Best Cheap Electric Guitars: Great value for Sound Quality 2024

cheap electric guitars

In the ever-evolving realm of musical instruments, cheap electric guitars continue to improve significantly. Technological advancements have paved the way for budget-friendly guitars that deliver impressive sound quality. And there are more shapes and styles to choose from.

This guide will explore the best cheap electric guitars under $200, catering to beginners and those seeking an affordable backup instrument.

While the quality of budget-friendly electric guitars has soared, challenges persist. You may still encounter issues such as finish and fretwork inconsistencies. And if you’re not careful, you’ll have to deal with intonation problems, bridge, and other hardware issues. Despite these hurdles, our expert selection aims to navigate you through the maze of options, presenting the top choices in three popular pickup configurations: Single Coil, Humbucker and Mixed.

The Best Cheap Electric Guitars Under $200 – Dec 2024

Best Cheap Electric Guitars: Single Coil Pickups

LyxPro LYXEGBK0030B (SSS)

88
GEARANK
88 out of 100. Incorporating 9850+ ratings and reviews.
$159.99
LyxPro

Cons

  • Finish and Fretwor inconsistencies
  • Minor tuning instability

Pros

  • Best bang per buck bundle
  • Decent build quality
  • Familiar Strat sound and tone controls
  • Many color finishes to choose from

The LyxPro LYXEGBK0030B is a budget-friendly Strat-style electric guitar package. It features a body crafted from Phoenix wood. This wood is from a tree called Paulownia; a hardy tree can re-grow into a tree again with just its root systems, hence the Phoenix nickname. The wood quality and the body's build are quite good for the price, and it comes with over ten color finish options.

The neck is crafted from maple and comes with a fingerboard made from "engineered" rosewood. Fretwork is OK, especially on the lower frets, but there are setup and build quality inconsistencies as you go up. Thankfully, it's not too bad compared to other entry level guitars. The guitar is still generally playable.

Expecting a budget electric guitar to play as smoothly as more expensive electric guitars is unfair. Having it set up by someone with more experience will improve the playing feel.

It comes with conventional Strat-style electronics and hardware. This included a triple single coil pickup configuration, a 5-way pickup selector, and a hardtail tremolo bridge.

Since it follows traditional Strat configuration, it also produces old-school Strat-style tones. It's good enough for beginners to appreciate. However, it doesn't have the deep bass and trebly chime you'd hear from more expensive Strats.

It comes bundled with a 20-watt combo amplifier, guitar cable, and digital tuner, so you can plug in and play right out of the box. This means that for the price, you're getting a complete working electric guitar set that's good enough for beginners and students.

The quality of the included gig bag and cable does not match that of the guitar, so you may want to buy another guitar cable to be sure.

If you're looking for a plug-and-play super affordable electric guitar bundle, then this is for you.

Specifications

  • Body: Phoenix
  • Finish: Black, Blue, Red, Sunburst, Natural, Pink
  • Bridge: 6-Saddle Hard Tail
  • Pickups: SSS (Triple Singlecoil)
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Composite
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Controls: Volume controls, Tone, Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 5-Position Blade

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube jamierobinson777 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Squier Bullet Strat HT (SSS)

91
GEARANK
91 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.
$199.99
Fender

Cons

  • Output jack tends to loosen
  • Fretwork inconsistencies
  • No tremolo

Pros

  • Official affordable Strat
  • Good tuning stability and sustain
  • Familiar Strat voicing and tone control
  • Simpler Hard Tail configuration

It's been 60 years since Fender guitars unveiled the Stratocaster. It continues to be among the most in-demand and copied electric guitar designs on the market. Cheap electric guitars often come in the Stratocaster style.

The Squier Bullet Strat HT is its "official" modern representative in the entry-level market. I have to highlight "official" because there are now so many Strat clones, some even from premium brands! This official affordable Strat stays true to the original double cutaway electric guitar profile. Because of the price point, it uses cost-effective materials and production methods.

It is called an HT model because of its Hard Tail bridge, which helps this budget guitar stay reliably in tune. It also results in extra sustain, both beneficial for learners. This might be a turn-off for those who want a true-to-form Strat with a classic tremolo bridge. Neck is made from hard maple scale length is 25.5".


