Best Metal Guitar Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
Whether you’ve just started to play the guitar or you’re already an experienced guitarist, you’re most probably interested in using the best metal guitar for your gigs and practice sessions. Finding the right metal guitar for your goals might not be easy, though, given the many products available for sale. To ease your shopping process, we have examined some of the most appreciated items in this line and concluded that the first option to consider is the Dean Razorback Cemetery Gates. The unit does not just stand out through remarkable graphics but also through quality materials and a design that will help you reach your metal goals and do so for a long time. Thanks to the mahogany body, you will be able to produce a full tone yet get enough punch and sustain. The unit comes with Grover tuners and the much appreciated Floyd Rose tremolo system. If this product is currently unavailable, a reliable alternative is the Dean Michael Speed of Light.
Our Top Choice
Built with quality materials, this metal guitar is an option you might want to consider if you’re interested in superior sound quality and versatility as well as durability. Thanks to the materials used and the way it was designed, the unit will help you produce full, rich tones with lots of punch and sustain. Furthermore, the item boasts outstanding graphics.
The fine-tuning knobs might be a bit hard to turn as they don’t move very freely.
Boasting an aggressive design and remarkable graphics, this guitar is committed to delivering rich and full sounds, impressive dynamics, lots of punch, incredible sustain as well as tuning stability.
If you’re on the lookout for a fast, durable, and stylishly-designed metal guitar, this model might be cut out for you. The thin neck is slightly rounded, so you can employ the unit for fast playing as well as extended sessions without your comfort being affected. Thanks to the Grover tuners used, you will get to enjoy tuning stability.
The unit might be a bit expensive, yet it boasts remarkable specs.
Engineered to provide you with speed and tuning stability, this metal guitar allows for hours of fast playing without the player’s comfort being affected. The thin neck ensures enhanced playability.
Designed to elate from both a sonic and visual point of view, this model can’t go unnoticed. It features an all-black body that will add to your metal performances as well as materials that will get you full tones. Thanks to the superior craftsmanship and the quality of its components, the unit is bound to keep up with countless sessions.
Unlike other models in this line, this unit does not come with a case.
With a traditional shape and an all-black body, this metal guitar will shape your performance with full tones and do so for a long time. Superior sound quality is paired with tuning stability.
10 Best Metal Guitars (Updated Reviews) in 2020
The market is quite generous when it comes to metal guitars, which means that identifying the best guitar for metal might be a time-consuming task. To make things easier for you, we have compiled below a list of metal guitar reviews. Check them out before deciding on a product.
- 1. Dean Razorback Cemetery Gates
- 2. Dean Michael Speed of Light
- 3. ESP LTD EC-Black Satin
- 4. Fender Jim Root Telecaster
- 5. Dean Stealth Floyd FM
- 6. Schecter Synyster Gates
- 7. Ibanez Iron Label S Series
- 8. Schecter Hellraiser C-1
- 9. ESP KH-602 Kirk Hammett
- 10. Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24M
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Dean Razorback Cemetery Gates
With outstanding graphics and quality materials, this metal guitar is bound to help you create sounds that will elate your audience and allow you to engage in countless gigs and practice sessions before some damage occurs. To deliver such benefits, the product features quality materials and a thoughtfully-designed body.
The guitar boasts a mahogany body and neck and a rosewood fretboard. This choice of wood is the one that makes it possible for the instrument to produce full and rich tones with lots of punch and sustain. Thanks to the Grover tuners, getting and keeping your instrument in tune is an effortless task.
To enable you to get that aggressive tone metal lovers are into, the unit sports Seymour Duncan’s SH-13 Dimebuckers that will get you impressive dynamics, low-end punch, and plenty of treble bite. The aggressive design and amazing graphics will add outstanding visuals to your performance.
If you want a metal guitar that sounds the way it looks, this model from Dean Razorback is worth taking into account as it delivers full aggressive tones as well as graphics that will enchant your eyes.
The mahogany used for the body and neck of this guitar makes it possible for you to enjoy a rich tone yet get plenty of sustain and punch.
To help you get the instrument in tune and keep it so with ease, the product comes with Grover tuners.
The Seymour’s SH-13 dimebuckers and Dean humbucker featured further boost the remarkable sonic outputs and easy playability ensured by this model.
The remarkable graphics and aggressive design will make heads turn and complete your performance with memorable visuals.
The unit might be a bit heavy as it weighs 10 pounds, yet the results ensured make this a minor drawback.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1099)
2. Dean Michael Speed of Light
In case you’re looking for a metal electric guitar that is fast, durable, and nicely designed, this unit might be right up your alley as it ticks all the boxes. The guitar was built with speed and comfort in mind and, thus, features a design that will enable you to engage in long practice sessions and gigs without getting tired hands too soon.
