John Mayer's Guitars and GearPublished : - Author : Dan Kopilovic
Summary of John Mayer’s gear
What Guitar does John Mayer play?
John plays a PRS Silver Sky guitar – or at least this is the guitar the plays most often nowadays. In the past, he used Fender Stratocasters, among them his own signature model produced by Fender called the BLK1.
John’s first serious electric guitar was a Fender “Stevie Ray Vaughan” Stratocaster. He bought it around 1996 and would use that guitar as his main until around 2003. At that point, he started using a variety of different Stratocasters. These include another SRV Strat, a Fender Monterey Stratocaster, and a few different Custom Shop Strats, designed to his own specs.
In 2004 came the “Black one” (or BLK1) – a Stratocaster that John designed together with the Fender Custom Shop, to feature his favorite specs and looks. This guitar he used on the “Continuum” album and the following tour. During this same time, Mayer also started using a vintage early 1964 Stratocaster in sunburst. This became his favorite guitar, and the one he still uses nowadays.
In 2015, John decided to switch camps, as he went from Fender to PRS. Together with Paul Reed Smith, he designed his first signature model, the Super Eagle. This guitar he then used this with the Grateful Dead. A few years later in 2018, PRS introduced the second John Mayer signature guitar called the Silver Sky. This second model is based on the Fender Stratocaster but featured some design and spec changes.
John also has a pretty big collection of acoustic guitars. His main acoustic guitar throughout the years has been a 2002 Martin OM28-JM. This is his own signature model from Martin. Next to this one, John also used a DM3MD model. This is a limited-edition Dave Matthews signature guitar, which Mayer had used to record the entirety of the ‘Room for Squares’ album.
What Amps does John Mayer use?
John nowadays uses a combination of Two Rock, Dumblee, and Fender guitar amps. More specifically, as of 2022, on stage, John Mayer uses a Two Rock Custom Reverb amp, a Dumble Steel String Singer, and a Fender Bandmaster guitar amp.
In the past, he went through a few different phases in his career. In the early days, he used Fender combos such as the ’65 Super Reverb and a blonde Vibro-King. In the mid-2000s he began using Two Rock amps almost exclusively. In 2015, he began performing with a few different PRS amps, most notably the PRS J-MOD 100 amp.
This gear list is a result of years of research and constant updates. It's a hobby project with the goal to eventually have the most complete and thorough gear list on the web - but that is only achievable with your help!
GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. If you have any knowledge or notice any mistakes, be sure to let us know!
List of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by John Mayer
John Mayer's Electric Guitars
1990s Squier StratocasterContinue Reading 1994
This was John’s first-ever electric guitar, acquired and used most likely sometime between 1991 and 1993. Prior to this, John was using an acoustic guitar that was rented from a local guitar shop, although there might have been a couple of more acoustic guitars going through his hands before he eventually acquired this Squier. [John Mayer: Someday I’ll Fly]
My first electric guitar was a Squier, so I’ve kind of grown-up native to the shape and the sound and the feel of a Stratocaster. I kind of learned my way around the guitar on it.
As far as one can tell, there’s only one photo of John with this guitar, and it is shown briefly in the music documentary by Eastwood Allen titled ‘John Mayer: Someday I’ll Fly’ [John Mayer: Someday I’ll Fly – 02:31]. Based on the photo, the guitar was finished in black and featured a rosewood fretboard. The same photo was shared on John’s Instagram profile a while ago.
1990s Fender/Squier StratocasterContinue Reading 1994
John was first seen using this guitar sometime in the summer of 1994. At that time, he was playing in a band called ‘Another Roadside Attraction’ [John Mayer: Someday I’ll Fly – 3:35]. The guitar likely directly replaced the black Squier that John played prior to this.
What’s particularly interesting about this guitar is that, based on the photos, in 1994 it had a neck with a maple fretboard, while later on in 1995 the neck seemed to have been swapped for a rosewood one (see photo below). Of course, there are a few reasons that might have led to this – the old one broke, John preferred rosewood fretboards over maple, he came across a better neck than the one that was originally on the guitar and decided to swap them, or this is all completely wrong and they were actually two different guitars.
1996 Fender SRV StratocasterContinue Reading
John acquired this Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster in 1996, trading it for a Takamine 12-string acoustic and a Mesa Boogie distortion pedal, and paying the difference from the money he made working at a gas station. He used the guitar for bedroom practice in the early years, and during the two semesters spent at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
This one I bought from the money I made working at a gas station, and I traded in a Takamine twelve-string and a Mesa-Boogie distortion pedal. I think I paid around $900 as the difference. I bought it in 1996, and this thing has so many little stories on it. […] This has been in my bedroom when I was nineteen, practicing guitar playing, and Madison Square Garden, and Tokyo, and television shows… This is the representation of of the places I’ve been.
In the video linked in the quote above, John also talked about a few different changes that he did to the guitar in the early years. He mentioned engraving his name on the backplate at a local mall (1997), changing the bridge after breaking the whammy bar (1998), engraving his initials on the back of the body at Berklee (1998), and sanding down all the lacquer from the back of the neck and from the fretboard edges (199?). Sometime after leaving Berklee and moving to Atlanta in 1998, he also added a small photo to the back of the headstock of him and his former college roommate, Matt Mangano.11996
Novax ExpressionContinue Reading
This guitar was featured on the cover of John’s 2001 album Room for Squares. In the DVD commentary of Any Given Thursday, he states that the guitar was used live for Neon, and in the studio on the song Room for Squares.
The unique thing about this guitar is that it features angled or fanned frets, which allows for better intonation when compared to a standard guitar. The principle on which this works is based on making the higher pitch strings shorter by making the bridge and the nut angled, and on the opposite side making the lower pitch strings longer.22001
2000s Fender Stratocaster (Blue)Continue Reading
Circa October 2001, John picked up a dark blue Stratocaster and used it during the Room for Squares tour.
This guitar was likely his primary guitar for Something’s Missing during that tour since that song requires a specific tuning. From the looks of it, it seems to have been finished in Lake Placid Blue, featuring a mint-green pickguard, and a flamed maple neck with rosewood board.12001
Rick Turner Model 1Continue Reading 2003
John first used this guitar in 2003 to play Bigger Than My Body live [John Mayer – Live, July 7, 2003] (whether he actually used the guitar during the studio sessions is uncertain, but likely). He continued using it on and off from that point on, and it was again picked up again in 2009, for a live rendition of the song Half of My Heart from the Battle Studies album.
The Model 1 guitar was popularized by Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), who actually played the first prototype that was built specifically for him by Rick Turner, on which the actual production model was based. The guitar features a solid body design with mahogany used exclusively as the building block. It is equipped with Rick Turner-designed hum-canceling pickups with optional coil-split, a piezo system, onboard pre-amp, and onboard quasi-parametric EQ. [Model 1 Solid Body – RickTurnerGuitar.com]
2003 Vinetto LegatoContinue Reading
John was photographed using this guitar only once – at the PNC Arts Center on August 28, 2003, in New Jersey. However, according to Vince Cunetto himself (see comments) the guitar was used extensively live and was only one of the two that Vince made for him.
