But in order to make the best out of this particular writing and arranging style, which makes this genre what it is, then you’d need a good guitar tone to go with it. In fact, having a proper tone for it is half the work! You need that fuzzy high gain drenching tone that melts your face, yet it still needs to keep things tight with some heavy mids.
The best idea always is to start with the guitar. This is why we decided to come up with this simple brief guide that singles out the right guitar for stoner rock or stoner metal music. Of course, you’re free to do as you like, but we’d usually recommend guitars that are somewhat “darker”-sounding. This, of course, includes the use humbuckers or P90 pickups rather than conventional single-coils. So let’s get into it.
Here are our recommendations for the 4 best guitars for stoner rock on the market:
Stoner Rock Guitar 1: ESP LTD EC-256
- ESP LTD EC-256 Electric Guitar, Black
- Price: $449.00
- Price as of 01/25/2021 14:06 PST(more info about ad)
While these are often considered as more affordable guitars, ESP’s LTD still makes some of the best stuff on the market. Great value for the price can be seen in a guitar like the now well-known EC-256.
This one bears the body shape of a classic Les Paul model, but with a few interesting twists. First off, the single-cutaway design is “sharper,” giving it a more modern look. At the same time, on the backside, we have such a design that allows easier access to higher frets in addition to the already redesigned cutaway. It also has a set-neck formation, which makes it even more comfortable, while also adding significant sustain to the equation.
The mahogany body, mahogany neck, set-neck formation, and its amazing humbucking pickups make it a great choice for stoner rock. You’ll get that heaviness, slightly darker tone, as well as prolonged sustain. It’s also somewhat versatile and comes with individual volume pots for both pickups, as well as a master tone pot.
In addition to all this, the guitar just looks awesome. After all, aesthetics are also an important factor here. The guitar might, to some, be a little bit over the usual limit of an affordable level, but it’s still not that expensive. We’d even argue that it outperforms its price level significantly.
Stoner Rock Guitar 2: Epiphone G-400
- Epiphone Limited Edition 1966 G-400 PRO Electric Guitar Cherry
- Price: $599.90
- Price as of 01/25/2021 09:00 PST(more info about ad)
Gibson’s subsidiary Epiphone is another brand that’s famous among guitar players who enjoy stoner rock, doom rock, and other related subgenres. For this particular list, we’re bringing up Epiphone’s G-400 model, which is pretty much an improved version of the classic SG. Just like ESP LTD that we mentioned above, it’s not in the cheapest guitars category, but it still manages to keep it at a very decent price level while also retaining some great qualities in there.
For instance, we have the set-neck construction and the overall body and neck design that are very similar to classic Gibson SG models. And it’s a fairly versatile instrument that can easily fit anything from jazz and up to extreme metal subgenres. However, we’d argue that its overall tone and other features fit best into blues-infused stoner rock music. Bar none, this is among the best guitars for stoner rock around.
Stoner Rock Guitar 3: Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT
- Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT Electric Guitar, Ebony
- Price as of 01/25/2021 09:00 PST(more info about ad)
We have yet another Epiphone on this list, which is not that much of a surprise. This time around, we’re looking into their Les Paul Studio LT. The great thing about this one is that it’s a budget guitar, and yet it retains some amazing qualities that even mid-priced guitars have.
It doesn’t take more than one glance to realize that some effort was made both to the design and features. Compared to some other budget Epiphone guitars, here we have individual volume and tone controls for its pickups. This way, you can dial in some amazing and diverse tones using its basic controls.
Although we have a bolt-on construction, the overall design is done with ergonomic issues in mind. The access to higher frets is pretty comfortable and you won’t have any bigger issues playing in these areas. Other than that, the tone is pretty decent, especially if you’re into hard rock or stoner rock stuff. Of course, it’s far from a professional piece, but it’s still more than just a decent guitar, especially for its price level. For the money, this is easily among the best guitars for stoner rock period.
Stoner Rock Guitar 4: Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute DC
We mentioned how great the P90 pickups can be for stoner rock. After all, these are the pickups that started it all, since Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi had them on his old Gibson SG. Here, we’re looking at a Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute DC, which bears that vintage double cutaway design that you don’t see that often these days. Of course, it bears two P90 pickups made by Gibson, which are widely considered to be the best version.
It bears the classic mahogany body with a maple neck, which is equipped with a rosewood fingerboard. Other than this, we have the classic Gibson features and the slim-taper neck profile. Interestingly enough, we have a very simple compensated wraparound bridge instead of the classic tune-o-matic one. Of course, we also have the set-neck construction, which can be quite a boost to its sustain and a great ergonomic feature for higher frets, especially combined with the guitar’s double-cutaway body design.
Overall, some of the most important traits a stoner rock or stoner metal guitar should have include humbuckers or P90 pickups, as well as prolonged sustain. In most cases, set-neck construction will add to this, but it also depends on the type of pickups and the guitar’s overall traits and build qualities.
Any of these guitars can work well for you, depending on the budget that’s at your disposal. The Epiphone Les Paul that we mentioned has a bolt-on construction, but it’s still a great choice if you’re on a budget. And, as with practically everything else in life, it’s your budget that determines the best guitar for stoner rock. Good luck!
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him