Can You Name This Classic Gear Without the Label?

By: Teresa McGlothlin

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wikicommons by Ed Vill from Caracas, Venezuela

About This Quiz

There are music lovers, and there are music LOVERS! Not everyone who has a favorite band needs to know about every instrument they are playing. But for some of us, it's a way of life! Learning about the equipment our musical heroes loved is as much fun as trying to learn to cover their songs. While we might never achieve their sounds, the quest to know what guitar or amp or drumset they are playing is part of the musical experience.

Throughout this quiz, you'll get the chance to show off how much gearhead knowledge you've gained by paying attention to some of rock n' roll's biggest names. But ... there's a twist! You'll have to pull this one off with the labels removed. It might be easy to tell a Stratocaster's maker from a Melody Maker's maker, but how well will you hold up with pedals and amps?

Turn your background music up to the level of Keith Richards' Ampeg VT-22, and get your neighbors involuntarily involved, too. By the time you've finished identifying all this classic gear, you'll have a block party going on. You might not "rock 'n roll all night" with only 40 questions, but you'll "get the party started" by seeing how many you get right. How many will it be?



Any idea who makes Paul McCartney's violin-shaped bass?

When young Paul McCartney saw the Hofner 500/1 Bass hanging in the window of a Hamburg store, he knew he had to have it. At the time, Hofner was a small instrument maker that specialized in violins. After the first one was stolen, Hofner gave him another in 1963.

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Can you name this guitar famously played by Duane Allman, Slash and many others?

In 2019, Duane Allman's 1957 Gibson Gold Top that he lovingly dubbed "Layla" sold at auction for $1 million! Since 1952, its trapeze-style bridge and solid construction have been a favorite of famous rock 'n rollers. If you have $2,200 lying around, you can get one for yourself!

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Do you know the maker of this well-loved distortion pedal without seeing it?

Created by MXR Industries, the MXR Distortion+ works by manipulating sound using parallel clipping. You've probably heard it used by the likes of Thom Yorke, Jerry Garcia and Randy Rhoads.

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You might recognize this guitar from seeing James Hetfield play it; who manufactures it?

We would need more than one webpage to list all the guitars James Hetfield has played during his career. During his early years, he preferred the Jackson King V. These days, he's a big fan of ESP guitars. The company has even created a limited edition bearing his name.

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Who's the maker of this wildly popular tweed amp?

From 1948 to 1960, the front of Fender amps were covered in a fabric that resembled tweed. The term refers to a variety of Fender amps, including the Bassman and the Champ, but there was no one specific amp named the "Fender tweed."

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True gearheads will know who created Bo Diddley's square guitar; do you?

The G-cutout on the G6138's tailpiece should have given you a hint! In 1958, Gretsch created the custom guitar just for the legendary player. A square hollow body is complemented by a maple fretboard, the signature Gretsch headstock. You can get one of your own for just under $3,000.

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What company do you have to thank for teardrop-shaped guitars?

Hot off the successes of their amp division, Vox decided to throw its hat in the guitar-making ring. The company wanted to stand out from the crowd and do things differently, and the design of Phantom VI was approved in 1961. Its teardrop shape has been one of the company's signatures.

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Kurt Cobain used the DM-2 delay pedal during many of his early recordings. Do you know its maker?

The Boss DM-2 was discontinued in 1984, but the love for it continues to grow. The DM-2 adds rich, analog tones, and it was the first time Boss had tried out a smaller body size for its pedals. Everyone from Prince to Steve Vai and Kurt Cobain have professed a love for it.

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Which respected amp maker named its first creation "Number One"?

Officially called the JTM45, "Number One" was Marshall's first attempt at making amps that would sell. Displayed in a store for the first time in 1962, it received order the very first day. "Number One" helped turn Marshall into one of the industry's most popular and respected brands.

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Can you figure out the name of the cymbals Charlie Watts likes to use?

Zildjian cymbals have a history that dates back to 1618! It would be hard to find a drumset without at least one Zildjian somewhere on its rack. In Charlie Watts' case, you would find a pair of hi-hats, a China cymbal, a ride cymbal, and a thin crash.

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Dave Grohl started using this amp on the third Foo Fighters album; what's it called?

First manufactured in 1958, the Vox AC30 has long been a favorite of famous guitar players. Loved for its clean and jangly sound, it's been used by everyone from The Beatles to Brian May. It would be hard to attend a music festival without seeing a few of them on stage.

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Do you know what maker made the guitar that Jeff Beck gave to Jimmy Page as a gift?

When Eric Clapton was looking for a guitarist to complete The Yardbirds, Jimmy Page recommended Jeff Beck. Filled with gratitude, Beck gave Page a 1959 Fender Telecaster. Telecasters, or "Teles," are one of rock 'n roll's most beloved guitars. They've been around since 1951.

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Which type of synthesizer do you see? The Beach Boys were fond of it!

If you listen closely to The Beach Boys, you'll hear a symphony of synthesizer tones on songs like "Love You." When the Moog Modular was introduced in 1967, it caught the attention of adventurous musicians, including the Electric Light Orchestra.

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Dimebag Darrell, David Gilmour and Carlos Santana loved using a Big Muff made by which company?

Back in 1969, guitarists were experimenting with more sounds than ever before. When Electro-Harmonix released the Big Muff, it was an instant hit! You would be hard-pressed to find a guitarist from back then or out there today who hasn't played a Big Muff at least once.

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Can you figure out this Tiny Terror's creator by looking at the picture?

Orange amps began life in the London basement. Since 1968, creator Clifford Cooper has been a leader in the industry. His signature Tiny Terror Combo amps have been played by everyone from the Deftones to Jimmy Page and PJ Harvey.

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What's the right name for this guitar famously played by Chet Atkins?

Designed to contain feedback, the Gretsch Country Gentleman was promoted by Chet Atkins. On the market since 1958, the hollow body was usually accompanied by a Bigsby tremolo arm. The guitar's over-sized style is reminiscent of the acoustic guitars played by the country music guitarists of the time.

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You could have ordered this 10-watt tube amp from Sears back in the '60s. Do you know what it's called?

As early as the 1930s, Sears was putting out small electronics like radios under the Silvertone name. With guitar amplification becoming more and more popular, they were one of the first to jump into the amp making game.

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Which guitar maker sometimes used linoleum to complete the signature look?

By 1960, Danelectro was experimenting with a series of convertible guitars that were wired like electric guitars but still possessed the sound hold of acoustics. Back then, Danelectro used linoleum to go around the sides of the guitar, giving them a look all their own.

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Buddy Holly and Eric Clapton both played which type of Fender?

Only three years after making the Tele, Leo Fender wanted to take it up a level. In 1954, the sleeker and more edgy looking Stratocaster was born. Even though he was advised against it, Buddy Holly was one of the first to play it. His producers thought it distracted from his wholesome look.

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What's the name of this early stage piano that began as a therapy tool?

While teaching piano to injured soldiers in the 1940s, Harold Rhodes began making small pianos from spare airplane parts. In 1959, he partnered with Leo Fender to manufacture them. Artists like The Beatles incorporated them into their songs, and the rest is history.

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The Doors' Robby Krieger was a huge fan of which solid-body guitar like the one here?

Although both Robby Krieger and Angus Young loved the Gibson SG, they had very different ways of playing it. Introduced in 1960, Les Paul unveiled the original model to the world. He followed it up with several versions of the guitar, including Junior, Standard and Custom.

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Do you know the name of the company that makes this Twin Reverb amp?

Like the Vox AC60, the Fender Twin Reverb is so well-loved, it's hard to find a rig without one. Released only months after its big brother, the Bassman, the Twin Reverb hit the market in 1952. With 25-watts and two speakers, it was one of the most powerful of the time.

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You'll see this bass on stage with Kings of Leon; what is it?

Fender and Gibson have always been competitors, and a little competition is precisely what led to the creation of the Gibson Thunderbird. When Les Paul saw how well Fender's top bass was selling, it threw its hat into the ring and released the giant in 1963.

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This amp, often used by Keith Richards, is known by what name?

Popularized by the likes of Keith Richards and Ron Wood, the Ampeg VT-22 first released in 1972 boasted two 12" speakers run by a V-4 head. Often called one of the loudest amps out there, its 100 watts make sure than anyone can hear you.

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You're looking at one of Pete Townshend's favorite axes, but can you name it?

The Rickenbacker 330's cutaway shape gave it an unmistakable look. Created in a series of "Capri" guitars during 1958, it was known for its light and springy sound. But its hollow body design gave it a richness that players like Pete Townshend loved to experiment with.

