I'm quite a beginner and I want to buy my first E-guitar. I've got an acoustic and have been playing for about half a year, I played E-Bass for a year before that.

Anyway, I need some help choosing my first Electric with a budget of around $500. I'd like to play classic/instrumental/hard rock and dip into metal as well. I was thinking of maybe getting an Ibanez RG or a Hagstrom Ultra Swede.

Any Assitance would be great! Thanks in advance..
Does that $500 include an amp?
modes are a social construct
Honestly, you could get a great guitar for $500. If I were you I would go to a local guitar shop and drool over a whole crap load of 'em play tons of them and get your hands all over them. When you get your hands on the one that just has that "sound and feel" that you are looking for head straight for the counter and buy it. You'll never be sorry.
My Rig: Gibson SG Menace
Gibson Les Paul Menace (Heavy Modded Project)
PRS Mike Mushok Baritone
Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top
Epiphone Dot Deluxe
Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue
Epiphone Worn '66 Wilshire
Egnater 15W Tweaker, 112 Cab
Personally I would say Epiphone or Fender, can't go wrong and theyre great to mod.

Gibson 2005 Les Paul Standard
Fender Road Worn Strat w/ Noiseless pickups
Marshall JCM 2000 401C
Marshall Vintage Modern 2266
Marshall 1960A cab (Dave Hill from Slade's old cab)
Ibanez TS9DX
EHX Little Big Muff
Freshman Acoustic
A nice MIM strat would probably serve you well.
modes are a social construct
My advice would be to get a guitar that doesn't have a floating bridge (floyd rose or similar).

As crazy as it sounds, I would actually suggest a Schecter in this case. You can find a used C-1 Classic in that budget and they are great guitars- one of the few Schecters I like. Very versatile and would fit your needs very well.

If not that, I'd still recommend a used guitar. You can find some amazing deals on craigslist, ebay, and even Guitar Center's used section.

How much are you planning to spend on the amp?
Have you played any electric guitars yet? Only by playing them can you determine what brand is right for you - by learning how different models and brands fit in your hands. The most important part of choosing a guitar is choosing one that you are completely comfortable with.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
I've played a few.. A friends Ibanez Rg, Gibson Les Paul Custom, an Epiphone Sg and an Explorer. A Cort Strat too. They were all very good and I loved the RG hence my thought on buying one.
So I've played a few before not with much technique though, just a few simple chords and scales.
Unfortunately the nearest guitar shop is around 40 kilometers away so I can't visit one anytime soon.

If it's not too much, could you link a few of those guitar models?

Quote by Elucaleb
I've got about 300-400 saved for the amp btw.


As for the guitar, I see you favor Ibanez so I would suggest looking on Craigslist for any local deals. Just make sure it's made in Japan and has a good bridge on it (original Edge, Edge Pro, Lo-Pro edge). If you find any and aren't sure if they're good, link them on this thread and 99% of the time I'll be able to tell you if the guitar is any good or not.

Also check out Guitar Center's used section. I made a search for Ibanez guitars with a price range of $400-$600. There are several on there. The great thing about Guitar Center is they will ship it to you or a Guitar Center near you (for a bit more, obviously) and then you have 30 days to try it. If you don't like it, you can send it back.

Here are a couple quick finds on eBay, too.



Just keep in mind that with older, non-Prestige Ibanez guitars, any model starting with 4 or above means it's made in Japan. 5 or above means that they have better hardware (models starting with 4 tend to have the Lo-TRS trems, but there are some that you can find with the Edge).

If the model number ends in 1, it's a hardtail. 0 means it has a tremolo. I could go on from there, but that's pretty much all you need to know. Again, I can help identify pretty much any Ibanez. I may not know the exact model number, but I can tell you if the bridge is good or not by looking at it.
Fender HSS Strat and a Vox VT40+ Modeller (Maybe a Fender Mustang 2 or 3, depending on how much you want to spend.

This would definitely be your best bet in versatility and range of tones. A modelling amp is a huge boon to beginner players. The range of tones, sounds and effects can really help you define "your sound."
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.

Fender MIM Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar Bass
Epiphone EJ200 Super Jumbo
Fender Excelsior 13w
Acoustic B300HD (with matching 1x12 cab)
NYC Big Muff Pi
Alright so I'll keep my eyes open for any great deals on ebay and craigslist. I'll give Guitar Central ago maybe next week when I find the nearest store. But let's just say I'd have to pick a new guitar for under $500.
Are MIM Strats any good? Taking into account that I want to play Hard Rock as much as Classic Rock, I heard they're not very good with distortion.
I like Epiphones a lot too, Epiphone Les Paul Custom AWH?

Anything on the Hagstrom?

Thanks for all these replies guys!
First of all, in the ~$500 range, there are very few outright bad guitars. There are some, but usually you won't pick a bad one, unless you want a guitar that looks "unique" cause no one has them. There's a reason no one has one (I'm thinking of Danoelectros and the Black and Chrome Jaguar Special).

Quote by Elucaleb

MIM Strats . . . I heard they're not very good with distortion.

Complete Bullshit. Whoever told you that doesn't have any idea what they're talking about. The only way that's remotely true is if you say "single coils don't handle super-high gain very well," which is a generally held as decent advice (some people like the sound, most don't).

EDIT: The only Epiphones I'd stay away from are the one with prices south of $400. Above that, they're pretty much good guitars.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.

Fender MIM Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar Bass
Epiphone EJ200 Super Jumbo
Fender Excelsior 13w
Acoustic B300HD (with matching 1x12 cab)
NYC Big Muff Pi
Last edited by kangaxxter at May 9, 2011,
Quote by Elucaleb

Anything on the Hagstrom?

Thanks for all these replies guys!

I can help you a little further on the Hagström.
I haven't played one yet, but I've done extensive research into their Super Swede and Viking models and I have been in contact with them via their Facebook page. Check that out if you want some more info, they are very helpful.

Hagströms are supposedly very versatile guitars. Most of their models come with a coil split, which is a method of shutting down one of the humbucker coils which will give you a single-coil sound. Don't expect it to suddenly sound like a strat, though!

Hagström have gotten my attention for their value for money. That is what probably speaks to you as well. Because their prices are relatively low, you might see some minor flaws in the build quality. Some people have been saying some Hagströms have sharp fret ends or crudely finished hardware. I could live with these faults, but it's up to you if you can. Hagström have also told me they are listening to the community and continue to improve on their quality control.

I think a lot of people are not even looking at them because it says "Made in China" on the back, but I think that's their loss. Same goes for brands as Michael Kelly. Everybody has it's own taste in guitars, but these brands are definitely worth checking out if you're on a budget.

Summarizing: I think an Ultra Swede will fit the bill.