Know Your Instrument

The Best Electric Guitars Under $500 in 2019: reviewed right here!

Beginners serious about learning guitar would often skip the entry-level models and go for the best electric guitar under $500. There’s wisdom in this decision because at this price point you’re sure to have an instrument with better quality. Many guitars in this price range also have advanced features that can make it easier for beginners to transition to pro-level models when the time comes.

And if you’re moving up from your starter guitar or are looking for a backup or secondary guitar for practice, the models in this price range prove to be worthy companions on your musical journey.

Our Top Electric Guitar Picks under $500

ImageGuitarDescriptionPrice Check
Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric GuitarEpiphone Les Paul Standard Electric GuitarJoin the multitude of Les Paul players with the Epiphone Les Paul Standard, available in a number of finishes including Ebony and Faded Cherry Sunburst. The Les Paul Standard boasts the same specs as vintage Les Pauls and features a mahogany body paired with a maple veneer top. It’s equipped with Epiphone Alnico Classic humbucking pickups and Grover machine heads.



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PRS SE 245 Electric GuitarPRS SE 245 Electric GuitarPRS electric guitars are usually inaccessible to most players but the PRS SE 245 is certainly one that you can afford if you have a budget of $500-$600. The PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 245 Standard Electric Guitar is also a fantastic option for those who prefer guitars with a shorter scale than usual. Fitted with 245 “S” pickups.



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ESP LTD EC-256 Electric GuitarThe ESP LTD EC-256 looks amazing, sounds great and has a wallet-friendly price. Suitable for players of all skill levels and music genres, the LTD EC-256 features a mahogany body and a sturdy three-piece mahogany neck. This electric also has a short scale, making it easier to play for teens and petite players. The guitar bundle is recommended for beginners.



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Yamaha Pacifica 112V Electric GuitarYamaha Pacifica 112V Electric GuitarUp next is the Yamaha Pacifica 112V, which looks like a Strat somewhat. Part of the Pacifica series guitars known for their playability and tone, the 112V looks, plays and sounds like a more expensive guitar. It has a solid alder body, a vintage-style vibrato and five-way switching of the pickups. Two single-coil pickups and one humbucker offer tonal versatility.
Kramer Pacer Electric GuitarKramer Pacer Electric GuitarWhen performance is a priority, pick things up with a Pacer. The Kramer Pacer Classic FR guitar features the specs and styling reminiscent of the 1983 Kramer Pacer, much revered for its playability and versatile performance. The Pacer is equipped with a Floyd Rose tremolo system, Alnico pickups and a three-way mini toggle selection switch. It’s truly a modern classic.



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Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus Electric GuitarFender Modern Player Telecaster Plus Electric GuitarFender guitars under $500 always spark our interest, like the Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus. The name of the model is quite a mouthful but that’s alright considering the guitar is packed with top specs. Part of the Modern Players series, this guitar features a glossed pine body, a classic Tele maple neck, vintage-style hardware and an HSS pickup configuration.



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Schecter Omen Extreme 6 Electric GuitarSchecter Omen Extreme 6 Electric GuitarAnother fantastic Floyd Rose-equipped guitar is the Schecter Omen Extreme-6, which also features some pretty sweet specs for its sub-$500 price tag. The Extreme--6 has a mahogany body with a quilted maple top for comfort and visual appeal, a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, Schecter Diamond Plus pickups, a three-way toggle switch and a Floyd Rose Special bridge.



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Schecter Demon 6 Electric GuitarSchecter Demon 6 Electric GuitarAfter the Omen comes the Demon. The Schecter Demon-6 can definitely lure you into playing some wicked tunes with its sleek, contoured body shape and brand-new Schecter Diamond Active pickups. The basswood body and bolt-on maple neck make the Demon-6 an extremely sturdy instrument to shred on and the no-nonsense controls give you the freedom to focus on your music.



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Danelectro Baritone Electric GuitarDanelectro Baritone Electric GuitarA Danelectro Baritone electric guitar is our last but definitely not the least pick for this category. The ‘56 Baritone makes it as one of the best electric guitars under $500 because it stands out. As a baritone axe, it has a longer scale length and thus offers deeper, lower tones and a wider range of sounds than standard-scale guitars.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar

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Make your first or next guitar a Les Paul! For $500, you can get an iconic guitar that would make playing a truly satisfying experience. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard has the features and tone of a vintage Les Paul without the bank-breaking price tag.

