Instruments played by the Rolling Stones

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Rolling Stones had a start to their Rock and Roll that was not dissimilar to The Beatles, but The Stones had a different, more bluesy/swingy approach to their music. This was displayed in their instruments. But as their musical abilities grew they did not stray too far from the classic; two guitars, bass and drums with the vocals on top but as time went on they refined their sound and used more instruments, but never went so far as to completely throw out the conventional setup, except in the Satanic Majesties time.[original research?]

Keith Richards[edit]

Keith, early on, used a Harmony H72 Meteor, this can be seen on a video from a British Pop show where they played in 1964. Also he used an Epiphone Casino around the time after he gave the Harmony to somebody. Just after the Stones became successful in the States he acquired a Gibson Firebird and He and Brian played these on an American TV spot. Soon after he acquired a 1959 Les Paul with a Bigsby Tremolo system. He used this on tours until 1966 when he started using a Les Paul Custom instead. It's been said that Keith inspired people like Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page to start to use Les Pauls, but these are just rumors. His Les Paul are heard on tracks like "Satisfaction" and "The Last Time." The Les Paul was also Rumored to have been lent to Eric Clapton before he got his own.

After his Les Paul went by the wayside, he began to favor Fender Telecaster and a Les Paul custom, the three pickup model. When the Stones began on the 1969 tour with Mick Taylor, Keith had acquired an Ampeg Dan Armstrong model and he used this during the live recording of Get Yer Ya Yas Out. After the 1969 tour it occasionally seen in shows since, it mainly being replaced by Keith's signature instrument the Telecaster. Keith began using a Telecaster sparingly in 1967 but after 1970 was almost the only guitar he used on tour. The Telecaster he loved the most was the HS design with one Hum-bucking pickup and one single coil. He used several variations on tours and in the studio but mostly the Telecaster deluxe and a so-called "Hot Rod" Telecaster. The Deluxe was used mostly on the Exile On Main Street tours and was used in a Fender advertisement showing Keith play it because it was not a popular model. The "Hot Rod" Tele was used on the Love You Live album in the songs with Open G tuning. In more modern times i.e. after 1980 he has moved to more guitars of a wide variety on stage, such things like a Les Paul Jr. and ES-335, and more.

Brian Jones[edit]


Brian used a Harmony Stratotone in the early days of the Stones playing the Blues clubs, but he soon replaced that with a Gretsch Double anniversary in two tone green. He used this up until 1965 when he started to use the guitar that he is most known for, a Vox Prototype Mark IV or "Teardrop" guitar. This guitar is now very synonyms with Brian even though it has been played by others since then like David Bowie. Also for a short period he used a Firebird. It has also been noted that he used a Gretsch White Falcon as seen in some pictures from a 1966 tour. He has been photographed in the studio using a Les Paul, Rickenbacker 360/12, and a Fender Telecaster and many more. He pretty much played every kind of guitar there was in the studio but on tour he pretty much used what is shown above.

Other Instruments[edit]

Brian Jones was one of the most gifted multi-instrumentalist that popular music has ever seen. He was the main force behind many of the musical innovations that the Stones made. Brian played the harmonica in the early clubbing days and also played piano and slide guitar. When he played the guitar in standard tuning he could play a very good Bo Diddley style of guitar. He has played a Sitar on "Street Fighting Man" and "Paint It Black." He played an organ on songs like, "2000 Man" and "Let's Spend the Night Together" He used a Marimba on "Under My Thumb", "Out Of Time," and "Yesterday's Papers"; A recorder on "Ruby Tuesday"; A Trumpet on "Child Of The Moon; An Appalachian Dulcimer on "I Am Waiting" and "Lady Jane" also on Lady Jane he used a Harpsichord. He has used an Oboe and Saxophone on "Dandelion" and a Mellotron on "She's A Rainbow", "We Love You", "Stray Cat Blues", and "2000 Light Years From Home." On his final recordings for the Stones he used an Autoharp on "You've Got The Silver".[1] Early on with the Stones he was a backup vocalist but before they got their first hit in America Keith had taken over that post.

Bill Wyman[edit]

Bill Wyman had a very unusual taste in bass guitars if compared with modern musicians and ever musicians of the time. He also had an odd style of playing his bass. Most people have the strap across their chest, but Bill had it over one shoulder and held the neck close to his face. Bill used a Framus Star Bass in the early days all the way up to 1964 when he switched to a Vox "Teardrop" Bass but he still used his Framus. After 1967 he switched between a Fender Mustang Bass and a Dan Armstrong Bass and he used those up until he left the band in 1992 with the exception of a few other stragglers.

Charlie Watts[edit]

Charlie is a man of simple needs, trained in jazz drumming he used a Hi-hat that he got when he was young and who's brand remains uncertain. The drums he used and uses to this day are Gretsch 1956-7 Round Badge with the dimensions: 22" Bass Drum, 16" Floor Tom, a 12" Tom and a 5-by-14-inch Snare Drum. Cymbals he is known to use include: an 18" UFIP Natural Series Fast China, a UFIP Rough Series China with rivets, a very old UFIP Flat Ride,and an Avedis Zildjian Swish.




  • Babiuk, Andy; Prevost, Greg (2013), Rolling Stones Gear: all the Stones' instruments from stage to studio, San Francisco: Hal Leonard, ISBN 1617130923