Choosing the right instrument for heavy music can be frustrating. This article will show you the best guitars for Black, Death, Thrash & Doom Metal.
Buying an electric guitar can be a daunting undertaking, especially if starting with heavy music. On the one hand, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the instrument, but on the other hand, you want to get quality for your money. We have good news for you – in this article, we have tried to collect the most suitable options to help you decide.
We will tell you about the most critical characteristics of specs, from the appearance to the individual nuances. Also, this post will be helpful to those who want to update their collection with guitars of higher quality.
Top 17 Electric Guitars For Metal 2023 (Black, Death, Doom, Stoner, Progressive & Thrash)
1. Ibanez RG550
The Ibanez RG550 is the perfect guitar for metal shredding with 80’s flavor.
Ibanez first introduced the RG family of guitars in 1987, and its first model was just the 550. It was created as a cheaper version of Steve Vai’s signature Ibanez Gem777 guitar. The RG550 is one of the first Ibanez guitars built for metal shredding. In 2018, the company decided to create a reissue of this model. That’s how the new version of the Ibanez RG550 from the Genesis collection was born.
This model is made in Japan, which already says it is a pretty high-quality guitar. It has a super thin and comfortable fingerboard to make it the easiest to play crazy and fast lead parts. It also has a quality tremolo system and three pickups. Let’s break it all down one by one.
- Paper-Thin Neck
The neck of this guitar is very thin. It is a 24 fret and 5-Piece Super Wizard neck made of maple and walnut. The fretboard is also made of maple, which gives it a light color, just like the 80s style.
- Basswood Body
As for the body of the guitar, it is made of basswood. This material is known for its muscular midrange, softness, and breathiness. As a result, it provides a reasonably well-balanced tone.
- Three Pickups
The Ibanez RG550 has as many as three pickups. It has a vintage Ibanez V8 humbucker in the bridge and a V7 in the neck, with exceptionally high output and brightness. In the middle between them is an Ibanez S1 single-coil with medium output.
- 5-Way Blade Switch
You will be able to experiment with the sound of your pickups thanks to the switch, which will provide you with five positions. These are Bridge, Bridge+Middle, Middle, Middle+Neck, and Neck.
- Edge Tremolo System
This guitar has the original Edge Tremolo in the bridge. In essence, this system has the same technology as the Floyd Rose, just licensed from Ibanez & Gotoh. You can do crazy divebombs with it, and your tuning will still be stable.
Character & Sound:
Since this guitar is designed for shredding, it has a rather piercing and bright sound character. You can play it fast and aggressively and get enough output to stand out among other instruments or the mix as a whole.
The Ibanez RG550 is an excellent reissue of a classic shred machine. You get a pretty vintage 80’s style design, but with a modern feel. The guitar has a mind-blowing look and the most comfortable fingerboard to play lead parts as fast as possible. In addition, you’ll have a quality tremolo and three pickups.
2. Gibson Les Paul Custom
One of the most high-end instruments globally, the Gibson Les Paul Custom can also be an excellent metal guitar.
Gibson Les Paul guitars are among the most popular in the world. First of all, it is a first-class instrument known for its distinctive sound and high-quality standard. The same authority has been added by the players who have made it their favorite weapon in music. For example, Les Paul was used by Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads, Gary Moore, Adam Jones, and many other famous personalities.
The Les Paul Custom was created as a higher-end version of the regular Les Paul back in 1953. Of course, there were many reissues during this time, and now we will talk about the Gibson Les Paul Custom EB GH of 2001 in particular. This instrument is made in the USA and has a solid look, gold-plated hardware, and the highest quality pickups.
- Quality in Every Piece
You’ll have a hard time complaining about anything since the high quality of this guitar is evident in almost every part of it. There’s a quality bridge and its saddles, knobs, fretboard, and just about every other element.
- Gorgeous Design
Since Les Paul is one of the most iconic guitars globally, the design of this model is entirely consistent with that status. The stylish black coloring and shelf elements give this guitar a costly look. The design of the top of the neck also deserves special attention, which is made in a classic style.
- Grover Tuners
You will also see Grover tuners here, which are among the best. In addition to the elegant golden look, they also hold the tuning perfectly, but that’s not strange, considering the price category of this instrument.
- Custom ‘C’ Neck Profile
The fingerboard of this guitar cannot be called thin in general. It is pretty thick, but this is not a disadvantage of this instrument because it will be exceptionally comfortable for people with quite big hands.
- Top-Notch Pickups
This guitar has a Gibson 490R humbucker in the neck, which has a solid low end and some sparkle in the upper frequencies. As for the bridge, there is a 498T humbucker. It would be ideal for overdriven and distorted as it has an excellent overall presence.
Character & Sound:
The Gibson Les Paul is best known for its round and pronounced low-end. This instrument also has a very long sustain and clarity of sound. Perhaps the gravelly tonal characteristic most distinguish it from other guitars.