The Les Paul Standard by Epiphone boasts the classic solid mahogany body with an arched carved maple veneer top for that much-loved vintage look and sound.

The neck is also made of mahogany and features a set construction like a Les Paul should. The solid glued neck joint provides excellent stability and contributes to the guitar’s sustain. The neck also features a 1960’s SlimTaper D profile for a comfortable and vintage playing feel. Topping the neck is a punchy pau ferro fingerboard with pearloid trapezoid inlays and medium-jumbo frets.

The Les Paul Standard is equipped with an Epiphone-designed Alnico Classic humbucker at the neck and an Alnico Classic Plus humbucker at the bridge. As for the controls, it has an Epiphone all-metal three-way pickup selector and individual volume and tone knobs for each pickup.

And as with the classic Les Paul guitars, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard also has a Tune-o-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece.

  • Classic Les Paul sound and style at an affordable price
  • Rich and warm vintage sound
  • Good quality pickups
  • Fretwork could be improved - frets need to be leveled to adjust the action
  • Reports of fret buzz on some units
  • Guitar case not included

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PRS SE 245 Electric Guitar

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If you’re looking for a short-scale electric guitar, the PRS SE 245 is certainly one of the best you’ll find at the $500 price tier. The guitar takes its name from its 24.5-inch scale length. The shorter scale is great for beginners and petite players with small hands. The PRS SE 245 also has a single cutaway, which makes it a lot easier to access the upper frets. It’s a great feature to have along with the short scale length.

The SE 245 has a bound mahogany body and neck as well as a rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets and the classic PRS bird inlays. The neck has a Wide Fat neck shape, which has a deep profile and longer heel. This neck shape contributes to the guitar’s sustain and warm tones.

As for the electronics of the PRS SE 245, it has 245 “S” treble and bass pickups. The guitar has volume and tone controls for each pickup and located on the upper bout is a three-way toggle pickup switch.

Other top specs include nickel hardware, a PRS-designed stoptail bridge and PRS-designed tuners. The Tobacco Sunburst finish is a favorite and there’s also a Whale Blue color option.

  • Short scale length for players with small hands
  • Comfortable neck shape for easy articulation
  • Attractive design
  • Doesn’t come with a guitar case
  • Pickups could be improved

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The ESP LTD EC-256 has a 24.75-inch scale length, putting it within the category of short-scale electric guitars like the PRS SE 245. Aside form the short scale, the ESP LTD EC-256 has other noteworthy features that make it one of the best electric guitars under $500.

It has a mahogany body and flamed maple top, which together produce a rich and warm focused sound with a bright and projecting tone. The set neck is also made of mahogany and is made from three pieces of wood, making it sturdy and durable. The fingerboard is made of rosewood (roasted jatoba on some models) and has 22XJ (extra jumbo) frets. The single cutaway allows for easier upper-fret access.

The ESP LTD EC-256 is also equipped with a Tune-o-Matic bridge and tailpiece, allowing for more intricate string adjustments when necessary. The bridge and tailpiece combo provides great sustain and stability.

Pickups come in the form of an ESP-designed LH-150N pickup at the neck and an LH-150B pickup at the bridge. There are two controls for volume (one for each pickup), one push/pull tone knob and a pickup toggle switch.

Beginners can save money on accessories by purchasing the guitar bundle.

  • Available bundled with accessories (gig bag, stand, cable, tuner, cleaning cloth)
  • Sleek design
  • Great tuning stability
  • Pickups can sound muddy
  • Can feel heavy

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Yamaha Pacifica 112V Electric Guitar

Yamaha offers really good electric guitar models at every price tier, so no matter your budget, there’s sure to be a Yamaha guitar out there for you.

The Yamaha Pacifica 112V could be your first or next electric guitar if $500 is your spending limit on a quality axe. With a solid yet lightweight alder body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard and HSS pickup configuration, the Pac112V exceeds expectations.

On first glance it looks like a Stratocaster, but take a closer look and you’ll find plenty to appreciate about the PAC112V other than its looks.

The maple neck has a bolt-on construction and sports a C-shaped profile. The rosewood fingerboard has 22 frets. It’s smooth and built for speed so you can do fast runs whenever and as often as you want. There’s also a vintage-style tremolo bridge with six fully adjustable saddles. Together with the tuners, the bridge works well to keep the guitar properly intonated.

