The task of selecting the best electric guitar under 300 dollars, which plays remarkably and make you play like a rock star is definitely not easy. Not every electric guitar that costs $300 or less is made from solid tonewoods and have impressive pickups and electronics. In addition, some less costly ones typically cheap out on certain hardware such tuners and bridges. That is why we made the recommendations below, which highlights reviews of what we found. We also did this to showcase the most popular options $300 and under, which are made from good quality materials and give you bang for your bucks.
Quick Links To Our Under $300 Electric Guitar Recommendations
- Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II – OUR TOP CHOICE! Decent quality sound and tone for the budget price. Comfortable neck with easy playability. Excellent for new and experienced guitarists alike!
- Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster – Our runner up choice. For Fender lovers – this instrument has tons of value for the money.
- Squier Standard Telecaster
- Jackson JS32 Rhoads
- Ibanez RG421
- Schecter OMEN-6
- Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V
- Gretsch Electromatic Jet Club
- Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series
- Epiphone SG Special VE
- 1 Quick Links To Our Under $300 Electric Guitar Recommendations
- 2 Our Under $300 Electric Guitar Reviews
- 2.1 Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II – Our Top Under $300 Guitar Pick
- 2.2 Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar
- 2.3 Squier Standard Telecaster Electric Guitar
- 2.4 Jackson JS32 Rhoads Electric Guitar
- 2.5 Ibanez RG421
- 2.6 Schecter OMEN-6
- 2.7 Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V
- 2.8 Gretsch Electromatic Jet Club
- 2.9 Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series
- 2.10 Epiphone SG Special VE Electric Guitar
- 3 What To Look For When Choosing An Electric Guitar Under $300
- 4 Under $300 Best Electric Guitars Conclusion
Our Under $300 Electric Guitar Reviews
Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II – Our Top Under $300 Guitar Pick
The mahogany body of this guitar is a lot flatter than the traditional Les Paul and the tuning peg stylings and headstock are most certainly Epiphone electrics. It features Epiphone 650R and 700T humbucker pickups, a nickel, tune-o-matic bridge, twin hot open-coil and a single control for the tone and volume.
Its neck has a slender taper ‘D’ profile that is reminiscent of a 1960 instrument. The other side of its neck has a rosewood, 22 fret fretboard with a scale length of 24.75 inches. It also has the same stopbar tailpiece, tune-o-matic bridge and pickups as would be expected on a more costly Gibson guitar model. On a cheap guitar, the pickups typically sound toneless and muddy but this is an exception. It has smooth, liquid tones and when it is being played, the neck is comfortable and fast and it certainly doesn’t have the feeling of a cheap guitar.
Similar to other under 300 lower cost instruments, a few sacrifices have been made. For instance, a Les Paul Standard has a “set” neck but the neck on this guitar is a ‘bolt-on.’ This could slightly impact the sound and could dampen the sustain in comparison to a higher-end version. However, many high-end guitars sound just fine with bolt-on necks.
This would be a remarkable guitar for beginners who love the feel, sound and look of a Les Paul but don’t have the money for a more costly guitar.
- In tune pretty consistently.
- Holds tune for long periods of time.
- Very solid guitar for the price.
- Strap buttons are not very secure and I’ve had higher end guitars with better strap buttons.
Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar
This under $300 electric looks great and plays well too. It has a rosewood fingerboard and its eye-catching sunburst pattern has a finish that resembles antique. It is available in chrome, black, candy apple red and other colors. The radius of its maple is 9.5-inch and the rosewood fingerboard has 22 medium jumbo frets that make it much easier to play without your hands getting cramped. This is both because the neck is big and the frets are large but not too large for the smaller hands.
Agathis wood is used to make the body, which looks just as nice as mahogany and offers a geat quality sound. Polyurethane gloss is used for its high gloss. It is equipped with a synchronous twin-pivot tremolo bridge, two tone controls, a master control volume knob and a 5-position pickup selector switch designed to give you the desired sound.
There is lifetime lubrication on the die cast tuners and tuning will always be easy and stable. Additionally, it will stay in tune while being played, unlike instruments with other tuning systems.
The twin-pivot bridge with its satin-anodized saddles produces smooth tremolo action. Its single-coil alnico pickups helps with producing a remarkable sound. Additionally, its electronics are produced abroad, with inexpensive but good quality parts to ensure the low cost of this instrument.
This is definitely not a knock-off, it is a genuine Fender guitar; therefore, even at such an affordable price, you will be getting a high-quality instrument that it is highly likely you will be playing on for a number of years to come.
- Great sound for a low price.
- Inlaid fretboard dot markers.
- Balanced tone control with bass and treble adjustments.
- Some users may not like the feel of the neck due to its larger size, which can be uncomfortable for some players.
