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Artist Model At The Music Zoo

At The Music Zoo, we are proud to have one of the largest selections of artist model guitars on the planet! Artist model guitars are always recipes for success - they benefit not only the artist but also the manufacturer, and provide endless inspiration for both the budding player and professional. Even if you aren't looking to cop that exact Eric Clapton Strat tone and feel, artist model instrument designs are often unique, and still stand on their own regardless of their signature status. May we remind you, no one refuses to play a "Les Paul" because they didn't like Les!

Crafting an instrument for a contemporary artist is not a new phenomenon. While not a mass marketed example, the first ever X-braced Martin guitar was made specifically by Chris Martin Sr. for Madame Delores N. de Goñi. This guitar sparked a revolution. A similar event even occurred in 1933 with Gene Autry and the first D-45. Artist and manufacturer have always been closely intertwined. The first commercially produced artist models though, many agree appeared in the late 1920's, when Gibson introduced the Nick Lucas model acoustic guitar. Around the same time, the Harmony company also had a line of "Vita" guitars and mandolins that were endorsed by Roy Smeck (Gibson eventually gave Roy Smeck his own dreadnought too!). In the '30s, when Gibson's first electric guitar, the ES-150, hit the market, Charlie Christian helped to popularize the instrument, and it's pickup was eventually dubbed the "Charlie Christian" pickup.

We can safely fast-forward to the '50s and '60s now, when of course, such classics as the Gibson Les Paul, Gretsch Chet Atkins, Mosrite Ventures, and Kay Barney Kessel appeared. The Gibson and Gretsch models of course, had the most impressive staying power. Gibson's '60s era semi-hollow bodies and jazz archtops, such as the Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Trini Lopez, and Byrdland, also fit the artist model bill, as well as the beloved Everly Brothers flattop model.

The early '80s saw the introduction of classics such as the Gibson BB King Lucille and Jackson Randy Rhoads, but the real explosion happened in the late '80s, when Fender introduced their first artist model Strats - endorsed by Eric Clapton and Yngwie Malmsteen, and followed soon after by the James Burton Telecaster in the early '90s. Fender Custom Shop and USA production followed with the now legendary Stevie Ray Vaughn Strat. Soon, players across all genres began collaborating with many manufacturers to build their own creations! The '90s brought us such classic designs as the Peavey EVH "Wolfgang", Ibanez's Steve Vai JEM, Paul Reed Smith's Santana model, ESP's Kirk Hammett shredder, Kurt Cobain's Fender Jag-Stang, and Music Man's Albert Lee and Steve Lukather models.

Today, artist signature guitars have reached even higher heights. Industry leaders such as Music Man have a collection of guitars almost entirely inspired by modern artists. Gibson, Fender, and other brands have discovered opportunities to create reissues of their classic models "as used by" the worlds most beloved artists. Take a look at a Gibson Billy Gibbons Pearly Gates Les Paul for example, or George Harrison's "Lucy". With the advent of smaller successful guitar builders, more artists from independent bands now also get the representation they deserve.

Artist models are not limited to just electric and acoustic guitars either. You can even grab yourself an artist model amp - like a high gain EVH 5150III, Orange Brett Hinds or Jim Root Terrors, or a delicious sounding PRS John Mayer J-Mod amp. Even effects pedals have been inspired by your favorite players, such as the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzzface and the MXR EVH Flanger.

The Music Zoo is an authorized dealer for all your favorite brands and our used inventory is packed to the brim! Our artist model guitars are individually photographed and weighed, and undergo a rigorous inspection by our team of technicians, so you can be sure that wood grain you just fell in love with will look the same when it arrives at your doorstep, and the guitar will be ready to play right out of the case. Make your next artist model purchase online at The Music Zoo, or visit our New York showroom to shop today.