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Can you remember the name of the room-sized synthesizer Stevie Wonder used on "Superstition?"

TONTO (The Original New Timber Orchestra) was the brainchild of two British experimental musicians. Assembled in the late '60s and early '70s, the synthesizer's components were so large that the filled an entire room. Also used by Mark Mothersbaugh, TONTO is now part of a museum collection.

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Deep Purple and Pink Floyd embraced the sound of what keyboard instrument like this one?

Since their creation in 1935, there have been over two million Hammond Organs sold. Once self-powered, the '70s saw the company adding external power sources. If you listen to any '70s rock, you're bound to hear plenty of it.

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What's the name of this guitar? Randy Rhoads helped design it.

Struggling to keep up with music's evolving sound, the makers of Jackson guitars decided to take a chance on a Hollywood guitarist. Together with Randy Rhoads, the first version of the Concorde V was born. After his death, it became known as the Jackson Rhoads.

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Can you suck it up and name this beloved sound-bending pedal?

The Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal hit the stage in 1966. With few effects pedals available then, artists like Jimi Hendrix were instantly drawn to it. Soon, it became the favorite of blues artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, too. The pedals were significantly improved over the years, but you can still buy them.

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Led Zeppelin's John Bonham pounded away on what brand of drums?

While on tour during 1968, John Bonham fell in love with a fellow drummer's maple Ludwig kit. Knowing how massive Led Zeppelin was about to be, the drummer called the company and recommended they send a kit to Bonham. From that moment forward, he only used Ludwig drums.

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Which guitar maker is responsible for making Cheap Trick's "Uncle Dick"?

During a 1979 tour of Japan, Cheap Trick held a coloring contest. The winner's guitar design was made into a double-necked guitar that resembled a cartoon person. Named Uncle Dick, the guitar was a creation brought to life by Hamer.

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When The Rolling Stones play "Midnight Rambler," what type of harmonica does Mick Jagger use?

Mick Jagger's love for the blues is never more obvious than when he picks up the harmonica. He's recently hinted at a new release that will feature his harp skills with a Hohner harmonica.

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Do you know the brand of grand piano Elton John plays while on tour?

The "Piano Man's" touring setup consists of four different piano setups. When it comes time for numbers that require the use of a grand piano, he is a fan of Yamaha ivories. The other setups consist of pianos run through various synthesizers and effects.

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Can you think back to the '80s and figure out what maker created Steve Vai's UV7?

Steve Vai may have popularized the Ibanez UV7, but his skills inspired other "nu-metal" players to take the same guitar on stage. Bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit have both embraced the relatively inexpensive guitar.

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U2's The Edge always includes a delay modeler like this one. What brand is it?

Whether you're looking to drench your tunes in effects like The Edge or create a bunch of loops, the Line 6 DL4 is really all you need. In one pedal body, you get the benefit of echo, delay and phase. It just depends on how you customize it.

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The Jazz Chorus amp is a favorite of Robert Smith's, but what company makes it?

Many late '70s and early '80s bands like The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees owe part of their sound the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus. The solid-state features two 12-inch speakers and crisp tones. The option to crank up its powerful chorus gave it a distinctive analog sound.

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Brian May lugged this suitcase-sized tape-loop effect box on stage; what name does it go by?

The Maestro Echoplex EP-3 used actual magnetic tape to make its ethereal loops. One of the largest effects boxes on any '70s stage, the echo box was used by the likes of Andy Summers, Brian May, Neil Young and later by Eddie Van Halen.

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The Dan Auerbach guitar seen here was made by which famous maker?

Harmony guitars were huge back in the '60s. Thanks to players like Jack White from the White Stripes and Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys, the H78 has made a huge comeback. Their rare nature makes them a little hard to find, though.

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Do you need the label to know the Showman's manufacturer that Dick Dale loved?

Both Dick Dale and Keith Richards believed that they could never be loud enough. With the Fender Showman behind them, they didn't need to worry. The Showman's impressive 85-watts and 15" speakers are enough to make sure everyone in the back row hears you.

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What guitar maker can we thank for providing everyone from Beck to Slash this guitar?

Next to the Fender Strat, the Gibson Les Paul is one of the most played guitars in rock 'n roll. When designed and produced in 1952, it was the Gibson Company's first attempt at making a solid body guitar that mirrored its previous guitar's shapes.

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