Best Metal Guitar: Top Guitars for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

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Whether you’re in a band or if you simply want to practice your favorite rock and metal tunes on a great guitar, you are sure to find a great guitar for rock and metal music out there. With so many great manufacturers including DC Rich, Jackson and Epiphone, there is something out there for every musician.

We’ve put together some of the best metal guitar reviews for these kinds of guitars so that you can find the best one for your needs and we’ve also included several guitars from different price budget ranges so that you can find something that suits your budget as well as your needs.

Whether you’re about to start touring and you’re looking for something that simply looks more striking than your current guitars, or if you’re just starting out in rock and metal music and you want a guitar to fit the style of music that you’ll be playing, you may find the perfect model right amongst the top metal guitars under 1000 dollars.

Best Metal Guitars Under $500 – Top 3

B.C. Rich Warlock Metal Guitar

B.C. Rich Warlock Metal Guitar

The B.C. Rich Warlock guitar will make a bold statement when you step out onto the stage. The wood and chrome appearance makes it look impressive whilst the design is fitting with a rock and metal theme.

The ash colored agathis wood produces a high quality and clear sound and it works well with the unusual body shape of this guitar. It can provide you with both excellent longevity as well as a rich sound. Around the body of the guitar is a beveled edge, which strikingly catches the light at certain angles. This gives the guitar a 3D looking appearance and an accentuating finishing touch.

The neck of the guitar is bolted on, which means that it is bolted to the body with 4 screws. It is useful because it can give you the option to change the neck at a later point for example if it becomes worn. The neck is made from maple and has a stylish finish that is satiny and makes playing the guitar more enjoyable.

The fingerboard has a 24-fret style and is made with rosewood. It has pearloid dot inlays to make playing easier. You can be sure that you’ll reach the higher chords thanks to the design of the cutaway in the body.

The wraparound bridge on this guitar is adjustable so that you can make use of the solid tuning and it can offer great sustain. The tuners are high quality and are made from die-cast chrome.

Jackson King V KVXMG X Series Electric Guitar

Jackson King V KVXMG X Series Electric Guitar

For unrivalled quality and style, the Jackson King V KVXMG X Series Electric Guitar is a perfect choice for any professional rock or metal guitarist. It features only the most durable of components to ensure a rich sound and long life.

The humbucking pickup that is featured on this guitar offers the best possible tonal versatility. You can enjoy great tone whether you’re going for clean or distorted sounds. It also features a Floyd Rose bridge.

The design of the neck of this guitar is so well thought out that it is something that you’d only really expect from the more expensive models of rock and metal guitars, so you’ll get a great surprise with this model. The truss rod is also flanked with support rods that are made from graphite so that you can be sure that the guitar will remain completely durable even if you’re using it for touring.

A compound radius fingerboard that was pioneered by Jackson offers a unique style of fingerboard that begins rounded at the nut and flattens gradually as it reaches the heel of the guitar. This makes chords feel more comfortable to play and riffs can be more natural especially when you are playing near the nut.

If you’re looking for a striking look for your guitar, then you can be sure to get that when you choose this stunning guitar from Jackson. The shark fin or piranha inlays that feature on the fingerboard look great; whilst the headstock with tuners that are in line give a memorable appearance. This guitar really is great for the travelling rock or metal guitarist.

Dean ML 79 Metal Guitar

Dean ML 79 Metal Guitar

Best hard rock guitars under 1000As 1979 was such a great year for guitars, the Dean ML 79 is something of a collectable today. With ZZ Top, Kansas, The Cars, Pantera and Iron Maiden all choosing Dean guitars in this year, it is not surprising that it’s made this model of guitar so popular.

Built using the original specification of the 1979 model of Dean, the larger, 70s style headstock is used. The model is also available in original finishes such as Cherry Sunburst and Braziliaburst. Despite the high quality and great looks of this guitar, it is an affordable model that falls into the price range of the lower budgets.

A set mahogany neck gives a warmer tone and the sustain is impressive. It also has easy access to the upper fret thanks to the 79-style cutaway. The abalone dot inlays on the rosewood fingerboard allow you to play this guitar with ease.

The Dean Humbucker pickups are included in a zebra style black and white finish. The pickups offer great sound quality for even the most modern styles and a three-way selector that is integrated into the design allows a combination or single selection of neck or bridge.

