Who Plays Gibson Guitars?: 10 Famous Gibson Guitar Players

Who plays Gibson Guitars

Gibsons are arguably some of the most famous guitars in the world, boasting a remarkable reputation thanks to their rich history, exceptional build, and strong visual appeal. That’s why there’s no shortage of famous, highly talented artists that have chosen a Gibson as their instrument of choice. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the ten most famous Gibson guitar players.

The 10 most famous Gibson guitar players include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, BB King, Jimmy Page, Les Paul, Angus Young, Dave Grohl, Slash, Bob Marley, and Neil Young.

Gibson’s ability to withstand the test of time and complement a wide array of genres is apparent in this impressive list of artists who have favored the brand throughout their careers. To learn more about the history between the brand and these iconic figures in the music industry, make sure to read on. At the end of the article, I’ll also answer some of your most frequently asked questions about Gibson itself, so stay tuned.

Gibson: Some Background Info

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Gibson is an iconic guitar brand that needs no introduction. They' are known for their legendary electric guitars including the Les Paul, SG, ES-330, Explorer, Flying V and many more.

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Before diving into the list of some of the most famous artists who play Gibson guitars, let’s briefly explore some background info on the brand itself.

Gibson is an American-based guitar manufacturer founded in 1902. Though the manufacturer initially focused solely on mandolines, it quickly expanded its production line to accommodate guitars too.

Since then, the brand slowly but steadily gained a reputation for making some of the best guitars (both electric and acoustic) on the market. Some of its most popular lines include Les Paul, SG, and J-45.

Out of the three, Les Paul is arguably Gibson’s most iconic release, having had a chokehold on the guitar market since its release in 1952. Its rise to popularity was almost immediate, as many seasoned musicians recognized its value and rushed to get their hands on it, thus introducing it to mainstream popularity.

The thick, warm sound of this model perfectly complemented blues and rock elements, which is why so many musicians of these genres like Eric Clapton, Slash, and Jimmy Page, never ceased using the highly coveted guitar.

Throughout its century-long history, Gibson has faced a plethora of challenges, including financial difficulties and stiff competition. However, against all odds, the company has somehow remained a leading force in the music industry even as trends come and go, and its high-quality guitars are still loved by players all around the world.

List of Famous Artists Who Play Gibson Guitars

Here’s a more comprehensive list of some of the most famous artists that play Gibson guitars:

Les Paul

I couldn’t make a list of the most famous Gibson guitar players and not include Les Paul, as his name has now forever been linked with the brand itself. Les paul was a well-respected musician who made some remarkable contributions to the evolution of the guitar as we know it today.

In the early 1950s, he approached a manufacturer he admired, Gibson, and shared some of his ideas for a new, improved electric guitar. The luthier was impressed by what he heard, and the rest is history – the collaboration led to what is arguably the most famous guitar in the world after the Fender Stratocaster.

The collaboration between the two continued, as Gibson started improving and releasing new variations of the iconic Les Paul.

Though the relationship between the two parties had its ups and downs, Les Paul (the musician) and Gibson ultimately ended up reconciling, and the guitarist continued working as a consultant for the brand until his death in 2009.

BB King

A true blues legend, BB King reigned in the 1940s as the genre rose to prominence. Throughout his stellar career, BB King consistently relied on Gibsons to cement his status as one of the most influential guitarists of all time.

He particularly favored the ES-355, just like Clapton. However, the model was still making history as the world’s first archtop semi-acoustic guitar at that time. His collaboration with Gibson was finally made official through the BB King Lucille model, a guitar made by the brand to congratulate the icon for his 80th birthday.

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page (or James Patrick Page) is one of the most talented musicians of his generation, with many upcoming guitarists always trying to emulate his riffs and distinctive style. He also happens to be one of Les Pauls’s most notable ambassadors, having used the model for most of his career.

While he experimented with almost all brands and models you can think of, he seemed to have a particularly soft spot for Gibson’s best-selling release. It seemed as if no other instrument was able to accommodate Jimmy’s versatility and unparalleled talent.