The Yamaha Pacifica 112V has single-coil pickups at the neck and middle positions and a humbucking pickup at the bridge. This pickup combo allows for exceptional tonal versatility. Tone shaping is easily done via the five-way pickup selector and volume and tone controls.

  • Well-rounded electric guitar ideal for beginners, intermediate and semi-pro players
  • Great versatility in tone thanks to the HSS pickup configuration
  • Plays and sounds like a more expensive guitar
  • Factory setup not that good
  • Hardware can feel a little flimsy

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Kramer Pacer Electric Guitar

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Kramer electric guitars were some of the best-selling guitars in the 1980s, endorsed by famous musicians such as Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Neal Schon (Journey), Brad Gillis (Ozzy Osbourne) and Edward Van Halen (Van Halen).

The Kramer Pacer Classic FR Electric Guitar is faithfully designed after the 1983 USA Pacer, making this model truly a modern classic. It is built with heavy metal and hard rock guitarists in mind, and features specs that are based on the ‘83 model, from its body construction to its electronics.

The Pacer Classic FR has a mahogany body and a one-piece maple neck with a thin tapered C-shape. It’s topped with a maple fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets. A locking nut helps significantly in keeping the guitar in tune. Neck-wise, the only difference between the original Pacer and the Pacer Classic is that the truss rod adjustment is moved to the headstock.

This Pacer also boasts a licensed Floyd Rose tremolo bridge, black hardware, classic Alnico magnet humbucking pickups (the 900R at the neck and a 910T at the bridge) and a mini three-way pickup toggle switch. There’s also a master tone control and a treble bleed mod added to the volume controls.

  • Versatile electric guitar for rock genres
  • Locking nut keeps guitar in tune for a longer period
  • Has the specs of a classic, much-loved ‘80s Kramer guitar
  • Feels like a more expensive guitar
  • Pickups can be improved
  • Does not come with a case

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Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus Electric Guitar

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With its classic Tele looks, modern HSS pickup configuration and other features that guitar players would love, the Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus is a prime candidate as your go-to instrument.

The Telecaster Plus is part of the Modern Player lineup, which boasts unconventional takes on the classic models. The Tele Plus, for instance, has three pickups instead of the standard two single-coils. There’s a single-coil Tele pickup at the neck, a Stratocaster pickup at the middle position and a humbucker at the bridge for more tonal variety.

With the three pickups is a five-way pickup switch, but that’s not all. There’s also a mini-toggle switch for the bridge pickup for coil splitting. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Tele without controls for the master volume and tone.

This Tele’s body is made of pine, just like some of the Fender guitars of old. The pine body delivers a tone that’s warm with an even frequency response across the spectrum. The C-shaped neck is made of maple and adds sustain and brightness. The body and neck are given a gloss polyester finish.

The Modern Player Telecaster Plus also has a vintage-style string-through-body hardtail bridge, like that of a Strat.

  • HSS pickup configuration for a wide variety of tones
  • Mini-toggle switch allows for coil splitting for the humbucking pickup
  • Through-body Strat hardtail bridge provides greater resonance, sustain and tuning stability
  • Not for Telecaster purists
  • Pickup performance not consistent
  • No gig bag included

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Schecter Omen Extreme 6 Electric Guitar

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Great specs and an affordable price come together in the Schecter Omen Extreme-6, our next pick for this list of best electric guitars under $500. Although a lot of Schecter guitars are designed for those who play the ‘heavy’ stuff, the company has always built reliable instruments for guitar players across various music genres.

The Schecter Omen Extreme-6 is an electric guitar that can match any musical mood with its pair of Diamond Plus pickups at the neck and bridge positions. There are two controls for volume and one for tone with a push/pull coil tapping feature so you can get those single-coil sounds. A three-way switch lets you experiment with various tonal outputs.

The Omen Extreme-6 also looks amazing with its mahogany body with a quilted maple top and multi-ply binding. The maple top has an arched contour for a nicer playing feel. The neck is made of maple and topping it is a rosewood fingerboard with 24 extra jumbo frets and vector inlays.

The Tune-O-Matic with String Thru Body bridge design adds sustain and makes string adjustments a whole lot easier. On the Omen Extreme-6 FR model, there’s a Floyd Rose Special keeping the guitar in tune.

  • Nice looks and comfortable to play
  • Versatile with the coil tapping feature
  • Looks and sounds like a more expensive model
  • Some string buzz on the low E string
  • Guitar case is sold separately

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