7 Best Electric Guitars Under $2000 In 2020: High-End & Droolworthy

You have room to splurge on the absolute best the market has to offer.  It’s not quite enough for original and custom signature models, but you do have the best of everything else that A-class brands have to offer. 

From custom-designed hardware and pickups to the highest grade tonewoods there are, you get to choose the platform that’s right for you.  Whether it’s for playing live in front of rhythm crazed crowds or for studio recording for your up and coming single release, there’s a high-quality electric guitar at this price point that will do you proud. 

Snapshot: Top 7 Electric Guitars Under $2000

  1. Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster
  2. Ibanez RG RG652AHM
  3. ESP E-II Horizon-III
  4. Godin LGXT 3-Voice
  5. ESP E-II Eclipse
  6. PRS CE 24
  7. Fender American Professional Telecaster

What To Expect In This Premium Price Range

Best Electric Guitar Under $2000 Reviews

Premium grade everything is the name of the game in this price range.  Locking bridges, locking tuners, specially designed pups, and classic tonewood combinations should all be expected. 

There shouldn’t be anything cheap feeling about your guitar including the tuning heads, control knobs, and nut materials.  Additionally, there shouldn’t be any need to modify the guitar in any form.  Be informed about what’s on the guitar and if it can handle or achieve the volume, sustain, and tone you’re after. 

While this is a ton of cash to spend on a guitar, it’s not quite within original model budgets – you’ll need twice the budget to get there.  But, the affordable and high-end copies that are about as good as it gets are in this price range.  Top-end brands also have their own series of guitars that will blow you away and will earn a space on your rack.  For the price, they better be, right?    

On that note, this isn’t the beginner electric guitar budget for the beginner player.  While these guitars are highly playable, their unique and modified features will be maximized to its full potential in the hands of an experienced player. 

If you’re willing to put this much into your guitar, it goes without saying that you should have an amp that can match what you’ll be dishing out.  Don’t skimp with the sonic impact a quality amp can provide.  Great electric guitars need great stacks to match. 

With all that said and done, let’s get to the lineup! 

The Best Electric Guitars Under $2000 In 2020

1. Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster Review

Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster, Pau Ferro Fretboard - 3-Color Sunburst
  • With a thicker oval shaped neck, flatter 12" freeboard radius, and Dunlop 6105 Narrow Jumbo frets, the SRV signature Strat offers easy string-bending and a fast, comfortable feel.
  • Loaded with three Fender Texas Special pickups, you get the full range of Stevie's legendary tone.
  • Vintage Tweed hard-shell case, strap, and cable included.

While everyone else is amping up the gain and distortion, SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan) is showing them how it can be done played clean.  Bringing blues tones and rock tones to the table, this Fender has started a trend that’s here to stay. 

Body & Neck

Looking at the guitar, you can see that Fender has nailed it with their “Number One” copy.  The Strat has double cutaways on an Alder body with a Maple neck that has a thick oval neck shape like Vaughan preferred.  It has a 25.5” scale length, 12” fingerboard radius, and 21 narrow tall frets for bending strings and fretting like no other.  You have Ivory dot inlays on a Pau Ferro fingerboard.  The body of the guitar is finished in a vintage-looking brown sunburst color. 

Electronics & Hardware

This is where things get custom.  You have a left-hand tremolo bridge where the whammy bar is above the strings instead of underneath them. . . think Jimi Hendrix.  To be specific, it’s a 6-saddle American Vintage Synchronized Tremolo.  Sitting at the headstock are 6-inline American Vintage tuners.  All the hardware is gold-plated – flashy! 

Quickly identifiable is the SRV-engraved pickguard that may arguably be the visually defining feature of his guitar.  To really achieve SRV’s bluesy and rockin’ tone, you have Custom Shop Texas Special Single-Coil Strat pickups in the S-S-S configuration with a 5-way blade switch to play with various pickup combos.  They share a Master Volume control while the neck and middle single-coils have their own tone pots. 

Sound

Big, singing, and hot.  These pickups provide a very distinctive Strat sound that delivers Texas blues in SRV style.  But, just as dynamic as Vaughan was, so are these pickups.  Rock, some country twang, and definitely jazz tones can be emphasized, maximized, and put to use.  You have a tight low end, pronounced mids, and singing highs. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Alder
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Pau Ferro
  • Pickups: Custom Shop Texas Special Single-Coil Strats
  • Bridge: Left-handed American Vintage Synchronized Tremolo

Big sound.  Texas blues.  “Number One” Strat. 

