Best Metal Guitar Roundup
Here are some of the best metal guitars across a range of shapes, specs and price brackets.
Heavy Metal is usually fast paced and requires a very low neck and string action that can keep up with your fingers. It also requires loud and powerful tones which will drive your guitar and pickups to its limits. To achieve this you will probably be looking for the stereotypical metal guitar setup: sharp edged body designs, hot passive or active pickups, thin necks and a floating tremolo bridge.
This is OK as long you don't neglect considering the guitars' ability to accept punishment. What good is a nice looking guitar and great metal tone if it can't stay in tune or if it can't survive aggressive playing.
As you go through our list of the best guitars for metal, keep in mind that these models have both expensive and affordable versions which you can choose from. Also note that you will probably have to invest in the guitar set-up for better playability and stability, as well as pickup upgrades depending on your preference.
B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock
The B.C. Rich guitar brand is easily identifiable with the metal genre. The pointy shapes and aggressive looks are clear warning that their guitars will feel awkward for pop and jazz. The B.C Rich Metal Master Warlock is a prime example of their inclination to metal guitars. It is part of the Kerry King Guitar series and is meant to give you the same aggressive look and Slayer tone at a price point that will not make you skip meals. It is a unique looking guitar with 25.5" scale. The mahogany body is complemented by its maple neck and features a sturdy bolt on connection. It has 24 jumbo frets on its rosewood fretboard which is designed to withstand your heavy metal riffs. You can buy a Metal Master Warlock online for only $299.99. For further information and complete specifications, visit B.C. Rich Guitars Online - Click here for the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.com
Dean Dimebag Razorback Cemetery Gates
Dean has made a number of guitars under the Dimebag label, but this one takes the cake as it represents the classic Pantera look, feel and tone, and it pays homage to the famous Cemetery Gates song. The distinctive feature of this guitar is its killer graphic which matches the Razorback shape, there is even a hidden image of Dime on the finish. The Dimebag Razorback is a sturdy all mahogany, 24.75" scale guitar with set neck construction. Other features include a Bad Ass Dimebucker Seymour Duncan in the bridge position for Pantera like tones and stable intonation via its locking tremolo. You can find a Dean Dimebag Razorback Electric guitar selling for around $799.95 online. Visit Dean Guitars for the complete specs and other information. Click here for the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.com.
Gibson SG Standard
Tonny Iommi is one of the pioneers of heavy metal music. Consequently his playing style, tone and his Gibson SG set the standard for metal guitarists and metal guitars to follow. The Gibson SG might look simple, but the pointed horn like shape of its double cutaway body paved the way for the edgy metal guitar shapes that we see today. The Gibson SG Standard continues the SG tradition and still retains its place among the best heavy metal guitars. It is made of sturdy but lightweight solid mahogany body and neck, and it utilizes the same basic tune-o-matic bridge and stop tail pairing of the original. You get the distinctive SG tone via the equipped hot chrome Gibson 490R and 498T humbuckers. The Gibson SG Standard is currently priced at $1,199, you can opt for the less expensive Epiphone SG if your budget is tight. Visit Gibson for the complete specifications. Click here for the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.com.
Schecter Synyster Standard
This is the signature guitar for Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold. Synyster worked with Schecter to ensure that this guitar looks cool, will survive his aggressive playing and that it will meet his playability and tonal requirements. It has most of the stereotypical metal guitar specs that you are probably looking for. It features a fast maple with rosewood fretboard neck, it has hot Duncan designed humbuckers (HB-108) and it comes equipped with a Floyd Rose Tremolo System. Other features include a Mahogany Body, it has 24 jumbo frets and it has a basic volume and tone knob set up with a three way switch. A more expensive version is available, the Synyster Gates Custom-S, which comes with a unique built in sustainer "Sustainiac" system. The Schecter Synyster Gates Standard is available online for $699. For more information about the Synyster series, visit Shecter Guitars. Click here for the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.com.
ESP Kirk Hammett KH-2
If are looking for that distinctive Metallica sound, then this guitar will top the best metal guitars on your list. The ESP Kirk Hammett KH-2 is an exact replica of the same guitar that ESP makes for Kirk. It has an extra thin 24 fret flat neck built to Kirk's specifications, this provides a really smooth, shred friendly playground for your left hand. Body is made of Alder, and is connected to its maple neck via a bolt-on construction. To ensure you have tremolo functionality and intonation stability, it comes with an original Floyd Rose tremolo and locking nut. It is fitted with EMG 81 active humbucker on the bridge and an active EMG-60 on the neck. This signature guitar comes at a hefty price of almost $3000. However you can opt for its affordable brother, the LTD KH-202 which is available online for about $500. For further details about the ESP KH-2 and LTD KH-202, do visit ESP Guitars. Click here for the latest ESP KH-2 prices and reviews and here for the latest KH-202 at price Amazon.com.
Jackson PDX Demmelition King V
The V shape is a common sight in the realm of rock and metal, which probably bored the people at Jackson. So with the help of Phil Demmel from Machine Head, Jackson produced a unique V shaped guitar with aggressive cutouts and sharp edges. The guitar's killer looks, tone and feel is set up for the low-tuned player. The PDX Demmelition King V features an alder body with a bolt-on rock maple neck. It has a compound-radius rosewood fretboard with 24 jumbo frets and sharkfin inlays. It comes equipped with EMG-HZ pickups for Machine Head tones, and like most metal guitars, it comes equipped with an original Floyd Rose tremolo. The Jackson PDX Demmelition King V is available online for about $549.99. For the complete specs, do visit Jackson Guitars.
The Ibanez brand is known for its versatility in terms of tone and looks. It's not a surprise to find that their guitars are doing well in various genres like pop, jazz and even metal. The Ibanez RG321E is popular affordable entry level electric guitar that works for metal music. It has all the basic features of metal guitars except that it has a Gibraltar fixed bridge instead of the usual floating tremolo. This is ironically considered as good by some, because floating bridges are hard to maintain, tune, and set-up, while fixed bridges provide more sustain and is convenient to use. Other than that, the RG321E is just your regular Ibanez guitar with a mahogany body and maple neck. Other features of the RG321E includes EMG H4A pickups, flat and fast Ibanez trademark Wizard neck, and a string through body design for increased sustain. This is available for only $239.95, a good starting point for beginners. For more information about the guitar, you can head over to Ibanez.
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