The 10 Best Cheap Electric Guitars

cheap electric guitars under 200
best overall rating
  • Neck, middle, and bridge pickups
  • Tremolo bridge
  • Slim C-Shaped neck profile
premium choice rating
  • Solid Alder body , Mapple neck
  • Neck, middle, and bridge pickups
  • 5-Way pickup switch
great value rating
  • A beautiful 3/4 size body
  • Humbucker pickups
  • 3-Way pickup switch

There are many reasons why you’ll want a cheap electric guitar. For most of us, there’s only one real reason, which is budget constraints. For others, it may be because you want a backup guitar to add an instrument to your collection, or you are a beginner who doesn’t want to invest big until you improve your skills.

Whatever your reason, you’ll find an affordable instrument on our list of the best under $200 options on the market today.

Ok, the word cheap tends to draw conclusions that the instrument is of poor quality, but that is not always the case. Most of the cheap guitars on the market are of poor quality, but the instruments on our list are only “cheap” in price but not in quality. So, we’ll rather refer to them as affordable or budget-friendly guitars rather than use the label cheap. Any reference to the word cheap does not equate to poor quality for the rest of this guide.

All the instruments reviewed here cost $200 or less – you won’t find $1,000 electric guitars on this page. Our list of instruments only features high-quality, affordable electric guitars for beginners to advanced guitarists.

List of the 10 Affordable Electric Guitars For Under $200

Product PhotoGuitar and RatingDescriptionCheck Price & Read User Reviews
+ Squier by Fender Affinity Series Stratocaster

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

A well-built instrument for the price. We can’t believe a guitar of this quality costs less than $200!

+ Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112J

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

An excellent beginner’s electric at an affordable price. Yamaha keeps making high-quality budget-friendly guitars!

+ Epiphone Les Paul Special II

Overall Score: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Don’t let the low price fool you. This is a genuine Les Paul that you don’t have to break the bank for

+ Ibanez GRG121DXWNF Electric Guitar

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

A top-rated Ibanez you can afford. Sounds, looks, feels, and plays like it should cost more

+ ESP LTD EC-10

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Stunning and stylish, this gem from ESP LTD sounds pretty good as well. A great entry-level option.

+ Squire by Fender Affinity Telecaster

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Can’t afford an American telecaster? This is the next best thing to owning an original tele.

+ Squire by Fender Bullet Mustang HH

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

An excellent value for money. A must have guitar for the budget-concious buyer. Ideal for all levels.

+ Grote MG-404 Semi Hollow Body

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

An excellent instrument for those just starting out. Looks and sounds amazing for the price.

+ Jackson JS Series JS22 DKAM

Overall Score: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

A fun-to-play electric that will keep you practicing for hours. A great beginner’s electric

+ Ibanez GRX20ZBKN Electric Guitar

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

A solid and affordable guitar that sounds great and looks good. Ideal for beginners and as a practice guitar.

As daunting as it can be to find a good budget guitar for under $200, there are a few excellent instruments that are great to play, with high-quality sounds and superior craftsmanship.

So, you don’t have to navigate through the hundreds of available options to separate the chaff from the good stuff, we have done the work for you, and our reviews contain the best budget guitars that do not put you into debt.

Squier by Fender Affinity Series Stratocaster

Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster

Fender makes high-quality guitars, and they don’t want to leave out the budget buyer, so they reinvented the Squier brand to make cheap versions of their iconic instruments.

This Stratocaster is modeled after its iconic high-end models and comes with what you’d expect from a Stratocaster. It has an alder wood body that spots the familiar double-cutaway shape of a Strat.

The neck is made from maple with a rosewood or maple fretboard, and has tapered edges and a C-shape, making it highly playable.

You have a choice of nine colors to choose from, so there’s something to appeal to the taste of everyone. The electronics work flawlessly on the Affinity Series of Strats. It comes with three single-coil pickups that deliver a powerful sound to your amp. A five-way switch allows you to switch between different combinations of pickups. It also comes with one volume and two tone controllers to fine-tune your sound.

The sound on this is awesome, with strong and clear tones. This guitar is well-built and plays so well it’s hard to believe it costs less than $200. This is a great guitar that will give you many years of pleasure.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112J

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112J x300

The Yamaha Pacifica is a series of Strats that directly compete with the Squier Affinity Series. Yamaha makes quality, affordable electric guitars, and their Pacifica Series is no different.

The has an alder wood cutaway body, a maple neck, and rosewood fretboard. The neck of the Pacifica is flatter than the Squier Affinity. It plays well and is very fast, and has 22 frets compared to the Affinity’s 21 frets.

The Pacifica comes with a humbucker and two single-coil pickups, a volume and tone control, and a bottom jack. A five-way switching allows you to switch between a combination of pickups. The Yamaha Pacifica and Squier Affinity are both made in Indonesia and have very similar features. It won’t come as a surprise if these two guitars use some of the same parts, which it appears they do.

