Unplugged: Zac Brown Band’s Guitars and Their Sonic Identity

Imagine the lights dimming at your favorite concert venue. The anticipation swells as you hear the first strum of an acoustic guitar, not just any guitar, but one that has become the very heartbeat of the Zac Brown Band. It’s a captivating sound, stirring your emotions, yet you can’t quite put your finger on why it’s so unique.

Welcome to an in-depth look at the guitars behind the sonic identity of the famed Zac Brown Band. I’m Adam Perlmutter, renowned guitar journalist and editor, and I’ll be your guide, navigating through a journey of soundscapes brilliantly crafted by the Zac Brown Band instruments. From intimate interviews to personal experiences, we’re diving into the intriguing world of chords, strum patterns, and ultimately, the guitar’s influence on the band’s distinctive sound.

Strap yourself in; you’re about to discover the transformative power of the Zac Brown Band’s strings. Whether you’re a beginner guitar enthusiast or a seasoned rockstar, this exploration will tune you in to the authentic auditory magic of the Zac Brown Band guitar.

What Guitars Does the Zac Brown Band Play?

Zac Brown’s Guitars

Zac Brown's Guitars

In examining Zac Brown’s guitar arsenal, we see that it is a testament to his authenticity as a musician. Notably, Taylor Guitars, a brand synonymous with quality across the industry, consistently features in his performances. Taylor’s versatility perfectly complements Brown’s dynamic range, from soulful country ballads to hearty rock anthems.

Naturally, custom guitars also form a crucial part of Brown’s collection. The Z Brown custom guitar stands as a symbol of his personal sonic identity, a blend of rich country roots, seasoned with deft modern nuances. These custom guitars are as characterful and unique as Z Brown himself, enhancing the experience both for the artist and the listener.

We must imagine a meticulous curation process behind these choices, drawing from years of exposure, experimentation, and aspirations. It resonates to my own intimate dances with different guitar models, adding another layer of joy to mapping the axes of Zac Brown Band.

As we move forward to delve separately into the guitars of individual band members, this overview propels a deeper understanding of the band’s collective soundscape, underpinned by Zac Brown’s expressive toolkit of stringed wonders.

Band Members’ Guitars

Band Members' Guitars

Examining the band members’ instruments uncovers an interesting array of choices, as I’ve seen during my years with ‘Acoustic Guitar’ magazine. The commitment to create their unique sound is evident in their equipment. For instance, Coy Bowles, the band’s lead guitarist, often strums on the Gibson ES-335. This guitar’s versatility matches Bowles’ deft switch between country twang and bluesy rock. It features prominently in many of their hits, contributing greatly to their sonic identity.

On the other hand, Jimmy De Martini, the band’s fiddle player, alternates between a classical instrument and an acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar’s resonance complements his fiddle playing beautifully, creating a seamless blend of old and new sounds that’s so characteristic of Zac Brown Band. These instruments are not selected randomly; each one is a conscious decision that showcases the band’s creativity and musical prowess.

In the next section, we’ll delve into why these guitars are chosen, keeping in mind their contributions to the band’s overall sound.

Why These Guitars Are Chosen

Why These Guitars Are Chosen

As an expert, having analyzed guitars for years, and also the author of ‘Jim Hall: Signature Licks’, I bring my unique lens to the selection of guitars by the Zac Brown Band. When it comes to identifying a band’s signature sound, the choice of guitars plays a substantial role. Let’s dig into why Zac Brown prefers a specific guitar model.

Why does Zac Brown Band prefer Honduran Mahogany guitars? The choice of guitar models goes beyond mere aesthetics. Not only does this choice contribute to the band’s signature sound but it also talks volumes about their understanding of tonal properties in diverse wood types. The Honduran Mahogany Guitar, for instance, is chosen for its warm, soft tone and striking mid-range, a sound that perfectly harmonizes with Zac Brown Band’s signature style.

Apart from the rich resonance of Honduran Mahogany, Zac Brown often opts for a Spruce top guitar. Known for its strong, clear, and balanced tonal output, a spruce top offers a compelling contrast to the depth of the mahogany, creating a distinctive, poignant sound that has become synonymous with the band’s image.

The manner in which the band match the tonal properties of their chosen guitars to their music, shows a deep understanding of guitar identification. It gives insight into how thoughtfully they carve out their sonic identity.

Choosing a guitar, for Zac Brown Band, is not a mere selection of an instrument. It’s adding another member to the ensemble, a member that contributes to the band’s distinct sound. The band’s choices highlight their deep-rooted understanding of tonality paired with their innovative approach to creating music.

Where and When the Guitars Are Played

In Studios

In Studios

When observing Zac Brown Band in the studio, their deeper connection with acoustic guitars becomes evident. Essentially, their studio setting reveals their sonic identity, linked to their guitar usage. As I lent my ear to the music, their intricate weavings of sound communicated volumes. Listening into the space, one can gently identify characterful notes that betoken the acoustic guitar’s charm.

