When investing in a guitar, there are certain qualities that are priceless and leave no room for compromise. These include a great tone and easy playability. It’s only too bad that these priceless attributes come at a cost.

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Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO
  • With a set neck, rosewood fingerboard and Trapezoid inlays
  • Standard guitar with lots to offer
  • Cream binding on the body and neck and a locking tune-o-matic bridge
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Fender Player Stratocaster Fender Player Stratocaster
  • Alder body with gloss finish
  • Three Player Series single-coil Stratocaster pickups
  • "Modern C"-shaped neck profile
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Sterling By Music Man JP160 Sterling By Music Man JP160
  • Has an inherent stability and functional beauty
  • Excellent tuning stability 
  • Accurate intonation and smooth operation
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Ibanez RG Series RG7421PB 7 String Electric Guitar Ibanez RG Series RG7421PB 7 String Electric Guitar
  • 7-string solidbody electric guitar with mahogany body
  • 2 humbucking pickups - sapphire blue flat
  • Jatoba fingerboard
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Sterling By Music Man St Vincent HH Sterling By Music Man St Vincent HH
  • Music Man's St. Vincent signature series design 
  • Precision built with African mahogany body
  • Designed mini humbuckers coupled with a 12dB 'push push' active boost
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Lucky for you, investing in a six- or seven-string gem with top-spec features doesn’t have to break your bank or burn a hole through your wallet. There are many affordable best electric guitars under $1000, regardless of the style you prefer.

If you want a single- or double-cut guitar, you’ll be able to get one. If you prefer mahogany over maple and vice versa, there’s a guitar for you. Heck, it doesn’t even matter whether single-coils or humbuckers, or fixed bridge or Floyd Rose pique your fancy, we can guarantee that the best electric guitar under $1000 exists out there—one that will be a perfect fit just for you.

Guitars are one of the coolest and most versatile musical instruments, but that doesn’t warrant spending an astronomical amount on them. Of course, if you are looking at prices around $1000, you are past entry-level and slowly crawling into pro territory, which should ideally be the same for your skills as it beats logic to invest so much in a guitar you are not sure is the “right one.”

Of course, there are also acoustic-electric guitars available if you are looking for the best of both worlds. The guitars on this list have a huge sound difference from what you will get at lower prices. Essentially, we’ve chosen units that sound so good that they’d be hard to tell from their premium stablemates.

So, to all studio rats and road dogs, sit back, relax, and let us guide you as you shop away for the best electric guitar under $1000.

Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO

Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO

Like the classic Les Paul Standard, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus-Top Pro boasts features, including a mahogany body topped with maple and dual humbuckers. However, that’s not all you get. For guitarists who prefer smaller sized guitars over full-size units, the Plus Top-Pro has a ¾ inch scale set neck coming in at just shy of 25”.

For tonal versatility, it features coil-tapping, making it undoubtedly one of the candidates for best electric guitar under 1000 dollars. When it comes to performance, the Plus-Top Pro is like that childhood friend who finishes your sentences, and you, his. It gives you that feeling friends get when they see something, look at each other, and they instantly burst out in laughter over something anyone else would hardly notice.

The slim profile of its neck makes it comfortable to hold and play, while the detailed fretwork and sixties style look makes it eye candy. Remember how sound is a critical attribute of the best guitar? The Plus-Top Pro offers a bold and assertive voice from its smooth sustain, responsive attack, fat midrange, and clarity and warmth, courtesy of its ProBucker pickups.

Coil splitting enables you to enhance the guitar’s treble, although the resultant tone is flat overall. Still, this allows you to get Burst and Goldtop tones from the Plus-Top Pro. Overall, this guitar boasts a classic appeal and versatile features, allowing you to do more at a bargain.

What we like:

The ProBucker pickups lend this guitar a tonal range that makes it a steal, while coil-splitting enhances its sound production. It is feature-packed and is available in colors that include Blood Orange, Mojave Fade, Wine Red, and Vintage Sunburst, among others, making it one option for the best electric guitar under $1000.

Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO

With a set neck, rosewood fingerboard and Trapezoid inlays , this standard is that and much more. This guitar is a gift that keeps giving.

 

Fender Player Stratocaster

Fender Player Stratocaster

Another guitar that fits the bill of best electric guitar under $1000 is this Fender Player Stratocaster. The Fender Player features an alder body, full gloss finish, and like many other Fender Stratocaster guitars, boasts an inspiring sound profile. Its highs are bell-like while the mids are bunchy. The low end is robust, and with this combination, the Fender Player Stratocaster’s articulation is crystal clear.

