The Best Electric Guitars Under $300 (Ultimate Guide)

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Looking for the best electric guitar under $300? We’ve got you covered! In this ultimate guide, we’ll review the top 5 guitars on the market, based on sound quality, playability, and value. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, we’ve got the perfect guitar for you.

 

1. Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster

VERSATILE ENTRY-LEVEL.

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2. Epiphone Les Paul Studio E1

CLASSIC MID-RANGE.

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3. Yamaha PAC012                

AFFORDABLE QUALITY.

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4. Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster

UNIQUE SURFY.

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5. Epiphone Power Player Les Paul

HIGH-GAIN POWERHOUSE.

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6. Ibanez GRGA                            

MODERN VERSATILE.

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1. Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster

VERSATILE ENTRY-LEVEL.

Affordable, well-made, versatile electric guitar.Durable, well-made, versatile guitar.
Versatile for different genres.Easy to play, maintain.
Picture by Squier

Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • Here are 4 important pros of the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster that make it a great choice for a budget electric guitar:

    1. Great value for the price. The Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is one of the most affordable electric guitars on the market, but it still offers great value for your money. It is made with quality materials and construction, and it features a comfortable playing feel and versatile sound.

    2. Well-made and durable. The Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is made with a solid alder body and a maple neck with a comfortable C-shaped profile. The fretboard is made of rosewood and it has 21 medium jumbo frets. The guitar is equipped with a set of Squier Designed Alnico single-coil pickups that offer a variety of tones.

    3. Versatile and can be used for a variety of genres. The Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is a very versatile guitar that can be used for a variety of genres, from blues and rock to country and jazz. The three single-coil pickups give you a wide range of tonal possibilities, and the guitar is comfortable to play for long periods of time.

    4. Easy to play and maintain. The Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is a very easy guitar to play, even for beginners. The neck is thin and comfortable, and the frets are well-finished. The guitar is also relatively easy to maintain, requiring only a basic setup and occasional cleaning.

    Overall, the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is a great choice for a budget electric guitar. It offers great value for your money, it is well-made and durable, and it is versatile and easy to play. If you are looking for an affordable guitar that can do it all, the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is a great option.

    Here are some additional thoughts:

    The Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is one of the most popular and well-respected budget electric guitars on the market. It is often recommended by experts as a great option for beginners and experienced players alike. The guitar is praised for its combination of affordability, quality, and versatility. It is a great choice for players who want a versatile guitar that can be used for a variety of genres.

    The Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is also known for being easy to play and maintain. This makes it a great choice for beginners who are just starting out. The guitar’s comfortable neck and well-finished frets allow for smooth and effortless playing, while its basic maintenance requirements make it a hassle-free option for all players.

    If you are looking for a great budget electric guitar that is versatile, easy to play, and well-made, the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster is a great option. It has stood the test of time and continues to be a top choice for guitarists of all skill levels.

CONS

  • The pickups are not very high quality as they’re made of ceramic magnets, known for their bright and trebly sound. This can make the guitar sound harsh or tinny, limiting tonal options. Additionally, the build quality is lower compared to competitors, leading to issues like poor intonation, fret buzz, and loose hardware. However, beginners seeking a low-cost option may find the Squier Affinity Stratocaster suitable. For better sound and build quality, consider the Epiphone Les Paul Special II, Ibanez GRG170DX, or Yamaha Pacifica 112V.

2. Epiphone Les Paul Studio E1

CLASSIC MID-RANGE.

1. Two humbucker pickups2. Coil-tapped for more tonal options
3. Mahogany body & maple neck4. Solid construction & high-quality
Picture by Epiphone

PROS

    • 1. Versatile sound: The Les Paul Studio E1 is equipped with two humbucker pickups that can produce a wide range of tones, from blues to rock to metal. This makes it a great choice for players who want a guitar that can handle a variety of genres.

      2. Comfortable design: The Les Paul Studio E1 has a comfortable, lightweight design that makes it easy to play for long periods of time. The body is made of mahogany, which gives it a warm, rich tone.

      3. High-quality build: The Les Paul Studio E1 is made with high-quality materials and construction, which ensures that it will last for years to come. The neck is made of maple and has a comfortable C-shape profile.

      4. Affordable price: The Les Paul Studio E1 is an incredibly affordable guitar, making it a great option for budget-minded players. However, it doesn’t skimp on quality, making it a great value for the price.

      Here are some additional details about each of these pros:

      The Les Paul Studio E1’s two humbucker pickups can be coil-tapped, providing a wider range of tonal possibilities. It can deliver a thick, warm sound for blues and classic rock, or a brighter, more articulate sound for jazz and funk.

      The mahogany body and slim taper neck of the Les Paul Studio E1 contribute to its comfortable playability. The lightweight and well-balanced body makes it easy to hold and play for extended periods.

