The $1,000 price mark is the perfect spot. Is where you’d find most top-tier options from most brands. These are the things you would never think to exist if you’ve always been a low and mid-level instrument user. That’s why I’m helping you find the best electric guitars under 1000 dollars.
Overall, we’re searching for the best value guitars. Brands like LTD, PRS, Epiphone, Gretsch, and Shecter, and Charvel thrive at this price range. Others, like Fender and Gibson, ask you to pay more to get the same kind of quality you’d get on its competitors at this price range.
I’m jumping right into the reviews without much introduction. If you’re a beginner, please check our best electric guitar for beginners to search on what to look for on electric guitars.
The best expensive guitars under 1000 can deliver the same kind of quality you’d find on a top-tier Gibson.
We’re reviewing the top 8 best electric guitars under $1000. Before we go on, though, let’s check a couple of things.
If you’ve been following for a while, you’ve probably checked our similar premium guitar lists. Otherwise, here’s a rundown on what we’ve written on the subject:
Also, be sure to check our type of electric guitars guide for further info.
- 1 Why should you spend 1000 on an electric guitar?
- 2 Buyer’s Advice
- 3 Top 8 best electric guitars under 1000 Reviewed
- 4 Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Standard Plustop PRO – Best overall
- 5 PRS SE Custom 24 – Most versatile
- 6 Fender Deluxe Series Roadhouse Stratocaster – Best For Modern Rock
- 7 ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best For Metal
- 8 Yamaha Revstar RS502T – Best for modern genres
- 9 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic – Best hollow guitar
- 10 Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 – Best shredder guitar
- 11 Charvel Pro Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR – Best for hard rock
- 12 In Summary
Why should you spend 1000 on an electric guitar?
A premium price range like this is a statement. It tells you to want to take your musical career seriously and delivers the kind of power for others to take you seriously.
It also talks about your progression. You wouldn’t be buying a 1000 dollars electric guitar if your skills couldn’t match the instrument. That means you’re above entry-level and intermediate models.
Moreover, it says you’ve set a course on a specific style or genre, and you’re going to commit.
A high price-point on an electric guitar calls you to marry the instrument. You’d want to keep a pricy investment like this forever.
Lucky for you, there’re plenty of choices at this price point, which is why I’m tagging the genre on each guitar on the list.
That said, I bet you already know a thing or two about electric guitars if you’re looking for $1000 price tags.
The Telecaster and the Stratocaster are common choices on every premium guitar list, albeit they are typically above the price range we chose.
A $1,000 budget opens a lot of options, most of which are outstanding. On this side of the spectrum, you should expect a lot of quality and performance. You should also expect the best kinds of pickups the market has to offer.
The thing is you don’t have to compromise anything at this market segment. Whichever guitar you’re looking for, there’s likely a higher option that suits this budget.
That said, the value should be apparent on the pickups, tuners, bridge, tonewoods, nuts, and control knobs. Different aesthetics would be superior, sure, but that’s the part where the brands start delivering crazy prices.
Another place where brands increase prices is in electronics. Features like kill switches, voice switchings, push/pull, and similarly add up. However, brands like Ibanez and Yamaha do know how to add advanced tech and electronics into their guitars without asking for a kidney as a down payment.
That said, do remember that Gibson and Fender are still above the price range. Yet, the Mexican-made Fender guitars exist well within our chosen limits, and it’s relatively safe to pick these guitars on any list.
As for Gibson, though, you might yet not be able to climb the Epiphone ladder. Even so, Gibson’s subsidiary also has a lot to offer at this price range.
Top 8 best electric guitars under 1000 Reviewed
Finding the perfect electric guitar for you is about personal taste. You’d have to go for the kind of sound and playability that matches your musical ability, expectations, and genres.
For the money you’re investing, it would be wise to choose something you can bond with. That’s why our selection features the finest gear you’d find at the price range on various musical genres. From shreds to classic rock, there’s something for everyone.
