A guitarist is always at the forefront of any rock band. They strut their stuff on stage and are idolised by their adoring fans. They are the showmen of the music scene and usually have the personalities to match. Their instruments are the tools of their trade and an integral part of their charisma. Here we pay homage to these stringed beauties by looking at some of the most famous to date.
Jimmi Hendrix’s Stratocaster
The scorched 1965, Stratocaster which was stored in a garage for the last 40 years recently sold for £285,000. Hendrix set fire to it in 1967, as a stunt during a performance at Finsbury Park, London. It was a stunt which backfired as he suffered minor burns.
Prince’s “the artist” Guitar
One of the most recognisable guitars on the list is Prince’s Yellow Cloud which was prominent on stage with him during the Diamonds and Pearls tour between 1989 and 1992.Designed by the artist, it contains his distinctive icon. It’s now on display in the Smithsonian.
Jimmy Page’s 1275 Gibson
Fans of Led Zeppelin will no doubt recognise this one. It’s the double neck 1275 Gibson which has become synonymous with the musician. An eye catching piece of equipment no doubt representing a ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Keith Richards’ “Micawber” Telecaster
Here we see Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones with his trusted ‘Micawber’. The 52 Telecaster is famed for its crunchy sound which Richards utilised to its greatest potential on the guitar solo ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. The Telecaster was created in the 1940’s and is still going strong today.
BB King’s Gibson
This is one of the most iconic guitars in the world since it’s a signature model for the amazing BB King. It’s been said that King saved a guitar from a fire which was the result of a fight caused over a girl named Lucille. He has called all his guitars Lucille ever since. This one is a Gibson ES 335 which is identical to that of Chuck Berry’s in all but colour.
Brian May’s “Red Special”
This guitar was nicknamed the ‘Red Special’ and was an instrument that was hand built by May and his father. It is said that May couldn’t afford one of the high performing guitars at the time, so set about creating his own. It took two years but the sound was certainly worth it.
John Lennon’s Ed Mahon Show Guitar
This guitar was not necessarily famous for its sound or even its owner. Yes it was owned by John Lennon but it was more famous for being the guitar used by Lennon on the Ed Mahon show and as a guitar which he went on to use on many of the Beatles early hits.
Bob Marley’s “Old Faithful” Les Paul Special
This is Bob Marley’s Les Paul special nicknamed ‘Old Faithful’. This guitar accompanied the great musician on many of his live tours across the globe. It is without doubt the guitar that introduced reggae music to the rest of the word outside of Jamaica. The instrument is said to have been buried with the superstar in 1981!
Chuck Berry’s Gibson ES 335
Chuck Berry is widely regarded as the pioneer of rock and roll. In fact John Lennon once said that if it wasn’t called rock n roll, it would be called ‘Chuck Berry’. The Gibson ES 335 was said to be the guitar which started it all and it was this instrument which played the world famous hits ‘Johnny B Goode’ and ‘Roll Over Beethoven’
Les Paul’s Gibson
Last but in no way least is a guitar by the magnificent Les Paul. Paul was the pioneer of the electric guitar and without him (and Chuck Berry), we wouldn’t have rock n roll, simple as that. His Gibson ‘Les Paul’ brand of guitars are the most famous in the world and have been used by various other musicians as we can see from this list.
Many thanks to DV247 for their help with this article. Check out their website for all your guitar needs and find well-known brands as mentioned in this article including Fender and Gibson.