Bullet Strat Hard Tail
Hard Tail Bridge

Everything else is as classic style Strat as it gets, with 3 single-coil pickups and a 5-way pickup selector. It gets the basic Strat tones down, including the in-between pickup tones of positions 2 and 4. Remember to set the pickup heights properly before you play; this is a common issue with many Strat-style cheap electric guitars.

You get an excellent, balanced sound when all pickups are appropriately set. The bass and highs are not as detailed as higher tier Strats, and the mid-range aren't as full-sounding. But this shouldn't be a big deal for students.

Build quality is good for the price, which is the reason why it is considered as one of the best beginner electric guitar options in the market today.

But note that, you'll have to deal with minor fretwork and setup-related inconsistencies. These include adjustments to pickup height and string action.

The Squier Bullet Strat HT is an affordable way to enter the world of single-coil electric guitars. Get the Fender Stratocaster sound without resorting to unofficial clones, great for fans of blues and similar genres. If you can extend your budget and want more mid-tier quality, check out the Squier Classic Vibe Strat.

Specifications

  • Body: Basswood
  • Finish: Arctic White, Black, Sunburst, Red
  • Bridge: 6-Saddle Hard Tail
  • Pickups: Standard Single-coil Strat x 3
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Fingerboard: Laurel
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5"
  • Number of Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo
  • Nut Width: 1.650
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone, Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 5-Position Blade

Rating Source Highlight

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

Best Cheap Electric Guitars: Humbucker Pickups

Ibanez GIO GRX20Z (HH)

95
GEARANK
95 out of 100. Incorporating 1100+ ratings and reviews.
$179.99
Ibanez
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Solely Humbucker Equipped Solidbody Electric Guitar Under $200 and the Highest Rated Solidbody Electric Guitar Under $200.

Cons

  • No chimey clean tones
  • Need hardware upgrades for advanced tremolo techniques

Pros

  • Shred friendly playability
  • Dual humbuckers with good output and easy to upgrade
  • Good body and neck craftsmanship
  • Single piece output jack

In the 1960s and 1970s, Ibanez was a maker of Japanese Guitars that built copies of American electric guitars. Copies from the likes of Gibson and Fender led to lawsuits. This, in turn, led to Ibanez needing to develop unique designs.

Then, in 1986, they teamed up with Frank Zappa's guitarist, Steve Vai, to create a new design: the JEM and RG series. They were launched in 1987, and Ibanez has not looked back. These types of electric guitars are known as 'Superstrats'. Essentially, they are an upgrade to Fender's Stratocasters to suit the music at the time.

The GIO series is their entry-level line, and is well known for offering the best budget guitars for students. The GRX20Z is the highest-rated option in this line, for just under $200,. Despite being a cheap solid body guitar, it gives you the comfort and style of a superstrat body.

It has two humbucking pickups and an easy-to-play thin neck profile. Controls are a simple master volume and master tone. All combine to make this a beginner-friendly guitar for students who are into rock, metal, and similar styles.

It's not surprising that playability is its strongest point. The neck's thinner shape and the fretwork quality make it great for learning beginner to advanced-level fretting techniques.

Overall, the craftsmanship of the poplar body and headstock is also quite good, so the guitar looks and feels like a proper guitar. Another thing that I like about it, though, is its single-piece output jack. This simple innovation solves a common problem that cheap guitars often have - loosening or breaking their output jacks.


Single Piece Output Jack
More reliable single-piece output jack

The Ibanez Infinity pickups have a good enough output, making them sound great when used with distortion. It has no 60-cycle hum noise as a humbucker, which makes it great for noise-conscious guitarists. It also has good string-to-string balance and responds well even when used in styles requiring heavy pick attacks. The downside is that it doesn't have the chime and clarity of a single-coil neck pickup and bridge pickup.

The hardware used is OK, but don't expect the guitar to hold its tuning when doing extreme techniques. While they may not be as good as premium hardware components, they are up to par, if not better than what others in this price range offer.

The Ibanez Gio GRX20Z is an excellent starter shred machine to help you take your chops to the next level. It's one of the best cheap electric guitar models today, and is easily one of the best electric guitar under 200.

