19 Guitars With A Kill Switch – And My Favorites

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If you are after creative Eddie Van Halen, Buckethead, and Tom Morello tones, or maybe you are planning on shaking the guitar world with your own signature style, a kill switch might be a handy addition…

While listening to Bucketheads “Jordan” about 40x times and dreaming about being able to play it perfectly, I also managed to gather together the cream-of-the-crop guitars with a kill switch, plus I reveal my 3 favorites. This is a one killer list and worth checking for every kill switch lover. If you have any questions, check the FAQ section of this article or leave a comment.

I also reveal what cheap piece of gear allows you to get the kill switch effect out of your guitar without installation or needing to buy a new guitar.

Let’s get started…well, have look at this awesome use of a kills switch first, LIVE!:

YouTube video

Let’s now really get started…

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


19 Guitars With A Kill Switch

image displays Different types of guitar kill switches
1. Button switch of EVH 5150 Standard. 2. Toggle switch of Fender Tom Morello Stratocaster.

Note!

1. Button switch type kill switches are in general momentary type switches. This means that only when you press it, the signal goes off. When you release the button, the signal is back on!

2. Toggle switch type of kill switches are in general locking type switches. This means that when you turn the pickup signal off with it, it stays off until you turn it back on.

Jackson Pro Series Signature Chris Broderick Soloist HT6 has excellent upper-fret access, it offers mean tones, and it’s fast playing. The kill switch on it is a toggle-switch type, but it’s still smooth to use.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $549-699

$$= $700-899

$$$= $900-1199

$$$$= $1200-1799

$$$$$= $1800

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

ModelKill Switch TypePickupsBody StylePrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Epiphone Joan Jett Olympic Special – Cheapest Guitar With A Kill SwitchToggle-SwitchPowerHammer PRO humbuckerDouble-Cut, Joan Jett Olympic $Sweetwater* – Thomann*
Cort MBM-1 Matthew Bellamy Signature – Cheapest Guitar With A Kill Switch in EU – Best BudgetButton-Kill Switch 2 x Manson Design humbuckersSingle-Cut, Matthew Bellamy Signature $Guitar CenterThomann
Cort MBM-2P Matthew Bellamy SignatureButton-Kill SwitchManson humbucker & Manson P90Single-Cut, Matthew Bellamy Signature $$Thomann
Jackson Pro Series Signature Chris Broderick Soloist HT6 – Mean Sounding & Fast PlayingToggle-Switch2 DiMarzio Chris Broderick CB6 humbuckersModern Strat, Offset$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Machine Gun Kelly Signature PT – Excellent 1 Pickup GuitarToggle-SwitchSchecter USA Pasadena Plus humbuckerTele$$$SweetwaterThomann
EVH 5150 Standard – Best OverallButton-Kill Switch2 x Direct Mount EVH Wolfgang humbuckersModern Strat$$$SweetwaterThomann
Cort MBM-2H Manson Meta Matthew Bellamy SignatureButton-Kill SwitchManson Design humbucker & Sustainiac H pickupSingle-Cut, Matthew Bellamy Signature $$$Thomann
ESP LTD ArrowToggle-Switch1 x EMG 81 humbuckersV$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Chris Broderick ProCAB FR7 – 7 StringToggle-Switch2 x DiMarzio Chris Broderick CB7 humbuckersModern Strat, Offset$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Pro Series Chris Broderick Signature FR6Toggle-Switch2 x DiMarzio Chris Broderick CB6 humbuckersModern Strat, Offset$$$$SweetwaterThomann
BC Rich Shredzilla Extreme ExoticButton-Kill Switch1 x Active Fishman Fluence Modern Alnico & 1 x Active Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic humbuckerModern Strat$$$$Thomann
Fender Vintera ’60s Jaguar Modified HH – Great JaguarToggle-Switch2 x Atomic humbuckersJaguar$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Kenny Hickey C-1 EXToggle-SwitchSustainiac & Seymour Duncan JB SH-4B humbuckerModern Strat$$$$Thomann
BC Rich Mockingbird Extreme FLButton-Kill Switch1 x Active Fishman Fluence Modern Alnico & 1 x Active Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic humbuckerMockingbird, Offset$$$$Guitar CenterThomann
Fender Tom Morello Stratocaster – Best PremiumToggle-Switch1 x Seymour Duncan Hot Rails Strat SHR-1B humbucker (bridge) and 2 x Vintage Noiseless Strat single coilsStratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Legator Artist Signature CC-7 – 7 StringButton-Kill Switch1 x Seymour Duncan Nazgul & 1 Seymour Duncan Sentient humbuckersOffset, double-cut$$$$Thomann
Legator G7FX-AMT – 7 String, No HeadstockButton-Kill Switch2 x Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckersStrat-type, no headstock$$$$$Thomann
Legator G8FX-GLX – 8 String, No HeadstockButton-Kill Switch2 x Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckersStrat-type, no headstock$$$$$Thomann
EVH Wolfgang USA Edward Van Halen SignatureButton-Kill Switch2 x EVH humbuckers Wolfgang, offset, double-cut$$$$$SweetwaterThomann

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3 Best Guitars With A Kill Switch – My Favorites

Best Budget – Cort MBM-1 Matthew Bellamy Signature

What I like

  • Manson humbuckers offer versatile tones
  • Locking tuners keep the guitar in tune
  • 12”-16” compound radius fretboard makes riffing near the nut and soloing down the fretboard comfortable
  • Rare Tune-O-Matic bridge guitar with V neck shape
  • Usually flawless finish
  • Button type Kill switch enables you to tap into Buckethead and Van Halen-style effects (and Matthew Bellamy-style of course)

What I don’t like

  • I’m not the biggest fan of the body shape

Who is it for?

