There can be a slew of reasons that brought you to look at this list of the best electric guitars under $100, and I’ve kept those in mind while compiling my favorites.
You might be an experienced guitarist of the acoustic variety who’s looking to try your hand at electric guitar without investing too much in an instrument you won’t want.
Or perhaps you’re on the first leg of a tour and your guitars were stolen and now you’ve gotta jump on stage tonight with the cheapest axe you can buy so you can get the gas money you need to head on to Dallas.
Or maybe you’re a total beginner with a shoestring budget who just really wants to shred as soon as you possibly can.
It’s probably this, or you’re a parent looking to get your kid started with an inexpensive musical hobby.
Whatever the reason, I’m sure you’ll love these great electric guitars under $100, because I’ve only picked the best for your playing pleasure.
I’ve gotta warn you, at this price point you won’t find many name brand guitars. This list, in fact, contains one brand you will be familiar with, which is Peavey, coming in at number two.
The rest I have ranked according to sound, construction, features, and playability, and they are all from completely under the radar manufacturers.
But, just because these guitars are from unknown brands doesn’t mean they’re not worth the hundred bucks it’ll cost to bring one home.
In a pinch, or as an extremely thrifty purchase, you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth from any of these following five.
The most unknown, thus taking last place, is the Burning Fire Style electric guitar. It looks really cool, but the pickups are a bit crackly when you turn the volume knob and I can’t say how solidly it’s put together.
In our number one spot is a really great starter pack from RockJam. This bundle includes a fun to play double cutaway electric, an amp, a gig bag, and more; basically everything you need to rock right out of the box.
The Top 5 Best Electric Guitars Under $100 – Overview
#5 (No Brand) Burning Fire Style Electric Check On Amazon >>
- Body – Basswood
- Neck – Maple
- Fingerboard – Rosewood
- Electronics – Dual brandless humbuckers + middle position brandless single coil
- Cool body style similar to B.C. Rich Warlock
- 3 total pickups with master tone control and 5-way selector switch
- Available in 6 different finishes
- No branding whatsoever — who makes this thing?!
- Sounds like some loose wiring going on
If I were ranking these guitars solely on looks, this electric would take the number one spot because I like guitars that look “metal”.
It’s called the Burning Flame Style electric guitar, and it’s made somewhere in China by some unknown manufacturer.
Whoever it was did a good job of putting together a pretty cool super budget instrument.
It’s got 24 frets, sawtooth fret markers, a whammy bar, and a few different pickups, and all in all it sounds pretty decent.
Its specs list the body as basswood and the neck as maple with a rosewood fingerboard, but honestly, we can’t know for sure if that’s right. Judging by the lightness of the body, I’d say basswood isn’t too far off from true, and the fretboard looks like rosewood but I have a hard time believing that quality of wood would go on a guitar so inexpensive.
Whatever the woods, it plays nice and fast and doesn’t sound half-bad either.
My only real issue with this model is that when you turn the knobs, at least on the one I checked out, there’s a bit of pop and crackle type sounds, a problem usually attributable to some loosely soldered wire connections in the guts.
I had this issue with a $700 Traben bass, and all it took was a trip to the guitar tech to have it fixed. So, if you love the looks of this electric, considering that you’re paying less than $100 for it you can probably take it to have this issue remedied.
#4 Best Choice Products Beginner Guitar Starter Kit Check On Amazon >>
- Body – Hardwood
- Neck – Hardwood
- Fingerboard – Hardwood
- Electronics – 3x brandless single-coil pickups
- A great starter kit with everything you need to start jamming
- Wammy bar for extra playing fun
- Decent sounding double cutaway guitar
- No information available on tonewoods used
Starting with this guitar, we at least know who makes them.
But, we run into another unknown with this Best Choice Products electric… they list the materials simply as “hardwood.”
This can be practically anything, but I’d assume basswood based on how lightweight it is and the overall tone.
Speaking of tone, it’s really not bad for such a cheap guitar. It’s by no means a show stopper, (or show starter for that matter) but for inexperienced players just looking to practice and have fun, it’s got all the tone you need.
Its body is in the shape of a classic Fender, with double cutaways so you can shred all the way up the neck, and no matter what range you play in it sounds evenly balanced.
