One element of Rock and roll is all around being loud, proud, and in her face. No musician embodies that mentality an ext than, the engine City Madman, Ted Nugent. He has been turning his amps as much as eleven and pumping his high-feedback, greatly distorted tones through hollow-body guitars for virtually 60 years!

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Photo by Ron Gallegos

Having a long and also illustrious career, creating some of the many iconic guitar riffs of all time, including “Cat scratch Fever” and also “Stranglehold.” the was even named the best guitarist to ever come the end of Detroit! Ted Nugent began playing music at very early age. He gained his an initial guitar as soon as he was about five or six, sometime about 1953. It to be a “horrible” cheap acoustic guitar—as he explains it—but the learned come emulate the greats consisting of James Brown, Wayne Cochran, lining Berry, Keith Richards, and also Lonnie Mack, to name a few. He was always drawn to high-energy performers and loved the soulful sound the the blues. Native that allude on, Ted has been responsible for the evolution and also translation of a blues structure into the phenomenon that difficult Rock is well-known to be.

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What sort of guitar Does Ted Nugent Play?

Ted Nugent dram Gibson Byrdland guitars. Various other than his Gibson Byrdland, The Nuge additionally frequently offers Gibson Les Paul and also PRS models on stage. However, Nugent has actually never necessarily been taken into consideration a collector. Over his career, the has found a couple of guitars the likes and also tends to stick through them.

See the full list of Ted Nugent guitars and gear below.


Gibson Byrdland

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FinishEbony/Alpine/Sunburst/Natural
Years Used1966 to Present

No various other guitar has actually been “fondled” (as he so colorfully puts it) by Ted Nugent as much as the Gibson Byrdland. It has been his go-to etc for the entirety of his career and also is responsible for some of the many iconic riffs in Rock and also Roll history, including “Cat scratch Fever” and also “Stranglehold.”

Ted Nugent didn’t discover the Byrdland; it found him. Way back in 1961 or ’62 once Nugent was only 13 year old, he visited a Billy Lee and also the Rivieras concert (later change the name to The Detroit Wheels) and also witnessed the power of the Byrdland for the an initial time in the hand of Jim McCarty.

When Jim McCarty began playing his incredible, soulful, bluesy solos, the young Nuge simply couldn’t think the sound. The hollow-body guitar wanted to feedback for this reason badly and created “scary noises” that gave the notes new dimensions the sound. It to be nothing prefer he had ever before heard before. Due to the fact that he was so young and inexperienced, Ted Nugent didn’t quite understand what was really going on to develop that sound, yet he knew he loved it. He had actually to have actually one.

Just a few years later on in 1966, Ted Nugent finally bought his very own Byrdland. It to be a brand-new 1966 Gibson Byrdland with a Florentine blond finish, and it instantly became his primary player. That couldn’t acquire over the insane “snarl” he might get native the hollow body through the spruce archtop.

Not only can the Byrdland produce heavy, fuzzy tones, but it was likewise one that the most versatile guitars the Ted Nugent had ever played. Relying on where you placed the settings, you might create the sound and also tone of practically any guitar.

Although the Byrdland to be originally developed to it is in a jazz guitar, Nugent humorously claims he “fixed” that. While most difficult rock guitarists shy away from hollow-body guitars because of the crazy feedback, Ted Nugent embraced it. As he placed in one interview, “It’s not about managing the feedback; it’s around succumbing come it.”

Nugent actually loves how easily the Byrdland produces feedback and uses it to develop his distinct tones. If you check out him moving about on stage, he’s no dancing (well, most of the time). Ted Nugent strategically positions himself in relationship to his amps to gain just the best amount of feedback to produce the tone he is looking for. Follow to Nugent, the Byrdland makes guitarists beat differently, which is why his layout is for this reason unique. Castle don’t contact him the engine City Madman because that nothing!

Over the years, Ted Nugent has accumulated between 18 and also 26 Gibson Byrdlands (the number seems to adjust depending on when you ask) in a range of finishes. He generally brings at least 4 or five on every tour. Here are a few of the many iconic:

1966 Florentine blond Gibson Byrdland – This to be Nugent’s original Byrdland he bought in 1966. It to be the main guitar provided to document some that the many iconic Ted Nugent songs, consisting of “Stranglehold” and “Cat scratch Fever.” Nugent donated this guitar to the difficult Rock cafe in London yet admits he wishes he can get that back. It was his prized possession—guitar-wise, at least.