The Gibson Les Paul Custom is one of the most expensive guitars, as its price is more than 4 thousand dollars. Yes, that will be out of reach for most musicians. But still, the price tag is pretty justified by the quality you get. Because of its fantastic sound, this instrument is suitable for almost every genre, including metal.
3. Jackson JS32T Rhoads
If you are starting and one of your idols is Randy Rhoads – check out the Jackson JS32T Rhoads guitar.
Randy Rhoads is one of the most outstanding guitarists of the twentieth century. Despite his short career (due to his death in 1982), he became one of the pioneers of fast electric guitar playing and played in such bands as Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. Thanks to him, the Jackson brand came into existence, as he asked owner Charvel Grover Jackson to make his custom guitar.
Jackson models inspired by Randy Rhoads remain one of the best-selling and cool-looking guitars. And the good news is that the JS32T is the most budget-friendly, costing just over $200. But despite that, it can still be a good quality instrument.
- Classic Rhoads Design
The V shape is perhaps one of the most recognizable in the world. In particular, this model has a stylish black satin color, black and white pickups, and distinctive Jackson fret inlays. All in all, it looks perfect for metal and rock.
- Jackson High Output Humbuckers
You will have two brand-names Jackson humbuckers at your disposal. They have pretty high output with clean tops and a solid low-end. Therefore, this guitar can be screaming on overdrive and distortion.
- Comfortable Neck
The neck of this guitar is pretty flat and perfect for shredding. But that’s not strange because that’s what Randy Rhoads was best known for. Overall, there are 24 pretty big Jumbo frets, which makes the instrument even more comfortable to play.
- Fixed Bridge
This guitar has a Tune-O-Matic style bridge. But that could be your plus point. The thing about budget guitars is that it’s hard to find a quality tremolo system that will hold the tuning well. So, a fixed bridge at this price point would be a good solution.
- Volume & Tone Controls
JS32T Rhoads is pretty straightforward so that you won’t have a mass of controls here. Just one volume knob, one tone, and a three-way pickup switch.
Character & Sound:
This guitar is excellent for lead parts, thanks to its high output pickups. You’ll get a shouty and pronounced guitar tone. Also, the extensive woods area here allows the instrument to resonate well, especially noticeable when playing chords.
The Jackson JS32T Rhoads is an excellent bang for the buck if you’re starting your journey into electric guitar. You get a good sound quality, a comfortable fingerboard, a stylish black look, and a V-shape. What more do you need for an excellent metal look?
4. ESP LTD KH-202 BLK Kirk Hammett
The ESP LTD KH-202 BLK Kirk Hammett guitar might be an excellent budget option for you.
We all know about the legendary band Metallica and its contribution to the development of metal. Its guitarist Kirk Hammett is one of the most recognizable musicians in the world and constantly gets into the polls as one of the most talented players of our time. He’s been using ESP guitars since the late ’80s. During that time, more than one named model has come out. But the company introduced its most budget-friendly version as well, the KH-202.
Visually, this guitar is associated with the Black Album era. You can see the characteristic skulls with crossbones on the frets, indicating a Kirk Hammett design. It also has tremolo, passive pickups, and plenty of controls.
- Passive ESP Pickups
These are ESP-designed LH-301N (neck) and LH-301B (bridge) humbuckers. It’s worth noting that they have a rather aggressive but balanced sound. Although the pickups appear to be active, they are, in fact, passive.
- Three-Way Blade Switch
The guitar has a handy three-way pickup switch located under the right hand. It lets you choose the sound of the neck, bridge, or both.
- Plenty of Controls
All in all, you will have three knobs. The first will be responsible for the neck pickup, the second for the bridge pickup. And the third one will serve as a tone master for the two pickups.
- Basswood Body
The body of the guitar is made of basswood. This material is known for its lightweight and even tonal response. It provides a kind of growl sound but also a good definition.
- Flat Fretboard
This instrument has a relatively flat fretboard, as its radius is 350 mm. It is a suitable radius for rock and metal, which will be pretty comfortable to play.
Character & Sound:
This guitar sounds heavy and aggressive. However, you can get a pretty smooth, clean tone thanks to the passive pickups. The instrument would be perfect for avid Metallica fans.
Overall, the ESP LTD KH-202 BLK Kirk Hammett is an excellent instrument for a small price. It has enough features and a balanced and aggressive sound. You also get a pretty stylish look that is hard to confuse with anything else. Among the cons, we can mention that some users complain that the Floyd Rose does not hold the tuning perfectly. But this is quite a common thing for budget guitars.
5. Schecter Omen 8
Perhaps one of the best bangs for the buck options for an eight-string guitar would be the Schecter Omen 8.
8-string guitars are handy for those who want an even lower sound beyond 7-string guitars. These instruments have become especially popular because of the progressive metal crystallized in djent. It implies technically complex and muted riffs with a somewhat rhythmic character.
As for Schecter, it’s quite a famous American guitar brand, which is known thanks to such artists and bands like Seether, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, The Cure, Prince, and others. There are pretty extreme models among their instruments, like the Omen 8. And it’s probably one of the best quality eight-string instruments for its price.
- Diamond Plus Humbuckers
This guitar, by default, comes with two passive Schecter Diamond Plus humbuckers, which consist of overwhelmed coils and a ceramic magnet. Thanks to this, you can get an aggressive high output for crunchy rhythms and blistering leads.
- Maple Neck
The neck of this guitar is made of maple, which has a uniform grain. It gives the instrument the ability to be solid and stable. In addition, it has less reaction from environmental changes than other hardwoods.
- Oily Fretboard
As for the fretboard, it is made of one of the most common materials, oily rosewood. It makes it sound richer than, for example, maple because the stray overtones are absorbed into oily pores.
- Settings Setup
You will have a three-way pickup switch and master volume, and master tone. It’s all conveniently located at the bottom of the guitar, giving you free and quick access to your hand.
- Gothic Design
The Schecter Omen 8 has a gothic design that looks pretty cool. Especially the fretwork, which gives a kind of aggressive aesthetic to this instrument.
Character & Sound:
The sound of this guitar can be low and aggressive. It also promises to be quite punchy through the mix, even with drop tunings.
If you want to upgrade your guitar arsenal with an 8-string, but you don’t have enough money for that – Schecter Omen 8 might be a good enough option. There is a very balanced price with quality here, as far as a reasonably reliable build is concerned. The only problem might be the somewhat muffled-sounding pickups, but if anything, they can always be swapped out for something better.
6. ESP LTD M-Black Metal
A somewhat minimalistic and all-black guitar ESP LTD M-Black Metal will be a good choice for fans of the most extreme genres of music.
The ESP brand is one of the most popular electric guitar and bass manufacturers globally. As for LTD, it is their satellite, under the name of which more affordable guitars are produced. But it is important to note that despite their somewhat low price, they are known for relatively high quality. These instruments would be a good solution for practice, live performances, and recording.
As for the ESP LTD M-Black Metal, it would be hard to find a blacker guitar. It’s the color in which almost every guitar element is made. In general, it has a Neck-Thru body, only one bridge pickup, one volume control, and a tremolo system. But let’s take a closer look at it all.
- Black Winter Pickups
This guitar is loaded with Seymour Duncan Blackened Black Winter pickups, passive electronics, and single volume control. But the features don’t end there, as you can switch the pickup from humbucker to single-coil mode. And that’s pretty versatile.
- Three Pieces of Wood
ESP LTD M-Black Metal is built on the Neck-Thru principle, consisting of three pieces of wood. It provides a higher quality of sound of the instrument because of the increased sustain and stability of the strings.
- Macassar Ebony Fretboard
The neck of this guitar is made of Macassar ebony. First of all, this material makes it possible to achieve the darkest color. And secondly, it is known for its longer-lasting, unlike, for example, rosewood.
- Floyd Rose 1000 Tremolo
You’ll also find the high-quality Floyd Rose 1000-series tremolo system, which keeps the strings in tune quite reliably. Some users claim that the strings were still sounding tuned even when unpacking the guitar.
- All-Black Guitar
This guitar is blacker than the night. Perhaps the only element of a different color here is the side fret marks, which incidentally glow in the dark. It will be pretty helpful when performing on stage in low light.
Character & Sound:
The character of the sound of this guitar is quite brutal and aggressive because it was created for metal in the first place. It will be a good option for Black, Death Metal, Stoner Metal, GrindCore, and similar genres.
ESP brand tried its best to create the perfect guitar for the heaviest music. Yes, it’s pretty minimalist concerning the pickups. But agree, what else would you need here? Especially if you can switch between single-coil and humbucker modes. As for the price, it’s pretty affordable for an instrument of this quality.
7. Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster
This black Jazzmaster from Slipknot guitarist Jim Root would serve as an excellent battle-ax for metal music.
Perhaps Jazzmaster is not the first thing that comes to mind regarding heavy music. But this genre is known for often breaking stereotypes. It is also true of this remarkable model, created in collaboration between Jim Root and Fender.
It is just one of 5 models that have been introduced in recent years. It comes in a stylish black color with EMG pickups, only one volume knob, and a three-way switch. That’s probably all you’ll need for a heavy metal riff machine.
- Active Pickups
The Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster comes with a pair of active EMG pickups. Precisely the 60 for the neck and the 81 for the bridge. They provide a modern sound that promises to shine through the mix. Also, these pickups have a pretty nice look as they are brushed nickel plated.
- Three-Way Switch
You will be able to switch between the three pickup positions – neck, bridge, and both. Notably, the switch is located under the bridge so that you will have quick and convenient hand access.