Final Thoughts on the Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster

Fender did well in executing these custom guitar appointments on a rockin’, high-output guitar.  It looks like an SRV guitar.  It sounds like it, too.  For big, swingin’, and jazzy tone, this Strat can strut the stuff. 

2. Ibanez RG RG652AHM Review

Ibanez RG Prestige Series RG652AHM Electric Guitar Nebula Green Burst
  • 5-piece maple/walnut "Super Wizard High Performance" neck
  • Ash body, bound birdseye maple fingerboard
  • Black dot inlay

If the brand and those pointy horns didn’t already give it away, this guitar is made for everything rock and metal.  Yeah, it can pull off some awesome blues and light rock tones, too, but if you want to cut faces and ooze blood, play this baby dirty. 

Body & Neck

The Super Strat body is easy to recognize, and Ibanez knows how to pull it off with pointy and sharp horns and a matching headstock to top it off.  This guitar is finished in the Nebula Green Burst color that will get mouth-gaping stares and compliments whenever you’re seen with it.

The body is made from Ash, and the neck has five pieces to it with both Maple and Walnut tonewoods.  Even the choice of tonewood for the fretboard speaks volume – Birdseye Maple.  When it comes to specs, everything has been put together for the ultimate shredder.  The neck features Ibanez’s slick and fast Super Wizard HP shape that has a flat radius of almost 17”.  At the first fret, you have a neck thickness/depth of 17 mm and 19mm at the 12th fret – ultra thin for those looking to make rapid work along the fretboard.  Making it easier for all that fast action are the jumbo frets and Prestige fret edge work which is the binding. 

Electronics & Hardware

Ibanez puts an Edge tremolo bridge on board, complete with a locking nut.  DiMarzio pickups provide the electronics while a 5-way switch blade allows for multiple pickup combos including parallel circuitry of the neck humbucker for less output but bright-sounding tone in position 2 and split coils of the neck and bridge humbucker in position 4.  Master Tone and Master Volume pots are the only knobs you’ll need.  All hardware is finished in Cosmo Black and even the inlays match with black dots. 

Sound

Air Norton and Tone Zone humbuckers roar in dark delight.  The Air Norton at the neck cuts back on the highs, punches in the mids, and brings out some bassy, chuggy lows.  It’s warm and growls, and the Tone Zone comes in to clean up the sound with note articulation and hot output. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Ash
  • Neck Material: Maple/Walnut
  • Fingerboard Material: Birdseye Maple
  • Pickups: DiMarzio Air Norton/Tone Zone Humbuckers
  • Bridge: Ibanez Edge Tremolo

Hardcore sound.  Shredder’s neck.  Fast & slick playability. 

Final Thoughts on the Ibanez RG RG652AHM

It’s a fantastic looking guitar made for the fastest shredders in mind.  Although it has every need a metal and hard rock guitarist could need, it’s also an excellent guitar for playing clean tones and pumping out jazzy solos. 

3. ESP E-II Horizon-III Review

ESP E-II Horizon-III Electric Guitar with Case, Reindeer Blue
  • The ESP E-II Series is our highest-quality factory-produced instrument collection
  • A bold variation on the classic ESP Horizon shape, with an extended and beveled upper horn and a shortened lower horn
  • Designed for high-level, serious players who can't accept compromises in their instrument's ability to perform

When you want to spend big, you may as well go big.  The E-II Horizon-III guitar is made in Japan and is at the top of the food chain for the brand’s factory-made guitars. 

Body & Neck

Like Ibanez, ESP takes pride in their classic metal stylings with pointy parts that I swear could cause cuts.  That exaggerated upper horn giving way to the beveled cutaway and the pointed headstock gives it an edgy appeal with the promise of speed appointments to come.  And, do those speed appointments come, indeed. 

The 3-piece Maple neck has a thin U shape that offers a comfortable hold while shredding on the 12” radius of the Ebony fretboard with 24 X Jumbo frets.  The neck has also been constructed well with its neck-through build to a Flamed Maple top and Alder body. 

