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10 Rock-Solid Guitars Under $600

10 Rock-Solid Guitars Under $600

Do you need to spend a ton on a gig-worthy axe? Probably not.

There has never been a better time to get your hands on a gig-ready guitar without breaking the bank. Sure, we’ve all lusted after the high-end models, but these 10 guitars balance affordability, features, and construction.

Squier J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster

This affordable signature Jazzmaster fromDinosaur Jr.’s famed dealer of decibels offers the traditional lead and rhythm circuits à la vintage JMs, but pairs that with an Adjusto-Matic bridge and a slightly wider nut.

$499 street

fender.com

Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS32Q DKA

This sleek shred machine builds on Jackson’s Super-Strat lineage with a 24-fret compound radius neck that’s smooth and fast. It’s loaded with a pair of the company’s high-output humbuckers. One twist: This particular model comes as a hardtail. Dive bombers need not apply.

$299 street

jacksonguitars.com

Epiphone Nancy Wilson Fanatic Outfit

Heart’s lead axe-wielder brought back her classic signature model this past year. The mahogany body is based on the NightHawk and has a figured maple veneer top. Other highlights include a pair of ProBucker pickups (FB720 and 3 Slant), through-body construction, and twin parallelogram inlays.

$579 street

epiphone.com

ESP LTD SN-200HT 

Although this is definitely a modern speed demon, the traditional styling shines through with a basswood body and maple neck. It’s outfitted with a charcoal metallic finish, thin neck, and a push/pull tone knob. The guitar comes loaded with ESP LH-150 pickups and a fixed bridge.

$449 street

espguitars.com

Kramer Assault 220

The classic lines in this Les Paul-shaped body are tried and true, but Kramer has updated it to create a modern-rock marvel. A mahogany body and licensed Floyd Rose tremolo with locking nut are highlights, while other features include alnico V humbuckers, K-Speed SlimTaperC” neck, and 24 medium jumbo frets.

$379 street

kramerguitars.com

Gretsch G2215-P90 Streamliner Junior Jet Club

A mix-and-match approach can always open up new creative pathways and this particular Gretsch solidbody combines a Broad’Tron BT-2S with a P-90 Soap Bar. The wraparound bridge is anchored to a nato body with an aged white binding.

$399 street

gretschguitars.com

Ibanez AZES40

Born out of the higher-end AZ series, this budget HSS guitar aims to cop the same vibe and feel of its more boutique counterparts. They are available in three colors, each loaded with ceramic pickups, T106 bridges, and Jatoba fretboards.

$349 street

ibanez.com

Sire Larry Carlton S7

One of the newest models in Carlton’s line of signature models is this S-style setup featuring an HSS pickup array. Other highlights include a roasted maple neck, alder body, bone nut, and a 2-post tremolo bridge.

$599 street

sire-usa.com

G&L Tribute ASAT Classic


Built upon the bones of Leo’s timeless T-style designs, this ASAT Classic offers bolt-on construction, sassafras or poplar body, and a hard rock maple neck. As the name suggests, even the pickups pay homage to Leo’s design with a pair of MFD single-coils.

$589 street

glguitars.com

Yamaha Revstar RS320

Inspired by the design style the company uses in their high-end motorcycles, this nato-bodied model comes in at the price of a high-end pedal. It features a pair of ceramic YGD humbuckers and a thin neck profile with a rosewood fretboard.

$399 street

yamaha.com

While Annie Clark was named the 26th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2023, she couldn’t care less about impressing an athletic stamp on either her sound or her image.


Photo by Alex Da Corte

On her eighth studio release, the electroacoustic art-rock guitarist and producer animates an extension of the strange and singular voice she’s been honing since her debut in 2007.

“Did you grow up Unitarian?” Annie Clark asks me. We’re sitting in a control room at Electric Lady Studios in New York’s West Village, and I’ve just explained my personal belief system to her, to see if Clark, aka St. Vincent, might relate and return the favor. After all, does she not possess a kind of sainthood worth inquiring about?

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The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

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Mdou Moctar has led his Tuareg crew around the world, but their hometown performances in Agadez, Niger, last year were their most treasured.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On the Tuareg band’s Funeral for Justice, they light a fiery, mournful pyre of razor-sharp desert-blues riffs and political calls to arms.

Mdou Moctar, the performing moniker of Tuareg guitar icon Mahamadou “Mdou” Souleymane, has played some pretty big gigs. Alongside guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and bassist Mikey Coltun, Moctar has led his band’s kinetic blend of rock, psych, and Tuareg cultural traditions like assouf and takamba to Newport Folk Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and, just this past April, to the luxe fields of Indio, California, for Coachella. Off-kilter indie-rock darlings Parquet Courts brought them across the United States in 2022, after which they hit Europe for a run of headline dates.

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U.S.-made electronics and PRS’s most unique body profile make this all-American S2 a feast of tones at a great price.

Many sonic surprises. Great versatility. Excellent build quality

The pickup selector switch might be in a slightly awkward position for some players.

$2,029

PRS S2 Vela
prsguitars.com

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Since its introduction in 2013, PRS’s S2 range has worked to bridge the gap between the company’s most affordable and most expensive guitars. PRS’s cost-savings strategy for the S2 was simple. The company fitted U.S.-made bodies and necks, built using the more streamlined manufacturing processes of PRS’s Stevensville 2 facility, with Asia-made electronics from the SE line.

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