The best electric guitar not only needs to sound good, but it also has to feel great to play, look incredible and inspire you to perform at or above your best.But choosing the best electric guitar is tough because the choice is staggering. Not only between the individual brands but options like single coils or humbuckers, fixed neck or bolt-on neck, rosewood or maple fingerboard, etc. etc. etc.There is also budget to consider. You could, for example, go for the best electric guitar regardless of price. This would end up being some exotic, built to order creation, specially designed for the musician who requested it. Or, alternatively, you could go for the best electric guitar for less than $100.We’ve done neither of these. For this review, we’ve gone with professional and enthusiastic semi-pro level guitars which are all a little under $1000, some of them by only by a cent.We are covering their pros and cons and will be letting you know, what in our opinion, is the best electric guitar you can get for under $1000.Each one is a fantastic guitar in its own right and deserves to be in the Top 5, but which one will be the best electric guitar for you?Read on to find out…But before we get to that, here’s some useful information regarding making the right choice.Now, we went all rockabilly with the Gretsch and all country/country rock with the Telecaster, so it’s now time to get dark and menacing with a guitar made for METAL! – The Ibanez RGD Iron Label to be precise.And since we seem to have developed color as a sub-theme of this review, we’ve gone for the wonderfully named Surreal Black Burst – what could be more Metal than that? If you don’t want to go all Spinal Tap and “none more black,” you could, of course, go for the far brighter Surreal Blue Burst or the Blue Space Burst.The RGD Iron Label is optimized for playing the heaviest music styles. Where executing every note with precision and power is all important.The 3-piece maple/bubinga neck with the Nitro Wizard neck profile is topped with a luxurious ebony fingerboard, which makes the guitar play beautifully. It’s deep cutaways giving you unrestricted access to the upper registers, so every note is within easy reach.It’s DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbucking pickups deliver a powerful scooped tone with tight bass response and crisp high-end bite. Making it the ideal guitar for high-speed staccato riffing and for bludgeoning djent chugs.It comes supplied with a Snark clip-on tuner and a 10 foot guitar cable.The Ibanez RGD Iron Label RGDIX6PB is a metal or a progressive metal player’s dream come true. If you’re either, you now know what you should be playing.
Electric Guitars – Comparisons
New Voice! Awesome!
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Ibanez RGDIX6PBSKB RGD Iron Label 6 String Electric Guitar Bundle With Guitas Clip On Tuner and Instrument Cable -…
The RGD Iron Label RGDIX6PB is optimized for the heaviest music styles, executing every note with …
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Body Body Type | Not Specified Cutaway | Not Specified Top Wood | Not Specified Body Wood Back and …
Electric Guitars – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollow Body Guitar with Bigsby
- Classic style and color options.
- The most authentic hollow-body sound you will get for less than $1000.
- Great build quality.
- As with all hollow body electrics, it is prone to feedback at high volumes.
- Another complaint, even though it’s unfair, is that most Gretsch fans prefer the half-moon inlays to the hump-block ones, so it’s a shame they didn’t use those.
Fender American Special Telecaster
- Classic in every sense of the word.
- Sounds great.
- Comes with a “certificate of authenticity.”
- Many buyers have complained of lousy finishing – sharp fret edges, unfinished jointing, etc.
- Not the best factory set-up, you will probably need to get it set-up again far sooner, rather than later after delivery.
- Comes with gig bag! A gig bag for a $1000 guitar? Come on Fender!
Ibanez RGDIX6PBSKB RGD Iron Label Electric Guitar
- It’s very metal!
- Superb sounding guitar for the genre.
- Incredible build quality.
- It’s unfortunately Very Metal! So, if your thinking of playing one at your next barn dance gig, maybe you should think again.
Fender American Special Stratocaster
- Classic looks and sound.
- It’s an American made Fender Strat!
- Always thinking that you should have saved up more and bought an American Standard Series Strat.
- All guitars need a set-up, some more than others, but this Strat is in desperate need of one!
- Comes with a gig bag for a $1000 guitar? Why???
Schecter E-1 Custom Special Edition
- A unique instrument.
- Finest quality materials crafted to make an exquisite instrument.
- Sounds incredible.
- A collectable guitar.
- Not as famous as the more established brands – YET!
Picking the best electric guitar
The shape of the GuitarWhen it comes to guitar bodies, everyone has designs that they do and don’t like. It’s mainly a cosmetic decision and is often based on certain guitarists or bands the musician likes. It’s impossible to advise on, just go with something you really like the look of.
The Guitar Body constructionElectric guitars come in a few different body types, but to keep it simple we’ll only discuss the three most common.
Solid BodyThese have no sound box, unlike an acoustic guitar, but rely on the guitars pickups to gather the vibrations of the strings to amplify the sound. The advantage this body type has is the ability to be played to very high volumes, without any feedback worries.Other advantages include the ability for manufacturers to be more creative with guitar designs. It’s obviously far easier to make a crazy new design from a single piece of wood than to try and create it as a hollow body, with layers of wood and complicated bracing, etc.They are used extensively by rock, punk, funk, metal, pop and classic rock guitarists.
Semi-HollowA semi-hollow electric guitar has a sound box, but not one that extends throughout the whole body of the guitar. They create a quiet sound when played without an amplifier and obviously need amplification.They weigh a lot less than solid bodies, and many guitarists prefer them because they are more versatile. They are often described as being ‘warm’ sounding and having nice overtones, due to their semi-hollow nature.They are often used by jazz, rockabilly, and traditional country guitarists.
Hollow BodyAs you’ve probably gathered by now, these have a much larger hollow body than the semi-hollow and sound a lot more like acoustic guitars when played without an amplifier.They are, however, much more prone to feedback due to their design, but they do have a particular sound that you can’t get with any other electric guitar.They are used a lot by jazz and rockabilly guitarists, but you will see them occasionally in every genre of music including indie, rock, pop, even metal.
PickupsKeeping things simple, single coil pickups produce a thinner toppier tone that cuts through mixes and are great if you play with a rhythm guitarist or an overexcited bass player. Humbuckers deliver a more rounded, fuller tone which is great for single guitar bands.But, there are famous real-world examples, that go against everything we have just mentioned. There are, for example, many famous bands with two humbucking guitar line-ups, and many with two single coil lineups, so it’s whatever works for particular guitarists at the end of the day.In reality, you need to go for a guitar that sounds the way you want it to and fits in with the style of music you play and the band you play with.
The Woods used in its constructionBefore we open the whole tonewood debate, let us just say that all that is important is how the guitar sounds to you. A maple fingerboard does have a slightly different sound to a rosewood fingerboard when compared in perfect conditions.But again going back to the real world, no one will ever tell you that they love your tone, but if you only had a rosewood fingerboard on your guitar, it would be even better!We admit that it makes much more difference to an acoustic guitar, where you are actually listening to the sound being reflected back from the wood. But, on an electric guitar, you are mainly listening to the sound the pick-up captures, so don’t get to hung up on what wood is used. If it sounds good – it is good.Now, since that’s all been covered, it’s time to move on. And discover, what the five best electric guitars currently available for less than $1000.