There are many lists of cheap guitars on the web. Heck, I’ve even written a few myself. This is not one of those lists. This is a list of excellent guitars that should sell for more, but don’t. They are truly great guitars at affordable prices.
Many of these are the more affordable version of major guitar makers. For example, Epiphone is the affordable version of the Gibson guitar. Sometimes, the price difference is due to different components that are used, sometimes it’s a difference of where the guitar is assembled. Epiphone Les Paul guitars have different components than Gibson Les Pauls, but the difference is usually not noticeable to the novice or hobbyist.
Ibanez Artcore AF75
It’s hard to find a hollowbody electric guitar at this price, and harder still to find such a good quality one. The Ibanez AF75 is part of their Artcore series of hollowbody guitars, with a maple body and mahogany neck and ultra-smooth rosewood fretboard it has the look and feel of an old-fashioned jazz box. The AF75 comes with a pair of Classic Elite ACH humbucker pickups for everything from a warm jazz tone to classic rock growl.
Epiphone Limited Edition Wildkat
If you’re looking for an ax with a sense of style – whether you play blues, jazz, rockabilly or just plain rock – look no further than the Epiphone Limited Edition Wildkat Electric Guitar in Pearl White.
Epiphone has been a leader in archtop guitar design since the 1930’s, but they’re not afraid of a little innovation. The Wildkat Royale is just such a design. Epiphone’s WildKat is a beautiful blend of pearl white finish accented by gold sparkle binding, gold Hardware and a gold Bigsby tailpiece. Vintage style dogear P-90 pickups round out the Royale vibe and give the WildKat classic tone and bite.
The Epiphone Wildkat is a smaller body, semi-hollow guitar that provides great vintage sound and vibe at a surprisingly affordable price. The WildKat features a solid mahogany body that is routed to create an acoustic guitar-like body. It’s got plenty of tonal versatility too, with bridge volume, neck volume, master tone and master volume controls. The WildKat also has premium 16:1 Grover machine heads, likely to help offset the Bigsby’s tendency to mess with the tuning. But the Bigsby was never really meant for dive bombing solo’s anyway.
Or watch this demo for more rock tones:
Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul
The Epiphone LP Special II is on this list because it is the Les Paul Electric Guitar that you can afford!
Epiphone was one of Gibson’s main competitors until Gibson bought the company. Being that Epiphone is now owned by Gibson, and they both make Les Paul style guitars, you can imagine that the differences other than price are such that the weekend warrior or hobbyist isn’t going to notice. (see the link at the top of this post for more on that)
So while the Epiphone LP Special II isn’t top of the line like the Gibson Les Paul, it is a very good guitar and it isn’t going to set you back $3,000 or more either.
The body and neck are mahogany, while the fingerboard is a smooth rosewood. It’s got 700T and 650R open coil humbucker pickups for long sustain and searing Les Paul tones. Also included are the LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece.
The Fender Telecaster solid body electric guitar has been around since the birth of Rock and Roll, and with good reason – it’s a work horse! Its simplicity of design and versatility make it an easy guitar to play, and an old stand by for seasoned players when that flashy new ax runs afoul of the tech gods and starts to glitch.
All the Fender guitars on this list are made in Mexico, which is why they don’t cost twice as much. Unless you’re a pro, you won’t notice the difference otherwise.
Fender Standard Telecaster
First up in the Tele line is the Fender Standard Telecaster, with Maple Fretboard. This is the classic, no frills Tele. Complete with 2 single-coil pickups (neck and bridge), C-shaped neck, 9.5″ fretboard radius and medium jumbo frets, master tone and master volume knob, and pickup selector. That’s it. Not a lot can go wrong here, but once you master the finesse of the tone knob and the appropriate playing style, you’ll be amazed at what you can play with such a simple rig.
The 6-Saddle string-through bridge provides superior intonation, sustain, and ease of adjustment. Because of this and its simple design, the Fender Telecaster has a reputation for keeping great intonation and staying in tune, even after the most abusive play.
Fender’s use of alder wood for the body provides a bright, balanced and resonant tone with pronounced upper midrange, excellent sustain, and sharp attack. It’s a great guitar for Blues, Rock and Jazz.
Fender Modern Player Tele Plus
For those who like the standard Telecaster, but feel that something is missing – check out the Fender Modern Player Tele Plus.
The Modern Player Tele Plus features the same body, neck and fretboard as the standard Telecaster, but the pickups are different. The Player Tele Plus replaces the single-coil bridge pickup with a humbucker, and adds a single coil strat pickup in the middle. It also has a 5-way switch for selecting a much greater range of tones.
The Schecter OMEN-6 is a great hard-rock and metal guitar for anyone on a budget less than 4 figures. This guitar features a Maple neck and basswood body, Rosewood fretboard and Schecter Diamond Plus pickups in the bridge and neck position. The naturally bright tone of the maple balances the warmer tones of the basswood body, and the Schecter Diamond Plus pickups are over wound for aggressive high output pickup, to help give your amp a friendly shove over the edge. The OMEN-6 also has high quality Schecter tuners for precise tuning and a tune-o-matic bridge with string-thru body tail for better sustain and clarity.
Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe
The 431 C-6 is Schechter’s first “entry level” guitar to earn the “Diamond Series” name. That’s because it is built with more care and quality than many entry level guitars, but it still retains the entry level price. The Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe looks cool, and plays great and all with an affordable price.
The Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe comes in a very slick looking satin metallic light blue, black or white and features solid basswood body with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard. The 431 also has Schecter Diamond Plus humbucker pickups (which I think are actually produced by Duncan); volume, tone and 3-way pickup selector switch (neck, bridge, both).
Gretsch G5425 Electromatic Jet Club
It’s not often you see a Gretsch in new condition for a price like this. To be fair, it is an entry level guitar – but it’s still a Gretsch for under $300!
The G5425 Electromatic Jet Club features a chambered basswood body and arched laminated maple top with slick gloss finish. The neck is maple with rosewood fingerboard and “Neo-Classic Thumbnail” inlays. The chambered body gives it more sustain when plugged in, and a more acoustic sound when strummed without an amp. This makes it a pretty decent practice guitar if you want to get some licks under your fingers late at night without disturbing the peace.
Speaking of plugging in, the G5425 has two humbucker pickups – both Gretsch dual-coil humbuckers, and 3 positions: Bridge, Neck and both Bridge and Neck.
The Gretsch look is complete with pearloid pickguard and “G-Arrow” control knobs.
The Gretsch G5425 Electromatic Jet Club has a great mellow tone but is also capable of darker metal or hard rock tone as well at an incredible price.
Watch the Review:
Danelectro ’67 Heaven
The Danelectro ’67 Heaven is one of the most unique looking guitars out there. With its single coil lipstick pickups and offset body style it looks vaguely like a distant relative to a Fender Mustang or Jaguar. Rest assured, it is as unique as it’s gator skin finish.
This is a modern day reissue of the ’67 Hawk that first appeared back in 1967. The body is solid poplar, the neck is maple and the fingerboard is rosewood. The controls are about as simple as can be: volume knob, tone knob and pickup selector switch. The switch toggles between neck, bridge and a blend of both.
It’s unique, cool and surprisingly cheap. What’s not to love?