Best Electric Guitar Under 1000 - Solidbody Guitar Choices 2023

The Highest Rated Solidbody Electric Guitars from $500 to $1000

The mid range of prices is where you usually find the best price to performance in solid body electric guitars.


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Each guitar brand has a different way of fitting features into this price bracket. Spend too little, and you'll be disappointed with the electronics and build quality. Spend too much, and you're paying for intangibles like heritage and luxury.

Now, under $1000 are not considered by some as entry-level since there are many price brackets below it. But I consider this price point as the entranceway to the best electric guitars.

These electric guitars are not for those just starting out and buying their first new guitar. These are also for those who are committed to advancing in their craft. Without further ado, here are the best electric guitars under 1000.

The Best Electric Guitar Under 1000 - Solidbody Guitar Choices

Author & Contributors

Alden Acosta Alden Acosta

I'm a drummer and former lead guitarist of the band Callalily, a platinum selling multi-awarded band from the Philippines. I also studied music for 6 years majoring in percussion and jazz studies with a minor in classical piano.

Pickup Type: Single Coil (SSS)

PRS SE Silver Sky


96 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

PRS SE Silver Sky (2022) Stone Blue
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Solidbody SSS Pickup Equipped Electric Guitar from $1000 to $500


  • Needs to be set up to maximize potential (as with all guitars)
  • 8.5" fingerboard radius might not satisfy purists


  • Sound and feel that is reminiscent of vintage guitars
  • Great sounding stock pickups - classic Strat tones
  • Excellent build quality
  • Neck profile is one of the best for any Strat type I've tried

When Paul Reed Smith announced the SE version in January with a demo featuring John Mayer cutting to the chase and playing "Slow Dancing In a Burning Room," I was somehow drawn into the hype.

It might be because the Stone Blue finish reminded me of a well-worn, Daphne Blue 1964 Fender Stratocaster I once had in my possession. I was struck with a double whammy of nostalgia and hype.

I immediately pre-ordered a unit in that finish (which apparently is the best-selling one and is hard to get a hold of).

Out of the box, it didn't feel the way I expected a PRS to feel. The setup was a bit high for my taste, and the pickups were not at my preferred height. Fortunately, I didn't notice any finish flaws. I chalked it up to the difference between getting a PRS SE in the US and getting one anywhere else.

PRS SE guitars distributed in the US pass through the same quality checks as their Core models and thus get a final setup there. Aside from major retailers that provide setup, other distributors may receive units straight from the factory. These, unfortunately, don't get set up after the shipment. This may lead to a less-than-optimal playing feel because of storage and shipment conditions.

Even before the setup, however, the neck felt really comfortable. The carve is definitely more vintage-inspired as it's slightly thicker from front to back, but the shoulders are in between a soft V and a vintage C profile.

It's surprising to see this neck profile on modern guitars. It's perfect for Jimi-style thumb over chording and leveraging for big bends. Compared to the US Silver Sky, The back of the neck is finished in a thin, satin finish.

My experience with satin finishes is that over time, they naturally gloss up but retain that smooth feel. I've only had this guitar for a few months, and it's beginning to feel a bit more like a worn-in vintage neck. I've seen discussions online about how many people actually prefer this neck over the US, so if that's what threw you off about the core Silver Sky, you might like the SE one a lot better.

As I was setting up the SE Silver Sky, I kept referencing official PRS documentation for Neck Relief, action, intonation, and pickup height. The nut slots were cut perfectly from the factory, so I didn't encounter any problems there.

The frets needed a little polishing, but I didn't encounter any stray frets that needed hammering. Nor did I feel any rough edges along the side of the fretboard. Some of these things are usually done by a team in PRS' Maryland facility, and I'm fortunate to have some experience setting up my own guitars.

If you're more of a player than a tinkerer than me, getting ANY guitar professionally set up is a must. It makes or breaks even the most expensive instruments.

Silver Sky SE Bridge
Silver Sky SE Springs
The Silver Sky SE bridge makes full contact with the body at an angle. This isn't a manufacturing or setup error. I also removed the backplate to mimic the Core model.

The neck is also slightly narrower, close to the nut, when I was comparing the SE with the Core model at the store. The profile becomes more and more similar as you go up the neck. Along with the 8.5" radius rosewood fingerboard (versus the Core's vintage 7.25"), the SE neck feels a bit more comfortable to play with a full grip on the neck. Those with smaller hands would also love this change from the US model.

