We take a look at 11 cheap electric guitars that don’t suck to show you that budget friendly can still mean high quality
There’s a huge range of cheap electric guitars out there that would not look out of place on the stages of the world thanks to high-quality manufacturing and the brands actually caring about their products – “cheap” does not always mean poor quality and plenty of guitars out there will give you a fantastic playing experience for many years without breaking the bank.
As part of our “Instruments that don’t suck” series, we're looking at a variety of different musical items that are extremely budget-friendly but completely high quality, allowing you to get a better instrument for less.
So today we’re going to look at our top 11 Best Cheap Electric Guitars That Don’t Suck, ideal for guitarists, including beginners and existing players looking to expand their collection, will enjoy playing.
Whether you’re looking for a Christmas or birthday present for budding guitarists, a new addition or a cost-effective solution to lay down some tracks in the studio or on stage, we’re confident you’ll find the right one here.
So, without further delay, here’s our top 11 best cheap electric guitars that don’t suck, under £300 (with one exception). Remember when it comes to “cheap” – think “budget-friendly” instead!
The 11 Best Cheap Electric Guitars That Don't Suck
1. Squier Affinity Stratocaster
The Squier Affinity Stratocaster MN, 2-Tone Sunburst is a fantastic option for beginner guitarists out there and those who need an affordable budget-friendly option for recording or practising. All guitars in the Squier Affinity range is great for beginners due to their affordable nature and great playability. This guitar makes our cheap electric guitars that don’t suck list thanks to its high-quality Alder body (also used on the higher end Fender models) and comfortable “C” shape profile on the neck that is super easy to play. This high-quality guitar also includes a set of three standard single-coil strat pickups allowing you to mix up your sound via the 5-way pickup selector. Solid, chrome hardware and a hardtail bridge for added resonance finish off the guitar nicely whilst the budget-friendly price tag makes it affordable for everyone. A Fender Stratocaster style guitar at a fraction of the cost.
Also available in a variety of different colours here.
2. Squier Affinity Telecaster
Seen here in classic butterscotch blonde, the Squier Affinity Telecaster, MN, Butterscotch Blonde is an extremely affordable version of a classic guitar appearing on stages and in the hands of music superstars everywhere.
This is one of our favourite cheap electric guitars and it certainly doesn’t suck thanks to its Alder body, comfortable “C” shape neck, snappy maple fingerboard and two Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele pickups to provide that awesome tele twang. If you’ve always wanted a Telecaster and are just starting out in the world of guitar, this is a dream beginner’s guitar that is budget-friendly and still completely high quality.
Also available in a wide range of different colours here.
3. Epiphone Slash Les Paul Special II Performance Pack
The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Special II Performance Pack is a great option for beginner guitarists out there as well as those in need of a high quality, budget friendly guitar that actually sounds and feels great. This is one of our best cheap electric guitars thanks to the fact you get a Les Paul Special II style guitar packed with ceramic Zebra-Coil humbucker pickups capable of spanning a range of different genres. Oh yeah and you also get an Epiphone Slash's Snakepit signature amp and a range of accessories all for around £250.
This Epiphone Slash Les Paul Special II is perfect for the budding rock stars out there thanks to its slim and lightweight body design and fast neck. This combination of a lightweight body and comfortable neck will encourage a positive playing experience – ideal for beginners.
This guitar package is great whether you're a Slash or Guns N Roses fan or not, as includes everything you need to start playing straight away and the pickups are perfect for all genres and styles of playing.
A great way to own a Les Paul style guitar at a fraction of the cost - a reliable workhorse of a guitar that won’t break the bank.
4. Ibanez Gio GRGM21 Mikro in Black Night
The Ibanez GIO GRX70QA-TBB Electric Guitar pictured here in Transparent Blue Burst proves that guitars don’t have to be super expensive to sound great. This is a fantastic cheap electric guitar that doesn’t suck, often picked up by beginner guitarists who are into metal and hard rock and those who need a 2nd guitar for stage and studio. Featuring an iconic shape, a specially designed GRX Maple neck, treated New Zealand Pine fretboard with white dot inlays and 2 x Infinity R humbucker pickups and a single coil for added tonal options. Overall you have a comfortable and great sounding powerhouse of a guitar at your disposal. It’s one of our favourite cheap electric guitars that sounds amazing when you throw some distortion at it!
Shop all Ibanez GIO guitars here.
5. Yamaha Pacifica 112V
The Yamaha Pacifica 112V Yellow Natural Satin is one of our favourite cheap electric guitars, as you get a high quality strat style guitar from the highly respected Pacifica range allowing you to get started on the road to rock n roll stardom instantly without too much of an investment.
The guitar itself features a resonant North American Alder body, maple neck and 2 x single-coil pickups with 1 x humbucker installed with a coil tap function for tonal variety. The guitar is comfortable to play and sounds great especially when you throw some distortion at it through an amplifier. This cheap guitar is budget friendly and ideal for beginners and home recording enthusiasts thanks to its high build quality and comfortable playing experience. You can also get this guitar as part of a starter pack. The Yamaha Pacifica 012 Guitar Starter Pack, Black with Amp & Accessories includes a great Line 6 V20 Amp and all the accessories you need.
Available in a range of different colours here.
