Lindsey Buckingham, the acclaimed guitar player, has captivated listeners with his distinctive playing style throughout his tenure with Fleetwood Mac and his solo career.

His skillful blend of fingerpicking and rhythmic strumming creates a sound that’s as iconic as the music he plays. The seamless integration of his technique with Fleetwood Mac’s classic songs has left a lasting influence on the guitar community.

Both Buckingham’s acoustic and electric guitar work are integral to his sound, but he is perhaps most notably associated with the Rick Turner Model 1 guitar. This instrument is synonymous with his musical identity, and his use of other models and acoustic guitars from Gibson and Taylor further showcases the versatility of his playing.

His choice of amplification and effects contribute to a sound that is rich and immediately recognizable.

kind of guitar does lindsey buckingham use

Key Takeaways

  • Lindsey Buckingham is celebrated for his guitar work with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist.
  • His playing style is versatile, encompassing both intricate fingerpicking and dynamic strumming.
  • The Rick Turner Model 1 guitar is closely associated with Buckingham’s electric guitar sound.

Influences and Musical Style

Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar style is a distinctive blend of rock and blues, shaped by his early influences and honed through his work with Fleetwood Mac. He’s known for a unique fingerpicking approach that sets him apart in the pantheon of rock guitarists.

Rock and Blues Foundations

Buckingham cut his teeth on the rock and blues genres, deriving his inimitable sound from these foundational styles. The strong, emotive power of blues, which can be heard in tracks like “I’m So Afraid,” displays his capability to infuse soul into his licks and riffs.

His rock-oriented musicianship is marked by creative chord arrangements and dynamic strumming patterns, exerting a significant influence on Fleetwood Mac’s sound.

Fleetwood Mac and Collaborations

Joining Fleetwood Mac in 1975 alongside Stevie Nicks, Buckingham’s style evolved through his collaborations with the band. His dynamic partnership with Nicks and the influence of the group’s founder, Peter Green, further molded Buckingham’s distinctive musical style.

His tenure with Fleetwood Mac produced iconic songs characterized by intricate, layered guitar work that showcased Buckingham’s versatility and nuanced approach to the six-string.

Acoustic Guitars

Lindsey Buckingham’s acoustic guitar selection showcases his appreciation for superior craftsmanship, particularly his favored Taylor 814ce . This model is a prime example of his preference for high-quality acoustic instruments.

Taylor Guitars

The Taylor 814ce is the standout acoustic guitar in Buckingham’s collection. This model is renowned for its Sitka spruce top, which contributes to the guitar’s vibrant and clear tone. Coupled with Indian rosewood back and sides, the 814ce delivers a well-rounded sound that is as resonant as it is powerful.

The neck is typically made of mahogany, offering a comfortable playing experience. The Taylor 814ce comes equipped with the Expression System 2 pickup, giving Buckingham the flexibility to translate the nuances of his acoustic performances in a live setting.

Other Acoustic Instruments

Buckingham’s arsenal also includes a range of other remarkable acoustic guitars. He has been seen playing the Gibson Chet Atkins CE, a nylon-string guitar ideal for the fingerpicking style he is known for.

Another notable inclusion is the Martin D-18, which delivers a classic American acoustic sound characterized by its warmth. The Ovation Balladeer and a 12-string guitar have also been known to feature in his acoustic renditions. Strings like the D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light Guitar Strings ensure his acoustics maintain the tonal clarity and robustness his music demands.

Electric Guitars

Lindsey Buckingham’s contributions to the sounds of Fleetwood Mac and his solo performances can be attributed to his distinctive choice of electric guitars. Known for a particular playing style, Buckingham’s guitars are not only tools but extensions of his musical expression, offering a vast palette of tonal possibilities.

Turner Model One

The Turner Model 1, particularly the Turner Model 1-C-LB, is synonymous with Lindsey Buckingham. This Rick Turner-crafted guitar features a chambered mahogany body, contributing to its resonant and warm sound, and is equipped with a Turner humbucker which provides his unique, rich tone.

The Model 1 is often associated with his fingerpicking technique, especially highlighted in performances of Big Love. The 1-C-LB variation is a signature model, customized with features like Fishman Prefix electronics that include a semi-parametric EQ, allowing for precise sound shaping.

