There seem to be some undeniable truths out there. Don’t eat yellow snow. Use pointy guitars for metal. What if it’s a lemon snowcone? What about using a PRS for metal?

Most guitars can be used for most things, but some are obviously better at certain genres than others. Some players use telecasters for prog, many use low output pickups for metal (which is a really good idea, by the way), and the greatest metal band of all time uses Strats.

I do think it’s fair, however, as people who love the instrument to talk about what gear suits you best, and today I’m going to make the case that PRS guitars are some of the best you can use for metal.

The Feel

Lots of players favor extremely thin and flat necks like those found on Ibanez or newer Schecter models…but not everyone. Many guitarists are put off by the obscenely shreddy necks found on metal-centric guitars, and I’d argue that others prefer them simply because they feel as though as they’re supposed to.

For some players, a more traditional neck not only means less pain and cramping after extended play sessions (which, if you experience, you should attempt to diagnose it immediately, as well as do more warm ups and stretches), but it also has two other features that can work in their favor.

Most PRS necks are rather wide, which can not only help players with large fingers play more accurately, but is also favored by many players that like very wide vibrato as well. They also have a relatively round radius (most are 10”) which is advantageous for big exotic chords that are popular among modern players, without being too round to really inhibit bends or low action.

The carve top on both Core Line models and even CEs and S2s is very comfortable as well, which is especially great for technical players that stay anchored and primarily use their wrist, as well as players who frequently palm mute.

Here’s where we get to my favorite feature of PRS guitars for metal. If you’re playing metal, you’re probably spending a decent amount of time in drop C. I normally play Strat-scale guitars, but that results in 10-52 being just a bit too light, and 11-56 being too heavy, for my (and many players’) tension preferences. This makes 11-56 totally ideal at PRS’ 25” scale length. It’s a great balance between bendability and tight low strings for rhythm playing.

The Tone

The advantages here are very cut and dry, so I’ll start with the wood.

Mahogany is a long-time accomplice to awesome metal tone. It can sometimes have a loose bass response or be a bit muddy, but PRS uses well-cured cuts of mahogany, and this can also be well balanced with the right pickup choices. It gives you a great starting point of thick aggressive tone.

The thick maple top that PRS uses helps keep this balanced and add a bit more cut & bite, and a set neck on a CU24 gives you tons of sustain, whereas the bolt-on maple neck on the CE24 gives great punch and attack. You can read more about the specific qualities of CU24s in our CU24 review and CE24s in our CE24 review.

Again, I need to bring up the scale length. 25” sits right between Les Paul scale and Strat scale, and it’s perfect for aggressive modern metal tones. This is because you can use very bright and tight tones without your guitar icepicking, because the highs are tamed by the scale length. This comes with the additional advantage of not being as short as a full-on Les Paul scale, which can definitely compromise the tightness of your low strings’ tone.

It’s also worth noting that the 85/15 pickups currently standard in most PRS models are actually awesome for metal. Some players will inevitably want hotter pickups, but the 85/15’s bright and clear tone will serve most players well. That being said, the solid tone wood combination on PRS guitars does make for a solid platform for a pickup swap.

The Players

This isn’t a new idea.

Two fantastic (and exceptionally heavy) players with signature guitars are Dustie Waring (Between the Buried and Me) and Mark Holcomb (Periphery). Mark even has a PRS 7 string, and has an 8 string Private Stock PRS.

One of my favorite PRS players is Ro Han from i built the sky. Not only does he play some very aggressive riffs on his PRS, he has killer tone and has even swapped the stock pickups for Bare Knuckle Warpigs.

You can hear him putting his PRS to work in the video below (article is continued below as well!):

Metal players aren’t about looking as brutal as possible all the time anymore, and on top of sounding great, many players are adopting PRS as a way to introduce some class to their rig as well.

There are no rules when it comes to gear, but it’s readily apparent that PRS guitars are good for metal. The wood combinations, tone, and comfort are all particularly well suited to the genre… and most other genres as well!

Obviously some players will prefer Ibanez, some will prefer Mayones: it’s all personal preference; but I urge you to give a PRS a shot for some heavy music next time you have a chance!

If you already know you love PRS, or if you’d like to try one for the first time, we are authorized PRS dealers and can get you a great deal.

Thanks for reading! We upload new articles daily on gear, tone, songwriting, theory, and more! Make sure to check those out!

This article was written by Kyle Karich, our editor located in Florida.


About The Author