Edit: Ended up getting LTD EC-1000 ET

I will be going to the guitar stores near me to try as many as I can, but I'd just like some recommendations and suggestions to keep an eye out for.

Budget? Preferably between AUD $1000 and $1500, but max of $2000. It's probably higher than I need to pay, but it costs more in Australia and I'd like to get something that's actually good and not just a low quality budget guitar.

Favorite Artists? Metallica mostly, so I'd like a guitar good for playing Metal, although I would like a good clean tone as well.

Preferences? I haven't formed any strong preferences, I intend to go to a guitar shop soon and see what feels good.

Pickups? From what I've read it seems as though humbuckers would be the best option.

New or Used? Preferably new, as I don't have the experience to check over an used guitar, but if the deal is really good then I will consider used.

Location? Perth, Australia. I'd prefer to buy locally but if the price difference is worth it the I will buy from overseas.

Current Gear? I currently have the Fender Squier Stratocaster for Rock Band 3, which is my first guitar. Also have a Fender G-DEC 3 Thirty amp. I know the amp isn't in line with how much I'm paying for a guitar, but I'd prefer to upgrade the amp if and when I'm joining a band so I can make a more informed choice.

Experience Still just a beginner really, been playing occasionally in my spare time, just as a hobby. I have been playing with Rocksmith a fair bit so I can play well enough for a few songs, but not perfect accuracy or anything.

Usage At the moment still just bedroom use, taking it slow. Once my skills improve I do intend to spend more time with it and perhaps join a band, but nothing major.
Last edited by Adrian-R at Feb 16, 2014,
I've been having a look at ESP LTD guitars, and the EC or MH-1000 EVERTUNE seems pretty good, would be handy having good intonation the whole way up and not going out of tune when bending.

There is one store that has it in my state, so I will try it out some time soon hopefully.
Look at a Gibson LPJ or an Epiphone LP Standard, if you're a beginner then don't spend $2000 on a guitar, it's not necessary, when you're good enough and ready to join a band then look at upgrading, If i were you i'd get an Epi LP and swap the pick ups for EMG's, real metal pick ups but clean up nice too
"Music Without Emotion Is Like Food Without Flavour"
Paul Gilbert