6. Eastcoast GT100 Electric Guitar
The Eastcoast GT100 Electric Guitar pictured here in Black is one of our favourite cheap electric guitars that features superb, world class build quality at an extremely budget-friendly price tag. This is a professional level guitar at beginner prices and an absolute workhorse ready to be unleashed upon the stage of the world or just to accompany you on your journey into guitar. A Poplar body construction makes the guitar light on the shoulder but also provides a fantastic resonance and crispy treble.
For those who like that 1950s T style sound, you’ll appreciate the dual single-coil pickups which can go from glass like cleans to smooth low growls to all out riff worthy dirt when you add some distortion to your amp. The single-cutaway design and maple neck with smooth finish make it extremely comfortable to play too. A guitar beginners and professional musicians alike can enjoy.
Available in different colours here.
7. Gretsch G5421 Jet Club Electric Guitar in Firebird Red
The Gretsch G5421 Jet Club Electric Guitar in Firebird Red is a cheap electric guitar that certainly doesn’t suck! This beautifully crafted guitar brings new life into the Electromatic series, offering stellar playability and incredible sound for a budget-friendly price.
We love the Gretsch G5421 Jet Club as it features appointments usually associated with higher tier guitars such as a chambered Basswood body and Maple neck. This combination of a Basswood body and chambered construction results in a lightweight guitar that resonates beautifully, whilst providing a light tone with plenty of treble - ideal for solos and lead guitarists.
The set of Dual-Coil Humbucking pickups and three-way pickup selectors provides an array of tones, which can be used in a variety of different musical styles. Play either pickup in isolation for rhythm/lead or blast out both for a room-filling sound.
8. Jackson JS1X DK Minion
We're way under the £200 price tag here, and for the shredders and jazz fans out there, the Jackson JS1X DK Minion Amaranth FB in Neon Pink is a great option, whether you’re a beginner or pro player. It’s one of our favourite cheap electric guitars, and one hell of a performer, featuring professional level appointments that will please the most experienced players – this is a monster of tone, and it looks cool too!
The highly resonant Poplar body offers a warm tonality which is ideal for the metal fans whilst the Jackson High-Output Humbucking pickups provide everything from crystal cleans to bone crushing riffage when you throw some distortion on your amplifier. A 6-saddle string-through-body hardtail bridge with block saddles ensures your notes reverberate beautifully, so those big solos and riffs really stand out. The bolt-on Maple neck with 24 jumbo frets make it an extremely comfortable guitar to play and highly reliable. Ideal for beginners and pros alike.
Shop all Jackson JS Series guitars here.
9. Epiphone G-400 Electric Guitar, Worn Cherry
We certainly can’t have a best cheap electric guitars list without the awesome Epiphone G-400 Electric Guitar, Worn Cherry. In fact, this guitar will make most peoples’ “best guitars” lists thanks to the fact they’re built to such high standards and they sound absolutely fantastic. The budget friendly price tag makes it an affordable option for beginner guitarists, but you’ll often see these Epiphone SG models on the professional stages of the world thanks to the sheer playability and build quality.
The Mahogany body and neck with rosewood fretboard makes it a highly resonant and great sounding guitar whilst the dual Alnico Classic pickups with push pull coil tapping provide a world of tonality. A SlimTaper D Shape neck profile makes it comfortable for beginners to learn on, whilst pro players will enjoy the ergonomic design 2 hours into their set or rehearsal!
Available in more finishes here.
10. Epiphone Dot ES-335 Semi-Hollowbody, Cherry
Everyone from Jazz guitarists, Blues players to lovers of Queens of the Stone Age style heavy rock have fallen in love with the 335 style body. However, we can't always afford the Gibson version - which is where the Epiphone Dot ES-335 Semi-Hollowbody is the perfect alternative. Fusing expert workmanship with affordability, the Epiphone Dot ES-335 is one of the best cheap electric guitars you’ll find on the market today. It’s budget friendly price tag makes it a fantastic choice for beginners whilst the high-quality pickups and superb tonewoods are the reason why so many pro level players will choose it for the stage and studio.
The semi hollow construction with Laminated Maple top, back and sides provide a warm tone that resonates nicely, especially when coupled with the Epiphone humbuckers. The comfortable SlimTaper “D” neck is a great option for the jazz and blues players out there and the high-quality hardware such as hard tail bridge are reliable and hard-wearing.
11. Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster IL Olympic White
The Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster is definitely one of our favourite cheap electric guitars that certainly doesn’t suck, and is actually a pro level instrument with hardware and build construction worthy of price tag 3-4 x the price!
This classic offset design has been recreated for the more adventurous guitar players with better access to the upper frets, making it a fantastic option for those who enjoy the higher pitched solos!
For under £300 you get a set of Fender-Designed Alnico Pickups which provide a massive sound ranging from smooth and cool surf rock to all out grunge distortion. A three-way pickup selector and volume and tone knobs ensure you have an array of tones at your fingertips.
Fans of the grunge guitar sound will love the poplar body construction as your guitar is snappy and resonant.
Want more? Check out Dagan's best cheap electric guitars:
Check out part two for 2018!
View a complete range of budget-friendly electric guitars over at PMT Online today or call in to your local PMT store to see a full range. We have many electric guitars spanning all budgets, styles and genres including a complete range of guitar starter packs. Alternatively, call 0151 448 2089 to speak to one of our guitar experts to discuss your needs.