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.
Table of The Best Metal Guitars Under $1,000
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 guitars or best metalcore guitars under $1000 might be.
Take any time at all to shop for a new ax and you’ll find that $1000 is not a whole lot of money to throw at the best metal guitars out there. What a grand will get you, however, is a fully professional electric 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 for metal.
If you can’t get it done with one of these, you probably just can’t get it done.
The Best Metal Guitars Under $1000
ESP LTD KH602
The ESP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett Signature is a familiar sight on the modern guitars for 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 metal guitars available in their price range and this one, like the company’s others, will not disappoint.
- EMG active humbuckers!
- Floyd Rose!
- Neck-thru construction!
- None more black.
- For sure it’s one the best metal guitars, but it comes in right at the top end of the budget.
- Offers nearly everything of its higher-end cousin, the ESP KH-2, at a price that more musicians can afford
- Features neck-thru-body construction, a comfortable alder body, and a 3 pc. extra-thin U-shaped maple neck
- The pau ferro fingerboard features 24 extra-jumbo frets and Kirk Hammett's skull-and-bones inlays
See how it sounds:
Schecter Synyster Custom
This guitar screams ‘metalcore’ 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.
- Floyd Rose 1500 vibrato!
- Mahogany neck and body!
- Signature ceramic pickups!
- Bang for buck one of the best metalcore guitars for your hard earned cash!
- Love-it-or-leave-it styling may not appeal to all.
- One of best metal guitars in our showdown, but another coming in right at the top end of the $1,000 budget.
- Schecter USA Synyster Gates Humbucker Pickup Set
- Mahogany Body With 3-pc Mahogany Set-Neck
- Floyd Rose 1500 Series tremolo & locking nut
Schecter Hellraiser C-1
They’re simple, elegant, and thoroughly modern guitars 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 amazing value in guitars for metal and is perfect for anyone needing a high-quality, traditionally-styled ax.
- EMG pickups!
- Looks good!
- At this price? None, whatsoever.
- Set-Neck w/ Ultra Access
- Quilted Maple Top
- EMG Active 81TW/89 pickups
See how it sounds:
Dean ZERO VIC
The Dean ZERO VIC Dave Mustaine 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. Embodying the spirit of metal, this had to be on our shortlist of the best heavy metal guitars.
Does the song contain Mustaine? Yes, we believe it does.
- Wicked cool graphics!
- Another hardtail!
- Attractive price!
- Cool-looking and simple, ready to rock!
- D-shaped neck may be too shallow for some players.
- Case not included.
See how it sounds:
Squier by Fender
The Squier by Fender Contemporary Active Stratocaster HH is a wise choice of instrument if you’re one of those people shopping for the best heavy metal guitars on a tight 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 for metal that’s affordable to just about anyone. If you’re not a high horse rider, you just find love with one of these. If your budget is sub $500 – then this is the best metal guitar for you.
- Very affordable!
- Floyd Rose on board!
- Aggressive black Strat styling!
- It’s a Squier, which might bug some people.
- Dual Squier active ceramic humbucking pickups boast powerful tones perfect for crunchy rhythms and soaring...
- Maple neck with slim "C"-shaped profile and matching painted reverse headstock
- 12” fingerboard radius and narrow-tall frets ideal for speed and effortless bends
See how it sounds:
Last update on 2020-10-29 / Source: Amazon