Last Updated on
Now, we’re talkin’. Not everyone pushes the budget up to $1500 for an ax. So, you’re either making some money with your skills or you’re a die-hard guitar connoisseur.
Whoever you are, you’re well aware of what to expect in quality for the price. Few mods are done, if they’re done at all, the hardware and electronics are top-notch, and signature models are around every corner.
But, how do you pick from the many great options in the market?
At this point, you should know what you like and what you don’t. So, we’ll play the intermediary role and point out some surefire electric guitars that have a track record you can trust.
QUICK ANSWER: Best Electric Guitar Under $1500
- Fender American Performer Review
- Fender American Performer Telecaster Review
- Guild Starfire V Review
- EVH Striped Series 5150 Review
- Fender American Professional Stratocaster Review
- D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic Review
- Schecter Hellraiser C-7 FRS Review
Our 7 Top Electric Guitars Under $1500
|Fender American Performer Stratocaster||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Fender American Performer Telecaster||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Guild Starfire V||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|EVH Striped Series 5150||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Fender American Professional Stratocaster||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|D'Angelico Deluxe Atlantic||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Schecter Hellraiser C-7 Floyd Rose||VIEW ON AMAZON|
$1500 Electric Guitar Reviews
Every lineup with this price range is going to feature different guitars. Why? There are so many that make us drool and will make you a proud owner. But, we exclusively featured guitars with a tried-and-tested history to prove you will be well-pleased with your buy.
You’re likely not a first-time guitar buyer or a newbie to the instrument. . . Are you? If so, there are good electric guitars under $500 that will suit you better if you’re looking for long-lasting quality, great sound, and beginner playability.
But, for all those who have been playing for decades, looking for an upgrade, or searching for their next collector item, this is the price range for you.
Look for specific features that lend to your style of playing and favored music genre as hardware and electronics will be paired to promote strengths for that style. Even so, there are guitars that have an all-around reputation so you can continue to explore the endless tonal ranges, playing techniques, and body shapes to truly master your guitar goals.
Fender American Performer Review
- Solidbody Electric Guitar with Alder Body
- 1 Humbucker - 3-tone Sunburst
- 2 Single-coil Pickups
The American Performer is Fender’s only Stratocaster guitar series that starts within this price range. They’re sandwiched between the vintage modern Vintera and the sleek, sexy American Professional lines. The Performer is where you get a little more without pushing the limits of your budget.
- HSS configuration
- Double Tap
- Modern C neck
- ClassicGear tuners
- GreaseBucket tone system
- No locking tuners
What makes a Strat? Double cutaways, contours, single coil pickups, and synchronized tremolo bridges. But, as we know, Strat guitars can be modified and incorporate various components to truly make a guitar best suited for you. How does this Performer stand out from the Strat crowd?
The first modification is in the pickup system. It’s a single coil, single coil, Double Tap humbucker configuration. Using Yosemite single coil pickups with Alnico II magnets for the neck and middle, it has increased output that yields modern and classic tones. The Double Tap humbucker at the bridge has an Alnico IV magnet that bites with clarity and well-defined tones. It’s wax-potted to control feedback and will not lose output when moving into single-coil mode.
There is a Master Volume control and 2x tone controls with tone 2 designed with a push/pull mechanism for coil splitting the humbucker. The tone 2 knob also has the GreaseBucket tone circuit. What is it? It’s set up like a standard tone pot, but it includes a 4.7K resistor and .1uf capacitor.
If you use a lot of effects in distortion and overdrive that stray from the vintage Strat sounds, you’ll love the GreaseBucket. It allows you to roll off your trebles and high-end tones without seeing an increase in the bass, so you can preserve your tone.
The Performer has ClassicGear tuners that make it easier to tune the guitar, but they don’t lock. It’s not a big deal, but it may be a mod point at some stage. With classic Strat features streamlined for the modern player, it truly is an American guitar worthy for performances and live gigs.
You can also dish out some extra cash to get the American Performer with the three Yosemite single coil pickups in the bundle package.
Fender American Performer Telecaster Review
- Solidbody Electric Guitar with Alder Body
- 2 Single-coil Pickups - Honeyburst
- Rosewood Fingerboard
It’s the Tele version of the American Performer Stratocaster. With its single cutaway, string-through-body bridge, and dual single coil pickups, the Telecaster is made to be the king of bright tones.
