The 17 Best Gibson Guitarists


What has curves and feels good to hold? A Gibson guitar.

While it is a given that a guitarist can never have enough guitars, these six-string heroes are known to have many a Gibson in their collection. After a completely informal survey aimed at guitar lovers, we have collated a list of some of the most talented, brand loyal, popular, and iconic Gibson gropers.

We could be here all day naming every person with a Gibson, so instead we bring you the best of the best.


17. Doug Aldrich

Having played with bands like WhitesnakeDio and Hurricane (to just name a few), Aldrich’s hard rock style has no doubt influenced countless musicians across the world.

His first guitar was a Gibson Les Paul bought from Sears and, despite a previous endorsement from Jackson Guitars, is usually still seen playing one of his many Les Pauls.



16. Joe Perry, Aerosmith

Considered Steven Tyler’s ‘Toxic Twin’, Joe Perry has been known to dabble into Fender territory but he usually plays either of his Gibson signature models; a Les Paul Standard, or Les Paul Custom.

Perry actually had to sell his favourite vintage Les Paul in the 80s when times got particularly tough, but he was recently reunited with it…



15. Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top

ZZ Top have a very recognisable guitar tone, and a song like ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ is guaranteed to get many grooving.

While lead singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons plays a variety of guitars, two of his most notable are the Les Paul and Explorer.



14. Justin and Dan Hawkins, The Darkness

Being that they’re brothers in the same band and playing the same guitars, the Hawkins Brothers don’t get seperate rankings (sorry boys, you’re still fabulous!)

Both are great guitarists who have successfully brought the 70’s rock sound into the modern day without having riffs that sound like cheesy rip offs.

They’re two of the most creative guitar players in recent years, and their love for all things Gibson and Marshall does not go unnoticed. Seriously – watch any music video by The Darkness!  Even the bassist, Frankie Poullain, is on the Gibson train with his Gibson Thunderbird. Gibsons all around for The Darkness!



13. Vivian Campbell, Dio & Def Leppard

Although he’s played for bands like Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and Def Leppard (his current job), it is Vivian Campbell’s work with Dio that seems to go down as a favourite for many.

Across all the bands he is usually seen playing a Gibson Les Paul.



12. Joan Jett

Rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for 70s all-girl hard rock band The Runaways, Joan Jett is known for her hard rocking songs, kickass attitude, and Gibson Melody Maker. Her white worn Melody Maker has accompanied her during the later years of The Runaways, and throughout her solo career.

“It’s so lightweight and sounds great. It’s my baby”.



11. Steve Clark, Def Leppard

Until his tragic passing in 1991, Steve Clark was the primary song writer for British hard rock band, Def Leppard. He was a guitarist very dedicated to Gibson, mostly seen playing Firebirds and Les Pauls.



10. Eric Clapton

Although many guitarists fall deeply in love with a certain guitar brand and stick with it, Eric Clapton has got favourites all over the map. But this isn’t to say he doesn’t still love them all, and by naming them he takes the relationship a step further!

His two most treasured and well-known guitars are Blackie (a Fender Stratocaster) and The Fool (a Gibson SG). He also gave Lucy (a red Les Paul) to George Harrison as a present.



9. John Sykes

English rock guitarist, John Sykes, may have cycled through many bands in the 80’s, from Tygers of Pan Tang, to Blue Murder, to Thin Lizzy, and to Whitesnake, but one thing he did not mix and match on were his guitars.

In fact, for most of his career he used the same black Les Paul Custom.



8. Les Paul

How can we not include the pioneer himself, whose guitar ‘The Log’  (one of the first solid-body electrics) inspired one of the world’s most popular guitars? Of course we can’t forget that Paul was also a self-taught guitarist, primarily known for jazz and blues music, but it was his guitars that helped revolutionise rock n roll.



7. Angus Young (AC/DC)

School uniform; big riffs; Gibson SG’s. Put the three together and you have Angus Young of AC/DC.

Although they might not always possess the most technical guitars parts in the rock n roll world, AC/DC have created songs that still go down as anthems to this day. Plus, if anyone wants to talk about brand loyalty, Angus Young has not only been loyal to Gibson, but to the SG model specifically throughout all his years!



6. Gary Moore

This is the name that will instantly shut down any person who claims “you can’t shred on a Les Paul”. While Gary Moore was often seen playing his red Strat, his overall sound aligns more with his 1959 Les Paul Standard.

The great thing about Gary Moore is that his playing has not only contributed to some of the best blues tracks, but also a pile of great 80s rock tracks.



5. Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin

Although Jimmy Page has given Telecasters a fair spin, let’s not forget what he plays on stage for ‘Stairway To Heaven’ — a 1970’s Gibson EDS1275 Double neck.

That aside, Jimmy Page is most known for playing Gibson Les Pauls, and in 2010 was ranked number two in Gibson’s own list of ‘Top 50 Guitarists of All Time’. Across the board, Page is considered as one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time.



4. Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath

Left handed guitarists are often a rarity (and many learn to play right-handed), so how great is it when they happen to be a founding member of a pioneering heavy metal band?!

Tony Iommi also gives Gibson SGs another appearance on this list!



3. Randy Rhoads, Ozzy Osbourne

The only reason Randy Rhoads is not higher up on this list is because the guitars he commissioned were Jacksons. Randy Rhoads had an enormous amount of talent and at such a young age successfully became a guitarist that many aspire to be.

After all, how many of you guitarists out there have wanted to learn or attempted ‘Crazy Train’? I bet almost all of you!

Although the Gibson ’74 Alpine White Les Paul Custom is a great sounding guitar, it’s Randy Rhoads’ continuing legacy that inspires so many musicians to pick that specific guitar, or at least one that looks very similar.



2. Slash

It is claimed that Slash owns over 100 guitars, most of which are Gibson Les Pauls. Slash has stated that Gibsons are the best ‘all round guitar’ for him, and you can certainly hear it when he plays his groovy and sleazy riffs both in and out of Guns N Roses.

Listen and watch for yourself with our full Slash gig here.



1. Ace Frehley, KISS

The Spaceman! Space Ace! A man who is one of the most loyal members of the Gibson brand and a huge influence on many other guitarists, hence earning him his spot right at the top.

Whilst many people have varying opinions on certain KISS members, there are very few KISS fans who dislike Ace Frehley. Frehley has written some of the most iconic guitar riffs and solos in rock music and even just a flash of his KISS makeup will guarantee people across all generations will be able to recognise him (unless they want to be a bit cheeky and mention Tommy Thayer!).

Often associated with his Les Paul Gibsons and smoke coming out of his guitar pickups, Ace Frehley has three signature Gibson models. His most well-known is the ‘Gibson Ace Frehley Budokan Les Paul’.

Even to this day at his solo shows, Ace Frehley still proudly shreds Gibson.


About Jacinta Jaye

I am a bass-thundering and word-writing lover of music; especially of tunes with an old school rock and metal feel (I'll even throw in a bit of 70's disco while we are at it, can't forget about a good groove!). I spend most of my time either playing music, or writing about music. Find me on Instagram @jacintajacintajacinta

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