Jeff Buckley’s Guitars and Gear

Jeff Buckley was born on November 17, 1966, in Anaheim, California. As a child, Buckley was known as Scott “Scotty” Moorhead based on his middle name and his stepfather’s surname. His biological father, Tim Buckley, was also a singer and songwriter. Jeff released his first EP Live At Sin-é in December 1993 for Columbia Records. The EP featured a live recording of Jeff in a coffeehouse in Manhattan’s East Village. His first and only complete studio album “Grace” was released on 23 August 1994. His second album “My Sweetheart the Drunk” was supposed to be recorded in 1997 (it was later released as a collection of demo recordings named “Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk”)

Jeff Buckley photographed in August 27, 1994 by Roy Tee.

On the evening of May 29, 1997, Buckley’s band flew to Memphis intending to join him in his studio there to work on the newly written material. That same evening, Jeff went swimming in the Wolf River, a slack-water channel of the Mississippi River, while wearing boots, all of his clothing, and singing the chorus of the song “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. His body was found on June 4, 1997. The cause of death was an accidental drowning.

Electric Guitars

date_range 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 […]

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date_range 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. […]

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date_range 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 […]

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date_range 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, […]

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date_range 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 […]

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date_range 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 […]

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Acoustic Guitars

date_range 1993

1967 Guild F-50

Jeff used this guitar quite often live for the acoustic bits, most notably during the Live in Chicago concert in 1995. During that gig, the guitar had a black tape covering the sound hole, which is basically a cheap way and an alternative to using sound hole covers that serve the purpose of preventing feedback. The guitar was also […]

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date_range 1994

Gibson L-1

Jeff was often photographed playing this guitar in 1994 and early 1995, giving us an approximation of when he acquired it. Embed from Getty Images Allegedly, the owner of the blonde Telecaster that Jeff played, Janine Nichols, thought that Jeff should keep that guitar since he loved it so much, and agreed she’ll give it away in exchange […]

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date_range 1995

Yamaha FG-470S

This guitar was listed on JeffBuckley.com as part of the guitars owned and used by Jeff, but it is most likely that the Yamaha actually belonged to Michael Tighe, who played rhythm guitar for Buckley. However, just to avoid any confusion, it is probably best to list it here – and perhaps someone will even come along and […]

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Amps

date_range 1993

Fender Vibroverb ’63 Reissue

This was the amp that Jeff used for the most part of his career, seen on photos taken at Sin-e and on the stuff he did later on, most notably the Live in Chicago concert. Worth noting is that he originally seemed to have used a brownface Reissue made sometime in the 90s, but from around 1994 he was […]

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date_range 1995

Fender Vibroverb '64 Reissue

Jeff was seen using the amp alongside a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-o-verb combo during the BBC Late Show gig, filmed in London, on January 17, 1995. Him using this amp seemed to have been a rare occurrence because Jeff usually stuck with his Fender Vibroverb ’63 Reissue (Brownface).

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date_range 1995

Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-o-verb Combo

Used most notably during the Live in Chicago, and Live in Glastonbury concerts in 1995, alongside a Fender Vibroverb ’63 Reissue (Jeff’s main amp, even in the earlier years). It is not known for which purpose Jeff used the Mesa Boogie combo, but it was either a dedicated “dirty sound” amp or a backup in case […]

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Effects

date_range 1994

Alesis Quadraverb

This is a rack unit guitar processor, that probably contributed the most in making what’s now known as Jeff’s signature sound. The best example of this sound is perhaps heard on ‘Hallelujah’, during which Jeff used the “Taj Mahal” Reverb effect present on the Quadraverb. He also allegedly played around with the settings, so it […]

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Accessories

date_range 1994

Dunlop Tortex Standard .73mm Picks

Although Jeff often played just with his fingers, when he needed a pick, it seems that the yellow .73mm Dunlop Tortex Standard picks were his main choice. If you happen to come across a photo or a video where he’s using anything but these, please be sure leave a comment below. Also note that these […]

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