Top 15 Iconic Guitars in the History of Recorded Music

After much debate and jockeying for position, I present to you the top 15 iconic guitars in the history of recorded music. This is not the list of most talented guitar players. It is a listing of the guitars…the wood and steel that changed music forever. The envelope please….


15. The Big B – Built by Gretsch for Ellas Bates McDaniels (Bo Diddly) in the 1950’s.


14. Trigger – Willie Nelson’s 1969 Martin Acoustic

13. Allman Brothers Special. Dickey Bett’s 1957 Redtop LP (he later painted it gold)

12. Robert Johnson’s 1928 Gibson L1. He got it at the Crossroads.

11. Ace Frehley’s Standard Heritage Cherry Burst Les Paul

10. Chuck Berry’s Cherry Red Gibson ES-345. Johnny B Good.

9. Jimi Hendrix’ Right Hand Reverse Strung 60’s era Fender Stratocaster. He made it sound like no one else had before.


8. Pete Townsend’s Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. It’s iconic because of the attitude and the smashed pieces on the stage floor. And no son…their song is not called “the CSI theme”.


7. The Funk Machine. James Jamerson’s 62 Fender Precision Bass. You may have never heard of him but you have heard him. This is (arguably) the greatest bass player to ever thump a G string. You heard this bass on these tracks just to name a few. I personally believe that the bass line on Stevie Wonder’s “I was made to love her” is his greatest work. Props to a man who was kept in the shadows of Motown for most of his life but deserves much credit.
(CT…his life would make a great screenplay)


6. Jimmy Page’s Gibson EDS-1275 SG Doubleneck. It’s all the rage these days what with the reunion and everything. I wonder if Jimmy will need a back brace for the extra weight at his age?


5. Blackie – Eric Clapton. Clapton bought this guitar at the Sho-Bud guitar shop in Nashville for $100 (he bought three extra and gave them away as gifts to George Harrison, Pete Townsend, & Stevie Winwood). Blackie was auctioned off for $959,500 by Christies on June 24, 2004.


4. Lucille. B.B. King’s Gibson ES-355. This is the legend of “the lady”.


3. # 1 – Stevie Ray Vaughan’s favorite guitar. If there is a guitar that had more personality of it’s owner, I don’t know of one. It seems that SRV andNumber One (also known as his “first wife”) were intertwined where you could’t tell where one ended and the other began. This Strat is now in the safe of one Mr. Jimmy Vaughan.


2. Paul’s Hoffner Bass – Iconic to the inth degree.

1. Frankenstein – Eddie Van Halen’s Kramer. I will turn 40 this year and this guitar has to be tops for iconic in my book. Some of you will throw fruit at me for putting EVH on top but you can bite me. This guitar and it’s funky stripes rocked my world.
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One Comment on “Top 15 Iconic Guitars in the History of Recorded Music”

  1. steve doherty says:

    are you sure the photo is of ec’s blackie and on the custom shop artist series he plays today? there doesn’t seem to be enough wear.


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