James Hetfield

Both James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica are huge fans of Gibson, but James is more well-known for them. Although he prefers ESP guitars, all of his ESPs are modeled after his Gibsons. 

One of his first guitars was a fake Gibson Flying V. You probably know it from the “Kill ‘Em All” album.

But his most famous guitar that isn’t a fake one is the 1973 Gibson Les Paul “Iron Cross.” It’s also known as the “Fuel” Les Paul, and it was featured heavily on the albums “Reload” and “St. Anger.” As the story goes, James Hetfield customized it himself. 

Unfortunately, an official Gibson Iron Cross never dropped, though that may change, as we have seen with the recent Kirk Hammett Greeny replicas. You can learn more about it in this video:

But we can’t forget about his legendary Gibson Explorers — the two white “So What” and “More Beer” 1984 Explorers with different stickers, and the 2000s black “Rusty.” 

He also has an acoustic Gibson Chet Atkins Classical that’s used on songs like “The Unforgiven” and “The Call of Ktulu.”

Angus Young

Any rock fan probably saw this name coming from a mile away, as it’s common knowledge by now that Angus Young, lead guitarist for AC/DC, heavily favors Gibson guitars.

His all-time favorite model is the Gibson SG Standard, which he has used for most of his shows and live appearances. He has also experimented with other Gibson guitars, though very rarely with other brands. He might be one of rock n roll’s most loyal musicians regarding his instrument of choice.

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl, better known as the founder, lead singer, and lead guitarist of Foo Fighters, is also surprisingly consistent regarding his guitar of choice. Throughout his decades-long career, he has continuously relied on Gibsons for his performances; however, his signature guitar with the company probably made the most impact on his musical career.

It’s a 335 model (named DG-335) modeled closely after Trini Lopez’s guitar, which Grohl himself seems to hold in high esteem.


Though plenty of artists have contributed to Gibson’s critical and commercial success, few have had the kind of impact that Slash had. At the height of the 1980s, Slash changed the game by using the “not-actually-a-real” Les Paul in the Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction album.

During that time, Les Paul was slowly falling from grace, and Slash single-handedly brought it back to life (or commercial popularity, in this case).

Bob Marley

Though Bob Marley is far from the most talented guitarist in this impressive line-up, he is still one of the most influential figures to be included, which is why his preference for Gibsons greatly impacted the brand’s reputation.

True to his musical stylings, Marley mainly favored Gibson’s acoustic models, namely a modified Les Paul with P90 pickups.

Neil Young

Last but not least, I wanted to give a special shoutout to one of Gibson’s most talented players. Neil Young favored his Les Paul from the beginning of his career and hasn’t parted ways with it ever since. The instrument became a monumental part of his legacy, complementing his smooth, captivating voice in many of his performances.

The instrument was later given the moniker “Old Black,” and Neil rarely strayed from it all throughout his decades-long career. So, whenever you hear an iconic Neil Young performance, chances are you’re also hearing the sounds of his iconic “Old Black”.

Frequently Asked Questions

As promised, let’s answer some of your most frequently asked questions about Gibson guitars.

Who Made the Gibson Guitar Famous?

Les Paul’s collaboration with Gibson was arguably the most famous one in the brand’s history. Though many big names in the music industry have used and promoted Gibson guitars throughout the years, thus, contributing to their popularity, the Les Paul remains the most famous model.

What Is Gibson’s Most Famous Guitar?

Gibson’s most famous guitar is arguably the Les Paul. The name of the model has been synonymous with the company itself for years now, and thousands of artists across all genres have played with it at one point in their careers. The shape of the guitar is easily recognizable by all enthusiasts.

Is Gibson Better Than Taylor?

Gibson is better than Taylor when it comes to jumbo, super jumbo, dreadnought, and parlor guitars. On the other hand, Taylor is better for those looking for a wider range of choices and designs. Moreover, they have a livelier sound and are more durable. The choice between the two is a personal one.

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