It’s true – learning how to play an electric guitar can be a pricey endeavor.
However, if you’re a beginner, you don’t have to spend a fortune on your first guitar.
Many great entry-level electric guitars that don’t cost more than $300.
Even if you have some experience, it’s possible to find a low-priced guitar that will help you continue your guitar-learning journey.
To help you find your first (or next) electric guitar, we compiled a list of the best cheap electric guitars you can find.
All of these guitars are popular, reliable – and budget-friendly!
1. Yamaha Pacifica 112V – Overall best cheap electric guitar
The Yamaha Pacifica 112V is undoubtedly one of the best cheap electric guitars you can find.
In fact, this is one of the best electric guitars in the market in general – a beauty with a long-standing reputation.
The 112V is incredibly well-built (especially considering the price range), boasting an alder body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard.
It has a lot to offer in terms of electronics as well, featuring 1 Alnico humbucker and 2 Alnico single coils.
When it comes to hardware, it has vintage-style vibrato with a block saddle, although it provides a rather modern sound and feel.
It looks stunning as well, and you can choose from Natural Satin, Old Violin Sunburst, Raspberry Red, Sonic Blue, Black, and Silver Metallic finish.
It’s a great choice for guitar beginners, but it’s also suitable for intermediate players.
All things considered, the Yamaha Pacifica 112V is a versatile and well-made electric guitar with a surprisingly low price.
2. Gretsch G2622 Streamliner – Best cheap semi-hollow body guitar
You’re probably familiar with the fact that Gretsch guitars are one of the all-time favorites.
Luckily, the iconic brand decided to produce an affordable Gretsch guitar series that fit any budget.
So if you’re looking for a guitar with a recognizable Gretsch tone and vibe, you should check out the Gretsch G2622 Streamliner.
Thanks to its 5-ply arched maple body, this beautifully semi-hollow body guitar delivers a snappy, open tone.
It comes with Broad’Tron humbuckers, controlled by a three-way toggle selector switch on the bass side shoulder, a master volume on the treble side horn, as well as a trio of controls.
Centre block widens use at higher gains, and the guitar generally provides a rather softer tonality.
All in all, the Gretsch G2622 Streamliner offers great value for money, and it’s definitely one of the best budget electric guitars out there.
3. PRS SE Standard 24 – Best value for money
If you’re willing to spend a bit more (but not too much), PRS SE Standard 24 should be on your shortlist.
If you buy the PRS SE Standard 24, you’ll get a premium electric guitar without breaking the bank.
This beauty is often categorized as a high-end electric guitar for beginners, but many players wouldn’t put it in the beginner category at all.
Either way, PRS SE Standard 24 offers incredible versatility and playability.
Due to its PRS 85/15 Humbuckers, it provides clarity and a wide tonal range.
On top of that, thanks to its wide-thin neck and distinctive PRS neck joint design, it’s very enjoyable to play.
And it’s made of quality materials like mahogany and maple.
That said, if you’re looking for an affordable electric guitar that will serve you for a longer period of time, look no further than the PRS SE Standard 24.
4. Epiphone Les Paul SL – Best for beginners
The Epiphone Les Paul SL is a very cheap electric guitar that can be found for less than $200.
However, this cheap guitar is worth checking out, especially if you’re a beginner.
It’s incredibly lightweight and easy to play.
It has a poplar body and mahogany neck, along with Epiphone 650SCR Ceramic Single-Coil and 700SCT Ceramic Single-Coil pickups which are, by the way, really good for this price range.
After all, Epiphone is known for making budget-friendly electric guitars for novices as well as more experienced players.
And their Les Paul SL is hands down one of the best budget options you can find.
5. Yamaha Revstar RSE20 – Best cheap stylish guitar
If you want to buy a cheap electric guitar that will help you stand out from the crowd, we recommend the Yamaha Revstar Element RSE20.
This eye-catching electric guitar looks really special, and there are several colors to choose from, so you can choose the model that suits your style.
The Revstar Element RSE20 also has a fantastic playing neck, so it’s very comfortable to play.
It comes with two YGD-designed VH3-covered humbuckers, so you don’t have to worry about proper volume.
On top of that, thanks to its 5-way selector switch and the Revstar’s high-pass “Dry” switch, you’ll get a variety of tonal possibilities.
6. Squier Bullet Mustang – Best cheap electric guitar for kids
If you’re searching for an entry-level electric guitar that won’t cost you a lot, this popular Squier guitar is an excellent choice.
