Note: Professional musicians use many different guitars and frequently change them. Though this is by no means an exhaustive list of every guitar they’ve ever played, we’ll try our best to keep this list updated with their most notable guitars.
What Guitar Does Mac DeMarco Use?
Mac DeMarco is a well-known figure in Indie pop, having redefined this genre with a unique songwriting style and distinctive aesthetics.He is a skilled instrumentalist who plays five musical instruments.You’re in the right place if you’re curious about what guitars this iconic musician uses.
DeMarco seems to prefer Fender guitars, but he has also used Gibsons, Danelectro, and others. He likes buying vintage guitars and modifying them, and he uses many guitars produced in Japan. A couple of guitars he’s been using for long were made in Japan and then re-branded in Canada.
Read the rest of the article for a more detailed description of the main guitars that Mac DeMarco has used through the years.
Mac DeMarco: Some Background Information
Mac DeMarco was born in Duncan, Canada, but grew up in Edmonton. The first instrument he learned was the guitar, which he learned from his grandmother. He developed an interest in making music and forming and participating in many different bands throughout high school.
After discovering his talent and love for music, DeMarco decided to pursue music professionally, becoming a backing musician and moving to Vancouver. He produced and released his first album, named Heat Wave, when he was just 19. Three years later, he signed with a record label and released a four-track LP, which was well received.
His first full-length album, named “2,” was released that same year to critical and commercial success. Critics praised his songwriting style and guitar playing—this was only the first of many critical and commercially successful releases for DeMarco.
His next few albums, “Salad Days”, “Another One”, “This Old Dog“, and “Here Comes The Cowboy” were also well received. The latest DeMarco album, at the time this article is being written, is “Five Easy Hotdogs”, another generally well-received project that features 14 entirely instrumental tracks.
Mac DeMarco attracted the attention of critics early on because of his unique production and songwriting style. Although the general term people use for his music is indie rock, critics have also described his particular style as jangle pop, lo-fi, and psychedelic rock.
DeMarco’s music has a signature, laid-back feel, using flat drums and muted bass guitars—his songs generally evoke a lazy and easy-going feeling. The musician has mentioned several musicians he draws inspiration from, including Sting, Black Sabbath, Christopher Cross, and Genesis.
He plays several instruments, including the guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, and drums. He prefers to play using vintage equipment, both for shows and producing and recording songs. His favored instrument on the stage is the guitar.
One of the best things about DeMarco is he started his career young and has already given us so much good music even though he’s in his early 30s. Since he’s young, we can expect a lot more music from him.
List of Guitars That Mac DeMarco Plays
DeMarco is well-known for his guitar-playing skills and the vintage instruments he uses (and sometimes breaks) during his shows. Let’s see the most famous guitars that Mac DeMarco uses:
1960s Teisco/Kingston Custom Guitar
It’s only fair to start with the Teisco guitar that DeMarco has had since he was only 15. He bought this used guitar for only $30 as a teenager and used it for years to produce and even play live music.
This custom Japanese Teisco electric guitar is from the 1960s. It’s light, compact, and easy to play and set up. When DeMarco purchased this guitar, it had already been modified quite a lot, but he also made changes throughout the years.
It’s very difficult to identify the exact model that DeMarco uses, partly because of the modifications and partly because there’s no accurate information about Japanese guitars imported into Canada and the United States. Such guitars were generally re-branded and sold under their new names. Fans of DeMarco have theorized that this particular guitar is a Kingston, but there’s no way of confirming it.
The guitar has significantly affected the type of music DeMarco writes. Its warm and unique tone shaped his earlier albums because he constantly used the guitar at the beginning of his career. It’s reasonable to assume that DeMarco’s use of this unique-looking guitar may have inspired a renewed interest in Japanese instruments among new musicians.
DeMarco used his $30 Teisco guitar when he recorded his first self-produced album. He also used this guitar for his mini-LP “Rock and Roll Night Club” and his first studio album “2”. He has also used it in various live appearances, as you can see in this video:
Having broken this already banged-up guitar during his performances, DeMarco has retired it from live shows, starting in 2013. However, it’s possible that he still uses this Teisco for studio recordings.
DeMarco has used several different 1970s Fender Stratocasters, but this one is probably his favorite. This electric guitar with a natural wood finish is lighter than most other 1970s Strats and has a good body feel but a pretty thick neck.
