The Best Electric Guitars Under $1000 in 2019: reviewed and rated!
Moving up from a starter guitar means aiming for the best electric guitar under $1000. We know how important it is for you to find the one that matches your improved skills and more refined taste in terms of guitar specs, so we’ve gathered all the info we could on the top-rated models for intermediate and advanced players.
If you’re a beginner, you’re very much welcome to take a look at this list as well – especially if you’ve really saved up for a quality guitar that will serve you for many years. Read up, compare models and take your pick!
- Our Top Electric Guitar Picks under $1000
- 1. Epiphone Casino Electric Guitar
- 2. PRS SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar
- 3. ESP LTD EC-1000 Electric Guitar
- 4. Fender American Special Stratocaster Electric Guitar
- 5. Ibanez RG550 Electric Guitar
- 6. Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar
- 7. Schecter Synyster Gates Electric Guitar
- 8. Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster Electric Guitar
Our Top Electric Guitar Picks under $1000
|Epiphone Casino Electric Guitar||The Casino has been hailed as one of Epiphone’s best contributions to music, and it’s easy to see why. It’s been a favorite of many since its introduction in 1961 with its hollowbody archtop design and unique jangle. The Casino actually inspired Gibson to create its ES Series. The Epiphone Casino also boasts two P-90 pickups for a classic tone.|
|PRS SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar||PRS is known for its premium-priced electric guitars so we’re very happy to find a PRS guitar under $1000. The PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 electric guitar is part of the affordably priced SE series and it features a mahogany body with a maple top, a wide thin maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard and 85/15 “S” pickups.|
|ESP LTD EC-1000 Electric Guitar||Our next pick is the ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe Series electric guitar, which boasts EMG 81/60 or Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups, depending on the guitar’s finish. This model also has a mahogany body and a mahogany set neck that’s built for speed. It’s ideal for players who are into heavy metal and anything that requires high gain.|
|Fender American Special Stratocaster Electric Guitar||The Fender American Special Stratocaster just about makes it as one of the best electric guitars under $1000. The Strat’s timeless style is enhanced with modern features for today’s players. These include Texas Special single-coil pickups and a Greasebucket tone circuit for a more contemporary tone and performance. What’s more, this guitar is proudly made in the US of A!|
|Ibanez RG550 Electric Guitar||If you’re looking for something truly electrifying, we recommend the Ibanez RG550 Genesis guitar. Part of the RG series, this guitar is a reissue of the original RG550 model. Like the original, it has a basswood body and an Edge double-locking tremolo bridge. What makes the RG550 Genesis different from the first RG550 are the pickups and the five-piece neck.|
|Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar||When you need to pump things up and raise hell, well that’s where the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 comes in. Ideal for aggressive playing, the Hellraiser has the specs demanding metal players look for in an electric guitar. Locking tuners ensure tuning stability and a set-neck construction makes sure the guitar doesn’t fall apart in the middle of playing.|
|Schecter Synyster Gates Electric Guitar||Another Schecter on this list of best electric guitars under $1000 is the Synyster Gates model. Part of the Diamond Series, the Synyster Gates Standard guitar features an all-mahogany construction, an ultra thin C-shaped mahogany neck, brand-new Schecter Diamond Syn humbuckers and a Schecter-exclusive Floyd Rose Hot Rod Special bridge. The Black and Silver Pinstripe finish looks incredible too.|
|Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster Electric Guitar||Make way for a Tele! The Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster is our last but not the least pick for this list of top electric guitar models under $1000. It’s got a flexible, versatile tone with its three-pickup design and five-way pickup switching feature. The Deluxe Nashville Tele features an alder body and Fender Vintage Noiseless single-coil Tele and Strat pickups.|
The Epiphone Casino is quite the looker, with its timeless fully hollow and thinline body as well as its archtop design. It’s also extremely iconic, earning mass popularity when the Beatles started toting it in the 1960s. We’re currently loving the Vintage Sunburst finish for its classic vintage look and feel.
The Epiphone Casino has a laminated spruce arched top and a hollow maple body. Being fully hollow, the Casino may be more prone to high-gain feedback, but that’s something that can easily be avoided with a good amp. It does have a richer resonance than solid body and semi-hollow guitars, so if resonance is a priority for you, this is one model you should seriously consider buying.
The Casino also has a set mahogany neck for maximum sustain and a pau ferro fingerboard for a powerful punch and midrange presence. The top f-holes, trapeze bridge tailpiece, parallelogram inlays and chrome hardware add to the vintage look.
For its electronics, the Epiphone Casino Archtop is fitted with Dogear Alnico P-90T and P-90R pickups. These are new vintage-voiced, high-output single-coil pups that effectively capture the guitar’s sparkling, jangly sound. The volume and tone control knobs allow for experimentation and tone shaping.
- The hollow body produces a resonant sound
- Great vintage style and sound
- Excellent playing feel
- Sound limitations due to feedback and overtones
- Needs more maintenance because of the hollow body
If you’ve always wanted a PRS electric guitar but couldn’t afford one, now’s your chance to finally own one for under $1000. The PRS SE Custom 24 has the visual appeal, playability and sound quality of a premium PRS guitar but at a lower price.
The SE Custom 24 boasts a maple top with beautiful maple veneer and a mahogany back. It’s comfortable to play especially with its maple neck with a Wide Thin shape and smooth 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. Iconic PRS bird inlays grace the fretboard to serve as position markers. It’s also equipped with a PRS patented molded tremolo bridge. This guitar is a sight to behold.
The SE Custom 24 by PRS is a versatile player as well, thanks to the PRS-designed 85/15 “S” treble and bass pickups and intuitive controls. There’s a volume knob, a push/pull tone control and a three-way blade pickup selector.
