Best Gibson Guitarists: Les Paul, SG, ES-335 and other models
Top Gibson guitarists, featured musicians who used Les Paul, SG, ES-335, Flying V, Firebird, Explorer, Les Paul Junior, and Special guitars.
Table of Contents
The best guitarists who used Gibson guitars
This is the most comprehensive list of the most prominent guitarists and musicians who have used Gibson guitars. This record shows all the musicians who have played any of the Gibson guitar models in a prominent way. Any artist who has used a Gibson for live performances or studio recordings is included.
Gibson has been one of the world’s leading guitar companies since its inception. Throughout its history, the best musicians have used Gibson guitars. Thus, this detailed list includes the most important Gibson players, from the beginning of the electric guitar, to the present day. Thus, you will find a large number of guitarplayers -more than 180- with an extensive career and who used Gibson in an outstanding way. First, we chose the list of the best guitar players and most outstanding musicians of all time that used Gibson.
Next, we chose the list of the most iconic guitarists of the main Gibson models: Les Paul, SG, ES-335 and variants, Flying V, Firebird and Explorer. Finally, we make a super detailed list with more than 180 guitarists grouped by musical genre and alphabetical order.
Description of guitarist and Gibson guitar
In the extensive list of Gibson Guitarists we detail both the guitarists, or player, and the guitars they used. We have detailed the different Gibson guitar models, year and main characteristics. Thus, you will find fundamental musicians in the history of Gibson.
Most iconic Gibson guitarists
- Jimmy Page
- Peter Green
- BB King
- Les Paul
- Albert King
- Zakk Wylde
- Angus Young
- Gary Moore
- Billy Gibbons
- Tommy Iommi
The most popular guitarists of each Gibson guitar model
Most iconic Gibson Les Paul guitarists
- Jimmy Page
- Les Paul
- Gary Moore
- Peter Green
- Chuck Berry
- Randy Rhoads
- Zakk Wylde
- Frank Zappa
- Billy Gibbons
Most iconic Gibson SG guitarists
- Angus Young
- Pete Townshend
- Tommy Iommi
- Derek Trucks
- Frank Zappa
- Frank Marino
- George Harrison
- Robby Krieger
- Eric Clapton
Most iconic Gibson ES-335 / ES-345 / ES-355 guitarists
- Chuck Berry
- BB King
- Larry Carlton
- Alvin Lee
- Freddie King
- Noel Gallagher
- Ritchie Blackmore
- Dave Grohl
- Joe Bonamassa
- John Scofield
- Alex Lifeson
Most famous Gibson Flying V guitarists
- Jimi Hendrix
- Albert King
- Dave Davies (The Kinks)
- Lenny Kravitz
- K.K. Downing (Judas Priest)
- Paul Stanley
- Michael Schenker (UFO)
- Lonnie Mack
- Andy Powell (Wishbone Ash)
- Richie Faulkner (Judast Priest)
Most Influential Gibson Firebird Guitarists
- Allen Collins
- Johnny Winter
- Joe Bonamassa
- Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown
- Eric Clapton
- Phil Manzanera
- Gary Moore
- Brian Jones
- Warren Haynes
- Dave Grohl
Most staked Gibson Explorer guitarists
- Lzzy Hale
- Eric Clapton
- James Hetfield (Metallica)
- The Edge (U2)
- Jason Hook
- Allen Collins
- Gary Moore
- Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)
- Matthias Jabs (Scorpions)
- Dave Keuning (The Killers)
Most influential Gibson guitarists ever of each musical genre
Top Blues and Rock ‘n Roll Gibson Guitarists / Players
The Rock, Blues and Jazz guitarist uses a Johnny A Signature model designed to his specifications.
Progressive Rock, Rock, Blues, Jazz Fusion guitarist Jan Akkerman has used a Gibson L5, a Les Paul Custom and a modified Les Paul Personal. The Gibson Les Paul Custom is the guitar with which it is generally associated the guitarist.
Rock band The Allman Brothers Band guitarist Duane Allman used a 1957 Les Paul Goldtop with PAF pickups, a 1959 cherry sunburst Les Paul, a 1958 tobacco sunburst Les Paul and a 1968 SG cherry which he used for slide guitar.
Rock guitarist Jeff Beck bought his first 1959 Les Paul for £ 150 while a member of The Yardbirds. Beck’s fascination with the guitar stemmed as much from his interest in Les Paul, the famous jazz guitarist, as in the instrument itself. Beck told an interviewer: “It had a deep, powerful sound and could be used to imitate almost anything: violin, sax, cello, even a sitar.” Beck also used from 1972 to 1976, a 1954 Oxblood-colored Les Paul Standard with PAF pickups. Jeff Beck can be seen with the guitar on the cover of the album Blow by Blow.
Martin Barre, Progressive Rock and Folk Rock guitarist and member of Jethro Tull, has used numerous Gibson models. Among Barre’s guitars are a Gibson ES-330 sunburst, a 1958 Les Paul Special, and a 1959 Les Paul Standard.
Country and Rock guitarist Franny Beecher played a 1956 black Les Paul Custom throughout his career with Bill Haley and the Comets in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Anthony Duster Bennett
Anthony Duster Bennett, British blues singer and harmonica player, played a 1952 Les Paul Goldtop throughout his career. Peter Green gave him the guitar in 1968. After Bennett’s death, the guitar was given to musician Anthony Top Topham.
Bobby Bland’s Blues guitarist Wayne Bennett used a white Gibson Byrdland guitar, ES-355 Sunburst, ES-135, ES-137,
The father of Rock ‘N Roll, Chuck Berry, used a Gibson ES-350T early in his career, then switched to the ES-345 and ES-355 guitars.
Dickey Betts, guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band, uses a variety of Gibson models including a 1961 SG, a 1957 Les Paul, and more.
Ritchie Blackmore used a 1961 Gibson ES-335 from 1962 to 1970. Blackmore can be seen playing guitar in Deep Purple’s official live video for “Child in Time.”
Mike Bloomfield used a 1954 Gibson Les Paul in his time with the Butterfield Blues Band. Bloomfield used this Les Paul for some of the East-West sessions. Years later, Bloomfield traded in that guitar for a 1959 $ 100 Les Paul Standard. This “Burst” was the guitar that Bloomfield used as a member of Electric Flag, and on the Super Session album and concerts. Bloomfield along with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton influenced many other guitarists to start using the Les Paul. Mike lost the guitar in Canada. According to Wolkin and Keenom’s bio, a club owner kept the guitar as compensation after Bloomfield interrupted a round of performances.
Marc Bolan, frontman of the Glam Rock band T. Rex, used Les Paul Standard, Custom and Flying V. His Les Paul lead guitar was refinished in a dull orange to resemble the Gretsch guitars played by his idol Eddie Cochran.
Joe Bonamassa, guitarist and singer of Blues and Rock, is famous for his large collection of approximately 400 guitars. JoBo is a well known Gibson guitar fan, and has many Gibson Les Pauls, ES-335, Memphis, Flying V, SG, EDS-1275, Firebird, Explorer, ES-355, Hummingbird, and more!
