Guitars of Famous Musicians
Peter Frampton sold millions of records with the help of a customized Gibson guitar. Three decades ago, that guitar was destroyed in a plane crash ... or so he thought. That guitar — a shiny black number with an added pickup — became Frampton's signature instrument. He continued to use it with Humble Pie, and in his solo material, played it almost exclusively for years. It even made the cover of his classic 1976 live album, Frampton Comes Alive!
George Harrison’s 1964 Gibson SG “The Quiet Beatle” acquired this guitar in the mid-1960s and played it extensively on Revolver and The Beatles AKA “The White Album.” Always generous with his guitars, Harrison then gave it to Badfinger guitarist Pete Ham, who played it until his death in 1975. The guitar was sold at auction about 10 years ago for over half a million dollars and is now owned by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
Frank Zappa’s Hendrix Stratocaster allegedly set ablaze by the legendary Jimi Hendrix sometime in the late 1960s. Zappa had it refurbished and played it with his late ‘70s bands. At some point however, he put it down again and when son Dweezil Zappa found it under a staircase, the elder Zappa said he could have it. Dweezil has tried to sell it a couple times but as of now it is still in his possession and has recently had it rebuilt to his father’s late ‘70s specs.
Keith Richards’ 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Richards bought this guitar in 1964 in London and used it extensively in the band’s early days before selling it to future Stones guitarist Mick Taylor in 1967. Photos also show it was lent to Clapton and Page at various points in the mid-to-late ‘60s. It passed through different hands starting in the early 1970s, including Whitesnake’s Bernie Marsden, and now is owned by a wealthy collector in Europe.
George Harrison’s 1957 Les Paul Given to him from Eric Clapton. Starting life as a “Goldtop” it was refinished red by previous owner Rick Derringer, who had purchased it from the Lovin' Spoonful’s John Sebastian. After buying it in NYC and bringing it back to the UK to give to Harrison, who named it “Lucy” after Lucille Ball, Clapton used the guitar on The Beatles recording of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and borrowed it for his legendary Rainbow Concert in 1973.
John Entwistle’s “Explorer-Bird” Not only did The Who’s groundbreaking bassist redefine the role of the bass guitar in rock, he was also a trendsetter in what gear bassists used. “The Ox” used this custom made bass, which features a maple Fender P-Bass neck grafted on to a Gibson-style Explorer body, in the late ‘70s, most notably in the video for “Who Are You.” Following his death it was bought at auction for £12,000 in 2003 by Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools.
Joe Perry’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard This tobacco sunburst beauty was originally owned by Perry during Aerosmith’s ‘70s heyday but money troubles led him to sell it in the early ‘80s. At one point Texas shredder Eric Johnson owned it before it ended up in the hands of ubiquitously top-hatted guitarist Slash, who held onto to it for years and used it in the “November Rain” video before giving it back to Joe for his 50th birthday.
George Harrison’s 1968 Rosewood Fender Telecaster One of the Beatle’s most famous guitars is this deep brown Tele, which was given to him by the Fender company used it in the film Let It Be, including its live rooftop performance, before giving it to Delaney Bramlett of American band Delaney & Bonnie. Bramlett put it up for auction a couple times before it was purchased on behalf of Harrison’s wife Olivia for $470,000.
Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson SG It’s nickname “The Fool” comes from the artistic collective who imagined and painted it. After Cream broke up the guitar passed hands a couple times before ending up in the possession of ‘70s solo star and producer Todd Rundgren, who played it live for years after. Rundgren sold it at auction in 2000 for $150,000 and was allegedly resold a few years later for around $500,000 to a private collector.
Peter Green’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard sold it to fan, friend and rising guitar star Gary Moore, who played it throughout his years with Thin Lizzy and as a solo artist. After some financial difficulties, Moore sold it in the early 2000s, where it traded hands to the tune of a couple million dollars and is currently owned by Metallica’s Kirk Hammet, who was seen playing it live on tour last year.