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Top 10 Best Electric Guitars Under $2000

1. Paul Reed Smith CE 24

Level: Expert

  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Versatility in tone
  • Smooth vibrato

The CE 24 will not disappoint. It is Paul Reed Smith’s most popular model that has been on the market since 1998. This workhorse of an electric guitar is everything you would want in your instrument. It is rugged, durable, and an all-around beauty.

The Paul Reed Smith CE 24 features a double-cutaway solid body that is made of mahogany and a map cap. The curvature of the body of this guitar is well-designed and is slightly thinner with a few differences from the Custom 24. All of these changes and features make the CE 24 incredibly comfortable to hold and play for hours at a time.

The controls of this electric guitar are hidden in the back by a plate that sits on top of the body instead of being recessed into it. A cover also conceals the springs and the vibrato, which does an exceptional job of returning the electric guitar pitch.

The bolt-on maple neck is three-pieces and is finished with a lacquer that allows your hand to glide over it effortlessly. On the 24 fret neck, you will find an East-Indian rosewood fingerboard, that has the classic PRS bird inlays. While the birds appear to be made of ivory, they are actually made of a custom acrylic material.

The tuning machines are PRS designed, and it feels smooth when you are using it. The CE 24 stays in tune, regardless of how much you string bend, use the whammy bar, or even when you are jamming out hard. On this particular electric guitar, you can find PRS 85/15 pickups in the bridge and neck positions. These high-quality humbuckers give you an extra reach in the bass and treble notes, and produce an overall clear sound, even when you are using a ton of distortion. This electric guitar also comes with a master volume and tone controls, as well as a three-position toggle switch for pickup selection.

The Paul Reed Smith CE 24 is an all-around quality instrument, that is a little different from the normal electric guitar. It is built in the US and is versatile enough to create any type of music you would want, and it also looks great.

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2. Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster

Level: Expert

  • Vintage look and feel
  • Emits a pure tone
  • Easy to shift between styles

Eric Johnson is one of the music industry’s greatest legends. He was an innovator who fused together a variety of genres, including rock, funk, and jazz to create a sound and style that is entirely his own. Because of his unique playing style, he created the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster to fit his distinctive needs.

The Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster is modeled after a ‘57 and has a two-piece alder body finished with a thin layer of lacquer. The reason it is so light is to help the wood breathe better, which gives you better resonance. This method is similar to what they did in the 1950s.

The neck of this electric guitar is one-piece maple wood and was preferred by Johnson because it had a harmonic balance from the neck to the body. The fingerboard is flat, which allows you to enjoy string bending and lower action without worrying about fretting out.

The hardware of this particular electric guitar includes custom-made single-coil pickups that were designed with a new magnet wire material as well as a new pickup winding procedure. Because of these two upgrades in the design elements, the pickups produce a tone that is entirely unique. Eric Johnson tweaked the location of the tone controls so that the knobs control the neck and bridge pickup. Because the bridge pickups are able to produce higher frequencies, it is clear why Johnson wanted to switch over to this method.

Playing this guitar will give you so much joy. Everything was carefully crafted with the sole purpose of making the perfect instrument. The versatility of the electronics are extensive, so you are able to shift between styles without much effort. Thanks to the maple of the wood, the tone of this guitar is incredibly pure. The Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster, while expensive, is worth every dollar.

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3. Gibson 2016 Les Paul Studio HP

Level: Expert

  • Fantastic Playability
  • Wide range of tonal variety
  • Beautiful finish

While there are many Les Paul on this list, there are none equal to this Gibson 2016 Les Paul Studio HP.

There are not a ton of differences between this and the Les Paul Classic, but it is still worth the cost for the upgrades. A couple of the changes that Gibson did was to redesign the heel and smooth out the guitar to give it even more versatility.

The High Performance (HP) guitar plays exceptionally well, thanks, in part, to the increased neck width compared to the older versions of Les Paul. For people with smaller hands, they won’t have any trouble playing it even with the added width because it is incredibly subtle. While most Les Paul guitars are usually cumbersome because they have a solid, thick mahogany body, this Gibson has chambers which help to reduce the weight. While it isn’t particularly light, it is not nearly as heavy as the older models.

