To begin with, the term “shredding” is associated with sweep-picked arpeggios, fast alternate picking and whammy-bar abuse on one side, while on the other, this term is widely used in metal music, since these guitars have an aggressive look and output heavy tones, which makes them ideal for metalheads!
However, keep in mind that metal is fairly a broad term, since there are sub-genres, including death metal, metalcore, thrash metal and neoclassical, but what all of them have in common is that they require shredding guitars that will hype the audience and the guitarist itself.
My attempt in this article is to provide you with the best guitars for shredding that you can possibly find on the market, and also, the ones listed in this article will be different in terms of price. Some of them will be more affordable, and some less, but, you can expect one thing from the – quality, and only quality!
The Top 5 Best Guitars For Shredding
5. Jackson JS32T Rhoads
The Jackson JS32T Rhoads can be considered as an ideal option for you, especially if you’re looking for an affordable, yet quality guitar that has nice shred features, which is a huge plus especially for the beginners who are still searching to find their place in shredding.
Aesthetically speaking, the JS32T Rhoads sports a black-and-white finished, basswood body that is followed by a bolt-on maple neck that is furtherly strengthened with graphite reinforcement, 24 jumbo-frets with Pearloid sharkfin inlays, and rosewood fingerboard. What got my attention the most regarding the design of this guitar is its blade-like headstock which even though may not offer you the best possible convenience when seated, still, its look is strikingly good!
Moreover, if we take a look at the hardware, we can instantly notice the combination of Jackson-designed, high-output humbuckers, three-way toggle switch, and master controls for tone and volume. Jackson has kept all the things simple, and all of these things will do their job completely fine which is always welcome!
If you’ve been asking about the type of the bridge, well, good news for you! This unit is armed with a double-locking tremolo bridge that will drastically enhance the stability and the freedom you’ll have while playing, so feel free to abuse the guitar when you really feel like doing it since the tuning stability will unlikely decrease!
Now, the most important part – sound. Well, considering the fact that the JS32T Rhoads is made of basswood, this makes this guitar ideal for the modern and classic heavy petal, due to the fact that the sound is powerful like the pickups, and you can have huge freedom in switching from rhythm to lead. In other words, for the price you pay, you will be more than satisfied to own such a quality guitar!
Also, there are many videos where guitarists are shredding with this guitar, so feel free to check them out and assure yourself of the potential of your guitar on one side, while on the other, you will definitely be able to find out why is this guitar loved by the beginners!
To conclude, the Jackson JS32T Rhoads should be set in your “must-have” list, especially if you’re a beginner who wants to keep tight on budget while having a guitar that does not look nor perform in such way at all!
4. Fender Stratocaster HH
The Fender Stratocaster HH was released roughly 5 years ago, so, guitarists had a very long time to try and feel how does this guitar perform in practice. However, what’s interesting about this guitar that since its release date, even today, it is among the most purchased and widely used guitars for shredding which definitely has to mean something. So, what is it? You will find out right away!
To begin with, let’s start with the design. This model boasts an attractive, and glossy black and white body that employs 12″ fingerboard radius with jumbo frets, slim, C-shaped maple neck with the painted reverse headstock, and 0.009-gauge strings which will ensure you smooth playability so that you can play easily and achieve great shredding results!
In terms of the hardware, Fender has implemented black, chrome-plated hardware that consists of Floyd Rose, dual locking tremolo system, as well as dual ceramic humbucking pickups with the intention to bring you the most aggressive tones, and for now, I don’t have remarks regarding this guitar. So, let’s move on!
How does it sound? The Fender Stratocaster HH is known for providing thick midrange, and soft high-end tones and if you have an amp, you can use it and boost the audio quality even more, since this guitar will never let you down!
Those who have had an opportunity to shred with this guitar, or simply have casual play, have reported to me that the guitar does feel comfortable to hold, and its strings are indeed quality, because your fingers will slide smoothly, and if you’re using a pickup, then the same can be said for that situation! The reason is very simple, since the Fender Stratocaster HH is more than good to help you hear crunchy rhythms, and of course, once you fully immerse yourself to the guitar, the solos you’d perform will fascinate everyone around you!
