Best Metal Guitars Under 500 Dollars

Buy The Best Metal Guitars Under $500

Dean Razorback DB Floyd
Guitar Center: Buy for $499
Amazon: Buy for $246

B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock
Guitar Center: Buy for $299
Amazon: Buy for $285

B.C. Rich ASM 1
Guitar Center: Buy for $199
Amazon: Buy for $199

My Reviews Of The Best Metal Guitars Under 500 Dollars

Heavy metal is probably the single most demanding genre of music for the electric guitar in terms of equipment. The extreme sounds that are found so often in the music put the guitar under great stress, and not every guitar is designed to function well under these conditions. As heavy metal has grown in popularity over the past 25 years, electric guitar manufacturers have increased the number of instruments they offer that cater to the demands of this genre. Technology that was once only available to professional guitarists like Dimebag Darrel, is now available to everyone. Unlike many middle-of-the-road genres where you can play almost any electric guitar, heavy metal demands certain specific traits in order to get the right sound. In this article, I review the best electric guitar for metal in three price categories: under $500, under $300, and under $200.

Dean Razorback Dimebag w/ Floyd Rose

Dean is one of the names in guitars that are built specifically for metal, and they have been pioneering cutting edge technologies that have revolutionized this genre. The Dean Razorback DB with the Floyd Rose combines all of the most impressive technologies into one amazing and extremely cost efficient package that will set you back $499. The styling on this guitar is simply wicked, and the materials are top-notch with a solid basswood body, bolt-on maple neck, and a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. The all-black hardware looks wicked, and the specially designed humbucker pickups are absolutely impeccable. This Razorback features a Floyd Rose Tremolo, which means that you can savage the strings and the guitar still stays in tune. This also comes with a guitar case, so you don’t have to hunt for one to fit the unique body design. This is simply the best metal guitar under $500.

B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock

B.C. Rich is the other company along with Dean that is known for its specializing in making electric guitars for metal. The Metal Master Warlock is, hands down, the best metal guitar under $300. The Metal Master Warlock definitely looks gorgeous with its sharp and aggressive styling, and its construction is definitely top notch. You’re getting the same high quality craftsmanship and materials that you would expect from any top manufacturer, and it features a solid agathis body, a bolt-on rosewood neck, and a 24 fret rosewood fingerboard. Everything about this guitar was designed to play metal perfectly. The B.C. Rich designed BDSM humbucker pickups are specifically created to give you that unmistakable metal tone, and they do. I was extremely pleased with the performance of this guitar in terms of sound, quality, and craftsmanship.

B.C. Rich ASM 1

The choice for the best metal guitar under $200 was one of the harder ones to make, because there are a bunch of different guitars from a handful of companies including B.C. Rich and Dean that are quite good. In the end, the features on the B.C. Rich ASM 1 pushed it over the top in my opinion. Unlike most B.C. Rich guitars, you don’t get any crazy styling with the ASM 1. In fact, it actually looks pretty understated. This is probably disappointing to some — especially considering that B.C. Rich is known for their crazy body designs — but the quality of this guitar more than makes up for it. This guitar is designed for metal, and it features the B.C. Rich BDSM humbucker pickups, which are made specifically to be great at playing metal, though they aren’t bad in many other genres of music. The thing that pushed this guitar over the top, however, was the fact that it also has a tremolo bar, which is not a feature you find on too many guitars under $200 and even fewer that are made for metal.

The Verdict

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that B.C. Rich and Dean have won all the categories as they are simply the best two manufacturers when it comes to guitars that specialize in metal. Regardless of what your budget is, you can get an excellent guitar that is made with metal in mind, and each of these guitars is the best of the best in their respective price ranges.

