John Mayer Guitars and Gear List (2021 Update)

Following decades of immense success and impact of blues music, everyone thought that was the end of it. Sure, we had the old legends playing blues standards in countless different variants and interpretations, but no one really expected younger generations to take up the guitar and go into these blues waters. Even if they did, similar sounds to those of B.B. King, Albert King, Rory Gallagher, Duane Allman, Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, and other legends were ringing all around. That was until everyone got the chance to hear Mr. John Mayer.

John Mayer Playing Guitar
Photo by Ashley Owens

With his career dating back to the late 1990s, this “new kid on the block” slowly started conquering the hearts of all the music lovers of the era. His unique and different approach made him known as everything but average, someone to be on the lookout for. After leaving Berklee College of Music, he first formed a duo with one of his friends, but things eventually turned sour after Mayer decided to go more towards the pop sound. This is precisely why he’s somewhat of a “controversial” figure among blues lovers. On one hand, he is hailed as one of the greatest musicians of recent times but he became very successful as a pop musician. Which is, to many blues and rock fans, a no-go zone.

What Guitar Does John Mayer Use?

John Mayer plays Paul Reed Smith Silver Sky guitars, his signature model. He has also notoriously played Fender Stratocaster guitars throughout his career as well as many others.

See the full list of notable John Mayer guitars below.

PRS Silver Sky

John Mayer PRS Silver Sky Guitar

Finish: Multiple different finishes
Years used: 2018 to Present

Arguably the most associated six-string with John Mayer aside from his beloved signature Stratocaster. One of the biggest controversies in the guitar industry happened in 2018 with John Mayer officially revealing that he collaborated with Paul Reed Smith for a new signature Strat. The most unusual thing about it is that John was famous for his use of Fenders, particularly those from the 1960s or those that are inspired by the 1960s Strat models. From 2018 to now, John has acquired multiple different Silver Sky guitars, all featuring different finishes.

This doesn’t mean Mayer has grown past the legendary Stratocaster, but it points out that he’s not afraid of new frontiers. This event was covered by Guitar World, and it gave Mayer a chance to clear the air in his most peculiar ways. “Of course, there are going to be people who will never embrace it, and that’s fine. But it’s been interesting to watch players adapt to it. I think there is a desire for guitarists to hold something that’s a bit evolved.”

PRS Silver Sky is a prestigious model, mostly replicating the vintage qualities of old Fenders while bringing some of the more advanced traits. The pickups, which are PRS’s custom 635JM single-coils, have almost no hum yet still bring those treble-heavy tones. One of the most unusual traits was the inclusion of a “3+3” headstock, something that particular guitar fans have expressed their dissatisfaction with. Nonetheless, this piece of the catalog is quite reliable and comes with additional ergonomic features that make it really easy to play.

2015 PRS Super Eagle Prototypes

PRS Super Eagle John Mayer

Finish: Yellow flamed maple
Years used: 2015 to Present

In 2015, John got his first special PRS prototype of the Super Eagle model which was specifically designed for John’s touring with the band Dead and Company. Working with Paul Reed Smith himself, the piece was his first official collaboration with the company. There are three different prototypes that he got in 2015. The first one is a completely solid-body guitar with a somewhat lighter finish. The other two are semi-hollow-body guitars with a slightly darker finish. There seem to be no visible differences between these other two models and John has never shared any particular details about them. during the 2016 – 2017 tour, John had a second version of the super eagle made, this time in a Hemp Green flamed maple finish.

2004 Fender Black One Stratocaster

Finish: Relic’d black
Years used: 2004 to Present

One of the guitars John Mayer is mostly associated with is his signature model, also referred to as the “Black One.” Although not built by the legendary builder John Crus of Fender’s Custom Shop, he did have some input, as well as some particular details that he worked on by hand.

Mayer shared his story on this signature Fender Strat with Music Radar. As it turns out, Mayer’s relationship with this guitar is linked to his childhood in a special way. Not only he wanted to participate in the manufacturing process, but he was also looking for a special tone he could get if he spent his time down at the Fender Custom Shop.

“Y’know? We used to have this show in the US called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. You ever heard of Mister Rogers? Well, Mister Rogers would, every show, go to maybe like a factory where cheese was made, or to the set of a movie, or where they make crayons, or a fisher boat… he would just go on these adventures. So I went down to Corona, California to the [Fender] Custom Shop for two days. Started from scratch, picked a block of wood, y’know, knocked on it – which did nothing but it made me feel like I was looking for tone!”- John Mayer for Music Radar on the making of his Black One Stratocaster.

Mayer began using it in November 2004 when the six-string was finished. It features a C-shaped neck made out of maple, and the fretboard is an African rosewood one. The finish makes it easily recognizable as the instrument looks really battered, this was done on purpose as it is a relic’d one. Finally, this Strat comes with specially designed single-coil pickups which are made after Mayer’s own preferences.

2004 Fender John Mayer Stratocaster Prototype

2004 Fender John Mayer Stratocaster Prototype

Finish: Sunburst
Years used: 2004 to Present

Being fond of his SRV Strat, Mayer hooked up with Fender for a special signature model under his name. He began using these in 2004, and it was most likely a prototype model that he was seen with that year. These became commercially available sometime in 2005.