An important thing to note that I thought was odd at first is the way the bridge is angled from the bridge posts. PRS Chief Operations Officer Jack Higginbotham said in this Guitar World Interview: "We’re going about 2/32-inch up on the front and then decking the back of the bridge. I’ve tried it all sorts of ways: fully decking it, coming up one 32nd, two 32nds and dropping the saddles down – this is what we think is the sweet spot to how to get the guitar sounding the best."

After I had it set up to my preferences, the guitar immediately felt better. Much more important than that, it sounded better. Sustain was excellent, and the pickups, after adjusting them to the factory recommended height by PRS, were surprisingly warm for single coil pickups.

The classic strat tones were still there. They didn't have the plinky-ness of modern Fender guitars. People who are used to the "modern hi-fi Fender" sound may find the SE Silver Sky's pickups to be the equivalent of having the tone knob rolled back slightly.

The PRS 635 JM "S" pickups have a lower resonant peak, even compared to their Core version, as found by Guitar Pickup Database in this investigative post.

To me, however, the warmer, smoother sound of the SE pickups works really well to prevent the typical "single coil icepick" sound. Interestingly enough, I remember the 1964 Stratocaster I had with me to have a warmer and smoother sound than the Fender 2011 American Vintage 62 Stratocaster I had at the time.

The Silver Sky's pickups themselves are named so because of John Mayer's preference for the sound of mid-60's Stratocasters. Particularly those made between 1963 and 1965. I'd say the overall vibe and tonality of the bridge and neck pickups give the SE Silver Sky a unique sound. One that would require other guitars to be fitted with boutique pickups to achieve.

On paper, the Silver Sky SE seems like a downgrade from the Core model. But after my experience with making music with it, it didn't get in the way of me laying down tracks or getting inspired just by noodling around with it.

Despite my guitar lineup consisting of very high end guitars, I found myself habitually reaching for the SE. It's a fantastic guitar to noodle around with while doing other tasks (such as writing this review).

And for a guitar that many might feel is a "lesser" version of a premium one to do that, to creep into my subconscious and grow a habit of me reaching for it in idle times is quite a feat in itself.

I was never actually wow-ed or amazed by it, but it went from disappointing me, to a guitar that I find great comfort in holding and playing. In a way, it's almost like that one person who you didn't like at first, but then as you get to know them better, you become the best of friends. To me, it's the best electric guitar for the money.


  • Body: Poplar
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Bridge: 2-Piece Steel Tremolo
  • Pickups: x3 PRS 635JM "S" Single-coil
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 8.5"
  • Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.625"
  • Controls: 1 x master volume, 2 x tone
  • Pickup Selector: 5-way blade pickup switch

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Guitar World Dave Burrluck 90/100
Guitar Michael Watts 90/100
Gearank Raphael Pulgar 95/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Fender Player Stratocaster with Maple Fretboard


95 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Fender Player Stratocaster with Maple Fingerboard - Tidepool
At publication time, this was the Equal Highest Rated Solidbody SSS Pickup Equipped Electric Guitar from $1000 to $500


  • Sounds a bit more high output and harsh compared to American made Stratocasters


  • Newly upgraded alnico V pickups from ceramic pickups
  • Intuitive dedicated tone control for the bridge pickup
  • Expressive, light, and quick 2-point tremolo bridge
  • Comfortable "Modern C" neck shape

The Fender Player Stratocaster represents an update and upgrade to the well-loved "Mexican Fender" Strat of yore. There's even a song by Weezer that references it.

Now equipped with Alnico V pickups - the Mexican Player Strat produces a very premium sound. More akin to the "American Fender" Strat and with added niceties all around.

It has bright attack and sound, a "Modern C" neck shape that's like a comfortable middle between classic C and D shaped neck profiles. It also has a superb 2-point tremolo that bounces back into tune with speed and accuracy.

Another notable feature is that the second tone knob affects the bridge pickup. This is another update from the old MIM models that used to have no tone control for the bridge, leaving it sounding a bit spiky at times.

One minor gripe I have is that the Alnico V pickups can sound a little too bright and piercing. Especially when compared to its American made counterparts. This prompts a bit more fiddling with the tone controls.

There is no denying this is a real Fender Stratocaster sharing its DNA with those old Strats that changed the history of rock and roll forever, albeit with a more affordable price. Its new Alnico V pickups and minor design updates make this a worthy upgrade to the Mexican Fender Standard Strat.


