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The Best Guitar for Punk Music

If you’re a punk rocker in need of a new guitar, this article outlines the best punk guitars to help you find the next instrument of your dreams. 

Punk rock music is a genre of Rock music that typically features garage rockers, punk rockers, and other punks. It emerged as a genre in the 1970s, as a reaction against the perceived excesses of mainstream music. Punk rock has been associated with various social and cultural movements, including anarchism, communism, pacifism, feminism, and vegetarianism.

Punk is a subculture that developed in the United Kingdom during the late 1960s. It typically features loud, aggressive music with political, anti-establishment lyrics.

Punk is typically associated with a certain style of dress which includes black clothing, safety pins, and non-standard haircuts like mohawks and spikes. There are many different types of punk including hardcore punk and pop-punk (a type of punk rock).

Epiphone SG Special

I tested 6 products and found the Epiphone SG Special to be the best guitar for punk.

This guitar has been played by many of the biggest names in punk, including Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop, Johnny Ramone, Billie Joe Armstrong of Greenday, the Sex Pistols, and many more. 

The SG is one of the most classic punk guitars ever. With the devil horn style double-cutaway, this thing looks like it comes from the depths of hell. This guitar creates fiery hot tones with heavy humbucker pickups and is sure to burn down any punk gig you play.

I’ve always loved punk music, it’s got to be one of the most interesting genres of music out there. When you think of punk, you think of guitar. Guitars are central to punk rock music, and the majority of the genre revolves around the instrument. Nothing says punk more than shredding battered old guitar through a distorted amp. 

We will help you to find the best guitar for punk for your style, skill level, budget, and taste.

The reality is, any guitar can work for punk. Punk musicians aren’t always known to be the fussiest when it comes to instruments, they usually end up getting smashed at the end of a gig anyway! That being said, some guitars definitely have a better tone for punk rock than others. This article will outline the best guitars for punk, and explain what makes a guitar good for the genre. 

Keep reading for our full review of the Best guitar for punk!

Alternatively, check out a roundup of the best guitars for beginners, or the best guitar for reggae!

Best guitar for punk in our tests

Best guitar for punk Reviewed in Detail

1. Ibanez AX 6 String

Ibanez AX 6 String

New to the music scene with a funky sound, the Ibanez AX 6 String is the perfect guitar for punk. It features sleek contours with a smooth satin finish that will make you look good when jamming on stage.

The Ibanez AX 6 String is a single-cutaway electric guitar, designed for comfort and easy playing. It also features a slim D-shaped profile neck with 22 frets, along with a tune-o-Matic bridge and hard stop tailpiece for increased sustain.

The AX is equipped with two passive Ibanez humbucking pickups that have a powerful tone, making it ideal for punk rock. The Ibanez AX series is a line of electric guitars that are designed to be shredded. The AX 6 String features a cutaway for easier reach on the higher frets, which helps for fast-paced soloing. 

The AX6 is a guitar that offers a wide range of tones and playability. The AX6 features a mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard, and high-quality Infinity R pickups. This instrument’s tonal versatility is second to none, and the Ibanez AX6 can be used in any genre of music.

The Ibanez AX guitar is a fun guitar for the new punk player. This guitar has an excellent sound, is easy to play, comfortable, and is affordable. It would be suitable for most new and intermediate players, although maybe a little basic for the pros. These are much better than other cheap guitars, and will definitely satisfy the average punk guitarist. It sounds super beefy when playing power chords, and is even a bit of an iconic guitar for punk metal guitar players!

The AX is a beginner-to-intermediate guitar that will provide the right sound for the right price. It has a single-cutaway with 2 humbucking pickups. It’s made of mahogany and has a budget-friendly price tag.

Product Specifications:

  • Body Material: Basswood
  • Fretboard: 22 x Rosewood Frets
  • Pickup Configuration: 2 x Ibanez Infinity R Humbucker Pickups


Pros & Cons:

  • Affordable punk guitar.
  • Great cutaways for reaching higher frets.
  • Unique visual appearance.
  • Two humbuckers for punchy, versatile tones. 
  • Relatively mediocre build quality, good for the price though.

Verdict:

The AX guitar is also great for beginners who are looking for an affordable way to get started with playing the guitar. For an entry-level guitar, the AX 6 String can’t be beaten. It has a great sound for punk, and it looks the part. The humbuckers create a powerful tone that makes this an ideal punk rock guitar.

Check the Price on Amazon

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2. ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar

ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar

ESP guitars are known to be popular with punk rock guitarists thanks to their full power, aggressive tone. You will often see punk guitarists in punk rock bands shredding an ESP guitar. These are known to excel for heavy strumming, 

The ESP LTD EC-256FM offers you the best of both worlds with its mahogany body and rosewood fingerboard. The mahogany body offers you a lightweight and tone that is perfect for the punk genre. The rosewood fingerboard offers you a vintage feel, but with more sustain.

This instrument is a quality guitar for punk rock thanks to its powerful humbuckers, deep cutaway, and smooth fretboard. This guitar is designed in a similar style to the Les Paul Special, featuring similar proportions and styling.

The EC-256FM also features ESP Tuners, ESP pickups (neck & bridge), and 3 controls for volume and tone. It features two ESP LH-150 humbucker pickups and die-cast tuners. The tuners are superb and offer great tuning stability, much better than some other guitars on this list. 

This ESP Guitar is an excellent guitar that can be used for punk. It might be more expensive than some people can afford, but if you play punk rock and need a reliable, durable instrument, this could be the right guitar for you.

The EC-256FM features a heavy mahogany body, a 24.75″ scale length, and 24 medium frets. It has a bolt-on neck with a thin U-shaped profile and a set-in neck joint. The overall construction feels high, and this will be able to survive the stress of a punk guitar lifestyle. 

This guitar is great for punk because of its fast neck and aggressive pickups. This guitar is perfect for quick power chord changes and has fast playing action. This guitar will make you sound good no matter how new you are to the instrument!

Product Specifications:

  • Body Material: Mahogany.
  • Fretboard: 24 x Rosewood Frets.
  • Pickup Configuration: 2 x ESP Humbuckers.

Pros & Cons:

  • An affordable guitar with high-powered pickups.
  • Captures the iconic sound and appearance of the Les Paul but in a modernized format. 
  • Smooth, well-polished feel.
  • Heavier weight than other guitars. 

Verdict:

So whether you want the classic feel of a guitar or want to get the most out of your punk songs, the EC-256FM is for you. This is an excellent guitar that can be used for punk. It’s made to a high standard and captures the sound and feel of the classic Gibson Les Paul Custom, but in a modernized format.

Check the Price on Amazon

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3. Fender Player Telecaster

Fender Player Telecaster

The Fender Player Telecaster is a high-quality guitar with a solid body and two single-coil pickups that are good for playing punk and rock music. This guitar performs well in any situation, but I think its bright, percussive, cutting tone makes them a great guitar for the punk guitar player.

The Telecaster has a single-coil pickup in the neck position and a single-coil pickup in the bridge position. The unplugged sound is very clean and sharp. It’s also very popular with country and folk guitarists because of the country twang, but it’s versatile enough to rock out when plugged in.

The Fender Telecaster is a guitar that is known for its versatility and durability. This is the perfect guitar for those who want an electric guitar that not only sounds great but also looks great. The Fender Telecaster was designed in the 1950s to be a “guitar for the masses”. With a heavy guitar string and a bright sound, the Telecaster was and still is one of the most popular guitars in the world.

ThisPlayer Telecaster is modeled after the original 1950s design and features a 22-inch neck for easy playability. This guitar is known for its clean, crisp sound and its simple design. The build quality of this guitar is super high. Fender guitars are known for their incredible quality, and this certainly delivers. Plug one of these into a Marshall Amp stack and you’re ready to blast. These blend well with the rest of the band and are sure to keep your bass player and drummer happy.

Product Specifications:

  • Body Material: Alder body
  • Fretboard: 22 x Maple Frets
  • Pickup Configuration: 2 x Single-coil

Pros & Cons:

  • Two well balanced single-coil pickups.
  • Superior build quality. 
  • Hardtail bridge creates perfect tuning stability. 

Verdict:

Overall, these guitars are perfect for punk guitarists. They’ve been played across the board, from iconic brands like Talking Heads, Green Day, Sonic Youth, Steve Jones, and many more. They’re versatile, fast, and feel amazing. You really can’t go wrong here. Just don’t smash it up as many punk musicians do, this guitar isn’t cheap!

Check the Price on Amazon

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4. Squier by Fender Bullet Stratocaster

Squier by Fender Bullet Stratocaster

If you’re looking for an affordable electric guitar to use for playing punk rock, metal, punk metal, classic rock, or just playing around, then the Squier Bullet Stratocaster is the guitar to buy.

This is a popular guitar among beginners and those who want a low price and don’t care about brand names. It also has quality components that are reliable and sturdy. The Squier Bullet Stratocaster is an affordable electric guitar for beginners. It has quality components that are reliable and sturdy.

The Squier Bullet Stratocaster is a great choice for those looking for a reliable and versatile electric guitar that doesn’t break the bank. It offers a number of features that make it perfect for beginners and players of all skill levels.

The Squier Bullet Strat is a versatile guitar that has a bright tone and offers great value. Thanks to the inclusion of three pickups, a five-way selector switch, and 3 controls for tone and volume, this guitar can achieve a wide variety of tones. There is a tone knob for each pickup which makes it even more sculptable. 

These generally sound thinner than humbucker guitars, so are better at creating a brighter, more piercing guitar tone, although they can still achieve a warm sound. These guitars use a six-saddle hardtail bridge, which creates more stable tuning than tremolo models. 

The playability of these guitars is high, they feel smooth with no hiccups. Whilst low cost, many veteran musicians are known to have shredded a Squire Stratocaster at some point in their life. Each pickup has a slightly different sound, with the bridge pickup having a much brighter, twangier sound than the neck. 

Product Specifications:

  • Body Material: Poplar
  • Fretboard: 21 x Laurel 
  • Pickup Configuration: 3 x Single-Coil

Pros & Cons:

  • Affordable, flexible guitar with a competitive tone.
  • Well made for the price.
  • Huge amount of tonal variation.
  • Typically comes well set up, not much adjustment is needed.
  • Comparatively, weak tone relative to Fender models.  

Verdict

The Squier Bullet Stratocaster has been around for decades, and this updated version is a great way to get the iconic style of a Fender Stratocaster without paying a fortune. This is a low-cost, entry-level electric guitar that offers great quality for the price. These guitars are great for punk and pop-punk due to their versatile and jangly tones.

Check the Price on Amazon

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5. Epiphone SG Special

Epiphone SG Special

The inspiration for this guitar (the Gibson SG) is one of the most iconic guitars for punk musicians. The SG was a development of Gibson Les Pauls and used a lighter, thinner body to make the guitar more comfortable, and a double-cutaway for style and access. The double-cutaway gives this guitar a shape like devil horns, which may be one reason it was favored for punk.

The main reason the SG is such a great guitar for punk is due to the materials and size of the body. The lightness and thickness of this guitar design give it a long sustain and make it more prone to feedback. You may think feedback should be avoided, but punk rock musicians used it to their advantage, creating wild, full-volume guitar tones. They also respond very nicely to distortion and fuzz. 

The Epiphone SG Special has a comfortable, lightweight body with a fast neck, making it the perfect guitar for rock and punk. The Epiphone SG Special features a bolt-on mahogany body with a maple top, 

The Epiphone SG Special is the affordable alternative to the Gibson ancestor. The SG Special is a lightweight, affordable electric guitar that features a mahogany body with a mahogany top, rosewood fingerboard, and a set of two humbucking pickups.

This guitar has a set of two humbucking pickups that provides great sound on tap. They’re punchy, full, and well-rounded with the perfect amount of bite. The Epiphone SG Special is an affordable electric guitar that features a comfortable body and versatile pickup configuration for all types of music.

This particular model features ceramic pickups which have a sizzling, full-range tone, ideal for punk shredders. 

Product Specifications

  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: 24 x Mahogany
  • Pickup Configuration: 2 x Humbucker

Pros & Cons:

  • Designed for loud music like punk and rock.
  • Powerful, full-range humbucker pickups.
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • Double cutaway for easy fret access. 
  • Excellent fast action. 

Verdict:

The SG Special is an affordable electric guitar that is perfect for punk rockers. This guitar weighs in at just under 10 pounds, making it easier for you to jump up and down and perform heavy, energetic music. These are designed for loud music, so they’re a great choice for punk rock musicians.

Check the Price on Amazon

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6. Epiphone Les Paul Studio

Epiphone Les Paul Studio

The Gibson Les Paul was a classic guitar for punk, although the high price often put it out of reach for many musicians. Thankfully Epiphone creates more affordable LP guitars, opening access to all kinds of players.

The Epiphone Les Paul Studio is a great guitar for beginners. It has a mahogany body, which provides a great sound. It is also available with a wide variety of pickups, so you can get a wealth of sounds from it.

The Epiphone Les Paul Studio was the start of many legendary models that have been made since, including the Les Paul Standard and the Les Paul Custom. The Les Paul Studio features 2 Alnico Classic humbuckers for a punchy, warm tone that responds well to distortion.

The Epiphone Les Paul Studio is a great choice for aspiring young guitarists. The Epiphone Les Paul Studio features a mahogany body with a maple top, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard. It also features a tune-o-Matic bridge, a stop bar tailpiece, and locking Grover machine heads, all of which keep the guitar in tune for a long time.

The 24.75″ scale length gives plenty of room for soloing, and this guitar uses a set maple neck and rosewood fingerboard for maximum sustain.

It includes strap buttons at the bridge and neck so you can quickly attach a guitar strap for standing up rock sessions.

Product Specifications:

  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: 22 x Mahogany
  • Pickup Configuration: 2 x Humbucker

Pros & Cons:

  • Simple but versatile and effective.
  • High-quality sound with heavy humbucker pickups.
  • Lightweight and comfortable. 

Verdict:

Overall, the Epiphone Les Paul Studio is the ultimate choice for an affordable, quality electric punk guitar. Combining modern and vintage looks, the Epiphone Les Paul Studio comes with an iconic mahogany body and Classic humbucker pickups for a beefy sound.

Check the Price on Amazon

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Buying Guide: How to buy a guitar for punk

What to look for when buying guitars for punk

It’s not your typical question. We’re asking what kind of guitar is good for punk, so let’s get a bit more specific. What are the features of a guitar that make it a good choice for punk?

This might not be the answer you’re looking for, but if you want to learn about what guitars are good for punk, this section is perfect for you.

You need to know what type of music you’re trying to play before deciding which guitar would be best for your needs.

The main thing to think about is, how hard are you going to smash the guitar up at the end of the show?

Ok, jokes aside, the best type of guitar for punk really depends on how aggressive the music is. If you plan on smashing the stage up, get some cheap second-hand guitar, rather than a nice new one. 

The main thing is getting good pickups for your kind of tone. Generally, humbuckers are better than single coils. They create a heaviness in tone that punk requires. 

FAQs

What kind of guitar is good for punk?

The guitar is an instrument that is good for punk music. It can be noisy, and it is often used to create an aggressive sound. 

The best guitar for punk is a Gibson Les Paul. Guitarists in this genre of music prefer a solid body guitar that is low cost and uses humbucker pickups.

Gibson Les Paul is the most popular guitar among punk artists because it’s affordable, has no electronics to interfere with its sound, and can be modified to achieve the desired tonal qualities.

What kind of guitar is good for punk? If you’re shopping for new guitars, you should ask yourself the question.

A guitar is an important part of a punk’s instrument and an essential aspect of their music. While there are many different guitars out there, there are some that are more suitable for punk than others.

Are Stratocasters a good electric guitar for punk rock?

When guitars first came to prominence in the 1960s, punk was a new genre that had not yet been discovered. But after witnessing and embracing the punk aesthetic, guitarists in the 1970s and 1980s began to use distortion pedals to create a more aggressive sound.

Are Stratocasters good for punk? This question is difficult to answer primarily because there is no definition of what makes a guitar good for punk. The Stratocaster has been used by famous musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, so we can only conclude that it would be an appropriate instrument for creating this sound.

Stratocasters generally have a versatile sound that can be shaped to work for punk. Generally, for pickups, they use single-coils, which aren’t traditionally the best choice for punk music, although they definitely can work. 

Conclusion

Epiphone SG Special

Overall, I thought the best guitar for punk was the Epiphone SG Special.

The SG is one of the most iconic guitars for punk ever. These are designed to be played hard and loud. They respond super well to distortion. They have a risky, high feedback sound that brings an extra layer of excitement to a performance. 

Build wise, they are constructed in a way to be conducive to punk techniques, they sound great for barre and power chords, they’re smooth for soloing, and they deliver a punchy, heavy tone. 

The neck pickup is warm and crunchy, the bridge pickup is twangy and direct, combining and blending between the two can create a huge amount of tone choices.

Obviously, a Gibson SG would be better than an Epiphone, but they cost almost 10 times as much, so most players won’t be able to afford them. Alternatively, the Gibson Les Paul Junior is another great guitar for the genre. 

Check out the Epiphone SG Special today!

You can buy these guitars online. 
Still looking for that perfect guitar, you might find it on our list of the best guitars for funk! Have a read.