The Best Jazz Guitars under $500 – A Comprehensive Buying Guide

Seeing as Jazz is a dynamic kind of music that almost follows no rules, it would be difficult to narrow down and declare a specific guitar as the best for the job. So, we picked out a few versatile instruments that will work quite well for Jazz and other genres as well.

As a style of music, jazz is as multifaceted as it is distinct, and it is almost fluid in that it may not particularly follow a laid down set of rules.

In the same breath, guitars, especially electric ones, that are modeled with Jazz music in mind bear this characteristic, and they are also incredibly versatile, making them ideal for multiple genres of music.

This is why picking a specific guitar for Jazz can be an almost impossible task. Thankfully, there are several guitar brands that are not bound by their features in the way they out to play or sound, and they make exceptional instruments for playing Jazz with.

The Best Jazz Guitars under $500 Comparison Table

Name of Guitar
Build Material
Special Feature
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Gretsch Streamliner - Hollow Body Village Amber
Maple wood top, maple wood back board
Stable truss rod
Epiphone (Limited Edition) ES-335 PRO - Electric guitar
Maple wood top, oak wood back board
Vintage style
OE30 - Oscar Schmidt – Electric Guitar
Mahogany and maple wood
Chrome tuners
Ibanez Artcore - 6 String Semi-Hollow-Body Electric Guitar
Sapele body
Double cutaway style
Godin 5th Avenue P90 Jazz-Style Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Wild cherry top and back boards
Acoustic-electric

The Best Jazz Guitar under $500 – Products Review

Gretsch Streamliner – Hollow Body Village AmberThis hollow electric guitar boasts a strong and steady truss rod

This guitar features an incredibly unique look that sets it apart from most other electric guitars, but it does not come as a surprise, especially considering that it is a hollow guitar.

Key features

  • Maple wood top board
  • Maple wood back board
  • Hollow guitar
  • Thin Nato Neck
  • Chromatic II tailpiece

Jazz is an incredibly unique style of music, and it only makes sense to use a unique instrument to play the same, especially during live performances. This guitar comes with an incredible look that is quite intriguing, making it ideal for people who want to stand out.

Perhaps what stands out the most about it is the fact that it creates sounds that are big and bold, a characteristic that allows it to capitalize on the boldness and soulfulness of Jazz as a genre of music. One of the characteristics I fancy most about it happens to be its somewhat large headstock that stand out quite a bit.

This feature allows you the ability to maintain the required amount of tension on the strings so that you have no need for tuning and re-tuning every now and then.

This ideal tension also makes your music sound exactly like you want it to, even after hours and hours of intense use.

Another advantage of this guitar’s headstock happens to be the ease that comes with tuning it. When you finally need to, you will find that tuning your guitar will be something of a walk in the park.

With a maple wood top board and back board, this guitar makes sure that you can enjoy those big notes with ease. This is because this type of wood comes with a good amount of resonance, allowing the guitar’s sound to fill a room with richness and grace.

You will find, however, that it remains quite soft even when loud. This characteristic makes it an ideal choice for highs and also the mid ranges.

Aside from the sound quality, maple wood makes an incredibly hard material that keeps the guitar from experiencing breakage or unnecessary damage in case of a hard and sudden fall.

Pros

  • Made using strong and durable material
  • Comes with beautiful resonance, especially for mid and high ranges
  • Has a large headstock
  • Easy to tune
  • Ideal for Jazz

Cons

  • The bass response may be a bit too low for your liking

Verdict

This guitar seems to check all boxes where performance and reliability are concerned, and for this reason, it makes an ideal pick for your constant Jazz play. However, if you like a little more bass and depth in your music, this guitar may be something of a disappointment even though it comes with a decent amount of the same.

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Epiphone (Limited Edition) ES-335 PRO – Electric guitarComes with a beautiful vintage style

If you are looking for a beautiful and unique vintage look, this guitar, along with its incredible sound capabilities, will make you glad you bought it.

Key features

  • Maple wood top
  • Oak wood back board
  • Vintage style
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Set-in mahogany neck

Epiphone as a company have created a name for themselves as makers of exceptional guitar, right from the electric to acoustic kind, and to the hollow type of electric guitars. For a long time, the latter has been credited as ideal for Jazz music, largely for its ability to create resonance and make music sound incredible and nicely loud.

The Epiphone (Limited Edition) ES-335 PRO – Electric Guitar is largely a favorite of many a Jazz player, most notable for its beautiful vintage style, and even more for its brilliant sound and versatility. This latter characteristic is largely attributed to the making of this guitar, particularly where the build material is concerned.

