$500 Electric Guitar?

Calling all Guitar Nerds!

I’m a keyboard player. Most of you know that by now…

But I’ve been trying to expand my horizons over the last couple years by learning guitar.

So far it’s just been on the church’s backup acoustic and the occasional borrowing of a friend’s stagnant Strat. That at least got my feet wet (and fingers calloused).

I’ve known all along I needed something that was actually mine, and that I could practice with at the kitchen table after the kids go to bed.

So, after saving (and asking Santa for nothing but cash), I’ve got $500 burning a hole in my pocket.

Now I’m not at a level of proficiency that makes a “$1,000 +” guitar a wise move, but I at least want something that has some decent quality, decent tone, and (most importantly) won’t have the real guitarists making fun of me.

In other words, no pointy guitars. (My apologies to those of you who keep Ibanez in business….)

So what do you think?

I’m leaning towards a Fender Nashville Telecaster. The consumer reviews have them as a step above the standard stuff that comes out of Mexico, but still at an affordable price point. Plus, I like the option of the versatility of the 3rd “Strat Tex-Mex” pickup.

Thanks for letting me pick your brains!


10 thoughts on “$500 Electric Guitar?

  1. Why not buy used? You’ll probably be able to get a better guitar for your money. Both of my electrics were used guitars, because I couldn’t afford them off the shelf, and I ended up with fantastic guitars for cheap.

    I picked up a gently used Epiphone Sheraton in the early 90’s for around $200 that I used full-time for years. A few years later, I found a custom US Strat with locking tuners, roller nut, graphite bridge, etc. for $300. It was a little more beat up, but it had a lot of character and functioned perfectly. It would have cost well over $1,000 for that guitar brand new.

    I’m sure you can find some good guitars in and around Atlanta pawn shops.

  2. for a good, reasonably-priced, all-purpose electric, i really like the Fender 72 Deluxe tele. it’s made in Mexico, but is also a step up like the “nashville”. the wide-range humbuckers are a little brighter than standard humbuckers, so you can get a decent, chimey sound in the single-coil range, but can cover the thicker stuff that single coils can’t always quite do. a little more expensive, but you should be able to find one on ebay for $500 easily. i sold mine because i got a ridiculous deal on a gibson firebird, but i wish i could have kept it. very versatile.


    be sure to let us know what you decide!

  3. By used man, I live in Canada and this year picked up an American Tele for $700. It’s only a year old, and I love it. Living in Atlanta and with American money… I think you could find one for near $500.

  4. Yep, a Mexican Strat or TEle is a agreat way to go. And you could eventually upgrade the electronics if you want to inprove it down the line.

    Alsoso me used Japanese and even Korean made pieces could be great. Look for Tokai or Fernandes guitars on Ebay.

    Hey! How about passing along some of those X3 Live patches from yoiur tone gurus there? I’ll buy you ice cream next time I am in Atlanta!

  5. If you can find an American Fender for anywhere close to your price range I think you’ll definitely be happy with the results. Often times you’ll get caught up in the moment by a Mexi at the store but then come home and realize that the frets bulge off of the outsides of the neck or the quality just isn’t exactly what you were looking for.

    My strat has the Texas Specials in it and the Tex Mex’s have a similar but GREAT sound to them as well.

  6. Man, I just sold an American Strat to a friend of mine. And the price was right too!

    All I’ve got left now is an Epiphone Les Paul, which I’m also looking to sell. (I’m a Les Paul man, myself.) I would like to get a Gibson Les Paul eventually. This one sounds great, though. It does have a slight intonation problem on the B string, but that could be fixed…

  7. personally, i think a lot of the american fenders are really overrated. when you get down to it, no matter where they’re made, they’re pretty much just parts (most of which fender gets from other companies) that are bolted together. the main difference tends to be the pickups. in my humble opinion, unless you want to spend some extra money just to have the headstock say “made in America” you’d be better off buying used Mexican or Japanese and upgrading the pickups to Lollars or something later if you want.

    and personally, i’d also say, if you’re looking at fenders, go tele rather than strat if it’s going to be your only guitar. despite having one less pickup, i think teles are more versatile. you can cover a lot of ground with a tele. a strat always sounds like a strat, in my opinion. which if that’s your thing, is great, but if you want versatile, that’s not the way i’d go.

  8. if you’re going acoustic, go epiphone masterbuilt…solid wood, grrrrreat tone!!! electric, go meixcan strat or tele or G&L ASAT Tribute.

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