11 Best Guitars Under 1000 (2021 List)

Best Value

Roadhouse Strat

Best Acoustic

Taylor 110e

Best guitars under 1000?  Looking for a guitar under 1000 is a statement.  It means that you are out of the beginner stages, and ready to move on to bigger and better things.  Of course this doesn't mean you cannot be a great guitar player with a cheaper guitar.  However, a guitar that stays in tune, plays well, and most of all sounds good is essential to a players development.  

Finding the Best Guitar Under 1000

Playing on a quality instrument makes progressing tonnes easier.  Not only does it allow you to play better, it makes you want to play more.  An instrument that constantly fights you makes you not want to play it.  Playing a guitar that goes out of tune, or isn't intonated correctly is wildly frustrating.  It makes you sound worse, and makes you not want to pick the guitar up.  The less you pick the guitar up, the less you get better.  The best guitar under 1000 has to have a super high build quality.

Although It might seem like a good idea to opt for a lower quality instrument, I believe shooting for the highest quality instrument you can (within reason of course) is the best course of action.  If you buy a $350 guitar you are likely to replace it within a few years.  A $900 guitar though can last you your whole life.  You can gig with it, you can practice with it, and it will always be reliable for you.  

What is the Best Guitar for Me?

This question can be answered with another question.  How do you want to sound?  Every guitar has its own unique sound, and certain sounds lend themselves to sounding great in specific genres.  The best guitars under 1000 for one person might not be the best guitars under 1000 for another person.  That's why we break down all of these guitars by what genres suit them best.  We will tell you our own personal experiences with the instruments as well as what the online sentiment about the instrument, so you can find the instrument that fits you, and the music you want to create the best.

Also if these instruments are a little out of your price range we have an article about the best guitars under 300 as well.  Best guitar under 300

Best Guitars Under 1000 for Rock

In this section we are mostly speaking about guitars that will give you killer tones for classic rock.  If the sound you are looking for is similar to the sound of bands like Boston, Aerosmith, or Led Zeppelin, this is the category for you.  

The biggest thing that distinguishes a rock guitar from other types of guitars is the pickup type.  Rock music almost requires humbucker pickups.  You can also get away with P90 pickups, but P90 pickups are a little rare to find in a guitar, and the sound of them is not exactly for everyone.  Because of that we will be sticking to just humbucker pickups in this section.  

A quick explanation of humbucker pickups

Humbucker pickups are called humbuckers because they "buck" the "hum" meaning they eliminate the hum produced by single coils.  By putting two coils right next to each other, they eliminate the hum produced by the coils.  Humbucker pickups are known for producing big, warm, rich, or dark tones that are perfect for music genres like Rock and Metal.  They can do this because two coils right next to each other can put out a higher output signal that one coil.  This creates a much more powerful sound than single coil pickups.

Best Pick:  Prs Custom SE Series

Pros:

  • Extremely high build quality
  • Versatility 
  • Come in 22 and 24 fret varieties
  • Coil tapping
  • Looks pretty

Cons:

  • Only two pickups
  • Single coil pickups sound a little weak

I truly cannot recommend this guitar enough.  Not only is it an amazing rock guitar, but it is an extremely versatile guitar.  I have played jazz, funk, metal, R&B, and many other genres on this guitar.  The possibilities with this guitar are endless.  What makes this guitar so unique and versatile is its coil tap function.  Coil tapping is being able to switch back and forth between single coil pickups and humbucker pickups by pulling the tone knob out, or pushing it in.  

Another extremely notable thing about this guitar is the brand.  Normally I am not one to speak about the brand of a guitar, but Paul Reed Smith currently has one the best reputations of all guitar companies.  They consistently create great instruments, no matter the price.  PRS has quickly come to compete with companies like Fender and Gibson due to the build quality and reliability of their instruments.  

Players like Carlos Santana, John Mayer, and Zach Myers all trust PRS to create instruments that perform at the highest level for them day in and day out.  Because of all this I have to say this is the best electric guitar under 1000.

