9 Best Electric Guitars Under $200 in 2024 [Buying Guide Included!]

Best Electric Guitars Under $200

Finding a good electric guitar for under $200 may seem impossible for beginning guitar players or those on a budget. Modern technology and competition have produced some amazing electric guitars in this price range.

Start learning electric guitar without buying a costly instrument before you’re sure you’ll keep it. Even experienced players can benefit from a cheap “beater” axe.

It may seem impossible to get a good-sounding electric guitar for around $200. Recent years have brought many changes.

Due to global manufacturing and growing technology, inexpensive guitars now perform better than premium instruments that cost 10 times as much. In 2023, which cheap electric guitars offer great value?

How to Choose an Electric Guitar Under $200

Before we begin, it’s crucial to know what to expect when buying a budget-friendly electric guitar and how to discover one you’ll enjoy.

Construction and Hardware

Most electric guitars in this ultra-low price range will have all-laminate wood construction rather than solid tonewood tops. But modern manufacturing methods mean even ply-built axes can offer great resonance and playability.

The hardware is basic but very usable on the whole, and it’s rare to find electric guitars under $200 that need any upgrades to be enjoyable, reliable instruments.

The Pickups

This is where corners often have to be cut on very affordable electric guitars. That said, the advent of decent-sounding budget pickups has radically changed expectations of instruments at this low-cost level over the past decade.

While the pickups on $200 and under electrics might not have quite the same breadth of tones as USA-made ones, they can still offer great sounds when paired with some gain and effects.

Playability and Setup

Some excessively cheap guitars unfortunately still have flaws in design and construction that hamper playability. The most common issues are high action (the distance between strings and frets), bowed necks, sharp fret ends, and flimsy tremolos.

When played before sale, however, all the instruments in this guide impressed with their easy playing feel and reliable tuning stability. This indicates good attention to detail and quality control on the part of the manufacturers.

The Top 10 Electric Guitars Under $200

Now let’s get into the detailed reviews! Based on close inspection, playing, and long-term ownership experience, these are the best electric guitars available on today’s market for under $200.

1. Epiphone SL Player Pack

Epiphone SL Player Pack

The best beginner’s bundle

The included amp sets this pack apart.

The Epiphone SL Player Pack tops our list by including an amp, accessories, and superb guitar quality for a staggeringly low price.

The modern, sleek SL model has many high-end appointments, usually only found on guitars costing much more. These include a comfortable slim-taper neck, locking tuners, and two Epiphone PRO humbuckers that sound fantastic when driving a distorted amp.

The Electar-10 amp included might be compact, but it delivers impressive classic rock crunch and decent clean headroom in a lightweight package. The pack also bundles useful extras, including a padded gigbag, clip-on tuner, strap, cable, and picks.

For those looking to start their electric guitar journey on a tight budget, no other bundle delivers such great value for money.

Standout Features

  • Lightweight Okoume body with comfortable SL profile
  • Locking tuners provide rock-solid tuning stability.
  • The Electar-10 amp punches above its weight for gain and volume.

2. Squier Bullet Mustang HH

Image: fender

The perfect metal instrument for shredders.

Impactful active humbuckers

Read the full article: Squier Mustang HH Review

This thoroughly contemporary Bullet Mustang, which Fender describes as a “fierce shark of a guitar,” definitely has bite.

The angular offset body shape is comfortable, balanced, and neat on the strap. It hosts a pair of vicious Blacktop Active Humbuckers that snarl, scream, and truly sing when you dig in hard with your pick or fingers.

Despite the compact student-friendly scale, the fast satin-finish maple neck encourages slick lead runs and makes few concessions to beginners. This raucous, raunchy, and aggressive guitar punches drastically above its weight class for high-octane rock.

Standout Features

  • Striking an offset body style provides visual appeal.
  • Active humbuckers deliver massive output and modern metal tones.
  • A deep double cutaway allows easy upper fret access.

3. Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top

Jackson Dinky
Image: Jackson Guitar

Shreddable shredder

Iconic metal guitar brand

Jackson guitars have adorned stages worldwide for decades, associated with lightning-fast play and great ergonomics for guitar gymnastics.