      In terms of build quality, the Les Paul Studio E1 stands out. It features a solid mahogany body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard. The hardware, including Grover tuners and a Tune-O-Matic bridge, is also of high quality.

      Despite its affordability, the Les Paul Studio E1 doesn’t compromise on quality. It offers a great value for the price, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious players.

      In addition to the Les Paul Studio E1, there are other guitars under $300 that are worth considering:

      1. Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster
      2. Ibanez RG421
      3. Yamaha Pacifica 112V
      4. Epiphone SG Special
      5. Harley Benton TE-52 Deluxe

      Each of these guitars has its own unique features and tones, allowing you to find one that suits your needs and budget.

      In conclusion, the Epiphone Les Paul Studio E1 is an excellent option for a budget electric guitar. It offers versatility, comfort, quality, and affordability. If you’re in search of a great guitar to kick-start your musical journey, the Les Paul Studio E1 is definitely worth considering.

CONS

  • 1. The pickups aren’t as good as other guitars in this price range. The Epiphone Les Paul Studio E1 comes with Epiphone’s Probucker 7 and Probucker 2 humbucking pickups, which are decent but not as high quality as options like the Seymour Duncan Designed Hot Rails or the DiMarzio PAF Pro in this price range.

    2. The fretboard isn’t as smooth as other guitars in this price range. The E1 has a rosewood fretboard with medium jumbo frets, but it’s not as smooth as the ebony fretboard with jumbo frets found on the Ibanez RG450.

    Overall, the E1 is a decent guitar for the price. However, for better sound and feel, consider guitars with higher quality pickups and smoother fretboards.

    Ultimately, the best guitar for you depends on your needs and preferences. Consider the music you want to play, your budget, and the features you value. With many great options available, you’ll find the perfect guitar for you.

3. Yamaha PAC012

AFFORDABLE QUALITY.

5-way pickup selector enhances versatility.Cypress top adds brightness and clarity.
22 medium jumbo frets.Precise Tone.
Picture by Yamaha

PROS

  • 1. Solid mahogany body. The solid mahogany body gives the PAC012 a rich, warm tone that is perfect for a variety of genres, from blues to rock to jazz. This tonewood is highly regarded for its ability to produce deep, resonant tones that have a full-bodied character.

    2. Cypress top. The cypress top adds brightness and clarity to the sound, making it a versatile guitar for all types of music. This lighter wood complements the mahogany body by providing a balanced tone that offers a crisp and articulate sound. It enhances the overall tonal range and allows for greater versatility in playing styles.

    3. 22 medium jumbo frets. The medium jumbo frets make it easy to play chords and solos, and they also provide a comfortable playing feel. With these frets, the PAC012 offers exceptional playability, allowing for smooth transitions and comfortable fretting across the entire fretboard. This is particularly beneficial for players who prefer a wider space between the frets or require a higher level of precision in their playing.

    4. 5-way pickup selector. The 5-way pickup selector gives you a wide range of tonal options, from bright and jangly to warm and mellow. This versatile feature allows you to customize your sound based on your preferences and musical style. The ability to switch between different pickups and their combinations enables you to explore various tonal possibilities and achieve a wide spectrum of sounds, making the PAC012 suitable for a diverse range of musical genres.

    In addition to these pros, the PAC012 is also well-made and affordable, making it a great option for budget-minded musicians. Its reliability and durability are a testament to Yamaha’s commitment to producing high-quality instruments. Furthermore, its user-friendly design and versatile sound make it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced players alike.

    Here is a more detailed explanation of each of the pros:

    * Solid mahogany body: Mahogany is a popular tonewood for electric guitars because it produces a warm, rich sound. The solid mahogany body of the PAC012 gives it a deep, resonant tone that is perfect for blues, rock, and jazz.

    * Cypress top: Cypress is a lighter wood than mahogany, which gives the PAC012 a brighter sound. The cypress top also helps to give the guitar a more balanced tone, with less bass and more treble.

    * 22 medium jumbo frets: Medium jumbo frets are a good compromise between comfort and playability. They are not too big or too small, and they provide a good amount of space for your fingers to move around.

    * 5-way pickup selector: The 5-way pickup selector gives you a wide range of tonal options. You can choose from the neck pickup, the bridge pickup, both pickups together, or a combination of the two. This gives you a lot of flexibility to create different sounds for different genres of music.

    Overall, the Yamaha PAC012 is a great electric guitar for under $300. It has a solid build quality, a versatile sound, and a comfortable playing feel. If you are looking for an affordable electric guitar that can do it all, the PAC012 is a great option.

