The best electric guitars under £300

20th Jul 2009 | 12:11

The best electric guitars under £300
Ask MusicRadar: the results

Ask MusicRadar has one, simple mission: to uncover the very best music-making gear in existence. And when we asked: ‘what’s the best electric guitar under £300?’, you came (in your droves), you voted and you conquered…

So, this is the definitive list of the 21 best electrics your money can buy, as chosen by you: the guitar-buying, axe-wielding, six-string-loving MusicRadar community.

The top five picks fought tooth and nail in a poll to end all polls… but we do have a winner. So sit back, take one sideways glance at your own prized axe and scroll through our gallery of the very best electric guitars under £300. Which gets top honour? This way to find out.

Next page: The 21 best electric guitars under £300

The best electric guitars under £300
Hofner Colorama Special

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“Classy materials and tone - A highly playable, versatile guitar.” (Read the full Hofner Colorama review)

Why you love it:

“The Hofner Colorama Special, with the P90s, Huge range of tones for pop, blues, rock, jazz, and the neck plays like a dream.” (Thanks, AdamWright)

The best electric guitars under £300
Vintage V100

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“Great tone. Reassuring weight.” (Read a full review of a Vintage Icon (relic’d) V100)

Why you love it:

“Vintage V100 (Les Paul copy). Full mahogany body and neck, maple top and all Wilkinson parts. £175.” (Thanks, HerbieTheRadDorklift)

The best electric guitars under £300
Squier Standard Jagmaster

MusicRadar’s verdict:

"Squier is going to sell container-loads of these. The RRP is well below what we'd be prepared to pay." (Read the full Squier Standard Jagmaster review)

Why you love it:

“Squier Standard Jagmaster - The tone alone makes this guitar a steal at just over £200. And you can pretend you're in Nirvana while you're playing it.” (Thanks, comedy_dave)

BUY: Squier Standard Jagmaster currently available from Thomann | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music

The best electric guitars under £300
ESP LTD MH100-QM

Why you love it:

“I would recommend a ESP LTD MH100-QM :D. It RRPs at just over £300, BUT I GOT MINE FOR £275, and I love it :D It makes for a very impressive starter :D” (Thanks, Hazzer101)

“…any fixed bridge ESP LTD (the MH-100QMNT looks particularly handsome). Ibanez Wizard necks are worth a try, even if it's a love-hate relation, and the hardware on even the basic LTDs are superior to $400 Fender Strats.” (Thanks, Fast_Fingers)

BUY: ESP LTD MH100-QM currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | GuitarGuitar

The best electric guitars under £300
Squier Tele Thinline

Why you love it:

“The really basic rule of thumb in this price range is to avoid floating bridges like the plague. In any case, I'd add in the Squier Thinline Telecaster.” (Thanks, Fast_Fingers)

BUY: Squier Tele Thinline currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Soundslive | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music

The best electric guitars under £300
LAG Roxanne RS100

Why you love it:

“LAG Roxane R100 - around the £100 mark, and I haven't played a bad one yet. For your £300 budget, you could have two and replace the pickups with some IronGear or Bareknuckle humbuckers on both, and still have enough left over for a pint.” (Thanks, digitalscream)

The best electric guitars under £300
Ibanez RG321

Why you love it:

“…Ibanez RG321/RG2EX1, and any fixed bridge ESP LTD (the MH-100QMNT looks particularly handsome). Ibanez Wizard necks are worth a try, even if it's a love-hate relation, and the hardware on even the basic LTDs are superior to $400 Fender Strats.” (Thanks, Fast_Fingers)

The best electric guitars under £300
Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet

Why you love it:

“Since they've mostly been Fender-esque so far, can I go for the Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet?” (Yes you can, thebeagle, thanks)

BUY: Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Soundslive | GuitarGuitar

The best electric guitars under £300
Epiphone SG Special CH

Why you love it:

“Epiphone SG Special CH £114.98 Thomann =].” (Thanks, CrAbY)

