What Guitar Does Dave Grohl Play? (All 11 Models)

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  • Learn the different types of electric and acoustic guitars Dave Grohl plays
  • Discover some of the uncommon Gibson models that have been his go-to guitars over the years
  • Find out which guitars were used to record some of the Foo Fighters’ biggest songs
  • Also, check out our post on the different types of electric guitars

Dave Grohl needs no introduction. He’s in the rare company of being in two of the most famous bands of all time and in the rarer company of inevitably receiving dual induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

But it’s not just his tenure with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters that put him into the status of rock and roll’s golden God.

He is a universally-loved and dedicated musician in the truest sense of the word, and he’s been involved with many projects. Oh, and he’s hilarious! There’s nothing not to love about him.

The Foo Fighters happened from tragedy. Out of the ashes of Nirvana, the band was originally formed as a solo project but evolved into a full-fledged band due to its rapid success. The rest is history.

For his entire life, Grohl has been a player of various brands of electric (and acoustic!) Gibsons. Many of them are offset and semi-hollow designs. He’s been spotted with the occasional Fender every now and then, but he always returns to his Gibsons.

So let’s run down some of the different guitars Dave Grohl has used over his career.

What Guitar Does Dave Grohl Play?

While many guitarists have their preferred make and model that they usually stick to, Dave Grohl is different.

Over the course of his guitar-playing career with the Foo Fighters and beyond, he is known to play various models of Gibson electric guitars and a mix of Gibson, Taylor, and Martin acoustic guitars.

Electric Guitars

There might not be another musician better fitting the term electric than Dave Grohl. Throughout his entire career, Grohl has always preferred Gibson guitars.

He’s experimented with other models but keeps returning to his trusty Gibsons. And he’s used a lot of different models.

Let’s explore them!

Gibson Trini Lopez Standard ES-335

Grohl’s preferred guitar across the years is a peculiar one. And it’s one that’s helped to define the Foo Fighters sound. The signature model of the famed jazz guitarist Trini Lopez is an interesting take on a semi-hollow body 335 model.

Grohl has used this 1967 model since the early 90s. There were a few album cycles for the Foo Fighters where he preferred some of the other guitars on this list, but he brought it back to the forefront around the time of In Your Honour. And it’s been his studio go-to ever since. 

Beyond its Foo Fighters lore, the Trini Lopez model has unique features. It has a Firebird headstock, PAF pickups, and diamond-shaped F-holes that provide more attack to the body’s resonance. No wonder it struck a chord with him!

Gibson only commercially made 98 of these signature models, with one going to the namesake. The Trini Lopez is so much a part of Grohl’s guitar history that it directly inspired his Gibson signature model…

Gibson Custom Shop DG-335

Gibson gave Grohl the first two prototypes of the DG-335 in 2007 – one in the iconic Pelham Blue and another in Ebony. They look similar to the Trini Lopez but offer some key differences.

The pickups are Burstbuckers meant to look like class PAFs. There is the now standard Tune-o-Matic bridge for more precise intonation, and it’s got the thicker 50s profile neck.

But some identifying features were kept, like the unique diamond F-holes and the Firebird headstock shape.

He mostly uses these for live shows while reserving the Trini Lopez for use in the studio.

Gibson Firebird

The Firebird was one of Grohl’s favorite models for almost a decade. So much so that it would only be the Trini Lopez that would dethrone it as his choice axe.

He used it the most during the In Your Honour and Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace eras, but he’s not shy about bringing it out live every now and then.

Gibson Les Paul Custom

Grohl was a big Les Paul player by the time the Foo Fighters broke into popularity with their sophomore release, The Colour and the Shape. He rocked two – one white and one ebony.

He played them extensively during the band’s live shows and in the studio during this era.

Eventually, the Les Pauls were replaced by offset Gibson models like the Explorer and RD. But their contribution to Grohl’s guitar history shouldn’t be understated.

Gibson SG Custom

One of the more esoteric models in Grohl’s arsenal, his SG custom is a three-pickup model, most likely from the 70s.

It was only used during the infancy of the Foo Fighters, but it saw plenty of action. It seems to have been officially retired by 2004, but knowing Dave, he could bring it back at any point.

Gibson Explorer

The Explorer is another Gibson offset model that is closely identified with Dave.

It struck his fancy early on, and he used it in multiple music videos and frequently during live performances from the Foo Fighters’ beginning up to around the turn of the millennium One by One era.

He pretty much retired it by the One by One days. But the Explorer is as much a part of his signature guitar sound as any gear he’s ever used. 

1978 Gibson RD Standard

Ever the lover of esoteric Gibsons, Grohl started using a two-tone sunburst RD Standard model around The Colour and the Shape, and There is Nothing Left to Lose.

His RD was confirmed as an official ‘78 model that featured the newly-introduced (at the time of manufacture) VI humbuckers.

Bradley Cook, who engineered their breakthrough sophomore album, confirmed that the RD was the guitar Grohl used on many of the record’s hit songs, including “Everlong” and “My Hero.”

Gibson Melody Maker

This was the guitar Grohl used to sketch and record song ideas for what would become the Foo Fighters. And though not as powerful as a guitar like a Les Paul, the Melody Maker turned him on to Gibson guitars.

He never really “owned it,” as it was a loaner from producer friend Barrett Jones. But as we all know, when Dave picks up an instrument, he makes the sound entirely his own.

Acoustics

One of the most poignant elements of Grohl’s songwriting style is shading and dynamics. Sure, he was born to be loud. But there is a gentler side to his art that became more and more apparent as records were released.

These days he is just as well-known for his acoustic playing as he is for electric. These are some of his choice acoustic guitars.

Taylor 612ce

Toward the end of the 2000s, Grohl became more and more of a fan of Taylor acoustic guitars, specifically the 612ce. He’s used it a lot for promotional performances on radio as well as solo acoustic appearances.

Gibson Elvis Presley Dove

Around the Wasting Light era, Grohl started to appear more and more wielding another esoteric Gibson, this time an acoustic – the Elvis Presley Dove.

His decision to use it on certain performances doesn’t seem to have much reason for it, but like his Taylor model, it seems to be utilized for more intimate engagements.

Martin D-28

A classic model in the acoustic guitar world, Dave has used his D-28 since before the Foo Fighters even released a song. It’s seen a lot of live and studio use since then. You can’t argue with the man’s taste in guitars!

FAQs

What Guitars Does Dave Grohl Use?

Throughout his career, Dave Grohl has used various electric and acoustic guitars. His go-to electrics are usually Gibsons, Les Paul, SG, RD, Explorer, and semi-hollow models like the Trini Lopez and ES-335 have all made stage and studio appearances at certain points.

When it comes to acoustics, he prefers the best of the best – various Taylor, Gibson, and Martin models.

Does Dave Grohl Have A Signature Guitar?

Dave Grohl’s signature Gibson guitar is the DG-335. It is based on his beloved Trini Lopez model that he bought in a music store during his time with Nirvana in Bethesda, MD, in 1992. 

Though it looks very similar to the Trini Lopez model, some key differences exist. The pickups are Burstbuckers, it has a Tune-o-matic bridge instead of a trapeze tailpiece, and the neck is a 50s profile.

What Guitar Did Dave Grohl Play On “Everlong”?

The music video for “Everlong” portrays Dave playing his black Les Paul Custom on the song. But the studio recording was tracked with his 1978 Gibson RD Standard.

Before you go, check out our guide to the 9 Best Places To Buy Guitars Online (That You Can Trust)!