Rock's Most Famous Guitars, Illustrated

See some of the most famous guitars ever beautifully recreated in this roundup from a new limited-edition poster.

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Ultimate Guitar
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A new collectable poster illustrates some of the most famous guitars in history.

"A Visual Compendium Of Guitars" documents 75 years of classic guitar history with beautifully precise computer illustrations.

Here, we collect some of our favourite images. You can order a limited-edition print of the poster at the Pop Chart Lab website.

Neil Young - 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop "Old Black"

This has been Neil's main guitar since the late 1960s, and survived plenty of bumps to appear on all his best known albums.

Joe Strummer (The Clash) - 1966 Fender Telecaster

Strummer's famously battered Telecaster was recreated, scratch for scratch, for the 2007 NAMM show with a little help from street artist Shepard Fairey, who is known for his "Obey" artwork and the Obama "Change" poster.

Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) - 1971 Gibson EDS-1275

The pinnacle of 1970 rock excess, if you don't count all the drugs and women. It was also favoured by jazz musician John McLaughlin.

Eddie Van Halen - 1979 Custom "Frankenstrat"

This was Van Halen's attempt at combining the Gibson-style pickup with a Fender Stratocaster body, but it's probably better known for it's wild paint job than its sound.

Michael Anthony (Van Halen) - 1984 Yamaha Custom Jack Daniel's Bass

Why not?

Gene Simmons (Kiss) - 1981 Kramer Axe

Gene Simmons likes to one-up other musicians, but he took the axe metaphor a little too seriously on this one.

Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) - 1986 Mongrel Custom "Arm The Homeless"

Tom asked for a Stratocaster body with a Performance Corsair neck, 2 Seymour Duncan JB pickups and a chrome original Floyd Rose tremolo system - and hated it. He pulled it apart, and has changed it countless times since then, but it's been his main guitar for standard tuning ever since.

Dimebag Darrell (Pantera) - 1994 Washburn 333

Dimebag could probably make any guitar sound great, but this one helped define his image as one of the greatest modern metal guitarists of his era.

Do you own a custom guitar? What's your setup like? Tell us about it in the comments.

89 comments sorted by best / new / date

    scottco86
    those pics kinda suck. they look like south park editions
    sonofgkex
    Also this is a horrible list of signature guitars. Edit: Never mind, I saw the whole poster now, my bad.
    shwilly
    And unaccurate ones at that. The Old Black for instance lacks the Bigsby logo and handle, there's no switch between the tone and volume knobs, no worn out paintjob in the lower left corner, the P90 is too small...
    sideslick
    Arm the Homeless has a double-locking-tremolo. The one represented here has a synchronized-tremolo. RRRRRAAAAAGGGGGEEEEE!!!!!
    pantallica87
    It would be alot better if the posters were ACTUAL pics of the guitars and not a drawing. J/S
    Diony x
    I can draw even better with Paint.
    Mouloudo
    there was actually a book by a french dude who took actual photos of the real guitars, it took him several years to convince the artists to let them their guitar for a day, he even had an edition with real size photos, the book was huger
    L2112Lif
    I quite like the poster. Individually the illustrations are a bit lacking, but since there are 64 guitars on one poster I can let it slide.
    RockGuitarist09
    I know Gene's new axe is a cort, but why is the guitar clearly labelled as Kramer even on the poster labelled as cort on the headstock?
    Braykah
    Seems pointless to do this kind of thing with computer illustrations rather than the actual guitars.
    logicbdj
    I think Clapton's 'fool' SG is more famous than a few of those... but I guess they're only showing some.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    I see what they did with one per year but why they have kirk's v and not James' is beyond amazement, and they showed a bass for billy gibbons-_-, Dave Mustiane like the bc rich bich should be on there and one of kirk's esp , marty friedman's kelly, the list goes on and on I could paint an entire room with this. randy's polka dot v, iommi's rusty sg. really loving the inclusion of old black, I wish gibson would make that a tribute series (even though I probably wouldn't be able to afford it) that guitar is amazing.
    jordo246
    My god this is only 8 out of the 20+ in the actual poster, stop saying such and such should be on here because they probably are on the poster
    AntekJaws
    I always liked Tom Delonge's Gibson...not for shredding, but a sweet looking guitar And where is Lucille??
    Crimson.King
    Just looked at the full poster...the SG attributed to Angus but no Tony Iommi! Even worse, the 3 PU black LP custom attributed to Peter Frampton but not Robert Fripp! Heresy.
    goto11
    HA! The 1989 Wyld Stallyns air guitar makes this poster worth every penny!
    LightxGrenade
    Chuck Berry's Gibson ES-355 deserves an honorable mention IMO. BB Kings ES-355 "Lucille" too.
    tffan92
    On the poster at the bottom, they got James Hetfield's 1992 Explorer wrong. Hetfield used the EXP series back then, not the Snakebyte. The Snakebyte wasn't introduced until a couple years ago.
    jaybals
    Most famous guitars? Where's Hendrix's Monterrey Pop Strat? Jimmi Page's Telecaster? George Harrison's Rosewood Tele? Gilmore's Black Strat? Brian May's Red Special? Peter Green's Les Paul? One o Stevie Ray Vaughan's Strats?
    ToxXicSixString
    Come on you picked a Washburn and then used Dime bag. You should have gone with the Lighting bolt That he used which was a DEAN. I think most people think Dean when it comes to Dime rather then Washburn.
    metal_swayne
    Okay, although I'm glad that Dime's guitar is on here, and it's a sweet guitar, the Washburn 333 was a redo of the Dean ML with a custom lightning paint job, a.k.a the "Dimebolt". He played THAT guitar until the neck wore down past 2 paint jobs to the wood! Joe Strummer's was pictured with all the scars and wear of a constantly played and gigged guitar, so why did Dime get the Washburn recreation instead of the original?
    Riggy
    I've done some guitar illustrations that destroy these. Can I have a series of posters to sell now, please? >_>;
    bill_bear
    For me it's John Squires "Pollocked" Hofner. Seen here in I Wanna Be Adored video:
    Egates
    I'm a big fan of Mr Vai and Satch, but my option for the best guitar is Bryan May's Red Special. At that time, I just can't imagine how hard was to build a custom electric guitar...
    kristoefoe
    Where's B.B. King's Lucille? Where is Jack White's Airline? Clapton's strats?
    onealsm
    Everybody just stop and look at the ENTIRE poster before complaining.
    DaBlackDahlia16
    The most famous guitar would be Angus Young's SG, As much as people here may hate AC/DC or think they're boring, It may be the first iconic guitar you will ever see
    TysonRoad
    "Rock's Most Famous Guitars"... This is the title, and the article includes drawings of Niel Young AND Dimebag's guitars. While I am all for including more for the same price, I don't really think the two belong together. That said, I wouldn't have minded seeing more of these illustrations.
    Botti13
    wow you people clearly know shit about art. What the **** were you expecting? They are a neat representation of famous guitars, and are well made, what else would you ask for?
    henrihell
    On the full poster there's an ESP Snakebyte, entitled as an ESP Explorer! Why on earth do you pick the latest of his guitars to be the most legendary, and then give it the wrong name? These guys surely don't know much about guitars. Other than what they look like...