  • Body: Alder
  • Finish: Gloss Polyester
  • Bridge: 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles
  • Pickups: 3 x Player Series Alnico 5 Strat® Single-Coil
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5"
  • Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.650"
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Middle / Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup)
  • Pickup Selector: 5-Position Blade

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Guitar World Peter Hodgson 100/100
MusicRadar Michael Astley-Brown 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Pickup Type: Single Coil (SS)

Fender Player Telecaster with Maple Fretboard


94 out of 100. Incorporating 1050+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Fender Player Telecaster with Maple Fingerboard - Butterscotch Blonde
At publication time, this was the Highest Rated Solidbody SS Pickup Equipped Electric Guitar from $500 to $1000


  • Decidedly traditional - not much new from the Telecaster formula


  • Classic Fender Telecaster for a relatively affordable price
  • Bright and high output Alnico V single coil pickups - good gain without losing too much character
  • String-through body and block steel bridge provides excellent sustain
  • Versatile and comfortable "Modern C" neck shape

The Fender Player Telecaster is the current iteration of the MIM Tele. It sports a traditional single coil setup (SS) with Alnico V magnets. The fingerboard is available in a bright maple or dark Pau Ferro, depending on the color you get.

This features a string-through alder body Telecaster bridge that's made of block steel. This adds increased sustain without losing that signature Telecaster twang. Also, its "Modern C" neck is very comfortable to play.

Its Player alnico V pickups afford this Tele a bright bite at the bridge position. It takes gain like a champ thanks to its higher output compared to other single coil pickups.

I see this as a no-frills, dare I say "basic" classic Telecaster: Two pickups (Bridge and Neck Pickup), volume, and tone knobs. For this price, you have a lot of other options, so you must really like this configuration of Tele to justify grabbing this axe. Not too many groundbreaking features on this one, just a solid guitar for a solid price.

If you want that authentic Fender Telecaster experience for less, the Fender Player Series Telecaster is a Mexican Tele true to its roots. The Telecaster is the quintessential solid body guitar. And the Player Series Telecaster is a must-try for all classic Tele fans (like myself) out there.


  • Body: Alder
  • Finish: Gloss Polyester
  • Bridge: 6-Saddle String-Through-Body Tele with Block Steel Saddles
  • Pickups: 2 x Player Series Alnico 5 Tele Single-Coil
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5"
  • Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.650"
  • Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 3-Position Blade

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Guitar World Dave Burrluck 90/100
YouTube Elmo Karjalainen 93/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Pickup Type: Humbucker (HH)

Epiphone Les Paul Classic 2020


97 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Epiphone Les Paul Classic (HH) 2020 6 String Solidbody Electric Guitar


  • Requires a setup right out of the box to play its best


  • Reasonably priced yet fully featured Les Paul
  • Features push pull coil split and phase switching pickups for increased tonal versatility
  • Uses maple topped mahogany - the same with most USA Gibson Les Pauls

There's nothing like a good Les Paul, and this Epiphone Classic is a reasonably priced one that doesn't skimp out on features.

This axe comes with some very notable features in its hardware and electronics. The Zebra Alnico Classic PRO humbucking pickups with CTS electronics give it a classic tone.

The coil-splitting simulates the sound of a single coil guitar. Phase switching for even more tone options and smooth Grover Rotomatic machine heads that are just a pleasure to use.

The beautiful solid mahogany body and neck come with a maple top and your choice of Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Honeyburst, and Ebony finishes.

Most Gibson Les Pauls come in mahogany body topped with maple as well, so it's great to see them pull no stops in this more affordable version.

The laurel fretboard is mated to a mahogany neck. While historically, a Gibson Les Paul might come with a rosewood fretboard, laurel is a good alternative.

Expect to do a bit of a setup when you get this in the mail. Although it is standard practice for any new guitar, I find that the Les Paul Classic's string height and intonation are not to my liking right out of the factory.

This guitar aims to arm intermediates with a versatile Les Paul at a not-so "Gibson Guitars" price. I believe they've hit their mark.

It's not a Gibson Custom Shop, but if you want a Les Paul with all the bells and whistles but find yourself a bit short for the higher-end models, the Epiphone Les Paul Classic is a great place to start.


