This year is ending, and the year-end lists are piling up. Here at Gibson.com, we’re looking back at a year of very special interviews from across the musical spectrum. From Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready to Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, here are our Top 10 Gibson.cominterviews of 2016!

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon guitarist Dave Amato on what makes Gibson his guitar of choice:

“I’ve always played Gibsons, all of my life. I played Gibsons even when I was a little kid. My dad told me, “If you’re going to play guitar, you have to play a Gibson.” That stuck in my head. I’ve always had a Gibson, and finally, I have my signature model, which is just an honor. I think we have a great product here.”

Full interview

Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen on getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

“My first thought was, ‘What an honor.’ It lends credibility to being in a rock and roll band for so long. They don’t [base inductions] on the number of records you sell--it’s based on the influence you’ve had on others, which makes it more meaningful. It’s a defining moment, a destination that people can easily understand. I can go out and play 300 shows a year, and a lot of people will know nothing about that. But everyone knows about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s definitely high up on the resume.”

Full interview

Kentucky Headhunters

Greg Martin on his main guitars for live performance:

“I take my prototype CC15 [Gibson Collector’s Choice #15, “Greg Martin” 1958 Les Paul] on the road. It’s tuned to open E, for the Duane Allman-type slide stuff. And I’ve got a John Sebastian CC13 Collector's Choice #13 [Gibson Collector’s Choice #13, “Spoonful Burst” 1959 Les Paul] as a backup guitar, that I also use on tour. Actually, my main guitar for touring most of this year has been a new Gibson R8 [Les Paul ’58 Reissue]. I bought it off the shelf, and it’s been my main guitar since around June of this year – a great guitar. So, I’ve got three Les Pauls that originated from the Custom Shop. And then I’ve got the Melody Maker that I take on the road as well -- tuned to open A. I also occasionally take out a 335.”

Full interview

Mike McCready

Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready on what makes his 1959 Les Paul so special:

“It's certainly the legend of the 1959 Les Paul and how it’s tied to many famous players over the years, whether it's Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck or Joe Perry or Slash—all the big guys that play this type of guitar. I bought into that legend when I bought my ’59 Les Paul. There’s something about that year, 1959, and they didn’t make a lot of them.”

Full interview

Mark Collie on his close association with the J-200:

“I remember being at a drive-in theater in Savannah, Tennessee, when I was seven or eight years old. I saw Elvis in the film, Loving You, and I wanted that guitar. I played a lot of different guitars when I was growing up, just learning. When I was fortunate enough to get signed in the late ‘80s, my manager, Don Light, was close with Chet Atkins. Don said, “Is there anything we can get you – something you especially want?” And I said, “A blonde Gibson J-200.” Don made a call, Chet called back, and the next thing you know, I had a blonde J-200. Since then, I’ve used it to write every song on every record. It’s my writing and performing and never-leave-home-without-it guitar.”

Full interview

Eric Church on his Gibson Hummingbird Dark:

“I’ve always been a Hummingbird guy. When we started talking about maybe doing my own model, I had some ideas about what I thought it needed to look like. I didn’t really want to do a different guitar than the Hummingbird, because I love the Hummingbird. But, I said, “What about a different version of the Hummingbird?” We finally came up with Hummingbird Dark. I wanted it very matte and black and dark and sinister and unique looking. And I wanted it a little smaller of a body style. It went from there, and I’ve been involved with the whole process. I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s my favorite Gibson I’ve ever played.”

Full interview

Natalie Stovall on the challenges of being a woman in music:

“Well, one of the biggest right now is simply radio in country music. It has been a very large topic of conversations over the past few years, and it’s apparent to fans that there’s not a lot of women on country radio. It has started to get better, and I think a lot of it is cyclical. In the ‘90s, women dominated country radio. Now, a lot of it is the dude country songs. But one of the best things is that there is all this great music coming out. Some of the women have been killing it.”

Full interview

Michael Gilbert on why Les Pauls are predominantly in his rig:

“My Les Paul Standard was described as the Unicorn guitar by a guitar builder here in Phoenix. I took it for a fret job which I was very nervous about but was much needed, and the repairman said he has never heard or played a Paul quite like that one. I can’t really explain it but I think he hit it right on the nose calling it the Unicorn. It’s an unbelievable guitar and it’s featured on everything that I have worked on since 1994. I also have a white Flying V from 1988 that is amazing. The paint has turned to a bit off white but it adds character. Just looking at it you can tell it has some stories behind it. I also found an SG Standard that I absolutely had to have. Fastest neck of any guitar and sounds great.”

Full interview

Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Jason Hook on hisJason Hook M-4 Sherman:

“I love it. I am very blessed to have been given that gift. Gibson are very selective about who they make signature guitars for. It’s still my absolute favorite guitar to play. When you design something that’s custom to all of your desires, it’s really hard to imagine playing anything else. This is your one shot to design something that fits perfectly with your specific needs. It’s a great instrument. It’s designed to have some modern playability in a classic design. I encourage anybody who likes Explorers to at least give it a try, because it’s built for speed. It’s a high-performance instrument.”

Full interview

Brad Whitford on what it was like working with Gibson on the Collector's Choice #26 Les Paul “Whitford 'Burst,” the repro of his '59:

“Oh, man, I was so fortunate with that. You know what Gibson do. The first thing they do is build the prototype. So they took my '59, replicated it, and gave me back a prototype where I'm supposed to say 'yay' or 'nay' to the various aspects. Thing is, the first prototype Gibson Custom gave me, they absolutely nailed it. I had nothing to say, nothing! The prototype #1 is now actually my main Les Paul. And that's so great, because I'm too nervous to take the original out now.”

Full interview