The guitar was built by Vince Cunetto, who in the mid-90s worked with Fender Custom Shop on relicing their bodies and necks from his own workshop. A couple of years after the deal between the two ended, Vince started his own line of guitars under the Vinetto brand. The model that he first came up with was called Legato, and it featured a design heavily influenced by Fender models such as the Stratocaster and the Telecaster.32003
1960s Fender Stratocaster (Heavier Things)Continue Reading 2003
This guitar was featured on the cover of John’s 2003 album Heavier Things. It is possible that the guitar was used to some extent during the studio sessions, although there doesn’t appear to be any official word on it from John. If you happen to come across an interview where there’s gear mentioned in relation to this album, please be sure to get in contact.
The guitar is most likely an early 60s Stratocaster. This is based on the fact that dot markers on the 12th fret were moved closer together on models made after mid-1963, and on John’s guitar, they are obviously further away. The pickguard screw placement also fits the description of pre-1964 models – which is when the screw between the neck and middle pickup was moved closer to the middle. The final giveaway is, of course, the logo, which changed in mid-1964 to feature thicker letters and patent numbers. [Vintage Guitars Info’s Vintage Fender Guitars]
2000s Fender Stratocaster Custom Shop (Stripe)Continue Reading 2003
This guitar was most famously used in the music video for the song Bigger Than My Body from the 2003 album, Heavier Things. It was subsequently used on various tour dates in late 2003.
The guitar appears to be finished in Inca silver, featuring a red stripe spanning from the area below the bridge all the way to the bottom edge of the body.
2000s Fender SRV StratocasterContinue Reading 2003
John was first seen using this Stevie Ray Signature Stratocaster in Australia in 2003 [John Mayer – Live at Music Max in Australia, September 23, 2003], but it is likely that he owned the guitar for at least a few months back, and used it during the 2003 US tour. If you happen to find photos and/or videos from anywhere between late 2002 and late 2003 with John using this guitar, or for that matter – a guitar that is not on this list, please be sure to leave a comment.
Since this guitar looks suspiciously similar to John’s first SRV Strat, it is important to point out that there are differences.
First, the wood grain on this guitar is different from the one John had since 1996, especially around the area behind the bridge leading towards the strap button. Second, this guitar features a black pickguard (compared to the tortoiseshell on the first one), and lastly, the second guitar does not have a sticker on the back of the headstock, which the old one of course has (more details on this in the 1996 Fender Stratocaster Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature page).
Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey StratocasterContinue Reading
John started using this guitar sometime in late 2003. One of the earlier appearances of the guitar was on December 30, 2003, on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, when John played a set with Buddy Guy and Double Trouble. The guitar was subsequently used on the 46th Annual Grammy Awards show on February 6th, various dates throughout the 2004 tour in support of the Heavier Things album, as well as on many different dates throughout the John Mayer Trio era.
It seems that on almost all occasions he used the guitar to play Waiting for the World to Change, which might indicate that he used the guitar in the studio too, for that particular song.12003
Fender Stratocaster (Charcoal Frost Metallic)Continue Reading
John first appeared with this guitar sometime after the release of the Heavier Things album, circa late 2003. The guitar was likely a Fender Custom Shop master-built and served the purpose of a backup guitar for the tour.
If you happen to come across an interview where John mentioned these early Strats with stripe design, please be sure to get in touch. While the specs on the post-2004 models are relatively known, since they were based on John’s Artist series, these early guitars are pretty much still a mystery.32003
2004 Fender Stratocaster (Burgundy Mist)Continue Reading
This guitar is pretty much a mystery, although it is likely that it came out of the Fender Custom Shop on John’s order. It was used extensively during the Heavier Things tour in 2004 [03/12/2004 John Mayer- YouTube], and therefore likely served purely just as of a touring guitar.
By the looks of it, the guitar was based on an early 60s Stratocaster model. It features a rosewood fretboard on a maple neck, most likely an alder body finished in Burgundy Mist, an aged mint-green pickguard, and the standard configuration of three single-coil pickups.12004
Fender Chris Fleming Tele/Strat HybridContinue Reading 2004
This guitar appeared sometime in mid-2004, although it is possible that John already had it a few months prior. As far as one can tell, it was only used for live performances of the song Something’s Missing, although this is not definitive and still needs further research.
When I used to play Something’s Missing [from Heavier Things, 2004], I had this Strat-Tele that Chris Fleming built. It became the allocated guitar, with the tuning for that song [E B E F# B E]; it comes out of the coffin and I’d play it for Something’s Missing, then it went back in and stayed in that tuning. Then when I stopped playing Something’s Missing, it was like – this is a great guitar for other things; tune it back into standard.
2004 Fender Stratocaster (JM Strat Prototype)Continue Reading
This guitar was first seen sometime in July during the 2004 Summer Tour. Based on a few sources, it is highly likely that this guitar was a prototype of sorts for John’s upcoming Artist series from Fender, which became publicly available a year later, in July 2005.
According to the information over at Fender Reissue Shop website, John received two prototypes with serial numbers JM001 and JM002 in 2004. Both of these were custom built by Chris Fleming and were used by John during the 2004 and 2005 tour. Sometime in 2005, he gave the JM002 back to Chris Fleming as a present, and after changing a couple of hands the guitar ended up with guys over at the Fender Reissue Shop [Fender Masterbuilt John Mayer Prototype Stratocaster Stage Played JM002 Proto]22004
2004 Fender SRV “Number One” Tribute StratContinue Reading 2004
John acquired this guitar sometime in early to mid-2004, presumably right after it first became available. The guitar was introduced in January 2004 at the Winter NAMM, and since only 100 guitars were made, it was sold at the authorized Fender dealers who were chosen on a lottery basis.
The guitar was designed and built by John Cruz (who later worked on John’s BLK1), and was the exact replica of the Stratocaster that Stevie Ray Vaughan used throughout his career, nicknamed the “Number One”.
All of the guitars from the series were marked with serial numbers ranging from 1 to 100 with the prefix “JC” (John Cruz), and they were built with close input from Rene Martinez who prior to working for Mayer worked as a guitar tech for Stevie Ray Vaughan.
2004 Fender Black One StratocasterContinue Reading
This is perhaps the guitar that John is most often associated with, at least during the Continuum era. It was built by Fender Custom Shop master-builder John Cruz in Corona, California in late 2004 – with direct input from John, who also participated in some of the handwork. The guitar was delivered to Mayer in November 2004.