Gibson Models

Among the Gibson models, Buckingham has wielded the Gibson Les Paul Standard as well as the more luxurious Gibson Les Paul Custom, known for its sleek appearance and powerful output.

The Les Paul design, with its solid body and substantial weight, produces a thick and creamy tone that complements Buckingham’s electric style on songs like Go Your Own Way. Additionally, he has been seen playing the Gibson Chet Atkins CE, a solid-body guitar that offers a blend of traditional acoustic and electric guitar features.

Fender Guitars

Fender’s iconic models, the Fender Stratocaster and the Fender Telecaster, also make appearances in Buckingham’s guitar collection. The Fender Strat, famously played by guitarists such as Jeff Beck, offers a versatile sound palette with its three pickups and is known for its comfortable contoured body design.

The sound of a Fender Strat is a staple in the world of rock guitar as highlighted by Guitar World. On the other hand, the Telecaster’s straightforward, cutting tone is a result of its simple yet effective design, often described as having a ‘twangy’ sound lending itself to both rhythm and lead playing. Both models have been crafted from ash, a wood choice that imparts a bright and resonant quality to these solid-body guitars.

Amplification and Effects

Lindsey Buckingham’s sound is greatly influenced by his choice of amplification and effects, which provide him with the distinct tones that complement his guitar playing. Known for his precise and clean sound, Buckingham’s setup has evolved over time, showcasing a range of amplifiers and effects that contribute to his signature style.


Lindsey Buckingham’s arsenal of amplifiers includes the SWR California Blonde, known for its warm acoustic sound and versatility. For electric guitars, he has been associated with the powerful Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-O-Verb, which offers a rich tone and high gain capable of producing controlled feedback and sustain.

He also utilizes Trace Elliot amps for certain sounds, further diversifying his amplification choices. Each amp provides a different texture, from clean, acoustic voicing to the aggressive bite of electric amplification.

Pedals and Effects

In terms of effects, Buckingham favors a minimalist approach. Key elements of his pedalboard include the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive, which adds a warm overdrive tone, and the Boss DD-3 Digital Delay, enhancing his sound with precise delay effects.

Notably, he employs the Boss RC-30 Looper for layering guitar parts and background vocals during live performances. Furthermore, the application of chorus effects via his amplifiers augments his nylon-string guitar pieces with a shimmering depth, and reverb is used to create atmospheric dimensions in his sound. The strategic use of these effects allows Buckingham to maintain both clarity and richness in his live and studio work.

Playing Technique

Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar playing technique is a distinctive blend of fingerpicking styles which contributes to his signature sound. His approach to the guitar utilizes both the nuanced control of finger dynamics and a deep understanding of the guitar’s tonal possibilities.

Fingerpicking Style

Buckingham’s fingerpicking style is characterized by its precision and rhythm. He does not usually use a traditional flat pick, instead relying on his fingers to pluck the strings.

His approach is heavily influenced by Chet Atkins and the Travis picking style — a method of playing that involves a steady bass pattern with the thumb and melodic fills with the fingers. Buckingham’s technique is unique in how he employs his fingers, creating complex textures and percussive rhythms directly on the acoustic guitar.

Unique Tunings

One of Buckingham’s signatures in his playing style is his use of unique tunings. He often experiments with different tunings to create specific soundscapes, including the Drop D tuning which lowers the sixth string one whole tone, giving his music a richer and deeper sound.

The use of guitars like those with the LR Baggs T-Bridge piezo system, often found in high-quality acoustic guitars made from Sitka spruce and Indian rosewood, allows for nuanced volume control and tone control. These elements are vital for Buckingham’s ability to express subtle sonic shifts during live performances and recordings.

Iconic Songs and Performances

Lindsey Buckingham’s contributions to music have been immortalized through his exceptional work on studio recordings and unforgettable live performances. His intricate guitar techniques have shaped the sound of classic hits and electrified audiences around the world.

Studio Recordings

  • “Go Your Own Way”: Featured on Fleetwood Mac’s critically acclaimed album Rumours, this song showcases Buckingham’s adept guitar playing. The track is known for its distinct guitar riff, making it a staple in rock music history.
  • “Big Love”: A single from the Tango in the Night album. Buckingham’s guitar work on this track is a marvel of precision, characterized by his unique fingerpicking style.
  • “Never Going Back Again”: A testament to Buckingham’s acoustic prowess, this serene track from the album Rumours is both intricate and melodically rich.
  • “Tusk”: This title track from the album of the same name features Buckingham’s innovative approach to guitar playing, creating a rhythmically complex and textured sound.

