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10 electric guitars in 2018 for under $400

Gretsch G5439 Electromatic Pro Jet Electric Guitar (Silver Sparkle)

For 2018, the lower end of the electric guitar range is pretty much carrying over from 2017, with one exception. Epiphone is not making a showing here simply because their bread-and-butter guitars bust over $400 now easily. But fortunately there are still some other great choices for under $400. Here are 10 of them.

The guitar above starts this list, the Gretsch G5439 Electromatic Pro Jet. It's just a hair under $400, but it's amazing you can get something so cool and so retro for the price. I'll put it this way: Silver Sparkle is a color you absolutely do not see that often, and this Gretsch in that color just looks dreamy and inspiring. You play this thing out, and oh yes, people will definitely notice it. Granted, it takes a certain type of guitarist to appreciate a sparkly guitar, and if you're that type, get the Gretsch.

Fender Squier Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster Electric Guitar - Sherwood Green Metallic - Maple Fingerboard

Fender Squier Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster

This Squier is literally a penny under $400 with the Classic Vibe Strat. Still one of the best Strats for the money you can buy. Yes, there are cheaper Squier Strats available, but darned few as good as this one.

Squier by Fender 303027550 Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster Electric Guitar - Butterscotch Blonde - Maple Fingerboard

Squier Classic Vibe '50s Telecaster

I've said this before but will say it again. This is one of the best guitars Squier makes, and many believe it is the best guitar from the Squier brand. It's a rock-solid Tele that has all the goods Tele players look for.

Yamaha Revstar RS320, Stock Yellow

Yamaha Revstar RS320

Revstar is one of those guitars that's easy to miss, but owners of this axe rave about it. It's just a simple guitar with a pair of high-output humbuckers and a simple layout, a back-to-basics guitar. This is priced the same as the Classic Vibe Squiers above, but it does have seriously good build quality.

Jackson JS22-7 Dinky - Satin Black

Jackson JS22-7 Dinky

Where truly good value 7-string electrics are concerned, Jackson basically owns this segment. You simply cannot beat how much guitar you get for the seriously low price. If you want a 7-string, want a good guitar and want it cheap, get this one.

Jackson JS32 Dinky - Bright Blue

Jackson JS32 Dinky

The JS32 Dinky 6-string is for the player that wants a fast-playing guitar with Floyd-Rose style tremolo system for little money. That's what this is. It's a guitar made to beat the crap out of, and if you wreck it, it hardly cost you anything to begin with.

Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe Solid-Body Electric Guitar, Satin Metallic Light Blue

Schecter C-6 Deluxe

I genuinely want this guitar, especially in the Satin Metallic Light Blue shown here. This is a basic Schecter with dot inlays, great neck, great ergonomic shape (Schecter really knows how to shape their guitar bodies,) and just plain looks and performs great.

Schecter OMEN-6 6-String Electric Guitar, Black

Schecter Omen-6

Think of this guitar as being similar to the C-6 Deluxe above but with added goodies. This one has body binding, recessed volume/tone pots, gloss finish and fancier fretboard inlays. This is also a great axe just like the C-6 is.

Ibanez AM53 AM Artcore Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar Tobacco Flat

Ibanez AM53 Artcore Semi-Hollow

As much as Jackson owns the low-cost 7-string segment, Ibanez owns the low-cost semi-hollow electric segment. Where the semi-hollow is concerned, you can't beat what you get for the money here. It's everything a semi-hollow is supposed to be, and even has nice body binding too!

Ibanez GRX70QATKS 6-String Electric Guitar - Transparent Black Sunburst


Last on the list here is what you go for if you like the Jackson JS32 Dinky above but don't like Floyd-Rose style tremolo systems. Also of note here is that this is one of the cheapest new axes you can get with an HSH (humbucker-single-humbucker) pickup configuration. This is a rocker guitar that's meant to be used and beat up. And you'll be happy to do it considering the price point at the time I write this is under $200 new. Yes, really.

Rich's pick

Schecter C-6 Deluxe, no question. Right look, right price, through-body hardtail, curved top, rock-solid build quality, just plain good. My only complaint about this guitar is the output jack as it's one of those flat-to-the-side styles that's real easy to yank a cord out of. But other than that, total winner.

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