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Top 10 Electric Guitars Under $1000

1. Gibson Les Paul Faded

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Built for the stage
  • Slightly lighter body
  • Versatile tone production

You understand why this Les Paul has the name “Faded” when you look at its finish. This electric guitar is very different from the Classic and Traditional. It has a more stripped-down, minimalistic approach, which quickly becomes obvious when you realize that there is no binding on this guitar. One thing that also makes this instrument stand out is the fact that it is very much a stage-friendly electric guitar.

The guitar is ultra-modern and features a wedge shape to help reduce its weight. This unique feature also adds some resonant quality that some guitarists might end up preferring. The neck of the guitar is maple, with the body being made of mahogany with a maple top. This electric guitar is extremely comfortable thanks to the sleek neck that allows your fingers to fly around the guitar.

The Gibson Les Paul Faded features a 490R pickup on the neck and a 490T positioned on the bridge. These two pickups produce the sound you would expect from a high-quality Gibson guitar. The bridge comes loaded with a tune-o-matic type and a standard stop bar. It also comes with two volume controls and two tone controls, which are attached to the circuit board in a control pocket cavity. This keeps the electronics hidden, which helps to add to its overall design feature.

In general, the Faded is a high-quality guitar which can produce a wide variety of sounds. Because it is lighter than most other Les Paul guitars, it produces a different sound and resonance than you might have expect. However, it still has strong playability and a gorgeous look.

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2. Fender American Special Stratocaster

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Excellent rock guitar
  • Flawless design
  • Warm tone

For many years, the Fender’s Stratocaster has been an industry leader for building electric guitars. This particular electric guitar is one of the best guitars you can get for under $1,000 because of its beautiful design and high-quality hardware options.

Of course, the electric guitar features the classic Stratocaster double-cutaway body made of alder. The neck is the same design you have come to expect from Strat and has a 9.5-inch radius with a satin finish. This particular Fender comes with a lacquered maple fret board.

The hardware of this electric guitar comes loaded with six fully adjustable saddles, which gives the Fender American Special Stratocaster a wide range. You can also find Fender’s F tuners, which is what gives the guitar such an intense intonation and helps the musical instrument to stay in tune for long periods of time. The overall hardware works perfectly, and you can bend the strings as aggressively as you might want during your jam sessions or gigs without any fear of your strings going out of tune.

One thing that is distinctive to Strats is the three single-coil pickups, which are essential to producing the iconic Strat tone that you have come to know and love. The pickups are able to reduce the single-coil buzz, which enables you to employ more subtle playing techniques. It also allows you to keep the bass as low as possible when you have less volume.

The sound of this guitar is phenomenal and has one of the best tone definitions of any guitar on this list. It has a considerable range and gives a great deal of warmth. If you are looking for a rock guitar that is less than a grand, then this electric guitar should be on the top of your list.

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3. ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Plays fast
  • Has impressive sustain
  • Good for metal music playing

ESP is well-known as one of the most affordable guitar markers out there, but they also build a very respectable higher-end guitar. The EC-1000 shows off a beautiful design with a tone and hardware to fit right in with some of the best guitars under $1000.

This electric guitar from ESP feels like a luxury guitar. Mimicking the Les Paul body shape, it has a solid mahogany body and a 24.75-inch scale length. You can also choose between several color choices, depending on what your preference is. The EC-1000 also comes with a three-piece mahogany neck that has a fret board with 24 extra-jumbo frets. The neck is built for easy holding and allows you to bend strings comfortability. With a thin U neck shape, it is a great electric guitar for moving fast and playing solos.

The hardware of the electric guitar is impressive. It gets its voice from two active EMG humbuckers; a 60 located at the neck, and an 81 in the bridge position, which is a pairing you often find in a metal guitar. There is also a tune-o-matic bridge and a tailpiece that gives the guitar impressive sustain and excellent tuning stability.

While this is a guitar that is built for heavy metal, it can still produce clean tones with good balance and bright notes. However, if you want, you can use distortion to get an aggressive, more powerful tone. For the price of this guitar, you get fantastic value with a luxury feel, amazing sound production, and smooth playability.

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4. Schecter Hellraiser C-1

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Perfect for dive bombs
  • Easy to reach all the frets
  • Versatile sound

If you haven’t yet guessed from the name, this guitar is here to make all your guitar dreams come true and raise hell. It is one of the most highly rated guitars on the market and comes equipped with Grover tuners and a Floyd-Rose Tremolo Bridge system, making it perfect for dive-bombs and using the whammy bar.

The mahogany neck and body feature a full-access cutaway so you can easily reach all of the 24 jumbo frets on the rosewood fingerboard. No matter if you want to produce metal, classic rock, or jazz, this guitar can help you do it.