This 1970s Fender Stratocaster was one of DeMarco’s favorite guitars to use during performances until he broke it in half in 2016 during a concert in Paris. He performed with this same guitar a couple of years later, so it’s reasonable to assume he glued it back together. Around late 2018, he broke it once again.
This 1970 Stratocaster features an ash body, a u-shaped maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. It features 21 short frets and a five-position pickup switch. The sound is as 1970s as you’d expect, featuring rich and gritty notes. However, the guitar may sometimes sound a bit shallow in the last two positions of the pickup switch.
DeMarco used his 1970s Fender Stratocaster from 2015 to 2018, on and off, mostly on stage. Here’s a video that shows him performing with this beloved guitar of his:
1960s Fender Mustang
This Fender Mustang is believed to have been the first replacement for the beloved Teisco guitar DeMarco had used since he was a teenager. Like the other guitars, this one was vintage, so there’s no way of being sure what period it belongs to.
Fender produced these guitars from the mid-1960s until the early-1980s, but certain features point to DeMarco’s Fender Mustang being produced in the mid-60s.
This guitar is considered a student guitar as it’s easier to handle and use than other guitars. Still, it features quite-sophisticated electronics and offers a pretty good sound. Kurt Cobain and David Byrne have also been known to play this exact type.
The Fender Mustang features a bolt-on neck and an F-style neck plate, dot inlays, and two single-coil pickups. It has an Offset solid body style and a Dakota Red finish, which is not the original finish—the original one is Daphne Blue.
DeMarco started using this guitar in 2014 when he was touring for his studio album “Salad Days.” It was the main guitar he used throughout the tour, but he later used it as a backup only. After 2016, there are no more sightings of this guitar in DeMarco’s performances. Here’s a video showing DeMarco playing it in 2014 while on tour:
1960s Danelectro Silvertone 1448
The Silvertone 1448 is the main guitar DeMarco currently uses. Unsurprisingly, this one is also vintage, as it was produced during the 1960s. While this model also came in a double-pickup version, named 1449, DeMarco uses the single-pickup version.
He started using this Silvertone 1448 in 2019, and it has been present in most of his live shows as a main guitar. Here’s a video from one of his shows in 2020:
This particular 1448 Silvertone has a Jeff Senn bridge and Kluson tuners. This guitar was originally made by Danelectro and was sold with a built-in amplifier. Its single lipstick pickup offers a crisp and jangly sound.
1970s Simpsons-Sears Model 26148
This is the first acoustic guitar on the list. Like the other guitars, it’s a vintage purchase, and the actual model details are uncertain. Some people believe it’s a 1970s Kingston Sorrento V2, a pretty cheap and relatively low-quality guitar, mainly for beginners. However, having compared certain aspects of its appearance, fans seem to think it’s a 26148 model.
This guitar is one of the first DeMarco used because fans have seen it in early photographs and videos. Some fans remember DeMarco mentioning that he got this guitar for $50 at a flea market. He used this guitar to record his first studio album, “2”, but has also used it in live shows, like this one in 2015:
The guitar has a mahogany back and sides with a spruce top. It has a warm and crisp sound and is very easy to handle and play. Like the Teisco, this guitar was produced in Japan and imported to Canada, where it was rebranded.
Gibson J-45 Acoustic Guitar
The second acoustic entry on this list is the Gibson J-45. According to the manufacturer, this is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. The J-45 was originally introduced in the 1940s and remains a best seller eight decades later.
It’s not clear when DeMarco purchased this guitar. However, considering his love for vintage guitars, it’s safe to assume that the guitar he uses hasn’t been produced in the last few years.
This guitar seems to have been used for recording and performing during 2016 and 2017. DeMarco also used this guitar in a live performance for Pitchfork, as shown in this video:
This J-45 guitar has a jumbo shape, which means it’s pretty large but has smoother and rounder curves to help you handle it more comfortably. The top is made of Sitka spruce, while the rest of the body and the neck are mahogany. The sound of the J-45 is smooth and warm, with a heavier mid-range. This guitar offers a versatile sound suitable even for stage performances.
Mac DeMarco used this Gibson SG during his European Tour in 2014. During the rest of his tour in the United States, he used it alongside the Fender Mustang. In most performances, the Mustang was the main guitar, and this was a backup—it’s safe to say that DeMarco didn’t particularly like the sound of this Gibson.