Epiphone Classic Les Paul

Pros:

  • Massive sound
  • Good build quality
  • Four dials for extra tone control

Cons:

  • Super big and bulky
  • No coil tapping ability like the PRS

A Les Paul is as classic rock of a guitar as you can get.  It is absolutely perfect for anyone who likes to throw on a little overdrive and go to town.  The ironic thing about the Les Paul was that it was intended to always be played clean by Les Paul himself, but now a days it is widely known for its sound when overdriven.  

Similar to the PRS Se, this guitar is equipped with two humbucker pickups, and a three way selector switch.  This guitar also comes with 22 frets, just like the PRS.

Although a Les Paul is a classic guitar, the reason many people like to stay away from them is that they are difficult to play.  They are super heavy and bulky guitars, and they do not fit very well with most peoples natural body shape. 

The sound a Les Paul produces however is so good that many people overlook the bulky and unnatural ways of this guitar.  There aren't many cooler feelings that busting out some rock and roll on a Les Paul with a little bit of overdrive.

Best Guitars Under 1000 for Metal

In a metal guitar you are looking for a guitar with humbucker pickups, a fast playing neck, and 24 frets.  Metal is one of the few genres where the 23rd and 24th fret are accessed regularly.  Because of that 24 frets are very desirable on a metal guitar.  Another thing that is often times desired for a metal guitar is jumbo frets.  This is because jumbo frets allow for the note to be fretted a lot easier.  this makes playing quick and light.

Let me give you a quick warning however.  Although things like an upgraded guitar with jumbo frets will help you play metal.  It won't make you a way better guitarist.  The biggest factor is who is playing the guitar, not what guitar it is.  This is true in all genres, but in metal especially because it is a genre that requires so much woodshedding, practice, and patience. 

Best Pick: ESP LTD EC-401

Pros:

  • Exactly what you want for metal
  • Great pickups 
  • Jumbo frets
  • 24 frets
  • Durable guitar

Cons:

  • Some quality control issues
  • Not very versatile

This guitar has 24 frets and is equipped with EMG 81/60 pickups.  EMG pickups are kinda standard for metal playing.  They are amongst the highest output pickups.  This makes them great for metal.  Within metal the higher the output, the better.  The higher output also allows them to pick up low frequencies better.  Meaning common metal drop tunings will come through a lot more clear.  

The frets on this guitar are LTD's "XJ" frets.  "XJ" stand for extra jumbo.  As we explained earlier jumbo frets are super desirable in metal because it allows for faster playing.  You can move from note to note a lot quicker when you don't have to press so hard to get the note to sound.  

This guitar does not offer a coil tapping function because you will almost never use a single coil in a metal setting.  They just do not put out the output level required for metal music like EMG humbucker pickups do.

For Heavy Genres this my personal best guitar under 1000.

Jackson X Series King V

Pros:

  • Jumbo frets
  • 24 frets
  • Tuning stability
  • Great pickups
  • Pointy

Cons:

  • Cumbersome bridge
  • Not very versatile
  • Some quality control issues
This guitar has all your bases covered for metal music.  It has jumbo frets, 24 frets, a fast playing neck, EMG pickups and most important of all it is pointy.  The pointier the guitar the more metal it is.  A universal truth.  Aside from looking super cool, this guitar also plays amazingly well.  The neck is silky smooth and plays crazy fast.  The guitar sounds exactly how you want it to sound.  It is just an all around great metal guitar.


This guitar comes with a Floyd Rose bridge.  Floyd Rose's are very controversial.  Some people love them, and some people hate them.  They are intended to keep the tuning of the guitar stable for longer, but along with that comes a whole lot of complexity.  They are very cumbersome to get used to.  However, in my personal experience, once you get used to them they aren't so bad.  For what it's worth they definitely do keep the guitar's tuning much more stable.  I could either take them or leave them.  I do not really care much whether a guitar has them or not.

