Review Of Best Electric Guitars Under $1000
Are you in the market for a new electric guitar? You might have dreams of doing onstage solo riffs like Jim Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, or Carlos Santana. If you’re a newbie guitarist or on a shoestring budget you won’t want to spend a sky-high price for your stringed instrument. We can help you find the best electric guitar under $1000.
That’s a rock-bottom price versus the $2.7 million Fender “Reach Out to Asia” Stratocaster sold at auction. The key is to know which features are most important for your guitar playing. We’ll help provide a buyer’s guide about what to look for when shopping for an electric guitar, and review some units in the under-$1000 price range.
American Special Telecaster by Fender
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is a US-based maker of stringed instruments including guitars and amplifiers. The company was founded 70+ years ago in 1946 and is headquartered in the US state Arizona.
The founder was Clarence Leonidas Fender. The company became famous for the Telecaster, which was the first mass-produced Spanish-style electric guitar. Fender also manufactured the first mass-produced electric bass known as the Precision Bass. Fender’s Stratocaster was another game-changing guitar launched by the company.
The American Specials series is designed as a bridge between American Standard and Highway One. This is provided through the electric guitar’s high-end value and tone. Fender refers to these guitars as value-conscious instruments that are designed to provide consumers with affordable guitars that play smooth and sound excellent
The American Special Series Telecaster guitar offers an affordable electric guitar to consumers. This model includes features like alder body, jumbo frets, 9.5-inch radius fingerboard, and maple neck. Other features include Telecaster bridge, 3 brass saddles, vintage style strings, Texas Special pickups, and gloss urethane finish.
The American Special Telecaster is made from 3-piece alder. It also includes urethane finish with maple neck that’s treated with satin finish. The 22 frets rest on a 9.5-inch radius fret board. The tuners are Schallers with one string tree on the head stock.
The Tele includes details that make it an excellent option in terms of its design and finish. Some guitar players might have issues with the 3-piece body but it’s not a major issue.
The traditional bridge includes 3 brass saddles and twin-pickup layout. This contains Texas Specials with the rear coil keeping the open bobbin appearance. The neck has a single coil with shiny chrome cover that’s created an iconic look for 60+ years.
The big difference versus many Teles on the market is the neck pickup contains 2 adjustment screws. This allows the player to set the height much more easily than on past Teles. There’s also a laminated scratch plate that pairs up well with the 3-tone look of the body.
The American Special also includes the standard post-1967 control setup of one master volume/tone pots that are controlled by a 3-way lever switch. There’s also the company’s Grease bucket tone circuit. All of these features focus on the electric guitar’s functionality to provide consumers with the best experience.
The Telecaster is very easy to play. There’s minimum fightback via the big frets and flat fret board. This provides a smooth playing experience whether you play blues, country, or rock. The process is so simple that you can make the switches easily without thinking about them.
In terms of sound it’s super-clear with a light snarl. Meanwhile, the bridge backup is bright when it’s played clean but darkens when the gain increases like other quality Telecasters.
11.02 pounds / 43 x 17 x 6.5 inches
- 2 Texas Special Tele pickups
- Satin-finished neck
- 9.5-inch fretboard radius
- Fender gig bag
- Grease bucket tone circuit
- Retro bridge
- Table tuners
- Excellent frets
- Pick guard scratches
- Tuning issues
- Sharp edges on frets
Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar by Schecter
Schecter Guitar Research is a US company that produces guitars, bass instruments, and amplifiers. The company was founded 40+ years ago in 1976 by David Schecter. Schecter is headquartered in the US state California. The company was launched as a guitar repair shop. It made various guitar parts that numbered 400+ by the late 1970s.
The Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar is in black cherry and for left-handed guitar players. The instrument has a mahogany body with cutaway that lets you move easily on the 3-piece neck. The rosewood fretboard includes 24 big frets and cross inlays. The guitar delivers a solid electric guitar tone. This provides more options through single-coil sounds via volume knobs that are push/pull.
The Tune-O-Matic bridge includes a body design that’s string-thru. This provides stable tuning regardless of how hard you play the guitar. The finish is complemented through the binding. The look also includes black chrome hardware and locking tuners. The Black Cherry finish includes quilted maple top.
Hellraiser C-1 is an electric guitar that provides the tones any metal guitarist needs. The mahogany body includes an ultra-access cutaway so you can easily scale up the mahogany neck. Meanwhile, the rosewood fretboard includes 24 super-big frets and gothic cross inlays to provide an eye-catching look. The humbuckers provide a huge tone from the electric guitar. There’s also push/pull knobs so you can switch on single-coil sounds.
The bridge is Tune-O-Matic with a string-thru-body construction. This offers stable tuning regardless of how hard you play. Binding is chosen specifically to pair up well with the finish. Other features include black chrome hardware and Schecter locking tuners.
You’ll get more than enough treble with the Hellraiser C-1. However, when you turn down the tone about one-quarter all of the tones become smooth/balanced. Depending on the amp you use you can crank out different genres like jazz, progressive rock, and hard rock.
