Keith Richards – Micawber Fender Telecaster
Who better to follow The Beatles than The Rolling Stones? No matter your opinion on who the best we can surely all agree that both were majorly influential? In fact, Keith Richards is one of the most famous rock and roll guitarists around today and another star with a legendary guitar. His 1953 Fender Telecaster Blonde in a modest buttercup yellow, which has been named “Micawber”, has pretty much become another member of the band. It’s well known that Richards made certain tweaks to the guitar, removing the sixth string and leaving the instrument in an open G tuning in order to allow two chords to play against each other. It helps to give the band their unique style that has so often been emulated since.
Jimi Hendrix – Fender Stratocaster
Jimi Hendrix was a true rock icon whose style of playing would always wow audiences wherever he went. Hendrix is renowned for playing guitar left handed, this meant he would play it upside down, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. He was a master of the guitar and supposedly practiced whenever possible, even taking one to the toilet with him to capitalise on those otherwise wasted hours. He played several guitars but the most notable of these is likely his Fender Stratocaster which he played at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. During this set he thrilled the crowd during an extended play through of Wild Thing by playing the guitar behind his back and with his teeth, if that wasn’t enough, he then lit the thing on fire and proceeded to smash it up, as rock stars are wont to do.
Prince – Cloud
Prince is an artist that was renowned for his unique ambiguity and style. From his glamorous fashion flare to his rebranding as ‘The Artist Formerly Known as Prince’ everything about the man was totally unique. So, it should of course be known that his guitar is the same. Prince had several memorable instruments throughout the course of his career though most notable the guitar he had custom built by a luthier named David Rusan in 1983. That guitar was named cloud and it’s the guitar that can be seen prominently throughout his film Purple Rain. He was so pleased with it that he had another two made which he would use heavily in his performances over the next 10 years.
Brian May – Red Special
The almost operatic rock style of Queen is often put down simply to Freddy Mercury’s obvious talent, but he wasn’t the only member of the band, and much of their individual sound came from their lead guitarist Brian May. His guitar, named “Red Special” is just as unique, it was built by him and his father in 1963 and made from the wood from a neighbour’s old fireplace. Apparently, there are even a few wormholes in the neck of the instrument. It has a unique wiring that allows three separate pickups that can be turned on or off. Amazingly he still plays the guitar to this day.