When we think of guitar icons, we also think of their very expensive rigs. And who wouldn’t? These are rock stars who have made a mark in the music industry and they would only probably buy the most expensive gear. But that’s just a misconception. Cillian Breathnach from Guitar.com tells us that you don’t have to break the bank to get a great guitar. And this certainly applies to the icons in our list.
Check out these 10 guitar icons who proved their legend status with their affordable gears:
American singer-songwriter Prince is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time. He’s known for his androgynous persona, his eccentric style, and his versatile voice. Out of his 39 albums, most people would know his Purple Rain (1984) and Sign o’ the Times (1987) records.
The Hohner Madcat Telecaster is the guitar that Prince is mostly associated with. Justin Beckner recounts how a model of this affordable guitar was said to be acquired by Prince for only $30! With that said, he certainly proved that he didn’t need a fancy guitar to be an icon.
Annie Clark, professionally known as St. Vincent, is a two-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and musician. Her unique vocals, coupled with various guitar riffs, have made her a celebrated figure in the music industry. Cruel (2011) and Birth in Reverse (2014) are some of her top singles.
She notably used a 1967 Harmony Bobkat due to the guitar’s lightness and stable vibrato. The tone on this mid-range guitar is amazing and it was the sweetest combo with her vocal tone. St. Vincent only proves that you don’t need the most expensive gear to pull off melodic riffs.
David Howell Evans (famously known as the Edge) is a singer-songwriter best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band U2. He wrote and recorded 14 studio albums, won 22 Grammys, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Some of his most famous songs include The Unforgettable Fire (1984) and All I Want Is You (1988).
As a musician, The Edge is famous for using a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive – a $50 pedal. If you are looking for the same quality construction and compact design, Boss Pedals are known for their range of entry point pedals that you can easily incorporate into your pedalboard. If The Edge can rule his solos with the same setup then you can, too!
Kurt Cobain, the frontman of the legendary rock band Nirvana, is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He is known for his anti-establishment songwriting that fueled the thematic songs from rock music. Nirvana found global success with their hit song Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) from their album Nevermind (1991).
Kurt Cobain’s equipment of choice is his Boss DS-1 and EHX Small Clone chorus. These are both affordable pedals that you can hear on his legendary songs. Aside from this, Cobain also favored his 1969 Fender Mustang. Benoît Georges from WorldCrunch.com recently talked about the comeback of Fender guitars for Gen Z and how nostalgia is a big factor for people when buying the guitar.
Jack White is a singer-songwriter and producer for the duo the White Stripes. He is widely credited for reviving garage rock and has won 12 Grammy awards. With his wife (now ex-wife) Meg White, they recorded the album White Blood Cells (2001) and that catapulted them into mega-stardom.
With hits like Fell in Love with a Girl (2001) and Another Way to Die (the 2008 James Bond song), Jack White has stuck with his penchant for affordable guitars. A hand-me-down Kay arch-top and a Res-O-Glass Airline are some of his most notable guitars.
More On Affordable Gear
While this list is a short one, we can list down more notable guitar icons who crushed the stage with their affordable equipment. Green Day’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong plays the Fernandes S- Style while Eddie Van Halen played a budget Teisco guitar. Likewise, Laura-Mary Carter also plays a Teisco that she’s had for a long time. Alternative rock artist Beck uses a Silvertone 1448.
We can go on and on about how many artists use inexpensive gear! As proven by these guitar icons, equipment doesn’t dictate how great and amazing your music is. An affordable guitar or a $50 pedal is just as good as a custom-made board.