Clarence «Gatemouth» Brown
Blues musician Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown used several Gibsons, including the ES-335 and L5. His lead guitar was a Firebird Non Reverse from the late ’60s.
Quicksilver Messenger Service’s John Cipollina used two highly customized SGs with bat-shaped plastic trim cut from pickguard material, extended bindings, older Les Paul pickups, with the neck pickup mounted backwards, Grover Imperial tuning pegs, and coins. dime sticks to the top of the volume and tone controls. He also added Bigsby B5 vibratos to both guitars.
Eric Clapton “Slowhand” has used many Gibson guitars during his career. The second guitar Clapton owned was a 1964 red ES-335 that he used with The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and as a solo artist. In 2004, Clapton donated the guitar to an auction to benefit the Crossroads Center, where it sold for $ 750,000. So a world record price for a guitar. In 1965, Clapton purchased a 1960 Les Paul that he used while he was a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and Cream. This was the first of several 1958-60 Les Pauls that Clapton has owned. This contributed significantly to the popularity of the Les Paul, which had been discontinued in 1960. Clapton also owned a 1957 Les Paul Goldtop that was refinished in Deep Cherry. Later he gave this guitar to his friend George Harrison.
In 1967 Clapton acquired a 1964 Gibson SG painted by the Dutch artists known collectively as The Fool. That SG guitar he used on the Cream Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire albums. Other models that Clapton has used extensively include a 1958 Gibson Firebird I and Gibson Explorer that he used on his 461 Ocean Boulevard and the EC Was Here albums.
Allen Collins, Rock guitarist and member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rossington-Collins Band, Allen Collins Band, used a Gibson Firebird and later switched to a Gibson Explorer. Starting in late 1977, he also occasionally used a double cutaway Les Paul Junior.
Dave Davies of the Rock band The Kinks has used numerous Gibson models over the years. Some of the highlights were a 1958 Gibson Flying V -prototype model-, a 1960 Les Paul Goldtop, and a 1978 Artisan.
Reverend Gary Davis
Blind Gary Davis, a blues and gospel musician, used a Gibson SJ-200 and a Gibson B-45-12 twelve-string with bowed shoulders.
Rock band Blue Öyster Cult’s Buck Dharma played a 1969 Gibson SG and used an ES-175 guitar for the guitar riff on “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” He also used a 1974 Les Paul.
Rock, Country and Folk musician Bob Dylan is another guitarist who uses Gibson acoustic guitars. Thus, Bob has his own Gibson SJ-200, inspired by the guitar that George Harrison gave him.
Elliot Easton of the rock band The Cars used several Gibson SG models and a Les Paul Custom in the “Since You’re Gone” video. Gibson produced an exclusive Elliot Easton SG model as part of its “Inspired By” series manufactured by the Gibson Custom Shop.
Blues and Rock and Roll guitarist Duane Eddy “The King of the Twang Guitar” has used many different Gibson models throughout his career. Gibson produces a Duane Eddy Signature model.
Rock guitarist The Edge of U2 uses several Gibson models. Among the best known are a 1976 Gibson Explorer Limited Edition, a Les Paul Custom, a 1983 30th Anniversary Goldtop, an ES-335, an SG, and a J-200.
Peter Frampton, guitarist for the rock band Humble Pie, uses a three-pickup Les Paul Custom. Additionally, Gibson has made two Signature models.
Rock guitarist Roger Fisher of Heart and Alias has used a beautiful natural finish “The Les Paul” and a Gibson SG modified by Luthier Ed Myronyk, made into a double neck guitar.
Rock guitarist Samantha Fish always wears a Gibson SG Standard in Alpine White.
Kiss’s Ace Frehley used a three-pickup Les Paul Custom, as well as an Ace Frehley Signature model and an EDS-1275. He also used a Les Paul Standard.
Noel Gallagher, guitarist and singer for Oasis, is a huge fan of Gibson guitars. His lead guitar is a Gibson ES-355 Cherry. In addition, the musician uses Les Pauls, ES-345, SG, Flying V, Firebird Non Reverse and J-150. Noel Gallagher has his Gibson J-150 Signature acoustic guitar model.
Grateful Dead rock guitarist Jerry Garcia played Gibson Les Paul and Gibson SG guitars early in his career. Then Jerry switched to using Fender Stratocaster guitars in the early 70’s. Later, he began to use custom instruments.
Hank Garland was a Nashville native Rock N ‘Roll, Country and Jazz guitarist who played with Elvis Presley and other top artists. He worked with Billy Byrd, his Nashville partner, to design the Gibson Byrdland guitar. The name of the guitar is a combination of both surnames: Byrd + (Gar) land = Byrdland. Garland also used a Gibson ES-150 guitar and an electrified L-7.
ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons has used several different Gibson models throughout his career. Among the guitars he used were: Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, Flying V, Explorer, ES-5 Switchmaster and Les Paul Junior. His lead guitar is a 1959 Les Paul Standard nicknamed “Pearly Gates.” The “Pearly Gates” guitar has such an unmistakable character, it is characterized by having many medium frequencies.
The guitarist of the British rock band Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, has among his main guitars, a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with P90 pickups and Bigsby tremolo from 1955.
Peter Green, guitarist for John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and founder of Fleetwood Mac, is famous for his 1959 Les Paul that accidentally had the pickups plugged out of phase. This gave a unique and particular sound to his Gibson Les Paul guitar. Green bought it and used it on almost every record he made between 1965 and 1970. That guitar later belonged to Gary Moore, and now Kirk Hammett would own it.
George Harrison, the legendary Beatles guitarist, used a Les Paul, SG, ES-345TD, J-160E and J-200. One of the most famous Gibson guitars is George Harrison’s Lucy, a red Gibson Les Paul that he received from Eric Clapton in August 1968.
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers Band, uses a Gibson Les Paul Custom, Les Paul Standard, SG, an ES-335 and a Firebird Non Reverse. Gibson made a version “inspired by” Haynes’ main Les Paul guitar.
The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward has used a 1963 Gibson ES-335 with a factory installed Bigsby vibrato tailpiece for almost his entire career.
Jimi Hendrix used several Gibson models. Among the Gibson guitars I use are: SG Custom, Flying V, Les Paul Special, and the occasional Les Paul Custom. Gibson also gave him two guitars in 1970, a custom Flying V and an ES-345, both left-handed guitars. Gibson produced a reissue of the 1967 Flying V, including the psychedelic floral design that Hendrix himself had hand painted on the original.
Yes, Asia, GTR member Steve Howe uses a Gibson ES-175, and has also used an ES-345 guitar, an EDS-1275 and an ornate Les Paul model called “The Les Paul” No. 26 from 1976 in Wine Red finish with one-piece maple neck. In 2002, Gibson introduced the Steve Howe Signature ES-175.
