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


The Reverse Clapton, or RC, is one of three once-identical late-'80s Clapton Strats that Urban has since modified, and is his go-to Strat that get gets used extensively each night. Urban prefers the Clapton Strats for the mid-boost, using it for extra sustain on those "big rock god" notes. The RC has a reverse Fender Custom Shop Cabronita neck, Fender Custom Shop '50s Fat Strat neck and middle pickups, and a DiMarzio Area 67 in the bridge. The other Clapton Strats on the road with him are spares: one with a gold pickguard and DiMarzio Injectors and the other with a regular Cabronita neck, Suhr pickups, and an EMG Afterburner installed for 20dB boost.

Another Strat in the lineup is "Silver," which started life as a Fender Robert Cray Strat and was rebuilt by Glaser. Now equipped with a Cabronita neck, the guitar also boasts a thick mirrored pickguard (with no neck pickup), a DiMarzio Injector in the bridge and Area 67 in the middle, a Tele 3-way switch, and a Clapton Mid-Boost. The guitar is used for "Good Thing," "We Were Us," and tuned down a half step for "Cop Car."


As for the vintage Strats, Urban uses a '64 Stratocaster with a new pickguard and pickups: DiMarzio Injectors in the neck and bridge and an Area 67 in the middle. He uses the guitar tuned up a half step and played every night for "Little Bit of Everything" (using the neck pickup) and "Without You" (bridge and middle).

Urban's '54 Strat is incredibly clean, having been a one-family guitar prior to his purchase. He swapped the pickguard to black/white/black and pickups to DiMarzio injectors with an Area 67 in the middle. Miller explains that the pickup change isn't for gain, it's simply to bring up the level of the guitar—"[The original pickups] sound great, but don't work in this context." The '54 rarely makes an appearance in the set.

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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