Electronics & Hardware

A real bone nut sits at the top with a standard width of 42 mm.  To keep tuning stable, ESP puts on Gotoh Locking tuners and a Gotoh TOM bridge with the string-thru-body system.  Elixir Nanoweb Light 10-46 strings are preinstalled.  Master Volume and Master Tone pots are shared between the two Seymour Duncan humbuckers, and a toggle switch allows access to incredible sound. 

Sound

A favorite Seymour Duncan humbucker combo: the Jazz and the Custom 5.  You know that Jazz humbucker is going to be snappy with the Alder and Maple tonewoods with bright tones and solo-worthy note definition.  The Custom 5 humbucker flanks in with the lows and highs with fat, warm tone supported with sustain and resonance from the overall choices of tonewoods, neck construction, and hardware. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Alder/Flamed Maple
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Ebony
  • Pickups: Seymour Duncan Jazz/Custom 5 Humbuckers
  • Bridge: Gotoh TOM

Stunning finish.  Rocking pups.  Top-of-the-line hardware. 

Final Thoughts on the ESP E-II Horizon III

The Reindeer Blue finish is a stunner.  The pups are a rocking classic.  The hardware is top of the line.  With your budget, you may as well buy the flagship guitar the brand has to offer.  Money well-spent, I say. 

4. Godin LGXT 3-Voice Review

Godin LGXT Solid Body 3-Voice Electric Guitar (Black Pearl)
  • North American made
  • Double-Action Truss Rod
  • Honduras Mahogany Neck

What the heck is a 3-voice guitar?  You’re about to find out.  Godin comes in with all the works on their LGXT Multi-Voice solid body guitar that might just be your last buy for a while to come. 

Body & Neck

The Black Pearl.  It’s slick, sexy, and curvy, not unlike a little black dress.  Don’t objectify this guitar body as it has killer instincts that may give your skills a run for your money.  Although it looks small, perhaps due to its single cutaway, tight waist, and curvy bouts, it has a full scale length of 25.5”, 22 frets, and a shredder’s fingerboard radius of 16”. 

Offset inlays on the Richlite fretboard is a classy touch, and it sits on top of a Mahogany neck connected to a Silver Leaf Maple body.  The neck has a “worn in” feel as the fingerboard edges are beveled and forces the frets towards the center. 

Electronics & Hardware

You have a GraphTech nut, 18:1 precision machine heads, and a floating tremolo bridge.  You have Seymour Duncan pickups – there’s something about them, right?  They’re the best.  A Jazz SH-n obviously sits at the neck and a Custom Custom SH-11 sits at the bridge – that’s right, “Custom” is used twice.  Split the coils for a bluesy Strat sound in blade positions 2 and 4.  The traditional use of the electric solid body is Voice 1 of the guitar. 

Voice 2 comes in with authentic acoustic tone. Turn down the electric volume and up the sound of the transducer saddles and you have an acoustic guitar with treble, bass, and midrange EQ preamp settings if you look to the upper bout of the guitar.  Voice 3 comes in with Synth Tracking.  A 13-pin connector is built-into the guitar that allows you access to all Roland GR-Series Synths and other compatible 13-pin devices.  Geez, now that’s endless sound and tone shaping if you’ve ever wondered what that could look like. 

Sound

How do you describe what a guitar sounds like when it can literally sound like anything?  You’re going to have to experiment to find the flavor you like, or you can mix and match settings to create a melting pot of unique styles and tones that will set you apart from mainstream artists. 

But, with the humbuckers used in the traditional electric way, tone is warm and full where the mids are left alone, the lows are fat, and the trebles are responsive, bright, and vintage sounding. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Silver Leaf Maple
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Richlite
  • Pickups: Seymour Duncan Jazz/Custom Custom SH-11
  • Bridge: Floating Tremolo

3-Voice sound.  Sexy aesthetic.  Professional grade. 

Final thoughts on the Godin LGXT 3-Voice

This ain’t no ax for the beginner.  This is a serious instrument with tons of sonic personality just waiting to be accessed.  If you have the time, budget, and interest to experiment with the best in the business synthesizer guitar, this is the model for you. 