On the top board is beautiful maple wood that is not just a hard and durable hardwood, but also a material that comes with ideal resonance for playing over expansive spaces and on studio settings.

This type of wood allows for the sound produced by the guitar to transition quite seamlessly, and to carry with it a characteristic loudness that permeates the surrounding.

The oak backboard plays an almost similar role, allowing for the sound to assume its most natural form as it is made. Oak is also an incredibly brilliant material that is hard and durable, allowing for the guitar to last you a good deal of time, even where it experiences extreme use.

The sound on this guitar is actually quite distinct, and you will hear in it a good deal of clarity and smoothness, coupled with irresistible depth that is largely characteristic of Jaz music.

With a set in mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard, you can be guaranteed easy playing and strength in equal proportion.

Pros

  • Has a beautiful vintage style
  • Made using maple wood and oak
  • Comes with a good deal of resonance and clarity
  • Has a depth that is ideal for Jazz music

Cons

  • The strings come loose a little too often

Verdict

You could almost never go wrong with a hollow electric guitar, especially if you want to explore Jazz music and discover the intricacies that come with it. This guitar comes with a whole lot of ideals and then some, and it gets even better when you look at the price tag on it.

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OE30 – Oscar Schmidt – Electric GuitarFitted with beautiful chrome tuners

This guitar is easily one of the most beautiful musical instruments, not as a guitar, but as an overall type of musical instrument.

Key features

  • Mahogany wood top board
  • Maple back board
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Ideal for lower tones

For a long time now, this guitar has been widely regarded as the ‘Delta King’, and for good reason. It is an electric guitar that has proven itself as an ideal instrument on which to play the famous Delta Blues due to it versatility and raw depth.

This guitar is incredibly soulful and has been credited for producing some of the most emotion-evoking sounds in music, a characteristic that makes it a great pick for Jazz music.

When it comes to build, this guitar features a mahogany top board which works as an advantage for two reasons.

The first, and likely most important, is that mahogany has been known to possess some music-enhancing characteristics. Apart from creating beautiful resonance, it also adds a good deal of depth to the sound of a guitar, making it sound fuller and more rounded than guitars that lack the same.

Secondly, mahogany is a hard wood, and it is incredible for keeping your guitar from sustaining unnecessary damage, especially in case of an accidental hit or unintended impact.

Owing to the fact that mahogany results in more depth, this guitar is able o delver earthy tones that are pretty strong, and this makes it a guitar suited for playing those earthy tones that seem to almost growl.

Seeing as the guitar also has a 22nd fret on the fretboard, you will be accorded the opportunity to express yourself as you play, and to discover other sounds on this guitar that you otherwise would not have.

Finally, this guitar comes with a good deal of impressive tuning features that make it easy for you to make certain that it sounds right at all times.

Pros

  • Has a beautiful vintage look
  • Ideal for playing earthy and low-end tones
  • Comes with a 22nd fret
  • Made using string and durable material

Cons

  • You may need to tune it constantly

Verdict

If you are looking to tap into music that has a good level of depth and growl, this hollow guitar right here is the one for you. It boasts exceptional features that give it great sound, and it is also built to withstand a good deal of use over a long period of time, making it not just affordable, but also economical.

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Ibanez Artcore – 6 String Semi-Hollow-Body Electric GuitarHas a clever and beautiful double cutaway style

At first glance, this guitar presents a cool and collected demeanor, but do not let looks fool you. It delivers rich sound that makes your Jazz just come alive.

Key features

  • Has a sapele body
  • It is a hollow guitar
  • Strings are made of nickel
  • Infinity R pickups
  • Great for higher notes

I have quite a liking for the Ibanez Artcore – 6 String Semi-Hollow-Body Electric Guitar, and it is largely for its ability to deliver exceptional clarity when played.

One of the characteristics that stands out the most about it is that it is a small and lightweight guitar, making it an ideal acquisition for people who have smaller bodies and that have trouble finding the right balance between size and weight of guitar.

When you pluck on this guitar’s strings, you will discover that it is a better suited instrument for playing those high end tones, and it bears the capacity to carry them so well at all times.

This is because it has the ability to deliver a good deal of resonance, allowing the sound to be exactly as it should be while still working to enhance its sound so that it can be clearly heard from a distance.

When it comes to build, this guitar features a full sapele body which is quite an impressive characteristic. Sapele is a hard wood that is mostly known for its ability to mimic the working and consistency of mahogany.