If you’re wondering why this guitar was named as such pick the right amp then fully crank the treble. This allows you to combine big chords and artificial harmonics.
The Schecter HellRaiser C-1 offers power and affordability at the same time. This provides quality and elements that are often found on high-end customized shop guitars. The HellRaiser C-1 is eye-catching and easy to play. The big range of tones makes it ideal for just about any style of music.
This guitar offers high value so it’s recommended you pick up this unit while it’s at its current price point. The unit provides many features that are often available on electric guitars with price tags that are 4x as high. In fact, there’s always a chance the laws of supply and demand could cause Schecter to jack up the price.
14.55 pounds / 1 x 1 x 1 inches
- Mahogany body
- Ultra-Access cutaway
- EMG Active 81TW/89 pickups
- Schecter locking tuners
- Lifetime guarantee
- Good budget guitar
- Sounds good
- Bad feel
- Doesn’t have full sound
- Not prepared well
Classic Series 70s Stratocaster Electric Guitar by Fender
Here’s another under-$1000 electric guitar produced by Fender. The company manufactures various instruments including electric guitars. It was founded in in 1946 in the US state California but is now headquartered in Arizona.
It’s easy to recognize the Fender 70s Stratocaster guitar due to the U-shaped neck, big headstock, and bullet truss rod. Those are just some of the top features of this reissue guitar. The electric guitar also features solid ash body, Vintage Strat pickups, Vintage F machine heads, and synchronized tremolo. A Fender gig bag is bundled with the guitar so you can easily store and carry your 70s Stratocaster guitar.
If you’re looking for a 1970s Stratocaster then this unit is the real deal. The main difference is this guitar is a lot lighter but that’s ok because the real 1970s Strats were super-heavy.
However, besides that difference this electric car is very 70s-like. In fact, it could be considered a reissue even though it’s not. The main difference is the 3-bolt neck contains a micro-tilt adjustment and isn’t ultra-heavy.
The neck is a heavy/bulky U-shape. In fact, it’s one of the widest necks that Fender has produced. While the neck is wide the frets are tall/skinny so it’s an interesting blend that’s quite surprising.
However, it’s worth noting the neck frets out very easily when bending notes. Bending notes isn’t impossible. However, the combo of fingerboard with 7.25-inch radius and skinny frets takes some time getting used to.
He middle pickup true to 70s Strats isn’t reverse wound. So each of the 5 pickup positions includes a 60-cycle hum. This is needed for a noise gate pedal w/ this Strat if you put overdrive through it.
Another feature of 70s Strats was a weak pickup. This resulted in thin sounds and low-end treble response. However, it’s worth noting that this was common in the 70s so it produces an accurate sound.
This explains why some people don’t like to play 70s Strats. However, it’s true to the era so the pickup set helps to make the unit accurate in terms of 70s-era Strats.
The 70s Stratocaster includes big headstock from the CBS-era and bullet truss rod. Fender has done a good job giving the model a 70s Strat look and feel.
One common complaint about the so-called F tuners is it contains a specific spacing that only shows up on 70s Strat guitars. Many guitarists don’t like this style. However, it’s worth noting this is the kind of tuner Fender used during the 70s when it was cutting costs. So while it doesn’t provide the most functional guitar it’s period-correct.
14 pounds / 42 x 5 x 15 inches
- Set Neck with ultra-access
- Limited lifetime guarantee
- Mahogany body
- EMG Active pickups
- Quilted maple top
- Good for metal music
- Excellent value for price
- EMG pickups
- US-made version is custom
- Require professional adjustments
- Sound isn’t clear
SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar by PRS Guitars
Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars is a US guitar maker headquartered in the US state Maryland. It was founded 30+ years ago in 1986 by Paul Reed Smith. The founder started playing guitars in the 1970s. The company focused on producing modern guitars with a vintage design.
The Student Edition (SE) Custom 24 offers PRS’s original design platform to the line of quality/affordable instruments. Many tourist artists pick this electric guitar. It features a mahogany back, maple top, rosewood footbed, wide/thin maple neck, and tremolo bridge. The guitar offers 85/15 S pickups coupled with volume push & pull tone control as well as blade pickup selector that’s 3-way.
PRS Guitars has been producing high-quality guitars for 30+ years but the SE series has only been produced since 2001. During that time the company was concerned whether an offshore line would decrease sales of US models. However, the SE series has turned into a wide range of signature/SE models.
SE Custom 24 is a modern/classic guitar with durability, playability, and various tones. This makes it an excellent option for guitar players looking for a workhorse guitar with quality and affordability. SE guitars are considered today as a “boutique import.” They’re used onstage by thousands of musicians throughout the world. That includes many famous musicians.
The SE Custom 24 offers a great look including the headstock. It also features a rosewood fretboard w/ classic bird inlays & 24-fret neck w/ 25-inch scale length. The guitar has also been designed to line up with the flagship US pickups. That includes high-end clarity and high/low end.
