Any musical instrument, no matter how good or expensive, does not automatically make the musician the best in his craft. However, it can definitely make or break the growth of an artist.
The same rule applies to all types of music styles and genres, including metal. Sometimes, a musician needs help from a good-quality ax because it’s not all about skill or talent. And if you’ve been playing metal for a while, you’d know that producing a good sound often depends on the quality of your guitar and your amp.
If you are looking for a guitar that can give you a real metal sound, check out these options below. We’ve rounded up some of the best guitars for metal, filtering out the bad ones from the best, so that you can get a headstart with your new metal journey and with a new metal guitar.
Top 10 Best Electric Guitars For Metal 2020
The Schechter Hellraiser series made its debut last 2006, taking guitar production to the next level. No other guitar for metal could give you the same high level of sound quality and craftsmanship at a very affordable rate. And the C-1 definitely lives up to the standards of the other guitars in the series.
Let’s talk about its unique design first. The C-1 sports a rocking look in Black Cherry which is a beautiful marbled mix between black and fiery red. Plus, it has badass gothic cross inlays to complete the look – where else can you find a guitar this sick?
But for me, what makes this guitar the best choice for metal isn’t its appearance. It’s all about the pickups. The C-1 features hot, screaming EMG active pickups that’s just perfect for this type of music.
Paired with other features in this package, this guitar is the best option for all you veteran shredders out there looking for some real metal sound.
- Beautiful and unique design
- Well-built with high-quality materials
- Considering all the features it comes with
- Comfortable to play and has excellent sustain
- A bit of adjustment on the action may be necessary
- Offers nearly everything of its higher-end cousin, the ESP KH-2, at a price that more musicians can afford
- Features neck-thru-body construction, a comfortable alder body, and a 3 pc. extra-thin U-shaped maple neck
Looking for a metal guitar with a more simple look? We got you. Sporting a basic design doesn’t mean that the guitar can’t rock to a metal sound. Take the ESP LTD KH-602 for example. Elegant, modest in design, but a cool metal guitar nevertheless; I know Kirk Hammett would agree.
And who could be a better authority in the world of metal guitars than the lead guitarist of Metallica, right? He knows his stuff and if he designed this guitar, it could only be excellent.
Kirk Hammett aside, I personally think that this guitar is one of the best options for metalhead musicians. The reason is plain and simple; the KH-602 has an amazing combo of the EMG 60 and the EMG 81, giving users a vast tonal variety to play around with.
And you know how much I love guitars that bring out the user’s personality. And besides, who can resist that badass skull-and-bones inlay?
- A robust guitar for metal
- Made and designed by pros
- Amazing combo of pickups that help produce a great metallic tone
- Despite a thicker neck
- Players with smaller hands will find this guitar comfortable to use
- Not much to say except that it is manufactured in Korea
- For anyone who is concerned about that kind of stuff
- Body Body shape: Double cutaway Body type: Solid body Body material: Solid wood Top wood: Not applicable Body wood: Basswood Body finish: Gloss Orientation: Right handed Neck Neck shape: Dinky Neck wood: 1-piece Maple with graphite reinforcement Joint: Bolt-on Scale length: 25.5 in. Truss rod: Standard Neck finish: Satin Fretboard Material: Rosewood Radius: Compound Fret size: Jumb
- Swift, deadly and affordable, Jackson JS Series guitars take an epic leap forward, making it easier than ever to get classic Jackson tone, looks and playability without breaking the bank
Are you on a budget but also looking for something that will give you more value for your money? Going for cheap doesn’t mean that you have to settle with a guitar that sounds more like tin than metal. Give the Jackson JS22 Dinky a try. It is a no-frills guitar with a simple body but produces a mean metallic sound.
I would recommend this guitar for novice learners and for those who want to give metal a try. The JS22 Dinky has a super fast and best of all, it is easy and comfortable. So now you don’t have to worry about the steep learning curve that much – just start playing and you’re ready to headbang to some awesome metal.
- A super affordable option for anyone who is on a budget
- Produces a good quality sound for a humble price
- Easy and comfortable
- A great choice for beginners of metal
- The craftsmanship could be better
- A few minor adjustments may be necessary
- Duncan Designed SH-8 Invader Pickups
- SYN' w/ Death Bat inlay @ 12th fret
If you’re on the hunt for a simple-looking guitar with a subtle yet unique design, then you might want to check out the Schecter Research Synyster Gates Custom Guitar. The pinstripe design is simple, yet it can definitely turn a couple of heads. The SYN’ with Death Bat inlay is also a nice clever detail that completes the look.
Cosmetics aside, the other reason why you should give this guitar a try is its sound quality. Coupled with awesome quality components such as the Floyd Rose tremolo, the Grover Tuner, and the locking nuts, this guitar knows a great metal sound – and it can hold its tune for longer as well, thanks to its very efficient hardware.
Also, if you are an Avenged Sevenfold fan like me, you wouldn’t have to think twice to grab the Research Synyster Gates – just saying.
- A well-built guitar with a simple but unique design and subtle details
- Holds a tune well and for long
- Produces a clean metallic tone
- Some minor adjustments may be necessary to improve sound quality
- Designed for James Hetfield, frontman of Metallica and one of the most highly respected rhtyhm guitarists
- Features set-neck construction at 24.75" scale, with a mahogany body and a three-piece mahogany neck
If you’re a big fan of guitars with an edgy shape and design, you might like the ESP LTD James Hetfield from the Snakebyte Signature Series – it’s a showstopper. Although it comes in two solid colors, black and white, the shape undeniably adds to its personality. But cosmetics isn’t the only reason why you would love this guitar…
Named after Metallica’s frontman, I would recommend this guitar to anyone who has a wild and heavy playing style. It has a build and a lineup of components that are built specifically for the metalhead who loves to rock.
