10 Best Electric Guitars under $200 for Every Budget

Are you looking for the perfect electric guitar but don’t know which instrument to set your sights on? This article is here to help you in this difficult choice.

There are almost as many different models as there are guitarists, which is why it’s important to ask the right questions before making a purchase. It is necessary to determine your needs and desires before starting to compare electric guitars, otherwise beware of the trap!

You could fall in love with a simple crush, without paying enough attention to the characteristics of the instrument !

Our article will accompany you in this decision making, to be sure that you have thought of everything. If you are wondering, our guide is for you. Are you ready to find the electric guitar of your dreams ? So let’s go !

harley benton stk 20bk electric guitar

If your budget is limited or if you simply want to start learning the guitar without investing too much money, this model is what you need.

Hard to find more affordable while having the quality assurance of a recognized brand like Harley Benton.

If this model will not be suitable for performing on stage or for more advanced players, it is perfect for exploring your first riffs , seeing if you really catch on with this instrument or not.

Aesthetically, it is an ST model with a classic and timeless shape, available in different colors. It’s hard not to find your account!

We particularly fell in love with the black version with burgundy pickguard , an original look on a guitar for beginners and which immediately gives this instrument a lot of character.

In terms of sound, the Harley Benton ST-20 BK Standard Series adapts to different registers with a comfort zone in blues and rock .

The advantages of the Harley Benton ST-20 BK Standard Series:

  • A very soft price that will help the most undecided;
  • Pickups sensitive enough to work even with a small amp;
  • Many colors that allow you to have fun even when you start;
  • The “Modern C” neck profile , for easy handling;
  • Ideal for trying out the electric guitar if you are not sure if you really want to invest in this practice.

Cons of the Harley Benton ST-20 BK Standard Series:

  • Tone settings are limited, but at this price, hard to ask for more.
  • Some elements seem a bit flimsy. This is the case of the nut which is plastic or the floyd .
  • The vibrato quickly shows its weaknesses, but this is unfortunately often the case on entry-level models.
  • Insulation that leaves something to be desired: crackling can be heard, you will have to tinker a bit if you want to improve that.
  • As you progress, a motivated player will quickly encounter the limits of this guitar.

See the price on Thomann

yamaha pacifica 112mvx yns electric guitar

The Yamaha brand needs no introduction. This name alone is already a guarantee of quality: we know that whatever the price, a Yamaha instrument will always offer good violins .

For more than 10 years, the Pacifica range has been a safe bet for all beginner guitarists. Not to spoil anything, its quality-price ratio makes it a very interesting product.

Versatile with its push-pull, the 112VMX YNS model adapts to all styles and will therefore be perfect if you experiment a little to find out what you like the most.

Whether you are more pop , blues , jazz or even garage rock , this guitar will satisfy you. Forget it, however, if you want to move towards metal or even hard rock.

In terms of shape, the maple neck is thin enough to facilitate the handling of beginner players. To reinforce this playing comfort aspect, we also note the rather flat key.

With a weight of 3.4 kg, for its alder body, we remain on something very reasonable which will suit all sizes of guitarists .

In terms of design, we like its naturalness which immediately sets it apart. The absence of glossy varnish lets the raw wood stand out and brings a really qualitative rendering to this model. The black pickguard brings contrast and character, all without coarseness.

The advantages of the Yamaha Pacifica 112VMX YNS:

  • A versatility that will suit all musical registers, perfect for those looking for their favorite style ;
  • A warm and vibrant sound;
  • Excellent value for money ;
  • A natural and classic look that will seduce;
  • After progressing, you can easily upgrade your Yamaha Pacifica because it offers an excellent base for upgrading by opting for more efficient pickups.

Cons of the Yamaha Pacifica 112VMX YNS:

  • very light vibrato , which is difficult to use without undergoing a detuning very (too) quickly;
  • Fittings that could be better;
  • Strings to change upon arrival to put better quality .

See the price on Thomann

3. The Fender Squier Bullet Strat: a model that can follow you over time

fender squier bullet strat electric guitar

If you’re just starting out but want an instrument that will stick with you for a long time, the Fender Squier Bullet Strat is a great option. This model is very close to the original Stratocaster since it uses the same dimensions and the same shape .

It can be described as a “ super strat ” with its humbucker bridge pickup (which gives the “HSS” found in the name of the model). A quieter setup than the single coil version and delivers a bright, snappy sound.

Here we find the same shape as on the Harley Benton model. No surprise therefore in terms of ergonomics and grip, everything is done very naturally with this proven style.

With a weight of 4.5 kilos, it is heavier than the Yamaha Pacifica. This criterion can be important if the guitar is intended for a young player but will not be problematic for an adult.

We also benefit from a choice between different colors , but without taking any risks. We regret not finding slightly more original options, but it’s an invitation to customize your instrument so that it looks like you!

Finally, it is a guitar that lends itself very well to improvements, by replacing the electronics and the pickups to gain in quality.

While some elements can be changed as you progress and feel the need to, it is important to note that even without this the Fender Squier Bullet Strat provides very good sound quality for a beginner guitar.

The advantages of the Fender Squier Bullet Strat:

  • Maple “C” neck , a comfortable profile for any type of game;
  • Its proven stratocaster design;
  • Its 2 single coil pickups accompanied by a humbucker make it particularly versatile;
  • very good base for making changes as you progress;
  • You can easily find parts for Strat if you want to make changes to your guitar later.

Cons of the Fender Squier Bullet Strat:

  • A hum on the 2 single coil pickups;
  • not very functional vibrato , which quickly discourages us from using it;
  • The lack of tone control for the bridge pickup;
  • Settings that do not always hold well and that must be readjusted regularly.
  • No push-pull to be able to split the double microphone into singles.

See the price on Thomann

4. The Ibanez AS73-TBC: the most “acoustic” electric

ibanez as73 tbc electric guitar

By choosing an Ibanez guitar, you benefit from know-how and quality control that is no longer to be proven. And this is confirmed with this very pretty semi-hollow .

The basswood body guarantees you a depth and a striking resonance , with a warm and enveloping sound. The central beam present on this type of model limits any risk of feedback. The sound obtained is thus very round and pleasant, without a hitch.

The traditionally rosewood fingerboard has been replaced here by laurel , a more eco-responsible alternative but without sacrificing quality. The touch remains just as pleasant and ensures good hold over time.

And what about the design of this semi-acoustic! We fell in love with the Sunburst version with its gradient of warm browns. Its glossy varnish reveals the texture of the wood while highlighting the roundness of its shapes and its slightly domed body. A wonder !

The other two colors, a Transparent Cherry Red and a Transparent Indigo Fade , are equally successful. Difficult to choose.

The advantages of the Ibanez AS73-TBC:

  • A sound that renders wonderfully, especially for lovers of jazz or blues ;
  • Stunning design;
  • high quality electroacoustic use , which will be perfectly suitable in concert;
  • An excellent violin;
  • Impeccable finishes that give a real feeling of luxury to this guitar.
  • The semi-hollow body which brings roundness to the sound, as well as its central beam.
  • Its humbucking pickups that avoid any parasitic buzzing.

Cons of the Ibanez AS73-TBC:

  • A bit heavy. It may prove to be unsuitable for junior players or for people of small stature.
  • slightly wider handle than on previous models. Nothing insurmountable, but it takes time to adapt to the grip.
  • space a little too large between the strings and the fingerboard , and difficult to take over even for a luthier.

See the price on Thomann

5. The Epiphone ES339: Small size but great potential for this semi-hollow

epiphone es339 electric guitar

The Epiphone ES339 takes the same shape as the ES-335 model, but with a slightly reduced proportions. If you are less than 1m80 tall , this version will therefore prove to be much more comfortable!

To complete this polished design, the handle is rather thin and its profile offers an excellent grip that will delight beginners and more experienced players alike.

Whether by its aesthetics or thanks to its register, this electric guitar is deliciously vintage. Visually, you immediately feel the Gibson inspiration , and it’s very successful.

It will lend itself without worries to your most jazzy jams or your 100% blues sessions . But it can adapt to many other registers without losing its depth thanks to impeccable manufacturing. By adjusting the gain between the pickups, you can really tailor the sound to your liking.

This is a turnkey guitar: just out of its box, you can enjoy its full potential, a rich and powerful sound , without having to change the slightest element.

The good quality of the Graph Tech nut develops the harmonics and helps to guarantee good stability after tuning. With its central beam, this semi-hollow can push the volume without fear of feedback .

The Grover mechanics are also top-flight, to offer you an optimal experience.

