Top 10 Iconic Rock Guitars

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The world’s greatest guitarists have always expressed the greatest affection for their axes of choice. Jimi Hendrix said “you sacrifice the things you love” after setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Festival while the late Stevie Ray Vaughan even referred to his favourite guitar as his “First Wife”. Here, uDiscover marvels at 10 of the most iconic rock guitars and the artists with whom they are forever associated.

Kurt Cobain – Fender ‘Jag-Stang’
Cobain reputedly came up with this hybrid design after taking Polaroids of a Fender Jaguar and a Fender Mustang and cutting them to fit together. After his death, Courtney Love gave Cobain’s prototype powder blue ‘Jag-Stang’ to R.E.M’s Peter Buck.

Lonnie Mack – Gibson Flying V
Lonnie Mack allegedly named his tremolo bar its’ nickname the “whammy bar” after one of his instrumental hits, ‘Wham!’ In 1958, Mack bought one of the first Flying V’s off the production line and it became his signature guitar.

Eddie Van Halen – ‘Frankenstrat’
Combining Fender appearance with Gibson sound, Van Halen’s guitarist created his signature axe. The customised paintwork – red with criss-crossing black and white lines – also marks it out from the pack.

George Harrison – Rickenbacker 12-String
The Beatles lead guitarist often played a Gretsch, but his most iconic guitar was surely the 1963 Rickenbacker 12-string which he received from the makers during the band’s first US tour and promptly fell in love with.

Prince – ‘Cloud’
Made famous in the Purple Rain movie, Prince’s shapely custom-built ‘Cloud’ guitar was manufactured – and reproduced – by Schecter guitars in Minneapolis. The ‘Cloud’ has to be in the running for being one of the most iconic rock guitars ever.

Bruce Springsteen – Fender Esquire
Synonymous with 1975’s Born To Run album cover, The Boss’s natural wood guitar is usually erroneously identified as a Fender Telecaster. It’s actually a modified 50s-era Fender Esquire.

Neil Young – ‘Old Black’
Neil Young acquired his favourite guitar – nicknamed “Old Black” – in 1969 and has used it to record most of his electric guitar-driven songs ever since. The guitar is a 50s vintage Gibson Les Paul Goldtop.

Jimmy Page – Double Neck Gibson EDS-1275
Chosen to record Led Zeppelin’s legendary ‘Stairway To Heaven’, this double-necked guitar (12 strings on top, 6 below) has frequently been imitated, but never bettered.

Bo Diddley – Cigar Box guitar
Observing old folk traditions, Bo Diddley reputedly built over two dozen of his own homemade guitars from cigar boxes in his early years, before Gretsch started producing similar shaped guitars for him.

Rick Nielsen – Five-Neck Hamer Guitar
Five-necked electric guitars are, admittedly, thin on the ground, but Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen plays one. There again, this master guitarist is well-known for his arsenal of specially customised guitars.

Can you name any other iconic rock guitars? Have we missed any? Let us know below in the comments!

Format: Union Jack flagUK English


  1. Kevin Mc Kee

    May 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Eric Clapton old slowhand M ark Knopkler Dire Straits Pete Townsend

    • Deborah J Dietsch

      June 4, 2019 at 6:09 pm

      How can you not mention Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “first wife” & BB King’s “Lucille”!

  2. Sue

    May 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Eric Clapton”s the fool -how could you make a list of the greatest guitar players and not include Eric & the late great B B King too

    • Clem

      August 31, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      It’s not “greatest guitar players”, it’s “Top 10 Iconic Guitars”. Reading comprehension is apparently not your strong suit.

  3. Migas

    May 26, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Angus Young AC/DC Gibson SG

  4. Cajun Mark

    May 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Rick Nielsen’s “Rick Nielsen” shaped double neck

  5. Robert L Beers

    May 27, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    John Cippilino’s self-customized SG from Quicksilver Messenger Serice. Hard to mistake any other guitar for it.

  6. Skinny Steve

    May 28, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Lucille-BB King and Blackie-Eric Clapton

  7. Pie

    May 28, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Steve Vai’s heart-shaped, triple-necked number.

  8. Richard Van Ry

    May 28, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Steve Vai’s triple-necked, heart-shaped number (!)

  9. Duncan Smith

    May 28, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Rory Gallagher & his battered Strat.

  10. Duncan Smith

    May 28, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Buddy Guy & his polka dot Strat.
    Deke Leonard & his black & white circled Telecaster.

    • sherrie

      October 16, 2017 at 5:55 am

      Saw Buddy Guy a few months back with that Polka Dot guitar was amazing and so was Buddy.

  11. rob

    May 28, 2017 at 11:42 am

    the gibson les paul of Peter Green, later owned by Gary Moore….

  12. Tom Carleno

    May 29, 2017 at 12:34 am

    How could you forget Brian May’s Red Special?

  13. Sam Horton

    May 29, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Albert King,Freddy King,Johnny Winter,Buddy Guy,Robin Trower,Jeff Beck……..

