Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (2022)

By Jonathan Horsley

Contributions from

Richard Blenkinsop

published

From 8-string guitars to Flying Vs, here's our pick of killer metal guitars from Jackson, ESP, Ibanez and more

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (1)

If you’re tackling big, gnarly riffs, shredding searing solos and chunking up some serious heavy grooves, then you’re going to want to make sure you’re armed with one of the best metal guitars. From heavy metal, to thrash metal, to death metal and beyond, we’ve scoured the market to present the finest metal-friendly guitars available today.

There are different approaches to finding the best metal guitar. Some players go down the baritone route, or opt for extra strings. Others go for something more traditional, fitted with some nice, high output pickups for a more unsuspecting look. Whatever path you want to take, we’ve covered a bunch of different options to cater for the various needs of modern metal guitarists.

All the guitars on our list are built to a good standard, so you can take any of these to a gig and know you’ve got something reliable. They will also take copious amounts of gain well – that’s something you’ll certainly need when looking for the best metal guitars. Aesthetic also plays a pretty big role in metal, so we’ve included some really eye-catching models, as well as some more subtle, quietly cool options.

Best metal guitars: Guitar World's choice

The best all round metal guitar might have to be the LTD EC-1000 (opens in new tab). Fitted with a pair of Fishman Fluence pickups, this guitar can do everything; from sparkly cleans for quieter passages, to seriously saturated metal tones. It’s all packaged in an incredibly well-built instrument that feels every bit as good as it sounds, and features a superb finish.

Hard not to mention is the Ibanez Standard RGA42FM (opens in new tab). With superb playability, high quality pickups that are capable of great metal tones and more, and a very modest price tag, it’s a contender for the best metal guitar for players on a stricter budget.

Best metal guitars: Product guide

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1. ESP LTD EC-1000

A heavyweight singlecut riff-machine with humbucker tones from all eras

Specifications

Body: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany, set-thru

Scale: 24.75"

Fingerboard: Ebony w/pearloid flag inlay

Frets: 24

Pickups: 2x Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers in bridge and neck

Controls: 2 x volume, 1 x master tone (push/pull coil-split), 3-way toggle pickup switch

Hardware: TonePros Locking Tune-O-Matic Bridge with Stopbar Tailpiece

Left-handed: No

Finish: Violet Andromeda

Reasons to buy

+

Incredibly well-balanced

+

Fishman Modern Fluence humbuckers are the bomb

+

Sustain for days

Reasons to avoid

-

You want something pointy-er

With Fishman’s Modern Fluence humbuckers, ESP/LTD’s flagship singlecut can perform metal of all eras. The switching is all very state-of-the-art, with push/pull coil-split for singlecoil tones and enough firepower to add serious weight to your riffs.

The Tune-O-Matic bridge offers a fuss-free performance, plenty of sustain and a solid platform for your punishing right-hand attack, but we wouldn’t want you to think of this only for rhythm.

The thin-U neck is an exceptional profile for lightning leads, with the extra-jumbo frets and 13.8” radius providing us an easy ride up to the top-end of the fretboard during testing, where you’ll find a neatly sculpted heel. Oh, and the finish is incredible. It’s called Violet Andromeda and looks different depending on how the light hits it.

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2. Ibanez Standard RGA42FM

One of the best metal guitars for budget-friendly speed

Specifications

Body: Meranti with flame maple top

Neck: Maple, bolt-on

Scale: 25.5"

Fingerboard: Jatoba

Frets: 24

Pickups: 2x Ibanez Quantum humbuckers (neck and bridge)

Controls: 1 x master volume, 1 x master tone, 5-way blade pickup switch

Hardware: F106 hard-tail bridge

Left-handed: Yes

Finish: Transparent Gray Flat, Dragon Eye Burst Flat, Blue Lagoon Burst Flat

Reasons to buy

+

Classic RG design with ergonomic cutaways

+

Excellent finish choices

+

A good candidate for modding

Reasons to avoid

-

Jatoba is fine, but we’d like some rosewood

Ibanez’s RG series was launched in 1987 and with sharp horns, thoughtful body contouring, and being a testing ground for the super-svelte Wizard neck profiles, it fast cemented itself as one of the world’s favorite S-styles.

You can find the RG at all prices but the stripped-down model is very financially accessible. It has a speedy Wizard III maple neck, measuring just 19mm thick at the first fret and only 21mm at the 12th.

Okay, it doesn’t have a Floyd Rose tremolo, the hard-tail format is a good stable platform, ideal for aspiring shredders who don’t yet want to worry about spending time adjusting their bridge. The 5-way blade selector offers a wide sweep of humbucker and split-coil tones.