John acquired two prototype models in 2004, both of which were built by Chris Fleming. These were inspired by the Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute signature model. However, the pickups were different, made under John Mayer’s preferences, and the bridge is back to its normal tremolo bar orientation.

1996 Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster

1996 Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster

Finish: Sunburst
Years used: 1996 to Present

John’s first proper Fender Stratocaster was the Stevie Ray Vaughan signature model. Being his personal hero, it was only expected of John to get such an instrument. The six-string came with the standard sunburst finish and other essential features. However, he modified it over the years and there are plenty of recounts explaining the instrument in detail. At this point, it is assumed that this particular guitar is still in Mayer’s possession, though it has yet to be confirmed.

1990s Squier Stratocaster

1990s Squier Stratocaster

Finish: Black
Years used: Early 1990s

Although this might not be John’s first-ever guitar, it certainly served as a right of passage into an avid Stratocaster player, on an interview with Fender, he talked about his humble Squier Strat.

“My first electric guitar was a Squier, so I’ve kind of grown-up native to the shape and the sound and the feel of a Stratocaster. I kind of learned my way around the guitar on it”

John’s first-ever electric guitar was a simple Squier Stratocaster. At this point, there’s officially just one photo of him holding the Squier guitar. It was the standard Strat model with a rosewood fingerboard, very similar to today’s Bullet Strats. At this point in time, it’s not certain what actually happened to the guitar.

1990s Fender or Squier Stratocaster

1990s Fender or Squier Stratocaster

Finish: Natural
Years used: The mid to 1990s

It’s not certain whether this was a Fender or a Squier Strat as there’s only a handful of photos of John Mayer holding it. The guitar is easily recognizable for the “JM” logo on the pickguard. He did modifications to this Strat, including a neck replacement. It’s a bit of a mystery and a murky territory as it’s not known whether these were two completely different instruments. Some things shall probably remain unknown.

2000s Fender Stratocaster

2000s Fender Stratocaster

Finish: Blue
Years used: 2000 to 2005

Another Fender that was present in his arsenal early on in John’s career was the blue Stratocaster, most likely manufactured sometime in 2001. He was seen using it live during the Room for Squares tour back in 2001, most notably for the song Something’s Missing. The guitar’s finish was blue, most likely the so-called “lake placid blue,” and it featured a light-green pickguard. Additionally, the guitar had a rosewood fingerboard in the style of the 1960s Stratocasters. It’s not certain what happened to this Strat later on.

2000s Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster

2000s Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster

Finish: Inca silver (presumably) with red stripes
Years used: 2001 to 2008

Looking deeper into his Fender catalog, John Mayer was also recognized for his silver Stratocaster, presumably, the Inca silver finish one, it also features three red stripes on the treble side of the body. Although not completely certain, there are strong indications that John ordered it from the Fender’s Custom Shop.

We can also notice that the fretboard is not a maple one, which only leads us to assume that it’s made out of rosewood, in the vein of the 1960s Stratocasters. This particular piece can be seen in his video for Bigger Than My Body off of his Heavier Things, John’s second studio album. He was also seen using it live in the early 2000s.

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Novax Expression

Finish: Natural
Years used: 2001 to 2010

Now, this is a somewhat unusual and a pretty rare guitar. Looking mostly like a mutated Fender Stratocaster, Novax Expression features fanned frets, which is usually what you find on virtuosic instruments used by progressive metal musicians. It also came with three single-coil pickups, and you can also notice it on the cover art of his 2001 album Room for Squares. It’s not certain whether he still owns it, but he was seen using it in 2005. With its unique characteristics, we can safely assume that it’s still in his possession.

’03 Rick Turner Model 1

Finish: Dark red
Years used: 2003 to 2007

The first time John was seen using this six-string was back in 2003 while performing Bigger Than My Body live. From then on, the guitar was used on and off over the coming years. Other than that, it’s not certain whether he actually kept it or even used it for studio sessions.

The Rick Turner Model 1 guitar is a bit odd, but it became somewhat popularized by Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. In fact, it was Buckingham who played the prototype of this guitar back in the day. The body is equipped with humbuckers that could be split, as well as a piezo system and a preamp. What’s more, there’s even a specially designed EQ on it.

1960s Fender Stratocaster

1960s Fender Stratocaster

Finish: Sunburst, Relic
Years used: 2003

This is the Fender Strat that we can see on Mayer’s Heavier Things album cover. However, it’s important to note that there’s no confirmation whether the guitar found actual use on the album. Looking at this Strat, it’s highly likely that it comes from the 1960s. Aside from the fact that it has a rosewood fretboard, some minor details have narrowed it down to 1963.

1961 Fender Stratocaster With Hardtail Bridge

1961 Fender Stratocaster With Hardtail Bridge

Finish: White
Years used: 2007 to Present

Another ’60s Strat in his collection is the white one with a hardtail bridge. It’s believed that this piece of the catalog was made in 1961, as revealed by John himself. He added that the guitar was actually used for the song Something Like Olivia. Though not confirmed, it is highly likely that he still owns the instrument to this day.

1903 Vinetto Legato

Finish: Sunburst
Years used: 2003 to Present (presumably still in his collection)

So far, it is believed that this model was used only once for a live performance back in August 2003, though some sources say the opposite, claiming that he used it quite a few times in the coming years and that he still has it.