The SE Custom 24 comes in a number of color options, namely Tobacco Sunburst, Fire Red Burst, Trampas Green and Whale Blue.
Looking for a shred-worthy electric guitar that doesn’t cost the moon? Check out the ESP LTD EC-1000. The guitars in this series offer the looks, feel, playability and tone that musicians need, especially those who rely heavily on their instrument in daily life. What’s great about the LTD EC-1000 Series is that the models come with a price that is within the means of typical working musicians.
The ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe Series electric guitar is marketed toward heavy metal players. It’s equipped with either Seymour Duncan Alnico II or EMG 81/60 pickups depending on the finish. The Amber Sunburst variant has the Duncan pickups while the Black and See Thru Black Cherry models have EMG pickups. Either set is available for the Vintage Black model.
This electric guitar also features a rich-sounding mahogany body and neck, with the neck having a set-neck construction and thin U contour. The fingerboard has 24 extra jumbo frets and is made from either ebony or rosewood, again depending on the finish. The hardware color also varies with the guitar’s finish.
The ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe boasts an ESP TonePros System II locking bridge, which offers a greater intonation range and improves sustain.
Many musicians are wary of Fender guitars made in Mexico or elsewhere, mostly because they doubt the quality of the craftsmanship of Fenders made outside the United States. If you’re wanting a Fender Strat that’s U.S.-made, consider the Fender American Special Stratocaster. This model boasts American-made craftsmanship while coming with a pocket-friendly price tag.
The Fender American Special Stratocaster features a lightweight alder body that offers a wide tonal range. The body sports a shiny gloss urethane finish for a sleek look and surface durability and resilience. It also has a maple neck with a modern C-shaped profile and smooth satin back finish, and a maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets.
This Strat is fitted with three Texas Special single-coil pickups and a five-way pickup switch. It also features a Greasebucket tone circuit, which efficiently rolls off the high end tones without creating or adding any bass, resulting in a crystal clear tone. This special circuitry also prevents the output from sounding muddy.
Another thing you’ll love about the American Special Strat is its six-saddle vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge. The bridge features narrower saddles that contribute to a better playing feel because of the more comfortable string spacing.
- Pickups deliver a balanced output
- Good clarity, articulation and sustain
- Classic Stratocaster styling
- Gig bag is an additional purchase
- Tuners not that good
The Ibanez RG550 Genesis is a stellar piece of equipment that’s a throwback to the original RG550 produced from 1987 to 1994. As a reissue, it has a lot in common with the classic model, but it also has features that set it apart and make it contemporary.
Like the classic RG550, the Genesis model has a basswood body and a maple fretboard with 24 jumbo frets and black dot inlays. It also has a tilt neck joint with a stamped metal plate. The RG550 sports the ultra-thin Super Wizard neck, which is made of five solid maple and walnut pieces for maximum stability and comfort.
The Ibanez RG550 Genesis guitar also has the classic Edge double-locking tremolo bridge along with a locking nut. The Edge tremolo provides a frictionless operation for a smooth playing feel.
The Genesis however has a different set of pickups. Instead of the Ibanez V1/V2 humbucking pickups on the original, it has V7 and V8 humbuckers at the neck and bridge respectively, flanking an S1 single-coil pickup at the middle position. Combined with the five-way pickup selector lever and master volume and master tone controls, the pickups allow for a wide range of sound.
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is an electric guitar that looks as hardcore as the music you’re playing. One look at the Hellraiser and you’ll know it means business. Indeed, the Hellraiser C-1 by Schecter is packed with specs that will make the most metal musician swoon.
There’s the mahogany body with an ultra-access cutaway for unimpeded action along the length of the neck. Choose the Black Cherry finish and you’ll get a quilted maple top as well. The body is paired with a set neck made with three pieces of mahogany and topped with a rosewood fingerboard with 24 X-jumbo frets.
Tasteful appointments include Schecter locking tuners, a TonePros Tune-o-matic-style bridge and gray pearl binding on the black-finished models and abalone binding on the White and Black Cherry variants. All finish options feature Gothic Cross inlays on the fretboard for an edgier feel.
Want more? Get the Hellraiser C-1 FR and you’ll also get an original Floyd Rose tremolo system.
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is equipped with EMG active 81TW/89 pickups. The EMG 81 TW pickup is at the bridge position and it outputs an aggressive yet focused tone. The EMG 89 active humbucker allows for coil tapping.
- Impressive build and design
- Pickup configuration offers a wide range of tonal options
- Stays in tune well
- Original Floyd Rose bridge
- Guitar case is sold separately
- Lacks sustain
Brian Elwin Haner Jr., AKA Synyster Gates of the band Avenged Sevenfold, has been working with Schecter Guitar Research for a while and has signature electric guitar models under the brand, one of which is the Schecter Synyster Standard.
The Syn Standard guitar features a mahogany body and neck, with the neck having a three-piece construction. The bolt-on neck has an Ultra Thin C shape and it’s reinforced with carbon fiber rods, a feature you don’t usually find on guitars in this price range. With this neck construction, you can play fast and hard with no worries at all.
Topping the neck is an ebony fingerboard with 24 X-Jumbo frets. The fretboard sports pearloid inlays: ‘Syn’ spelled out and an appropriately named ‘Death Bat’ at the 12 fret.
Another feature that makes this guitar worth the money is the Schecter-exclusive Floyd Rose Special ‘Hot Rod’ Locking Tremolo bridge. The whammy bar-styled bridge can make the guitar a bit hard to tune however, but it’s a minor tradeoff.
Electronics-wise, the Schecter Synyster Standard is fitted with new high-output Schecter Diamond Synyster Gates Signature humbuckers at the bridge and neck. It has volume and (push/pull) tone controls and a three-way switch.