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The Gear Reviews Column Presents:
best metal guitars and gear

The Best Guitar For Metal & A Guide To Amps, Strings, & Pickups

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Schecter
Hellraiser C-1
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Bottom
Line
An incredible representative of what metal guitars & Schecter can do. The meaty & crisp tones is one of the best in the industry.
Pros
Three finish colors. The EMG 81/89 active humbucker pickups & Tune-o-Matic bridge are easy to set-up & maintain. Girthy, meaty tone.
Cons
Some have noted the pickups can be a little noisy if you don't treat your gain staging with the respect it deserves.
Best Bang for the Buck
ESP
Kirk Hammett Signature
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Bottom
Line
Based on the preferences of one of the definers of the genre, the lead guitarist for Metallica. Dominates clean & distorted tones.
Pros
Super Strat body is light & comfy. EMG 81/60 pickups & Floyd Rose bridge with locking nuts make for a maintainable set-up.
Cons
Some metal players don't like the independent volume knobs for each pickup at first, but come to appreciate its provided nuance.
Best Budget Pick
Ibanez
RG421
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Bottom
Line
An optimal choice for beginners on a budget. It's simple to set-up & maintain with a neutral tone where you can discover your preferences.
Pros
The fixed bridge, Wizard III neck, and high sustain mahogany body make for an easy to play & maintain guitar. It's all about business & not frills.
Cons
The tuners are average. With heavy string bends, you'll find you need to re-tune occasionally. That's truly par for the course, though.

The best guitar for metal is never the guitar alone, but a combination of the pickup, strings, and of course the amp and effects used as well. Today we explore all of these topics, explaining their importance in achieving your aggressive tone, and offering our recommendations for the best in each category and each budget range...

TL;DR - Best Budget Pick: Ibanez RG421 - Best Overall: Schecter Hellraiser C-1