- Single coil pickups
- GreaseBucket tone system
- Modern C neck
- ClassicGear tuners
- Vintage style bridge
- No locking tuners
Like the Strat alternative, this Tele has the ClassicGear tuners that are found on the American Performer series. It fits with the entire vintage motif of the guitar. No, they’re not locking, but that’s not a bad point. Many players want vintage, non-locking machine heads, and the ClassicGear tuners do have a dual-pin system that keeps tuning stable.
The body is made from Alder, the neck from maple, and the fingerboard from rosewood. The fingerboard has 22 jumbo frets. The neck has a modern C profile that isn’t too fat or thin – if that makes sense, so it will work for a majority of playing styles especially with the satin finish.
The electronics consist of two Yosemite single coil pickups. Hand-crafted in California, they have Alnico II magnets with plain enamel coated wire. The result is bright, chimey, and well-defined tones often associated with Teles. The tone control is also outfitted with the GreaseBucket tone system that allows expression of the highs without adding or emphasizing the lows.
The vintage-style bridge has 3 brass barrel saddles with the string-through-body design. The rest of the hardware is in nickel and chrome. It all comes together with the gorgeous, gloss finished, Honey Burst color. If you’re in the market for a high-end Tele within your budget, Fender delivers.
Guild Starfire V Review
- Arched Laminated Mahogany Top and Back, Laminated Mahogany Sides
- 3 Piece Neck (mahogany/maple/mahogany) with Indian Rosewood Fingerboard
- Guild Tune-O-Matic Bridge with Rosewood Base and Guild Vibrato Tailpiece
Here’s a semi-hollow electric guitar that’ll throw you off your guard. The Starfire V has been built with Guild’s promise to quality, old world craftsmanship, and is definitely “Made to Be Played.” While it’s well-suited for rock and blues, it can also handle anything you think you can throw at it.
- Thinline body
- Little Bucker pickups
- Arched top and back
- Guild vibrato tailpiece
- Laminate body
Made in Korea, the Starfire V features a high price, but with a close look at the construction and hardware, it shows how far these imported guitars have come. It has a mahogany block with laminate arched top and back with laminated sides. The 3-piece neck is made from mahogany with a maple center strip. It features a soft U shape profile, and on top, it has an Indian Rosewood fretboard with 22 narrow jumbo frets and pearloid block inlays.
The body has black and ivory purfling with cream ABS binding. Unbound F-style holes give way to the soundhole and a black pickguard with the Guild logo is installed on top. Worth mentioning, a TKL deluxe hardshell case is also included with the guitar.
When it comes to hardware, you’ll see some premier upgrades to improve the overall playing experience. Things like the Grover Sta-Tite Open-Gear tuners, bone nut, and nickel-plated hardware. The guitar has a Guild Tune-O-Matic bridge with a Guild Vibrato Tailpiece, or otherwise known as the Bigsby vibrato.
Then, you have the Guild Little Bucker humbuckers with Alnico 5 magnets. As they’re the compromise between mini and full-size humbuckers, they produce a distinct sound with an airy flair that doesn’t impact its warmth. What’s left is sweet sustain and tones perfect for blues, jazz, and rock.
With the Cherry Red finish, this guitar is put together to astound. Can you do it justice with your skills?
EVH Striped Series 5150 Review
- Body Body shape: Double cutaway Body type: Solid body Body material: Solid wood Top wood: Not applicable Body wood: Basswood Body finish: Gloss Orientation: Right handed Neck Neck shape: Modified C...
- But then again, Eddie has made a career of being copied in every which way imaginable
- EVH Gear proudly introduces a new Striped Series 5150 model based on his original instrument, featuring his distinctively striped 5150 motif and single humbucker setup
Did you want to make a statement with your guitar? You better be prepared with the skills to match the loud and prominent finish on the Striped 5150. It would be a shame if it only looked amazing without the skills to back it up.
- Striped finish
- Wolfgang humbucker
- Hand-rubbed neck finish
- Maple neck
- Hockey-stick headstock
- No case
There’s no denying that this guitar is a Frankenstrat. No, we’re not the ones to give this cute nickname to the guitar – Eddie Van Halen gets all the credit. The striped finish is definitely the signature feature. With the hologram 5150 sticker underneath the bridge, it’s a complete EVH remake of the iconic guitar at an affordable price point.
Just like the original was made of basswood, so is this Frankenstrat doppelgänger. The maple neck is bolted on, has a modified C-shape profile, hand-rubbed satin urethane finish, and topped with a hockey-stick headstock. Unusual compared to other guitars, this one has a maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays.