CONS

  • 1. The sound is not as versatile as some other guitars in this price range. The PAC012 has a single-coil pickup in the neck position and a humbucker pickup in the bridge position. This gives it a good range of sounds, but it may not be as versatile as some other guitars with more pickup combinations. For example, the Squier Affinity Series Telecaster HSS has a humbucker in the bridge position and two single-coil pickups in the middle and neck positions, offering a wider range of sounds.
    2. The build quality is not as good as some other guitars in this price range. The PAC012 is made of a basswood body and a maple neck, which are good materials, but not as high-quality as those used in other guitars. The Ibanez GRX70QA, for instance, has an agathis body and a rosewood neck, which are more likely to produce a better sound and sustain.

    Overall, the Yamaha PAC012 is a good guitar for beginners, being affordable, easy to play, and with a good range of sounds. However, other guitars in this price range offer better sound and build quality.

4. Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster

UNIQUE SURFY.

Versatile soundComfortable offset body.
Good build quality, durable construction.Affordable guitar with good quality.
Picture by Squier

PROS

  • 1. Versatile sound. The Jazzmaster is celebrated for its unique and versatile sound that caters to various genres such as blues, rock, jazz, and indie. The Affinity Series Jazzmaster is equipped with two single-coil pickups in the neck and middle positions, along with a humbucking pickup in the bridge position. This configuration grants the guitar a broad range of tonal options, allowing players to experiment and explore different sonic landscapes.

    2. Comfortable body. The Jazzmaster boasts an offset body design that ensures a comfortable playing experience, even during extended sessions. The basswood body construction not only contributes to the guitar’s lightweight feel but also provides excellent balance and maneuverability.

    3. Good build quality. Despite its affordable price point, the Squier Affinity Series guitars are renowned for their solid build quality. The Jazzmaster is crafted using quality materials and meticulous construction techniques, ensuring long-lasting durability and reliable performance even after years of heavy use.

    4. Affordable price. The Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster is an exceptionally cost-effective option among the Jazzmaster models available in the market. Priced under $300, this guitar offers exceptional sound and playability, making it an ideal choice for budget-minded players who desire a high-quality Jazzmaster without breaking the bank.

    Now, let’s delve into some additional details:

    * Versatile sound: The Jazzmaster’s distinctive sound is characterized by its bright and jangly single-coil pickups, complemented by the thick and rich tones of the humbucking bridge pickup. This sonic versatility renders it suitable for a wide array of musical genres. Moreover, the Affinity Series Jazzmaster also presents a coil-splitting option on the bridge pickup, providing players with an expanded tonal palette to explore.

    * Comfortable body: The Jazzmaster’s offset body design ensures that it rests comfortably on the player’s lap, allowing for effortless access to all the frets. Additionally, the lightweight basswood body facilitates prolonged playability without causing unnecessary strain or fatigue.

    * Good build quality: Crafted with precision, the Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster employs quality materials throughout its construction. The basswood body offers a solid foundation, while the maple neck, along with its C-shaped maple fingerboard, delivers enhanced stability and a smooth playing surface. The hardware, including the sealed tuners and compensated bridge, further contribute to the guitar’s overall quality and reliability.

    * Affordable price: Recognized as one of the most budget-friendly Jazzmaster models on the market, the Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster provides excellent value for its price. With a price tag under $300, this guitar manages to deliver outstanding sound and playability, making it an exceptional choice for budget-conscious players seeking a top-quality Jazzmaster experience.

    In conclusion, the Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster excels as a budget electric guitar by offering a versatile sound, comfortable body, solid build quality, and an affordable price. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, seeking a rich variety of tones or exploring different musical genres, the Affinity Series Jazzmaster is a compelling option to consider.

CONS

  • The pickups lack quality and output, affecting certain genres like rock.
  • The build quality is inferior compared to competitors like the Epiphone Les Paul Special II. This affects intonation, playability, and durability. The Affinity Series Jazzmaster is decent for beginners but not the best for quality. Consider these guitars in the $300 range: Epiphone Les Paul Special II, Ibanez Gio GRG121DX, Yamaha Pacifica 112V, Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster, and Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster. They have better pickups and build quality, remaining within budget. Invest in these for serious guitar playing.

5. Epiphone Power Player Les Paul

HIGH-GAIN POWERHOUSE.

Affordable, quality Les Paul-style guitar.Comfortable and easy to play.
Versatile for different music genres.Gig bag included for transport.
Picture by Epiphone

PROS

  • 1. It is a great value for the price. The Epiphone Power Player Les Paul is one of the most affordable Les Paul-style guitars on the market, but it still offers a lot of quality and features. It is made with solid mahogany body and neck, and it is equipped with a pair of Epiphone 650R and 700T humbucking pickups that produce a rich, full sound.

    2. It is comfortable and easy to play. The Power Player Les Paul has a 22.73″ scale length, which is slightly shorter than the standard 24.75″ scale length. This makes it easier to play for beginners and players with smaller hands. The guitar also has a comfortable slim taper mahogany neck with a sculpted heel for improved upper fret access.

