Jimmy Page - Blue Stratocaster


Jimmy Page acquired his 1964 Fender Lake Placid Blue Stratocaster in April 1975 from Sam Ash in New York City and used it at the 1975 Earls Court shows for "No Quarter" and "Over The Hills And Far Away". It was also used in 1979 and 1980 for "In The Evening".

In the studio, Page used the Fender Stratocaster in the Presence sessions, on "For Your Life" and "Hots On For Nowhere".

Page continued to use the Stratocaster into the 1980's.

1964 Fender Stratocaster - Lake Placid Blue

Waddy Wachtel - 1960 Les Paul

Waddy Wachtel has played with Bob Dylan, The Everly Brothers, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, Joe Walsh and many more.

His 1960 Les Paul with factory Bigsby was purchased for $350 from Stephen Stills in 1968, soon after he had moved to Los Angeles to do session work.

According to Waddy, he bought this guitar because:

“I really loved the slim neck. Not slim in width, but from top to bottom. And clear as a bell. A lot of treble and a lot of tone."

1960 Gibson Les Paul - Sunburst

Mike Ness - Gibson Les Paul Deluxe


Mike Ness of Social Distortion says: "My main guitar that I use on stage and recording is a 1976 Gibson Goldtop Deluxe. When I got that guitar I took the humbuckers out and tossed them immediately into the trashcan and replaced them with P-90s. I learned that trick from Neil Young."

"The rear is a Seymour Duncan P90 pickup that is made especially for me the way I like it. The guitar has a Maple neck and I use a capo. And something about that Goldtop with the Maple neck and a capo makes open chords ring out really nicely. The trick is to find one under 9 pounds which is hard to do."

1976 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe - Gold

Pat Metheny - Roland G-303 Guitar Synthesizer Controller

Pat Metheny started using the Roland G-300 guitar synthesizer on the his Offramp album in 1979. Made in Japan by Ibanez, the Roland G-303 controller guitar is actually a great instrument in non-synth mode.

According to Metheny: "The GR-300 was the first and, for a long time, only guitar synth that had a musical quality to it. Every little nuance and detail of what you did came out through the instrument, in terms of touch, attack, dynamics, etc. and this was because it had nothing to do with MIDI."

Late 1970's Roland G-303 Guitar Synthesizer Controller - Brown

Carlos Santana - PRS Signature Model

Santana started playing some of the original Paul Reed Smith guitars in the late 1970's. Over the years, there have been a series of Santana Signature models, starting in the 1990's with the Santana I, through the Santana II, III and the Santana MD.

All have featured a 24.5 scale, twin humbuckers, chambered mahogany bodies and a variety of tremelos.

PRS Santana Signature - Orange Flame

Mark Farner - 1967 Messenger

Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad used a 1967 Messenger guitar on the early Grand Funk albums. Messenger guitars were built in Astoria, Oregon in 1967 and 1968 by the San Francisco-based Musicraft, Inc, and were the first to feature a magnesium-aluminum alloy neck.

The guitars also featured stereo output and a built-in fuzztone circuit known as the “Tone Messer.” Farner used the “Tone Messer” circuit often on solos. He gave the Messenger a psychedelic paint job and would stuff the hollow body with foam rubber and tape over the sound holes with tape to control feedback.

1967 Messenger - Custom Paint

Peter Frampton - Gibson Les Paul Custom


The 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom that Frampton played on Humble Pie’s Rock On and Rocking the Fillmore albums and his own Frampton Comes Alive! was given to him in 1970 by a man named Mark Mariana at a Humble Pie gig at the Fillmore West.

The Les Paul, which was believed to have been destroyed in a cargo plane crash in Caracas, Venezuela in 1980, was returned to Frampton in 2011 and restored by the Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville.


1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom - Black

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...

"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."

1978 Hamer Standard - Checkerboard Custom Design

J Mascis - Gibson CF-100

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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