Buying Guides / 10 February 2022

From John Mayer to John Petrucci: The Best Signature Guitars at Swee Lee

It’s oh-so-natural to obsess over your favourite artists’ gear. Even brands go crazy when they see their best guitars on stage in front of millions of people. That’s why it’s become even more common that brands rope in these famous artists to collaborate on developing their very own signature guitar models. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Signature guitars have become icons in their own right, and deservedly so. There are great practical reasons to justify the expense of getting one. Playing a signature guitar might just take you a step closer to emulating your favourite artist’s trademark sound. Not to mention how cool and inspiring wielding it feels. And who knows? It might just have the potential to become a collector’s item after a while.

Pre-order SE Silver Sky

But just as importantly, a signature instrument is a golden opportunity for us mere mortals to own a piece of our favourite’s gear setup. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be more like our music heroes! Take the ever-popular John Mayer for example – last month the SE version of his original Silver Sky landed at Swee Lee and they sold out in the blink of an eye (☝️ you can pre-order one!). Everyone loves a good signature guitar! It’s not just John Mayer though. Over the years, tons of drool-worthy signature guitars have hit the market, and we fans are only too happy to show the love.

Shop Electric Guitars

From retro-harkening beauties with heaps of vintage charm to souped-up axes which could only be meant for rock n’ roll gods. The adage “something for everyone” comes to mind. Choosing our favourites was difficult, but we think we’ve managed to round up the best signature guitars on the market. Onwards and upwards to our selections.

Read more: 8 Reasons It’s Time to Upgrade to a Better Electric Guitar

PRS Silver Sky

PRS Silver Sky Best Signature Guitars

At its core, the Silver Sky is a love letter to 60s single-coil guitars. Designed in tandem with the Grammy Award-winning guitarist, John Mayer, the Silver Sky takes elements of classic PRS and spins them to suit Mayer’s playing style. Take the comfy bolt-on maple neck for instance – a feature modelled after John’s own treasured vintage instruments. It’s also topped by an inverted headstock that keeps string length behind the nut consistent, so each sweet, glassy note holds its tune for ages after you start jamming.

PRS SE Silver Sky

PRS SE Silver Sky

For fans of the Silver Sky who want all the good stuff from the original USA model, but want a whole lot of bang for your buck – the SE Silver Sky is the bee’s knees. Housed within a lightweight poplar body, a trio of 635JM “S” pickups delivers on that quintessential single-coil sound. By upping the fingerboard radius to 8.5 inches, the SE gets a boost of modernity without losing its old-school appeal.

PRS Guitars SE Mark Holcomb

PRS Mark Holcomb

If you’re a fan of modern metal, you’d have undoubtedly heard of Mark Holcomb of Periphery. While this SE has much of the PRS DNA, there are a few marked differences that make it more “modern” than your normal Paul Reed Smith instrument. Instead of a tremolo, a rounder fretboard radius, and PRS’s own proprietary pickups, you’ll find an ultra-stable fixed bridge, 20″ radius, and Mark’s signature Seymour Duncan pickups. These select mods make this signature ideal for chunky palm mutes, shreddy lines, and bone-crushing chugs!

Mark’s SE also comes in a 7-string variant too. This extended range guitar retains much of what makes the 6-string original such a hit but extends the scale length to a longer 26.5″ for lower note clarity.

PRS SE Mark Tremonti Electric Guitar

PRS Mark Tremonti

As a founding member of Creed, Alter Bridge, and Tremonti, Mark Tremonti’s passion for music is apparent. That same can’t stop, won’t stop energy gets transferred to his signature model. Bevels on all sides soften bodily contact points, keeping you playing for hours. Cause when you’re speeding soloing on the razor-thin Japanese-made Wide Thin neck, it can be hard to quit. Good thing then, that the dual “S” humbucking pickups croon smooth, addictive tones that remain responsive even with the chunkiest of gains.

Sterling By Music Man MAJ200XFM John Petrucci Majesty

Sterling by Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Best Signature Guitars

Call John Petrucci, King Midas, if you please. Everything he touches turns to gold. His guitars are constantly in demand, and the Majesty reigns supreme amongst them. It’s not just the elegant mahogany shieldless body with flame maple top that has hearts beating. DiMarzio LiquiFire and Crunch Lab humbuckers bring out tone like no other. Prepare for varied voicing, focused attack, and more than enough bite to make amps scream. One thing’s for sure, you’ll feel like royalty when you play it.

Ibanez LGB30-NT George Benson Signature Electric Guitar

Ibanez George Benson Best Signature Guitars

Though jazz virtuoso George Benson’s signature model guitar is dreamy, its price point might be a mini nightmare for some. Rest easy with its more inexpensive cousin. The LGB30 is still a hollowbody with style, featuring an Artstar edge-treated ebony fretboard that handles smoothly. Super 58 Custom pickups croon in that old-timey tone, but thoughtfully omit the annoying hum of ancient models.

