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The guitars of the country music festival

The guitars of the country music festival

Last weekend, I was down in London for the Country to Country music festival at the O2. And a very pleasant weekend it was. The venue was packed with hats and boots, and a good time was had by all. While I’m sure y’all are interested in the acts – and a proper review will follow later – I’m sure you want to know about the important stuff: what guitars people were playing.

A guitar for country music

A country guitar- Fender Baja Telecaster SwitchingIt will come as no surprise at all to anyone – even people who have never heard of country music, or guitars – that the number one guitar used over the weekend was the Fender Telecaster.

Beloved not only for its sound, the Fender Tele, in most forms at least, is fairly plain-looking. A blue collar guitar for some hard-working music. The sound is what it’s about though. From the biting twang of the bridge pickup, to the thicker tones at the neck end, the Telecaster is a surprisingly versatile guitar.

And that’s even before you add in models such as the Baja Telecaster and Modern Player Plus versions which give you even more in the way of tonal switching options. You want to hear some Tele? Of course you do.

Guitars for country music that aren’t Telecasters

What was a surprise to me, perhaps I am just naïve, but I assumed it would be the Stratocaster. I was wrong. In second place, albeit quite closely fought, is the stunning PRS Doublecut.

I was in the cheap seats, so I couldn’t tell if they were the Custom 22 or Custom 24 models I’m afraid, but there were several of them about over the Saturday and Sunday evenings. Interested? Good job we can hook you up with a good PRS dealer then!

Gibson – a brand for country guitars?

Now, while the Tele was the number one country guitar model of the weekend, I think it would be fair to say that Gibson was the number one country guitar brand.

While there were plenty of their acoustics in evidence, several of their electric models were about too. Perhaps this reflects the current trend in country music, with a lot of rock influences creeping in. If you need proof, we had covers of Enter Sandman, Smart Dressed Man, and Hot for Teacher to enjoy.

Gibson were represented with a few SGs, some Les Pauls, a couple of ES models and even a Firebird. As a Gibson fan myself, it was good to see. They generally weren’t used for firing out the twang, but they didn’t half do a great job of taking care of the grunt and the thicker tones.

Guitars for country music - the Gibson Les PaulAll in all then, a clear win for the Tele, but some great results for PRS and Gibson, which shows, not only the changing sound of country music, but also shows that these new-fangled ‘humbuckers’ might be more versatile than you think…


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