If you’re a musician, whether an amateur or a professional, you might be facing a few problems finding instruments that fit your needs. With such an abundance of great guitars, effects, rack-mounted units, pedals, and other gadgets, you’ll have a pretty hard time digging up what suits your music style and technique. You’ll spend a lot of time and patience in finding something affordable that still sounds good. This is why we decided to help guitar players of all levels in their search for good but affordable instruments and brought you a list of the best electric guitar under 300 dollars.
No matter if you’re an intermediate, pro, or a beginner still looking for ways on how to teach yourself guitar, the list includes something for everyone’s tastes and needs. Some of you may be skeptical, but the instruments listed below are pretty solid and some of them can even handle professional settings. So let’s dig in.
- 1 10 Best Electric Guitar Under $300 Reviews
- 2 What You Need To Know When Buying Electric Guitars Under $300
10 Best Electric Guitar Under $300 Reviews
Over the years, Yamaha has built its reputation for making quality and consistent products of all price ranges. But what’s interesting is that their lower-end electric guitars feature qualities of the more expensive brands. A great example comes with their Pacifica series that’s been present on the market since the late 1980s. For this list, we have Pacifica PAC112.
This is a 22-fret Stratocaster-style guitar with some basic features and more. It comes in a few different finishes, but the overall design is pretty straightforward, so it’s pretty clear that, for this price, PAC112 is mostly focused on playability and tone rather than additional features.
Going over to materials, the body is made of alder, while the neck is a maple one, while the fingerboard is the standard rosewood one. This is a similar combination of materials you can find on some other Strat-styled guitars.
It’s packed with one humbucker on the bridge, one single-coil in the middle, and another one on the neck position. This is the classic HSS combo that works with a standard 5-way switch.
The whole thing is rounded up by a simple tremolo bridge.
- Great tone flexibility with H-S-S pickup configuration
- Tuning stability
- Great build quality
- The design might be a little too uninteresting
- Pickups could be better
Somewhere right on the edge of our price range here, we have Jackson’s good old JS32 Dinky. Mostly famous among beginner and intermediate heavy metal players, the Dinky brings all the things that a shredder guitarist needs.
Coming in a few different finishes, this Superstrat type of guitar has a poplar body and a maple neck with an amaranth fingerboard. What’s more, you get 24 frets on a guitar that’s just below $300. However, there’s no need to worry about reaching these higher frets, as the body, the neck, and the body-neck joint are designed ergonomically. For instance, the body features indents on both the backside and the front side that allow you to grip these frets more easily.
Going to other features, the guitar has the standard 2 humbucker pickup combination that we find with metal-oriented instruments. But the most exciting feature is the inclusion of a Floyd Rose locking tremolo and a locking nut. Although it’s not one of the highest quality Floyd Rose bridges, it still does the job right for its purpose.
Overall, it’s a very playable instrument featuring humbucker pickups with just a slightly higher output. There are a few interesting finishes that might be interesting for those who care about the overall aesthetics. To put it simply, it’s certainly worth the money.
- Very comfortable and easy to play
- Features Floyd Rose bridge
- Great design
- It can go out of tune with excessive tremolo bridge use
But while some might be interested in metal, or just any music where the more “modern” approach to playing is required, there are still those who are into vintage-inspired stuff. If that’s the case with you, you should definitely check out some Gretsch guitars, like their G5425 Electromatic Jet Club.
First off, it’s a very simple guitar with the single-cutaway body shape, kind of inspired by classic Les Pauls, and referred to as “Jet.” Made of basswood and featuring an arched maple top, the body is slightly thicker and is chambered. This is a pretty interesting addition for a guitar at this price range and can impact the guitar’s tone and sustain. As for the neck, it’s made of maple and has a rosewood fingerboard.
On the Jet Club, we have two humbuckers, one 3-way pickup switch, and volume and tone pots. The whole operation is pretty simple. But aside from its quality tone, two of the biggest strengths are the build quality and the very stylish design.
While it’s not very versatile, it’s intended for those who are into rockabilly, blues, or classic rock music who want a simple guitar with a Gibson-styled tune-o-matic bridge and a tailpiece.
- Very simple to use
- Great tone
- Great build quality
- Stylish design
- Not a very versatile instrument
In case you’re into metal-oriented guitars similar to the Jackson Dinky, but don’t want to bother with Floyd Rose tremolo bridges, Ibanez has their RG421 that you’d definitely want to check out. Generally speaking, Ibanez has a lot of good stuff in the lower price range, but we think that the RG412 really stands out.