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (4)

(Video) BEST BRUTAL BUDGET METAL AMP - Peavey Vypyr

3. Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK2 Ash

The real mean green shreddable one…

Specifications

Body: Ash

Neck: Maple, bolt-on

Scale: 25.5"

Fingerboard: Ebony

Frets: 24

Pickups: Seymour Duncan JB (bridge), Seymour Duncan ’59 (neck)

Controls: Volume, tone, 5-way selector

Hardware: Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo

Left-handed: No

Finish: Glow Green

Reasons to buy

+

Exceptional playability

+

Classic humbucker pairing

+

O.G. six-in-line Jackson headstock

Reasons to avoid

-

Nuclear finish not everyone’s cup of tea

Unveiled at NAMM 2020, this DK2 is on-trend for sand-blasted finishes on swamp ash bodies, with its Green Glow making it look like it was spec’d for Alec Holland or the Toxic Avenger.

The Dinky is a perennial go-to for metal. Its body shape came over from Charvel in the early ‘90s. Smaller and lighter, it fast became a favorite with shredders, and anyone looking for a high-performance Super Strat, and they don’t come any more high-performance than this.

Everything about it is geared for speed. The neck has a hand-rubbed satin finish, and the 12"-16" compound radius ebony fingerboard is ideal for riffing down low or woodshedding up top.

This will handle a wide variety of metal styles, with a classic pairing of direct-mounted Seymour Duncan JB and ’59 humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions respectively. The 5-way switching allows some split single-coil tones, while the Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo will happily accommodate your whammy-bar acrobatics.

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (5)

4. Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster V4

A slab of off-set mahogany + new signature EMGs = danger

Specifications

Body: Mahogany

Neck: Maple

Scale: 25.5"

Fingerboard: Ebony

Frets: 24

Pickups: 2x EMG Jim Root Signature Daemonum Open-coil Active Humbuckers (neck and bridge)

Controls: 1 x master volume, 3-way blade pickup switch

Hardware: 6-saddle string-through hard-tail

Left-handed: No

Finish: Polar White

Reasons to buy

+

Because Jazzmasters are cool

+

Those pickups are serious

+

You don’t need to be a Maggot to dig it

Reasons to avoid

-

Because Jazzmaster bodies can be unwieldy (to some)

Jim Root has always liked to take a classic Fender design and gear it up for war. What he has done with his new Jazzmaster is like taking an old station-wagon and fitting a surface-to-air missile launcher on the hood.

Here we’re dealing with a non-traditional and heavier weighted mahogany body. The controls have been pared down to the essentials, including a three-way blade switch choosing between his active EMG Daemonum pickups or both, with only a master volume and no tone.

The result is a guitar that is Jazzmaster in profile only, a retro-profiled offset with a voice that has a more solid low-end, with bright mids and highs that really begin to sing once the gain is past two o’clock.

Read the full Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 review

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5. Epiphone Prophecy Flying V

A supercharged take on a classic metal guitar

Specifications

Body: Mahogany w/ AAA flame maple veneer

Neck: Mahogany, set

Scale: 24.72"

Fingerboard: Ebony

Frets: 22

Pickups: 2x Fluence custom voiced humbuckers

Controls: 1 x volume w/ push-pull, 1 x master tone w/ push-pull, 3-way toggle

Hardware: LockTone Tune-O-Matic Bridge with LockTone stop bar, Grover Rotomatic locking tuners

Left-handed: No

Finish: Yellow Tiger Aged Gloss, Black Aged Gloss

Reasons to buy

+

Available finishes are stunning

+

Fishman Fluence humbuckers are versatile

+

Build quality impressively high

(Video) Do You Need METAL Guitars To Play METAL? Les Paul & Strat vs. Superstrat & Multiscale

Reasons to avoid

-

Active pickups aren’t everyone’s cup of tea

Epiphone’s Prophecy range of guitars drags classic designs kicking and screaming into the 21st century - and scream they do. The Prophecy Flying V is, simply put, a total monster. Specs wise, it’s overflowing with high-end accoutrements, from the asymmetrical neck profile to the sophisticated Fishman Fluence custom voiced humbuckers.

You’ll notice the push-pull volume and tone pots don’t have the standard ‘coil-split’ function of most other guitars. That’s thanks to the Fluence humbuckers being just that bit cleverer than most, toggling between a high-output modern humbucker and a classic Burstbucker/PAF-style voicing. In terms of metal, this guitar can cover virtually any style you can throw at it - we discovered during our testing that it can do beautiful cleans, too.

To be fair, we’d have liked the option of a Prophecy model with a pair of passive humbuckers like Epiphone has done with past models, but we really can’t complain. You get a lot for your money with this Flying V.

