Top metal Guitars

If you’re thinking about a new guitar, and you play heavy metal, four of the height brand names on your list are probably Jackson, Ibanez, ESP LTD and Schecter. And, you’re probably trying to decision which one will gain you the sound girlfriend are trying to find with the best quality components.

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It’s no wonder you are stumped. These 4 guitar makers are at the optimal of the heap as soon as it comes to instruments for tough rock and also heavy metal. So exactly how do you choose one over the others?

In the attention of saving time, I’ll do this short and sweet.

The exactly answer is simple: Go acquire one that each.

But for most of us, this isn’t practical, and also we need to uncover a method to choose one over the others.

In this article, I’ll choose top instruments from every brand and pit them against each other. We’ll watch at construction quality, sound, and different specs, and we’ll watch what other human being are saying around these guitars. In the end, it is unlikely one guitar is going to blow the others the end of the water, but you candlestick to have actually a much better idea about which one is right for you.


To be honest, I’m no sure how comfortable ns am v this entirety thing. In the ‘80s ns would have sworn by Ibanez come the end. In the ‘90s my allegiance shifted briefly to Jackson. Once Schecter came down on the scene i was swollen away through their quality and attention to detail. And, recently I’ve been exploring some ESP LTD guitars the I’ve been super-impressed with.

These are 4 of the ideal guitar brands for metal. Ns don’t know where this process will take us, and also I have actually a feeling I’m walking to discover something below too. Therefore let’s obtain to our steel guitar shootout!


Metal guitar Shootout Rules

Like any great grudge match, we’re walking to have to come up v some rule to make things fair. Remember, we’re comparing guitar brands here, not necessarily the guitars themselves. I’m going to present the guitars that best represent each brand, i beg your pardon meet particular criteria, and see just how they ridge up versus each other.

Even if you room considering a totally different style of guitar, these comparisons must still serve as a recommendation point.

Remember, too, the while I’ll it is in presenting specs, facts, and also details, several of what you’ll check out is based upon my own opinion. I’ve been about the block a time or two over the past 30 years when it involves metal guitars, and also I have actually experience with each of this brands.


Here room the 3 rules because that the shootout:

Guitars should be similar in cost. I’ll it is in looking in ~ instruments about the $1000 price range, provide or take it a pair of hundred bucks. I think this is a variety that allows manufacturers to placed their ideal ideas forward without cutting too plenty of corners.Guitars should be that “traditional” design. These companies make some good metal-looking, pointy-shaped guitars, but trying to compare distinct designs doesn’t aid us much. Here we’ll to compare guitars through basic double or single-cut designs.

Easy enough? On come the gear!

Jackson Pro collection Dinky

The Jackson Pro collection is a heat of high-quality guitars for severe musicians. You might be wonder why I chose the Dinky here instead of the Soloist. If the Soloist is definitely the big dog of the Jackson lineup, the Dinky yes, really struck me as having actually a much more versatile variety of options, and also perhaps a better overall opportunity of equivalent up through the various other guitars in this review.


With an alder body, the Dinky stays up come its super-strat heritage. You might be expecting to view basswood or also mahogany here, however Jackson’s usage of alder speak me they are going for a standard hard rock vibe through this guitar, no the dark, resonant tones the more modern-day metal. I choose it.

A one-piece maple neck through a selection of rosewood or maple 24-fret fingerboard is fast and flat, perfect for shredding. Indeed, this is shaping as much as be a guitar made for the classic metal head, and the pickup selection brings that home. Direct-mounted Seymour Duncan humbuckers, a JB in ~ the bridge and also ’59 in ~ the neck, room a high-quality selection here the will manage anything from ‘80s glam steel to modern thrash.


The leg is a Floyd rose FRT-O2000. The pickups are regulated via a 5-way switch, and the pro Dinky attributes black hardware.

What ns like: This is a etc made for classic metal. Indigenous the tonewoods come the pickups, the Pro collection Dinky harkens back to the style of guitar that put Jackson ~ above the map. Because that old-school metal men like me who grew up on everything from Dokken to Iron Maiden to beforehand Metallica, this guitar is a thing of beauty.What i don’t like: cutting corners top top the bridge is a huge pet peeve of mine v guitars in this price range. While I’d fairly see a Floyd Rose initial here, the Floyd climbed FRT-O2000 isn’t a negative choice.What other people are saying: While reviews of this guitar room overwhelmingly positive, the 2 complaints I read the most are around the bridge and also pickups. I agree through the bridge issues, however I deserve to only assume the human being who don’t prefer the pickups choose the sound of something more modern, and also maybe active. If EMGs space your thing, you might be disappointed through the passive Duncans.