Eric Johnson used a Gibson ES-335 and an SG. The Gibson ES-335 guitar was used for recording his version of “Cliffs of Dover” and during live performances. The Gibson SG can be seen on the “Eric Johnson-Art of Guitar” DVD. Also, the guitarist has used Gibson Les Paul and Firebird.
Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson has used many Gibson models, notably a Les Paul Black Beauty, an ES-335, a Gibson EDS-1275 white double neck guitar, and a Cherry Red, among other models. You also have a Gibson SG Standard Signature model with P94 pickups.
Robert Johnson, the American bluesman, used an L-1 acoustic. Gibson released a version of the L-1 Robert Johnson Signature.
Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones used Gibson ES-330, Firebird Reverse and Non Reverse, Les Paul Goldtop, and a Gibson SJ-200 acoustic guitar.
The guitarist of the Rock Foreigner band, Mick Jones –not to be confused with the guitarist of The Clash-, used a black Les Paul Custom equipped with two DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucking pickups with coil-tap; and several Les Paul Standard. Gibson released the limited edition Gibson Custom Les Paul Custom Mick Jones.
Dave Keuning of The Killers is one of the contemporary guitarists to use Gibson guitars. He has used Gibson Les Paul Custom guitars in black finish and ivory finish. It also has an Explorer Cherry Red – not to be confused with its Corina-colored Ibanez Destroyer. Other guitars he usually plays with are a Gibson ES-335 one with an Ebony finish and one with a Sunburst finish. Other Gibson guitars Dave Keuning has used include Flying V, Trini Lopez Standard Custom Reissue, SG Junior Cherry, and a rare Gibson model called the Longhorn Double Cut Solidbody in a Trans Blue finish.
Albert King, the left-handed Blues guitarist, but who played with the guitar configured as if he were right-handed. Thus, the wound strings were at the bottom, and the simple, finer, at the top. Albert King’s most iconic guitar was a Gibson Flying V.
BB King, the legendary blues guitarist, has used many different Gibson guitar models. These include a Gibson ES-5 and a Gibson ES-175 early in his career. Later, BB King began using slim hollow body models like the Gibson ES-330 and semi-hollow like the Gibson ES-335 and ES-345. BB King’s most iconic guitar is the Lucille, the Gibson ES-355 BB King Signature.
Freddie King, the American Blues guitarist and singer, used a Goldtop Les Paul with P-90 and ES-355 pickups. Bluesman Freddie King had a particular way of hanging his guitar; which was to support the guitar strap over a man without it passing behind the neck.
Guy King, the Chicago-based Israeli Blues and Jazz guitarist, plays a Gibson ES-335TD Natural and ES-335TD Sunburst, both from 1982.
Mark Knopfler, guitarist most identified with the Fender Stratocaster, played a Gibson Les Paul Standard Reissue ’59 from 1979, one of the most popular riffs in rock history; the riff of the Dire Straits song ‘Money for Nothing’. He also owns a ’59 Gibson Les Paul Standard Reissue from 1985, Sunburst. He also plays other Gibson models like a ‘Super 400’, an ES 175 and a ‘Chet Atkins’.
Free’s Paul Kossoff, one of Rock’s most important guitarists despite his short life, used several Gibson Les Paul models from the 50’s. Also, he used a Gibson ES-335 for some of his studio recordings.
Lenny Kravitz uses some Gibson Flying V and other models like several Les Paul Sunburst, black and Custom; plus several SG guitars. Gibson has released a Gibson Custom Lenny Kravitz Signature 1967 Flying V.
Robby Krieger of The Doors uses Gibson SG, ES-335 and Melody Maker. Also, Krieger used a black Gibson Les Paul slide guitar to record with The Doors.
Albert Lee, the notable English rock and country guitarist, owns a 1958 black Les Paul Custom from Eric Clapton himself. Also, Lee owns a 1958 black Gibson J-200 that Don Everly gave him and a Gibson “Everly Brothers”. Lee played the J-200 guitar during the Concerto for George (Harrison).
Alvin Lee of British Blues band “Ten Years Later” wore a custom Gibson ES-335 nicknamed “Big Red”. The Gibson Custom Shop has reissued this iconic Lee guitar for 50 years at Woodstock.
John Lennon used a Gibson J-160E in the days of The Beatles. Several of the songs on the White Album were composed in India on Donovan’s Gibson J-45. Later, as a soloist, John Lennon used a Les Paul Special and a modified Les Paul Junior. Gibson makes a limited edition replica of their J-160E and the modified Gibson Les Paul Junior.
Blues Rock pioneer Lonnie Mack has used a 1958 Gibson Flying V fitted with a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. He refers to this guitar as the ‘No. 7 “, as Lonnie Mack was told it was the model’s seventh guitar made. In the mid-1990s, Gibson released a limited edition Gibson Flying V Lonnie Mack Signature guitar model.
Rock and Pop guitarist Phil Manzanera uses a red Gibson Firebird V11. Also, he called his album Firebird V11 (2008) inspired by his guitar. Also, Phil used Gibson Les Paul Custom with three black pickups and a Studio Red Wine with gold hardware, and modified Firebird Non Reverse.
Tak Matsumoto, the famous Japanese guitarist, a member of the B’z and Tak Matsumoto Group, uses his own Gibson Les Paul model released in 1999. This made him the first Asian musician to have his own Gibson model. Several other Gibson models make up his collection, including several Gibson DC designed exclusively for him such as the Gibson Custom Tak Matsumoto Custom Double-Cut.
Paul McCartney owns two rare 1957 Les Paul Goldtop and a 1960 left-handed Burst, of which there are very few. The 1960 Gibson Les Paul was the main stage guitar. He also uses a classic Gibson C-5 in studio sessions. In addition, Paul has a Gibson Les Paul customized with paint made by artist Rosie Brooks. Also, there are photos of McCartney using a Gibson Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” alongside guitarist Les Paul and with a Gibson Firebird VII equipped with a Bigsby right-handed vibrato, which Paul uses as a Non Reverse.
Jimmy McCulloch, guitarist for Paul McCartney & Wings, used a Gibson SG, Les Paul Custom and a Firebird.
Gary Moore, guitarist for Blues Rock and Hardrock played on Thin Lizzy, Skid Row and as a soloist, and was an iconic user of Gibson Les Paul guitars. Moore also owned Peter Green’s famous 1959 Les Paul. Additionally, the musician had two Les Paul models of his own released by Gibson. Thus, one of his Gibson Les Paul Gary Moore Signature guitars had the same pickup connection setup as the original guitar. This iconic Gibson Les Paul had the pickups hooked up out of phase. Moore’s other Signature guitar was a Les Paul with a reptilian top, a P90 pickup in the neck and a humbucker in the bridge, with no valances or inlays.
Additionally, Gary had a great fondness for the Gibson Explorer, which he used in his solo career. Moore has also used other models such as the Gibson Firebird and ES-335.
Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley’s lead guitarist, initially played a Gibson ES-295, before switching to a Gibson L5 CES. Later, the guitarist switched to a Gibson Super 400 CES. In 1999, Gibson reissued an ES-295 tribute to the guitarist, the Gibson ES-295 Scotty Moore Signature.
