The Top 5 Iconic Signature Model Guitars in Country Music

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As the sounds of country music fill the air, it’s hard not to marvel at the twangy melodies produced by those signature model guitars. From the classic Fender Telecaster to the modern PRS Silver Sky, these guitars have been used to create some of the most iconic sounds in country music. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the top 5 most iconic signature model guitars in country music. These guitars have undoubtedly left their mark on the genre, leaving guitar enthusiasts and music lovers alike in awe. Join us on this journey through the history and legacy of these iconic instruments.

Fender Telecaster

Fender Telecaster
As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This phrase perfectly describes the Fender Telecaster, one of the most iconic signature model guitars in country music history. The Telecaster’s straightforward design and twangy tone have been a staple in the genre since its introduction in 1950. Let’s take a deeper dive into the history of this legendary guitar and the country music artists who have made it their own. Don’t forget to check out our article on Top 5 Most Iconic Signature Model Guitars in Country Music for more guitar inspiration.

History of Fender Telecaster

The Fender Telecaster, also known as the Tele, has been one of the most iconic signature model guitars in country music history. This guitar was first introduced in 1950 and has since then become a staple in the guitar world, known for its clean and distinct sound. Its history began when Leo Fender created the Telecaster as a solid-body electric guitar.

The early Telecasters had a simple design with a single-cutaway body made of Ash, which made the guitar lightweight and easy to play for extended periods. Its design was a departure from traditional hollow-body electric guitars, which were more preferred during that era. With its unique design, the Telecaster opened up a world of new possibilities for musicians, especially in the country music genre.

Over the years, the Fender Telecaster has undergone various changes to cater to the evolving needs of musicians. The most notable difference was in its pickups. The original Telecaster had two single-coil pickups, which later became known as the “lipstick pickups.” By 1951, these were replaced with a single-coil bridge pickup and a new neck pickup known as the “Broadcaster Pickup.” The Broadcaster became the precursor to the modern-day humbucker pickup and added a new dimension to Telecaster’s sound.

Many of country music’s greatest guitarists have relied on the Fender Telecaster as their go-to guitar, including Merle Haggard, Keith Richards, James Burton, and Brad Paisley. It’s unique sound and design have even inspired other signature guitar models in the market.

The Fender Telecaster has become a symbol of rock and roll history, and its impact on signature guitar design in country music cannot be overstated. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting, the Fender Telecaster remains one of the best signature guitars for country music beginners to consider.

Artists and their Fender Telecasters

When it comes to Fender Telecasters, there have been numerous country music artists who have made it their signature guitar. Here are some of the most iconic ones below.

  • Brad Paisley: The Fender Brad Paisley Telecaster is one of the most popular signature models in recent times. Paisley had a lot of input in its design, and the guitar is known for its unique features such as the silver paisley design on the body and a custom-installed Fishman pickup.
  • Keith Richards: This legendary guitarist from the Rolling Stones had a Custom Fender Telecaster built in the ’70s that became his signature guitar. It has a unique setup with five strings and a humbucker in the neck position, and it’s known for its big sound that suits his playing style.
  • James Burton: As one of the most influential guitarists in country music, James Burton’s signature Telecaster has been a popular instrument for decades. His original ’50s Fender Telecaster was customized with a paisley design and it features unique specs such as a G bender and a shortened bass horn.
  • Vince Gill: Vince Gill is another renowned Telecaster player, and his signature model has been popular among country music fans for many years. Gill’s Fender Telecaster features a beautiful transparent red finish and a few custom specs, such as a modified bridge pickup and a unique neck shape.
  • Merle Haggard: Merle Haggard’s red, white and blue Telecaster has become an icon of country music. He often played this guitar during his performances over the years, and it’s now featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

These Fender Telecaster signature models have all captured the hearts of country musicians and fans alike, and are truly iconic instruments in the country music world. If you want to learn more about signature guitars or are interested in other types of guitars, don’t hesitate to check out our related articles such as “/sig-model-guitars-country-music/”, “/best-signature-guitars-for-country-beginners/” or “/signature-guitar-design-country-music-artist/”.

Gibson Les Paul

Gibson Les Paul
Perhaps no electric guitar has quite captured the imagination of the world like the Gibson Les Paul. With its iconic design and electric sound, it’s no wonder that the Les Paul is one of the most recognizable instruments in music history. From its early origins to its current status as a cultural touchstone, the story of the Les Paul has been one of innovation, dedication to craft, and a fierce commitment to great music. Let’s dive into the history and legacy of this beloved guitar.