Vinetto Legato model looks like your classic Telecaster, with few aesthetic and practical differences. It was made by a former Fender Custom Shop builder Vince Cunetto. The item came with the classic Telecaster-style bridge, although it featured three Seymour Duncan pickups.

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Fender Monterey Stratocaster

Fender Monterey Stratocaster

Finish: Red and white with painted floral patterns
Years used: 2003 to 2015

While it’s obvious by now that Mayer adores Fender Stratocasters, this Monterey Strat is a unique piece. We can see that immediately from its pretty-looking finish. He was first seen using this six-string in 2003 when performing live on Connan O’Brien alongside Buddy Guy and Double Trouble. The guitar also found use all throughout the 2000s for his solo tours. It is believed that it is part of the limited run of Jimi Hendrix-inspired Stratocasters, built by Fender Custom Shop. There are only 210 of these in circulation, with all of them hand-painted and signed by Pamelina H.

2004 Fender Stratocaster, Burgundy Mist Finish

2004 Fender Stratocaster, Burgundy Mist Finish

Finish: Burgundy mist
Years used: 2004 to Present

Not much is known about this particular Fender Stratocaster. To this day, it still remains somewhat of a mystery. It comes with a pink-ish finish referred to as the “burgundy mist.” It is believed that the Strat came out of Fender’s Custom Shop after John’s personal order. Since there’s no info on whether it was used in the studio, it has often been assumed that he used it solely for live shows.

Looking at the guitar, it’s clear that it was inspired by classic 1960s Strats due to having a rosewood fingerboard instead of a maple one. It also came with a unique finish and a mint-green pickguard. It’s not certain whether John still owns it.

Fender Custom Shop Telecaster-Stratocaster Hybrid

Finish: Blue
Years used: 2004 to Present

Among his all Fender guitars, we would single out his Telecaster and Stratocaster “hybrid” instrument. This one comes with a classic Tele body shape, although the rest of the design and functional features are pretty much like your standard average Strat, with the classic headstock, pickguard, and three single-coil pickups. John was first seen using it in the mid-2004, most notably for some live performances of Something’s Missing. According to John, the body was made by Fender Custom Shop builder Chris Fleming.

2004 Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan “Number One” Strat

2004 Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan "Number One" Strat

Finish: Sunburst, relic
Years used: 2004 to Present

Finding a lot of musical and technical inspiration in Stevie Ray Vaughan, it was only expected of John Mayer to start using his signature models. He acquired at least one of the “Number One” SRV Strats back in 2004. These are very convincing replicas of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s legendary guitar and were built by Fener’s John Cruz. Unlike the standard signature model, this model features a worn-out or relic finish and enhanced wiring and pickup setup.

After 2004, he was seen using one of these on occasions, although it’s not certain whether this is the same instrument or a few of the same model.

“Crashcoarser” Fender Stratocaster

Finish: Black with custom details
Years used: 2005 to Present

For this next Strat, we’re going to 2005 when John began using it, originally with his John Mayer Trio. Just like a huge portion of his guitar collection, this one was also built in Fender’s Custom Shop. The guitar is, however, easily recognizable for the custom graphics made by John Crash Matos, an artist who also painted some of Eric Clapton’s Strats. Matos was hired by Fender to paint 50 guitars for a very limited run back in 2004. However, it is believed that Mayer’s Strat was not one of those 50 Strats, but rather a specially-made one.

2005 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster, aka “Try”

Finish: Black with custom graphics
Years used: 2005 to Present

This particular Stratocaster was done sometimes around the release of John Mayer Trio’s live album Try! from 2005. Built by Fender Custom Shop, you can recognize it easily by the custom “try” logo and other graphics on the front of the body. Aside from that, this item also features an upside-down headstock, which is otherwise done in the company’s classic Strat design. But other than that, nothing much is known about the instrument or whether he still owns it.

1962 John Cruz Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster Reissue

1962 John Cruz Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster Reissue

Finish: Light blue, worn-out
Years used: 2003 to Present

By now, we’re already familiar with John Mayer’s love of the 1960s Fender Stratocasters. One of the most interesting models he owns is the 1962 Reissue made by Fender Custom Shop builder John Cruz. It comes with a light-blue relic’d body, as well as a rosewood fingerboard, an important trait of the ’60s Strats. It’s one of the 100 guitars made by Cruz for this special limited series back in the mid-2000s. They also came with Cruz’s own specially designed single-coil pickups.

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2005 Gibson ES-335 Eric Clapton

2005 Gibson ES-335 Eric Clapton

Finish: Cherry red
Years used: 2005 to Present

Although not his staple model, John Mayer also used Gibson’s ES-335, the Eric Clapton Crossroads model. He began using it in 2005, which is the same year the model started selling. He was also seen using it over the years, but it’s not known whether he still has it.

These guitars were made as convincing replicas of Clapton’s old Gibson ES-335 that he used back in the old days with the Yardbirds and Cream. The original Gibson went on auction back in 2004, when it was sold for almost $850,000. It was then analyzed by Gibson Custom Shop and then honored by a series of 250 replicas.

Fender Custom Shop Gold Leaf Stratocaster

Fender Custom Shop Gold Leaf Stratocaster


Finish:
 Gold
Years used: 2006 to Present

‚John began using this gold-painted Fender Strat sometime in 2006. The instrument found use on his third studio album Continuum, released that same year. More specifically, it was on the song Vultures and it’s also been used over the years for the tune when Mayer played it live. John has stated that he really loves the second pickup position, the bridge, and the middle pickup, and he remarked that no other guitar could pull out that particular tone for Vultures.