I had just gotten of a tour, and was just starting the get crazies from the second or third world tour. So, as soon as I had any time off, I called you and said – can I come down and build a guitar. I wanted to build my main guitar. […] Since I was a kid, I would draw my own item details for the Fender Frontline Catalog. I would draw free-hand the Strat, the headstock, the tuning keys, and I would write “Fender John Mayer Signature Stratocaster”. Then I would start writing all the details out – what kind of pickups would it have, what kind of this-and-that…
The guitar ended up featuring an alder body and a thick C-shaped maple neck with African rosewood and all the specs taken directly from the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster, which John was of course very familiar with from before (9.5” radius, 6105 jumbo frets, 25.5” scale length, 1.650” width at nut). The Strat was equipped with a set of Gold Schaller Die-Cast tuners with white Pearloid buttons, which coincidentally were also installed on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s original guitar by his (now John’s) guitar tech, Rene Martinez.72004
Fender Stratocaster “Crashocaster”Continue Reading
John was first seen using this Strat in 2005 during the John Mayer Trio tour. According to one of our readers (see comments), the guitar was delivered to him on the same date as his BLK1 Stratocaster.
The guitar was built by the Fender Custom Shop and painted by John Crash Matos – a graffiti artist who became known in the guitar world after painting a few of Eric Clapton’s Strats in the early 2000s. In 2004 he was commissioned by Fender to paint a total of fifty guitars with completely unique designs. John’s Strat was likely not counted as one of those fifty since it was likely a custom order featuring the number “83” embedded into the design (obviously something requested by John himself).32005
1964 Fender StratocasterContinue Reading
John acquired this guitar sometime prior to the Continuum album and used it on at least one song during the studio sessions (see quote below), but at the time of writing this, it is unknown which one in particular (if you happen to have any information regarding this, please be sure to get in contact).
This somehow became kind of like go-to stage guitar for last two or three years. I had this guitar for almost exactly ten years, and the first time this guitar was on record was on Continuum record.
From then on, the guitar remained behind the scenes for the most part until just prior to the Born and Raised tour in 2012, when it became John’s main stage instrument.72005
2005 Fender “Try” StratocasterContinue Reading 2005
This guitar was primarily used during the John Mayer Trio era, more precisely, around the period following the release of the band’s live album Try! on November 22, 2005. The Strat was most likely a custom order from John, built by the Fender Custom Shop.
Although there doesn’t seem to be any official word from Fender or John, it is likely that everything was taken over from the John Mayer Signature model. The only difference, apart from the custom paint-job, is the reversed neck. This is perhaps something that John requested himself as a homage to Jimi Hendrix.
1980 Fender Reverse Stratocaster PrototypeContinue Reading 2005
This guitar was used by John during the 2005 John Mayer Trio tour. It was also used on some later dates, including Mayer’s performance at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2007, which was eventually released as a live DVD album Where the Light Is.
What’s interesting about this guitar is that John’s reverse Stratocaster is actually one of the original prototypes made in 1980, which were intended to be the first line of the Jimi Hendrix Artist Series.
Fender Custom Shop John Cruz 1962 Relic StratocasterContinue Reading 2005
Mayer started using this guitar during the Trio era to play the song Gravity live. As far as studio usage, there are photos of Mayer playing this exact guitar in the studio during the recording of Continuum (one of those photos was posted on John’s Instagram account – of him smoking a cigarette and sporting a fake mustache), but he claims that he actually used the BLK1 to record Gravity, so it is unknown as to why he picked up the Sonic Blue Strat to play the song live.
The guitar was built by John Cruz of the Fender Custom Shop as a part of a limited run of 100 guitars. It was modeled after a 1962 Stratocaster and was finished in a color officially called faded sonic blue, which is basically supposed to replicate a look of the naturally faded vintage sonic blue finish. The neck has a laminated rosewood fretboard with a 9.5″ radius and 21 Medium Jumbo frets, and the guitar is equipped with the John Cruz master design pickups (this model is possibly one of the first to feature these pickups).
2005 Gibson ES-335 Eric Clapton CrossroadsContinue Reading
This guitar first appeared sometime during the John Mayer Trio era circa 2005, which corresponds with the time when the guitar became available for purchase from the Gibson Custom Shop. From then on it was used on numerous occasions, most famously during the 2010 Crossroads festival, when John played a cover of Bill Withers’s Ain’t No Sunshine (see video below)
As you might have guessed from the title, the guitar is a replica of the ES-335 model that Eric Clapton used during his years with the Yardbirds and Cream. After the original was sold at auction in 2004 for a staggering $847,500 [Gibson 1964, ES-335 TDC | Christie’s], it was examined by Gibson Custom Shop and eventually replicated in a limited run of 250 guitars.12005
2004 Fender Stratocaster “Crashocaster”Continue Reading 2006
This guitar appeared on occasions towards late 2004, for example, during a couple of gigs that John played with Sheryl Crow.
The Stratocaster is probably something that John Crash Matos had laid his fingers on, but the exact details behind the guitar are unfortunately unknown. It is possible that this is one of the fifty guitars that Crash did for Fender, and John ended up buying one of them, but it’s equally possible that the guitar was a custom order by Mayer.
Fender Gold Leaf StratocasterContinue Reading 2006
This guitar was first seen sometime in late 2006, following the release of the album Continuum. It was specifically used during the studio sessions for the song Vultures, and on most of the occasions when the song was played live.
So for Vultures , I have to play the gold-leaf Strat. That’s what I wrote the song on, and that’s got that incredible second position – what do they call it, the quack? That’s the quackiest Strat of all time! Vultures does not work on another guitar. That weird, hollowed-out, out-of-phasey-type sound. […] I’ve never taken that gold Strat and played any other tune on it than Vultures.
The guitar was most likely built specifically for John by the Fender Custom Shop, since it’s drastically different from the Eric Clapton Goldleaf Stratocaster (which would be the obvious suspect), although John might’ve taken some inspiration from it. The exact specs are unfortunately unknown, but it is likely that John requested that the guitar featured the exact same specs as his signature model.
Fender Time Machine ’50s Thinline TelecasterContinue Reading
John was seen using this guitar occasionally in late 2006.
Although very little is known about the guitar, from the looks of it appears to be a Custom Shop Thinline Nocaster. According to one of our readers (see comments) it was built by Chris Fleming and features a Twisted Tele pickup in the neck and a Broadcaster pickup in the bridge position.12006
Fender Stratocaster (Cypress Mica)Continue Reading 2007
This guitar was a limited edition of the John Mayer Signature Stratocaster released in 2007, featuring most of the specs present on the regular models with some minor differences. John himself used the guitar occasionally from early 2007.
The guitar is just a regular JM Stratocaster featuring a different finish and a few minor design features. The color is officially listed as ‘Cypress Mica’, which falls between gun-metal gray and olive green with sparkles that give more of a yellow/golden tint under a particular light. Aside from the finish, which is obviously the most unique feature of the guitar, the standard tone and volume knobs have been replaced with vintage white amp control knobs.
1961 Fender Stratocaster HardtailContinue Reading 2007
John acquired this guitar sometime in 2007, which is a presumption mostly based on the photos which seem to date back no further than mid-2007 and the 38th Annual New Orleans Jazz Festival.