The Squier Bullet Mustang has a maple neck, basswood body, and Indian laurel fingerboard, so it’s well-made and durable.
It comes with two full-size, high output humbuckers, a hardtail bridge, and a set of solid machine heads, and it provides excellent playability and tuning stability.
Also, this is a short-scale guitar, so the distance between the bridge saddles and the nut of the guitar is shorter than the Fender-style scale length of 25.5”.
Since it’s relatively small and lightweight, it’s a great choice for beginners, including younger players and kids.
7. Schecter Demon-6 – Best for hard rock and metal
Schecter Demon-6 is a fantastic affordable electric guitar with a unique look.
It’s simple but capable of producing a powerful sound.
It boasts Duncan Designed HB-105B humbucker (bridge) and HB-105N (neck) pickups, which makes it ideal for metal solos.
That said, if you prefer genres like hard rock and metal, this diabolically powerful guitar will meet your expectations.
It provides incredible high-gain tones and great tuning stability.
And it’s made of basswood and maple; along with the Crimson Red Burst finish, it really stands out from the crowd.
8. Ibanez RG450DX – Best for speed players
The Ibanez RG450DX is a perfect electric guitar for beginners as well as more experienced players.
It’s somewhere in the middle between entry-level and intermediate guitars.
It’s equipped with two Quantum humbuckers and one Quantum single coil, along with a 5-way selector, volume, and tone controls.
In terms of build quality, it’s truly amazing, especially if you consider the price.
It has a very thin neck, which in combination with high-output humbuckers makes it an ideal guitar for speed players.
9. Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Thinline – Best vintage guitar
The Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Thinline features a slim, comfortable “C”-shaped neck profile, which makes it suitable for beginners.
But this eye-catching guitar is far from a simple entry-level electric – it’s capable of producing a powerful sound that fits any style.
It has a resonant maple semi-hollow body and an amazing Fender-designed range of humbucking pickups.
On top of that, it looks stunning, with its nickel-plated hardware and a vintage-tint gloss neck finish which gives it a vintage look.
It’s fair to say that Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Thinline is a premium electric guitar – but luckily, it’s reasonably priced.
10. Epiphone SG Special P-90 – Iconic P-90 sound
Epiphone SG Special P-90 is not the cheapest electric guitar on this list, but it’s definitely worth exploring.
It has a mahogany body and mahogany neck, so you can rest assured this beauty will serve you well for some time.
It also has a beautiful finish, so it looks amazing as well.
More importantly, it produces a beautiful tone and that recognizable P90 sound.
After all, it was directly inspired by the Gibson SG Special – the only difference is a cheaper price.
That said if you’re looking for a reasonably priced electric inspired by the legendary Gibson, the Epiphone SG Special P-90 is a guitar for you.
How to Find the Best Cheap Electric Guitar for You
Choosing the best electric guitar for you can be a challenging task, as there are so many great models to choose from.
To determine what kind of electric guitar you need, you have to think about your goals, budget, and priorities.
That said, if you know that you want a budget electric guitar, you’ve already narrowed down your list.
However, our reviews showed you a range of good cheap electric guitars – so how are you supposed to make a choice?
When buying a cheap electric guitar, you should make sure you’re opting for a reliable brand.
Some cheap electric guitars provide poor quality, and they’re really not worth checking out.
Even if you spend less money, you don’t want to spend it on an instrument that won’t serve you well.
Therefore, try to look for trustworthy brands like Epiphone, Yamaha, and Ibanez.
Some popular guitar brands don’t offer cheap models, but many of them created the guitar series that you can get at an affordable price, without losing the quality and ‘DNA’ of their original models.
Furthermore, try to think about your goals – what do you intend to use the guitar for?
Do you want to use it primarily for your guitar lessons or do you want to perform live?
Once you determine what type of electric guitar you really need, it will be easier for you to begin your search and find the perfect instrument for you.
What Is the Average Price of a Decent Electric Guitar?
Generally, electric guitars can cost $150 as well as several thousand dollars.
Beginner electric guitars usually cost between $100 to $400, while high-end electric guitars cost more than $1000.
But most electric guitars fall in the $600 to $900 price range.
If you want to buy a premium-quality electric guitar, you need to be ready to spend a bit more.
Nevertheless, you’re able to get a decent electric guitar for roughly $200-$300.
We don’t live in a time where cheap guitars mean poor quality – at least not in most cases.
