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5 Best New Inexpensive Solid Body Electric Guitars

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.


It's been close to one hundred years now the guitar has been the most popular musical instrument to play in the Western world. But there are many many kinds of guitars, and many many genres of music in which a guitar is used. Acoustics are preferable for persons playing more traditional music. But a lot of modern music is of new genres increasingly.

Since the dawn of the electric guitar, and the invention of the solid body, solid body electric guitars have been a huge craze to possess and to play. There is something absolutely sexy about a solid body guitar. To my mind they remind me of sports cars. But a solid body electric guitar is more useful in music than a sports car is in transportation. You can use that solid body electric for nearly any genre of music save very traditional musical settings, but you can definitely play traditional on a solid body too, just call it fusion instead, and you are on your way.

The solid body electric guitar requires amplification. We in the west live in a plugged in world. Everything electric and electronic most of the time. The solid body should therefore be utilitarian, at least for the less affluent among us, as we've still got to have electricity and an amplifier. What's a poor boy to do? Buy the best solid body for the budget you have.

What is meant to be presented here are some of the best new solid body electric guitars produced in 2015 for persons with a budget of under one thousand dollars. I'm presenting here some fairly traditional solid body electrics, and some more newfangled ones for newer styles too. Also, there is a wide range in terms of price provided. Never buy the first guitar you pick up and like. Always spend some time in a store or online thinking about the different attributes of the instrument, and where you are trying to take your music. Thanks in advance for reading this article, and best wishes to you.

Carvin Bolt-C Strat Style


1. The Carvin Bolt-C

Carvin guitars are made in the USA. The bolt in the Bolt-C refers to the neck being bolted on. Most of these guitars are built in stratocaster like bodies. There are many different pickup configurations available. These are 22 fret very traditional solid body guitars. The hum-bucker at the bridge and then two single coil configuration strat style instrument is widely used these days. But there are many other familiar pickup configurations available.

With Carvin, you can specify exactly what you want and Carvin will then produce it for you, and for a very win-win price too. Musicians such as Greg Howe and Frank Gamble use these guitars to do their thing with. So these are very professional instruments for a budget price of around 8 hundred dollars.

These guitars have solid alder bodies and hard rock maple necks Rosewood and maple are available for fret-boards, and once can choose a tremolo or hard tail version as well. Necks are 1.69" at the nut in standard models, but Carvin most likely will do you what you wish should you contact them in advance. These guitars are less expensive than most which say Fender on them, but they aren't 'cheap.'

Carvin Bolt Plus C Guitar Demo and Review

Epiphone Les Paul Custom guitars


2. Epiphone Les Paul Custom guitars

From the first Les Paul ever produced onward, people of all types and stripes have found something truly special in the design of the guitar. The solid mahogany body and the maple top with two humbucking pickups and a slightly shorter scale than Fender uses - these attributes were winning from the beginning. They still win over people everywhere, both players and listeners.

The Les Paul isn't for everyone, some persons are more suited to a Fender design, but should you know already you want a Les Paul, then you certainly shouldn't make the mistake of over-looking what Epiphone has to offer. Epiphone makes many many versions of the Les Paul, some are signature series guitars, some are modeled after traditional Gibson customs, classics, and so forth and so on.

Sometimes the Epiphone will be a superior instrument to the Gibson. That is just how it goes with guitars, no two are ever the same. While the people at Gibson are forever focused on making very expensive clones of their famous Les Paul guitars from the late 1950s, the people at Epiphone are forever focused on making a better and better affordable Les Paul.

The Les Paul is typically a heavy guitar. Sometimes the weight of the instrument is prohibitive for smaller women or men too. You need to think about how long you will be standing and playing these things, and if you can do it, and if the guitar is right for you. They tend to weigh two to four pounds more than a Strat or Tele style guitar.