Live Appearances

  • Landslide: During live performances, Buckingham’s rendition of “Landslide” often leaves audiences captivated by its emotive guitar accompaniment, demonstrating his versatility as a musician.
  • “Come”: Even in a live setting, Buckingham’s ability to deliver intense and passionate guitar work shines through in performances of this song from the album Say You Will.
  • Live Performances of “Rumours”: Buckingham’s dynamic stage presence and guitar artistry in live renditions of songs from the Rumours album continue to receive high praise from fans and critics alike.
  • Reinterpretations of “Big Love”: In live performances, his solo acoustic version of “Big Love” is a tour de force, offering an entirely new interpretation that is both raw and powerful.

Guitar Accessories and Strings

Lindsey Buckingham’s distinct sound is not only the result of his unique playing style but also his choice of guitar strings and accessories. His strings of choice for electric guitars are typically D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound, Regular Light, which strike a balance between flexibility and full-toned performance. These strings, gauged at 0.010-0.046, contribute to the articulate and bright sound Buckingham is known for.

On his acoustic guitars, Buckingham favors lighter strings that facilitate his intricate fingerpicking technique. Given his reliance on tonal clarity, he likely opts for strings that offer consistency and durability alongside a bright sound.

In addition to strings, the pickups on Buckingham’s guitars play a crucial role. His main guitar, the Rick Turner Model 1, features a unique setup with a rotary pickup selector and an active preamp system—specifically the Fishman Prefix—that includes customized EQ settings. This preamp setup is integral to shaping the broad tonal palette that Buckingham accesses during live performances and studio recordings.

While primarily recognized as a guitarist, in his role as a bass guitarist, a precision in tone and equipment selection would be similarly critical. This ensures tight, cohesive interplay within the low-end frequencies of a track, though Buckingham is best known for his guitar work.

For those who might consider using a Les Paul, Buckingham’s brief period with Gibson Les Pauls reveals his taste for versatile instruments, as Les Pauls are equipped with humbucker pickups known for their rich, full sound—a contrast to the single coils and customized pickups he predominantly uses.

Overall, Lindsey Buckingham’s approach to guitar accessories and strings demonstrates a meticulous attention to the details that contribute to his signature sound.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lindsey Buckingham’s distinctive guitar playing is a combination of technique and tone shaped by his choice of instruments. This section addresses commonly asked questions about the guitars that have accompanied Buckingham’s musical journey.

Which guitars are known to be Lindsey Buckingham’s favorites?

Lindsey Buckingham has a well-documented preference for several guitars, including the Fender Telecaster for its versatility and the Rick Turner Model 1, which has become a signature part of his sound.

What are the specifications of the Rick Turner Model 1 that Lindsey Buckingham plays?

The Rick Turner Model 1 that Lindsey Buckingham uses features a unique blend of an electric and acoustic guitar design, with a mahogany body and maple neck. Its custom electronics add to its versatility, allowing for a wide range of sounds, which is detailed in the recount of Buckingham’s quest for the perfect guitar.

How does Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar choice reflect on his playing style?

Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar choice reflects his intricate fingerpicking style and dynamic range. Opting for guitars like the Marshall Super Lead 1959 amp paired with the Gibson Les Paul or his customized Rick Turner Model 1, Buckingham is able to achieve his signature rich, warm tones and articulate sound.

During his tenure with Fleetwood Mac, which guitars did Lindsey Buckingham frequently play?

During his time with Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham was often seen playing a variety of guitars, with the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Telecaster being some of the most iconic, along with the Rick Turner Model 1 once it was developed.

What type of Taylor guitar is associated with Lindsey Buckingham for acoustic performances?

Lindsey Buckingham is known to integrate Taylor guitars for his acoustic performances, using the quality and craftsmanship of these guitars to complement his fingerstyle technique and deliver clear, resonant sound.

Can you describe the unique features of the Rick Turner Model 1-C-LB guitar?

The Rick Turner Model 1-C-LB guitar is a Lindsey Buckingham signature model featuring a semi-hollow body made from choice mahogany and a rotating pickup for different tonal options, reflecting Buckingham’s love for tonal diversity and meticulous attention to detail in his instruments.


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