Signature guitars have become increasingly popular in recent years. Players seem to be more keen than ever to imitate their heroes by wielding instruments similar to the ones that they use onstage – in order to capture their sound and style. However, while most signature guitars are just subtly-tweaked versions of existing models; there are others that depart massively from traditional formulas.
In this piece, we’ve picked out 10 signature guitars (both past and present) that we consider to be among the strangest ever created! But before we get into our list, let’s fully define what a signature guitar is and why instrument brands are so keen to market them.
What is a Signature Guitar?
A ‘signature guitar’ is a dedicated artist model co-designed by a musical instrument company and a selected guitar player. Often bearing their name, musicians that are graced with their own signature guitars are typically well-known and have a large following. They may have also had longstanding ties with a certain guitar manufacturer, with their signature model regarded as a culmination of that relationship.
The purpose of a signature instrument is to allow fans of a particular musician to emulate their idol by playing the same guitar as them – or at least one that is very similar. But for instrument brands, signature guitars can serve as excellent marketing tools. They often become best-sellers too, depending on the popularity of an artist and the appeal of their instrument.
10 Weirdest Signature Guitars
Now that we have the definition out of the way – let’s get to the top 10! We assembled a big list of contenders, but the following signature guitars were, in our opinion, some of the most bizarre of the bunch. They’re in no particular order, by the way!
Fender Shawn Mendes Musicmaster
Shawn Mendes is a modern pop icon. Dominating the US and his native Canadian charts in recent years, Mendes has also achieved major international success with his heavily-played hit tracks “Stitches”, “In My Blood” and “Señorita”. Mendes has powered his pop-rock style with Fender guitars, and his first signature model with the industry giant is definitely a bit of a “marmite” guitar!
Based on Fender’s old Musicmaster model, a short-scale student guitar last produced in the ’80s, Shawn’s signature axe boasts a striking floral livery designed by renowned French artist Adolphe Millot. Also sporting a tasteful ‘Prairie Grass’ pickguard, you’d be forgiven for comparing this instrument’s looks to “victorian bathroom wallpaper” – as one of our Twitter followers pointed out…