Join 3,363 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The 28 Most Recognizable Guitars
December 6, 2007 1:50 PM   Subscribe

The 28 Most Recognizable Guitars.
posted by Soup (84 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would have put some things higher or lower in the list.

I hope this sums up what people would have said in the next 18 or so comments.
posted by poppo at 2:05 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


V
posted by stinkycheese at 2:06 PM on December 6, 2007


Not that it matters (enough with the lists, OK?), but where's Springsteen's Esquire?
posted by davebush at 2:07 PM on December 6, 2007


I don't know if it should be included, but I was hoping Mark Sandman's fretless two-string bass would be included.
posted by suckerpunch at 2:08 PM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


POLKA GODDAMN DOT FLYING FUCKING V.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:09 PM on December 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


Poppo's got it. But don't forget the omissions.

I nominate:
Ric Ocasek's turquiose Fender Jazzmaster
One of Woody Guthrie's many Martins, which he, emblazoned with the slogan "This Machine Kills Fascists"
And where are the ladies? Mother Maybelle's Gibson.
posted by Miko at 2:10 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, "What, no...?"
posted by gottabefunky at 2:10 PM on December 6, 2007


I think I included the word 'included' was included one too many times.
posted by suckerpunch at 2:11 PM on December 6, 2007


As in, what, no Steve Vai triple-neck heart guitar? Pretty damn recognizable.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:12 PM on December 6, 2007


I would have put some things higher or lower in the list.

I would have added a few (What, no....?): Andy Summers' Telecaster, Geddy Lee's Rickenbacker, what else?
posted by jalexei at 2:13 PM on December 6, 2007


Neil Young's black Les Paul
SRV's battered '59 Strat
Lemmy's Rickenbacker bass
posted by rocket88 at 2:16 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


hmm, that Andy Summers link vanished.... Here's a pic
posted by jalexei at 2:16 PM on December 6, 2007


where's django reinhardt's famous acoustic with a d-shaped sound hole and a 12-fret neck? or is this a "rockers only need apply" kind of thing?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:17 PM on December 6, 2007


Brian May's Red Special is not listed?
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:18 PM on December 6, 2007


Who thinks of Elvis when they see a Martin D-28 or Hendrix when they come across a white Strat? Just about every guitarist has at some point played a Martin dreadnought, and even more have played Stratocasters.
posted by bunnytricks at 2:26 PM on December 6, 2007


Outraged. I am outraged, I tell you, that a Fine and Respectable publication such as Blender would churn out such a shoddy piece of journalism.

Outraged.
posted by item at 2:26 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


This seems vaguely half assed to me.

Hendrix played tons of strats in all colors and vintages, he's only remembered for the white one because that was the one he played at Woodstock. Clapton also somewhat religiously played Gibsons (an SG and at times a Les Paul) in Cream and prior. Page was also more frequently played a 59 Les Paul Standard (and a 50s tele), although for some reason people like to picture him with that unwieldy double neck monstrosity.

Also missing: Tony Iommi's 61 SG with the Silver Cross fret inlays? Steve Howe's ES-175? Billy Zoom's Sparkle Jet? Brian Setzer's G6120?
posted by psmealey at 2:29 PM on December 6, 2007


The spinning mechanism of the guitars was reworked several times due to the body shape, playing style and beard length of the members of ZZ Top.

Har har.

Seconding the Woody Guthrie guitar.
posted by marxchivist at 2:30 PM on December 6, 2007


Jaco's Pastorius' bass?
posted by ardgedee at 2:31 PM on December 6, 2007


Joe Strummer's '66 Telecaster?
posted by pupdog at 2:32 PM on December 6, 2007


I'm sure it's way way down Blender's list, but near the top of my own list would be John Flansburg's Coral/Danelectro guitarlin and, Chet Atkins' signature Gretsch.
posted by JBennett at 2:33 PM on December 6, 2007


Buddy Guy's polka dot strat.
Chuck Berry's cherry red Gibson ES-335.
Angus Young's SG.
posted by psmealey at 2:35 PM on December 6, 2007


here's alvin lee's "big red" - a gibson ES-335

i have a '65 or '66 - they're sweet
posted by pyramid termite at 2:41 PM on December 6, 2007


You would think an article about how recognizable something is would include some pictures. Interesting read, though.
posted by TedW at 2:42 PM on December 6, 2007


This seems vaguely half assed to me.

Amen to that.