Squier Standard Telecaster Electric Guitar
The Squier Standard Telecaster is designed with the distinctive single-cutaway body shape that was quite popular way back in the 1950s. It is also widely appreciated for its iconic Telecaster headstock and unique pickup configuration.
As is standard practice for reasonably-priced models nowadays, this impressive guitar is made out of basswood or what is also called solid agathis, which is a great wood. It is comfortable and lightweight and fits very well. A vintage creamy blonde paint is used to cover the instrument, topped by a polyurethane coating and is amazingly well finished for the cost.
The Squier Telecaster is outfitted with a standard bolt-on maple neck and is equipped with an Indian laurel fretboard, which is a later rosewood option and there are 22 medium frets. It has a satin finish that allows for a smooth and sleek feel; this creates an enjoyable playing experience. Furthermore, on the back of the guitar, there is an addition of the conventional ‘skunk strip.’
Its two pickups are a bit hotter when compared to the Affinity and provide a little more oomph with lead playing and rhythm. ‘Twang’ is a word that comes up quite a bit in conversations about this guitar and it does produce the classic bluesy tone craved by Telecaster guitarists. However, the general sound is a little more modern when compared to the Affinity. Its build and playability are the highlights of this guitar; these modernized upgrades make it comfortable and fast. The electronics and hardware also do a good job for the guitar sub 300 price tag.
- Handsome and traditional.
- Wide selection of colors and finishes.
- Less durable hardware.
Jackson JS32 Rhoads Electric Guitar
The sound of the Jackson JS32 will transport you back to the era of the 1980s death metal and thrash metal. It also sounds great on metalcore, Nu metal as well as on a cube 40 xl practice amplifier. It will sound even more impressive on a Marshall JCM2000 that is equipped with a Digitech Deathmetal pedal.
It features master tone along with master volume controls, Jackson cvr2 pickups, 3-way blade selector, thin and fast necks, fixed string thru body, T.O.M bridge, flat Rhoads style and shark tooth inlays. It is available in gun metal grey, red and black finishes. It is easy to use; you can just plug in and rock out and it comes with a free sturdy and waterproof gig bag.
The quality of the JS32 is pretty decent with its very solid body, durable strap buttons, solid hardware, tight non-locking tuners (are locking tuners worth it?) and shiny glossy finish. With proper maintenance, it will last for quite a while.
This guitar will torture, bludgeon and ultimately slaughter other guitars in its price range. Although it is an entry level guitar, it definitely doesn’t feel or look like one. Jackson is also renowned for dealing with their customer exceptionally.
- Very low price point.
- High quality for the price.
- Excellent tone and sustain.
- The upper frets may need some work as they can be a little sharp sometimes.
There is absolutely no hiding the fact that this guitar belongs to the RG Series. This is because of its classic Superstrat body that is designed with a lavish double cutaway. It is available in a fascinating fading grey metallic finish and the particularly remarkable blackberry sunburst, which just oozes attitude. All for under 300 bucks!
The Ibanez RG421 showcases a decent dose of RG playability with its renowned Wizard III maple neck. Typically referred to as the fastest guitar neck, there is truth in that description. This guitar plays like warm butter with its thin, comfortable feel and smooth satin finish. Its rosewood fretboard provides 24 jumbo frets, supplying two full octaves to play with.
It also withstands the keenest scrutiny. Its solid body is made from basswood, which is also used to make high-end models. Its finish and fit are pretty for this reasonably-priced guitar and the definitive RG finish and shape are evident in the headstock.
The RG421 pickups are outfitted with a pair high-output Quantum humbuckers. They are standard, even though they are definitely an upgrade from the generic stock pickups that were utilized in the GIO series. A guitar tone and volume control and a selector switch can be used to control the passive pickups and the pickups. It should also be noted that it utilizes the same humbuckers as the RG450DX and as such, it produces an awesome sound, especially for the price.
- Great feel and sound.
- It is an Ibanez, which is generally a well-made guitar.
- The price is great for what you get with this guitar.
- The neck is not as comfortable as some other guitars in this range.
A good amount of time was clearly spent carefully selecting the features of the Omen 6 electric with a cool under $300 price. Very little is missing where it concerns core aspects that make this instrument a full-featured guitar for musicians who play metal. It is set up impressively; although it is made in Korea, the setup is done in the United States. This keeps these 24 fret guitars in tune roughly 90 percent of the time, which is helped by the great built-in hardware pieces. It was ready for action straight out of the box.
However, there is an issue in that after prolonged use, the strap pegs typically loosen. To preserve the integrity of the Omen 6, it would be wise to invest in strap locks. Besides that, it looks great and feels quite durable despite its price tag. If you are looking for a solid guitar designed to withstand the rigors of studio session jams and live performances, this is definitely a worthy candidate.
The guitar has a 25 ½-inch scale bolt-on neck that is made out of maple, a rosewood fretboard and 24 huge frets. Its bolt-on neck is a bit substandard but it is not a deal breaker. It is actually on par with the guitars in the category. Included among the other key features are a string-through tailpiece, dual humbuckers, all chrome hardware and diamond tuners. It is a great guitar and certainly superior to many other similarly-priced options. The pickups are decent and more than adequate for a beginner. And I think that Schecter is one of the best metal guitar brands.
- One of the lightest electric guitars.
- Great for beginners and veterans of the instrument alike.
- Easy to play, especially with smaller hands.
- Super attractive body style to give you a little more confidence in your playing.
- Very versatile and can be played in many different styles of music, from rock to country or blues.
- The pickups are not as high quality as others on the market which means that it may not have a great sound depending on what type of music you’re playing.
Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V
Take a single look at the Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V and the inspiration for its body shape can be instantly recognized; it came from the Stratocaster. However, in spite of its similarity, some notable differences are still there. At less than 300 dollars!
Launched in 1990, the line of Pacifica was primarily designed by Rich Lasner, who was the Senior Guitar Designer of Yamaha USA. Lasner had worked for Ibanez previously and the Pacifica line was designed as an extension of sorts of his work at Ibanez.
In contrast to a number of budget guitars in the early 1990s, these were carved from single pieces of wood; in particular, the 112 is made of alder. This is certainly a remarkable contribution to the world of budget instruments.
Yamaha wanted to show off that quality alder is used for the body instead of some cheap plywood. As such, options for semi-translucent finishes are always available. These include old violin sunburst and satin yellow. They are also some opaque options available and these include black and raspberry red. The body resembles the Fender Stratocaster quite closely; however, there are some noticeable differences in the shape. These include the curvature of the body being a little sharper and the cutaway horns being narrower and longer.
The bolt-on neck of the 112 is made from solid maple, it has a subtle satin finish and also has a rosewood fingerboard. Another nod to the Fender counterpart of this guitar is its ‘C’-shaped curvature. However, in contrast to the Fender, it has 22 frets, one more than the traditional 21. Additionally, the guitar neck feels smooth to the touch and pretty fast.
- The neck is really comfortable and seems to be pretty easy to play.
- It’s got a nice, simple design—something that you don’t see too often on guitars under $300.
- The guitar has some feedback problems, especially if you play metal or have an amp that goes over 5 or 6 on its dial.
Gretsch Electromatic Jet Club
This under 300 guitar is fairly easy to dismiss; however, the more it is looked at, the more the details will be noticed and the more attractive it will become. It has a two-tone body and the sides and back are stained in a walnut tone. It also has an arched top, it is bound body, which makes it easy to miss; however, it looks very good.
This guitar has dual-coil pickups that are definitely not “muddy,” it is rather trebly and bright in a very good way. This can be described as a mix between a P90 and a Jazzmaster. It is quite a usable sound that works for pretty much everything from country to rock to to shoegazer stoner to virtually anything you can think of. However, it does not play metal but it can be used by a metal player when he or she needs to record clean parts on another instrument.
For the guitar players in the world who can be described as “atmospheric”, this Gretsch Electromatic Jet Club works with effects better than the majority of guitars. If you put a washy-style delay or reverb on this, it will sing and this is because of the sound of its pickups.
For those players into 1990s grunge tones and vintage, stoner rock, this instrument handles fuzz tone in a very impressive way; it is even better than a Jazzmaster. When this Gretsch is hooked up to a Big Muff Pi, you will definitely be impressed with a big, crazy sound. When the 6 strings are dropped to a D, the power chords will ring out the good stuff.
- Great Value
- Beautiful Finish.
- Nice Tone.
- Quality Construction.
- Lots of buzz at the neck and not a lot of sustain in the strings. Probably needs a setup out of the box (but most guitars do!).
Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series
The Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series is designed to deliver the feel, looks and the performance of vintage instruments that are much sought after these days. All for under 300! The Classic Rocker pickups are at the heart of all the models and they are particularly designed for this series. The classic design of the new CR100 has a single cutaway body that is attractively topped in arched maple. In addition, the guitar is outfitted with rosewood fingerboard, hard maple neck, T.O.M bridge and die cast tuners.
The features of the Cort CR100BK Classic Rock Series include a long-lasting Cameron Sino battery designed for the Sony Ericsson E2114 Xperia E4. The part numbers are Sony Ericsson 1288-1798 and Sony Ericsson LIS1574ERPC. It is very important to ensure both battery part and model number are coordinated with your device prior to making a purchase.