BUY: Epiphone SG Special CH currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music

The best electric guitars under £300
Vintage VS6

Why you love it:

I gotta say the Vintage VS6 is awesome for its price. Never had a problem with it. Chunky neck but it just feels lovely to play, its not too heavy and has a wicked sustain, all for £160. Definitely would check that one out.” (Thanks, LordJay)

The best electric guitars under £300
Italia Maranello Speedster 1

Why you love it:

“I love my Italia Marinello Speedster. Nice feel - good rocky sound and go faster stripes! Very good value at around £250.” (Thanks, stevew)

The best electric guitars under £300
Ibanez Jet King II

Why you love it:

“I've been using an Ibanez Jet King live for 4 years now and I love it. It's really easy to play and very versatile sound-wise. I bought it because it looked quirky and retro and I was pleasantly surprised by how great it sounded.” (Thanks, adamburns)

The best electric guitars under £300
Dean ML XM

Why you love it:

“A great guitar at this price is a Dean ML XM - it plays very nicely and is a great guitar for the price.” (Thanks, Rockerdude005)

The best electric guitars under £300
Tokai ES60

Why you love it:

“I think that my choice would be a Tokai ES60 Semi Acoustic in Cherry Red. These can be got from Music King for a miserly £289 and they're in stock... what a beautiful guitar!” (Thanks, Skodster)

The best electric guitars under £300
Burns Marquee

Why you love it:

“I love my Burns Marquee. Looks, feels and sounds great. You can get one for about £269.” (Thanks, Drummy)

The best electric guitars under £300
Squier Tele Custom II

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“A genuinely astonishing neck of the highest quality all round - A great guitar at a very affordable price!” (Read the full Squier Telecaster Custom II review)

Why you love it:

“I agree with Fretwired about the Pacifica 112. Personally I believe it's overrated. Along with the Squier Strats, I have to put a word in for the Squier Telecaster Custom II. It's the most surprising guitar I have ever bought - yes because of the price but also because of the quality finish and sound. It's great fun (and easy) to play. You really can't go wrong.” (Thanks, danmar)

“Squier Tele Custom II, two P90s, great neck, superb sound and vibe. £200. Funny really - never liked Teles before I got this one.” (Thanks, shadyady69)

BUY: Squier Tele Custom II currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Soundslive | GuitarGuitar

The best electric guitars under £300
Danelectro Dano 63

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“The Dano '63 would be a great buy at twice the price, but at £199 (UK) or $299 (US) list? Forget about it. Done. This is a guitar any player should own. Chances are, you'll play it often.” (Read the full Danelectro Dano ’63 review)

Why you love it:

“Danelectro Dano 63 (List £215?) is a versatile resonant great sounding guitar (especially through a good valve amp) that to my ear beats any other electric guitar for under £300 that I have ever tried or heard.” (Thanks, chicolini)

“Apart from getting what feels right, I have been amazingly happy with my Danelectro Pro, that I got for £139. As a start for chords and basic riff structures, you can't go far wrong!” (Thanks, undiscovered)

BUY: Danelectro Dano 63 currently available from Thomann

The best electric guitars under £300
Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“Everyone should own a Tele. If you're on a budget but still want a quality version, this is it.” (Read the full Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster review)

Why you love it:

“Gotta be the squier 50s classic vibe!” (Thanks, joemunkey)

“I'm with Mr Munkey - Squier CV Tele, tried one this very day and colour me butterscotch impressed.” (Thanks, Lixarto)

BUY: Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Soundslive | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music

Next page: the top three

The best electric guitars under £300
Squier Classic Vibe 50s/60s Stratocaster

Gathering an impressive 20% of the public vote, Squier's Classic Vibe Strat is a firm favourite in the MusicRadar office and more than worthy of it's bronze medal in this list.

