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Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSH

Solid-body electric guitar

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The Best Budget Electric Guitars

Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSH

  • Don Makoviney
  • Last Updated: March 19, 2015

Lately, when people ask me for budget electric guitar recommendations, I most often recommend the Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSH. It has all the best elements of the higher-priced Strats, and with the flexibility of double humbucker pickups, will give you an endless amount of tones no matter the style you wish to play.



Table of Contents

Our Pick
Why You Should Trust My Recommendation
How We Picked
Other Notable Budget Electric Guitars

 

Our Pick

We like the Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSH because it has everything one would need to play pretty much any desired style of music.

This reviewer over at Guitar Center said it best:

“If there’s anyone out there looking for a guitar that’s versatile then this is where your search ends. I got this guitar … as my birthday gift and I am totally in love with it. It looks beautiful and sounds great as well. I would recommend this guitar to any level guitar player.”

Why You Should Trust My Recommendation

I am a guitar player primarily. I have played guitar for over 20 years, and taught guitar for many years and recommended plenty of electric guitars to my students, friends, and family. More on me here.

How We Picked

Since we’re in the budget category, we’re not going to worry about frills and luxury features. We want a solid body electric guitar that plays well, and has reliable electronics and tuners.

We grabbed all the top reviewed guitars under $500 from Guitar Center and Amazon. We started eliminating contenders based on longer term reviews. We also removed a bunch of unusual styled guitars and got down to a handful of finalists.

Here’s where we stand:

Most manufacturers build guitars based off one of the following body styles, which we’ll stick with for our list of contenders:

  • Fender Stratocaster
  • Fender Telecaster
  • Gibson Les Paul
  • Gibson SG

There are other variations of course, but we’ll stick with these, as we want something generally available. Fortunately, both Fender and Gibson make versions of almost all these styles, for under $500. They also have budget brands Squire and Epiphone, respectively. More on those in a moment.

If you’re buying for someone else, find out who their favorite bands are, what kind of music they are into playing, and that will help narrow down the choices as well.

Fender makes some great solid body electrics under $500 and the HSH Strat is a solid choice. Guitar Center, Amazon, and Zzounds list customer reviews at or near 5-stars. In fact, one reviewer sums up this way:

The neck pick up has a deep and rich tone for those nice blues licks or thick chunk distorted rock chords. The bridge pickup has a nice twang and brightness to it that is not disturbing, pretty nice to play lead rock licks. The maple neck is fast and this guitar is just an over-all comfort to play. I truly recommend this guitar. You get your money’s worth.

The Fender HSH is playable, reliable, works with all styles of music. And even though cosmetics aren’t a priority in the budget category, it sure is pretty!

Video of the Fender Modern Player Stratocaster in action:

Other Notable Budget Electric Guitars

While we’ve stuck with the two biggest guitar manufacturers, there are other solid picks.

ESP EC-50

The EC-50 is a wry take on the Gibson Les Paul Studio. One of my new students came in with one of these, and while I helped her set it up I was pleasantly surprised by the electronics and playability. The price is well below our recommendation, so if price is your primary issue, the ESP EC-50 is a great pick.

Fender Standard Telecaster

Ka-chinging in at just under $500, this is the guitar to get if most of your music is country, southern rock, or even bluegrass. This is a really great deal on a beautiful guitar that sounds great. As with most of the lower priced Fender products, this one is Made In Mexico. They also save some money by putting in less expensive electronics and tuners. They are still great though (plus, remember this is the budget category). Plus, if you decide to keep this guitar long term, you can always upgrade the tuners and electronics at a later date when your budget allows.

Wrapping Up

There really are a lot of options in this category. The best way to find out what works for you is to head into your local music store and try stuff out. While you’re at it, grab some of our favorite guitar cables. We’ve also got some great budget acoustic guitar options too.

Happy playing!


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The Best Budget Electric Guitars

Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSH

The Best Budget Electric Guitars

Important Specs

Body Mahogany
Neck Maple, Modern C Shape
Pickup Config H/S/H
Pickups Humbucking (Bridge and Neck)
Pickups Single-Coil Strat® (Middle)
Neckplate 4-bolt
Frets 22 Medium Jumbo
more specs

Synopsis:

The Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSH has all the best elements of the higher-priced Strats, and with the flexibility of double humbucker pickups, will give you an endless amount of tones no matter the style you wish to play.

ESP EC-50

Nice sound, budget price.

ESP EC-50

We were pleasantly surprised by the above-average electronics, pickups, and playability. If price is the ultimate deciding factor for you, go with the EC-50.

Fender Standard Telecaster

More twang for your buck

Fender Standard Telecaster

If twang is your thang, this Telecaster is under $500 and has everything you need for country, roots, and boogie tunes.

- M
Originally published: December 23rd, 2014

Important Specs

Body Mahogany
Neck Maple, Modern C Shape
Pickup Config H/S/H
Pickups Humbucking (Bridge and Neck)
Pickups Single-Coil Strat® (Middle)
Neckplate 4-bolt
Frets 22 Medium Jumbo
more specs



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