Best Beginner Electric Guitars

Buy The Best Beginner Electric Guitars

Fender SE Special Strat Starter Pack
Guitar Center:Buy For $199
Amazon:Buy For $199

Epiphone Les Paul Special II Player Pack
Guitar Center: Buy for $269 Lefty for $284
Amazon: Buy for $259

Epiphone LP-100 Starter Pack
Guitar Center: Buy for $399 Buy Lefty for $414

Reviews Of The Best Beginner Electric Guitars

With the electric guitar, the best way for beginners to start learning is to purchase a package that has all of the pieces you need to get started. The electric guitar requires a lot of extras in addition to the guitar so getting everything together is perfect. In addition to the guitar, you also need an amp, a cable to connect the guitar to the amp, extra strings, a tuner, and a case to carry your guitar, accessories, and to protect the instrument from damage. Each guitar package is the best package in its respective price range: under $200, under $300, and under $500. There are many other good options available, but these are the packages that I consider the best based on my experience and knowledge. Without further ado, I give you the best beginner electric guitars.

Fender SE Special Stratocaster Starter Pack

The under $200 price point is the most entry-level guitar point but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get something that is very good. Guitars and guitar starter packages in this price range won’t have all the bells and whistles that you would find with a higher priced instrument, but it is a great way to get started, and it doesn’t break the bank. The best package that you are going to find under $200 is, without a doubt, the Squier by Fender SE Special Stratocaster Starter Pack (Squier is a brand that is made by Fender). This starter pack has a great deal going for it in addition to the price. Included is a Squier SE Special Strat with a tremolo bar — a nice bonus in this price range — as well as a 10-watt Squier amp, gig bag(soft carrying case), a guitar stand, picks, digital tuner, cable, shoulder strap, and an instructional DVD. Each component of this package is very good, and you won’t be disappointed with this. My full review of this package is here.

Epiphone Les Paul Special II Player Pack

This specific electric guitar package clocks in at $269 and it is absolutely amazing. The guitar that comes with this package is the best electric guitar that you can buy under $200, and it is definitely one of the best beginner electric guitars you can buy. If you buy the guitar by itself, it will set you back $169, so the rest of the package tacks on an addition $100. The best thing about this package is the fact that you get the truly phenomenal Les Paul Special II as the guitar. This is a guitar that will grow with you as you get better, and it is an absolutely gem. You can read my full review of the guitar here but, suffice to say, I love this guitar. Included with the amazing guitar is a very solid 15-watt amp — you typically get a 10-watt so this was a nice plus — as well as a gig bag, digital tuner, 20 foot cable, shoulder strap, and headphones. The headphones are great because they allow you to play with your amp without disturbing anyone else, which is great for those late night jam sessions when you get the itch to play. Maybe it’s just me, but I do a lot of my best playing late at night, so I am always listening to myself play through headphones. I do this with my piano too! The one thing I wish this package had that it doesn’t is a guitar stand, but you can buy one for $10, so it is a very negligible problem.

Epiphone LP-100 All Access Pack

Another Epiphone Les Paul? Yes. I have been quite impressed with the Epiphone Les Paul guitars — they have a wide range of them — and I actually own one of them myself. I’ve been a Les Paul fan since I was a boy, and I used to go sleep at night and dream of the day when I would have my very own Gibson Les Paul, and I am now fortunate enough to own a few. Back to the guitar! This guitar is definitely a solid step up from the the Les Paul Special II, and the guitar itself will set you back $299. This whole package is going to cost you $399, and the rest of the package is more-or-less the same as the LP Special II pack. Once again, this package doesn’t include a stand, but that is not a big deal. The extra $100 over the other package definitely brings everything to a whole new level, as the guitar is just a better instrument. You can read my review of the guitar here.

The Verdict

Whatever price range you are looking at when buying your first electric guitar, you can find something excellent that will get you started the right way. Most of the cost of these packages is tied up in the instrument, so the more you spend, the better the guitar you are going to get. With that said, when friends come to me and ask about getting started, or buying a guitar for their kid to learn to play, I typically recommend with staying under $300 unless you really know that you’re going to want to continue playing. These three packages are the best beginner electric guitars that you can buy in each price range, and you’ll be happy no matter which route you take. Happy Jamming!

