11 Best Electric Guitars Under 300 (2021 List)

Most Versatile

Yamaha Pacifica

Best Above 300

Squier Jazzmaster

I'm going to show you 11 of the best electric guitars under 300. If you're a guitarist looking for an affordable guitar without sacrificing quality this is the perfect article for you! From beginner to more advanced players, there's something here for everyone.  I'll also be including links to videos so that you can get a better idea of what these guitars are like before purchasing one yourself.

Best $300 Electric Guitar List

#1 Pick: Squier Stratocaster

Pro:

  • Very Versatile

Con:

  • Intonation Issues

Key Features:

Single Coil Pickups: Single Coil pickups are known for their bright and punchy tone.  They work very well in almost any genre.  However, are particularly great in genres like funk, soul, and R&B.  

5 Way Selector Switch: With the pickup selector switch you can choose to use any of the three pickups, or use position 2 and 4 to blend the sounds of multiple pickups at once.  

Double Cutaway: A double cutaway allows for much easier access to the higher frets.  Access to the higher parts of the fret board is absolutely crucial for electric guitar playing.

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

This Squier Strat is the best electric guitar under 300 because of its versatility, value, and reputation.

The Stratocaster is a wildly versatile guitar that you can find in genres from opposite sides of the spectrum.  You can find it in classic rock and you can find it in genres like Jazz.  Not only that, but just the 5 way selector switch gives you so many tonal options to choose from.

The amount of guitar you get for the low price of this Strat is really really great.  There isn't much else to say about it.  It simply is a guitar that you would expect to be priced a little higher because of its quality.

Finally, the reputation of the Strat is that of legendary proportions.  The man most consider to be the greatest guitarist of all time, Jimi Hendrix, rocked a Strat for all of his life.  Other legends like Eric Clapton, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Eric Johnson are also known for using Strats.  If you want to be in good company, a Strat is a good place to start. 

Best for Rock: Epiphone Les Paul

Pro:

  • Rich Tone

Con:

  • Not Very Versatile

Key Features:

Humbucker Pickups: The Les Paul features two humbucker pickups.  Humbuckers are known for their larger than life, full and rich tones.

Bolt on Neck: Les Pauls typically have glued on necks. However, this one has a bolt on neck.  This means that if the neck were to wear out, you could simply replace it.

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

This is a great choice for someone that is looking for a simple guitar that delivers consistency and reliability at a low price.  

The Les Paul is one of the most iconic guitar models of all time, and this is for a good reason.  The sound of Les Pauls have shaped the sound of modern music for the last 60 years or so.  Players like Jimi Page, Slash, and Randy Rhodes are all famous for using Les Paul guitars.

The Humbucker pickups within this guitar give it a full and rich tone that you simply won't be able to get out of a the stratocaster.  To put it simply, humbuckers are the pickups you want if you are playing almost any form of rock music.  

So if you want a great, low priced guitar for rock and roll.  This guitar is the best guitar under 300 for you.

Best Guitar for Metal: Jackson JS22

Pro:

  • Very Hot Pickups

Con:

  • Tuning Stability Issues

Key Features:

Humbucker Pickups: The pickups on this guitar are hotter than the pickups on the Les Paul by a little bit which makes it great for both rock and metal.

Sleek Design: This guitar just looks super clean.  Although this may seem trivial, I have noticed that beginners are more inspired to practice if they think their guitar looks cool.

Jumbo Frets: Jumbo frets are a must for any metal guitar.  They allow for the notes to be fretted with less effort than typical.  Metal players need this because they play a lot of fast riff and licks, and if they had to press down harder for every note, playing with speed would be wildly difficult.

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

This is one of my personal favorite sleeper guitars.  I have always been a guy that sticks mostly to Fender single coil guitars, but there is something about this guitar when I pick it up.  It plays so smoothly.

There have been many times I've picked up a Jackson and been blown away by how good they feel in the hand.  

They also sound pretty good too.  I think this is probably the best value you can find on an electric guitar under 300.

Best for Country: Squier Telecaster

Pro:

  • Tone you can't get from other guitars

Con:

  • Not very versatile

Key Features:

Single Coil Pickups: The two pickups on a Telecaster are very low output, which gives them their own unique flavor and style.

Iconic Tone: There is something magical about the bridge pickup of a Telecaster.  It creates a sound that almost no other guitar can create.  This is the Nashville twang sound.

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

When it comes to electric guitars, the Telecaster is up there as one of the most iconic guitars ever.  Dating all the way back to 1950.  Back then it was known as the Esquire, then the broadcaster, and finally then the Telecaster.

There simply isn't a better widely available guitar for country music than the Telecaster.  The bridge position pickup brings an amazing country pop along with it that can be heard on countless classic and modern records.

If you ever make your way to Nashville you will see an absurd amount of Telecasters down there.  It absolutely is the guitar to have for that style of music.

Best Acoustic Electric Under $300: Yamaha APX

Pro:

  • Easy to play acoustic

Con:

  • Very different sound when plugged in

Key Features:

Piezo Pickup: The APX600 features an under saddle piezo pickup system that provides great amplified acoustic sound without feedback or excessive volume levels.

Three band EQ: Use the built in EQ to shape your sound to perfection. Adjust the bass, middle and treble frequencies to match your playing style or venue acoustics.

Eye Catching Design: The design of this guitar is sure to make anyone look twice.  The oval sound hole is unique, yet not too crazy where it seems weird.  Just different and cool.

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

This is obviously the choice for those who want to play electric acoustic guitar.  Running an acoustic guitar through an amp has never been easier, just plug and play.  

For the price, this guitar has immense playability, and that is why it has stood the test of time since 1987.  It has been designed to feel like an electric guitar, yet sound like an acoustic guitar.  This pretty much just means that playing is way easier than a typical acoustic guitar. 

