What guitar does Taylor Swift use? The varied and unique instruments of The Eras Tour

As The Eras Tour arrives on Disney+, we check out the myriad heavily customised instruments that Taylor uses live – and how you can get the same vibe yourself.

Taylor with one of her most long-serving instruments (Photo by Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

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The most famous person in the world is a guitar player. Yep it’s easy to forget that long before Taylor Swift became perhaps the defining cultural icon of the 2020s, Time’s Person Of The Year and an artist so universally popular that she can single-handedly boost NFL TV ratings and jersey sales, she was an aspiring songwriter with a guitar and a dream. But what guitars did Taylor Swift use?

And like any other guitar lover, the more famous and successful Tay-Tay has become, the more interesting and unique guitars she’s added to to her collection – mainly some acoustics but also a fair few interesting electrics along the way.

The epoch-defining Eras Tour has revealed the full gamut of Taylor’s unique and interesting guitar collection, and also showcased it to a wider audience than ever before – it is of course the highest grossing tour of all time, a $200-million cinema box office smash, and is likely to break the internet all over again when The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version) launches on Disney+ today.

Taylor with her baby blue Gibson J-180 (Photo by Fernando Leon/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

The Eras Tour is a three and a half hour trip through Taylor’s entire career to date – from her self-titled 2006 debut all the through to Midnights – and most interestingly of all from a Guitar.com perspective, the tour has seen her showcase many of the guitars she used to write and perform those songs at the time.

As such, The Eras Tour gives us a definitive picture of what guitars Taylor Swift uses – many of which are custom-versions of standard models, or rare limited-run designs – read on to find out more about Taylor’s guitar history, and your best options to capture Taylor Swift guitar tones in the real world.

Taylor’s Taylors

Taylor with her diamante-clad Taylor GS6, which was retired in about 2007 (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

It’s perhaps not shocking that going all the way back to her earliest records, Taylor Swift has been a fan of Californian acoustic guitar company Taylor Guitars – after all, who needs a signature model when your name is already right there on the headstock!

Taylor’s Taylor guitars are clearly very sentimental to her, as she’s used them constantly throughout her career, and brought out some of her most cherished examples on the Eras Tour – they’re also some of her most iconic instruments, including her custom red Taylor 614ce that was the main acoustic on the Red Tour, and a diamante-encrusted GS6 that was used on the Fearless Tour in 2008.

Taylor Presentation Series PS-24ce Grand Auditorium

Taylor’s Taylor PS24 (Photo by Scott Eisen/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

If there’s one guitar that we think might be Taylor’s most sentimental instrument, it’s this one – this stunning guitar has a flamed koa body with a distinctive matching soundhole cover and a ‘Taylor Swift’ in what Taylor calls a ‘Byzantine inlay’ on the fingerboard.

A custom-build, this is based on Taylor’s super-high end Presentation Serie PS-24ce Grand Auditorium model, but with a very unconventional ‘Florentine’ cutaway, which has a sharp point, unlike a regular GA model. The guitar also has an ebony peghead and bridge, Gotoh tuners and ivoroid binding.

Taylor started using the guitar around 2007, but it’s clearly a meaningful one as she’s been using it for several songs on The Eras Tour, and displaying it proudly on a stand in front of the audience when she’s not using it.

Get the sound: Taylor’s 214ce is an affordable route to a similar kind of look and sound, with Grand Auditorium body style and koa top

Taylor Grand Symphony “Living Jewels” Series

Taylor’s ‘Living Jewels’ Taylor Guitar (Photo by Ashok Kumar/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

This guitar is often referred to as the “Living Jewels” Guitar or the “Koi Guitar”, and is one of the most distinctive and unique instruments seen on The Eras Tour. She first began using the Living Jewels guitar around 2011-2012 during the Speak Now Tour, famously performing songs like Last Kiss. She also used it in 2022 for the music video Anti-Hero, and even put the guitar on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame until it was removed in 2023 for use on the Eras Tour.

This particular guitar came from a very limited series of acoustics designed by Pete Davies Jr. around the year 2000. Only around 100 of these guitars were made, in different designs – one featuring a grey whale, one with a sea turtle, and one with koi fish that Taylor owns. Each of the guitars features beautifully ornate inlay work of the aforementioned sea creatures on the body and fretboard.

Get the sound: While these guitars are incredibly rare, if you’re just looking for a tonal alternative, you might opt for a standard Grand Symphony, with a spruce top and maple back – which won’t give you the cool koi art but will have everything under the hood to replicate her tone. If you’re looking for a similar design with a smaller size for a smaller frame, Taylor’s hugely popular GS Mini line is a perfect place to start – and Taylor even has a signature model version.