View the full Epiphone Prophecy Flying V review

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (7)

6. Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24

A sharp take on the V with active Seymour Duncan humbuckers

Specifications

Body: Basswood

Neck: Maple

Scale: 25.5"

Fingerboard: Indian laurel with black shark-fin inlay

Frets: 24

Pickups: 2x Seymour Duncan Blackout AHB-1 humbuckers (neck and bridge)

Controls: 2 x volume, 1 x master tone, 3-way blade pickup switch

Hardware: Floyd Rose Special Double-locking Tremolo, Jackson die-cast tuners

Left-handed: No

Finish: Gloss Black, options include Black with Neon Green or Neon Pink Bevels, Red with Black Bevels ($30 approx extra)

Reasons to buy

+

Totally spec’d for metal

+

Searing tones, ideal for high-gain

+

Great sustain

Reasons to avoid

-

You want a little color

There have been countless versions of Jackson’s über-pointy Randy Rhoads V over the years but this X Series Rhoads - new for 2020 - might just skewer the dragon in terms of value and on-message style.

It’s black-on-black, with a reverse six-in-line headstock for added metal points. You could pay $30-odd bucks more and get one with Neon Pink or Neon Green bevels if you need some color. It’s a super-aggressive silhouette but has been around long enough to be a classic.

But the key here is its playability. We found during testing that while it's not great while seated, it's awesome standing up. It is typically shreddable with the dual active pickups from Seymour Duncan providing a super-hot performance that will deliver the goods big-style. And there’s a Floyd.

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7. Schecter Omen-8

The best metal guitar for eight-strings on a budget

Specifications

Body: Basswood

Neck: Maple

Scale: 26.5"

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Frets: 24

Pickups: 2x Diamond Plus Ceramic Humbuckers

Controls: 1 x volume, 1 x tone, 3-way pickup selector

Hardware: 15:1 tuners, Custom-8 hardtail

Left-handed: No

Finish: Walnut Satin

Reasons to buy

+

Great value for an eight-string

+

Quality build

+

Sound playability and tones

Reasons to avoid

-

Active pickups would seal the deal

Once upon a time it would cost you the GDP of a G7 country to be able to afford an eight-string electric, and here we are - and now you’ll get some change out of 500 dollars. Schecter has really taken to the extended-range market, and while you won’t mistake the Omen-8 for one of their high-end models it is a helluva lot of guitar for the price.

When playing the Omen-8, we found that the neck is welcoming, and with a set of high-ratio 15:1 Schecter tuners, the Omen-8 is pretty darn stable too. The weight feels okay, too. And the build quality and finish is what you might expect from Schecter.

While you might want active pickups on an eight-string, just to keep the hum down while turning string vibration into a buzzsaw, these overwound passive humbuckers (kind of reminiscent of the underrated EMG-HZ) have heaps of gnarly output.

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (9)

8. Charvel Pro-Mod Joe Duplantier San Dimas Style 2

Flatten a city with this tone monster…

Specifications

Body: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Scale: 25.5"

Fingerboard: Ebony with pearloid block inlay

Frets: 22

Pickups: DiMarzio Joe Duplantier Signature Fortitude humbucker (bridge), DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary humbucker (neck)

Controls: 1 x master volume, 3-way toggle pickup switch

Hardware:

(Video) ToneShapers Tech Tips: Avoid Phase Issues When Combining Guitar Pickups From Different Manufacturers

Left-handed: No

Finish: Natural Mahogany

Reasons to buy

+

A super-smart update on the T-style electric

+

Incredible pickups

+

Typically Charvel, it’s a joy to play

Reasons to avoid

-

Too conservative for some rivet-heads

The evolution of the Gojira riff-master’s signature San Dimas Style 2 continues apace, and this one, unveiled at NAMM 2020, is the classiest-looking yet. The black guard is nice, too, especially if you have moseyed on over here from using a ‘50s Telecaster and want to tune down and bang some heads.

The playability is incredible. Charvel is the original hot-rodder, and we found, during testing, that the 12-16” fingerboard radius across its more recent models is supremely comfortable for fretting chords and sweeping up arpeggios alike. There is a Charvel Speed Shape profile that’s joined to the body with a four-bolt heel.

But it’s the pickups that have got us really sold on this. Duplantier’s signature DiMarzio is the hotter of the two, perfect for articulating down-tuned riffs that are saturated in gain, while the PAF 36th Anniversary shoots for the Holy Grail of ’59 Les Paul tones.

