Best Electric Guitars for Beginners – Under $300

If you’ve read my article on the different types of electric guitars and are getting ready to make a purchase, then this buying guide is for you.  I’ve reflected on the hundreds of hours I’ve spent researching and playing different electric guitars and have broken down my top three favorites frequently associated with various styles of music.  This article focuses on my top recommended best electric guitars for beginners that can be purchased for $300 or less.  In fact, I’ve provided you with three lists, one for solid-body electric guitars for rock, blues and country, one for solid-body electric guitars for heavy metal, and one specifically for semi-hollow body electric guitars.  Let’s get started!

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners – Rock, Blues & Country

Solid Body – Under $300

yamaha pacifica pac112vSquier Telecaster Antique Burst
Top Musical StyleRockBluesCountry
Other StylesBlues, CountryRock, CountryRock, Blues
ModelLes Paul Special IIPacifica 112VTelecaster
Pickups2 Humbuckers2 Single Coils + 1 Humbucker2 Single Coils
BridgeFixed Tune-o-maticVintage TremoloFixed
Body MaterialMahoganySolid AlderAgathis
Neck MaterialMahoganyMapleMaple
Fretboard MaterialRosewoodRosewoodRosewood
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Epiphone Les Paul Special II

  • A genuine Les Paul for $200…. are you kidding me?  This guitar is perfect for any beginner or advancing rock star.
  • The two humbuckers at the neck and bridge positions, in combination with volume and tone control knobs, provide a tremendous range of tones from warm cleans to powerful full-frequency gritty rock.
  • The Tune-o-matic bridge and chrome tailpiece allow for precise intonation and long-lasting durability.

Yamaha PAC112CV

  • This exceptional value from Yamaha is essentially a clone of the pricier Fender Stratocaster.  It features a very comfortable body shape perfect for beginner and intermediate players as well as solid materials used throughout.
  • The combination of pickups on this guitar are perfect for players who want the versatility of both single-coil and humbuckers because it has both!  The single coil pick-up at the neck position produces incredibly clean, bright tones while the humbucker pick-up at the bridge position will let this guitar really rock out!
  • The bridge features a vintage-style tremolo system with individual block saddles which lets you adjust the intonation of each string individually for perfect tuning all up and down the fretboard.
  • This guitar comes in a variety of great colors and tones to suit any style.

Squier Telecaster

  • The Telecaster is the archetype electric guitar for country music.
  • The bridge pickup which is surrounded by the ashtray-style bridge produces the classic twang that is featured in so many classic songs.
  • While the bridge is fixed, individual string saddles allow for individual intonation setting for each string to ensure perfect tuning.
  • A common upgrade for this guitar is to replace the standard tuning machines with locking tuners.  These will help your guitar stay in tune and make changing strings much easier.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners – Heavy Metal

Solid Body – Under $300

Jackson JS32 Heavy Metal Electric GuitarDean MLXF Heavy Metal Electric GuitarEpiphone SG Special Electric Guitar
Top Musical StyleHeavy MetalHeavy MetalHeavy Metal
Other StylesRock, Blues
ModelJS32MLXFSG Special
Pickups2 Humbuckers2 Humbuckers2 Humbuckers
BridgeFloyd Rose TremoloFloyd Rose TremoloFixed Tune-o-matic
Body MaterialSolid BasswoodBasswoodSolid Mahogany
Neck MaterialMapleMapleMahogany
Fretboard MaterialRosewoodRosewoodRosewood
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Jackson JS32 Dinky

  • Jackson guitars are metal-machines with their high-output ceramic-magnet humbucking pickups and graphite-reinforced maple necks.  The pearloid sharkfin inlays and black hardware add to the bold look for even the heaviest of metal-heads.
  • The Jackson-branded Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo bridge is a great feature at this affordable price point and will allow the metal player to whammy away and make some epic deep bends of your power chords.

Dean Vendetta 1.0

  • The first in a fine series of hard-core metal machines from Dean, this guitar features a solid mahogany body with a classic Dean V-shaped Ferrule pattern, maple neck and heavy-metal headstock.
  • Double humbuckers, Tune-o-Matic bridge, Grover tuners and black hardware all make for a quality heavy-metal guitar at a not-so-heavy price.

Epiphone SG Special VE

  • The signature double-cutaway design of the SG has been a staple in metal and rock for decades.
  • It’s lightweight body still provides plenty of punch through its open-coil humbuckers with high-output ceramic magnets.
  • The Tune-o-matic bridge and stop bar combine are rock-solid designs to keep you playing in tune no matter how hard you rock.

Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

Hollow-Body – Under $300

gretsch g5425Ibanez Artcore AS53 Hollow Body Electric Guitar
Top Musical StyleEarly Rock n’ Roll, Country, Blues, Rockabilly, Jazz
ModelG5425Artcore AS53
Pickups2 Humbuckers2 Humbuckers
BridgeFixed Adjusto-maticFixed
Body MaterialBasswood w/ Maple TopSapele
Neck MaterialMapleMahogany
Fretboard MaterialRosewoodRosewood
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Gretsch G5425

  • Gretsch has been making guitars since the 1920’s and their semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars that came into fashion in later decades with signature players like Chet Atkins, George Harrison and Brian Setzer are considered some of the world’s finest.
  • Even though this guitar does not include f-holes that are more typical in semi-hollow body guitars, the basswood bodies of this Gretsch guitar are chambered which help to produce the legendary Gretsch sound.

Ibanez Artcore AS53

  • This hollow-body electric guitar is truly semi-acoustic and can be played across a broad range of musical genres
  • The sapele wood featured in the body give it a unique, earthy and indie vibe
  • The set-in neck combined with the sustain block in the bridge allow for increased sustain and feedback elimination.