04 Jan 8 Best £200 electrics: mojo on a budget
With modern manufacturing, global supply of components and effective quality control a £200 electric guitar is no longer a bit of a dog, but can be a great budget or beginner guitar.
Reading the guitar mags and forums you could sometimes be forgiven for thinking that any electric under £2000 won’t sound so good and any under £1000 are not worth looking at, let alone what they say about ‘mid-priced’ models. And ‘affordable’? Forget it. But if you’ve only got £200 can you get a good one? Of course you can. And if it’s reasonably well made, easy for you to play, set up properly but needs a bit of a leg up on the sound front then you can always swop out the pickups or buy a ton of pedals!
At around £200 most electrics are deemed to be ‘beginner’ guitars, even though you can get much cheaper electrics as ‘starter’ guitars. So, is there a decent guitar out there with your name on it? A trawl of the internet for prices and models shows up a good list of suitable guitars that should be well made and sound pretty good:
- Aria 1532 Retro c£199
- Cort CR50 £199
- Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT c£199
- ESP LTD F-10 c£199
- Ibanez GSA60 c£175
- Jackson JS22 Dinky c£190
- Squier Affinity Jazzmaster c£180
- Yamaha Pacifica 112V c£240
Aria 1532 Retro c£190
This is a quirky one but has loads of features and excellent playability. The design first came out in the late sixties and has been revived and updated. Single coil pups, tremolo, basswood body and maple neck.
Cort CR50 £199
From the Cort Classic Rock Series the CR50 is a single cutaway, twin humbucker guitar with mahogany body and hardwood neck giving vintage rock sounds.
Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT c£199
Want a Les Paul? Then this Studio LT from Epiphone will give you an entry point into the world of Gibson Les Pauls. It has a carved top mahogany body, twin Zebra-Coil Ceramic humbuckers, mahogany neck and easy playability. Looks good in Walnut but you can also get it in Black and Vintage Sunburst too.
ESP LTD F-10 c£199
Perfect for rock and metal this is a great introduction to extreme design! Single coil and humbucker pups, gig bag, basswood body and maple neck. You can also get the MH-10 and B-10 for just a little bit more.
Ibanez GSA60 c£175
The GSA60 has a cool body shape, hi-output pickups, is lightweight and gives a tone of features for the price. May look a metal guitar but it is versatile and can cover a wide range of styles. What’s not to like?
Jackson JS22 Dinky c£190
For this price you get the classic Jackson tone, looks and playability. Twin hi-output humbuckers, arched top, bolt-on maple neck and tremolo bridge. Look the biz too!
Squier Affinity Jazzmaster c£180
The Afiinity range comprises 8 models and is a great way to get on the Fender ladder. The Jazzmaster has great design and tone with a slim and comfortable “C”-shaped neck profile, a hardtail string-through-body bridge for solid string stability and sealed die-cast tuning machines for smooth, accurate tuning. Loaded with dual Squier humbucking pickups with 3-way switching for loads of tone options.
Yamaha Pacifica 112V c£240
The Pacifica is one of the great ‘beginner’ guitars. A Strat style guitar and superb value for money, although just above our price range. They do have a range of models in the series and you can pick one up for less than £240 if you shop around. Alder body, maple neck, three pups in HSS formation, tremolo and quality hardware.
Although all of these will be made somewhere in the Far East, all the makers produce higher priced and spec’d models that are good, so you can be sure that some of their luthier expertise will have rubbed off on these models. Shop around and you may get some great deals on them.
Ibanez have always made good guitars with great necks and the Epiphone and Squier are ‘affordable’ versions of their older brothers from Gibson and Fender – rub off the name on the headstock and from a distance they look as cool as the big boys. The Jackson, Aria and ESP-LTD are good quality alternatives and the Yamaha Pacifica has a deserved reputation as a great, well priced guitar. Cort make guitars for loads of other makers as well as having a big range themselves. The Squier Affinty series also includes Strat and Tele options at similar prices so choice aplenty with good specifications and a range of colours.
Whatever you choose will serve you well until you either move up or decide it’s a keeper and the one for you. Enjoy!
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