    3. It is versatile. The Epiphone Power Player Les Paul can be used for a variety of genres, from blues and rock to jazz and metal. The humbucking pickups provide a wide range of tones, from warm and mellow to bright and aggressive.

    4. It comes with a gig bag. The Epiphone Power Player Les Paul comes with a gig bag, which makes it easy to transport and protect your guitar.

    Overall, the Epiphone Power Player Les Paul is a great choice for beginners or experienced players looking for an affordable Les Paul-style guitar with a lot of quality and features. It is comfortable to play, versatile, and comes with a gig bag.

    Here are some additional things to consider about the Epiphone Power Player Les Paul:

    – It is a 3/4 size guitar, which means it is smaller than a full-size guitar. This makes it a good choice for younger players or players with smaller hands.

    – It has a bolt-on neck, which is less expensive to produce than a set-neck guitar. However, bolt-on necks can be less stable than set-necks over time.

    – It is made in China, which is not the same as being made in the USA. However, Epiphone guitars made in China are still of good quality.

    Overall, the Epiphone Power Player Les Paul is a great value for the price and a good choice for beginners or experienced players looking for an affordable Les Paul-style guitar.

CONS

  • 1. It is a bit too small for some players. The Power Player Les Paul has a shorter scale length than a standard Les Paul, which makes it easier to play for smaller players. However, it can also be a bit too small for some adults, especially those with larger hands.
    2. The pickups are not the highest quality. The Power Player Les Paul comes with Epiphone’s 650R and 700T humbucking pickups. These pickups are decent for the price, but they are not as high quality as the pickups found on some other guitars in the $300 price range.

    Overall, the Epiphone Power Player Les Paul is a good guitar for beginners and players with smaller hands. However, its small size and budget pickups may be a turnoff for some players.

    Here are some other guitars that I would recommend in the $300 price range: Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster, Epiphone SG Special, and Ibanez Gio Series. Ultimately, the best guitar for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you are a beginner, I recommend trying out a few different guitars to see which one feels and sounds the best to you.

6. Ibanez GRGA

MODERN VERSATILE.

Comfortable body shape.Versatile sound, wide tonal range.
High-quality materials, maple and rosewood.Affordable option for budget musicians.
Picture by Ibanez

PROS

  • 1. Comfortable body shape: The GRGA has a comfortable body shape that is perfect for both sitting and standing playing. The body is made of basswood, a lightweight and resonant material that produces a warm, full sound.

    2. Versatile sound: The GRGA has a versatile sound that can be used for various genres, including rock, metal, blues, and jazz. Equipped with two humbucking pickups, it provides a wide range of tones for different playing styles.

    3. High-quality materials: The GRGA is made with high-quality materials that ensure durability and longevity. The neck is crafted from maple, a sturdy wood that can withstand heavy playing, while the fingerboard is made of rosewood, known for its smooth playing surface and added tonal warmth.

    4. Affordable price: One of the standout features of the GRGA is its affordability. With a budget-friendly price tag, it offers excellent value for money and makes it an attractive option for musicians on a budget.

    In addition to these pros, the GRGA boasts a double cutaway body shape, allowing easy access to the upper frets and making it suitable for virtuosic playing. The two humbucking pickups enable a rich and diverse tonal palette, with the neck pickup producing warm and mellow tones, while the bridge pickup delivers brighter and more aggressive sounds.

    For those considering other electric guitars under $300, here are three additional options:

    1. Epiphone Les Paul Special II: A timeless design perfect for rock and blues enthusiasts. This guitar features a mahogany body, a maple neck, and two humbucking pickups.

    2. Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster: An all-around versatile instrument suitable for multiple genres. It offers a comfortable body shape and a range of pickup options to explore.

    3. Yamaha Pacifica 112V: Known for its exceptional value, this guitar features a solid mahogany body, a comfortable C-shaped neck, two humbucking pickups, and a single-coil pickup.

    Regardless of the choice you make, ensure that you try out the guitar before purchasing to ascertain that it feels and sounds right for your playing style and preferences.

CONS

  • 1. The pickups are not the best quality. The GRGA comes with two Ibanez Infinity R pickups, which lack tonal versatility, suiting certain genres like hard rock and metal but not others like blues or jazz.

    2. The build quality is not the best. Despite its basswood body and maple neck, materials commonly used in budget guitars, the GRGA’s build quality falls short compared to guitars like the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster or Yamaha Pacifica 112V.

    Additional drawbacks include a plastic nut and saddles, as well as a fixed bridge. Nonetheless, the GRGA is a decent guitar for the price, ideal for beginners or those seeking a budget guitar for hard rock or metal.

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