Last but not least, I would like to add that I really like the audio, because it is nothing less but perfect for metal and lead, due to the fact that you will be able to hear completely clean and bright audio without distortion even if you’re playing at higher volumes!
Overall, the Fender Stratocaster HH is worthy of considering, because it packs many player-friendly and shredding features, which will surely contribute a lot to your experience, and would help you explore your hidden potential!
3. Dean ML 79
The ML 79 speaks a lot about Dean’s craftsmanship and design, and if you’re a real metalhead then you will fall in love with this guitar from the moment you take it out of its box because the headstock will fascinate you and I guarantee you nothing less than this!
Speaking of the design, the ML 79 has mahogany, Braziliaburst-finished body that employs a chunky 22-fret mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and abalone dot inlays, and maybe the biggest highlight of this guitar – its aggressively shaped V-string anchor simply stands for aggressive play. In addition, even though this unit has 24-3/4″ scale length, still, the manufacturer has managed to make the string tension pretty high, and I think that you won’t find any remarks at all!
When it comes to the hardware and pickups, I think that you can’t expect nothing less than quality, if next to the guitar’s name there is “Dean”. To be more precise, the pickups do output strikingly thick and punchy tones, whereas, the Tune-O-Matic bridge unit will be there for you to ensure that you will have a smooth transition from heavy rhythm to aggressive lead. As you’re playing, you will instantly notice that the neck pickup sounds are fully-articulated, and aside from shredding, you’d be able to achieve a pure jazz tone and experiment with different music styles without any problems. This guitar simply radiates with versatility and quality performance!
If you’re curious how does it feel to play with this guitar, I will try to bring you the most simplified answer. Namely, comfort and convenience will be brought to you from the moment you start playing, and the reason is simple. A huge role plays its neck shape, whereas, the strings will let you slide and play very fast so that you can actually feel what does shredding means in practice!
Also, the Dean ML 79 is actually a very lightweight guitar, and this is brilliant due to the fact that you won’t feel fatigued even if you’ve been playing for a considerably long period of time. Regardless if you’re a newbie who is going to spend most of the day practicing or a professional who will be gigging multiple times throughout the week, this guitar will offer you the best possible comfort and literally, you shouldn’t worry about anything!
In conclusion, the Dean ML 79 is indeed a unique guitar for shredding that allows the guitarist to have a truly breath-taking experience, thanks to its construction and hardware that will provide you strong tones that will be filled with energy!
2. ESP LTD KH-602
The ESP LTD KH-602 is among the most purchased guitars for shredding, and I’m sure that you’ve likely encountered this name multiple times on the Internet since there are plenty of articles, websites and videos that have been reviewing this guitar, so, here comes a question – what’s special about it?
First of all, design. The LTD KH-602 is available in two colors, including the all-black-version which I’m currently reviewing, and the purple sparkle, however, feel free to switch if you prefer a different color representation, since both of them share the same performance, so color is the only thing that makes them different!
Furthermore, this unit features a so-called neck-thru-body construction which is primarily made of Alder, however, its fingerboard is made of Rosewood, whereas, the neck is a 3Pc maple. This combination is fantastic indeed because the audio and the overall comfort you will be feeling is indeed good.
Since I’ve mentioned the fingerboard, I would like to inform you that its radius is 350mm, while on the other side, its neck will aid the playability on this guitar, since the upper neck will let you have a quick and effective transition, while offering you a truly remarkable and easy upper access.
But that’s not all! The LTD KH-602 packs an EMG 81/60 Active humbuckers, double-locking Floyd Rose 1000-Series tremolo, and what’s cool about this is that the output will be extremely high, sharp and excellent especially if you love soloing!
However, let’s not forget its 24 extra-jump frets and its skull & bones neck inlays, due to the fact that the there are plenty of people who are using jump frets for shredding, and the ones of this guitar are really good especially for this purpose. However, keep in mind that everything depends on the style and of the personal taste of the guitarist, either way, I think that you will appreciate those included in this guitar.
Also, the LTD KH-602 can be quite useful for beginners as well, since professionals can only become better, whereas, beginners can use it as a starting point with which they would be able to shape their skills and become better at shredding. In other words, this guitar is engineered only for metal lovers, since it looks aggressive and the tones are aggressive as well! The perfect combo, right!?