To make sure you get to play for hours without your comfort being affected, the guitar features a thin neck that is slightly rounded. Moreover, the neck joins the guitar body at a straight angle to further boost your comfort and ensure enhanced playability.
The product boasts an alder body, an ebony fingerboard, and nickel hardware. Furthermore, it sports Grover tuners so you can easily get your instrument in tune and keep it so as well as a Floyd Rose Original tremolo bridge and EMG active pickups.
Sporting a stylish and comfortable design, this heavy metal electric guitar will get you noticed from both a sonic and visual point of view.
Engaging in countless practice sessions and gigs won’t be a problem as only quality materials have been used for the construction of this guitar, which means that durability is one of the benefits you will get to enjoy.
To provide you with enhanced comfort, the guitar has a thin neck that is slightly rounded and joins the body in such a way to ensure enhanced playability.
The item comes with an alder body, nickel hardware, and an ebony fingerboard, which means that the unit won’t break anytime soon.
The product also comes with Grover tuners, EMG active pickups, and a Floyd Rose Original tremolo bridge.
The guitar might fall a bit on the expensive side, but its features make it one of the most appreciated models in this line.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1249)
3. ESP LTD EC-Black Satin
With this stylish black metal guitar, you won’t just get to discover the various nuances of your sonic personality, but you will do so while enchanting everybody’s eyes. An icon of superior craftsmanship and quality, this model gathers the materials required to keep up with countless practice sessions and gigs.
It features an all-black body that is bound to make an impression as well as a single premium pickup. Plus, the Macassar ebony fingerboard has no inlays. The headstock features the LTD logo, yet it is an all-black metal logo to complete the dark theme of this model.
The mahogany body and neck are committed to getting you the full tone you need for your metal gigs and covering your needs for a long time. The LTD locking tuners will make sure that string changes are quick and easy tasks. Furthermore, the guitar comes with the Seymour Duncan Black Winter pickup.
Boasting a stylish black finish and design, this metal guitar is bound to help you play your favorite chords successfully and serve your needs for a long time.
The guitar has a mahogany body and neck and a Macassar ebony fingerboard with no inlays, which translates into durability and full tones.
The product stands out through its all-black body, a feature that will get you noticed whenever you play in front of an audience.
The Seymour Duncan pickup featured is directly mounted to the body of the guitar and the unit comes with LTD locking tuners that will make string changes an effortless task.
The item was built with playability and comfort in mind and thus features a design that ensures easy access to the highest frets.
If you want something with a more modern touch from an aesthetical point of view, this model might not be the right one as it features a traditional body shape.Buy from Amazon.com for ($799)
4. Fender Jim Root Telecaster
If you frequently engage in high-intensity playing and you’re on the lookout for a guitar that will help you create ultra-heavy tones, this metal guitar might be cut out for you. The unit sports various features that provide this guitar with a unique identity and comes with materials that are bound to make your gigs rock for a long time.
The Telecaster shape and the white and black combination for the guitar body will also make sure that besides getting those big sounds, your unit will also get noticed from a visual point of view.
This model has a mahogany body, a 12″ radius ebony or maple fretboard, a maple neck as well as EMG pickups that work together to get you rich, thick sounds. To master volume control is thoughtfully-positioned for enhanced comfort and easy access. For easy and safe transportation, the pack includes a black tweed case.
Ideal for guitarists interested in high-intensity playing and thick sounds, this metal guitar comes with noteworthy specs that make it a reliable option.
The unit has a maple neck, a 12″ radius ebony or maple fretboard, and a mahogany body that have been chosen for their durability and sonic capacities.
Thanks to the materials, EMG pickups, hardware, and design employed for this unit, creating ultra-heavy sounds will be an enjoyable task.
The EMGs featured are both powerful and clear and the neck is designed to ensure comfortable and fast playing.
This unit was built to perform successfully from a sonic point of view but also to add a touch of style to your gigs; therefore, it features a nice white and black body.
The unit weighs 19.02 pounds, which makes it heavier than other models in this line; therefore, employing it for long playing sessions might get a bit uncomfortable at some point.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1199.99)
5. Dean Stealth Floyd FM
Ideal for various rock genres, this electric guitar is worth taking into account if you’re looking for a model that will help you produce powerful sounds. The unit was built to help guitarists define their sound while adding a touch of style to their playing sessions. It thus features the classic Dean body shape as well as a distinct finish.