This unit includes a pickup change like the Santana model. The Korean-made PRSs differ from the standard SE humbuckers and instead include 85/15s. They appear like conventional non-covered buckers due to the rectangle-shaped bobbins. However, the guitar looks like the buckers on the Santana model even though the specs are different.
The shape is like the Santana’s shape and is famous for PRS units. That’s due to the long upper bora, square Fender-like base, and waist that’s less pinched. The Santana is nearly all over but the SE Custom 24 includes a finish of Tobacco Sunburst.
This model has a long-neck guitar feel vs. a Strat. Meanwhile, the SE 24-fret is one of the most comfy guitars on the market. The volume control is easy to operate and the tone/pickup switch is in the hand’s arc.
The vibrato doesn’t have the US modes’ locking tuners. However, the string stretching provides a crisp/clear ring with disappearing neck feel/setup.
The SE Custom seems under-powered but the pickup heights are lower than on the McCarty. A big difference is produced by evening them up and the gap is closed a bit.
13.5 pounds/ 43 x 5 x 21 inches
- Mahogany back/maple top
- Gig bag
- 85/15 S pickups w/ push/pull tone control
- PRs molded tremolo bridge
- Rosewood fretboard w/ bird inlays
- Feels like custom fitted
- Plays well
- Variation of sounds
- Doesn’t have locking tuners of US models
- Under-powered sound
- Maple aesthetic
Pacifica PAC510V OVS Electric Guitar by Yamaha
Yamaha is a Japanese corporation that was founded 130+ years ago in 1887. It’s headquartered in Shizuoka, Japan. The company produces a wide range of products including musical instruments and is one of the world’s biggest piano manufacturers. Yamaha was established as a piano/organ manufacturer.
The Pacific 510 has a basic look but unique setup and provides a wide range of tonal options. The design is single pickup but doesn’t sacrifice any versatility. It instead offers a sound focus that’s top-notch. The Trembucker version of P-Rails pickups provides full tones in position 1, 2, and 3.
The Pacifica series has sold 1+ million units since its 1989 launch. In fact, Yamaha is one of the only brands that performs well versus big names in the low/mid price ranges like Fender.
If you’re a fan of 80s hard rock like Van Halen and Mötley Crüe you should definitely consider this guitar. The 510 is Pacifica’s first design that’s single-pickup. There’s also new Seymour Duncan P-Rails, which provides single-coil/P-90 tones in one package. A 3-way lever switch is used to select the 3 pickup modes.
The maple neck of the 510 is a little wide. It includes a gloss top coat atop a vintage tin. This provides a more vintage feel. The guitar is also comfy to play. The vibrato sometimes sticks but you can sort things out with a tweak.
The PAC510V is definitely very comfy when playing. However, it could be argued a bare/light satin-finish neck would be a better option for the custom tweaks.
The vibrato sometimes sticks. However, you can make a tweak or set it for only downward movement. Regardless of your choice this electric guitar is a good option for rocking.
In terms of sounds the P-Rails of this best electric guitar under $1000 offer s a wide range of tones. The humbucker isn’t “vintage” but provides enough power for rock chords. The guitar is an excellent option if you’re looking for a boutique electric guitar.
If you’re a fan of 80s hard rock then this under-$500 guitar is definitely a good option for you. It’s also a good option for blues tunes. You can use the volume/tone pots to play a wide range of tunes.
Yamaha’s Pacificas challenge models from Fender and Gibson in the budget boutique niche. You could go with a so-called standard guitar but if you’re looking for alternatives the Pacifca 510V is definitely a practical option.
The PAC510V provides a good option in the price range and is worth considering. It’s an excellent option if you want a budget guitar that lets you play some blues or rock. It’s a better option for Def Leopard vs. post-80s hard rock like Creed.
12.4 pounds/ 42.5 x 17.9 x 4.1 inches
- Alder Body
- Seymour Duncan P-Rail Pickup
- Grover locking Tuners
- Wilkinson VS50-6 bridge
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Good for beginners
- Works well with Fender amp
- Tone enough for throwing overtones
- Sticking vibrato
- Tuning issues
SG Faded Series Electric Guitar (2016) by Gibson
Gibson is a US maker of musical instruments like guitars and consumer/professional electronics. The company was founded 110+ years ago in 1902 by Orville Gibson. The company originally produced instruments in the mandolin family. Gibson was founded in the US state Michigan and is now headquartered in Tennessee.
The 2016 SG Faded T was offered a few years ago with powerful pickups and solid hardware. This guitar has features that SG fans would likely want to consider. It’s available in worn-satin nitro finishes.
it’s also been faded to offer a time-honored look. The unit also features the materials the predecessor had half a century ago. That includes a mahogany body and neck.
The SG Standard was launched in the 60s. The Gibson SG Faded 2016 continues that tradition. It features 2 humbuckers to provide an aggressive tone. The rounded neck combines the wide neck width to create a balance of traditional and modern guitars.
Meanwhile, G-Force auto tuning makes it easy to experiment using alternate tunings. It’s excellent for quick tune-ups between songs you play. The Plek Pro fret provides precise intonation, tone, and playability. The SG Faded 2016 gives you the chance to rock onstage with a SG model.
