Every Piece of Gear has a Story
And every gear-head deserves to know it.
Learn the history behind some of the most iconic guitars
GroundGuitar is project made with the intent to eventually feature all the major guitarists from the last and the current century. We list guitars, amps, effect, and acessories used by each guitarist, and unveil some of the stories hidden behind them, approaching each list from chronological standpoint.

Each gear list is work in progress - with new gear and changes made on a daily basis. We are working on a constant basis to improve and expand the information on Ground Guitar, which is a large and a very time consuming task - given that all this information is spread across countless books, magazine issues, and online articles. We count on your feedback, as well as criticism, to help speed up the process and improve the overall accuracy of these gear lists.

If you at any point decide to contribute your knowledge to this website, we invite you to take everything here with a grain of salt. We're not coming up with false stories intentionally of course, but mistakes do happen. With time and with more experience and knowledge accumulated, we will hopefully root out these errors, and with Cunningham's Law at full force ("the best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer"), we hope to arrive at that point sooner rather than later.

Featured Guitars

1964 Gibson SG Standard ”The Fool”

The Fool 1964 Gibson SG Eric Clapton

Clapton acquired this guitar presumably sometime in 1967, likely purchasing it himself. It first appeared at Cream’s debut US concert on March 25th 1967 at the RKO theater on 58th Street, Manhattan, New York. By that time the guitar already featured the custom body paint done by Simon Posthuma and Marijke Koger, who later went on to form a design collective called The Fool.

They had also painted John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce in lurid psychedelic colors. I asked them to decorate one of my guitars, a Gibson Les Paul, which they turned into a psychedelic fantasy, painting not just the front and back of the body, but the neck and fretboard, too. [Clapton: The Autobiography; p.167]

195? Gibson Les Paul Standard Tobacco Burst “Hot Lanta”

Duane Allman Tobacco Les Paul

This is the guitar that Duane was most often pictured with in the last couple of months of his life. He got this Les Paul in mid-1971 from Kurt Linhof – a guitar dealer and collector whom he met through Billy Gibbons of ZZ-Top.

ZZ Top was opening for the Allman Brothers. Billy introduced Kurt to Duane as,” If anybody can find you a guitar this man can!” Well…. and he did find Duane a guitar! And what a guitar. Duane was looking for a Tobacco burst. Duane’s terms were, “I’ll pay you the cost of the guitar plus half…plus half of that!… plus half of that! !…plus half of that ! ! !” it became a running joke. The rest of the Allmans gave Kurt a shopping list of gear they were looking for. [Duane Allman “HOT LANTA” Story]

1962 Fender Jaguar

John Frusciante Fender Jaguar

According to an interview John gave to Vintage Guitar magazine, this guitar is the only guitar he had with him when he re-joined the Peppers.

When I rejoined the Chili Peppers, I just had one guitar – the red Jaguar. I love Fender Jaguars. I feel like Strats are an extension of me, and a Jaguar feels like the next closest thing to being an extension of me. – John Frusciante for VintageGuitar.com

He used this guitar in late 90s and early 2000s for warming up before shows, and in his own time to come up with ideas for the new songs. He also used it live mostly just in 1999 for the song “Around the World”.

1983 Fender Telecaster “Top-loader”

Jeff Buckley Telecaster

This is without a doubt Jeff’s most known guitar, but a little less known fact is that the guitar didn’t actually belong to him but to Janine Nichols, Arts at St. Ann’s Program Director, from whom he borrowed it in 1991. This happened just a couple of days after all of Jeff valuables have been stolen from his apartment in Los Angeles, and following a Tim Buckley Tribute concert at which Jeff was invited to perform and was given the opportunity to meet Janine.

The guitar originally featured a white pickguard, but Janine changed it with a mirror one – allegedly inspired by Chrissie Hynde who played a similar guitar back in the day. The second modification included replacing the original bridge pickup with what seems to be a Seymour Duncan Hot Lead Stack. This was most likely done by Jeff sometime after receiving the guitar, and prior to Grace studio sessions.

1958/59 Fender Esquire

Fender Esquire Black Maple

First photos of Rory playing this guitar that we know of were taken by Richard Zimmermann on October 20, 1971 in Milwaukee, so it is somewhat safe to say that Rory acquired it sometime in summer or early fall 1971. The guitar is an Esquire model, but Gallagher himself often referred to it as a Telecaster since it was fitted with a neck pickup – essentially converting it to a Tele.

The Telecaster is a 1953 Esquire — a guy phoned me up and told me he had one, so I tried it out, and sure enough ~ one of the real McCoys. I had to have new machines on it, and it needs a new scratch plate. [“The Rory Story”, Zigzag magazine, issue 23, December 1971]

Rory’s dating of this guitar however is not necessarily accurate. As he mentioned in one of his later interviews [Guitarist, June 1987 – Rory!], the guitar was a top-loader model meaning that the strings are anchored at bridge instead of going through the body. This version of the Esquire was only made during a brief period from 1958 to 1959, which serves as a pretty good pointer to when Rory’s Esquire was actually made.

1957/58 Gibson Les Paul Custom

Keith Richards Gibson Les Paul Custom with Drawings

Keith first appeared with this guitar on The Ed Sullivan Show aired on September 11th, 1966. He probably bought the guitar some time prior, but due to lack of any photos or videos from early to mid 1966, we haven’t been able to pinpoint the date exactly. If you happen to know the story behind the guitar, and when an where Keith originally acquired it, please be sure to contact us.

The guitar was used extensively during the late 1966 British tour, which of course included the gig played at the Royal Albert Hall in London where the the Les Paul Custom was also seen. The guitar continues to be Keith’s main axe in early 1967, and can be seen on January 25th Top of the Pops gig and on various dates during the Rolling Stones 1967 European tour [Google Image Search>]. This includes the last gig of the tour played on April 17th 1967 in Athens, Greece.

2004 Fender Stratocaster John Mayer Signature (Black One)

John Mayer Signature Stratocaster Black One

This is perhaps the guitar that John is most often associated with, at least in the more recent years. It was built by Fender Custom Shop master-builder John Cruz in Corona, California in late 2004 – with direct input from John, who also participated in some of the handwork. The guitar was delivered to Mayer in November 2004.

I had just gotten of a tour, and was just starting the get crazies from the second or third world tour. So, as soon as I had any time off, I called you and said – can I come down and build a guitar. I wanted to build my main guitar. […] Since I was a kid, I would draw my own item details for the Fender Frontline Catalog. I would draw free-hand the Strat, the headstock, the tuning keys, and I would write “Fender John Mayer Signature Stratocaster”. Then I would start writing all the details out – what kind of pickups would it have, what kind of this-and-that..  [John Mayer – The Story of The Black One]

1965 Fender Jaguar

1965 Fender Jaguar Kurt Cobain

This guitar appeared just around the the time band started recording Nevermind in summer of 1991. Over the years the instrument became one of Kurt’s most iconic guitars.

Kurt got this ’65 Jaguar through an ad published in LA’s famed Recycler magazine. The guitar was already heavily modified by the previous owner. The original single-coils were replaced with two DiMarzios – a in the neck and a Super Distortion in the bridge, and the stock bridge piece was replaced with Gibson’s Tune-O-Matic. It was also fitted with an additional volume control, and the original pickup selector switches were replaced with a single Gibson-style toggle switch. The switch was in the direct path of Kurt’s hand movement, so in order to deal with this he tapped it over presumably in the bridge pickup position to avoid accidental toggles.

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