This guitar uses a Grover tuner, making tuning it as simple as possible and the specially lubricated gearbox offers worry-free service for life. A double locking design on the tremolo allows your guitar to be locked in tune so that there will be no slipping. You’ll never have to wince whilst you’re playing because you hear your guitar go out of tune if you choose this guitar.

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Best Heavy Metal Guitars Under $1000 – Top 3

Schecter Omen Extreme-6 Electric Guitar

Schecter Omen Extreme-6 Electric Guitar

Good electric guitar for metalThe Schecter Omen Extreme-6 Electric Guitar is a great choice if you’re looking for an electric guitar that not only looks great but also has a versatile sound that can be suited to many different genres.

This is a great looking guitar. The double cutaway adds to the style and appearance whilst you will benefit from being able to reach the higher notes on the fret board.

This is a 6-string guitar that features a mahogany body that is painted with a black cherry finish. The neck of the guitar is made from maple to give a rich and resonant sound. The body is also made with quilted maple along with the mahogany to give an even more elegant look. The rosewood fingerboard provides an excellent durability and is attached to the maple neck.

You can be sure that you’ll be able to recreate plenty of musical genres from heavy metal to blues with this electric guitar. The electronics that come up with it includes a toggle switch and” In. This allows you to alter the master volume and the tone. The tune o matic bridge provides additional sustain and the juniors are manufactured by Schechter to bring you the highest possible quality.

You will get a good set of strings included with this model so that you will be able to play it for a little while before they need to be replaced. The Metal knurled diamond bridge pickup ensures that the tuner arrangement fits in well with the style of the guitar.

Epiphone Goth 1958 Explorer

Epiphone Goth 1958 Explorer

This stunning black metal guitar is just what you need if you play in a dark Goth band. It really looks the part with its satin black finish and the accompanying black hardware. Even though pig guards and the controls are finished in black. It certainly has a striking look to ensure that this guitar fits in well with the metal genre.

When you are playing heavy metal music, you can expect to be required to fit in plenty of complicated and impressive riffs. This guitar has been designed to allow you to do just that. They set mahogany neck is designed to be lots only sturdy but also to offer plenty of sustain and resonance.

The rosewood fret board provides you with 22 frets so that you can have plenty of range whilst you are playing. In order to provide you with the best possible output, this guitar has an inbuilt dual anxino open coil humbucker system, which provides you with superb high-end definition sound. Included with each pickup, there is our volume control so that you can have complete Control over your sound. There is also a master for you control, which will allow you to simply turn the volume of the entire guitar up or down.

The adjustable bridge has been designed to offer even more sustained to the player. The tailpiece, which is finished in black, also adds to the power of the sustain.

This is a high-quality metal guitar that will provide you with plenty of durability even with hours of constant performing.

ESP LTD AX-50 Metal Guitar

ESP LTD AX-50 Metal Guitar

If you’re a beginner or a guitarist on a particularly low budget, then the ESP LTD AX-50 is a low cost solution that is sure to impress with it’s exceptional sound and quality. If you want to stand out from the crowd, then this is the guitar to help you to do just that.

The all black finish of this guitar gives it a heavy and very metal look whilst the beveled edges make the body look 3D and impressive. Dramatic cutaways in the design of the body ensure that you don’t need to struggle to get the high notes, as the whole of the fingerboard is easy to access.

With a basswood body and maple neck, you can be sure that this guitar is high quality whilst being lightweight too. The all-wood construction ensures that you’ll get only the richest sound from it.

The ESP LTD AX-50 pickups have a great range of tones so that you can use this guitar for other genres of music if you wish, but it is optimized for the best performance whilst playing rock and metal.

Thanks to the string thru body design of this metal guitar, you can be sure to get the best possible sustain and you can also change the strings with ease if one should snap. This is great for when you are performing and need to make a quick repair to your guitar.

This is a guitar that is pleasant to play and it produces the kind of high quality sound that you’d expect to find on a much higher-end metal guitar.

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Best Hard Rock Guitars Under $300 – Top 3

Jackson JS32 Rhoads Metal Guitar

Jackson JS32 Rhoads Metal Guitar

If you’re looking for a metal guitar with a snappy sound with great sound definition an impressive finish, then this Jackson metal guitar is for you. With an affordable price tag whilst still offering great value for money, you can’t go wrong with this metal guitar.

The body of the guitar is nothing short of impressive. With pointy corners and a dramatic design, you’ll have to be careful when walking around with this guitar so that you don’t accidentally impale anyone on the corners! The finish of the guitar is pretty awesome too. With a dark satin finish, it is the perfect look for any metal head.