Many working musicians employee an Epiphone Les Paul as their touring guitar. They may own a very expensive Gibson they keep at home for themselves and for their biggest shows, but they use an Epiphone for most live performances. Why is that? It is because the Epiphone can do the job as well as the Gibson can, but if it gets stolen or damaged in all the mass confusion of touring across the nation or the world, they can replace it easily.

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro features:

  • Body shape: Single cutaway
  • Body type: Solid body
  • Body material: Solid wood
  • Top wood: Maple Veneer
  • Body wood: Mahogany
  • Body finish: Gloss
  • Neck shape: SlimTaper D
  • Neck wood: Mahogany
  • Joint: Set-in
  • Scale length: 24.75"
  • Truss rod: Standard
  • Neck finish: Satin
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood
  • Radius: 12"
  • Fret size: Medium jumbo
  • Number of frets: 22
  • Inlays: Pearl block
  • Nut width: 1.68" (42.67mm)
  • Pickups Configuration: HH
  • Neck: ProBucker 2
  • Bridge: ProBucker 3
  • Active or passive pickups: Passive
  • Series or parallel: Series
  • Special electronics: Push/pull phase series switch, Push-pull coil splitting
  • Control layout: Volume 1, volume 2, tone 1, tone 2
  • Pickup switch: 3-way
  • Coil tap or split: Coil split
  • Bridge type: Fixed
  • Bridge design: Tune-o-matic
  • Tailpiece: Stopbar
  • Tuning machines: Grover
  • Color: Golde
  • Country of origin: China

Epiphone Les Paul Custom PRO Electric Guitar Review

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Lyndsey Gunnulfsen with her Fender Standard Jazzmaster HH


3. The Fender Jazzmaster HH

The Fender Jazzmaster has forever been under-appreciated and under-played. Want to stand out among your Fender Tele or Strat or even against your Les Paul playing friends? Go Jazzmaster.

The body is definitely original, as are the hum-bucking pickups in a Fender solid body. The guitar, for whatever reason, has simply remained an outlier in terms of popularity. So that is what makes it such a steal.

It's priced very very reasonably probably because demand isn't so high. Kurt Cobain sure rocked the hell out of the Jazzmaster, or he thrashed the hell out of it, depending on your terminology. He also utilized that Jazzmaster bridge for some strange high pitched noises.

The Jazzmaster is a solid alder body. It's a 22 fret guitar, but is unique in Fender's line for having two hum-bucker pickups. The controls are simple. The guitar is like what would happen were Fender and Gibson to get married and have a child.

What is funny is the Jazzmaster is almost always used in a rock or metal or punk setting, not for jazz. But don't let any of these things get in your way, the Jazzmaster will deliver for you no matter whether you play funk or country and western, and it will do so on a budget, provided you're getting the Standard. The guitar is priced at $599. and is made in Mexico.

The neck pickups are supposed to be louder than the bridge. The Standard has push-pull coil tapping pots, so you can go single coil or humbucker in your playing. I suggest you play this guitar and the Epiphone Les Paul to determine which one of them is right for you. They will compare nicely to each other.

I bet you can find these guitars used for three hundred dollars in pawn shops and on ebay. You really want to get your bang in your buck, you find a well kept used one. Buy it and play it.

Fender Jazzmaster HH guitar features:

  • Body shape: Double cutaway
  • Body type: Solid body
  • Body material: Solid wood
  • Body wood: Alder
  • Body finish: Gloss
  • Neck shape: C modern
  • Neck wood: Maple
  • Joint: Bolt-on
  • Scale length: 25.5"
  • Truss rod: Standard
  • Neck finish: Satin
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood
  • Radius: 9.5"
  • Fret size: Jumbo
  • Number of frets: 22
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Nut width: 1.65"
  • Pickups Configuration: HH
  • Neck: Blacktop humbucker
  • Middle: Not applicable
  • Bridge: Blacktop humbucker
  • Active or passive: Passive
  • Series or parallel: Series
  • Special electronics: Push/pull tone control
  • Control layout: Master volume, tone 1, tone 2
  • Pickup switch: 3-way
  • Coil tap or split: Coil split
  • Bridge type: Tremolo/Vibrato
  • Bridge design: Synchronized tremolo
  • Tuning machines: Standard cast
  • Color: Nickel/chrome
  • Country of origin: Mexico