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“If you can't stretch to the Fender Classic Series '50s Stratocaster, this is definitely the guitar to buy.” (Read the full Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster review)

Why you love it:

“Squier Classic Vibe 50s Strat - yes!” (Thanks, Deluxe_65)

“Yamaha Pacifica is a good one no doubt. I hadn't thought about them till I noticed the posts above. However... I'd add another vote for one of the Squire Strat models. Reason is that they make a great platform to mod on. Cheap enough to throw a pickup upgrade etc.
Not sure which one I'd go with now. Jim.” (Thanks, toyhouse)

“The Yamaha Pacifica 112 may be well made but it lacks the mojo of the Squier Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster with it's Fender vibe - the build quality of the one's I've tried is also top notch for the money.” (Thanks Fretwired)

“Squier classic vibe 60s, just pips my Pacifica 112 vcx to the winning post!” (Thanks, Chinster)

“I Got the Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat a few months ago and it is amazing and it was only £225.” (Thanks, ACeDCe)

“Squier's 50s Classic Vibe Strat is hard to beat in this division...” (Thanks, ChrisVinnicombe)

BUY: Squier Classic Vibe 50s/60s Stratocaster currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Soundslive | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music

Next page: and in second place...

The best electric guitars under £300
Yamaha Pacifica 112V

In second place, with an impressive 25% of the vote, the Pacifica remains a hugely popular choice for guitarists on a budget. Well done Yamaha...

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“The Pacifica 112V remains not only the perfect start-up guitar for the serious student, but also a solid, reliable choice whatever your age or ability.” (Read the full Yamaha Pacifica 112V review)

Why you love it:

“In my opinion, you really can't go wrong with a Yamaha Pacifica 112, still at less than £200 I still recommend this to any beginner electric player, and would seriously consider picking up one of these myself. Highly mod ready and great all round quality considering the price.” (Thanks, Cass)

“The pacifica 112 is a good well made guitar that plays brilliantly and cheap enough to upgrade as time goes by with better pickups and although this is not the only guitar in the house (Gibson SG and Les Paul as well as a Fender Telecaster Nashville Deluxe along with some other cheaper guitars) I find myself picking up the Pacifica more than the others when I just want to sit and play; strange but true!” (Thanks, Neiljohnsen)

“Yamaha Pacifica 112, was my first guitar - think it was bought for about £180, its never done me wrong. Brilliant guitar :D” (Thanks, rockin_rach)

“It has to be the Yamaha Pacifica 112V. The latest version is a step up from an established classic which was already a fine guitar, and is priced way less than its quality might otherwise suggest. Less than £200 pretty much everywhere. If the cost was £300 it would still be well worth it.” (Thanks, andrewrg)

“I'd like to throw the Yamaha Pacifica 112V (£249 @ GAK) into the mix... I've had several Yamaha's over the years; all incredibly good value.” (Thanks, ross4973)

BUY: Yamaha Pacifica 112V currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Soundslive | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music

Next page: the best electric guitar under £300

The best electric guitars under £300
Epiphone ES-335 Dot

With a staggering 34% of the vote, the gold medal goes to one of only a handful of semi hollow-bodied guitars to make the list: it's Epiphone's ES-335 Dot. Versatile, great-looking and - for the price - more than usable for any level of guitarist. It's the best electric guitar under £300...

MusicRadar's verdict

"If you fancy a no-nonsense semi with more than a whiff of background and expertise, cast your eyes in Epiphone's direction. The Dot is a gem." (Read the full Epiphone ES-335 Dot review)

Why you love it:

“How about the Epiphone ES-335 Dot Semi Acoustic, 85% the sound of the Gibson original, at 1/10th of the price. Everyone that has played one of these is blown away by the great sound that comes from a complete budget axe!” (Thanks, bikesource)

"The Epiphone ES335 Dot - blows the Studio away in terms of tone. You get so much guitar for your money." (Thanks, rabbitrabbit)

BUY:Epiphone ES-335 Dot currently available from Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music

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