Fender Time Machine Telecaster Thinline

Finish: Cream
Years used: 2006

Although not much is known about this particular guitar, this Fender Thinline Telecaster (meaning that it’s a semi-hollow-body one) found use during the mid-2000s. From the looks of it, the guitar seems to be from Fender’s Custom Shop. After Mayer got this guitar, Fender Custom Shop made a limited run of this Thinline Tele model that sold until 2009.

Gibson Les Paul Junior Double-Cutaway

Gibson Les Paul Junior Double-Cutaway

Finish: Cherry red
Years used: 2006 to 2009

While it’s really hard to know the details of this piece of catalog, it is believed that the Gibson Les Paul Junior that John used during the 2000s is an old vintage model, most likely made in 1959 or 1960. Although we all are mostly used to seeing John with a Stratocaster, this cherry red double-cutaway Les Paul did serve him well. It’s also fitted with one P90 pickup in the bridge position. But other than that, it’s not certain what Mayer did with this LP.

Fender Custom Shop SRV Stratocaster With Lipstick Pickups

Finish: White
Years used: 2008

One of the first times John was seen using this white Fender SRV model was during the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, Illinois. Other than that, another of this guitar’s famous appearances was during the Austin City Limits that same year. While many thought that the instrument came out of Charlie’s Guitar Shop, this was actually a Fender Custom Shop’s replica of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s, made by a team of the company’s master builders. It is also easily recognizable for its “lipstick”-style single-coil pickups. These were made in some smaller numbers and are extremely rare.

1980 Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt Reverse Proto Stratocaster

1980 Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt Reverse Proto Stratocaster

Finish: White
Years used: 2005 to Present

This next Fender Strat is pretty interesting, not only due to the reversed headstock, but because it’s actually one of the early 1980s prototypes of this Reverse Proto Stratocaster model. Originally intended to be a part of the Jimi Hendrix Artist series, these never came into mass production. There’s not much of them in circulation, which makes their price among collectors pretty high. In 2005, Fender made 100 of the reissued versions of this rare Strat. Rumor has it that an unknown seller gave it to Mayer for $15,000.

1977 Gibson L-5

1977 Gibson L-5

Finish: Natural
Years used: 2008 to Present

Another “unexpected” guitar in his collection is the 1977 Gibson L-5. This is a hollow-body arched-top instrument, mostly intended for jazz music. You can spot Mayer playing this single-cutaway guitar on Where The Light Is live footage. Though it was a while until it was seen again, the instrument was once again seen in 2019.

The guitar comes with a softer cutaway design and a spruce top, along with a maple back and sides. It’s also fitted with a 5-piece neck and two of Gibson’s stock humbucker pickups.

Guild Starfire IV ST

Finish: Sunburst
Years used: 2008 to 2010

Another instrument used for the Where the Light Is live album, this Guild Starfire IV ST was most likely built around that time, the mid or late 2000s. It’s a classic hollow-body guitar with a center block made out of a solid spruce block. It’s not a particularly extraordinary one when it comes to the hardware and pickup choice though, as it has a standard tune-o-matic bridge and two LB-1 humbucker pickups.

Fender Custom Shop La Cabronita Telecaster

Fender Custom Shop La Cabronita Telecaster

Finish: Shoreline gold
Years used: 2009 to Present

It’s not only the finish choice on this Fender Custom Shop Telecaster that made it stand out, but also its vintage-styled features combined with some of the more contemporary approaches to guitar-making. This La Cabronita Tele came with TV Jones Filter’Tron and a standard fixed bridge with individual string saddles. There’s a 3-way pickup selector switch and just one master volume control on it.

Mayer got his hands on one of these back in 2009. He uses it for live shows during performances of Perfectly Lonely. Considering the fact that he uses the same guitar to perform some songs live that he used in the studio to record them, it’s highly likely that the Telecaster in question was present on the Perfectly Lonely sessions.

Duesenberg Double Cat

Finish: Black and Blue
Years used: 2009 to Unknown

While not as big of a brand as Fender or Gibson, Duesenberg guitars are top-notch instruments, as is also the case with John Mayer’s Double Cat guitar. As far as we know, he only used it briefly in 2009 for the recording of Wildfire from his fourth studio album Battle Studies. Other than that, there’s not much info on this particular piece.

The Duesenberg’s Double Cat is a semi-hollow-body guitar, with a design that somewhat resembles some Rickenbacker models. It comes with a unique double-cutaway body, as well as a special kind of a soundhole that, also referred to as the “cat-eye” “F”-hole.

1952 Fender Telecaster

1952 Fender Telecaster

Finish: Blonde
Years used: 2009 to Present

Although he owned it since about 2009, the first time John Mayer used it live was back in 2013. And the guitar in question is an old and valuable Telecaster, made back in 1952. Being such a historically important guitar model, made back in the early era of commercially available electric guitars, it comes as no surprise to know that Mayer still keeps it in his possession.

