Our next expose into the world of premium guitars will be guitars under $2,000. These are unquestionably top of the line instruments. The only beauties out of your price range at this point are the valuable signature models or limited releases.
By this point, you should know your style or at least have an idea of where you want to be. You may be practicing constantly, rarely ever going a day without picking up your guitar. Perhaps you have a band, perhaps you have gigs. Maybe you’ve created a makeshift home studio and your gear isn’t cutting it. Signature model instruments are a tried and true method to getting the sound that other artists have crafted over the span of their careers. This instrument you buy should be for you, not to mirror anyone else. You need what will help you get to the next level.
It’s easy to get stuck on a plateau, skill-wise. A brand new instrument can reinvigorate your passion for your dream.
Without further ado, here are the best-reviewed electric guitars under $2,000.
PRS CE 24 - Satin Blackout
Right of the bat, PRS is always making an impression. They’re blending nitro finish is truly a sight to behold and that’s before you even play it. The CE 24 is crafted with battle tested tonewoods and decorated with a beautiful bird in flight inlay. This is a purchase that all musicians and non-musicians will appreciate. As for the hardware, you can play any genre from hard-rock and metal to twangy Americana. There pickups are set up 85/15 to give you 6 different settings to mess around with. For up and comers and those that just can’t seem to put the guitar down, this is the option for you. The body is incredibly lightweight with a slender neck. The only drawback reviewers have noted is the neck sometimes takes a little getting used to. Also, the colors at the time are limited. This guitar can be found from $1,699-$1,999.
Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster
One of the most talented guitarists the grace the earth, Eric Johnson is a true legend who needed a legendary guitar. A master of fusion in genres from rock to funk to jazz, he has found a sound and technique that is all his own. This guitar was made to Eric’s handpicked specifications for all his fans and supporters that have supported his playing career thus far.
This Stratocaster is based on a ’57 model, it has a two piece alder body with a very thin lacquer on the body. Eric went through 19 different sets of pickups and wound these to his exact preference using new methods he developed. The pickups are set to the neck and bridge pickups instead of the usual neck/middle tone of most Stratocasters. This one-of-a-kind guitar can typically be found for under $1,899, a little under our budget.
Gibson 2016 Les Paul Studio HP
We have covered many different editions of Les Pauls in these articles, from Epiphone to Les Paul Tribute. We are just below the standard and special—in terms of playing style and price range. This modern Les Paul Studio is essentially a souped up version of the Les Paul Classic. A major improvement is the heel from body to neck has been smoothed to give even greater versatility. Titanium metal is implemented throughout the hardware for better durability and adding brightness to the overall tone of the guitar. The 2016 Studio HP is equipped with legendary Gibson Humbuckers and comes in at under $1,850
Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci
John Petrucci is known as the virtuoso behind Dream Theater, pioneer Prog Rock group. Petrucci’s signature custom model is about as comfortable and playable of a guitar as you will find. The neck has a 5-bolt mounting for perfect alignment and stability. The tuners and locking system are made by Schaller. Reviewers say that this guitar is excellent value for the price and insanely comfortable. You can play this thing for hours, the slight cutaway for the picking hand is a godsend as well. This guitar is available for under $1,800.
Godin LGX-SA AAA Flamed Maple Top Electric Guitar Cognac Burst
If you consider yourself a musician before a guitar player or shredder, the Godin LGX-SA is a very attractive option for you. This is an incredibly versatile instrument capable of 3 different voicing options. It has electric and acoustic options as well as a synth access option which opens up a whole new world of sounds and tones. This Godin is an ideal studio guitar. The body is a beautiful AAA-flamed maple top. This neck consists of a mahogany body and an ebony fingerboard. The RMC system provides an acoustic tone through a bridge transducer, giving the vibrations from the strings more resonance in the body of the guitar. Seymour Duncan custom Humbuckers drive the electric tone for this instrument. The Synth access is a 13-pin connector for a Roland GR series and Axon AX1000 Guitar Synths. You have the option of playing either electric or acoustic mode, or both in tandem for a unique mix. This guitar is available for just under $2,000.
Dean Signature Series Rusty Cooley RC6 Electric Guitar Xenocide
This guitar is an acquired taste for some and completely bad-ass to the rest. But one thing is for certain, this guitar is ahead of the curve. One of the fastest contemporary players, Rusty Cooley’s guitar was never going to be cheap or less-than. It has a super thin neck and a double cutaway body for optimal speed playing. It has a recessed Tremolo Bridge in order for the strings to be accessible. The body is alder, the neck is maple and the fingerboard is ebony. The Dean Rusty Cooley has 24 Jumbo frets. This is a brand new guitar on the market, with a 7 string being released in late September '18. The early reviews have been stellar. If you’re a specific type of speed player and familiar with Rusty Cooley’s compositions, then this is a guitar you’ll have to look into. It’s available for under $1,999. You can find other used models based on your preferred online retailer.
Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar
The Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar is our 4th signature model on this list so far. All of which are some of best or most influential guitarists to model your skills after. Johnny Marr is a founding member of the Smiths and has gone on to be one of the most prolific and important musicians of the 21st century.
The Johnny Marr Jaguar features two custom Johnny Marr bridge and neck pickups. The design is a nod to 60’s space aesthetic. The body is alder wood, the neck is maple and the fingerboard is rosewood with mother of pearl inlay. It comes with a Tremolo bridge that really brings the sonic power of this guitar to the forefront. Reviewers are over the moon with this guitar, saying it’s the best indicator of that classic, single-coil Fender sound. This guitar is available for under $1,800.
Gibson SG Standard 2018 - Heritage Cherry
Enough with the Signature models, this is a classic electric guitar that can belong to no one in particular. This is the same guitar that Santana immortalized with “Soul Sacrifice” at the original Woodstock or the guitar Pete Townshend smashed into the stage. The Gibson SG is an iconic guitar in rock history. Like a Tele and Strat, The Les Paul and SG are usually #1 and #2 selections. The modern SG has a lightweight body and a slim neck for hours of playing or practice on end. Modern additions have been made to the tuners and locking system for the ultimate sustain. The body and neck are crafted from mahogany. The fingerboard is rosewood with the classic trapezoid pearl inlays. This legendary guitar is available for under $1,550.
G&L Comanche Electric Guitar
As we discussed in previous articles, G&L is Leo Fender’s last will and testament; based out of Fullerton, CA. This guitar has the familiar Strat silhouette with a lot of new features. Most striking is the offset Z-coil pickups designed by Leo Fender to catch all the bright, top-end sounds and a full bottom end with no annoying hum. Thanks Leo. The Comanche also has volume and bass controls, which affect the pickups through a passive treble and bass system. The Comanche also comes stock with a Dual-Fulcrum Vibrato bridge. The body is alderwood. But there are some elements of customization to this one, either a maple neck and rosewood or maple fingerboard depending on your preference. Reviewers say that this is one of the best U.S.A. made guitars they have ever played. Others say that there is no end to the versatility this instrument brings. The Comanche is a new instrument on the market, available for under $1,550 from most online retailers.
ESP E-II FRX Electric Guitar
For all the hardcore and metal fans, give this one a solid read-through. While this ESP may look like it’s all looks and no substance, I urge you to check this one out on line. Some reviews on this axe are, “This guitar is one-in-a-million”, “This guitar is a monster!!” and “This things screams metal”. This guitar is great looking, the purple and black looks very cool and looks even better under the deep dark houselights of a basement show. This guitar has an alder body, maple neck and an ebony fingerboard. The E-II has a thin U-neck with deep double cutaways for great playability. It’s paired with EMG 89 and 89R active pickups. It has a Floyd Rose Tremolo to complete the metal setup, dive-bombs and squeals aplenty.
Ibanez S Prestige S6521Q Surreal Blue Burst Gloss
One more guitar for our shredders, the prestige line is the pinnacle of Ibanez’s guitar line. These guitars are produced exclusively in Japan and imported to the U.S. Ibanez is known throughout the industry for guitars that sound great and play fast. They have low-action and screaming tones to cut to the front of any mix. The body is mahogany with a beautiful maple top. The neck is a Super Wizard high performance neck which encompasses 5 pieces of maple/walnut for ultimate solidarity. The pickups are a DiMarizo Air Norton and A Tone Zone with a 5-way selector switch for a broad range of tones for you to choose from. The bridge is the Gibraltar Standard II is designed to maximum sustain and playing comfort. Reviewers say the look and feel of this guitar gives pause to those who think there are only the “Big 2, Made in America.” This guitar is available for under our budget of $2,000.
And that is our list for you today. $2,000 is an amazing sum to have at your disposal for anything. It is the perfect amount to take your playing and dedication to your instrument up a notch. There are a lot of signature guitars that are now available to us, with perfected hardware from true virtuosos. There are a lot of options at this price point so don’t rush to any purchase. Investigate, Try, Practice and Play so you can precisely calculate what you’re buying.
As always, be aware of your chosen online retailers purchasing warranties and lemon policy and always read the fine print.
Thanks for reading!