The neck represents Gibson returning to its traditional neck widths preferred by players using a Graph Tech nut that’s self-lubricated to offer improved sustain/intonation. The neck is ideal for today’s players that balance rhythm/lead roles.
Meanwhile, the wide Soloist neck width provides more room for large bends/tapping than old-school neck widths. This offers an excellent balance for guitar players who enjoy SG tone but also want a neck that’s faster/wider.
Meanwhile, the rosewood fingerboard is thicker than the past year. This is a playing feel that offers more solid structure, better sustain, and old-school tone.
Another feature is a pair of humbuckers. The SG Faded 2016 offers 490R and 490T pickups. This provides tonal characteristics like ’57 classic. However, they provide little increases in upper mids. This offers a more modern humbucking sound.
The electric guitar’s electronics also include a 4900R neck & 490T bridge pickups that provide a wide range of tones. The SG Faded T’s chrome hardware features bridge w/ stopbar tailpiece and standard manual tuners.
These items provide a performance that’s smooth/efficient. Factory workers have already set up the SG Faded Series T. The guitar is also bundled with a padded gig bag for storing/transferring the guitar.
The SG Faded 2016 feels fast/precise due to Plek processing. This is usually only provided on high-end custom guitars. However, this model provides precise frets, which offers a super-playable fretboard. Every sound is loud/clear and the fret edges are like silk.
2.2 pounds / 8 x 20 x 18 inches
- Nitro-cellulose satin finish
- 1-piece rosewood fingerboard
- Alnico humbucking pickups
- Standard neck heel shape
- Graph Tech nut
- Excellent return policy
- Good value for quality guitar
- Excellent sound and quality
- Problem with electronics
- Issues with frets
- Crack on front neck
LTD EC-1000T/CTM Electric Guitar by ESP Guitars
ESP is a Japanese guitar manufacturer that mainly produces electric guitars/basses. The company was founded 40+ years ago in 1975 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan and the US state California. Hisatake Shibuya founded the company as Electric Sound Products (ESP). ESP provided custom replacement guitar parts. In 1983 ESP replacement parts were first available in the US.
ESP’s LTD Deluxe EC-1000T/CTM has an apprized custom look that many guitar fans want. The mahogany guitar is a traditional single-cutaway unit including its body shape and top/back binding. Meanwhile, the set mahogany neck includes a shiny ebony fingerboard w/ 22 super-large frets.
The unit also features EMG-60 and EMG-81 humbuckers. This provides enough power as well as note definition. Another feature is gold hardware that adds an extra touch to the electric guitar.
The EC-1000 model is well-known in the guitar world. It’s basically a blend of single-cut and super strat design. Some people requested ESP to make a single cut with a more a traditional body. This explains the EC-1000 CTM.
This model has a body with a more traditional shape. The standard EC-1000’s body has more bevels. Meanwhile, the CTM has a classic body that’s Gibson-like. The body is also double bound like Les Paul Custom.
The cutaway only contains 22 frets. This guitar’s body is made of mahogany. In addition, the set within the neck is also made of mahogany with a 24.75-in. scale.
The fretband of the EC-1000 CTM is ebony and contains 22 big frets. The hardware is gold w/ ESP-locking tuners at the top. Then there’s a Tonepros locking bridge located at the bottom.
The Gibson guitar contains a standard pickup setup for EC-1000 units. There’s a 81 in the bridge and 60 in neck. The controls include 2 volumes and master tone with 3-way switch located on the upper bout.
The locking bridge increases sustain. The pickups are active so they require a battery. The battery compartment requires screws to open. This requires more time and effort to operate the guitar. The compartment is more difficult to use than flip-out compartments.
This is a metal guitar so it includes metal pickups. This explains why they require batteries. The 81 offers high-end clarity even at low tunings. The 81 harmonics provide a high-end tone. This keeps the guitar’s sound clear.
The 60 in the neck is basically a neck-only pickup. It doesn’t provide high output and is most effective for clean tones. The neck pickup 60 offers low-gain tones for blues.
The 18v mod provides more organic/passive tone from pickups. This runs the pickups via 2 batteries rather than 1. It offers the pickups extra organic tone and headroom.
10.75 pounds / 42 x 4 x 16 inches
- EMG 81 & EMG 60 pickups w/ LTD locking tuners
- Set-neck construction and 24.75-inch scale w/ 22 extra jumbo frets and Thin-U neck contour
- Tonepros locking Tune-o-matic bridge/tailpiece
- Mahogany body/neck w/ ebony fingerboard
- Vol/Vol/Tone controls w/ 3-way toggle switch
- Good tone
- Good for metal music
- Excellent value
- Pickup pushes on one side
- Knobs on body
- Pickups require battery
Les Paul Studio (2018) by Gibson
Gibson is a US maker of guitars. It’s headquartered in the US state Tennessee and was founded 110+ years ago in 1902.