Read the full Charvel Pro-Mod Joe Duplantier San Dimas Style 2 review

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (10)

9. EVH Wolfgang Standard

Make it shreddable but cute

Specifications

Body: Basswood

Neck: Roasted maple

Scale: 25.5"

Fingerboard: Roasted maple

Frets: 22

Pickups: 2x Direct Mount Wolfgang humbuckers (neck and bridge)

Controls:

Hardware: master volume, master tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch

Left-handed: No

Finish: Matte Army Drab, Taxi Cab Yellow, Cream White, Gloss Black, Neon Orange, Slime Green, Quicksilver

Reasons to buy

+

Cool new finishes

+

Super-playable and great value

+

Another fun candidate for hot-rodding

Reasons to avoid

-

Maybe not metal enough for some

If you are looking for one of the best affordable metal guitars and want to avoid anything too necro- and pointed, then the updated EVH Wolfgang Standard Series is a pretty safe bet. It can cover a variety of styles, but of course, with Mr Van Halen’s initials on the headstock you can be sure it plays nice and quick.

Here we’ve got a basswood body and a bolt-on roasted maple neck, an en vogue 12”-16” compound radius fingerboard, and ultimately there is something ergonomically slight and welcoming about the Wolfgang that made it very hard for us to put down during our testing.

It has an EVH-branded Floyd Rose Special double-locking tremolo for hitting harmonics and divebombing them, and two moderately hot Wolfgang humbuckers that should stand the topsy-turvy world of metal.

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (11)

10. Dean ML Dime O Flage

A battle-ready axe to wield in Dimebag's metal militia

Specifications

Body: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Scale: 24.75"

Fingerboard: Pau ferro

Frets: 22

Pickups: Dean DMT Humbucker (neck), Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker (bridge)

Controls: 1 x master volume, 1 x master tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch

Hardware: Grover tuners, Floyd Rose Special double-locking tremolo

Left-handed: No

Finish: Black Satin

Reasons to buy

+

For Pantera super-fans, this is the nuclear shred option

+

Good value

+

Excellent pickups

Reasons to avoid

-

The finish is bold

With an urban camo and Dimebag silhouette finish, its almost star-shaped profile and V-shaped headstock, the Dime O Flage edition of Dean's classic ML model is not for the faint-hearted.It was created for the same sort of buzzsaw tones that its most-famous patron used to deal in.

With a high-ouput passive Seymour Duncan Dimebucker in the bridge, the ML Dime O Flage is a seriously aggressive guitar, but during testing, we found it can do more classic metal and hard rock tones. So when Friday night comes and you want to jam some Van Halen and KISS covers this will have your back.

The Floyd Rose Special will be essential if you want to emulate Dimebag's harmonic squeals, but so too the set-neck construction, which gives the ML a very respectable sustain.

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (12)

11. ESP LTD Stef Carpenter Signature SC-607 Baritone

One of the best metal guitars for dropping some low-end thunder

Specifications

Body: Mahogany

(Video) ESP GUITARS 2022 LINEUP - Phase 1

Neck: Maple, neck-through

Scale: 27"

Fingerboard: Macassar ebony

Frets: 24

Pickups: 2x Fishman SRC Fluence Humbuckers (bridge and middle)

Controls: 1 x master volume (push/pull coil-split), 1 x master tone, 3-way blade pickup switch

Hardware: LTD locking tuners, TonePros Locking Tune-O-Matic bridge with string-through body

Left-handed: No

Reasons to buy

+

The best option for invading your bassist's frequency range

+

Versatile tones, but super-hot output for max-gain riffing

+

Reverse ESP headstock is very cool

Reasons to avoid

-

No neck pickup

ESP's long-standing collaboration with the Deftones' Stef Carpenter has produced some of the most cutting-edge designs in metal guitars. Carpenter would probably resist the term "metal guitar" because his sound is so much more, but this SC-607 might just be the best option for down-tuned riffers.

There's no neck pickup, instead the two SRC Fluence Humbuckers are in bridge and middle positions. They both have push-pull functions to switch up their voicings between active and passive.

During testing, we loved the neck-through construction, and thin U-profile on the three-piece maple neck. No fret-markers either - which looks stealthy and epic. Embrace the minimalism, fret a chord, brace for impact...

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (13)

12. Squier Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster

One of the best alternative metal guitars for players seeking something other than humbuckers

Specifications

Body: Poplar

Neck: Maple

Scale: 27”

Fingerboard: Indian Laurel

Frets: 22

Pickups: 2x Fender Designed Alnico Soapbar Single-Coil

Controls: 1 x volume, 1 x tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch

Hardware: Chrome, 6-Saddle Strings-Through-Body Hardtail Bridge

Left-handed: No

Finish: Sunburst, Surf Green

Reasons to buy

+

Growly soapbar pickups

+

Nice alternative to humbuckers

+

Fat low end

+

Classic Tele look

Reasons to avoid

-

Too trebly and twangy for some

A rather unsuspecting option for the best metal guitar, but it works. The soapbar pickups might not dish out the same sort of saturation as a pair of active humbuckers, but they’ve got a really nice growl and mid-range bump that helps them cut through a mix. They distort nicely, plus they cover a range of different tones. If you’re one for bringing in clean breaks and intros, then this guitar is ideal.

