17 Best Metal Guitars in 2022 (All Price Ranges)

If you’re a metalhead like me you probably don’t just love metal music, you want to play it too! There are so many great guitars out there for playing metal music. Generally speaking, you’ll be looking for something with a fast neck and hot pickups, possibly even active pickups! You’ll want a guitar designed for shredding those killer riffs. And you’re probably here wondering which guitar to buy.

Some of the Best Metal Guitars on the Market

I’ll start this article by jumping straight into reviews on the best metal guitars at each price point, but if you want to learn more about what makes a guitar great for metal music, check out our metal guitar buying guide at the bottom of the page. It will get you up to speed on all the terminology and features.

Name of ProductImage of ProductDescriptionPrice RangeFull Review
1. EVH Wolfgang Standard (Best Value)EVH-Wolfgang-StandardScale length: 25.5″
Body material: Basswood body, maple top
$600Read Full Review Below
2. Jackson JS22-7 Dinky (Best Cheap)Jackson-JS22-7-DinkyScale length: 26.5″
Body material: Poplar body
$200Read Full Review Below
3. Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 (Editors Choice)Ibanez-Genesis-Collection-RG550Scale length: 25.5″
Body material: Basswood body
$1000Read Full Review Below
4. ESP KIRK HAMMETT SIGNATURE KH-2 (Best Overall)ESP-KIRK-HAMMETT-SIGNATURE-KH-2Scale length: 25.5″
Body material: Alder body, maple top
$1200Read Full Review Below
5. ESP LTD EC-256 (Best Under $500)ESP-LTD-EC-256Scale length: 24.75″
Body material: Mahogany body, maple top
$450Read Full Review Below
6. Schecter Omen 6Schecter-Omen-6Scale length: 25.5″
Body material: Basswood body
$400Read Full Review Below
7. Schecter Hellraiser C-1Schecter-Hellraiser-C-1Scale length: 25.5″
Body material: Mahogany body
$900Read Full Review Below
8. Ibanez RG421Ibanez-RG421Scale length: 25.5″
Body material: Basswood body
$300Read Full Review Below
9. Epiphone SG SpecialEpiphone-SG-SpecialScale length: 24.75″
Body material: Alder body
$300Read Full Review Below
10. ESD LTD MH1000ESD-LTD-MH1000Scale length: 25.5″
Body material: Mahogany body, maple top
$1000Read Full Review Below
11. Jackson JS32 RhoadsJackson-JS32-RhoadsScale length: 25.5″
Body material: Basswood body
$300Read Full Review Below
12. Schecter Omen-8Schecter-Omen-8Scale length: 26.5″
Body material: Basswood body
$500Read Full Review Below
13. Epiphone Flying VEpiphone-Flying-VScale length: 24.75″
Body material: Mahogany body
$600Read Full Review Below
14. ESP LTD EC-Black MetalESP-LTD-EC-Black-MetalScale length: 24.75"
Body material: Mahogany body
$850Read Full Review Below
15. Squier Jim Root TelecasterSquier-Jim-Root-TelecasterScale length: 25.5"
Body material: Basswood body
$250Read Full Review Below
16. Jackson JS32T King VJackson-JS32T-King-VScale length: 25.5"
Body material: Basswood body
$250Read Full Review Below
17. ESP James Hetfield Signature SnakebyteESP-James-Hetfield-Signature-SnakebyteScale length: 24.75"
Body material: Mahogany body
$1200Read Full Review Below

Here Are the Best Metal Guitars

1. EVH Wolfgang Standard (Best Value)

EVH Wolfgang Standard

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Estimated Price $600
Pickup Configuration 2x EVH humbucker
Bridge EVH Floyd Rose Special Tremolo Bridge
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Basswood body, maple top
Neck One-piece maple neck
Fret Count 22 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 12-16”
Country of Origin Indonesia

My Review: EVH recently introduced its most affordable version of the Wolfgang guitar yet, the new EVH Wolfgang WG Standard. As a lover of Van Halen, this just hits the spot for me. The guitar is very comfortable to play, either sitting or standing. The playability is amazing. The guitar has a lot of power, tone, and sustain. Single notes are well defined, and chords seem to just jump out. You can solo on it effortlessly, and playing chords is so smooth it makes you feel like you are playing a high-end instrument. The light body and forearm contour make the Wolfgang WG Standard really comfortable.