Fender Standard Jazzmaster HH

The Peavey Riptide


4. The Peavey Riptide guitar

The Peavey Riptide is a great guitar. But there are some issues here that may or may not matter to you. Ethics may mean something different to the stockholders and managers of Peavey than they do to people like you and me. Peavey is famous for shutting down US operations and shipping them far overseas for the increase in profits for the stockholders and family.

These things are made in Indonesia and the wages paid may make you blush, or not. The guitar is inanimate, and holds no wrongdoing of its own accord. These guitars can be had new for $400 bucks, and used for half that.

You got a kid who wants to play guitar, electric guitar? You can score one of these for little to nothing, and it is a very good guitar for the money. You wouldn't be embarrassed to play one of these live. You can either play, or you are learning, that's all there is to it.

It's a faux Tele body of alder. 22 jumbo frets, Tele style pickups and bridge. The guitar weighs about 7 pounds. So anyone should be able to stand and play it with enough comfort. Call the styling 'retro-modern.' You can go from country twang to shred in an instant on the Peavey Riptide.

Peavey Riptide

The Washburn PX-Solar V160CK guitar in white.


5. Washburn PX-Solar V160CK

For a seriously heavy metal or thrash vibe instrument, the Washburn PX-Solar should certainly get the message across. The thing is built for power chords and screaming shred solos all the way up to the 24th fret. These guitars also come, rather appropriately, in dark black.

These instruments go for around $650 new. Bet you can land one used for $400 or less too. This is a guitar of exaggerated pointy edges. A screaming V shape. The body is mahogany, and solid, so there is no mistaking its metallic tonal intent. It has a maple neck and an ebony finger-board or fretboard. Ebony isn't cheap, and neither is mahogany. Seymour Duncan has a long and deserved reputation for making terrific pickups for rock and roll and metal, and Seymour Duncan supplies these pickups here.

You'll likely play this guitar standing up. I don't think sitting and playing works so well with these V shape bodies. The V dimensions are shrunken from the standard sizes of past days. There is also a body bevel for the player's forearm. So ergonomics are important to the people at Washburn, a fine, and very long standing guitar manufacturer.

The neck is slim and made for the target consumer. A head banger and shredder should find this guitar suits their desires and provides great value for the dollars.

Washburn PX-Solar V160CK features:

  • Body: Alder
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ebony With 24 Frets
  • Inlays: Ola Englund Inlay At 12th Fret
  • Nut: Graphite
  • Nut Width: 43 mm
  • Scale: 25.5"
  • Pickups: Duncan Designed Humbuckers
  • Pickup Configuration: H / H
  • Controls: 1 Volume/1 Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 5 Way Blade
  • Hardware: Chrome Hardware
  • Bridge: Fixed Bridge
  • Tuners: Chrome Grover Exclusive 18:1
  • Finish: Matte Finish

The Washburn PX Solar V160CK


bhattuc on January 25, 2020:

Wesman, guitar is your castle, no doubt. This one I found very informative and interesting. Thanks

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 05, 2016:

Thanks Joe. While I'm ever so aware of Fender and Gibson scale length, I'm perfectly capable of typing something the exact opposite of what was meant. And never in a million years would I have spotted the error without it being pointed out to me.

Joe on October 05, 2016:

Ummm, Since when do Les Pauls have a longer scale than Fender? LPs, Gibson or Epiphone, unless they're a special model (baritone or a few other specific and rare-ish models that are essentially Gibson's take on a Strat-like guitar) are all 24.75" scale. Fender uses 25.5" scale for all Stratocasters and Telecasters, as well as most other models, only excluding some specialty short scale mini's (usually 24" and made for children) and baritone models (which are few and far between).

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