The 27” scale helps cater for the B to B tuning as standard and really helps deliver some wall rumbling low end. It’s great for serving up big, mean-sounding riffs. Plus, with Squier’s great build quality and affordable pricing, you get a lot for your money. The Tele is also a classic body shape and is easy to play in any situation!

Best metal guitars: Buying advice

Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (14)

When it really boils down to it, the best metal guitar is the one that you find comfortable to play and allows you to get the right tones for the music you’re playing. You don’t need a specific guitar to play metal, per se, but some of the features we’ve discussed above and will go through below certainly make it easier.

Contrary to popular belief, no - you do not need a specific metal guitar to play metal. Having a guitar that's up to the job definitely helps you achieve the crazy gain tones you're after, but you don'tneedany specific type of guitar to do this. Sometimes, single-coil pickups sound killer in a metal setting. It's all about experimenting with tones and seeing what you like.

But, for those super-heavy, drowning-in-gain tones you’re after, one of the best metal guitars is designed specifically to make your life easier. The hardware, electronics, necks, fingerboards and bodies are all built specifically to draw out the best metal tones possible from that guitar - and who doesn’t want a purpose-built shred machine?

Which pickups do I need in my metal guitar?

High-output humbuckers will do the job nicely, because you are going to need to have plenty of gain and harmonic excitement to get those really crazy tones. Pickup manufacturers such as EMG specialise in active pickups, which are powered by one or more 9V batteries in your guitar - meaning that their output is sky high, and their tone is highly precise - making them some of the best pickups for metal.

Companies such as DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan and Bare Knuckle specialise in passive pickups, which have a slightly lower output and don’t need any extra power sources to operate. They often sound a little more organic and classic, but still create enough noise to boil blood. Many of the best metal guitars will be equipped with something from these manufacturers.

A big consideration when on the hunt for the best guitar for metal should be whether you’re opting for passive or active pickups. Many active pickups have been designed with the aim of handling a brutal amount of gain. You’ll retain note clarity and punch even when your tone is dripping with distortion.

Passive pickups can still sound great super distorted, but their output doesn’t tend to be quite as high. However you do normally tend to get a better dynamic range, allowing you to create light and shade with your playing attack more easily.

Tuning

Not all metal is down tuned – some of the heaviest riffs written are in E standard. That said, down tuning is a sure fire way of nastying up your guitar sound, ready for some metal. There are a number of ways to do this.

Some of the best metal guitars have more than 6 strings. 7 and even 8-string guitars normally give you an extra low B and low F# respectively. They can take a little while to get used to at first, but once you do, having that extended bottom end gives you access to a new world of chunky riffs.

A baritone guitar has a longer scale length – usually around 27” and usually tuned B to B; a fourth lower than standard tuning. The intervals between your six strings are the same so all your chord shapes stay the same; you’re just in a lower key and you can play much lower notes.

Then there are guitars that might come shipped in standard tuning but have a slightly extended scale length that mean they will hold well if tuned down. Even guitars with a regular scale length, when fitted with some thicker gauge strings can be tuned down.

Body Shape

Believe it or not, there’s no law that states all metal should be played on a pointy guitar. Of course, a guitar that can double as a weapon adds to the metal aesthetic but, they don’t always make for comfortable instruments when you’re sat down. So, if you do a lot of your riff writing at home, sat down before you take it to the rehearsal room, then you might want to look for something with a body shape that allows for that.

Sometimes though, simplicity can do the job; a black guitar with a standard body shape can be just as metal as a pointy V – it’s all down to the player!

Hard-tail vs locking trem

When looking at a range of metal guitars, you again need to think about which styles of metal you want to play, and your overall playing style.

Are you a rhythm guitarist who needs something super solid and reliable? If that’s the case, a hardtail is probably the bridge to go for, as the strings won’t be able to slip out of tune as easily as they would if you had a tremolo. Either a string-thru or tune-o-matic style bridge setup would work best for you.

If you’re more of a lead player who loves doing dive-bombs and crazy trem-based effects, then something with a locking Floyd-Rose style tremolo system should be your go-to. A locking trem stops your strings from slipping out of tune, by – you guessed it – locking the strings at the nut.

Read more about our rating system, how we choose the gear we feature, and exactly how we test each product.

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Best metal guitars 2022: 12 hell-raising electrics for shredders on any budget (15)

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

(Video) Seymour Duncan DUALITY pickups for Metal & Horseriding

With contributions from

  • Richard Blenkinsop

FAQs

What guitar do heavy metal bands use? ›

Equipment. Shred guitar players often use electric solid-body guitars such as Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, Kramer, Kiesel/Carvin, Jackson, Charvel, Schecter and ESP.

What makes an electric guitar good for metal? ›

For metal, we'll typically be looking for high-output humbucking pickups. The rationale is simple. Humbuckers have a fuller tone than single-coils, and with a higher output they will send your amp into overdrive sooner. They also help keep unwanted noise at bay.

How do I choose a metal guitar? ›

Here's a brief overview of the most important elements that come into play when choosing a guitar for metal.
  1. Pickups. Humbuckers for hotter output and thicker, beefier sound. ...
  2. Tonewoods. ...
  3. Scale Length. ...
  4. Playability. ...
  5. Electronics. ...
  6. Bridge and Tuning Hardware. ...
  7. Cosmetics. ...
  8. Extended Range.
27 Sept 2018

Can I shred on a Les Paul? ›

It's important to remember that shredding is far less about the guitar, and far more about the player. A great guitarist will be able to shred on absolutely anything, including a Les Paul.

What Gibson is best for metal? ›

Gibson Les Paul Standard

The Les Paul Standard is an ideal guitar for metal because it gives you a tone that fills a huge sonic space. The thick mahogany body can sustain notes for days while the maple cap lends a touch of snap and articulation that helps metal guitarists' solos remain clear and defined.

Is Ibanez good for metal? ›

Ibanez Guitars are known to be great guitars for metal. Many of their guitars have been designed with high-gain music in mind. Ibanez guitars often feature high output humbuckers which are great for creating metal guitar tones.

Can you play death metal on a Stratocaster? ›

The Quick Answer. Stratocasters are not usually used for metal because they have a fairly thin and bright tone, and are susceptible to feedback. However, it is possible to use a Strat for metal. Consider using a noise gate, distortion or EQ pedal and adjust the amp settings to reduce the brightness and add more depth.

How do you shred on a guitar? ›

Take your first (index) finger on your fretting hand and hold it at the fifth fret on the third string. Then hammer on your second (middle) finger one fret up as hard as you can (at the sixth fret on the third string) and immediately pull it off as hard as you can. Do this over and over for 15 seconds.

What are metal guitars called? ›

Resonator guitar
Single cone resonator with metal body
String instrument
Other namesDobro
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322
Inventor(s)John Dopyera
7 more rows

What is the best brand guitar? ›

To sum it all up, the best guitar brands are Ibanez, Fender, and Gibson. The best overall option would be the Ibanez JSM100, based on its overall quality and versatility. The Fender Telecaster is our number one Fender recommendation, while from the Gibson range we would single out the ES-175.

Can you play heavy metal on an electric guitar? ›

First, you will need an electric guitar. This is a guitar that needs to be plugged into an electric amplifier for any sound to be heard. They are often completely solid and very heavy. You can also buy hollow ones but they are not as good for heavy metal.

How can I make my electric guitar sound heavy metal? ›

The Quick Answer. To achieve a good metal tone, have your amp settings on high for bass and gain, mid-low for the mids setting and mid-high for the treble setting. The key to achieving a good metal tone is high gain, high sustain and lot's of low-end (bass). Remember, this is just a starting point.

What equipment do you need to play metal guitar? ›

Metal Guitar Gear
  1. Electric guitar.
  2. Amp.
  3. Lead (to connect your guitar to your amp)
  4. Pick (also known as a plectrum) for picking the strings (very few metal guitarists play fingerstyle)
  5. Guitar strap (have you ever seen a metal guitarist play sitting down?)
  6. Effects pedals (optional, depending on your amp)

What guitar is good for black metal? ›

Schecter Reaper-7 Multi-scale

This is a 7-string multi-scale guitar that is perfectly suited to metal. The extra low string means you don't have to tune down (though you still can), and really helps with playing super heavy riffs.

Can you play blues on metal guitar? ›

A diehard metal fan would probably say it would sound too cheesy or whatever, but it's all subjective and technically yes, you can definitely play all guitar music from blues to metal on one guitar, as long as it's a guitar and the general construction remains the same.

Why do shredders use Ibanez? ›

A lot of people refer to Ibanez because they feel the thin neck allows them to shred faster. A lot of it has to do with the player's comfort in conjunction with the playability of the guitar though.

Why does a Gibson Les Paul sound so good? ›

It's a rich, resonant tonewood with lots of guts and character. Les Pauls feature mahogany bodies and necks, and this is a major driving force behind that legendary sound. There is a never-ending debate about how much tonewoods matter for electric guitars.

Can you shred on a Gibson? ›

You can shred on any guitar, if you can shred on one but not on another, it's either really differently set up or you just can't really shred. Zakk Wylde isn't shredding, it's pinch harmonics.

What is Gibson's best selling guitar? ›

The Gibson SG is a solid-body electric guitar model introduced by Gibson in 1961 as the Gibson Les Paul SG. It remains in production today in many variations of the initial design. The SG (where "SG" refers to Solid Guitar) Standard is Gibson's best-selling model of all time.