The tune-o-matic bridge will ensure that you will have pitch perfect sound at all times and actually playing the guitar is a truly pleasurable experience thanks to the satiny feel of the neck and fret board.

Most of the features about this guitar are brilliant and you’ll be more than impressed, but the true problems come when you try to sit down. If you’re a guitarist who likes to be seated for some of the time, you’re really going to struggle with this model. Due to the shape and design of the body, just getting comfortable is quite a task, if not an impossible one. If you want a metal guitar that you can sit down whilst playing, you may want to look elsewhere.

All in all however, this is a great quality guitar that is eye catching and that sounds great. As long as you plan on standing up whilst playing it and moving around the stage, you should have no problems with the unique design.

Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar

Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar

When you’re looking for a great quality rock guitar that won’t cost a fortune, you can’t find much better than the Epiphone SG-Special. Using an original style of Les Paul’s designs, this electric guitar has a double cutaway design to the body and has a stunning SG shape and sound. With all the great features that come with this guitar, like most other Epiphone guitars, you won’t be disappointed if you choose this model.

Whether you’re playing chords or wowing the audience with complicated riffs, this guitar has been designed to be as easy as possible to play. It features a maple heck that has a slim taper ‘D’ profile and it is bolted onto the body for the best possible strength and durability. Thanks to the rosewood fingerboard, playing a guitar has never been more pleasurable. Your fingers will effortlessly slide up and down the strings and you will be able to have an enjoyable performing experience.

Using modern humbucker pickups, this guitar can bring you tones that allow you to replicate the styles of AC/DC, The Beatles and Frank Zappa. Dual humbucker noise-free pickups provide you with that classic rock and metal tone that you need.

With the affordable price tag, you’d think that you should expect lower quality, but this GS-Special guitar really delivers. With the Lock Tone Tune-o-matic bridge and StopBar tailpiece that many other Epiphone guitars come with, you can be sure to get the best resonance whilst changing the strings is really fast and simple.

Finishing touches such as the finish of the body and the Kill Switch that enables you to pull off some great sound effects really seal the deal for anyone thinking of purchasing this guitar.

Ibanez GRX20ZBKN Electric Guitar

Ibanez GRX20ZBKN Electric Guitar

Ibanez grx20zbkn hard rock guitarIf you’re looking for a cool Ibanez metal guitar, you should check out the Ibanez GRX20ZBKN electric guitar. This is one that looks great when you’re performing and it can also offer some great design features to improve the sound and tone to make it perfect for rock and metal music.

A basswood body and the maple neck construction offer the best possible sound when you play this guitar. It is also durable and allows you to easily adjust or make alterations to the guitar. Whether you’re a guitar newbie or if you are a professional guitarist, the neck is easy and enjoyable to handle. Deep dual cutaway designs in the body also allow you to reach the entire length of the fret board for the best possible range when you’re playing those impressive riffs.

What a lot of players like about this model is that it has been designed to be held comfortably, and even if you let the guitar go whilst it is hung around your shoulders, the neck will not dip down. You can also experience a better grip on the strings with the rosewood inlay on the fret board.

High definition sound output makes this guitar not only a pleasurable playing experience for you, but also means that your audience will enjoy it more too.

This is a great rock and metal guitar for any musician from beginner to advanced level and you can be sure that you’ll be purchasing a product that has been built to last with an affordable price tag.

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Top Guitars for Heavy Metal Over $1000

ESP Kirk Hammett Signature KH-2

ESP Kirk Hammett Signature KH-2

For a guitar that not only looks fit for a metal head, but one that also sounds like a professional rock and metal guitar, this ESP Kirk Hammett Signature KH-2 is a popular choice. With a striking black design with unique details, this guitar is sure to grab your audience’s attention. It also produces a great metal sound and is perfect for those tricky riffs.

This guitar features an Alder body with Maple neck so that you can enjoy the best possible sound and resonance. A rosewood fingerboard offers effortless movement up and down the strings and the skull and crossbones inlays give this guitar an even more metal look.

To provide you with the most rigid design and stability, the neck is bolted onto the body and the 24 jumbo frets make playing this guitar easy as you won’t ever miss a note ever again. The extra thin design of the contoured U shaped neck allows you to wrap your fingers around the neck more easily and this will ensure that your hands can be as comfortable as possible, even if you are playing this guitar for a while.