History of Gibson Les Paul

The Gibson Les Paul is undeniably one of the most iconic guitars in the history of music, both within the realm of rock and country. The story behind the creation of the Les Paul guitar is quite intriguing. Here are some interesting facts about the history of the Gibson Les Paul:

  • The idea for the guitar originated from the mind of Les Paul himself. Les Paul was a musician and recording engineer who wanted to create a solid-body electric guitar that would sustain for longer periods of time and eliminate the feedback that hollow body electric guitars produced. Gibson took up the challenge to fulfill Les’ dream of the perfect guitar.
  • The birth of the Les Paul guitar was delayed due to World War II. Gibson started working on the guitar in the late 1930s, but the production was put on hold due to the war. Gibson resumed the production of the guitar in 1946.
  • The guitar’s design underwent several changes throughout its early years. The first model, known as “Goldtop,” featured a solid mahogany body with a maple top and a single-cutaway design. Later models, including the “Custom” and “Standard,” featured a two-cutaway design and humbucking pickup technology, which eliminated the hum and provided a much more powerful sound.
  • The guitar was not initially popular among guitarists. The Les Paul guitar was initially received with skepticism by guitarists, who were used to playing hollow body electric guitars. However, with the rise of rock and roll in the 1950s, the Les Paul guitar gained a foothold in the music world and became popular among guitarists across genres, including country.
  • The Les Paul guitar has been used by some of the most influential guitarists in the history of music. Country legends such as Duane Eddy, Paul McCartney, and Eric Clapton have all been known to play a Gibson Les Paul. Additionally, Les Paul, who the guitar was named after, was an iconic musician and entertainer who helped to popularize the electric guitar and pioneered multitrack recording techniques.

The history of the Gibson Les Paul is a story of innovation, perseverance, and musical brilliance. Despite initial skepticism towards its design, the Les Paul guitar has become an iconic instrument that has helped to shape the sound of both rock and country music. Its unique design and powerful sound have captured the hearts of musicians and fans for generations.

Artists and their Gibson Les Pauls

Gibson Les Paul is one of the most iconic guitars in the music industry, especially in country music. Over the years, numerous artists have played this guitar to create some of the greatest melodies of all time.

Here are some of the most prominent artists and their Gibson Les Pauls:

  • Duane Allman: The legendary guitarist played a 1950s Les Paul gold top that he affectionately called “Layla.” He used this guitar to record some of the most iconic country rock songs of all time, including the Allman Brothers Band’s “At Fillmore East” album.
  • Billy Gibbons: The ZZ Top guitarist played a 1959 Les Paul called “Pearly Gates” that he had purchased in the ’70s. This guitar has a distinctive tone and has been featured on some of ZZ Top’s biggest hits, including “La Grange” and “Tush.”
  • Joe Walsh: The Eagles guitarist is famous for his 1959 Gibson Les Paul that he received as a gift from Jimmy Page. This guitar has been played on some of Walsh’s biggest hits, including “Rocky Mountain Way” and “Life’s Been Good.”
  • Slash: The Guns N’ Roses guitarist is known for his 1959 Gibson Les Paul that he nicknamed “Appetite for Destruction.” This guitar has been played on some of Guns N’ Roses’ biggest hits, including “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City.”
  • Jimmy Page: The Led Zeppelin guitarist played a 1959 Les Paul called “Number One” that he used to record many of the band’s biggest hits. This guitar has been featured on songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir.”

These are just a few examples of the countless artists who have played and contributed to the legacy of the Gibson Les Paul. Its versatility, tone, and design have made it a go-to guitar for many country musicians, spanning decades of musical history.

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Gretsch Chet Atkins

Gretsch Chet Atkins
When it comes to signature model guitars, few can compete with the timeless beauty and unique tone of the instrument bearing the name of legendary guitarist Chet Atkins. The Gretsch Chet Atkins model has been a fixture in the world of country music since its introduction in the 1950s, and its distinctive design and sound have made it a favorite of guitarists for over half a century. Let’s take a closer look at the history of this iconic instrument and the artists who have made it a staple of their sound.

History of Gretsch Chet Atkins

The Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar is considered to be one of the most iconic signature model guitars in country music. This guitar is named after the legendary guitarist Chet Atkins and is the result of a collaboration between him and the Gretsch company. Let’s take a closer look at the history of this famous guitar.