It comes with high-end features like the Sperzel locking tuners, TonePros locking Tune-O-Matic bridge, and tailpiece. Plus, it also has a speedy thin neck, assuring a comfortable and fun play.
- A good quality guitar with a show-stopping shape
- Includes top-notch features and components built for more aggressive guitarists
- Comes with a body that improves sustain
- And a neck that is built for comfort
- Considerably heavy
- Compared to other options on this list
- One of the pricier guitars on this roundup
- Body Shape: Rhoads
- Bridge Pickup: Jackson High Output Humbucking
Searching for the same unique shape as the ESP LTD Snakebyte, but don’t have the same budget to blow off on an expensive guitar? Jackson has got you covered. The Jackson JS32 comes in a cutting edge Rhoads shape. But make no mistake, even if it is pocket-friendly, it doesn’t mean that the JS32 is lacking.
It comes with the Floyd Rose Tremolo, and it also comes with jumbo frets – great features for beginners who are considering on getting this guitar. But what I love most about this guitar is the fact that it is surprisingly lightweight. At first glance, it may look like a super solid, robust ax but it actually weighs next to nothing.
- Straightforward guitar with a unique shape
- Easy to hold
- And also easy on the hands
- A great option for beginners
- Super lightweight and portable
- Perfect for the traveling musician
- A fitting guitar case may be a bit tricky to find
- Vector Inlay
- Schecter Diamond Plus Pickups
Love metal but also want to have a more versatile looking guitar? The Schecter Omen Extreme-FR may be a good option. It delivers a mean-sounding metallic tone but it could also tone it down and play other music in other genres.
The Omen Extreme-FR has all the right stuff: Diamond Plus Pickups, Schecter Tuners, and great-quality black chrome hardware. All of which assures you the best quality of sound that is rich, clean, and sustainable.
Personally, I would pick this guitar for anyone who wants to stay flexible. They could be a metalhead today, but a jazz-lover tomorrow.
- Easy to hold
- Fun to play
- And best of all
- Perfect for long hours of play
- Ultra lightweight
- Perfect for traveling and fitting into your car trunk
- Quality sound for a considerably affordable rate
- The guitar case is sold separately
- An affordable and popular guitar with many similarites to some of the most highly-regarded guitars in history
- Features a comfortable Mahogany body and 3 pc. neck, as well as roasted jatoba fingerboard and flamed maple top
Looking for a guitar that offers more flexibility? Your wish has been granted. The ESP LTD EC256FM has everything you need. It comes with individual volume controls for each pickup, and it also has a tone know with a push-pull control to split the pickups.
Apart from being an overall well-built guitar, what I enjoyed most about the EX256FM is its versatility. It has a pure and rich sound but it can also rock out to other tunes whether it’s country, blues, hard rock or fusion.
If you also want a metal guitar that can follow you along no matter what your music style is at the moment, this is a very good choice.
- Produces good quality sound that is compatible with a variety of music styles
- A no-frills guitar that has everything a beginner might need
- Has a bit of buzz on the frets
- Adjustments needed
They say that a name can define your personality, and maybe that’s true – especially for this guitar. How badass is a guitar that’s named “In Deth We Trust“? If the name isn’t enough for you, wait until you see what this guitar looks like. If you are looking for a guitar to impress someone, this is the guitar you need.
No words can describe how cool this guitar looks, except to say that it is purely made for metal. The shape, the detail, the finish – everything screams metal. Appearance is effortless on this guitar, but that’s not all.
It comes with equally impressive components, from the DMT Design pickups, comfortable and accessible 24 frets, and a super easy neck. What more can you ask for?
- Super attractive and cool design
- It’s a one-of-a-kind guitar!
- Comes with a beginner-friendly fretboard
- Easy playability and extra comfort guaranteed
- It may look like a guitar for metal but jazz
- Country or rock sounds great as well
- Heavier in weight compared to other options on this list
How To Choose The Best Guitar For Metal
Investing a lot of money on an expensive guitar may be a risk, but an upgrade can undeniably change the life of a metal-loving musician. If you’re ready to take your guitar experience to the next level, then buying the best guitar metal for you is an obvious way to do so.
But let’s face it – it’s easier said than done. With so many guitars out there in the market, it’s hard to choose just one.
But shopping shouldn’t get in the way of you finally getting your dream guitar. In fact, it should be a very fun experience for you. The good news is, there are a few main tips you can follow to help you find The One.
Other than the material and all the other basic components that make a good guitar, one of the first things you need to consider when buying a guitar for metal is its pickups. You need a certain kind of sound to be able to produce a good metal sound and a pickup can help you do just that.
The next thing you need to consider is how it sounds like on an amp. Sometimes it’s the amp’s fault, but on other times, it’s the guitar. Choose one that sounds great with the one you have and you’ll stay golden.
Another important thing you need to look out for is how you hold and play the guitar. Comfort is key, and when choosing the best guitar for metal, you’d want something that you can play with for hours without hurting yourself.
We love a lot of the guitars on this list but we know we could only choose one. So, if we had to choose the best guitar for metal, it would definitely be the Schecter Hellraiser C-1.
This guitar is built for metal. It has good quality, produces that nice metal sound metalhead will definitely love, and it comes at a really good price for what it’s worth.
Another great thing about this guitar is that even beginners can feel at ease with it. It may look cool and intimidating, but thanks to its easy and smooth fingerboard, newbies can also enjoy playing a head-banging tune.