$2000 can buy an amazing instrument; the kind worthy of putting on sold-out stadium shows.
If you’re in the market for a truly professional guitar ready to rock people’s faces off, check out our expert recommendations for the best electric guitars under $2000.
Now, understand that in this price range, you’re not going to find any subpar guitars. The rankings here are purely based on my preferences. Depending on the genre you play and your own ideal tone, any one of these could be your number one.
With that said, I usually pick up an electric to really rock hard, and I can’t get the crunch I love out of a Stratocaster. Fender is one of the top choices for a reason; they’re great. But, Strats have never been my axe of choice, so I’m setting the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster in the number five spot in today’s review.
On the other hand, though it may be cliché, I’ve gotta say that Gibson’s SG is one of my favorite electric guitars ever produced. It’s a versatile music machine that I think plays well in any style of music, from sweet jazz to sludgy metal. It’s a ton of fun to jam on and my number one recommendation if you’re going to drop this much money on a guitar.
The Top 5 Electric Guitars Under $2000 – Overview
|Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster
|ESP E-II Eclipse
|Yamaha Revstar RSP20CR Solidbody
Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster
- Body: Alder
- Neck: Maple
- Fretboard: Maple
- Vibrant, snappy tone with a ton of high-end sparkle
- Pitch-perfect tremolo system
- Vintage voice and playability
- Nitrocellulose finish can be damaged by most guitar stands
Fender’s Stratocaster has been a mainstay of electric guitar music since its inception.
With the Eric Johnson Strat, you can tap into the tone of one of the most awe-inspiring guitar gods of the 20th century.
The tone of this guitar issues forth from its two-piece alder body and maple neck in a melodious creamy crackle that will have you wailing on “Cliffs of Dover” with delight.
Its vintage tremolo system allows for smooth, satin pitch bends while you jam out on its form-fitting soft V neck.
This is a joyful electric that is so much fun to play, even though I’m not a major Fender fan, I can’t help but call it one of the best guitars in the world.
You don’t have to spend $2000 to get a nice Fender; we’ve featured the less than $300 Affinity Telecaster here!
ESP E-II Eclipse
- Top: Maple
- Body: Mahogany
- Back: Mahogany
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fretboard: Rosewood
- Arched top for optimal picking hand position
- Richly harmonic tone with great responsiveness
- Set-thru neck construction for loads of sustain
- Tone can be too thick for crisp jazz
The neck-thru construction is what really sets this guitar apart from the rest. Utilizing advanced construction techniques only seen in the best guitars, the ESP E-II Eclipse features a neck attachment method that adds days of sustain to your sound.
But that’s not the only thing to look forward to when you pick up this guitar. With a maple-capped mahogany body, you get a rich tone with lots of harmonic goodness that snaps out with precision and clarity.
Sensitive EMG humbuckers translate this tone with any level of gain you desire. Whether you’re yearning for resonantly cool jazz or painfully brutal grindcore, these pickups can deliver.
The ESP E-II Eclipse is masterfully crafted to be a guitar you’ll never want to put down.
Ibanez RG Prestige Series RG652AHM
- Body: Ash
- Back: Ash
- Neck: Maple
- Lightning-fast Super Wizard HP neck
- Ibanez Edge locking tremolo for terrifying squeals and dive bombs
- Powerfully articulate DiMarzio pickups
- Chunky tone best suited for heavy styles
High-end Ibanez axes are the guitars for those with the need for speed. The RG652AHM is one of the fastest-playing guitars I’ve ever laid my hands on.
With an ash body, maple/walnut neck, and birdseye maple fingerboard, the tone of this beast is pretty thick in the treble-end of the spectrum. Every note shoots for with the speed and precision of an arrow, leaving trails of sonic fire in the air they sizzle through.
The Super Wizard HP neck is so thin and action so playable that it almost takes a microscope to measure the string height. Like this, you can rip off blazing arpeggios and breakneck riffs as easy as playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Top this off with the Ibanez Edge locking tremolo system, and you’ve got the capability to make this guitar totally scream. With little force, you can raise or lower your pitch by octaves and steady back to standard with virtually no change in tuning. It’s ultra-stable and made to melt faces.
Yamaha Revstar RSP20CR
- Top: Maple
- Back: Maple
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fretboard: Mahogany
- Features knob operated push/pull “dry” switch
- Versatile tone for every genre
- Ships with great factory setup; playable immediately
- Master tone control limits sound shaping
Like the motorbikes its design is based on, the Revstar RSP20CR is ready and ripping to hit the road.
With a precise build custom-crafted by Japan’s leading luthiers and a factory setup that needs no adjustments, this Yamaha Revstar will have you speeding along in soulful licks the moment you pick it up.
Using Yamaha’s own VH7+ Alnico humbuckers, the tone is wildly variable. You’re just as able to play pop-country and alt-rock as you are to jam along with the Beach Boys, Elton John, or Suicide Silence.
A push/pull “dry” switch lets you flick your tone from booming bass to focused treble with no effort and screech into solos with ease.
The body is contoured to fit the player while the neck holds a beefy “fat” profile that imbues your chords with power.
