Rig Report

The Guitars of Keith Urban

When Keith Urban came to town, Rebecca Dirks jumped at the chance to check out the creative and unconventional guitar rig of one of country music's biggest stars.

  • By Rebecca Dirks @tonereport
  • January 09, 2014


Though he's most comfortable on Fenders, Urban tours with—and uses—a number of vintage Gibsons as well. Most often seen is a 1962 Gibson ES-335, which sported a Bigsby early in its life, and is used on "Sweet Thing." Another of the flood-damaged guitars, it was rebuilt by Glaser and Miller says it sounds about the same as it did before the flood. The only semi-hollow on the roster, the original pickups do veer into feedback issues at times, particularly when paired with four live cabinets running at "battle volume."

Urban also uses an original 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop that's been fitted with a Joe Glaser brass compensated tailpiece that is designed so Keith can play by the bridge and palm mute. He uses the guitar in drop D with a capo at the first fret for "Stupid Boy," or in standard for "Until Summer Comes Around."

Other vintage Gibsons on the road include a newly-acquired 1961 SG Junior in near-pristine condition that's stock other than a wraparound bridge that was installed by a previous owner, a "tremendous sounding" 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior with a Glaser compensated tailpiece that was used for "Stupid Boy" for years, and a crew-favorite '59 Gibson doublecut Les Paul Junior that doesn't see stage time.

One of the surprises in the arsenal is a pair of PRS Miras with Lindy Fralin P-90s and a wraparound bridge. Miller says that the 24.5" scale guitar plays great, is comfortable, and just sits right. Urban uses the Miras on the mainstage and satellite stage for "Kiss a Girl" and "Long Hot Summer."

All of Urban's electrics (other than the Camera Guitar) are on cables. After using wireless for many years, Urban tried the "backup" cable input that Miller had and never went back. They use Planet Waves American Stage 50' cables, D'Addario Pure Nickel strings (11-48), and Dunlop Herco Flex 75 picks.

For acoustic songs—"Told Ya So" and "Raining on Sunday" on this tour—Urban uses a 2009 Maton EBG 808 with stock electronics. Miller says the Maton is a great road guitar because it's very stable "and can take a beating," which is suited for Urban's percussive acoustic playing style. The acoustic is on a Shure wireless unit into an MXR Bass Compressor to a Radial JD7.

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  1. dg


  2. Marvin

    Why this guy needs more than one guitar at all is a mystery. Keith Urban? Really?

  3. Lgreen

    Marvin.  Really?  You obviously haven’t heard him play nor attended his concerts.

  4. Floyd Newsome

    Received my 50pc acoustic electric yesterday. Disappointed in string to fret height especially as you get closer to the sound hole.

  5. vince

    The urban acoustic guitar my son got for Christmas looks awesome, but sounds terrible,  dead, and not good.  A big disappointment.

  6. Randolph Roeder

    I’d far rather read about The Guitars of Keith Levene

  7. Tommy B

    The guitar Keith played on the tribute to the Bee Gees, awesome wondering what it was. Great playing