Key Specs and Features: The EVH Wolfgang WG Standard is available with a basswood body and Maple quilted top. The finish is gloss polyurethane. The Double cutaway body design serves great for higher fret access. The body is shaped in the same distinctive body style that Eddie personally designed. It has a comfortable shallow C-shaped profile bolt-on one-piece maple neck with 22 jumbo frets, and a 12″ to 16″ compound radius. The scale length is 25.5″. There is also a spoke wheel truss rod adjuster located above the 22nd fret. Topping it off is a maple fretboard with dot inlays. It has two EVH branded humbuckers that provide a fierce tone. For the tonal control, there is a master volume and tone control knob, and a three-position pickup switch selector. It has an EVH-branded Floyd Rose Special tremolo with EVH brand tuners that work really well in keeping the intonation stable.

Target Customer: If you are a fan of Eddie Van Halen, if you love to burst out those solos this is the stuff for you. Some would say it is an entry-level guitar, but I would disagree, both beginners and intermediate players will find this guitar a handful.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for one of the best affordable metal guitars this is the guitar for you. The Wolfgang WG Standard may lack a few of the high-end details but its sound and playability are what make it stand out. With the EVH Wolfgang Standard, you’ll get an incredible guitar with many of the same features that more expensive guitars have.

2. Jackson JS22-7 Dinky (Best Cheap)

Jackson JS22 7 Dinky

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Estimated Price $200
Pickup Configuration 2x humbucker
Bridge Hardtail bridge
Scale Length 26.5″
Body Material Poplar body
Neck One-piece maple neck
Fret Count 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 16”
Country of Origin China

My Review: For a low-price 7 string guitar, you can squeeze a lot of from this one as it offers a reasonable tonal palette. The Jackson pickups in the JS22-7 are fairly balanced. Sometimes it can be a little too bright or too brash but doesn’t matter because you are not going to use it to play clean stuff anyway. The guitar resonates really well. It has some nice cleans on the neck pickup and the bridge pickup can be aggressive just enough when distorted. The tone can get muddy with higher gain but that’s expected from a budget guitar.

Key Specs and Features: The body is made from solid poplar and features an arched top finished in a deep Gothic black with a matte coat. The one-piece neck is made from hard maple, with sturdy bolt-on construction and a reinforced graphite rod, and 24 jumbo frets on the rosewood fretboard. The neck is a nice slim “D” shape with a relatively flat 16″ fretboard radius. The double-cutaway body shape is quite sleek and it allows for great access to the highest of frets on the fretboard. It has two passive high-output humbuckers designed by Jackson for 7-string guitars. You can control the tonal variations with a three-way selector switch, master volume, and tone control. The hardtail bridge keeps the tuning as tight as possible.

Target Customer: Great guitar to have for practice or even if you are transitioning to a 7-string. If you are looking to jump into the seven-string world without spending too much coin this is the guitar for you.

Bottom Line: For an affordable 7-string guitar is sure does have some problem which is expected but still, it’s hard to criticize it because the build and playability are excellent, making it very suitable for beginner players who don’t need something too crazy, a solid guitar that provides massive bang-for-buck value. This is easily one of the best metal guitars out there for the money!

3. Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 (Editors Choice)

Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550

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Estimated Price $1000
Pickup Configuration HSH pickups
Bridge Edge Locking Tremolo Bridge
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Basswood body
Neck 5-piece maple/walnut Super Wizard neck
Fret Count 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 16.9”
Country of Origin Indonesia

My Review: In my eyes, Ibanez was always the brand made for newer generations, and this guitar accomplishes that perfectly. The guitar’s price is something that makes you crave it, expensive but still something you can afford. Everything you need to shred and play metal music is in this guitar, it is ridiculously easy to play and it feels like you are cheating. The neck is smooth and super fast and the frets are like butter.