Specifications

  • Body: Poplar
  • Finish: Black Night (pictured), also comes in Green Metallic, Jewel Blue, Vivid Orange and Silver
  • Bridge: FAT-6 tremolo
  • Pickups: 2 x Infinity R Humbucking passive/ceramic
  • Neck: GRX Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5" (648 mm)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12"
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.653"
  • Controls: 1 x Volume, 1 x Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 3-way

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Andrew Friedberg 98/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Here's a demonstration of a GRX:

Jackson JS22 Dinky Arch Top (HH)

92
GEARANK
92 out of 100. Incorporating 700+ ratings and reviews.
$199.99
Jackson

Cons

  • Not for fans of traditional guitar designs
  • Clean tone lacks classic chime

Pros

  • High-gain friendly tone
  • Distinct rock and metal friendly aesthetics
  • Arched top with good craftsmanship
  • Fast playing feel and fantastic playability

Other companies were content with cloning popular designs. Jackson started by modifying classic electric guitars to meet the demands of virtuosos. They helped shape the Strat design into one of the best electric guitars for technical playing: The Superstrat.

The JS22 Dinky Arch Top showcases Jackson's penchant for Superstrats and does so while retaining a very affordable price tag. You are getting a shred-friendly instrument with some excellent features for the price.

It features a rock solid graphite-reinforced neck, a classy-looking arched top, and Jackson's distinct headstock design. The neck is designed for guitarists who like to play fast and has a slim and smooth feel. It's a great guitar for serious students who are into rock and similar styles.

Cheap guitars often need more feel. Fretwork and string action are good enough for an entry-level guitar. It's good enough to please even intermediate players. String action can even be too low for those used to traditional setups.

It has excellent-looking shark fin inlays, which help complete its rock and metal vibe. The same quality standard and vibe applies to the body, which has a well-crafted arched top. This is quite special in this price range.


Jackson Dinky Arched Top
Classy looking arched top

Jackson's distinct angled back headstock completes its overall metal look. The downside is that it may be too metal for other styles. You may want to switch to another guitar if you're playing pop or ballads.

Jackson's high-output humbuckers give the guitar a high-gain friendly tone that matches its looks. It does an excellent job of retaining bite and clarity even when volume and distortion are cranked.

It can do rock and metal sounds quite well, albeit a little too generic, lacking any distinct voice definition. Still, this can benefit those who shape their sound using other gear.

Surprisingly, the clean sound is quite good, balanced with some chime. Unfortunately, playing this guitar in clean-tone settings will look awkward.

The Jackson JS22 Dinky is a good quality hot-rodded shred machine that'll fit well with future rock virtuosos. For rock music and metal music, it's one of the best budget electric guitars for the genre.

Specifications

  • Body: Poplar
  • Finish: Satin Finish Black, Natural Oil, Metallic Blue, Snow White
  • Bridge: 2-point Tremolo/Vibrato bridge
  • Pickups: Jackson High-output Humbuckers
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Fingerboard: Amaranth
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12" to 16" Compound
  • Number of Frets: 24 Jumbo
  • Nut Width: 1.6875"
  • Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 3-Position Blade

Rating Source Highlight

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

Kramer Baretta Special (H)

93
GEARANK
93 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.
$179.00
Kramer

Cons

  • Tuning instability
  • Limited tone (Single Humbucker)

Pros

  • Easy to use - just one volume knob
  • Good build quality for the price
  • Surprisingly good fretwork
  • Minimalist appeal

The Kramer Baretta Special offers a no-nonsense approach to electric guitars, with just one humbucker and a single volume knob.

Just by the look and shape of this guitar, you already know that it's meant for rock. The same can be said with its tone, which caters well to the medium to high-gain playing needs of rock and metal genres.

It has a mahogany body in the style of more expensive Super Strats, but this guitar is way more affordable. At the same time, the guitar's maple neck has impressive craftsmanship for the price.

This guitar is meant for straightforward playing with just one volume control and one bridge humbucker. It follows the simple pickup configuration of an old Les Paul junior, but with a super strat body. This ease of operation is a significant factor in why it's highly rated in the sub $200 price range.

While it may lack the bells and whistles of higher-end models, the Baretta Special compensates with its simplicity, reliable performance, and affordable price tag.

