Jeff Buckley’s Guitars and Gear

Most of us associate Jeff with a blonde Fender Telecaster, a guitar that he used for the majority of live performances and studio work. The guitar was a 1983 Toploader model, meaning that the strings didn’t go through the body like on most of the Telecasters. It was modified with a custom mirror pickguard, and with what was most likely a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickup, fitted in the bridge position.

Aside from this guitar, Jeff was also seen using a late 1970s Gibson Les Paul Custom – a guitar that is currently owned by The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Also, he often used a Rickenbacker 360/12 “Fireglo”, and on a few occasions picked up a cheap Telecaster replica made by Series 10, decorated with flower patterns.

He played his electric guitars almost always through a Fender Vibroverb Reissue amplifier, and on occasions through a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-o-verb Combo (see Live in Chicago).

Jeff playing a blond Fender Telecaster, with a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-o-verb and a Fender Vibroverb sitting behind him. Photo source: YouTube – Jeff Buckley Live in Chicago

As far as acoustics, Jeff’s main guitars were the 1967 Guild F-50, often seen during live performances, and a vintage Gibson L-1.

Regarding effects, Jeff didn’t complicate things much at all. The one single notable effect that he used is the Alesis Quadraverb rack unit, which can be heard on “Hallelujah”. Apparently, throughout the song, Jeff used a slightly modified “Taj Mahal” Reverb effect preset on the Quadraverb.

Jeff Buckley Equipment Guide

Guitars

Since Jeff pretty much played a single electric guitar during his professional career, things are pretty simple. Grab yourself either an original Fender Telecaster, or a Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster (which is about half as cheap but still pretty good). Jeff's guitar was finished in what's known as "Butterscotch Blonde" color, and both of the guitars mentioned come in the said finish.

If you want to go "full Buckley" and do the things the right way, consider replacing the stock black pickguard with a chrome one made by Fender. If you want to go even further, install a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickup in the bridge position (requiries opening up the guitar, so count on a trip to a professional).

Amps

Again, things are pretty simple. For most of the stuff, Jeff used a Fender Vibroverb amp, so consider getting one if budget allows (they are pretty expensive). Cheap alternative would be something like a Fender Champion, which has a built in reverb effect (a must have if we're talking about Jeff).

Strings

It's unknown what exact model of strings Jeff used. Likely, they were medium gauges, so something like D'Addario EXL110 would do the job.

Chronological list of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Jeff Buckley

Electric Guitars

access_time 1980

1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom

When Jeff was 14 years old, he received a Gibson Les Paul guitar as a birthday present from his mother and his stepfather [Jeff Buckley – Everybody Here Wants You; 5:30]. He can be seen holding the guitar in a recent issue of the Guitar World magazine [Guitar World, June 2016]. It is assumed that he used […]

access_time 1984

1980s Ovation Viper

This Ovation was used by Jeff sometime in the early to mid-80s. There’s a photo of him with the guitar, which seems to have been taken prior to his college days. Jeff’s band-mate at the time, John Lindsey, who contacted us via email, noted that Jeff played the guitar through a Roland JC-120 during their time together. […]

access_time 1985

Unknown Guitar

Jeff was first seen using the guitar circa 1985. At that time he was in Los Angeles and playing in a band called Group Therapy. He continued using the guitar until around 1989 when he was seen playing it with The Wild Blue Yonder. [The Wild Blue Yonder 1989-1991] This guitar is, unfortunately, a mystery. The exact […]

access_time 1991

1983 Fender Telecaster Toploader

This is without a doubt Jeff’s best-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 were stolen from his apartment in Los Angeles, […]

access_time 1994

Rickenbacker 360/12 Fireglo

This was Jeff’s second most used guitar, perhaps best known for occasionally being used to play ‘Last Goodbye’ live. There’s some debate on the exact model of this guitar, but the round edges on the body and neck inlays are all the clues you need to figure out it’s a 360 model. The guitar first appeared in mid to […]

access_time 1995

Series 10 "Flower" Telecaster

According to a post made over at JBCommunity forums, Jeff got this guitar as a gift after a gig played in Lyon, France in October 1994, from a guy called Jean-Marc who worked at the avenue. For the full story please refer to The Story of the “Flower” Guitar. The guitar was apparently a cheap Korean knock-off that […]

Acoustic Guitars

Amps

Effects

Accessories

Providing the Feedback

In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted here, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, you can provide feedback on each piece of equipment's dedicated page.

In case you want to talk to me directly, please use the mail_outline Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)

Contributors: Michael C., ryanpere, Alex Sandberg, wreknsild, Jamie, Mark, Jim