Furthermore, the Stealth Floyd DS sports a mahogany body and neck as well as a nice maple top on its body. This guitar is not only about beautiful visuals, though. It also comes with DMT Series DimeTime humbuckers and Seymour Duncan SH-13 Dimebuckers that will contribute to the playability and performance ensured by this unit.
The item is available in two color options: Dimesline and Trans Brazilia. The pack includes a hardshell case for easy and safe transportation as well as the cable needed to plug it into an amplifier.
Designed to enchant you and your audience from both a sonic and visual point of view, this unit is worth adding to your list of options.
Given its specs, the unit is bound to produce powerful sounds that various rock genres require; therefore, it can be used to cover different playing styles and meet various sonic interests.
The product comes with the much appreciated DMT Series DimeTime humbuckers and Seymour Duncan SH-13 Dimebuckers as well as quality materials that will contribute to the sounds you get and how much this unit lasts.
The guitar features a mahogany body and neck and is available in two color options including Dimesline and Trans Brazilia.
You will also get the cable needed to plug the guitar into the amplifier as well as a quality case to keep your instrument safe during transportation.
The guitar was designed for right-handed players; therefore, if you’re left-handed, you might want to look for a model that was built to meet such needs.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1199)
6. Schecter Synyster Gates
Sporting a striped design that will get noticed instantly, this model from Schecter is committed to taking your metal journey one level higher and helping you produce a powerful metal tone that will elate your audience. The guitar was built with quality materials that promise to serve your needs for a long time.
It thus comes with a mahogany body, a 3-piece mahogany neck, and the highly-appreciated Sustainiac circuit and Seymour Duncan Humbuckers. To enable you to get endless sustain, the Sustainiac neck humbucker features various controls. The unit boasts a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge to deliver pitch stability and control.
What’s more, this type of bridge will enable you to dive into extreme sounds without losing tuning accuracy. The ultra-thin C profile of the neck enhances playability and ensures easy access to all 24 frets. Thanks to the instrument’s contours, you will get to enjoy a comfortable, balanced, and aggressive guitar at the same time.
If you’re into the heavier side of music and you want to create powerful sounds and do so successfully, this guitar comes with features that will help you enjoy such benefits for a long time.
To make sure you get to take your sound to extremes without losing tuning accuracy and you enjoy pitch stability and control, the product is paired with a Floyd Rose 1500 tremolo bridge.
The instrument has a mahogany body and neck as well as a Sustainiac circuit and Seymour Duncan Humbuckers.
Thanks to the ultra-thin neck, you will be able to access all the 25 frets featured easily and rapidly.
The various features make this unit reliable, comfortable, balanced, and aggressive at the same time.
The striped design will enhance your performance from a visual point of view as well.
Changing the tuning might be a bit difficult because of the Floyd Rose featured, especially if you’re a beginner.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1149)
7. Ibanez Iron Label S Series
Built with heavy metal in mind, this guitar is a stylish model that promises to get you powerful sounds while keeping them clear and add enticing visuals to your performance. The Ibanez metal guitar features a thin and contoured body for enhanced comfort as well as a Nitro Wizard neck profile that makes this unit ideal for fast playing.
To make sure you get the power, note velocity, and clarity you need for memorable performances, the guitar boasts DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbucking pickups. Moreover, the item also features an onboard coil tap switch that further enhances its versatility.
Rest assured that tuning stability won’t be a problem as the product sports a quality Gibraltar Standard II bridge. Furthermore, the bridge will make it comfortable for you to play for hours and employ the guitar for speed picking techniques. Durability is ensured by the carefully-chosen woods including flame maple, mahogany, and bubinga.
Sleek and comfortable, this unit is designed to provide progressive metal players with power, speed, and clarity.
The guitar features a mahogany body, a maple top as well as a 3-piece maple/bubinga neck that will keep up with extended use.
The Nitro Wizard neck profile will enable you to employ the guitar for fast playing and do so comfortably whereas the locking tuners will keep the unit in tune for a long time.
The DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbuckers featured have been engineered to be fast, powerful, and clear.
The product has a coil tap switch for enhanced versatility and a reverse headstock that ensures punchy lows and adds to the unit’s aggressive design.
The output jack might look a bit unfinished and might not feel as smooth as the rest of the guitar; however, this is just a minor drawback that does not affect the performance delivered.Buy from Amazon.com for ($899.99)
8. Schecter Hellraiser C-1
If you’re interested in extending your music gear with a metal guitar that delivers remarkable sounds and boasts a stylish design, this unit from Schecter might be right up your alley. The item is powerful and comfortable as it is visually enchanting. The choice of materials turns this guitar into a model that screams versatility.