1961 Gibson Les Paul (SG)

1961 Gibson Les Paul (SG)

Finish: Cherry red
Years used: 2009 to Present

Another old and valuable instrument in his collection is the 1961 Gibson Les Paul. While it’s officially a Les Paul model, these guitars later got their famous name SG or the “solid guitar.” First time seen in his hands in 2009, the guitar features an old-school kind of tremolo bridge, the Sideways Vibrola one. Other than that, it pretty much has the features that you’d expect from an SG, with two stock Gibson P.A.F. humbuckers and volume and tone pots for each of them.

Although mostly a Fender guy, Mayer really became fond of this Gibson guitar. It is known that he used the instrument on “Edge of Desire” from the “Battle Studies” record. In 2020, he even said that it was, at that moment, his favorite guitar, which is quite a surprise for someone who’s associated with Fender.

Fender Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster

Finish: White
Years used: 2009 to Present

Going back to his staple brand, Mayer also has a Jeff Beck Signature Strat. The first public uses of this instrument were right after the release of the Battle Studies record when we got the chance to see him getting some of his most interesting guitars. In particular, he used it exclusively for Heartbreak Warfare. The six-string even has a broken heart logo on the bass side of the body.

Duesenberg Mike Campbell Signature

Duesenberg Mike Campbell Signature

Finish: Blue with two white stripes
Years used: 2009 to Present

Just like with many of his guitars, Mayer was also seen using this Duesenberg Mike Campbell signature model on a few occasions. Therefore, it’s not known whether he still owns it. Having said that, this is an awesome single-cutaway guitar with a vintage-styled vibrato tailpiece and a semi-hollow body. The hardware and electronics were all made by Duesenberg, even the pickups.

Fender TL-MINNIE Telecaster

Finish: Red with white dots
Years used: 2010 to Present

While it’s not completely certain, it seems that John has got this Fender Telecaster in 2010 during his Japan tour in support of the Battle Studies album. And it’s a pretty weird and unique one, mostly for being a Disney-themed instrument that was limited to the Japanese market only. Aside from coming with some expected features for a telecaster, the guitar has a red finish with a white-dot pattern. Additionally one of the dots has two additional smaller dots around it, making the easily recognizable Mickey Mouse head shape. Well, in this case, it’s actually Minnie Mouse.

Ernie Ball Music Man 25th Anniversary

Ernie Ball Music Man 25th Anniversary
Finish:
Dark red or black
Years used: 2010

Although an awesome guitar brand, John Mayer was seen only once holding an Ernie Ball Music Man guitar. It was back in 2010 and the only photographic evidence that’s available these days doesn’t really help in determining the color. The 25th Anniversary guitars were in dark red and black finishes, so it could be either of those. Nonetheless, this is a pretty versatile item with two DiMarzio humbucker pickups and the company’s easily recognizable body shape.

Alembic Further Jerry Garcia Tribute

Finish: Custom natural quilted maple with stripes in the middle
Years used: 2013 to Unknown

Just like with most of the guitars on the list, it’s not certain whether John kept using Alembic Further Jerry Garcia Tribute guitar aside from a few occasions in 2013. This is an item designed after Jerry Garcia’s old guitar named Wolf. It has a pretty eye-catching design, combining the standard double-cutaway formation with smoother body edges, quilted maple top, stripes going through the middle of the body, as well as a rather interesting approach to binding.

Although this may not be the most associated guitar to Mayer, or by far one of his main go to’s on stage, he has referred to it as a life-changing piece of equipment in a couple of interviews.

“We don’t know because that board made Abbey Road, it sounds good because it sounds like Abbey Road. So, this guitar sounds good because it sounds like Jerry, right? And all of a sudden, all I have to do is go ‘bomp-bap-bomp-bap,’ single notes, and I’m in heaven.”

Fender Custom Shop Nickel-Plated Stratocaster

Finish: Custom Silver
Years used: 2014 to Unknown

This classic Fender Strat, done with the regular 1950s properties like the maple fretboard, is one of John’s most famous six-strings. However, he was only seen using it back in 2014 and it’s not certain whether the guitar is still in his possession. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty unique-looking one, mostly due to its unique nickel-plated finish. Some have believed that it’s Fender’s “Inca silver” but it turned out to be something else.

Jackson Soloist 30th Anniversary

Jackson Soloist 30th Anniversary

Finish: Pink
Years used: 2014 to Present

While you wouldn’t exactly imagine John Mayer holding a metal-oriented guitar, he did have a Jackson Soloist, the 30th Anniversary model. He got said artifact sometime in 2014 and he was seen live using it in 2015 at the Grammy Awards ceremony while performing with Ed Sheeran. But what’s kind of confusing is that there are some indications that John has two of these, or it could just be that he swapped the pickups on it. Either way, it’s not certain whether he still has the piece or not.

Fender Stratocaster Eric Clapton Signature

Fender Stratocaster Eric Clapton Signature

Finish: Black
Years used: 2014 to Unknown

While the 1960s Strats with rosewood fingerboards are more of Mayer’s thing, he still has a soft spot for those with maple fretboards. One such case is Fender’s Eric Clapton signature Stratocaster. The guitar is also known for its Noiseless pickups, giving an almost hum-free operation. However, John was only seen using it on a few occasions back in 2014, but we can assume that he still owns it since Clapton is a big influence on him.

Paul Reed Smith NF3

Finish: Black
Years used: 2015

2014 marked a big change for Mayer as he revealed that he’s parting ways with Fender. And 2015 marked the first time he ever held a Paul Reed Smith guitar in his hands. The model in question is PRS NF3 which he was seen using with Eric Clapton on stage for the legendary Cream frontman’s 70th birthday. It is believed to be a stock model and not an instrument that was custom-built for John.