Les Paul Studio is as popular among live performers as session guitarists. Gibson’s Les Paul Studio covers a wide range of tones with nearly 60 classic pickups. This offers several creative textures to crank out ideas onstage or studio. That includes classic and modern tunes
The Studio includes weight-relieved body that’s ultra-modern. This weight drop of over a pound provides extra comfort for your long sessions/performance.
The body is made of mahogany/maple and is weight-relieved to provide more comfort. While Les Paul guitars were excellent guitars they were also very heavy. It’s the drawback of playing a guitar that’s made using a solid piece of mahogany.
Gibson has taken a different approach with Les Paul Studio. That’s because it includes an ultra-modern body. It keeps the chime/resonance of old-school Les Pauls but there’s a major weight reduction. This provides benefits like longer onstage sessions.
There’s also the SlimTaper mahogany neck. This feature pays homage to the fast style that’s loved by fans of the 1960s Les Pauls. The tuning of the Les Paul Studio is stable due to the Dependable Grover kidney tuners.
A key feature of the Les Paul Studio guitar is the Plek processing. This feature is typically only found on high-end guitars. This provides the frets with exact precision. You then have a fretboard that’s very playable. Each note plays loud/clear and the fret edges are very smooth.
A big plus that always made Les Pauls high-quality were the pickups. This time there’s a ’57 classic & classic plus humbuckers. They’re wired to a set of controls that’s standard. That includes individual volume/tone knobs for each of the pickups.
The ’57 classic humbuckers also include Alnico 2 magnets that are quite outstanding. In terms of modern LPS this is about the best option you have.
If you want tones like classic Les Paul then you should definitely consider this electric guitar. This guitar offers a vintage experience due to the design/implementation of humbuckers.
This guitar is designed for genres of music like blues or classic rock. This provides you with a wide range of colors. The result is you can add subtle details to your music and make it unique. There’s no doubt this 2018 guitar is a true Gibson Les Paul from start to finish.
The Studio line of Les Paul guitars has included some of the top guitars during recent years. The company has been doing a lot of experimenting with the series. This includes new features and tweaks. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a classic Les Paul guitar this is a good option.
20 pounds / 44 x 18 x 8 inches
- 2 volumes & 2 tones
- Vintage style keystones
- Look and feel
- Aluminum tune-o-matic
- Slim Taper Neck
- Good for beginners & pros
- Good overall quality
- Excellent value
- Bad auction
- Frets not polished
- Quality control issues
MHHB2 SE Mark Holcomb Electric Guitar by PRS
Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars is a US manufacturer of guitars and amps. It was founded 30+ years ago in 1985 and is headquartered in the US state Maryland.
If you’re looking for the best electric guitar under $1000 here’s another option. This mid-range guitar is a good option for playing metal. PRS has teamed up with guitarist Make Holcomb from Periphery.
This guitar is more affordable than other guitars endorsed by famous guitarists and costs less than $1000. It might seem to be a good deal due to Holcomb being involved in the guitar’s design and the price point.
Even if you aren’t too familiar with Mark Holcomb or the 2005-formed metal band Periphery you might be able to determine this model is a PRE SE model. That’s due to the contoured body that’s double-cutaway and the bird fretboard inlays.
There are also the materials that make this signature model stand out as a PRS guitar. It’s made of solid mahogany w/ maple veneer top. Then there’s the clear finish that reveals “Holcomb Burst.”
The guitar’s neck is quite incredible. It’s made of maple that’s satin-finished. There’s also a wide width w/ a thin feel. The guitar keeps a C shape, which provides a fast/comfy playing experience.
There’s also a bound fretboard made of rosewood and 24 mid-sized frets. There’s also a PRS bird fretboard inlays. The guitar also features side markers that are glow in the dark, which is a plus for dark stages. The guitar is a good one to play. It has a fit/finish that’s better than many others on the market.
This guitar’s electronics is its forte and helps to justify the price tag as a signature model. The guitar includes 2 premium humbuckers. That includes the neck’s Seymour Duncan Alpha and bridge’s Seymour Duncan omega. These are quality pickups for the price range.
In terms of controls PRS has used a 3-way selector switch and basic master volume/master tone control. The latter feature offers coil-splitting that’s push/pull.
The main issue with this electric guitar is related to tuning stability. The tuners are easy to use but the guitar slips out of tone often for the price range. The problem seems to be the nut, which is the weakest component of the guitar.
If you’re thinking about this guitar model you should also think about swapping out the nut. The MHHB2 also includes a fixed bridge and includes a padded gig bag.
A big benefit of this guitar is playability. The strong tone is due to the Alpha/Omega pickups. The bridge produces a tight tone and is suited for hard rock and metal.
14 pounds / 45 x 19 x 5 inches
- Bass Pickup Alpha, Treble Pickup: Omega
- PRS tuners
- 3-piece maple neck w/ satin finish
- Volume and Push/Pull Controls
- Beveled Maple w/ Maple veneer, back wood: mahogany
- Excellent guitar
- Good pickups
- Excellent value for quality guitar
- Neck keeps moving
- Bad turners
- Cheap nut
Striped Series Stratocaster Electric Guitar by EVH
EVH bears the initials of one of the all-time greatest guitarists Eddie Van Halen. The band of the same name released its first album in 1978. Eddie was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame over a decade ago in 2007.