According to a Periscope live stream that John did recently [John Mayer on Periscope – Gear Talk] the guitar is a 1961 hard-tail Stratocaster, meaning that it doesn’t have a regular tremolo bridge, making the guitar lighter and less prone to going out of tune.
In the same Periscope session linked above, John mentioned that he used this guitar on Something Like Olivia, as well as on some other stuff. Unfortunately, he does not go into details about what that other stuff may be.
1959/60 Gibson Les Paul JuniorContinue Reading 2007
John was seen using this guitar on a few occasions in 2007, including the ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” on July 20th, 2007. Unfortunately, the specifics and the origin of the guitar are currently unknown.
Based on the photos, the guitar appears to be vintage, most likely dating back to the late 50s. It features a double cutout body, cherry red finish, and a single P-90 pickup in the bridge position.
Fender SRV Lipstick StratocasterContinue Reading
John was seen playing this guitar at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, Illinois, as well as on PBS’s Austin City Limits recorded that same year.
Although initially suspected by many, the guitar is not from the limited line built by Charley’s Guitar Shop, but Fender’s own replica, made by their Custom Shop team of Master Builders. These guitars seem to be extremely rare, and only a few have ever popped up online. One such can be seen here – The Super Rare Fender “Charley” Lipstick Stratocaster in the Style of SRV.52007
2007 Fender "Continuum" StratocasterContinue Reading 2007
This is a guitar that was made specifically for the Continuum tour, during which John used it to play Belief and I Don’t Need a Doctor.
The guitar is most likely just a regular John Mayer Signature Stratocaster put together by John Cruz, featuring a custom finish, and the word “Continuum” written in sequence on top of the body, excluding the pickguard.
For the specifics behind the electronics and woods used on the guitar, refer to the official Fender spec sheet – [John Mayer Signature Models Specs].
1977 Gibson L-5Continue Reading
This guitar was most famously used on Where The Light Is DVD, mostly just on the footage recorded of John playing outside on Mulholland Drive.
From then on, the L-5 was seen occasionally on John’s social media profiles but was rarely used during concerts. One instance where the guitar was seen live was at the David Letterman show in 2008, where John played a cover of Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours, and more recently, in 2019 at the MSG in New York, when John used it for Moving On and Getting Over.112007
Guild Starfire IV STContinue Reading 2007
John used this guitar on the Where The Light Is DVD/live album to play the song Come When I Call.
The guitar is finished in dark sunburst, and from the looks of it appears to be brand new. Given that this is true (and it’s not an older model), the guitar features a semi-hollow body with a solid spruce center block, a 22 fret neck with an Indian rosewood fretboard, a Tune-O-Matic bridge with stop bar tailpiece, and two Guild LB-1 pickups.
Fender SRV Lenny StratocasterContinue Reading 2008
John received this guitar from the Fender Custom Shop sometime in 2008, as was shown in the bonus interview featured on the Where The Light Is DVD/live album. As far as one can tell from the photos and the video available, he never used this Stratocaster live.
The guitar is a replica of a Stratocaster that Stevie Ray Vaughan received as a gift on his 26th birthday from his wife Lenora (you can read more about the guitar at Stevie Ray Vaughan’s gear page). Fender made a total of 185 instruments, all of course master-built.
Fender "La Cabronita" TelecasterContinue Reading 2009
John Mayer used this Telecaster since 2009 on live performances of Perfectly Lonely, and since he often chooses to use the same exact guitar he originally used during the studio sessions (gold-lead Strat on Vultures for example), the guitar was most likely used to record the song as well.
The guitar was built by the Fender Custom Shop and it features a blonde finish, a maple neck with a 9.5-inch radius rosewood fretboard, Dunlop 6105 frets, two TV Jones Filter’Tron pickups, a fixed Strat-style bridge, and Sperzel tuners. This model only has a single volume knob, and a switch to toggle between the two pickups, however, the volume knob also serves as a push/pull switch which changes the sound of the guitar significantly. [Mike Eldred On The Fender Custom Shop La Cabronita Especial]
Moog E-1Continue Reading 2009
John used this guitar to record War of My Life and Assassin from the 2009 album Battle Studies.
This is sort of like a guitar synth in a way. It has constantly-sustaining pickups that just keep the strings ringing. I used this on War of My Life and I used it on the Assassin. Those sort of groovy, long, sort of ethnic-sounding guitar parts I played on that guitar.
Duesenberg Double CatContinue Reading 2009
John used this guitar on the Battle Studies album to record the song Wildfire. Following John’s preference to always use the exact same guitar that he recorded the song with, the Duesenberg was also seen on most of the live performances of the song.
According to the info on Duesenberg’s website, the guitar features an alder body with sound chambers and a laminated maple top, an Indian rosewood fretboard with a 12″ radius, Duesenberg Multibender tremolo bridge, Duesenberg Domino P-90 pickup in the neck, and a Grand Vintage Humbucker in the bridge position.
1952 Fender TelecasterContinue Reading 2009
This guitar was first seen live during the Born and Raised World Tour in 2013, although based on John’s Periscope stream recorded in 2016, he had owned the Tele for quite a while:
This is a bit of a different Tele in a sense that it’s not traditionally bright and sort of twangy. That’s why I had to have it – at a considerable cost to get it out of this person’s hand – about seven or eight years ago (note: that would be around 2009).
1961 Gibson Les Paul/SGContinue Reading 2009
John was first spotted playing this guitar at the Beacon Theatre on November 17, 2009, in New York City. Although used rarely at first, the guitar became John’s favorite by the time he recorded Battle Studies, and he ended up using it to record the song Edge of Desire from that album.
It took me 10 years to… no, more than 10 years, 15 years, to really be able to put a Strat down and play something else. My favorite guitar right now is this Les Paul SG.
Fender Jeff Beck "Heartbreak Warfare" StratocasterContinue Reading
John was first seen using this guitar following the release of his fourth studio album Battle Studies in 2009. The guitar was used exclusively for the song Heartbreak Warfare, and it had a heartbreak logo printed on the front.
The main distinctive features of this guitar are the 22-fret neck with what looks like a Wilkinson split roller nut and three Fender Noiseless pickups. Based on this, the guitar appears to be a Jeff Beck Signature model – since all of those features are present on that model, although John’s guitar doesn’t seem to feature the usual Jeff Beck signature on the headstock. There are however JB Strats like this out there, although they are very rare (this is now confirmed to be the case by John in the update below).22009
Duesenberg Mike Campbell SignatureContinue Reading 2010
This guitar seems to have been used occasionally on a couple of gigs with Keith Urban on the song Til Summer Comes Around. It was subsequently seen in 2010 in the Palace of Auburn Hills, where John used the guitar to play the song ‘Say’ [John Mayer – Say (Live at the Palace Feb.12, 2010)]
According to the information on the Duesenberg website, the guitar features a maple neck with an Indian rosewood fingerboard featuring a 12″ radius (compared to 9.5” on JM Strat) with 22 jumbo frets. The body is semi-hollow with a laminated spruce top and laminated flamed maple back and sides. All the hardware is produced in-house by Duesenberg, including the P-90 style pickup which is fitted in the neck position, and the Grand Vintage humbucker in the bridge.