For players diving into the world of rock and metal on a budget, the Kramer Baretta Special is a commendable option, proving that great sound doesn't have to be complex or expensive.

Specifications

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Bridge: Kramer Traditional Tremolo
  • Pickup: Alnico 5 Zebra Coil Humbucker
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Finger Board: Maple
  • Finger Board Radius: 12"
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.679"
  • Controls: Volume Knob
  • Pickup Selector: N/A

Best Cheap Electric Guitars: Mixed Pickups

Squier Bullet Strat HT HSS - Laurel Fingerboard (HSS)

91
GEARANK
91 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.
$199.99
Fender
At publication time, this was the Equal Highest Rated Mixed Pickup Solidbody Electric Guitar Under $200 together with the Squier Bullet Strat HT.

Cons

  • No tremolo
  • Tuners are not the greatest

Pros

  • Versatile HSS configuration
  • Strat style neck and mid pickup tones
  • Overdrive friendly humbucker bridge
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Simple hardtail bridge

This is the HSS version of the popular and affordable Squier Bullet Strat HT (Hard Tail). Instead of triple single coils, this one sports a humbucker pickup in the bridge position. It's partnered with two single-coil pickups in the middle and neck.

This means you get the more straightforward setup benefits of a hardtail and better sustain. While it doesn't allow for vibrato bar control like classic Strats, it is more beginner-friendly. I'd recommend solid-body guitars with this type of bridge for first-time buyers.

Including a humbucker in the bridge allows this Strat to cover higher gain territories better. This also gives students a hum-free pickup option to practice single-note lines and build up their soloing chops. And it does so without compromising the chime of the neck and middle positions. It gives you the best from both single coil and humbuckers.

The single coil tone of its neck and middle pickups are similar to the other Bullet Strat HT, providing good cleans with that distinct Fender chime.

The bridge pickup does an excellent job of providing a higher output tone that works great with overdrive and distortion. It has a flat voicing with a bump in the lower mids so that you won't get the same chime as a single coil bridge pickup.

Being a cheap guitar, it lacks some of the extra zing and harmonic overtones of more expensive guitars from Fender. But it would be unfair to expect these things from a beginner guitar.

Being a licensed Stratocaster, this guitar follows conventional design and specs, albeit using more cost-effective materials and production. The double cutaway body is crafted from basswood, and it has a C-shape maple neck with a 21-fret Indian laurel fingerboard. Craftsmanship and hardware quality are OK but don't expect them to be flawless.

Cheap electric guitars with the HSS pickup configuration are among the most versatile. This is one of the best cheap electric guitars if you're looking for an affordable HSS configuration Strat.

Specifications

  • Body: Basswood
  • Finish: Arctic White, Black, Sunburst, Red
  • Bridge: 6-Saddle Hard Tail
  • Pickups: HSS (Humbucker Bridge, Single-coil x 2)
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Fingerboard: Laurel
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5"
  • Number of Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo
  • Nut Width: 1.650
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone, Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 5-Position Blade

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Johan Joos Laur 93/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Ibanez GIO GRX70QA (HSH)

91
GEARANK
91 out of 100. Incorporating 2200+ ratings and reviews.
$199.99
Ibanez
At publication time, this was the Equal Highest Rated Mixed Pickup Solidbody Electric Guitar Under $200 together with the Squier Bullet Strat HT.

Cons

  • No traditional chimey cleans
  • Pickups lack grit and bite

Pros

  • Versatile HSH configuration
  • High-gain friendly humbuckers
  • Student friendly playabiltiy
  • Fat 6 Tremolo bridge

It's hard to deny the popularity and legacy of Ibanez guitars, thanks to their long list of endorsers. These include virtuoso guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and many more.

The Ibanez Gio GRX70QA makes their Superstrat design more accessible. Students can start learning on a sleek and hot-rodded instrument from the get-go.

What sets this apart is its HSH pickup configuration. It features humbuckers for the neck and bridge position and a single coil pickup in between. This makes it one of the more versatile guitars in the entry-level market.

Both humbuckers sound good with distortion and respond well, especially when pushed to higher gain territories. But it lacks bite when used in mid to lower-gain settings, thankfully, this can be remedied by EQ or a boost pedal.