5. ESP E-II Eclipse Review

ESP E-II Eclipse Electric Guitar with Case, See Thru Black Cherry Sunburst
  • Features a beautiful See Thru Black Cherry Sunburst finish over a quilted maple top
  • Details like a white multi-binding and a matching headstock make this guitar stand out
  • Includes EMG 81/60 pickups ready for everything from deep and contemplative sounds to the most screaming, aggressive tones

The E-II series is where you want to put your hard-earned cash if you’re willing to drop it all on a solo guitar.  This Eclipse model has the See Thru Black Cherry Sunburst finish, is made in Japan, and is every bit high-end and worthy of the E-II name. 

Body & Neck

There are some classic appointments I’m sure the brand would appreciate that I point out.  To start with, the single cutaway guitar has a gorgeous Quilted Maple top on a Mahogany body with a set-through Mahogany neck and Rosewood fretboard.  Between the tonewoods, you have a good balance of warmth, sustain, and bright attacks of the mids and upper high end.  Resonance is supported with the 1-piece neck and its type of construction allows the guitar to vibrate as one. 

The specs include a thin U neck shape, 22 XJ frets, the brand’s iconic flag inlays, 24.75” scale length, and 12” fingerboard radius.

Electronics & Hardware

Active EMG pickups promise high output; each having their own volume pots with a shared tone pot.  As is expected for the high-end series, Gotoh locking tuners are on board and a TonePros Locking TOM and tailpiece ensure ultimate tuning stability and increased sustain.  A bone nut with a 42 mm width provides a more organic and natural advantage. 

Sound

The EMG 81/60 combo couldn’t be any more famous.  The 81 is an incredibly popular bridge humbucker that has long-lasting, fluid sustain, cutting note definition, and can handle the heaviest mixes you throw at it.  The 60 is hot and provides more of a balanced tonal range that covers it from the lows to the highs with rich, thick, and full, harmonic tones.  As a power duo, these humbuckers can take you from sweet and clean music magic to crunchy, overdriven, and eardrum-blasting grind in a flash. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Mahogany/Quilted Maple
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: EMG 81/60
  • Bridge: TonePros Locking TOM w/Tailpiece

High-end model.  High-quality guitar.  High-performance. 

Final Thoughts on the ESP E-II Eclipse

This guitar has the makings of an all-purpose, versatile guitar.  It does away with the stylings of a specific music genre as it’s capable of producing the type of sonic impact you need from it whether it be hard rock with tons of output or sweet, swinging tunes of jazz and blues with some, I’ll call it “character,” thrown in. 

6. PRS CE 24 Review

PRS CE 24 Electric Guitar Trampas Green
  • Mahogany back and maple top Bolt-on maple neck Rosewood fretboard Pattern Thin carve Satin nitro finish PRS 85/15 pickups Volume and push/pull tone control 3-way toggle switch Includes gig bag
  • Since the dawn of rock and roll, the snap and response that comes from a bolt-on neck guitar has been an essential part of the mix
  • These attributes have, in turn, become essential to many players trying to tell their story through music

The CE series of guitars are back, and they’re sporting the same, reliable bolt-on design that their predecessors did.  But, it’s not the same ol’ guitar you used to know.  These are the brand-new models with significant modern modifications. 

Body & Neck

You have a very beautiful body with beveled double cutaways that gives way to the two-tone woods of a Mahogany back and Maple top.  The Pattern Thin Carve Maple neck is bolted on in the traditional fashion of the CE 24 series.  It has a 25” scale length, 24 frets, and a Rosewood fretboard with PRS’ brand bird inlays. 

Electronics & Hardware

PRS dons their CE guitar with all their own hardware from the pups to the tuners.  Their Patented Tremolo, Molded Bridge and Low Mass Locking Tuners guarantee tuning stability no matter how aggressive you plan on using that whammy bar.  Just so you know, the use of the locking tuners come into play because there is no locking nut. 

The PRS 85/15 humbuckers were also designed by the man himself, Paul Reed Smith.  Along with the pups and 3-way toggle switch are Master Volume and Master Tone pots where you can split coils with the push/pull Tone knob. 

