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The Best Guitars for Metal

Image of a metal guitar.

If you’ve found your way here, we gather you’re looking for a new axe to help you get that aggressive and heavily distorted sound associated with some of the metal greats of our time. We’re pleased to say you’re in the right place. In this article we’ll be exploring some of the best guitars for metal, and what to look for when you’re buying one.

Here’s a list of the 5 best guitars for metal:

Schecter Hellraiser C-1

If you’ve read our 7 string guitar post, this beauty might look familiar to you. Say hello to the Hellraiser C-1. Another bad to the bone guitar from Schecter that definitely lives up to it’s name.

Constructed with a solid wood body and a 3 piece maple neck this is a thing of beauty. Hardware wise you get a rosewood fingerboard and EMG Active 81tw/89R pickups. The TonePros TOM w/thru body bridge is the icing on the cake, with no wiggle room at all.

With the C1 you’ll be amazed with the tone you get, a super clean, yet aggressive blend that’s matchless. It plays great too and you truly feel like you can raise hell when it’s in your hands.

This is an exceptionally constructed guitar. The price tag isn’t the most friendly on the pocket, but you really get what you pay for. If you’re looking for a high end guitar for metal this is an excellent option.

Schecter Guitar Research Synyster Gates Custom

Next up on our list we’ve got the Synyster Gates Custom brought to you from no other than Schecter.

If you’re an Avenged Sevenfold fan this beauty might look familiar? Even if you’re not we’re sure you can appreciate this eye catching guitar. The silver pinstripes give it a real distinct and head turning aesthetic.

With a mahogany neck to match its body, you get a rosewood fretboard. You also get the Duncan designed SH-8 invader pickups. This guitar is topped off sharp Grover tuners and a Floyd Rose 1000 Series Tremolo bridge.

We absolutely love how clean this guitar can sound, yet it’s distortion when whacked up is remarkable. A well and truly balanced guitar that absolutely thrives when used for metal.

Jackson JS22 Dinky

Next we’ve got the eye catching JS22 Dinky from Jackson. Jackson are known for producing very reasonable priced guitars, and with the JS22 Dinky you get just that.

This fantastic looking guitar is available in 3 different colors; metallic blue, satin black and snow white. They all look great and we love that you get a choice of color despite the low price tag.

With this guitar you’ll get a maple neck with a basswood body, along with a rosewood fingerboard and two humbucking pickups. The fretboard is comprised of 24 jumbo frets.

This guitar produces an excellent sound quality that you definitely can’t associate with its low end price tag. This is another very impressive guitar in responsiveness and sound, with outstanding tones. If you’re looking for low price but high quality, this is the guitar for you.

ESP LTD KH-602 Signature Series Kirk Hammett

Here we’ve got the signature Kirk Hammett KH-602 from ESP. If you’re a fan of Metallica, this will be right up your street. It’s available in two different colors; black and purple sparkle.

We’re particular fans of the black model, and feel the skull and crossbone inlays spread across 24 extra-jumbo frets really complement this color.

Constructed with an Alder body and a 3 piece maple neck. You get a rosewood fretboard, an EMG 60 neck pick up and an EMG 81 bridge pickup. You also get a Floyd Rose bridge.

With this model designed to record professionaly, there’s no doubt you get an excellent sound quality. The playability of this thing is also very impressive, it’s easy to glide through the frets and the pick ups really help create an outstanding sound.

We’re often sceptical when it comes to signature guitars but whether you’re a Metallica fan or not, this beauty plays and sounds excellent.

Dean MLX Flame Top

Last up on the list we’ve got a guitar from Deans X class. This is a range of guitars suited for guitarists who are looking for a budget option. This makes this model great for those of you looking for a back up instrument or a first time metal guitar.

In terms of the body you get a solid poplar construction, a flame maple top and a Tune-O-Matic bridge topped with DMT design pickups. This guitars available in different colors including Trans red (shown in the picture above) and Trans Brazilia.

For a very affordable guitar you’ll be very impressed with how good it sounds. Playing it is a pleasure, you’ll be surprised by how smooth it feels and how nicely it fits in your hands.

Overall, we’d highly recommend the Dean MLX Flame Top for anyone looking for a great look and quality sound while working to a tight budget.


A Guide to Buying Guitars for Metal

If you’re in the market for a new metal guitar and you’re not quite sure how to get started, this section of the post is intended for you. We’ll be exploring how to choose the best metal guitar for your playing style.

Metal Guitar Basics

A heavy metal guitar is a one that is a highly amplified electric guitar that is used for playing the notorious sounds that come from its similarly named genre of music. Heavy metal guitars are now more commonly referred to as metal guitars.

These crowd-pleasing, high-performance guitars are known for producing ear-splitting highly pitched and distorted sounds that are similar to the sound of metal scraping against metal, (hence the name, metal guitar.) This abstract sound has become so popular with fans and musicians alike that has started a trend in the metal guitar industry.

