Joe Perry’s Guitars and Gear

Bio: Anthony Joseph Joe Perry was born on September 10, 1950 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, US. He is best know as the lead guitarist, songwriter, backing and occasional lead vocalist of the rock band Aerosmith.
During Perry’s early years he formed a band with Tom Hamilton called The Jam Band. Steven Tyler, Joe, Tom, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer eventually joined and they renamed the band to “Aerosmith”.
Joe Perry was ranked 84th in the Rolling Stone’s list The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of Aerosmith.

Joe owns more than 600 guitars. This article will be focused on the ones that are among his favorites.

Joe Perry’s Electric Guitars:

1959 Gibson Les Paul

Joe Perry Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment This was his main guitar with Aerosmith during the 1970s. On the Christmas of 1981, Perry was broke with no money in his pockets, so he decided to sell the guitar. It ended up with Slash of the Guns ‘N Roses, who kept it until Joe’s 50th birthday when he gave it back to Joe.

Here’s a quote from an article posted on the Gibson website of Joe telling the story behind this guitar:
“I sold it in 1981, I think, I was broke and I needed money for Christmas. Then, around the time we were doing Get a Grip, I started thinking, I gotta get that guitar back. I had no idea where it had gone. But one day Brad came into the studio with a guitar magazine. The centerfold was Slash’s guitar collection. And there was my guitar, sitting right there. I called Slash and said, ‘C’mon man, sell it back. I’ll give you what you paid for it.’ But he wouldn’t part with it. I felt bad, because every time I’d see him I’d bug him for it. And then finally I stopped talking to him. He never called or anything. Then when my 50th birthday came around, he got some idea in his head that he wanted to give it back to me. Which he did, the night of the party. We were onstage jamming with Cheap Trick. I had no idea what was coming.” See the full article here: Aerosmith’s Joe Perry Talks Gibson Guitars or here Joe Perry on the New “Joe Perry 1959 Les Paul.

Gibson Custom Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul

 Joe Perry Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment During the 80s, Perry has gone through a lot of Les Pauls, including Juniors, Standards and Les Paul Customs. In the early 1990s, Gibson made a Joe Perry signature Les Paul which had a mid-boost control, black chrome hardware, and a translucent black finish. In 2004 this model was replaced by new signature model called the Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul.

Gibson Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul features custom “Green Tiger” finish, vintage cream binding, aged nickel hardware and Kluston-style tulip-button tuners. Joe Perry’s signature is engraved on the mother-of-pearl “Boneyard” headstock.
As of pickups, this guitar is equpied with a BurstBucker 2 in the neck, and BurstBucker 3 in the bridge position. The guitar is available either with Bigsby Tremolo (which Perry usually uses) or with the stopbar tailpiece.

Gibson B.B. King “Lucille” Custom

joe perry gibson lucille This is a customized “Lucille” model with a “Billy Perry” (Joe’s wife) signature on the headstock, and a photo of her on the front of the guitar.

Perry commented on this guitar during one of interviews: “I wanted to put the most beautiful woman I could find on there, so naturally, I chose my wife. I sent it out to an airbrush artist and he did a great job. When I got it back, I opened the case and gave it to Billie, and she hated it. She was so embarrassed she refused to come out of the dressing room at Aerosmith shows when I was using it. She couldn’t stand the sight of seeing herself on a 30- or 40-foot screen at shows. Now, she’s okay with it…My Billie guitar rings like a bell when the volume is down. When you turn it up, you can get a great rock ‘n’ roll crunch, and it’s a good heavy metal guitar too. It does everything well. That guitar is really special.

You can listen a podcast recorded with Joe Perry about this guitar here: Aerosmith’s Joe Perry on touring with ZZ Top

Among his guitars, Joe Perry used Gibson SGs, Firebirds, ES-175s and ES-350s.  He also has a 1960 cherry stereo ES-335 with Bigsby, which he got from his wife.

During his career he went through various models of Fender Stratocasters, many of them left-handed and turned upside-down so he could play them right-handed. When asked why he prefers left-handed models he answered: “It sounds different and feels different to me. It’s just a subtle difference. And I know the way the pickups are set in there, and the way the tension on the arm is, and the length from the nut to the tuning pegs are all different–so it has to add up to something. It’s the most comfortable guitar for me, and it stays in tune better. The only reason I play it is for the vibrato arm, and the Strat has a certain unique tone.”

In the more recent days, Joe uses Stratocasters mainly for Sweet Emotion performances, although he usually does not use specific guitars for each song, but chooses whatever he wants to play at that moment.

1965 Fender Telecaster

Joe Perry Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment Joe uses this guitars on his recent tours. You can check the videos at the bottom of the page for more info.

Dan Armstrong Clear

Joe Perry Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment This is a guitar made of plexiglass, and the only difference between this guitar and the original one is that pickups are made so they can be easily replaced just by sliding them in place (explained in more details in the video at the bottom of the page)

Used for the “Draw the Line”.

B.C. Rich Bich

Joe Perry Guitar Gear Amps Effects Equipment 10 string guitar. Joe uses it for “Living on the Edge” and keeps it tuned to drop-D.

Joe Parry became known for using 6-string basses instead just guitars on couple of songs, most notably on the “Back in the Saddle”. He used a variety of basses including Fender’s Bass VI, Danelectro six-string basses, and most recently the Ernie Ball MusicMan six-string bass.


Joe Parry became known for using 6-string basses instead just guitars on couple of songs, most notably on the “Back in the Saddle”. He used a variety of basses including Fender’s Bass VI, Danelectro six-string basses, and most recently the Ernie Ball MusicMan six-string bass.

Joe Perry’s Guitar Amps:

You can see a complete rundown of Joe Perry’s amps in the video on the bottom of the page.

Most of his Marshall amps are Majors 200W, some of them new, and some vintage, and a couple of Marshall Hendrix’s reissues. He also uses Fender Silverface Dual Showman amps, Fender Tweed Bassman and a couple of custom made amps (all can be seen in the video below)

Joe Perry’s Guitar Effects:

Joe’s pedalboard goes through a lot of changes all the time. His most currents setup looks as explained below.

– Siren Pedal by Rob Lowry
It basically functions like a police siren and Joe uses it paired with the BOSS DD-7 (the white pedal).

– Dunlop JH-1 Jimi Hendrix Wah
Joe’s favorite Wah pedal.

– Digitech Whammy Pedal

– POG Polyphonic Octave Generator

Joe Perry Guitar Strings:

– Gibson Brite Wires .010-.046

Joe Perry Guitar Picks:

– Dunlop 483 Classic Celluloid Heavy Guitar Picks

Other accessories:

– Dunlop Joe Perry Boneyard Guitar Slide


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