1961-1964 Ebony Gibson Byrdland – among Nugent’s primary Byrdlands is a vintage Ebony model. He’s not quite sure on the year, yet at different times Nugent himself stated it to be a 1964, while his guitar tech dubbed it a 1961 model. One of two people way, the black color Byrdland has actually been a mainstay ~ above Nugent’s etc rig for decades. You have the right to see that in action in this video clip of “Cat scrape Fever” from earlier in the 1970s. Over decades of use, the finish has cracked and also checkered, but it only makes the etc look even better! Nugent sweats a lot of on stage and also actually damaged the original pickups. He replaced them through Burstbucker 2 pickups. This is more than likely Nugent’s favourite Byrdland as well as his initial ’66.

“Great White Buffalo” Alpine Gibson Byrdland – The good White Buffalo is one Alpine white Byrdland through a few custom touches. Top top the shoulder, Ted Nugent’s name is inlaid in yellow lettering, and also two huge arrows cross over the entire back of the guitar. The remainder of the guitar is stock, v a few headstock repair after being totally broken off after a show. You have the right to see this guitar in activity on the song “Great White Buffalo” (of course), when Nugent sports a indigenous American headdress.

Despite his three many iconic guitars, Nugent states he can’t pick simply one Byrdland together his absolute “favorite.” They all sound so an excellent and have actually their very own special purposes. At any time Uncle Ted it s okay a new Byrdland, he number the guitar with a wood-burning tool. He also adds his initials, TN. While plenty of purists think it destroys the guitars, Nugent thinks it offers them a special uniqueness.

Most of Nugent’s Byrdlands space vintage models v a sharp solitary cutaway. Whenever Ted Nugent take away the stage, you’re practically guaranteed to watch a Gibson Byrdland or two.


Gibson Stars and Stripes practice Les Paul

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FinishAmerican Flag
Years Used2008 come Present

It’s no secret that Ted Nugent is among the proudest Americans the end there. He’s recognized for being fairly outspoken as soon as it pertains to his political beliefs and his love for the U.S.A. To show his love for his country, he gained a custom-made Gibson Les Paul v an American Flag finish.

Ted Nugent had actually been utilizing Gibson Les Pauls for a few years, but roughly the mid-2000s, he commissioned his Gibson Stars and Stripes practice Les Paul. Nearly instantly, it became one of his primary players on stage. In fact, from about 2008 on, Nugent provided his Stars and Stripes tradition on stage more than any type of other guitar—even his Byrdlands!

According to Nugent himself v a an individual Facebook post, his Stars and Stripes LP features twin Gibson humbucker pickups that are raised to the suggest of almost touching the strings. They have to be nearby to gain all that screaming rock and roll goodness! It also features a smaller sized neck than many Les Paul models come fit Nugent’s smaller sized hands.

Other upgrades incorporate a Gretsch strap pin on the pickup selector to make it simpler to use and also witch hat tone and volume knobs because that “maximum sweaty Teddy traction.” all in all, it’s a bonafide, patriotic, rock and also roll an equipment built for the engine City Madman himself.

You deserve to see the Stars and also Stripes practice Les Paul in activity in practically any Ted Nugent performance from the mid-2000s on. Inspect out this powerful performance that “Never prevent Believing” native 2016. Over there is fairly a bit of ranting prior to the tune starts, but the awesome solo an ext than makes up for it!

The Stars and Stripes custom isn’t the just Les Paul in Uncle Ted’s collection. He likewise had two prized vintage Les Pauls, sunburst 1959 and also 1958 models, that frequented the stage in the late ‘90s and also early 2000s.

In 2020, Ted Nugent decided it to be time come thin out his collection and also put his ’58 and ’59 LPs up because that auction. The still has the Stars and Stripes custom, and the two proceed to rock stages anywhere the world. This is quickly one the the most legendary Ted Nugent guitars of every time.


PRS Ted Nugent Custom

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FinishCustom Stripes
Years Used1985 come Present

Around 1985, a young Paul Reed Smith was looking to offer some that his tradition guitars come some famous rockers to do a surname for himself. The didn’t have a factory or yes, really a company yet, just a few well-built guitars and also a dream. At the time, over there was no one bigger than Ted Nugent.

Of course, PRS wasn’t as well-known back then as it is now. He couldn’t just waltz backstage and talk come The Nuge. So, as the committed businessman he is, smith pulled a stunt. He threw a couple of of his custom inventions under his arm, ran to the venue whereby Ted to be playing, and yelled to the guys at the door, “Oh man, ns late! where’s the stage?”

Seeing a man running approximately the door of a Ted Nugent concert v a bunch of guitars, protection let him ideal in. Once he made that backstage, blacksmith talked come a couple of of the roadies, proved them his guitars, and also they agreed to let him satisfy Ted Nugent.

