Punk Rock Guitar

The Ultimate Punk Rock Guitar Guide: Top 5 Guitars

You want to play Punk Rock Guitar!

Punk rock is one of my favorite genres of rock music. It’s also a genre that has been around for decades, and there are many guitarists out there who have played punk rock their entire lives. 

But what if you’re brand new to the genre?

That’s okay as Punk Rock guitar is incredibly fun and easy to learn. The term “punk’ is one that means many different things. 

It could mean a style, an attitude, playing by your own rules, or a style/sound of rock music that is very fast and aggressive! 

You’ll hear a lot that punk rock guitarists aren’t really guitarists but that’s not true. No matter what your level is as a guitarist, you serve a purpose.

There are so many things to learn when it comes to playing punk rock on guitar – chords, scales, riffs…the list goes on. And then there’s figuring out which guitars are best suited for this style of music.

You need a quality axe that will allow you to play punk rock and not sound like garbage. This is hard because there are so many different options available and the online reviews can be conflicting.

The variety of guitars on the market today makes finding a great one difficult. There are so many choices! 

Punk Rock Guitar

Guitar Exclusive has everything you need to help you pick the right punk rock guitar so you can sound like your favorite bands and and maybe even start your own! 

We have reviewed all of the top guitars out there for playing punk rock, we know what works best, how much they cost and where to buy them. Just follow our guide!

We’ve done all the research for you, so all that’s left is for you to take action and rock on with your new skills! We have narrowed down your options and found six of our favorite models that will help you with making a decision. 

Best Overall

If you were to see old footage of The Clash, then you would see guitarist Mick Jones playing a Les Paul. 

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro

The Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro has many of the same features found in Gibson’s original and awesome Les Paul model.

This guitar comes equipped with a ProBucker feature and featuring a mahogany body with an ebony fingerboard, coil-splitting for single and dual pickups along with custom gold hardware. 

It also includes full binding on the body (top & back) as well as neck (back).

You’ll get the iconic look and vibe of an original Les Paul Custom at a budget-friendly price point. 

The Ebony body gives this guitar warmth and resonance without excessive weight, which some may find preferable for minimally sweaty hands during long practices. 

You’ll appreciate the Natural Flat Ebony fingerboard, too – it feels luxurious under your fingers like velvet or silk so you won’t experience hand fatigue during those marathon sessions. 

The ability to play fast is great for Punk Rock! 

This is a reliable workhorse guitar that even features dual volume and tone controls for some extra fun.

Pros

Pros:

  • Affordable. 
  • Classic Styling. 
  • Features ProBucker Pickups. 
  • Aggressive tone perfect for Punk Rock! 
  • Fast and easy playability. 
  • Classic gold hardware. 

Cons

Cons:

  • Action may need to be adjusted. 

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Best Budget 

Squier by Fender Affinity Series Jazzmaster HH Electric Guitar 

The Squier by Fender Affinity Series Jazzmaster HH Electric Guitar is an incredible find for powerful innovation and vintage style. 

With a hardtail bridge and offset body design, the Rock ‘n’ Roll legacy lives on with an iconic sound and feel. 

The 2 humbucking pickups offer a fatter, noise free tone while the smooth playability of the bolt-on maple neck provides comfort fingering chords up high on the fretboard or down lows close to the rock solid grounding (not shown) that will keep you in tune (double not shown). This is perfect for a Punk Rock sound!

With the Squier by Fender Affinity Series Jazzmaster HH Electric Guitar, you get an offset body style with a deep rock ‘n’ roll legacy. 

With its smooth and balanced-sounding alder body, two punchy humbucking pickups delivering a fuller tone without noise, and feel-good maple bolt-on neck with Indian laurel fingerboard that’s sturdy and easy to play, this jazz box has all the features you need for some serious old school rocking without muss or fuss. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Great price!
  • “C” shaped neck profile. 
  • Dual humbucking pickups. 
  • 3 position switch.
  • Contoured body. 
  • Built to last.  

Cons

Cons:

  • Only available in arctic white. 