- Locking Tuners
Another top feature of this guitar is the Locking Tuners. Thanks to this, your tuning will be as stable as possible during practice and live performances. It also allows you to change strings much faster.
- Jumbo Frets
The Jim Root Jazzmaster also has extensive and tall Jumbo Frets, ideal for guitarists with big hands and somewhat thick fingers. They allow for better control of the strings while playing.
- Satin Lacquer Finish
This guitar has a sinister yet stylish look. All these thanks to its breathable lacquer finish and matte color.
Character & Sound:
This guitar is suitable for both clean tone and distortion. The sound is solid and clean. It also has quite a long sustain.
With the Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster, you get a minimalist, stylish instrument that is the perfect riff machine. This guitar is quite simplistic as there is only one volume knob and a pickup switch. However, some users have complained about the production quality, namely the edges of the frets. They were sharp, which is not very comfortable to play.
8. Ibanez RGA42FM
If you’re starting your way into metal guitars, the Ibanez RGA42FM would be a superior solution.
Ibanez is one of the biggest names when it comes to metal guitars. These instruments can be seen in many top musicians around the globe. It is noteworthy that you can find both very budget models for beginners and real professional instruments for studio recordings and live performances. Often budget guitars are associated with not very good sound. But the good news is that sometimes you can find some outstanding ones. And one of those is the Ibanez RGA42FM.
This guitar is fantastic for the price of $350. First of all, it has a stunning appearance, but the tonal characteristics here are just as not out of place. It’s a pretty handy instrument with a fixed bridge, a five-way pickup switch, and tone knob. Let’s talk about all the characteristics one by one.
- Quantum Humbuckers
The Ibanez RGA42FM has two passive Quantum humbuckers. These pickups are pretty crisp in the high frequencies, ensuring almost every string’s good audibility. As you know, cheap humbuckers cannot boast such a feature.
- Five-Way Switch
You will be able to switch between the five pickup modes with the bridge, the neck, or both, or particular combinations in parallel. Even though these are humbuckers, they will allow you to get the single-coil sound.
- Tune It Lower
The scale length of this guitar is 648 millimeters. It means that you can play on relatively low tunings and still have a good sound. As for the number of frets, there are 24 of them.
- Wizard III Neck Profile
Wizard III is the name of the guitar’s neck profile. It is very thin and hand-friendly, allowing you to play comfortably in almost any area of the fingerboard.
- Stylish Look
Guitars in this series come in excellent finishes, like the Blue Lagoon, for example. Generally, their appearance looks much more expensive than the actual price. You can also find another one called Dragon Eye.
Character & Sound:
This guitar is suitable for both riffs and shredding. It has a pretty expressive sound with an emphasis on the upper frequencies, which will make it punchy in the mix. You can hear every string clearly when playing chords.
The Ibanez RGA42FM is an incredible electric guitar at a budget price. It will serve as a real shredding machine and surprise you with its affordable tonal capabilities. In particular, it can be pretty versatile, thanks to its five pickup positions. Also, this instrument is convenient and will be a real find for the beginner guitarist.
9. EVH Wolfgang Standard Exotic – Natural Ziricote
Another option that will surprise you with quality and affordability is the Evh Wolfgang WG Standard Xotic Z.
It is hard to find a rock and metal music fan who isn’t aware of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his contribution to music. Although he was a phenomenal guitarist, he also founded the guitar gear company EVH. One of their creations is the Wolfgang model, named after composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen.
The Wolfgang WG Standard Xotic is one of the most budget-friendly models in this series of guitars. It is made in Indonesia, but it boasts excellent tonal characteristics, build quality, and a stylish appearance. Let’s take a look at what it includes.
- Wolfgang Humbucker Pickups
The Wolfgang WG Standard Xotic is equipped with two Wolfgang branded pickups. They are built directly into the body, which enhances the vibration transmission. You should get a pretty good sustain.
- EVH Branded Floyd Rose
Also, the guitar has an EVH Branded Floyd Rose bridge. It also has an R2 locking nut. All this together will help keep the strings of the instrument reliably stable.
- Comfort Cut
The Comfort Cut is a particular cut of the forearm contour that allows you to reach the bottom fret as comfortably as possible. It will be handy for shredding masters.
- Baked Maple Neck
The guitar’s neck is made of baked maple, which has a stylish dark color. As for the other neck components, there are 22 Jumbo frets and a 12″-16″ compound radius.
- Available Controls
You’ll have only two smooth-touch knobs at your disposal – one to adjust the volume, the other to adjust the tone. You will also have a standard switch between the humbuckers.
Character & Sound:
The character of the sound of this guitar is clear and piercing. It is ideal for rock music and metal subgenres such as Stoner, Groove, Thrash, and many others. But in general, it can be pretty versatile thanks to the different tonal possibilities of the pickups and controls.