PRS is the brand that delivers the best guitars available around the 1000 price bracket. These guitars are quite versatile and feature impressive built qualities and unique sounds. Moreover, they have the kind of playability all-hands leading guitar players are expecting.
Another impressive brand at the price range is ESP. In particular, the LTD EC line produces Gibson Les Paul-like models with incredible metal tones.
SuperStrat guitars have a Stratocaster-like body with humbuckers instead of single-coils plus more pronounced curves.
We’re keeping the reviews on the best electric guitar under 1000 short. Be sure to check the YouTube demos to create a stronger opinion on each item.
Also, we’ll be talking a lot about pickups. Here are a few guides about the subject:
- Best metal pickups
- Best Strat pickups
- Best single-coil pickups
- Best humbucker pickups
- Best P-90 pickups
- Best Gibson pickups
- DiMarzio pickup guide
Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Standard Plustop PRO – Best overall
There was a time where Epiphone Les Paul guitars used third-party humbuckers, which made them cheap and unreliable. Then, Epiphone guitars started using Gibson humbuckers, which made them more expensive than need be.
Now, though, Epiphone has its own line of guitar pickups created after Gibson’s PAFs. In other words, they are made just like Gibson used to wire their bobbins back in the ‘50s. That’s why they sound great.
This beautiful guitar packs two ProBucker open-coil humbuckers. Each one has coil-splitting options on their individual volume knobs, which means you can turn each humbucker into a single-coil. Additionally, there are two individual tone knobs plus a 3-way switch.
Such configuration gives you enough leeway to play the whole history of rock & roll, blues, metal, alternative rock, hard rock, and even metal.
AS you expect, the sound is terrific. There’s little-to-none difference between this Epiphone Les Paul and a Gibson Les Paul. It sounds like a top instrument, and it has the built quality and looks to back it up.
What it doesn’t have, though, is a premium price. It’s just a bit above the mid-range segment.
Its built quality is impressive. Like a real Gibson, it has a carved top on the body made with top-tier flame maple veneer. That piece is glued to the mahogany body. Moreover, there’s also a mahogany top on the back of the guitar.
The result is a construction that looks classic and vintage. At the same time, the guitar feels sturdy and can deliver a steady sound with just the right amount of output and projection.
Then, Epiphone crafted the neck with mahogany and Pau Ferro. The brand uses Gibson’s 1960’ SlimTaper D profile neck, which is asymmetric and has a 12’’ fingerboard radius. As you expect, it’s built for leading rock guitar players as it’s comfortable for bending, chords, rhythm guitar, and solos.
The neck is also very slim. It has the thinnest neck of the list. Its “D” shape flattens the back of the neck to make it easier for the player. For instance, if you’re going from power chord lines to classical rhythm guitar, the “D” setup will make it feel enjoyable.
Then, the overall finish of the guitar is superb. There’re no sharp edges, no dents, no scratches. It also feels smooth and looks gorgeous.
Lastly, I have to note the guitar has a set-in neck, which means it’s glued to the body. That’s also a premium feature.
There’s nothing cheap on the guitar, no corners cut. The guitar’s hardware also lives to the same standards.
It packs a Tune-O-Matic bridge, which is also a Gibson standard. It delivers perfect intonation, plenty of sustain, and enhanced resonance.
On the other side, it has Grover Machine Heads with an 18:1 tuning ratio. That all means they are reliable and ready to play live.
All of the hardware comes in chrome.
If you can’t find the Limited Edition version, there are other Epiphone Les Paul guitars with similar specs.
I can recommend the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro – Limited Edition. The only noticeable difference is on aesthetics.
For example, the Classic Pro has Antique Ebony Finish for its elegant white color. Additionally, it packs Epiphone Deluxe Tuners for an extra aesthetic appeal. It’s a bit pricier than the Plustop Pro, but it’s also cheaper than most of the guitars below.
PRS SE Custom 24 – Most versatile
The PS SE Custom 24 is the best overall electric guitar under 1000. It covers the highest tonal range you’ll find in the market. More than that, it plays everything with high-level quality, matching the sound crunch you’d expect from a Gibson Les paul. From metal tones to warm blues, it can play anything.
Overall, the PRS SE range is about solid, great-sounding, and carefully-built guitars. The Custom 24 is a great example of what they can offer. Even so, it’s an affordable guitar by PRS standards.
The Custom 24 is made in Korea. The body is made of mahogany with a maple top. Then, it has a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and 24 medium jumbo frets. Everything is built to look classy and feel smooth.
Naturally, the Custom 24 feels lovely on your hands, as wonderful as it looks. It helps that you get top-tier hardware that comes together with a Floyd Rose-style bridge.
The sound is equally premium. The guitar packs SE Custom 85/87 humbucker pickups, modeled after the EMG 85/87 models. We named the original puppies amongst the best pickups for metal.
Still, the Custom 24’s tapers were named “the perfect pickups” by Paul Reed Smith. And they live to the promise with clarity, definition, power, and grain on any genre you play.
Its pickups are controlled with a versatile preamp section. The guitar features a volume knob plus a tone knob with a push-pull configuration. That allows you to turn a humbucker into a single-coil for a more subdued sound. On top of the dual-knob configuration, you also have a 3-way pickup selector blend both tapers.
Lastly, the guitar ships in various elegant finishes. These include Tobacco Sunburst, Trampas Green, Fire Red Burst, or Whale Blue.
Fender Deluxe Series Roadhouse Stratocaster – Best For Modern Rock
The Roundhouse Strat is a step-up from the more affordable Fender Player Strat. With so many features going on, it’s a hard-to-pass instrument. It would cost twice as much if it were a USA Fender instead of a Mexican Fender.
Fender has already shown the power of its Mexican Deluxe Series. In particular, bass players love the Special Deluxe Precision bass and name it as the most versatile bass guitar in the market.
Similarly, the Roundhouse Stratocaster upgrades the original model with noiseless single-coil pickups and outstanding built quality.
The guitar is made with an alder body, maple neck, and maple or Pau Ferro fingerboard. With its full 25.5’’ scale, it packs 22 medium-jumbo fretboards plus Fender’s C-shaped neck. As you’d expect, the guitar is comfortable, light, durable, and gorgeous.
In particular, it packs a comfortable 12’’ fretboard radius. That makes the guitar comfortable for both chords and solo, although it leans more for chords. It’s the same radius Gibson Les Paul guitars pack, and it allows more effortless bends and faster soloing.
Moreover, it packs the “Modern C” neck profile that hosts narrow/tall frets. That means it grants incredible ease of play for experienced and intermediate players. It makes intricate rhythm lines feel easier, primarily because of its contoured neck heel.
The pickups and electronics are the best part of the instrument, though. It packs 3 Vintage Noiseless Fender Stratocaster Single-Coils, top-tier tapers. Plus, it has a 6-position V6 rotary tone switch, a tone knob, a volume knob, and a 5-way pickup selector.
You’ll see what the V6 knob does on the video below. In essence, it enables six different pre-customized single-coil voices. It delivers a slew of classic Fender Strat tones and explodes when going forward to modern rock and pop genres.
Moreover, the noiseless characteristic of the pickups makes the natural woodiness of the instrument shine. They live up to the silence, making them an excellent choice for recording guitar in the studio.
These tapers have a moderate output, zero sound, and warm sounds. They go great with almost any type of guitar pedal. They also pair amazingly with tube amplifiers, reverb, chorus, overdrives, and fuzzes.
Its hardware is also top-of-the-line. It packs a 2-point synchronized tremolo bridge with perfect intonation and sustains. On the other side, the Deluxe locking tuners will keep the tone, even down-tunes, during your most extended performances.
