Top 10 Metal Guitarists Who Usually Play Flying V (V-Shaped) Guitars

Flying V guitars, with their v-shaped body, look so 'metal' because they look energetic, bold, distinctive, assertive and rebellious. Flying Vs also have an unconventional and avant-garde aesthetic.

Gibson’s president in the 1950s, Ted McCarty, commissioned several artists to sketch energetic guitar designs, of which the V-shaped design looked the most energetic.

Flying Vs were first released in 1958 by Gibson but they looked so unusual and "futuristic" that did not sell and the first Flying Vs were used as guitar-mannequins in music shops, to create a stir and attract customers. Apart from the avant-garde shape, many guitarists found it difficult to play Flying Vs.
Today, an original Flying V from 1958 costs approx. $300,000 (and that's like $100 K per triangle...)
Things changed in the 70s with the emergence of metal and further spread of hard rock - the Flying V found its perfect partners. Besides its rebellious shape, the Flying V sounded powerful.

Some of the first guitarists who bought Flying Vs in the 60s and early 70s were:
K. K. Downing (Judas Priest)
Michael Schenker (Scorpions, UFO, MSG)
Albert King
Dave Davies (The Kinks)

The Top Ten

1 Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He was killed in a plane crash.

It's so bad ass because 1It's a flying v 2 Randy asked the guy to make it sound like a gibson and feel like a fender 3 POLKA DOTS

Ozzy guitarist had a polka-dot V guitar (not made by Gibson). Randy had a much pointier version made by Jackson Guitars.
His V looked more terrifying than the Gibson models at the time because the points of Randy guitar looked like they could easily impale you.
R.I.P. Randy. - Metal_Treasure

2 K. K. Downing Kenneth "K. K." Downing, Jr. is an English semi-retired Grammy Award winning guitarist, songwriter and founding member of the British heavy metal band Judas Priest.

He used very often a Flying V (not always but I think most of the time).
He is at #1 because as I said in the list description, he was one of the first guitarists to ever buy a Flying V.
At the beginning of his career he actually bought two - one of just 20 produced for the 1964 Limited Edition. And another one - a 1970 model with a Maestro vibrato bar.
What can I say? When the other guitarists didn't want to buy a Flying V at all, he bought two.
He's the man! - Metal_Treasure

3 Dave Mustaine David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own more.

He even had at least 2 Double Neck Flying Vs (one of them was Dean V Double Neck Diadem) - Metal_Treasure

4 Jeff Waters Jeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator. He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos. Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band. Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, more.

His guitar is usually a Flying V. And it's red (like in the image on here).
He has played red V guitars since the early days of Annihilator - you can see him with a red Flying V in 1989, in the Alison Hell video.
He had a black one for a while, V-shaped again (maybe other colors, too, but for a while). - Metal_Treasure

5 Alexi Laiho Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho is a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and is also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band and Kylähullut.

His guitar is usually a very pointy Flying V (look at the image here). They were in different colors.
Actually I never seen him playing a guitar with a differen shape - if he played a different one that was an exception.
Flying V suits him, a guy nicknamed Alexi 'Wildchild' Laiho, who founded a death metal band at 14. - Metal_Treasure

6 Michael Amott Michael Amott is a British-born Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the grindcore band Carcass.

He usually plays a Flying V (different colors). His most recent one looks scary - like a medieval weapon with blood on it. You can see it on YouTube: Arch Enemy - The World Is Yours (by the way, one of the best metal songs of 2017). - Metal_Treasure

7 Kai Hansen Kai Michael Hansen is a heavy metal guitarist and vocalist. Hansen is the founder, lead guitarist, and vocalist of power metal band Gamma Ray. He is also the co-founder and former member of German metal band Helloween.

He usually plays a Flying V (different colors). He plays a V in the image here. - Metal_Treasure

8 Nergal Adam Nergal Darski (born Adam Michał Darski; 10 June 1977 in Gdynia), is a Polish musician and television personality, best known for being the frontman for the black/death metal band Behemoth. more.

It's in the image - black, pointy, 7-String, w/eagle graphic and eagle inlay on 12th fret - Metal_Treasure

9 Piotr Wiwczarek Piotr Wiwczarek (also known as Peter) is a Polish guitarist and vocalist who is best known as the frontman for death metal band Vader, where he is the only constant member of the band since its inception.
10 Mille Petrozza Miland "Mille" Petrozza is a German metal guitarist and singer of Italian descent, who has been the lead vocalist and guitarist for the German thrash metal band Kreator since 1984.

The Contenders

11 James Hetfield James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

Not very high on this list because he played Flying Vs but less often than the other guys on this list. - Metal_Treasure

12 Gary Holt Gary Wayne Holt is an American guitarist from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a guitarist, the bandleader, and the main songwriter for the American thrash metal band Exodus and is also a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.

He played Flying Vs but less often than some other guitarists on this list. - Metal_Treasure

13 Kerry King Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.
14 Matt Tuck (Bullet for My Valentine) Matthew "Matt" Tuck is a Welsh musician. He is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the Welsh emo/metalcore band Bullet for My Valentine.
15 Buckethead Brian Patrick Carroll, known professionally as Buckethead, is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within many genres of music.

Buckethead usually plays les paul. But he has also played jackson V. His cover of Enter the Chicken has one. - zxm

16 Joe Bonamassa Joe Bonamassa is an American blues rock guitarist, singer and songwriter. When he was only 12 years old, Bonamassa opened for B.B. King. He was born 8th May 1977. He is known to be one of the greatest blues guitarists ever.

Mostly plays les pauls but sometimes uses flying v

17 Scott Ian Scott Ian is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing and additional lead vocalist, and the only remaining original founding member of the thrash metal band Anthrax. He also writes the lyrics on all their albums.
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