2015 PRS Custom 22

2015 PRS Custom 22

Finish: Custom Blue
Years used: 2015

Another PRS guitar that John was seen using only once was the Custom 22 model, most likely made in 2015. However, some have speculated about the exact model since the guitar doesn’t have those typical bird inlays that PRS is known for. Additionally, it also comes with gold-plated hardware. Other than that, not much is known about the six-string since John officially used it only once.

Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature

Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature

Finish: Natural, Roasted Maple
Years used: 2015

Although he was seen using it only once back in 2015, it’s been confirmed that John Mayer has Charvel’s Guthrie Govan signature guitar model. This is a standard “Super Strat” kind of guitar with some pretty advanced features, as you’d expect from a signature model of a virtuoso player like Govan. Aside from two Charvel Custom MF humbuckers in bridge and neck positions, the model also has a single coil in the middle.

Unnamed Washburn Acoustic Guitar

Unnamed Washburn Acoustic Guitar

Finish: Natural
Years used: 1987 to Unknown

According to John, his first-ever guitar was a particular Washburn acoustic model. Other than the fact that his guitar is still around, there’s no other info about it.

Godin Multiac

Godin Multiac

Finish: Natural
Years used: 2000 to Present

Back in the early 2000s, John had a very interesting Godin guitar model, the Multiac. How he got it and for how long he used it is not known. However, this is one of the company’s most successful models, featuring nylon strings and specialized electronics with a piezo pickup that makes it sound like a real classical guitar. It comes with a chambered mahogany body, as well as a solid spruce top.

Martin Acoustic Guitars

Finish: Multiple different finishes
Years used: 2001-Present

Although John is mostly associated with Fender Stratocaster guitars, predominantly the 1960s models, different Martin acoustic guitars have been present in his catalog ever since the beginning of the 2000s. One of the first models was the DM3MD which he used on the Room for Squares album. Then we can also find 000-14, OM28-V, OM-42, HD-35, 000-ECHF, and 00-45SC. Particularly interesting are OM-28JM and D-45JM as these are his signature models. The first one was introduced in 2003 as a limited edition series with only 404 guitars ever made, two of which are in John’s possession. The second one was also a limited edition with only 45 of these in circulation.

National Style-O Resonator 12-string

Finish: Metal finish
Years used: 2012 to Present

Just like with most of his guitars, John Mayer uses specific guitars for specific songs, often even a single guitar for one song. For live performances of Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967, he has National’s Style-O Resonator with 12 strings. This is a classic National guitar with a resonator body, giving a really strong projection due to its materials.

MakeModelColor/FinishYears
WashburnUnspecified AcousticNatural1987-Unknown
Squier 90's Stratocaster Black/ White PickguardEarly 90's-Unknown
Squier90's StratocasterNaturalMid-1990s
FenderStevie Ray Vaughan Signature StratocasterThree-Tone Sunburst/ Custom Paint Job1996-Present
GodinMultiacNatural2000-Present
Fender2000s StratocasterBlue2000-2005
Fender2000s Custom Shop StratocasterInca Silver2001-2008
NovaxExpression Natural2001-2010
MartinUnspecified AcousticsMultiple2001-Present
Rick Turner 2003 Model 1Dark Red2003-2007
Fender60s Fender StratocasterSunburst/Relic Worn2003
Vince CunettoVinetto LegattoSunburst2003
FenderMonterey StratocasterOlympic White/Floral Patterns2003-2015
FenderJohn Cruz 62' StratocasterLight Blue/Worn2003-Present
FenderStratocasterBurgundy Mist2004-Present
FenderSignature "Black One" StratocasterBlack/Relic Worn2004-Present
FenderJohn Mayer Stratocaster PrototypeSunburst/ Relic Worn2004-Present
FenderTelecaster-Stratocaster HybridBlue2004-Present
FenderStevie Ray Vaughan "Number One" StratSunburst/ Relic Worn2004-Present
Fender80's Prototype StratocasterOlympic White2005-Present
Fender"Crashcoarser" StratocasterCustom Multi-Paint Job2005-Present
FenderCustom Stratocaster Black with Custom "Try" Graphics2005-2007
GibsonEric Clapton Signature ES-335Cherry Red2005-Present
FenderGolden Leaf StratocasterGold2006-Present
FenderTime Machine Thinline TelecasterCream2006
GibsonLes Paul Jr.Cherry Red2006-2009
Fender61' Stratocaster with Hardtail bridgeOlympic White2007-Present
FenderSRV Signature Stratocaster with Lipstic PickupsOlymic White2008
GibsonL-5Natural Varnished2008-Present
GuildStarfireSunburst2008-2010
Fender Custom Thinline "Cabroncita" TelecasterCream/ Gray2009-Present
DuesenbergDouble CatBlue/ White Pickguard2009-Unknown
Fender52' Telecaster "Broadcaster"Blonde/ Butterscotch2009-Present
GibsonLes Paul (SG) ReissueCherry Red2009-Present
FenderJeff Beck Signature StratocasterWhite/ Custom Graphics2009-Present
DuesenbergMike Campbell SignatureBlue/ Two White Striped2009-Present
FenderMinnie Mouse TelecasterRed White Polka Dots2010-Present (in Collection)
Earnie BallMusic Man 25th AnniversaryDark Red2010
National Style-O Resonator 12-stringMetal Plated2012-Present
Alembic FurtherJerry Garcia TributeCustom natural Quilted Maple2013-Unknown
FenderCustom Shop Nickel StratocasterNickel Plated2014-Unknown
JacksonSoloistPink2014-Present
FenderEric Clapton Signature StratocasterBlack/ White Pickguard2014-Present
Paul Red Smith NF3Black2015-Present
PRS Silver SkyMultiple2018-Present
Paul Red SmithCustom 22Custom Blue2015
PRS Super Eagle PrototypesYellow Flamed Maple2015-Present
CharvelCharvel Guthrie Govan SignatureNatural Roasted Maple2015

John Mayer Amplifier Overview

Fender Vibro-King

Years used: 2000s to Present

Although used for a brief period back in the early 2000s, the Fender Vibro-King amp was one of the pieces that helped John define his tone in the coming years. However, it was also reported that he began using the Vibro-King variants over the years again, most notably in the late 2000s and the early 2010s. Interestingly enough, the amp comes with three 10-inch speakers, which is a rather unusual combination. This is the one he really got fond of due to its great clean tone.

1965 Fender Super Reverb Reissue

Years used: 2001 to Present

During the second part of the tour in support of Room for Squares, John Mayer began using the ’65 Fender Super Reverb Reissue model. This was throughout 2002 and even during some shows in 2003. Of course, the amp also found its way later on during his career, especially for live performances.

This one comes with 45 watts of power, rocking through four 10-inch Jensen speakers. The amp also has two channels, wonderful reverb, and tremolo effects, as well as two classic 6L6 tubes in its power amp section. Although a reissue amp, it still does a pretty awesome job at those vintage tones.

Two Rock Custom Reverb

Years used: 2004 to Present

The story goes that John began using the Two Rock amps sometime in 2004. These remained his main amps for a few years, but they’re still occasionally found in his rig, even to this day. Most notably, he has used the Custom Reverb model, which is a 50-watt amp head with some pretty detailed tone-shaping controls on it. It comes with two channels, clean and lead, and allows for some pretty versatile tone-shaping options. It has a bit of a warmer tone compared to Fenders that John used back then.

Two Rock John Mayer Signature Amp

Years used: 2004 to Present

Of course, it was only a matter of time until John would get his signature model by Two Rock. This is a 100-watt amp head with 6L6 tubes in its power amp section. Interestingly enough, the amp was released as a very limited series, and there seem to be 25 in circulation, most likely not counting John’s amps. Therefore, these can reach some head-spinning prices among collectors. The controls on it are pretty much similar to what we can see on the aforementioned Two Rock Custom Reverb amp, although the resulting tones are not exactly the same.

Dumble Dumbleland Special

Years used: The late 2010s

Of course, one of John’s most interesting works was touring with Dead & Company. In 2017, he was seen using Dumble’s Dumbleland Special amp. These are pretty much some of the most appreciated tube-driven amps of all time. Packing its impressive 150 watts of power, these come with four 6550 power amp tubes that help it deliver pronounced high-ends in there. Aside from a 3-band EQ, there are additional filtering controls, as well as four switches that further let you shape the tone for your needs. It’s a pretty versatile one and “breaks” really well into some natural overdrive territories.

Fender Hot Rod Series Blues Junior

Years used: 2012 to 2019

Although a relatively small one, Fender’s Hot Rod Blues Junior can really pack a punch. Bearing its power of 15 watts, this tube-driven amp comes with two EL84 valves, which is somewhat unusual for an American amp. But overall, it’s a pretty simple little combo amp with a single 10-inch speaker. With this in mind, it can “break” very easily when pushed over the limits, especially if you have the right kind of overdrive pedal for it.

PRS J-MOD 100

Years used: 2017 to Present

Aside from getting his guitars done by PRS, John stepped up the game in the amp game and went with the famous manufacturer in this particular field. One interesting example is the J-MOD 100 which became pretty much his main amp in 2017. He was seen using it both for his solo work and with Dead & Company.

In short, this is a “no compromise” kind of amp that PRS developed in close collaboration with John Mayer. Although a single-channel guitar amplifier, it features a switchable gain stage, some additional tone-shaping controls, and a total output power of 100 watts. Aside from the standard 12AX7 valves in the preamp, we have four 6L6 tubes in the power section. However, there’s an option to use other types of power amp tubes, including EL34, KT77, or 6CA7.

1965 Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue

Years used: The late 2010s

During his work with Dead & Company, as well as some other occasions, John also had a ’65 Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue amp. Now, although it comes with only 15 watts of power, it still served him pretty well for this purpose. The amp has only one 10-inch speaker and, one channel, and reverb and vibrato effects. It comes with three 12AX7s, one 12AT7, two 6V6s, and a single 5AR4 rectifier tube. It’s a pretty interesting choice for clean tones.

Kemper Profiler Rack

Years used: 2014 to Present

Although it took some time for guitar lovers to realize, John Mayer started using Kemper profiling amps back in the mid-2010s. This actually came as a shock to many, especially due to the constant arguments about whether digital modeling amps can be a viable substitute to tube-driven amps.

But according to John’s words, these can’t completely replace the good old tube amps but have been a great choice for live shows due to their practicality.