Jared James Nichols
Jared James Nichols, American guitarist and singer, known for using the Gibson Les Paul with a single pickup and playing powerfully with his fingers – without a pick. Nichols uses different Les Paul models: Goldtop, Custom, Standard, but they all have only the bridge pickup.
Jimmy Nolen, the American Rock ‘N Roll and Blues guitarist for The JB’s –James Brown-, was one of the best guitarists in history according to a survey by British magazine Mojo. Nolen used Gibson ES-175 hollow body Jazz guitars an ES-5 switchmaster equipped with P-90 pickups and a Gibson Les Paul Recording.
Ted Nugent, American singer-songwriter and guitarist, is a huge fan of Gibson Byrdland guitars from the early 1960s. Thus, he counts several guitars of this model in black, sunburst and natural finishes. Additionally, Gibson has developed a Byrdland Ted Nugent Signature model. Also, he’s used a ’59 Gibson Les Paul Sunburst and a Les Paul with an American flag.
Mike Oldfield, the British music composer and multi-instrument player, used a Gibson L6S around 1978, several Les Paul models, and an SG Junior.
Roy Orbison, the American singer-songwriter of Rock And Roll, Rockabilly, Country and Pop, used a Gibson ES-335 and a Les Paul with P90s with a Bigsby tailpiece and some acoustic models. It stands out for its black hollow body guitar with many switches and that there is no mark on the headstock, although you can see the diamond inlay that Gibson usually uses. This instrument would be a guitar armed with the neck of a Gibson Super 400 and a hollowed Gretsch body.
Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, used a Gibson ES-335 for her entire career and later, she also used a white Gibson SG Standard. Also, you can find photos of Dolores O’Riordan with a Gibson Super 400 CES guitar.
The legendary guitarist of The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, is one of the most iconic guitarists associated with the Gibson Les Paul. Jimmy used two 1959 Les Pauls known as “Number 1”, purchased from Joe Walsh, and “Number 2”. Also, Page used a 1973 Les Paul, EDS-1275, 1977 RD Artist, ES5 Switchmaster, Les Paul Goldtop, and a 1991 Les Paul Custom Shop, an exact replica of the “Number 1” and renamed the “Number 3. »
The guitarist also owned a modified Gibson Les Paul Custom 1960 “Black Beauty” with Bigsby tailpiece and 3-pickup setup. This guitar was stolen in 1970 and recovered in 2016. Finally, Jimmy Page used Gibson Hummingbird, J-200 and A-2 mandolin for acoustic tracks.
Joe Perry, the famous Aerosmith guitarist, is another popular Gibson Les Paul guitar user. But the musician has also used many other Gibson models over the years. Among the guitars used by guitarist Joe Perri, in addition to the Les Paul, are the Gibson ES-335, Flying V, and Firebird. In addition, Gibson and Epiphone have several Les Paul Joe Perry Signature models, some nicknamed “The Boneyard” with a flamed top, a Goldtop with a single humbucker pickup and floating bridge, among others.
Carl Perkins, “the King of Rockabilly”, used during his music career a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with P90 and Bigsby tremolo, an L5 and an SG.
Vicki Peterson, lead singer, rock guitarist of The Bangles, plays a Gibson Les Paul Custom Red Wine.
Tom Petty, an American multi-instrumentalist musician, was a huge fan of Gibson guitars. In his career, the musician has used Gibson SG, ES-335, SJ-200 Wildflower, Dove, Firebird, Flying V, Les Paul Custom, RD Artist, SG Junior,
Eddie Phillips, rock guitarist for The Creation, used a Gibson ES-335. The musician is famous for playing his violin bow guitar in the mid-1960s.
Wishbone Ash Rock singer and guitarist Andy Powell has used a Gibson Flying V guitar his entire career.
Elvis Presley used to use a 1956 Gibson J-200N in his concerts and movies. On that guitar, the musician embedded his name in 1960. He also used a Gibson Super 400 and a Dove.
Keith Richards, iconic guitarist for The Rolling Stones, has used many Gibson guitars. Keith’s favorite models were the Gibson Les Paul, Junior Doublecut and ES-355. However, he has also used other Gibson guitars such as Firebird, Flying V, SG, L6S, Melody Maker, and Gibson Hummingbirds and SJ Southern Jumbo acoustic guitars. The latter has a bullet hole made by the guitarist himself. Keef’s most important guitars were: a 1959 Les Paul sunburst with Bigsby tailpiece. He later sold the guitar to future bandmate Mick Taylor.
In the mid-1960s, Keith purchased a 1953 Les Paul Goldtop and the first in a series of 1957 Les Paul Customs. One of the Customs was a hand-painted guitar with psychedelic patterns; This Les Paul Custom would be one of their studio and stage lead guitars from 1968 until the end of the Rolling Stones’ 1970 European tour.
Among the other guitars of the musician were another Les Paul sunburst from 1959, a Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” from 1954 and a Les Paul Junior from 1958 Cherry, which he replaced in 1979 with a Les Paul Junior TV Yellow from 1959. Since 1997 , the guitarist has used a Gibson ES-355 with an Ebony finish as one of his lead guitars, along with a white ES-345. Also, Keith can be seen in rehearsals and studies with a Gibson ES-350 and ES-175D.
Mick Ronson, also known as Ronno, was a guitarist for David Bowie and used Gibson guitars. Ronno used a Gibson Les Paul Custom, which had the body cap trimmed off to a natural color. Also, the guitarist has used Gibson Les Paul Standard Sunburst.
Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington uses Gibson Les Paul Standard and SG Standard. Gibson has reissued both guitars with Signature models of the guitar. Thus, you can find the Gibson Les Paul and SG Gary Rossington.
Ritchie Sambora, a rock and blues guitarist who played with Bon Jovi, is a huge guitar fan, and his favorite guitars include a 1956 Gibson Les Paul Junior and a 1959 Gibson Les Paul “Burst.” played an L5S, ES-335, Les Paul Custom, a Junior John Lennon Model, Flying V. In addition, Sambora has used a 1959 Epiphone Sheraton 212T
Carlos Santana, the Mexican guitarist pioneer in fusing Latin music with Rock, used a Gibson SG Special on the Woodstock stage. Also, it appeared in advertisements for the Gibson L-6S in the 1970s. Also, Carlos Santana has played a 1968 Sunburst Les Paul Custom.
Tom Scholz, American guitarist for the band Boston, uses a 1968 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop as his lead guitar. Scholz’s Les Paul is equipped with a DiMarzio Super Distortion pickup in the bridge. It also features another 1968 Les Paul nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” for having the cartoon character decal. The “Mighty Mouse has a humbucker at the bridge position and a P90 at the neck position.
AOR Journey guitarist Neal Schon uses a modified Gibson Les Paul as his lead guitar. The guitar has a Floyd Rose locking tremolo, custom electronics, and a Sustain unit. Additionally, Gibson made an exclusive model of the guitarist’s guitar: the limited-edition Gibson Les Paul Neal Schon Signature.
