It is pretty rare to mention Fender guitars for Metal music, as they are usually viewed as being a “Dad” guitar. But I assure you, they are not! Today we take a look at the models that will surprise you with their versatility!
Fender is often noted as being the first company to make what we know as the mass-produced, solid body guitar. The 1950’s held a ton of competition between guitar companies to make the ideal electric guitar. And Leo Fender got the jump on everyone!
Eventually, after the release of the famous Stratocaster and Telecaster models, Fender started seeing tons of copy cat solid body electrics. Gibson was right on the heels of Fender also, perfecting their Les Paul Series. By the 1970’s almost every guitar company offered a solid body electric option, yet Fender still dominated the market, with Gibson right behind them.
Fender is a “Legacy Brand”. This means that they still design, and construct the guitars almost exactly the same as they did 60 years ago. This makes Fender perfect for classic Rock, and Blues genres.
But what about harder stuff? Like Heavy Metal and Doom Metal?
Fender Guitars For Metal: You Might Be Surprised!
While you mostly see Fender guitars used for Blues, and softer genres, there are quite a few models that would be excellent guitars for playing Metal! This all comes down to the features of certain Fender models. Sure, you can play Metal on ANY guitar if you want to!
But some features and designs make some guitars better than others. Fender is known for being versatile and spanning many genres and sounds. So while Fender isn’t exactly known for Metal guitars, they can definitely be a good addition to your arsenal. I always have a Fender in the studio when recording. More on that later!
Today we are going to look at our Top Picks of Fender Guitars For Metal!
#3 Fender Player’s Series HSS
At first glance a Fender Strat with the HSS setup looks very…pedestrian. But this guitar has quite a few tricks up it’s sleeve when it comes to playing heavy music. In fact, Iron Maiden is no stranger to this exact guitar, or using Fender Guitars for Metal! But those tricks I mentioned? The first, is the features:
- Maple Neck
- Alder Body
- Humbucker/Single/Single Pickups
- Fender two Point Trem
- 5 Way Pickup Switch
- 9.5 Radius
- Fender Bullet Truss Rod
The original/vintage Stratocaster design usually has three single coil pickups. This is ideal when you are playing clean passages. Unfortunately, single coil pickups can get noisy when you add fuzz or gain to your signal. But The HSS Strat has a secret weapon…
The Humbucker in the bridge position! This allows you to get rid of the noisy hum that single coils can produce, and use as much distortion as you like. Not to mention, traditionally, the bridge pickup is the best position for chugging riffs. This makes the HSS Strat one of the top Fender Guitars for metal, in my opinion.
You also still have the single coil pickups to use on the clean channel of your amp. These sound bright, and crystal clear! This is very useful in the studio when you are recording clean parts at home or the in the studio. Nothing quite sounds like a single coil, with a gorgeous clean sound.
You honestly get the best of both worlds with an HSS Strat. This guitar would be a great choice for someone that likes to play Metal but also likes to explore other genres.
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#2 Fender Tom Morello Stratocaster
Tom Morello is most famous for his insane guitar antics in Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave. Tom is not only a great rhythm player, but he also plays soaring leads and even makes “scratch effects” with his guitar.
The Tom Morello Fender is based on his famous “Soul Power” guitar. This guitar is now iconic, and a perfect example of Fender guitars for Metal! It has some pretty far out features for a Fender:
- Maple Neck
- Alder Body
- 1 Seymour Duncan Hot Rails Strat SHR-1B humbucker (bridge) and 2 Vintage Noiseless Strat single coils
- Mirror Finish Pickguard
- Built in Kill Switch
- Floyd Rose Locking Trem System
- Rosewood Fretboard
- Black Finish w/Optional “Soul Power” Decal
There are a lot of features to talk about here! Let’s start with the Floyd Rose Trem. You can dive bomb all day with a Floyd and never go out of tune. Fender rarely uses Floyd Rose bridges, so this is a special treat. The original Floyd is still as reliable as it was 40 years ago.
The pickup combo on this guitar is insane! The Duncan Hot Rail pickup in the bridge acts as a humbucker. This is perfect for heavy chugging, and high gain lead tones. But like the HSS Strat, you also get two Duncan single coil pickups that are capable of just about any sound you can think of!
The 5 way switch allows you to blend the Duncan pickups in all kinds of different ways, to really customize your tone. You can dial in just about anything.
The kill switch is a staple of Tom’s playing style. He often uses it for staccato style effects, and out of this world sounds. Whether you use it the same way as Tom, or you come up with your own clever way to use it…the kill switch is a really cool feature unique to this model. Anyone who says there are no Fender guitars for metal, is sorely mistaken!
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Our #1 Pick: Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster
If there was any doubt with our other pick of Fender guitars for Metal, there is absolutely no doubt what this axe is designed for! Jim Root is the guitar player for Slipknot and his guitar design choices are probably the most extreme Fender has ever made.
The collaboration with Jim began with the Fender Custom Shop, in 2009. But Jim’s guitars did not become a production model for quite a while. However, once they were released to the public, they sold out quickly! At this time, the Jim Root models are some of the best-selling signature guitars Fender has ever made.
Of all the Fender Guitars for metal, The Jim Root jazz master has the most metal-centric features. Some of these features, Fender only makes for this model!
- Mahogany Body
- Nitro Matte Finish
- Maple Neck
- Ebony Fretboard
- EMG 81 & 60 Pickups
- 22 Jumbo Frets
- 70’s Style Headstock
- 12” Radius neck
- Single Volume Knob
- Comes With Strap locks, COA, and a Case
A lot of people would tell you that Fender Guitars for Metal either do not exist, or they are rare unicorns. But that’s not the case at all with the Jim Root series. It comes in the Jazzmaster, Telecaster, and Stratocaster models. All of these models have the same basic features.
The first standout feature is the jumbo frets that are usually reserved for guitars made by Ibanez rather than Fender. These jumbo frets are perfect for the flatter-than-usual radius of the neck. This makes the Jim Root Jazzmaster a full on shred machine.
But you also get EMG pickups that are custom wired to only a single volume knob. The EMG 81 is a classic Metal focused pickup made for high gain tones. The EMG 60 is also well suited for blazing fast leads and great clean tones.
This is a no nonsense, metal machine. Jim Root always loved classic Fender guitars, but had a tough time finding one to use on tour with Slipknot. Luckily, he struck a deal with Fender to make the most unique guitars that the company has maybe ever made!
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Using Fender Guitars For Metal: Is It Worth It?
So this is the thing: Any guitar can be used for Metal at the end of the day. You probably hear me preach this a lot when talking about guitars in general. You should never try to fit some preconceived notion of what a “Metal Guitar Player” is. Do your own thing, and have your own style.
That being said, these guitars that I have listed are here mainly for the features that make it easier to play Metal on them. Things like humbucking pickups and Floyd Rose bridges are cornerstones when it comes to Metal guitar gear.
So if you’re using Fender Guitars for Metal, good for you! Likewise, if a Fender has caught your eye and you want to chug away on it, I say go for it.
Are there any Fender Guitars for metal?
Several models that fender make cater especially to metal guitarists! The Jim Root Signature is a perfect example.
Are Fender guitars expensive?
Fender has a whole line of affordable guitars based on the more expensive models. These are designed in California, and made in Mexico.
Doe the Jim Root Fender guitars come with a case?
They come with a case, a certificate of authenticity, and strap locks. Each model also includes a special polishing cloth.
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects at home in Georgia. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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