And what a shithouse user interface. At least let me know what page I'm on or visited. Hyperlinks can do that, or maybe I'm stuck in some Web 1.0 paradigm.

McCartney, Willy Nelson, Prince and Hendrix's guitars at the bottom of the list?
posted by mattoxic at 2:43 PM on December 6, 2007


you know those guitars that are, like, double guitars?
posted by snofoam at 2:44 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah, where Buddy Holly's Strat?

McCartney's psychedelic Rickenbacker?
posted by mattoxic at 2:48 PM on December 6, 2007


um, hi. I'm the SRV. Y'all remember me?
posted by shmegegge at 2:49 PM on December 6, 2007


Mark Knopfler's guitar? Y'know, the one that was on the cover of Brothers in Arms, one of the biggest-selling albums of all time?
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:51 PM on December 6, 2007


No Karl Hyde Tomato Guitar? :(
posted by mkb at 2:54 PM on December 6, 2007


Of course,Blender made no mention of Ned Steinberger's "Brooms", Q series basses, Steve Klein's GK, nor Mike Rutherford's GM, as those models used EMG pickups in their stock configuration.

*sulks*
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:00 PM on December 6, 2007


No mention of Yngwie's yellow, scalloped Strats? Lucille ranks below whatever it is Jack White plays?

And this is supposed to be "most recognizable," not "legendary?" My wife wouldn't recognize either McCartney's Hofner or Eddie's Frankenstrat, but she'd sure as hell recognize Prince's...umm...whatever....or Page's double-neck.

Hell, I'd move Zakk Wylde's LP up to about number 3 or 4, but maybe I've just seen too many Guitar Center catalogs.
posted by malocchio at 3:09 PM on December 6, 2007


Best typo: While playing a club in Australia, Young, SG in hand, tripped on a chord and fell to the ground during a guitar solo.
posted by rokusan at 3:14 PM on December 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


If we're talking about Mike Rutherford, how about his Shergold double-neck with detachable sections?
posted by anazgnos at 3:21 PM on December 6, 2007


malocchi: Yeah, "recognizable" doesn't mean what they think it means. If you put Clapton's Strat or Cobain's Mustang on the rack at the guitar shop, I probably wouldn't know them from any other used instrument, along with half of the other guitars on the list. The Axe bass, or the ZZ Top guitars, those are recognizable.
posted by indyz at 3:21 PM on December 6, 2007


Clapton's pyschedelic "Fool" SG
posted by psmealey at 3:42 PM on December 6, 2007


I don't know much about guitars, so if I owned one I might have trouble recognizing it. Imagine the embarrassment if I accidentally started playing my bandmate's guitar. The solution would be to have my name inlaid on the neck, a la The Collins Kids.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:46 PM on December 6, 2007


Brian Jones' Vox Phantom Mark III (and re-issue!).
posted by mazola at 3:50 PM on December 6, 2007


Mark Knopfler's guitar? Y'know, the one that was on the cover of Brothers in Arms, one of the biggest-selling albums of all time?

OK, just how many biggest selling albums of all time are there?
posted by mattoxic at 3:50 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


All of the points made above are valid.


They leave out obvious things and add odd things on purpose to get everyone to talk about their website/magazine/etc..
posted by wfc123 at 3:50 PM on December 6, 2007


As far as recognizable goes, I think Flansburgh's bizarre custom Mojo is the only guitar I would recognize and associate with the player.
posted by Durhey at 3:51 PM on December 6, 2007


Gee, no love from Blender for Jerry Garcia's Doug Irwin-made Tiger guitar? Shocking.
posted by mosk at 3:56 PM on December 6, 2007


Agreed, indyz.
posted by Miko at 3:57 PM on December 6, 2007


Ummmmm, where's Lucille? (B.B. King's gitfiddle for you kids).

Any "best of" guitar list that leaves her off is on drugs - and not in a good way.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:04 PM on December 6, 2007


Lucille's on page 5
posted by pupdog at 4:06 PM on December 6, 2007


Your favourite guitar sucks.
posted by bwg at 4:07 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lucille's on page 5

I looked three times and didn't see it - I'm on drugs, but in a good way.