Another attribute that propels it to our list of best guitar under $1000 is its versatility, along with its ability to be adapted to a number of playing styles. It features a C-shaped neck made from maple and contoured for comfort with a smooth finish. With a dual-point tremolo bridge, the Stratocaster boasts smooth and superior tremolo action.

As if that’s not enough, the Fender Player Stratocaster has 22 medium jumbo frets enhancing your ability to create music. These features also make it highly tunable and stable. Still, Fender manages to pack even more features in this guitar, making it a worthy buy for any guitarist.

These features include a 3-ply pickguard, master controls for the volume and tone, and a 5-way pickup switch. On top of all that, you also get a quad-bolt “F” stamped neck, mock bone nut, and a multi-wing string tree. The final product is an excellent guitar.

What we like:

This particular Fender Player Stratocaster is even better value for money, seeing that it comes as a bundle. In the bundle, you get a hard case, digital tune, cable, a pack of 24 Fender picks, an extra set of guitar strings, a strap, stand, and a startup DVD if you are new to the craft.

Fender Player Stratocaster

Alder body with gloss finish, three player series single-coil stratocaster pickups, "Modern C"-shaped neck profile.

 

Sterling By Music Man JP160

Sterling By Music Man JP160

Remember our promise to list the best electric guitar under $1000 and make it worth your while? That’s exactly what a list with guitars such as the JP160 does. For beginners who have already gone through their paces and are confident enough to upgrade, the JP160 is a winner. When an axe has the name of a guitar legend such as John Petrucci as a collaborating designer, you know it has to be good.

Now, a fair warning: The JP160 is a shredding guitar built for heavy styles and high-octane tunes. So if you are looking to play your smooth tunes on an axe with premium features at a bargain, you are better off looking at something like the Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR.

However, if you are a super shredder, the JP160 has all the bells and whistles you need. Its mahogany body features a unique forearm scoop—an ergonomic design that makes this one of the most comfortable electric guitars for high-octane shredding. Besides, to get anywhere near John Petrucci’s shredding skills, you’ll need to put in long hours of practice.

Other outstanding features include the guitar’s neck, which is made from fast roasted hard maple and a rosewood fingerboard that’s 16” in radius. If you thought that’s all the JP160 has in store, think again. It sports two humbuckers that do a great job enhancing the tune of the guitar. You also get volume and tone knobs, and to control the guitar’s sound, you have a 3-way pickup controller.

For additional gain, the volume control is married to an active boost that offers a bonus 12dB of gain.

What we like:

Even with all the above features, the JP160 still manages to pack a Lo Pro Double Locking Tremolo. This allows you to add vibrato by manipulating the tension of the guitar strings. For a ready to rock look, the JP160 is available in single colors, including Trans Green, Purple Burst, Pearl White, or Black Metallic.

Sterling By Music Man JP160

The gorgeous hallmark of the JP160 is it's roasted maple neck, has an inherent stability and functional beauty that is unheard of at our price point.

 

Ibanez RG Series RG7421PB 7 String Electric Guitar

Ibanez RG Series RG7421PB 7 String Electric Guitar

If there ever was a guitar with a long solid history under its belt, it would be Ibanez. For this reason, it deserves a hats off, possibly even a standing ovation, which is why it also features on our list as the best electric guitar under $1000. The Ibanez brand has a long history of producing daring solid-body 7-string guitars.

As other guitar manufacturers were experimenting reluctantly, Ibanez forged on, and its commitment to the development and the perfection of its line of guitars comes full circle in the RG series. If you are a heavy metal hound, then look no further than Ibanez—the widely used brand by the who’s-who of heavy metal.

The RG7421PB is an exemplary model whose development process is focused on providing the most practical guitar for an artist. It wears a poplar burl top proudly and stands out in beautiful splendor. It has a mahogany body, while the fretboard is made from jatoba, enabling it to produce warm and clear tones.

As the pioneers of the thin Wizard neck, Ibanez has gone over and beyond and retained its acclaimed touch of comfort. The guitar is easy to play with minimal effort, enabling you to optimize your performance. It produces thick, distorted tones, thanks to the quantum 7 pickups, a proprietary set up from Ibanez.

What we like:

The guitar comes in a fiery sapphire blue flat finish and is ready to rock—hard. It features a pearl dot inlay and jumbo frets on top of the quantum 7-neck pickup and quantum 7-bridge pickup. The overall quality and price make this a great buy on any day.

Ibanez RG Series RG7421PB 7 String Electric Guitar

7-string solidbody electric guitar with mahogany body, 2 humbucking pickups - sapphire blue flat jatoba fingerboard.