The JS Series brings the company’s trademark supersized frets, thin shred-ready necks, and arched single-cutaway designs to the budget realm.

Whether your style leans more toward Van Halen or Lamb of God, the (improved) Jackson high-output humbuckers here suit blistering solos or barbaric chugging.

Built with basswood bodies and sculpted heels for phenomenal upper access, the JS guitars prove Jackson’s reputation for axe-slinging performance applies even at lower costs.

Standout Features

  • Arched top single-cutaway offers a classic Jackson silhouette.
  • Supremely comfortable sculpted neck heel
  • Hot ceramic humbuckers are ideal for high-gain genres.

4. Ibanez GRG121DX

Ibanez GRG121DX
Image: Ibanez

Feature-packed Ibanez

Iconic Japanese brand

Ibanez established itself by copying designs from Gibson and Fender but quickly forged its own identity. Characteristically fast necks, exotic looks, and usage by famous shredders like Steve Vai characterized the brand through the ‘80s and ‘90s metal eras.

As their popularity grew, Ibanez expanded into more affordable instrument lines without compromising their principles. The GRG121DX exemplifies how well they’ve translated their sophisticated concepts onto a budget platform.

It retains a slim, fast Wizard III maple neck, a classy Cosmo black finish, reliable hardware, and two zebra humbuckers that handle crunchy chording and searing solos equally adeptly.

This is an impressively appointed, reliable, road- and recording-ready guitar considering the minuscule price tag.

Standout Features

  • A slim neck and arched top facilitate speed soloing.
  • The Cosmo black finish provides a sophisticated look.
  • Versatile humbucker pickup configuration

5. Epiphone SG Special VE

Epiphone SG Special VE
Image: Epiphone

Awesome budget, SG

Legendary double-cut silhouette

Epiphone’s partnership with Gibson allows them to legally produce affordable versions of the legendary brand’s most iconic models. The SG Special VE nails the classic devilish looks and searing tone expected of an SG without breaking budgets.

It boasts Gibson’s famous beveled flat-top profile with pointed cutaways, and Epiphone’s reliable hardware keeps it rock-steady. Rounding off a great package are a pair of 650R and 700T Alnico humbuckers that capture the SG’s signature mid-focused snarl.

Beginner and pro players alike will enjoy the comfortable 1960s SlimTaper neck, making this a six-string bargain not to be missed, whether buying your first “real” guitar or a knockabout stage standby.

Standout Features

  • The beveled flat-top silhouette is archetypal.
  • LockTone tuners offer rock-solid stability.
  • Hot ceramic humbuckers scream SG attitude.

6. Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster HT

Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster HT
Image: Fender

Twang on a budget

Traditional single-cut shape

The Fender Telecaster produced the world’s first mass-produced solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar over 70 years ago and quickly assumed legendary status. From country twang to garage punk power violence, the Tele does it all with class.

Fender’s Squier brand allows players to tap into that versatile tone palette without shelling out big bucks, and none of their current Telecasters nail budget ballin’ quite as nicely as the Bullet Telecaster HT.

With its gloss neck, punky Custom Telecaster pickup layout, and traditional string-through-body hardtail bridge, it delivers a mighty bang-for-buck Tele-style snap, snarl, and sparkle. Tough, punchy, and built for rapid chord changes, no guitarist should be without a trusting Tele; make this one yours!

Standout Features

  • Hardtail Bridge gives classic Teletone and rock-solid tuning
  • Smooth, modern C-profile necks are beautifully playable.
  • A custom pickup configuration provides tonal variety.

7. Mitchell MD400

Image: Mitchellguitars

Style and substance

Suhr-inspired stylings

Mitchell may not be a household name like Fender or Gibson, but this Indonesian company’s eye-catching designs belie the bargain basement prices.

Heavily inspired by celebrity guitar builder Suhr, the MD400 packs drool-worthy looks plus fantastic playability for not much cash. The arched flame maple top and sleek floral cutaway promise speed, while the graphite-reinforced maple neck indeed delivers effortless riffing and solos.