Hear the Jackson Pro series Dinky


Ibanez RG550

Along through Jackson, Ibanez has long been regarded as the best guitar brand for steel on the planet. They reinvented themselves indigenous a guitar agency that make some great copy instruments in the ‘70s, come a leader in the difficult rock guitar human being by the early ‘80s.


The RG is the flagship of the Ibanez lineup, through models ranging from pro-quality and also costing countless dollars, to those created beginners. Here’s we’ll look in ~ the RG655, a solid guitar in the middle of the RG roster.


A basswood body is typical of the RG template. It’s a tonewood that brings some warmth and also woodiness without the cost and also weight of mahogany and works well in a guitar favor this. The neck is a super Wizard HP 5-piece maple/walnut assembly with a 24-fret maple fingerboard.

While maple is a shining tonewood the will add some pop, it will certainly be rounded the end by the existence of the walnut. It’s additionally worth note that numerous RG models come with maple tops, despite I doubt it is because that aesthetic purposes.


So far we watch a picture of a usual metal/hard rock guitar, v tonewoods we’d except on an tool in this price range. But with Ibanez, the details are where things obtain interesting.

Where other companies rely on specialty equipment makers for your hardware and also electronics, Ibanez uses devices made specifically for your guitars, commonly by them.


The bridge is an Ibanez Edge. This is a high-quality and innovative architecture developed and improved upon by Ibanez themselves over the years. The humbuckers space an Ibanez V7 and V8 with an S1 single-coil in between them.

What ns like: I choose the bridge. Ibanez hardware is always top-notch. Ns love the neck.What i don’t like: I'm not so much a pan of single-coil center pickup common on RGs. On Strats, it's a great idea, however on a guitar developed for shred, I've never had a use for it.What other civilization are saying: being an Ibanez, the warm pickups and fast neck gain a the majority of positive remarks. This guitar has proven to be among the most renowned in the Ibanez lineup in recent years. Also, inspect out the Iron label Series!

The Ibanez Genesis Collection


ESP LTD EC-1000FR

I have the right to remember ago when owning an ESP guitar expected you were probably currently a rock star. When they come out through the more accessible ESP LTD lineup ns wasn’t all that impressed. As a veteran guitarist, that seemed prefer these were tools aimed at junior-high kids, with odd shapes and even odder colors. Maybe they were at the time, however these job they are placing out part guitars that certainly have mine attention. The EC-1000 is one together guitar.


Mahogany body with a maple top, collection mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard. It’s pretty apparent the EC-1000 is going because that a Les Paul-like vibe here, and also it is a good alternative come the Gibson Les Paul. While this tonewood mix will accomplish a comparable resonant growl come a Gibson Les Paul, the EC-1000 takes things number of steps more into the kingdom of sonic steel mayhem.


Let's look at the pickups. A set of active EMG energetic pickups will administer the high-output contemporary sounds many players are trying to find in today’s metal. If you mean to tune down a action or much more this guitar is a an excellent option.

Moving on to the hardware, a Floyd increased bridge brings much more versatility to the sound than through a usual LP-style guitar. The binding and block inlays look yes, really classy.

What ns like: The EC-1000 is a beautiful guitar, modeled after the ESP Eclipse. If ns were searching for a Les Paul-style guitar and played in a steel band, this etc would get serious factor to consider even prior to I looked at Gibson.What i don’t like: ns don’t favor the Floyd Rose! I’d lot rather see a tune-o-matic bridge on a guitar prefer this. However I make the rules, didn’t I?What other people are saying: In plenty of reviews, world compare the EC-1000 to a much more expensive Les Paul, frequently with a good deal of hyperbole. Honestly, it’s not going to sound like a $2500 Les Paul Standard, but I do believe it is a an excellent guitar for the money. The many common negative comment is stress buzz, which ns suspect would be removed with a suitable setup.