The Evh Wolfgang WG Standard Xotic is a real find at a very affordable price. First of all, this guitar has a very high quality and stylish appearance. It also has a reliable tremolo system and good pickups. As for the shape, it is not that common, unlike other popular models.
10. PRS SE Mark Holcomb Burst
A truly cool-looking PRS SE Mark Holcomb guitar will give you a great sound at a relatively friendly price.
Periphery has long ago taken their place among the most popular progressive bands of our time thanks to their rhythmic, aggressive riffs and melodic passages. Periphery guitarist Mark Holcomb has collaborated with PRS on custom guitars before, but the previous edition was limited and expensive. So they decided to create another more affordable line of guitars that also boasted good quality. It is how the PRS SE Mark Holcomb was made.
This model has a castaway paint job called the Holcomb burst. The purple trim around the edges shimmers to a gray hue. Overall, the guitar has a reasonably long scale, ebony fretboard, custom pickups, and Mahogany body.
- “Alpha / Omega” Humbuckers
This guitar has the default Mark Holcomb Signature Seymour Duncan “Alpha/Omega” pickups. They give a lot of brightness to the sound and a growl in the midrange, relatively low-end, and percussion.
- Long Scale
Talking about the length of the scale, it is pretty long and is 648 mm. It will give you the ability to use low tunings with ease and have no problems with articulation.
- Ebony Flat Fretboard
The fretboard of this guitar is made of ebony and has a radius of 508 mm, which makes it relatively flat and comfortable to play. You will also see the characteristic bird inlays on the frets common to many PRS models.
- 1 Volume & 1 Tone
There aren’t too many controls here – just one volume, tone, and pickup switch. But despite this, it also has a push/pull function, which allows you to make coil splits.
Character & Sound:
The PRS SE Mark Holcomb has a great piercing and aggressive sound, perfect for technical progressive metal. The long scale allows you to reach low tunings and make your tone growl.
The PRS SE Mark Holcomb can be your to-go guitar, especially if you’re a fan of Periphery and progressive metal. It has a stylish look and high-quality sound. The pickups will give you a piercing sound that is good for both rhythm parts and leads. Another advantage is that the model was specifically designed for lower string tunings.
11. Schecter Reaper 7 Multiscale
If you like seven-string guitars and want to try something innovative, check out the Schecter Reaper 7 Multiscale.
Many people love seven-string guitars because the extra string allows them to get extra low-end and provide the heaviest riffs. But if you’re tired of standard guitars, we suggest you try multiscale ones. It’s a relatively new approach that adds versatility to the instrument.
That’s what the Schecter Reaper 7 Multiscale model is. It’s a gorgeous-looking guitar with which you can play heavy riffs as well as melodic leads, and everything will sound clear and well-balanced. Let’s take a closer look at its features.
- Multiscale Guitar
This guitar’s main feature is that its scale is different from the first to the seventh string – from 648 to 686 mm. It is a pretty innovative approach that allows you to keep a good balance between the strings. That is, the bass won’t be loose, and you can bend the highs with ease.
- Diamond Decimator Humbuckers
The guitar has pretty good sounding Diamond Decimator humbuckers. They give quite an expressive sound, which will be helpful in metal and for a clean tone. So it adds to the instrument’s versatility.
- Satin Inferno Burst
The appearance of this model deserves special attention. The coloring is called Satin Inferno Burst and looks very cool because of the so-called flame, which adds visual depth.
- Push-Pull Controls
You can operate the two knobs that control volume and tone. Remarkably, both have a push-pull feature, with which you can separate the humbuckers into single coils and adjust their tonal characteristics.
- Cutted Body
There is also a small cut on the top of the guitar body where the right hand rests. It makes it easier to play because you won’t have to lean into the corner of the body. It’s a small thing, but it’s nice.
Character & Sound:
The sound of this guitar is balanced and clear. The nuance of multiscale will be noticeable when playing, as all strings will have the proper tension. It is worth noting that this guitar is very versatile thanks to the sound pickup possibilities and can even be suitable for jazz.
The Schecter Reaper 7 Multiscale is a great-looking modern instrument that is versatile. You get an atypical look and good tonal characteristics that fit perfectly into both metal and lighter genres of music.
12. ESP LTD SC-607 B
The gorgeous look and good sound quality are what make the ESP LTD SC-607 B PS guitar great.
The band Deftones is one of the pioneers of Nu-Metal from the ’90s and to this day remains one of the most popular bands of its genre. Their guitarist Stephen Carpenter has been an artist of the ESP brand for many years. During this time, they have managed to release a lot of models. But now we will talk about perhaps the most beautiful of them.
The SC-607 B PS was released in 2020. A baritone seven-string guitar boasts a cool look and modern pickups. If you’re a Deftones fan and want to upgrade from six to seven strings, we suggest looking into this option.
- Purple Satin Color
Perhaps the color of this guitar is quite tricky to find in other models. But that’s what makes it very attractive. The model has a purple color with a matte finish.
