Top 10 Best Signature Guitars

What are the best guitars to be endorsed by a rock god? Find out here.

Ultimate Guitar

What are the best signature guitars in the world? That's what we asked Ultimate Guitar readers this week, and as you might expect, the nominations were hotly contested.

Now we have the results, and you might be surprised at the results.

10. PRS Mark Tremonti Signature

The Alter Bridge and Creed guitarist was looking for pickups with a little more aggression and that would suit his rhythmic playing with a lot of palm muting. The thin neck carve was designed to accommodate both his thrash metal and traditional blues background. The result is a guitar that pleases plenty of guitarists from both backgrounds.

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9. Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEM

The unique pickup arrangement and improved vibrato was the secret behind Vai's wildy original guitar sounds. Guitars like this with 24 frets were a rarity back in the '80s, and the fresh and funky decorative features helped the JEM stand out at the time. The coolest thing: the "monkey grip" to accommodate some crazy poses on stage.

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8. Randy Rhoads Signature Polka Dot

Rhoads turned to oddball guitar builder Karl Sandoval to create this fancy specimen. At only $740, you can still ask Mr. Sandoval to make one for you too.

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7. Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster

Shorly before his untimely death in 1990s, Vaughan helped Fender produce this gorgeous axe with an alder body and gold-plated hardware. Notice the reverse left-hand vintage tremolo unit!

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6. Dean Dimebag Darrell Signature

Dimebag enjoyed several different Dean models, but his favorite was the "From Hell" model with blue lightening bolts and a bada-s metal silhouette. It looked so f--king metal that it featured on the front of Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell" record.

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5. ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte

Hetfield has a tonne of signature guitars with ESP - so what made this one your favourite? How about the aggressive EMG active humkuckers? The extra-jumbo frets? The premium locking tuners and strap locks? Nope: it's because James Hetfield sounds f--king awesome when he uses it.

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4. Gibson Buckethead Signature Les Paul

This features modified arcade-style electronics and built from the ground up for shredding. Facemask and KFC bucket not included.

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3. Gibson Tony Iommi Signature SG "Monkey"

Gibson has been Iommi's favorite guitar brand for years, ever since his original white Stratocaster failed during the first Black Sabbath album recording. The "Monkey" name simply comes from a monkey sticker he plastered on long ago.

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2. Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat

This monster of a guitar was an attempt to combine the appearance of a Fender with the appearance of a Fender, with one killer paint job. It proved so popular that dozens of copycats, both official and unofficial, have popped up over the years.

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1. Fender David Gilmour Signature Black Stratocaster

When Gilmour's first black strat was stolen only weeks after getting it, he went straight back to the same shop for another. It's been a Pink Floyd icon ever since, and ended up in the Hard Rock cafe. Today, it's the best signature guitar ever, as voted by you!

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Thanks for voting for the best signature guitars in the world. What's your personal favorite? Can you think of any others? Let us know in the comments, and hit "like" below to share this rocking guitar list to your friends.

