Joan Jett - Gibson Melody Maker


While playing in the Runaways, Jett was using a blond Les Paul and wanted a lighter guitar.  She heard from one of her road crew that Eric Carmen from the Raspberries was selling the Melody Maker that he played on “Go All the Way” and other Raspberries hits.

She used her original Melody Maker on “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” “Crimson and Clover,” “Do You Want to Touch Me” and “Bad Reputation”, then took it off the road because "I got nervous that someone was gonna steal it or break it. It’s so beautiful. It’s white, has no stickers on it, and there are cracks in the paint and yellowing from age or club cigarettes".

1970's Gibson Melody Maker - White

Richard Thompson - 1959 Sunburst Stratocaster

Since Richard Thompson was a founding member of Fairport Convention, this Stratocaster was his main electric guitar, and was used on 1982's "Shoot Out The Lights" which Rolling Stone magazine rates as one of the best rock albums of all time.

Thompson purchased it in 1971 on London's Denmark Street and replaced the worn out original rosewood fingerboard neck ten years later with an all maple 1955 neck.

The Strat was recently restored by Thompson's long time tech and stage manager Bobby Eichorn.

1959 Fender Stratocaster - Sunburst

Rick Nielsen - Hamer Standard

Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick has played his 1978 Hamer Standard over 3,000 times live on the band's "Dream Police" track.

Rick based the checkerboard design on his childhood experiences, when he would watch test patterns on TV, as well as an alternative to Buddy Guy's polka dot guitar design.

1978 Hamer Standard - Checkerboard Custom Design 

My fascination with the checkerboard pattern, which is pretty much my signature, began when I was a young kid and the TV stations would go off the air at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night. I would sit there sometimes and just stare at the bug races or the Indian test patterns. I knew if you stared at them long enough, something good or bad was going to happen. I guess I could have gone with polka dots like Buddy Guy, but I always felt like there was too much empty space between them. - See more at: http://www.guitaraficionado.com/ricks-picks-1978-hamer-checkerboard-standard.html#sthash.aQXZUZx4.dpuf

J Mascis - Gibson CF-100

O
For his solo acoustic gigs, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr often plays a 1950's Gibson CF-100 equipped with a Sunrise sound hole pickup.

A model also played by Marc Bolan of T Rex, the CF-100 was produced from 1951 through 1959 and is the only 1950's Gibson flat top acoustic with a cutaway.

1950's Gibson CF-100 - Sunburst

Phil Lesh - The Godfather Bass

In the early 1970's, Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead had his heavily modified Gibson EB3 stolen.  His next bass, dubbed "The Godfather" was a walnut Guild Starfire with three Alembic pickups, including a quad pickup with four outputs for each string.

Lesh added an Alembic "Superfilter" and other electronics, replaced the headstock, replaced the pickguard with a large one for the 14 different knobs and packed foam rubber into the Starfire's body to help eliminate feedback from the hollow body.

1968 Guild Starfire Bass - Walnut


Malcolm Young - Gretsch Jet Firebird

Malcolm Young of AC/DC plays a 1963 Gretsch Jet Firebird with a number of modifications, including stripping the original red paint to a natural finish, removing the neck pickup and the added middle pickup from the 1970's, as well as numerous changes to the original Burns vibrato bridge.

1963 Gretsch Jet Firebird - Natural

Billy Duffy - Gretsch White Falcon

Billy Duffy of The Cult bought his first 1970's single cutaway, mono Gretsch White Falcon in the early 1980′s.

According to Duffy:

"Gretsch’s are great. They’ve got their sound, obviously, but there’s the look – it’s distinctive. You strap on a Gretsch, and you’re saying something with how you look. The visual thing is very important in rock ‘n’ roll. A Gretsch is a fashion statement, as well as an instrument for sound."

"Over time I’ve modified my various White Falcons to personalise the sound. I changed the pickups initially in the ‘80s because the output was so feeble, so Seymour Duncan helped me – I’ve been working with him since 1986."

"I wanted to keep all of the high end “chime” of a Gretsch, but with the lower end chunk of a Les Paul."