If you are after a budget to mid-range electric guitar with a kill switch, this Cort Meta Series MBM-1 Matthew Bellamy Signature axe is one of the top choices. It has several premium features from locking tuners to a compound radius, plus it’s versatile and comfortable to play. The body shape is not for everyone, but other than that, it’s a great instrument.

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Best Overall – EVH 5150 Standard 

What I like

  • Really fast playing
  • Direct Mount EVH Wolfgang Humbuckers works really well for rock, hard rock, and classic rock
  • 12″-16″ compound fretboard radius makes riffing near the nut and shredding down the neck smooth
  • D-Tuna-equipped Floyd Rose allows to instantly change to drop D
  • The truss rod is really easy to access
  • EVH-Branded Gotoh tuners are rock solid
  • The button kill switch is smooth to use

What I don’t like

  • Coil-split would be awesome
  • I prefer having the pickup switch in a normal Strat positioning

Who is it for?

If you are after an extremely fast-playing guitar with humbuckers that are made for rock, EVH 5150 Standard is an excellent choice. It’s equipped with D-Tuna Floyd Rose bridge that enables you to instantly change to drop D, the finish is usually flawless, the compound radius fretboard is smooth to shred, and the EVH Gotoh tuners are great.

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Best Premium – Fender Tom Morello Stratocaster

What I like

  • Locking nut paired with Deluxe Die-cast Sealed Locking ensure a killer tuning stability
  • Fender Vintage Noiseless Single-coils paired with Seymour Duncan Hot Rails SHR-1B Single-coil ensure crunchy distortion and clear cleans
  • Modern C neck shape and 9.5″-14″ compound fretboard radius makes playing all over the neck & fretboard smooth
  • Usually comes with a hardshell case
  • Surprisingly versatile
  • The toggle kill switch is not hard to use

What I don’t like

  • I personally think that the button kill switch is easier to use
  • The tone is not meaty enough for really heavy stuff

Who is it for?

If you are after a premium guitar with hot single-coils, value versatility, and are ok with a toggle-type kill switch, Fender Tom Morello Stratocaster is a top-notch choice. It usually comes with a hardshell case, it’s effortless to play, and it’s as versatile as a single-coil guitar can be.

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FAQ

What Is A Kill Switch On A Guitar?

A kill switch is generally placed between the volume knob and output jack in the wiring. The kill switch cuts the signal off completely when it’s pressed or toggled on.

Why Use A Kill Switch On A Guitar?

The kill switch enables the player to cut the signal off completely. This is generally used in a momentary way, you either press the button or toggle the switch on and off. This enables you to achieve cool rhythmic tones/effects. This demo reveals how the use of a kill switch sounds:

YouTube video


Can You Install A Kill Switch On A Guitar?

Yes you can. But this usually requires drilling a hole and doing some wiring & soldering. It’s far from an impossible task, but sometimes it’s better to let a luthier or guitar tech handle this kind of job. This great video reveals more:

YouTube video


How to Unlock Kill Switch Features Without Installation or Need To Buy A New Guitar?

Yes, there is a way. Enter:

D’Addario Circuit Breaker Instrument Cable

This D’Addario cable has a built-in momentary kill switch at the one end of the cable. This allows you to kill/cut the signal momentary.

But note that flicking the button with a finger for long periods of time is probably not a good idea, because this can mess up both the cable and the cable jack of the guitar. I recommend supporting the cable with your hand and hitting the button with your thumb, like in this video (I learned this trick for this guy):

YouTube video

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What Guitarists Use A Kill Switch On Their Guitar?

Here are a couple of guitarists known for using a kill switch on their guitars:

  • Matthew Bellamy
  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Buckethead
  • Tom Morello
  • Chris Broderick
  • Jonny Greenwood
  • Rob Zombie

Did Eddie Van Halen Use A Kill Switch?

Yes, Eddie Van Halen did use a kill switch occasionally. Nowadays a couple of EVH guitars also come equipped with a button kill switch. Here’s a video proof of Eddie Van Halen using a kill switch live:

YouTube video


Conclusion on Guitars With A Kill Switch

A kill switch does unlock a nice repertoire of new tricks for your playing. And personally, I think playing with a kill switch is a ton of fun. It’s not a must for me in a guitar, but it’s a nice plus.

I’m happy how this article turned out, it features the best guitars with a kill switch and is an all-around tight knowledge package about guitar kill switches. I hope this article helped you out, and maybe you even decided to get one of the guitars featured. If you have any questions, leave a comment, I and the GND team are here for you.

Now go, my son, and Rock!

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