The Rolling Stones have created some of the most iconic music of the past fifty years, and from the very beginning, the creative soul of the Stones has been guitarist Keith Richards and singer Mick Jagger. Typically, Keith would come up with a riff or two and maybe a lyric line or a title, Mick would come back with lyrics and a melody. Together, they would work out a song from the elements, one of hundreds they would contribute to the rock and roll canon. Their decades in the studio and on stage represent an essential part of the history of rock, just as the tales of their rock and roll excess are now the stuff of legend. While others might not have been able to achieve, or endure, such a long and storied career, Keith Richards has thrived through his love of both the music, and the tools of his trade.
Keith Richards is said to have a collection of more than 3,000 guitars of every imaginable model, but he jokes “Give me five minutes and I’ll make ‘em all sound the same.” He admits that it is probably too many guitars, since he doesn’t have enough time to play all of them, and he announced in 2008 that he wanted to open a museum. Out of all of those guitars, there are several standouts in his collection that he does play regularly, and a few historical instruments that deserve special attention. Let’s take a few minutes to look at them.