- Pretty Long Scale
The length of this SC-607 B is 686 mm, which makes it quite long. But that’s not strange since this is a baritone instrument. Thanks to this, you can experiment with the lowest tunings without floppiness in the bass strings.
- Fishman SRC Fluence Pickups
A cool feature is the presence of Fishman SRC Fluence pickups. These are custom models, which the brand also created in collaboration with Stephen Carpenter. They will give you a modern solid sound.
- Sound Active or Passive
You will have a push/pull function on the volume control to switch the pickups between passive and active mode. The passive will be more dynamic and lively, and the active more compressed.
- Locking Machine Heads
A nice bonus of this guitar is the availability of custom LTD locking machine heads. Thanks to this, you will have more peace of mind because your guitar will have better string stability.
Character & Sound:
The sound character of this model is powerful and growling. It is not strange, as it is a seven-string baritone. The instrument would be ideal for both Nu-Metal and modern genres such as Djent and Progressive Metal.
The ESP LTD SC-607 B could be your favorite seven-string electric guitar for metal. It has a unique coloring that will draw attention. It also has quality US-made pickups, which can boast its versatility.
13. Gibson Flying V
Gibson Flying V Antique Natural is a timeless classic that will help you achieve a great metal tone.
Perhaps the Flying V shape is one of the most recognizable in rock and metal music history. It’s hard to imagine, but Gibson created the first model in 1957. Unfortunately, at that time, it did not gain much popularity. Nevertheless, these guitars later became legendary. Such big names used them as James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Eddie Van Halen, Paul Stanley, Rudolf Schenker, Zakk Wylde, etc.
We will now talk about the relatively new US-made Flying V Antique Natural, which Gibson introduced in 2019. This guitar has everything we love so much about the first-class Gibson brand, namely incredible sound quality and excellent playability. It’s safe to say that this is a high-end musical instrument.
- Antique Natural Color
Whether you like the natural color or not, you have to agree that this guitar looks gorgeous. It looks pretty vintage, but with style. You can see how mahogany wood fibers shimmer, both on the body’s front and back.
- Slim Taper Neck Profile
The Slim Taper Neck Profile will first and foremost ensure that you play this guitar fast in a way that avoids hand fatigue. The fact is that the width to thickness ratio is well maintained here. It only changes by a tenth of an inch from the first to the twelfth fret.
- Burstbucker Pickups
This guitar has a stock Burstbucker 3 pickup in the bridge and a Burstbucker 2 in the neck. The bridge one gives you a piercing, aggressive sound, while the neck is smoother and more pleasant. The latter is best suited for clean tones, while the first is suitable for overdriven and distorted tones.
- Aluminum Bridge and Stop Bar
The bridge and the stop bar of this guitar are made of aluminum and have a beautiful chrome finish. The main advantage of this material is its low weight.
Character & Sound:
This guitar can be smooth on a clean tone or rather aggressive and punchy on distorted. The instrument is perfect for metal, proven by many of its famous players. Thanks to the quality humbuckers, you can get a different sound.
Overall, the Gibson Flying V is a legendary shape guitar from one of the top manufacturers in the world. You get a classic look and an incredible sound quality that reaches the level of a studio recording. It’s also quite comfortable to play. However, one of its disadvantages may be its non-standard shape, which makes it challenging to play it sitting down. Also, some users have complained about relatively poor quality control, but these are individual cases.
14. Jackson JS32 King V
Another affordable metal guitar option for beginners is the Jackson JS32 King V.
The King V guitar form became widely popular thanks to guitarist Robbin “King” Crosby, who played in the American 80s glam band Ratt. This model has two sharp wings and an equally sharp neck head. Also, a famous user of the King V is Megadeth frontman, Dave Mustaine. Over the years, different variations of this model have been created. But now we will talk about the most budget one – JS32.
The Jackson JS32 King V is another company to meet beginners or guitarists who can’t afford more expensive models. In terms of appearance, it fully replicates the classic model. In terms of specs, you’ll find Jackson branded pickups, a tremolo system, and a relatively solid and comfortable fingerboard.
- Amaranth Fretboard
This guitar has a maple neck bolted to the body with a satin finish on the back. The fretboard is made of Amaranth, an alternative to Rosewood or Ebony. All in all, the fingerboard is made of a reasonably standard Jackson profile, which makes it relatively thin and comfortable to play.
- Jackson Humbucker
The Jackson JS32 King V is equipped with two Jackson High Output humbuckers. For the instrument’s price, they do a pretty good job of giving you a piercing and pronounced sound.
- Double Locking Floyd Rose
You also get a Jackson licensed Double Locking Floyd Rose tremolo so you can experiment with divebombs and pig squeals. This system is here in black to match the overall dark tone of the guitar.
- Stylish Look
This guitar has a rather sinister appearance. First of all, it is because of the sharp corners of its shape. Secondly, it is made in gloss black color, except for the maple fingerboard with a lighter color.
