Rock and Rollback: The Best Guitars Under $200

Key Points

  • When it comes to electric guitars, the Squier Bullet Stratocaster is the best guitar under $200.

  • In the world of acoustic guitars, the Epiphone PR-150 is the best guitar under $200.

  • Although buying a cheap guitar at any online music retailer is an option, it's best to try out guitars in person before making a purchase.

Guitars are deeply personal and subjective to an individual's own experience. There’s no real right way to choose the best guitar for you. However, finding your next instrument at your local music store is always the best route. Finding the right guitar for you is comparable to finding the most comfortable shoes — you’re going to want to try them on. See which guitar’s neck feels natural around your hands or which guitar’s fretboard is easiest to play.

With that said, there've been many folks who’ve found their dream guitar online. Musicians Friend, Sweetwater, Guitar Center, and Amazon are all exceptional online stores with thousands of reviews and information to guide the purchase of your very first guitar. However, if you are looking for the best guitars under $200, then you might not be as worried about how a guitar sounds or feels to you. You might just want to see if it’s something you’re even interested in. In that case, you need a quick guide to the best guitars under $200.

Electric Guitars: 0 and Below

Now for the good stuff: electric guitars! Why are they great for beginners? It's because they're loud and flashy, and they make you feel like a rock god in minutes. Electric guitars aren’t as difficult on your fingers as the steel strings of an acoustic guitar are.

Often, the action — the distance between the strings and the fretboard — is lower on electric guitars, making it easier to grab that G chord when you need it most. If you’re worried about ease of play, then the electric guitar might be the right choice for you.

Take a look at these babies to see if any feel right to you.

Playing with an electric guitar

Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS HT Electric Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2023 07:11 pm GMT

Fender is the most iconic electric guitar brand in the world. Rock gods like Jeff Beck, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain have all donned Fender Stratocasters around their necks. While the American-made strats cost a grand or two, the good people at Fender created the Fender Squier as a way to give everyone else an entry point into their storied tradition. 

Take this Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS HT as proof of concept. Join the long lineage of guitar players who enjoy Fender’s quality guitars without having to pay a premium. How do they keep the price so low? Fender makes this Squier in Indonesia. Poplar and maple make up the guitar's parts as opposed to the American-made Strat’s alder and rosewood. 

The Fender Squier is the best guitar on the market for budding musicians wanting Fender's iconic silver sound for a great price. The Squier offers a distinct sound and comes in a mix of beautiful colors. Indie legend and contemporary producer Steve Lacy uses a Fender Squier often in his music. Mike Rutherford of Genesis plays one. Even Joe Trohman of Fall Out Boy strums one.

Squiers sound clean, fresh and punchy and they're perfect for all skill levels of players wanting Fenders iconic sound without having to pay top dollar. That's a good deal.

Ibanez 6 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2023 07:15 pm GMT

If Metal and Hard Rock are more your vibe, consider an Ibanez. The Japanese guitar company began producing guitars in the 1930s and never looked back. Now, legends like KISS’s Paul Stanley, and Joe Satrini proudly represent Ibanez guitars by playing them across the world. The guitars sound precise, darting, and ablaze with electricity.

Person playing electric guitar

The Ibanez Solid Body is an excellent choice for beginners desiring a fast and easy fretboard to practice their shredding. Ibanez builds the guitar's body and neck with mahogany, and the fretboard with rosewood, providing it with a surprisingly warm and full-bodied tone.

While the guitar is warm, it's built for lead guitarists. The Ibanez Solid Body rewards fast-picking and soaring solos. Guitar players who are most interested in soloing and lead guitar may have a match in the Ibanez Solid Body.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012 Electric Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2023 07:41 pm GMT

The Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012 was first introduced in the early 1990s to meet the needs of top session players. Yamaha develops the line in partnership with their Los Angeles custom shop, which attributes to its west coast-inspired name.

With a range of pickup and hardware options, today’s Pacifica models offer tonal versatility, easy playability and meticulous quality. For slightly over $200 — clocking in at $209 — its high quality and affordable price make this an obvious winner for anyone searching for a reliably bright and punchy sound. 

The PAC012 features a basswood body, which is lightweight and resonant, and a bolt-on maple neck, which provides a bright and articulate sound. The rosewood fretboard is also a common feature on this model.

