You've seen them shred. You've seen them sweep. You've seen them beat their guitars to shreds and have them swept up.
So you aspire to be the next god of the strings. You've decided to put your air-guitar on it's imaginary rack and go get the real thing and it would be the coolest thing ever to use the same equipment as your favorite guitar hero. Yeah, well good luck with that. Unless you have lucked out and your late great uncle Harry left you with thousands of dollars, you might need to start plunking all that spare change into a piggy bank for a while. It doesn't come cheap.
So what ARE the best of the best using? What guitars helped them on their journey to fame?
Randy Rhoads - You've heard the speedy fingers of this late guitar front man to Ozzy's infamous repertoire. He was seen most often with custom made Flying V's. His first - the Sandoval Flying V, perhaps one of the most well-known in it's polka dot madness, was made for him in 1979, the Second was Jackson's Original Sin built for him in 1980, and the third was the Jackson Randy Rhoads, created for him in 1981. He also owned several Gibson Les Paul's. Though none of the originals are for sale, you can pick up a Jackson Randy Rhoads series V for around $3,000.
Jimi Hendrix - Master of the Fender Stratocaster. The one most often used was the blonde 1969 Strat, a right handed guitar that he played left handed. If you can find this model, you are looking at a price of $10,000-15,000. A 65 Strat that Jimi set on fire in Astoria was recently auctioned off in the UK for 280,000 pounds (around 455,000 US Dollars). Whew, talk about increasing the value by destroying something.
Jimmy Page - Gibson guitars and Jimmy Page sort of go together like peanut butter and jelly. His go-to guitars were the 1958 and 1959 Gibson Les Pauls. Each of them were modified to the guitarists specifications, with new switches and knobs and even a shaved neck on the 59 to make it more like the 58 model. His Gibson SG Doubleneck, which he used to play Stairway to Heaven, is obviously not for sale, but you could expect to get the reissue for between $3000 and $5000.
Slash - Another Gibson lover, Slash has over 150 guitars in his collection, most of which are Les Pauls. His most famed guitar, the 1996 Gibson custom with the mother of pearl snake inlay on the neck is estimated to be worth around $12,000. His Guild Crossroads green Doubleneck guitar has copies out there for $2500-$3500.
Eddie Van Halen - Ah yes, the 1976 "Frankenstrat" was Eddie's attempt at creating a hybrid of a Fender and and a Gibson and he put it together himself, taping it and painting it into one of the most recognized guitars today. The original is not for sale, and the replica is around $25,000. You would be better off trying to make one yourself like he did. His other favorite, the Peavey Wolfgang, you can purchase for between $2000-$3000 on the market.
Kirk Hammett - He has an entire line of ESP Custom Signature guitars, but his favorite is the ESP KH-2-M-11 which features the face of Boris Karloff as a mummy. Of course, you could never buy this, but you can get a plain KH-2 Signature series for around $2600 or a reissue of some of his painted series for around $9000. Though he has all of his own, he often uses the Jackson Randy Rhoads guitar for some of his older songs.
Synyster Gates - He's all about the Schecter. He has his own Schecter Synyster custom, and also plays the Schecter Hellraiser and Avenger. You can get these for around $1000-$1500. What a great deal for a troubled economy!
Dimebag Darrell - The late and great Dimebag was also wallet savvy. His most famous guitar, the Dean ML Lightning Bolt was actually won in a competition, but he also often used the Dean ML 1979 and other Dean guitars. A Dean guitar is the best bet for an aspiring metal God on a budget. You can get them for $500-$1000.
Whether you just like to rock out to your favorite songs, are starting up in local band playing dive bars around town, or have been on the scene awhile, you can expect this to be an expensive hobby. Hopefully it becomes lucrative later on, but an investment needs to be made. Before you can buy the mansion and fancy cars and are awarded a limitless Mastercard, you need the instrument. In Boston, Guitar Center offers a huge assortment, and some of the more custom models can be found at First Act on Boylston St. Your best bet for a deal that will also allow you to eat this month might be on-line though.