Year | Event
— | —
1940s | Chet Atkins was known for playing Gibson L-10 guitars in the early years of his career. However, he found it difficult to play with a full band as the guitars were not loud enough.
1954 | Gretsch approached Chet Atkins to collaborate with them on a new guitar design. The first Gretsch Chet Atkins was the 6120 model, which was named after the date it was released, June 1st, 1954.
Late 1950s | Gretsch released the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman, which was designed with a thinner body than the 6120 and had a brighter tone.
1967 | Gretsch introduced the Chet Atkins Tennessean, which was even thinner than the Country Gentleman and had a more treble-heavy sound. This guitar became popular with musicians who were looking for a more lightweight and versatile instrument.
1980s | After a period of decline in the popularity of the Chet Atkins guitar, the Gretsch company was sold to different owners. However, the signature model remained a popular choice among musicians and continued to be produced with updates to the design and features.
2000s | The Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the “Sideman” category, recognizing the guitar’s impact on popular music.

The history of the Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar is filled with innovation and collaboration between a legendary musician and a guitar company. The result is a guitar model that has stood the test of time and continues to be a favorite among country and rock guitarists.

Artists and their Gretsch Chet Atkins guitars

Gretsch Chet Atkins is one of the most iconic signature model guitars in country music, and it has been played by many legendary guitarists over the years. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable artists who have played this guitar:

Artist Gretsch Chet Atkins Guitar
Chet Atkins Gretsch 6120
Duane Eddy Gretsch 6120
George Harrison Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet
Brian Setzer Gretsch 6120
Malcolm Young Gretsch G6131MY-CS Malcolm Young “Salute” Jet

Chet Atkins himself was one of the most influential musicians in country music history. He played a Gretsch 6120, which was specifically designed for him in the mid-1950s. He continued to play this guitar throughout his career and was even known as “Mr. Guitar” in honor of his mastery of the instrument.

Another famous guitarist who played the Gretsch Chet Atkins model was Duane Eddy. He used the Gretsch 6120 to create his signature “twangy” sound that became synonymous with early rock and roll.

George Harrison of The Beatles was also a fan of the Gretsch Chet Atkins model. He played a Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet, which he used to great effect on many Beatles tracks, including “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Things We Said Today.”

Brian Setzer, best known as the lead guitarist for the Brian Setzer Orchestra, is another iconic musician who has played the Gretsch Chet Atkins model. He used a Gretsch 6120 on many of his hits, including “Stray Cat Strut” and “Rock This Town.”

Finally, Malcolm Young of AC/DC played a special edition Gretsch G6131MY-CS Malcolm Young “Salute” Jet, which was designed specifically for him. He used this guitar to create his famously heavy rhythm guitar sound on many of AC/DC’s classic tracks.

The Gretsch Chet Atkins model has been played by some of the most influential guitarists in music history, and it will always be associated with the timeless sound of country music.

PRS Silver Sky

Prs Silver Sky
When it comes to signature electric guitars, the PRS Silver Sky is a newcomer to the market. Developed in collaboration with musician John Mayer, the Silver Sky has already made a name for itself in the country music world. With its vintage-inspired design and modern features, this guitar has become a favorite for many artists. In this section, we’ll explore the history of the PRS Silver Sky and take a look at some of the country music stars who play this iconic instrument. So, let’s dive in!

History of PRS Silver Sky

The PRS Silver Sky is a relatively new signature model guitar, which was first introduced in 2018. The guitar is the result of a collaboration between John Mayer and Paul Reed Smith, the founder of PRS Guitars. The Silver Sky has quickly become one of the most sought-after signature models on the market, and for good reason.

The Origins of the PRS Silver Sky

John Mayer has long been known as one of the most influential guitarists of his generation, and his signature sound has been closely associated with the tones of classic 60s and 70s rock. When he approached Paul Reed Smith about creating a new signature guitar, he wanted something that could capture the essence of the vintage instruments he loved so much.

Together, Mayer and Smith went through numerous prototype designs and revisions, experimenting with different woods, pickups, and hardware. Eventually, they settled on a unique combination of features that they believed would create the perfect vintage-inspired sound.

