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If you have five hundred dollars to spend on an electric guitar, you can get quite a few nice ones. Despite the fact that there’s a lot of choice in this price range, it can be difficult to find the best electric guitars under $500 if you don’t now what to look for. I’m here to help you find a great guitar at a medium price.
I was just like you as an intermediate guitar player. I grew out of that first beginner guitar which was very cheap and into a medium-priced guitar under $500 dollars. Most major guitar makers do offer some very good guitars at this price with plenty of features that you’re going to love. With $400-$500 to spend, the options for a good guitar open up by a wide margin when you compare them to guitars at a lower price point. Let’s dig in and have a look at some truly outstanding guitars that are under $500.
Buying an electric guitar under $500 is still a big investment for many people. You do a get a whole lot more value for your money when you spend a little more. This might be your second guitar purchase at this higher price point, so you have to keep a few things in mind.
Buy What Feels Comfortable
As you buy higher priced guitars, you need one that’d going to be comfortable for you to play, not what someone else is playing. You need a guitar for your own style of music and needs. For example, its not much use to buy a guitar with all single coils if you’re info high speed shred guitar. You would want a guitar with all humbuckers and a faster neck. You may also play several guitars styles, so you might want several guitars and not just one for various types of music. You might want a Fender Strat for blues, an Ibanez Jem for metal, and so on. No matter what you buy, get a guitar that’s comfortable for you.
Most guitars, even those under $500 will require a bit of setup. This is usually to get the guitar in line with your preferences. For example, you may want your strings set at a certain action. The action is how high the strings are off the fretboard. A guitar with a higher action makes for easier string bending because you can grip the strings more which is perfect for rock and blues styles. If you want to play faster leads, you’ll want to lower the action as this makes legato and other guitar techniques easier.
You should also adjust the neck to get it to play the way you want. These are all personal preferences, and everyone will be different. A good guitar tech can help make your guitar playable to your preference or you can do this work on your own. Some guitars may need little to no adjustment at all. On a new guitar you should check the intonation and adjust this if necessary, so the guitar plays in tune all the way up and down the neck.
Do I need New Pickups?
Most guitars under $500 have good pickups. You’ll notice that your pickups will sound better than the ones on cheaper guitars. They tend to produce less noise and will give you a better sound overall. It’s up to you if you want to change them and keep in mind that good pickups will add around $200 or so dollar more to the cost of your guitar so you need to decide if its worth it or not to upgrade the pickups. There’s a wide range of pickup choices with most manufacturers like Fender, Gibson, Seymour Duncan, and other offering pickups with high output and other features that you may want.
Your Strings and Tone
Make sure you replace the strings that ship with your guitar sooner rather than later. One of the bottlenecks to a good guitar sound is the fact that your strings are old. The strings on a new guitar have been on that guitar since the factory, so they are pretty worn by now. It’s best to just put a fresh set on a new guitar as this will give you the fill sound capabilities of your new instrument. It’s best to change strings often to improve the sound of your guitar. Higher gauge strings give a louder and fuller sound, but they are harder to bend for beginners. Take some time to experiment with string gauges and different string brands until you find one that works the best for you. Make sure you buy a peg winder and wire cutters for cutting the strings and keeping them clean around the posts.
Start to Define Your Sound
At this point, you need to define your sound. You have probably been playing for a while so it’s time to make the music your own. One way you can do this is to try out various foot pedals like distortion, wah, flanger, chorus, delay, reverb and so on. As you experiment with pedals, you’re going to discover new sounds which you will incorporate into your own playing. These pedals can male a big difference in your overall sound. You may already have a few of them but adding more can give you even more options to play around with as you use your amplifier.
You should start to experiment wit different musical styles too as it can open up a larger world of music. You could experiment with 7-strings, 12-strings, and try various open and altered tunings to discover new and fun sounds to make on your instrument. The more you open yourself up to new music, the better you’ll be and be sure to keep taking lessons from time to time to refresh your skills or learn new things. Now that you have a great guitar under $500 dollars, it’s time to define who you are as an artist. It’s also fine if you just want to pluck the stings from time to time too, as you’re free to do what you want with your guitar.
Your Amp Matters
If you buy a guitar under $500 dollars, it makes sense to start looking for a good amplifier. Amps in the $300-800-dollar range offer a whole lot for the money than ever before. There’s plenty of great solid sate amplifiers now, so you don’t necessarily have to rely on tube amplifiers. You should take your guitar to a music store and play through various amplifiers to find the best one for your needs. If you want to play on stage at this point, an amplifier over 50 watts and up is ideal. Amps that are 25 watts or less, won’t cut it on most stages as they can’t be heard over the drums which are always loud. You could also go with an amp modeler as these can save you a lot of money. These amps recreate the sounds of all the classic and well-loved amplifiers all our rock stars have sed in the past. These amps are starting to sound pretty good now and can be the ideal choice for those on a budget.
This list features some of th best electric guitars under $500. The choice in instruments gets a lot better in this price range and you’re sure to find the ideal guitar for your needs. You should narrow down a list of instruments you like and compare the strengths and the weakness of each instrument before you buy.
When you spend around $500 dollars, you’ll find that the guitar you get doesn’t need a whole lot of additional setup. You can always change things like strings, pickups, or tuners to meet your needs, but for the most part, these are much better guitars which will help you define your sound and give you many years of enjoyment.