Hear the LTD EC-1000T/CTM (Non-FR)


Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR

In every evaluation where ns talk around Schecter guitars i rant and also rave around what an excellent quality they room for the price. This is always the first thing ns think of, and also every Schecter guitar or base I have ever before played win me as an tool that should cost much more than the price tags said.


There are a couple of Schecter models that can have stand in for this shootout, but the Hellraiser is a model with some varied options and designs, consisting of a cool Solo 6 body layout that compare favorably to the EC-1000 above. However we’re going to look at a an ext basic Hellraiser, the C-1 that began it all.


While this is a guitar built for the dark tones of modern-day metal, it has actually some flexibility to it too. The active EMG 81tw/89R pickup set has a coil tap through push/pull volume knobs, making for a more comprehensive array of possible sounds.

The Floyd climbed is again a 1000 model, but in its entirety the hardware below is high quality. (Note: Schecter’s website states the leg is a Floyd climbed 1000, but some sources, possibly earlier models, insurance claim it has an FR Original. As always, inspect the details before you buy!) The binding and also Goth inlays top top the fretboard look great too.

What i like: ns love the look at of Schecter C-1 layout guitars. They’re both classy and contemporary and have actually a an excellent feel around them.What ns don’t like: prefer the Jackson, this guitar would be even far better with a Floyd Rose initial bridge. In fact, I’d most likely go with the tune-o-matic and also string-through-body alternative here.What other world are saying: I need to tell you, I had trouble digging up legitimate an adverse comments around this guitar. The worst I can find to be a couple of complaints of absence of sustain, i m sorry is common in guitars v floating tremolos.

The Schecter Hellraiser Series


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The Winner is . . .

Is that even possible to choose a winner out of that? Well, we have the right to try. Let’s start by handing out some awards.


Best etc for classic Metal: The Jackson pro Dinky. Through the Seymour Duncan pickups and also alder body, this thing just screams classic hard rock and also metal. Jackson certainly has some guitars in their lineup that will please the detuned modern-day metal crowd, but when i think the Jackson ns think that the glory job of metal, difficult rock and thrash. This, in mine opinion, is what Jackson go best.Best guitar for modern-day Metal: The ESP/LTD EC-1000. V the combination of mahogany tonewoods and also hot active pickups, this etc is make to be detuned and plugged into a high-gain amp. ESP began out making tradition guitars earlier in the work of glam metal and thrash, and you deserve to still uncover some of that affect in the LTD lineup, but this shows up to be a firm with that is focus set on the now and the future.Best All-Around metal Guitar: Schecter Hellraiser. Yeah, with the look and also construction of most Schecter guitars it’s simple to watch they’re going because that a modern-metal vibe. However, through the coil taps and different options obtainable the Hellraiser collection is one of the most versatile guitar models the end there. Schecter is not a guitar brand ns think the for classic metal or shredding and not also the an initial company i think the for modern metal. Yet they are a guitar agency that does everything well, and they probably develop the finest quality tools in this price range.

So, that is the overall winner? I’m an old-school metal male who flourished up in the ‘80s. I’d probably go v Jackson by a an extremely narrow margin. Yet I think it's worth stating that, in the videos above, my winner for standard metal is being demoed by a modern metal guy, and also my winner for modern-day metal is gift played through a standard metal guy! these guitars are all incredible, and every one of them is metal through and also through.


But what’s important is what you would certainly choose. What sort of metal do you play? What space you trying come accomplish? Which etc brand will best meet your needs?

I hope this short article got you a small closer to answering those questions!

Kings the Metal!


This write-up is accurate and also true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is because that informational or entertainment objectives only and also does no substitute for an individual counsel or expert advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

André Fontes top top December 28, 2019:

I'm a huge fan the 90s Japanese Jacksons, they're plentiful, go for low prices and also up till 92-94, they wouldn't cheap the end in the corners, they supplied branded LFR bridges, quite pickups, good woods, those larger ones also had real mother of pearl inlays, not plastic repros i m sorry is unimaginable in anything but the highest-end tools these days. Because Fender took over, they're greatly a fill-in because that the steel field, which Fender was never successful in their numerous attempts. The MIM agree models simply aren't top top par through their old models, mainly when girlfriend can acquire a MIJ second-hand for much less than fifty percent the price.