One of the most notable features of the PAC012 is its HSS pickup configuration. This means that the guitar has two single-coil pickups in the neck and middle positions and a humbucker pickup in the bridge position. This allows players to access a wide range of tonal possibilities, from sparkling clean tones to thick and heavy distorted sounds.

Performing music with electric guitar

Jeff Schroeder of The Smashing Pumpkins swears by his Pacifica. The Pacifica is a great alternative to the Fender Stratocaster for players searching for a bright and vibrant tone.

Bonus: Fender Champion 20 Guitar Combo Amp

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

With an electric guitar, you’re going to need to purchase an amp! The Fender Champion is a top-notch choice. Its intuitive design, compact size, and range of effects make it an incredible option for its ultra-low price. Fender is a reputable brand that creates quality products like the Fender Champion 20 Guitar Combo Amp.  

Acoustic Guitars: 0 and Below

Gather around any campfire, living room, or beach and someone undoubtedly will pull out an acoustic guitar from the case.

The acoustic guitar is personal, communal, and versatile. Since you don't need an amp, take it anywhere. Curl up in your bedroom with your guitar and start writing songs. It’s the perfect companion to start creating and expressing yourself. While its steel strings are often more challenging to press down with your fingers, calluses build up quickly, making it seamless to transition to any other guitar of your choice.

Take a look at this coveted list of acoustic guitars below $200, go forth, and create some magic.

Epiphone PR-150 Acoustic Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Epiphone is a subsidiary of Gibson Brands, Inc which produces some of the highest-quality guitars in existence. Epiphone is a well-regarded company. Their sturdy guitars sound just as good as a top acoustic guitar like a Gibson or a Martin for half the price. You really can’t go wrong with an Epiphone. 

The Epiphone PR-150 is part of Epiphone's Pro-1 series, providing a great playing experience for beginners and intermediate players alike. When searching for an acoustic guitar, the type of wood it’s composed of becomes especially important. A different type of wood produces an entirely different type of sound and experience. The top of the PR-150 is spruce, providing a bright and articulate sound. The back and sides are mahogany, adding warmth and depth to the tone.

Artists ranging from Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Taylor Swift have all sported Epiphones. If you’re looking for a great acoustic guitar, look no further.

Playing music with acoustic guitar

Yamaha F335 Acoustic Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Yamaha F335 is bold and boisterous. It sounds big and brassy. It’s a fantastic choice for beginners on a budget. Okay, enough alliteration — time for specifics. 

The Yamaha F335 was first introduced in the early 2000s as an affordable and high-quality acoustic guitar. The F335 is part of Yamaha's FG series, which is one of the longest-running and most popular acoustic guitar lines in the world. The guitar features a dreadnought body shape, which is one of the most popular and versatile acoustic guitar designs. The top is spruce, while the back and sides are mahogany, giving it its full-bodied sound.

Yamaha acoustic guitars are accessible instruments that sound and feel as great as their price. Very rarely do you get a guitar under $200 that lasts as long and sounds as good as this one. Artists ranging from John Lennon to Earth, Wind & Fire’s Al McKay have played a Yamaha acoustic guitar.

Washburn WA90CE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Washburn WA90CE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar is a real work of art. The guitar features a spruce top and mahogany back and sides, which gives it a warm and mellow sound that just can't be beat. Strum one chord and watch the tones of this bad boy inspire any audience to swoon.

​​Washburn has been around for over a century. They've been making guitars for a long time, and they really know how to craft a quality instrument. The WA90CE is no exception. It's a newer model, introduced in the early 2000s, but it's got a real vintage feel to it.

Don’t let its warm tones and authentic sound fool you. This guitar’s got a cutting modern edge to it. This is an acoustic-electric guitar; meaning it's built for plugging into any amp of your choice. Then it really sings.

When strumming unplugged, it still resonates through the room. Acoustic-electric guitars are wise investments because if you’re ever interested in performing live, you're able to plug directly into the venue's sound system. With a regular acoustic guitar, you’re restricted to where the sound engineer places the microphone. If you move away, the audience won’t be able to hear the guitar.

