10 Iconic Guitars With Names

Guitars that made history.

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Ultimate Guitar
10 Iconic Guitars With Names
8

Eric Clapton's 'The Fool'

A 1964 Gibson SG guitar, painted for Eric Clapton by the Dutch design collective The Fool. One of the world's best-known guitars, it symbolizes the psychedelic era.  The Fool was resold to a private collector for around $500,000.

B.B. King's 'Lucille'

Lucille is the name B.B. King gave to his guitars. They were usually black Gibson guitars similar to the ES-345-355.

In the winter of 1949, King played at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. The hall was heated by a barrel half-filled with burning kerosene, a fairly common practice at the time. During a performance, two men began to fight, knocking over the barrel and sending burning fuel across the floor. The hall burst into flames, and the building was evacuated.
Once outside, King realized that he had left his guitar inside so he went back into the burning building to retrieve his beloved $30 Gibson guitar. King learned the next day that the two men that started the fire had been fighting over a woman who worked at the hall named Lucille. King named that guitar, and every guitar he subsequently owned, Lucille, as a reminder never again to do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over women.

Willie Nelson's 'Trigger'

Trigger is a Martin N-20 nylon-string classical acoustic guitar used by country music singer-songwriter Willie Nelson. Early in his career, Nelson tested several guitars by different companies. After one of his guitars was destroyed in 1969, he purchased the Martin guitar.

Over time, a large hole was worn above the bridge, nearly reaching the sound hole. While the Martin was meant to be played with finger-style picking, the use of a flatpick by Nelson and constant strumming caused the damage. Its soundboard has been signed by over a hundred of Nelson's friends and associates, ranging from fellow musicians to lawyers and football coaches. The first signature on the guitar was Leon Russell's, who asked Nelson initially to sign his guitar. When Nelson was about to sign it with a marker, Russell requested him to scratch it instead, explaining that the guitar would be more valuable in the future. Interested in the concept, Nelson requested that Russell also sign his guitar.

Eddie Van Halen's 'Frankenstrat'

Frankenstrat is a guitar created by Eddie Van Halen. Its name is a portmanteau of Frankenstein, the fictional doctor who combined body parts to create a monster, and the Fender Stratocaster. 

The Frankenstrat was Van Halen's attempt to combine the sound of a classic Gibson guitar with the physical attributes of a Fender. It was made from a Northern Ash Stratocaster body, with pickup routing which he modified to fit a Gibson PAF humbucking bridge pickup. The guitar has a maple neck and fretboard, chrome hardware, and was painted with a black and white striped design until arriving at its final combination of red background with black and white stripes.

Jerry Garcia's 'Tiger'

Tiger was Jerry Garcia's main guitar from 1979 to 1989. It is named after the tiger inlaid on the preamp cover located on the guitar's top, just behind the tailpiece. The body features several layers of wood laminated together face-to-face in a configuration referred to as a "Hippie sandwich". The combination of several heavy varieties of wood, plus solid brass binding and hardware results in an unusually heavy instrument that tips the scales at 13½ pounds. After Garcia began using a new Irwin guitar (known as "Rosebud") in December 1989, Tiger became his backup guitar. Due to a problem with Rosebud during the Grateful Dead concert on July 9, 1995, Tiger was the last guitar Garcia played publicly.

Les Paul’s 'The Log'

If there were a Mount Rushmore for electric guitar, few would argue that Les Paul and his “Log” guitar didn’t belong on it right beside Leo Fender and his Broadcaster and Adolf Rickenbacker with his frying pan lap steel. The Log was a crucial step in Les’ development of the solid body electric guitar. He began experimenting with building a solid body guitar as a teenager living in Waukesha. Les used a discarded piece of rail from the train tracks near his childhood home as the base for one of his first solid body electric guitars. 

Eric Clapton's 'Blackie'

Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” is one of the most recognized celebrity-associated instruments in the history of the electric guitar, and it served Slowhand’s needs for a decade and a half until its “retirement” in the mid 1980s. Clapton was long ago quoted as saying this instrument “… has become part of me”

Keith Richards' Micawber 

Those are just a few of the timeless Rolling Stones songs on which riff-master Keith Richards wielded the legendary Micawber, a 1950s Telecaster that is probably the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s most famous guitar with the sixth string removed named after a character in Dickens’ David Copperfield.

“Around the same time I was getting into Telecasters I was experimenting with open tunings. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because around that time, ’67, we started having time off that we didn’t know what to do with,” Richards explained in a 2002 interview with Guitar World. “So I started to experiment with tunings. Most people used open tuning basically just for slide. Nobody used it for anything else. But I wanted to use it for rhythm guitar. And what I found was, of all the guitars, the Telecaster really lent itself well to a dry, rhythm, five-string drone thing. In a way that tuning kept me developing as a guitarist. ‘Okay, now figure out a diminished sixth on it!’ You’ve got so little to work with. And that makes you reconsider six-string concert tuning. ‘Cause if there’s so much in that little space [i.e., five string] how much am I missing on the other? You can transfer some of that back to six-string concert tuning. You can swap knowledge between one tuning and another.

Bootsy Collins' Space Bass

The bass was created by Larry Pless for Bootsy. It was first seen on the 1976 cover of "Stretching Out". It was once stolen in Chicago and was returned to Bootsy a year later because the thief couldn't pawn it anywhere. Everyone knew who the real owner was.

Rick Nielsen's Uncle Dick

Rick had this guitar specially built from the Hamer factory. It looks like him, with his legs being the dual necks and has replaceable heads (including one that looks like drummer Bun E. Carlos).

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jazzblstallica
    After failing dismally on the Sunday quiz I guess UG felt myself and a few others needed this
    srez29
    I would think Rick Neilsen's 5 neck Hamer would be a big one.  
    srez29
    Never mind... just reminded myself that they are guitars with "names".    
    friday.the.13th.jasonx
    Just because a famous person gives their guitar a name doesn't make it "iconic" half of these no one cares about.
    stixhogan
    Really?  I would say that each of those guitars save for Rick Neilsen's is iconic.  Could you please elaborate on what "iconic" guitars with names you can think of?  
    DropDeee
    Anyone else instantly look for Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein when they got to the 'FrankenStrat' question?     
    stixhogan
    No, you're on a website named ultimate guitar you should know that one.
    DropDeee
    I have very little interest in any guitarist or band besides one obvious artist.  Any time I attempt these quizzes, they're always guesses. 
    Armotron
    No Arm The Homeless????  What? Blasphemy it's Blasphemy Mr. Christian. Tom Morello is a rock icon and they should have had his Arm The Homeless guitar on here.
    Mad-Mike_J83
    That picture is not LEs Paul's Log - I can tell because there is NO center "log" (a railroad tie) nor the metal plate used to cover it up back in the 40's, the pickups are the wrong ones (A Charlie Christian at the bridge and whatever that is in the neck) - The original Log had a pair of single coils wound by Les himself of his own design, though it looks slike the Log's vibrato on that thing he's holding.  Also, The Log had a metal bracket holding the neck heel on in all the pictures I've seen.  Looks more like a Gibson Super 400 Archtop with a home-made Les Paul vibrato and ES-150/ES-??? electronics grafted into it.