Best Acoustic Guitars Under 1000

An acoustic guitar often accompanies a much more raw and genuine style of music.  Because of this you really want an acoustic guitar that represents you, and what sounds you like to hear.  Maybe it could also be that you need an acoustic guitar to accompany your voice.  Depending on your vocal range, and what you want to be accompanied with could impact what kind of acoustic guitar would fit you best.  The differences in acoustic guitars are subtle, but their impact is large.  A simple cutaway can effect the sound tonnes.  

The differences in sound from a dreadnought guitar to a dreadnought with a cutaway are massive.  When buying one of my first higher end acoustic guitars, I opted for a full dreadnought.  Instead of one with a cutaway.  Although playability should be a factor when selecting a guitar,  the sound was most important to me, and I really wanted a guitar with tonnes of bass. I loved the dreadnought sound.

The lesson here is that everyone has their own preferences, and that is totally okay.  What is important is that you find the sound that fits you.

Best Pick: Taylor 110e

Pros:

  • Massive sound
  • Plays super well
  • Great build quality
  • Stays in tune extremely well
  • Great for singer songwriter style

Cons:

  • Could have "too much bass"
  • String buzzing issues
  • No cutaway making it nearly impossible to play above 12th fret

If you are looking for an acoustic guitar with a lot of bass. This is the one for you.  I love the full sound of a dreadnought personally.  I think it is a guitar that eventually everyone should have in their arsenal.  It is particularly great for accompanying female vocalists because if all you have is a guitar and a vocalist, there is not much to fill up space sonically.  If the vocalist has the higher end of the sonic spectrum and the guitar emphasizes middle and low frequencies, just a guitar and a voice can feel like a full ensemble.  The only issue with this would be that often times dreadnoughts are not preferred by women because of their size.  Dreadnoughts are massive guitars.  That makes them very awkward to play when you are a small person.

This guitar is an electric acoustic.  This means it can plug into an amp via quarter inch cable.  This is great because it makes it a lot easier to gig with this instrument.  Setting up a microphone for an acoustic guitar is the worst.  Moving a few inches changes the sound drastically, the process is cumbersome, and it would be a lot easier to just plug a quarter inch cable into the back of the guitar and get going.

Aside from all that, this guitar is extremely well made, and wont let you down in terms of quality. You can't go wrong with a Taylor.

All of this and more is what makes the Taylor 110e the best acoustic under 1000, best Dreadnought under 1000 and best Taylor under 1000.

Martin 000 Road Series

Pros:

  • Balanced sound
  • Great build quality
  • Jack of all trades

Cons:

  • Cannot provide the bass many are looking for in an acoustic
  • No cutaway restricts the playability of the guitar

This guitar is a great jack of all trades acoustic guitar.  The biggest reason for this is the balanced sound the guitar produces.  This guitar produces a balanced sound because it is a little smaller than other guitars like the aforementioned Taylor dreadnought.  A smaller body means less bass, and a little more mids and treble.  That makes this a great guitar for almost everyone.  Nothing wrong with an acoustic guitar that can do it all.  This guitar is also an electric acoustic guitar meaning it can be plugged into an amp.

There really is not much else to say about this guitar.  It is just a straight ahead great guitar by a brand you can trust.  

Taylor 214ce-K

Pros:

  • Plays amazingly well
  • Balanced sound
  • High build quality

Cons:

  • String buzzing issues
  • Quite a large guitar

This guitar is similar to the last one in the fact that it has a much more balanced sound than a dreadnought.  Something about this guitar that is unique compared to the other acoustic guitars on this list is the fact that it has a cutaway.  This makes it tonnes easier to access the higher frets on the board.  Just like the other two guitars on this list, this guitar is also an electric acoustic guitar.