- Back and sides are made from laminate.
- Electronics emulation is mostly on point, you can get a nice acoustic sound as well as some bouncy distortion sounds.
- Hardware is of good quality and will last in your arsenal for a few years without breaking.
- Intonation can be an issue if you’re not used to guitars like these.
Epiphone SG Special VE Electric Guitar
Everything about the SG for under 300 dollars is first-rate; however, not every player can afford to buy it. As such, Epiphone launched its less expensive alternative; this is the SG Special VE from Epiphone. It is one of the top-sellers currently available because it designed to be extra special.
It is a premium solidbody guitar that is made from poplar with satin and mahogany veneer finish. Its double-cutaway shape is complete with a standard 1960s SlimTaper D neck profile. Additionally, its mahogany neck is a bolt-on, which assures its stability, particularly when playing fast.
To produce a vintage vibe, both its looks and its sound are classic. The look and feel of the old instruments are embodied in the vintage heritage cherry sunburst finish that depicts it so well. In addition, you can select cherry, ebony, walnut vintage worn and vintage sunburst finishes.
The strings could do with some amount of upgrading since they are definitely not the greatest on the market right now. When the strings are changed, the intonation and tuning of this SG guitar will improve greatly. Its playability and the quality of its sound will be improved as well.
The chrome die-cast tuners and the bridge are designed to hold the tune well and stabilize the strings. The tuners can be accurately changed to ensure you quickly get the right tuning and can hold it for quite a while. Therefore, whether you need to jam with friends or practice for hours, this guitar will be a dependable companion.
The SG Special VE is an affordable and well-sought guitar, especially for rock players. Its feel, looks and overall sound quality deliver what rock guitarists are seeking in a guitar. The players of this guitar include legends like the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton and Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath.
- Brooding look and feel.
- Solid wood construction.
- Good quality of sound – clean and warm.
- Great for beginners to intermediate players who want an affordable guitar that has a vintage feel and great sound.
- May be too heavy for some people
- Not the nicest quality neck in the world, but it’ll do.
What To Look For When Choosing An Electric Guitar Under $300
Planning on buying and have around $300 dollars to spend? Do you know what features you should look for?
This section is here to help you figure out what to look for when making your purchase and tell you about some of the most affordable under $300 choices. Don’t worry, we’ve made sure these are all high quality and will satisfy any player.
We recommend sticking with a solid body because they have a better sound and don’t need to be plugged in (you can just use an amp).
What are the featured electric guitars to look for?
We’ve found that some of budget options under $300 feature great quality finishes, very solid necks, flamed maple or mahogany bodies with a sanded layer of satin-smooth mahogany on the neck and rosewood fretboard with 24 jumbo frets. These features provide a great feel and sound; making for an overall good sounding guitar. Look for popular brands like Ibanez, Epiphone Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson, etc.
Electric Guitar Components
Another important consideration is what are the individual components.
The biggest factor is the pickups. The pickups influence the guitar’s sound so the pickup type is a good indication of how it will sound.
For example, humbuckers have an aggressive tone that you might want to avoid if you’re looking for a workhorse guitar to cover multiple genres.
Look for single coil pickups (especially popular for Stratocasters), that are a good all-around choice and are less aggressive.
The other component to look for is the knobs and other controls. Some guitars have knobs that are very smooth and easy to manipulate while others can be stiff and sometimes even difficult to use.
The same applies to the switches but some players prefer stiffer switches since it feels more responsive with subtle movements.
Another component that’s important but not as noticeable is the fretboard material. The fretboard material is used for the binding around the fretboard, generally the material can be made out of rosewood, ebony, maple and mahogany.
The more expensive rosewood will give you better sustain and sound while ebony has a warmer tone. Still, rosewood and mahogany are very common choices.
Some manufacturers will use material combinations that won’t be immediately obvious like a thinner piece of rosewood that is glued over a thicker piece. This sacrifice is worth getting in terms of increased bite or increase tonal response.
Lastly, the scale length of the neck is an important factor when making your final purchase decision. The scale length will determine how high the notes you’re playing are and how much tension is exerted on the strings. Longer scale lengths are used by metal guitarists as it makes string bending easier.
Some other options in the same price range:
Under $300 Best Electric Guitars Conclusion
Even though it is impossible for us to be totally objective as it relates to selecting a best electric guitars under 300 or actually in any other classification, we do make the effort to recommend what is widely considered to be the best. In addition, we strive to go for the ones that will be suitable for the majority of players. This is a big part of the reason we have recommended such guitars like the Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster. It is designed to be suitable for a number of different styles of playing and genres. It sounds good, it is affordable and in its price range, it will be hard to find any better.