Chris Spedding, famous British guitarist who stood out in the 70’s, used several models of Gibson guitars. Among the models used by the guitarist are: Gibson Flying V, Les Paul Custom, Les Paul Junior and an L-5.
Paul Stanley, founding singer and guitarist of the band Kiss, has used Gibson Flying V, Les Paul, Explorer, Firebird I, SG and also L6S guitars. In addition, the guitarist has appeared in advertising for the Gibson Marauder, a rare model that Gibson made between 1974 and 1980 . Photos can be found using one of these guitars in recitals and destroying one on stage.
Hubert Sumlin, singer and blues guitarist, used a 1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. Also, Sumlin has used other Gibson Les Paul and ES-335 guitars.
Former member of The Rolling Stones and John Mayall & the Bluesbreaker guitarist Mick Taylor has used several models of Gibson guitars. Among these are the Les Pauls, SG, ES, and Firebirds. Taylor bought his first Les Paul from the Selmer Musical Instruments store in London. This guitar was stolen in September 1967. That same year, he replaced it with a 1959 Gibson Les Paul “Burst” from Keith Richards equipped with Bigsby. The guitarist used this guitar in concerts until 1971, first with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and then, from July 1969, with the Rolling Stones. Taylor used other Les Pauls with Sunburst on the Rolling Stones’ 1972-73 tours, and still frequently uses Gibson Les Paul guitars on stage.
Tommy Thayer, guitarist for the Rock Kiss band, a huge Gibson Les Paul fan. Thayer has used Gibson Les Paul Custom with a black -Black Beauty- and white finish, and one with three pickups. He has also used Gibson Les Paul Standard, Black Flying V, Explorer and Firebird. Additionally, Gibson’s second brand Epiphone has released two Tommy Thayer Signature guitars, an Explorer “White Lightning” and a Les Paul “Electric Blue”.
George Thorogood, an American Blues Rock musician, always used a white Gibson ES-125. Also, the artist has used Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, a J-150 acoustic guitar, among others.
Derek Trucks, the guitarist using Slide from the Allman Brothers Band and Derek Trucks Band uses a Gibson SG ’61 reissue modified with Factory Vibrola. Derek’s guitar has a Stopbar tailpiece installed.
T-Bone Walker, pioneer of the Blues electric guitar, used Gibson ES-250, ES-5, ES-335 guitars and a Barney Kessel.
Joe Walsh, guitarist and singer of Hard rock, Country Rock and Blues Rock, who belonged to the bands James Gang and Eagles, uses a Les Paul Standard and a Gibson EDS-1275. Walsh is known for Hot-winding the pickups on his guitars to create his signature “attack” sound.
Muddy Waters, great blues guitarist, used a Les Paul Goldtop with P90 and an SG Junior.
Snowy White, British rock guitarist who played for Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd and Roger Waters, uses a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. White, nicknamed “Gold Top” in reference to his Gibson guitar, acquired it in Sweden in 1968, trading it for a Fender Stratocaster. Also, Snowy White has used a Gibson Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty”.
Carl Wilson, guitarist for The Beach Boys, used a 1962 Gibson ES-335 with a Blonde finish, gold hardware, and Bigsby B-7 tremolo. In 1983, the original guitar neck broke and was replaced with a neck from a Gibson ES-355. In addition, the musician has used the 12-string Epiphone Riviera.
American Blues and Rock guitarist Johnny Winter played Gibson Firebird, Les Paul Custom, Goldtop with P90s and Sunburst, SG and Flying V. Also, Winter used an Epiphone Wilshire.
Rock guitarist Ronnie Wood, a member of Faces and The Rolling Stones, uses several Gibson guitars. Ron Wood’s main guitars include the Les Paul, Firebird, L5S, ES-335 and a J-200 acoustic. Also, the guitarist owns a custom made single pickup L5S, a Super 400 CES, an L5, among other vintage models. In the late 1970s, Wood endorsed the S-1 guitar, a model derived from the Marauder. Gibson has released several exclusive Ron Wood models: Gibson J-200, Firebird and Dobro in 1997, and a Ronnie Wood Signature L5S in 2015.
Canadian rock musician Neil Young uses various models of Gibson electric and acoustic guitars. Young’s lead guitar is the “Old Black,” a 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop painted black with a Firebird mini-humbucker in the bridge position and a Bigsby tremolo. Also, Neil Young has two other 1953 Goldtops guitars; one with similar modifications to the «Old Black» guitar. He also uses a Gibson J-200 and a 1958 Gibson Flying V that he used on the Time Fades Away tour.
Frank Zappa, the mythical guitarist and musician of Rock, Jazz, Blues, Electronic and more, used a 1953/54 Les Paul Goldtop, an SG, a Les Paul Custom from the late 70s and an ES-5 Switchmaster. Additionally, Zappa used a Gibson ES-355 as the lead guitar on his 1970 tour. Zappa usually heavily modified his guitars to include preamps, balanced outputs for recording studio work, and sustainers.
Top Gibson Guitarists / Players for Hardrock, Progressive Rock, Punk, Grunge, Hardcore and Heavy Metal
Billie Joe Armstrong
Billie Joe Armstrong, guitarist and frontman of the Punk Rock band Green Day, uses several vintage Les Paul Juniors single and double cutaway models from the 1950s. Gibson has also produced two Les Paul Junior Billie Joe Armstrong Signature models with doublecut and singlecut. Also, Gibson made a very limited series of exclusive Billie Joe Armstrong acoustic guitars.
Matt Bigland, guitarist for Grunge, Alternative Rock by Dinosaur Pile-Up wears a black Gibson Explorer.
Progressive Rock guitarist and member of Uriah Heep, Mick Box uses a Les Paul Custom, a 1958 Les Paul Junior double cutaway, a Flying V and a 1968 SG with a Maestro tailpiece.
Brian Carroll, better known as “Buckethead,” uses several custom Gibson Les Pauls that feature oversized bodies, 24-fret necks, DiMarzio pickups, and his trademark kill switch. His Gibson Les Pauls are white. Also, Buckethead has a modified custom Les Paul in Alpine White with gold hardware.
Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains has worn various Gibson models throughout his career. The most prominent is a Gibson Les Paul Ivory White with burn marks that Cantrell made on the top of the guitar. Cantrell used this guitar on all Alice in Chains albums and on his solo album Degradation Trip. Other models Cantrell has used include a ’52 Les Paul Goldtop, a Les Paul Studio, a Les Paul Classic Custom, and a Gibson SG Jerry Cantrell Custom Shop.
Def Leppard’s Steve Clark used several Gibson Les Pauls throughout his career. Clark used a rare Les Paul XR-1 as his main instrument during his Pyromania years, as well as several double-necked Firebird and EDS-1275s.
Chris Cornell, singer and guitarist for Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, was using a Gibson ES-335 Olive Drab Green. Gibson has released a limited edition musician’s guitar tribute guitar in 2019 with only 250 units manufactured. Cornell also used a black ES-335 and a Les Paul Custom.
