Guitar World brings together 15 new signature guitars that can help you channel the spirit of your favorite ax slinger.
Ever since guitarists started gaining fame and fortune from their artistry, there have been players who wanted to emulate them. In response, guitar makers have created signature model guitars bearing the names of celebrated musicians.
As far back as the 1830s, top luthiers like Johann Stauffer and René Lacote were collaborating with leading guitarists of the day, including Luigi Lagnani, Fernando Sor and Napoléon Coste, to create custom models. This includes what are possibly the first seven-string guitars, designed by Coste and Lacote, some of which bear Coste’s name handwritten on the label inside the body.
The premise back then was much the same as it is today: as well-known and accomplished guitarists achieved new vistas of tone and technique, they lent their names and/or expertise to the design of instruments that—presumably—could help ordinary players attain similar musical feats. Even if you lacked the creative soul and dexterous fingers of a Sor, Hendrix or Vai, at least you could have the same kind of guitar.
The vogue for signature guitars escalated in the late Twenties and early Thirties as our modern concept of celebrity took shape around new innovations in entertainment technology such as phonograph records and movies with synchronized sound. The prime example of this phenomenon is the Gibson Nick Lucas model flattop acoustic, which was introduced in the late Twenties.