Key Specs and Features: The guitar has some really cool features. The body is made out of basswood which produces a warm, growling tone with defined mids. The body is sleek and comfortable, and the deep cutaway really offers unrestricted access to all 24 frets. Unlike the older version which had a one-piece maple Wizard neck the designers this time chose a 5-piece maple/walnut Super Wizard neck that has amazing playability with a scale length of 25.5″. The Super Wizard contains a maple fretboard that has 24 jumbo frets and black dot inlays. The RG550 features a classic-style tilt neck joint with a stamped metal plate. It has three single-coil pickups. A V7 pickup in the neck position delivers a tight, biting sound, while an S1 in the mid position has a high-output single-coil tone and a V8 bridge pickup that supplies a warm yet articulate sound with sizzling overtones. A guitar clearly made for metal and rock music. It has great playability and tonal variety. Ibanez Edge locking tremolo provides really good control and fine intonation.

Target Customer: This guitar is for players that like fast action guitars that are in the normal budget area. Even beginner players can try it out, but still, it’s place is more on the stage than practicing in the room.

Bottom Line: The RG550 proves that you can remake a vintage model into a more modern version that still keeps the feel and soul of its predecessor. The Ibanez RG series shows once again why it has been a rock and metal standard in the guitar world.

4. ESP KIRK HAMMETT SIGNATURE KH-2 (Best Overall)

ESP KIRK HAMMETT SIGNATURE KH 2

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Estimated Price $1200
Pickup Configuration EMG 81, EMG 60
Bridge Floyd Rose Original Bridge
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Alder body, maple top
Neck 3-piece maple neck
Fret Count 24 X-Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 16”
Country of Origin Japan

My Review: I was always a skeptic when it came to signature guitar models, they can be very pricy and limited but this Kirk Hammett model is something else. It sure can deliver, and even more. Bringing that classic Kirk sound it delivers an amazing crunchy sound that is so good for any style of metal and rock music. The sound and the build are premium quality, with a really smooth neck with a flying fingerboard. The aggressive sound is something to fall in love with. You can shred on it, divebomb, and play solos as much as your heart desires.

Key Specs and Features: The attention to detail is really exceptional. The guitar’s body is made out of alder wood with a flamed maple top and a 3-piece maple bolt-on neck that brings out that more aggressive metal sound. The alder wood provides a brighter overall sound and sufficient punch. It has a sleek black body finish and black hardware. The rosewood fingerboard has Kirk’s famous skull and crossbones inlays. The scale length is 25.5 and it has 24 extra-jumbo frets followed up by an extra thin U-shaped neck. The neck is super fast designed especially for playing classic metal riffs and lightning-fast leads. It has separate volume controls and a flatter fretboard radius of 16″ which is a change to the more basic 12″. It utilizes a classic Floyd rose bridge with the locking nut, which is just perfect for going all out and still keep the guitar in tune. The driving force of this metal destroyer is the EMG humbucker pickups, EMG 81 at the bridge position, and EMG 60 at the neck position. It comes with standard Gotoh tuners, a pair of volume controls, and tone control, along with a 3-way switch.

Target Customer: This guitar is for anyone who is willing to pay a little more and get a lot more. Experienced shredders are going to love this instrument.

Bottom Line: The ESP KH-2 is primarily a metal guitar, it can handle and type of metal music, from trash, progressive, or death metal. It provides quality sound for any kind of aggressive music, including hard rock, punk, or heavy grunge.