Eddie Van Halen is often listed as one of the all-time greatest guitarists. In addition, his striped Frankenstrat is also one of the most iconic guitars is rock history.
EVH Guitars offers some high-end custom guitars that cost several thousand dollars. However, this version of the striped Frankenstrat is much more affordable since it’s in the under-$1000 category.
The EVH Striped series Stratocaster is now available in the famous finish with red and black/white stripes. There are other famous combos that were inspired by Van Halen’s career. That includes white w/ black stripes as well as black w/ yellow stripes.
These interesting/unique colors are a good option for Van Halen fans who want to do their EVH impersonations onstage.
The eye-catching colors are painted on a Strat-style guitar that’s double-cutaway and made of basswood. There’s also a glossy finish that’s applied carefully to the electric guitars.
A big factor in the guitar’s design is the neck. It’s constructed from quatersawn maple that’s reinforced. It’s quite slim and fast with smooth finish that’s hand-rubbed and compound radius that levels out when you get to the highest fret among the 22 jumbo frets. So it’s very easy to chord and shred, which is a plus.
It’s not surprising the EVH guitar has a wide pickups selection and several controls. Tis guitar includes one pickup, which is at the bridge. It’s a Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucker. Since the focus falls on the humbucker it’s definitely a quality one.
This minimalist theme is continued with one rotary knob that controls the master volume. However, the volume is labeled as Tone.
The rest of the hardware is very impressive. That’s particularly true of the Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo bridge. It includes a EVH D-Tuna device so you can drop instantly from low E-D then go back again.
The guitar also includes tuners made of die-cast chrome and Floyd Rose that locks out for good tuning stability. This is a must-have for this type of guitar.
The only issue is that the guitar isn’t bundled with a gig bag or case. It’s sort of expected for guitars in this price range.
The one humbucker is all that’s required to produce some of the most famous tones from EVH. That includes thick powerchords. They’re high-output and very unrefined. This provides big aggression and feedback.
It might be tough to recreate the Brown Sound via the humbucker. On the other hand, the overall tone is quite high so you probably won’t be disappointed.
This under-$1000 strat isn’t the best guitar for doing an Eddie Van Halen guitar riff at home or onstage. However, it’s still a good model for style, tone, and playability. This is especially true due to the price range.
10.45 pounds / 41 x 15 x 4.2 inches
- Floyd Rose locking nut
- Quartersawn maple neck
- 3-color pattern inspired by Van Halen’s design
- Basswood Stratocaster-type body
- EVH locking tremelo
- Good for metal
- Excellent value
- Great pickup
- Attack deficiency
- Bad tone
- Don’t carry tapped harmonics
How to Buy Cheap Guitars (Buying Guide)
If you want to buy the best electric guitar under $1000 it not only involves buying an entry-level unit but also saving money on your total purchase. A beginner guitar can cost as low as $200 and have a price tag up to $2000 for solid quality. Here are some ways to save money on guitars so you can stay within your under-$1000 budget:
Getting some good advice in life can be beneficial in many situations. That includes when you’re shopping for an under-$1000 electric guitar. You might have a friend/relative who bought an entry-level guitar in that price range who is 100% happy about their purchase. This is a good start when shopping for a new guitar.
Another type of recommendation to consider is online reviews. A good source is programs like Amazon’s Verified Customers since you’ll be more likely to get an honest opinion from someone who’s actually purchased/used the guitar.
Watch out for fake reviews! Sometimes “reviewers” are actually paid to write fake reviews about products like electric guitars. Some websites provide lists of the top products like musical instruments that are within a particular price range.
Avoid No-no-no Plans
What are they all about? These plans seem to be outstanding at first and include:
- No money down
- No Interest for X days/months
- No payments for X days
This might seem to be more convenient than shopping online so what’s the problem? The big risk is you’ll be dealing with sky-high interest rates. Then if you miss one payment you’ll owe interest starting on that day.
What if you have perfectly good inventions to make all your payments in full and on time? Even if that’s the case remember that “stuff” happens in life. If you run into problems like losing your job or emergency expenses it can make it tough to pay for your new electric guitar even if it’s in the under-$1000 price range.
Make sure to shop around even if you’ve picked an e-commerce site for purchasing an electric guitar. Sites like Amazon make it easier to compare models based on different brands, models, tonewoods, features, prices, etc. It’s one of the main benefits of shopping online since the process is much easier than when doing comparison shopping via physical stores.
There are several reasons Amazon became the second US-based company (following Apple) to have a $1 trillion value. In a word, it’s “convenience.” The online retailers are open 24/7 so you don’t have to deal with store hours, holiday closures, etc.
It’s also easier to shop from home since you don’t have to deal with rigmarole of brick & mortar stores. That includes dressing up to go out, waiting in traffic, finding what you need, waiting in line at the checkout, then commuting back home. The time and effort needed is higher during rush hour and holiday seasons, so there’s also that.