My faith in the world has been redeemed a little.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:10 PM on December 6, 2007


If I see one more shitty, pointless list masquerading as an article I'm going to track down Kevin Rose and beat him to death. God fucking damn it.
posted by influx at 4:29 PM on December 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


I figured I would see Paul's violin-body Hofner, Eddie's mangled whatchacallit, and the five-necked thing from the Cheap Trick guy in there somewhere, so I guess I was mildly surprised they actually were.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:36 PM on December 6, 2007


Frankenstrat had a vintage 58 Strat tremelo? And three PAF's? I do not think so.
posted by chlorus at 4:37 PM on December 6, 2007


Shout out for The Wolf. Rightfully, not one of the most recognizable, but my absolute favorite.
posted by horsemuth at 4:47 PM on December 6, 2007


Tom Verlaine's Jazzmaster- recognizable from all others for the fact that he actually made a Jazzmaster sound good.
posted by Liv Pooleside at 5:00 PM on December 6, 2007


Phil Lesh's Guild Starfire bass. Again, probably the only person who could make one of these sound decent.
posted by Liv Pooleside at 5:04 PM on December 6, 2007


Man, after reading these comments and thinking about my own, it seems that Jon D'Auria and Mike Errico, the Blender writers(?) really suck and probably put about 5 minutes into this. Well, ok, maybe an hour or two.

On the other hand, thanks for the post and the great comments you ax-wielding commenters.
posted by snsranch at 5:24 PM on December 6, 2007


Stupid, stupid list.

I was expecting to see makes and models. Not makes, models and the dudes that played them. Who gives a fuck who played them. Most rock 'n rollers have multiple near-identical backups, anyway. I mean, if Pete Townshend's Les Paul was on the list, you'd be asking yourself "Which one?"

Here's my fucking list, because that list sucked.
  1. Fender Stratocaster
  2. Gibson Les Paul
  3. Fender Telecaster
  4. Rickenbacker 360/12
  5. Paul Reed Smith Custom 24
  6. Gibson ES-355
  7. Gibson SG
  8. Gretsch 6120
  9. Honorable Mention: Martin D-28
  10. Honorable Mention: National Duolian
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:43 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Crap, that Martin D-28 link should probably go here.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:46 PM on December 6, 2007


Shit, and I forgot the Steinberger L-series. If you hate the 80s, you probably won't mind it being left out.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:50 PM on December 6, 2007


It's absurd to omit Clapton's pyschedelic "Fool" SG and James Burton's paisley Telecaster, yet include Michael Angelo Batio's Reverse Double-Neck. Who the hell is Michael Angelo Batio?
posted by wsg at 5:51 PM on December 6, 2007


Might as well plug the Master's Gibson ES-295 although that might be better suited to the least recognizable list. Also in the running for least recognizable guitar is my Daion Power Mk. XX. I've yet to actually meet anyone that knew what it was.
posted by well_balanced at 5:53 PM on December 6, 2007


wow, we all missed one - roger mcguinn's 12 string rickenbacker

that really should have been on that list - shame on them

and as long as we're talking about rickenbacker players, paul mccartney ditched his hoffner bass for one pretty early on
posted by pyramid termite at 6:13 PM on December 6, 2007


well, civil disobedient did mention that guitar - ok ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:15 PM on December 6, 2007


Hell, I'd move Zakk Wylde's LP up to about number 3 or 4, but maybe I've just seen too many Guitar Center catalogs.

About 6 or 7 years ago, before I had a mortgage and I was feeling flush, I bought one of those beasts on eBay from a guy who bought on new from Musician's Friend. Now, I do not like Zakk Wylde or his playing, but that thing was a monster that had always intrigued/mesmerized me. It played and sounded beautifully, even for the crunchy indie rock I was playing out at the time. Great feel on the neck, and the EMG pickups had much better tone than any 57 classic or burstbucker LP setup I had played through.

Then there was an article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine featuring Mike Piazza. In the main inset photo of the article, there was a picture of him sitting on his couch, and on the floor next to him was a Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom. I sold the thing on eBay two fucking days later.
posted by psmealey at 6:32 PM on December 6, 2007


What about Rick Nielsen's Rick Nielsen-shaped guitar?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:49 PM on December 6, 2007


Oh, and no DanElectros?

I once had a Silvertone 335 copy with a Bigsby "bigspring" tremolo. My Dad gave it or threw it away when I left to join the army!!!!! Shit, piss, fuck. I replaced it with a real 1971 Gibson ES-335, a beautiful thing, it looked black but was actually a super dark amber for $500.00. Sold it, and will never see or play anything like it again.

Yea, I hate myself.
posted by snsranch at 7:25 PM on December 6, 2007


I just can't bear to click through 7 damn pages with only 4 listed per page. Do they need ad revenue that badly?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:55 PM on December 6, 2007


What about Rick Nielsen's Rick Nielsen-shaped guitar?

