You don’t need to spend tons on money on playing the gig. Below I’ve listed some of the best budget guitars and gear for playing live that’s well suited for the beginner right through to the advanced player. Of course if you gig very regularly or play on a professional basis then you may be more apt to spending a little more money. But in reality it’s definitely not a requirement for awesome tone, feel and enjoyment. The gear I’ve listed below is what I would consider “entry-level”, and personally I wouldn’t use gear in a gigging situation that costs much less. Although that $99 guitar may be great for practice, you will most likely experience tuning stability issues and other problems when taking it out on the road.
Fender Squier Affinity HSS Stratocaster
The Squier HSS is my personal recommendation. The HSS series features a humbucker bridge pickup instead of a single coil like the standard Squiers.
Fender Squier Affinity Telecaster
This is Amazon's pick for best startup guitar so I've listed it here. If your style of music is more suited towards the Tele then I would go for this.
If a Fender Squier is not for you, then you may consider this Ibanez for the same price. It features 2 humbucker pickups and a transparent finish.
Gator Deluxe ABS Molded Case
This is a budget case that I personally use and recommend. It's slightly smaller than regular guitar cases (which I like very much), so if you have a longer guitar than your typical Strat, make sure you select "extra long electric". There is also a version available specifically for Les Paul style guitars.
Hercules Mini Electric Stand
One thing you don't want to forget at home is your guitar stand. The Hercules stand is another product I personally use and recommend. It's not the very cheapest stand you can buy, however it's extremely durable and will keep your guitar sturdy. If you're playing acoustic guitar, checkout the Hercules mini acoustic stand.
With so many amp choices on the market today I would like to recommend a budget option that I've personally used and loved - The Blackstar HT series. This is also Amazon's pick of choice. This is an all-tube amplifier that will provide great stage monitoring. I do not recommend solid state amplifiers for gigging purposes.
One thing I haven’t listed here that you want to be sure you take along to the gig is some double adapter plugs. Normally you can’t expect the venue to provide enough power outlets for your whole band. This is especially important if you have equipment that uses specialized plugs.