Because this guitar is so high quality, it exceeds your expectations on the sound quality and gives you the full-bodied tone you would expect for a Les Paul. It is especially lively and offers a bright sound because of the body chambers. What really makes this guitar stand out from others is the variety of sounds it can produce thanks to the ten knobs and switches that it has. The guitar is so easy to configure that you can create any type of sound without any problems. Some variety of sounds you can produce include mellow and warm jazz sounds, a more twangy country tone, and even the more aggressive tones of rock.

The hardware of the guitar can be a little tricky for new players to figure out, but once you do, you will see the wide range of tones and sounds that are available to this guitar. All around, this guitar is much improved compared to the 1950s and 1960s version and should be considered if you love the Les Paul style guitar.

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4. Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci

Level: Expert

  • High quality
  • Very comfortable to play
  • Designed for maximum alignment and stability

John Petrucci is the guitarist behind Dream Theater, a prog rock group. His custom model is extremely comfortable and playable and features a 5-bolt mounting on the neck for maximum alignment and stability. There is also a single cutaway that makes it easy if you want to pick the guitar. All tuners and locking systems are of the highest quality and made by Schaller.

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5. Dean Signature Series Rusty Cooley RC6 Electric Guitar Xenocide

Level: Expert

  • Built for speed
  • Thin neck
  • Recessed tremolo bridge

This guitar takes getting used to for some but will be a perfect match for others. Rusty Cooley is one of the contemporary’s fastest guitar players, so it should as no surprise that this guitar was built for speed. It features a thin neck, double cutaway body, as well as a recessed tremolo bridge to keep the strings more accessible. This guitar, which was just released for the first time in September of 2018, is already well-reviewed. If you are a speed player, then this is a guitar that you need to invest it.

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6. ESP E-II M-I

Level: Expert

  • Minimalistic design
  • Comfortable neck
  • Built for high-speed metal

This premium guitar from ESP seems to share some of the similar design features as its cheaper counterparts, but when you look closer, you can see that it delivers a great guitar with high-quality finishes.

The overall look of the guitar is very minimalistic, which might appeal to some, but others might be turned off by its simple design and high price tag. However, the look of the all-black design might be exciting to some who are looking for a guitar that is full of metal attitude.

The body of this electric guitar features the Superstrat double-cutaway shape. The body is made of solid alder and finished with satin black. A through-body design attaches the three-piece maple neck, which has a thin U shape which allows you to play fast for hours while still staying comfortable. The neck features 24 extra-jumbo frets which are located on the dark ebony fret board. The entire neck has no unnecessary decoration or alteration.

The hardware on this electric guitar is matched to the design, and it gives you exactly what you need to play this beautiful instrument without any extra bells or whistles. The E-II M-1 focuses more on quality over quantity, with a single EMG 81 located the bridge. It is a battery-powered active humbucker that is well-known in the rock and metal industry because of its power. A single volume knob controls the guitar. This electric guitar also features a fixed Gotoh tune-o-matic bridge and body tailpiece. Both of these features mean that you won’t be able to use a tremolo; however, it does still have impressive sustain and tuning stability.

The E-II M-1 was designed for high-speed metal; it is powerful, loud, and is perfect for lead guitarists who want to show their attitude on the center stage. It has high gains and still gives beautiful sounds at even the highest notes. On the low end, it is tight, and you can easily play single note riffs and fast solos with clear sounds. All around, the ESP E-II M-I is one of the best guitars you can get if you want a metal guitar with a minimalistic design.

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7. Fender American Professional Stratocaster

Level: Expert

  • Upgrade on the American Standard Series
  • Versatile sound
  • Adjustable tremolo arm

Fender replaces the 30-year-old American Standard series with the American Professional series, which is what this Strat is a part of. The new series improved on an already excellent guitar series.

The American Professional Stratocaster features the standard design that you saw with the old Standard Series. One of the most significant changes is the Deep C profile, which makes it more comfortable to hold, especially when playing solos. It also features a rosewood fret board and 22 frets.

The hardware of this electric guitar is where we see the most upgrades. It comes equipped with the three V-mod single-coil pickups located at the neck, middle, and bridge. Each one is voiced specifically for the position, which means that you will get a much better tone out of each pickup. It also comes equipped with a volume control and two-tone controls, which are relatively standard. Included with the guitar is the traditional tremolo bridge, but with a tremolo arm that can be adjusted to your specific desires.

