Cheap electric guitars just seem to resonate with me. I’ve reviewed a lot of them over the years and I'm still not quite sure why that is the case.
Perhaps it’s that I feel I can actually play them – that they don't have to kept in a display case or held by an auctioneer in kid gloves. Maybe it's simply that the build quality and longevity of the instruments has gotten much better in the last 20 years. Or maybe it’s the fact I can buy more of them – and that’s certainly the case this Cyber Monday.
Rumors have long been flying around retailers overstocking, or manufacturers over-producing, following a boom in demand for affordable instruments in the covid years.
Whether there's something in that or not, we are seeing some crazy knockdown deals this year. For me, the pick of the bunch is a whopping $200 off the Sterling by Music Man Mariposa, a guitar I, ahem, ‘borrowed’ when it came through our doors for review.
Speaking of which, it earned itself 4.5 stars from our reviewer Chris Gill, who praised the model along with the Cutlass, which is also on sale, for “their distinctive character, standing far above the generic character of most competing solidbodies in their price range”.
Sterling by Music Man Mariposa:
One of the best Sterling by Music Man launches in recent years, this signature model for Mars Volta maverick Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is a no-nonsense, endlessly playable rock machine, with a slick roasted maple neck and rosewood fingerboard, locking tuners and two tonesome custom humbuckers. We rated it 4.5/5, and it's available now from Musician's Friend with an almighty $200 off.
Sterling by Music Man Cutlass:
$549.99, now $479.99
If you're looking for a seriously versatile guitar that looks as good as it sounds then the Sterling by Music Man Cutlass, in stunning Rose Gold, is a must. This guitar is effortless to play and its HSS setup means it will cover a lot of sonic ground – and better yet, there's a mega $70 off right now.
There are also top bargains on an ultra-versatile Les Paul, a classy Gretsch and some gorgeous Squiers, including a dual-humbucker Mustang for a ridiculous $149.
Gretsch G2217 Streamliner Junior Jet Club:
One of the biggest electric guitar bargains you’ll find this Cyber Monday is this gorgeous Gretsch single-cut for just $299. Besides this limited-edition – and rather classy – Fairlane Blue finish, the JJC BT’s big selling point is its pair of Broad’Tron humbuckers, which offer a wide frequency response for a more contemporary twist on the company’s trademark tones. And at $100 off from Musician’s Friend, you really have no excuse not to sample that great Gretsch sound.
Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro IV:
$549, now $399
What’s better than a Goldtop Les Paul? A discounted Goldtop Les Paul – and you can also snag this budget beauty in Ebony, Wine Red and Pacific Blue finishes. Loaded with Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers with push/pull coil-splitting, this is a surprisingly versatile guitar, while its maple-topped mahogany body nails the classic LP vibe – and right now you can bag $100 off at Musician’s Friend.
Squier Classic Vibe '60s Jazzmaster:
Be still, our aching wallets: this offset stunner comes in three of the all-time best Fender finishes – Daphne Blue, Shell Pink and Surf Green – and delivers all the typical Jazzmaster playability via a rhythm/lead circuit, two Alnico single coils and a floating vibrato system. And it’s now $110 off at Musician’s Friend. What are you waiting for?
Sterling by Music Man Cutlass:
$549.99, now $479.99
If you are looking for a seriously versatile axe that looks as good as it sounds then the Sterling by Music Man Cutlass, in stunning Rose Gold, is a must! This guitar is effortless to play and its HHS setup means it will cover a lot of sonic ground - and better yet, there's a mega $70 off right now!
Epiphone ES-335 Traditional Pro:
was $599, now $449
What do you call a guitar that has you covered for everything from jazz to blues, indie to classic rock and more? Easy, it’s the ES-335. Check out the ES-335 Traditional Pro. It’s on sale for $449 (down from $599) with a choice of Inverness Green, or Metallic Gold. You'll get a double-bound, 5-ply maple body, a mahogany neck (with the classic dot fretboard markers) and a pair of Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers. Bag yourself a slice of semi-hollow royalty for less before they’re gone.
Squier Classic Vibe Jag:
Was $499.99, now $399.99
Next up is the retro-inspired '60s Jag in the eye-catching Silver Sparkle finish. This guitar has all the vintage charm of an original Jag but without the hefty price tag. Right now this guitar is down to $399.99, that's a saving of $100.
Price check: Sweetwater $459.99
Squier Affinity Jazzmaster:
This low-cost series is superb for beginners and now offers more choice than ever. We can't get enough of the Affinity Jazzmaster, its lightweight body, slim and comfortable C-shaped neck and Squier single-coil Jazzmaster pickups add up to a guitar that is way more than the sum of its parts.
Epiphone SG Traditional Pro:
was $499, now $379
A contemporary take on Gibson’s classic rock machine. The Traditional Pro has a speedy SlimTaper neck (with rolled fretboard edges), while the pair of Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers are wired to a push-pull volume pot, opening up coil-splitting tone and phase-switched options. Elsewhere, it keeps the traditional mahogany body and neck combo with a rock solid LockTone tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. Here it’s back in Graphite Black and Metallic Gold, knocking $120 off the list price, in the process.
Squier Bullet Mustang HH:
Was $199, now $149
The Squier Bullet Mustang HH isn’t going to be with us for much longer, so you’ll need to act fast if you want to snap this one up for just $149 at Guitar Center. We gave it a 4.5-star rating when we reviewed it, and for good reason: it’s playable, well-built, stocked with great tones and that Surf Green finish looks uber cool. Beginner guitars don’t get much better than this.