What’s the best guitar under $1000?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Jelly Roll Horton, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Synchromatic

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    First off, I am not looking to buy another guitar. I’m just curious. I couldn’t get to NAMM. But whether you did or not, what do you think is the current best guitar under $1000, Gretsch or otherwise? Anything new and/or superior to, say, 2019? 2018? 2016?
    larryb likes this.
  2. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I think the best made guitars for the $ are Eastmans. Hand made all top quality components, electrical and pickups. Used models can be found under a grand. They don’t make a lot of different less expensive ones. Basically the T 386 or T 486 are the ones to look at but you have to like thinline 335 style guitars.
  3. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    MIM Strat with overwound Tex mex pups
    panhead6zero, Mr Swisher and 19cad61 like this.
  4. dreamingGretsch

    dreamingGretsch Gretschie

    Oct 12, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    There's a lot of variables.. are you saying, best guitar in terms of quality? usage? solid body? hollow body? semi?

    if we're going for the bang-for-buck, quality, and the most guitar you'll ever get for 1000..

    Id say Gretsch.. closely followed by Classic Vibe line of Squiers.. I've never felt anything like a Gretsch Electromatic 5XXX series in terms of value for money.. Its a lot of guitar for it's price, and the construction and build quality.. really solid..

    thats if we're talking about major popular brands.. there's still a lot of brands out there that can qualify.. D'angelico, Guild, Eastmans, etc etc..
    GlenP, Merc, blueruins and 1 other person like this.
  5. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    That's a tough question. Seventeen or so years ago I took my two sons out to buy them guitars. I suggested they consider Teles. One did pick a Tele, the other a Strat, both MIM. Good choices and both became good players. Those guitars are probably more than 1K (CDN) now. But if I was asked to recommend something today. I would probably suggest either a G5220 or G5230 (if a Bigsby was important). The G5220 is such an awesome performer for a wide range of styles and is so inexpensive - if only they had these in 1966!
  6. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I’d try and find a used Electromatic for $650, and then spend the remaining $350 on the necessary upgrades.
    MKunie, Zeek, 19cad61 and 5 others like this.
  7. dougmon

    dougmon Electromatic

    Jan 9, 2013
    I'm kind of new to Gretsch guitars, but what do you think of as necessary upgrades to an Electromatic?
  8. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Go to " The Great Bigsby Forum " and see what I posted in the thread :
    What model Gretsch Bigsby on a 6120 / 5420 ? ... ( or may still be on the home page )
    See what I posted ( all ) about my mods to my 5120
  9. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    So many choices.....Streamliners...Electros....Teles....
    Reverends are some of the best for the buck!!
    ronbo likes this.
  10. Robbie

    Robbie Country Gent

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    On an overall basis I’d strongly suggest Reverends.
  11. dak55

    dak55 Country Gent

    May 31, 2018
    Depends on what you're looking for. For under a grand, used Electro Gretsch AND used MIM Tele. BAM -you're covered.
  12. rbert0005

    rbert0005 Electromatic

    Oct 6, 2019
    Let’s not forget the PRS’s

    Mark W likes this.
  13. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    It depends which Electromatic, hollow body or solid body? I think necessary depends on skills and sound one is after. The newer Electromatic’s are really playable as is. A beginner or intermediate player would likely be fine stock as long as they resist the urge to customize it. The only thing I can think of is maybe a bridge upgrade at some point if you here rattling from it. For the hollow body I would add a jack plate at some point too.
  14. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Depends what kind of guitar and sound you are looking for. Made in USA or overseas? What type of music you are playing.
    I think Carvin (Keisel) offer the best value in an American made guitar. Great necks, well built and endless choices of wood and features. I've been a big fan of Carvin since the 80s.
    Runamok, GlenP and Henry like this.
  15. Setzerhotrod

    Setzerhotrod Country Gent

    Oct 26, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
    What is the best tasting food for under $20
    Tadhg, unknown fan, new6659 and 6 others like this.
  16. ronbo

    ronbo Gretschie

    Feb 28, 2012
    Broomfield, Colorado
    Gotta admit I love my Gretsch Electromatic, but have owned 10 Reverends and they are by far the best playing and sounding guitars I've ever owned for that kind of $$$. They stay in tune well, even with a Bigsby, due to the stock locking tuners. They come from the factory perfectly setup for my needs, all quality components and I rarely trade out the pickups on them usually with Railhammers (a Reverend company), except for my sparkle green Flatroc that I put TV Jones Duotrons in (that guitar Rocks!)

    Most models new are under or around $1000, used are considerably less. I just picked up a used sparkle silver PA-1 Hollowbody w/P90's for $850!
    larryb likes this.
  17. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    I bought both my PA-1's used for under $900....Spectacular guitars....I am not sure why, but their Bigsby equipped guitars stay in tune...
  18. GlenP

    GlenP Gretschie

    Jul 23, 2019
    “Used to could” get a decent guitar for less than $500. I still think good bang for your buck comes from Yamaha or Epiphone, but lately Fender had some great options. When you up the ante to $1000, your options really open up and there is a quality difference that is worth it. Top ten lists maybe can narrow down your search, but fingers on the fret board will be the final factor if a particular guitar is right for you. Ask Rick Beato!

    When I was buying my son his first nylon string, $100 student guitar, I was looking for the Yamahas, but in comparing the different ones they had in the store, I ultimately selected a Hohner, that particular one just sounded better, to my surprise. I don’t think they even make them anymore. Don’t shop for a guitar with preconceived notions, I second that emotion!
  19. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    A rib steak purchased at the supermarket and bbq'd at home.
  20. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in

    Lotsa possibilities.
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