For today's standards, Ibanez uses IMO the best and also most versatile variety for the genre. They've continually improved their designs, such together the accessibility heel, and also while friend still have actually the classic JEM, RG and Saber models, they have all sorts of set-neck and neck-though guitars, fans frets all sorts of passive and energetic pups (including Fishman Fluence's). They've stayed current and also aware the what brand-new players want instead of relying on simply what to be sought after in the 80s and 90s, it's one of those brands that will always have an tool for your budget and preferences.

LTD only gets good when girlfriend pay for the top stuff and also even currently they've moved the 1000 manufacturing to Indonesia and also cut stuff such as the ebony fretboard; small innovation, too, been adhering to their social media and their advertising seems to be based on new fancy finishes the questionable taste for the most part.

Finally, i can't speak much for Schecter, never obtained into your instruments. I've thought about one that those set-neck models, yet I simply can't get over their distinctive aesthetics v overly aggressive looks and whatnot. Can't speak for the top quality or functions as I've never tried one out, though.

Wrath730 top top June 02, 2019:


I love my C1. It to be a small odd to obtain use to at first with the more thick neck profile however she theatre great. Well that and the fact I acquired one in mint condition for $350 plays a big part that it. If i had paid the $1000 the retails for i think i would be disappointed. I would certainly strongly imply to anyone searching for a contemporary metal guitar buy the ec1000 luxurious fluence (fishman fluence modern pups) before you buy a hellraiser. IMO the fishmans are superior come the emgs and the luxurious is almost as beauiful together the hellraiser. Add to you obtain the abalone outline around the fretboard and ebony contrasted to the rosewood of the C1. Now with all the being said, in all honesty I must say mine ltd m400 sounds much better but i think thats because i yes, really love the Seymour duncan JB's. There is simply something special around those pups that i cant explain.


Dan on might 23, 2019:

The C1 i owned had actually the worst feeling ever. I have actually a Schecter Blackjack matte black and feel wise is among the nicest Ive ever played. Personally i wish all service providers would prevent with gloss necks. Matte or Satin is sooooo much much better if you need to obtain up and also down the neck quickly and smoothly.

Aceflick on January 12, 2019:

Made in Japan Jackson's are the best , those Chinese guitars made now they are not precious buying castle crap.


James E P ~ above January 10, 2019:

Interesting review, and also you lug up a lot of good points. Ns guess my only worry with that is the the LTD you choose is nothing favor the other three, which sort of invalidates the brand high quality comparison.

First the all, it has actually a shorter scale in ~ 24.75, so it will feel various than the 25.5 range of the others. This is also what the "fret-buzz" relates to. On a 24.75 scaled guitar, you have to beef increase the gauges that the strings. If you typically play with .010 ~ above a 25.5, you would use a .011 collection on a 24.75, and so on. Otherwise the stress of the string will be floppier in comparison, and also thus create a fret-buzz. This, in itself, renders the guitar feel different, also with the correct string gauge compensated for.


Also, a much shorter scale guitar makes you cram your fingers a little bit more, stealing several of the space you require for shred runs. Great, if you have little hands, however not right otherwise.

The LTD MH-series would be closer in style and role to the other models you reviewed. The EC-1000 is a great guitar, and also definitely uses a different spin on a classic Les Paul concept, however when to compare brand qualities, LTD got the short end of the pole in this review. The LTD MH 1000 own the other three in quality, versatility and sound.


Fido - absolutely disappointing to hear around your experiences with Ibanez. I've constantly really liked them. The hardware on mine '85 Ibanez PR1660 is still in pretty great shape.

I don't think you can go wrong with Schecter, though. I have one that the previously Omens and also it's a an excellent guitar for the money.

Fido Llama ~ above November 11, 2018:

I just wore out another Ibanez RG after just two years! The bridge rusted, also while make the efforts to keep it, and basically their guitars just don’t last! I also had the pink 25th Anniversary RG once it come out and gigged it acquired a year. The saddles ~ above the Edge leg wore out and were gonna expense $100’s come replace. I gained a Schecter omen v there own active Humbuckers and it destroys every Ibanez I’ve ever had! I’m a complete Schecter convert. The neck is just as good as an Ibanez yet with beautiful cross inlays and also a heel at the headstock. Many importantly for me a tunomatic bridge constructed to last. I’ve played in steel bands for many years and also I can’t see just how a Schecter deserve to be bettered in any kind of price range.


mshadows: ns think the same advice applies to males and females when first starting out. Here's an post on electric guitars because that beginners that you could find helpful:

https://usmam.org/instruments-gear/Best-Electr...

mshadows on September 05, 2018:

Which do you recommend because that a mrs learning?