  14. Kim Kruger

    May 29, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Randy Rhoads Polka Dot V

  15. Steve Burnett

    May 29, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Stevie Ray Vaughan and “Number One”

  16. Fred Bailey

    May 29, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Don’t forget Lucile,and Blackie !!


    May 31, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Queen’s Brian May and his “RED SPECIAL”

  18. Allen Tomas

    June 1, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    There is a guitar shaped like a heart with 2necks going into it.I can’t remember that guitarist name or band but that guitar was awesome..Valentino?

  19. Steven Vaisteen

    July 24, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    That would be Rudolph Valentino & The Heartguitars.

  20. Mikeyp

    July 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    So where is Carlos Santana then

  21. Esko Martikainen

    July 24, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I recall one iconic guitar owned by the best guitarist in the world, as Jimi Hendrix said, Rory Gallagher’s heavily worn Fender Stratocaster from 1961. I think it was his favorite instrument.

  22. Eric

    July 24, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Keith Richards “Micawbur”. A ’54 Telecaster Eric Clapton gave to him on Keith’s 27th birthday. Still his favorite.

  23. Marl

    July 24, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    What on earth is wrong with these people who make these lists?
    Where’s Eddie Cochran and his Gretsch 1955 6120? He was probably the first to mod a guitar to his taste by (famously) swapping the neck pick up!
    Also he had the trick of the B string in the G ( which were wound strings), tuned down to a G.
    Eddie was, far and beyond a greater guitarist than EVERYONE in this list!
    Kurt Cobain for christ’s sake? I won’t comment on his guitar “skill”, but certainly the best vocals he ever did were at the split second that firearm blew his head all over the room!

    • Phillip J.

      September 1, 2017 at 4:11 am

      A simple post about iconic guitars becomes about someone being happy with the fact that Kurt Cobain’s head is all over the room! How can a person dislike someone that much?

  24. Les Harris

    August 24, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I wish some people would read posts properly, they are complaining that certain Guitarists are not mentioned, when the post is about “Guitars”. id’e complain there was no mention of Buddy Holly, and his Fender Strat. or come to that Leadbelly and his 12 string Acustic !

    • David Miller

      August 30, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Finally someone who ACTUALLY read the post lol

  25. Trish McCormick

    August 28, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Paul Kossoff of FREE’s Les Paul maybe???

  26. Bill

    August 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    You spelled Rick Nielsen’s name wrong, AND while the image of Page using the double neck for performances of “Stairway to Heaven” is forever burned in the memories of many, he recorded the song on a standard 6-string.

    Now, as for some not already named, there’s Peter Frampton’s black Les Paul that was lost when a cargo plane went down in the early 80’s, eventually making it’s way back to him a few years ago–the one on the cover of “Frampton Comes Alive!” Yngwie Malmsteen’s cream-colored Fender Stratocaster with the scalloped neck comes to mind, and there’s Paul Stanley’s broken glass Ibanez Iceman. The bullseye guitars of Zakk Wylde and Twisted Sister’s Eddie Ojeda are pretty recognizable, and Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis is still playing the same beat-up red strat he was using 35 years ago.

  27. Bruce Lilly

    August 28, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    How about Nuge and the Gibson hollow body Birdland I think. ACE and his smoking rocket shooting guitars. Tony Iommi and his SG Richie Blackmore and his Strat Brian Setter and his Gretch Les Paul and some guitar he used ..this could go on awhile…

    • Warren

      September 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Didn’t he have an AK 47 stringed up?

      • Warren

        September 1, 2017 at 9:45 pm

        Meant Ted Nuggent.

  28. Richard Heine

    August 28, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Paul McCartney’s Bass, a shape known ’round the world.

  29. Terry

    August 28, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Z Z Top’s spinning furry guitars and Jimi Hendrix’s white right-handed Fender Strat strung left-handed.

  30. Howard

    August 29, 2017 at 1:29 am

    How about Roger McGuinn’s mapleglow Rickenbacker 12 string guitar?

  31. Steven Smith

    August 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    MC5’s Wayne Kramer’s American flag strat custom painted and an icon of the times.

  32. Scott

    August 29, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Pat Metheny plays a Pikasso guitar that is very unique…………

  33. Michael

    August 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Robin Sanders White TELECASTER! Or his woodgrain Rickenbacker 12 ! Nobody has mentioned Joe Perry’s AMPEG / Dan Armstrong acrylic!

  34. Matt

    August 29, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Dave Gilmore and the Black Strat, Frank Zappa and his SG, Jeff Beck and the white Stest.

  35. Tim McElheney

    August 30, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Don Felder’s white double neck hotel California guitar.

  36. Mark Maranta

    August 30, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Let’s not forget John Lennon’s stripped Casino.

  37. Erland Eikestad

    August 30, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    James Burton’s “Pink Paisley” that he played as Elvis Presley’s Guitarist in the “Aloha From Hawaii”- Show, and others (Shows).
    This Guitar became Iconic after J.B. used it in the “Aloha”- Show, and is a significant part of Rock Guitar History.

  38. Erland Eikestad

    August 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I’d forgot to Include that It’s a Fender Telecaster! 😀

  39. Erland Eikestad

    August 30, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    James Burton’s “Pink Paisley”-Fender Telecaster that he played as Elvis Presley’s Guitarist in the “Aloha From Hawaii”- Show, and others (Shows).
    This Guitar became Iconic after J.B. used it in the “Aloha”- Show, and is a significant part of Rock Guitar History.

  40. Amy

    August 30, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive guitar.

  41. Manzari

    August 30, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Roger McGuinn’s 12 string Rickenbacker
    Keith Richards’s Macawber
    McCartney’s violin bass

  42. Kurt

    August 31, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Frank Zappa’s rebuilt Hendrix burnt up strat.

  43. Jim

    August 31, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Less Paul’s ,Les Paul

  44. Michael J Shirley

    August 31, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Larry Carlton. Look him up.

  45. Andy Tomlin

    August 31, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Keith Richards Micawber – 1950’s fender telecaster…

  46. Alain

    August 31, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Steve Vai’s “heart guitar” is missing in this list

  47. Jim Cole

    August 31, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Duane Allman’s”59″ Cherry Les Paul

  48. Steven Donoghue

    August 31, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Pat Metheny’s 42 stringed Pikasso guitar

  49. jim farmer

    August 31, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Zal Yanovsky and his Guild S-200, in case no one knows who this is, Zal was the lead guitarist for The Lovin’ Spoonful. or Steve Winwoods’ Gibson Firebird reversed. This is about their respected guitars, not how good a guitarist they are.

  50. Arther Dent

    August 31, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Joe strummer tele, johnny Ramones Mosrite,

  51. Bixster

    August 31, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    I recall some very large ornate guitars used during the Mott the Hopple “all the young dudes” tour back around 1972 or 73. They only used them for a few numbers.

  52. Jim

    August 31, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Brian Setzers. Gretch

  53. brian

    September 1, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Rickey Medlocke’s famous Gibson Explorer from Lynyrd Skynryd.

  54. brian

    September 1, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Lindsay Buckingham Turner Model One

  55. rs

    September 1, 2017 at 1:35 am


  56. Floyd R. Turbo - American

    September 1, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Jerry Garcia’s Wolf, Tiger, Rosebud, Tophat, and/or Travis Bean need to be listed.

  57. Phil Bohannon

    September 1, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    B.B. King’s Lucile; Duane Allman Gibson SG; What Ever the hell Dick Dale played(Don’t know what kind of guitar but the sound was distinctively his).

  58. Stuart

    September 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Ronnie Wood’s toilet seat guitar when he was still a member of the Faces. Then there’s Russ Ballard’s pierced silver Strat.

  59. Olly

    September 2, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Rory Gallagher’s old strat

  60. Steve

    September 2, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Uli Jon Roth’s Sky Guitar.

  61. Ian V

    September 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Dave Hill of Slade – John Birch “Superyob” Also played by Chris Foreman of Madness and now owned by Marco Pirroni of Adam and the Ants.

  62. John

    September 2, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Clarence White’s Tele with the original b-bender built by Gene Parsons. Now owned by Marty Stuart

  63. David Bourke

    September 2, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    Ian Hunter’s Maltese Cross, Mick Ronson’s stripped-top Les Paul, Brian May’s Red Special, Glen Campbell’s 12-string Ovation Bluebird, Lindsay Buckingham’s Turner 1, Rob Davies from Mud’s heart/Cupid’s arrow guitar.

  64. James McElhoney

    September 3, 2017 at 5:19 am

    Chuck Berry’s Gibson es 335 and the Rossi/Parfitt Fender Telecaster combo …..? Chuck Berry inspired many and … well I’ll say it; fuck Elvis, Chuck Berry was the King

  65. Graeme

    September 3, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Andy Powell – Gibson Flying Vee

  66. John O

    September 4, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Randy California’s Theremin modified Danelectro U56, Jimmy Page’s maple burst Les Paul, Eric Clapton’s Stratocaster, “Brownie”, Steve Marriott’s Guild Coronet, Tony Iommi’s Black Gibson SG, Brian May’s “Red Special”, Peter Frampton’s ’54 Gibson Led Paul, Angus Young’s Red Gibson SG, Michael Schenker’s Black/White Gibson Flying V, Joe Satriani’s Chrome Ibanez,

  67. rhett

    October 16, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    what about Billie Joe Armstrongs Guitar Blue

  68. Christopher Nowak

    October 29, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    ME: A red Gibson 335 and a lab 5 amplifier (with a built in compression unit).
    Many years ago I also used a “chorus”.
    Even though I could not play on this recording, Youtube THE CHRIS NOWAK PROJECT Vol.1, 2 or 3 (2 is the best) and then click on HUNGARIAN GYPSY BLUES to hear what a true pure gypsy jazz song sounds like.
    Imagine how my 335 can enhance the song.

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