If you checked out part one of our list of the 10 most iconic electric guitars of all time, then you know how our dedicated music fans at Spark Energy feel about the music-changing instrument. Simply put, we love it and we couldn’t imagine how different music over the past 60 years would be without it. That’s why we decided to gather around a table, put on a pot of coffee and hammer out a list of what we think are the top electric guitars of all time.
Still, there was some disagreement about where the guitars on this list should rank. Make sure to take our poll at the bottom to vote on how you would have ranked these 10 guitars and let us know about any sweet six strings you think we missed.
6. Gibson Flying V
Apparently, 1958 was a good year for guitars. That’s when Jimi Hendrix rocked the Isle of Wight with the original Gibson Flying V, a unique “V”-shaped guitar that looks like an arrow shot from a bow. With an inspired look matched only by the uniqueness of its sound, there is, simply put, nothing else like it in the world of electric guitars.
Year introduced: 1958
Key players: Marc Bolan, Dave Davies, Billy Gibbons, Steve Jones, Kirk Hammett, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Perry, Keith Richards, Michael Schenker, Paul Stanley, Eddie Van Halen
7. Gibson ES-335
The distinctive double f-holes and plummy yet cutting tone of the Gibson ES-335 has made it a favorite electric guitar of blues players everywhere. Of course, BB King may have had something to do with that. His 335, “Lucille,” may be one of the most recognizable guitars in the world.
Year introduced: 1958
Key players: Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Larry Carlton, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, The Edge, Eric Johnson, BB King, Bobby Krieger, Alex Lifeson, Roy Orbison, Joe Perry, Eddie Van Halen, T-Bone Walker
8. B.C. Rich Mockingbird
The B.C. Rich Mockingbird is one axe that actually looks like an axe. Its sharp, angular lines, a signature feature of most B.C. Rich guitar designs, are both distinctive and polarizing; you either love it or you hate it. But regardless of how you feel about its looks, the Mockingbird has some serious shred pedigree. And it also has the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award from Guitar World, which ranked the Mockingbird as “the coolest guitar of all time,” ahead of rock luminaries like the Gibson Les Paul Standard and the Fender Stratocaster.
Year introduced: 1976
Key players: Craig Chaquico, Paul Crook, Lita Ford, Steve Hunter, Neil Gilrado, Kerry King, John Moyer, Dave Mustaine, Joe Perry, Slash, Dick Wagner
9. Gibson Explorer
Another iconic electric guitar that debuted in 1958 (what was it with that year?), the Gibson Explorer bears the dubious distinction of being somewhat of a flop. However, in the wildly-styled guitar’s defense — too wildly-styled for its day, perhaps — its initial production run is estimated at less than 50. But with its famous drooping headstock and aggressive, asymmetrical design, it roared into reissue in 1976 and would go on to gain cult status, thanks to a fuzzy version wielded by ZZ Top’s Bill Gibbons.
Year introduced: 1958–59 (reissued 1976)
Key players: Eric Clapton, Allen Collins, The Edge, Billy Gibbons, Dave Grohl, James Hatfield, Matthais Jabs, Gary Moore, Bill Spooner, Paul Stanley
10. Danelectro DC
The Danelectro DC holds the distinction of having possibly the most humble beginnings of any electric guitar on this list. Danelectro made its electric guitars for U.S. department store Sears, but the DC looked way cooler than its pedigree because its design, including chromed “lipstick” pickups, was borrowed from 1950s automakers.
Year introduced: 1959
Key players: Syd Barrett, Beck, Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, Billy Squire
“25 Most Iconic Guitars Ever,” Stuff, Sept. 16, 2010.
Wikipedia, “B.C. Rich Mockingbird.”
Wikipedia, “List of Danelectro Players.”
Wikipedia, “List of Gibson Players.”
Wikipedia, “Gibson Explorer.”