Rock Stars and Famous Guitars
It’s not just rock stars that enter the records of music history; the instruments they play do too. Some guitars are just as well-known as the icons who slung them over their shoulders. Here is a list of guitars famously beloved by their players and fans alike:
Monterey Stratocaster, Jimi Hendrix
It’s hard to think of any other guitar as famous as Jimi Hendrix’s Monterey Stratocaster. Even non-rock fans know it as the guitar Hendrix set on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival. Later, the rock legend explained that he did it because he loved this Strat so much. Hendrix once said, “You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.” Since then, the Monterey Stratocaster and its flowery design have become a staple of pop culture.
Jag-Stang, Kurt Cobain
The Jag-Stang was designed by the late Nirvana frontman himself. Cobain made a prototype of the Jag-Stang using a collage of Fender Mustang and Fender Jaguar Polaroids. Following Cobain’s death, Fender started to produce an actual guitar model based on the prototype, also named Jag-Stang. Courtney Love later gave the original prototype to Peter Buck of R.E.M.
Old Black, Neil Young
Old Black is well known among rock fans as the instrument Neil Young recorded most of his electric guitar tracks on. Young traded in this Gibson Les Paul way back in 1969 and made a significant number of modifications, ensuring that the guitar would one day be priceless.
Fender Esquire, Bruce Springsteen
This Fender Esquire made from natural wood entered the annals of rock history after The Boss appeared on this cover of “Born to Run,” his most famous album, with it slung over his shoulder. Springsteen has made many modifications to the guitar over the years, making it just as iconic as he is.
Blackie, Eric Clapton
The yin-yang hued Blackie made headlines back in 2004 for selling out at auction for nearly a million dollars. This fifties model Fender Stratocaster was heavily customized by Clapton using guitar parts he had purchased at an instrument shop in Nashville in the seventies. By the time Clapton retired, Blackie was just as famous as the rock star himself.
Micawber, Keith Richards
Keith Richards’s much-loved guitar, Micawber, was named after a character in Charles Dickens’ classic novel “David Copperfield.” But that’s not the only fun fact about this legendary guitar. Richards made it by customizing a Fender Telecaster from the fifties, notably by removing the sixth string.
Cloud is not just a guitar, it is a movie star. Prince debuted this gorgeously curvy instrument in the Purple Rain movie, and fans have not forgotten it since. Cloud is truly a unique guitar; it was custom-made just for Prince by a luthier in Minneapolis, the rock star’s home state. Later, the brand Schecter began to reproduce commercial guitars based on Cloud.
And There Are Many More…
Such as Brian May’s signature tones emanating from the iconic Red Special. Queen wouldn’t quite sound like Queen.
And who can forget Jimmy Page’s Gibson EDS-1275? Would “Stairway to Heaven” have become the epic rock track it is today without this doubled-necked guitar? Maybe, but that’s not the point. The Led Zeppelin guitarist used it in the record and the rest, as they say, is history.
Many a rock song we go crazy for today wouldn’t have been made had it not been for equally epic guitars. Thanks to keen playing hands and just looking cool, we can celebrate these guitars just as much as we celebrate those who originally played them.