Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Often I get asked do you need an expensive guitar to get a tasty tone and fluid playability?
The Short Answer... NO.
More often then not the higher priced guitars are a reflection of brand and less about quality. Now, there are many great guitar companies who make quality guitars and use exceptional quality wood but are they necessary for great sound?
Often with a proper setup you can have a much cheaper guitar with the the same, if not better playability then many of the more expensive options.
We have compiled a guide showcasing some of the best guitars on the market under $500.
Squier has made an exceptional guitar at an affordable price! With this model they have chosen to honor alt-rock godfather and Dinosaur Jr. leader, J Mascis with a striking new Jazzmaster signature guitar and oh boy is it stunning!
This guitar delivers as much massive sound and performance as its namesake.
The Jazzmaster pickups are nothing short of pure bliss! They produce a classic warm & punchy tone that you just will not hear from any other guitar.
The hardware & finish are all specified by Mascis himself for tremendous tone & value. Coming in right under $500 you will not be disappointed in this beauty!
I will start by saying this... WOW!
Gretch has really impressed me with the Jet Club.
This guitar out performs its price point without a doubt. It is constructed with an arched maple top with chambered basswood body and bolt-on maple neck. The anchored Adjustomatic bridge, stop tailpiece, and dual-coil pickups ensure vibrant sustain and luscious tone.
Featuring a beautiful two-tone body color scheme and fabricated with an arched maple top chambered basswood body resonates true to
"That Great Gretsch Sound".
It even includes all of the Timeless Gretsch highlights such as Neo-Classic "Thumbnail" fretboard inlays,
"G" Arrow Knobs and Gretsch logo
The Squier Paranormal series is stranger than fiction with a range of models that transcend normal experience in look, feel and sound. This collection of quirky mashups and b-sides takes the Fender fan into the unknown, where the lines between imagination and reality blur, perceptions are challenged & mind-expanding phenomena take place.
The Cabronita Telecaster Thinline brings the Tele a step beyond its 1950s roots into a Paranormal realm. Featuring dual Fender-Designed alnico Jazzmaster single-coil pickups and Cabronita Tele styling, this semi-hollow model provides amazing resonance & versatile tones Perfect for a variety of musical settings. Further player-friendly features include a string-through-body bridge for increased string stability, a slim “C”-shape maple neck profile for buttery smooth playability and a gloss neck finish for a slick feel.
- Semi-hollow Telecaster body - Alnico single-coil
Jazzmaster pickups - String-through-body bridge - Single-ply Cabronita pickguard - Chrome hardware
- Maple Neck
Okay, so we couldn't leave out an amazing acoustic electric option and believe it or not we gotta give it up to Gretsch guitars again for coming in with the best bang for your buck! This is seriously an outstanding quality guitar at an affordable price.
Featuring a distinctive triangular soundhole and stylish pickguard, this Rancher dreadnought acoustic-electric guitar will transport you back in time. The Rancher series from Gretsch, originally introduced in the early '50s, really set itself apart from the standard models of the day, due to its out of the box design. The G5024E's solid spruce top, which is reinforced with scalloped X-bracing, delivers a warm, rich & resonant sound that will add a touch of magic to everything you play. It even comes stage ready for an exceptional plugged-in performance thanks to the built-in Fishman Isys+ preamp system and Sonicore under-saddle pickup. It doesn't matter if you play acoustically or amplified, the Gretsch Rancher is going to be your favorite songwriting tool.
The solid spruce top is a premium feature not normally found on guitars at this price, creating a lively sound that will become even more harmonically rich as it ages.
These embroidered cotton guitar straps are comfortable and feature vibrant designs which are guaranteed to make you stand out in the crowd! With so many stunning designs to choose from you can give each guitar its own personality.
I can hear the metal head in the corner yelling...
"Where's The Humbuckers!!"
Relax friend. I GOT YOU!
Usually I am an Ibanez fan when it comes to heavy riffing but sheeesh!
This baby screams!
Swift, deadly and affordable,
The Jackson JS Series guitars are a top notch addition to the collection, making it easier than ever to get classic Jackson tone, looks and playability without breaking the bank.
Featuring a poplar body with a beautiful quilt maple arched top and bolt-on maple neck with scarf joint and graphite reinforcement for rock-solid stability. I love the 24 jumbo frets and pearloid sharkfin inlays, It really gives it character and it definitely stands out in the best way possible.
Dual Jackson high-output humbucking pickups with ceramic magnets erupt with hot, crunchy tone perfect for any flavor of rock or heavy metal. Dial in the tone juat the way you like it with a three-way blade switching & single volume and tone controls
BEST OF ALL! You can wail away with a vengence as the Jackson-branded Floyd Rose licensed double-locking bridge provides dynamic trem action & amazing tuning stability, so you can always trust your guitar to outlast your set.
Remember, no matter what guitar you get.. at the end of the day it's you who ultimately is responsible for how it sounds. With enough passion you can make a well set up budget guitar last a long time and sound amazing!
Don't Stop Believing and possibly even hold on to that feeling!