A great all-rounder, Yamaha’s Revstar RSP20CR is a guitar with no limits. If you like the thought of a Yamaha guitar but the Revstar is out of your league, take a look at their low-cost Pacifica in our review of the best electrics under $200.
Gibson USA SG Faded T 2017
- Body – Mahogany
- Neck – Maple
- Fingerboard – Rosewood
- Electronics – Dual Gibson 490 humbuckers
- Plek processing makes a precise fingerboard
- Smooth, earthy tone with great bite
- Fierce Gibson pickups with vintage Alnico magnets
The Gibson SG really needs no introduction. From Zappa to Clapton to Hendrix to Townshend, the SG has undeniably made a lasting mark on the history of electric guitar-driven music. Here’s a great list of iconic SG players.
The 2017 Faded T model blends the old with the new, keeping true to the classic SG tone of power and punch while updating playability with a SlimTaper neck and thickened fingerboard for much greater sustain.
Though some would argue that the SG is a rock-only guitar, I beg to differ, fully believing that the SG can plow its way through any style you throw at it. Whether you’re shooting for soulful jazz, woeful blues, or shouting-in-your-face punk, the SG can rise to the challenge.
Its mahogany and maple neck blend for an ideal mix of warmth and clarity, while individual tone and volume knobs for each of the authentically vintage Gibson 490 alnico humbuckers let you dial in your tone to whatever voice you want to hear.
I’m a big fan of the SG and think it’s among the best you can do for under $2000. Love the SG design but can’t quite afford it? Epiphone’s got their own version you can get for under $500 and read about here.
What Makes a Great Electric Guitar?
First and foremost, they sound superb. That’s mainly a result of two factors: quality construction and top-of-the-line pickups.
Great electric guitars are made with precision and care. They have much more human attention than the mass-produced models you can get for under $500.
Tone can be changed by the smallest of things. Sometimes, it means not putting paint or finish between the bridge and the body wood. Other times it can be the secureness with which the neck is attached, or the type of attachment used.
These great guitars are crafted with all these small variables in mind, focusing detail on every facet of construction to ensure a guitar that sounds as good as possible.
Their pickups in the best electrics are also much better than the run-of-the-mill factory-wound you find in beginner guitars. They’re made with precision with the highest qualities for the purest sound to reflect the sonic characteristics of your guitar’s tonewoods. Check here for a rundown of how and why pickups make your tone.
The bottom line is attention to detail. Manufacturers put hours more care into crafting high-quality instruments than they do to the machine-built models you get for a couple hundred bucks.
What Should You Look for in a Guitar Under $2000?
The first thing I recommend is to pay mind to how the guitar feels for you. A guitar in this price range will be a life-long companion.
Take as long as you need to get to know the guitar in and out. What does your instinct say? Is it too big? Too small? Too heavy or light? Does it fit your body like a glove or is it awkward and unwieldy for you?
The last thing you want to do is drop a couple grand on a high-value instrument only to realize a few days in that you don’t love to play it.
That’s the key here. You should love this instrument. It should fill you with joy and passion when you play it. A guitar at this price point should be like a soulmate.
Of course, playing feel isn’t all there is to it. Don’t walk out of that shop before you’ve heard it under your own fingertips. If it feels right but it’s voice doesn’t suit you, your relationship is bound to falter.
Try it with a slew of tone knob adjustments and playing in every style you know. Make it sing for you, and if you can’t, this isn’t the guitar you want to spend so much money on.
When you’re at the point in your musicianship that you’re ready to spend $2000 on a guitar, it needs to be a perfect instrument that pleases you in every way a guitar can. If there are any issues that aren’t just right, keep looking until you find the guitar of your dreams.
Who Should Buy a Guitar Under $2000?
This is a much simpler question to answer: don’t buy a $2000 guitar unless you are dedicated to your musical journey beyond the shadow of a doubt.
These guitars are truly professional-grade. They’re not toys; they’re not the kind of guitar to buy if you’re not sure guitar is the hobby of your choice.
On the contrary, these are axes made for those destined to rock the world. These guitars are made for the stage and the studio. Will they be happy in your garage band? Sure, but not to their full potential.
If you’re a beginner or even an ambitious intermediate player, you’ll be better off with a less expensive model until you’re truly ready to take the world by storm. Check out our recommended best electrics under $100 if you wanna start rocking on a budget.
Explore the finer points of various tonewoods before you commit to a guitar at this price tag. Know what you like. Be intimately acquainted with your playing style and tonal preferences.
Only then will you be ready for one of the best electric guitars under $2000.
The Final Word
This was an amazing review to write; there’s not a guitar on this list I wouldn’t happily go home with.
While the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster can’t exactly stand up to the deathly breakdowns I want to drop it into, it’s still a wonderfully smooth guitar to play. If you’re a Fender fan, this guitar gives you the vintage tone and playability that has kept this series in the limelight for more than half a century.
Just the same, the SG is a historical model that will probably never fade from the public eye. It’s a true performer that can make a guitarist out of even the most casual hobbyist.
Your options are wide open when you’re looking to spend this amount of money on an axe, so choose carefully and make you’re getting the six-string that will bring you joy for the remainder of your musical career. If none of these hit the mark, check out our recommendations for the best electrics for the money.
To aid you in this choice, I humbly present to you my choices for the best electric guitar under $2000.