We’ve all got our list of iconic guitars and all are different. There’s nothing I like more than arguing about which guitars mean more to the history of Rock N’ Roll. So here is my own personal list of iconic guitars, in no particular order, that changed my life as a young and budding guitarist!
1) Slash – Guns N’Roses // Gibson Les Paul Standard 59 Replica
I remember the first time I heard Appetite for Destruction as a young teenager. The opening riff of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ caught my attention like no other. Seeing footage of them in their early years instantly hooked me! I fell in love with the guitar Slash was using here. He makes it sing!
2) Angus Young – ACDC // Gibson SG (mainly late 1960s versions)
We all know the classic ‘Back in Black’ riff, we’ve all tried to learn it, we’ve all wondered how he gets that tone, and we’ve all wondered how a man can still pull off a school uniform at the ripe old age of 60. Who knows – maybe the key to his youthful nature is his guitar!
3) Dan Auerbach – The Black Keys // Harmony H78
When I stumbled across The Black Keys at Glastonbury in 2010, I instantly fell in love! There’s not a band this side of the millennium that I’ve loved as much as these. THAT guitar was the guitar that turned me onto true ‘out-there’ vintage gear. The gold-foil pickups are too raunchy to ignore!
4) Tony Iommi – Black Sabbath // 1965 Gibson SG Special
It’s a 1965 SG Special and was extensively modified by John Birch, with high output pickups, poly-finished fretboard and adjustable bridge. This is the guitar Sabbath was built on and was used for the first six albums. What a deep sound he made!
5) Seasick Steve // Three-String Trance Wonder
In 2007, the family was sat around watching Jools Holland and we were blown away by this homeless looking man – Seasick Steve. Three strings and a foot stomp and he made our room dance!
6) Jimi Hendrix // 1968 Fender Stratocaster
There is nothing more to say…
7) Jimmy Page – Led Zeppelin // 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard
Jimmy Page’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard ‘Number One’ is one of the most iconic guitars in history. Dressed in the black dragon suit, cigarette dangling from the edge of his lips with ‘Number One’ slung low across his pelvis, chugging on the E7 chord riff to Whole Lotta Love is what most people think of when they think of Jimmy Page.
8) John Lennon – The Beatles // 1958 Rickenbacker 325
Lennon bought this “short arm” guitar, with a natural finish, gold pickguard and Kaufmann vibrato, on the Beatles’ first trip to Hamburg, after he saw jazzman “Toots” Thielemans playing a Ric model on an album cover. It went under some extreme modifications throughout his playing years and is now, thankfully, owned by his son, Sean Lennon.
9) Eddie Van Halen // Frankenstrat
Watching Eddie play ‘Eruption’ on this guitar spurred hours of finger tapping practice!
10) Stevie Ray Vaughan // 1962-1963 Fender Stratocaster
Last but certainly not least! The guitar was given to him by the owner of Ray Henning’s Heart of Texas music shop in 1973 and was his main performing instrument and companion throughout all his five studio albums. I’ve never heard such a powerful sound from his massive strings and his perfect marriage of Vibroverb/Tubescreamer/60s Strat!