Hardware-wise, it also has a synthetic bone top nut that will preserve the open string sound quality.
Overall, this is the best Fender Stratocaster guitar under $1,000, and it’s also one of the best Stratocasters for any modern scenario.
ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best For Metal
We already did a full review on the LTD EC-1000, so we’re going to keep it shorter this time. Still, we couldn’t just pass this Les Paul-like guitar.
The EC-1000 is a premium model built for power, metal, and raw output. It has a mahogany body and neck with an ebony fingerboard. Then, it packs 24 extra-jumbo frets on its 24.75’’ scale. It feels huge, it sounds enormous, and it’s heavy.
With its familiar body shape, the tones it can cook are certainly a surprise. It lacks the warmth and crunchiness you would expect from a Les Pual. Instead, it’s extreme, raw, and angry.
The sound comes from two high.end EMG 60/81 puppies. These are connected to two individual volume knobs, a master tone knob, and a 3-way selector.
Furthermore, it packs a top-tier Tonepros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece. The similarly-configured tuning pegs assure intonation stability even on down-tunes and heavy riffs.
I admit this pair of active EMG tapers aren’t going to be the choice for gentle players. But anyone searching for serious grain and massive output should consider this premium guitar.
With a built quality and playability that matches the fast performance metal guitars need, the ESP LTD-EC 1000 can remain on your metal arsenal forever. Plug this into a true metal amp, and your hair will grow long automatically.
For example, it carries a 13.5’’ fingerboard radius, low-action strings, extra-jumbo frets, a U-shaped neck, and a single-cutaway for additional access to the upper frets. That said, you wouldn’t pick this guitar to play chords. The LTD EC-1000 is made for riffs, shreds, and metal.
And we’re not even counting its smooth satin finish, vintage black color, and classic gold hardware. Mean-looking, but still elegant.
And, by the way, there’re plenty of finish options for this guitar.
Yamaha Revstar RS502T – Best for modern genres
As usual, Yamaha added an innovation on its RS line of electric guitars. It’s a special “Dry Switch” tech that’s present on all of the guitars of the lineup, regarding its price point.
Still, taking a look at the specs of the RS502T reveals its a classic Les Paul-oriented model. It has a mahogany body, a maple top, rosewood fingerboard, and set-in neck. Then, it has a 24.75’’ scale with 22 medium jumbo frets.
With a top-tier built quality that shouldn’t belong at this price range, the Yamaha RS502T makes the package even better on the pickups. It packs YDG custom V Alnico P90 pickups on the neck and bridge positions.
You can control these classic bobbins with a master tone and master volume knobs. Additionally, you can pull the tone knob to engage Yamaha’s “Dry” switch. The feature drops down the frequencies below 2kHz, which lowers the volume around -5 to -10dB. The result is extra clarity and extra headroom for the amplifier.
Also, Yamaha Guitar Development created these Alnico V P-90s with a German silver baseplate. Overall these bobbins have a unique construction plus very cool aesthetics.
Regarding the sound, the RS502T is full, round, and aggressive. As any P-90 guitar should be, it has complex upper-range harmonics, tight low-end beef, and plenty of sustain and resonance.
Turning the Dry switch on makes the sound fatter and more inclined towards the mids. Overall, the sound is excellent for modern rock genres, jazz, indie, experimental, pop, and similar.
Let’s not forget about the hardware, though. It packs a Tune-o-Matic bridge (the same kind of piece on a Les Pual) plus an aluminum tail-piece. On the other side, it also packs quality tuners and a Graph Tech Tusq Nut.
As for playability, the Revstar is as sleek as it is comfortable to play. Even when it has a 13.75’’ fingerboard radius, it does allow chord playing with tighter frets plus a smooth fingerboard.
Gretsch G5420T Electromatic – Best hollow guitar
We have chosen the Gretsch G5420T on most of our lists. It’s such a good guitar that it’s a top contender at any price range.
