Budget - $1000-1500 would be nice, but $2000 is my limit

Favorite Artists - I mainly play hard rock, power metal, and 80's metal. The main bands I listen to are Stratovarius, Rhapsody of Fire, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Dio, and Ozzy.

Preferences - I don't really have any preferences on body shape, but I don't like LP bodies and Gibson necks. I just don't like the way they fit my hand. I'd like a good floyd rose, so it doesn't go out of tune too easily. I'd like a maple or ebony fretboard, and would like an alder, ash, or maple body, but I'm not too picky about the body wood. Also I don't like clear finishes.

Pickups - Looking for a H/H, H/S/H would be cool, and passive pickups. I don't really like the sound of actives and might change the stock pups with BKPs if I can afford them.

New or I'd like to get it new, but used is okay.

Location - DC area

Current Gear - I'm buying a Marshall JCM2000 DSL soon, and the only pedal I use (right now) is an MXR 10-band EQ

I don't really know where to start looking for guitars, there's so many to choose from. My local guitar center doesn't have too much to try out.
what ur lookin for (saying ur budget is 2000 bucks) is an ibanez prestige. not premium. made in japan are the best. ibanez rg1570 is the bassline prestige, for 2000 u could get 2, buy dimarzio d activators (better than evolutions) and a tremolo stabilizer. not a block. i make all my own stabilizers, but u should get the wd tremolo stabilizer cause once u get the concept, u can make ur own forever. its just a threaded sleeve that goes inside one of the springs. prestige guitars are head and shoulders above everything imho. check into it. u can get them all day on ebay with case for 699 played once. go for it!
Carvin is the way to go with that budget. You can pick from loads of options and come out with a killer custom guitar for anywhere from $1000 to $2500 generally. I own an Ibanez Prestige, though; for a production guitar it's really, really good.
Blah blah blah RGD2127Z blah blah blah ENGL E670 blah blah Axe-FX II blah blah *vomits*
Jackson jumps to mind first. A used SL2H would be a phenomenal choice.

I appreciate that you followed the guide and gave a lot of info, however could you give us some more info so we can narrow it down some more? There are still tons and tons of options available, giving more info will help us really narrow down what you want.

How many frets do you want/need?

Do you have any idea what neck profiles you like? Which Gibson necks do you not like (50's/60's?)
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
On that budget, I'd get an ESP M-II. Swap out the EMG's if you don't like them and sell them on.
In addition to the excellent suggestions above- especially Carvin- consider:

US Masters, which is a lot like Carvin in terms of business model:

Fernandes, especially the JP models:

Reverend, especially the new models equipped with Railhammer Chisel or Railhammer Anvil pickups:
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Mar 30, 2013,
If you are willing to part with that much money you need to go out and play every guitar you can get your grubby hands on. There is no other way to find what will fit your needs and most importantly what fits your hands and pleases the ears.

The following statement is true. The proceeding statement is false.
An Ibanez Prestige sounds interesting, I'll have to look around and see if I can find one to try out.

Carvin seems like a good idea, and not too expensive. From what I've heard, they seem pretty good.

I was considering an ESP MII, is it easy to swap out the active pickups?

I would like to try out a lot more guitars, but I don't have many guitars stores nearby, it'd be a little far to find one.