Jackson JS32 King V Review

Buy The Jackson JS32 King V

Guitar Center:Floyd Rose version for $399

Standard version for $349

Amazon: Floyd Rose version for $399

Standard version for between $299 and $349

My Review Of The Jackson JS32 King V Electric Guitar

Many newer guitar players may not know of Jackson — it is not as well-known a guitar manufacturer as Fender, Epiphone, or Gibson — but it is a top quality guitar manufacturer that makes excellent guitars in numerous price ranges. One of their entry-level models is the JS32 King V. This guitar comes in at two different price points depending on whether or not you opt for the Floyd Rose tremolo bar. Without it, the guitar costs $349 and with it the King V will set you back $399. This isn’t at the lower end for entry level guitars, but it isn’t too expensive considering what you get. I really am quite impressed that you can get a guitar with a Floyd Rose for $399. The Floyd Rose is a special tremolo bar that does not make your guitar lose its tune. All other whammy bars quickly put the guitar out of tune, and this is one of the reasons that guitarists who don’t play a guitar with a Floyd Rose but do use vibrato will almost always have 3, 4, 5, or more guitars sitting on stage so that they can put one down when it goes out of tune and pick up a tuned one. The fact that you can find a Floyd Rose on a $400 guitar is, quite simply, awesome.

In addition to the Floyd Rose, the basic construction of this guitar is very nice. It has a solid alder body with a bolt-on maple neck that features a 24 fret fingerboard. The one that I tested was the inferno red — it also comes in black and grey — and the finish was top notch. Another great feature about the Jackson JS32 is the fact that it has a compound radius fretboard. The compound radius fretboard is a feature that is unique to Jackson guitars. The fretboard is rounded near the nut, which makes it extremely easy and comfortable to play chords, and then, as you climb the neck, the fretboard gets flatter, which makes it extremely easy to do string bends among other things. This is a truly brilliant design feature and one that will be helpful to beginners and experienced guitarists alike.

With many entry level guitars, you often find that the stock pickups are not as good as they could be. However, the stock pickups on the Jackson JS32 King V are definitely much better than most in the price range. They can do double duty, something you don’t often find with stock pickups, in that they are high output, which gives serious overdrive and sustain, but they can be rolled back for a nice clean sound. Really the only downside that I can find with this guitar is that it is difficult to tune. This is almost exclusively due to the fact that it has the Floyd Rose, — and if you purchase the model without the Floyd Rose it’s no problem – which means that it has a specific and different method for restringing and tuning. For beginners who aren’t intimately familiar with how to tune a guitar, this can be problematic.

The Verdict

This guitar has an aggressive look that will appeal to a certain group of people, and it is one of the least expensive guitars that features a Floyd Rose. It is well built, produces a great sound, and has features that are great for beginners and experienced players a like. If you need a Floyd Rose under $400, this is the guitar for you. If you don’t, the normal version is very good, but there are other guitars that I like more.

Other Relevant Reviews

Jackson Guitars
Fender Standard Stratocaster Review
Guitars Under $500

Squier Classic Vibe 50′s Telecaster Review

Everyone knows the look of a Telecaster. The Squier Classic Vibe 50′s Telecaster brings back all of the vintage glory of the electric guitar from the birth of rock n’ roll. Few guitars are more synonymous with the founding of rock n’ roll than the Telecaster. This telecaster has a solid pine body and a solid maple neck with a 21 fret fretboard. It has a 9.5″ radius neck which makes it perfectly sized for playing as it is neither too narrow or too fat. There is no overhang on the frets that can snag your hand when moving up and down the neck, which is one of my biggest complaints with many guitars. Most of the electric guitars I have played do not have pine bodies — Ash, Alder, and Mahogany are more common — but the resonance of the pine body on this guitar is lovely. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it before I picked it up, but I was pleasantly surprised. The construction is very good, and I have very few complaints about the fit and finish of the guitar. The dual pickup setup is nice and they’re great for the amount that you’re paying for this guitar. The front pickup gives a warm and rich sound, which makes it great for lighter playing like rhythm of folk. The back pickup creates that classic Telecaster sound that was made famous by the likes of George Harrison, Joe Strummer, and others.