As far as guitar playing tips go, watching Zac Brown Band in the studio sparked a key realization— the importance of understanding your instrument’s dynamics. It’s not always about playing with high intensity, but focusing on the subtler, nuanced moments that acoustic guitars can bring to the table. Indeed, within these quieter reflections, one can discover the profound richness of this band’s music.

In conveying their narrative, each strum and chord choice provides a different shade of expression, blooming within the studio’s intimate confines. It’s in these spaces that their music – much like their guitars – truly resonates.

On Tours

On Tours

My numerous tours with various artists have let me witness the magic of live performance guitar gear, particularly the mesmerizing guitar rig rundown of the Zac Brown Band. A consistency in venues, be it in wind-swept open-air stadiums or in intimate indoor settings, marks their guitar gear setup. The band’s sonic identity is inextricably linked to where and when they play, a testament to their experience, versatility and mindful choice of instruments. On tours, they adapt their guitar gear to communicate the essence of their music with the audience, reflecting the energy of the location in their performance.

Their rig rundown – an array of guitars with varying tone woods, pickups and shapes – each featuring in specific songs to cater to the acoustics of respective tour venues. No two performances are identical; the gear changes in response to the venue’s unique ‘sonic fingerprint’. This versatility is a vital aspect of their distinctive sound.

How to Play Zac Brown Band songs

Beginners Guide

Beginners Guide

With a profound understanding of the Zac Brown Band’s sonic identity, it’s time to dive into the ‘Beginners Guide’. Here, I want to share the basics of Zac Brown guitar lessons, breaking down their iconic sounds into digestible lessons for novice players. The key is to start simple. Try mastering the open chords first, like G, C, and D. These are frequently used in many of their songs. One vital tip is to pay attention to rhythm—it’s not just about playing the right notes, but also playing them with the right feel.

You also might want to experiment with alternate tunings, a common practice in the band’s music. Do not be discouraged if it seems difficult at first—remember, every accomplished guitarist started exactly where you are now.

By trying out these guitar playing tips, you will hopefully cultivate a solid foundation and eventually capture the essence of the Zac Brown Band’s music. Next, let’s progress to the techniques for more advanced players in our journey.

For Advanced Players

For Advanced Players

As we delve into the terrain of advanced techniques in the artistry of Zac Brown Band’s distinctive music, our journey’s focus hones in on detailed nuances. The guitar rig rundown assumes critical relevance here. Possessing in-depth knowledge of the band’s intricate setup not only enhances your understanding of their signature sound, but also elevates your performance levels.

The guitar tunings, another vital element, are worth an in-depth exploration. Zac Brown’s music often incorporates non-standard tunings, enriching the tonal texture and providing a unique sonic character to songs. Mastering these tunings opens up a diverse range and depth of sounds.

Your journey to emulate Zac Brown’s music extends beyond replicating chords and riffs. An understanding and adoption of his techniques, tunings, and guitar-rig specifics directly contribute to your development as an advanced player, offering a true reflection of the band’s sonic identity.

As reflected in the previous sections, an integrated approach to learning and a marked investment of time into understanding will polishedly solidify your performance skills, carving a promising path in this intricate learning process.


Which guitars does Zac Brown Band utilize?

Zac Brown Band is known for using a diverse range of guitars, including models from top brands like Gibson, Fender, and Martin. The specific models vary based on song, venue and personal preference.

How do these guitars contribute to Zac Brown Band’s sonic identity?

The guitars used by Zac Brown Band are a key part of their sonic identity. Each model has its unique sound characteristics and tonal qualities, helping to shape the unique blend of country, bluegrass, and rock that the band is known for. Different guitars are often used to create different moods within their music.

What is the significance of ‘unplugged’ in Zac Brown Band’s music?

The ‘unplugged’ approach signifies a focus on acoustic instruments and raw, unprocessed sound. Zac Brown Band’s unplugged performances highlight their musical skills and the natural tones of their instruments — factors that have shaped their sonic identity, contributing to their unique and recognizable sound.


Tuning in to Zac Brown Band’s music, do you now hear the stories each guitar tells? As an avid fan and analyst, I’ve come to understand the significant role each of their instruments plays in creating their distinctive sound. The Zac Brown Band instruments, inclusive of various guitar models, have been painstakingly chosen and played in studios and on tours to craft their unique sonic identity.

The voices of their guitars – whether it’s Zac’s ringside Martin HD-28 or Matt’s trusty Gibson – are as varied as the band’s catalogue in itself. It’s been an exploration delving into the profound understanding and passion each band member has for their instruments, and the personal connection they have with the guitars that make their music come alive. Ultimately, their choices reveal their commitment to authenticity – a parallel to my own quest for authentic interpretation of their music.

This journey has equipped both beginners and advanced guitar players with the context needed to play Zac Browns Band songs effectively. Fully comprehending the nuances and intricacies of the band’s tool of choice has undoubtedly enriched the way I listen to, play, and appreciate their music. What was once just sound has now become an orchestration of stories, a symphony of the band’s soulful journey. These personal reflections echo the broader essence of music – using instruments to share our individual and collective narratives.

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