Best Cheap Electric Guitar

In this article we search for the best cheap electric guitar on the market. To make it slightly easier, and to give you a bit more choice, we’ll pick three awesome beginner electric guitars that won’t break the bank.

Here are our choices for the top three cheap electric guitars. We’ll look at each model a little more closely further down the page.

Best Cheap Electric Guitar: Our Choices

Ibanez GRX20

Ibanez GRX20

Well-made and pleasant looking 'superstrat'. Worth trying if you like the Stratocaster style yet want the raunchiness of twin humbuckers.

Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul


A great-value Les Paul style guitar made by Epiphone. Great for beginner blues or rock players.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

Yamaha Pacifica Best Cheap Electric Guitar
The Yamaha Pacifica PAC12. Can be used to play anything from pop to metal. Click to view prices at

A versatile and good-looking beginner guitar: our pick of the bunch.

Best Cheap Electric Guitar

We’ll now take a closer look at the three guitars in our list.

We’ll also tell you a little about what you should be looking out for when buying a cheap electric guitar.

There are a lot of guitars around in the cheaper end of the market. As with a lot of things, when choosing an electric guitar you do ‘get what you pay for’, at least most of the time.

The least expensive of our three cheap electric guitars is (currently) just under $150. Spending less would probably be false economy. Stretch to a little bit more (we’ve provided some options) to get better hardware and materials.

Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul

Epiphone Les Paul
Epiphone Les Paul. Click to view prices at

A great guitar at a great price! $150 gets you this stylish instrument, quite able to take you from beginner to your first gig / recording session.

Epiphone are owned by Gibson guitars. As well as producing their own instruments, Epiphone also produce a range of Gibson models for budget-conscious players.

This is their take on the famous Gibson Les Paul. The budget Epi' is well made, and ideal for rock, blues and metal players who are just starting out.

True to the original Les Paul, there is no tremolo. The humbuckers will produce fantastic overdriven and distorted sounds for dirty blues and metal. However, they’re not the best for ‘jangly’ pop and country tones.

Les Pauls are physically very heavy guitars. Worth thinking about if you plan to stand up and play for long periods.


If you like the Les Paul style, and have a little more to spend, check out Epiphone’s LP-100 Les Paul. It’s a great intermediate guitar, and will last you long into your career.

Ibanez GRX20

Ibanez GRX20
Ibanez GRX20. Click to view prices at

There will be an Ibanez in every ‘best cheap electric guitar’ list. The GRX20ZBKN may not have a name that trips off the tongue, but it’s a great beginner guitar.

It has the same twin humbucker configuration as the Epiphone Les Pauls, but perhaps is a more versatile guitar, having a tremolo system.


If you like the style of the Ibanez, and have a little more to spend, the Ibanez RG421 is a great choice. There’s no tremolo, but it’s a good, solid instrument for the price.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

Yamaha Pacifica Best Cheap Electric Guitar
The Yamaha Pacifica PAC12. Click to view prices at

The Yamaha Pacifica series offer great value and are seriously good-looking instruments.

The humbucker / 2 x single coil pickup configuration of the PAC012 is slightly more versatile than the twin humbuckers of the other guitars in this list.

This Stratocaster style guitar looks good, and offers excellent value. It’s our pick of the three.


Spend $50 to $100 more to work your way up the Yamaha range.

Choosing The Best Cheap Electric Guitar

The words ‘best’ and ‘cheap’ are, of course, relative. Compared to a Gibson L5 CES, most electric guitars are cheap!

We’ve put ourselves in the shoes of someone who is starting out with the instrument, and is looking to buy the very best cheap electric guitar they can get for the money.

These are so many inexpensive electric guitars around it’s hard to know where to start. There are quite a lot of companies who seem to think that if you put six strings on a plank of wood you can call it an electric guitar.

Because of this, it’s worth buying a guitar made by one of the bigger names. Ibanez and Yamaha are two companies I would be looking at for a good cheap electric guitar.

Look to spend a minimum of (around) $150.

Under $100 for an electric guitar? Forget it. You’re buying expensive firewood rather than a cheap electric guitar.

Things to look out for when buying an electric guitar.

  • Don’t be tempted by non-conventional shapes. They might look cool, but the standard guitar design has evolved that way for a reason: it’s easy to play either while standing up or sitting down.
  • Flying V’s, Explorers and other weird and wonderful guitars are often uncomfortable to sit with. It pains us to say it as SG owners, but they’re not the most comfortable guitars to sit with either. Only consider if you’re set on the (very cool) shape!
  • Likewise, don’t be tempted by bright colours, metallic finishes, or ‘showy’ wood finishes. They get old very quickly! You’ll thank me in a year or two!
  • Stick to a standard design: guitars based on the standard Stratocaster, Telecaster or Les Paul-style configurations make the best beginner guitars.
  • Personally, I’d avoid locking tremolo systems at first. A standard non-locking tremolo will usually suffice. Unlocking a tremolo system to tune up gets boring very quickly.
  • Don’t worry too much about hardware. Worry about feel. Generally, the easier a guitar is to play, the better your playing will sound.
  • Stick with a 6-string guitar. Don’t be tempted by 7 string instruments until you are much further into your career! 7 String guitars at this price range are likely to be cheap and nasty.
  • It’s a good idea to try to visit a guitar shop a try out the guitars in person.
  • Budget for a new set of (decent) strings. Many cheap electric guitars can be instantly improved with a new set of strings.
  • Don’t forget that you’ll also need an amplifier, a guitar lead, some picks and ideally, a tuner.

Best Cheap Electric Guitar Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped you in your search to find a good quality cheap electric guitar. The main takeaway is to stick to trusted brands like Yamaha, Ibanez and Epiphone and avoid anything too 'fancy'.

Related Articles:

Learn about the different types of electric guitar.

Teaching yourself guitar? Take a look at some of the best guitar books.

Happy playing!

2 thoughts on “Best Cheap Electric Guitar”

  1. Very informative for a beginner like me. Only been playing a acoustic for 2 yrs now and taking professional lessons. I told time to get into a electric by my instructor. He wants me to look into different types etc. Your site provided this. Thanks


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