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5. Ibanez Artstar AS153

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Built for jazz style of playing
  • Semi-hollow body
  • Comfortable to play

The Ibanez Artstar is a semi-hollow body that helps bring you back to the golden days of jazz. It is one of the most unique guitars on this list and comes equipped with a bone nut, maple body, and an ebony fingerboard.

Each of the frets is hand-rolled and features the Super 58 pickups, which help you produce a fantastic sound. While you might be turned off initially because of its semi-hollow body, it is incredibly easy to play and produces a tone that is perfect for jazz or blues.

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6. PRS Mark Holcomb SE

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Fast and playable neck
  • Premium hardware
  • Aggressive tone

The prog metal guitarist Mark Holcomb from the band Periphery carefully crafted the PRS Mark Holcomb SE. This electric guitar has the classic double-cutaway body shape and the standard bird fret board inlays of a PRS SE. It also has a 25.5-inch scale length and a solid mahogany body with a beautiful quilted maple veneer top. The neck of this guitar is as smooth as butter and is made of satin-finished maple. Designed with a C shape, it has a little extra width but a thin feel, which allows you to move up and down the guitar with ease.

This electric guitar also comes equipped with a rosewood fret board and 24 medium frets, as well as the classic PRS bird fret board inlays. The neck even has side markers that glow in the dark, which is perfect when you have a gig in a darker place.

The hardware of the PRS Mark Holcomb SE is where it really stands out. It comes loaded with two humbuckers; a Seymour Duncan Alphas is located at the neck position, and a Seymour Duncan Omega is positioned at the bridge. It also comes fitted with a three-way selector switch, master volume, and a master tone control.

The biggest drawback to this electric guitar is its tuning stability. Even though the tuners are easy to use, the guitar falls out of tune more often than you might expect from a guitar in this price range. The problem might be because of the nut. To solve this issue, consider changing the nut.

The sound of this guitar is one of the biggest highlights. It can create a robust and powerful tone thanks to the pickups. Because of the tone produced at the pickup in the bridge position, it is perfect for making heavy rock and metal styles. The PRS Mark Holcomb SE is a winner if you want a guitar with a bit of a bite that costs less than $1000.

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7. EVH Striped Series Stratocaster

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Distinctive and unique design
  • Extremely fast neck
  • Premium humbucker for a wide range of tone

Eddie Van Halen is one of the most iconic guitarists that ever played. While EVH Guitars does produce some extremely expensive Eddie Van Halen custom models, they do offer a more affordable version of his Frankenstrat for under $1000.

You can choose between the iconic finish of red with black and white stripes, or black with yellow stripes. The EVH Striped Series Stratocaster has such a unique design that is perfect for a shredder who wants to emulate Van Halen and also wants a gorgeous guitar that will turn heads.

Those distinctive colors are painted on the iconic Stratocaster double-cutaway body that is made of solid basswood. Even though the body has such a fresh design, one of the biggest highlights of this guitar is actually the neck, which is gorgeous. It is made of quartersawn maple and is extremely slim and fast. It is complemented by a hand-rubbed finish and a radius that gets thinner as you move up to the highest jumbo frets. This guitar is built to be incredibly easy to shred on as it is to play chords. All around, it is an incredibly fun guitar to play fast.

As you might have anticipated from an EVH electric guitar, there is not an extensive or overwhelming amount of pickups or controls. Instead, it is pretty stripped down and minimalistic, which is exactly how Eddie Van Halen liked it. The Strat has a single pickup – a Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucker in the bridge position. Luckily, EVH made the pickup high-quality so you won’t be disappointed by the sound it produces. A master volume control also controls the musical instrument. Featured on the electric guitar is a Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo bridge with an EVH D-Tuna device, which gives you the option of dropping to the low E to D, and back again. It comes equipped with a die-cast chrome tuners and a Floyd Rose locking nut, which is imperative for tuning stability.

The sound that comes from this guitar is impressive and can create some of the tones you can hear from a premium EVH guitar. No matter if you want to create more rhythmic power chords or solo out with a screaming hot lead, there are tons of options this guitar gives you. The EVH Striped Series Stratocaster is an impressive electric guitar and gives you an impressive style, playability, and tone at an affordable price.

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8. Epiphone Lee Malia Signature Les Paul

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Designed for metalcore
  • Vintage design
  • Warm, clean sound

This Les Paul is pretty unique compared to the other Les Pauls on this list because it was designed for metalcore, and has a body design to match If you are a fan of Lee Malia, the guitarist of English metal band Bring Me The Horizon, you likely are already familiar with his favorite Les Paul.