 

Sterling By Music Man St Vincent HH

Sterling By Music Man St Vincent HH

If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind guitar that stands out from the get-go, the Sterling music man St Vincent HH is one to consider. With a choice of candy shop colors and a body built with more angles than arguably any other guitar the Sterling by Music Man St Vincent HH will no doubt turn heads wherever you play it.

Its design borrows from a mix of influences spanning Russia, Japan, and mid-century modernism. It features custom fret inlays, a maple neck, and a rosewood fretboard that comes in at 9.5” radius. It also has 22 medium-jumbo frets.

Although its design is striking and unusual, the guitar is optimized for easy playability and comfort. The angles dip by 41 mm at the center of the guitar, with the rear of the bass side having a huge scoop akin to what you would see in Strats in the ‘50s.

Additional machinery includes locking tuners and a multi-action truss rod. You also get a number of controls for vibrato and volume, with designs that are easy to control whenever you are using the guitar. Other than these, there are three Sterling by Music Man mini-humbuckers, which enhance its clarity and increase its tonal variation capability.

What we like:

From quality craftsmanship to affordability, this guitar deserves to be named the best electric guitar under $1000. Its neck’s finishing sports a satin sheen, which adds to its comfort, and the three-cornered control knobs make it a peach to control in the heat of the moment.

Sterling By Music Man St Vincent HH

Guitar featuring Music Man's St. Vincent signature series design with Vincent Blue finish precision built with African Mahogany body.

 

Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster

Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster

There is a reason that Fender guitars always appear in the best guitar lists. Our best electric guitar under $1000 list is seemingly headed in the same direction. But what does this show? It’s simple, really. Fender is easily one of the best guitar manufacturers in the market, and it shows.

The Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster features a vintage headstock at the top of its maple neck that hosts 22 frets. It features synchronized tremolo with antique steel saddles that are bent and 3 single-coil pickups. The overall look of the Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster reminds you of the ‘60s with its retro styling throughout.

As the name Deluxe suggests, this guitar comes with a host of performance features. These include tuning machines that lock in place, retro muted pickups, contours on the neck heel, and push button-controlled tailor-made electronics. The button is married to the guitar’s master volume regulator dial.

There’s also a six-point rotary switch in place at the center tone dial and a preamp that, when engaged, allows the guitar to produce distinct tones depending on your setting. Whether you want to customize your midrange or your treble, the Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster does it all at the flip of a button.

What we like:

If you are looking for versatile sound and a feature-packed guitar for any of your playing styles, the Deluxe Roadhouse has more than enough bells and whistles. It does the job right and performs as expected. Its solid body makes it highly durable, and its retro mechanisms add onto its charm for the classics lover.

Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster

Vintage Noiseless Pickups produce all the brilliant pristine, well-defined tone of vintage single-coil Strat pickups, without the hum.

 

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Fender American Special Stratocaster

If the guitar industry had a unit of measurement, the Fender Stratocaster line of guitars would be it. Regardless of whichever other guitars you choose, at one time, it will be compared to a Stratocaster. This American special with its manufacture based in the states is easily the crème de la crème of best electric guitar under $1000.

So, what makes the Fender American Special Stratocaster the best electric guitar under a grand? For starters, it carries the iconic Stratocaster body shape with grace. After all, most other guitars were forged with the Strat as inspiration. It has a Strat trademark alder body with a neck measuring 9.5” in radius and an iconic satin finish.

You can get it with a lacquered maple or rosewood fretboard, while on the hardware part, its synchronized Fender Tremolo Bridge stands out. Unlike many other guitars, Fender’s Tremolo Bridge rarely has any shortcomings. On the bridge are six adjustable saddles with a range that will awe any guitar fan.

The headstock hosts Fender’s renowned F tuners, which are great at retaining tuning and intonation. This guitar will rarely go out of tune, regardless of how aggressively you bend its strings. It features three single-coil pickups with a condensed single-coil buzz complemented by versatile circuitry to support a variety of playing styles.

With all these features, the Fender American Special Stratocaster has, undoubtedly, the best tone definitions. The tones are warm, and the range is impressive. While this won’t quench the thirst of metalheads, it sure holds its own in all the spectrums that matter.

What we like:

The guitar simply gives you plenty of features at a price you can’t beat anywhere. The craftsmanship is unbeatable, and the sound quality is epic. With Fender’s history in the guitar making industry, you can’t go wrong with this Fender Stratocaster.

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Loaded with a trio of Texas Special pickups, the American Special Strat delivers classic and contemporary tones that are perfect for Blues, Country, Rock, and Pop.