Shopping via e-commerce can also save you tons of money. There are no transportation costs, which can save you a small fortune when you have to travel long distances. Price comparisons are easier so it’s more likely you can find a rock-bottom price.
Then there are also some X-factors about shopping online that make it better than physical stores. They include less compulsive shopping so you can focus on what you’re looking for. If you’re shopping for an electric guitar as a gift it’s also easier than shopping at a brick & mortar store.
Key Features of Under-$1000 Electric Guitars
If you’re in the market for the best electric guitar under $1000 here are some of the main issues to take up to find the right unit:
If you’re looking for a guitar in the under-$1000 price range you might be willing to spend up to a thousand bucks. On the other hand, you might only be able to spend half of that or less. The amount that you’re willing to spend isn’t really as important as staying close to the budget you’ve set.
Should you spend more than you’ve budgeted? Try to stay as close to the limit you’ve set. If you find the “perfect” under-$1000 electric guitar that’s a little over your budget then you should definitely consider it. That said, it’s a different story when you end up spending hundreds of dollars more than you originally budgeted.
Here’s an X-factor. Make sure to remember you’ll need other items like cables, tuner, pedals, and amplifier. This can easily tack on hundreds of dollars to your total investment. In fact, you might want to factor in those extra expenses when you calculate your total budget.
The sound of guitars is mostly based on the interaction of magnets in the pickup and strings vibrating. Why is the type of wood a factor? The wood has a big effect on how an electric guitar sounds.
The wood’s resonance affects how long the strings vibrate as well as the motion’s shape. In addition, wood also lets the pickup move. The combination results in wood being a critical issue in the guitar’s overall tone.
This type of wood is like the appearance and tonal features of alder. However, it should be noted it’s less resonant. Agathis is often found on guitars that are newer/cheaper.
This is a hard/dense type of wood. It’s used mainly on the guitar’s fretboards for pricey guitars. Ebony has a smooth feel and is typically almost black.
This is also referred to as Eastern mahogany. It provides a very warm resonance. Nato wood is strong and is frequently used for the necks of cheaper electric guitars. That’s due to the cost-effectiveness of the wood.
This is the most common type of wood that’s used for fretboards of electric guitars. This is a dense/hard wood that be quite aesthetic. The color ranges from nearly black to brown/blonde. Sometimes rosewood is used in the bodies of electric guitars. However, one drawback is this makes the guitar heavier.
This has a tone that’s like ash but is cheaper and less figured. Alder is one of the most common woods used for solid body guitars. It typically has a light tan color but often has a non-clear finish.
This is the most common type of wood that’s used to produce guitar necks. It’s hard/dense and frequently has eye-catching grain patterns that are known as “figuring.”
Another plus of maple is it provides an overall tone that’s very bright. The figuring and tonal characteristics result in maple being frequently added for a veneer/top laminate on high-end solid body guitars.
The wood is also used as a top wood in certain archtop guitars and is typically laminated. The hardness boosts the guitar’s trebles. The wood is also used to make the fretboard since it boosts the sound’s definition.
This is a common type of wood that’s used for solid body guitars. This wood is harder than mahogany and is quite resonant. It provides the guitar with bright tone, ringing sustain, and a mid-range that’ well-defined.
This wood is light colored with eye-catching grain figuring. It often has a clear finish. Swamp ash is very aesthetic and is a detailed wood that’s used on high-end guitars.
This is a dense/strong wood that’s used in several parts of the guitar minus the bridges/fretboards since they require harder wood. Short-scale guitars usually have a mahogany neck/back along with maple tops.
Another popular combo is all-mahogany body/neck minus the fretboard. Since mahogany isn’t very hard this stresses the mid-range/bass frequencies to provide a mellow guitar tone. The reason mahogany is used is it’s a resonant wood that improves the sustain of the guitar. It’s usually a uniform brown color.
The neck of the guitar includes the headstock and fretboard where the tuners are mounted. A guitar neck contains a metal truss rod for preventing the twisting/bowing and can be tweaked so the guitar can maintain a pitch consistently.
The fretboard typically consists of a thin layer of ebony or rosewood. However, some models like maple necks include a fretboard that’s made using the same kind of wood as the neck. The majority of fretboards contain markers like position dots on the fretboard. Some electric guitar models contain markers on the fretboard’s upper edge. This provides more visibility for the player.
The profile/width of the neck has an effect on the comfort level while fretting and the stringed instrument’s playability. The majority of necks are shaped like the letter C or U.
An important issue is the neck’s width/depth in relation to the guitar player’s hand. Players who have small hands should look for necks that are narrow/shallow while people with big hands should look for neck profiles that are thicker.
There are 3 main types of neck construction.
This type of neck is connected to the guitar’s body. Bolt-on construction is typically the most cost-effective. It makes it easier to replace the neck whether it’s for repairs/customization. The construction provides less sustain/resonance than other types of guitar necks.
