10 Legendary Guitars and the Stories Behind Them

From resonating bluesy chords to electrifying riffs, guitars have been the heart and soul of music across genres. The craftsmanship, the history, and the legendary hands that played them have made certain guitars nearly as famous as the musicians themselves.

Guitar player

10 Legendary Guitars and the Stories Behind Them

Gibson Les Paul “Lucy” – George Harrison’s Love Affair

Lucy, the red Gibson Les Paul, has one of the most unique stories among legendary guitars. This extraordinary instrument was previously owned by guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton, who later gave it as a gift to George Harrison of The Beatles. Harrison named it “Lucy” after redhead comedian Lucille Ball, and it was this guitar he used in the classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” featuring Clapton himself. Lucy’s rich tone and unique sound make her a rock ‘n’ roll legend.

Fender Stratocaster “Blackie” – Eric Clapton’s Main Squeeze

Eric Clapton’s legendary Fender Stratocaster, affectionately named “Blackie,” was his mainstay for many performances and recordings from 1970 to 1985. Blackie was born out of the best parts of three different Stratocasters that Clapton had purchased. It went on to produce some of Clapton’s most iconic music and was auctioned for a staggering $959,500 in 2004, making it one of the most expensive guitars ever sold.

The Gibson J-160E Acoustic-Electric – John Lennon’s Faithful Companion

A name synonymous with The Beatles and the British Invasion is John Lennon, and his Gibson J-160E was a significant part of that journey. Purchased in 1962, this guitar was used in the creation of many Beatles’ hits, including “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” The guitar was stolen in 1963 but miraculously resurfaced in a San Diego music shop in the 1970s, finally being auctioned in 2015 for a whopping $2.41 million.

Gibson SG “The Fool” – Eric Clapton’s Psychedelic Dream

The Fool is not just a guitar—it’s a work of art. The Dutch design collective known as The Fool painted this psychedelic design onto Clapton’s Gibson SG. The guitar became a symbol of the 60s flower power era. With it, Clapton recorded tracks for Cream such as “Sunshine of Your Love,” making it an iconic piece of rock history.

Fender Stratocaster “Number One” – Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Blues Machine

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Number One” is an icon of blues history. This weathered Fender Stratocaster was Vaughan’s favorite and was used throughout his career. The guitar is a symbol of the bluesman’s raw and powerful style, helping him to create some of the most emotional blues music of his era.

Stratocaster guitar

Gibson Flying V – Jimi Hendrix’s Futuristic Vision

The Gibson Flying V is an emblem of Jimi Hendrix’s innovative and avant-garde style. Despite its futuristic design, the guitar was made in 1958, a decade before Hendrix played it at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. It became a symbol of the revolutionary changes Hendrix brought to rock music.

Martin D-28 – Johnny Cash’s All-Black Preference

The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, preferred his guitars the way he liked his clothes—all black. His custom Martin D-28 was a reflection of his distinctive style. He played this guitar during his live prison performances and it became a symbol of his rebel persona in country music.

The Frankenstrat – Eddie Van Halen’s Personal Project

Eddie Van Halen created “The Frankenstrat” himself, combining components from different guitars. Its unique look and sound revolutionized rock music, and its black and white (later red) striped design became a signature look for Van Halen. It’s a symbol of the era of big guitar solos and even bigger hair.

Fender Telecaster – Bruce Springsteen’s Workhorse

Bruce Springsteen’s Fender Telecaster has been his loyal companion for over 40 years. Featured on the cover of his “Born to Run” album, this guitar has been a part of Springsteen’s journey through rock history. It’s as much a part of The Boss’s image as his denim and bandanas.

Telecaster guitar

Gibson ES-335 – B.B. King’s “Lucille”

The name “Lucille” has become synonymous with B.B. King. The story behind the name goes back to a gig in 1949 when two men fighting over a woman named Lucille started a fire. King named his guitar “Lucille” as a reminder to never do something so foolish again. King’s Lucille, a Gibson ES-335, has been a part of countless blues classics.


Q: What was the most expensive guitar ever sold? A: The most expensive guitar ever sold at an auction was Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D-18E used during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance, selling for $6 million in 2020.

Q: What’s so special about Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”? A: “Blackie” was made from the best parts of three different Stratocasters that Clapton purchased. It was his main instrument from 1970 to 1985 and fetched nearly a million dollars at auction.

Q: How did B.B. King’s guitar “Lucille” get its name? A: King named his guitar “Lucille” after a woman over whom two men were fighting, starting a fire at one of his gigs. The name serves as a reminder of that incident.

Q: Why is Bruce Springsteen’s Fender Telecaster so famous? A: Springsteen’s Fender Telecaster is iconic because he used it for over 40 years in countless performances and recordings. It’s also featured on the cover of his “Born to Run” album.

Q: Was Jimi Hendrix’s Gibson Flying V custom made for him? A: No, the Gibson Flying V was made in 1958, a decade before Hendrix played it. Its futuristic design, however, fit perfectly with Hendrix’s innovative style.

Q: Who created “The Frankenstrat”? A: Eddie Van Halen created “The Frankenstrat” himself, using components from different guitars to achieve his unique sound and look.


The stories of these 10 legendary guitars offer a fascinating glimpse into music history. Each guitar carries its unique tale, reflecting the personalities of their owners and their influence on music.

They remind us that behind every great musician is an instrument that helped them create unforgettable melodies and change the world, one riff at a time.

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