Character & Sound:
Like many other Jackson guitars, this model has a pretty piercing sound. That’s thanks to the pickups with a pretty high output. Besides that, you can also notice some clear low-end presence.
The Jackson JS32 King V will be a good option for people learning to play electric guitar and who do not want to spend a lot of money on their first instrument. This model is especially suitable for players who wish to have a guitar with a somewhat aggressive and unconventional look. However, some users have warned about the possible problems with the tuning because of the poor-quality bridge and tuners.
15. BC Rich JR-V Extreme FR MB
The BC Rich Jr-R Extreme is a first-class instrument that will make you sound professional, both in practice and live performance.
The BC Rich brand is the first thing that comes to mind regarding metal guitars. These instruments have been on the market for decades and have managed to gain trust among extreme music fans. A few years ago, BC Rich introduced a new line of instruments called Extreme, through which they celebrated their 50th anniversary. So, we decided to include a few of these instruments first on our list.
The BC Rich JR-V Extreme FR MB model is a first-class guitar for fans of the V shape. Despite its classic appearance, it is equipped with modern pickups, killswitch, quality Floyd Rose and more. Let’s take a closer look at it all.
- Neck-Thru Body
This method of building guitars is unique to top-of-the-line models, and the JR-V Extreme is one of them. It means that the fingerboard is one piece with the center section of the body and runs the entire length of the instrument. It is known to give the guitar more sustain and stable tuning.
- Fishman Pickups
The JR-V Extreme FR MB is loaded with some of the most famous modern Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker pickups. These are unique in that they can be both passive and active. Specifically, the bridge goes with the Ceramic model and the neck with the Alnico (H).
- Choose Your Voicing
You can change the guitar voicing simply by pushing and pulling the volume knob. The pickups will work as an active pickup in the lower position and give a modern sound. In the down position, they will be passive with a somewhat dynamic sound.
- In-Build Killswitch
A nice bonus is that the guitar comes with a Killswitch. Thanks to this little button, you can interrupt the guitar’s signal at any time. As we know, this technique is quite famous for soloing.
- Quality Floyd Rose
The guitar is also equipped with a high-quality Korean Floyd Rose 1000 series. This fact indicates that the tuning of the strings will be pretty stable, and you will not have problems with the tuning, as with cheaper instruments.
Character & Sound:
The BC Rich JR-V Extreme FR MB is an above-average class guitar, so you get a sound to match. You’ll also have the ability to change your tone, as you can switch between active and passive pickups. All in all, the sound is bold and of high quality. Considering the setup of this guitar, it is worth noting that it is ideal for lead guitarists.
The BC Rich JR-V Extreme FR MB is a cool-looking guitar perfect for the most extreme genres of music. You get a great quality instrument with many features like versatile pickups, killswitch, Floyd Rose, and more. The only disadvantage of this guitar can be only the price – almost $1,500, which makes this instrument not very affordable for the average buyer.
16. Joe Duplantier Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH
The Charvel Joe Duplantier Pro-M SD ST2 will serve you up as a great metal guitar with a somewhat classic flavor.
Joe Duplantier is the frontman of one of the most popular metal bands of our time, called Gojira. These French guys are known for their massive sound, which has won more than one heart of heavy music fans. Joe has been a fan of the Charvel brand for years, and the Pro-M SD ST2 is their second collaboration.
This guitar is armed with passive custom pickups, a transitional fingerboard radius, and minimal controls. As for the look, you can see the natural color, and pearloid block fretboard inlays that combine to give this instrument an incredibly stylish look.
- Vintage-Sounding Pickups
Guitar has a Joe Duplantier Signature DiMarzio Fortitude humbucker in the bridge and DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary humbucker in the neck. Both of these pickups are passive, so they bring a dynamic sound inherent to more vintage instruments.
- Tele-Style Body Shape
If you’re a fan of the Tele guitar shape, then you’ll love this guitar, as it completely replicates the look of this legendary model. It will be especially beneficial for metal lovers, as they will play this genre with a fenderish look at ease.
- Simplistic Set of Controls
You will find only one knob here, responsible for the volume. There is also a three-way switch between the humbuckers, and that’s it. It will be precious for simplicity fans.
- Tune-o-matic Bridge
The guitar has the tune-o-matic bridge that Gibson guitars are best known for. It allows you to more accurately tune the guitar’s intonation by moving the saddles on which the strings rest.
- Compound Fretboard Radius
The fingerboard radius of this guitar is compound – 305 mm to 406 mm. It is helpful because the guitar will be comfortable playing both rhythm parts at the top of the fingerboard and solos at the bottom.
Character & Sound:
Charvel Joe Duplantier has a dynamic and powerful sound. It is mainly due to the pickups – the bridge is more slamming, and the neck is more round and smooth. Some users call this model a golden mean between Fender and Gibson.
