Your Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Guitar For Punk

Punk music has got attitude, and so do these guitars – let’s look at our top 8 picks for the best guitar for punk

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • What kind of guitar you should look at for punk music
  • Why ‘more’ isn’t always better
  • Tips for finding the perfect guitar
  • Pros & Cons of each guitar model

Let’s Take A Look At The Best Guitar For Punk Music

Punk music is a relentless genre of music that doesn’t ask permission to let its entire personality show.

As such if you’re trying to get into playing punk music, you’re going to need a guitar that does the same.

This is a genre that’s all about attitude and confidence, and so in this list we’re going to focus on the best guitar for punk – the guitars that don’t need all the lovely little frills to get the job done right.

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What To Look For In The Best Guitar For Punk

We’re looking for guitars that are unapologetic and raw in their design.

If you’re looking for the best guitar for punk, odds are you aren’t going to be spending a huge amount of time fussing over your guitar tone.

With that in mind, we’re going to be focusing mostly on guitars with a minimalistic design.

We’ll be keeping the budget fairly low for this list as well, as we aren’t looking for anything with a huge amount of glitz and glamour either. With that, every guitar on this list will be below a price of $1000.00USD.

The point of this list is simple: We need a guitar we can rock with!

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Before we get into our list to find the best guitar for punk music however, there’s one big thing we need to recommend:

Check your local used guitar market!

Guitar collectors and players are everywhere, and they’re constantly buying and selling gear.

Most often, you can find close-to-brand-new instruments for a fraction of the cost that you would pay in a music store.

Sometimes you’ll even find guitars that have been modded by their previous owners, giving you a one-of-a-kind instrument at a second-hand price point!

The used market should be everyone’s go-to resource for finding gear (unless you’re ultra-keen on a brand-new guitar) as it will help you save money and find unique musical finds!

With all of that being said, let’s get into our list to find you the best guitar for punk to get you looking (and sounding) like a rockstar in no time.

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Best Guitar For Punk #1 – Fender Duo Sonic

This guitar may be tiny, but it’s plenty mighty!

With a C Profile neck, there’s plenty to get your hands around with a smooth feel for knocking out plenty of power chords.

Single-coil pickups deliver a raw and unapologetic guitar tone that will ensure that you stand out on stage, in the studio, at home and at rehearsal too.

These guitars are based off the original Duo Sonic Fender design from the 50’s, and deliver a sweet and semi-vintage tone that you’ll love.

If you’re looking for the best guitar for punk, this is a great place to start!

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What we love about it:

  • Single coil pickups are raw-sounding with great output
  • Comfortable to play

Downsides:

  • Smaller body size and scale length might not be for everyone
  • Some players may want humbuckers over single-coil pickups

This guitar retails for $649.99. Check it out on Sweetwater by clicking here.

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Best Guitar For Punk #2 – Epiphone SG Special VE

If this guitar shape is good enough for Angus Young of AC/DC, it’s good enough for us!

The Epiphone SG has been a long-standing champion of the punk and rock scenes, and is easily one of our top picks for the best guitar for punk because of its aggressive, brassy tones.

This ax packs attitude and feels wonderful to play, and the dual humbuckers leave nothing to waste when it comes to big, brash punk guitar tones.

The SG Special VE aims to capture vintage sound and feel within its build, and it certainly accomplishes just that.

One of the huge kickers of this guitar is the price point, definitely securing its spot in our search for the best guitar for punk.

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What we love about it:

  • Amazing price point, definitely a must-have beginner guitar as well
  • The clarity of this guitar is comparable to some of its more expensive cousins

Downsides:

  • Tuners aren’t our favourite in terms of tuning stability

This guitar retails for a whopping $179.99. View it here on Sweetwater.

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Best Guitar For Punk #3 – Epiphone ES-335 Figured Semi-Hollowbody

Let’s get one thing straight:

Semi-hollowbody guitars are awesome.

These guitars have been made famous by BB King and Blink-182 alike, and for good reason:

They handle well, they sound huge, and they’re super-comfortable for a larger instrument.

In our search for the best guitar for punk, we kept coming back to the design and feel of the ES-335 because of how much response we got from it.

This guitar is chambered, meaning the sound travels through it differently than a regular solid body guitar. This gives us increased resonance and a fat, unmistakable guitar sound.

If you’re looking for the best guitar for punk, the Epiphone ES-335 is definitely a contender.

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What we love about it:

  • Chambered body gives us increased resonance and note sustain
  • This guitar just feels great to play

Downsides:

  • Body shape is not for everyone
  • Stock humbuckers may not have enough output for some players

This guitar retails for $599.00. Click here to view it on Sweetwater.

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Best Guitar For Punk #4 – ESP LTD EC-256FM

ESP’s LTD range of guitars is a bit underrated in our opinion.

For the price point especially, these guitars deliver on huge punk and metal tones in a variety of ways. We’ve also found that they play well in a variety of different musical scenarios, so if you’re looking for something that’s versatile then look no further.

The LTD “Eclipse” is modeled in shape after a Les Paul with its own unique flair that sets it apart from its punk-endorsed forefathers. This makes our list for the best guitar for punk due to its playability and solid build design. This guitar makes sense and feels great.