To summarize, you should definitely consider the LTD KH-602 as your next purchase, because it has an excellent build construction, performs really well and although its price may be different in comparison with the guitars I’ve mentioned previously, I think that this model is worth every penny spent. Definitely one of the best shredding guitars out there.
1. Ibanez RGD Prestige
The is Ibanez RGD Prestige surprisingly strong and extremely popular 7-string electric guitar that would be a top choice for you, especially if you’re keen on investing a bit more in order to get a guitar that can fulfill your dreams when it comes to shredding and soloing!
From a design perspective, the RGD Prestige comes in two different colors on Amazon, such as the saint pearl-white which I’m currently reviewing and the orange metallic flat-finished one. Keep one thing in mind though, do not hesitate to switch if you prefer different color combinations because both guitars are the same, so feel free to choose the one that suits your preferences the more.
Now, let’s get back to the point. The RGD Prestige looks superb if you ask me, due to the fact that it has a glossy white construction that is composed of an ultra-thin 5-piece Maple/Wenge Wizard-7 neck, an extra-long 26.5″ scale, and contoured horn cuts that will take your breath away from the moment you have a chance to take it out of its box! The components I’ve mentioned recently will play a huge role throughout your playing, and in fact, they will drastically improve the playability of this guitar. For example, the 5-piece maple neck will offer you rock-solid stability and extremely-fast performance, whereas, the 26,5″ scale is more than ideal to help you accurately capture intonation of heavier string gauges!
In addition, the main material used in order to craft the body is basswood, however, its fretboard is made of Birdseye Maple and it is accompanied by black-dot inlay. Hence, when you see this guitar as a whole, I think that you will love it!
Moreover, the manufacturer has implemented chrome hardware, as well as jumbo frets a three-way pickup selector switch that is followed by a single master volume control knob, and pair of DiMarzio Fusion Edge ceramic magnet passive humbucking pickups.
In practice, this instrument will surprise you with its ability to output truly fascinating audio, audio that will accurately represent each tone and each slide you make on the strings!
If you want me to be even more precise, how would a single day of playing with this guitar look like, well, I would say that you will simply love the clear tones and the details? The midrange is superb, and it is full-bodied, while on the other side, the bass and the treble will be represented exactly as they should! Once you start playing, I’m sure that you will be more than satisfied to feel audio that has a feeling of an acoustic-like projection!
The Ibanez RGD Prestige would be the spectacular option for you, due to the fact that this 7-string guitar will never disappoint you regardless of the aspect you see, whether it is related to the comfort, audio, or playability! Hence, if you ever decide to purchase it, I’m more than sure that you will not regret that decision!
Shredding Guitar Buying Guide
Choosing which guitar for shredding would be the right for you, isn’t easy at all, In fact, you will have to make plenty of researches, watch numerous videos and read a huge number of experiences by professionals, intermediates and beginners. But, why would you bother though? In this section, I’ve prepared for you the things you should pay attention to in order to find and get a guitar for shredding which you won’t regret later. Let’s begin!
Number of strings
One of the most asked questions by the beginners or those who have recently started to learn how to shred on a guitar is whether they should rely on 6, 7, or 8-string guitar?
If you ask me, the 6-string guitar is more suitable for beginners because you’re still learning how to play on a guitar, and 6-string guitars are easier than the 7 or 8-string ones.
Moreover, the difference between 7-string and 8-string guitar is that the first one has an added B-string, whereas, the latter, has also an added lower B plus another string beneath that B which is tuned to an F#.
Also, 7-string guitars are widely used by metal guitarists, and unless you’re a professional, it would be fine, to begin with, the 6/7-string guitar until you get more skills. Having a guitar that has a compound radius fretboard also helps a lot.
You shouldn’t rush and pay thousands of dollars from the beginning, because first of all, it is important to learn the basics of shredding so that later, you can invest more and have a better guitar. Some people tend to pay a lot of money from the very start and later, when they find out that shredding needs a lot of practice, they usually regret that decision.
Getting a guitar for shredding manufactured by recognizable manufacturers should always be included in your priority list, due to the fact that their guitars are not only quality, but they tend to last longer and output a truly consistent performance, so that even after years of use, you won’t recognize noticeable decrease in terms of the look and performance.
One of the most important aspects of choosing a guitar for shredding is to know about the wood used throughout the crafting process, because if that guitar is made of quality woods, then the audio quality and the durability of that guitar will always be excellent.
For instance, Mahogany is widely used wood for metal, because of its rich, deep and resonant tones. However, if you opt to get a more cost-effective guitar, then you can notice that most of those guitars are made of basswood. This doesn’t mean that the guitar won’t be good since this wood allows deep sounds and highly balanced resonance.
If you’ve recently started shredding on a guitar, I would recommend you to consider 24.75″ scale due to the fact that those guitars are easier to play with. But, you can also opt to get 25.5″ if you seek for tighter response and kind of chime-y response. Finally, extended-range guitars have longer scales and even if you’re a professional, this may be harder for you, especially if you have smaller hands.
Bridge and Tuning hardware
First and foremost, the main types of bridges are fixed and tremolo. Fixed bridges tend to offer you better tuning stability, and they are ideal for beginners. On the contrary, tremolo bridges are set to the body with springs so that you would be able to adjust string tension. Furthermore, tremolo-equipped bridges are more suitable for the professionals, because they allow extreme bending which is simply loved by hard-rocking metalheads!
Pickups are essential, and understanding their types may drastically ease the process of choosing. For instance, if you encounter Active pickups, this means that you will be given greater control, whereas, passive pickups are known for offering a wide range of metal tones, and they usually work without batteries. There are also some pickups that are categorized by playing style. For example, if you want to play metal, you should get a guitar pickup for metal. Most shredders prefer Seymour Duncan pickups, but even if your guitar doesn’t come with Seymour Duncan pickups, the rest work well too.
First and foremost, to learn the technique of shredding, you should put a lot of effort, and since every beginning is hard, you should maintain your motivation always to the highest levels, even though you will fail from time to time, which is frustrating.
Secondly, practice, practice and only practice, no matter where, and how long, since the more you practice the better your results are going to be. Also, as you’re practicing try to enjoy every moment you spend on learning because each baby steps you make, you will celebrate it!
Thirdly, if possible, hire a professional that can teach you the basics of shredding, or simply join a band or jam with musicians, so that when you’re under pressure, you will quickly master the techniques of shredding.
Finally, you should also ensure that you will learn all the major scale three-note-per-string shapes because they are essential. You will get faster by knowing where you would have to move your fingers on the guitar’s neck. Also, keep in mind that the tension may slow you down and the reason is very simple – you’re using much effort!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What does “shredding” mean?
The most simple definition regarding shredding would be – fast alternate picking, and leading each string with all downstrokes or upstrokes. This type of playing is most commonly used to heavy metal guitar playing, and metal guitarists usually use an electric guitar in conjunction with a guitar amplifier.
Is it possible to shred on an acoustic guitar?
Generally speaking, yes, you can. However, you will be fairly limited, and that’s why there are special guitars for shredding which will make your shredding highly effective and you would sound like a real musician!
What is the best guitar for shredding?
Honestly, if we take a look at the competition and the hundreds of guitars for shredding, I won’t be able to give you the best and most precise answer to this question. Hence, I can say that one of he listed guitars in this article may completely suit your style and be “the best” for you.
Are guitars for shredding expensive?
It depends. Since they are available as affordable, medium-priced, high and premium, so, it is entirely up to you to decide which one would be suitable for both, you and your budget.
Does it take long to learn how to shred on a guitar?
Once again, it depends. There are multiple factors contributing to the learning process it elf, including your skills, the guitar, and your eagerness to learn how to shred on a guitar. If you’re constantly giving your best, it may not take long to learn the basics, however, to master, this takes patience and work.
In the end, it will be solely up to you which guitar for shredding you find the most pleasing or suitable to your style, however, if you are still in doubt, feel free to contact me and I can help you to choose without any problem, because one thing is for sure – all of the aforementioned guitars are superb for shredding, and you won’t be disappointed regardless of your choice!