The 10 Most Iconic Guitars In Rock History
via Musician's Friend/YouTube
More Than An Instrument
Millions of guitars are being sold every year. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Over time, it has become extremely popular especially since learning how to play this instrument is easier with the advent of the internet. We listed down the following rockstars and their iconic guitars not just because of their aesthetic appeal (although it could also be part of the package) but also for the backstory and the influential riffs they helped bring to life.
Check it out and let us know which one is your favorite.
10. Eddie Van Halen’s ‘Frankenstrat’
How iconic is Van Halen’s guitar? Even non-fans who see it will immediately say its his. He created this monster because he wanted to marry the Gibson sound with the physical functionality of a Fender Stratocaster. He made it himself for less than $150.
9. Brian May’s ‘Red Special’
Brian May built his own guitar with his father when he was only 16 years old. It took two years to finish and unlike other guitarists who dismantled and then assembled their guitars, the Red Special was made from scratch – think old fireplace wood, softwood, and plywood. Over the course of his career with Queen, there were very few instances when he would use a replica instead of the original one. But even today, he would still go back to using his reliable DIY guitar.
8. Eric Clapton’s ‘Blackie’
In 1970, Clapton made the switch to Fender Stratocasters. He then purchased six 1950s Strats – three of which he gave away to George Harrison, Pete Townshend, and Steve Winwood. He dismantled the remaining three and took the best parts to create Blackie. Aside from using Blackie for his live performances, he also used the black-finished guitar on several of his classic hits like “Cocaine”, “Wonderful Tonight”, and “Lay Down Sally.”
7. Prince’s ‘Cloud’
Made famous in Prince’s acting debut in Purple Rain, the custom-built guitar was so stunning and striking that Prince ordered two more. He would alternate all three of them during his live gigs.
6. Bo Diddley’s Cigar Box Guitar
For years, Diddley made several homemade guitars built from cigar boxes. He wasn’t the only one who used it but it was closely associated with him. It was what he used to create that 1950s sound.
5. Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Number One’
Also known as First Wife, he used his extensively during recording sessions and for his live performances. He used it for all of his studio albums. In 2003, Fender made 100 replicas of Number One priced at $10,000 each.
4. Keith Richards’ ‘Micawber’ Fender Blackguard Telecaster
Remember the Rolling Stones’ huge and heavy sound on their popular but controversial 1971 song “Brown Sugar”? You have Richards’ Micawber to thank for that. He received this butterscotch blonde guitar as a gift on his 27th birthday from fellow axeslinging hero Eric Clapton. It arrived just in time before they started working on the monolithic record Exile on Main Street. Richards also used Micawber for numerous recording sessions and world tours.
3. Jimmy Page’s double-neck Gibson EDS-1275
One of the images you’ll likely conjure when you think of Jimmy Page and his guitar is the now-famous double-neck Gibson EDS-1275. He popularized it along with other guitar heroes like Alex Lifeson, Don Felder, and John McLaughlin. Page used it during several live performances of “Stairway to Heaven.”
2. Jimi Hendrix’s Monterey Fender Stratocaster
You’ve probably seen it somewhere. One of the most iconic photos in rock ‘n roll history – Jimi Hendrix kneeling on stage as he set his colorful guitar ablaze after their performance. He was trying to upstage Pete Townshend. Obviously, he succeeded.
1. B.B. King’s ‘Lucille’
Although the name is often associated with King’s black Gibson ES-355, Lucille is basically the name he gave his guitars. It has an interesting backstory – while playing in Arkansas, a fight broke out in the dance hall and the men involved accidentally knocked over a barrel filled with burning kerosene. Everyone hurriedly went outside but King went back to retrieve his Gibson guitar. He then learned that the fight was over a woman named Lucille. King didn’t know her but eventually started calling whatever guitar he’s using as Lucille.