The middle pickup sounds good when used in clean tone settings. It has a bright tonality you wouldn't get from a dual humbucker configuration. But it might appeal to those who want to go beyond traditional Strat-style cleans.

The downside to HSH is that the middle pickup will only get a little use, so in terms of usage, the guitar is essentially an HH.

Another distinct feature of this guitar is its quilt maple "art" top, which probably means it has a veneer that looks like quilted maple. It does make it look more premium than it is. It comes in 6 color variations, so you can choose which strikes your fancy.

The double cutaway body is crafted from basswood, and craftsmanship is quite good for the price.

Coming from Ibanez, playability is a given. It has a thin Neck Profile and flat fretboard radius, making it very comfortable for the left hand. The fretwork on its maple fretboard is good, but don't be surprised to find some minor imperfections.

Another noteworthy inclusion is the FAT 6 tremolo bridge. It has independent saddles for string-by-string height and intonation adjustments.

If you're looking for an entry-level rock and shred guitar with great tones, check out the Ibanez GIO GRX70QA.

Specifications

  • Body: Poplar
  • Finish: Transparent Black, Transparent Blue, Transparent Emerald, Transparent Red, Violet, Sunburst
  • Bridge: Fat 6
  • Pickups: 2 x Power Sound Humbucker, 1 x Powersound Singlecoil
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5" ( 648 mm)
  • Fingerboard: Purpleheart
  • Fingerboard Radius: 15.75"
  • Number of Frets: 22 Medium
  • Nut Width: 1.65" (41.91 mm)
  • Controls: 1 x Volume, 1 x Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 5-way

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Guitarist Next Door 94/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Things to Consider When Buying an Electric Guitar for a Beginner

Is it OK to buy a cheap electric guitar?

It's perfectly fine to buy cheap electric guitars. Most guitars these days are built using CNC machines for consistency. However, it's usually at the assembly and setup that a lot of these cheaper guitars become substandard. Many also don't do too well during shipping, so having a professional set up your electric guitar to maximize its playability is best.

When buying, you must keep your expectations in check; don't expect premium quality build and design like that of an expensive guitar. It'll be hard to find premium mahogany body designs and finishes, and you'll be lucky to see ones with good hardware like a tune-o-matic bridge. Also note that you won't find good quality semi-hollow guitars with laminated maple bodies in this price range.

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, so you need to save up for high quality instruments with quality pickups.

It's worth noting that a student guitar from the 60s, the Fender Mustang, still found professional use over the decades. If you're wondering how long cheap guitars last, it depends on how well they're set up and maintained.

While not included in this guide, I recently reviewed a modern student guitar, the Ibanez AZES31, and likened it to the Fender Mustang.

The best cheap electric guitars inspire you to learn and be creative. It's worth taking time to consider the best electric guitars in this price range.

Should I buy electric guitar first?

For first time buyers of a new guitar, I usually recommend a good acoustic guitar because of its simplicity. Having an electric guitar as your first guitar is also good. However, you must consider at least an amplifier or effects with headphone outputs to hear it.

Cables are also a must-buy. Acoustic guitars are simpler and do not require extra gear, but they are bulkier and more challenging to play than electric guitars.

Cheap Electric Guitar Brands

Popular brands like Squier (From Fender), Jackson, and Ibanez retain their spots in this edition.

While Epiphone (From Gibson) was bested by lesser-known brands this time, don't count them out yet. They continue to be among the most popular brands in the entry-level category. The Epiphone Les Paul, an affordable version of the Gibson Les Paul, is one of their most popular guitars; they also have semi-hollow body guitars for those who can extend their budgets.

These brands have experience and manufacturing capabilities. This allows them to continue to produce quality entry-level electric guitars of different styles. If you didn't find your preferred guitar style in this guide, you can find one from these brands. Other well-known brands with guitars in this price range include Kramer, LTD (From ESP), Dean, Washburn, Donner, and more.

Playability

Many affordable guitars are designed for students. Manufacturers know that playability is of utmost priority. This is the reason why many of these budget guitars stay within familiar neck and body measurements. This ensures that they feel as close to premium guitars as possible. They lower the price by utilizing more cost-effective materials and production methods.

While many of them will satisfy players out of the box, it is unfair to expect these guitars to play like a dream. This is especially true when considering their price. While not always required, having every guitar checked and set up by an experienced guitarist or technician is recommended. By doing so, you can make full use of its potential. Given the price range, expect something other than premium builds and materials like having a mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, or stainless steel guitar frets.

Another important playability consideration is your dominant hand orientation. Choose between Left Handed vs Right Handed Guitar models.

Pickups

The two main basic types of pickups for electric guitars are Single Coil and Humbucking (double coil). The most practical difference is that single coils tend to sound crisp and bright. Humbuckers tend to sound warmer (for more information, see Seymour Duncan's detailed explanation).

An electric guitar can have any combination of the two types. The combination on a guitar is described using the first letter of the pickup type in order from the one closest to the bridge. For example, a classic Stratocaster will be described as SSS, meaning all three pickups are single coil.

A more recent development is the HSS strat, which has a Humbucker at the bridge with two single coils. I've put the pickup configuration of each guitar above in brackets after the model name. You can easily see which pickups each guitar has and in what positing they are.

Expect to get decent quality pickups from affordable guitars. These are the first things to swap out if you want to upgrade or modify the tone of your instrument.

There are other pickup types out there. Examples include the P90, Filtertron, and rails. They are usually found on guitars that are well above this guide's price range. But, you can find some of them in our guitar to Electric Guitars between $200 and $500.

Scale Length

This is the distance measured between the saddle and the nut. Or it's double the distance from the nut to the 12th fret plus some "compensation" added by the saddle's position. A longer Guitar Scale Length requires higher tension in the strings and results in a brighter tone. A more detailed explanation with examples is presented quite well by Stewart MacDonald.

A good description of the implications of different scale lengths can be found on Guitar Player. Guitars based on Stratocaster and Telecaster designs usually have a longer 25.5" scale, while Gibson Les Paul and SG-style guitars are characterized by a shorter 24.75" scale.

Cheap Electric Guitar Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in August 2016. The current edition was published on Jan 4, 2024.

To make this guide focused and valuable, we've selected a strict set of criteria that ensures it covers the most widely available guitars that you can easily find at online retailers, and which have a good chance of being available from local stores.

To be considered for inclusion in this guide, a guitar had to meet the following criteria:

  • We only included solidbody guitars;
  • They had to have a street price under $200;
  • They had to have 6 strings and be a full size guitar, meaning a scale length of at least 24";
  • Must have been widely available from major American music gear stores.

Note that many guitars increased their prices above the $200 range, meaning they are no longer considered for this guide.

We looked at all the guitars that met the criteria above and ended up with an initial list of 24 guitars. You can find those guitars listed here.

We then collated ratings, reviews, and forum comments about each guitar and fed that data to the Gearank Algorithm, which produced rating scores out of 100 for each guitar - we processed over 24,800 rating sources. Finally, we chose our top picks from the highest-rated guitars for each category above. 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

Beginners now have it easy, with a wide choice of good quality entry-level electric guitars. I started with an HSS configuration solid body, with floating tremolo, and needless to say, it was a nightmare to set up for a beginner. So I ended up trading it in for a simple Fender Strat. I bought it because its similar to the flashy guitars I see in Guitar Techniques, Guitar World, Guitar Player, and other magazines. Having learned this important buying lesson first hand, I've been helping students and friends avoid similar uninformed buying scenarios.

Contributors

Jason Horton: Supplemental writing, Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of the Ibanez GIO GRX20Z, Squier Bullet Strat HT, Jackson JS22 Dinky Arch Top and Ibanez GIO GRX70QA.

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

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

12 thoughts on “Best Cheap Electric Guitars: Great value for Sound Quality 2024”

  1. I want a double neck steel guitar with double pick up and humbucking for playing with a steel or bar.

    1. We haven’t provided any guides or done any research on Lap Steel Guitars here at Gearank.com so we can’t help you with any advice on that one.

  2. Squier affinity series, looks and sounds great, Fender & Gibson had to start somewhere, so everyone wants to be a star & copy, but everybody’s hands and minds are different, don’t need to be a star or copy cat to make a name, if the guitar feels good and sounds good, so be it. Be the First, off-brand- (Star),,,,, take the cheap version to new and higher heights,

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