Ted Nugent loved the guitars so lot that they to be instantly added to his arsenal. He believes that the player shouldn’t adapt to the guitar. It’s necessary to take the time to shop around and also find the appropriate one that feels the best. His custom PRSs did just that. That was one of the first major artists to endorse PRS guitars.

According to Ted Nugent, the PRS guitars had a particular capability that various other guitars didn’t. He might do things with them the he couldn’t execute with any type of other form of guitar, even his beloved Byrdlands. The intro arpeggios top top “Little miss Dangerous” follow to the male himself, to be only possible because Ted has actually his PRS.

Nugent’s PRS models space all custom created him by Paul Reed smith himself. They all have twin humbuckers, tremolo tailpieces, 24-fret necks, and also custom stripe finishes. You have the right to usually find Nugent on stage with one of two people his zebra-striped or tiger-striped PRS.

Ted Nugent’s zebra-striped PRS was one of his main players once he join the supergroup cursed Yankees through Tommy Shaw indigenous Styx, Jack chisels from Night Ranger, and also a then-unknown drummer Michael Cartellone that would later sign up with Lynyrd Skynyrd. You deserve to see Nugent’s zebra PRS in the music video for “High Enough” indigenous 1990.


Fender Duo-Sonic

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FinishUnspecified
Years Used1959 to 1965

Although Ted Nugent began playing guitar as soon as he was around five or 6 (somewhere around 1953), he didn’t acquire his first “good” etc until about 1959. As soon as he establish he to be serious around playing music, Nugent decided he necessary a proper instrument.

The young Ted choose up a few odd jobs to scrounge part money—including a document route, marketing nightcrawlers, washing cars, raking lawns, and shoveling snow. He lastly scraped up sufficient cash come pay off his own brand-new Fender Duo Sonic.

The Fender Duo-Sonic is a guitar made for players who didn’t want a Tele or a Strat. It functions two single-coil pickups to supply that legendary Fender tone however with a neck constructed for simple playability and a three-way move in the horn. It’s a an excellent instrument for innovative players, prefer Nugent.

Ted wanted the Duo-Sonic because, at the time, that was into The Ventures, and it kind of looked like one of their guitars. However, yes sir not much information around his initial Fender Duo-Sonic, but it was the guitar he provided to floor his very first big gig. In 1962, he winner the battle of the Bands with his first act the Lourdes and got to open up for the Beau Brummels and the Supremes at one of the newest clubs in Detroit. It was a large deal that helped launch his music career.

Shortly after the large break, The Nuge chose that he didn’t really desire to be favor The Ventures and moved into a harder rock scene the he would certainly eventually assist to create. His Fender Duo-Sonic offered him well, yet it to be time to move on to bigger and better things. By 1965, it had been replaced very first by an Epiphone Casino before setting his sight onto his lover 1966 Gibson Byrdland.


Epiphone Casino

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Finish1965 to 1966
Years UsedVintage Sunburst

Following his The ventures phase, Ted Nugent went with a brief Beatles phase. Ago in the at an early stage 1960s, they were the “hard rock” of the time! As any kind of Beatles fan can attest, yes sir no cooler guitar 보다 the Epiphone Casino.

Around 1965, Ted Nugent traded in his The Ventures-esk Fender Duo Sonic and also a few hundred dollars for a Vintage Sunburst Epiphone Casino, as with Paul and also John used to play.

The Epiphone Casino is a hollow-body guitar, i m sorry is a lot different than the solid-body Duo-Sonic Ted Nugent was playing. Not only was did that get much more feedback native the amp, yet it likewise featured double humbuckers instead of the Fender single coils.

While his Epi was a step in the right direction, it didn’t fairly take Nugent to where he want to be. After a an extremely short run together, Ted Nugent traded his mostly brand-new Casino because that his beloved 1966 Gibson Byrdland. The rest is history.

Timetable reflecting Each etc Ted Nugent has Played in ~ Each allude of His Career


MakeModelColor/FinishYears
FenderDuo-SonicUnspecified1959 to 1965
GibsonByrdlandEbony/Alpine/Sunburst/Natural1966 come Present
PRSTed Nugent CustomCustom Stripes1985 to Present
GibsonStars and also Stripes custom Les PaulAmerican Flag2008 come Present

Ted Nugent Amplifier Overview

It bring away a the majority of amps to create such a loud, heavy, rock and also roll sound. Amps have filled the stage for many of Ted Nugent’s over 6,000 concerts. He originally started v Fenders and over time switched end to Peavy and Kustom amps. This is a synopsis of The Nuge’s amps.


