When I was growing up; you could tell a guitarist by his guitar. Today, (And I’m guilty of this myself) Musicians use a different guitar for a different sound. I think John Fogarty is probably the most guilty performer I’ve ever seen when it comes to changing guitars during a concert.
When it comes to performing live; you need a back up guitar. If you break a string (especially if you have a NON-LOCKING Tremolo bar, your whole guitar will go out of tune. So you need your roadie to hand you your back up and plug it in really fast.
Then you might need a guitar that is tuned to E Flat. This is a favorite tuning for doing Blues solos. It makes the strings softer and you can stretch them further. The problem is, when you tune a guitar to a different key; You have to set the intonation of the guitar. (So the notes up high on the fretboard are in tune also) Then if you play Slide guitar, it’s nice to have a guitar that’s tuned to an open G or A.
So you can see how if you do a bunch of different styles how you actually would need extra guitars. But in the 60’s and 70’s it wasn’t like that. And in a delightfully nostalgic way, you would connect a certain guitar with that guitarist. It was like Roy Rogers and his horse “Trigger”. They just went together.
Johnny Winter – Gibson Firebird
Alvin Lee – “Big Red” Gibson ES-335 with special Strat pickup in between the two humbuckers. Also multiple peace sign decals.
BB King – “Lucille” Gibson ES 350? It’s a solid body 335 that weighs a ton.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – 59 American standard Strat w/a 61 Rosewood fretboard.
Jimi Hendrix – White Fender Strat (Right handed model played handed)
Eric Clapton – “Blackie” Fender American Strat – Black Body w/ White pick guard
Brian Setzer – Gretsch Nashville 6120 with the Vintage Orange Lacquer finish. (Dice as control knobs)
Albert King – Gibson Flying “V”
Peter Frampton – “Gibson Les Paul Custom” 3 Pickup model. It was lost for 30 years and recently returned to Peter.
Steve Howe of Yes – Gibson ES-175.
And finally, Brian May of Queen. His guitar was made by his dad and he never sold the design rights to anyone. It has a unique sound that would define Queen’s sound (Sans Freddie’s incredible voice)
I could go on but not much further as once “Musicians” became Rock Stars, They were like Baseball players getting free gloves custom made for them by the Manufacturers. I play (In most of my Videos) a Gold Peavey Wolfgang. (At the top) I never thought I would own anything made by Peavey. Their Amps and P.A. systems were for garage Bands because of the affordability. Personally I think their stuff sucks. But when Eddie Van Halen who makes his own guitars, designed the “Wolfgang” for Peavey back in 1999; I forced myself to play it. It’s my favorite guitar. It always will be for my playing style. I even saw John Fogarty playing one.