The mahogany employed for the body is committed to delivering a smooth and detailed sound while the quilted maple top spices up the sonic outputs with more punch and the rosewood completes the sound with richness. The TonePros components will further contribute to the tonal qualities of this model.
Playing for hours without having to interrupt your session to tune the instrument is possible thanks to the Schecter locking tuners featured as they ensure tuning stability. The EMG active pickups will get you lots of crunch, power, and clarity. The guitar comes with a 3-piece mahogany neck that ensures enhanced stability and durability.
Boasting stylish looks, this metal guitar was built to provide you with power, clarity, and versatility.
To make sure that the sonic results you get cover various needs and interests, the unit features a combination of materials and hardware that will get you smooth yet rich sounds as well as lots of punch.
The guitar has a mahogany body, a rosewood fretboard, and a maple top that will contribute to the superior sound quality delivered.
Tuning stability and easy tune adjustments are ensured by the quality tuning lockers featured while flexibility, clarity, and power are possible thanks to the EMG active pickups employed.
The 3-piece mahogany neck was designed and joined to the body in such a way to ensure both enhanced durability and stability.
If you’re looking for a metal rhythm guitar, this unit might not provide you with that full sound metal rhythm guitarists might need.Buy from Amazon.com for ($839)
9. ESP KH-602 Kirk Hammett
Whether you’re looking for a guitar for your live performances or recording sessions, this unit is worth taking into account as it was built to serve such needs. Ideal for intense playing, this model is based on Kirk Hammett’s ESP Custom and thus offers specs that metal-enthusiasts will appreciate.
The neck-thru-body construction and materials used stand for durability and stability. The guitar has a 3-piece maple neck, an alder body, a rosewood fingerboard, a Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo with a double-locking design as well as EMG 81/60 Active humbuckers. All that translates into power, versatility, sharp attacks, and remarkable sustain.
The U-shaped neck is ultra-thin, which means that you can use the guitar for fast playing without losing comfort. The fingerboard comes with 24 extra-jumbo frets and features Skull & Bones inlays that complete the aggressive looks of this guitar. The unit is available in black and purple sparkle.
Ideal for guitarists interested in shredding, this metal guitar boasts Kirk Hammett’s signature and thus comes with specs and looks that will elate metal players and enthusiasts.
Thanks to its neck-thru-body construction and the materials employed, using this item for tours and extended playing sessions won’t be a problem as it breathes durability and stability.
The alder body, rosewood fingerboard, and maple neck will contribute to the sonic outputs of this guitar.
The 3-piece maple neck was shaped and designed to ensure comfortable playing even when you use the guitar for intense music.
To further provide you with power, noteworthy sustain, clarity, and versatility, the KH-602 features EMG 81/60 active humbuckers and a double-locking Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo.
Besides its remarkable sonic capacities, the guitar is stylishly designed and comes in two color options: black ad purple sparkle.
The back of the guitar neck is painted and does not have a raw or satin finish like other models.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1099)
10. Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24M
Designed to take metal guitarists one level higher and enable them to reach new depths and sonic dimensions, this guitar stands for easy playability, versatility, and looks that will catch everybody’s eyes. It’s enough to see this guitar to understand that it screams metal. It has a V-shaped body and a gloss finish that will make it stand out.
Enabling metal players to explore new sonic realms is what made this guitar reach this design. The unit thus comes with a through-body maple neck that ensures extended sustain and Seymour Duncan active humbuckers that will provide you with articulate yet warm tones.
Due to the compound-radius fingerboard, you can employ the Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24M for fast playing. This short metal guitar review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo, a feature that makes this model ideal for dive-bombing and twisting. You can further shape your tone with the controls and knobs featured.
If playability, versatility, and aggressive looks are the ones you want from your next metal guitar, this model should not be ignored as it was designed to deliver all that.
Thanks to the Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo, you can employ this guitar for twisting and dive-bombing.
The through-body maple neck will get you everlasting sustain whereas the compound-radius fingerboard allows for fast playing.
To provide you with versatility and help you customize the sonic outputs, the unit features a tone control, two volume knobs as well as a three-way blade switch.
Contouring your performance with fluid leads built with warm yet articulate tones is possible thanks to the Seymour Duncan active humbuckers featured.
The solid-body metal guitar features a “V” design that will complete your metal gigs with aggressive yet stylish looks.
Unlike other products in this category, this model does not come with a case; therefore, you will have to buy one separately.Buy from Amazon.com for ($729.99)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
When it comes to heavy and death metal guitar models, the market brims with units that enchant from both a sonic and visual point of view. While you can play metal on a variety of guitars, some models come with features specifically added to meet the needs of a metal guitarist.
Finding the best heavy metal guitar for your needs is not easy, though, considering the many variables that must be taken into account. To simplify your shopping and decision-making process, we have highlighted below some of the most important factors to pay attention to whether you’re looking for the best cheap metal guitar or a more expensive model.
The way a guitar is designed and the materials used for its construction are the ones that decide the sonic outputs you will get to enjoy. Some of the most common tonewoods used for metal guitars include mahogany, alder, and basswood. If you’re interested in deep tones, a mahogany guitar is recommended.
In case you’re more into shredding and you go for classic metal performances, then the wood you should look for is alder as this type has a brighter tone with moderate resonance. While not as articulate as mahogany, basswood ensures warmth and resonance. A combination of mahogany and basswood is ideal if you want dark tones and more sustain.
Body shape, weight, and neck
You might use the best guitar for death metal in terms of quality and sonic outputs, yet if it has an odd body shape, employing it for a long time might affect your comfort and even your sonic performance. Some models do come with shapes that trigger admiration but are less comfortable.
For example, V-shaped guitars make quite an impression from a visual point of view, yet they might reduce your freedom of movement. Traditional metal guitars with a single or double -cutaway body are a common choice for various reasons and one of them is the comfort ensured even when they are employed for long practice sessions.
Anything that has to do with aesthetics is, after all, a matter of preference. However, do consider the comfort provided by the model you want to buy and your goals. If you perform live a lot, then you should consider a guitar that is not only comfortable but also light.
This takes us to the way the neck is built. This part holds great importance as far as comfort, flexibility, and stability are concerned. You will find neck-through, bolt-on, and 3-piece necks. It is best to try out the guitar you’d like to buy before purchasing it to see if it’s indeed the best electric guitar for metal as far as this part is concerned.
Pickups and bridge
The pickups used for a metal rhythm guitar, death-metal electric guitar, or any other guitar in the metal category are essential. Active pickups get you louder tones and enhanced tone variation while passive pickups sound more organic.
Whether you’re looking for an expensive or a cheap metal guitar, you should also consider the bridge it comes with. Fixed bridges are appreciated for delivering enhanced tuning stability. Still, tremolo bridges will allow you to lower or raise the pitch of all the strings at the same time, which means that you can use a guitar featuring such a bridge for dive-bombing or bending.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What guitars do metal bands use?
Since metal bands play various subgenres within the metal category, they use various guitars that, more often than not, are described simply as metal guitars even if some of them fit better in a subcategory of this big class of musical instruments.
However, metal players choose their electric guitars based on a series of factors ranging from the tonewood used to the humbuckers, pickups, neck profile, bridge, and hardware featured. Some of the best guitar brands for metal include Schecter, Fender, Jackson, Gibson, Ibanez, ESP-LTD, and Dean.
The list of the best metal guitar brands could be extended as today’s market offers noteworthy models even from other brands than the ones mentioned. A few highly-appreciated metal guitars are Dean MAB1 Speed of Light, ESP Kirk Hammett Signature KH-2 Black, Schecter Hellraiser C-1, Schecter Synyster Gates Custom, Ibanez Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM, ESP LTD EC-Black Metal, and Squier Contemporary Active Stratocaster.
Q: What’s the best way to learn to play metal guitar?
The best way to learn to play metal guitar differs from one person to another. While some people have no problem in learning everything by themselves at home, other students do need some sort of guidance and prefer to go for the traditional classes that involve lessons with a teacher.
When it comes to learning to play this musical instrument, there are a few steps you need to take first in order to actually get to play the metal guitar. Learn the basics of rhythm and continue with learning to read guitar tabs and power chords. You won’t achieve much if you don’t learn guitar scales and how to use them.
Phrasing techniques are also an important part of metal genres. These theoretical parts won’t help you if you don’t practice each of them until you master that specific part; therefore, patience and practice are mandatory.
Q: How can I record metal guitar at home?
Fortunately, there are various ways you can record your metal guitar at home. If you’ve purchased an affordable metal guitar, yet you don’t have any budget left to buy recording gear, you can record the guitar using the direct injection method.
You will need an amp simulator and metal plugins. Amp simulators can get a bit expensive, but you can find many free metal guitar plugins that do a great job. However, there is always the traditional way of recording a metal guitar that involves the use of an amp and a microphone.
Solid-state amps are a common choice when it comes to recording at home because they can create high gain tones at a lower volume. With a tube amp, you will have to set the volume higher. You will also need a condenser or dynamic mic and, preferably, a pedalboard. Once you’ve connected the gear and found the best position for your mic, you are ready to go.