In this day and age, even the most popular guitar brands with a long-standing reputation produce reasonably priced electric guitars that fit any budget.
What to Expect from a Cheap Electric Guitar
Certainly, more money means better quality.
If you spend thousands of dollars on a new guitar, you’ll get a top-quality instrument with brilliant construction and tone that will last you for many years to come.
But what to expect from a cheap electric guitar?
Well, the best cheap electric guitars are usually made of similar tonewoods as their more expensive counterparts – many brands use poplar, mahogany, and basswood.
However, the construction methods are different for expensive and lower-priced electric guitars.
The bodies of cheaper electric guitars are often made of multiple pieces of wood, unlike high-end guitars that are usually made of one or two pieces of quality wood.
But the good news is, you probably won’t come across guitars with lousy hardware and sets of pickups – most of the guitars in the market offer decent-quality components.
What Guitar Body Shape Should I Choose?
There are all kinds of cheap electric guitars you can buy, but there are generally two main categories of electric guitars to choose from, single-cutaway and double-cutaway guitars.
The single-cutaway guitar sounds warmer and fuller, and it’s usually 4-5 lbs heavier than a double-cut guitar.
The Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul are the most popular single-cut guitars.
Double-cut guitars will provide you with better upper fret access, and they tend to be lighter and more comfortable.
The number of cutaways on an electric guitar also has an effect on the overall tone, but we’re not talking about a huge difference.
However, the shape of the electric guitar will determine how you feel while you’re playing it; so, make sure you find a comfortable guitar that fits you well.
What About Neck Profile?
The neck profile will affect your playing experience as well.
The term neck profile refers to the shape of the back of a guitar neck in cross-section.
However, there isn’t one shape that’s better than the other – it’s a matter of personal preference and playing comfort.
The C-shaped neck profile is one of the most common neck profiles – C-shaped necks have a comfortable oval profile that works well for most playing styles.
The ‘C’ neck profile is also suitable for beginners.
The V-shaped neck comes in two popular versions – a more rounded “soft” V, and a more pointed “hard” V, often used in classical instruments too.
The third popular neck shape is the U-shaped neck profile – it’s chunky and rounded, and it’s ideal for players with larger hands.
Another thing you should consider when buying an electric guitar is the type of guitar pickups.
A guitar pickup is a device that turns the vibrations of guitar strings into electrical signals and therefore allows the sound of your guitar to be processed and played through a speaker.
Single coils and humbuckers are the most commonly used guitar pickups.
Single-coil pickups are the first electric pickups to be invented, and they’re still the most popular choice.
They’re known for their sharp tone and clarity, but they have more feedback than humbucker pickups, and that’s why many rock and metal guitar players tend to avoid them.
Humbucker pickups have less feedback, and they generally produce a thicker, warmer, and bigger output.
They use two magnet coils wound in reverse to one another, so it’s possible to cancel out the hums.
Epiphone also created mini humbuckers that produce a smaller amount of signal compared to humbuckers.
By the way, some electric guitars feature a mixture of single coils and humbucker pickups, which is a great solution as well.
Piezo pickups work in a slightly different way as they are located inside the bridge of the guitar and pick up the vibrations of the string and guitar.
Piezo pickups are popular in acoustic guitars, but they’re sometimes used with electric guitars in order to create a more acoustic sound.
What Is the Best Wood for Electric Guitars?
Another element that affects the overall tone, sound, and quality of the electric guitar is the type of wood.
The wood used to make a guitar also determines the weight of the guitar.
That said, this is another factor to consider when choosing the best cheap electric guitar.
Generally, the denser the wood, the better sustain an instrument will have.
Some of the woods used to make electric guitars include well-seasoned hardwoods like maple, walnut, ash, alder, and mahogany for the solid body.
Mahogany is a warm, resonant tonewood, and it’s often used by Gibson.
Some manufacturers combine it with a brighter wood such as maple to bring out higher-range frequencies.
Fender often uses alder, a timber that provides an even frequency response, and for a smaller number of instruments they use ash.
Basswood is another popular choice because it’s easily sourced; it’s a cheaper option, but it has a nice warm and resonant tone.
Best Cheap Electric Guitars – Final Thoughts
Hopefully, our list of the best cheap electric guitars helped you find a perfect budget guitar for you.
All of the guitars we reviewed today are well-made and popular, even though they’re not crazy expensive.
Whether you prefer a classic Fender, an eye-catching Yamaha, or a beginner-friendly Epiphone, you’ll surely have a great playing experience.