It’s the classic mahogany body instrument with the 3-piece neck called Wizard III. The fretboard has 24 frets and is made of jatoba, which is somewhat rare for this price level. This being a shred-oriented guitar, the neck and body joint, as well as deep and comfortable cutaways, allow easy access to all frets. And looking at the entire neck, the playability is pretty great at every position. Flat fretboard radius, thin neck profile, and a lower string action make this one very easy-to-play instrument. It’s a real mean shred machine.
The pickup combination is a bit unusual since we have the same type of pickup, Ibanez’s Quantum, both in the neck and bridge positions. But while we have just two humbuckers here, the pickup selector allows 5 combinations, providing players with some coil-splitting for those sparkling tones. One of the combination includes the two inner coils of two humbuckers, replicating some great Telecaster-style tones.
Generally speaking, this is just a stripped-down Superstrat-style Ibanez guitar that still retains some of the most important qualities. Sure, you won’t have a whammy bar, but you still have great playability, great tone, and attractive design.
- Great tone quality and tone versatility
- Very comfortable neck and easy access to higher frets
- Solid build quality
- No tremolo bridge
They may not be as famous as some other brands on the market, but that doesn’t mean Schecter instruments are not as good. In fact, they actually have surprisingly great guitars to offer in this price range. Well, basically any price range, but here we’re going to mention their 430 C-6 Deluxe.
Comparable to Ibanez RG421 we mentioned above, this too is a stripped-down shred machine. On the other hand, the C-6 might not be as versatile, but it still has a wonderful tone and outstanding playability, in addition to its great design. The interesting thing about C-6 is that it has a tune-o-matic bridge but without the classic stop bar. After the bridge, the strings go through the body, which is what some guitar players might prefer.
The body of the guitar is made from basswood and the neck is a maple one with a rosewood fretboard and 24 frets. The best thing about this instrument, however, are the Diamond Plus humbucker pickups. With their higher output, you’ll be able to do chugging riffs and soaring solos with ease. Perfect for all the lovers of heavy tone.
- Good for metal
- 24 frets
- Interesting design
- Not as versatile compared to some other guitars on the list
- Some have complained about the build quality for this price range
If you’ve been playing guitar for a while, there’s no chance you haven’t heard of Fender’s subsidiary company Squier. And it’s pretty much impossible not to mention them on the list of cheaper guitars, as they’ve built their reputation for some surprisingly great instruments for this price range.
While many are familiar with their Bullet series, we decided to include Affinity Stratocaster, the one with the H-S-S pickup configuration. By most of its specifications, this one is done according to classic Fender Stratocasters. There are some differences in the build, like the somewhat unusual Indian Laurel fretboard and the poplar body. The scale length is 25.5 inches, which gives the genuine Strat feel. It also comes in a few different color finishes. The maple neck provides great comfort and a good grip with its C-shaped profile.
Some versatility comes with the pickup combination and the humbucker in the bridge position. There’s a 5-way switch, like on most of the Stratocasters with 3 pickups, as well as one master volume pot and two tone pots.
Of course, we can also find the classic vintage-style tremolo bridge.
- Good build quality
- Versatility in tones
- Reliable instrument
- Not many other exciting features
We couldn’t help but mention yet another Squier guitar on this list. You might be in love with their twangy tones and curvy body shapes, but Fender Telecasters can sometimes get a bit expensive. If you’re on a budget, Squier’s Standard Telecaster will provide you with the Tele experience, but with a more affordable price tag.
The looks, operation, and the tone are all pretty close to some of the regular classic Telecasters. This series features agathis body and a C-shaped maple neck. The Indian laurel fretboard has that curvier radius of 9.5 inches, while the total scale length is 25.5 inches. A bit of a difference here might be the inclusion of 22 frets instead of just 21, but this is most certainly not a letdown.
Although bearing only two single-coil pickups, there’s so much stuff that you can do with it. These are stock pickups, but they do a pretty good job for this range. Of course, it’s nothing too flashy or luxurious, but they’re still able to deliver some of that classic punch, twang, and attack to your tone.
In the end, you get a pretty genuine Telecaster experience that’s well worth the price.
- Convincing Telecaster tone and feel
- A very reliable instrument
- Not very versatile
There’s something just so appealing with the Gibson’s legendary SG shape. However, we all know how expensive Gibsons can get, to the point where guitarists of pretty much any level can be discouraged to buy one of their guitars. Well, thankfully, we have some pretty great Epiphone guitars that still offer great tones, good playability, and classic design.
While the Epiphone SG Special might not be as good as some of their Gibson counterparts, it’s still one hell of a guitar. What’s more, this instrument can serve you well even in your later stages of playing, maybe with a few modifications. The series also includes the so-called “VE” versions, which stands for “Vintage Edition” finish.
This one features a poplar body with the mahogany top, while the neck is made of okoume wood, while the fingerboard is a rosewood one. Just like on most of SGs, there are 22 medium jumbo frets, as well as the classic tune-o-matic bridge with the stop bar.
