Heavy metal. It’s the pro sports of rock and roll. The style has been an eternal presence on the world’s music scene for decades and it features some of rock’s best musicians, its most legendary bands, and its biggest stars.

Because of all this plus huge prices on the vintage guitars used by some of metal’s creators, a lot of folks think that getting themselves outfitted with a proper guitar for playing metal has to be an expensive proposition.

Well, we are meeting up here today to dispel that notion and discuss just what the best metal guitar under $1000 might be.

Take any time at all to shop new electric guitars and you’ll find that $1000 is not a whole lot of money to throw at one. What a grand will get you, however, is a fully professional guitar that is up for anything you’re able to do to it. This price point is about fit, finish, and quality, especially with imported guitars.

If you can’t get it done with one of these, you probably just can’t get it done.

Here’s Our Selection of the Best Metal Guitars

ESP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett Electric Guitar

ESP LTD KH-602 Kirk Hammett Electric Guitar, Black
  • The LTD Kirk Hammett Signature KH602 BLK has an Alder Body with a Maple Neck and Rosewood Fingerboard w/Skull & Crossbones
  • This guitar comes equipped with a Floyd Rose Bridge & Locking Nut and LTD Tuners
  • It has a Neck-Thru Body with a 25.5" Scale, 24 Extra Jumbo Frets and an Exta Thin-U Neck Contour

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Source: Amazon

The ESP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett Signature is a familiar sight on the modern metal landscape and with good reason. Kirk Hammett and Metallica are among the highest-profile metal artists on Earth. Plus, the 602 is a killer, straightforward guitar that will scratch a lot of itches.

It’s a neck-thru design for maximum sustain and features a Floyd Rose vibrato, EMG 60 and 81 active humbuckers, three knobs, one switch, and a reverse headstock.

What else could an aspiring metalhead need?

Looking closer, the 602 sports an Alder body, a three-piece Maple neck, and a 25.5” scale. It is a full-on super strat capable of rocking any stadium anywhere while still looking fairly traditional.

Oh yeah, hope you like black. ESP LTD guitars are some of the best-built guitars available in their price range and this one, like the company’s others, will not disappoint.

PROS:

  • EMG active humbuckers!
  • Floyd Rose!
  • Neck-thru construction!

CONS:

  • None more black.

See how it sounds:


Schecter Guitar Research Synyster Gates Custom Electric Guitar

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Schecter Guitar Research Synyster Gates Custom Electric Guitar - Black with Silver Pinstripes
  • Duncan Designed SH-8 Invader Pickups
  • SYN' w/ Death Bat inlay @ 12th fret
  • Tuners: Grover

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Source: Amazon

The Schecter Synyster Gates Custom will help anyone cut a distinctive figure onstage and is especially attractive to fans of Avenged Sevenfold.

This guitar screams ‘modern metal’ and will not make those playing it feel like an 80s strat-bodied holdover. Gates has a huge audience and this instrument will make a lot of people in it happy. It is also a killer pick for any player looking for something unusual to use in heavy situations.

The Gates Custom displays Gate’s iconic shape covered in a stunning black-and-silver striped finish. It has two of his signature high-output pickups with ceramic magnets, a Mahogany neck and body for warmth and sustain, and Ebony fretboard with SYN inlays on top of an ultra-thin shred-friendly neck carve. It even has a Floyd Rose 1500 bridge system to keep you in tune no matter what happens.

This is really a lot of instrument for the money. If you’re cool with the look, you will surely be cool with the sound.

PROS:

  • Floyd Rose 1500 vibrato!
  • Mahogany neck and body!
  • Signature ceramic pickups!

CONS:

  • Love-it-or-leave-it styling may not appeal to all.

See how it sounds:


Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar

Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar (Black Cherry)
  • Set-Neck w/ Ultra Access
  • Quilted Maple Top
  • EMG Active 81TW/89 pickups

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Source: Amazon

The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is a core component of the company’s lineup of guitars and has helped Schecter maintain a large presence among purveyors of heavy music.