Fender TL-Minnie Mouse TelecasterContinue Reading 2010
John seems to have acquired this guitar during the Battle Studies tour in Japan in May 2010 and played it on at least one gig around that time. [John Mayer Perfectly Lonely Live in Japan, Tokyo JCB Hall 2010.5.13]
The guitar is part of a limited Disney-themed line made and released only in Japan, and it featured a basswood body and a maple neck rosewood with a 25.5″ scale length and 9.5″ radius (marked as 324mm and 250mm for the Japanese market). [Amazon｜Fender Japan TL-MINNIE Telecaster] The price of the guitar was around 100,980 Japanese Yen, or approximately $1,000.
Ernie Ball Music Man 25th AnniversaryContinue Reading
This guitar was seen during the 2010 Battle Studies World Tour on various dates, but primarily on gigs played in Australia and Japan. Allegedly, the guitar was used to record some of the stuff on the Battle Studies album but there’s no official word from John on this.
From the photos available the guitar appears to be black, but it seems that all of the 25th Anniversary models were produced in dark red. As pointed out in the comments, John apparently didn’t like the original finish and had the guitar repainted in black.12010
Fender Rosewood Stratocaster "Rosie"Continue Reading 2011
Based on the photos, this guitar was first used sometime in early to mid-2011, as John was first seen using it during the Tiger Jam All-Star Benefit Concert in April that year. Apparently, at first John was after George Harrison/Hendrix’s original rosewood Strat, but eventually decided he’ll just order a new one from the Fender Custom Shop.
The story behind this guitar is that I got offered a guitar just like this for a bunch of money. The one that was offered to me was made as a companion piece of a George Harrison’s rosewood Telecaseter. People say that it was made for Hendrix, but Hendrix never got it. I has come and gone from the market as a fairly high-dollar thing.
I just sent a picture to Chris Fleming and said – you can make me a rosewood one? Then I started calling it “Rosie” and I thought it would be cool to put a rose on the pickguard. My friend Lydell did that.
The guitar was built by the Fender Custom Shop, and it features an all-rosewood body and neck. It is based on a late 1960s model, and it styles the larger headstock and the logo design that was typical in that period. As far as the rest of the specs, this depends on whether the guitar was built specifically for John, or he just happened to pick up one of the standard models.
Alembic Further Jerry Garcia TributeContinue Reading 2013
John was first seen using this guitar in 2013 while playing a cover of the Grateful Dead song Friend of the Devil. This is, of course, no coincidence, since the guitar was modeled after one of Alembic’s earliest guitar models known as ‘Wolf’, played by Grateful Dead co-founder and lead guitarist – Jerry Garcia.
From 2013 and on, John seemed to have used this guitar occasionally for live gigs. He was seen playing it on Live on Letterman TV show in 2013.
Fender Stratocaster PlusContinue Reading
John used this guitar occasionally during the Born and Raised world tour, most notably at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2013.
From the looks of it, the guitar appears to be the late 80s/early 90s Strat Plus. The most obvious giveaway is the three Gold Lace Sensor pickups (famously used by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Buddy Guy) and the Fender/Wilkinson needle-bearing roller nut – which was used on this specific model until around 1993. The exact color used on the guitar is probably what Fender calls Razzberry red – which is extremely rare on the Strat Plus models and highly sought after.32013
Fender Nickel Plated StratocasterContinue Reading
This is one of the more unique guitars of John’s. He started using it around 2014, and it appears to be a model built to the vintage 50s specs. The finish on the guitar seems to be one-of-a-kind since it looks too shiny to be Inca Silver or really anything from the Fender catalog.
The guitar was used occasionally during 2014 as well as on some studio projects during that year. As far as the specs, it likely features all of the hardware from the JM Signature Strat, but this is obviously not one hundred percent true.22014
Guild M75 AristocratContinue Reading 2014
John used this guitar in 2014 on the John Mayer Trio mini-reunion on Late Night with Seth Meyers. This was the trio’s first TV performance in five years, and they played the song After Midnight, originally by J. J. Cale and later covered by Eric Clapton in 1970.
As far as the specs, the guitar features a chambered body with spruce top and mahogany back, 22 fret neck with rosewood fretboard, Guild floating Tune-O-Matic bridge, and a pair of Guild SB-1F single-coil pickups.
Jackson 30th Anniversary SoloistContinue Reading
According to a post that John made on his Instagram profile, he received this guitar sometime in mid-2014 – however, it mostly remained behind the scenes until around a year later when John appeared with it during his 2015 Grammy performance with Ed Sheeran. He also appeared with it on The Ellen Show in 2017, where he played Still Feel Like Your Man.
John’s Jackson seems to be a Custom Shop 30th Anniversary model, based on the pickups and the control knobs layout. It features a bright pink color (which unsurprisingly caused some negative comments among the more conservative fans), two EMG SA1 single-coils (neck and middle), an EMG 81 humbucker active pickup in the neck position, and an 80s-style Floyd Rose tremolo bridge.12014
Fender Eric Clapton Signature StratocasterContinue Reading 2014
This is one of the two maple-neck Stratocasters that John played on a couple of occasions in 2014. Prior to acquiring these two maple-neck Strats, John almost exclusively used rosewood Strats, aside from a couple of odd ones – like the Custom Shop Reverse Proto Stratocaster. 2014 seems to have been a sort of a transition year for John, which eventually culminated with a huge announcement in October that year when Mayer revealed that he has parted ways with Fender.
From the looks of it, the guitar appears to be brand new. All the specs also seem to match the Eric Clapton Signature model – starting from the black finish, three Noiseless pickups, 8-hole pickguard, and the 22 fret maple neck.
2015 PRS Super Eagle (Prototype #1)Continue Reading
This is the first prototype of the PRS Super Eagle model, which Mayer designed working closely with Paul Reed Smith in mid-2015. The guitar seems to have mainly been based around the McCarty 594, which was introduced only a couple of months prior to the two of them meeting to discuss a possible signature model after John’s departure from Fender.
The guitar is very similar to the production version of the Super Eagle, except that it’s a completely solid guitar, and it doesn’t have an F-hole. Aside from this, there are also few minor differences – stop tail bridge instead of the Gen III Tremolo, no binding on the neck, no pickup cover on the bridge pickup (and likely different pickups altogether), and the most obvious – no sunburst finish.22015
PRS NF3Continue Reading 2015
John used this guitar at Eric Clapton’s 70th Birthday Concert in May 2015. According to one of his recent Periscope streams, this is the first PRS guitar that he ever got his hands on.
This is the first PRS guitar that I played, and I went holy moly! I played that at the Clapton birthday show at the Madison Square Garden.
PRS Custom 22 Private StockContinue Reading 2015
This guitar was only seen briefly in one of John’s Periscope streams dating back to July 1, 2015 [John Mayer Guitar Lesson on Periscope 2015].