This type of neck is set into the guitar’s body and attached with glue. It’s then fastened via clamping the guitar’s neck to the body until the drying process is completed. This type of neck joint is more stable and provides superior resonance/sustain for the guitar. A big drawback is preparing the neck is more difficult.
This type of guitar includes a neck that’s usually laminated. It extends through the whole body’s length and contains wings/fins that are glued on the body’s sides. This offers more stability to the guitar neck and when played more resonance/sustain.
What are the benefits/drawbacks? The neck repairs are costlier and more difficult. Meanwhile, more stability results in repairs being less likely.
Extended Range Guitar (ERG)
This is a type of stringed instrument that takes the basic 6-stirng guitar to the next level. That’s done by adding extra strings to the guitar and/or boosting the instrument’s tonal range. You can find a wide range of extended range guitars (ERGs) from various brands like Epiphone and Schecter.
What’s the big deal about 7+ stringed electric guitars? The main benefit is a wider range but that’s basically the main plus. At 8 strings you have to deal with more string tension and scale length. So it’s really an issue of whether or not the extra range is worth the potential drawbacks you’ll have to deal with.
Many experts recommend playing with a 7-stringed guitar first before you start considering an ERG. After you get accustomed to the extra string you should then consider moving up to an ERG.
If you’re looking for an under-$1000 guitar there’s a good chance you’re a newbie guitar player. If that’s the case then you should definitely look for a guitar with ease-of-use. You’ll need some time for your fingers to get used to playing. There’s good news! The process is generally easier when you’re learning to play electric guitars, which is definitely a plus.
The issue of “fretting” shouldn’t be an issue for you. In other words, the strings should be closer to the guitar’s fretboard instead of being farther away. It’s important for your guitar to have the right “action” in terms of the model’s playability.
In some cases you’ll need a setup in case the action is too high or off. This will cost you some money if you have it professionally done. That said, it’s arguably worthwhile since it means your stringed instrument will be set up and ready for riffs.
The guitar’s setup affects various issues including the action and intonation. The intonation is how in tune the instrument sounds along the fretboard. In the case the guitar is in tune when you play it should remain that way when you start with chords/notes.
If that’s the case then it’s time to provide your guitar with a setup. The good news is most new guitars including those in the under-$1000 range are usually set up already so it’s just a matter of plugging them in then rock ‘n roll!
These are pieces of metal/plastic under the strings. They’re greatly responsible for the tone of the guitar. You might be wondering why they’re called “pickups. “The reason is they pick up the strings’ vibration/electricity then send them to the amplifier when they get magnified.
Keep in mind the pickups and configurations can become complex. The best way to think of them is the strings’ “microphones.” They’re available in many varieties. However, the most common varieties are Single-Coil and humbuckers
Single-coil pickups are common to many kinds of guitars that are Fender-style. These types of guitars tend to have a bright sound.
Then there are humbucker-style pickups. These are found on most guitars that are Bison-based. They’re frequently used for tones that are warmer/thicker.
How are they named as such? These playbacks “buck” the “hum” that’s included with single-coiled guitars. This includes various guitars including most hollow/semi-hollow guitars.
One way to get inspired playing electric guitars is to pick an axe that resembles the one used by your favorite guitarist or band. OK, it’s safe to say in the under-$1000 you might have to go with a replica of the all-time most iconic guitars.
However, you can often pick a more affordable option like a Fender Stratocaster. This type of model combines the benefits of a quality brand with an affordable price tag. It offers the best of both worlds since you can do your best Eddie Van Halen or Slash impersonation for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re looking for a starter electric guitar this is the most common option. Some examples include Telecaster and Stratocaster. This is a good option for music like rock, pop, and country. As the name suggests these instruments are made of solid wood and don’t include any airspaces inside that resonate.
The first solid body guitar was invented by Les Paul who worked in Epiphone Guitar’s factory. The guitar he designed was a “log” guitar named because it was a basic rectangle-shaped block of wood that had an attached neck. Paul is often given credit for inventing the world’s first solid body-type electric guitar as far back as 1941.
Unlike the solid body guitar this type does contain chambers that produce resonant sound in a sense like acoustic guitars. When this type of guitar goes up against solid body guitars minus an amp the hollow bodies are louder. This makes them a good option for genres like blues and jazz.
If you don’t quite want a hollow body electric guitar an alternative is an in-between model. Like a hollow body it’s hollow but less deep. This makes these guitars more flexible so they’re a good option if you want more flexibility in your guitar playing. You can find many in-between units made by some famous brands like Gibson and Epiphone.
So there you have it! Whether you’re a newbie or virtuoso guitar player, you can find a quality unit at an affordable price. The key is to first determine the top priorities for your next stringed instrument then find the right model that meets those needs.
It’s been 85+ years since Rickenbacker Guitars produced the first mass-produced electric guitar in 1931. Since then the market value of electric cars has sky-rocketed to $1.3+ billion (2017) in the US alone. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort you can find the best electric guitar under $1000. If you need Acoustic Guitar, read the review about Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000. Rock on!