127 comments sorted by best / new / date

    You'd think a Fender would suffice to combine the appearance of a Fender with the appearance of a Fender
    ... Brian May's Red Special???
    idk how someone downvoted this! that guitar is iconic! never seen or heard one like it
    what you are hearing is mostly 3 AC30s in a crazy wet dry configuration. He's played other guitars through it and it still sounded wicked.
    I don't think you understand that somebody's tone is not built around the sound alone. How an instrument feels, reacts and looks changes the way you play it. Your hand does not assume the same position with a Floyd Rose as it does with a Tune o Matic for example. The feel of the guitar makes all the difference to the players technique, and hence the sound.
    INDEED! What the hell!?!? Was the first signature i was thinking about..
    The thing is, it's built by himself, which means you can't have one. That makes it a custom guitar. So it's not a signature model, it's a unique custom-built guitar.
    James Hetfield does not use LTD, that's for sure.
    Besides that, he only recently started using this model. His legacy was written with the Gibson and ESP Explorers.
    I'm pretty sure up until at least the Justice tour he used Epiphone explorers.
    They were Gibsons, and yes, he used them up until Justice. The cover photo for garage days has one of his Gibsons on it. He started using ESPs sometime around the justice tour. The guitar in the one video is an ESP.
    "This monster of a guitar was an attempt to combine the appearance of a Fender with the appearance of a Fender, with one killer paint job." Shouldn't this say "tone/versatility/output/power of a Gibson/Les Paul with...."?
    Am I the only one that is wondering where the Les Paul is on this list? It's the ****ing grand daddy of them all.
    They're all cool but I would rather have my own custom guitar.
    Jacques Nel
    I'm sure that's what these musicians all did and because they made it big the guitar companies wanted to copy and sell these custom guitars. In the end it's all about spending your years perfecting your own sound. I'd also rather do that than buy something another guy designed according to his own personal taste.
    I've always thought Mark Tremonti's live tone is awful tbh, don't know if that's to do with his guitar, amp or settings though.
    I agree. It feels like something is wrong with the mixing when live. It sounds muddy like the mids are too high or something. Just my opinion.
    Blasphemy. He's sounded great whenever I've seen him (although Myles Kennedy sounds ever so slightly better)
    I totally agree. Huge AB fan, never seen them live though and can't really comment on anything except the live DVDs, but his tone is definitely muddy and a little much on the high mids for his lead tone. At a guess, it may have something to do with his insistence of using four or five amps at the same time, including a Mesa with the bass on 10...that said, his studio sound is great.
    Saw them live in Cardiff, UK and got to say it was the most disappointing gig I've ever been to. They played with Theory of a Deadman (vocals needed to be a little higher), Black Stone Cherry (who were mixed perfectly) and then Alter Bridge came on and it was unlistenable! The sound guy had no idea what he was doing. It was just noise. The only way I can describe what it sounded like was when you try and film something with a cheap digital camera and all you get is an overload of sound and it just sounds awful! A large number of people walked out (I know because I had to stand by the back doors just to be able to tell which song they were playing) and there was even a girl outside with her ears bleeding. I love Alter Bridge but it just plain sucked and has put me off seeing them again.
    Yeah his live sound isn't that great. But judging by his ever changing rig, it's not the main problem. He uses 2 Mesa dual recs, one for full rhythm and the other as both 2nd rhythm & lead depending on if Myles is playing guitar. When I saw him live he also used a Bogner Uberschall for Lead only along with the two mesas. On top of that he goes through two Fender Twins for his clean. On paper that's a damn good setup and it's pretty much the same as his studio setup, but for some reason it just sounds so lacklustre.
    I'm glad Tremonti made it on this list.
    This list is horrid
    Agree apart from James "LTD"? and Vai's None of those guitars do anything different then the standard guitars models except for a sig on the headstock ?? do any of the Fender strat Sig's do ANYTHING different REALLY ?? Lazy list what about the sig guitars that present something Different ? Steve Morse Music Man (or any of the Music Man Sig range ) EVH wolfgang Adrian Belew or Vernon Reid Sig Parkers Brian May's Red Special Paul Gilbert fireman Santana PRS Schecter Synyster Gates Custom etc
    Buckethead's has killswitches... a key part of his sound and an altogether underutilized guitar technique, only Buckethead and Tom Morello are well known for using it.
    dude, your list is even worse, and you also forget that Eddie's frankenstrat is about as custom as it gets...
    JD Close
    Where in god's name is the Bill Kelliher Golden Axe? That's the single sexiest guitar to ever be created.
    I recently got one of the PRS SE Tremonti Customs and absolutely love it. Plays so nicely so yeah, definitely glad it made it to the list.
    Do any of you guys buy signature guitars or have any interest in them? They are fun to look at, but why buy something built to another guy's needs?
    I have one. It's what i was looking for. No other reason, but i think that's a good one
    Mr Winters
    The Dimebag one is ugly as f uck.
    Easily the ugliest guitar I've ever seen.
    Ugly yes, but look up any BC rich
    Way Cool JR.
    Not all BC Rich's are ugly dude. The Assassin's, Gunslinger's, ASM's and the Mockingbird's are all great looking guitars. BC Rich makes some of the coolest looking Superstrat's IMO.
    My friend described my Mockingbird as a "melted Les Paul"... I still love it though, and it's so satisfying to be different to the 100000 strat wielders.
    If I ever got a guitar that wasn't a strat or les paul, it might be the mockingbird. I think it's got just the right amount of flare to it.
    In my opinion the Eric Johnson strat is one of the best sig guitars made! From the Fender catalog Jeff beck's and John Mayer's guitar are also pretty special
    I typically don't like Signature Guitars. I'm a Fender guy and my favorite part about Fender's is the customizability. Why get a signature model if you're going to customize it? That said, I love the Eric Johnson Strat and I would consider getting one.
    Dime, Eddie and Randy are the only ones that deserve to be on this list. The vacancy of Zakk's bullseye, Hetfield's EET FUCK/Iron Cross/Diamond Plate Explorer etc. astonishes me that UG put a list together without them.
    Easily the most interesting guitar is Buckethead's Les Paul. Not really a guitar for a beginner.
    lol wut? It has knobs and switches like a normal guitar and he says he got his kill switch from radio shack for 5 bucks. Nothing special about it at all except its color.
    It's also an oversized, chambered LP with a 27" scale neck and 24 frets, so it is kinda special. Certainly unique among Les Pauls.
    Pretty good list. All my choices ended up being on it, so I've got nothing to complain about
    This has to be the worst-edited article, even for UG standards, I've ever seen in my entire life. It's "write drunk, edit sober," not the other way round.
    Matt Bellamy's signature Manson MB-1? Johnny Marr's signature Fender Jaguar?
    At least nothing from A7x is on this list otherwise we'd have all their fans here creaming their pants. Downvote this all you want bitches
    So no Clapton strat and Buckethead is #4. a PRS SE is #10 when he plays on a real USA Tremonti PRS? Pretty terrible attempt at a top 10 list.
    Music Man Petrucci is missing from the list. The best signature guitar is the Kirk Hammett Ouija.
    I would never get one of Kirk's signature guitars but they are all pretty unique. The Ouija is pretty sweet
    Shame the Manson Mb (Matt Bellamy) series weren't on this list. Incredible Guitars!
    Not the MB series but the recent CE7 looks great. Shame Bellamy doesn't use that guitar much anymore (or at all I think).
    I'm pretty sure UG already made this poll last year. I was there and I suggested Neil Young's Old Black. ...and nothing has changed.
    Clinical Notes
    this article should be called.... "The 3 most overrated brands in the world that sucker people into buying them because of someones name."
    Shame, I didn't think any were particularly impressive. Would rather play the standard models of what they customised, in these cases...