Are Jackson Guitars good for metal? ›

Jackson guitars are mainly good for metal and heavy or hard rock. Their pickups are suitable for heavier styles of music and their necks are good for playing technical and fast. That doesn't mean you can't play other styles of music on a Jackson guitar.

Are PRS Guitars good for metal? ›

If you are a metal guitarist looking for a new instrument, a PRS Guitar might be a great choice. They make great guitars for metal for several reasons. Their necks and body designs are great for soloing, with fast action and enlarged fret counts. Some even have scalloped frets.

Why do metal guitarists play Ibanez? ›

Ibanez utilized hot EMG and DiMarzio pickups. They upgraded their legendary Wizard neck to make it even faster and more durable. They stripped down the look of the instruments and added a kill switch to some models. The Iron Label Series improves every year, making these guitars a solid choice for extreme metal.

Why Ibanez guitars are best? ›

Ibanez have produced good quality electric guitars for many years, and are revered for their thin fast playing necks, precise hot sound, and comfortable lightweight body designs. They are a good choice for beginners through to advanced players, providing electric guitar models in various price ranges.

What metal guitarists use Ibanez? ›

Herman Li (born 1976) is the lead guitarist of power metal band Dragonforce. He has used stock Ibanez S models, but currently uses his own signature line, Ibanez E-Gen. Kiko Loureiro (born 1972) of bands such as Angra and Megadeth uses the Ibanez Kiko100 from his signature line of guitars.

Does fender make a metal guitar? ›

Even so, they're one of the best-selling signature guitars that Fender has made. Out of all of the Fender guitars made, the Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster is the most geared towards metal because it has the most metal-centric gear. Fender only makes some of these features for this model.

Can you play metal with humbuckers? ›

Humbuckers have been the staple and traditional option for metal players over the decades for a good reason. Humbuckers sound naturally thick, beefy, and dark compared to single-coils having twice as many pickups. More pickups equal a fatter tone.

Who is World No 1 guitarist? ›

Overwhelmingly, we found Jimi Hendrix in the number one spot with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page often locked in a wrestling match for second ranking. Remarkably, among the 33 guitarists mentioned in the top ten places across these lists, not one was a woman.

Who is the fastest guitar shredder? ›

In media. In 2003, Guitar One Magazine voted Michael Angelo Batio the fastest shredder of all time.

Which guitar is the easiest to learn? ›

Electric guitars are generally the easiest to play: the strings are usually thinner, the 'action' is lower and therefore the strings are easier to press down. The necks are generally narrower too which can help in the early stages.

Is bass important in metal? ›

The prominent role of the bass is key to the metal sound, and the interplay of bass and distorted electric guitar is a central element of metal. The bass guitar provides the low-end sound crucial to making the music "heavy".

Is a steel guitar the same as a Dobro? ›

Dobro. Lap steel guitar has a plugged in electric sound, which also gives it a more sustained tone for playing single notes or chords. In Dobro a lot of your volume comes from your hands and how hard you're hitting the strings. In lap steel however, you can just adjust the volume for a lighter or louder sound.

How many pickups should a guitar have? ›

Most electric guitars have two or three magnetic pickups. A combination of pickups is called a pickup configuration, usually notated by writing out the pickup types in order from bridge pickup through mid pickup(s) to neck pickup, using “S” for single-coil and “H” for humbucker.

What is considered a high end guitar? ›

High-end Guitars: $800 – $1800-ish

These are professional level instruments, but that doesn't mean only the pros should own them. Quality control for high end guitars is usually very good.

What is considered the best guitar of all time? ›

1. Gibson Les Paul. We'll start with the absolute classic all-rounder. The Gibson Les Paul is not only one of the best guitars for Rock, but one of the best electric guitars of all time.

Which guitar is better for rock? ›

The Gibson Les Paul has been the backbone of rock'n'roll since it was introduced way back in 1952. This iconic instrument is beloved by many guitar legends from Jimmy Page, Slash and Joe Perry to Joe Bonamassa, for its hard-hitting tone and elegant looks. That's why it has to be our top pick for the best rock guitar.

What is the easiest heavy metal song to play on guitar? ›

“You've Got Another Thing Comin” – Judas Priest. “Master of Puppets” – Metallica. “Lonely Day” – System of a Down. “This Means War” – Avenged Sevenfold.