The Charvel Joe Duplantier Pro-M SD ST2 is an excellent guitar perfect for metal if you want a dynamic, powerful tone with a vintage flavor. It features quality DiMarzio passive pickups and minimum controls. Also worth noting is the cool look, which is associated with a Telecaster.
17. Solar Guitars A1.6ETC G2
The Solar A1.6ETC G2 brings you a host of modern features, playability, and an aggressive appearance.
Solar Guitars is a relatively new brand that started in 2017. Its founder is the famous Swedish YouTuber, guitarist, and businessman Ola Englund. In general, Solar provides modern instruments that are comfortable to play, famous for their stylish look, and ideal for many metal subgenres, including Thrash, Progressive, Stoner, etc.
As for the A1.6ETC G2, this is a premium metal guitar for a relatively affordable price. It features an Evertune bridge, locked tuners, passive pickups, Stainless-Steel Super Jumbo frets, as well as glow-in-the-dark fingerboard side dots. This guitar will be a real find for fans of modern metal.
- Evertune Bridge
Solar A1.6ETC G2 comes with the Evertune bridge, a revolutionary new system that will keep your guitar tuning stable in all conditions. It is all because of the “floating” saddle system hidden under the body.
- Stainless-Steel Fretboard
This model’s frets are stainless steel, characteristic of higher-quality guitars. The main feature is that they last a long time without wearing out with intensive playing. They also have a slight effect on the brightness of the strings.
- Luminescent Dots
A nice bonus of this guitar is that fluorescent dots are on the side of the fingerboard, which glows in the dark. It will benefit those who don’t want to get lost in bad lighting on stage.
- Seymour Duncan Pickups
The guitar has two passive Seymour Duncan Solar humbuckers to give you a dynamic and punchy sound. You will be able to switch between three operation modes.
- Reversed Headstock
It is a minor feature, but it will undoubtedly add to the uniqueness of the guitar’s appearance. The head of its neck has a reversed position, which is not often found in similar models.
Character & Sound:
The character of the sound of this guitar is very expressive and precise. You will hear almost every string clearly, both on clean and on distortion. The guitar is quite versatile but best suited for high gain tones.
The Solar A1.6ETC G2 is an excellent guitar for modern guitarists. It has plenty of features that combine to make the overall quality sound. A massive bonus of this model is the Evertune bridge, which will save you from such a frequent problem as unstable tuning. However, you’ll have to do a little research on the Internet before you can set it up properly.
PRS SE Mark Tremonti Standard
The PRS SE Mark Tremonti Standard is a top-notch guitar for heavy metal riffs and melodic solos.
Mark Tremonti is known for participating in the band’s Creed and Alter Bridge. He is one of the most famous guitarists of our days, and it’s all thanks to his massive metal riffs and fantastic solos. Mark has been a fan of PRS guitars for a long time and has collaborated with them for more than 20 years. Now we take a look at one of their latest creations.
The PRS SE Mark Tremonti Standard guitar is a reissue of a previous SE model. And the main difference with the new one is it is done in all black. It’s pretty affordable and has many excellent features, good sound quality, and a stylish look. Now let’s talk about it all in order.
- Nice Look
This guitar has a classic look, somewhat similar to a Leas Paul. However, it has the typical PRS fret birds inlays and neck tip design. As for the color, black gloss dominates here, and chrome hardware dilutes it.
- Trem-up Rout Bridge
You’ll see a more vintage tremolo system on this model. It is the PRS designed Trem-up Rout Bridge. It holds the strings pretty well, and you can easily experiment with pitch change.
- PRS Machine Heads
The PRS SE Mark Tremonti Standard tuners are pretty high quality for the price. They have a nice chrome look and keep the tuning stability well.
- Tremonti “S” Pickups
It also has Mark Tremonti’s “S” signature pickups. They have a pretty high output and are great for metal. Also, you can achieve good clean tones with them.
- Classic Control Layout
You can see a pretty classic layout of the controls on this guitar. The three-way switch is located on top of the body. At the bottom, you will have four knobs, which are two volumes for each pickup and two independent tone controls.
Character & Sound:
The bridge pickup has a pretty sharp sound with an attack and base in the midrange and treble. It would be ideal for a high-gain metal tone. As for the neck, the pickup has a smoother sound, suitable for clean tones.
The PRS SE Mark Tremonti Standard is an excellent quality guitar that you can get at a relatively affordable price. Its makers have taken care to give you the best possible tonal performance and comfort for the money. The cool look of the instrument deserves special attention, and the pickups will help you achieve a massive metal tone suitable for Nu-Metal, Stoner, Thrash, and other subgenres.
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Ilarion Ivanenko is a remote mixing and mastering engineer from Ukraine, a musician with more than 15 years of experience. Specializes in rock, metal, progressive and the other genres. He can’t imagine his life without music, as it is the biggest passion in his life