5 Flying V
Gibson again, not Jackson. And to be honest, I’m glad it’s not Fender dominating this list. Sorry also to brands like Rickenbacker, and a few others for not making the list. You guys are doing fine, but let’s be honest… Anyway, the Gibson Flying V. Look, this guitar is cool. There’s really not much more to it. And the sound is equally formidable. This guitar definitely has toughness to it, reserving it to a select few individuals worthy of toting the beast. Players like Kirk Hammett, Billy Gibbons, Steve Jones, Joe Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and even Jimi Hendrix occasionally.
To be honest, this guitar could be in the number one spot because it essentially paved the way for amplified music. One of the oldest designs for an electric guitar, the Telecaster continues to reign as one of the most functional. Based on a simple selection of pick-ups, the Tele ranges widely from bright, crisp, almost shrill tones, to warm, cool, calming tones and can handle just about any style, but of course is best for pure, unadulterated rock and roll. In discussing the Tele, we can pretty much touch on all the most well known guitarists of history. Names like Muddy Waters, Kurt Cobain, Syd Barret, Bruce Springstein, Jonny Greenwood, Freddie Mercury, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck. No matter what designs succeed this beauty, rest assured there will be no discontinuation any time in the foreseeable future.
Seriously? Need I say more than Tony Iommi? This man is the godfather of cool and what does he play? The SG. Another masterpiece by Gibson, this guitar is not as heavy as the Les Paul, or as large, but it irrefutably delivers the goods. Why else would Jerry Garcia choose one? Or Dave Grohl? George Harrison, Warren Haynes, James Hetfield, Angus Young, Paul Stanley, Keith Richards, and Robby Krieger all choose or chose the SG. It’s reliable, robust, and guaranteed to sound as good as it looks.
If only one name comes to mind, it better be Jimi Hendrix. Yes Yngwie Malmsteen has a signature model, as does Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, David Gilmour… Shall I continue? But we all know the image of Jimi burning the axe. So too do we know the mind blowing sounds he produced with this thing. It’s pretty likely if someone asked you to draw a guitar, your result would resemble the Strat. This is the ideal guitar for rock,sleek and lightweight, with an array of series’ and models. The Strat certainly exemplifies what we think of as American freedom in guitar form.
1 Les Paul
Voluptuous. Nubile. Sultry. This guitar is breathtaking before it’s even plugged in, and then it’s plugged in. There is warmth. There is power. Immense power. There is divinity. Whether it’s blues, R&B, or in-your-face rock and roll, this guitar delivers it all. From Eric Clapton to Buckethead, Peter Frampton to Zakk Wylde, Jimmy Page to Ace Freely, the list of players goes on and on, as does the list of genres. Of course for the real thing you’re going to want Gibson, but less expensive renditions are manufactured. Still, why settle for anything less than the best? When discussing the Les Paul, just assume it’s the Gibson being referred to unless otherwise indicated. After all, the man himself endorsed their model.
Now look, there are countless companies, producing equally countless makes and models of guitars. There are replicas and knock-offs. There are guitars for the cheapskate and guitars for the rich collector. Guitars are like women in many ways, but in this case they are similar in that there are many fish in the sea. Still, when envisioning a guitar, it’s a sure bet it’ll be one of these. If you think otherwise, let me know, but seriously, don’t be wordy, that’s my job.