Inline Gotoh tuners allow you to effortlessly tune this metal guitar so that you can perform with pitch perfect precision.

ESP E-II Eclipse Hard Rock Guitar

ESP E-II Eclipse Hard Rock Guitar

Esp e-ii eclipse metal guitarFor great sound definition and a vintage style electric guitar, look no further than the E-11 Eclipse from ESP. The stunning vintage black finish and the ebony fingerboard give this guitar a rock and metal look, but the design of the guitar itself is far more classical than most of the metal guitars on the market. If you want something that doesn’t look as crazy as most of the other models available on the market today, then this will be a great choice for you.

This versatile guitar can lend itself to most genres of music thanks to the 2 humbucking pickups. This delivers great tone and high definition sound so that your audience can enjoy the guitar as much as you do. The mahogany body and the maple and mahogany neck ensure that the guitar produces a great sound whilst being durable and rigid. The articulation and tone are greatly enhanced thanks to the construction and this means that you can enjoy the best possible sound from a more affordable guitar.

The set neck construction of the guitar neck ensures that you can enjoy great sustain and note definition whilst the u-shape of the neck is pleasant to hold whilst you play. As the neck is reasonably thin, you will be more comfortable whilst you play.

With so many great features and design qualities, it’s easy to see why this vintage style ESP guitar is so popular amongst performers. The versatility of the guitar means that whilst it is great for rock and metal music, you’ll not be restricted to only play this genre, which can be a great bonus.

Ibanez S5521 S Series Prestige Electric Guitar

Ibanez S5521 S Series Prestige Electric Guitar

This stunning Ibanez guitar features the classic and stunning design. With plenty of different finishes to choose from, you can choose the perfect guitar to match your band, style, or favorite color.

If you really want to shred those riffs, the neck of this guitar is made just for that. With a sin 17 mm sickness at the first frats tapering to a 19 mm thickness at the 12, you can be sure that the snack won’t be too chunky for you to effortlessly wrap your hand around. In addition, the fret board has a smooth surface so that you can enjoy complete comforts as you play.

The Gibraltar standard II Bridge is at Basic fixed bridge. This effortlessly unifies with the body of the guitar in order to offer the best possible transfer of vibrations from the strings. This produces the best possible quality without needing to involve any complicated mechanisms.

To provide you with Great tuning stability, this guitar features Magnum Lock machine heads. You can be sure of the most professional playing experience when you choose this model.

A volume control and a five way PU selection gives you full control over this guitar so that you can get the sound that you want.

This is quite simply one of the best rock and metal guitars around. It looks great, that sounds great, and is an absolute pleasure to play. Even if you are touring and you are going to be playing it frequently, this guitar will remain durable and will last you for along time. It is certainly worth the price tag.

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Top Guitar Brands for Metal

Ibanez

  • Ibanez has long been considered to be one of the greatest names when it comes to metal guitars. From its early days in the 70s, the company has transformed its image from a manufacturer that simply copied other instrument styles to a true market leader in innovation and quality. You can be sure that you’re getting a great product when you choose an Ibanez guitar.

Schecter

  • The best thing about Schecter guitars is that whenever you play them, it’s clear that they are exceptional quality. They are not just great quality, but they also have a low price tag. If you choose a Schecter you will be amazed over and over again at how the price tag doesn’t seem to reflect the high quality of these metal guitars.

ESP

  • Once upon a time, ESP was a brand name that was only affordable by the likes of the most professional of rock stars. These days however, the ESP LTD range of metal guitars is far more affordable, so if you want to own an affordable metal guitar from a brand that rock stars trust, you can rely on ESP.

Jackson

  • Designed for metal, Jackson guitars feature high quality tone woods, powerful pickups and a great look. If you grew up listening to the likes of Iron maiden and early Metallica, then you’ll love Jackson’s range of metal guitars.

Gibson/Epihone

  • Gibson/Epiphon eIt doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re playing. You know that you can’t go wrong with a Gibson guitar. Well-known models such as the Flying V and the Explorer have become firm favorites in the rock and metal world.

Squire/Fender

  • Fender is a well-known manufacturer of high quality guitars, but they are not the name that you would automatically think of when it comes to choosing a guitar for rock and metal. Having said that, you shouldn’t rule out the prospect of getting a fender for your metal performances. These are high quality and versatile instruments that would suit metal and rock music well.

Washburn

  • Washburn was once a well-known brand of metal and rock guitars, but with the saturation of other competitors in the market the brand has faded somewhat. This is a shame as they are great quality instruments and they do still have some loyal metal head followers.

