To some people, pointy shapes and a good amp are everything to play metal music. To others, a floating bridge guitar can make the difference. The truth is there are specific guitars that can enhance this experience – just like for any kind of music genre. When interested in a guitar for metal, you better consider the construction of the instrument. This is when fixed bridge guitars kick in – a mandatory element to have the right intonation. Fixed bridge guitars for metal are quite diversified, but some models stand out in the crowd – reliable manufacturers, top notch construction and the perfect intonation.
Trying to sound like your favorite metal band? Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul Custom Plus GX Outfit might be the ideal option out there due to its capacity to balance everything in a perfect manner. It is a high performance unit that will allow more diversity and technique, not to mention its top notch construction.
Top 5 Fixed Bridge Guitars For Metal
1. Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul Custom Plus GX Outfit
Versatility and Pickups
The humbucker sound is a representative aspect of pretty much any Les Paul model and this one makes no exception either. You hold the fine neck in one hand and you control lots of power in the other. Epiphone came up with not one, but two humbucking pickups – Gibson 498T in the bridge and Gibson 490R in the neck.
They feature Alnico magnets. Moreover, each of these pickups can go into a single coil sound mode. Simply put, you have a versatile unit that can perform anywhere.
Playability and Precision
There are no doubts that the combination of pickups will not disappoint. This combo has been used for years in this industry, so it will not let you down. The neck carries the SpeedTaper quality standards. It is extremely fast and allows all kinds of chords and textures. Play with it for a bit and your solos will impress the audience.
As for the LockTone Tune-o-maticc bridge, it allows pushing notes to a new level.
Body Style and Design
Epiphone’s fixed bridge guitar comes with the classic Les Paul body style. You just cannot go wrong with it. Musicians from all over the world (and not just metal players) have adopted it right away due to its curves, design and appearance. Plus, it is extremely comfortable.
The maple top and the heritage cherry burst appearance will turn some heads. It is worth noting that the guitar comes with a case as well.
- Comes with a case.
- Features a great pickup combination.
- Push poll pots allow single coin tones.
- Features a SpeedTaper neck and a slim D profile.
- Comes in a wild color combination.
- Factory setups are not too consistent, so you need to set it accordingly.
2. Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster Electric Guitar
This beautiful model has something that puts it in front of its competition – a unique V6 rotary tone switch, not to mention the onboard preamp. As a direct consequence, you gain access to an impressive tonal palette to choose from. You gain access to six settings. You can literally adjust your role – from seating leads to some basic single tones.
The middle tone is gone and replaced by the new V6 switch. You can switch as you play, without too much hassle. The switch is located on the volume knob for convenience.
Performance and Tone
The tone and performance go hand in hand. This fixed bridge guitar has a triple set of pickups for a top notch tone. The vintage noiseless pickups will bring in the sharpness of a prolific vintage set, but without that annoying background hum. You can be modern, but you can also explore an old fashioned sound due to the Alnico 2 magnets, as well as a magnet wire coated with Polysol.
Diversity is a must when you perform in different venues, hence the necessity of being able to adjust. Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups will give you the required range of tones to adjust anywhere, anytime.
Playing Experience and Value for Money
If the value for money is what you are after, Fender’s guitar for metal will pleasantly surprise you. You get a Strat body with a beautiful custom contoured Strat. Its curves are beautiful, but it also feels comfortable. Go further and you will discover a solid alder body, as well as vintage noiseless pickups that can push your music into a wide range of tones.
In terms of playability, the pau ferro fingerboard has an appealing round shape and feels comfortable. The maple neck is not to be overlooked either.
- Comes with great value for money.
- Features plenty of tonal options.
- Has a nice weight to it and feels comfortable.
- Comes in more designs and styles.
- Plays extremely smoothly.
- There are reports of a loose V6 switch, yet it is an easy fix.
3. ESP LTD EC-401 Electric Guitar
ESP LTD is generally known for providing good value for money – it targets the budget metal players, but without compromising on quality. This model carries the exact same standards – you have premium pickups, excellent hardware, quality tonewoods and a lifetime experience. Appearance and small details? This model will likely surprise you as you touch it and turn it around.
While it does target those artists who do not feel like spending a fortune on a rock or metal guitar, ESP LTD has been appreciated and used by plenty of world renowned artists. It is simply too good to be overlooked.
Tonal Response and Reliability
The EC-401 electric guitar is based on EMG humbucking pickups – quality at its finest. If you are into hard rocking and metal music, you probably know that EMG active pickups represent the key to a rich performance.
All in all, this model brings in two solid pickups – EMG 81 and EMG 60. Performance is flawless, while the response is simply dynamic. Tones? Exceptional! Whether you are looking for a clean sound or an aggressive style, you got it.