The foreign made Fenders — and Squiers which are made by Fender — had a poor reputation for many years as being poorly built with a sound that did not match their American-made counterparts. That is simply not the case today and this guitar is every bit the Tele as it’s more expensive cousins. Overall, I was very pleased with this guitar and while it isn’t as hot as some of the higher end guitars I’ve come across, it is a great guitar for its price. You can buy this Tele for 349 bucks. Please feel free to check out my other squier guitar reviews and fender guitar reviews.

B.C. Rich Masterpiece Bich Review

Buy The B.C. Rich Masterpiece Bich

Guitar Center: Buyfor $399
Amazon: Buy for $274

My Review Of The B.C. Rich Masterpiece Bich Electric Guitar

B.C Rich is a very well-known brand when it comes to guitars, especially in the heavy metal genre. The great thing about these guitars is that they are perfectly designed for those who play heavy metal or heavy rock, and there are a lot of good things to be said about them. One model that you might come across if you are looking for a guitar like this is the B.C. Rich Masterpiece Bich Electric Guitar. Like every B.C. Rich guitar, the first thing that you notice about the masterpiece Bich — aside from the tongue-in-cheek name — is the stunning and unique design. B.C. Rich is not known for traditional or understated aesthetics and that’s true with the Masterpiece Bich as well. I love the feeling of this guitar. In addition to looking good, the body feels really smooth and the neck is large and well rounded, which makes it perfect for shredding. This guitar has an extremely clean sound which is a huge plus. I was extremely happy with the way it sounded, A lot of guitars that are designed to look good don’t often play well but that isn’t true here. The stock pickups aren’t anything to write home about, but they’re not bad and they don’t need upgrading unless you’re quite serious about using this in a professional environment.

The Verdict

While it is definitely an extremely flamboyant guitar with a lot of good things going for it, this is not a guitar that is going to suit every style or genre. It is very very showy, especially in the dragon’s blood red, and the sound is not something that is really going to work for softer and gentler types of music. Hard rock, heavy metal, and musical genres of that nature are what this guitar was designed for, and it plays those styles beautifully.

Other Relevant Reviews

B.C. Rich Guitar Reviews
Dean MLX Review
Guitars Under $500

Fender Blacktop Telecaster Review

Buy The Fender Blacktop Telecaster

Guitar Center: Buy for $499
Amazon: Buy for $499

My Review Of The Fender Blacktop Telecaster Electric Guitar

The name Fender is synonymous with the electric guitar. Fender is one of the original electric guitar manufacturers and they have been making awesome electric guitars for over half a century. Finding a great electric guitar can be difficult but, when you are buying a Fender, you know you’re getting something good, and this is certainly true with the Fender Blacktop Telecaster.

The first thing I noticed when I checked out this guitar is the classic styling. This is definitely a great looking guitar, and it feels great in your hands too. The body is made from solid Alder with a bolt-on Maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard. Throwing the strap around your neck and holding this in your hands and you can feel that it was meant for thrashing. It has a 22 fret fingerboard that feels nice underneath your fingers, and I had no complaints sliding my hand up and down the frets. One of the things I really loved about this guitar is the amp style volume and tone knobs. On some electric guitars, the volume and tone knobs can stick out and interfere with picking the high E but that is not the case with this. The sound that you get from this guitar can be described in one word: aggressive. The dual humbuckers that come with this Blacktop Telecaster — hence the HH in the name — give you a fat aggressive sound that is great for serious rock. While I did not experience any problems with tone control, I have heard complaints from others that the tone control isn’t too responsive. This is definitely a very visually appealing guitar and it comes in red, black, or gray. The one that I reviewed was finished in the candy apple red, and it definitely looked good enough to eat.

The Verdict

The Blacktop Telecaster is an excellent modern take on one of the true iconic electric guitars. For about $500, you can get a guitar that looks every bit as good as its much more expensive siblings, and it sounds great too. If you’re looking for a hard charging, heavy rocking electric guitar under 500 dollars, this should be on your list.