Ibanez JBBM30-BKF JB Brubaker Signature Electric Guitar

Ibanez JB Brubaker

Metalheads, this is it. August Burns Red’s JB Brubaker knows exactly what his axe needed to achieve. As befitting a shredding hero, the inclusion of a 3-piece maple/bubinga neck ensures that this guitar is flying fast. Dual EMG81 and 85 humbucking pickups only serve to ramp up the aggression factor without compromising tonal clarity and precision.  

Ibanez FLATV1-BK Josh Smith Signature Electric Guitar

Ibanez Josh Smith

Emmy-nominated Josh Smith is a man of many talents, and his personalized guitar is no different. Its roasted maple neck showcases a soft V-profile that while being sufficiently hefty, is still supremely swift and playable. Even the little details are accommodating. Gotoh’s specially-designed In-Tune titanium saddles eliminate the risk of side-to-side string slippage, and come equipped with pre-positioned intonation points for on-the-nose tuning across the fingerboard.

Ibanez YY20-OCS Yvette Young Signature Electric Guitar

Ibanez Yvette Young Best Signature Guitars

Every performer hopes that they’ll be part of Ibanez’s Signature squad one day, and COVET frontwoman Yvette Young now joins the exclusive roster with her own T-style guitar. Built on the popular Talman base, the stunning alder body glitters enticingly, and is handily set up for tap-friendly FACGBE tuning à la Young’s penchant. Also noteworthy are the Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups which almost drip with pure, honeyed tones.

Fender Jason Isbell Custom Telecaster Electric Guitar

Fender Jason Isbell Best Signature Guitars

Jason Isbell is at the forefront of contemporary Americana, his tale-driven performances breathing fresh life into the country genre. With this perspective in mind, his custom Telecaster tells a story of its own. Warm and open-sounding, the alder body is classic Fender, as is the mid ’60-s C-shaped neck with superb sustain. And from Isbell’s personal experience, his Custom Shop Tele pickup combo sounds good plugged directly into your amp without any pedals or extra frippery.

Fender J Mascis Telecaster Electric Guitar

Fender J Mascis Telecaster

Fender’s inimitable guitar meets Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis’ alt-rock machinations. Clean-cut with simple good looks that belie an ability to go big and bold, it’s all about the twang factor. The bitey yet balanced sound comes from a set of Custom ’58 single-coil pickups, and the 3-position blade swatch adds all the texture you’re looking for. Road Worn to just the right level, the C-shaped bolt-on neck is stout yet natural-feeling, fitting reassuringly in the palm of your hand.

Fender Michiya Haruhata Stratocaster

Fender Michiya Haruhata Stratocaster Best Signature Guitars

An unsung gem that often flies beneath the radar, Michiya Haruhata’s custom Strat has all the hallmarks of a soon-to-be cult classic. Inspired by his technical prowess as TUBE’s lead guitarist, he’s chosen a soft V maple neck, complete with a reversed headstock to ensure tuning stability. Set in an HSH config, two DiMarzio pickups soar between bell-like highs and gritty lows, with an extra Custom Shop Texas Special thrown into the middle for good measure.

That was our list! Don’t worry if you didn’t see your favourite on here, because each person has their own idea of what makes or breaks a guitar. With so many excellent names to choose from, we’re confident that players of all ages and skill ranges will find the instrument that’s right for them in our catalog.

Shop Electric Guitars

So, what do you think of our picks? Maybe you’ve already fallen for a few yourself. If that be the case, then come on down to Swee Lee and make the commitment. Or start slow with a few tender glances on our website. Get registered on our mailing list, and you’ll be the first to know when we bring in new stuff.

Pre-order SE Silver Sky

P.S. The PRS Silver Sky and SE Silver Sky have been extremely fast-selling guitars for us – they sell out real quick as soon as we receive them! What’s the best way to secure one for yourself and avoid disappointment? Get in touch with us for a pre-order! Our team will be in touch with you to help you grab the guitar of your dreams.

Read more: Swee Lee’s Best of 2021

Related Reads

Gift Guide for Guitarists
#Buying Guides

Gift Guide for Guitarists

Are you wracking your brain over gift ideas for the guitarist in your life? With numerous brands in our catalogue, Swee Lee is the perfect place to shop for gifts suitable for guitarists of all levels. Look no further than this gift guide for guitarists and give your loved ones… Read more

Gift Guide for Drummers
#Buying Guides

Gift Guide for Drummers

Do you need the perfect gift for a drummer? Swee Lee is the best place to shop for gifts suitable for drummers of all levels. Look no further than this gift guide, put together by our drum experts. Evans RF12G-RED-RB5A Barney Beats Bundle, 12” Practice Pad + Drum Stick A… Read more

Gift Guide for Lifestyle Gear
#Buying Guides

Gift Guide for Music Lovers

A mix of the best gifts for the music lovers in your life. Whether they listen to, play or create their own music, these gifts will hit the right notes. From graphic t-shirts and vinyl records to turntables and accessories, there’s something here for everyone. Audio Technica LPX60BT Fully Automatic… Read more