Chris Stapleton never intended to pursue music as a career. He was a high school football player born into a family of coal miners in Kentucky. When his prolific songwriting habit drove him to Nashville, Stapleton was really enrolled at Vanderbilt University to study engineering.
He soon secured a publication agreement for his compositions after arriving in 2001 and started fronting numerous bands. The SteelDrivers and the Southern rock-influenced band, The Jompson Brothers, were there.
Stapleton rose to fame as a country-rock sensation in 2015 after the publication of his debut solo album, “Traveller.” Following a career-defining performance with Justin Timberlake, Stapleton received numerous awards and honors praising his songwriting, singing, and guitar skills.
The slow-burning whiskey ballad “Tennessee Whiskey” by Stapleton became a huge smash, and radio stations all over the world were praising the Kentucky college dropout. Tennessee whiskey is considered a really cool thing in the music industry.
Chris has since performed with some of the biggest musicians and maintained the enormous popularity of his solo career. He earned several country music awards and grammy awards.
Stapleton had a huge collection of guitars that included a desert island guitar, a signature model, and several other guitars. The only strings that he loved the most were D’Addario strings.
As familiar to Chris Stapleton as the twang of a Telecaster or the sound of the Mississippi River are performances and songwriting sessions with Justin Timberlake and John Mayer.
The Chris Stapleton guitar that is well known among young guitarists is his acoustic guitar. Although Chris Stapleton used many acoustic guitars, his primary acoustic guitar for onstage performances and recording was Gibson J-45.
The go-to acoustic guitars and all-time favorites of Chris Stapleton. His go-to six-string for songwriting pursuits is this old Gibson LG-2 from the late 1950s.
Stapleton said of this instrument, “I have a late-Fifties LG2 that’s basically beaten to pieces and I’ve written a bunch of songs on it,” according to Rolling Stone. I would probably keep that even if I had to get rid of everything else.
The Gibson LG-2 was first offered as a smaller-bodied student guitar on the market. It has a smaller body than Gibson’s higher-end acoustic guitars like the J-200 and resembles a classical guitar.
Gibson was known for building their guitars out of solid wood at the time, and the LG-2 was no exception. As a late 1950s model, Chris Stapleton’s LG-2 has a solid mahogany back and sides, a spruce top, and X bracing.
Due to the LG-2’s real acoustic nature and lack of internal electronics, Stapleton had an LR Baggs M1 soundhole pickup placed across the soundhole. Instead of enhancing or masking a guitar’s acoustic tone, the LR Baggs M1 is made to reproduce it.
The M1 is a stacked humbucker with a lower coil that is tuned specifically to catch higher frequencies, according to the LR Baggs website. In response, a “body signal” is produced in the suspended coil to give the amplified sound a hint of realism and woodiness.
The LG-2 lacks the boom or the sparkle of larger, higher-end guitars, yet Chris Stapleton may like it over other instruments because of its generally neutral sounding.
Chris Stapleton is a committed vocalist who performs his songs using lyricism and his wide vocal range. He benefits from a guitar that is content to take a backseat in the mix and let his voice do the work.
The only guitar that’s recognized as Chris Stapleton’s go-to guitar, on stage and in audio, is Fender Jazzmaster 1962 Reissue.
The Fender Jazzmaster has served as Chris Stapleton’s main electric guitar throughout his solo career.
Chris has a particularly special spot for this Fender ageless classic, telling Rolling Stone that he purchased his first one in the middle of the 2000s, unlike many country players who are sworn to the twang and aggression of the Fender Telecaster.
Similar to Gibson’s separation of their Custom and Standard lines at the same time, Fender introduced the Jazzmaster in 1958 with the intention of making it an upscale version of the Stratocaster.
The Jazzmaster was targeted at the era’s jazz guitarists, as its name would imply. However, surf rock guitarists rapidly adopted it in the early 1960s because they enjoyed its lower sustain and distinctive resonance more than other Fender models.
There are various ways in which the Jazzmaster differs from other Fender guitars. One of them is its strikingly massive body, which is heavier and larger than those of the Stratocaster, Telecaster, or even the Jaguar, whose silhouette is comparable.
The Jazzmaster features substantial, white “soapbar” pickups, which are remarkably similar to the Gibson P90. The P90’s magnets beneath the coil are different from the Fender soap bar pickup’s magnetic pole components; thus, this similarity is solely ornamental.
Compared to the P90 and by a significant margin for all other Fender pickups, the Jazzmaster coil is wound flat and wide.
The Jazzmaster has a deeper, warmer tone than other Fender guitars because of this winding, often known as “pancake winding” (not to be confused with the “pancake bodies” of 1970s guitars).
Despite the Jazzmaster’s deeper tone than the Stratocaster’s, Fender guitars are renowned for their clarity and note definition.
A “humbucking” effect exclusive to the Fender Jazzmaster sets it apart from its brothers. This is made possible by its reverse-wound single-coil feature, which eliminates the 60-cycle mains hum sometimes associated with single-coil guitars when the three-way selector is in the middle position and both pickups are turned on.
The 1962 Jazzmaster reissues Chris Stapleton prefers had maple necks and rosewood fretboards, albeit by the middle of the year, the rosewood used for the fretboard had thinned out considerably and resembled a rosewood veneer rather than a solid piece of wood.
The Jazzmaster’s neck is fastened to an alder body that has been finished with nitrocellulose lacquer. The Jazzmaster has a floating vibrato bridge, which adds to its distinctive tone.
Let’s have a bird’s eye view of some other guitars played by Chris Stapleton.
This unique blonde Gibson 335 is Chris Stapleton’s most prominent electric guitar from his reliable Jazzmaster. Occasionally, Stapleton performs live with this large, hollow-bodied Gibson.
With its natural wood finish fading to show the grain of the maple underneath, this 335 appears to be as worn-in and worldly as the man himself. The Gibson 335 was the first semi-hollow body electric guitar ever when it was initially introduced in 1958.
The guitar’s body is made entirely of solid maple, with the exception of the electronics and circuits, the “wings” on either side being completely hollow. The 335 has two F-holes, one on either side of the middle block, similar to those on a cello or violin.
The three-ply maple-poplar-maple body of the 335 is constructed with the maple center block. The beautiful blonde tone of the maple top is vividly seen in Chris Stapleton’s 335’s natural finish.
Live, Stapleton often plays lead lines with the bridge pickup of his 335, utilizing the warm sustain and biting, treble-heavy tone to create his slinky, lyrical solos and riffs.
Chris Stapleton’s affinity for Fender extends beyond his prized 1962 Jazzmasters. This distinctive amp has long been a part of Stapleton’s live setup because of its exposed wood casing and leather-like appearance.
It uses two 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 power tubes to drive a 12″ 8-ohm Jensen® P12Q speaker. For a wider variety of tones, it also has the Fender traditional spring reverb and FAT boost switch. Brass knobs, a leather handle, and hand-aged wood give this amplifier a tough, practical design.
For his electric guitar tones, Chris Stapleton appears to pair this amplifier with a Fender Princeton, either a stock model or his personal brand amp.
It’s completely likely that he uses both amplifiers to boost the volume and tonal variation of his playing or that one is set aside for more distorted sounds and the other for clean tones.
It can be considered the standard workhorse of acoustic music. A top made of solid Sitka spruce has excellent projection and tone.
The solid mahogany back and sides provide a warm, round sound. Every nuance of the tone is transmitted to the PA or amp using LR Baggs VTC electronics. Increased playing comfort is provided by a softer fingerboard edge.
Chris states that although his vintage Gibson has a particular place in his heart, his J-45 goes beyond outstanding bounds when it comes to live performances. Chris originally purchased this instrument, given the similarities in terms of feel and sound to the original LG2.
In this section, we will answer a few faqs to clear your mind further.
Does Chris Stapleton use any effects pedals?
Yes, he uses an MXR Carbon Copy Delay and a Boss DS-1 Digital Switch. He has a Boss DM-3 Digital Modulator, which is used for adding harmonics to his sound.
How does Chris Stapleton get his guitar sound?
Chris Stapleton’s guitar sound is the result of using a combination of vintage and modern gear. He uses vintage amps like a Vox AC30 and a Fender Princeton. He uses a Fender Princeton Reverb and a Boss DS-1 Digital Switch to conclude his tone.
What does Chris Stapleton use to record his music?
Stapleton records his music with a Zoom H4n recorder and a Shure SM58 microphone. He uses the Zoom H4n recorder to record his vocals and the Shure SM58 to capture the rest of his instruments. Yet, he still uses a number of vintage microphones like a Shure SM57, Neumann U67, and AKG C414.
What does Chris Stapleton use for a pick?
Chris Stapleton uses Dunlop Picks. He likes the feel of the pick and the way it sounds when he plays. On the whole, he prefers a pick that’s not too heavy so that it doesn’t interfere with his playing style.
Throughout his career, Chris Stapleton has played a variety of guitars. Guitars like the LG2 Gibson acoustic and the Fender Jazzmaster electric became a part of him.
Chris liked the neutral tone of the LG2 Gibson over other guitars. This enhanced his distinctive vocal range and fitted his aesthetic. His preferred electric guitar seemed to be a Fender Jazzmaster. This is due to the fact that it produces tones that are richer and deeper than any other guitar on the market.
Despite being Chris’s favorites and most cherished, these weren’t the only instruments he employed in his work. For instance, he adored the Gibson ES-35 and frequently played lead lines while performing live using the bridge pickup on his 335. He then crafts lyrical solos and riffs with the warm sustain and bite of this tone.
His second favorite is the Fender 80’s, which cannot be disregarded. He was impressed by this guitar’s broad range and adaptability. Last but not least, the Gibson J45 managed to win him over with its easy playability and inviting sound.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what the vocalist can bring, and Chris Stapleton demonstrated that everything else is secondary to your skills when it comes to singing.