Sound

It sounds exactly as you would expect for 85/15 pickups.  The 85/15 bridge humbucker shakes the ground with its earth-shattering trebles, high-end frequencies, and punchy mids when the gain is ramped up.  Mellow on down, and it plays sweetly with bell-like chime while the low-end is reduced.  The 85/15 at the neck provides balance to the bridge pup by kicking in with fat lows with warm tone. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Mahogany/Maple
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: PRS 85/15 Humbuckers
  • Bridge: PRS Patented Tremolo, Molded

Beautiful guitar.  New CE 24 Series.  PRS quality.

Final Thoughts on the PRS CE 24

The CE 24 line of guitars are gorgeous and beautiful.  The thin carve and satin finish on the neck provides the exact specs you want to see for ultra-playable and fast work.  The bolt-on neck with the PRS plate provides buyer satisfaction in getting build quality and tonal response in one.  The sound – exactly what you need it to be. 

7. Fender American Professional Telecaster Review

Fender American Professional Telecaster Maple Fingerboard Electric Guitar Butterscotch Blonde
  • Body Body shape: Single cutaway Body type: Solid body Body material: Solid wood Top wood: Not applicable Body wood: Alder, Ash on 2-Color Sunburst, Natural, Crimson Red Transparent and Butterscotch...
  • Fender is guided by one clear, simple directive: make life better for musicians
  • While the original Telecaster certainly did that (and then some), they weren’t content to rest on their laurels

It looks like the old-school Tele, but it has modern appointments that have improved the playability of the Telecaster.  The American Professional Series is a new production line for the brand.  Aimed at skilled players as a high-end option, you can play live, record, and hypnotize the crowd with this vintage and impressive guitar. 

Body & Neck

Tele body shape – check.  This model has an Ash body with a Maple neck and Maple fingerboard.  Crisp and bright-sounding tone with excellent response is in store for you.  The scale length is 25.5” and the fretboard has a 9.5” radius for chords and rhythm.  22 narrow tall frets will make it easier on the fretting hand and for bending strings while the modern deep C neck shape brings some heft to the shoulders.  With this shape, it provides a natural comfort fit for chords and single-note tunes. 

Electronics & Hardware

That’s right folks, Fender puts on a real bone nut that is often revered for its natural and organic tone and Fender tuners sit at the headstock.  The “ash-tray” bridge looks the part of an OG Tele, but it’s been redesigned to make it easier to palm mute and remove.  Strings terminate with the string-thru-body design.  Interestingly, Fender went back to the three brass barrel design of the old school Tele bridges.  Although with modern flair, it still retains its vintage tone and appeal. 

V-Mod Single-Coil Telecaster pickups will blow you away, and the Treble Bleed Circuit worked into the Master Volume pot wiring will make sure your Tele sounds like a Tele when you back off on volume and gain.  The pickups can be shaped for tone with the Master Tone pot and a 3-way switch sits right alongside the controls. 

Sound

Incredible.  Every part Tele with high output and Fender sound.  Jazz, blues, rock, and country twang is everything Telecaster, and the V-Mod pickups do an excellent job in replicating that vintage tone with warmth, crispness, and clarity with oomph.  The treble bleed circuit will make sure you don’t lose character and color while you hang back for the leads to cut through the mix – this is a well-appreciated upgrade that changes the game. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Ash
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Maple
  • Pickups: V-Mod Single-Coil Telecaster
  • Bridge: Ashtray cover plate w/3 brass compensated saddles

New & improved features.  Classic Telecaster body.  Legendary Fender sound.

Final Thoughts on the Fender American Professional Telecaster

This guitar has been professionally made for professional musicians.  It’s a guitar that can only be done justice in the hands of a seasoned player that knows how to maximize a Tele’s strengths.  With all its upgraded appointments, there’s little room for error. 

Professional-Grade Guitars Under $2000 for the Professional Musician

Performer On Stage With His $2000 Electric Guitar

The underlying theme here is that $2000 can get you a professional-grade guitar with USA-made hardware and even Japanese-made guitars.  Pickups are customized and voiced specifically for a guitar with the appointments to maximize its potential.  Bridge systems are extremely playable, reliable, and improve sustain.  The quality is excellent from brand to brand, and the competition is fierce. 

There is no doubt that any one of the guitars in the lineup will be a dependable instrument for when you need it most.  For a professional setting on stage, in the studio, or for casual, money-making gigs, you need a professional-grade guitar.  Don’t skimp and stick with the best! 

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