The Gibson Eras

Taylor with her pink Gibson J-180 (Photo by TAS2023 via Getty Images)

As befits any country star worth her salt, Taylor has had a long love affair with Gibson guitars – particularly the brand’s acoustic instruments. However, the Eras Tour has seen Gibsons replace Taylors as her primary instruments, with a whole host of new and bespoke instruments of various types that often have colours and customisations that reflect the various albums that she’s referencing in that portion of the show.

While none of these guitars is commercially available (yet!), they have quickly become as iconic as the popularity of the Eras Tour has exploded, with each of the unique instruments telling its own story about a period in Taylor’s glittering music career.

Gibson J-180

Taylor’s diamante-clad Gibson J-180 (Photo by Christopher Jue/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management )

While several of the guitars used on The Eras Tour are instruments she’s pulled out of the rack from the period in question, she’s also brought out several new instruments that are themselves designed to nod to those eras, but with her 2024 sonic preferences.

Key amongst these are a series of Gibson guitars derived from the company’s iconic SJ-200 model – first introduced back in 1937 and used by everyone from The Everly Brothers and Jimmy Page to Billie Joe Armstrong and Justin Timberlake.

Swift recreated her crystal rhinestone-encrusted Taylor Guitars GS6 that was used on the Fearless Tour for The Eras Tour, only this time she used a Gibson J-180 (a thinner-depthed version of the J-200). The GS6 was retired sometime around 2013, but the new guitar featured around 5,400 Swarovski Lead Crystals attached with silicone epoxy by Taylor and her family just days before the tour – the original GS6 was apparently also blinged out by Taylor and her mom.

One notable difference between the new guitar and the original – the addition of a “13” (Swift’s favourite number) rhinestone pattern just behind the bridge.

Taylor clearly really loves the J-180 body shape, as she’s also got several other customised versions of the guitar, including pink and powder blue examples, plus a black one that she auctioned off for charity in 2020 – the guitars are notable for having star inlays on the fretboard as opposed to the usual dots or blocks.

Get the sound: Sadly, Gibson doesn’t produce the J-180 currently, so a standard J-200 is your best bet. If you’re looking for the vibe on a more condensed budget, the Epiphone J-200 is a really good guitar for the money.

Gibson J-45

Taylor’s black sparkle Gibson J-45 (Photo by Christopher Jue/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management )

While the J-180 might be her preferred instrument, The Eras Tour also sees Swift playing two different versions of Gibson’s J-45 model – one in a deep red colour and one in a black sparkle finish. Unlike the J-180s these guitars just have standard dot inlays and feel a bit more restrained.
As with pretty much all of Taylor’s guitars though, these J-45s are certainly custom builds, given that they use non-standard finishes, and do not feature pickguards.

Get the sound: Thankfully, Gibson’s J-45 is still in production, though it’s certainly not cheap you can get it in both Cherry Red and Black. If your budget doesn’t stretch to that however, the Epiphone J-45 might be more up your street.

Gibson Hummingbird

Taylor’s Gibson Hummingbird (Photo by Scott Eisen/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

Most of the guitars we’ve seen Taylor use on The Eras Tour have been heavily customised and personalised, but there’s one guitar that has the distinction of being stock – a Cherry Sunburst Gibson Hummingbird. Asides from the soundhole plug to prevent feedback (which is common with all her guitars) this instrument is pretty much identical to the guitar you could walk into a store and buy today – including that iconic hummingbird motif on the pickguard.

Get the sound: As mentioned, Taylor’s Hummingbird seems pretty much stock, which means you can buy one from Gibson’s Original Collection today. If you’re not up for spending thousands however, there’s an Epiphone Inspired By version that even comes in the right colour.

Taylor’s Electrics

Taylor Swift Red Les Paul
Taylor with her diamanté-clad Les Paul (Photo by Larry Busacca/TAS/Getty Images for TAS)

The Eras Tour sees Swift relying mostly on her acoustic guitar collection, and leaving the electric guitar work to her backing band – that said, she has been known to use a variety of electric guitars over the years, including a red-sparkle Les Paul Standard, a similar guitar with mini-humbuckers, a Les Paul Studio with red diamante finish, and even Taylor T5 and a Johnny Marr Jaguar back in the day.

The Red Sparkle Les Paul Studio even got a run-out on the opening night of The Eras Tour, though the other guitars have yet to make an appearance – they’re all pretty stock spec-wise however.

Get the sound: Taylor has generally been drawn to Gibson-style single-cut guitars over the years, particularly the Les Paul – while her guitars are custom, the recently released Gibson Les Paul Modern Lite is available in a very Tay Tay-style matt red finish.

Taylor’s Gibson Les Paul with mini-humbuckers (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

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