It is a simple, elegant, and thoroughly modern guitar made for metal. They’ve been produced since 2006 and continue to find new fans.

The C-1 features a Mahogany body with a Maple top, a Mahogany neck, active EMG humbucking pickups, and cool gothic cross inlays on the Rosewood fretboard. It is also a hardtail with a TonePros bridge, which makes it easy to live with and restring. It is even available left-handed, for all you switch hitters out there.

The Hellraiser C-1 represents an amazing value in a new guitar and is perfect for anyone needing a high-quality, traditionally-styled metal ax.

PROS:

  • EMG pickups!
  • Hardtail!
  • Looks good!

CONS:

  • At this price? None, whatsoever.

See how it sounds:


Dean ZERO TRUST Dave Mustaine Zero “In Deth We Trust”

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Source: Amazon

Dave Mustaine is another player well-known to pretty much every metal fan on the planet. Megadeth will always be one of metal’s most respected names for its decades of music, plus Dave was an original member of Metallica, so there’s that.

The Dean ZERO TRUST Dave Mustaine Zero is a superior ax for any metallion on a budget or who just wants a killer guitar for a low price. It has a modded Z-style Mahogany body with distinctive graphics, a 25.5” scale D-shaped neck with 24 frets and a Rosewood fingerboard, two DMT Design pickups, three knobs, and a pickup switch.

This is another hardtail guitar with no vibrato system and that makes it simple to live with and maintain.

Dean is another company that has become almost totally associated with the metal scene and has spiritual roots going back to the 1970s. Deans have been the choice of many talented players over the years and are still more than worthy of a serious look when guitar shopping.

Does the song contain Mustaine? Yes, we believe it does.

PROS:

  • Wicked cool graphics!
  • Another hardtail!
  • Cool-looking and simple, ready to rock!

CONS:

  • D-shaped neck may be too shallow for some players.
  • Case not included.

See how it sounds:


Squier by Fender Contemporary Active Stratocaster Electric Guitar – HH

Squier by Fender Contemporary Active Stratocaster Electric Guitar - HH - Rosewood Fingerboard - Flat Black
  • Dual Squier Active Ceramic humbucking pickups for modern and aggressive tones
  • Maple neck with slim "C"-Shaped profile and matching painted reverse headstock
  • 12" Fingerboard radius; jumbo Frets

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Source: Amazon

Super strats are what metal guitars are all about to some folks and we want to remain sensitive to that fact.

The Squier by Fender Contemporary Active Stratocaster HH is a wise choice of instrument if you are one of those people and are shopping on a budget.

It has a Poplar body with a Floyd Rose vibrato, a Maple neck, and a Rosewood fretboard. Two Squier Active Ceramic Humbuckers allow for modern, aggressive tones and lots of output power. The rebellious reversed headstock is a nice touch and adds to the anarchy of the proceedings.

The HH is another straight-ahead rock machine with no fancy appointments. It has an old-school black Strat Dave Murray vibe that vintage metalheads will appreciate. Squier stuff often gets looked down upon by gear snobs but Squiers pack the goods to get the gig done without prices that will anger those who you live with and must obey.

This is a more-than-capable guitar that’s affordable to just about anyone. If you’re not a high horse rider, you just find love with one of these.

PROS:   

  • Very affordable!
  • Floyd Rose on board!
  • Aggressive black Strat styling!

CONS:

  • It’s a Squier, which might bug some people.

See how it sounds:

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Professional music enthusiast, guitarist, blogger, podcaster, and songwriter Mike O’Cull works with and covers the most compelling artists from around the world. He has reviewed music and musical equipment since the 1990s in print and online, hosts The Sounds of Chicago Podcast (sponsored by www.ChicagoMusicGuide.com), The VT New Music Discovery Podcast for www.VishnusTrumpet.com, and creates original music that mixes rock, hip hop, funk, and synthwave. He also provides coaching, promotion, and writing services for musicians and other creatives. His writing work has appeared in countless venues over the last twenty years.

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