By Any Other Name….These Guitars Would Still Kick Ass – A review of’s favorite guitar names.

If you know your electric guitar history, you also know that mid-twentieth century car culture had a major influence on the evolution of electric guitar design. Fender was famous for looking to the auto industry for it’s custom color finish, and Gibson’s Ted McCarty hired Ray Dietrich, an automotive designer, to bring a little flair and excitement to Gibson’s offerings. Good move: Dietrich’s eye for curves gave Gibson the Firebird, a model still revered almost sixty years after its introduction.

Another interesting parallel between both worlds is naming convention. Hell, they even share names in some cases; “Firebird” (Gibson actually had it before Pontiac), “Thunderbird” (Ford and Gibson), “Baretta/Beretta” (Kramer and Chevrolet), “Mustang” (Ford and Fender), “Jaguar”(eh…probably just a coincidence), and “Jazzmaster” (just kidding, that’s all Fender).

Anyways, we here at decided to talk about some of our favorite guitar model appellations. While these choices have nothing to do with the sound or looks or any of that stuff as factors, we don’t think it’s coincidence that some of the best-named guitars out there also excel in other categories. Disgaree? Did we give the shaft to some worthy model? That’s what the comments section is for! Here we go!


Fender Stratocaster

Sorry, not sorry: there’s no real competition here. Everything about this name is total perfection. When this writer was a young buck, just starting out on his Yamaha nylon string acoustic, the mere mention or appearance of the word “Stratocaster” sent his mind a-racing, his heart a-flutter, and his pants a-….well, forget that last part. Say it out loud to yourself. It’s sleek, smooth and space-age, just like the guitar that bears its name. It’s something literally right out of 1950s America, and yet still sounds current and mind-blowing, even though it’s practically a generic term like “Coke” or “Kleenex.” I’ve owned a Strat for over 30 years and the name still sends my pulse skyrocketing. Everytime I think of the name I have this vivid, fast-forwarded image racing through my brain of nerdy Buddy Holly strumming away to Hendrix playing “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock to Eric Johnson making the thing sound like a violin to Mark Knopfler playing it fingerstyle to Clapton making it wail to Gilmour making it soar. Coming up with the name “Stratocaster” might be the coolest thing Fender has done since the 1950s.


Best. Guitar. Name. Ever. Come. At. Me.


Framus Stormbender

“Stormbender” coffee? I’d drink it. A “Stormbender” sedan? I’d drive it. If I was still having kids, I’d probably name the next one “Stormbender.” So you’re damn right that I’m definitely going to pick up and play a guitar called a Stormbender. Not to get all Sabbath-on-the-turntable-black-light-in-the-basement hesher on you, but have actually tried to imagine what a non-guitar “stormbender” might look like? How does a storm “bend” per se? However it happens, it probably looks badass. Either way, it’s a spot-on name for Devin Townsend’s signature guitar.


Framus Idolmaker

This has sort of an old-school cheekiness about it. It’s daring you to actually do something massive and groundbreaking with any other guitar. I mean, that’s part of why many of us pick up the guitar, right? The lights, the adulation, the backstage catering. We’ve all dreamed that dream, and this writer digs that Framus is basically jumping in the van with you and saying, “let’s make it happen!”


While Framus is known for its incredible Custom Shop Masterbuilt and Pro Series Teambuilt instruments, it’s also worth noting here that both the Stormbender and Idolmaker models are available in the very accessible Standard D-Series line.


Kramer NightSwan

Such a vibe-y, name. Sophisticated yet mysterious. For this writer, “NightSwan” leads my brain to two places: Vivian Campbell and Mark Kendall. Campbell is the obvious connection; the guitar was basically his signature model. The funny thing about Kendall for me is that I’m not 100% confident he ever played a Kramer NightSwan, though going back through some live footage and other imagery it looks like he probably did. At the very least, he was definitely rocking some Kramers.


Either way, Campbell-era Whitesnake and Great White are perfect road tunes, especially if you’re shooting through the desert at midnight with the top down. Two heavy blues-rock bands with atmosphere. NightSwan. Perfect.–0Y3jIMREs

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