The benefits of the Epiphone ES339:

  • A body with slightly reduced dimensions, more manageable than the 335 ;
  • Deliciously vintage in style and sound. Perfectly suited for very blues or jazzy sounds;
  • Easy access to the treble ;
  • A rounded C-shaped handle for a better grip;
  • Several colors available , each more attractive than the other;
  • Two possible volume settings. Push/Pull to choose between single or double coil;
  • Good quality hardware for a guitar in this price range.

Cons of the Epiphone ES339:

  • Perfectible LockTone bridge and tailpiece .
  • Ropes that will need to be changed immediately to install better ones.
  • A few minor finishing flaws . Compared to the Ibanez, we find a slightly lower level of attention to detail.
  • Pretty bad factory settings, going to the luthier almost obligatory ! In particular, we will lower the action a little.

See the price on Thomann

jackson js22 dinky electric guitar

The Jackson JS22-7 Dinky AH SB is a little different from the guitars presented so far in this selection: it is a 7-string guitar !

If metal is your favorite musical style, this model will without hesitation be the most suitable of this selection. It is indeed considered by many amateurs and professionals as the best guitar to start in this register.

Don’t be fooled by its apparent simplicity: the quality is hidden behind its sober and elegant style.

You will be able to appreciate finishes of an excellent level and original choices, such as the amaranth fingerboard , a wood quite rarely used on this part. This solid essence ages very well and maintains itself like rosewood.

If playing 7 strings is a real challenge when you start, the Jackson makes every effort to facilitate its handling.

The neck is thin (for a seven-string, obviously it’s not about comparing it to that of a six-string) and pleasant. The beveled “Scarf Joint” neck heel is a good example of real player ergonomics.

Jackson being a Fender spinner, you can go for it with your eyes closed without worrying about getting the quality wrong. It is therefore the ideal instrument to take your first steps into the world of 7-string guitars.

The advantages of the Jackson JS22-7 Dinky AH SB:

  • Perfect for those wishing to specialize in metal .
  • Sober and efficient design with impeccable finishes.
  • The choice of a matte varnish on the body of the guitar , which leaves no fingerprints. A very appreciable detail when you handle your instrument a lot!
  • bevelled heel for easy access to treble.
  • Good tuning stability thanks to solid mechanics.
  • An electric guitar that remains light and easy to handle .

Cons of the Jackson JS22-7 Dinky AH SB:

  • The presence of a seventh string . If it can be the argument of purchase of this guitar, it can also be a redhibitory element, which could confuse the beginners. The tuning is indeed different, not to mention the playing…
  • Less varied registers than other models.
  • Heads that slightly lack precision.
  • Factory settings that leave something to be desired and need to be resumed.

See the price on Thomann

harley benton ex76 classic guitare electrique

We find the Harley Benton brand, here on a resolutely hard rock model . With its typical Explorer silhouette, the EX-76 Classic GHW AN immediately announces the color: we’re going to make good rock that sends.

However, the natural style with varnished wood gives it a particular sophistication. This choice highlights the mahogany neck and body, in the pure tradition of the historic version of this guitar.

In terms of handling, it is a very comfortable and well-balanced model. Weighing only 3.1kg, it offers us incredible ease of movement while its thin handle allows easy and pleasant playing for beginners.

The advantages of the Harley Benton EX-76 Classic GHW AN:

  • The mythical shape of the Explorer at an affordable price ;
  • Mahogany body and neck to respect the historical version;
  • Excellent Grover locking tuners that ensure good tuning and graphtek nut;
  • The presence of an alnico 5 microphone with an output level cut for rock;
  • thin neck with a 12” radius for very good comfort and a low action.

The drawbacks of the Harley Benton EX-76 Classic GHW AN:

  • three-position switch that seems light;
  • Correct microphones but which will have to be replaced as soon as the player has progressed;
  • The shape which is not exactly the same as that of the Explorer (even if we are very close to it).

See the price on Thomann

fender affinity telecaster electric guitar

If Fender has become one of the reference brands and continues to surprise with its accessible models , it is not by chance. And it’s no surprise that after testing it, the Squier Affinity Tele MN BB tops our selection.

The Fender Squier Affinity Tele MN BB has everything you want in a telecaster : aesthetic styling that hits the mark at first glance and a tone ideal for playing edgy blues and rock with good sustain and tone. vast harmonics.

