Best Guitars for Heavy Metal

What brand of of guitar and model is most efficient for metal... Also I know I haven't come anywhere near naming the realistic amount of brands so please add whatever you think is the best brand for metal... ps if anyone votes fender as a metal guitar, well that speaks for itself.

The Top Ten


"my ESP kh-2 black ouija is the most bad ass guitar ever when ESP makes guitars, they do it right, the neck through, emg81/60, and ouija graphics not only make It look and sound awesome, but also gives you the feeling that you are holding a true instrument, and it feels dangerous, like you could fight off zombies with it. No wonder so many guitarists are turning to ESP

Absolute best Guitar Brand full stop. Not only are their metal guitars perfect, their other guitars are perfect as well. I own an ESP eclipse II and it is pro. My second guitar was an ESP LTD which I tour with along with the eclipse. Different guitar for different tuning. ESP is pro. Anyone who is looking for a recommendation, I recommend ESP. There is a reason why metalists use ESP.

ESP's are great. I have a lower end model (EC-50) and it plays as good as my nicer guitars and sounds very solid for the low price. I have also played a few of the pricier ESP's and they seem to have the same great neck and feel with a little tighter sound.

Recently got a second hand early kh202 for $150 dollars. Sounds great and plays like a dream. Floyd rose special holds tune really well after a bit of messing around.

V 48 Comments
2 Jackson

Quite honestly, I own dozens of guitars that I have collected through my 50 years, and have played in many bands, own a sound, and light business as well. I must start out by saying I hate fender products! That being said, ibinez guitars are stiff, and their necks can be sharp, even cut your fingers if you move too fast, they are a very technical sounding, and brash. Gibson has a great warm sound, but heavy as hell, with thick necks. I love jackson. Smooth to play, and pretty nice metal pickups, and feel good to hold, and play-ability is great. Prs feels like a dream in every way, plays like butter, but still have a thicker neck than I prefer. I am currently seeking a new esp, so don't have an opinion as of yet on them. Washburn has some great feeling guitars, but their pickups aren't very bright sounding, kinda muffled sounding.B.C. Rich has an awkward feel, but heavy sound. Kramer always struck me as a cheap brand. Some people prefer really cheap, old brand guitars, but those are ...more

How is fender a metal guitar? Jackson USA select for the win! I know most metal bands out there uses ESPs but the USA made Jacksons have the best quality tone. The Jackson Soloist SL2H is the best super strat out there although I'm not such a fan of superstrats. If you're looking for an ultra high-end US made super strat or V shaped guitar (symmetrical or asymmetrical) jacksons are the best. The only reason they're so low on the list is that they're too expensive that not many people now about the brand

You can buy a Jackson for next to nothing, you don't need a USA select - although they are amazing if you have the cash! You can buy a Pro or X series for half the price of a USA model in loads of different shapes. Jackson were one of the first metal guitars you could buy and most other metal guitars are based on their designs, why buy a copy when you can have an original - that's why Fender and Gibson are so popular because they don't steal anyone elses ideas!

Best necks I've ever played on and I've played and owned a lot of guitars. I have 2 pro series Jackson's (a 6 string soloist and a 7 string hardtail dinky) and the necks just fit my hand so perfectly. I like the sound, tonewoods, and pickups they use and think the guitars they make are all really cool looking and great playing. I personally think all pro series Jackson's should be made in the Mexican factory where the Mexican strats are made but maybe Jackson will make that call in the future. Ibanez is pretty good as well but some of the necks are just to flat like the prestige and they cramp my hands after a while.

V 35 Comments
3 Schecter

schecter is the 1st! especially schecter hellraiser c1 fr

I've played Dean, Jackson, Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, ESP, PRS, and Schecter guitars for most of my work. Out of all of those, I'd pick a Schecter any day. Doesn't matter what genre I'm playing, I will always pick a Schecter. Most people don't realize that they have a hidden ability to split the double coil pickups into single coils, so they say that Schecter is a metal guitar. In reality though, you can play almost anything with a Schecter. Also, the company takes very good care of their customers. I broke one of their necks without a warranty, and they let me ship it back for about twenty bucks and it came back as good as new. All in all, a Schecter is the best guitar company for almost anyone.

Two weeks ago I played the hellraiser extreme c-1 fr. This guitar is the most powerful guitar I've ever played... And the feeling is amazing. Better than some others that cost about 300 or 500 euro more

Bought a signed Sustainiac Schecter signed by Avenged Sevenfold's Synester Gates himself! Beyond that I hardly have a problem with the guitar and it plays quite well. I'd have to put Schecter at the top of my list for top 10 metal guitar brands.

V 43 Comments
4 Ibanez

The Ibanez guitar company focuses primarily on metal music and they have the perfect designs for the metal genre, the RG 7 strings, Ibanez guitars have amazing playability and great sound and in my opinion Ibanez sounds the best. ESP guitars have great playability but I prefer the sound of Ibanez because they balance the high and low pitch perfectly. I think Jacksons sound terrible but they do have great playability and Schecter can suck it because the wish they could make good 7 strings like Ibanez does.
My top 10 is:
4.Jackson (sadly)
5.Schecter (sadly)
9.B.C. rich
If you don't vote Ibanez you're not a true metal head. Enough said.

