The Best Signature Guitars of the 1990s

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J Mascis and More Signature Guitarists of the 1990s

J Mascis Jazzmaster Squier

Having a guitar created in your image is a sign that you’ve earned a place at the Mount Olympus of rock stardom. These artists who made their names in the 1990s have axes that bear their moniker and their signature sounds. From the makeshift Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang to the dozen (!) iterations of Slash’s instrument, here are the namesake guitars from the ’90s you need to know. We’ve included average resale values for interested buyers.

J Mascis' Jazzmaster Squier ($399)

To mimic the Dinosaur Jr. vibe, a player needs to switch from subdued verses to caterwauling choruses. The band’s J Mascis designed his signature to make this transition a breeze, with or without stomp boxes. The dual-circuit model fluctuates seamlessly between lead and rhythm settings, but even with the Adjusto-Matic bridge and floating tremolo, you’d still require a blessing from the rock gods to get anywhere near as good as the long-haired guru.

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Kurt Cobain’s Fender Jag-Stang ($619-$689)

Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang
Russell Bernice / Creative Commons

Just as he mashed college rock with punk, Nirvana’s mastermind mashed two Fender models – the Jaguar and the Mustang – into one fierce entity. Cobain conceptualized this jagged beaut in 1993, and he played the prototype during the In Utero tour. He wouldn’t live to see its mass production, which launched in 1996. Its initial run came in a right-handed version, but in its maker’s spirit, a left-handed version soon followed. 

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Billy Corgan’s Fender Stratocaster ($749)

Billy Corgan Fender Stratocaster
Original image rotated sideways. Filippo Vancini / Creative Commons

Another defender of Fender, the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan opted for DiMarzio pickups and a stark black-and-white finish for his 2008-2011 line. These customizations replicated the growling style he developed with 1993’s Siamese Dream and 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. During the Pumpkins’ 2012 Oceania concerts, Corgan would employ his standard-tuned signature Strat for a great portion of the show, according to Premier Guitar.

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Slash’s Gibsons and B.C. Riches ($519-$2,999 and up)

Slash Appetite for Destruction Guitar
Muzyczny / Wikimedia Commons

The great hatted hammerer lays claim to more than 12 different signature models— most are Gibson Les Pauls, but a few of the darker-toned ones come from the B.C. Rich family. The fan site Slash Paradise exhaustively details the Gibson assortment, beginning with 1990’s custom shop (only four were made, specifically for the Guns N’ Roses maestro). Will we see some of these signatures at Coachella 2016?

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Tom DeLonge’s Fender Strat ($169-$525)

Tom DeLonge Fender Stratocaster

Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We opted for this signature instead of the former Blink-182 guitarist’s Epiphone because that one “is terrible. Has no clean sound at all,” according to an Ultimate Guitar review. For the pop-punk aficionado, the 1999 Stratocaster kept things simple, with one volume knob and no manual tone adjustments. DeLonge – especially in his Angels and Airwaves output – would instead use pedals to create his celestial riffs. The Fender was made for the basics of Blink: goofy, fast-paced progressions and relentlessly warm timbres. 

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Dave Navarro’s Epiphone Jane ($589-$659)

Dave Navarro Epiphone Jane

Sure to stand out wherever it appears (just like the Jane’s Addiction fashion plate), this acoustic/electric hybrid boasts excellent stage presence. It includes built-in tuners and phasers to get that mystical feeling so prominent in songs such as “Jane Says.” He also loans his brand to the PRS SE, an electrified treasure with gold inlays and flying birds indicating the fret positions.

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Lenny Kravitz’s Gibson 1967 Flying V ($2,600-$4,200)

Lenny Kravitz Gibson Flying V

Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images

A perfect accompaniment to Lenny Kravitz’s 1998 hit “Fly Away,” his Flying V recaptured the soul of Jimi Hendrix. Limited to 125 in the 2002 batch, this ax flashed its golden knobs and three-way pickup switch. Its inspiration starred in Kravitz’s video for “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Dreadlocks not included in the 125 run.

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Jerry Cantrell’s G&L Superhawk ($399-$1,699)

Jerry Cantrell G&L Superhawk

The story goes that a young Jerry Cantrell was working in a Dallas record store when his love for G&L guitars blossomed. He relished his Rampage, so when the time came for the Alice in Chains member to get his own G&L signature, it paid homage to the beefy six-string. The Superhawk is meant to “Cut You In” with its sonic strength.