9 Best Guitar Under 300 (2021 List)

Best For rock

Epiphone Les Paul

Best Acoustic

Fender CC-60S

Typically when someone is looking for a guitar under 300, they are often times a beginner guitarist.  That's perfect because that is exactly who this article is going to be geared towards.  The beginner!  

Playing an instrument that fights against you is one of the hardest things about beginning to play an instrument.  A lot of guitars under 300 fight against you, but none of these guitars will.  They are all made by reputable brands that are able to make a great product for a great price.  

Getting started with a quality instrument is going to make someone much more likely to enjoy learning and enjoy practicing.   This will ultimately get them to finding their sound, and what musicality they have to offer the world faster.

Something that is worth mentioning is that if the strings are old on a guitar, that guitar will not play as well.  That's why I recommend after buying a guitar, especially on the lower end of the price spectrum, to change the strings.

Changing the strings is not difficult.  A simple youtube tutorial can teach you all you need to know.

Because of this I am going to link to some string changing tutorials.

String change tutorials: Acoustic Click Here! Electric Click Here!

Best Electric Guitar Under 300

#1 Pick: Squier Stratocaster

There are tonnes of electric guitars under 300, but this one reigns supreme. This is my personal favorite guitar model of all time.  There is no way you can go wrong with a strat.  If you asked someone to draw you a guitar, they would draw a strat.  They are that iconic.

These guitars have a bright tone that is iconic.  Many amazing guitarists have crafted their legendary sounds around the tone of the stratocaster.  Players like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, David Gilmour, and Cory Wong have all brought different sounds to the table to truly show off how much a strat can do.  

Overall these guitars are extremely versatile, but they truly shine in the R&B/Soul/Funk/Jazz realm.  Often times within these genres the guitar line can be thought of as a tenor line.  The tonality of the strat with its brighter sound put the guitar sonically in the perfect place to fulfill that role.

Best Rock Guitar Under 300

When looking for a guitar for rock music, the first thing to look for is the pickup type.  A pickup is a magnet underneath the strings that 'picks up' the sound you are creating on your guitar.  

Pickups come in three main types: single coil, P90, and humbucker.  

A humbucker is the type of pickup you want for rock music because it relays a more intense signal to the amp than the other types of pickups.  The higher intensity signal is part of why rock music sounds like rock music. 

Because of that here are two guitars that have humbuckers, and are models of super classic rock and roll guitars.

Epiphone Les Paul

Les Pauls are one of the most legendary guitar models ever made.  One staple characteristic of Les Pauls is the sustain they offer.  If you throw on a little gain with a Les Paul, the notes will ring out for years.

These guitars are perfect for tons of classic rock tunes.  If the sound you are looking for is a classic rock sound.  This could certainly be the guitar for you.  

Players of the Les Paul include: Slash, Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoades, and Pete Townshend.  

Along with rock the Les Pauls also offer a great tone for jazz.  This makes sense because Les Paul himself was a jazz guitarist.  

Fun Fact: Les Paul always intended for his instruments to be played cleanly without any gain, and now it is ironic that the Les Paul is known mostly for classic rock music.

Best Acoustic Guitar under 300

A lower priced acoustic guitar that plays well is hard to come by.  Thats why I recommend sticking with a well established brand that will not sell you absolute garbage for a guitar.  

Acoustic guitars come in many different shapes and sizes, and all of these different shapes and sizes have their own unique tone and sound.  Some people love the rich bass sound a dreadnought (the largest, loudest, and most bass heavy of acoustic guitars), and some people cannot stand how all that bass sounds.  Because of that they end up choosing a smaller body guitar, like a 00, that pushes out the high end a little more.

I think a good place to start is right in the middle.  A guitar that is not too big or too small.  

If a Dreadnought is papa bear and a 00 is baby bear. This guitar is momma bear.

Fender CC-60S

This acoustic guitar puts out a very balanced sound.  What I mean by that is it is big enough to push out the bass necessary, but not too big where the bass drowns out the rest of the sound.  The high end is still very clear and sings on this guitar.  Because of all of that this guitar is very good for solo finger style guitar.