The highlight of the guitar -and the Electromatic series- is its chambered body. With the two classic f-shaped holes on the body, the G5420T is entirely hollow on the inside. That dramatically increases the guitar’s sustain and resonance.
Aside from that, it has a maple body, a maple neck, and a rosewood fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets.
Then, it packs two custom Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers with high output and classic sounds.
As for controls, the guitar packs two individual volume knobs, a single tone knob, and a 3-way selector switch. The knobs are ready to tweak the humbuckers sound up to eleven. They can handle output and gain so well you could even plug a distortion pedal into the guitar for exciting sounds.
Moreover, the controls give you plenty of shades and nuances. For instance, they can deliver great muted responses. They can also go from thin and bright to twang as you roll the volume knobs up and down.
AS a hollow guitar, though, it leans towards classic rock, jazz, blues, and similar older-genres. However, remember that Foo Fighters’ frontman plays live with semi-hollow Gretsch guitars as well. That’s because the toasty voices these kinds of guitars can give are grungy, raw, and grunt.
Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 – Best shredder guitar
Scratching premium price tags, the Ibanez RG550 is a superior guitar. Everything about it feels flawless, which is why it feels so good for playing metal, shredding, and everything else.
It has a basswood body, a maple/walnut neck, a maple fingerboard, and a 25.500 scale with 24 medium jumbo frets.
The neck design is all about fast playability. It has a thick neck that follows Steve Vai’s JEM777 model. At the same time, it is a modern reissue of the brand’s original RG550 SuperStrat guitar.
As a 2018 model, the RG550 is a masterclass of how to bring back a vintage guitar to life. The neck feels soft as leather, your hand glides rather than moving, and the Edge vibrato speaks of quality with perfect craftsmanship.
Sound-wise, the RG550 covers a lot, even if metal and shredding is its primary goal. It packs two US-made pickups (V7 on the bridge and V8 on the neck). Both deliver razor-sharp riff sounds, a bit of compression, and tons of headroom for your metal amps. Still, the sound is so carefully crafted that the guitar can easily level your lead lines with the rest of the band.
If anything, the finish and the pointy look of the guitar is not for everyone. Otherwise, make yourself a favor of at least hearing how it sounds.
Charvel Pro Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR – Best for hard rock
The ‘80s was a great musical era. Insane musicians were popping left and right with unique ideas, pushing the industry in tech, sounds, and themes.
One of such musicians was Eddie Van Halen, the first guitar player who decided to plug humbuckers into a Stratocaster. The So-Cal Style 1 HH FR is a high-performance guitar that nails exactly what Eddie Van Halen did.
The HH FR has an alder body, a 2-piece maple neck with graphite reinforcement, a maple fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, and a 25.5’’ scale. On top of that, there’s a dual graphite reinforcement truss rod within the neck.
More interestingly, it features a 12-16’’ compound radius. That means the frets become flattered higher up the fingerboard for extra solo performance. Near the headstock, though, the guitar is rounder for enhanced chord playing—a perfect match.
Sound-wise, the So-Cal is equally impressive. The guitar packs two high-end Seymour Duncan humbuckers (a JB on the bridge plus a Direct Mound ‘59 Zebra on the neck). The tapers are connected to a push/pull coil-split volume knob, a no-load tone, and a 3-way selector switch.
Its high-output pickups can turn any budged amplifier into a dragon. They can also squeeze a lot of volume from tiny tube amps. The sound is enormous, beefy, warm on the mids, and searing on the highs. Then, the coil-tap can add some extra brightness and make the cleans sound nicer.
There’s also a Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo bridge with the combo. Add it to the hand-rubbed neck and the hot-rodded pickups and receive a lethal hard rock machine.
Welcome to Paradise City:
I hope my guide helped you find the guitar of your dreams. Remember that a budget like yours should go to something amazing.
If you have any comments or doubts, please, leave it in the comments below!