1970's Gretsch White Falcon - White

Woody Guthrie - Gibson Southern Jumbo


Woody Guthrie owned and played numerous acoustic guitars during his career including Slingerland, Martin and a number of Gibson models.

While on leave from the Merchant Marine in December 1943, Woody purchased his beloved Gibson Southern Jumbo in New York City.

Gibson introduced the J-45 dreadnought guitar in 1942 to compete with popular Martin D style dreadnought guitars.  The J-45′s sunburst finish started as a way to hide imperfections in the wood.

Gibson then introduced the Southern Jumbo which was essentially a J-45 with better trim including trapezoid mother-of-pearl inlays on the fretboard.

1943 Gibson Southern Jumbo - Sunburst

Jimi Hendrix - White Woodstock Stratocaster

The 1968 Olympic White Strat that Hendrix played at Woodstock in 1969 was purchased new by Hendrix at Manny's Music in New York.

Hendrix gave the guitar to drummer Mitch Mitchell after his final live performance in 1970.  Mitchell held on to the Strat until 1990 when it was auctioned at Sotheby's.

The iconic Strat was subsequently sold to Microsoft's Paul Allen in 1992 and is displayed at Allen's Experience Music Project in Seattle.

1968 Fender Stratocaster - Olympic White

Bob Weir - Gibson ES-335

Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead has played many guitar brands in his career including Ibanez, Guild and Modulus, but is most notably associated with a 1959 sunburst Gibson ES-335 that he acquired in the late 1960's and played extensively during the classic Dead era of the late sixties and early seventies.

1959 Gibson ES-335 - Sunburst

Jonsi Por Birgisson - "Bird"

Jonsi of Sigur Ros uses a custom guitar that was handcrafted by his former guitar tech Dan Johnson.  It features a single Seymour Duncan ’59 humbucker pickup and a built-in treble boost circuit.

The guitar is called “Bird,” due to the bird inlays. The bird on the body below the neck was carved by Jonsi himself.

He plays with a cello bow, bowing both in front of and behind the bridge, and is not particular about rosin, which his current guitar tech says seems to darken the tone.

Custom Guitar -Walnut

Josh Homme - Maton Guitars

Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal and Them Crooked Vultures uses a number of Australian manufacturer Maton's models, notably the BB1200 series.

Maton has been making guitars in Australia since 1946.  Josh has his own signature model, the Maton BB1200JH which features a Victorian Blackwood front and back, along with a Rock Maple neck.

Recent Maton BB1200JH - Tobacco Sunburst

Bob Dylan - The Newport Stratocaster

The 1964 Fender Stratocaster that Bob Dylan played in his historic electric set at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 was lost for 47 years when Dylan left it on an airplane.  It surfaced with the daughter of the pilot of the plane and was authenticated as the guitar Dylan used at Newport by expert Andy Babiuk on the PBS show "History Detectives" in 2012.


1964 Fender Stratocaster - Sunburst

Nile Rodgers - Fender Stratocaster

Funk legend Nile Rodgers bought the Stratocaster he calls "The Hitmaker" in 1973.  It is the combination of a 1959 body and a 1960 neck.

The classic Chic riffs like "Le Freak" were played on the neck pickup with a bit of compression.

According to Rodgers: "My style is actually based on a jazz technique known as the George Van Eps style, which teaches you how to play all of your inversions on sets of three strings, up and down the neck. Even if I finger six notes, I’m always concentrating on only playing three at a time."

1959 Fender Stratocaster - White

Freddie King - Gibson ES-355

Blues legend and Rock Hall member Freddie King used a Gibson Les Paul with P-90 pickups on his early recordings.  He started using Gibson ES-355's in the mid 1960's.  Freddie replaced the Vibrola tremelo with a stop tailpiece.

The ES355 was intended to be a deluxe version of the ES335 and featured an ebony fingerboard, pearl block inlays, gold-plated hardware, six-position Varitone and multiple binding on the body, neck and fingerboard.  The headstock was also adorned with the Les Paul Custom-style 'split-block' pearl inlay.

1967 Gibson ES-355 - Cherry