Dean

  • Whilst Dean was one of the most popular metal guitar brands in the 70s thanks to the ultra glamorous and rock look of their guitar bodies, the brand faded a little with the fashions of the late 80s and early 90s. When Pantera came along however, Dean was given a revival and since then, Dean has become well known as one of the best manufacturers of rock and metal guitars.

Charvel

  • Although the design of Charvel metal guitars looks quite unique to the youth of today, if you remember rock back in the 80s, you’ll smile whenever you see a Charvel metal guitar. These metal guitars are designed in a distinctly 80s style and are great for causing a stir on stage.

B.C. Rich

  • When you’re looking for a great solid body metal guitar, you can’t get much better than B.C. Rich. With unique and stunning finishes and top quality performance, these metal guitars are just what you need if you are a professional rock or metal musician.
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How to Choose the Best Metal Guitar? – Things to Consider

It’s important to note that not just any guitar will do when you want to play metal music. You should ensure that you choose a guitar that will meet the specifications to allow you to pay complex riffs and to get the best heavy metal guitar sound possible. These are some elements to consider when you’re looking for the perfect metal guitar for your needs.

  • Pickups – you can get a much thicker sound if you use a Humbucker pickup. You could choose an active pickup if you want an even higher gain and more control of your metal guitar. A passive pickup will work without the use of batteries and you can still get the same range that you would expect in order to achieve the metal tones that you need for your music.
  • Tone-woods – Metal guitars are usually made out of some form of wood. Wood is perfect for the body of your metal guitar because it helps to produce a more rich and deep at home with more residents too. Look out for Mahogany construction for the higher end models. If you want a cheaper option however, you can still get great sound with basswood.
  • Ease of playing – when it comes to playing metal music, there are a lot of complicated rifts that you may wish to play. This can often involve particularly higher notes, which are played using the area of fret board nearest to the body. To allow you to get these high notes easily, Metal guitars are designed in such way to provide you with our deep cut out so that you can easily reach that part of the fret board. For particularly technical playing, you should choose a guitar that has a slimmer and flatter neck. This will mean that you’ll not need to stretch your fingers as much as you would with a standard guitar.
  • Electronics – quite simply, the more knobs and controls and pickups that are included on the body of the guitar, the more control that you will have over it. Not only can you alter the tone and volume of your guitar, but you will also be able to operate things like EQ, phase switching, and kill switches.
  • Bridge and tuning – two kinds of bridge that you can expect to find a metal guitars include fixed and tremolo bridges. If you are a beginner, you will find that there is less confusion if you have fixed bridge. It also offers stability when you are tuning. A Tremolo bridge however is attached to the body using springs. This is what is used to adjust the attention of the strings. You can easily raise the pitch of all the strings on the guitar at one time using a tremolo arm. This may also be referred to as a “whammy bar”. Metal music features a lot of extreme bending and the tremolo bridge system allows you to create the sound easily. If you want enhanced stability when it comes to tuning, you could choose a guitar that has a lockable tremolo bridge system.
  • Cosmetics – overall the way that your guitar looks will not necessarily affect the way that it is played all the way that it sounds, you can find that some shapes can lend themselves better to the Metal genre of music. There are also many shapes of guitar that look better suited to your music style if you are metal musician.
  • Range – there are a lot of metal guitarists these days that play 7 or 8 string guitars. This offers an even greater range of notes, which are often used in particularly extreme metal music.
  • Budget – if you do manage to find the perfect metal guitar for your needs, it is not much use if you cannot afford it. This is why your budget is so important. You must try to ensure that you have is higher budgets as you can possibly afford so that you will be able to choose the perfect guitar for you without the Price constraints. If you are rather particularly low budgets, you must be willing to make sacrifices in order to get a guitar that is good enough but one that you can also afford.
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Conclusion

Whether you’re planning to take your skills to the next level and join a band or if you want to start learning to play the guitar, you will be able to find the perfect guitar for rock and metal. This buying guide has given you a few things that you can think about when you are trying to choose the best guitar for your needs, as well as an insight into the various rock and metal guitars that you may find on the market today.

If you choose wisely right at the beginning, you could end up with a guitar that will last you for many years and that may even become a family heirloom. You should ensure that you find the best guitar to suit your needs and budget, and always try to purchase the most expensive guitar that you can afford to get the best quality and lifespan.

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