Ted Nugent’s go-to amp head is the Peavy 6505+. When you require straight-up life power, this is the amp for you! that boasts 120-watts the tube-driven insanity that will blow audiences away in also the largest stadiums. The 6505+ is great for producing gainy “liquid inferno,” together it claims on the product page.

On stage, Nugent’s 6505+ heads space pushing many Peavy 6505 412 240-watt 4×12 cabinets for even an ext insane rock power. When you absolutely, positively have to be heard (perhaps even in external space), this is the amp setup friend need.

Surprisingly, this setup is in reality a little quieter 보다 what he supplied to playback in the 1970s and ‘80s. His previous rig to be so loud that he came to be deaf in one ear. He “quieted” his amp collection up for this reason he can actually hear his band and also prevent damages to his one great ear. He provides only a “couple” 120-watt heads and also 240-watt cabinets, and they’re not even turned to complete volume. That admits this isn’t a music choice; it’s out of requirement to save his hearing.


Back in the so late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Ted Nugent began to make a change away indigenous his typical Fender amps for something through a an ext powerful tone. Well, yes sir nothing an ext “in her face” 보다 a Peavy.

Ted Nugent’s very first Peavy suffer was with the 5150 tube head. This amp was originally designed together a signature design for Eddie valve Halen. It was 120-watts that pure absent power. Nugent immediately fell in love and has offered Peavy amps ever since. He offered the Peavy 5150 during his time v the damn Yankees.

The Peavy 5150 was at some point discontinued as soon as Van Halen and also Peavy parted ways in 2004. When the EVH brand continued to produce its own 5150 amps, the 6505 models take it their ar in Peavy’s lineup.


In later on shows, Ted Nugent has actually been seen on stage rocking through Kustom Quad 100 DFX heads and also cabinets combined in v his Peavy amps. The Kustom Quad 100 DFX is a 100-watt tube head v an remarkable lead acquire boost, i beg your pardon Nugent always loves! To include a little an ext flair, Ted Nugent’s Kustom head has customized zebra-striped paneling.

The powerful 100-watt head pushes corresponding Kustom Quad 100 DFX 2×12 combo amps because that even more rock and also roll power. It’s not hard to acquire feedback from his hollow-body Byrdlands with this setup!


In his early days, Ted Nugent used nearly exclusively Fender amplifiers. Back in the mid-1970s and into the ‘80s, The Nuge would blow away stadiums with several Fender twin amps lining his side of the stage.

The Fender pair Reverb is a go-to for everyone from clean jazz and blues players to heavier rock and alternate powerhouses. It attributes 85-watts of tube-driven combo perfection. That a standard for a reason!

Back in the day, Ted Nugent would have actually eight of this powerhouses stack on stage, moving unmatched volume to stadiums everywhere the world. Follow to Uncle Ted himself, this setup was almost too loud even for him. Together he so colorfully describes, “Birds would fly by in ~ 100 yards and poof into nothing due to the fact that the sound was so loud.”

After years of utilizing eight 85-watt amps ~ above stage, Ted Nugent ended up being deaf in his left ear and had to revert come a slightly smaller rig (if you counting 120-watt Peavys together “smaller”).

You can see this outstanding Fender twin setup in this live version of “Stranglehold” from 1978.


Back in the so late 1950s once Ted Nugent gained his very first “good” guitar, the Fender Duo-Sonic, he played it through a small 45-watt Fender Bassman amp. It was a smaller sized tube-driven combo amp that could get loud and also distorted sufficient to make any type of budding musician happy. ~ all, Ted wasn’t playing stadiums just yet.

The Fender Bassman had actually such a good tone the Ted Nugent stuck to Fender specifically for decades. Also when the needed more power as his shows obtained bigger (and louder), that upgraded to Fender twin amps—just a lot much more of them.

Ted Nugent Pedals and also Effects Overview

Although he’s taken into consideration one that the much more innovative etc players once it comes to tone, Ted Nugent doesn’t actually use many pedals or effects. He prefers to let the guitars and the amps create his tone, particularly by utilizing feedback. To him, you just can’t beat the pure sound of a etc plugged directly into an amp.

Here room the very couple of effects that have actually been on Nugent’s pedalboard end the years.


Whenever Ted Nugent is in a specifically fun mood, he’ll step on his orange MXR step 90 to add a tiny uniqueness come his tone. He doesn’t usage it often, but he claims he access time it “for kicks and giggles” occasionally.

The MXR step 90 is just one of the most popular phaser pedals ~ above the market. It has actually been used by guitar legends favor Eddie van Halen, mockery Homme, and Dave Grohl, simply to surname a few. It gives players a smooth, watery impact that to add a tiny extra flavor to both lead and rhythm parts.


