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Best Guitars for Grunge: 8 Amazing Picks

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best guitar for grunge

If you’re searching for the best guitar for grunge rock, we got you covered! In today’s article, we’re going to have a closer look on eight great guitars suitable for that genre. So if you want to play music similar to Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Alice In Chains, this guide will be perfect for you! So which guitar type is the best for grunge?

Grunge guitarists often play on Stratocasters, Jaguars, Mustangs, Telecasters and Les Pauls. Although most of them usually use solid body guitars, there are also players who prefer hollow body guitars. Chris Cornell is a great example of that – he used to play the Gibson ES-335.

What’s important, guitars for grunge don’t necessarily have to be expensive. We gathered 8 affordable and great sounding models suitable for all-level players. Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced players, you will definitely find something for yourself!

Best Guitar For Grunge – List

1.Squier Classic Vibe JaguarSee on Amazon
2.Fender Player Stratocaster HSSSee on Amazon
3.Epiphone Les Paul SpecialSee on Amazon
4.Fender Kurt Cobain JaguarSee on Amazon
5.Ibanez AM93 ArtcoreSee on Amazon
6.Fender Kurt Cobain Jag-StangSee on Amazon
7.Squier Affinity TelecasterSee on Amazon
8.Fender American Performer MustangSee on Amazon

1. Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar

squier classic vibe jaguar - best guitar for grunge rock

Absolutely amazing and really affordable guitar. For those who are not aware, Squier is a brand owned by Fender, one of the most reputable guitar manufacturers in the world. The guitar has everything you need for grunge music. It heavily inspired by the classic Jaguars from 1970s and it features two Fender-Designed Alnico Pickups. Undoubtedly, this piece of gear will be ideal for this genre. Kurt Cobain used to play a Jag, so that says a lot about these guitars! It looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. Feel free to check out the sound demo below to see how it sounds.

2. Fender Player Stratocaster HSS

fender player HSS

This series of guitars is manufactured in Mexico (feel free to read more about this guitars in this article). In fact, this is one of the lowest models offered by Fender. Still, it’s not cheap. Although in comparison with Squier Classic Vibe series, many players report that these guitars are pretty similar when it comes to overall quality. The major difference is the headstock logo. The HSS setup offers a big versatility when it comes to sound. So if you want to play grunge but you also enjoy playing jazz from time to time, this guitar will be perfect for you. In addition, it has a really comfortable C-shaped maple neck. I highly recommend checking it out further. It’s a fantastic guitar!

3. Epiphone Les Paul Special

epiphone les paul special

Another absolutely great model for grunge rock. Epiphone offers really affordable guitars suitable for both amateur and more advanced players. This guitar has everything that you need for heavy distorted riffs. Most importantly, it features two open coil humbuckers that offer a really nice and punchy tone. What I also like about this guitar is the attention to detail. The black knob controls and the vintage worn finish make this Les Paul look really special and different from the rest. Certainly, it will be a great choice for any grunge guitarist. See how it sounds on the video below.

4. Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar

kurt cobain jaguar - best guitar for grunge rock

It will be really tough to beat that one. In the end, it’s a signature guitar of Kurt Cobain. That means a lot, right? If you’re looking for the best guitar for grunge, this is definitely one of them. This Jag features two amazing DiMarzio pickups, a modern C-shaped neck and a bit shorter scale (24′). It may not be the cheapest guitar on today’s list, but it’s definitely a guitar from the top shelf. Words won’t be able to describe that great tone, so make sure to check out the video below.

5. Ibanez AM93 Artcore

ibanez am93

As I mentioned earlier, some grunge guitarists like to use semi-hollow and hollow body guitars. Since we recently reviewed Ibanez AS73 and Epiphone Dot 335, we think that it’s also worth to highlight the AM93 model. Why is it good for grunge? Well, it’s because of the pickups. This Ibanez features the Super 58 humbucking neck and bridge pickups, which offer a really versatile and punchy tone. If you’re interested in playing heavy riffs, this guitar will be perfect for that. In addition, it looks absolutely spectacular. Here’s a short demo in case you’re interested.

6. Fender Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang

fender kurt cobain jag-stang - best guitar for grunge rock

This is a brand new guitar created by Fender. In fact, the first Jagstang was an original project of Kurt Cobain. It sounds absolutely amazing, although it raised some controversy among the fans of Nirvana. Why? Well, Kurt Cobain was an admirer of cheap pawn shop guitars. He wanted the Jagstang to be really affordable for all fans of the band. But as you can see, the guitar is not cheap at all. Nevertheless, the price is high because the quality of this guitar is high. If the price would be cheaper, the overall quality would be far worse. It’s definitely one of the hottest guitars in 2021. Have a look on the official demo by Fender below. What do you think about the Jag-stang?

7. Squier Affinity Telecaster

squier affinity telecaster - best guitar for grunge rock

This is one of the most affordable guitars for both beginner and more advanced players. The Affinity series by Squier is really cheap and it sounds great! Undoubtedly, this Telecaster will be an ideal choice for any guitarist who loves grunge rock. The guitar is available in a few different colors and it features a really comfortable C-shaped neck. When it comes to the best guitar for grunge rock, at this price it will be really difficult to beat that model. Absolutely great choice!

8. Fender American Performer Mustang

fender american performer - best guitar for grunge rock

Something for the most demanding players. The Fender American Performer Mustang is made for passionate musicians who love alternative, indie and grunge rock. It’s one of the best guitars manufactured by Fender right now. While cheaper Fender models are made in Asia or Mexico, the American Performer series is manufactured in Corona, California. As a result, these guitars offer an exceptional sound quality and attention to detail. Undoubtedly, this guitar will be perfect for studio and live recordings. It definitely deserves to be called as the best guitar for grunge rock. That’s for sure! Feel free to hear how it sounds below.


Is Telecaster good for grunge?

Of course! Telecaster is a really popular choice among the grunge guitarists. Whether. you decide to choose a Squier or a Fender guitar, you will definitely be able to achieve a really nice tone. Some people believe that Telecasters are not the best for heavier music, but it’s not true. In fact, we recently proved that Telecasters can also be good for metal.

Is Stratocaster good for grunge?

Absolutely! Similarly as Telecasters, Stratocasters are also a popular choice among a lot of grunge guitarists. Whether you choose a guitar with a humbucker and two single-coil pickups or a regular Strat with three single-coil pickups, you will definitely be able to achieve a grunge sound with the right guitar amp.

What pedal did Kurt Cobain use for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’?

The classic sound of Nirvana comes mainly from the Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal. Undoubtedly, without this pedal the band would not sound the same. What’s interesting, nowadays it’s one of the most popular distortion pedals in the world. If you’re interested to get a sound similar to Nirvana, here’s a few pedal recommendations to help you achieve that.

Who is the best grunge band of all time?

It’s really tough to pick just one band. There are so many of them! That includes: Soundgarden, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Dinosaur Jr. and many, many more.


As you can see, there are a lot of interesting and great sounding models out there. Which one deserves to be called as the best guitar for grunge rock? Well, it’s a really tough choice. All of these guitars will be suitable for grunge guitarists. If you’re on a low budget, you should be totally fine with any of the Squier guitars. Nevertheless, if you don’t care about the price, the Fender guitars will also be perfect for you. We guarantee that all of these guitars will sound great in grunge rock!

Thanks for checking out Best Guitars Now. Hopefully, today’s article was helpful to you. If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like:

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