I personally became a big fan of this guitar when I was in college.  My guitar teacher had one of these, and it played like butter.  It felt so effortless and easy to play.  Some of that can be attributed to the fact that it was taken care of by a man who had played guitar for over 50 years and was quite an accomplished guitarist.  However, a lot of the playability just comes down to the guitar and its build quality.  Taylor has some of the best built guitars within this price range.  The feel great, sound great, and last long.  This guitar does not leave much to be desired.  As I said before, you can't go wrong with a Taylor.  Some would consider this to be the best Taylor under 1000.  It all comes down to personal preference.

Best Guitar Under 1000 for Funk

The biggest factor in a funk guitar is the pickup type.  Just like how humbuckers are pretty much standard for genres like rock and metal.  Single coil pickups are standard for funk.  The brighter and pokier sound of single coil pickups are perfect for funk.  The best of the best funk players like Prince, Nile Rogers, and Cory Wong all stick to single coil pickups almost exclusively.  Other than that there isn't much that goes into a funk guitar.  The rest of funk comes from the player.  How rhythmic they can play, and how well they can fit in the groove.

Best Pick: Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster

Pros:

  • Classic strat with new features
  • Great price to quality ratio
  • Play exceptionally well
  • Great for gigging
  • Can last you a lifetime of playing

Cons:

  • I really cannot come up with a negative thing to say about this guitar.... whoopsies

The Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster is one of the coolest innovations in guitar technology over recent years.  The Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster can give you all the classic strat sounds and then some.

The most unique thing about this guitar is the V6 switch it offers.  Essentially the V6 switch is a 6 way rotary selector switch that allows you to thicken up or thin out your sound at a moments notice.  This is particularly useful for gigging.  When playing lead lines you are likely going to want a thicker sound, but when playing rhythm not all that girth is needed.  Thinning out the sound gives room for the rest of the band to breathe.  

Aside from being a classic strat and the unique V6 switch, this guitar also offers Fender's vintage noiseless pickups, locking tuners, and a shaved heel.  The shaved heel allows for easier access to the higher frets of the guitar.  All of these cool new tools and tricks make this the best strat under 1000.

I am sure you can see now why this is one of the best electric guitars under 1000.

Best Guitar Under 1000 for Country

Electric guitars for country music have to have a very specific sound to them.  There is a certain twang that is needed in country music that can't be gotten from all guitars.  This twang comes from single coil pickups near the bridge of a guitar.  The tone cuts through a mix extraordinarily well, and is an absolute necessity in modern country music.

An easy way to figure out what guitars are best for country music would be to see what guitars are popular in Nashville.  My family recently took a trip to Nashville, and they reported back to me all about which guitars they saw and didn't see.  The biggest surprise to me was that they said they did not see a single Stratocaster in Nashville.  Which is very disappointing as a strat guy.  There seemed to be two types of guitars that dominate the Nashville country scene.  

Best Pick: Fender Telecaster

Pros:

  • Maximum country twang
  • Great for chicken pickin
  • Bridge pickup sounds great with a little overdrive

Cons:

  • Not very versatile
  • Some issues with crackling when switching pickups

The Telecaster is the one to rule them all when it comes to country guitar.  There is something magical about a telecaster's bridge pickup.  It is the perfect sound for country music.  The telecaster's specialty is the "twang" it offers.  It is a sound you cannot get out of almost any other guitar besides guitars that are simply trying to replicate a telecaster.  Listen to any modern country record, and you will hear a telecaster.  Luke Combs' main guitarist uses a tele, Brad Paisley is famous for using a tele, Morgan Wallen's main guitarist uses a tele.  They are every where you look in country music.

Even though a tele is mostly known for its twangy and pokey bridge pickup.  The neck pickup of a tele is still extremely useful.  It still keeps the pokiness, but the neck pickup brings a little more warmth and roundness into the playing.  Because of this the neck pickup can produce very dreamy sounding rhythm parts.  Strums that have a strong attack to them, but quickly settle into extremely full and lush chords.

For the country twang this tele is the best guitar under 1000.

