The Best Punk Guitars (2023 Edition)

Table of Contents

If you’re looking for the best punk guitars on the market today, you’ve come to the right post!

A quick note from Harrison, the site owner:

If you’re wondering whether these recommendations are genuine, I get it!

I come across blog posts all the time where I’m wondering if they actually did any research or if they’re just recommending the products that will get them the highest commissions.

In short, that’s not how we operate around here.

Rather, this is how it works.

I have instructed David, the author of this post, to write about the best punk guitars based on his experience and research.

I have not told him to include (or exclude) any specific instrument.

Furthermore, neither of us has been given any of these instruments as an incentive to include them in this post.

And we haven’t been paid by any of these guitar manufacturers either.

That said, I will use affiliate links for any instrument David recommends when available.

Now, back to the article!

Gibson SG Special

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If you ask me, Gibson SG Special is the best punk guitar if you like to keep it simple and still have a great instrument.

They come with two P90 pickups, which is more than enough even for other genres.

There are, however, your regular four control knobs in case you need more versatility.

We can also see the guitar’s simplicity with its hardware.

There’s only the stoptail bridge for a very easy setup.

Other than that, it has a regular thin mahogany body and a mahogany neck.

It’s just an incredible, yet simple, Gibson classic that can even serve you for plenty of other styles as well.

Epiphone Les Paul Special E1

But in case you need something super cheap yet reliable, I’d recommend Epiphone Les Paul Special E1.

This isn’t like the regular Special model but rather a budget LP with two humbuckers.

There’s a straightforward flat poplar body and a mahogany neck.

There’s also the regular hardware setup with a tune-o-matic bridge and a stopbar tailpiece.

Its controls are simplified with only volume and tone knobs and a 3-way pickup selector.

The main difference compared to some higher-end Epiphones is that it has a bolt-on neck.

But this is a pretty decent instrument, even with its stock pickups.

If you swap them, you’ll get one pretty awesome guitar.

The most important thing here is that you can turn it into a real punk rock instrument.

Scratch it, put stickers on it, hit it a little – it’s all okay.

It’s cheap and simple anyway.

Squier Bullet Mustang HH

Squier Bullet Mustang HH - Unboxing and first impressions
Budget Pick
Squier Bullet Mustang HH Short Scale Electric Guitar

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Speaking of cheap and simple, Squier Bullet Mustang HH is another great example.

The model is part of Squier’s Bullet series, which makes it pretty simple and cheap.

It comes with two humbuckers and basic controls, as well as a fixed Fender-style 6-saddle bridge.

A dual-cutaway offset body is not only comfortable but also makes it a real eye candy.

It goes hand-in-hand with that larger ’70s-style headstock.

One of Mustang’s most important traits is that it comes with a shorter scale length, only 24 inches.

This makes it a pretty comfortable one to play, along with its C-shaped maple neck.

Epiphone Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior

Epiphone Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior - Signature Guitar Review
Epiphone Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior Guitar Player Pack Classic White

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I really love Epiphone’s Billie Joe Armstrong signature Les Paul Junior.

The guitar has this incredible combo of simplicity and awesome build quality.

A single P90 pickup with just volume and tone controls.

Then there’s the thin Junior-style mahogany body and a stoptail bridge.

In all honesty, I’d always prefer the Epiphone version over the Gibson one.

It’s much cheaper but you’ll get almost the same results.

This is one of those guitars that you just want to plug into an amp and just crank it up.

No fillers, no bells and whistles, just a simple and great guitar for punk.

Kramer The 84

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Kramer won’t be the name that comes to mind when someone mentions punk.

But Kramer’s The 84 can be a great choice if you want a simple guitar with some great solo capabilities.

Technically, this is a simplified Super Strat kind of thing.

The instrument comes with just one humbucker in the bridge position and a very basic yet appealing design.

They also come with a super-comfortable maple neck and a Floyd Rose bridge.

There’s also a locking nut and Kramer’s 14:1 tuners.