Let’s take a look at metal guitars in more detail.

Introduction to Guitars for Metal

These popular noise machines have been around since the 1960s and are some of the most well-known instruments around. Heavy metal have done a lot for the world. Metal guitars are notorious for producing loud, outrageous sounds and come in a variety of customizable colors and finishes for players to choose from.

Metal guitars are not only known for their piercing sound output but also for their perceived status which leads to greater customization of these instruments by the guitarists who play them. More customization of metal guitars will lead to a heftier price tag. Customizations like profile, body style, strings, and finish can drastically increase the cost of your metal guitar.

Most metal guitars are created with six-strings included but this can be altered with extensive customization for guitarists who want to increase their range even further.

Why Use a Metal Guitar

If you’re a heavy metal fan turned musician then you already have some idea of what you want and need in a metal guitar. For those who aren’t quite sure of the benefits of using a metal guitar here are a few reasons to use a metal guitar.

If you’re looking for a guitar that produces a high-pitched and distorted sound consistently then a metal guitar is for you.

If you’re a performer looking for an enhanced stage presence and overall performance, a metal guitar may be just the boost that your reputation needs to take your playing to the next level.

Whether you’re choosing your first or your next metal guitar you understand and value the unique range and emotion that the distorted sounds that a metal guitar can produce and you’re ready to experiment with one of your own.

Guitars for Metal Pros and Cons

While there are many valuable reasons why new and seasoned guitarists should use guitar method books, there are also some downsides to using this popular musical instruction tools. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of using guitar books below:

Pros

  • Guitars for metal produce their own sustained and distorted sound that can be played at high volumes for extended periods.
  • Metal guitars are ideal for high-energy performers that prefer to play within the metal genre.
  • Metal guitars are available at varying price points so novices and professionals alike can find a suitable guitar to meet their playing needs and budget.

Cons

  • Metal guitars are often expensive due to their capabilities and popularity with guitarists.
  • Due to the nature of the high-pitched and distorted sounds that these metal beauties are capable of producing, sustained hearing loss or other related hearing conditions may develop with prolonged use.
  • May need to purchase more than one guitar to produce a wider variety of sounds outside of what the metal guitar range has to offer.

What Makes a Good Guitar for Metal

Playability is the most critical factor to consider when choosing a good metal guitar. You’re buying a metal guitar for the metal sounds that it produces. Your guitar should be easy to play and product clear resonating sounds.

Ergonomic Comfort is important in order to maintain your overall stability during play. If you have an instrument that is too heavy or too light for your playing style and stance, the quality of your music will suffer during playback.

Versatility is a nice to have feature when you’re purchasing your first or your next metal guitar. Having a versatile guitar will allow you to enhance your playing skills by adjusting the relevant components of your guitar as needed to change the quality of sound that it produces as you grow.

A good metal guitar will combine these features together with those that are specific to your own playing needs at a price point that makes sense for your individual budget.

Tips for Buying a Metal Guitar

Choosing your first or next metal guitar is an extremely important buying decision. You’re making an investment in a guitar that will bring you hours of enjoyment and performance for years to come. Since this is such an important decision, we don’t recommend that you go it completely alone.

We recommend that you consult with an in-store or online expert regarding your wants and needs for a new metal guitar at least once to avoid making a bad buying decision. No question is a bad question when it comes to investing your time and money in your metal guitar.

Due to the potentially high cost of replacement or repair of your instrument,  it is critical that you do your research in advance to determine what your must-haves and dealbreakers are when it comes to choosing your new metal guitar. Lack of due diligence in this area prior to purchase can result in a costly replacement.

Be sure to try on your metal guitar in your preferred playing stance to ensure proper ergonomic alignment, stability, and comfort level to prevent having to make time-consuming returns or exchanges.

Compare prices on similar models at more than one retailer to assure that you are getting the best deal and metal guitar playing kit with accessories for your unique playing needs.

Final Thoughts on Metal Guitars

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing your metal guitar is that no two guitars are alike. Whether it be a slight difference in weight, strings, profile, or finish, each metal guitar has a personality and feel that is uniquely it’s own.

Take the time to complete the research required that will help you make the best buying decision when you’re ready to take the plunge in order to make your next metal guitar purchase experience a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our metal guitar buyers guide. You’re officially ready to begin shopping for your first metal guitar online and in-store. Now that you’re ready to buy, consider all the important factors to consider before making your mind up

Do your research in advance to determine what the best brand and budget is for your desired playing style. Consider this purchase an investment. Remember to give the buying process the attention that it deserves. You don’t need to spend thousands on electric guitars and can get great budget options to suit your needs.

Dan Levado

Author Dan Levado has been a guitarist in 3 different bands, ran a guitar store and now teaches people to play.
Dan Levado

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