Re: Best non-Ibanez electric under $500, under $1000?
I've been doing some extensive research on this very subject the last two months. I've decided my next guitar will not be an Ibanez due to the last one I bought having such horrid QC (crap fretwork and the nut physically moves every time I use the bar no matter how hard I tighten it). The two brands I've found both fit the under $1000 category.
First one is Rasmus by Suhr guitars. They were only sold for two years, between 2010-2012, and were an attempt by Suhr to bring their quality to a lower price point. The bodies and necks are made in China and then are shipped over the USA where they are PLEK'd, which is a machine that does precise fretwork on a guitar neck, setup, and are made sure to be the same specs as Suhr guitars at the Suhr factory in the USA. They have USA made Suhr pickups and Japanese made Gotoh bridges. The only negatives I could find about these guitars is that the color choices are not too appealing and some remark that they look like starter guitars. They come in two models, the S which has a strat shaped body, and the Modern which is the same shape as the Suhr Modern guitars. They sell for about $999 and there a bunch still out there new but since they stopped producing them this year they probably will start becoming scarce.
The second one are Charvel San Dimas/So Cal guitars from 2010-2012. They were made in Japan and have a high quality setup and high quality parts. They come with Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio pickups in an assortment of color options. The fret work on the guitars is really high quality and they sell from $799 to $899 depending on model and color options. There are two negative aspects to the guitar though: they are meant to be and look like 80's shredder guitars, which is not appealing to every body, and some people who buy them find the QC to be hit or miss. They also only have 22 frets which is a preference thing.
Hope this helps you out.
I think I should also mention Carvin guitars. A lot of people see Carvin as a high end high quality custom-type guitar maker and as such think of them as expensive, but if you build the guitar with a regular color paint job and keep the options limited you can easily achieve a sub $1000 guitar. You could also consider their build it yourself kit with some higher end options and it would be below $1000 but then you would (obviously) have to build it yourself. One negative about Carvin guitars is that their pickups are not very well known to be good, so a pickup replacement will have to be factored in.
Last edited by Yousef; 02-22-2013 at 06:17 PM.