Every guitarist demands a little wah power every now and also then. Once Uncle Ted feels prefer rocking a wah solo, he uses the Dunlop Cry baby Wah. The Cry Baby has actually been a standard for many legendary guitarists over the years. Although the doesn’t usage it often, he still keeps the Cry baby on his pedalboard, just in case, the atmosphere feels just right.


The ceo DD-3 digital delay is a standard hold-up pedal that gives guitarists indigenous budding beginners to competent rockers the echoey sound castle looking for.

Of course, Ted Nugent doesn’t really usage an echoey tone. He prefers straight-up, in-your-face rock and also roll. Return he has actually a boss DD-3 ~ above his pedalboard, The Nuge admits the he hasn’t stepped on that in years. It’s simply a quite face.


Similar to his other impacts pedals, Ted Nugent likewise has a boss CH-1 super Chorus top top his pedalboard, yet he doesn’t usage it often. It’s there simply to include a small flavor come his ton from time come time.

The CH-1 is another standard for guitarists all over the world. That adds that little “shimmer” to lead and rhythm components that really do them stand out. That course, Ted Nugent doesn’t need lot of a shimmer to stand out. The does the plenty well on his own!


Guitar Cables

Although it could not be considered an effect, Ted Nugent qualities much of his exceptional tone to his guitar cables. While most musicians use wireless packs to make moving approximately the stage a little easier—especially those who carry out high-energy shows like Ted Nugent—The Nuge still uses timeless cables to affix his etc to the amps.

Although he no specify the brand, in a rig rundown, Ted Nugent claims he offers “big fat guitar cables” to save his gain-driven tone pure native the etc to the amps and out right into the audience’s ears. According to him, yes sir no much better way to create a pure rock and roll ton than simply plugging a great guitar directly into a good amp. The simpler and more direct, the better. Ted Nugent has actually never been one to beat roughly the bush.


Although he played in smaller sized bands throughout his youth, Ted Nugent helped kind his first real tape in 1965, when he to be 17, dubbed the Amboy Dukes. Regardless of Nugent’s anti-drug and alcohol beliefs, the Amboy Dukes were thought about a psychedelic absent band. The band took pleasure in moderate success with a couple of mainstream albums and also even got to play through legends choose Joni Mitchell, girlfriend Guy, Jimi Hendrix, and BB King. In 1982, Ted Nugent helped kind the supergroup cursed Yankees through Styx guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, Night Ranger bassist/vocalist Jack Blades, and drummer Michael Cartellone. The cursed Yankees played with each other for eight years until 1989 and saw major success. Your self-titled album went double platinum in the united States!

After his stint through Damn Yankees, Nugent went back to the solo spotlight and also continues to rock stages everywhere the human being with his high-octane, blues-driven rock and roll.

In 1975, following the Amboy Dukes disbandment, Nugent began his remarkable solo career. He created several significant hits, consisting of “Cat scrape Fever” and “Stranglehold”, melody that would certainly propel him into legendary status. In the so late ’70 and well into the ’80s, there to be hardly a bigger name in the Rock and also Roll scene 보다 Ted Nugent!

In addition to his musical career, Ted Nugent is additionally an outspoken activist for the second amendment. He has actually written number of books and appeared on TV shows related come hunting and shooting.

Whether or no you agree with his politics, there’s no doubt the Ted Nugent is among the ideal guitarists to ever before come out of Detroit, furthermore, his skill collection is balanced between his singer-songwriter status and also guitar-slinging. Also in his 70s, Uncle Ted tho manages to provide high-energy performances the audiences won’t quickly forget—perhaps for much better or worse. He’s no stranger to shooing flaming arrows ~ above stage, periodically at among his guitars! If you’re searching for straightforward, feedback-ridden, in-your-face rock music, it’s difficult to beat the engine City Madman, Ted Nugent.


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My surname is Chris and I’ve had actually a enthusiasm for music and also guitars because that as lengthy as I can remember. I started this website with some of my girlfriend who space musicians, music teachers, equipment heads, and also music enthusiasm so we could administer high-quality guitar and also music-related content.

I’ve been play guitar since I to be 13 years old and also am one avid collector. Amps, pedals, guitars, bass, drums, microphones, studio, and also recording gear, ns love it all.

I was born and also raised in western Pennsylvania. Mine background is in electric Engineering, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. V my engineering experience, I’ve emerged as a designer of etc amplifiers and also effects. A true enthusiasm of mine, i have designed, built, and repaired a wide selection of etc amps and electronics. Right here at the guitar Lobby, our aim is come share our passion for Music and also gear v the remainder of the music community.


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