The real selling point of this guitar is that it’s included in a comprehensive starter kit that includes a 10 watt amp, an instrument cable, a pick, a whammy bar, a guitar strap, an extra set of strings, and a gig bag!
This would make a great gift for anyone who’s expressed interest in playing electric, or to start yourself off if you think this is where your passion lies but don’t have a ton of extra money to spend on a new hobby.
#3 Jameson RWGT280 Check On Amazon >>
- Body – Solid Wood
- Neck – Maple
- Fingerboard – Maple
- Electronics – Brandless humbucker
- Maple neck and fretboard for snappy sounding chords and riffs
- Comes with a bonus instrument cable and guitar picks
- Cool looking headstock
- Only one pickup
- Unknown body wood
This 280 Series electric is the first guitar I’ve ever seen with only one pickup, and to be honest, it looks really strange.
But, once you get over the initial shock of seeing what looks like a mutilated electric, it’s a fairly good beginner guitar.
We have a little more information about what this guitar’s made of but still don’t know what the heck its body wood is. To keep the pattern going, let’s say basswood again.
Its neck and fingerboard are both made of maple, the same wood which gives Telecasters their spank, and helps this budget friendly axe along with its own bit of snappy spankiness.
One humbucker isn’t going to do a lot for you in terms of tone, but at least this one works with no loose sounding connections. It puts out a fair amount of chunk, but certainly isn’t powerful enough for any kind of performances.
As an added bonus with the Jameson RWGT280, you get an instrument cable and some guitar picks.
If you’re just starting out and you already have a bunch of picks, you might be thinking this isn’t much of a bonus. But, trust me, guitar picks are like socks, and in no time you’ll be wondering where they all disappeared to.
So to wrap this one up, sure, it’s only got one weird looking pickup, but it plays smooth with good action, its intonation is fine, its sound is good enough to get you through your practice years, and it’s a nice looking black double cutaway whose only appearance problem is the aforementioned lack of a second pickup.
#2 Peavey Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3/4 Rockmaster Check On Amazon >>
- Body – Basswood
- Neck – Maple
- Fingerboard – Rosewood
- Electronics – Single Peavey humbucker
- 3/4 sized great for kids or small players
- Radical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finish
- Trusted quality from a well-known brand
- Only one pickup, again!
- TMNT theme not for everyone
Now, finally, we have an addition from a brand we all know and love.
Peavey has a long history of innovation and invention which you can read about on their website. They make great guitars, they make great amps, and they make great pickups.
It’s just too bad that they only included one pickup in this electric.
So now I’ve seen two guitars with only one pickup, and… it still throws me off.
However, this Peavey humbucker is a couple magnitudes more powerful than that in the Jameson model, and actually gives enough tone to make me feel like I can pop into some decent metal riffs.
Like most Peavey guitars, this 3/4 size RockMaster has a super fast to play, slim neck profile, and if you have nothing against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it looks darn cool.
This is a great guitar for kids, especially those who love the infamous fighting tortoises, and with only one humbucker you won’t have to worry about your child rattling the windows of your house when they practice.
#1 RockJam Electric Guitar Starter Pack Check On Amazon >>
- Body – Basswood
- Neck – unknown
- Fingerboard – unknown
- Electronics – 3x brandless single-coil pickups
- Awesome starter pack to get you rocking right away
- Whammy bar for Hendrix-style riffs and licks
- Available in several different finishes
- Unknown neck and fretboard material
Wrapping up this list of the best electric guitars under $100, we’ve got the RockJam Full Size Six String.
RockJam, this is a totally unknown brand to me, but I was impressed by this guitar’s sound and playability.
Like most guitars in this category, it’s got a standard Fender-esque double cutaway body, which we know is made of basswood.
It has 22 frets, but unfortunately I can’t tell you what the neck and fingerboard are made of. It sounds a bit like maple and plays like rosewood, so let’s assume it’s that and move on.
In terms of playability, this guitar is super fun to jam on. It feels solid, has a slim neck that’s just wide enough to make chording a breeze, and feels smooth and agile beneath my fingers.
There are three single coil pickups controlled by two tone controls and a 5-way selector switch, so you actually have a surprising amount of control over your sound.
