Foo Fighter Dave Grohl has been playing Gibson guitars for most of his career as a frontman. Here we’ll take a look at some of the different Gibson guitars that Dave Grohl has used on stage and in the studio throughout his career.
Gibson Trini Lopez / DG-335
The flagship in Dave Grohl's collection has to be his Gibson Trini Lopez guitar, an instrument based on the Gibson ES-335. Grohl has acquired several of these guitars since buying his first one back in the early nineties. The guitar has always been Dave's go-to guitar when it comes to recording, but as Foo Fighters have evolved Dave has incorporated the guitar more and more in the band's live show as well. Grohl used to have a couple of red Trini Lopez guitars, but nowadays you mainly see him with his custom made Gibson Trini Lopez in Pelham Blue, the DG-335. "This guitar I’ve made every single Foo Fighters record with,” said Grohl in an interview with NME before the release of the Wasting Light album. “This is a [expletive] beautiful guitar. I saw this in a guitar shop in Bethesda, Maryland. I think it was 1992, ’93 or something like that. I think I was still in Nirvana when I bought it. I thought it was unusual. It looks like a Gibson ES-335, except it has diamond-shaped f-holes and has this different headstock on it. And I didn’t really know anything about Trini Lopez, the artist, when I bought it." Grohl even went as far as saying that the guitar "is the sound of the Foo Fighters." Check out this interview where Grohl explains how to play “The Pretender” on his DG-335:
Dave used a Gibson Explorer quite extensively during the Foo Fighters’ early career. He can be seen with a black Explorer in the video for “Big Me” from the first Foo Fighters album. Dave also used a black Explorer during a live performance of “Breakout” on the Late Show With David Letterman (video below). Grohl reportedly used a white Explorer during the recording of the third Foo Fighters album There is Nothing Left To Lose in 1999. Be sure to check out Gibson’s latest Explorer model, the Government Series II Explorer, whose rosewood fingerboard is made from wood recently returned to Gibson from the Federal government.
It must be great to have the kind of resources that allows you to have a guitar that’s used for only one song per show. Dave Grohl does that for the song “Stacked Actors” the opening track on There is Nothing Left To Lose. Dave plays the song on a Gibson Firebird that is in drop A tuning per his guitar tech Joe Beebe in an interview with Performing Musician. We imagine he’s using really thick strings for that drop A tuning! You haven’t missed Gibson’s 2014 Firebird have you? Check out this 14-minute live performance of the song where both Grohl and Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett play Firebirds:
Gibson Elvis Presley Dove
Whenever Dave plays an acoustic number with the Foo’s he’s quite often seen using a Gibson Elvis Presley Dove guitar. The guitar is based on the custom 1969 Gibson Dove guitar played by the King in the latter part of his career. Grohl used the Dove during the song “Wheels” on the band’s 2011 tour in support of their latest album Wasting Light:
Gibson Les Paul
For a man who plays so many different Gibson’s it’s rare to see Dave Grohl on stage with a Les Paul. But it has happened. Check out this video from Foo Fighters’ appearance at the Rock In Rio Festival from 2004. Dave straps on a Budweiser Dale Earnhardt Jr. Les Paul that supposedly was given to him by Earnhardt himself, and proceeds to make a somewhat unrehearsed attempt at playing the intro to Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine.” What’s interesting here is that the song the band starts right at the end of the video is “Stacked Actors,” which we’ve already mentioned as being played on a Firebird. So the video is a nice little insight in to how Dave keeps changing up the way he plays certain songs as he discovers different models that works better for what he wants to accomplish. Don’t miss out on all the beautiful Les Paul models available in Gibson’s 2014 product lineup!
It’s rare that you find footage of this, but Dave Grohl actually used to play a Gibson SG back in the early days of the Foo Fighters. By judging from pictures I’ve been able to find online, he has at least played two different SG’s, one cherry red and a white one.