is that a regular Gibson, even an SG model is so expensive, so most can’t afford them. Epiphone which is the lower brand offer from the company, offers some exceptional guitars like the Epiphone G-310.
This Epiphone is an SG model. Famous players like Agnus Young of AC/DC have been playing for decades. This guitar has a small and easy to play neck with 22 frets. It has two humbucker pickups which give you all the rock, blues, metal, country and other sounds that you want. There’s two tone controls as well as two volume knobs and selector switch so you have a lot of sound options with this guitar. I like the Tune-O Matic bridge as it makes for easy string changing.
- Stable tuning with LocTone hardware
- Easy for beginners to play
- Doesn’t have a true SG sound
- Pickups could be better
Final VerdictIt’s hard to find a good Gibson style guitar under $400, but the Epiphone brand is just what you need without the major price tag. The Epiphone G-310 is a solid value with lots of features. I’m always impressed at how well the Epiphone line plays and you’ll enjoy plying them as much as I do. If you love SG guitars, but don’t have a big pocketbook for a real Gibson, this one by Epiphone is going to be the right one for you.
9. Yamaha Pacifica PAC311H YNS Solid-Body Electric Guitar
Yamaha makes some nice electric guitars and for those that want a Stratocaster style guitar with more punch than normal, look to the Yamaha Pacifica PAC311H. this instrument has plenty of features which makes it one of the best electric guitars under $400.
This guitar has a maple neck and a rosewood fretboard. It has a double cutaway, so you’ll reach the higher notes with ease. I love the fact that this instrument has humbuckers and not single coils as you’ll get more rock sounds out of it than the typical Strat style guitar. There’s a volume and a tone control and a through the body bridge system.
- More sound options in Strat style guitar than other models
- Looks beautiful
- No tremolo system
- No pickup selector switch
Final VerdictI’ve owned Yamaha products before and this Pacifica has everything you’ll want in a lower cost electric guitar under $400. I found this easier to play than other Yamaha guitars and you will, too. The sounds you’ll get out of this guitar will match guitars even at a higher price range and it has plenty of solid features. I wish there were a few more options with this guitar, but for the price it’s a great sounding instrument and worth a buy.
10. Ibanez AM73B Electric Guitar
For those that need a good rock, blues, or jazz style guitar, Ibanez has some excellent models that are under $400. It can be hard to find a good guitar for this sort of style, but the Ibanez AM73B is a solid choice for many reasons. The AM body shape is an original design from an Ibanez from the 1980s, so the body is a bit more comfortable than similar guitars in this shape.
The guitar has a maple top and the fretboard is made out of rosewood with 22 frets. The guitar has an ACH1-S neck pickup as well as a ACH2-S bridge pickup for full and rich sounds out of this instrument. The guitar is semi-hollow with F holes, so you get both acoustic as well as electric tones out of it which is perfect for many styles of music. There’s two volume, two tone controls, and a toggle switch for the pickups. The bridge is a Tune-O Matic, so it’s easy to change your guitar strings.
- Easy to play
- Great price for a jazz style guitar
- Not suitable for some styles of music
- Too large for some players
Final VerdictThe Ibanez AM73B is a nice jazz style guitar with a good price at under $400. It has plenty of features to get you started playing many styles of music. I lie the double cutaway on this guitar as it makes it much easier to hit the higher frets. I have a guitar by Ibanez which is similar tot his one and it produced a lovely sound. The semi acoustic nature of the guitar means that the notes are going to sustain for a longer duration.
Things to Consider Before You Buy Your New Guitar
Before you buy there’s a few things you must keep in mind. When you purchase an electric guitar for under $400, you’re making a big step up from the cheaper guitars which don’t have a whole lot to offer you. These higher priced guitars start to offer you a lot more value for our money, but there’ still a few things you much consider before you buy.
Pickups Can be a Weak Link
Most electric guitars under $400 sound pretty good, but as your ear develops from playing guitar, you’ll start to hear differences in sounds. The pickups on most of these guitars are fine for average players, but you may want to upgrade your guitar as the included pickups do lack some of the tones you may desire. You don’t have to do this, it’s only an option. Single coil pickups are goo for jazz, rock, blues, and similar styles. Most single coils on inexpensive guitars are fin, but an upgrade can help the sound. For harder rock and metal styles, humbuckers give you more tone options, but aren’t as bright sounding as the single coils are. Most hard rock players will want humbuckers on their guitars. Most humbuckers on inexpensive guitars sound fine, but you still may want to upgrade.
Just remember that the pickups are just an option you’ll want to consider. Good pickups can cost a lot of money and they may even cost more than your guitar under $400 did, so you need to think about it before you decide to upgrade.
Guitar Setup and Cleaning Matters
One thing that can be frustrating when getting a new guitar is tuning problems. This can often have solved by a proper setup. Lower priced guitars can have intonation problems which mean the guitar won’t sound in tune higher up the neck. A good guitar tech can intonate the guitar for you as well as set the right string action for your playing needs. Most small guitar problems like action and intonation can be solved by a good guitar tech. These guitars may play fine out of the box or they may need a few tweaks and changes to play great so its well worth it to get them inspected by a good guitar tech. A tech can also look at the tremolo system and make adjustments to it. If you have a locking nut, this can save you problems down the road.
It's important that you clean your guitar at least once per year. Use a cloth and wipe the strings down after each use as a preventative measure and to keep debris off the fretboard. Don’t be afraid to change strings often as dirty strings can damage the fretboard over time. If the fingerboard is dirty, use a soft tooth brush to remove the debris. You should only use linseed oil on a rosewood fingerboard to clean it up and just use a few drops. Don’t use it a maple one as it will stain. If you have doubts about your ability to clean your guitar, take it to a guitar tech.
So, You Have an Electric Guitar Under $400 Dollars Now What?
You should change strings at least every month or so. If you play a lot, this may need to be more frequently. You can save money by using coated strong as these will last for months, but some people don’t like the sound of them. The string gauge is all a matter of preference. If you detune a lot, get heavier strings or the instrument will sound too muddy or won’t stay in tune. You’ll need to try several strings brands to find ones that work for your needs.
As you get better on guitar, you may want to upgrade that cheap practice amplifier. There’s a lot of great amplifier which will cost you around $300-$750 which will make a world of difference in your sound. Solid state amplifiers have a wide rage of sound options but won’t sound as authentic as tube amps do. The good thing is that solid state amplifiers have come a long way in recent years and are sounding better than ever before. Marshall. Fender, Blackstar, Boss, and Yamaha make some great sounding solid state amplifiers in an affordable price range. Tube amps still sound the best, but you’ll have to replace the tunes as they will wear out at some point so there’s added expense. There’s also am modelers which recreate sounds from classic amplifiers. These give you many sound options but aren’t as nice sounding as regular tube or solid-state amplifiers are for the most part.
Accessories and Lessons
As you get better on guitar, you’ll want to look at more accessories. You should begin to experiment with pedals like distortion, chorus, delay, reverb and so on. When you do this, you’ll begin to craft your own guitar sound. For example, many players will want to get a good distortion pedal. This is a wise option if you have a poor amplifier that doesn’t come with distortion already or to supplement the gain already built into your amp. Other things you need to look at are picks as you may want to try different thickness and sizes to determine the best ones for your needs. If you’re not taking lessons, it’s an option you should consider. Lessons will help you learn all the basics and even if you’ve been playing for some time, you’ll still pickup new things use sites like YouTube to learn all you can about playing guitar.
There’s many great electric guitars under $400 dollars. Guitars in this price range sound much better than the cheaper models and you also get more options available. These instruments still may require some setup, but for the most part, there’s not a whole lot to do. You’ll get a quality instrument that can last you for several years. To get the most out of your new guitar, have a guitar tech take a look at it to make adjustments. In some cases, a few small adjustments to your guitar can make a big difference in how it plays and how happy you are with it. Guitars under $400 aren’t perfect, but they come close and they are much easier to play than dirt cheap guitars. By purchasing a best guitar under $400, you’re taking a big step in your journey as a guitar player.