5. ESP LTD EC-256 (Best Under $500)

ESP LTD EC 256

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Estimated Price $450
Pickup Configuration 2x ESP LH-150
Bridge Tune-o-Matic Bridge
Scale Length 24.75″
Body Material Mahogany body, maple top
Neck 3-piece mahogany neck
Fret Count 22 X-Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 14”
Country of Origin South Korea

My Review: Let me tell you, this is not a high-end guitar, but rest assure assured this guitar is of great quality, has great classic looks, and great sound quality at an affordable price I’ve decided to put it on this list. The design is according to my taste, you can see that the designers put the time to combine the vintage looks of Les Paul with the metal vibes. Just the single-cutaway body shape is what first caught my attention. The guitar feels and plays so smoothly, and it packs quite a punch. I like the versatility of it. You can easily use it in all aspects of metal and rock music. You can achieve various tones from the pickups and the splitting ability, it has plenty of sustain. It’s perfect for heavy metal riffs and even for soloing.

Key Specs and Features: The first thing you’ll notice is the resemblance to Les Paul guitars, the ESP LTD EC-256 features a single-cutaway design with a solid body built form mahogany with a and flamed maple top that can come in three colors. The neck is also built from solid mahogany and it packs a rosewood fretboard, it has a 24.75″ scale length. The U-shape neck is slim and great for fast playing. The fretboard comes with 22 extra-jumbo frets that allow great string bending. The overall light weight of the guitar increases playability a lot. The ESP LTD EC-256 sports two humbucker pickups that are positioned at the neck and at the bridge. Both of the pickups are passive LH-150s and are designed by ESP, great for the price. The master tone knob features a coil-split with a push-pull mechanism, allowing you to choose single-coil tonality to your pickups. The bridge is tune-o-Matic and on the other end, it contains chrome die-cast tuners. It holds the intonation really well.

Target Customer: If you want to shred metal and rock, or even dip your toes into some sweet blues this is the guitar for you. Great for jamming or doing gigs, it can be useful to beginner to intermediate players.

Bottom Line: An awesome guitar, with great looks, plenty of sustain, amazing build quality, and adequate pickups.

6. Schecter Omen 6

Schecter Omen 6 Guitar

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Estimated Price $400
Pickup Configuration 2x Schecter Diamond Plus humbucker
Bridge TOM w/Thru Body Bridge
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Basswood body
Neck Maple neck
Fret Count 24 X-Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 24 X-Jumbo
Country of Origin Indonesia

My Review: This guitar is out to prove that with careful engineering and precise attention to detail you can get an affordable very capable instrument that future metal shredders can get their hands on. You can tell they took their time with this guitar. The way this guitar is built is primarily for metal music. With hot pickups that tend to get a little muddy, they produce a crunchy and heavy sound. If you’re a metal player, you’d feel right at home with this guitar around your neck. While it is certainly not on the same level as high-end Schecters, I feel confident saying that it blows other similar guitars in its price range out of the water.

Key Specs and Features: Schecter Omen was built in South Korea with a setup designed in the U.S. Every part of the guitar is designed to work well in all styles of metal and rock. The guitar is designed with a Schecter “C” body style. It is made of basswood for the body which is economic and even standard for affordable guitar woods. Basswood is a thick, resonant, great for metal and hard rock. The guitar has the finish and colors of this premium instrument. The walnut satin finish with that black body binding. The Omen 6 is a 25.5” scale guitar with 24 extra-jumbo frets and Pearloid Gothic dot inlays on a rosewood fretboard. It has a bolt-on maple neck while many other Schecters have set necks. The highlight of its hardware is the thru-TOM” bridge, string-through bridge design that helps the strings have less friction, this bridge is reliable, simple, and keeps intonation well. The two Schecter Diamond Plus humbuckers give the guitar aggressive high output that pushes your amp over the edge and into the shredding realm.

Target Customer: IF you are a beginner, if you want to jam at your house with the crew or go to a gig and make some people headbang, you are going to love this guitar.

Bottom Line: The guitar is definitely aimed for the metal market but Even though Schecter makes some of the best guitars for metal I think Omen can sound great in almost every style of music.

