The world of electric guitars is huge. With a vast ocean of information and options available these days, it’s therefore never been easier to find a fantastic instrument that will meet your demands as a player. However, option paralysis can creep in if you feel overwhelmed by just how much variety there is!
If you want to know which guitars we personally recommend here at Andertons, then read on to see a handful of our favourites under £500 and learn why they might suit you. As mentioned before, the options are almost endless. But with a bit of careful research and patience - you’re sure to find the perfect next guitar for your arsenal!
Top 5 Electric Guitars Under £500
PRS formed its rock-solid reputation from its spellbinding, US-made 'Core' series electric guitars. But the Maryland company introduced the budget-friendly SE (Student Edition) series at the turn of the millennia in order to appeal to a wider audience, which is comprised of a raft of sub-£1000 PRS designs. Now one of the world's most popular intermediate guitar ranges, the SE series is a great destination for finding an exceptional bang-for-your-buck guitar!
The PRS SE series starts with the uber-affordable SE Standard models. These guitars closely adhere to the iconic Custom 24 shape, but also sport many of the features that you’d expect to find on their Core series counterparts - despite costing only a fraction of their prices. This includes PRS’ signature flying bird fingerboard inlays, genuine Mahogany bodies and necks and also gorgeous Flamed Maple veneers that exert the unmistakable, high-end PRS aesthetic.
Other key features include super-playable 'Wide Thin' necks and SE versions of PRS' acclaimed HFS Treble and Bass humbuckers, which are known for their incredible versatility. Heck, you can even coil-tap them for single-coil-like sounds! The smooth-action PRS tremolo is also installed on these models, letting you add tasteful vibrato to any chord or lead line whenever inspiration strikes.
PRS SE Standard Guitars on Andertons T.V.
Chapman guitars are incredibly popular, especially with contemporary guitarists who love their modern twists on some of the world's most iconic guitar shapes. The Standard series is where you'll find their cheapest models, but there are no shortcuts when it comes to their features or looks. With the majority of Chapman Standard series guitars dipping just below the £500 mark; we believe that they are more than worthy of appearing on our list!
Plenty of models form the diverse Chapman Standard range, from the S-shaped ML1 guitars to the LP-inspired ML2 and the tweaked-Tele ML3. There are even Explorer-style Ghost Fret models available, as well as earth-shaking baritones! Most of these guitars come fitted with high-output, Chapman-designed humbuckers that possess a truly modern voice. Crunchy with distortion and overdrive, these pickups also clean up nicely - even more so when you engage their push/pull coil-split functions!
Almost all of Chapman's Standard guitars boast exotic Flamed Maple tops that give them a premium aesthetic. But Chapman also have some unique finishes that really set them apart from the competition. Ombre-style finishes such as the purple/natural 'Mallow' and purple/blue 'Abyss' are among the coolest, as well as the metallic 'Jolokia' red and 'Tyrian' pink options.
Chapman Standard Guitars on Andertons T.V.
Despite its short history, Sire has become an immensely popular and best-selling brand here at Andertons. A favourite among our staff too, Sire's Marcus Miller basses are known for their excellent craftsmanship, versatile electronics and incredible value. And now, they've teamed up with jazz-fusion legend Larry Carlton to unveil a full electric guitar lineup! Sticking with the same ethos, these are some of the best mid-priced guitars we've seen in a very long time.
Split into three sub-ranges, the Sire Larry Carlton lineup is delightfully varied and caters for different disciplines and styles. Encompassing the S, L and H series', these letters are indicative of the classic guitars on which they are based: S = S-type, L = LP-style and H = hollowbody.
The models from the Sire S series are arguably the most versatile, with their flexible HSS pickup configurations that allow you to switch between full humbucker and single-coil sounds on-the-fly. Also fitted with sturdy Roasted Maple necks and Flamed Maple tops; these guitars offer both a premium feel and look. The instruments from the L and H series' are slightly more utilitarian, but come equipped with articulate-sounding, low-output humbuckers that deliver smooth, precise and soulful tones - voiced exactly as Mr. Carlton likes!
Sire Larry Carlton Guitars on Andertons T.V.
The Tribute series is essentially G&L’s affordable instrument range. Possessing the same aesthetics and key features found on the brand's USA models, G&L's Tribute guitars cost less than half the price and thus allow intermediates to enjoy their innovative instruments without breaking their metaphorical piggy banks.
Despite the more accessible price-points of G&L's Tribute guitars, many of these models actually boast the same electronics and hardware appointments fitted to the company's full-fat, made in Fullerton instruments. For example, most G&L Tribute guitars come equipped with pickups wired at the company's California factory, notably their signature MFD ('Magnetic Field Design') single-coils which feature adjustable pole-pieces.
G&L's clever 'Dual-Fulcrum' tremolo can also be found on their Tribute Legacy, S-500 and Doheny guitars. More useable than traditional 6-screw tremolos, the Dual-Fulcrum design provides a smoother action as there is far less friction; resulting in superior tuning stability too! The distinctive 'Saddle-Lock' bridge is fitted to most other G&L Tribute guitars, which uses a clever mechanism that prevents their individual string saddles from moving around and transfers string vibrations more effectively through their bodies for greater sustain.
G&L Tribute Guitars on Andertons T.V.
Some people may label Squier as Fender's "budget brand", but their large instrument catalogue boasts some stellar guitar ranges that combine great value with smart originality. One such range is the Contemporary series, which encompasses an inspiring selection of modern guitars based on iconic Fender designs; updated with hot-rodded features to suit the latest generation of players.
High-output active humbuckers are installed in a bunch of Squier Contemporary guitars, making these instruments ideal for use with high-gain amps - perfect for metal! Double-locking tremolos are also available on selected models, made specifically for the aspiring whammy bar acrobats out there. But perhaps most importantly of all, all Squier Contemporary models come equipped with smooth, satin-finished "C"-shaped necks that provide speedy playability and unparalleled comfort.
Another fantastic aspect of the Squier Contemporary series is its diversity; comprised of various Fender stalwarts and even some unconventional oddballs. The usual suspects make up the bulk of the lineup, namely Strats and Teles, but you’ll find sleek offset Jazzmasters and even large, semi-hollow Starcaster guitars too. So whether you have a conservative taste in guitars or prefer niche and unusual shapes - the Squier Contemporary range accommodates for almost everyone!
Squier Contemporary Guitars on Andertons T.V.
Want To Learn More?
If you'd like to know more about the guitars featured in this guide, please don't hesitate to get in touch - we've got a full-time team of friendly, knowledgeable gear nerds who can answer any query you may have!
In the meantime, if you'd like to do a bit more research on electric guitars before you take the plunge, why not check out our Ultimate Guide to Electric Guitars?Shop All Electric Guitars!