Fractal Audio Axe-FX III

Years used: 2017 to Present

As if that wasn’t enough, John also began using Fractal Audio’s now-famous Axe-FX III modeler. Although only seen using it a handful of times, it’s been quite a revolutionary step for John. It’s highly likely that he still uses this one in his work.

So far, in this whole digital amp modeling game, Axe-FX III has proven to be one of the most convincing units out there. It comes with an abundance of amplifier, cabinet, and effects models, all done through its improved CPU.

John Mayer Pedals and Effects Overview

Marshall Bluesbreaker MK1

Years used: 1992 to Present

Although John is known for his constantly evolving instrument collection and rig, he’s been using Marshall’s good old Bluesbreaker since the early 1990s. Before the Klon Centaur came into play, he’s mostly been using the Bluesbreaker as his main dirt box.

And it’s the old original version of the pedal, designed to replicate the tones of the old Marshall amps of the same name. It was, in fact, John Mayer who popularized it during the 2010s. And despite its simplicity, this pedal manages to “break” most of the tube amps into those sweet-sounding almost organic overdriven territories.

Boss BD-2 With Keeley Mod

Boss BD-2

Years used: 2003 to Present

Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is one of the most common overdrive pedals to be used like Ibanez’s classic Tube Screamer. You just put it in front of a tube-driven amp and push it over the limits, all while giving it a completely new twist. And that’s exactly how John Mayer uses it. However, his BD-2 has been altered by Robert Keeley, who has become famous for his special pedal modifications over the years. A lot of the inside components have been changed and it has an additional “phat” switch that shapes the bottom-ends.

Keeley Katana Boost

Years used: 2004 to Present

One of John Mayer’s most frequent pedals is the Keeley Katana Boost. Although seemingly simple, the pedal works real magic for those who need a simple volume boost without adding more clipping and distortion into the mix. It sounds simple, but it really isn’t, especially when using tube-driven amps. According to John, stepping on Keeley’s Katana Boost is comparable to a mixing engineer pushing that volume slider up.

Way Huge Aqua Puss

Years used: 2004 to Present

Another crucial pedal in John Mayer’s signal chain is the Way Huge Aqua Puss, the analog delay. Of course, there’s just something about analog delays and the way that BBD chips process the sound. Although slightly “muffled” if you will, the tone gets somewhat of a warmer and vintage-oriented vibe to it. On the other hand, John never really discussed it in detail, so it’s not certain when exactly he used the pedal, be it live shows or studio sessions. But what is known is that John has the old MK1 version, which was before the Dunlop took it over.

Real McCoy Wah Custom RMC8

Years used: 2005 to 2013

As for wah pedals, one of John’s choices was the Real McCoy RMC8, which he was seen using in the 2000s and the 2010s. Now, these aren’t like your average wah pedals with the classic “switch and forget” application. These actually come with an additional built-in 5-band equalizer that further helps you change the tone. This not only opens up new possibilities for its classic use, but you can also lock it at a certain position with an EQ on to get pretty creative with your tones.

Ibanez Tube Screamer TS-808

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer Billie Joe Armstrong

Years used: 2005 to Present

It seems that almost every guitar legend has used some of Ibanez’s Tube Screamer overdrive pedals at one point or another in their careers. As for John, he has been using the TS-808 model ever since the mid-2000s. It’s the simple classic model, most likely the old version from the 1980s.

Ibanez Tube Screamer Classic TS-10

Years used: 2014-Present

However, some years later, John also began using the TS-10 model. This one is somewhat rare as it was produced only in the 1980s. It features the MC4558 chip, which gave it a unique tone. John began using it during his time with Dead & Company.

Aside from the standard three control knobs for volume, tone, and distortion level, the pedal is in an unusual-looking casing. This was a part of Ibanez’s redesign back in the 1980s.

Eventide TimeFactory

Eventide Guitar Pedal

Years used: 2008 to Present

Although a fan of analog delays, John Mayer also began using Eventide’s TimeFactory sometime in the late 2000s or the early 2010s. This is a pretty advanced delay modeler and John usually uses two of these in his signal chain. Additionally, the pedal also comes with looping possibilities and even some imitations of analog delays, include tape-based ones. It’s also equipped with MIDI sync and external MIDI control options.

Klon Centaur

Klon Centaur James Hetfield

Years used: 2012 to Unknown

Klon Centaur is pretty much a “mythical” piece among pedals. Manufactured by Bill Finnegan from 1994 to 2009, there are only about 8000 of these in circulation. The pedal’s very unique tone, versatility, and ability to work well with tube-driven amps have contributed to its reputation. These pedals are now worth a lot among collectors. Klon Centaur is a rather simple one, but it seems to work magic for most guitar players.

John Mayer has at least one of them in his collection. It is believed that he began using them sometime in the 2010s during Dead & Company tours. He’s also been using it for his solo work.

Wrap Up

John Mayer’s greatness in both pop and blues rock is unprecedented. In fact, pursuing both of these directions gave him his own unique style, not just in terms of playing, but also songwriting and tone-shaping. Eventually, he gathered such a strong following among almost every fanbase, no matter the genre. Admittedly, you can find anyone from casual pop fans and up to extreme metal or fusion jazz musicians praising his musicianship. Of course, this also came with a lot of bold stylistic changes which helped him excel and evolve as an artist.

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