  • Body: Mahogany with Maple Top
  • Finish: Ebony, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Honey Burst
  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-o-matic Bridge with Stopbar Tailpiece
  • Pickups: (HH) Alnico Custom PRO Humbucker
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12”
  • Frets: 22, Medium Jumbo
  • Nut Width: 1.693”
  • Controls: 2 x Volume (Push-Pull Coil Split) and 2 x Tone (Push-Pull Phase Shift)
  • Pickup Selector: 3-Way Pickup Selector

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Mikes Guitar Workshop 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

PRS SE Custom 24


95 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

PRS SE Custom 24 (2022) - Black Gold Burst


  • Nothing serious


  • Impressive build quality and classic-modern fusion design
  • Versatile - 6 tone options afforded by its 3-way switch plus push/pull tone control split coil capability
  • Eye-catching flame maple veneer options

PRS (Paul Reed Smith) is a guitar brand that's been waves in the electric guitar manufacturing industry. Despite being a premium brand, their more affordable guitars garner a good reputation. Quality so good that Fender and Gibson may need to be on their toes.

Among their highly rated electric guitars is this PRS SE Custom 24.

Right off the bat, this solid body guitar looks stunning. The curves and contours of this stunning guitar are somehow modern yet classic feeling. The guitar is ergonomic without too much of that "Ibanez guitar super strat" aesthetic - the build quality is pretty great.

It also has a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. It also comes in Black Gold Burst, Bonni Pink and Faded Blue Burst finishes. These have flame maple veneers - nothing less than outstanding at this price point.

It even sports a patented tremolo bar in its compact bridge section.

It's no slouch in tonal options either. It feature 2 “S” humbucker pickups paired with a volume, push/pull tone control split, and 3-way blade pickup selector giving you 6 choices of tone style.

The only downside I can see with this guitar (and this would be seriously nitpicking) is with its approach to versatility. It kind of does not have a distinct tonal character in the way a Tele, Strat and a Les Paul have their own "sound".

But nonetheless, I'm not listing the unique design approach as a fault: somewhat in between a Strat and a Les Paul and a multi-genre musician's dream. The thick sounding humbuckers can be split to achieve single coil tones.

Those guitars I've mentioned have had most of the last century to establish their signature sounds in countless records. Maybe the PRS Custom will become a classic this century! It certainly is one of the most versatile guitars.

If you're not one for tradition and just want the best electric guitar at this pricepoint, the PRS SE Custom 24 breaks the mold. Especially when it comes to playability, looks, sound and affordability.

This electric guitar proves that Les is not the only Paul in the game. It's one of the best guitars under 1000.


  • Body: Mahogany with Maple Top
  • Finish: Flame Maple
  • Bridge: PRS Patented Tremolo, Molded
  • Pickups: 2 x PRS 85/15 “S” Humbuckers
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25"
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood fretboard with PRS Bird Inlays
  • Fingerboard Radius: 10"
  • Frets: 24
  • Nut Width: 1.6875"
  • Controls: Volume knob and Push/Pull Tone Control with 3-Way Blade Switch
  • Pickup Selector: 3-way blade pickup switch

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Equipboard nickgrooves 100/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Pickup Type: Mixed

Fender Player Stratocaster HSS


95 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Fender Player Stratocaster HSS - Polar White
At publication time, this was the Highest Rated Solidbody HSS Pickup Equipped Electric Guitar Under $1000


  • Does not come with a case


  • 100% Fender Stratocaster with a twist - gorgeously warm Alnico 2 humbucker pickup at the bridge for added versatility
  • Updated Alnico 5 single coils from ceramic in older Mexican Fenders
  • Dedicated tone knob for bridge humbucker provides even more tonal possibilities

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSS is today's Mexican Fender "Fat Strat". It follows the classic Strat alder body design, with pickups akin to modern guitars.

Like its other Fender Player siblings, this guitar comes upgraded with Alnico V single coil pickups. But what sets this apart in terms of pickup ensemble is the warm and characterful Alnico II bridge humbucker.

It's great for that muscular "fifth gear" when single coils just won't cut it in terms of hum-cancelling. They also provide thickness especially in modern high-gain situations.

It shares most of its dimensions and materials with the SSS Fender Player Strat. The HSS is also equipped with an easy to play "Modern C" neck that's like the "Classic C" shape but a little flatter to fit most playing styles.

It also has a maple fretboard that's expected from classic Strat designs. While it won't be up to the specs of what people consider as metal guitars, but it can get the job done.

It has two tone controls. The dedicated tone knob for the bridge pickup is put to extra good use here commanding the humbucker for even more flexibility!

Also, the 2-point bridge tremolo is fast and accurate just like in the SSS Player Stratocaster.

Looking hard for cons, I wish this guitar (and the others in the Fender Player series) came with at a soft case so you can gig with it right away. Although it's at the lower end of the Fender spectrum, there are electric guitars above and below it in terms of price that come with some sort of case.

If you're looking for a Fat Strat that gets you in the door of Fender quality and reliability, this fantastic guitar fits the bill.


  • Body: Alder
  • Finish: Gloss Polyester
  • Bridge: 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles
  • Pickups: Bridge - Player Series Alnico 2 Humbucking, Middle & Neck - Player Series Alnico 5 Strat Single-Coil
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5"
  • Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.650"
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck/Middle Pickups), Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup)
  • Pickup Selector: 5-Position Blade

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Surjo Bhattacharjee 92/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Things to Consider When Buying a Solidbody Electric Guitar

Pickup Configuration

The best electric guitars all have great tone. And much of how an electric guitar sounds like is dictated by the type of pickups used. The most common pickups used by popular guitar brands are Humbucking (double coil) and Single Coil pickups.

Single Coil pickups tend to emphasize the upper frequencies, while Humbuckers have a rounder tone with more of the low-end. In addition to their expected characteristics, the position of the pickups and the way they are combined also affect the resulting sound.

FilterTron is another popular pickup type that is available in this price range, it is a staple pickup of Gretsch guitars and is a big part of their sound, which is described as a cross between a singlecoil and humbucker pickup. Shape and size-wise, filtertrons are similar to humbuckers, but they have different dimensions.

The P-90 pickup is a singlecoil pickup developed by Gibson that usually comes in the same shape and size as humbuckers. It continues to gain traction in the market because of its distinct grit and growl.

There are a few more pickup variations, but we've left them out because they are not as popular in this price range. If you're not sure which one to get, you can look at the configuration used by your favorite guitarists.

Here are some pickup configurations that can be found in the sub $500 price range:

SSS - Guitars with three single coils, as seen on traditional Stratocasters.
SS - Guitars with two single coils, as seen on Telecasters.
HH - Guitars with two humbuckers as seen on Les Pauls, SGs, Super Strats, Flying Vs, and more... these are the favored by those who prefer rock and chunky metal tones.
FF - Guitars with two Filter’Trons, most commonly found on Gretsch guitars but can also be found on some Fender guitars - you can learn more in this article by James M Brill for Reverb.
HSS - Guitars with two single-coils and a humbucker in the bridge position, as seen on some modern Stratocasters and Superstrats.
HSH - Guitars with two humbuckers for the bridge and neck position, and a single coil for the middle position, as seen on Super Strats and Custom Les Pauls.
PP - Guitars with two P-90s for the bridge and neck position, can be usually seen on some SGs, and Les Pauls.
HP - Guitars with a Humbucker for the bridge and P90 for the neck position, this usually seen in custom models, but some manufacturers like G&L have incorporated this in affordable mass produced models.
FP - Guitars with a FilterTron for the bridge and P90 for the neck position, this usually seen in custom models, and are sometimes used by Gretsch in their entry-level to mid-tier models.

In addition to the above configurations, technology has made it possible for humbuckers to sound like single coil pickups via "coil tapping", allowing for flexible tone options that were not possible with older guitars. Another nifty modern feature is the use of No Load Tone Circuits that behave like true bypass when the tone knob is set to 10.


This is where guitar neck specifications come into play - which when neglected can result to unpleasant playing experience for both students and advanced players. We've listed the four most important specs to consider below, along with a quick overview of how they affect playability.

Scale Length

Guitar Scale Length is the distance where-in the strings are stretched, from the nut to the bridge saddle. Physics dictate that the longer the scale length is, the more tension is required to get strings in tune. This is the reason why some players prefer the "slack" feel of a Les Paul with its 24.75" scale length, while others want the biting attack of the tighter strings on a 25.5" Scale Length Telecaster.

Nut Width

This dictates the space between strings at the nut, those with smaller hands will appreciate smaller nut widths (1.65"), while others who prefer more room for their fingers will want the opposite.