Style and Performance
The EC-401 model features a classic style. It looks vintage, but the performance is modern. You have a simple cutaway appearance, an arched top and a comfortable use – no matter how you hold a guitar, your hand positioning will feel comfortable.
The cutaway is sharp and perfectly blends in. It allows easy access to the frets.
- Comes with solid construction – rosewood fingerboard and mahogany neck and body.
- Has multiple controls.
- Features a good pickup combination.
- Allows comfortable hand positioning.
- Looks attractive and stylish.
- Does not come with a high fret access carve, yet the higher frets are easily accessible.
4. Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II Electric Guitar
The Les Paul Special II style is inspired by the classic Les Paul. However, the manufacturer took some shortcuts to keep the price low. The body and neck are made of okoume – some sort of lightweight mahogany. The neck is also bolted in, rather than glued in.
These are not some minuses though, as the guitar feels great when you hold it. It features a SlimTaper D profile inspired by the 1960s, not to mention the rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. Simple dot inlays also keep the price down without affecting the experience.
Two humbuckers designed by Epiphone will add to the experience – 700T (bridge) and 650R (neck). Keeping them under control is fairly simple with the master tone knob, which also works as a master volume. You can choose between the humbuckers with a simple switch.
Customization is straightforward – you got a tune-o-matic fixed bridge, as well as a stop bar tailpiece. The machine heads at the headstock are sealed and provide a 14:1 gear ratio. On a negative note, this guitar does not come with its own bag or case, yet you can purchase it separately.
At a first glance, it looks like this fixed bridge guitar is more suitable to beginners. It would definitely impress a newbie, but also a more experienced user.
If you have a good amp around, the results will be extremely clear. Humbuckers work flawlessly. Although not specifically designed for metal (but classic rock instead), the guitar will literally impress you with its capabilities if you push it into metal.
- Comes with great adjust ability.
- Features two unique humbuckers.
- Play-ability is impressive.
- Comes with great value for money.
- It is suitable for more types of rock.
- It does not look as sophisticated as high end guitars.
5. Gibson USA Flying V HP 2017 Electric Guitar
The nitrocellulose lacquer on top of this guitar gives it a beautiful shiny look, as well as a vintage appearance. It used to be a standard a few decades ago. Basically, it is thinner than other finishes used today, so the guitar can breathe.
It is not just about the vintage feels and looks, but also about the tonal quality, which is dramatically improved.
Style and Smoothness
The style is as important as the sound quality in a guitar. From this point of view, the Flying V HP 2017 electric guitar features a SlimTaper Flying V neck. It allows immediate action, as well as a smooth feeling. Decades ago, Les Paul styles came with large necks, but the style was changed during the 1960s, so it became the classic SlimTaper carve.
Count the Granadillo fingerboard in and you can enjoy a comfortable experience.
Playability and Precision
Plek processing is not the most common feature in this price range, as it is more common in high end guitars. It implies leveling frets with exquisite precision. You benefit from the most playable fretboard ever – nothing can beat it these days.
You have clarity in every note. Fret edges are silky and feel comfortable. Simply put, this technology is about precision and speed.
- Is made from high quality materials.
- Comes with a nitrocellulose finish.
- Features Plek processing for precision.
- Durability is seriously enhanced.
- Comes with great features for metal and hard rock.
- Might need some minor adjustments out of the box.
There are more things to look for when interested in a fixed bridge guitar in for metal. Many of them represent a matter of personal preferences.
The amplifier is one of the elements that should never be overlooked. The same goes for the humbuckers. Some combinations are classic and proven to work, while others are newer and said to be more innovative.
Sizing, materials, appearance and finishes are all about whatever you want your guitar to look and feel like.
What truly makes the difference is the bridge – there are more types of fixed bridges out there.
The tune-o-matic bridge is extremely popular today due to its deep customization. Each string features its own individual saddle. You can practically alter the intonation of each string at a time for maximum accuracy in your songs. It adds to your stability too.
The hard tailer fixed bridge is worth some attention too. It is basic and simple – screwed into the body, no movements. Again, each string can be customized for a different intonation. Since there is not too much effort involved, it makes a good choice for beginners.
The wraparound fixed bridge comes with a metallic bar that eases the connection between the bridge and the body. The string is supposed to wrap around that bar, so changing the intonation can be a bit challenging.
Bottom line, fixed bridge guitars make excellent choices for metal because you need constant jamming. You want something stable and solid. These top five guitars come from well established manufacturers with a good reputation. It is up to you to determine which one suits your needs and expectations.