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The Most Popular Guitar Brand Used By Popular Musicians And Performers

Updated on June 29, 2013

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Few notable guitarist and musicians
Few notable guitarist and musicians


Guitar is one of the most common instruments used in making music. It is usually accompanied by bass guitar and percussion but sometimes can be played alone and still can create beautiful songs. There are few brands that standout from the other due to its durability and performance. Though there is approximately more than 200 guitar manufacturer worldwide only few brands last and stand the test of time. Below are the list of type of guitar and brands that I believe very popular and common among notable artist.

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana

Kurt use Martin acoustic guitars
Kurt use Martin acoustic guitars | Source

The Acoustic

Well Known Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars are common among reggae, folk and country music player. It became very popular in the mid 40’s and 50’s especially when the King of Rock N’ Roll Mr. Elvis Presley dominated the music scene.

  • Gibson acoustic guitar is one of the most popular. Though there’s a lot of acoustic guitar brand that came out before Gibson, it was one of the most use by known artist and musicians for its’ reputation on giving good quality sounds.
  • Martin acoustic guitar became also popular among artist. It is in fact older than Gibson Company in manufacturing guitars. It almost has the same quality of Gibson. Some notable artists who use this brand are Elvis Presley, Don McLean, Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.
  • Gretsch is old as Martin in manufacturing instruments but it is only late 1930’s that they began to produce guitar. It sounds good as the previous two mentioned, but it has its’ own distinct design, quality and identity. It is more of semi hollow acoustic guitar. Some notable artists who used this are Neil Young and George Harrison.

Billy Corgan of Smahsing Pumpkins

Billy is using Fender Stratoscaster
Billy is using Fender Stratoscaster | Source

The Electric

Well known Electric Guitars

In the early 60’s, the use of electric guitars are becoming obvious, as the musicians begin to innovate music. It is also the time where sound effects and electrified Rock N’ Roll began to emerge. It is when The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and Lez Zeppelin dominate the Rock N’ Roll music scene. Here are the few of those brands and models that created history and became part of the success of most notable performers.

  • Gibson Les Paul & SG models are two of the most popular electric guitar model from Gibson. The most notable artist and musicians who use these guitars are Bob Marley, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Slash of Guns & Roses, AC/DC the SG Model, and a lot more. Its’ distinct doubled coiled pick-up make it sounds different from its’ very close competitor the brand Fender. May it be blues, jazz or rock; you can really count on the sounds and performance of Gibson’s guitar. The design is also aesthetic, makes it suitable to be used in different music genre.
  • Fender Stratocaster & Telecaster gain its’ popularity just the same year as Gibson Les Paul & SG models is. It has its’ own distinct sound that you can easily differentiate it to Gibson. It produces a more twang’y sound. Very distinct that you can even say it’s a Fender that is being played when you hear it. It uses single coiled pickups basically, unlike Gibson that usually uses double coiled or also known as humbucker pickup. In the later years, Fender adopts the humbucker type of pickup too, but they still stick from single coiled identity. Fender was greatly popularized by well-known performers like Jimmy Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and a lot more. Up to this date, it is continuously becoming popular among other performers.
  • Epiphone is worth including though this brand is already a property by Gibson. The most notable model which is the Epiphone Casino was used by the great artist like John Lennon of The Beatles.
  • Ibanez is a reputable company. Those who play heavy metal music and rock and roll choose Ibanez. It has a strong deep sound specially when accompanied with good distortions and pedals. Few of those who use this brand are Metallica, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.

Ray Lamontagne

Choosing The Right Guitar Brand For Specific Music Style

There’s so many kind of music style or genre. Choosing the right brand and model of guitar to use has great impact on the performance and style. There are specific models of guitar for specific type of music to be played. Although, there are particular models of guitars that can do all music and sound; it is still vital to choose specific model to use in play for specific music style. Besides it adds beauty and identity on the artist. It is not ideal to use a Gibson Flying V model if your music style is categorized as jazz.

The Kind Of Sounds Or Music Style

  • Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal - Electric guitar from Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, PRS and Washburn are among the chosen brands when it comes to Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal playing. Though only the first two brands are the most popular, the later brands are also used widely. With few modifications on the guitar on a custom shop, for instance changing the pickups can produce different result.
  • Pop & Alternative - Fender and Gibson electric guitar and acoustics are the common guitar use for this kind of music. Particularly the Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul and Les Paul Jr. You rarely see a Pop artist use Ibanez or Washburn on this kind of music style since the design of the later brands are for Heavy Metal music and alike.
  • Blues - Gibson and Fender are the common guitars use for this music style. Gretsch and other acoustic type of guitar are also used.
  • Jazz - Fender, Gibson and Gretsch particularly are the guitar brand usually seen.. There are exact guitar models that are designed to play this particular music style like the Fender Jazz Master.

The many faces of guitars
The many faces of guitars | Source

The Shape & Design Of The Guitar

The shape of the guitar can also mean something on the style of the music being played

  • The single cut-away of Gibson and the shape of Fender guitars are particularly design to play leads. The Gibson SG on the other hand is designed to compete with its own sister model Les Paul. Gibson SG is a little bit lighter than Les Paul. It is more desirable to use for a long stage play for an average size player.
  • The Gibson Flying V and Gibson Explorer design models are usually seen in a Heavy Metal bands like Metallica and Sepultura just to name a few. Some Heavy Metal bands are also using Fender Telecaster like the Slipknot. They simple change the pickups to produce a more aggressive and heavy sound.

12 String Acoustic Guitar
12 String Acoustic Guitar | Source

The Number Of Frets And Strings

Some artist uses 12 string guitars to produce a chorus and more ringing sounds. Gibson and Fender are not the notable brand use to this kind of guitar. It is uncommon to use this kind of guitar but there are particular occasion where an artist use this type of guitars.

The strings play important roles too. Each brand of guitar has a particular string type for specific type of music and guitar. An acoustic guitar for instance sometimes use a nylon strings to produce a more classic tune. Steel is the main materials use in string. Choosing the right string type can add better performance to a guitar.

The number of frets determines the number of notes you can play. The higher the number of frets the higher the note you can create. Guitar with higher frets is ideal for performing guitar lead. Artist like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai prepare an Ibanez guitar with at least 24 to 30 frets.


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      joostgvk 3 years ago

      why isn't ESP named as a populair brand or jackson ??

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      shane 3 years ago


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      Jim 3 years ago

      There are so many errors on this page that you really should just erase it and try again. I don't just mean grammatical errors, I mean factual ones. For instance, your picture of Kurt Cobain shows him playing a Takamine, even though you say it's a Martin.

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      Mary 3 years ago

      it dosent give me more ditals