Overall this guitar plays and sounds killer for the price.  Also though, I find this guitar to be particularly beautiful.  It's got all three P's of guitar buying: Price, Playability, and Prettiness.  

Best Semi Hollow Body: Squier Starcaster

Pro:

  • Super Unique

Con:

  • Large Body Size

Key Features:

Humbucker Pickups: The Affinity Series Starcaster creates massive tone courtesy of its dual Squier humbucking pickups and is easy to play thanks to its slim, comfortable “C”-shaped neck profile.

Semi Hollow Body: The semi hollow body of the Starcaster gives it a sound that is very unique to itself.  You typically cannot find semi hollow guitars for such a low price.

Unique: This is a guitar that is sure to get some looks when you bring it out.  I have never seen another person playing one in wild.  They are super unique and cool to have.

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

The Starcaster could be the best electric guitar under 300 because it has great playability and style.  

There are not many guitars for under 300 that you can buy and it will turn heads.  This guitar will get people asking.  It's awesome to have a unique piece of gear that becomes a part of your sound rather than just having the same guitar everyone else has.

Getting a guitar for under 300 that plays great is already a difficult task, but to get one that plays great, sounds great, and has its own unique look is a super rare thing to find.

Most Versatile: Yamaha Pacifica

Pro:

  • HSS offers extreme versatilty

Con:

  • Quality control issues, specifically with tuners

Key Features:

HSS Pickups: HSS stands for Humbucker, Single, Single.  This means that it has a higher output humbucker pickup in the bridge position and a single coil pickup in both the middle and neck position.

5 Way Selector: The 5 way selector switch gives you access to any of the pickups, as well as the two in between settings in position 2 and 4.

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

The Yamaha Pacifica is a great choice for the best electric guitar under 300 because of its versatility.  

The HSS configuration allows you to great accurate sounds for metal, rock, funk, jazz, blues, and almost any other genre you can think of.  Because of this you can get super round beautiful John Mayer style tone from the middle and neck, while getting nasty and gritty sounds from the bridge position.

Versatility is particularly important for beginners who haven't really discovered what gets them going musically.  A guitar like this allows you to explore tonnes of genres for a low low price.

Best for Kids: Squier Mini Strat

Pro:

  • Smaller body and neck for smaller people

Con:

  • Can be outgrown quickly

Key Features:

Reduced Size: The Squier Mini Stratocaster is the perfect companion for a child that is just picking up guitar for the first time because of its smaller body and shorter scale legnth.

High Quality Children's Instrument: The Squier Mini Stratocaster is an excellent choice for introducing young people to the fun of playing guitar.  Most "Children's Guitars" are nothing more than cheap toys.  This is the real deal.  A fully working and respectable guitar.  

Classic Guitar: The Mini Squier Stratocaster is a smaller version of the legendary Fender Stratocaster.  The Stratocaster was famously played by players like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and John Mayer, so your child will be in good company.  

Why is this the Best Electric Guitar Under 300?

The Mini Squier Strat is a smaller version of an iconic guitar.  The Fender Stratocaster.  A guitar made famous by players like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and John Mayer.  These are legendary players.

The Squier mini Strat has some of the highest quality standards you will be able to find for a miniature guitar at this price point.  They always play well, and set your child up on the right path towards musicianship.  

If you are considering buying a guitar for a child, the Squier Mini Strat is certainly something you need to consider.  It is a great guitar built by a reputable brand that has been doing in for decades.  

Best Guitar Under 200: Squier Bullet Strat

Pro:

  • Super Low Priced

Con:

  • Better version available for $50 more

So this Stratocaster is just like the top pick on this list, except priced a little lower.  It offers many of the same parts and build.  However, simple just does not play as good.

These ones are far more likely to have sharp fret edges, and electronics issues.  Overall we think this is a fine guitar for a beginner, but we would recommend spending the extra $50 on a Strat that is much more reliable. 

Best Guitar Under 400: Jackson JS32

Pro:

  • Floyd Rose

Con:

  • Floyd Rose 😉

Key Features:

Floyd Rose Bridge: The Floyd Rose bridge is a huge point of contention for many guitar players some love them, some hate them.  It all depends on your experience with them.  They are a rarely used type of bridge that increases tuning stability.  

Humbucker Pickups:  The pickups on this guitar are some of the hottest pickups Jackson makes.  This makes the JS32 ideal for hard rock and metal music.

Why is this the Best Guitar Under 400?

Keep in mind that this may not be the best guitar under 400 for everyone, but overall we think it is the best value under 400.

To put it simply, it just sounds better and plays better than other guitars in its price range.  We simply think it is better than its competitors from Ibanez and Epiphone.

Best Guitar Under 500: Squier Jazzmaster

Pro:

  • Professional sound and feel

Con:

  • All the knobs and switches are in weird places

Key Features:

Alnico Pickups: Alnico pickups are pickups comprised of aluminum, nickel, and cobalt.  They are known for being single coil pickups with higher than usual output.  This gives them that great single coil tone, while still being able to bring warmth and crunch.

Amazing Feel: I own one of these, and I really think it is one of the best feeling guitars I have ever had.  It plays smooth and butter, and compares to instruments double its price.

Why is this the Best Guitar Under 500?

I really can't begin to describe how amazing this guitar is.  The first time I picked one up at a guitar store is very memorable to me.  Because I was so incredibly surprised.

The sound of this guitar is kinda in between that of a normal single coil guitar and a humbucker guitar, so you're kinda getting the best of both worlds.  It can do the Strat stuff, and it can do the Les Paul stuff.

If you have the extra money to spend I can really not recommend this guitar enough.  

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