Also due to the balanced sound this guitar produces it really can be used as a jack of all trades.  It cannot perfectly replicate the sound of a bigger guitar like a dreadnought, but it certainly gets the job done.

If you purchase this guitar on amazon it will come with a bag, strings, picks, a strap, a tuner, and fender's guitar course "Fender Play".   All that together makes this guitar a great deal for the price.  These addons add about $50 of value to the final package.

All of this certainly makes this guitar worthy of the title 'Best guitar under 300'.

This acoustic guitar puts out a very balanced sound.  What I mean by that is it is big enough to push out the bass necessary, but not too big where the bass drowns out the rest of the sound.  The high end is still very clear and sings on this guitar.  Because of all of that this guitar is very good for solo finger style guitar.

Also due to the balanced sound this guitar produces it really can be used as a jack of all trades.  It cannot perfectly replicate the sound of a bigger guitar like a dreadnought, but it certainly gets the job done.

If you purchase this guitar on amazon it will come with a bag, strings, picks, a strap, a tuner, and fender's guitar course "Fender Play".   All that together makes this guitar a great deal for the price.  These addons add about $50 of value to the final package.

All of this certainly makes this guitar worthy of the title 'Best guitar under 300'.

Best Metal Guitar under 300

Similar to rock music, in metal music, humbucker pickups are just kinda the standard.  That higher output sound is just the sound that has been established over the last 50-60 years or so.  

The pickups are not the only thing you want in a metal guitar though.  Some other things you'll want to know are how fast the neck plays, how many frets the guitar has, and of course how spooky does the guitar look.

Metal music often times involves a lot of jumping around the neck, and because of that is why you want a fast playing neck.  Metal music also has a lot of solos that go above the 21st fret.  Many guitars only have 21 frets, while many metal style guitars will have 24, so higher notes can be accessed. 

Jackson JS22

These Jackson guitars are really high quality guitars for their price.  I remember when I was buying one of my first guitars, I picked up a Jackson guitar very similar to this one.  The feeling of this guitar pleasantly surprised me.  This was strange because most of my guitar heroes come from the jazz, funk, soul, and R&B realm.

I know first hand how great these guitars can feel.  

These guitars are really exactly what you are looking for in a beginner metal guitar, they play fast, they have humbuckers, they have 24 frets, and they even look like a metal guitar.  Everything you could possibly want.

Ibanez GRX 6

Ibanez also makes great metal guitars.  Something nice about this guitar compared to the last one is that it has a single coil pickup in the middle.  This makes it the instrument more versatile because it can produce more tones than the Jackson guitar.

A drawback of this guitar compared to the Jackson is that it only has 22 frets instead of 24, so you are missing out on 2 extra notes.  

Overall the Ibanez GRX will absolutely get the job done.  It comes in just below $200, so this makes it the best electric guitar under 200.

Best R&B/Soul/Funk/Jazz Guitar under 300

The first thing I would like to make you aware of is that I just recently published a comprehensive list of the best 11 Jazz amplifiers, so if you are interested, here is is: 11 best Jazz amplifiers

I lumped all of these styles together because at the beginning stages one guitar can do all of these styles perfectly fine.  Also as someone who considers these to be their main genres, these guitars get the job done super well in all of these areas.

Typically in these genres you are looking for a single coil guitar.  Single coil guitars produce a brighter tone that is more desirable within these styles of music.  The vast majority of my musical heroes played on single coil guitars, and many modern day innovators of the instrument like John Mayer and Cory Wong play on single coil guitars.

Funny enough Cory Wong actually gigs full time with a guitar that costs about $300.  He's probably one of the first people to play a sold out show at Madison Square Garden with a guitar that cheap.  

Squier Stratocaster

This is my personal favorite guitar model of all time.  For me this is the best guitar under 300.  There is no way you can go wrong with a strat.  These are the guitars that if you asked someone to draw you a guitar they would draw.  

