Currently, only a few artists in the world can handle the acoustic guitar like Billy Strings. The multi-talented Grammy winner’s ability to play different stringed instruments efficiently is the sole reason we know him as Billy Strings today.
He’s slowly establishing himself as the future of the Bluegrass genre and has been applauded for drawing the young generation into acoustics.
In 2019, the International Bluegrass Music Association voted him their Guitar Player of the Year. When an artist wins such a prestigious award for their guitar ability, it’s only fair to want to know the type of guitar he plays.
So what kind of guitar does Billy Strings play?
Billy Strings signed an endorsement deal with Preston Thompson Guitars in 2016, so he mostly plays his Preston Thompson D-MA and Preston Thompson DBA Custom. However, he still plays a Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster, Roy Noble Dreadnought, and a Custom-Made “33” Guitar that his grandfather built in prison six decades ago.
Billy Strings is one of the world’s brightest talents, and here, we’ll look into some of the guitars he plays on tours, while recording, and in music videos.
What Kind of Guitar Does Billy Strings Play?
Here are some of the most common guitars we’ve seen Billy Strings play:
Custom-Made “33” Guitar
Billy Strings is an artist that has always cherished his roots. His sophomore album Home gracefully detailed his love for his family, and that’s why the Custom-Made “33” guitar is one of his most preferred instruments.
Billy’s grandfather built that guitar during his time at the Michigan State Penitentiary from 1960 to 1962. The “33” Prison Guitar had no strings or truss rod, and when Billy tried to install them, it bent the guitar’s neck.
Years later, he took the guitar to Dave Johnson and Carter Vintage, where it was renovated.
In an interview with Premier Guitar, he revealed that he used the guitar to play a solo in his album “Home.”
Even before he signed an endorsement deal with them, Billy Strings has always been a huge fan of Preston Thompson guitars. One of the guitars he played was the Roy Noble Dreadnought.
The back and sides are made from Bolivian rosewood; it has a Bearclaw spruce top and an ebony fretboard. Billy Strings played this guitar a lot in the early years of his career.
Preston Thompson and Bluegrass is a union that has yielded some of the world’s best acoustic songs. Bluegrass legends like Adam Chowning, Tim May, and Jake Workman all loved and played Preston Thompson guitars, so it’s no surprise that Billy Strings chose the brand.
As part of his endorsement deal, he plays a Custom Preston Thompson DBA with sides made from 5A Brazilian Rosewood and an ebony fretboard adorned with snowflakes.
Like many other PT guitars, the D-BA Custom is perfect for flat pickers and acoustic guitarists.
Every guitarist dreams of owning at least one Fender guitar, and Billy is no different. His Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster has Mahogany back & sides with a spruce top.
It’s also equipped with an N4 bridge pickup, making it the ideal guitar for onstage electric performances. The hollow Telecaster-inspired body allows you to cover different music styles on stage and is also suitable for studio recording, thanks to its versatility.
Being a Grammy winner barely six years into your career is no easy feat; it takes great talent and will to attain that level so fast. Billy Strings definitely has all that and more. Another thing he’s excellent at is his guitar selection.
As a bluegrass artist, he understands the role of an excellent acoustic guitar in sound quality, so he chooses his guitars wisely.
He plays a Custom-Made “33” Guitar that his grandfather built in prison. A Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster, a Roy Noble Dreadnought, and a custom Preston Thompson DBA are some of the other guitars he plays.
Frequently Asked Questions
In a 2019 interview with Premier Guitar, Grammy award-winning artist, Billy Strings, confirmed that he uses D’Addario EJ17 Phosphor Bronze strings.
Billy Strings primarily uses BlueChip TD55 picks in his shows and tours.
He switches between a Grace Design BiX Acoustic Preamp, a Fender Deluxe Reverb, and a Silverface Deluxe Reverb.