The best electric guitar you can buy under $500

If $500 is all that you can spare to buy a new electric guitar, you may think that the best ones available in the market are out of your budget. You're wrong, but we don't blame you — the advertorials that you've been reading in those fancy guitar magazines will never tell you the truth. You'll have a hard time finding a guitar that fits your needs if you continue to look at the wrong place. It's time you stop flipping through those magazines and read this post. We're going to tell you about the best electric guitar under $500 in the market.

We're spoilt for choice when it comes to high-quality guitars under $500. There are a variety of options to choose from in the market. It's difficult for any individual to check all of the electric guitars available in the market under $500. Don't worry; you won't have to do it because we've done it for you. After rigorous trials, we've come to the conclusion that Epiphone Les Paul beats every other candidate in the $500 category by a wide margin.

If you're a music and guitar enthusiast, you already know Epiphone. But if you don't, let us tell you something that'll blow your mind. The company has been making musical instruments since 1873 — for over 140 years. If you couldn't grasp the gravity of this fact, consider this: Epiphone started making musical instruments when the Ottoman Empire was still around, the British Empire was fighting the third Anglo-Ashanti War in Africa, and Ulysses S Grant was the President of the United States. No, we're not going to make this post a history lesson. We only wanted to tell you about the company's rich history and give you a sense of the legacy that its Epiphone Les Paul guitar line comes with.

That's not all—Epiphone is now owned by Gibson, one of the largest and most reputed names in the world of music and guitars. So it's not only history and legacy that an Epiphone Les Paul guitar comes with. The best research and expertise available in the market go into making a Les Paul. What can be better than a combination of history, legacy and expertise?

Choosing a guitar is a daunting task, especially when you're buying your first one. When you walk into a guitar store, you see hundreds of guitars hanging on the walls, all very different from each other. It is an intimidating sight — we've all been there. You can see the differences but don't know the effect they have on tone and style. So before we talk about the specifications of the Epiphone Les Paul, let's discuss the four things that you should check before buying a guitar. We want you to have the knowledge you need to pick the right guitar.

Things you should look for when buying a new guitar

The first thing you should ensure is that the headstock is not heavier than the guitar's body. If that is the case, your guitar will always dive towards the headstock side when you leave it free, which can impede your learning, distract you during a professional gig before dozens of listeners, or worse — it could damage your guitar. If you're supporting the weight of the neck with your left hand most of the time, it won't be free to play the different chords and notes that you want. You wouldn't want that to happen.

The second thing you should consider is ergonomics, which has to do with the shape of the guitar. The contours on the guitar should make playing easy. If it does the opposite, it's not for you. Comfort is of utmost importance when you're playing the guitar during a long gig. If you're not comfortable, you're not at your best. It would be best if you looked for something that suits you better. Try out different designs before you buy a guitar, and choose ergonomics over aesthetics.

The third thing you need to look at is the neck profile of the guitar. Some guitar necks are thin, while some are thick. They come in different shapes, identified with letters C, D, U and V. You'll also have to look at the radius of the neck. Check how flat or curved the fingerboard is. These parameters are critical when it comes to how a guitar feels and plays in your hand.

The fourth thing you should check is the type of pickup the guitar comes with. The three most common pickup configurations are single coil, humbuckers and HSS (also called humbucker-single-single). If you don't require a lot of gain, choose a guitar with a single-coil pickup. The humbucker gives much more output than a single-coil pickup, which is great for metal, classic rock and hard rock styles of music. If you’re looking for the best of both, go for HSS.

Why Epiphone Les Paul is the best fit for you

You can't go wrong on any of these parameters with an Epiphone Les Paul guitar. It has a mahogany neck and a mahogany body, with a maple top and a flame maple veneer. As a result, it doesn't feel too heavy even though it packs a punch. This makes the guitar easy to handle during long gigs. Most other guitar makers offer slightly heavier guitars in this affordable price range.

The guitar’s satin-look finish, which looks and feels very different from a high gloss finish and gives it a vintage, aged look. To an untrained eye, it looks very much like a premium Epiphone or Gibson guitar. It looks stunning, and that is what we have come to expect from Epiphone.

The guitar comes with Epiphone's brand new headstock shape, which musicians say looks and works great. It has Epiphone deluxe tuning machines, which look very much like Gibson deluxe tuning sets. These are some of the nicest tuning machines we've seen on cheap guitars in the $500 price range. They feature solid nickel, which gives them an excellent finish and a luxurious look. It is a catch at this price tag. Some brands provide these only in their premium products.

