The country star shows us his favorite gear backstage at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

PG’s John Bohlinger hung out with Hunter Hayes before his second sold-out show in a row at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, where Hayes gave us the story behind some of his favorite guitars and played one of his killer riffs on the first guitar he bought.


Hayes’ lyric writing doesn't end when the album comes out—he's written lyrics, chalkboard-style, all over his amps, many of his guitars, and on stage pieces. His No. 1 electric is a modified 1996 Fender Strat Deluxe Plus with an LSR Roller Nut and Lollar Blackface pickups. Although the guitar originally had a sunburst finish, Hayes gave it the chalkboard treatment this past January. He strings the guitar with Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys.


Hayes uses two vintage Fender Deluxes whose guts have been put into head boxes. One amp is for clean tones, the other is for lead, and each drives a 2x12 Ladner cabinet.


As for Hayes pedalboard, it’s fairly straightforward: His signal comes from a Shure wireless and goes to a Pedaltrain 2 board loaded with a Radial SGI RX, Boss TU-3 tuner, Demeter Compulator, Keeley Compressor (the 2-knob version), TC Electronic ND-1 Nova Delay, Fulltone OCD, Analog Man King of Tone, TC Electronic Flashback, and a 3rd Power Amplification A/B box that selects between Hayes’ Deluxe amps. The effects are powered with a Voodoo Lab 4x4, and wired with Mogami cables equipped with Switchcraft jacks.


Here’s a story about the most interesting man in the world.

“The guitar is my first love, my partner in life. We grew up together and we’ll most likely die together.” —Thom Bresh

One of the best benefits of being a musician is that musicians know musicians, and musicians are the most interesting people you’ll ever meet. Albert Einstein, Charles Dickens, Georgia O’Keeffe, the Marx Brothers, Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Juliette Lewis, Jack Black, and Zooey Deschanel are or were musicians, albeit not full-time.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to for inclusion in a future gallery.

How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

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