The sound of the American Professional Strat is extraordinarily bright, with a vintage-tint. This electric guitar is a fantastic choice if you want a Strat, and it is well worth the expensive price tag.

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8. Fender James Burton Telecaster

Level: Expert

  • Beautiful design
  • Delivers versatile tones
  • Designed by James Burton

James Burton has been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2001, and as one of the greatest rock and roll guitarists in history, it is clear why he created his own signature guitar. This quality instrument is a masterpiece and is part of Fender’s Artist Series.

The overall look of this guitar is very distinctive. The Fender James Burton Telecaster has the famous Tele body shape made out of basswood. It is painted black and has a unique custom graphic that comes in either blue or red flames that covers the lower part of the guitar. The neck is another unique feature of this guitar and it is made of maple, with a satin urethane finish. The neck also features a vintage U profile, which gives people more heft. For players who play blues, classic rock, or country, they will especially appreciate this extra weight.

The hardware of this guitar deviates a little from the typical Tele pickup configuration by adding three specially-designed single-coils. It also has a master volume control and a tone control, as well as a five-way Stat-o-Tele switch that helps you to choose between the three pickups. One last feature this guitar utilizes is the S-1 switch that gives you a fat, round tone, similar to what you might hear from a humbucker.

The sound that this guitar produces is top-notch. The trio of pickups that were designed by Burton help to give it a versatile tone. You can effectively play any type of music you might want with this guitar. This is a worthy guitar that delivers a beautiful feel, style, and sound.

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9. Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body

Level: Expert

  • Combine electric and acoustic-style sounds
  • Produces a wide variety of sounds
  • Comfortable to play

Godin has been one of the best producers of high-quality instruments for more than 30 years. The Canadian manufacturer has delivered once again with the LGXT. This utterly unique guitar combines electric and acoustic-style sounds and tones in one single body electric guitar.

The design of this musical instrument is a cutaway maple body with a flamed maple top. It is made out of Mahogany, which is often what is used in acoustic guitars and what helps to give this electric guitar such a warm sound. The LGXT comes with an ebony fingerboard that has 22 medium frets.

The hardware of the electric guitar includes a dual humbucker setup, two Seymor Duncan Pickups, and a five-way switch. You also have the standard volume control and tone control featured on the Godin LGXT. You can get a more acoustic output for this electric guitar by turning down the electric volume and increasing the volume on the transducer saddlers. The full range of tone that this guitar can achieve is out of this world.

The sound that the Godin LGXT electric guitar delivers is also phenomenal. Regardless of whether you want a low, bright, or heavily distorted tone, you are going to be able to produce the sound and tone that you want. The Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body is a fantastic guitar that is sure to excite you every time you hold it and play.

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10. Ibanez RG5121

Level: Expert

  • High-quality
  • Comfortable to play fast music
  • Designed for serious musicians

The Ibanez RG5121 is a new guitar that is one of the best releases of Ibanez’s. It features a beautiful RG shape, with comfortable edges and a cutaway that allows you to access all the frets without any problems. The RG has a more aggressive metal attitude with a beautiful design.

The sides and back of this guitar are unpainted in order to showcase the flawless grain of the African mahogany. The look is separated by a white strip of binding along the side of the guitar. The bolted-on neck is made of alternating maple and wenge and features 24 jumbo frets. Overall, the guitar is extremely playable and everything is easy to reach.

The hardware of the Ibanez RG5121 electric guitar is also exceptional. It comes equipped with two Fishman Fluence Modern active humbuckers located on the bridge and neck. This electric guitar comes loaded with a master volume and master tone control knob, as well as one mini switch in the middle.

The electric guitar is able to produce a lot of different tones and sounds. In particular, this musical instrument is perfect for creating rough sounds or clear notes, and you are able to change the sound quickly. This is a very versatile guitar, and it is clear why it is so pricey because it really delivers on the sound, tones, and overall design. The Ibanez RG5121 is an amazing guitar that is designed for serious musicians who want a beautiful instrument.

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Explore more! Here are our top electric guitar picks.