The cutaway design makes it easy to reach the higher frets, which is great for experimenting with different chord shapes and melodies high up on the neck. KT Tunstall rocks a Washburn often. It’s a great guitar for beginners and pros alike. For just $220, some might say it’s a steal. 

Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2023 09:13 pm GMT

The Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar is a remarkable instrument that has captivated music enthusiasts around the world. Its stunning design, coupled with its exceptional sound quality, has made it a top choice for guitarists of all skill levels. At just $100, this guitar is a solid choice for anyone even remotely considering picking up a guitar.

Strumming an acoustic guitar

The Jasmine S35 was first introduced in the early 2000s by Takamine, a leading guitar manufacturer known for producing high-quality instruments. They designed this guitar as part of their Jasmine line to offer superb sound quality at an affordable price point

What sets the Jasmine S35 apart is its premium construction and top-notch materials. It features a spruce top and agathis back and sides, which provide a well-rounded and balanced tone. Its slim neck and smooth fretboard make it a joy to play, regardless of your experience level.

Not only is the Jasmine S35 perfect for beginners. Jasmine produces the guitars in Indonesia, lending to its meticulous attention to detail. Its durable build makes it an instrument that's built to last.

The Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar is an outstanding choice for anyone seeking an elegant and excellent-sounding guitar. Blake Shelton, Jon Bon Jovi, and Garth Brooks have all picked up Jasmine’s parent instrument Takamine’s, so you know it’s reputable. The S35 is a great choice for all levels of players wanting to bring more music to their life.

Notable Mentions

Not every guitar under $200 makes the cut. Here are a few honorable mentions for those looking for a more comprehensive list.

Fender FA-135CE Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Sure, it may look like the Fender FA-135CE is wearing a curly mustache, monocle, and top hat, but this acoustic-electric guitar is more than that. Don’t be so shallow! 

While its laminated spruce top isn’t the most ideal material for the make of a guitar, it more than makes up for it in its unique features. A Fishman pickup and pre-amp serve as the guitar's electronics giving it a worthy lift when plugged in. Plus, the guitar's built-in tuner is perfect for beginners needing some extra help tuning.

Squier Bullet Telecaster Limited-Edition Electric Guitar

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2023 09:40 pm GMT

When the Telecaster first burst onto the scene, it was a hit with country and western musicians. Soon, rock and roll artists like Bruce Springsteen started to take notice. That twangy sound, that unmistakable tone, it's the perfect blend of shiny and sleekness that musicians are continuously drawn to.

The Squier Bullet Telecaster is a superb choice for musicians on a budget looking to take the plunge into this guitar’s timeless tone.

VOX Pathfinder 10 Limited-Edition Union Jack Guitar Combo Amp

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

It’s no big deal. Only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones used VOX amps to play for the whole world while on tour. The VOX Pathfinder 10 is a versatile and portable amp pulsing with electric sound and potential. The 10-watt amp is the perfect size for traveling or practicing in your room. 

The amplifier features a simple control layout, with a gain knob, a volume knob, a treble control, and a bass control. It also has a headphone jack and an auxiliary input, making it a great choice for practicing at home or playing along with backing tracks.

Final Picks

There’s a plethora of options when searching for a cheap acoustic or electric guitar. From Fender to Jasmine, from Springsteen to Steve Lacy, these budget-friendly guitars are serenading the masses. Which guitars made the final cut? Drumroll, please…

Girl playing acoustic guitar

Electric Category Finalist

The Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS HT Electric Guitar Brown Sunburst is versatile, sturdy, and fresh. Everyone from Steve Lacy to Genesis has used Squier’s and for good reason: They’re phenomenal for their price range 

Acoustic Category Finalist

The Epiphone PR-150 Acoustic Guitar Natural is a masterful instrument that captures hearts and souls. Its superior craftsmanship and well-rounded tone give you the best bang for your buck. It’s reliable while sounding and feeling great.

Bringing Down the House While Bringing Down Your Budget

Learning an instrument has been scientifically proven to strengthen communication skills, improve emotional release, and decrease anxiety and agitation.

While expensive guitars sound phenomenal, some inexpensive ones sound just as good. Take the guitars presented in this article for starters. As Joan Jett famously proclaimed, "My guitar is not a thing. It's an extension of myself."

Take the leap of faith and get yourself a guitar that spreads your message to the world.

Was this article helpful?