I am a total guitar beginner trying to learn metal riffs and songs like Slipknot. I have a Squier Strat starter pack that has an SSS pickup config.

Will it sound more metal if I get a different guitar, maybe one with high-gain humbuckers, or if I use the Strat with the proper settings on something like a Katana Mini amp?

One thing also is I cannot play too loud because I might disturb my neighbors.

  • Not exactly sure what the question is here, but gear recommendation is something we don't do.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 15:49
  • @Tim - I've taken it broadly as "If I get the right gear will I sound like xyz", to which, of course, the answer is "No", but I think it's informative enough to leave open.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 17:58
  • I happen to have an Ibanez Mikro, and it has a nice rock sound, but because of the size, if you even look at the neck the wrong way, it will bend out of tune. I can only play it in tune through Autotune or a TC Helicon pitch correction pedal. (Which is a lot of fun, doing incredible note-to-note bends completely in tune) Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 19:28
  • For the 80's feel you need late 70:s, early 80:s OP amp transistor based overdrive. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro_Co_RAT Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 7:58
  • @EmanuelLandeholm - that's a bit too GASsy for me.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


Ever heard the old joke about the farmer being asked how to get to a nearby famous landmark? There are a hundred versions of it, but there's one commonality...

His reply is always, "Well, you don't want to start from here…"

The thing about GAS* is that it's the wrong place to start.

You have a Strat - live with it for now. When you get 'good' you'll know by then why you might need another guitar & what that guitar ought to be.
In the meantime, learn how to play what you have.

Half of any guitarist's sound is the guitarist, not the gear he uses.
So you need to learn to walk before you can run.

As for an amp - you know you can get an app for your phone for free that will be as good as anything with its own speakers that costs less than a few hundred bucks/quid/shekels. Here's one for starters - IK Multimedia's AmpliTube in its many forms.
Now, to go this route, you will need an interface, starting at around 40 bucks, but you already saved the other 40 on the mini amp & you're in no danger of irritating your neighbours.

The last thing… is that you can't properly get that 'metal' sound at low volume no matter what gear you own, because to do it 'properly' there needs to be acoustic feedback between amp & guitar. So, in the meantime, use a modelling amp that will at least go some way towards the sound.
I've done entire commercial albums using modelling amps - they do not suck.

Slammed through enough modelled valve distortion, with even a fuzz box in front, you're on your way.
Keep it up & never look back.

btw, I'm not even going to start the list of very very serious guitarists who are famous for playing Strats. That would be mean ;)

*Gear Acquisition Syndrome - everybody suffers from it at some point in their lives. There's nothing worse than a bad case of GAS.

  • 3
    Excellent answer - maybe not what we want to hear! Lots believe if they have the same guitar/amp as XYZ they'll sound like them. Only to find out it's actually a very mean myth! +1.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Tim -- a very mean myth perpetrated by sellers of gear, perhaps? OP: Pretty much everything (electric) can be (and has been) played on a Strat; that's a great place to start. And Tetsujin is right: modeling amps have really come a long way (although some get quite expensive).
    – user39614
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 17:54
  • btw, I'm not even going to start the list of very very serious guitarists who are famous for playing Strats - I am interested in a list of famous metal strat players though :P
    – Ian
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 6:31

A Squier strat is probably fine as a starter guitar for just about any style of music you want to play (including metal). I would make sure that it is properly intonated and has a reasonable buzz-free action to begin with.

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