Based purely on the looks, the guitar appears to be a Custom 22 model, but there are a few things on it that don’t exactly fit the description. The first is the inlays, which are not the usual “bird in flight”, but Celtic knots-styled ones. Second is the fact that all of the hardware is gold-plated, including even the tiniest screws on the back and bridge saddles.
Taking a look at the PRS website, the only model that seems to fit the description is the one branded as the “Collection Series IX – Curly” – which seems to be a really top-of-the-line guitar with all the bells and whistles. If you’re interested in the full specs of this guitar please visit PRS’s official web presentation of the model.
2015 PRS Super Eagle (Prototype #3)Continue Reading 2015
This is the third prototype of the PRS Super Eagle that John designed together with Paul Reed Smith. Based on the fact that he published this guitar on his Instagram in 2015, a year before he started using Super Eagles extensively on stage, this is likely the final prototype guitar before John was presented with his #1 and #2 Super Eagles. Those two were finalized versions and the two that John used the most during performances.
This prototype was first mentioned on John’s Instagram profile in July 2015, and it shows the guitar waiting to be sprayed with the sunburst effect on the edges. We see one major difference compared to the final versions – the prototype has three control knobs, compared to only two on the finalized version.
A couple of months later in August John did a Periscope stream showing off the same guitar (see image below), but now obviously completely finished.
2015 PRS Super Eagle (Number 1)Continue Reading
This guitar is the one that John eventually settled up with after trying out the first prototype from Paul Reed Smith. The guitar is identical to at least two other PRSs that John has, aside from the sticker on the back that simply reads “1”, and the pattern in the wood on the top (which is very hard to see sometimes).
The guitar features a curly maple sandwich body with mahogany sides, a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard with 24 and 25.375″ – which is longer than usual for PRS guitars, but still short in comparison to John’s Strats (25.5″). The model is equipped with two specially-wound 58/15 JM treble and bass (bridge and neck) pickups, and a custom-wound Narrowfield JM pickup in the middle position (with three individual coil-tap mini-switches).12015
Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature ModelContinue Reading 2015
This guitar is probably one of the lesser-known ones since you’d be unlikely to have known of it unless you regularly tune in John’s Periscope streams. It seems that he only used this guitar during a stream dating back to late 2015.
The guitar features a maple body and neck, Charvel Custom MF humbuckers in the neck and the bridge position, a Charvel Custom MF single-coil in the middle, Sperzel locking tuners, and a Charvel locking tremolo bridge.
PRS Silver SkyContinue Reading
John started using this guitar in 2017. It has been developed as a close collaboration between Mayer and Paul Reed Smith. The main goal was to design an instrument that would be a future of the classic design, taking inspiration mainly from early 60s Strat models that John is known to favor.
It’s been a dream of mine for years to design a guitar that includes some of my favorite vintage specifications but with a modern spirit and aesthetic. After two years of study and refinement, the Silver Sky is my vision of what a reboot of the electric guitar should look and feel like.
The PRS Silver Sky features a 22 fret maple neck (22.5″ scale) with rosewood fretboard radiused at 7.25″ – identical to vintage Strat models, as opposed to 9.5″ or even 12″, which are way flatter and usually more common on modern guitars. The body is made of alder wood, and houses three single-coil pickups, again – custom-design as a collaboration between Mayer and Smith dubbed the 635JMs. The pickups are only available in this model, and it is doubtful that they would become available for purchase separately.42018
Epiphone Casino E230TDContinue Reading 2019
This guitar was used on one of John’s Instagram live streams, where he improvised 7 minutes of I Guess I Just Feel Like – a part of which ended up on the studio recording. It is unknown whether he used this guitar on any other occasion.
From the looks of it, this seems to be an E230TD model, finished in sunburst, with the Tremotone tremolo and two single-coil P90 pickups.
John Mayer's Acoustic Guitars
Washburn AcousticContinue Reading 1990
In his Periscope stream on August 20th, 2015 [John Mayer on Periscope – Gear Talk] John mentioned that his first guitar was a Washburn acoustic and that the guitar is still with his family. Unfortunately, this is the only piece of info available on this guitar, so if you happen to come across some old photos of John with it, or an interview where he happens to mention it, please be sure to leave a comment.
Takamine 12-stringContinue Reading 1996
This was the guitar that John had very early on, prior to becoming a recording artist. Unfortunately, the guitar is pretty much a mystery and everything that is known about it is that it was a 12-string and that John traded it in 1996 for a Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster that became his main recording guitar on the first couple of albums.
Godin MultiacContinue Reading 2000
John was seen using this guitar only in one video clip dating back to March 9, 2000. The origin of the guitar and the time frame during which John used it are currently unknown.
Martin DM3MDContinue Reading 2001
This guitar was used by John to record the entirety of the Room for Squares album and during the 2001 tour.
The guitar is a limited edition Dave Matthews signature model from Martin. According to the official specs, it features a 14 fret dreadnought body with solid spruce top and solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, solid mahogany neck with ebony fretboard, and grained ivoroid body binding.
Martin Cutaway CustomContinue Reading
This Martin guitar was mostly used just for the 2001 Room for Squares tour, and it was one of only two Martins that John was seen playing around that time (the DM3MD being the other one). It was likely picked up just due to the fact that it was a cutaway guitar, and allowed John to reach the higher frets more easily while playing live.
Unfortunately, trying to figure out the exact model of the guitar proved fruitless. It seems to feature a cutaway body with OM/000-14 design, and pearl/abalone binding on the edges and around the sound-hole, but surprisingly – no binding on the neck whatsoever. This is weird because that type of binding seems to only be available on the top-of-the-line models (Martin 000-42 for instance), and it appears that these models all come with neck binding of some sort at least. Also, these models usually feature custom fretboard inlays as well, while John’s guitar seems to have the basic dots.22001
Martin OM28-VContinue Reading 2002
By 2002 Mayer seems to have decided to start moving from dreadnought-sized guitars to OM/000 sized ones. For the first guitar, the choice fell on an OM28-V model, which is part of Martin’s Vintage Series line. This guitar was mostly seen just during the 2002 tour, and by 2003 it was replaced by Mayer’s own signature model.
Martin OM28-V features a solid Sitka spruce top with solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, solid mahogany neck with ebony fretboard, tortoise pickguard, and Gotoh nickel tuners.
Martin HD-35Continue Reading 2002
Seen on a few occasions in 2002, likely just a tour/temporary guitar. More research is needed.
Martin OM-42Continue Reading 2003
John was seen playing this guitar on occasion in early 2003, most notably at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards show on February 23rd.
The guitar is one of Martin’s premium models with a $5,000+ price tag, featuring Sitka spruce top, an East Indian rosewood back and sides, an Abalone rosette, and the top inlay, and grained ivoroid body and headstock binding.
2003 Martin OM-28JM Limited EditionContinue Reading 2003
This guitar was introduced in late 2003 as the first official John Mayer Signature model from Martin. The model was produced as a limited run of 404 instruments, with the #4 and #43 allegedly going to Mayer [source needed]. In the interview with Martin guitar at the 2014 NAMM show, John does mention that he still has the same two OM-28JMs, so that does somewhat confirm the theory that there’s more than just one guitar.
John himself used these guitars extensively since he received them sometime in late 2003 (he was first seen with the guitar in November at the Madison Square Garden, New York). It seems that although he allegedly has two of them, he does have a favorite one which comes into play way more often than the others. One of the guitars seems to have developed quite a scratch just below the pickguard on the bridge side, meaning that it was obviously used very extensively (see photo above)
Martin 000-ECHF Bellezza NeraContinue Reading 2009
This guitar was seen in the music video for the song Half of My Heart from the 2009 album, Battle Studies, and on a home video that John recorded in Japan in 2009 (see photo below). Unfortunately, we couldn’t find out if the guitar was used in the studio sessions.
The Martin 000-ECHF, nicknamed Bellezza Nera (meaning Black Beauty in Italian), is an Eric Clapton signature guitar introduced in 2004. The guitar features a solid Italian Alpine spruce top with scalloped 5/16″ bracing, East Indian Rosewood back and sides, ivoroid binding, fine herringbone top trim, custom pearl rosette, ebony bridge, and a custom V-shape neck.
Martin 00-45SCContinue Reading
This is the second guitar that John designed working with together Martin, introduced initially at NAMM 2012. According to John’s own words, the idea behind the guitar was to create a smaller and more portable guitar.
The guitar features a 00-style body with an Adirondack spruce top and Cocobolo back and sides (notice that all the prior Martins that John played had East Indian rosewood back and sides), and a select hardwood neck with ebony fingerboard. One of the unique features of the guitar, which was apparently John’s idea, is the fact that the Abalone rosette extends over the fretboard itself.22012
National Resonator 12-stringContinue Reading
John used this guitar on rare occasions when playing the song Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 live (something he initially avoided doing but does more often in recent years).
Here is one guitar that never did anything else but the song it was written on. I think it’s a baritone.
This National seems to be a custom-made guitar since it looks to be fairly new, and features a 12-string neck – which seems to be very rare on these guitars. Next to that, the guitar is also equipped with a sound system, which is obviously not something you’ll find on a true vintage Style-O. Beyond this, not much is known about the guitar at this moment.12012
Martin D-45 JMContinue Reading 2018
Martin released this guitar in early 2018, as the first dreadnought size John Mayer signature model. It was produced in a limited run of only 45 guitars, and it featured an Engelmann Spruce top with Guatemalan Rosewood back and sides, and an Abalone top and rosette inlays.
At the time of the release, the Martin D-45 JM sold for $14,999.00.
John Mayer's Amps
Fender Vibro-KingContinue Reading
This seems to be the amp that John used in the earlier part of the Room for Squares tour, based on the footage from ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ video (photo below), and on some live footage recorded in 2001. It is possible however that the amp was not always used by him (see photo below, the amp is used by the person on the left).12001
Fender ’65 Super Reverb ReissueContinue Reading 2002
Used during the later part of the Room for Squares tour starting from 2002. The amp can be seen during the concert in Birmingham, Alabama which was released as a live CD and DVD titled Any Given Thursday, and on the music video for the song Why Georgia – which also shows some backstage footage, as well as on some 2003 gigs (see photos from Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 11th Annual Oscar party).
Fender TonemasterContinue Reading
This is the amp that was often seen next to the Super Reverb on stage during the Room for Squares tour circa 2002. It is unknown whether John actually used this amp since it could’ve been used by the guitarist standing to his right, Michael Chaves (thanks Hunter).12002
Two Rock Custom ReverbContinue Reading 2004
John started using Two Rock amps sometime prior to the 2004 summer tour (if you know of a specific date when he started using them, please leave a comment below) and continued using them as his main amps over the next few years.
In 2004 specifically, he was mostly seen using a single or two Two Rock Custom Reverb heads, sometimes with the cabinets rotated backward, and sometimes with a Fender Vibro King sitting in between them. Towards 2005 the Custom Reverb heads were gone in favor of the newer Custom Reverb Signature version.
Two Rock ComboContinue Reading 2004
John was seen using the amp during a televised gig played on June 19, 2004 (photo below). Based on the footage, the amp could be a K&M Jade model (which was in production around that time according to A List of Two-Rock Production Models from the K&M-Era) but it’s really really hard to tell anything for sure.
If you have knowledge of these early Two Rock combo amps and happen to recognize the one on the video, be sure to get in touch. Until we manage to identify it, the amp will simply be listed as a “Two Rock Combo”.
2004 Fender Vibro-King Limited EditionContinue Reading
John was seen using this amp on occasions in 2004/2005 alongside a Two-Rock Custom Reverb. Based on the photos, the amp that John used was a limited edition which was available only during the 2004 NAMM show, with Western Hand Tooled Tolex, and a matching cabinet (for reference and photos, see 2004 Fender Vibro King Cowboy Tolex Amplifier).
If you happen to come across an interview in which John talks about using Vibro King amps, and for which purpose specifically he had then set up, please be sure to leave a comment below.12004
Fender Hot Rod DeluxeContinue Reading 2004
This guitar amp was seen sitting behind John onstage during The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation’s Show at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 2, 2004 (photo below). Given that the amp is mic-ed up, and positioned right behind John, it seems most likely that it was used by him (as opposed to someone else in the band). However, this seems to be the only occasion during which the amp was used, so it could be that this was something that was simply set up for John by the production, or something he brought up himself, especially for this occasion.
Fender Deluxe Reverb AmpContinue Reading 2015
According to a Periscope stream that John did in 2015, this amp was built by Chris Flemming from the Fender Custom Shop. Chris apparently had help from Alexander “Howard” Dumble of Dumble Amplifiers.
John mentioned using the amp while playing American Pie on David Letterman, and on tons of other stuff (although he doesn’t go into specifics, unfortunately).
Fender Dual ProfessionalContinue Reading 2017
This amp became a part of John’s usual stage setup from around the same time he began using the PRS J-MOD 100 amp – his own signature model from PRS introduced in early 2017. Usually, with Dead & Company, he would have the Fender Dual Professional sitting between two J-MODs, and a Victoria Reverberato unit sitting on top of it.
PRS J-MOD 100Continue Reading 2017
This has been John’s main amp since circa 2017, when it first became available, both with Dead & Company and on his solo gigs. He’d usually have two amps sitting on stage, with a Fender Duo Professional sitting in between them, and a Victoria Reverberato Reverb/Tremolo unit sitting on top of it.
Fender '65 Princeton Reverb
John Mayer's Effects
Way Huge Aqua Puss Analog DelayContinue Reading 2004
This is one of the key pedals in John’s arsenal, at least based on how often it was seen on his pedalboard. It seems to be his main go-to delay, so any time there’s a delay effect in his signal chain, it is most likely an Aqua Puss.
There however don’t seem to be any interviews of John talking about the usage of the pedal, so it’s unknown when specifically it was used. It seems that the first time it appeared on his pedalboard was around 2004, after the release of Heavier Things. From then on, it was seen on basically every single photo taken of his pedalboard (including more recent with Dead & Company).
If you happen to come across an interview, where John speaks directly about the pedal, please leave a comment below.
One thing worth pointing out is that John uses the original, Mark 1, version of the pedal. These are now pretty hard to find, since Dunlop took over the production, and introduced the Aqua Puss MK2 model.
Boss BD-2 (Keeley mod)Continue Reading 2005
Used by Mayer most notably during the trio era (circa 2005). The BD-2 that John used was modified by Robert Keeley altering the sound significantly from the stock model.
Among others, the mod includes changing several BD-2s inside components and adding a PHAT switch which activates a lower frequency booster for a somewhat bassier or “fatter” sound.
Dunlop DC-Brick Multi-Power SupplyContinue Reading 2005
Used as the main power supply for John’s pedalboard during the trio era (2005).
Keeley Katana BoostContinue Reading 2005
This pedal has been a part of almost every single pedalboard that John had set up. Most notably, it was seen on his Trio era board (photo below), and on the photos taken of his pedalboard in the more recent Dead & Company tours.
If you feel like your guitar just won’t cut it in the mix with your band, but you don’t necessarily want more overdrive, check out the Fulltone Fat-Boost, or the Keeley Katana. Kick it on for a solo, and it’s like having your own personal mixing engineer ride your fader. I use a Keeley-modded Boss BD-2 pedal as well. It’s got its own thing going on, and I like it.
T-Rex Replica DelayContinue Reading 2005
Seen on John pedalboard during the Trio tour (2005).
Real McCoy Picture Wah (RMC3)Continue Reading 2005
John used this Wah pedal during the John Mayer Trio era circa 2005. RMC’s current catalog seems to be somewhat confusing, so it’s unclear what exact model he was using (if you happen to be familiar with RMC Wahs, leave a comment below).
Above is a photo of an RMC3 Picture Wah that looks identical to John, but there seem to be other RMC models with this exact same design, so it doesn’t necessarily mean much.
Boss TU-2 TunerContinue Reading 2005
Obviously not really an effect, but still worth pointing out is that John used a Boss TU-2 tuner on his Trio-era (2005) pedalboard. Many people want to replicate that exact sound and go for the same exact pedals that Mayer had at that time, so it doesn’t hurt to have it listed here.
Ibanez TS-808 Tube ScreamerContinue Reading 2006
The Tube Screamer TS-808 overdrive pedal was seen on John’s pedalboard on a number of occasions – for example, during the 2015 Periscope stream during which he talked about gear in detail. Also worth mentioning, the pedal was seen on photos taken during the Trio years, circa 2006/07 – meaning that it was likely used from early on.
More recently, however, during the Dead & Company tour, he was seen using the TS10 Tube Screamer Classic instead. It’s unknown whether he has a clear preference between the two, or whether it’s just the case of TS10 working better with D&C stuff.
EHX POGContinue Reading 2007
This pedal was seen during what’s titled on YouTube as “Soundcheck Walmart Interview” filmed in 2007, and in the video from John’s own channel titled “John Mayer In Repair: One Song, One Day (Video)”.
Eventide TimeFactor DelayContinue Reading 2010
This pedal was seen during PremierGuitar’s Rig Rundown interview with John’s guitar tech, Rene Martinez. At the time of the interview (late 2010), John had two of these pedals running, both set to the “VintageDelay” setting.
Klon Centaur OverdriveContinue Reading 2015
This seems to be John’s favorite distortion pedal, and he uses it on his solo stuff, and while touring with Dead & Company.
Right now it’s the Klon Centaur. It’s the kindest, most satisfying distortion – it’s the best ‘loud’ I’ve heard. And I’ve always used a Marshall Bluesbreaker from the early nineties. It’s great… I mean for all the new, little boutiquey clean boosts [puts on persnickety voice], like a boost-drive… [laughs]Music Radar interview (original page seems to be down)
Ibanez TS-10 Tube Screamer ClassicContinue Reading 2015
This pedal was spotted on John’s pedalboard during the Dead & Company tour (circa 2015).
If you happen to come across an interview where John talks about this version of the Tube Screamer and why he decided to use it, please be sure to leave a comment below.
Victoria ReverberatoContinue Reading 2016
This effects unit became a part of John’s usual stage setup from around mid-2016, or around the time he began touring with Dead & Company (if you find any footage of him using the unit before this time period, please do send a message). According to the official spec sheet, the reverb circuit is based on a ’65 Blackface Twin reverb, while the vibrato circuit is derived from a ’63 Brownface Concert.
Based on the above, one possible explanation as to why John started using this unit right as he began touring with Dead & Company, could be because late Jerry Garcia himself used a Fender Twin Reverb extensively throughout his career.
Neunaber Wet ReverbContinue Reading 2016
John used this pedal on the song Love on the Weekend from the 2017 album The Search for Everything. You can see him talking about the pedal in the video below.
John Mayer's Strings
Ernie Ball Regular Slinky StringsContinue Reading 2000
On electric guitars John seems to alternate between 10s and 11s, depending on the guitar itself. For instance, in an interview with MusicRadar John stated that his Black Strat handles 11s well, while some other guitar just becomes too stiff to play:
But that one [The Black One] just has a little extra slack; like a little leeway. Some guitars you’ll put 0.011s on, and it’s like [makes abrupt noise] and you just can’t move around.
In another interview with GuitarWorld John stated that the main point to focus on when choosing strings is whether you’re able to bend them comfortably or not:
’ll tell you, the argument about string gauges is about the silliest thing a guitarist can engage in. Maybe you get a better tone off of bigger strings, but if you can’t bend up to the note, what’s tone anyway? But like Hendrix probably had .010s, so it’s whatever you can bend.
Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Medium Light StringsContinue Reading 2000
According to Ernie Ball’s website, John uses Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Medium Light Strings (.012 – .054) on his acoustic guitars. There might be some variations on this, however, and he could use different gauges on different guitars (further research needed).
John Mayer's Accessories
Dunlop Tortex .88mm Picks
Blue Chip TD35 PicksContinue Reading
In the more recent years (aka since around 2016-17) John seems to have been using Blue Chip picks. These are premium picks made of a special plastic called Vespel. They cost around $35 apiece, and funnily, even John can’t recommend them due to their cost, even though he seems to really like them.
Here’s my pick, it’s a Blue Chip. I cannot endorse it because it’s too expensive. I can’t have people thinking that they need to have a pick like this, because it costs a lot of money. But, I happen to get something out of it. So, yeah.
Even though it’s hard to tell which Blue Chip pick he is using exactly, it’s certainly one of the standard tear-shaped (351) ones. And, since we know that he used Dunlop .88mm in the past, we can safely conclude that he uses a thickness similar to this – therefore the most likely candidate is the Blue Chip TD35.22016