Can You Name the Guitarist Based on Their Gear?

By: Teresa McGlothlin

Can You Name the Guitarist Based on Their Gear?
Image: GibsonTV via YouTube

About This Quiz

Are you ready to take a trip through musical history like you've never taken before? During this quiz, you're going to get to show off your knowledge of some of the most legendary guitarists in the world! If you can name them from their equipment, you're either a guitar tech or you spend a lot of time trying to recreate some of rock 'n roll's most famous sounds. Do you think you can do it? 

While blues legends like Robert Johnson helped to shape the world of rock as we know it now, things got a little more interesting when amplification started taking over. As early as the '50s, guitarists like Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash were using specific combinations of gear to get their signature sounds. You might consider yourself an aficionado, but are you good enough to figure out who we're talking about by being asked about their setup alone? 

Pay special attention to the questions before you answer, and you might find a hint or two. The Vox AC30 seems to be everyone's favorite amp, so we've taken things a little bit further and asked about some of their pedals and all of their guitars, too. Can you do better than someone who works at a guitar store, or will you learn a thing or two? Turn it up to 11 and find out exactly how much you know! 

01_Hohner Telecaster:Mesa Boogie ICC Do you know which guitarist loved to run his Hohner Telecasters through a Mesa Boogie ICC head?
Eric Clapton
Prince
From his Fender Jazz Bass to his Japanese Hohner Telecaster, Prince played an impressive array of guitars. Even though Fender sued Hohner for using its likeness, Prince owned several of them and refused to stop playing his favorite single-coil ax.
Kurt Cobain
Thurston Moore

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02_Fuzz Face pedal and a Fender Jazzmaster He got his unique '60s sound with a Fuzz Face pedal and a Fender Jazzmaster; who is he?
Buddy Holly
Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix got his sound from his interesting setup using an octave pedal and a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face pedal. For the first year of his career, he played a 1957 Supro Ozark until it was stolen. After that, it wasn't unusual to see him strapping on an Ibanez Jet King 2 or a Fender Jazzmaster.
Bob Dylan
John Lennon

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03_Vox AC30 amps and custom Gibson semi-acoustics Which of these former '90s drummers is especially fond of Vox AC30 amps and custom Gibson semi-acoustics?
Dave Grohl
Until Dave Grohl discovered the Vox line of amps, he was a big fan of Marshall amps. Some of the first Foo Fighters recordings used a battery-powered amp and extra-heavy strings to get the signature sound.
Frank Zappa
J Mascis
Chris Cornell

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04_Gibson ES-355 named Lucille and a Lab Series amp What blues guitarist created his signature sound using only a Gibson ES-355 named Lucille and a Lab Series amp?
Robert Johnson
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Muddy Waters
B.B. King
Unlike many guitarists, B.B. King didn't need a rack full of pedals to get his signature sound. Although he played many versions of Lucille throughout his years, he always preferred the use of combo amps over the altered sound of pedals.

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05_Vox Wah-Wah, 100-watt Marshall heads and a 1956 Fender Strat Can you figure out which '70s legend loved his Vox Wah-Wah, 100-watt Marshall heads and a 1956 Fender Strat?
Jimmy Page
Carlos Santana
Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton rose to fame when he covered Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff," and he did it playing a '56 Stratocaster he lovingly named Blackie. At some point during the '60s, he began playing a Gibson Les Paul SG, but he's a huge collector. It's not unusual to see him playing any number of guitars.
Joan Jett

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06_jimmy page number one Who climbed a musical stairway with his MIDI controllers and a Les Paul Standard named "Number One"?
Jimmy Page
There's not enough room on this page to list all the equipment Jimmy Page has used over the years. Alongside his litany of pedals, he's been known to use a MIDI interface to get unusual tones out of his favorite guitars. That's why you'll often hear violin and piano tones screaming out of his amps.
Eddie Van Halen
Randy Rhoads
Jack White

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07_Fender Esquires run through a Music Man HD 220 What British punk guitarist enjoyed his many Fender Esquires run through a Music Man HD 220?
Pete Townsend
Joe Strummer
When Joe Strummer was on stage with The Clash, he was usually seen with a Fender Esquire in his hands. Although he often used various combinations of Vox and Marshall amps, he always favored the Music Man.
Peter Frampton
Noel Gallagher

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08_Sears Silvertone In her early years with The Runaways, what guitarist used a Sears Silvertone?
Courtney Love
Ann Wilson
Lita Ford
Joan Jett
Before switching to a Gibson Melody Maker, Joan Jett played both a Gibson Les Paul and a Sears Silvertone. To get her pop-punk, grungy crunch, she runs them through a Mesa Boogie Mark 3 and into the ever-popular Vox AC30.

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09_Flying V guitars and a host of MXR pedals What guitarist backed up Ozzy Osbourne with Flying V guitars and a host of MXR pedals?
Tony Iommi
Geezer Butler
Zakk Wylde
Randy Rhoads
While playing in Quiet Riot, Randy Rhoads had a simpler setup than he did when he played for Ozzy. Eventually trading in his Les Paul for a custom Karl Sandoval Flying V, he stepped things up by including MXR Chorus, MXR Flanger and Korg Echo pedals with his MXR Distortion.

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10_Frankenstrat This should be easy! Who built and played a guitar named Frankenstrat before his '80s stardom hit?
Slash
Eddie Van Halen
Coming in at a whopping $130 to make, Eddie Van Halen's first guitar was a Gibson/Fender hybrid that he built by himself. Later moving up to the EVH line of guitars, his sound came from a variety of pedals like the MXR Phase 90 and the Echoplex Delay.
James Hetfield
Billy Gibbons

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11_74 Fender Stratocaster blue Which '90s alt-rock guitarist debuted "Gish" with a blue '74 Fender Stratocaster?
Jerry Cantrell
Billy Corgan
Billy Corgan used many guitars like the Gibson Les Paul Special and the Gibson ES-335 during his career, but he started the Smashing Pumpkins with his beaten-up Strat. Well-known for his suitcases of pedals, there are few pedals he didn't use! He says that the Big Muff Pi Fuzz is his favorite, though.
John Frusciante
Kirk Hammett

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12_Keith Richards telecaster This famous guitarist started out playing an Epiphone Casino, but has been playing a Telecaster since the '70s. Who is he?
David Byrne
Keith Richards
Always one to do things his own way, Keith Richards is well-known for his five-string, open-G style of guitar playing. Often seen with amps like the Vox AC30 and the Fender Tweed, his sound has defined generations.
Richie Sambora
John Lee Hooker

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13_Jackson King V Which heavy metal god once played a Jackson King V Custom with a "Kill Bon Jovi" sticker on it?
James Hetfield
Dave Mustaine was endorsed by Jackson, but it was Hetfield who played one first. Dating all the way back to 1985, he fell in love with a Jackson King Custom V but declined to accept a similar deal. Instead, he continued to play the guitar with a "Kill Bon Jovi" sticker across the company's logo.
Dave Mustaine
Steve Vai
Dimebag Darrell

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14_Maton BB1200 through a DigiTech Whammy and an Ampeg V22 Any idea who plays his Maton BB1200 through a DigiTech Whammy and an Ampeg V22, among other things?
Billy Corgan
Billy Idol
Josh Homme
Like many guitarists, Josh Homme's list of pedals, amps and guitars are long enough to fill a novel. His love for the Australian-made Maton BB1200 and vintage amps help define The Queens of the Stone Age's sound, though.
John Fogerty

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15_Fender Twin Reverb What Detroit guitarist used a reissue of Fender Twin Reverb instead of a vintage Silvertone combo amp when he formed The Dead Weather?
Dean Fertita
James Iha
Fred Smith
Jack White
Jack White rose to stardom in the White Stripes with a gritty vintage sound. When he formed The Dead Weather, he changed things up and primarily worked with a reissue of the '65 Fender Twin Reverb. He also added in a Voodoo Lab Tremolo to spice things up.

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16_Danelectro U-2 through a Bass Micro Synth Which Seattle guitarist often plays her Danelectro U-2 through a Bass Micro Synth?
Corin Tucker
Corin Tucker plays the guitar, but she's often functioned as a bass player, backing fellow Sleater-Kinney bandmate Carrie Brownstein. She credits her deep, low tones to the magic of her favorite pedal — the Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synth.
Carrie Brownstein
Kat Bjelland
Ani DiFranco

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17_fender mustang kurt cobain hall of fame Can you figure out which grunge guitar hero's Fender Mustang now hangs in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame?
Stone Gossard
Eddie Vedder
Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain's first Mustang can be seen in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, but there were between three and five custom models made for him afterward. He preferred to keep the pedal game simple, and he often sang the praises of Boss DX-1 and DX-2 pedals.
Thurston Moore

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18_drifter guitar Do you know which '90s artist played a guitar called the Conn Drifter?
Jerry Cantrell
James Iha
Julian Lennon
Thurston Moore
For every 20 years, Thurston Moore's Conn Drifter defined the noisier part of Sonic Youth's sound. When he wanted a cleaner sound, he was known to turn to the Fender Jazzmaster. Sadly, most of his original gear was stolen in 1999.

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19_Marshall 4 x 12 cabinets What CBGBs guitarist's simple setup of Marshall cabinets put him on the map?
Lou Reed
Neil Young
David Byrne
Johnny Ramone
If you're looking to recreate Johnny Ramone's sound, you don't have to go all out. When he first started with The Ramones, he hit the stage with a set of Marshall 4 x 12 cabinets powered by a Marshall Superlead Guitar Head, a tuner and a Fender Stratocaster.

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20_Gibson SG and a Marshall 50w Plexi He defined Black Sabbath's sound with a Gibson SG and a Marshall 50w Plexi; do you know who he is?
Tony Iommi
Not only does Tony Iommi play left-handed, but he also plays without all of his fingertips. About halfway through recording Black Sabbath's first album, his Fender Stratocaster was broken. It was at that point he started a career-long love affair B.C. Rich and Gibson guitars.
Randy Rhoads
Geezer Butler
Steve Howe

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21_Les Paul Goldtop "Do you feel like you do" know who plays his Les Paul Goldtop through a modified Marshall JMP?
Peter Frampton
For someone with his level of talent, Peter Frampton likes to keep things simple. Whether he's playing his signature Gibson Les Paul, his Les Paul Goldtop or his Fender Jaguar, he always runs it through a Marshall JMP head that's been altered to accommodate his talkbox.
Frank Black
Chuck Berry
Jamie Hince

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22_Univox Super-Fuzz and Fender "Silverface" Pro Reverb Which edgy '80s female guitarist used Univox Super-Fuzz and Fender "Silverface" Pro Reverb for her itchy, signature sound?
Vicki Peterson
Joan Jett
Poison Ivy
There are times you'll see Poison Ivy with a Danelectro Longhorn Guitarlin, or her favorite, the Gretsch 6120. You'll never see her with a complicated rig, though. Her raunchy, rockabilly riffs are accomplished using only a Univox Super-Fuzz and a couple of Fender AB688s.
Annie Clark

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23_slash Les Paul What famous shredder keeps things simple with a humbucker-fitted Les Paul? Don't forget the top hat!
Slash
Slash is such an exceptional player that it sounds like he's using more equipment than he really is. Preferring only Gibson guitars, Marshall vintage tube amps and two pedals, his signature sound comes from his unique way of playing.
Billie Joe Armstrong
Leonard Cohen
Bob Dylan

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24_peter buck rickenbacker 360 Can you figure out which alternative guitarist gets his frequency with vintage amps, a Line 6 DL4 and a Rickenbacker 360?
William Butler
Blixa Bargeld
Jamie Hince
Peter Buck
R.E.M. gets most of its sound from Peter Buck's skilled playing. Although he owns too many guitars and pedals to list, he usually sticks to his favorites — the Rickenbacker 360 and a custom Fender Telecaster. One of his favorite amps is the Savage Blitz 50.

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25_Gibson Les Paul Junior Try to "walk this way" and tell us who played a Gibson Les Paul Junior through a Maestro Fuzz-Tone with his band in the '70s; can you?
John Lee Hooker
John Fogerty
Joe Perry
Joe Perry is another great guitarist who would rather keep things simple. During the '70s, he was usually seen playing his Les Paul Junior through an Ampeg V-2 head and a set of Marshall 4 x 12" speakers.
Pete Townshend

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26_dimetime pickup Dean guitars loved which metal player so much that they made a custom pickup named DimeTime?
Dimebag Darrell
Metal fans still look up to the stellar guitar work that Dimebag Darrell left as his legacy. Known for playing signature Dean Flying V guitars, the brand loved him so much that they created a signature pickup for him. Unlike most metal guitarist, Dimebag liked Randall amps much more than Marshall.
Dave Mustaine
Yngwie Malmsteen
Zakk Wylde

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27_johnny cash Martin What groundbreaking country artist walked the line with a Martin in his hands? Sometimes, it had a piece of paper on the frets.
Brad Paisley
Johnny Cash
The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, may have played country music, but he was one of the front-runners of rock 'n roll. When he first started, he got his signature chugging sound by affixing a piece of paper around a fret, giving his playing a bit of a percussive feel.
Trace Adkins
Blake Shelton

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28_Dunlop Cry Baby Which former Yardbirds guitarist used a Dunlop Cry Baby in his formative years?
Eric Clapton
Rod Stewart
George Harrison
Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck owns plenty of Gibson guitars, but he always gave his Fender Stratocaster higher marks. While playing in the Yardbirds, he stuck to the Vox AC30, a Dunlop Cry Baby pedal and little else. These days, his list of gear is long enough to line a city block.

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29_64 Fender Vibroverb Any idea which Texas blues player sometimes played a Conqueror through a '64 Fender Vibroverb?
Robert Johnson
Blind Lemon Jefferson
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Once again proving that it's the player and not the gear, Stevie Ray Vaughan also liked to keep things uncomplicated. When he first started playing, he used a rare guitar named Conqueror. Later in his career, he played everything from the Stratocaster to the Robin Octave Double Neck.
Denny Freeman

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30_Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster Do you know what "Freak Out" songwriter utilized a Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster?
Screaming Lord Sutch
Prince
Frank Zappa
If you follow Frank Zappa's guitar chords to the amp he used while recording "Freak Out," you would find a Fender Deluxe. Zappa loved to experiment with sound, and often enlisted pedals like the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff and the Mu-Tron Wah to get just the right tone.
Jimi Hendrix

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31_Gibson SG What Australian guitarist was practically inseparable from his Gibson SG?
Angus Young
Angus Young put AC/DC on the map with his gritty sound, but he did it in an unusual way. In addition to his numerous Marshall stacks and pedals, he was a huge fan of swapping out the speakers for something a little meatier. The Celestion line was a favorite!
Josh Homme
Tommy Emmanual
Keith Urban

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32_Gretsch G6138 You'll probably know this guitarist from his rectangular Gretsch G6138; do you?
Bo Diddley
Few guitar players had as much style as Bo Diddley! Although little is known about his early amp preferences, he certainly had unique taste in guitars. With a sound all his own, he was one of the first to use the DeArmond Tremolo Control pedal.
David Gilmour
Brian May
Muddy Waters

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33_Gibson Explorer Can you correctly choose the Irish guitarist who's fond of the Gibson Explorer?
Noel Gallagher
Jason Pierce
Alvin Lee
The Edge
The Edge's official list of equipment is over five pages long, but the iconic guitar you usually see him with is named the Explorer. The U2 guitarist is a master of effects and uses plenty of them. He has often spoken highly of the Lovetone Doppelganger, though. He's used it since the '80s.

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34_Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Which Decca Records star created hits like "Peggy Sue" with his Gibson Les Paul Goldtop?
Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly was a bigger fan of his Fender Stratocaster, but the powers that be initially suggested that it was too edgy. Instead, Holly recorded many of his hits using a Les Paul Goldtop and an assortment of vintage amps like Fender "TV Front Tweed."
Bill Haley
Van Morrison
The Edge

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35_Gretsch Country Gentleman and a Fender Deluxe What '60s legend was often seen with a Gretsch Country Gentleman and a Fender Deluxe?
Dave Davies
Lou Reed
When Lou Reed's Velvet Underground took to New York clubs, they brought a sound unlike any other. Alongside fellow guitarist Sterling Morrison, their experimental sounds came from using a variety of amps like the Vox Phantom.
Tony Iommi
Chuck Berry

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36_red special brian may He's a champion who played a guitar named the Red Special through a Deacy Amp; who are we talking about?
Mark Mothersbaugh
Lindsay Buckingham
Cat Stevens
Brian May
Queen's Brian May continues to inspire guitarists across the world. While there are few guitars he doesn't own, he's often seen with his Red Special or his Washburn RRV run through a series of amps including the coveted vintage Vox AC30 the Deacy.

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37_Gibson Nighthawk What guitarist delivered catchy songs like "Lola" on a Gibson Nighthawk?
Dave Davies
Few things are more exciting to vintage gearheads than the list of amps Ray Davies had in his roster. Along with the Peavey Decade and the Elpico AC55 "Little Green Amp," he was also a fan of the AC30 Combo.
Joe Strummer
Andy Summers
Bob Dylan

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38_ Les Paul Junior Billie Do you know which pop-punk guitarist loves the sound of a guitar named Floyd hooked up to a Fender Bassman?
Carrie Brownstein
Courtney Love
Pat Smear
Billie Joe Armstrong
Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong has a collection of guitars that would make any gearhead drool. When he first started the band, he preferred playing his Les Paul Junior through a Fender Bassman. These days, his list of gear rivals that of a giant music store.

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39_1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Who plays a guitar named Old Black through a Fender Deluxe on songs like "Cinnamon Girl"?
Neil Young
The legendary Neil Young has always been a fan of beaten-up vintage gear. To get his jangly and crunchy sound on songs like "Hey Hey My My," he can be found playing a 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop that he lovingly named Old Black.
Hank Williams, Sr.
David Crosby
David Byrne

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40_Rickenbacker 360:12 What deafening guitarist ran his Rickenbacker 360/12 through a Fender Bassman and Marshall cabinets on 1964's "I Can't Explain"?
Pete Townshend
Back when The Who was taking the stage, they were considered one of the loudest bands in the world. Pete Townshend's Rickenbacker simply screams with its modified set of strings, and his infamous amp setup is still mimicked today.
Peter Frampton
Jimmy Page
Ray Davies

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