Musicians who play their signature instruments
June 25, 2016 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Which musicians have actually "real" signature models of their instruments available or previously available?

We all know lots of people make their signature guitar, bass, etc look pretty close or exactly like their higher end version they play - but just the looks, then don't pay much attention to the functionality. Lots of times these are models the musicians would never play themselves. So which musicians play their model for real? Which ones were truly made to spec for the musician and then made available to the public and which ones were made as super basic low end models that pack the punch of their identical looks to the musician but underperform? Who plays their own Sig model? Who even seems like they had a hand in making theirs behind basic cosmetics?
posted by jitterbug perfume to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Jimmie Vaughan interview, Guitar World
Did you stick with your signature model Tex-Mex Strat on this album?

Yeah. I went down and found one in a used shop in Austin, and I loved the neck. I fooled with it for a couple of days and I've been using it since last year.
posted by Lorin at 9:35 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

In this interview, Billy Zoom says that he takes a Gretsch Billy Zoom Silver Jet when he tours overseas, and that he plays the prototype instrument when he's in the States rather than touring with his original guitar. They made it an exact replica of his original Silver Jet and it sounds like he was fairly involved in the production process. He is a bit of an audio geek even by musician standards (he also builds amps) so I don't think he'd have allowed them to put his name on a guitar he wouldn't be willing to play himself.
posted by town of cats at 9:37 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Someone asked this question about Steve Gadd and his signature snare drum. Makes me think, though, that a signature instrument (guitar, drums, cello, whatever) would be just one thing a sponsored musician might use -- you wouldn't expect them to only use that thing. Maybe just to play live, or just to record with.
posted by klausman at 9:47 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nile Rodgers tweeted quite a bit about his involvement in Fender Custom Shop's recreation of his fabled Hitmaker.
posted by mintcake! at 9:48 PM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Mark Hoppus apparently plays his signature Fender Jazz bass, which is really kind of a hybrid with a P-bass. (Ahhh, and I want a transparent green one so much...)
posted by limeonaire at 9:57 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mastadon Rig Rundown, bassist Troy Sanders [video]
So if one of your fans were to buy this signature they'd get exactly this, what you play every night?
Yeah, this is it.
He goes on to say that they made a cheaper Squier version he also plays, because he can't tell the difference.
posted by Lorin at 10:01 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Even though Leo Kottke plays a version modified for live performance (and probably hand selected by Bob Taylor when he calls for a replacement) the signature model is in essence the same guitar and he was deeply involved in its design. Wood & Steel, Spring 1995
posted by Lorin at 10:11 PM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Roger McGuinn had Martin produce a signature 7 string acoustic guitar (with two G strings, to approximate the jangly sound of a 12-string) which he demonstrates here. I think it may be out of production now, however. I saw him play a concert last year, where he used this guitar on many of the songs.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 7:58 AM on June 26, 2016

Martin did a limited production (59 of them) of a replica of Joan Baez's guitar. Here's the PBS segment where they talk about reproducing it, down to a secret message inside the body of the instrument.
posted by katemonster at 9:08 AM on June 26, 2016

Geddy Lee of Rush and his signature Fender Jass Bass, which he uses both on recordings and in live shows.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:14 AM on June 26, 2016

Something a little different. Per the ad copy here, Nia Perlove uses the same model of flute that she endorses. This is a Kurt Gemeinhardt Generation handmade professional flute by Tom Lacy. This is a totally custom instrument, and I rather guess that most come with some personal quirk or another.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:20 AM on June 26, 2016

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World plays his own signature Telecaster.
posted by puritycontrol at 11:34 AM on June 26, 2016

There are definitely live pics of J Mascis playing both the current Squier Jazzmaster and the previous Fender Artist series Jazzmaster (in purple sparkle!)
posted by soundguy99 at 4:14 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Replicas of the Red Special exist, and Brian May sometimes plays some of them. Does that count?
posted by flabdablet at 9:51 AM on June 27, 2016

Zakk Wylde played his signature Gibson guitars and has gone on to start his own instrument company.

John Petrucci plays his signature models listed here. I don't have a link to the video, but Petrucci said he recorded the last album on the Majesty.

Nuno Bettencourt plays his signature Washburn, although he has stated a preference for his original guitar.

I believe that Paul Gilbert plays his own line of Ibanez guitars, but don't know for certain.

David Grissom plays a PRS DGT, his signature model.

Santana plays his signature PRS. There are some pictures of his number one getting some work done on the PRS forums.
posted by Silvertree at 11:45 AM on June 27, 2016

Annie Clark (AKA St. Vincent) plays her signature Ernie Ball Music Man that was rolled out earlier this year. I've seen a couple of different interview clips where she says it's pretty much the only guitar she reaches for anymore.

Back in the 80's/early 90s Robben Ford played a Fender Signature model that was basically a particularly fancy Esprit with high-end electronics (if I recall the story correctly, he'd been playing an Esprit and contacted Fender about some refinements, and they said "We can do that - what if we turn it into a Robben Ford signature series?")
posted by usonian at 8:42 AM on October 12, 2016

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