Fingerboard Radius

Without going too technical, this specification describes how flat or round the fingerboard is. Generally speaking, the flatter the radius, the lower the string action can be, which means easier single-note playing and bending. On the other hand, rounder fingerboards follow the natural shape of the fretting hand so are more chord friendly. Some players prefer the feel of vintage Fender guitars with 7.25" radius, while others want slightly flatter ones at 9.5". Those who are into shred and modern rock usually go for flatter radius that range from 12" to 16". Compound radius fingerboards try to give players the best of both worlds, by making the fingerboard flatter as you go up the neck, where you usually do your noodling. Guitar fret wires is another point of consideration, as it is related to the overall feel of the instrument.

Neck Profile

This describes the shape of the back of the neck. Together with the fingerboard radius and neck finish, it dictates the overall feel of the neck. Flat radius guitars are usually complemented by wide thin neck profiles, while rounder fingerboards come with U or C shape necks. Again, this is more a matter of preference than being right or wrong. Aside from shape, the type of wood used on the neck has some effect on the tone. Maple neck guitars are expected to be slightly brighter sounding than their mahogany neck counterparts.


This price range is where bridge hardware quality begins to improve over cheaper models, from the usual tune-o-matic style bridges to a licensed Floyd Rose bridge system that allow for tricks like note dives and pull ups. While having a fancy tremolo bar system maybe a good thing, there are a few downsides, including tuning instability (Floyd Rose systems are better at preventing this), inconvenient string changes, and longer learning curve for its operation and maintenance.

Floating type tremolo bars are also usually paired with locking nuts, to help alleviate tuning related issues. The choice is up to you whether to go for simplistic tune-o-matic bridge setups or the more complex floating bridge ones.

Body Shape and Finish

The guitar's shape and finish can spell the difference between a boring and an inspiring instrument, so better get one that looks great and feels comfortable to you. Guitar players are drawn to the style of instruments that their heroes play, so they are your best starting point, but don't be afraid to look at other guitar styles.

Decades after they were first released, the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Les Paul and SG are still the most prominent solidbody guitar shapes. While there are other more eccentric shapes meant for rock and metal, most of what guitar builders produce today are either inspired by, or a direct clone of these guitars. There are many Different Guitar Types, and each one have different specs and hardware that impact playing feel and tone.

Do Cheap Electric Guitars Sound Bad?

Not all! There are some cheap guitars that if properly set up, can sound amazing. Even more so if you upgrade the default pickups into something better from brands like EMG and Seymour Duncan. In the hands of pros, a cheap guitar's sound can also be dramatically improved.

However, as you go up in price, not only does the sound quality change but so does the feel. The top picks outlined in this guide are at the best bang-for-buck.

Electric Guitars Under 1,000 Selection Methodology

The first edition was published on August 27, 2022. The current edition was published on July 14, 2023.

To be eligible for consideration in our recommended list above, a guitar had to meet the following criteria:

  • Electric Guitar
  • Solidbody
  • 6 Strings
  • Priced from $500 to $1000
  • Had to be available from a major US retailer

With this criteria in hand, we created a short-list of eligible guitars that included 24 models. We then collected ratings, reviews, videos, forum discussions and other user feedback about each guitar and fed that data into the Gearank Algorithm to produce the Gearank Rating scores out of 100 that you see above. The total number of sources analyzed was over 6,100. We then used those ratings to select the highest rated guitars in each pickup configuration listed above to recommend.

For more information about our methods please read How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alden Acosta Alden Acosta

I'm a drummer and former lead guitarist of the band Callalily, a platinum selling multi-awarded band from the Philippines. I also studied music for 6 years majoring in percussion and jazz studies with a minor in classical piano.

I've been playing electric guitar professionally on and off since I was 17. I'm currently sporting a Tele "partscaster" and I'm hoping to be reunited with my old Hamer XT Archtop Solid Body Electric Guitar someday.


Raphael Pulgar: PRS SE Silver Sky review and photographs.
Jason Horton: Product research, Editing and Illustrating.


Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of the PRS SE Custom 24, Fender Player Stratocaster, Fender Player Telecaster, Fender Player Stratocaster HSS, PRS SE Silver Sky and Epiphone Les Paul Classic.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images that do not include the Gearank logo were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers. The PRS SE Silver Sky Bridge & Springs were photographed by Raphael Pulgar.


If you have any questions

If you have any questions about sub $1000 electric guitars, go ahead and post them here and one of the Gearank team members will do their best to give you an answer.