Blink 182 guitarist and singer Tom DeLonge has used a number of Gibson guitars in his career. The most popular are their Gibson ES-335, the red Box Car Racer and the ES-333 Signature with a single pickup. Also, DeLonge has used a black Gibson Les Paul Standard.
Richie Faulkner de Judas Priest toca Gibson Flying V Custom Shop y Gibson Les Paul Custom.
Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders played several Gibson Les Pauls during the 1970s and early 1980s. He now uses a Gibson Les Paul Axcess.
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl who also belonged to the Them Crooked Vultures and Nirvana groups uses many different Gibson models: Les Paul, Explorer, SG, ES-335, Firebird and a Trini Lopez Standard from the 70s. He also has his own model, the Gibson DG-335, inspired by the Trini Lopez Standard guitar.
Progressive Rock guitarist Steve Hackett and member of Genesis, GTR and Gordian Knot uses numerous Gibson Les Paul models. His lead guitar for many years was a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. He also owns a black Les Paul Custom equipped with a Fernandes Sustainer and Floyd Rose tremolo system.
Kirk Hammett, Metallica’s Lead Guitarist, has used a number of Gibson Flying V and Les Paul guitars throughout his career. Hammett owns Peter Green’s famous ’59 Burst.
Metallica singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield has used various Explorer and Les Paul Custom and Standard models. The best known of his Gibson Les Pauls is the “Iron Cross”. Also, Hetfield used a Cherry Red colored Gibson SG for the filming of the “Turn the Page” video.
Mastodon member and Progressive Metal guitarist Brent Hinds uses a variety of Gibson guitar models during his recordings and live performances. The guitar he uses the most is a Flying V silverburst. He has also used Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with Bigsby and SG Custom and Standard, among others.
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi has used Gibson SG Special and Standard guitars for most of his career. Also, Iommi has used two Gibson models. Currently, his collection includes a rare left-handed model, the “Gibson Barney Kessel”; a 1965 red Gibson SG Special nicknamed “Monkey” used on all early Black Sabbath albums and featured on the inside cover of Black Sabbath Vol. 4); a red SG Custom Shop, a black SG Custom Shop and a black Gibson SG Standard. Additionally, the left-handed guitarist has his own Gibson SG Tony Iommi Signature.
Scorpions’ Matthias Jabs uses more than twenty different Gibson Explorers, including seven Korina models. Gibson made him an exclusive model that was 90% the size of a normal Gibson Explorer. In addition, Matthias Jabs owns several Les Pauls and a Gibson Moderne.
Famous Joan Jett was the first female musician to receive her own Gibson electric guitar model. Joan Jett’s Signature Guitar is a weathered white Gibson Melody Maker, based on his historic guitar.
Mick Jones, guitarist for The Clash and other bands, – not to be confused with the Foreigner guitarist – used a Les Paul Junior, Les Paul Standard, several Les Paul Customs and a Melody Maker during The Clash days. Currently, Mick uses the Les Paul Junior Double Cut.
Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols uses Les Paul Custom, Firebird, Flying V and Gibson Les Paul Double Cut. Gibson has made a Gibson Custom Les Paul Custom Steve Jones, inspired by a Burny copy he used during his years with the Sex Pistols.
Jorma Kaukonen, guitarist for Jefferson Airplane, describes himself as a “Gibson freak.” Kaukonen played several Gibsons, including ES-345 Cherry and Sunburst, J-45, J-190, Les Paul Goldtop and Sunburst, Firebird, and an Advanced Jumbo. Additionally, Epiphone, Gibson’s second brand, has released a Riviera Deluxe Jorma Kaukonen Signature.
Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher used several different models of Gibson guitars during his career. Gibson Les Paul Custom guitars in Ebony, Silverburst and Alpine White finishes stand out; and also three from Gibson Explorer in Tobacco Sunburst, Ebony and white.
Andrew Latimer, the Progressive Rock multi-instrumentalist and founder of the band Camel, is famous for using Gibson Les Paul guitars.
Alex Lifeson, the Canadian guitarist for the Progressive Rock band Rush, has used many different Gibson models throughout his career. Lifeson used a Gibson ES-335 ’68 sunburst, a black ES-345 ’78 and a ’77 Sunburst, a white ES-355 ’77, a white Gibson EDS-1275 ’78 and a ’76 Cherry, an SG Standard Cherry , a Gibson Howard Roberts Sunburst fusion, an ES-369, a variety of Les Paul models, a Dove, and a J-45 acoustic. Gibson has now published an “Inspired By series” of Lifeson’s original 355 white.
In recent years, Alex Lifeson has used his own guitar model, the Gibson Alex Lifeson Axxess Les Paul, which features a Grapthec bridge, similar to a Floyd Rose, piezo pickup, and a High Performance type neckjoint.
Ian MacKaye, a Hardcore musician and member of bands like The Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Embrace and Fugazi, always played with two Gibson SGs.
Frank Marino of Hardrock’s Canadian band Mahogany Rush has used Gibson SG guitars from the 1960s throughout his career.
Former Whitesnake member Bernie Marsden uses a 1959 Gibson Les Paul known as The Beast. Marsden acquired “The Beast” in 1974.
Orianthi, Australian guitarist who played with Micheal Jackson, Alice Cooper, among others, has his own acoustic model; the Gibson SJ-200 Orianthi Signature. Also, the music has used a Gibson Les Paul with a floating Kahler-type bridge in a Les Paul tribute.
Mick Ralphs, British guitarist and songwriter for Bad Company and Mott the Hoople, used a Gibson Les Paul Junior, Firebird, and Les Paul during his time at Mott the Hoople. He also used a Les Paul Standard and a Flying V during his years at Bad Company. Ralphs currently uses the Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop ’58 and ’59 reissue models.
Randy Rhoads, the legendary guitarist for Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne, used a white Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar.
Brian Robertson, a Scottish guitarist who was a member of Thin Lizzy and Motörhead, has used Gibson Les Paul Custom and Standard guitars throughout his career.
Rich Robinson, the founding American guitarist of the band The Black Crowes, is another musician who uses Gibson guitars. Robinson has used a 1968 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, a 1964 Cherry ES-335, a Les Paul Custom Shop Flametop, a vintage SG and a double cutaway Les Paul Special, and a Gibson Dove.
Michael Schenker, guitarist for the Scorpions, UFO and Michael Schenker Group, used four different Gibson Flying V guitars during the 1970s. The first was a modified 1975 guitar. The next two were 1979 Gibson Flying V with block inlays. These three Gibson Flying Vs had a distinctive Schenker black and white finish. Lastly, the fourth was a white Gibson Flying V from the mid-70s.
Rudolf Schenker, Scorpions guitarist, plays various Gibson Flying V models. Schenker has over 70 vintage and collectible Flying Vs along with several limited editions from the Custom Shop, including a double-necked Gibson Flying V. Rudolf uses three original Flying Vs from 1958, three Flying Vs from 1967-1969, two Flying V Medallions from 1971 -of which only 350 were made-, one repainted in black and white, a Gibson Flying V from 1975 with a natural finish, three replicas of the 1958 originals built in 1983, four models from 1980 and two Gibson Flying V Rudolf Schenker Signature models from 1984.