And we obviously find the famous “twang” very characteristic of the bridge pickup which offers this mythical, metallic and almost scathing sound.

In terms of handling and comfort of use, we are very far from the sensations of an entry-level instrument.

The body is lightweight resulting in an easy to handle guitar for any player, even the youngest. The quality of the handle, thin and with excellent finishes, will allow you a lively and unhindered game.

For us, this guitar offers the best value for money of our entire selection. Indeed, it is a model that is already excellent for its price and more than enough for beginners.

But beyond that, it can follow you for many years by lending itself very well to changes. By upgrading the pickups , for example, you can very easily obtain a better sound that will open up new playing possibilities.

The advantages of the Fender Squier Affinity Tele MN BB:

  • Higher quality components and a better finish, compared to the Squier Bullet Strat of the same brand.
  • The characteristic sound of a telecaster and in particular its “twang”.
  • Excellent tuning stability thanks to solid mechanics.
  • featherweight and satin-finish handle that guarantees good handling, smooth and fast contact.
  • A great potential for development. The excellent lutherie will lend itself to many improvements to evolve at the same time as the guitarist.

Cons of the Fender Squier Affinity Tele MN BB:

  • Factory settings that make the guitar not very pleasant to play when it is received.
  • L’absence de vibrato.
  • Strings to change automatically if you want a sound that is at the level of the potential of this guitar.

See the price on Thomann

epiphone les pauls special electric guitar

The Epiphone Les Paul Special VE WLV polarizes opinions a bit. Indeed, it is presented as a tribute to the Les Paul , which it takes the form.

But this guitar also has some more amazing features. Some choices are original and, in the eyes of some, questionable.

For example, for the body of the guitar, poplar essence was chosen, making this model lighter. The handle is screwed unlike the original model. The fingerboard is rosewood. So many confusing decisions that can ruffle purists but that also make the charm of this product.

The electronics are simple, with a selector , a volume and a tone . The pickups are decent, but won’t be enough for more advanced guitarists. Overall, this model offers good finishes.

For the sound, we place ourselves in a very rock’n’roll register that can go as far as metal.

Benefits of the Epiphone Les Paul Special VE WLV:

  • Its seductive “Les Paul” shape ;
  • Original choices that set it apart from the crowd, a daring bet;
  • Beautiful finishes ;
  • Sober electronics, easy for the first steps of a beginner guitarist;
  • A fine and light guitar , very pleasant to handle.

Cons of the Epiphone Les Paul Special VE WLV:

  • “vintage” edition not very convincing;
  • It really does not hold the tuning well;
  • Perfectible microphones and mechanics ;
  • Settings to review, especially by raising the bridge.

See the price on Thomann

gretsch g5422tg electromatic guitare electrique

With the Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic WS, it’s hard to choose what you like the most between its looks and its sounds!

The body and neck are maple and the rosewood fingerboard, and you can hear it: the sound is clear and warm, full of subtlety. If you want to develop a rockabilly , blues or classic rock style , you cannot be disappointed with this model.

If you do not yet know the Gretsch brand, be reassured quickly: it is a die of Fender . You will thus benefit from an equally rigorous quality control and very high-end finishes.

With a higher price than the other electric guitars in this selection, this model will not suit everyone. But if you have the means and you are sure of your long-term motivation, it is a very good long-term investment and you will not regret it.

Unlike some competing guitars, here you won’t have to change pickups or other parts for a long time. You have plenty of room for improvement before you feel the need for more.

The advantages of the Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic WS:

  • His hollow body which gives all the richness of his game.
  • An assertive look, available in 4 vibrant colours .
  • A turnkey guitar, playable upon receipt. Nothing to change for several years.
  • Excellent sound , deep and full of harmonics .
  • Very good pickups, which immediately gives the full potential of this guitar.
  • Superb acoustics .

The disadvantages of the Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic WS:

  • His price. It is indeed the most expensive model of our selection .
  • Like most hollows, it is necessarily heavier than the other models with its central beam.
  • A 43mm nut, to be avoided for small hands .

See the price on Thomann

Buying guide: What criteria to choose your electric guitar?

choose electric guitar according to level

An electric guitar that will accompany you according to your level

If you’re just starting out , there’s no need to invest in a very expensive guitar whose full potential you won’t be able to exploit. However, do not fall into the opposite trap by jumping on a guitar of too low quality which risks very quickly limiting your progress.

It is important to choose an accessible but reliable guitar , which will leave room for you to grow in your learning.

Many models presented above are a very good base that can easily be improved by changing, for example, the pickups or other elements.

How do you want to use your electric guitar?

If your level is an important criterion, the use you want to make of your instrument is just as important.

Do you just want to learn how to play , use it at home and in class? Do you practice in a band with frequent rehearsals and stage performances?

So many questions to ask, because we will not have the same requirements depending on the situation .

When choosing your guitar, size matters!

Before you decide, it is important to look at the dimensions of a guitar . Indeed, its size is an element that should not be overlooked, for two reasons.

The first: with an instrument adapted to your morphology , playing will be more comfortable and natural. You will be able to spend more time training without feeling tired.

The second: if you want to travel frequently with your guitar , choosing a small instrument will be much more practical.

What is your favorite style?

Depending on the guitar you choose, you will get very different sounds. A guitarist who wants to play blues will be well advised to choose a guitar with warm tones while a metal player will move towards more scathing instruments.

Many beginner guitars offer good versatility, but if you already have strong preferences, it’s worth picking up a specialty guitar now.

choose electric guitar according to style

What budget do you want to allocate to your new purchase?

Obviously, it will be easier to have a great guitar if you have fewer financial constraints. But as illustrated in our selection, there are very good alternatives to start playing the electric guitar without breaking the bank !

Before you start comparing different products, take the time to ask yourself about the price range you are aiming for. This will save you time by avoiding looking at inaccessible guitars or letting yourself be tempted in a not very reasonable way…

Frequently asked questions about electric guitars

How do I care for my new electric guitar?

Choose specialty products. You can use body polish and lemon oil to nourish most fingerboards, except for the maple ones. If you have the slightest doubt, do not hesitate to seek advice from a specialist salesperson or your luthier.

Which rope gauge to choose?

Prefer the original one , indicated on the product sheet of your instrument. But you can opt for a different brand. If you want to change the tie rod, you will have to go through the luthier box for an adjustment.

choose pulling original string electric guitar

Which accessories to choose?

Many ready-made packs are available to accompany your start with an electric guitar.

But either way, you’ll need a guitar amp and the necessary cable to plug it in. A pick is also almost essential, to be purchased preferably in batches because they are easily lost!

To play comfortably standing up without needing to hold your guitar, you will also need a strap . A case will be essential for you to transport your instrument without risk or even simply to protect it from dust and humidity.

Practical, a support on which to put your guitar is a good idea: in addition to highlighting your instrument, it will place it within reach and encourage you to practice more often!

Finally, to vary the sounds and open up a whole range of possibilities, a multi-effects pedal will also be a good investment, but who can wait to have progressed.

Can I change the pickups on my guitar?

Yes, and that’s what many guitarists do as they progress to improve their sound. If your guitar has a quality violin , it will be all the more interesting to develop this instrument over the years.

What is the difference between solid body and hollow body?

Solid body guitars can be amplified at very high volume without encountering any problem and they offer a higher sustain. But with the absence of a sound box, they are completely dependent on amplification.

Visually, they can also come in almost any shape because they have few constraints on that side. They will be ideal for pure rock, going as far as punk and metal.

The hollow or semi-hollow are distinguished by warmer and round sounds , full of harmonics. They will all be suitable for lovers of jazz, blues and rockabilly.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=BnelEBzUSqU%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Verdict

After having discovered our selection and all our advice for choosing the right electric guitar and starting your exploration of this instrument, you should now see more clearly!

We hope that our guide will have helped you to clearly define your objectives and your desires and perhaps find the guitar of your dreams .

On our side, difficult to decide and to retain only one product in the face of a selection of electric guitars all presenting their share of advantages and disadvantages. However, here is our opinion:

  • For the tightest budgets , we choose without hesitation the Harley Benton ST-20 BK Standard Series. Low investment, it is perfect to offer as a gift to a beginner, a child or to a person who is not completely sure to stick to the practice of this instrument. You won’t find better at this price!
  • For the most versatile use , the best value for money and a guitar that will evolve easily with you, we opt instead for the Fenfer Squier Affinity TELE MN BB with your eyes closed.

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