This means that it has the same level of hardness, an almost similar color, and most impressively, it bears similar sound characteristic. This is why it is able to create a certain depth that only mahogany can, allowing for guitars to sound fuller and rounder.

One of sapele’s biggest advantages is that it is a more eco friendly option, especially seeing that mahogany is an overused wood that certainly needs a break so that its numbers can replenish quite satisfactorily.

Even though most of this guitar’s features are not particularly exceptional, it works well to make sure that you get high quality sound at all times.

Pros

  • Comes with a good level of clarity
  • It is a small and lightweight guitar
  • Bears incredible resonance
  • It is made using sapele which is an ecofriendly option

Cons

  • Its stock pickups and sound tweaking features are not the most impressive

Verdict

While you will not particularly sound like Carlos Santana on this guitar, you will definitely get to enjoy some clean and clear tones that are quite resonant and beautiful.

The fact that this guitar is made using sapele only goes to make it an environmentally friendly tool which goes a long way in the overall sustenance of our environment.

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Godin 5th Avenue P90 Jazz-Style Acoustic-Electric GuitarWorks as a 2-in-1 acoustic-electric guitar

This 2-in-1 acoustic-electric guitar was made with Jazz music in mind, and this is what makes it one of the best performing Jazz guitars of all time.

Key features

  • Wild cherry top
  • Wild cherry back board
  • Silver leaf maple neck
  • Adjustable tusq bridge

When you first look at the Godin 5th Avenue P90 Jazz-style Acoustic-Electric Guitar, you will notice that it looks something of a cello with its shape and overall disposition. Quite on the contrary, this instrument is only made to work as a guitar, and it does an awesome job while at it.

With a wild cherry top and back boards, this guitar works to make certain that you can be in a position to play those high keys with loads of ease.

It is made to be able to create beautiful resonance, allowing for ample volume to permeate the surroundings where it is played. It also features some of the best wood, with wild cherry wood on both its top and bottom boards.

This type of wood also goes a long way in creating wonderful resonance for an even fuller sound.

Apart from sounding good, this type of wood works to keep the guitar from sustaining damage from a fall since it is quite hardy. This way, you can be certain that the guitar will serve you a good deal of time before you have to replace it at all.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 acoustic electric guitar
  • Specially made for Jazz music
  • Made using hardy material
  • Delivers a good deal of resonance

Cons

  • This guitar is a bit on the higher side in terms of price

Verdict

If you are looking to lay your hands on a guitar that is specifically made for Jazz, this instrument right here is the one for you. It also has an incredibly beautiful build that makes it look like a cello or like an instrument from the movies.

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Buying a Jazz Guitar under $500 – What to look out for

Overall Build

More often than not, most guitars for Jazz music are made to have more or less bulky bodies and loads of weight. For this reason, it is important that you make certain that your chosen guitar is the right size an that it will not tire you with its weight when you play for a long time.

Guitar Range

While some guitars are more ideal for higher and mid ranges, others are made to excel on the lower ranges. This is why it is important to know exactly what you are looking for so that you realize the kind of sound you are hoping for.

Build material

The material of a guitar has a way of influencing the kind of sound you are going to achieve. Before settling on a guitar for Jazz, test it out so that you are certain that it is ideal for you.

Conclusion

Jazz music is known for its intricacies and beautiful tones, and it would not be called Jazz without the right kind of guitar. This is why it is important that you find an instrument made to support ideal sound every time you play.

A lot of consideration goes into the choice you make, and that is why you will find that each guitar will give you something different.

Be certain that your choice of instrument is perfect, and that through it, you are going to enjoy every one of the Jazz songs you hope to play.

FAQs

How many frets does the Epiphone (Limited Edition) ES-335 PRO – Electric guitar come with?

This guitar is fitted with 22 jumbo frets.

Can I install a bigsby on the on the OE30 Oscar Schmidt – Hollow Body Electric Guitar by Washburn?

Yes, you can.

Does the Gretsch Streamliner – Hollow Body Village Amber’s case come separately?

Yes, it does.

Cooper Green

Music we must say is complex but according to Cooper Green, with the right information creating good music is a breeze. Guitars are a single aspect in the complex world of music but which play a major role, the problem however, lies in finding the right guitar for the relevant application. There are so many brands of guitars, each of which are differently configured but offer the best sounds. Cooper has been in the music industry for over 10 years, he recently started interacting with enthusiasts in the various platforms and therefore, shares his knowledge on music in general and specifically on guitars. And with the markets now flooded with knockoffs, among his missions is to help upcoming musicians get good quality music instruments or guitars.

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