Yep. That I'd recognize more than most of these. Also, Joe Maphis' Mosrite.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:31 PM on December 6, 2007


I can't browse that Youtube-clogged site on dial-up, but I hope they included Susanna Hoff's Rickenbacker.
posted by rfs at 9:37 PM on December 6, 2007


Artist: Michael Angelo Batio
That's art, huh?

OK. So noted.
posted by Flunkie at 9:45 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


What, no Michael Schenker Flying V?
posted by evisceratordeath at 10:06 PM on December 6, 2007


I would like to think that Nokie Edwards and Johnny Ramone are the ones who made Mosrite guitars "recognizable"
posted by melorama at 3:22 AM on December 7, 2007


As long as we are naming specific guitars, you can't leave out Paul Simonon's Fender bass for sheer recognizability.
posted by TedW at 5:06 AM on December 7, 2007


I would like to think that Nokie Edwards and Johnny Ramone are the ones who made Mosrite guitars "recognizable"

Except that it was The Ventures, and Erik Brann of Iron Butterfly who did that.
posted by chlorus at 5:26 AM on December 7, 2007


and as long as we're talking about rickenbacker players, paul mccartney ditched his hoffner bass for one pretty early on
posted by pyramid termite


McCartney still plays his Hoffner and always has. I saw him on TV in a recent concert just the other night and there was the Hoffner again. I don't think he played his Rick the whole night.
posted by wsg at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2007


I'm going to bet that McCartney plays the Hofner these days because it is as light as a feather (contrasted with the Rick, which is as heavy as dark matter), rather than because of its sound. Hofners were cool and distinctive looking, but they sound incredibly thin and trebly. This was fine in the Beatles when they were playing underpowered AC30s, but I think he had to ditch it when amplification improved in the latter part of the 60s (and particularly with the arena rock band Wings).
posted by psmealey at 9:16 AM on December 7, 2007


I just can't bear to click through 7 damn pages with only 4 listed per page. Do they need ad revenue that badly?

Yeah, it's grating.
posted by ersatz at 9:51 AM on December 7, 2007


McCartney's Hoffner never sounded thin and trebly, not to be contrary.
posted by wsg at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2007


I was going to mention Michael Schenker's Flying V and James Burton's paisley Tele, but you guys beat me to it. So how about Trey Anastasio's Languedoc Custom Archtop Electric(s)? I think he has three of them.

No mention of Yngwie's yellow, scalloped Strats?

Actually I think it's officially "cream". He has several cream Strats, and over three hundred guitars total, most of them being Strats.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:46 PM on December 7, 2007


And thank dog they didn't bring up all the Charvel/Jackson Strats with their gaudy "artwork".
posted by Devils Slide at 12:51 PM on December 7, 2007


Did they include SRV's beaten up Sunburst Strat with his intials on the pick guard, and I missed it? Because it should really be on there.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:55 PM on December 7, 2007


Oops, sorry. I see several people brought up the SRV special.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:56 PM on December 7, 2007


McCartney still plays his Hoffner and always has.

The other day I was watching McCartney's Coming Up video from circa 1980, in which he played all the band members (apart from Linda, who played two of the background singers). It's in the same vein as Outkkast's Hey Ya and The Peppers' Dani Kalifornia, in that the video features each of the band members--in this case, the band members all being Paul--represting a different era of rock and roll. But anyway, the bass player in the video is Paul from his mop top days, wearing a suit and playing his Hoffner violin bass. The amazing thing is that he's about 40 in that video, yet looks exactly as he did in 1963.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:16 PM on December 7, 2007


"Coming Up" video (fun video; too bad the music's the discoesque album version).
posted by kirkaracha at 3:47 PM on December 7, 2007


Thanks, Kirkaracha. It's an almost perfect little bubblegum pop song. People don't realize how difficult it is to write an upbeat three minute pop song that works. It's much harder than writing a sad Bluesy ballad, at least according to just about every musician I've heard.
posted by Devils Slide at 7:14 PM on December 7, 2007


The amazing thing is that he's about 40 in that video, yet looks exactly as he did in 1963.

Friends of mine always used to joke about that, that McCartney went from bouncy, cute boy moptop to squishy middle-aged man overnight. We think it happened when he turned about 45.
posted by psmealey at 7:32 AM on December 8, 2007


« Older From aquarium toilets to sself-cleaning toilets t...  |  The Lost Border: Photographs o... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments