The Guitar Makers That Helped Shape Rock And Roll

What do Ritchie Blackmore and Jimi Hendrix have in common? They, along with many other famous faces in rock, helped popularize Fender Musical Instruments. The use of Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster on many classic albums and in many iconic live performances helped propel them to rock instrument superstardom.

The Gibson Les Paul is perhaps the most famous rock guitar in history. It singlehandedly put Gibson on the Mt. Rushmore of iconic electric guitar manufacturers. It may be more popular today than it was over half a century ago when it was first introduced. Despite the Les Paul’s popularity, Gibson developed lots of other revolutionary designs including the ES-335 and the Flying V that also became staples for many rock and rollers.

When Randy Rhoads approached Jackson around 30 years ago with a design for a custom built guitar, few could have seen the long term effects of this partnership. After Randy’s untimely death in 1982, Jackson Guitars changed the name of the “Concorde” to the “Randy Rhoads Model”. Over the years this guitar has been mass produced and has become one of Jackson’s staple instruments alongside the King V, the Kelly, and others.

Malcolm Young of ACDC fame and Neil Young have both played their share of guitars. Interestingly, both of them seem disposed to favour Gretsch instruments, a maker not known for their popularity among rock guitar players. Nevertheless, both these players helped get Gretsch Musical Instruments into the rock n’ roll public’s eye and paved the way for many fans of this music to follow suit.

Though Paul Reed Smith (PRS Guitars) is one of the youngest manufacturers of rock guitars, they have had quite the impact on the guitar market in the last few decades. This is due in part to their high quality construction (and thus sound), as well as their cool looks. In recent years, they have seen many rock guitarists that were devout Fender and/or Gibson players switching over to playing PRS almost exclusively. People like Carlos Santana and Alex Lifeson have become big supporters of Paul Reed Smith Guitars.

The sixties and seventies gave rise to more musical talent than any time period since, and players like John Fogerty, John Lennon, and Pete Townshend were undoubtedly at the core. Their reliance on Rickenbacker guitars helped propel them to the iconic positions they now hold in the public’s minds as players/composers, while at the same time helped get Rickenbacker into the minds (and hands) of the rock n’ roll masses.

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