Gibson Hummingbird

You may have noticed that Gibson just launched its 2016 line of acoustic guitars. Among all the models in the lineup are Gibson staples like the SJ-200, the J-45, and of course the Hummingbird. So today, in celebration of these new arrivals we're taking a look at five famous guitarists known to use the Gibson Hummingbird - the guitar that sports what might be the most beautiful pickguard in music history!

Sheryl Crow

It’s no secret that Sheryl Crow is a fan of Gibson acoustics. The country rocker even has her own signature model, the Sheryl Crow Signature Artist Series guitar, which is a recreation of Crow’s 1962 Gibson Country Western, and also a variation of the Hummingbird. The idea for the signature guitar was born when Crow had Gibson do some work on her original back in 1999. But Sheryl has also been known to play a regular Hummingbird from time to time, like in the video to “The First Cut Is The Deepest:”

The Edge & Bono

U2 have used acoustic Gibson guitars at many points throughout their career. On the band's PopMart tour Bono would use a red Hummingbird, as can be seen in the band's live DVD PopMart: Live from Mexico City. The Hummingbird played by Bono in the video seems to have a slightly customized look - you can see that someone has put what are most likely star-shaped sequins or stickers on the body of the guitar. However, it is unclear whether the guitar belongs to Bono or The Edge, because Edge is seen using an identical Hummingbird with stars on the body during the pair’s performance in San Remo back in 2000:

Keith Richards

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was one of the early champions of the Hummingbird. Keith used the instrument on classic Stones songs like “Jumping Jack Flash,” and “Street Fighting Man.” Richards shared his guitar setup for “Jumping Jack Flash” in an interview with Guitar World: “A Gibson Hummingbird tuned to open D, six string [low to high: D A D F# A D]. Open D or open E [low to high: E B E G# B E], which is the same thing - same intervals - but it would be slackened down some for D. Then there was a capo on it, to get that really tight sound.” In this promo clip for “Angie,” both Richards, and Mick Taylor are using Hummingbirds:

Chris Cornell

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell arguably has one of the strongest voices in rock, with a range that few can match. In his solo career Cornell has often opted to play acoustically, which has yielded some legendary performances, like for example his cover of Michael Jackson's “Billie Jean.” Here's a clip of Cornell playing the Soundgarden classic "Fell On Black Days" on his Hummingbird:

Lenny Kravitz

Whether he's playing electric or acoustic, Lenny Kravitz is rarely seen playing anything but Gibson guitars. When he's plugged in, it's usually Les Pauls or Explorers, and when he's playing acoustic he's been known to pick up a Hummingbird at times, like in this brilliant acoustic version of the title track from Black And White America, which takes on a completely different feel from the album version: