Posted on 12th February 2020 by Callum
For the budget-conscious guitarist we’ve compiled a list of our favourite classic guitars under £500. These are nods to the iconic shapes that have featured heavily in rock ‘n’ roll over the years. If you want the look, feel and sound inspired by the classics, all without the eye-watering price tag then read on…
Forget inspired by a classic – the Epiphone Sheraton IS a classic! Sharing the same body as the ES-335, the Sheraton has been in production since 1959. A small tweak in 1986 removed the fiddly ‘Frequensator’ bridge and replaced it with a straightforward stopbar tailpiece to create this model, the Sheraton II. Blues legend John Lee Hooker hailed the Sheraton as “an out-did 335” for its glitzy appearance. With elegant ivory and black binding on the top, back, neck, headstock and f-holes, as well as gold hardware, tortoise pickguard and flashy abalone inlays, we can see what he means; the Sheraton is a real feast for the eyes. Available in Wine Red, Ebony and Vintage Sunburst.
New for 2020, Epiphone have nailed it with their Les Paul Classic. Paying tribute to the most famous electric guitar of all time, the Les Paul Classic is a fantastic instrument in its own right. The late 50s look and colour options along with open-coil zebra Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers ensure the Les Paul DNA runs deep. CTS electronics, coil-splitting, phase-switching, and Grover tuners add a touch of modern sophistication. As a result this is a superb guitar with versatility in spades. And for the extra-thrifty guitarist, check out the slightly cheaper Worn finishes!
The Gretsch budget line Streamliners are one of the best choices for guitarists on a budget. Out of the box these are honestly some of the best-playing guitars we deal with. And if you’re a sucker for the Americana 50s hot rod look then it can only be a Gretsch! Hollow and Semi-Hollow options available, fitted as standard with an official Bigsby vibrato, Broad’Tron pickups for an authentic Gretsch sound and a beautiful range of colours. These three are some of the most popular options, but you can see the full Streamliner Collection here.
No list of iconic guitars is complete without a Stratocaster. This most-popular of instruments inspired generations of players with its elegant shape, versatile pickup options and well-engineered tremolo bridge. Squier’s Classic Vibe series has become a sensation in recent years, with some guitarists consequently preferring them to their full-fat Fenders. The series aims at recreating models from the 50s, 60s and 70s with period-correct materials, colours and pickup voicings. At around the £300 mark, you could even save some budget to put towards a hardware upgrade. Not that you’d necessarily need it, the vintage-style tuners and pickups more than deliver an authentic Strat vibe.
Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster: Browse The Range Now
Another standout from the Squier Classic Vibe range is the limited edition Esquire. Based on the original electric guitar, the Fender Esquire from 1950, this takes the biscuit in terms of a classic. With its simple operation and elegant looks, there’s a reason this guitar went on to inspire countless players over the years. Its first production run stopped in 1969, with original models fetching insanely high auction prices today. Grab yourself a piece of history with this faithful reproduction on a budget!
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