Other Relevant Reviews

Guitars under 500 dollars
Fender guitar reviews
Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster Review

Ibanez AF75 Review

Buy The Ibanez Artcore AF75 Hollowbody

Guitar Center: Buy for $399

My Review Of The Ibanez Artcore AF75 Hollowbody Electric Guitar

Ibanez is one of the most well known guitar manufacturers and most guitarists will own at least one at some point in their lives, not only because of the notoriety of the brand, but also because of the guitars are extremely well made. If you are thinking about buying a hollow body electric guitar but you’re not sure you want to dump $1000 on one, you may want to think about taking a look at the Ibanez Artcore AF75 Hollowbody Electric Guitar. One of the first things that you notice about this guitar is its beautiful sound. This guitar has a really full and rich sound that you can only get from a good hollow body, and if you have ever played a good hollow body electric guitar, you will know how good it can sound. The resonance is awesome and it produces a full rich sound that you would expect from a guitar twice the price. Obviously, one of the perks with a hollow-body electric is the ability to play the guitar without it being plugged into an amp, and it sounds great. One of the problems that I have found with many guitars — but particularly hollow body electrics — is the fact that they need to be retuned quite often. I noticed that I could give this a lot of action without the need to tune it, so it holds its tune quite nicely.

Another thing you notice about this guitar is the feel. Because the body is hollow, you often feel like you’re holding something that is extremely fragile and delicate, but I did not find that to be the case with the Artcore AF75. It feels quite sturdy for a hollow body which is great because I was not worried about damaging it, so I could really let myself get drawn into the music. Like all hollow body guitars, this one will definitely give you some feedback at higher volumes but that is par for the course, and it isn’t out of the range of what I would expect. I LOVE the look of this guitar and it feels great but the fretboard is a little flat, which I found rather annoying. I was playing one that’s the brown sunburst and it really does look gorgeous. In addition to the brown sunburst, you can also get it in transparent orange and a red/black sunburst. The pickups are pretty generic but well rounded, so this guitar can play most genres though I would not recommend it for heavy shredding.

The Verdict

All in all, this is a solid hollow body electric guitar and for 399 dollars, there is a lot to love. This guitar looks and sounds great, and it definitely a pleasure to play with very few drawbacks. This is definitely one of the best hollow body electric guitars in this price range, and it is definitely one that I would recommend.

Other Relevant Reviews

Peavey JF-1 Hollowbody Review
Epiphone Dot Studio Semi-Hollow Review
Ibanez Electric Guitars

Ibanez ARX320 Review

Buy the Ibanex ARX320

Guitar Center: Buy for $449

My Review Of The Ibanez ARX320 Electric Guitar

Ibanez is known for making excellent guitars in the mid level price range and has numerous guitars between $200 and $500 and one option the offer is the Ibanez ARX320. This price range is really the sweet spot for finding a good guitar for the beginner. Below $200 and it can be hard to find something with the workmanship and sound quality to really last, and above $500, you really aren’t going to be able to notice the difference until you are an experienced player. The first thing you notice is the feel of the guitar in your hands. Its got a nice feel to it and the body is made from mahogany, which is the go-to standard for most higher-quality guitars. The body is a 2 piece construction, which is great as many of the lower end guitars are using a pancake type construction which weakens the richness of the sound. It also has a quilted maple top which helps with the sustain (how long the note will hold) in addition to looking great. The Gibraltar bridge also helps with the sustain so you won’t be lacking in that department with this guitar. The fretboard is well sized, is very comfortable to play on, and makes using more advanced techniques a breeze. One thing I have found with some guitars is that the fret spacers will hang over the edge and can interfere with sliding up and down, but this is smooth as silk. The Ibanez ARX320 utilizes Ibanez’s ACH1 and ACH2 humbuckers, which are great all-around pickups that work well for a number of styles including rock, jazz, and blues.