PRS Custom SE Series

I know this guitar was already on the list in the rock category, but it makes it into two categories because it is such a great guitar.  Down in Nashville it seems that the scene is dominated by telecaster and PRS guitars like this one.  A lot of modern country is very derivative of rock and roll, and because of that this guitar works great for both.  Songs like Lovin' on You and 1, 2 Many by Luke Combs basically are rock songs.  Because of that it only makes sense that one guitar would be great for both rock and country.  I personally play country gigs with this exact guitar all the time.  If you want to read more about this guitar, more information it available in the "Best Guitars Under 1000 for Rock" section.

Best Guitar Under 1000 for Jazz

In jazz music there are a few different approaches to selecting a guitar that would be the best for you.  There is a big difference between the jazz guitar playing of Freddie Green and Nile Rodgers.  Freddie Green is a guitarist that every jazz cat knows.  He was famous for simplifying the dense jazz chords into their "color tones".  This typically means the 3rd and the 7th, or the 3rd and 9th.  He would take these two notes and just chunk out quarter notes.  Typically for this style of jazz music a hollow body guitar is used.  Other players like Nile Rodgers that play a lot of lead lines are much more likely to use a solid body guitar, so it all depends on what you are hoping to accomplish.

Best Pick: Gretsch G5655TG

Pros:

  • Amazing tone
  • Looks super cool
  • Player great

Cons:

  • Too big for some people

This guitar is the best of both worlds.  It is a semi hollow guitar.  That means it can do the Freddie Green style super well, and it can do lead lines super well too.  Not only that, but it an absolutely beautiful instrument.  It looks amazing, plays amazing, and sounds amazing.  You really cannot go wrong with this guitar if you are looking for a jazz guitar.  

The only drawback I see with this guitar is its size.  Smaller people might not like this guitar so much because it won't fit their body well.  Most semi-hollow or fully hollow jazz guitars are massive.  Compared to some others, this one isn't so bad, but it still is too big for some people to use.  If you are a smaller person looking for a different guitar for jazz may not be a bad idea.  For the average person though this absolutely is the best guitar under 1000 for jazz.

Most Versatile Guitar Under 1000

Looking for the best all around guitar under 1000 is pretty hard.  It is difficult to find a guitar that can get by in almost any genre.  Luckily guitar companies see this as a problem they can solve.  There are tonnes of players that want a guitar that can do it all.  Because of that the market for versatile guitars is huge.  If you are buying your first guitar in this price range it might be a good idea to look for a versatile guitar.  Having one quality instrument that can do whatever you need it to is so incredibly valuable.  

It is especially cool when you can show up to a gig with just one guitar.  Instead of 3 or 4.  Not having to lug around more gear is a massive plus.  The best guitar under 1000 for versatility is not even a question in my mind.  I know exactly what it is.

Best Pick: Fender HSS Stratocaster

Pros:

  • Extreme versatility
  • Great build quality
  • Play great

Cons:

  • Cannot quite pump out metal riffs like other guitars

This is for sure the best guitar under 1000 for versatility.  The Fender HSS Strats are awesome.  What makes them awesome is the humbucker in the bridge position.  Normally strats have three single coil pickups that all give off a bright and spanky tone.  Putting the humbucker in the bridge though allows this thing to rock out just as well as all the other guitars on this list.  Up front you still have that awesome Mayer, Clapton, Hendrix tone, but in the bridge you've got classic rock tones all day.  

The only real limitation with this guitar is in the metal realm.  The humbucker in the bridge still won't pump out the same sound level that something like an EMG pickup would.  That is really just being nit picky though.  You can absolutely get by playing metal on this thing.

I love using this guitar for gigs because I can play four or five rock songs in a row and then switch up to my middle and neck pickup for awesome clean funk tones.  It is super versatile and wont let you down in almost any genre.  

Conclusion

The best guitar under 1000 is subjective.  Not everyone has the same taste in music.  Not everyone has the same taste in guitars.  The sound you want is unique to you.  Get whatever guitar fits you the best.  I hope this helped you.  Good luck!

Best Guitar Under 1000 - Colin J

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