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The cheap metal guitars on this page have been carefully selected based on customer/user reviews and comments, professional reviews and, of course, their price.
So you're not just getting one know-it-all reviewer's opinion, but a consensus (or at least as close to one as possible).
What makes a guitar good for heavy metal? Hot pickups and good sustain with unique aesthetic appeal often being the iceing/frosting on the cake.
Apparently guitars can be sexy. If so, consider this page pure, unadulterated guitar porn...
Note: If you're after a specific shape, don't forget to check out the V Guitar and Explorer Guitar sections.
Best Value, Well Rounded Budget Metal GuitarThe best of both worlds - a slim and sleek Super Strat with the guttoral depth of a Les Paul. The Omen Extreme proves that Schecter take their budget offerings as seriously as their high enders when it comes to quality control.
Schecter Omen Extreme 6 Metal Guitar
Bolt-on Maple Neck / Mahogany Body with Quilted Maple / 25.5 inch Scale / Bound Rosewood Fingerboard / 24 Jumbo Frets / Vector Inlays / Multi-ply Binding / Schecter Diamond Plus Pickups / Volume, Tone (tap) 3-way toggle / Tune-o-Matic Bridge with through body / Schecter Tuners / Black chrome Hardware
What users say
The Omen Extreme is one of those guitars that lures you in with its beauty. The contoured flamed maple and multi-ply binding is some of the best you'll find on a budget guitar.
But we don't just buy guitars for how they look... do we? Feature-wise, the Extreme is like the Omen 6's (non-Extreme version) chunkier, beefier brother, with a heavier mahogany body and coil tapped pickups for extra tonal variation.
The cheaper Omen 6 (non-Extreme) is a great buy, but it's definitely worth the $100 or so more for the Extreme simply because the mahogany gives it the depth and sustain you need for metal, that cheap basswood struggles to attain.
With Schecter's own Diamond Plus pickups fitted as stock, many owners have vowed to upgrade to EMG's or Duncans to truly do this axe justice. But be in no doubt - you get a beastly metal tone out of the box and a beautifully constructed, finished and quality controlled instrument for the price.
The coil tap adds another dimension, allowing you to switch between humbucking and single coil sounds with a simple lift/drop of the tone knob. Especially useful for clean playing on the neck pickup, offering some uncannily biting Strat tones.
Definitely the number 1 pick for those looking for a versatile, built-like-a-tank, cheap metal guitar.
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Best Cheap Metal Guitar for ShreddingThe Ibanez RG series always makes it into any definitive metal guitar guide. Super fast neck, reliable and smooth tremolo system, and super hot pickups. The RG370DX offers added variation with a H/S/H pickup configuration, giving you precise control over your tone.
Ibanez RG370DX Metal Guitar
Wizard II neck / 3-piece Bolt-on Maple Neck / Basswood Body / 24 Jumbo frets / 25.5 inch Scale / Bound Rosewood Fingerboard / Edge III bridge on Black and White models / IBZ INF3 Neck Pickup (humbucker) / IBZ INFS3 Mid Pickup (single coil) / IBZ INF4 Bridge Pickup (humbucker) / Sharktooth Inlays
What users say
Everything about the RG370DX is geared towards shredding. The now legendary Wizard II neck - fast and comfortable, the ultra slim profile giving you unobstructed access to the finger board and a versatile pickup config for varied, expressive lead with rich harmonics.
Users have been able to acheive ridiculously low actions on the RG370, although this seems to be very typical for Ibanez in general. Very well finished and setup, even "straight from the factory". For those whose primary goal is to play more notes per second, this is the axe that will take you there.
The Edge III bridge hosts a surprisingly stable and sophisticated tremolo system for a relatively inexpensive guitar, ensuring you'll remain in tune whammy after whammy.
More about the pickups - with the humbuckers in the neck and bridge sandwiching a single coil there are a rich array of tones to be found. The single coil can brighten up your cleans (positions 2, 3 and 4 is where most users seemed happiest) and give your bridge humbucker that little extra bite and enrichen the harmonics.
The bridge humbucker on its own produces a razor sharp intensity under high gain/distortion. The stock pickups can be described as bright rather than fat, which wasn't to the taste of many, but they are clear and deliver high output. With a decent amp, you can tease in the low end you need for those down tuned, palm muted chugs.
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Best Cheap Guitar for Modern Metal StylesFrom the crisp sharpness of the RG370 to the thick, meatiness of the F-50. There really is something for every metal head's taste in this price range. This final pick from ESP is perfect for modern metal styles, which require sledge hammer-like power chord riffs with the option of vibrant, warm clean passages.
ESP LTD F-50 Metal Guitar
Bolt-on Maple Neck / 25.5 inch Scale / Agathis Body / Rosewood Fingerboard / 24 Extra Jumbo Frets / Dot Inlays with model name at 12th fret / ESP LH-100 Pickups / Black Hardware / Tune-o-matic Bridge with string-thru-body
User Review Summary
An aggressively carved metal masterpiece. While the Ibanez and Schecter appear relatively nimble and conservative as far as material weight, the F-50 is a hefty slab of guitar, designed for deep, crushing power chords.
A pretty basic feature set includes the high output LH-100 pickups, definitely the hottest stocks of the 3 featured guitars. Users only spoke of upgrading for a bit more clarity. If you like your metal dirty, gritty, even sludgy (think scooped death metal tones), the stock pickups will sound just right for you.
But the truly surprising thing about this beast is its clean tones. Rich, deep and warm. Even just finger picking, the response is touch sensitive. The agathis body and bolt-on maple neck aren't anything special, so more credit to the stock pickups - they are doing a lot of the work here.
What you will get with the LTD where other guitars in this price range are weak is powerful lows. Palm muted playing really punches its way through the amp speaker. Bear in mind though, it's as if some mid-high end clarity has been sacrificed for fuller low end presence.
The F-50 defaults as the "beginners pick" out of the 3, mainly due to the sub-$300 price tag. But for metal in general, it holds its own.
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Compare Cheap Metal GuitarsCompare the 3 heavy metal guitars on this page side by side using this spec table...
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