Of course, the main difference here is the bolt-on neck construction, which is pretty much expected to see in this price range. The two humbucker pickups work pretty well but would require some adjustment out of the box, as they usually tend to be set up too high.
- Good-looking instrument with the genuine SG feel
- Good tone
- Hardware quality could be better
- There are some smaller inconsistencies with the build quality
It’s really a shame how some of the Dean guitars tend to be overlooked in the sea of different guitar brands out there. If you’re into metal but would like to have an instrument that allows you to venture into other genres as well, then Dean’s Vendetta XM could be your choice.
This mighty fine guitar has a paulownia body, something that you won’t stumble upon that often. The maple neck is a bolt-on one and has a rosewood fingerboard with a total of 24 frets on it. Overall, the body’s design here gives more than a nice thing to look at, as it also provides comfort and access to higher frets. It’s a fusion of great design and ergonomic features in the best possible way.
The two humbuckers on it are Dean’s own DMT which provide players with a slightly higher output. Compared to some other guitars of this price range and style, the Vendetta XM has a pretty great tremolo bridge, Dean’s so-called “Vintage Tremolo.”
- Great tone
- Good pickups
- Attractive design
- Not that reliable and would require setting-up
Building some of the best-quality prestigious guitars of all time, there’s a reason why Ernie Ball Music Man is so well-respected in the guitar community. Their quality control can be seen in their subsidiary company Sterling, that has some of the best instruments for the price. For instance, their CT30 is, in our eyes (and ears), the best electric guitar under 300 dollars.
This Strat-style guitar draws some inspiration from Music Man guitars, especially with its “4+2” headstock design and a few other features. But what’s really important here is that the company puts a lot of effort to keep the quality up, while still managing to cut on costs with cheaper materials.
The body shape here is just slightly “offset” while still keeping the Strat looks. It has one humbucker pickup in the bridge position, and two single coils, the classic HSS combo. However, there’s also a version with three single-coil pickups. These are all stock pickups, but they do a pretty great job and can handle both clean and distorted tones pretty well.
Yeah, it has the poplar body like some other guitars in this range, the maple neck, and the laurel fretboard. Nonetheless, the build quality is so great that we just couldn’t find any flaws to mention. There are also some very subtle yet neat features, like easy access to truss rod adjustment.
Also worth mentioning is the company’s own Fulcrum tremolo bridge, which keeps the classic vintage-ish vibes, yet keeps any whammy bar operation running smoothly.
- Build quality
- Stable tuning
- Great feel
- Just about everything
- If we were really to nitpick, then the slight “offset” in the design might be a bit of a letdown to some. Other than that, pretty much nothing negative to say about it.
What You Need To Know When Buying Electric Guitars Under $300
Buying cheap guitars is not as easy as it may seem. There are so many brands out there that it’s really getting hard to keep track of what’s good and what’s not. So here, we would mention the first rule – go with a brand and a model that has reviews available online. After all, we live in the age of the internet and it would be a real mistake to go with someone no one is familiar with. Sure, you might stumble upon a really great no brand knockoff guitar, but it’s a huge risk as, in most cases, these deals prove to be disastrous.
Secondly, you’ll need to think of your playing skills and different features on a guitar. If you’re a total beginner who’s still figuring out how to tune an electric guitar, we’d advise that you don’t buy a guitar with a Floyd Rose or any type of a floating bridge. At the same time, it is also advisable that you keep it simple with other features as well, possibly even tremolo bridges altogether. Something simple and straightforward like the Epiphone SG Special should do the trick, or possibly the Squier Standard Telecaster.
Up next, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to first try out the guitar that you want to buy. Consistency in the overall build might not always be that great in this price range. For instance, you can try one of these guitars somewhere, order the same model, and notice that there are certain flaws that you didn’t notice on the first one you tried.
You can also think more about the future and whether you’re planning to become a professional player one day. Some of these guitars can serve you well even in later stages of playing, and you might even keep them in your arsenal later on. At the same time, it’s always a great idea to save up and pay just a little bit more for a better deal. For example, the Sterling CT30 is a guitar that you’ll be more than satisfied with for the price. It’s, in our humble opinion, the best deal for the money.
If you’re an already experienced guitarist looking for something as a backup instrument, or just something that you’d practice on or use for fun, then we’d, once again, recommend the CT30. Another option is the Gretsch G5425, in case you’re interested in vintage stuff.
Another great thing about cheaper instruments is that you can always modify them by adding different pickups, bridges, or even swapping necks. It can be a good and cheap way to experiment, but you’d still need a good guitar. And you can’t go wrong with any of these we mentioned, since they’re all pretty much worth the money. It just comes down to what you prefer in the end.