The Verdict

I really have trouble coming up with reasons not to buy this guitar. You can for $449, and it is definitely worth the price and plays much better than you would expect for a guitar in this price range. When comparing this to a number of other guitars in the price range, it really comes down to personal preference and you cannot go wrong with this any way you shred it.

Dean Evo Special Review

The Dean Evo Special is a very attractive electric guitar. The first thing that you notice about it is that it has the quintessential Les Paul styling. Picking up the guitar, you can feel that it is extremely well built. The solid mahogany body feels sturdy and the neck, which is also made of mahogany, feels solid as well. With some guitars, I get a little nervous about whether or not I will snap off the neck if I’m not gentle, but that is not something that concerns me with the Dean Evo Special. The rosewood fretboard looks nice and feels nice under the fingers. The top and hardware are pretty standard and I have no complaints about them.

With many electric guitars, particularly cheaper ones, though at $419.00 this guitar isn’t “cheap”, I have found that the stock pickups tend to be low quality. That was not the case with this guitar. The pickups are very good and this guitar sounds awesome. The resonance is good, the notes are rich and full, and it really feels nice in your hands. If I have one complaint about this guitar, it would be that the neck is a little on the small side. Granted, I do have extremely large hands, and the couple of friends that I had test this out had no complaints about the guitar whatsoever. This is definitely a great option if you’re looking for a guitar in the $400 range.

Buy the Dean EVO Special Electric Guitar for $419. Like the styling but not sure about this model? Check out the Les Paul style electric guitars that have been reviewed!

Best Electric Guitars Under $500

The guitar is probably the most widely played instrument in the world. Every day more and more people want to learn how to play. However, with this in mind, how do you know what sort of guitar to get to start with? Obviously, you are not going to want to get the most expensive Fender or Gibson. Instead, you should aim for something a little cheaper. In order to facilitate this effort, I’m going to give a brief rundown of some of the best guitars under 500 dollars.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Electric Guitar

What best guitars under 500 dollars list would be complete without the Epiphone Les Paul? The answer is none. Perhaps I’m a little biased — I play an Epiphone Les Paul regularly — but I think the Epiphone Les Paul is one of the best guitars under 1000 dollars and this version is under 500. It has the traditional Les Paul styling that is famous around the world, a sleek and high quality mahogany construction, slim neck with a rosewood fretboard, and Alnico Classic humbucker pickups. This is the guitar that I recommend the most to new guitar enthusiasts. You can check out my full review of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus or buy it here.

Ibanez ARX320

Ibanez is one name that comes to mind when most people think about good guitars. However, a lot of people mistakenly think that these are not affordable for the beginner. This is not true, as you can get an Ibanez ARX320 for about $450. This guitar not only has a unique and classic look, but the sound produced is fantastic too. The majority of Ibanez ARX320 owners have been highly impressed with the workmanship that has gone into this model. There are a huge range of tones that can be achieved with this guitar, which is a definite plus point. In terms of money, this guitar is affordable and an incredibly good value for money. Check out my full Ibanez ARX320 review or buy it here.

Dean Evo Special

For the beginner, this guitar is definitely one to be considered. It is not a well-known guitar, but the Dean Evo Special electric guitar not only offers great value for money, but also brilliant workmanship. The thing that appeals to many people where this guitar is concerned is the fact that it not only looks like a Gibson, but it also has the same rich notes of one as well. In addition, the styling is very reminiscent of the Les Paul and for $420, you really can’t go wrong here. You can read my full review or buy it here.

Epiphone Vintage G-400 Electric Guitar

The Epiphone is highly popular, largely due to the many famous guitarists that have played them in the past. The great thing about this particular model is that it is only a highly affordable $299. For a beginner, this would be the perfect guitar. The rosewood fret board is incredibly easy on the hands and eyes, as is the solid mahogany base. This is one guitar under 500 dollars that a lot of guitarists are raving about, and it is definitely one that should be considered if you really do want to get into playing the guitar.

So, there you have it, four incredibly good guitars for under 500 dollars. Of course, there are so many more. You can get many different Stratocasters for under 500 dollars if you look in the right places. Happy playing!