7. Schecter Hellraiser C-1

Schecter Hellraiser C 1

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Estimated Price $900
Pickup Configuration EMG 81TW and EMG 89
Bridge TonePros TOM bridge with through-body construction
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Mahogany body
Neck 3-piece mahogany neck
Fret Count 24 X-Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 14”
Country of Origin South Korea

My Review: This Schecter blew my mind on how much you get for such a medium-priced instrument. The guitar reminded me a little of Les Paul, it feels solid with an unbelievably low action with absolutely zero fret buzz. It packs a monstrous amount of sustain. Access to upper frets is awesome and the neck, body interface is very well sculpted. The guitar is so resonant when plucking a string and you will feel the body resonate. One thing that really sets this guitar apart is the 25.5″ scale. The scale not only makes the very high registers of the 24 fret fretboard more easily playable, but it adds to the purpose for which it was intended. When plugged into a solid amp and some decent pedals you can just hear how impressive the guitar is. You get a very refined, saturated tone that can be used in heavier riffs or classic metal. If you even want to play blues you will get that dirty sound you need.

Key Specs and Features: The body design is essentially a fatten up model of a Stratocaster. The body is made out of mahogany, with a sweet looking quilted maple top. The warmth of the mahogany body spills over to the rest of the tones, creating a well rounded, beautiful sound for the guitar. The neck is set and sports a somewhat standard rosewood fretboard with rather interesting inlays. Mahogany is not light but the guitar is balanced perfectly even so. The main selling points of this guitar are the humbuckers that come with it. It has EMG 81TX at the bridge and a very lively EMG 89 at the neck that offers great versatility and tone properties. One of two cool features on the Hellraiser C-1 that came as a surprise is the 3-piece mahogany neck that offers great playability and stability, and the second one is the TonePros TOM bridge with through-body construction. The bridge provides extra stability for the strings and is rather neat to looking with a great raise for awesome action.

Target Customer: Awesome for both professional and intermediate players, it is capable of keeping up with just about anything.

Bottom Line: A hard guitar as I like, a solid guitar for every penny you pay. It’s versatile, playable, great sustain, great action, it performs amazingly in different metal departments. What more can you ask for?

8. Ibanez RG421

Ibanez RG421

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Estimated Price $300
Pickup Configuration 2x Quantum humbucker
Bridge Hardtail bridge
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Basswood body
Neck Wizard III maple neck
Fret Count 24 X-Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 15.7”
Country of Origin Indonesia

My Review: As a trustworthy brand Ibanez sure can deliver affordable quality guitars. One of the most reliable guitars in this Ibanez series is the Ibanez RG421. The guitar feels really solid and very comfortable even with long hours of practice and jamming. I like that it is quite light and the neck is smooth and you feel comfortable playing faster things. The quantum pickups are what stand out about this guitar. There is almost no hum and the tonal variations are good for different musical styles. Of course, you wouldn’t play jazz on it, but for some power chords and lead playing it works awesome. The 5-way selector switch can really take you from metal to blues but It is more suitable for metal shredding than anything else. For pickups that are passive, you get huge power, with a rich and chunky overdriven tone.

Key Specs and Features: It is obvious that this guitar is from the RG series as it has a double-cutaway Superstrat body. RG421 is made of a mahogany body and it comes with a thin and sturdy Wizard III maple neck that has great playability. The neck is known to be fast and that is for a reason. The rosewood fretboard with white dot inlay features 24 jumbo frets. The tonal range of the guitar is no joke, full two octaves to play with. The RG421 is fitted with two of Ibanez’s high-output Quantum humbuckers. The passive pickups are controlled by volume and tone control knobs, as well as a selector switch for the pickups. Interestingly enough they went for a fixed bridge hear instead of a tremolo.

Target Customer: In my opinion, both beginners and more experienced players will find great use from it as it is. It’s packed with basic things you would need in order to learn how to play metal and rock.

Bottom Line: A very solid guitar with a price tag under $300, compared to the other higher-priced guitar it certainly lacks a few things but if your budget is under $300, the RG421 is a seriously good choice.