Although they don't really venture out on the body shapes, their guitars look and sound great, and all 3 of my good guitars are Ibanez. My favorite came stock with good pick ups, a kill switch, and a really sturdy tremolo that doesn't need a retune every week. Aside from that, the neck is great, being incredibly thin as to let you maneuver, yet thick enough to not be awkward.

I've found Ibanez pros little bit more than Fender or Gibson. Its easier to find real Ibanez. One of my friends once bought a Les Paul and used to show it often. Turned out it was fake. - zxm

In my opinion, Ibanez, ESP and Jackson are quite equivalent in terms of sound character and playability but with an edge for Ibanez in terms of versatiliy and value. They can be focused on metal but rolls just as nice while playing jazz/fusion, classic rock, or even funk and you get easily get a brand new professionnal sounding Ibanez for less than 700€ (I'd recommend to avoid Edge/ZR trems for those entries since these trems are much more relevant in terms of sturdiness on Premium/Prestige models).
This is gonna be Ibanez for me ^^.
MusicMan, Kiesel, ESP and Mayones may come just after Ibanez in my opinion (whatever the order)

V 20 Comments
5 B.C. Rich

To see that quote of someone saying, "Kerry King is the only guitarist to use B.C. rich! " Is bull. The king of Death metal Chuck Schuldiner would destroy Kerry King. And Dave Mustaine did his legendary early recordings with Metallica on Kill 'em all.

I have played a lot of guitars and definitively I choose B.C. rich as my favorite. With it's killer shape and great sound, they're the most great guitars I've ever played.

My because rich warlock is a beast, definitely the best choice if you are a metal head. It's easy to shred and looks awesome on stage. My advice to you is to buy one if you still haven't

Because SLAYER! Love my Warlock! Got it second hand at a pawn shop and it’s dank!

V 26 Comments Visit Website9
6 Dean

Dime proved it... M/.

Have a dean love it I like it much more than my ibanez it sounds much heavier

They are my go to and I have had many and never had a problem with them and they just sound beefy compared to many esp and other metal guitars I have played.

My Mustaine style V is awesome. It's the perfect mix of badass and beauty. Some V's only have the badassery to their image, and some cheesy glam bands only have the beauty, but Mustaine's has both - SoldierOfFortune

V 11 Comments
7 Gibson

Gibsons, SGs and explorers especially can handle any sub-genera of metal. They have hot pick ups and fast necks. The best metal guitar all around is a gibson SG hands down. After all metal was founded by SGs.

Got an SG-400 myself Fast neck and consistent action, handles clean and high, sustained and dramatic, and low down and dirty. Mine is built like a tank and is hard to knock out of tune. But other than that Gibson has an entire battalion of artists in their stable that have inspired a lot of guitarists to pick one up in the first place.

Gibson should be number 1. If you want a proper guitar, buy Gibson, Fender, or Paul Reed Smith.

From experience, brands to avoid include Dean, ESP, Schecter, and Kramer.

Les Pauls have most fat riffs and very viscous solo.

V 10 Comments
8 Kramer

I agree esp should be first, but my Kramer is really heavy! They should at least be in the top 10.

The old American made customs have absolutely no comparison - alexskolnick13

Lost my Kramer when I was a kid... I miss you Kramer!

Kramer hands down kramer guitars are legendary

V 4 Comments
9 Fender

I think fender aren't the best metal guitars but, fender do have the jim root series! Also jackson is owned by fender so is charvell and gretsch!

Iron maiden. Enough said.

Cannibal corpse on a fender Richie sambora strat, no problem?

The guitarist of one of the best stoner metal bands off all time played a strat

V 6 Comments
10 Epiphone

Screaming pickups. Although I like my JEM more as an all around guitar.

Les paul special ii is the best ever beginner metal guitar.

Epiphones are great guitars, they are versatile and can play any style, they have Gibson pickups and when you set it to rhythm it can really thud or scream.

They're Great, Just avoid the lower end Les Paul models like the Special II and Express.

The Newcomers

? Ltd

Some of the best value for money guitars
My H-51 is still going strong for $350!

The Contenders

11 Ernie Ball Music Man

My music man screams and really easy to play. #13

Music man guitars can do anything! !

John Petrucchi rocks with it man! There are no other choices!

Musiman ia best guitar ever

12 Charvel

I have a Charvel mod. 6 from around '89, and it smokes everything I have ever played. Craftsmanship and sound is up there..

One of the greatest guitars ever. And of course afordable.

Charvel is right up there. The recent San Dimas and SoCal models are incredibly versatile.

Everybody in metal played Charvels in the 80's... The schaller floyd roses are xlnt and the jc-90 pickup is the best metal pickup ever.

13 Carvin

Why the hell weren't they mentioned.

I have a DC-127 since 1996 w/tremolo option,black chrome etc...It is hands down a fantastic guitar. Everybody that has played it has allways stated that it is a really nice playing guitar with a smooth neck and quality sound..I would buy another carvin in a heart beat..It also has good resale value...

Carvin guitars are perfect, super affordable, and since you choose the specs, they're truly Yours. Next best thing to building your own.

I have a CT4T, with C22J in the neck position and M22SD in the bridge, and while I spec'd it to be versatile (I also play jazz and funk and prog) there's no better instrument for metal.

Hands down, Carvin at #1. If you won't take my word for it, just ask Jason Becker or Lee McKinney.

14 Paul Reed Smith

Just great guitar can't believe it's this low I mean come on it should be up higher with an ESP or Jackson should be much higher then a Gibson even

Two words: Mark Tremonti

15 Mayones Guitars

Ideal for 7 string stuff.


16 DBZ

DBZ is the father of metal guitars! Vote for metal!

Best guitar with the best features. No crappy licensed parts, only original floyld rose tremolos, active pickups, and the best wood possible for sound and effortless playing!

I am using Diamond Hailfire ST..its gd to me than others..

17 Solar
18 Agile

Very nice specs for the price you can get an agile sector pro for 500 and get the specs that are on a +1000 guitar. 5 piece neck through, ebony fretboard, baritone scale, name brand pickups, and most have hipshot bridges and Grover tuners. These guitars are great for the money and the quality is what you would find on a hellraiser or Ltd mh1000. No locking tuners kind of sucks but an easy fix.

19 Legator Guitars

Amazing quality for the price, Shredders dream guitars

For some reasons.. and its cheap..

20 Solar Guitars
21 Vox

I hate this company anyways

22 Eko

I have no idea who put this on the list, but it's pretty funny, paha.

Gibson for me.

23 Moser Custom Shop

Neal moser made the best guitar I'd ever had, until I traded it...

I'm friends with Neal Moser

For me the guitars made by Neal Moser would always be the best guitars in the world. My maple bodied Arachnid fitted with BKP Warpig Ceramics just scream metal...

For me the guitars made by Neal Moser would always remain the best. My maple bodied Arachnid guitar with BKP Warpig ceramics, EMG afterburner preamp, and a Sustainiac Humbucker at the neck just screams metal...

24 Hamer

Should be in top 3

25 Cort


I didn't think much of cort until I picked up an EVL X4 and I have never played a better sounding or feeling guitar

26 Genta
27 Music Man
28 Gretsch
29 First Act

The best guitars that money can buy


This is secretly what Van Halen plays, so it’s obviously the best.


30 Squier

Metal somehow IS about instruments... malmsteen plays neo-classical and Jimi Hendrix isn't metal. the only fender metal band with heavy sound (that I've seen) is iron maiden. it differs if you play a startocoaster or warlock... off course they are diverse


31 Givson
32 Halo Custom Guitars
33 Washburn

I love my Washburn X40ProQ, Floyd Rose Trem, Duncan pick ups and quilted blue body. Beautiful guitar

I've had Schecters, Gibsons, Fenders, Guilds, and a dean. Washburn overall has the best feel, and the best crunch for metal of any guitars I own. Depends on the genre of metal though, my start kills for thrash and my guild is unbeatable for doom

Washburn maya is legendary!

Washburn Parallaxe

V 3 Comments
34 Godin
35 You Rock Guitar
36 Chibson

They are the best! I love my Chibson les paul! The pickups are amazing and the wood is possibly the best. The tuning pegs are made out of the ground bones of the lesser spotted albino grizzly bear. It has the best tone you could want and it is super comfy to play!

I love my Chibson, cheaper than a chip butty and the pickups howl like yoko oh-no, the neck is built from old prosthetic limbs kong foo'd with a chpsuey arm. the nut is made from tibetan teeth and the wiring is a mixture of dry soldered poll pots connected by foo manchu's eyebrows, mine came with noodles

37 Caparison Guitars
38 Monson
39 Yamaha

The SGs have an amazing tone and don't have the heavy neck problems you often have with epiphone's. Honestly great metal guitars in comparison to what they charge.

40 PRS

Beautiful feeling, beautiful sounding guitars, but I prefer a thinner, set, or through-body neck, I love PRS, but not my favorite for speed, that's for sure. Depending on what pickups it has, is extremely versatile, and heavy, but just not built for speed.

Man PRS make the most versatile guitar in the world. Definitely for metal. Look at Mark Tremonti.

41 Dingus
42 Fernando
43 Orville By Gibson
44 SX
45 Skervesen Guitars
46 Vigier

Not bad.. Good brand..

47 Vigier


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List Stats

1,000 votes
48 listings
8 years, 236 days old

Top Remixes

1. ESP
2. Jackson
3. Kramer
1. Schecter
2. Ibanez
3. Jackson
1. Gibson
2. ESP
3. Jackson


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