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Best Budget Electric Guitars [2020] – Buyer’s Guide & Review 👈

There’s a huge range of best budget 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.

1. Squier Affinity Stratocaster Best Budget Electric Guitar

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The Squier Affinity Stratocaster Imperial Blue Electric Guitar 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 best electric 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.

2. Epiphone Slash AFD Les Paul Special-II Guitar Outfit Best Budget Electric Guitar

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 The Epiphone Slash AFD Les Paul Special-II Guitar Outfit 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 budget 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 a range of accessories all for around £200.

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 best budget electric 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.

3. Ibanez GRGM21M RG miKro Jewel Best Budget Electric Guitar
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 The Ibanez GRGM21M RG miKro Jewel Blue proves that guitars don’t have to be super expensive to sound great. This is a  best budget 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 GRGM Maple neck, Maple fretboard with white dot inlays and 2 x Infinity R humbucker pickups added tonal power.

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!

4. Yamaha Pacifica 112V Best Budget Electric Guitar

The Yamaha Pacifica 112V Natural Satin is one of our favourite best budget 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 best budget electric 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.

5. Eastcoast GT100 Electric Guitar Best Budget Electric Guitar

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The Eastcoast GT100 Best budget 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.

6. Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club Vintage White Best Budget Electric Guitar

 The Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club Vintage White is a best budget electric guitar that certainly doesn’t suck! This beautifully crafted guitar brings new life into this Gretsch series, offering stellar playability and incredible sound for a budget-friendly price.

We love this guitar as it features appointments usually associated with higher tier guitars. This combination of body and 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 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.

7. Jackson JS1X DK Minion Best Budget Electric Guitar

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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 best budget 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.

8. Epiphone Dot ES-335 Semi Hollowbody, Vintage Sunburst Best Budget Electric Guitar

 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 budget 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.

9. Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster IL Olympic White Best Budget Electric Guitar

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The Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster is definitely one of our favourite best budget 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.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Depending on your personality, you might want to learn what is easier first. While the acoustic guitar and classical guitar are also great for a best budget electric guitar   is far easier to master. The design is such that the strings are generally situated closer to the frets, so it doesn’t take as much effort to push it down. In short, you will be expending less energy and it is easier to pick up for beginners. The structure of this kind of best budget electric guitar  also makes it easier to hold and handle, and developing a good posture is easier.

  • One of the main reasons why the best  budget electric guitar   is often preferred is that it has the capacity to produce a large variety of sounds and can be used in playing different styles of music. It is used heavily in more aggressive music like rock and metal, but can be put to other uses as well. With the help of different electronic devices, you can create just about any sound effect you like. The use of amplifiers also helps in creating and enhancing lucid tones, making the best budget electric guitar  a popular instrument.

  • If you are living in a house or a flat and face a lack of space to strum on your instrument at any time when you feel like practicing, or if you have touchy neighbours who object to any sound, electric guitar is a great option because it comes with headphones. You can just plug on the headphones and get on with your best budget electric guitar   tutorials without disturbing anyone. This really enhances the quality of your learning experience as you won’t have to face irate family members and neighbours just because you want to play.

Disadvantages
  • In general, a best budget electric guitar an cost up to double that of an acoustic guitar. This makes it expensive to most beginners who are not even sure whether they want to invest in a guitar long term. The high price is due to all the accessories such as cables and amplifiers that also need to be purchased along with the best budget electric guitar .

  • Another problem with the best budget electric guitar   is that you cannot just grab it on a whim and take it along with you on a picnic or a friend’s house, or even for a sudden jam session. You will have to ensure that there is an electric outlet at the place where you want to play and plan in advance.

  • You will also have to take along cables and amps, which can make it a tiresome procedure. Forget one thing, and you can forget the session!

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FAQ’s

Should I learn on an electric guitar or acoustic?

It all depends on your personal preference and the type of music you want to play. Electric and acoustic guitars both have unique advantages.

Best Budget Electric Guitar  have thinner strings and therefore are a great choice for beginners because they require less hand strength. Players with small hands might also prefer an electric for its slimmer neck, which warrants an easier grip and shorter reach.

Learning on an acoustic guitar, conversely, can often be a less costly investment because it doesn’t require additional equipment. It can also ease a future transition into electric guitar because a player’s hands will already be acclimated to heavy acoustic strings.

If you are set on an best budget electric guitar , Fender offers affordable guitar amplifiers at a variety of price points. Most are not only portable, but also easy to operate, making dialing in settings quite simple for newbies.

What strings do I need?

You’ll want to begin with a lighter string gauge. Lighter, thinner strings produce less tension, and for that reason are generally easier for beginners to work with. We recommend using a set of strings with a gauge of .009 inches to .042 inches, or .010 inches to .046 inches (known informally as “nines” or “10s”) for electric players. If you’re learning on an acoustic, look for a gauge of .011 inches to .052 inches (known as 11s) .

Different string materials also have unique benefits, including the tone they produce. Here’s a quick guide to buying guitar strings:

Electric Guitar Strings

Nickel strings: Clear and articulate; a versatile choice for rock, blues and jazz players

Stainless steel strings: Bright and less prone to wear; good for hard rock and metal

Acoustic Guitar Strings

80/20 Bronze: Bright and more metallic

Phosphor bronze: Dark, warm and mellow; a great choice for strummers.

Do I need other equipment to get started?

Yes. The right equipment can make all the difference in improving your technique and your tone. As you mature as a player, you can surround yourself with other tone-shaping accessories such as effects pedals, slides, etc.

 But for now, here are the absolute essentials:

 

  • Picks

 

Nothing is as vibrant–or confusing–as the sheer volume of pick shapes, sizes, thicknesses and materials offered at a music store. As you become more familiar with your best budget electric guitar   you may find yourself trying out a number of picks to better accommodate your playing style. But generally speaking, plastic picks are a popular choice for their flexibility and grip. We recommend sticking to a standard size and shape, like the Fender Celluloid Pick, as a good starting point. Not to mention, the classic celluloid pick is an industry standard among many players.

As far as thickness goes, opt for a pick of medium thickness (between .73 mm–.88 mm), as it will guarantee you a solid grip without being too overwhelming to hold.

 

  • Strap

 

A strap is essential for stabilizing your instrument, especially if you intend to play standing up. Again, the variety of products you’ll encounter here is vast, and whatever material or design you choose is left to your discretion. However, as a beginner, comfort should be your ultimate priority. Choosing a strap that’s at least 2 inches in width, with additional padding (usually called neoprene), will help to prevent shoulder and neck pain.

Keep in mind that while electric guitars typically have two endpins on which you can attach your strap, acoustic guitars normally do not. You’ll need to purchase a strap button to secure the strap to your headstock. You can also use a shoelace or piece of string of equal density.

 

  • Cable

 

A cable can break your tone as quickly as it can make it, so opt for an instrument cable that’s shorter than 18.6 feet and features reinforced ends for minimal handling noise and signal loss.

 

  • Tuner

 

You’ll be able to tune your best budget electric guitar  far more quickly and accurately with an electronic tuner or pitch pipe. Try a chromatic tuner, which allows you to tune in any key. Clip-on tuners, which attach to the headstock of your instrument and tune through the vibration of your strings, are a great choice for beginners because they’re portable, visible and very easy to use. And the Fender Tune app is a great tool, too, offering several tunings right on your mobile device.

How is a guitar tuned?

A guitar can be tuned a number of ways depending on the style of music being played, but for beginners, we’ll focus on basic standard tuning. If you are using a tuner with an LED display, make sure the needle is properly centered. Adjust your tuning machines accordingly if your sound falls flat or sharp.

When speaking in guitar terms, each string is numbered accordingly. The first string is the lightest string on the instrument — the one closest to the floor — whereas your sixth string is the heaviest. Beginning at the sixth string and progressing upward, the key for each string is as follows: E-A-D-G-B-E.

What’s the difference between barre chords and open chords?

You’ll start hearing both of these terms a lot as you develop your practice. Barre chords are produced by using your index finger to “fret” all six strings at once as you strum. Different chords are formed by forming different patterns with your other three fingers as you hold down the other six strings. Because a barre chord can be played in any key, you can also change keys quickly by simply moving your hand up and down the neck. New players may find it difficult to play barre chords initially because they require more hand strength and stretching.

Open chords, as the name suggests, do not require each string to be fretted, therefore leaving them “open” when strummed. As you progress as a player or develop your songwriting skills, you may opt for one over the other due to its sound. But by supplementing your play with both types of chords — especially in settings with multiple guitars — you’ll generate more full, complex and multidimensional tone.

Are my fingers supposed to hurt?

Yes, but don’t be discouraged. As a beginner, you’ll eventually improve your muscle strength in your playing arm and form calluses on your fretting hand. And yes, that dull pain and discomfort does come with the territory. Those aches are short-lived, especially if you continue to practice regularly, which is key to alleviating pain.

There are some ways to push through the pain like a pro. Again, lighter strings can help, as will lowering your string action (the distance between the fingerboard and the strings. A quick fix by a professional will shorten the amount of pressure you’ll need to exert as you press down.

How do I get the most out of my practice time?

The more you put into practicing your instrument, the more you’ll get out of it. Regular guitar practice is critical to improving your ability, even for those who are “naturals.” What’s more important, however, is proper practice. Keeping your technique in check will prevent you from forming bad habits that may sometimes take years to break.

Good posture, proper hand positioning and preventative stretching should always be considered. While it is normal to experience discomfort during your first few months of play, be mindful of tension and unnatural bending in your fingers and wrists.

Remember to take breaks. Great guitar playing doesn’t necessarily come from hours upon hours of excruciating practice. Quality is just as important as quantity. A refreshing breather every 20 minutes will keep your mind clear and enthusiasm piqued.

What’s the most common beginner’s pitfall?

Many beginners assume that technique and ability will come to them overnight. It’s this misnomer that leads to frustration and, sometimes, giving up your instrument altogether. Learning music is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a gradual learning experience that requires patience, time and true comprehension of concepts.

Racing through scales and scrutinizing every note is not what makes this craft enjoyable. Let your passion lead you. Learn at your own pace. Keep your abashed curiosity alive throughout the process. And above all else … just have fun.

Looking for more guitar knowledge? Check out our ultimate guide to your best budget electric guitar   if you’re ready to learn guitar, sign up for a free trial to Fender Play.

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