What is the easiest metal song to learn on guitar? ›

Easy Metal Songs On Guitar (our list)
  • Metallica - Nothing Else Matters.
  • Metallica - The Unforgiven.
  • Metallica - Whisky In the Jar.
  • Slipknot - Snuff.
  • System of a Down - Lost in Hollywood.
  • Volbeat - For Evigt.
  • Bad Wolves - Zombie.
  • Tool - Sober.
7 May 2022

Do you need two humbuckers for metal? ›

having 2 humbuckers is only necessary if you need them both. Just depends on the kind of sound you're going for. Obviously it gives you more versatility, but not everyone needs that, some people just need a guitar that does one thing and does it very well.

How do you get the death metal guitar tone? ›

The best way to go about it is to leave the bass and treble knobs at 12 o'clock, while the mids are cut out completely. Then slowly start adding the mids until you get a bit of their "punch" while not completely removing the "scooped" aspect of the tone.

Do you need a distortion pedal to play metal? ›

You Play Metal or Hard Rock

It's best to start off by saying, that if you're playing metal or hard rock, then a distortion pedal will be very useful. If you get a high quality distortion pedal, then it will allow you to get the authentic tone characteristic of this genre.

How can I make my guitar sound more rocky? ›

How to Get Rock Guitar Tones! | Guitar Lesson for Beginners | Guitar Tricks

Can you play metal on any guitar? ›

In fact, one can technically play heavy metal songs on any guitar. However, there are certain things to look for when buying a guitar to play heavy metal music. In contrast to classical music guitars which are hollow and acoustic, heavy metal guitars are usually electric and made with a solid body of wood.

Is a Strat good for metal? ›

The Quick Answer. Stratocasters are not usually used for metal because they have a fairly thin and bright tone, and are susceptible to feedback. However, it is possible to use a Strat for metal. Consider using a noise gate, distortion or EQ pedal and adjust the amp settings to reduce the brightness and add more depth.

What are metal guitars called? ›

Resonator guitar
Single cone resonator with metal body
String instrument
Other namesDobro
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322
Inventor(s)John Dopyera
7 more rows

Why are telecasters good metal? ›

A Tele isn't just good for metal rhythm players but lead guitarists too. The neck pickup is smooth and warm and will really shine as it's got a unique sonic tonality. If you want to cut out a bit of the brightness, simply roll back on the tone knob and use a compressor pedal to thicken up the single coil pickups.

Do you need two humbuckers for metal? ›

having 2 humbuckers is only necessary if you need them both. Just depends on the kind of sound you're going for. Obviously it gives you more versatility, but not everyone needs that, some people just need a guitar that does one thing and does it very well.

What chords does metal use? ›

As you've already learned, in Metal music we use Power Chords. A power chord is made up of a root and 5th intervals, creating a perfect 5th. Power Chords are also a form of Dyads. Dyads are basically chords made up on 2 – 3 notes.

Can you play metal without humbuckers? ›

Yes, of course, you can. Single-coils are still pickups like humbuckers are. Just a little bit different. But with a good setup, eq, and working with your tone control, you can play metal music on them through a good hi-gain amp.

Are single-coil pickups better than humbuckers? ›

Main Differences Between Humbucker vs Single Coil

Humbuckers have two coils which result in a thicker, deeper, and smoother sound, whereas Single Coils are brighter and crisper. Humbuckers are preferred by Jazz, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal guitarists, whereas Single Coils are preferred by surf and country guitarists.

Is Ibanez good for metal? ›

Ibanez Guitars are known to be great guitars for metal. Many of their guitars have been designed with high-gain music in mind. Ibanez guitars often feature high output humbuckers which are great for creating metal guitar tones.

Which guitar is the easiest to learn? ›

Electric guitars are generally the easiest to play: the strings are usually thinner, the 'action' is lower and therefore the strings are easier to press down. The necks are generally narrower too which can help in the early stages.

What is the best brand guitar? ›

To sum it all up, the best guitar brands are Ibanez, Fender, and Gibson. The best overall option would be the Ibanez JSM100, based on its overall quality and versatility. The Fender Telecaster is our number one Fender recommendation, while from the Gibson range we would single out the ES-175.

Is bass important in metal? ›

The prominent role of the bass is key to the metal sound, and the interplay of bass and distorted electric guitar is a central element of metal. The bass guitar provides the low-end sound crucial to making the music "heavy".

Can you play heavy metal with a Telecaster? ›

YES! Of course, it's totally possible to play metal on a telecaster. Some guitarists believe that it requires changing single-coil pickups for humbuckers, but it's not necessarily true. In fact, it's easy to achieve a great and fat tone without any electronics adjustments.

Can you play hard rock on a Telecaster? ›

the first question you should ask yourself is: can i rock? if the answer is yes, then yes, you can rock with a telecaster.

What style of music is a Telecaster good for? ›

Like the three-pickup Stratocaster which followed it in 1954, the Telecaster is a versatile guitar and has been used in many genres, including country, reggae, rock, pop, folk, soul, blues, jazz, punk, metal, alternative, indie rock, and R&B.

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