Electric guitars are like tools. If you enjoy ’em and know how to use ’em, they’re always handy to have around. Also different guitars have different qualities. It’s a matter of finding what best suits how and what you play.
With that in mind, here are three best rated electric guitars under $500 found on Musiciansfriend.com. These guitars have between 50 and 321 reviewers. What’s great about that is you’re getting the buyer’s unvarnished reaction without any sales staff gobbledygook.
Here they are in order of increasing price.
This is a modern version of the axe made famous on the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s epic Born to Run album.
It has an extremely resonant pine body just like the early Esquires and its one-piece Maple neck is a modern “C” shape that makes gliding up and down the Maple fingerboard a breeze.
This beauty comes with custom Telecaster pickups, vintage-style chrome hardware and bridge plate with brass barrel saddles and a sweet 1.65″ nut width.
You can choose one in Butterscotch or Vintage Blonde. Both rock the classic “blackguard” pickguard. You’ll need to get a case or gig bag.
126 reviewers gave this Tele 4.8 stars noting she was fun to play with a good tone and feel.
Les Paul was the inventor of the electric guitar and he played until his namesake axe until he died in his 90s. Players as diverse as Slash and Bob Marley have used Les Pauls to create immeasurable tons of music.
This Epi gives you the signature sound of a Gibson Les Paul at a fraction of the cost.
How? It starts with a resonant Mahogany body (with a tone-enhancing Maple top veneer) then stirs Alnico classic humbuckers into the mix. These, plus its body shape, are the building blocks of the classic Les Paul sound.
It also sports a fully adjustable tune-o-magic bridge and precision Grover tuners.
You get your choice of five colors from Pelham Blue to the classic Gold Top. You’ll want to add a gig bag or case.
324 reviewers gave this Epiphone Les Paul 4.8 stars saying it was fun to play with good tone and feel. A very small number complained about its pickups and/or fret buzz but those can also be signs that an axe needs some adjustment or new strings. If you ever have questions, though, contact musiciansfriend.com and see what they recommend.
Yet another iconic axe, the Strat has ignited players from Stevie Ray Vaughn to John Mayer and everyone in between. There’s no mistaking its classic shape or double cutaways.
This one comes with a traditional Alder body that delivers that classic Strat tone. Where the Alder leaves off, the 3 standard single-coil pickups, uh, pick up.
The super-comfortable “C-shaped” neck is a Maple with a Maple fretboard. It also features a vintage style tremolo with a stable bridge so you can get your bend on.
As far as colors go, you have five to choose from. If Candy Apple Red is your thing, cool. Or maybe you long for Lake Placid Blue. You have three other choices; you should find one you like. Please add a gig bag or case to keep it protected.
51 reviewers gave this Strat 4.8 stars for having good feel and tone and being fun to play. A very small number thought her pickups weren’t the best. If that happens to you, try new strings if you haven’t changed them in a while. It also never hurts to get in touch with Musiciansfriend.com and see what they suggest.