84’s one pickup is Seymour Duncan JB.

And there’s only one volume control with push-pull action.

You can use the pickup in series or parallel, giving it more tonal options.

Although more of a lead guitar, I’d say that this one can also be great for punk.

Especially if you love to add some lead parts to your music and have some whammy bar action in there as well.


ESP Guitars: Live from NAMM 2023 - LTD "201 Series"

ESP’s subsidiary LTD brings some surprisingly great guitars at a lower price.

The one that I love is TE-201, a simplified Tele-style axe.

Nonetheless, it comes with 24 frets, an incredible finish, and incredible ergonomic qualities.

The stock bridge humbucker on it has just one volume control with it.

However, the pot includes push-pull action for coil splitting.

It’s a plug-and-play kind of deal that’s super-useful for punk.

Especially because it has a fixed bridge along with these other features.

Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Custom

the Fender Squier Classic Vibe 70s Telecaster Custom in Black is Solid!
Fender Squier Classic Vibe '70s Telecaster Custom

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Going more into Squier guitars, I love what their Classic Vibe ’70s guitars have to offer.

For this occasion, I’m talking about the Telecaster Custom, a somewhat unusual model.

The first thing to notice is its pickup combination with a single-coil in the bridge and a humbucker in the neck position.

Particularly interesting is the somewhat jangly middle position.

What’s more, the guitar comes with two volume controls and two tone controls.

There’s also a pickguard that covers a huge portion of the body’s top.

The instrument’s aesthetics and its neck bring one very vintage-oriented package.

But at the same time, this one is fairly modestly priced, at least considering its qualities.

Fender Player Lead III

Fender Player Lead III - In-Depth Demo!
Fender Player Lead III - Pau Ferro - Metallic Purple

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Lead III is one of the most underrated and largely overlooked models by Fender.

These days, it’s a part of their Player line, keeping its price at reasonable levels.

It’s a dual-cutaway guitar kind of similar to a Strat.

However, the cutaways meet the neck near one another.

It’s equipped with two humbuckers, it has basic controls for tone and volume, and a 3-way pickup switch.

However, there’s an additional 2-way phase switch for more sonic options.

This is all accompanied by a regular 6-saddle fixed bridge.

Although a versatile guitar, Lead III comes as a great choice for punk music.

What I love about it is the unusual yet somewhat familiar Strat-like design.

Danelectro ’59M NOS+

Danelectro '59M NOS+ Electric Guitar - Baby Blue

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For the fans of seriously vintage vibes, I’d recommend Danelectro ’59M NOS+.

It’s a semi-hollow guitar with a pair of NOS+ single-coil pickups.

The body design not only looks great but it’s also pretty comfortable for accessing higher frets.

The guitar comes with a stoptail wraparound bridge.

However, this one has individual saddles, giving more options for intonation.

This one gives some pretty awesome bright and jangly kinds of tones.

However, it also works great if you pair it with a high-gain distortion pedal.

Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet

Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet
Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT - Dark Cherry Metallic

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I’d say that Gretch guitars are often overlooked among punk lovers.

But what their G5220 has to offer will be pretty useful for guitar players in the genre.

The first thing is its incredible single-cutaway design.

It does remind us of Les Paul, although it’s a bit bulkier.

There’s also a V-shape tailpiece that makes it look like a hot-rodded old-timer car.

Apart from that, it has a very unusual control layout.

We have individual pickup volume controls, along with a master volume.

Then there’s also a master tone control and your regular 3-way switch.

The soul of this guitar lies in its wonderful Broad’Tron pickups.

Although technically humbuckers, they’re somewhat smaller and milder.

This brings a specific twist to the tone, making them sound just a little thinner than usual.

Tone-wise, I could argue that it’s a blend between humbuckers and single-coils.

This Gretch is a great option for those who love a vintage twist to both visual and sonic traits.  

The Best Punk Guitars: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you think through which punk guitar is best for you!

And if you want to read more about guitar recommendations on this blog, then check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

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