Finding the right electric guitar can be a challenge, especially when you need to keep within a budget. For beginners looking for a solid starter instrument without breaking the bank, there are numerous options under $500. Through examining conversations from the r/guitar subreddit and other sources, this article aims to help musicians select a quality electric guitar that meets their needs and stays within their price range.
Below we have compiled a list of guitars highly recommended by the guitar community and experts alike. Each model is recognized for its quality, playability, and affordability, making them ideal candidates for those starting their musical journey.
Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster
- One Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster electric guitar
- Vintage Style: The Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster electric guitar features a bridge with barrel saddles and a string through-body design for optimal resonance and style
- 100% designed by Fender: A celebration of the birth of the Tele in the early 1950s, the Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster creates incredible tone courtesy of the Fender-Designed alnico single-coil pickups
- Vintage Style Tuning Machine: Sporting classic looks, these vintage style tuning machines provide rock solid tuning stability and smooth action
- 2-Year Limited Warranty: Fender guitars are built with unmatched quality, down to the last screw- which is why Fender warrants this Fender acoustic guitar to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for two (2) years from original purchase
- Vintage Telecaster feel
- Durable construction
- Quality materials
- May need initial setup and maintenance
This guitar represents the iconic Telecaster design and is known for its reliability and classic sound. It’s built to emulate the original ’50s Telecasters’ charm, offering a familiar feel to those inspired by past music legends.
The Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster is suitable for a beginner due to its simple yet effective design. The sturdy construction and quality materials utilized in its making ensure that it stands the test of time. Though it might require a bit of setup to get it playing perfectly, its playability and vintage vibes make it a great first guitar.
Yamaha Pacifica 112V
- Solid Alder Body
- Maple Bolt-On Neck
- Rosewood Fingerboard
- Vintage Tremelo with block saddles
- 5 Position Switch with coil tap
- Excellent playability
- Versatile tone options
- Solid construction
- Design may be too plain for some
Yamaha is known for producing instruments with superb playability, and the Pacifica 112V is no exception. This model offers an array of tonal possibilities, which is ideal for beginners looking to explore different genres.
The Yamaha Pacifica 112V stands out as a beginner electric guitar due to its ease of play and versatile sound. Its solid construction ensures durability, while the neutral design makes it a blank canvas for personal expression. While the aesthetics may be understated, the functionality and reliability of this guitar are anything but.
Epiphone SG Standard
- Featuring the historic SG profile
- Powered by Alnico Classic PRO humbuckers
- Humbuckers equipped with CTS electronics and world class Grover Rotomatic tuners
- “Batwing” pickguard
- Iconic rock tones
- Comfortable for beginners
- Good value for money
- May require setup for optimal performance
The Epiphone SG Standard allows beginners to dive into rock music with a guitar that has a rich tonal history. The SG shape is especially comfortable for new players, and it provides a solid starting point without a high cost.
As a beginner electric guitar, the Epiphone SG Standard is a great choice for those seeking a classic rock sound at an affordable price. This guitar’s playability and comfort make it an attractive option, and while it might need a little tweaking to suit your specific style, it’s an investment that can grow with you as you develop as a musician.
- Fast neck for shredding
- Quality active pickups
- Suitable for metal genres
- Styling may not appeal to all players
Known for its rapid neck and aggressive aesthetic, the Schecter Demon-6 is designed for speed and precision. The active pickups offer a clear and powerful output, perfect for those looking to play heavier music styles.
For beginners with an interest in metal genres, the Schecter Demon-6 is an excellent starting point. This guitar’s built-in active pickups and a fast neck facilitate the technical playability required for metal music. While its design might not be everyone’s taste, its performance capabilities are sure to impress those who use it.
Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster
- 100% designed by Fender
- Inspired by 1960s-era jazz master models
- Fender-designed Alnico pickups
- Vintage-tinted gloss neck finish
- Nickel-plated hardware
- Unique offset design
- Distinctive Jazzmaster tone
- Wide range of sounds
- May require setup and customization
The Classic Vibe ’60s Stratocaster by Squier is a nod to the traditional Strat sound, with vintage-inspired aesthetics and solid construction as its hallmarks.
This model boasts a trio of Alnico single-coil pickups which capture the quintessential Stratocaster tones—bright and articulate. Though some players may want to invest in a professional setup to tailor the instrument to their preferences, the ’60s Stratocaster stands as a remarkable choice for newcomers desiring vintage vibes and reliable performance.
In selecting your first electric guitar, consider how each of these options align with your musical aspirations, ergonomic preferences, and budget. By starting out with a quality instrument, you’ll be setting yourself up for a more enjoyable and rewarding learning experience. Dive into your guitar journey with confidence, knowing that any of these guitars would be a superb companion on your musical path.