The guitar is equipped with a white nut from Graph Tech Guitar Labs, the world's largest manufacturer of nuts and saddles for musical instruments. The Graph Tech nut does an excellent job when it comes to preventing the strings from binding together. At the same time, it keeps the strings of the guitar in tune.

Compared to other guitars in the same price range, Epiphone Les Paul comes with a narrower fretwork, which most musicians say is a positive development. The relatively chunkier neck profile ensures that musicians get a good grip on the guitar when they are playing the instrument. The guitar's laurel fingerboard is made up of much sought-after wood sourced from India. It is known for providing a good finish, which makes the grip better, and is long-lasting, so you won't have to unnecessarily spend money on repairs every few months. The superb looking binding along the edges give it a good look and prevent damage.

The Epiphone Les Paul also has Gibson custom shop level BurstBucker type two and three pickups, which have been used on various Gibson Les Pauls over the years and some premium guitars as well. It has BurstBucker two pickups in the neck and BurstBucker three pickups in the bridge. These pickups deliver a good balance of tune and control. BurstBucker three, which has a more rounded edge, sounds good, particularly with overdriven and distorted tones. BurstBucker pickups are currently among the best available and the most popular in the market at this price range. The pickups come with braided two-conductor wiring, which makes them versatile.

The guitar comes with standard 50s style wiring with two volume and two tone knobs with a premium look, which is the same as Gibson products. When you alter the sound using these controls, you get a linear change, not a sudden burst or downturn, which is critical for professions. It doesn't suddenly go from everything to nothing, and gives you a decent range. In other words, when you alter the volume control, the tune changes in a pleasant way. 

Epiphone sets up its guitars nicely before they are packaged, so you don't have to worry about the setup. All you have to do is finetune it to your needs and start playing. If you're a beginner and trying to learn, you can start playing it right out of the box. A Les Paul will sound good straight off the shelf of your local guitar shop. That's not the case with most other guitars out there.

Epiphone Les Paul also ranks highly when it comes to aesthetics. As we already mentioned, it comes with a satin finish, which gives it a premium vintage look, something that is not available in other guitars in this price range. With Epiphone Les Paul, you also have plenty of variety. You can choose from dozens of colour options, including TV Yellow, Burst, Worm Ebony, Smokehouse Burst, Worm Metallic, Worm Heritage, Worn Purple, Red, White, Red Metallic and Black Metallic. A lot of customised versions can also be found in local shops.

The last thing that makes an Epiphone Les Paul an excellent value for money proposition is the hard shell branded case in which the guitar comes. If you're a beginner and haven't learned how to save your guitar from damage during travel, this is going to prove particularly beneficial for you. You don't get a hard shell branded case even with costlier Gibson guitars, not unless you're spending a few thousand dollars buying something premium.

Only a musician can tell you that there's no other guitar in the market under $500 that comes even close to these specifications.

With specifications discussed, let's talk about sound. That's what we're here for.

Unfortunately, we can't play the guitar for you. But we can talk about our experience playing it and what we've heard from the musicians who play Epiphone Les Paul in professional gigs.

We tried some clean tones on the guitar to get a feel of the sound. It was plugged into a Marshall DSL40CR 40W Combo Tube Guitar Amplifier on the clean channel with the volume control and amp all the way up. All we can say is that it sounded perfect, the way a guitar good enough for professional use should sound. We tried both the BurstBucker pickups on the guitar, and they sound exactly as we've seen in the videos put out by Epiphone on its YouTube videos. It sounded great even on the neck pickup, which is not the case with guitars in the $500 price range.

On the amplifier's crunch channel, with both gain and volume on 12, it sounds fantastic—nice and crisp, with volume both up and down. That's what you should try when you buy one of yours. We're sure you'll like it.

Most professional guitarists and musicians say they will have no hesitation playing an Epiphone Les Paul in a professional gig or a jam night, or doing some recording with it. The tuning reliability of the guitar has been reported to be pretty good. In short, it plays and feels great to professionals.

If you're thinking of buying your first electric guitar, this will meet all your needs. If you're planning to take up your first professional gig, this will do the job. If you plan to learn and master an electric guitar with an Epiphone Les Paul, trust us when we say that it is made for you.

The Les Paul is a compelling package of Epiphone's rich history, tradition and legacy and Gibson's expertise. It will give the guitar player a true experience of what it's like to play on a premium and durable guitar at a price range that college students can afford. It also has our seal of approval, if that matters to you. Go ahead and buy it with confidence because we've told you everything there was to know.