Billie Joe Armstrong’s Guitars and Gear

Billie Joe Armstrong was born on February 17, 1972 in Oakland, California. He is an American rock musician and occasional actor, best known as the lead vocalist, chief songwriter and lead guitarist for the American punk rock band Green Day. He is also a guitarist and vocalist for the rock band Pinhead Gunpowder and sings for garage rock band Foxboro Hot Tubs when not working with Green Day.

Billie’s favorite guitar is a Fernandes Stratocaster which he nicknamed “Blue”. It is the first guitar he ever bought, and over the years he decorated it with various stickers and equipped with couple of different pickups. He also uses a sunburst Gibson Les Paul Junior nicknamed “Floyd”, and a black one with an Antiquity P-90 pickup. As for the acoustics, Billie mostly uses the Gibson J-180.

Billie Joe Armstrong’s Electric Guitars:

Fernandes Stratocaster “Blue”

Billie Joe Armstrong Stratocaster Blue This was his first electric guitar. He got it as a present for his 11th birthday from his mother who bought is from George Cole (“Beatnik Beatch”). George was Billie’s guitar teachers for many years,  who explained his experience with George in an interview in 1995: “I never really learned how to read music; he just taught me how to put my hands on the thing.”The guitar previously belonged to David Margen who played with Santana.

The guitar originally had the Bill Lawrence Humbucking Pickup in the bridge position, but it was replaced with a white Seymour Duncan JB model after it was damaged at Woodstock ’94. What happened after is that Billie most likely switched the pickup to a black Duncan JB SH-4.

Billie had Fender make him a few replicas of this guitar, which he played live and mostly gave away after the show.

1955 Gibson Les Paul Junior “Floyd”

Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior Floyd This is his main and favorite LP Junior, which he nicknamed “Floyd”.

It features a sunburst single-cutaway body and a single Antiquity P-90 pickup.

1959 Gibson Les Paul Junior

Billie Joe Armstrong Black 59 Les Paul Junior His second favorite, and perhaps the most recognizable Les Paul Junior.

This one also features Antiquity P-90 pickup, fitted in to a black worn-out body, with a sticker just behind the bridge.  

Gibson Les Paul Junior

Les Paul Junior BJA signature Billie has more than 20 LP Juniors, most of the from the 50s, either black or of TV-cream – with double and single cutaway bodies.

Some of his favorites include a 59′ Gibson Les Paul Junior TV Yellow nicknamed “Cornel Mustard” and two Juniors named “Whitey” and “Blackie” according to their colors.

He also endorses the Billie Joe Armstrong Signature Les Paul Junior which came out a few years ago and features a custom H-90 pickup.

Fender Telecaster Custom

Billie Joe Armstrong Telecaster Custom This guitar is custom assembled by Billie’s technician, and it featured black Telecaster body, Flat Mount bridge, white WD pickguard, Duncan JB SH-4 and simplified controls (volume only)

Billie uses this as a backup for his main Stratocaster.

Fender Stratocaster

Billie Joe Armstrong Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment In the more recent days, Billie started using custom shop Stratocasters which are based on the “Blue”.

Gibson ES-135

gibson-es-135-red-p100s Billie can be seen using this guitar in the music video for the song “Redundant”. The guitar is finished in red, and it features two P-100 pickups.

Gibson ES-135 Custom

Gibson-ES135 Billy Joe Armstrong This guitar was custom made for Billy.

It features white body paint, P90 pickups and simplified controls.

Gibson ES-335

Billie Joe Armstrong Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment Not much to be found about this guitar, but is looks like a standard ES-335 with simplified controls (only volume knobs).

Gretch Chet Atkins

Billie Joe Armstrong Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment Billie actually has a couple of these; he was seen with a black one equipped with P-90s, while on few other occasions he was seen with a red and sunburst versions with stock pickups.

Gibson Les Paul

Billie Joe Armstrong Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment Billie’s main Les Paul is the ’59 sunburst model, but he also uses Slash and Jimmy Page signature models.

Rickenbacker 360

Rickenbacker 360 Billie likes to play this occasionally live for the newer stuff.

Billie Joe Armstrong’s Acoustic Guitars

Gibson J-180

Billie Joe Armstrong Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment Billie’s main acoustic, used on many live performances. It has the Everly Brothers bridge designed by their father Ike Everly, and a double pickguard on it.

Gibson issued the Billie Joe Armstrong Signature J-180 which is based on this guitar.

Guild F-50

Guild F50 Played during the 2000 Live In The Bridge School gig.

Guild D-50

Guild D50 Seen live on MTV (check: Green Day – Redundant Live)

Taylor 514C

Billie Joe Armstrong Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment Seen just on couple of photographs of Billie. Probably a backup guitar.

Billie Joe Armstrong’s Guitar Amps:

– Peavey Musician 400 Series
Seen on a photo featured on the vinyl edition of 39/smooth album. Presumably used prior to recording.

– Gallien Krueger 250RL
Used on the early gigs, and most likely during the recording of Green Day’s debut album, 39/Smooth.

– Marshall JCM 900
Sometime in 1992 around the time of recording the “Kerplunk” album, Billie started using a Marshall JCM900 model. He continued using it throughout the next album occasionally, and it can be seen in the “Basket Case” music video.

– Marshall Plexi 1959SLP  “Pete” w/ Bradshaw Gain Mod
During the “Dookie” era (1994) Billie started using a Marshall 1959 reissue amp with the word “PETE” sprayed on the front. This amp was modded by Martin Goulub (LA Sound Design) who replaced one of the master volumes with a gain knob.
Billie recorded with this amp on most of the GD albums, and still plays it live as one of his two main amps. It’s now coated in pink color.

– Marshall Plexi 1959SLP #2  “Meat”
This Billy’s second amp. He uses it on stage paired up with PETE. This one is painted silver and has the SE Lead mod.

– 1958 Fender Twin

– Fender Bassman
Used on “Nimrod”.

– Divided by 13 Combo amp
Used on “21st Century Breakdown”.

For cabinets Billie usually uses two Marshall 1960Bs equipped with Celestion Vintage 30s.

Billie Joe Armstrong’s Guitar Effects:

Billie rarely uses any effects, but here are some that had their place in his rig at some point:

– Boss TR-2 Tremolo

– Ibanez CF7 Chorus Flanger

– Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

– Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Overdrive

Billie Joe Armstrong’s Guitar Strings:

– Billie uses Ernie Ball Super Slinky .010 – .046 strings in his most recent setup. The strings that he used in the earlier years might’ve been something completely different though.

Billie Joe Armstrong Guitar Picks:

– According to Billie’s tech, he nowadays uses Dunlop .73mm Tortex picks with custom designs. In the older days, he seemed to have preferred the .88mm Dunlop Tortex green picks, as they could often be spotted tucked into the microphone stand.

Contributors: goodhealth, DSybrant, TaceMartin, Luke DS Kelly