Punk is dead it is said, but we all know that this is far from being true.
Although we are no longer in the 70s and anarchy is a utopia, this style of music has not disappeared.
What is more, loads of groups adopt ideas from this classic genre and choose to continue playing punk which revives it every day.
If you are a guitar player getting into this aggressive style you may wonder which are the best guitars for playing it and here you have the answer!
To play punk is important to know how to deal with distorted, sharp, high-pitched tones and noisy outcomes. Therefore, the best options would be Les Pauls and SGs but there are more options that fit greatly too!
If playing punk is your goal, this article is excellent for you because in it you will have a list of the guitars that best suit the style.
Furthermore, you will find a description for each and also pieces of equipment that will help you model your punky tone.
7 best guitars for punk
Next, you will be given seven of the best choices for punk.
Most of them are stock guitars but some others are modified versions that get along amazingly with the genre.
Gibson Les Paul Jr
To begin with, we have a true punk icon well-known among garage guitar players from the late 60s and we have seen famous players such as Billie Joe Armstrong or Mick jones playing it.
This Gibson model presents a single pickup usually a DogEar P90 which delivers a pressed, bright output.
The Gibson Les Paul Junior is a simple instrument and although that simplicity is what bounds this guitar to punk it provides more interesting features pretty useful for this genre.
Despite having just one pickup in the bridge position and no pickup selector its tonal options go from sparkling highs to robust low-end.
The Gibson SG is a guitar that has been used ad nauseam by punk guitarists.
Ian MacKaye from Fugazi was perhaps one of the first to employ this guitar for punk.
SG’s plain configuration is what made it so desired, with its simplistic three-way switch offering a wide variety of sounds.
Besides, featuring dual humbuckers this guitar presents an aggressive midrange excellent for chopped chord sections and ringing chords as well.
In addition to that, these pickups react perfectly to high gain distortions which is great for punky songs, even its clean tones bark fiercely so imagine overdriven ones!
In general, the Gibson SG is a well-rounded guitar perfect not only for rhythm punk players but also for killer melodic lead lines.
Epiphone Les Paul Special
Gibson instruments are really desired by punk guitarists and this one is not the exception, the standard for this guitar consists of featuring dual humbuckers but the Les Paul Special comes with dual P90s.
Although both configs fit amazingly to punk, the latter has been sought after by many punk guitarists.
Thanks to its pickups, this Les Paul delivers a full, rounded overall sound with tight low-end and spanky, bright high frequencies.
Despite being Soapbar P90s the stock pickups, you will also find Dogeared ones in these instruments.
The remarkable thing about Epiphone Les Paul Specials is that they are pretty affordable.
Their price and quality make these pieces a perfect option for everyone in the search of punky tones.
Now on the other side of the road, we find a Fender instrument: The Telecaster.
Legendary musicians such as Brian James and Joe Strummer have chosen this guitar for playing punk.
Telecaster standard setup involves two single coil pickups plus a three-way switch so this guitar delivers a twangy tone and bright-sounding high-end pretty desired by pop-punk musicians.
On top of that, this piece provides great adaptability and although the combination of single coils works perfectly for the style, you can replace them with humbuckers, and will still sound amazing.
Following the line of Fender, we have what might be the most versatile guitar out there: The Stratocaster.
Players of every kind have chosen this guitar as their number one and punk musicians are not averse to playing it.
Despite being a wonderful option with its stock configuration of three single coils, most punk players decide to install a humbucker in the bridge position.
Thanks to Strat’s versatility this wooden piece will work excellently both in strummed sections and in lead lines.
The only disadvantage I can think of is that those pickups produce a lot of noise but with the humbucker upgrade you will forget about it.
No more to say, a great punk guitar that will fulfill your expectations.
Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster HH
Classic Jazzmasters are outstanding guitars, we all know that but when it comes to punky tones we can sacrifice some characteristics of this complex instrument.
Squier listen to our prayers and created the Affinity Series Jazzmaster HH, a simpler version that is quite affordable.
Featuring dual humbuckers wired to a three-position pickup selector plus a master volume knob and a tone knob, this guitar provides the simplicity needed to focus on a hot output.
Contrary to usual Fender sounds, this Jazzmaster offers an aggressiveness that suits incredibly bloody distorted tones perfect for this music style.
Mosrite Venture II
Last but not least, we have Johnny Ramone preferred guitar, he loved so much this instrument that he owned nine of them.
The Mosrite Venture II provides an incredibly hot output essential to play punk.
This guitar comes with two pickups, a mini humbucker in the bridge position, and a single coil in the neck but it has been seen with many different configs.
The Mosrite II is the definition of a punk guitar tone, with one of them you will for sure get a punky sound.
You will also need a good punk amp
Contrary to the popular belief, guitars are not everything when it comes to building up a certain tone.
Many aspects play important roles and the amp you choose will incredibly influence your sound as well.
That’s why we will give you a couple of amplifiers that match perfectly punk guitar players.
They are of different kinds so you will have to make your choice according to your preferences.
Marshal MG102GFX Combo Amp
In the first place, we have what might be the best option if you intend to play pure punk or punk rock.
Despite being somehow small, this tiny beast provides an extremely loud output perfect for the style.
With 100 watts of power, two different distortion channels plus a crunchy option and a clean mode as well the Marshall MG has everything needed to play punk without busting the bank.
Besides, it comes with a footswitch to change from channel to channel, as you may notice is a very complete gear that will cover a great part of the job.
Fender Champion 100
This is a great choice for punk rock, ska-punk, or even other related styles like reggae.
Thanks to its built-in effects of vibrato and echo, musicians from those genres will feel at home with this amp.
As its name shows, the Fender Champion has 100 watts of power which provides a powerful loud sound.
In addition to that, their equalization options are wonderful and quite versatile.
These two options will suit great to any punk player but remember, stick to your personal tastes.
Every musician has their own unique style so if you feel comfortable or prefer a different equipment go for it!
Music has no rules and by experimenting you might create a new, fresh tone yourself.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.