These guitars have a bright tone that is iconic.  Many amazing guitarists have crafted their legendary sounds around the tone of the stratocaster.  Players like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, David Gilmour, and Cory Wong have all brought different sounds to the table to truly show off how much a strat can do.  

Overall these guitars are extremely versatile, but they truly shine in the R&B/Soul/Funk/Jazz realm.  Often times within these genres the guitar line can be thought of as a tenor line.  The tonality of the strat with its brighter sound put the guitar sonically in the perfect place to fulfill that role.

Squier Jazzmaster

Personally I had never even considered purchasing a Jazzmaster until I saw Chris Stapleton using them.  I didn't realize how awesome of guitars these were until I heard his live performance of "I Was Wrong' on Austin City Limits.  (Here is the link to that performance: Chris Stapleton Performance ).  

With a little bit of overdrive and the right EQ settings these guitars give a warm and fuzzy breakup tone that is jaw dropping.  These guitars are incredibly under appreciated for what they can do.

Fender and their squire line are the absolute kings of the single coil guitar game.  The kill it every time, and this guitar is no exception.  Just a flat out great guitar for a great price.  

Best Country guitar under $300

Electric country guitar has a very specific sound that isn't often times replicated throughout other genres.  This genre another one where the preferred type of pickup is single coil.  Because of this, country guitar has a signature bright and twangy sound.  

You can hear this bright and twangy sound on tons of modern country records.  Brad Paisley songs, Luke Combs songs, and Jon Pardi songs all have guitar parts with that signature Nashville twang.

Honestly there is really only one guitar that comes to mind when most guitarists think of country music, and that is the...

Squier Telecaster

There isn't much to say about a tele that hasn't been said before.  For electric country guitar this is THE guitar.  It never fails to pump out that signature twang sound.  There is something magical about the bridge pickup of a telecaster that is totally unique to telecasters only.

In Nashville, 50% of the guitars you see are telecasters, and then a bunch more are telecaster copies.  It is the absolute king of country music.  

Even though this guitar is certainly the king of country music, it has been used to great effect in other genres as well.  Guitarists like Prince, Keith Richards, and Albert Collins were known to regularly play a telecaster. Because of that if country is one of your favorite genres, and blues is also something you dig this very well could be the best guitar under 300 for you. 

This also is another guitar that comes with a few extra accessories including a strap, a gig bag, some picks, and access to Fender play.

Best Jack of all Trades Guitar under $300

The perfect all around guitar doesn't exactly exist, but there are guitars built that are certainly more versatile than others.  To earn the title of best jack of all trades guitar under 300, the guitar must be able to rock hard and be able to play punchy funk lines.  Its gotta be able to bust out super dark metal riffs as well as smooth jazz lines.

There aren't many guitars that can do all of these, but a few special guitars can do it.  Here is one that is perfect for a beginner. 

HSS Squier Stratocaster

What makes this guitar specifically versatile is the humbucker in the bridge position.  This is great because most of the time you are playing music that requires a humbucker you will be playing it in the bridge position, and when you play songs that require the sound of a single coil often times you will be using the middle or the neck position pickup.  

So this guitar can do super heavy things like metal very well, but it also can do things like super bright funk guitar super well.  That is not something you can find all over.  This guitar is specifically unique that it can do both of those types of music extremely well.

A normal strat is already super versatile, but once the humbucker is added in the bridge position, this guitar becomes a jack of all trades.  It can do handle almost anything you want to throw at it.

Another very nice thing about these guitars is that you can always count on the low end squire guitars to play oddly well for a lower priced guitar.  Almost everything Fender is a part of is quality.  

Final Note

In the end of the day this is all up to your needs as a musician.  If you need something that pump out some hard rock, then go for that Les Paul.  If you need something that can do it all, go for the HSS strat.  I think I described all these guitars well enough that someone can get the jist of what they are all about.  

Also if you are looking for the best amp under 300 we have a list! Click here to read!

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