The Iconic Features of the PRS Silver Sky

The PRS Silver Sky is packed with a number of features that make it a must-have for guitarists looking for that classic sound. Some of the most notable features include:

  • The body is made of a select grade of alder, which provides a balanced and resonant tone.
  • The neck is made of maple, with a rosewood fretboard for a traditional feel.
  • The guitar uses PRS-designed single-coil pickups, which are wound to vintage specifications for a warm and articulate sound.
  • The bridge is a custom two-point design, which provides excellent stability and sustain.
  • The guitar features a unique 7.25″ radius fretboard, which provides a vintage feel with easy note bending.

The PRS Silver Sky and the Country Music Scene

While the PRS Silver Sky is a relatively new model, it has already made waves in the country music scene. The guitar’s warm and articulate sound makes it a perfect choice for country players looking for a vintage-inspired tone.

Keith Urban is perhaps the most notable country artist to adopt the PRS Silver Sky, using it on numerous tours and recordings. Other country guitarists, such as Devin Malone and Bryan Sutton, have also embraced the guitar’s unique sound.

The PRS Silver Sky is a remarkable signature model guitar that has quickly become one of the most iconic instruments on the market. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock or country music, the Silver Sky is worth checking out for its unique combination of vintage-inspired features and modern design.

Artists and their PRS Silver Sky guitars

The PRS Silver Sky is a relatively new addition to the list of iconic signature model guitars in country music, having been introduced in 2018. However, it has quickly gained popularity thanks to its sleek design and exceptional playability, earning the seal of approval from some of the industry’s most talented musicians.

Here are a few notable country artists and their PRS Silver Sky guitars:

  • John Mayer: The Silver Sky was actually designed in partnership with John Mayer, who already had an extensive collection of vintage guitars. Mayer worked closely with PRS to create a guitar that had the look and feel of his favorite vintage instruments but with modern upgrades. He has been using the Silver Sky extensively on his recent tours and recordings.
  • Keith Urban: The Australian country music superstar has been known to play a PRS Silver Sky on occasion. In fact, he even brought one on stage during his performance at the 2019 CMA Awards.
  • Brett Young: The Silver Sky has also caught the eye of up-and-coming country artist Brett Young, who has been playing one on his recent tours. In an interview with Guitar World, Young praised the guitar’s versatility and noted that it was “somewhere between a Strat and a Duesenberg.”
  • Lindsay Ell: Canadian singer-songwriter Lindsay Ell is another country artist who has incorporated the Silver Sky into her live performances. She has been seen playing a custom white version of the guitar.

With its sleek design and exceptional playability, it’s no surprise that the PRS Silver Sky has quickly become a favorite among many of today’s top country musicians. It will be exciting to see how it continues to carve out its place in country music history in the years to come.

Martin D-28

When you think of iconic guitars in country music, the Martin D-28 is surely one that comes to mind. This powerful instrument has a rich history and has been used by countless musicians to create unforgettable music. Its unique tone and distinctive design make it a favorite among performers and audiences alike. In this section, we’ll delve into the history of the Martin D-28 and explore some of the most notable artists who have played this legendary guitar. So, grab your favorite beverage and let’s dive deep into the world of the Martin D-28.

History of Martin D-28

The Martin D-28 acoustic guitar is considered to be one of the most iconic guitars in the world of country music. It was first introduced in 1931 and has since become a favorite among legendary artists.

The history of the Martin D-28 begins with the Martin Guitar Company, which was founded in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin Sr. The company started producing guitars in the United States in the mid-1800s and quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality instruments.

The D-28 model was first introduced in 1931 and was an instant hit. Its popularity was due to its superior sound quality and unique design. The guitar featured a large, dreadnought-shaped body made from solid spruce and rosewood, which produced a loud and rich tone that was perfect for playing country music.

Over the years, the Martin D-28 has been played by some of the most famous country musicians, including Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley. Its popularity has only grown over the years, and it is still considered to be one of the best acoustic guitars in the world today.

To further highlight the popularity of the Martin D-28, let’s take a look at some of the most famous artists who have used this iconic guitar in their music over the years.

Artist Songs
Hank Williams Sr. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues”
Elvis Presley “Love Me Tender”
Willie Nelson “Whiskey River”
Merle Haggard “Mama Tried”

As you can see from the table above, some of the greatest country musicians of all time have used the Martin D-28 in their music. Its distinctive sound and design have made it a staple in the world of country music for almost a century, and its popularity shows no sign of waning anytime soon.

