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).
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
Please note that this is just a quick basic guide for beginners. In reality, a lot of factors go into replicating someone’s sound, and it’s usually nearly impossible to achieve. To see the equipment that Jeff actually used himself, and all that went into it, refer to the chronological list below.
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 (requires opening up the guitar, so count on a trip to a professional).
Again, things are pretty simple. For most of the stuff, Jeff used a Fender Vibroverb amp, so consider getting one if the budget allows (they are pretty expensive). A 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).
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.