 

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH Floyd Rose

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH Floyd Rose

Born from a love of smooth style and high-speed playing, the left-handed So-Cal comes with features that are highly appreciated by guitarists. The Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR is considered as one of the most innovative guitars when it comes to its versatile sound and sleek features that have made it a legend in high-performance axes.

The So-Cal boasts of an Alder body and has a two-piece maple neck with a pair of graphite reinforcement rods for extra stability. With a maple or Ebony fingerboard, the So-Cal has 22 jumbo size frets and black inlay dots, as well as a conveniently placed thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust for easy access.

The So-Cal also hosts a high output Seymour Duncan TB-6 Distortion humbucking bridge pickup, as well as a warm Seymour Duncan SH-6N Distortion humbucking neck pickup for an amazing tone. It has a push/ pull coil split volume control knob that helps with tonal variations for the tuners and bridge.

One of the biggest selling points for this guitar other than its features is how good it feels while playing it. It is comfortable and sleek-feeling, and it is built to last with its solid body. Above all, the “speed” neck profile, refined jumbo frets, and excellent low action encourage you to play fast.

What we like:

In our books, this is one of those guitars that deserve a gold award if there was a competition. It has premium features all round and plays as a premium guitar should. Still, at under a thousand bucks, it’s an immense value for money all round.

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH Floyd Rose

6-string solid body electric guitar with alder Body, 2 split-coil pickups - snow white maple fingerboard.

 

Yamaha Revstar RS502T

Yamaha Revstar RS502T

Yamaha is one of those manufacturers known for quality and performance, and this same trend prevails in the Yamaha Revstar RS502T. The Revstar is built to easily be a flagship guitar for Yamaha. It gets its inspiration from the SG2000 with an excellent neck and a familiar yet modern design.

To keep with the modern and functional trend, Yamaha has used a mix of mahogany and maple in the build. Its high-quality parts and excellent playability make the RS502T one of the best electric guitar under $1000.

With some British and Japanese inspiration on top of the designs borrowed from the SG2000, the guitar comes off as traditional yet innovative. It easily resembles Les Paul Doublecuts and features a 22-fret rosewood fretboard, P-90 pickups, and 24.75” scale length.

To provide clarity in the tone the guitar produces, the P-90 pickups sport plain enamel wires, Alnico V magnets, and German silver baseplates. It also has a master tone knob engaged dry switch, which works great at filtering out low frequencies to enhance tone clarity and boost the midrange.

What we like:

The guitar has numerous controls, including a master volume dial and a 3-way pickup switch. It has a cohesive design and aesthetic profile, and you won’t find any parts that show Yamaha taking corners to save some bucks. The finish is also top-notch, and that gives the Revstar a place in our best electric guitar under $1000 list.

Yamaha Revstar RS502T

Alnico V Magnet, German silver baseplate and plain enamel wire for clear, vintage tone with bite.

 

Electric Guitar Buying Guide

There are many options available when buying an electric guitar. Making a choice can be an uphill task. Lucky for you, our guide below will help you understand the basics, the differences, and help you make the right decision.

The User

That’s right, one of the biggest considerations when buying a guitar is the end-user. Who are you buying it for? When you know who you are buying the guitar for, you are better placed to choose the right size and sound to match his or her style, build, and preference. If you are buying a guitar as a present, it is crucial that you find out if the person you are buying for has a guitar idol or if he or she is lusting after a particular axe.

For smaller and younger players, you have a choice between mini, travel, and ¾ scale guitars. For a beginner, you also need to choose a guitar that’s easy to play and that’ll stay in tune for a long time. You don’t want to struggle to tune your guitar every month or two while you are still learning. You want to learn first so you know what tones to listen to when tuning a guitar.

Still, aesthetics, tone, body style, and electronics are a factor that every guitar buyer should consider. One thing to remember is that the higher the quality of a guitar, the more you’ll spend on it. If you want to save over the long term rather than spend money on incrementally buying better guitars as you learn, you can buy a high-end one from the word go.

If you are buying a guitar as a gift for someone else, spending more means you need to first understand what they like and forego the element of surprise. Your budget will also determine the type and quality of the guitar you buy. Whatever budget you have, there is a guitar for you.

But that’s not all.

Unlike an acoustic guitar, when buying an electric one, there are other accessories that you will need to invest in. These include an amplifier, cable, and a tuner. Additional guitar accessories you might need include a strap, extra picks, extra strings, a stand, and a case.

How Electric Guitars Work

Generally, all electric guitars operate similarly. The guitar’s magnetic field comes in the form of the body-mounted pickups. The pickups generate a current from the vibrations produced when you pluck the guitar’s metal strings. The current travels from the pickups to the amplifier through the preamp circuit.

Once the current reaches the amp, the amp modifies it using a variety of tones, effects, and controls. The amp then outputs the signal to the speakers, which then converts it to sound waves. However, the signals sent to the amp are influenced by your playing techniques, strings, type of pickup(s), and tone controls, among other factors.

Types Of Electric Guitar Bodies

Generally, electric guitars come in three body types. Each of these body types has its own characteristics and include:

Solid-body. This is the most common and is made from a concrete chunk of wood. They range from simple single-pickup models to complex multi-pickup axes and ornately figured and decked ones. While the wood used in solid-body electric guitars is still impactful on the sound, their resonance production is not as much as that of hollow-body electric guitars.

Semi-hollow body. Semi-hollow body electric guitars have more resonance than solid-body axes. However, for added stability and sustain and to cut back on feedback, the center of these guitars is made from a solid wood block. Semi-hollow body guitars offer warm tones, making them a favorite for blues players.

Hollow body. The name says it all. The bodies of hollow-body electric guitars have holes as you find in acoustic guitars. Due to this design, they produce more resonance. Most have an archtop and have more enhanced feedback. As they have fuller and richer tones and deep bass, hollow body electric guitars are most preferred by jazz players.

Pickups and electronics

Other factors that affect the way a guitar sounds include the pickups and the electronics. Basic electric guitars have a single-coil pickup. However, these are not the best guitars. The best electric guitar under $1000 will have a different setup, with the most common being humbucker pickups.

Unlike single-coil pickups, humbuckers have little hum and a tonal characteristic. Humbucker pickups are made by incorporating two single-coils held together in series. In this design, the arrangement of the magnets is in such a way that their polarity is opposite each other. It is this design that helps the pickups reduce hum.

Guitars with humbucker pickups produce thicker, louder, and more powerful tones. Although they are versatile for every style, they are better for rock, heavy metal, and jazz. Icons like Slash, Duane Allman, Joe Pass, and Jimmy Page are known to play humbuckers.

A little less known than single coils or humbuckers are Piezo pickups. Usually, they are embedded in the saddle of an electric guitar. Unlike single-coils and humbuckers that operate on magnetism, Piezos rely on mechanical vibrations to convert sound into an electric current. Piezos are best for those who want an electric guitar that simulates an acoustic guitar tone.

For expanded tonal versatility, magnetic pickups often also include magnetic pickups.

Active pickups run on batteries and have a preamp to shape the sound they produce. Sometimes, they also incorporate filters and equalization circuits to help control their sounds better. The advantage of active electronics is that they produce a cleaner and clearer sound when compared to magnetic pickups.

Neck construction

The neck of the guitar is another feature to consider when buying an electric guitar. This is where you find the fretboard and the headstock. The headstock, in turn, holds the tuners. On the neck is a metal truss rod, and this increases sturdiness of the neck to prevent it from distorting. The truss rod is also adjustable, which helps the guitar maintain a consistent pitch.

Usually, the fretboard is made from rosewood, ebony, or maple, with markers or dot inlays to enhance visibility. When fretting, the playability of the guitar and how comfortable it is for the player are affected by the profile of the neck and its width. If you have smaller hands, you are better off choosing a guitar with a narrower, shallower neck. If your hands are larger, a bigger neck profile will likely be more comfortable.

Necks come in three types, namely:

Bolt-on. These are bolted onto the body of the guitar and are more cost- and repair-effective. However, they have less sustain and resonance.

Set necks. These penetrate and are glued into the guitar body then clamped until the glue is dry. It is more stable and has better sustain and resonance, although repairing this is harder.

Neck-through. With a laminated neck, these guitar necks span the length of the body, with “fins” glued to the body sides to hold the neck in place. This type of neck is more stable and has more sustain and resonance. Repairing this type of neck is costlier and harder.

As you can see, the best electric guitar under $1000 comes with so much more to consider before settling for one. However, you do not need to evaluate every single feature yourself as we have listed the best there is in the industry. You can also check out our list of best electric-acoustic guitars.

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Robert Smith
Robert is a guitarist who holds a bachelor's degree in music issued by the Manhattan School of Music. With several years of hands-on experience, he’s now deeply interested in teaching his knowledge and insights with everyone.

Hard work was necessary to create Trusic.com. As an old-school musician, Robert wasn’t knowledgeable in HTML, CSS, Analytics, front/back-end code, and more. It took him time to create a plan and form a team of musicians who could write solid, well-made articles for all audiences interested in musical instruments.

Now Trusic.com is alive and the whole team is hoping to provide readers with insightful material to choose the most convenient instruments and instrument accessories for beginners or even advanced level students.