Harrison wolf Crutcher on June 03, 2018:

I think for diverse guitars Ibanez has made a bunch the ones choose the pets as leaders guitars and also some of their other new ones. IDK around Jackson, but the Misha Mansoor Jackson is one that has very great cleans. Some guitars are not yes, really diverse and also I have no preference when it comes to many etc companies however I have not played a Schecter or PRS i was to solve with.

Guitar Gopher (author) on march 07, 2018:


Victor - I'm really impressed v the JS-Series Jacksons. Been reasoning of grabbing a Rhoads at some point. Great luck gaining the GL -I always loved Lynch's guitars.

Victor on march 06, 2018:

I actually very own an ESP-LTD ET-1000 the ET stands for evertune bridge and also the etc is phenomenal i really love it, however I additionally own a Jackson Dinky Arch peak JS32 natural Oil Finish and also love this guitar for shredding a little better even though I uncover myself playing the ESP-LTD more often. I love them both.


I think the Schecter appears a little flat sounding compared to the Jackson and also I've never ever really preferred the feel of the Ibanez. I think I will certainly be buying next an ESP-GL GL200SBT George Lynch Signature Sunburst Tiger

Heph333 ~ above February 03, 2018:

After years of owning just LPs and Strats, ns just obtained a cable - v Hellraiser & haven't touch tge others since. Ns absolutely love it. I did swap the 81 out of the bridge for another 89. The 81 to be a little sterile & I like the ton of the 89 better.

Guitar Gopher (author) on October 12, 2017:


Metalhead: I'd think about the Jackson Soloist and Dinky, and also the Ibanez RG and S Series. Schecter has a style dubbed the sun Valley at sight Shredder you'll desire to inspect out, and also I'd likewise check out the Charvel Pro mod Series.

Good luck!

Metalhead ~ above October 11, 2017:

IF a prefer 80 glam metal wich shud a walk for?

Guitar Gopher (author) on august 07, 2017:


rich - there is naught wrong through licensed FR models, and also they will continue to be in tune fine if the guitar is set up properly. I simply have pertained to prefer the original on guitars I've owned end the years.


rich on august 07, 2017:

hi, Floyd climbed FRT-O2000 is not good? wont stay in tune? deserve to you intricate further pls. Plenty of thanks.

Todd on June 28, 2017:

After trying a bunch of Jackson and also Ibanez guitars (for metal), i am no pleased so much for guitars under $1000. If someone wants to write around guitars finest for metal, the might too just litter away the price selection limitation and discuss which guitar is best for current metal. I don't recognize what that guitar is, yet it's very likely well over $1000. As lot as etc production has actually improved (better fretboard top quality control) from factories in Indonesia, the is still challenging to get what you want in a etc without buying a practice guitar or changing parts on a typical model.

Guitar Gopher (author) top top June 20, 2017:


Chris: mine Floyd criticisms are mainly due to the an option of equipment on few of these guitars. Ns remember a time when you could get a FR original on guitars in this price range. And also you're ideal - if you intend to obtain a guitar without a Floyd, this write-up probably won't aid you. I perform have plenty of others the would, though.

Chris ~ above June 18, 2017:


You urge they every must have a floyd rose for the shootout, and also then most of your criticisms are about the floyd rose. Not an extremely helpful for people who won't be gaining a guitar with a floyd rose.


Armando top top June 04, 2017:

These are all good choices however the Ibanez is the superior selection imo that the ones presented here. The Ibanez call is handmade in Japan if the others are assembly heat models. Nothing wrong through an assembly heat model, yet the top quality of a handmade tool is 2nd to none and also Ibanez does a great job in ~ this and also is among if no the cheapest handmade guitars top top the industry (I suspect since they have actually no custom shop).

Dennis Lehigh ~ above April 16, 2017:

Sorry - if you don't have BC well-off in a steel guitar shootout it just doesn't cut it. My Ironbird through Kahler trem will certainly smoke the bejesus out of every 4 the those.

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Gerald Christ top top July 16, 2016:

Seems favor your written currently had his mind comprised lol i wouldn't choose any kind of of these guitars.