The Pacifica is a beautiful, classic-looking, and well-built electric guitar that is easy to play for beginners and experienced players alike. At this price, you’re getting a steal with the quality of the instrument you’ll get.

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

Epiphone Les Paul Special II x300

Although not an original Gibson Les Paul, the Les Paul Special II is still made by Epiphone, which is a subsidiary of Gibson.

It is one of the best selling “cheap” electric guitars on the market for a reason. It has all you’ll ever want from a budget beginner’s electric guitar bearing the Les Paul name. The design has the same features of a Gibson Les Paul, with a mahogany body and an Okoume wood neck with a rosewood fingerboard.

It comes with 22 frets and a slim and tapered D-style neck profile, making it very playable. The electronics feature two humbucker pickups and a volume and tone control.

The guitar looks beautiful and plays well for beginners and experienced players alike. You’ll get a whole lot of instruments at a very affordable price. It’s a steal.

Ibanez GRG121DX WNF Electric Guitar

Ibanez GRG121DXWNF Electric Guitar

The Ibanez GRG is a seriously good electric guitar on a budget. It has excellent action, plays great with a beautifully made body. The overall package looks, feels, and sounds premium for its cheap price tag.

This Ibanez electric features a solid mahogany body and a maple neck with a 24-fret pine fretboard. The action is amazing on this instrument, which is not surprising because the Ibanez GRG is one of the most popular starter or beginner guitars on the market.

The beautiful sounding electronics feature DiMarzio IBZ-6 humbucker pickups with 3-way switching and a tone and volume control.

You’re getting a solid and good-looking instrument considering how much it costs.

ESP LTD EC-10

ESP LTD EC-10

You won’t have to go broke to get this beautiful looking all-black single-cutaway electric guitar from ESP LTD. This sweet-sounding fella comes with a basswood body and a maple neck with a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. The neck has a highly playable U-style design with tapered edges.

It is the ideal budget electric for a beginner or an experienced player looking for a high-quality, affordable electric guitar.

The electronics come with two in-house humbucker pickups with strong outputs for playing metal or hard rock. The EC-10 comes with a single button to control both volume and tone. The overall design and play suits beginner’s very well but also make an excellent sounding affordable electric for advanced players on a budget.

Squire by Fender Affinity Telecaster

Squire by Fender Affinity Telecaster

This is a budget version of Fender’s Telecasters, which can sell for as much as $10k. So, this is the next best thing if you want a Telecaster but don’t have thousands to spend.

The Squire Telecaster has a similar design to its more expensive cousin, which includes the shape of the body and the headstock design. The overall design has a vintage look to it, which will appeal to a lot of guitarists.

The Affinity Telecaster is a highly playable electric guitar for beginners, but it also makes an excellent gear for advanced players with limited funds. The C-shaped profile of the neck makes playing very comfortable for all playing styles.

The entire design, look, feel, and sound of this Telecaster screams quality, looking at how much it costs. The electronics are simple, with the signature two single-coil neck and bridge pickups and volume and tone control knobs. The electronics work flawlessly every time, mimicking the classic Fender Telecaster tones.

Squire by Fender Bullet Mustang HH

Squire by Fender Bullet Mustang HH

Guitarists of all skill levels will appreciate the easy playability of the Squire Bullet Mustang. This instrument is a beast and great for playing all styles from metal to jazz.

The Bullet Mustang has a basswood body and a C-shaped maple neck with a satin finish that feels natural in your hand. The overall look feels and looks like a premium instrument, which is true for the sound as well.

The dual humbucker pickups with 3-way switching deliver a powerful sound no matter your playing style. Two volume and tone controllers complete the electronics.

The Bullet Mustang is a great cheap electric guitar for beginners, but advanced guitarists will also appreciate the excellent value for money that the instrument offers.

Grote MG-404 Semi-Hollow Body

Grote MG-404 Semi Hollow Body

The MG-404 is a sweet-looking semi-hollow body electric guitar with an affordable price tag despite the premium look and feel. This instrument is built well with an excellent finish and fit.

It comes with acceptable hardware and electronics, great action, and beautiful and clear intonation. The frets produce no buzz, but the edges may need to be sanded smooth for some people. We barely noticed it, though.

The MG-404 features a neck and bridge pickup with 3-way switching and two nobs for controlling volume and tone. The electronics work flawlessly to produce a strong and clear sound through your amp.

This guitar is ideal for beginners, but it will also make an excellent affordable practice or backup electric guitar for the advanced player.

Jackson JS Series JS22 DKAM

Jackson JS Series JS22 DKAM

This electric guitar from Jackson is a “cheap” but high-quality instrument that is ideal for experienced players but also makes a good beginner’s guitar. It plays well for whatever genre you want to play, be it a mellow jazz tune or a gut-crashing metal number.

This beautiful instrument comes with a body made from basswood and a double-cutaway arch top design. The highly playable neck is made from maple with a 24-fret fingerboard with sharkfin inlays. 

The JS22 has two humbucker pickups with 3-way switching, and two knobs for controlling volume and tone. You get a strong and clear sound when connected to an amp.

This is an ideal guitar for beginners or intermediate-skilled players looking to buy an electric guitar on a budget.

Ibanez GRX20ZBKN Electric Guitar

Ibanez GRX20ZBKN Electric GuitarThis is the guitar for you if you want an affordable beginner’s instrument with attitude. It comes with a Poplar wood body that has a double cutaway and the shape of a GRG.

The neck is bolted onto the body – it is made from maple and has a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard. The neck plays well and fast, making it ideal for beginners. 

The electronics feature a pair of ok humbucker pickers at the neck and bridge positions. You get a punchy and clear sound when connected to an amp, which is surprisingly good for such a cheap guitar.

This guitar offers great value for the price and works well if you want to start learning to play or as a low-cost backup instrument.

Can I Buy These Budget Electric Guitars Even if I’m not a Beginner?

The short answer is Yes! We don’t see why an experienced guitarist will not enjoy playing the instruments on our list. As stated earlier, these may be “cheap” electric guitars, but they are only cheap in terms of price, but not in terms of quality. The top guitar brands know that not every advanced player can afford a premium guitar, so they do their best to produce affordable guitars that still offer excellent sound quality and a great set up.

However, you shouldn’t expect too much from an electric guitar under $200 because they are generally made with beginners in mind. Guitars in the under $200 category tend to have basic finishing, materials, and hardware. We are not saying they are bad, but they are not premium either.

Intermediate to advanced players with years of experience may want to consider buying a guitar in the mid-price range ($300 {}, $500 {}, all the way to about $900). You get higher quality instruments at that price range, and you’ll be able to tell the subtle differences between a beginner and an intermediate guitar.

A beginner will not notice the barely perceptible differences between an under $200 guitar and a mid-priced guitar, but you will quickly see the difference in the sound and feel of the guitar. You’ll also notice that the set up is better, and the instrument is generally more playable. Start with this guide and read through the reviews to find an instrument that meets your needs.

Considerations before Buying a Cheap Guitar Under $200

A $200 electric guitar won’t give you a lot, but you can still find a good instrument if you know what to look out for.

In the end, the best affordable guitar for you depends on your playing style and musical taste. Guitarists who are into classic rock may find that a Telecaster is the best suit for them, and those who love to make other’s eardrums pop with loud metal may want to go for B.C. Rich’s Warlock.

Another thing to look out for is the kind of wood used to make the body and neck of the instrument, although this makes very little impact on which instrument you ultimately end up buying. The dominant body material in this price range is basswood.

You’ll be fortunate to find mahogany or spruce, but you’ll also find other cheap wood like alder and poplar. However, a few brands incorporate mahogany into their product at this price level. Some use mahogany for the neck and the body. Those instruments tend to be closer to the $200 mark. The most common neck material at this level is maple.

When it comes to hardware, you want a bridge that is securely fixed to the body. As a beginner, you only want to learn the basic sounds of the guitar, and should leave all the fancy divebombs and other effects for later. This type of bridge also helps the instrument maintain a tune for longer.

One other factor to consider is the pickup – which we will cover in detail in subsequent posts. The pickups deliver the sound from the strings to your amp, becoming the instrument’s voice. Guitars in this price range typically spot a single-coil pickup – which produces a sparkly and bright sound – or a humbucker pickup, which is more suitable for playing metal {} and hard rock.

Some instruments will feature both types of pickups, which is ideal for playing different genres of music.

An important factor to consider is the required accessories to set up your instrument for playing {}. You’ll need a strap, an amp, amp cable, replacement (or spare) strings, and picks. You may also need to get a bag for storing or transporting your instrument if it doesn’t come with one. We recommend getting a hardshell case, but those tend to be more expensive than gig bags (soft and padded bags). You can buy all these items online or from your local music shop. You can also opt to buy a guitar that includes a starter pack. These bundled offers typically include everything you need to start playing immediately.

Our Final Thoughts

There are several brands in this price range, and we recommend that you go with a trusted brand. Although some of the guitars may look premium, don’t expect to find an actual premium instrument for less than $200. However, brands like Yamaha, Fender, Epiphone, and Ibanez have better quality control, which means their guitars tend to be well-built.

We also urge you to buy brand new instruments rather than secondhand ones. Places like Amazon {} offer a wide selection of instruments, and you can read reviews from other people who have purchased the instrument. Also, you can return the instrument if it arrives with any defects.

We hope you find a cheap electric guitar that best suits your needs and help you develop as a guitarist.

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