The bridge isn’t locking or anything to hold your tuning stability, but if you’re willing to re-tune every once in a while you can have a great time with the included whammy bar, especially if you learn these tricks detailed by Guitar World Magazine.
Now to the real reason this guitar is number one; it’s part of a starter pack! This means you get the nice guitar, an amp, a strap, a cable, picks, truss rod tools, extra strings, and a gig bag, all for less than $100.
It’s available in blue, red, sunburst, and more finishes, so if you’re buying it as a gift you can order to suit your recipient’s favorite color.
This is a great buy for music teachers looking for an additional student guitar, for hesitant beginners unsure of their true creative passions, or for parents who want to give their kids a chance to rock!
Buyer’s Guide – How To Buy a Decent Electric Guitar Under $100
What Should I Look for in an Electric Guitar Under $100?
Now, we have to be honest with ourselves here. You can’t expect too much from a guitar that sells for under $100.
That means don’t be disappointed that there aren’t a lot of big brand names on this list. You can find those easily in guitars that sell for under $200, but under $100 is a special price point that only select budget manufacturers cater to.
In an electric guitar for under $100, you should expect decent, if not perfect intonation, and playability that functions up and down the neck. Look for dead frets or excessive buzzing. These things can all be fixed, but will bring your price by another $50-$100 or so.
Tone-wise, there’s not a ton to say. Will they sound good? Sure! Will they sound great? Absolutely not.
They key to an electric guitar’s tone, besides its tonewoods, are the pickups, and all of these guitars have extremely cheap pickups. They’re not horrible, and they work like a basic pickup should, but you’re not going to get loads of clarity or power from any of these guitars.
Just be aware of what you’re buying in this price range, which is, simply stated, a guitar specifically made for beginners.
Is It Worth Buying a Guitar in this Price Range?
If all you have is $100 and you desperately want to play guitar, then yes, it’s worth buying a guitar in this price range.
If you’ve got a kid who seems interested in playing music but you’re not sure if it’s a hobby they’ll stick with, yes, it’s worth buying a guitar for $100.
If for some reason you need a last minute emergency electric, then yes, it’s worth buying a guitar for less than a Benjamin.
However, if you’ve got the extra money to spend, I would definitely recommend looking at some higher priced models. These electrics for under $100 are very basic in every way, and while they’re fine for practicing and learning, there’s not much else they can do.
Who Are Electric Guitars Under $100 Good For?
Probably the best use of these electric guitars is to give them as gifts to those who have mentioned how they’d love to learn to play. Got a classic rock fan in your life? Give them a guitar and see how happy they become.
For most very young children, all but the Peavey on this list will probably be too big to play. That’s why we’ve written this review of the the best electric guitars for small hands.
And if your daughter isn’t into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we have a selection she might love in this list of great girls’ guitars.
As far as this list is concerned, teenage to adult beginners who are on a tight budget can find years of enjoyment in any of these models, but those looking for something they can head off to shows with should probably check out our review of the best electrics under $500.
What Are Electric Guitars Under $100 Good For?
These guitars are great for practicing and learning the foundational guitar skills.
Outside of that, they’re good for movie props, for gifts, and for smashing on stage in lieu of your $1000 Stratocaster.
Aside from these things, I can’t recommend electric guitars under $100 for much else.
If you’re looking for a guitar you can hop on stage with, these really won’t cut it. Despite a few of them having not one, not two, but three pickups, the electronics are low quality, the woods are substandard, and tuning stability is next to nil.
If you’re looking for a good performance guitar, we’ve got you covered. We’ve written reviews of the best guitars for playing in church (or church-sized shows) and for playing the blues on or off stage. And, if you can’t find what you’re looking for in either of those articles, check out our best value electric guitars here.
The Final Word
So, there it is, the top-rated electric guitars under $100. Your choices range from unbranded B.C. Rich style metal axes to Fender look-alikes in convenient combo packs.
Most guitars in this list are comparable to one another, with the Peavey being the real brand name stand out, so you can’t really go wrong with any of the choices.
And if you get it and realize you did in fact make a bad choice, you won’t have to stress too much knowing you’ve just spent less than $100 on a new electric guitar that you can re-sell, re-gift, or recycle into some trendy modern art.