“People use them for fashion and shock factor. Your guitar is your workhorse, but on stage, it’s also your prop”: Phoebe Bridgers is playing B.C. Rich. Willow and Pete Townshend are picking up Jacksons. Have metal guitars gone mainstream?

Ladyhawke, Willow Smith and Phoebe Bridgers playing Jackson and B.C. Rich electric guitars
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Something in the guitar world is stirring. Perhaps it’s the inevitable result of the great post-streaming genre-blur, or someone left a portal to the Upside Down open – but metal guitars have been creeping into the mainstream.

As such, we’re now in an age where pop stars are making B.C. Rich Warlock’s shimmer like semi-hollow Gretsches and bebop guitarists are ripping Wes Montgomery on Jacksons. Meanwhile, metal’s leading stars are swapping angular war machines for vintage-styled gear.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.