It’s no one-trick pony visually either; loaded or zebra humbuckers and classy gold hardware give this modern metal machine sophistication to spare. Punching hard with gain yet cleaving nicely when clean, the MD400’s sonic flexibility matches its aesthetic panache.

Standout Features

  • Stunning quilted maple arched-top design recalls PRS and Suhr
  • A resin-stabilized fretboard promises long-lasting playability.
  • Coil-splitting pickups adapt to many musical styles.

8. Harley Benton SC-Custom II

Harley Benton SC-Custom II
Image credit: Harley Benton

Heavyweight contender

LP-like with an extra edge

Cult German brand Harley Benton has quickly established itself for dangerously good quality-to-cost ratios on its instruments, which punch far above their minuscule price tags.

The SC-Custom II exemplifies their heavy metal offerings, resembling a certain iconic design but with several contemporary updates. The arched flame maple top looks spectacular in flashy colors, while EMG-powered electronics lend bone-crushing modern metal tones.

Premium components like Grover tuners and a Tusq nut help it play, sound, and keep tune like a guitar. Top-notch bang-per-buck for bedroom riff lords.

Standout Features

  • Beveled silhouette similar to classic Gibson LPs
  • Hot active EMG-HZ pickups brutalize amplifiers.
  • Premium parts enhance tuning stability.

9. Yamaha PAC012

Yamaha PAC012
Image: Yamaha

Yamaha’s Pacifica series, sometimes overlooked in internet forums, is a great choice for beginner guitarists because of its pricing and stability. The affordable PAC012 double-cutaway electric guitar represents this attitude, giving it high quality and playability.

Built to last:

PAC012 shows Yamaha’s quality and dedication. The basswood body has a balanced tone and good sustain, and the durable hardware keeps it in tune even with intense playing.

Adaptable Sounds:

The true strength of the PAC012 is the HSS pickup setup. With a bridge humbucker and middle and neck single coils, you can get glassy cleans, rumbling distortion, and weird quacks. Humbucker coil-splitting expands your sound palette.

Comfort Matters:

The silky neck makes playing pleasant, decreasing tiredness and encouraging longer practice times. This is essential for beginner learners.

Unbeatable value

Finally, the PAC012 has a 5-year warranty, longer than most cheap guitars. This shows Yamaha’s faith in the instrument and gives new players peace of mind.

Notable Features:

Highly versatile HSS pickups produce many tones.
Premium components, like sealed tuners, function reliably.
Unmatched 5-year warranty for worry-free play


The Yamaha PAC012 may not be the flashiest guitar, but its robust build, playability, and diverse sound make it a great choice for beginner guitarists looking for affordability. The PAC012 keeps you company on your musical adventure with its excellent warranty and quality.

A Buying Guide for Budget Electric Guitars

Construction quirks

Sticking to big brands you can trust helps avoid badly built guitars with structural issues under $200. However, even quality instruments may sometimes exhibit minor flaws.

Examining a specific guitar thoroughly before buying allows you to check for problems like sharp fret ends, lifting frets, bowed necks, and tuning instabilities. While not always a dealbreaker if fixable, it’s worth being aware of the most common budget guitar defects before purchase.


Basic hardware, like sealed tuners and nut materials, is often where more affordable guitars cut costs. However, these parts can usually be enhanced further down the line on a quality instrument.

So it’s wise to assess the bones and body construction over components when evaluating budget electrics. Quality wood and reliable electronics matter more, as tuners, bridges, and other parts can get replaced later if funds allow.

Models with coil tapping enable more sonic utility from the innate tonnage of quality pickups. This expands an affordable guitar’s tonal palette for later playing growth.

Go Play!

Trying guitars firsthand is infinitely preferable before buying them, where possible. An instrument that looks fantastic in photos might prove uncomfortable for your particular hand size and playing style.

While buying guitars online can save some money and offer greater choice, nothing compares to playing multiple instruments side by side to determine what suits your needs best.

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