Hardware includes an EVH Floyd Rose tremolo bridge to dive bomb all you want, and it also has the EVH D-Tuna drop D tuning system, so you can drop the E to a D and then back again faster than batting an eyelash.
As for the pickups, er – excuse us, the single humbucker pickup, it’s an EVH Wolfgang with Alnico 2 magnets set at the bridge. The Wolfgang pickup is bright. The mids aren’t as pronounced, but you can play around with it with an amp and EQ pedal to boost them. The lows are tight enough thanks to the maple fretboard. With one humbucker, things are kept simple with the one volume control that has a 500K low friction pot.
Since there are no flaws, zero, zilch, nada, on this guitar, we may as well point out that there’s no guitar case included in this buy. It’s not unusual to not have a hardshell case, but the silver lining is this is an EVH striped guitar from the man himself.
As is expected of a guitar signed off by Eddie, the quality and workmanship are amazing. We wouldn’t be surprised if it came setup out of the box leaving you to do nothing but play and play hard!
Fender American Professional Stratocaster Review
- Body Body shape: Double cutaway Body type: Solid body Body material: Solid wood Top wood: Not applicable Body wood: Alder, Ash on Sienna Sunburst Body finish: Gloss Polyurethane Orientation: Right...
This American series of guitars by Fender is designed for players who consider themselves professionals because it’s good enough for studio recording and gigs. The Strat is by far one of the most popular guitars in the world, and as such, the Professional series is set to impress.
- Bone nut
- V-Mod pickups
- Pop-in tremolo arm
- Treble bleed circuit
- Narrow tall frets
- Some models required setup
Straight off the bat, some models seem to have made it out of quality control with various issues from the frets needing work to hardware screws in the wrong place, etc. However, it’s only been a small handful, and Fender will address it under their warranty.
It looks like a Strat, sounds like a Strat, so what’s different about this Strat? The differences may not be noticeable with a glance, but with a once-over you’ll feel and hear how it’s been updated for professional players.
Starting with the body, it’s made out of Alder with a gloss polyurethane finish – nothing new here. Moving on to the neck, it’s made from maple with a new modern “Deep C” profile which is somewhere between a C and a deep U that offers guitarists long-hours of smooth playability. Capping the neck is a rosewood fretboard that’s a typical feature, but it has 22 narrow tall frets.
The Professional has V-Mod Single-Coil Strat pickups at the neck, middle, and the bridge that uses a blend of Alnico magnets. Each single-coil is specifically designed and mounted for their position to ensure you reach that distinctive vintage tone achieved with single-coil pickups.
The neck has its own tone control and the middle and bridge pickups share a tone control. The Master Volume has a treble bleed circuit so you can maintain those high-end frequencies even when you dial down. A 5-way pickup selector blade allows you to switch between pickups and/or a combo.
The bridge is a 2-point synchronized tremolo with bent steel saddles. The highlight about it is the fact that it has a pop-in tremolo arm feature that keeps it secure no matter how aggressively you play. Lastly, this Strat has a bone nut that purists will love to see as it contributes to a more organic and authentic sound.
Like we said – the updated features on the Professional guitar can easily be overlooked if you didn’t take a deeper jump in. What is the best difference yet? You’ll have to plug in to hear it!
D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic Review
- Custom Seymour Duncan daw-59 humbuckers offer an exceptionally versatile range of tones-from vintage warmth in the neck position to searing attitude in the Bridge, every tone is pristine
It’s not a D’Angelico hollow body guitar, but a solid body electric. You may have been fooled by the F-hole pickguard, but that’s okay. The F-hole is designed like that on purpose as a nod to D’Angelico guitars.
- F-Hole pickguard
- Push/pull ebony knobs
- Split-block inlays
- Unfinished neck
- Seymour Duncan humbuckers
- So much gold
D’Angelico made some bold moves when they introduced a line of solid body electric guitars. They’ve done an excellent job, and if you have an eye for shiny things, the Deluxe Atlantic should be at the top of your list.
Not everyone is into vintage style guitars, but you must admit, this is a looker. All the hardware is gold-plated, including the Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar. It starts with the strap button, follows through with the pickups and bridge, lined by 7-ply gold body binding, 4-ply fingerboard binding, and ending with gold Grover Super Rotomatic Locking tuners and a stairstep golden plate and golden pin adorning the headstock. There’s a heck of a lot of gold. If it’s your kinda thing, then more power to you!