If you’re into the Les Paul design but don’t want the weight associated with a traditional Gibson Les Paul, the LTD Eclipse is a wonderful choice at only 8lbs.

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What we love about it:

  • Lightweight design means it’s easy to play in any environment
  • Solid tone and build design

Downsides:

  • We really wish the volume knob was further away from the bridge pickup. You might end up smacking your volume knob every now and again

This guitar retails for $449.00. Check it out here on Sweetwater.

Pro Tip: Trying before you buy is important. Remember, a guitar can look great and not feel the way you want it to, so make sure you get it in your hands before you make a final decision.

The best guitar for punk is one that feels like an extension of yourself, so make sure it’s exactly that.

Some online guitar retailers will have 30-day return policies so you can still try the guitar before you settle on it.

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Best Guitar For Punk #5 – Ibanez RG450DX

We said no frills and we meant it, but this one’s got a little bit more hardware in it than the rest of them.

The RG series guitars from Ibanez are made to be well-rounded workhorse instruments that don’t quit, and this one is just that.

Boasting two humbucker pickups with a single-coil in between, you’ll have no problem when it comes to options.

Each Quantum-series pickup holds its own tonal range, but if you’re looking for the best guitar for punk then chances are you’ll be hanging out on the Quantum-4 bridge pickup quite a bit.

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The best part about this guitar is the neck. Ibanez Wizard III necks are a breeze to play on, so although you’ll be banging out power chords on it, you’ll be more than tempted to start picking up a few solos along the way.

What we love about it:

  • Easy-to-play Wizard III neck helps avoid hand fatigue
  • Variety of tonal options
  • Two-way tremolo system leaves room for a lot of expression

Downsides:

  • This guitar uses a locking nut due to the two-way tremolo design, meaning changing strings typically takes longer

This guitar retails for $399.99. You can view it here on Sweetwater.

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Best Guitar For Punk #6 – Squier Active Contemporary Jazzmaster HH

We’ve got to say: This was an unexpected find.

This guitar boasts a certain flair about it that you won’t find on other guitars we’ve listed in our search for the best guitar for punk.

For one, the pickups are active, meaning they’re battery-powered. They’re also made from ceramic as opposed to the typical alnico magnet design, giving them a different character of sound altogether.

In short, this guitar is aggressive.

We had a spot reserved for an offset-style guitar in our search for the best guitar for punk regardless, but we didn’t expect to be this blown away by how impressive this guitar is.

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The all-black colour motif will give you that punk aesthetic you’re all looking for, while the guitar itself will more than take care of the tone. It’s also available in “Surf Green” if that’s more your vibe.

This is a no-miss offering from Squier in our journey to find the best guitar for punk music – hands-down.

What we love about it:

  • Active, ceramic pickups bite a lot harder in their tone than some of the other guitars on this list
  • Sturdy design feels great to play

Downsides:

  • Active pickups means that you’ll be swapping 9V batteries from time to time, so make sure you check your batteries before you head to the next jam session

This guitar retails for $449.99. Check it out here at Sweetwater.

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Best Guitar For Punk #7 – Yamaha Pacifica PAC120H

Yamaha is another company that we don’t believe gets enough recognition when it comes to their guitars.

The Pacifica line of Strat-style guitars are amazingly durable with a high-grade of playability at a very reasonable price point.

Their no-frills approach means their focus is on playability and build design, and we think that makes for a pretty special offering in our search for the best guitar for punk.

The PAC120H gives you exactly what you need to play punk music well – two humbuckers and a sturdy bridge with tuners that don’t have you stressing about staying in tune.

That’s not to say that this guitar doesn’t do other genres justice, either. The smooth maple neck and Alnico V humbuckers do a great job of covering amazing ground where tone & playability is concerned.

With that in mind, this still makes our list for the best guitar for punk due to its minimalist design.

All in all, you’re going to love this one.

What we love about it:

  • Built-to-last design and extremely easy-to-play neck
  • Extremely reactive humbucker pickups

Downsides:

  • This one could benefit from the addition of a tremolo arm on the bridge.

This guitar retails for $299.99. Click here to see it over at Sweetwater.

Best Guitar For Punk #8 – Yamaha RS502TFM Revstar

This one’s a fair bit different, but we’re in love with it.

The Yamaha Revstar is a champion for big rock and punk sounds, and the RS502TFM comes loaded with P90 pickups for a distinct, crunchy tone you won’t be able to get enough of.

P90 pickups are a debated style of pickup – you either love them or you don’t – but in our search for the best guitar for punk we kept coming back to the creamy crunch of the Revstar and its pickups.

It’s worth noting as well that this guitar also handles blues and rock music like a champ.

What we love about it:

  • Distinct looks & P90 pickup tones means you’ll stand out in the best way
  • Great sustain
  • Push-pull ‘dry switch’ helps you stand out in the jam (or the mix) by cutting low frequencies

Downsides:

  • Some players may prefer single-coils or humbuckers, as P90 pickups aren’t for everyone

This guitar retails for $649.99. Click here to check it out on Sweetwater.

The Best Guitar For Punk Is The One You Feel Most Comfortable With

Don’t forget about feel!

All of these guitars look awesome, that’s certainly true – but the right one for you has to feel good in your hands.

If you’re looking for the best guitar for punk music, make sure you put it through some power chords before you settle on your next big purchase.

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