9. Epiphone SG Special

Epiphone SG Special

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Estimated Price $300
Pickup Configuration Epiphone 700T humbucker, Epiphone 650R humbucker
Bridge LockTone Tune-o-Matic
Scale Length 24.75″
Body Material Alder body
Neck Maple neck
Fret Count 24 M-Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 14”
Country of Origin China

My Review: The SG series always meant one thing. Loud rock music. It has been seen in the hands of some of the most legendary guitar players and I came to like it too. If you love the Epiphone SG, the SG Special is no doubt a guitar for you. The really noticeable thing about the guitar was how powerful the sound was and that is why most people will buy this guitar. It can really hold its ground in hard rock and metal. The Epiphone SG Special is designed to be filled with overdrive and distortion, so don’t look for clean and clear sound here.

Key Specs and Features: The Epiphone SG Special is made out of alder and it features the famous double-cutaway that gives the guitar its main styling point. All of the hardware on the SG Special is chromed. The chrome look combined with the worn finish gives the guitar an interesting vibe to the body. The neck is D-shape made from hard maple, with a 24.75″ scale length. The satin-finished neck is a bolt-on, fast, and easy to play. It has a rosewood fretboard with 22 frets and pearl dot inlays. The LockTone Tune-o-Matic bridge serves great and holds intonation nicely. The tail end is completed with a stop bar tailpiece. As for the pickups, it has an open coil Epiphone 700T at the bridge position and an open coil Epiphone 650R at the neck. The pickups are bright with high output which makes them great for metal.

Target Customer: Entry-level guitarists if you want to know what to look for look no more further. This is the guitar that you want, and exactly that you should buy. If you are a beginning guitarist, an intermediate player, or someone who loves to jam out all night long on stage, this is an amazing guitar for the price.

Bottom Line: Sleek design with an attractive finish, it has a timeless look and feel and it costs under 300$. What more do you want?

10. ESD LTD MH1000

ESD LTD MH1000

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Estimated Price $1000
Pickup Configuration 2x Seymour Duncan humbucker
Bridge Floyd Rose 1000 Series bridge
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Mahogany body, maple top
Neck 3-piece maple neck
Fret Count 24 X-Jumbo
Fretboard Radius 14”
Country of Origin South Korea

My Review: ESP continues to just absolutely blow me away with their designs and quality. The first thing that caught my eye was the flame maple top that really makes this guitar look incredibly appealing. It is just effortless to play and so smooth. The guitar resonates when you play it, it has great sustain and articulation. The thing I love about it is the versatility, I just feel it can perform even outside metal and rock music. You can even dip your fingers in some of that smooth jazz.

Key Specs and Features: The ESP LTD MH-1000 is made out of mahogany with a beautifully carved maple top and it features a set-thru 3-piece maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. The thin, U-shaped neck has 24 extra-jumbo frets that are all about comfort and speed. The Set-thru neck construction is and quite innovative. The neck is glued to the body and this makes access to the upper frets and the neck-to-body transition much smoother. The finish is flawless the frets have no sharp edges and are polished to be smooth as possible. The locking nut and Floyd Rose bridge are doing their job perfectly, you can push the intonation to the limits. The guitar sounds perfectly balanced especially when distorted. The guitar is equipped with two Seymour Duncan Pickups, a Hot Rails humbucker in the neck position, and a Pegasus humbucker in the bridge position. These two are controlled by a 3-way pickup switch and there is also a coil tap function that you can activate by pulling the tone knob.

Target Customer: If you are looking for this style guitar don’t hesitate. It is by far one of the most versatile guitars. For people who just want to dive-bomb and bend this guitar will not go out of tune easily. From technical brutal death metal to rock you can do it all with this guitar.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, powerful, versatile you are hardly going to find a better guitar for the price. It is the perfect guitar for a serious shredder.

11. Jackson JS32 Rhoads

Jackson JS32 Rhoads

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Estimated Price $300
Pickup Configuration 2x Jackson High Output humbucker
Bridge Jackson Compensated and Adjustable Strings-Through-Body bridge
Scale Length 25.5″
Body Material Basswood body
Neck Maple neck
Fret Count 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius