There is a special bond that connects a rock legend and their guitar. Some might say that bond is so strong that the guitar’s legacy is nearly as great as the guitarist’s. For instance, if I asked you who famously played on a double-neck Gibson, Jimmy Page would probably instantly come to mind. Keep reading to find five of the most eye catching and iconic guitars.
5. Randy Rhoads’ polka-dot Flying V
Ozzy Osbourne was obviously a well established name in rock ‘n’ roll, but it was Randy Rhoads who helped propel his career even further after Sabbath. Randy Rhoads was only 25-years-old when he died, but he co-wrote every song on Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman, two of Ozzy’s most prolific albums.
The guitar he used and was closely associated with was his polka-dot Flying V, made by luthier Karl Sandoval. Rhoads would also go on to popularize other guitars like The Concord, but it was the Flying V that remains the most iconic.
4. Zakk Wylde’s “Bullseye” Gibson Les Paul
Zakk Wylde knew he couldn’t continuing using his cream Gibson Les Paul when he became Randy Rhoads’ third successor – it looked too much like Rhoads’ Concord guitar. So, he put a bullseye on it. And apparently it stuck. Take a look through any guitar catalog and you’ll stumble upon one of Wylde’s signature bullseye Gibson Les Pauls. They’re so prevalent that plenty of other reputable manufacturers have their own lines of “Les Pauls” based off of the style that Wylde so famously popularized. There are plenty of sites such as theboxtigermusic.com that cover these guitars in great detail.
According to Wylde, the design was intentional but came about through accident. He came up with the idea after seeing poster from Vertigo. Wylde drew up the idea and sent it off to a friend. The first time Wylde saw the finished product was in the middle of a photo shoot. He opened the case, hated the design, but had to go through with the shoot anyway. The rest, according to Wylde, “is history.”
3. Tom Morello’s “Arm The Homeless” Custom
Tom Morello’s “Arm The Homeless” guitar is based on a pretty simple strat design that turned into, well, I don’t exactly know how to describe it. When Morello first purchased the guitar he absolutely hated it. He didn’t like the way it sounded, the way it played or the way it look. But over the course of two years, Morello changed everything about it except for the wood. It’s a truly custom guitar that embodies his philosophy for creating music, it’s a tool to create sounds, and it’s a pretty darn good one.
2. Jack White’s Airline
Jack White might not be the most accomplished guitar on his list, but he sure does like odd guitars. The most unique is his most famous, his Airline guitar. Back in the day, these guitars were cheap and sold in Montgomery Ward catalogs. White enjoys guitars that are hard to play, and that’s part of what fueled this purchase. He wanted to prove that you don’t need to have an expensive guitar to have character, tone and play what you want to play.
1. Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstrat”
One look at Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstrat” and everyone immediately recognizes it. How could they not? It’s the unholy combination of a Fender Stratocaster body and a Gibson sound. Van Halen purchased the body on discount due to it having a knot in the wood. Over the years he modified it and eventually gave it the custom finish everyone recognizes today.