The 5 best electric guitars under $200 at Musician's Friend
Every now and then I scan over the sub-$200 electric guitars at Musician's Friend just to see what's out there. Some guitars listed stand above the rest. With these 5 you really get your money's worth.
Obviously, this is my opinion on what I consider best, so with that said, here are the 5, and the reasons why I chose them. (Also, bear in mind all these guitars are under $200 as of June 2019.)
While this guitar comes in 5 different colors, it's the Heritage Cherry Sunburst that people usually want the most from a Les Paul, and this one offers it. In fact, I think it's the only Les Paul guitar under $200 you can get specifically in this color.
Aside from that, this Les Paul also benefits from having a nice simple build and very easy-to-use controls, which is something I always appreciate.
Where sub-$200 Les Paul guitars are concerned, this is the best of the lot.
Going once again with Epiphone, like with the Les Paul, this is the best sub-$200 SG for the money.
There are two main reasons I like this SG.
First is the finish. Pelham Blue on this body shape works very nicely.
Second is the "half guard". I never liked "full guard" SGs because it takes up so much of the body. But this one has the half guard. I'll totally admit that the entire reason I like the half guard is because that's what Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath uses, and he is one of my original guitar heroes.
This SG is just cool. And yes, the coolness of a guitar matters when considering buying it.
In the sub-$200 range, I consider this to be better than the Squier Bullet Strat because it has an HH pickup layout which for most people is better than the SSS (especially for beginners).
Also, in the way the Squier Strat's electronics work, there is no tone control wired to the bridge-only pickup selection. That's not a flaw in the build, it's the way Strats are traditionally wired.
Better to just get the Ibanez so you have both volume and tone control on any pickup selection.
I remember a time when it was a very high-cost option to get a Jackson guitar with the maple fretboard and black "shark fin" inlays. Not anymore. Now you can have it for under 200 bucks. That alone makes this guitar worth getting.
Aside from this, this Jackson is basically the same type of guitar as the Ibanez above - but looks cooler. There is no plastic pick guard as the pickups are mounted direct into the body, the black stain finish looks great, and the contrast of the neck's color against the body also looks great.
For playing and sound, again it's basically the same as the Ibanez. The feather in Jackson's cap here is that the guitar looks 3x more expensive than it is, mainly due to the "woody" appearance.
Last but certainly not least is this great Telecaster.
Those of you that have been following me a while remember when I owned this guitar. This is, without question, the best inexpensive Telecaster that exists. It has everything the more expensive Teles do, including "barrel" pickup selector switch tip, "cup" output jack shape, through-body strings, single string tree instead of two, 21-fret neck, height adjustment for the neck pickup without having to take off the pick guard... it's all there.
I sometimes miss this guitar and may pick up another one at some point. Where Telecasters are concerned, again, this is the best you can get for a lower price. It's definitely "100% Telecaster" all the way through.