The body is made from basswood, the 3-piece neck from maple, walnut, and maple, and the fingerboard is Pau Ferro. The neck has a C-shape profile that has been left unfinished for comfort and ultimate playability. On the fretboard are 22 medium frets, Mother of Pearl split-block inlays, and a 24.75″ scale length. The tortoise shell pickguard is designed to honor the F-hole hollow guitars that made the brand. There’s a lot going on visually, so you better keep up.
The electronics are provided by Seymour Duncan D-59 humbuckers paired with 500K pots, four art deco ebony push/pull control knobs for volume and tone with coil splitting for each tone knob, and a 3-way selector switch.
The D-59 neck humbucker is a versatile pickup known for balance and sustain. It boosts the high end for expressive clarity while the mids are still clear and smooth, and you can expect a full low end. The D-59 bridge humbucker incorporates vacuum wax potting and an Alnico 5 magnet to project the top end with vintage tonal character.
If you’re a shy player, there’s no way you can hide with this guitar on your shoulder. Be prepared to be seen, heard, and ogled over.
Schecter Hellraiser C-7 FRS Review
- Mahogany Body with Quilted Maple Top
- 3-Piece Mahogany Neck
- EMG Active 81-7/Sustainiac Pick-up Set
Yep – it’s a 7-string metal electric guitar, how’s that for ya? The Hellraiser C-7 Floyd Rose is a sleek, glossy, and edgy guitar that makes the cut in every way. It might have something to do with the “S” in the product name. . .
- FR bridge & nut
- Grover tuners
- Pickup pairing
- Not for beginners
The C-7 electric guitar is definitely not for beginners or first-time guitar buyers. Not only is it a 7-string, so you’ll need to learn the ropes with 6 strings first, it also has a Sustainiac pickup that will give you goosebumps if you can learn how to manipulate it.
But, first things first. Starting with the guitar, it’s made with mahogany as is the 3-piece set-in neck. It has a rosewood fretboard with 24 X-Jumbo frets, grey pearloid gothic crosses for the inlays, and a 26.5″ scale length.
Of course, it was the Black Cherry or Black glossy finish that caught your eye. The Black Cherry model features an arched top contour with a quilted maple top. We also like the lack of logos and detailing that often take away from a guitar’s appeal. The body and headstock have an Abalone with black/white/black multi-ply binding.
Grover Rotomatic 18:1 ratio tuners are a great touch, the Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo bridge and locking nut promise unmatched tuning stability, and a Black Chrome finish on the hardware maintains an undercurrent theme of sexiness.
But, what you really want to know about is the electronics. At the bridge, you have an active EMG 81-7 pickup specifically designed for the bridge of 7-string guitars. With ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, the result is a blistering high-end cut with detail and sustain.
At the neck sits a Sustainiac pickup that obviously allows for controlled sustain of vibrating strings. meaning you can achieve infinite delay, experiment with phase shifting, and literally explore the tonal ranges that are limited to all other pickups. There is a 2-way on/off Sustainiac switch and a 3-way Sustainiac switch that allows you to go between Fundamental, Mix, or Harmonic modes.
The Sustainiac may be the very feature that sells you on this buy. It has been the deciding factor for many other buyers, so why not follow the proven trend? What’s not to like? The ability to execute multiple effects and playing styles, control your feedback for constant sustain, and show everyone you’ve mastered a 7-string guitar are reasons enough. You’ll raise Hell with all your bragging rights with a Schecter in your lap.
What to Look for in an Electric Guitar Less Than $1500
The margins become even slimmer as the price range increases. Manufacturers include more features, hand touch workmanship, and are scrutinous over quality control when it comes to their high-end stuff. And, as a consumer, you should expect it.
But, what exactly should you be expecting? We give some advice on what features to look for and how to know if you’re getting a good buy.
The difference may only be $500 from a $1000 electric guitar to a $1500 one, but you’ll notice a change in quality and hardware. A lot of the time, it’s worth it if you know how to buy right.
Some brands start their higher-end guitars in this price range and others max out here. You’ll need to examine if it has the features you’re after to judge whether you’re better off with a high-end ax from a generic brand or a guitar that barely starts in this price range from an authoritative brand.
While guitars in this price range often come solo, you may need to set aside some of your budget for a hardshell case, pedals, a higher-quality amp, and audio interface devices so you can start recording and modeling.