While the Epiphone Lee Malia Signature Les Paul may have been designed for metal, it doesn’t particularly look like it. Instead of sporting an all-black, aggressive-looking design, Lee Malia instead choose to develop his signature guitar on vintage designs, making it more similar to the Les Paul Artisan.

It features the iconic single-cutaway shape and has a mahogany body, and maple top finished with a walnut gloss. Altogether, the decoration of the body of the guitar is very plain. The neck, made of mahogany, comes with 22 frets on a rosewood fretboard that is designed with Pearloid floral inlays. You will also notice that the neck has Lee Malia’s signature written in gold on the reserve side of the guitar. The neck is fast thanks to the C shape and glossy finish, which helps your hands to slide up and down the guitar as you play.

Lee Malia made his preferences known in the hardware of this Les Paul. He selected a Gibson USA P-94 single coil for the neck, and a Gibson USA 84T-LM humbucker in the bridge position. This humbucker also comes loaded with coil-splitting which gives you even more tonal versatility. The guitar also has a three-way toggle switch and four knobs that allow you to control tone and volume for each individual pickup.

The sound of this guitar is very warm, clean, and can give you almost a jazzy tone. However, it can also give you modern metal tones, or more chunky sounds. Because of these unique pickups, it delivers a vast range of tone than you might have expected from other Les Paul. While the vintage style might not appeal to all metalheads, it is still a beautifully distinctive musical instrument that delivers on quality, and still has a price tag under a grand.

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9. Ibanez Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Perfect for playing metal
  • Clear tone
  • Beautiful finish on the body

Ibanez has delivered another quality guitar with the SIX6FDFM, which is part of the company’s Iron Label collection. The tagline of this particular selection is “Metal to the Core,” which the brand seemed to stay true to when they created this specific electric guitar which costs less than a $1000.

Similar to S Series guitar, this musical instrument has a well-contoured double-cutaway body that is very lightweight. It has a solid mahogany body with a maple top. You can opt between a Blue Space Burst finish or a purple version. The guitar, in general, is extremely stunning, with a sleek neck that has no fret inlays. As you go up the ebony fret board, it has the same finish on the reverse headstock. If you want to play fast, then this is the guitar for you. It is designed with Ibanez’s Nitro Wizard profile, which means it is very low-profiled and is extraordinarily fun to play.

The Ibanez Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM was built for metal, and this becomes obvious when you look at the hardware. It is powered by two DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbuckers located at the bridge and neck. You get a single volume knob, three-way pickup selector, and a mini coil tap switch which adds a bit of versatility to the guitar. The guitar features a Gibraltar II fixed bridge, which gives it amazing tuning stability and great sustain.

If you want to produce metal, then you will love the sound that this guitar delivers. Because of the powerful ceramic pickups, the sound you can create is hot and punchy. Surprisingly, it keeps its clarity even when the gains get higher. The electric guitar is great for modern rock and classic heavy metal, and especially good for people who want to play power chords and single-note runs. For a fast-playing axe, the Ibanez Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM won’t disappoint. While it is a simple instrument, it delivers where it has to create a quality guitar that cost less than $1000.

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10. Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM

Level: Intermediate – Expert

  • Perfect for shredding
  • Premium guitar with high-quality finishes
  • Can produce a wide variety of genres of music

The Californian company Charvel has been building high-speed shredders since the 1980s. From guitars like the EVH and George Lynch, these high-end guitars manage to remain affordable. The Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM is another superb guitar that costs less than a grand.

This electric guitar might seem rather simple when you are quickly looking at it. But as you start to look closer, you realize that it is actually a premium guitar with high-quality finishes. The body is made of solid alder and has a Dinky-style double-cutaway shape. You can choose between two different paint colors, and both of them are finished with satin. The two-piece neck is bolted on and is made for a silky smooth maple. The fretboard is also made of maple and comes loaded with 24 jumbo frets, Pearloid inlays, and Luminlay side dots. These side dots glow in the dark, making it ideal for playing a gig on a dark stage.

The Pro-Mod DK24 really delivers on the hardware. It comes equipped with two humbuckers. At the bridge position is a Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B, and at the neck is a Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro APH-1N. There are another SD pickup and a Custom Flat Strat SSL-6 single-coil located in the middle position. A master tone and master volume knob also control the guitar, as well as a five-way pickup selector switch.

The sound is incredible, especially if you are a shredder. It is clean and focused, and can produce any type of sound from blues to metal and more. The Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM is a rocking electric guitar that is worthy of the under $1000 price tag.

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Didn’t like this selection? Here are more electric guitars to choose from.