Artists and their Martin D-28s

Some of the most iconic names in country music have favored the Martin D-28 guitar for its rich, warm sound and impressive craftsmanship. Here are just a few of the artists who have made the Martin D-28 their signature guitar:

  • Johnny Cash: Known as “The Man in Black”, Johnny Cash’s deep, resonant voice was perfectly complemented by the rich tone of his Martin D-28. He favored the guitar during the early part of his career, and it featured prominently in his performances.
  • Hank Williams: Another legend of country music, Hank Williams was known for his soulful vocals and poignant lyrics. He relied on his Martin D-28 to help deliver his powerful songs to his adoring fans.
  • Willie Nelson: With his distinctive playing style and iconic bandana, Willie Nelson is a true icon of country music. His Martin D-28 has been by his side for more than 50 years, and it has become synonymous with his unique sound.
  • Doc Watson: As a master of fingerstyle guitar, Doc Watson brought a unique sound to country music that was not often heard at the time. His Martin D-28 was a key part of his sound, and he used it to create intricate melodies and driving rhythms.
  • Merle Haggard: With more than 30 number-one hits to his name, Merle Haggard was a true force in country music. His Martin D-28 was integral to his sound, and he used it to craft some of the most memorable songs in the genre.

These artists and many others have helped to make the Martin D-28 one of the most beloved guitars in country music history. Its rich, warm tones and expert craftsmanship continue to inspire musicians to this day.


As we come to the end of our list of the top 5 most iconic signature model guitars in country music, it’s clear that these instruments are more than just tools for making music. They have become symbols of the artists who wield them, and significant pieces of music history in their own right.

The Fender Telecaster has certainly earned its place on this list as the first solid-body electric guitar and a mainstay in country music. From its humble beginnings in the early 1950s, it has gone on to become a beloved instrument, with artists like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley bringing it to new heights.

The Gibson Les Paul may have had a rough start, but its distinct sound and design quickly won over country music artists like Les Paul himself and Chet Atkins. It has since become a versatile classic, with players like Vince Gill and Miranda Lambert showcasing its full range.

The Gretsch Chet Atkins is a unique instrument that stands out visually and sonically. Its development was heavily influenced by Atkins’ personal preferences and style, and it has gone on to inspire artists like Steve Wariner and Brian Setzer.

The PRS Silver Sky may be the newest guitar on this list, but it has already made a significant impact on the country music scene. Created in collaboration with John Mayer, it combines vintage inspiration with modern updates, and is a favorite of guitarists like Hunter Hayes.

Finally, the Martin D-28 may be best known as an acoustic guitar, but its deep and powerful sound has made it a staple in country music. With legends like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr. playing it, the D-28 has earned its place as an icon.

In conclusion, these five guitars have each left their mark on country music in their own way, and have become more than just instruments – they are symbols of the artists and the music they create. Whether they were developed over half a century ago or just a few years back, they will continue to inspire and be played by musicians for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a signature model guitar?

A signature model guitar is a unique instrument designed and manufactured specifically for a particular artist, based on their specifications and preferences.

When did Fender Telecaster first hit the market?

The Fender Telecaster was introduced in 1950.

What is the difference between a Fender Telecaster and a Stratocaster?

The primary difference between these two iconic guitars is that the Telecaster has a single-cutaway design, a fixed bridge, and two single-coil pickups, while the Stratocaster has a double-cutaway design, a tremolo bridge, and three single-coil pickups.

How did the Gibson Les Paul get its name?

The guitar was named after its inventor, renowned guitarist and innovator Les Paul.

What year was the Gibson Les Paul first introduced?

The first Gibson Les Paul was introduced in 1952.

What is the difference between a Les Paul Standard and a Les Paul Custom?

The Les Paul Standard has a mahogany body with a carved maple top, while the Les Paul Custom has a solid mahogany body with gold hardware and an ebony fingerboard.

Who is Chet Atkins and how did he contribute to the development of the Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar?

Chet Atkins was a renowned guitarist and producer who worked closely with Gretsch to develop a guitar that reflected his unique playing style and sound, resulting in the creation of the Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar.

Who are some famous country music artists who have played Gretsch Chet Atkins guitars?

Some notable artists who have played Gretsch Chet Atkins guitars include Duane Eddy, George Harrison, and Brian Setzer.

What inspired Paul Reed Smith to create the PRS Silver Sky guitar?

Paul Reed Smith was inspired to create the Silver Sky guitar by his love for the classic designs of the Fender Stratocaster and his desire to improve upon certain aspects of its sound and feel.

Who are some notable musicians who play the Martin D-28 guitar?

Some famous artists who have played the Martin D-28 include Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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