It’s the end of 2012 and I just had to sneak one more Rolling Stone list in. This time, the self-proclaimed taste-makers are tackling the list of 20 Iconic Guitars. I’m not entirely sure what the criteria for the list was (other than filling some space on the website), so it’s hard to come up with good counter-arguments.
That said, this list isn’t a bad one. I was surprised to see Randy Rhoads’ custom Jackson make the list. When I think of Randy I think of the white Les Paul or the polka-dot V. I say “surprised” not because Randy isn’t deserving, but that I don’t think of that guitar as iconic. Yes, it put Jackson on the map for the poke-your-eye-out metal designs they’ve become famous for, but they could have picked Kirk Hammett or Dave Mustaine for that role too. Again, lack of stated criteria makes it hard to really debate this list.
My other bone to pick is that RS claims that Prince’s “Cloud Guitar” debuted in the film “Purple Rain” which doesn't sound right to me. I’m pretty sure that was smack-dab in the middle of his Telecaster era.
Thank goodness they mentioned Ed’s “Frankenstrat”. The picture they show is one of the Diver Down-era mongrels that isn’t really one of Ed’s favorites. In truth, the “Frankenstrat” is a concept as much as it is a particular guitar. The black and white striped Charvel from the first album would have been a good choice, though it lacked the all-important locking Floyd Rose. Still, it’s worth noting the style as it influnced a whole new generation of guitar manufacturers. One could say that a company like Ibanez would have been stuck doing clones of other designs had Ed not kicked off the “Frankenstrat” design and all of its variations (JEM 777, anyone?)