Nikki Sixx, guitarist for Mötley Crüe and Sixx AM, has used Gibson Thunderbird basses throughout his career. In addition, between 2000 and 2003 Gibson manufactured the Gibson Thunderbird Nikki Sixx Signature Bass.
Slash, the legendary guitarist from Guns N ‘Roses, Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver, Slash’s Blues Ball, uses many different Gibson Les Paul models. Among Slash’s guitars are several Signature models of the guitarist, including instruments from the Custom Shop. He has also used a Gibson EDS-1275 double neck, Firebird, Explorer, ES-355, and the J-45 acoustic.
Among the Gibson Les Paul Slash Signature is the “Victoria” Goldtop Standard, the Standard one with a flamed top in custom finishes: Novemberburst, Appetite Burst, Vermillon Burst and Anaconda Burst. In addition, it features a Gibson J-45 Slash Signature acoustic guitar. Also, Gibson has made a Firebird Slash Signature with flamed maple and two humbucker pickups.
Bill “Sputnik” Spooner
Bill “Sputnik” Spooner, the lead singer and guitarist of The Tubes, has used Gibson Flying V, Explorer, Les Paul, SG guitars and also a 1959 Melody Maker.
Guns N ‘Roses founding member Izzy Stradlin has played a Gibson ES-175 to record Appetite for Destruction. He has also used Gibson Les Paul Custom and various acoustics.
Johnny Thunders, garage rock and punk rock singer and guitarist, used primarily Gibson Les Paul Juniors double-cut guitars primarily. Although Thunders has also used the Gibson Les Paul Standard.
Pete Townshend, the great guitarist of The Who, used a Gibson SG Special from 1967 to 1972. Townshend also used several Les Paul Custom models from 1973 to 1979, and a Gibson EDS-1275. Gibson produced a ’69 SG Special Townshend Signature model based on the guitar he played at Woodstock. This model had two P90 pickups. Additionally, the Gibson Custom Shop began production of three different signature Les Paul models based on the guitars the guitarist played in the late 1970s. This guitar can be seen on the cover of Pete’s album “All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes ”.
Finally, Townshend has regularly used an SJ-200 acoustic guitar and a 1958 Gibson Flying V, natural-finished body by Korina gifted by Joe Walsh, used in the video for the album song “Slit Skirts.”
Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen, the forerunner of the Superstrat guitarist, used several Gibson Les Pauls including a 1978 white and a Goldtop from which he removed the neck pickup. Additionally, Eddie played with the 1958 Gibson Flying V, Explorer, and EDS-1275.
Paul Weller, known as The Modfather is a British musician, singer and songwriter whose favorite guitar is his 1968 Gibson SG Standard in Cherry Red. In addition, the musician uses a Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar, a Gibson B-45-12 from 12 strings and a Gibson J-180 Everly Brothers Signature.
Leslie West, a Hard Rock musician who was a member of Mountain and The Vagrants, used a Gibson Les Paul Junior, Flying V, Les Paul Custom and SG. West’s use of the Les Paul Junior increased interest in the model, so Gibson reissued the guitar in the mid-1970s.
Zakk Wylde, guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, Pride & Glory and Black Label Society, owns several Gibson Signature models. The most popular is the Gibson Les Paul “Bulls Eye” Zakk Wylde Signature. It also has other Signature Les Paul models “Buzzsaw”, “Camouflage Bullseye” and the “BFG”. In addition, it has other Signature models: Flying V equipped with Floyd Rose tremolo, Moderne and the rare ZV, a hybrid of SG and Flying V. Zakk Wylde has also used a black Gibson EDS-1275 in the promotional video for In This River. Also, Wylde has several versions of Epiphone brand Signature guitars and also a coffin shaped guitar called “Graveyard Disciple” equipped with Floyd Rose tremolo.
Phil X, Canadian Hard Rock guitarist and member of the Bon Jovi band, is a huge fan of Gibson guitars. In fact, the musician is currently a brand ambassador. So Phil X said, “Thank you. I’m very partial to the SG style, but I love the neck of the ’58 Les Paul and a thicker body, so my hope is to marry the two into a balanced dream guitar. Plus, I love Les Pauls, Explorers and Flying Vs, so I feel fortunate to finally be with Gibson.” Also, the guitarist on his first Daughtry record recorded most of the guitars on a ’59 double cutaway Les Paul Junior and a mid-’60s Gibson Trini Lopez. Also, the artist uses ES-335, which he considers to be one of Gibson’s most versatile guitar and acoustic models.
Angus Young, the flamboyant AC / DC guitarist, is a huge Gibson SG fan. Gibson has produced an Angus Young Signature SG model with lightning inlays and a humbucker whose model name is Angus Young at the bridge position. However, the Gibson SG has not been the guitarist’s only guitar dressed as a college student. Angus Young in his early years has used a Gibson Les Paul Custom and Sunburst, Memphis ES-335 and a rare L6S doublecutaway.
Top Country and Folk Gibson Guitarists / Players
Mythical Country guitarist Chet Atkins switched from Gretsch to Gibson in the mid-1980s, bringing with him the popular Country Gentleman and Tennessean model designs. Atkins also helped design several innovative electro-acoustic models, including the SST, CE, and CEC. Since his death, Gibson has discontinued all Chet Atkins models and Gretsch has resumed manufacturing and distribution of the Chet Atkins line.
The Nashville native country guitarist who worked with Ernest Tubb among others, Billy Byrd, worked alongside his Nashville partner Hank Garland to design the Gibson Byrdland guitar. It is not difficult to deduce why the model was so named. Byrdland arises from Byrd + (Gar) land. Early in his career, Byrd also played a Gibson L-7C and later, a custom Byrdland with double cutaways and full size / normal scale length.
Maybelle Carter, matriarch of the Carter family and one of country music’s earliest stars, played a 1928 L-5 archtop almost exclusively. “I consider this to be the most important guitar in the entire history of country music,” said George Gruhn.
Stompin‘ Tom Connors
Canadian Country and Folk singer-songwriter Stompin ‘Tom Connors used a Gibson SJ-200 bought at a furniture store for $ 80. He used this guitar from 1956 to 1972. Connors kept this guitar until his death on March 6. of 2013.
Sheryl Crow uses a Country Western, Hummingbird, L-00 Blues King, J-200 Western Classic, 96 Advanced Jumbo, 96 Southern Jumbo, J45, ES-120, ES-125, ES-335, and various Les Pauls. His original 1962 Country Western model was accurately measured and reproduced as ‘Sheryl Crow Signature’ in a limited edition with an autographed label inside.
The Everly Brothers
The Everly Brothers, Country, Rockabilly, Rock & Roll musicians, used the J-200s in the 1950s. Then in the 1960s they used the Everly Brothers model, with a J-185-style body and adjustable bridge. , which Gibson produced from 1962 to 1972.
Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son and Folk singer, used a Gibson J-200 Guitar and a 3/4 size LG-2. Additionally, Gibson manufactured an Arlo Guthrie Signature model.
Folk musician Woody Guthrie used a Gibson L-0 and a Southern Jumbo. Gibson replicated his 1945 model, including his famous sign “this machine kills fascists” – “this machine kills fascists.” Also, Gibson made a Tribute guitar, the Woody Guthrie SJ. A recreation of Woody’s Southern Jumbo.
Emmylou Harris, an American country singer-songwriter, uses a Gibson Dove guitar, several J-200s, and a J-200 Western Classic.
Lightnin ‘Hopkins, the American Country Blues guitarist, played primarily on a Gibson J-160e. Now the guitar is on display at the Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland, USA. Lightnin’s last guitar was a 1980 Les Paul Silverburst given to him on his 68th birthday by his wife and Congressman Ron Wilson – his bassist.
Ralph McTell, English singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, uses Gibson J-45 and ‘L-1 Robert Johnson Reissue’ guitars.
John Prine, an American country and folk singer-songwriter, used a Gibson J-200.
Top Jazz Guitarists Gibson Users
George Benson, American Jazz, Funk and Soul guitarist, played a Gibson L5 for several years until he signed an endorsement deal with Ibanez.
Jazz guitarist Larry Carlton plays a 1968 ES-335 sunburst, also occasionally using a 1956 Les Paul Special and a 1963 L5. Gibson has produced a Larry Carlton Signature model they call “Mr 335”.
Charlie Christian used a Gibson ES-150. The model was Gibson’s first archtop electric guitar and, as author Tony Bacon describes it, “Christian used it to devastating effect throughout his short career.” The “blade” style pickup installed in early ES-150 models has since been known as the “Charlie Christian pickup” in honor of the legendary jazzman.
Al Di Meola
Jazz musician Al Di Meola joined Chick Corea’s Return to Forever in 1974 at just 19 years old. Thus, he became an influential jazz-rock fusion guitarist thereafter. He used a black ’71 Les Paul model almost exclusively for his electric guitar work, both during his tenure with Return to Forever and on his early solo albums.
Jazz guitarist Herb Ellis played a 1953 Gibson ES-175 guitar. Gibson released the Herb Ellis ES-165 as a signature model reissue of their instrument.
Tal Farlow, a jazz guitarist, usually played a Gibson ES-350. Gibson made a “Tal Farlow” model in his Artist Model series beginning in 1962.
Grant Green, the influential jazz guitarist, used a Gibson ES-330. Green recorded more sessions with the Blue Note record label in the early and mid-1960s than any other musician. Grant recorded both as a lead guitarist and as a backing / rhythm guitarist.
Jazz great guitarist Jim Hall used Gibson guitars for over 20 years. Hall played Gibson ES-175 and Les Paul guitars.
Jazz guitarist Barney Kessel used a Gibson ES-350 and ES-350T. Gibson also produced a guitar called Gibson Barney Kessel, in his Artist Model series in 1960.
Pat Martino, an American jazz guitarist, initially used a Gibson L5S. Then he started using the Gibson Pat Martino Signature.
John McLaughlin, the prominent Jazz Fusion guitarist, has used many different Gibson models over the years. Among the guitars McLaughlin used is an EDS-1275; several ES-335 and Byrdland, a Gibson Johnny Smith sunburst model with two pickups, also a Gibson ES-345 and a Hummingbird acoustic. Also, John used a Gibson SG on “Bitches Brew,” Miles Davis’s 1969 fusion album.
Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny used a 1960 Gibson ES-175N equipped with a humbucker for much of his career, before releasing his own hollow body guitar model from Ibanez. In addition, Metheny has also used a Les Paul, as in Zero Tolerance for Silence.
Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery used a Gibson ES-175 early in his career, as well as a Gibson L5 CES. Gibson currently produces a Wes Montgomery Signature L5 CES model.
Jazz guitarist Joe Pass used a Gibson ES-175 sunburst. Additionally, Epiphone released an Emperor Joe Pass Signature model.
Les Paul was a pioneer in the development of solid body electric guitars. The musician made a solid body guitar on Epiphone’s plant, called “the Log.” He proposed to Gibson to make a solid body guitar in the 1940s, but Gibson rejected him. Years later, Gibson, in response to the Fender Telecaster, released a solid-body guitar that, by agreement with the Jazz guitarist, he named after a musician: Gibson Les Paul. Les Paul used a lot of Gibson guitars. But the one that ended up being the guitarist’s favorite was the Les Paul Recording.
Jazz Fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour is a huge fan of Gibson guitars. A red Gibson ES-335 stands out, he also has a 1959 Les Paul, a gift from Wes Montgomery. Most recently, he’s using a 1959 Les Paul Reissue and his own Gibson L-5 Lee Ritenour Signature archtop model.
Howard Roberts, famous American Jazz guitarist, used several Gibson models throughout his career. Among the guitars used by the musician are a Gibson ES-175, an L-10 and a heavily modified ES-150 known as “The Black Guitar.” Gibson has made a Gibson ES-165 Howard Roberts Fusion III model.
John Scofield initially used a 1962 Gibson ES-335 before becoming an endorser of the Japanese brand, and owning his own model, the Ibanez Artist AS-200 in 1982. His ES-335 appears on the cover of their 1979 Who’s release. Quien.
Johnny Smith was a sponsor of Gibson from 1961 to 1989. The mainstream jazz guitarist had his own model, the Gibson Johnny Smith. Then when the guitarist switched to Heritage in 1989, Gibson continued to offer the Gibson LeGrand / Johnny Smith as the LeGrande.
The best Gibson guitarists from other musical genres: Reggae, Hip Hop, New Wave, Gospel, etc.
Chuck Brown, “The Godfather of Go-Go Music,” played a Gibson ES-335 Blonde.
Reggae hero Bob Marley used a Gibson Les Paul Special. The iconic guitar is buried with him in his mausoleum. Gibson has released a limited edition Bob Marley Signature Les Paul Special.
Bernard Sumner, guitarist for New Order and Joy Division, used a custom Gibson SG Standard, “without Vibrola.” He has also used a Gibson ES-335, both in his early years and in his later years to this day.
Rosetta Tharpe, also known as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was a pioneer and prominent gospel singer and guitarist, and a noted Gibson guitar user. Sister Rosetta was one of the first artists to adopt the Les Paul Gold-Top in 1956. Tharpe also used a 1961 double cutaway Les Paul Custom. Rosetta Tharpe also used a white Gibson SG Custom. Also, I use other guitars like Gibson ES-335.
Other mentions of Gibson guitars artists
Mention of other guitarist or musicians who used Gibson guitars: Nathaniel Rateliff, Frank Hannon, Eric Church, Kirk Douglas, Slim Harpo, Lukas Nelson, Adam Jones, Marcus King, Dave Amato, Lee Roy Parnell, Grace Potter and Brian Ray.
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