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Best Under $500

ESP LTD Viper Baritone Electric Guitar

The ESP LTD Viper-201B Baritone Electric Guitar features an offset, double-cutaway body made from basswood. 

The classic design is great for those who want something that’s affordable while still being a high quality instrument. 

It features a set-neck construction that offers incredible tone and strength. This ESP guitar also has killer 27″ scale length for baritone guitars, making it especially perfect for playing in drop tunings with heavy distortion. This is great for getting that Punk Rock sound. 

Plus, it comes with easy access non locking tremolo bridge that lets you dive the low notes without having to worry about easily going out of tune. 

Meant to feature all of the electronics anybody would need, it has Volume & Balance controls with a 3-way toggle switch for pickup selection plus (2) EQ tweaks/scoops: treble gate & bass boost.

A low output tuning machine and nut provide tuning stability.  

If you are interested in alternate tunings, this ESP is  designed specifically for down tuned playing. 

This elegant guitar sports a pair of ESP-designed humbucker pickups as well as TOM bridge and tailpiece set up so you can rock with ease and precision. 

With a mahogany body and neck combined with roasted jatoba fingerboard, 24 extra-jumbo frets, dual volume controls and 3 way selector switch with custom tone knob for added versatility, this bad boy features all the essentials needed to reliably produce some seriously rocking tunes!

Pros

Pros:

  • Classic offset double-cutaway.
  • Features ESP designed humbucker pickups. 
  • Perfect for heavy tones and alternate tunings. 
  • Comfortable neck with 24 jumbo frets. 
  • Set bridge allows guitar to sustain tune. 
  • Mahogany body and neck. 

Cons

Cons:

  • Ideal for heavier music. 

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Best Under $200

Epiphone SG Special with Chrome Hardware, Cherry Red

The Epiphone Les Paul Special VE is the quintessential guitar that’s perfect for Punk Rock! 

From its British-inspired SG double cutaway body, to traditional refinements such as authentic cream binding, deluxe tuners with pyramid buttons, this electric guitar aims in many directions at once while always keeping true to a unique voice. 

The Poplar body has a warm tonality that works well for recording or playing live. You’ll love the performance of the powerful Epiphone Open Coil humbuckers which have all the tone you could ask from your pickups!

The SG special features Epiphone’s “dot” fretboard inlays, giving you maximum traction so your fingers are always safe on the fretboard. At it’s heart is our brand-new design “Bolt-on neck w/tapered heel,” which gives you optimum reach to all 22 frets for lead work or choppy rhythm playing that requires absolute precision. 

The bolt on neck also improves bass response and resonance and allows for faster play and, as we know, Punk is fast!

Pros

Pros:

  • Amazing and affordable price. 
  • Classic Cherry Red color 
  • SG double cutaway design. 
  • Slim neck profile. 
  • Easy and fast playability. 
  • Lightweight. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Truss rod may need a proper adjustment. 

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Best Semi-Hallow

Ibanez Semi-Hollow-Body Transparent Red 

The Ibanez 6 string semi-hollow style electric guitar has a beautiful Sapele top, back, and sides. It is compact and shaped in the semi-hollow body with transparent red color finish. 

It also has moderate output “ACH” pickups that feature warm tone and quick response time as well as an Art Core neck which offers slim & comfortable feel to the player. 

With a 17th fret joint provides easy access to the higher notes for those pesky bends or light string skipping, while the Sure Grip III knobs are just what you need for precise control of volume and tone with classic looks. 

There is nothing better than a mahogany neck and walnut fingerboard that will feel great and provide fantastic stability when you’re rocking out on this beauty! 

Twin humbuckers paired together offer an aggressive voice perfect for punk rock.

What if you also wanted to play more than Punk? No problem, this guitar is great to play blazing rockabilly licks, blistering blues solos and tidy jazz runs. 

Its medium depth body provides a comfy cushiony tone with clear balance across all strings while its Poplar body delivers rich sustain. The Ash top & Maple neck combine tonally for a lively articulation of notes and chords. 

Pressed metal saddles on the rosewood bridge transfer string vibration beautifully and help you dial in your perfect intonation adjustment every time you play. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Access to higher notes. 
  • Warm tone and quick response. 
  • Twin humbuckers. 
  • Comfortable feel and playability. 
  • Great intonation. 
  • Budget friendly price. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Frets may need to be filed to liking. 

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Frequently Asked Questions  

Punk rock guitar is a style of playing that features fast, high-energy chords and simple melodies. 

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions with regards to the genre and playing Punk Rock guitar! 

Does punk rock still exist?

This is a big question! 

For some, the answer is an unequivocal yes. For others, it’s no longer relevant because they feel that punk rock has become too commercialized and mainstream to be considered “punk”. 

Punk rock has a heavy influence on the music world. It can be challenging to pinpoint exactly when punk rock first emerged, but it was most likely in the late 1970s. 

Punk musicians often play with unconventional and loud sounds, which are usually created by powerful guitars. 

It’s been through many variations since it’s inception and has spawned off other sects of the genre. 

In the early and mid-1990’s Punk Rock on the radio was not all that uncommon. By the end of the 90’s, pop-punk bands were plentiful. 

The music still exists and there are several tenured punk bands making albums. The only difference is nowadays you have to dig a little to find them. 

How do you play punk on guitar?

Guitarists who want to punk rock are looking for that extra edge. The instrument itself is a really versatile instrument, and it’s not difficult to find ways to play with distortion or even feedback in order to get the sound of a punk rocker.

But there are so many different things you can do when you’re playing guitar that might help you achieve this, which makes choosing one method seem limiting.

Playing punk rock on guitar is not always easy. This is because of the fast-paced, syncopated rhythms that are often used in this genre. 

For those who have never played a punk song before, it may be difficult to get started with playing these tunes.

Start slow and learn some songs you admire. The speed will eventually come. 

How do I make my guitar sound like a punk rock?

The overall sound is important for any genre of music you are looking to pursue. 

A great way to make your guitar sound like it’s from the 70s (a time when punk was emerging) is by getting some accessories.

I’ve known some people that put some sandpaper on their strings for a more “dirty” sound. 

For a more mellow sound, you could put Vaseline or Chapstick over your string so they don’t rattle as much (only do this if you want to!). 

However, if you want your guitar to sound like a punk rocker, then you can start simply with a pedal. You can head over to our article on the best pedals right here: Guitar Pedals! 

Are Fender Telecasters more preferred guitars for “punk rock” than Gibson Les Pauls?

The two companies have different approaches to guitar making, and each approach has its pros and cons. Gibson guitars are known for their sustained and nuanced tones, while Fender guitars are more versatile in terms of sound quality.

So what does that mean?

Gibson/Epiphone guitars are known for their rich, full sound. They have a wider neck that is often considered easier to play than Fenders, but they can be more expensive. 

Fender/Squier guitars are appealing due to their bright sound. 

Put some distortion on either one and play power chords fast and you will have a Punk Rock guitar sound regardless. 

How do I do a punk rock stance when playing guitar?

Many punk rock guitarists have a unique stance while playing. It is often difficult to find the right balance between being comfortable and getting your sound out. 

There are many different stances that you can try, but it is up to you to decide what works best for you!

What is the best guitar for punk rock?

So you’re wondering what guitar is actually best to play Punk Rock on. You’ll want to remember the music sonically while researching the guitar above. 

Remember, Punk Rock is loud, fast, and aggressive. You will need a guitar that matches that tenacity. 

In addition, you will need a guitar that you feel a connection with and therefore making it unique to you which is ultimately the essence of Punk. 

Conclusion 

If you are a guitar player looking for more of an edge to your sound, punk rock is the style for you. 

If you’re looking for a new sound to spice up your repertoire, punk rock guitar might be the right choice. It’s fast paced and can be fun, but it still has an edge of aggression.

There are many choices for guitars but we feel confident that the five we reviewed are the best suited for Punk Rock.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Let us know your thoughts on the genre. Is it a dying breed of Rock and Roll?

Let us know also who are some of your favorite Punk bands. 

Remember to always HAVE FUN! 

 

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