The Gibson SG is known for its unique appearance, with a double horn shape and a beautiful red color. The body and neck are mahogany, and the 22-fret fingerboard is rosewood. This instrument features Grover Rotomatics tuners, a Maestro Vibrola tremolo, and two pickups at the neck and bridge.
This one seems like a recent model, unlike most of DeMarco’s guitars. As mentioned above, the Gibson SG only appeared in live shows briefly in 2014. Here’s a video that shows DeMarco playing his Gibson SG in a performance for the Daily Indie:
1992 Squier “Wayne’s World” Stratocaster
DeMarco bought this white 1992 Squier Stratocaster in Paris. It’s a “Wayne’s World” model, which means that it was produced in Japan at the height of the popularity of the movie “Wayne’s World”. The Squier series is typically cheaper than other Stratocasters made during the same period.
In 2015, after breaking his beloved 1970 Stratocaster, DeMarco was looking for a replacement. This crisp white guitar attracted his attention while he was in Europe, and he purchased it.
As fate would have it, DeMarco would destroy this guitar on the stage almost two years later and replace it with an identical one. Here’s a video that shows DeMarco using the guitar in a live performance:
This 1992 Squier “Wayne’s World” Stratocaster has a solid basswood body, a maple neck, and a rosewood 21-fret fingerboard. It originally features two ceramic pickups, but it’s unclear whether DeMarco’s model had any modifications.
1990s Squier Stratocaster
Continuing with electric guitars, the 1990s Squier Stratocaster is another one of DeMarco’s Fender purchases. Its exact model isn’t known. Based on DeMarco’s preferences, some fans speculate that it’s one of the Stratocasters made in Japan, but there’s no way of confirming this.
DeMarco used this particular electric guitar while touring in 2017. It looks very similar to the 1992 Squier mentioned above, which, as I explained, DeMarco broke during a live performance. It’s reasonable to assume that he got something as close as possible to the guitar he broke. Here’s a video where he plays this guitar:
What Acoustic Guitar Does Mac DeMarco Use?
The two acoustic guitars Mac DeMarco has frequently used are the 1970s Simpsons-Sears Model 26148 and the Gibson J-45 acoustic guitars. However, there are some other acoustic guitars that DeMarco has used in live performances throughout his career.
For instance, DeMarco used a National 1155E Acoustic Guitar in two live performances in 2018. In 2014, he used a Taylor 110CE during a live performance in Portland. In 2017, he seemed to be using a 1940s Gibson LG-2 in several performances.
What Bass Guitars Does DeMarco Play?
DeMarco also plays bass guitar. However, he plays the guitar during live performances and only plays the bass when recording and producing music. The one bass that fans have been able to see looks like a Teisco bass from the 1970s.
What Amplifiers Does DeMarco Use?
Just like guitars, DeMarco prefers vintage amps and modifies them for recordings or live performances. Some of the most well-known amps that Mac DeMarco uses are:
- The 1960s Fender Vibro Champ. Like his first guitar, this amplifier belonged to DeMarco’s grandmother, who inspired his love for music. It’s a pretty small amp, but DeMarco used it in live performances as well as recordings; he just mic’d it up and then ran the mic up to a larger amp.
- Jazz Chorus 120. DeMarco used this particular amp for a year or so when he was promoting “This Old Dog” in 2017. You can see this amp in the footage from his festival tour in Europe at the time.
- 1970s Fender Twin Reverb Silverface. DeMarco can be seen using this amp in his early performances after releasing his debut album, around 2012 and 2013.
What Effect Pedals Does Mac DeMarco Use?
DeMarco is well-known for his style and particular technique on his guitars. His favorite effect pedals to use are:
- Boss VB-2 Vibrato
- Boss CE-2 Chorus
- MXR M133 Micro Amp
- Ibanez SC-10 Super Stereo Chorus
- EHX Holy Grail Reverb/Polyphonic Octave Generator
- Alesis MicroVerb 4
Mac DeMarco is one of the most prolific musicians of Indie Rock nowadays, offering a unique, laid-back atmosphere, intelligent songwriting, and a peculiar sense of humor. He plays several instruments, but he mainly performs with his guitars.
His favorite guitars include a 1970s Fender Stratocaster, a 1960s Teisco/Kingston Custom Guitar, and a 1960s Fender Mustang. He has also performed with a 1960s Danelectro Silvertone 1448 and a 1992 Squier “Wayne’s World” Stratocaster. He seems to favor Fender guitars and Japanese manufacturers.