OK so heres my story:
I was originally gonna buy the limited Edition Koa top Strat, but recently I've been getting into heavier stuff like sinergy and yngwie malmstneen. Basically I need a guitar that can handle classic rock and Bluesy stuff, all the way to metalish shredding stuff. A major problem I have with my squier strat is that the neck is too thin so it makes my thumb come over the top, so I need a fast neck but still big enough that my thumb doesn't come over the top. Plz reccomend me a good guitar in the $500-$700 price range. If you think the strat can handle that, let me know because I'm still partial to the strat. Oh, and I also need good upper fret access on the higher frets, something that strats aren't know for..

Thanks in advance.
Highway on hss strat! 22 JUMBO frets...not found on many strats but the higher fret access is a tiny bit tough to get to
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yea well the special koa strat has 22 frets as well, and It plays like butter. but again higher fret access on strats are limited so I was looking at other opinions.

to mdawg: I played the PRS SE Custom, loved the feel, but the neck just felt weird to me, and the scale length of PRS's will take some getting used to.
epiphone les paul is exactly what you're looking for. it's got a wide but fast neck, can handle blues to hard rock, and costs about $500. it's not a gibson, but still a great and extremely versatile guitar for the money.
Most versatile guitar....I'd guess a Les Paul. I've seen Led Zeppelin and Canned Heat use them and I've seen Iron Maiden use them.
but are they good for metal as well? IDK if its just his, but my friend's les paul sounds really muddy under high gain. Anyways, I know I can get a good metal tone out of strats with the right amp, but the upper fret access just kills me, especially for sweeping..
I'd have to say a Dean Razorback. They might not have quite the right look for the stuff, but they'll really work for anything, and do it all well.
wow so many suggestions..... lol OK how bout this, I'm playing through a blues junior and an EHX Big Muff, Metal Muff, and Tubescreamer.
the razorback is overpriced, and if you think the strat has bad upper fret access, then the les paul isnt for you...

and yngwie uses strats with scalloped fretboards, and diff pickups afaik
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Also, if you're looking for good access to higher frets, I'd suggest either an Ibanez, or a Parker Fly. The Parker guitars are specially carved to give you amazing access to the 24th fret, and you can even easily reach beyond it.
Why hasn't anyone suggested Schecter? The C-1 classic has great pickups for metal and bluesy music, plus it has 24 frets and it's neck-thru.
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I was looking at Ibanez.. Are they any good for stuff other than metal? and do some come with fatter necks than the Wizard II necks?

I've played a few Parker Flys, can't say I liked em, but I can't say they were bad either... They were alright.. but the bends fretted out when the action was low.
I always thought that SG's were perfect for fret access and they are comfy, just a little neck heavy though.
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I think any guitar can be good for more than one type of music, you just gotta use it right. And I'd suggest just looking around at different Ibanez guitars, and seeing which ones you like the feel of best, and then compare them to other guitars you have your eye on.
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the razorback is overpriced, and if you think the strat has bad upper fret access, then the les paul isnt for you...

and yngwie uses strats with scalloped fretboards, and diff pickups afaik

Oh my God, tell me about it; I want to throw my LP out the window. It's so bulky and heavy, with no contour.

I'd say some sort of American Strat can do your classic rock and blues, and possibly some shredding...I think.
The RG1570 is probably the most versital guitar on the market after you have done my magnet swap on the bridge and neck pickups and replaced the middle pickup for something a bit more vintage sounding. The magnet swap is free but a good middle single will run you another $60 which puts you at $160 over budget.

If you have to stay under budget then get an RG 350 and do a compleat pickup swap. The guitar will cost you $400 and a compleat set of pickups will cost you around $200 to $300 depending on if you opt to go hand wound or not. I'd suggest handwound but I'm a bit biased
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+1 on a epi Les paul
mine handles blues well, and i can get pretty good metal sound. and you can always add some emgs or some other pick-ups to get the tone you want

also a Scetcher C-1 classic could also be what you want
ive also heard the hellraiser has great versatility too
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Get a Schecter C-1 with Seymour Duncan pickups, those things are quite versatile but specialize more on the heavy end of things; you can get tones the nice warm tone for hard rock to the heavy crunch you need for metal.
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Very versatile and it looks great on top of it.
I'll chime in on the Schecters as well. Some models may also come with a coil tap/split feature giving the humbuckers a chimier single coilish tone. Also, most of their guitars (with few exceptions) that have a set neck are done in a way that it transitions into the body smoothly, like a through-neck. There's no odd "hump" where the neck meets the body, making for some relatively easy and comfortable fret access. They call it their "Ultra-access" neck or joint.
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Go out and get yourself a used G&L ASAT Z-3!! The true swiss army knife of guitars. I play in a band that does everything from Tommy James and the Shondells to Evanessence, plus funk, blues, standards, and oldies......this is my #1 every gig. The Z coil pups are FANTASTIC!!!
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Oh my God, tell me about it; I want to throw my LP out the window. It's so bulky and heavy, with no contour.

I'd say some sort of American Strat can do your classic rock and blues, and possibly some shredding...I think.

I wouldn't quite throw my LP out the window - its nice to look at (!) - but I play my strat way way more.

I would agree with the strat advice, but maybe consider putting a metal pickup in the bridge position, like a Seymour Duncan (?)(I'm not a techy guy), then you can get that bluesy hendrixy neck sound but then flick back to really shred.
Kramer super Strats are probably the most versatile guitars you can get. The now discontinued Jersey Star model really could handle anything. Blues, rock, jazz, pop, metal, heavy metal, even obscure genres (Norwegian doom opera, anyone?), nothing is beyond a good Kramer.

That said, I also rate all SGs, (regular) Strats, Archtops and Les Pauls as highly versatile as well. Really the only types of guitars that I think are limited are metal-orientated super-Strats like most typical Ibanez and ESP models. Even then though, I find ESP guitars have an okay range. Generally, I think you can make any guitar work for any genre.
Hagstrom Super Swede? The scale is strat-length (25.5") if that's what you're used to, extremely fast neck, the fretboard is incredibly smooth and slippery, and it has a coil tap which will get you "some" single coil sound. The downside is that it is fundamentally a humbucker guitar, the neck is thin (which is a good thing for speed but only you can decide that), and upper fret access should be similar to an LP.

But for sound versatility, I would have to think it's got to be included in your list, particularly because it's only $500.

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A LP (or good clone) can deal with most things. However if you don't learn on one you may well never like the feel or weight of one. With digital effects the margins are lower than when I started out. You could live in a world without them today - couldn't say that in the 70's.
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