With so much talk about tonewoods, you may wonder why you’re seeing basswood and veneers in this price range. They’re not bad. Basswood, like all other tonewoods, are available in various cuts with different levels of quality. Many guitar remakes will often use basswood to keep to what a famous, original, and iconic guitar was made with. Look past your perceptions about basswood and cheap materials and look to the overall build quality before you judge.
Veneers/laminates are also seen, mostly capping the top with a finish that would cost incredibly more if it was made with wood. Laminate may be synonymous with cheaper guitars, but they have their place as a durable and lightweight alternative, they allow for multiple types of finish and color options, and they’re more impervious to accidental abuse and environmental damage.
You’re also seeing all-mahogany bodies, maple bodies, ebony fretboards, and even maple fretboards in this price range that helps to tighten up those lows when the pickups are hot and bright. Necks are also made with three pieces where you may see a combo with a maple, mahogany, and maple build.
But, do tonewoods matter on an electric guitar? Yes, they do. While the electronics shape the sound, the strings vibrate against the tonewoods that affects vibrational length and strength, not unlike the soundboard on an acoustic guitar.
The tonewood will contribute its tonal characteristics, and you can be as picky as you want with what tonewoods you want to see in your guitar. Big name manufacturers have the luxury of making the same model in multiple colors, finishes, and various tonewoods for the body, neck, and fingerboard. You may not always find the exact combo you want, so investigate the tonal specifics of the guitar you like to see if it will do. You might just find that it has a tonewood that is great for all genres and styles of playing.
Pickups are becoming more important as players become more specific about tonal ranges and their options. You’ll see a ton of guitars with the ability to coil split, pots equipped with treble bleed circuits, and no-load tone pots to enhance the high-end frequencies.
Seymour Duncan, EVH, EMG, Sustainiac – they’re all brands associated with excellent grade pickups. Alnico magnets seem to be the standard as we see ceramic magnets used less often in this price range. Manufacturers are putting their own pickups on the guitars that have been specifically designed for a certain series of guitars and paired in such a way that it brings out unique sounds associated with their lines of guitars.
The options are endless. Start looking into what pickups and pots are equipped on the guitar so you know exactly what you can achieve, whether you’re an all-round type of player, a metal and heavy rock player, or blues and jazz swinger.
Hardware gets better in this price range, too. Bridges are often locking with upgrades to support tremolo bars and stable tuning. Each bridge will have their own design to support the music genre, easy string changing, or even a feature to “pop” in a whammy bar.
Tuning gears are better too as we start seeing Grover and high-end manufacturer machine heads often with an 18:1 gear ratio. Many have the locking tuners as this price range promises quality tuning stability, but specific models may go without, opting instead for the non-locking tuners to fit a vintage motif or other theme.
Real bone nuts and locking nuts are found here, tons of gold hardware, and body and fingerboard binding are almost always expected. Manufacturers are also getting more specific with what metals they use for bridge/saddle parts and pickup bases and wires.
Most of the time, you can be rest assured that you have the good stuff when it comes to hardware in this price range.
Used VS New
Of course, buying new is always the best way to go. You have the assurance that you’re the first-time buyer, it comes with a warranty, and you won’t have to worry about modifications having been done that you don’t like or may devalue a guitar.
However, if you’re landing a signature or genuine guitar for a fraction of the cost in this price range, it may very well be worth inspecting and considering it for purchase. You’ll have to look at the normal “wear and tear” as buying AS-IS, is the risk you take.
You’ll also need to look at what modifications have been done. Are you looking for an original or would you mind the “upgrades” that have been done that may suit your style better? If buying from a private seller, be sure to run the guitar by a professional to get an okay on the condition. If buying from a shop, insist on a warranty or guarantee coverage to get you past the first 30 days at the least to provide peace of mind about your buy.
Shape Your Sound
The guitars in this price range are being designed in a way to appeal to your specific tastes. You have vintage style guitars with modern upgrades, signature models with original appeal, and modern guitars with features to maximize contemporary music genres and playing styles.
While you’re testing out the limits of the pickups and hardware to see if it can handle your own unique sound demands, don’t forget there are other factors in place that can help you shape your talent. Amps, pedals, even high-quality cables can make all the difference.
We have no doubt that you will find a guitar in this price range that will complete your collection, make you stand out from the crowd, and will cut through the densest mixes on stage. The bad thing is, your other guitars may stand neglected for a while!