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Electric guitars- Best Buys under $500

By  Bob Glastetter | Published  07/27/2006 | Guitars

Electric guitars- Best Buys under $500

?Here's the criteria I'm using. These are new guitars that can be had under $500 street price or real world price,?not by the MSRP. These are great guitars for the beginner or mid level player or something?pro's could use as a great backup,?or in some cases their main guitar!??Bold?statement I know so they have to be good and they are!

? In almost all these cases they are import models and we all know that most of the import models really need a pickup change for optimum tone and sometimes tuner upgrades also. Although pretty much all of these have great hardware and really only need a pickup change to sound much more pro. So here we go.

? 1. Ibanez RG 321: Hands down the winner! The most pro feeling guitar for this kinda cash ever at?only $280.00. Workmanship approaches U.S. custom shop quality with great tone woods and almost sheer perfection in construction. They really sound and play?great and they?will change your mind about the?price/quality argument. Solid body tone woods and?a 24 fret neck with great tuners! Fixed bridge?and string thru, great sustain. They intonate dead on too!

? 2. Agile guitars:?Available on E-bay ( Rondo Music)??Here's a real unknown that a?couple friends got me turned on to. This?is a great line of import guitars. They make Les Paul copies, PRS copies and really good Strat and Tele copies. Price point for the better models is around $369 and down. Stick with the higher end models for better quality all the way around. Great fretwork, solid tone?woods, super finishes, heck the whole product line is good. The best new company in this price range from top to bottom PERIOD.

? 3.?Epiphone Dot Archtop: Epi's version of the Gibson 335. A Semi Hollow body guitar for?$399. Hard to beat as?almost all Semi-Hollow bodies have laminated tops?anyway, Yep even U.S.A. made Gibson's. Replace the pickups and GO!? I'm happy to report the Epi's import?quality has really gotten better the last 2 years. I would however if it's possible try to?play as many as?you can?to find a stellar?example. But that's good advice buying ANY guitar.

? 4. ESP/LTD EC-50: A great value in a Les Paul type guitar for $199. ESP has made great guitars for years! Feels very Gibsony with some hot pickups.For the price it can't be beat . But if you can afford more the Agile Les Pauls are?the best bet.

? 5. Tokai SG: Yep who's Tokai? ?Well they are a Japanese company that have made some of the best Les Pauls EVER. Their SG's are very close if not almost identical?to the Gibson SG 61 reissues everbody wants. This is the Korean made version you can pick up for $469. The quality will blow you away and their imports can hang with ANY U.S. made SG, yep they are that good, really amazing for the money. I would call these pro quality guitars for very?little money. If you closed your eyes and didn't know where it was made you would swear it's a U.S.A. made instrument, first class all the way. I would rate them higher but they are unavailable in the States due to "Gibsons" lawsuits against the company for their accurate copies!?That should tell you how good they are. You can however find them on Ebay from a Canadian Distributor and have them shipped for a small fee.

? Recap:? In my opinion these are the 5 best electric guitars/companies?for the money under $500 brand new. They are excellent choices from the get go with only small mods (pickups) to really get them going. But I change pickups on All my guitars. Why? Simple the aftermarket pickup makers make better sounding pickups! So get out and play these guitars and do some additional research too, it's hard for me to give all the details of all the guitars?in this format. Find the one that's right for you.

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