dave matthews

Dave Matthews Guitar Rig And Gear Collection Guide

Dave Matthews, one of the most famous guitarists of the 20th century. Here are all the instruments and gear he used on his tours and recordings.

Dave Matthews (born February 9, 1967) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has sold more than 38 million albums with his band, the Dave Matthews Band.

Many of Dave’s songs feature his acoustic guitar playing, most notably the single “Ants Marching”.

What Guitar Does Dave Matthews Play?

He plays a number of different guitars, but here are some of his notable guitars.

His Current Main Guitar Rig Setup

Currently, Dave’s main acoustic guitar is the Rockbridge Acoustic Guitar Model SJ. It is a custom model made for the famous musician. The guitar features a solid red spruce top, along with a solid Cocobolo back and sides.

It also has Koa bindings, Abalone trim and rosette and Fishman electronics. This guitar gives him the sound he needs for his music.


Other Acoustic Guitar Brands And Models

Taylor 914CE Signature Dave Matthews Acoustic

Another guitar that he is quite well known for is the Taylor 914CE Signature Dave Matthews Acoustic Guitar. This guitar is made for him by Taylor Guitars.

This grand auditorium cutaway body acoustic features a solid sitka spruce top, along with a solid indian rosewood neck and sides. The mahogany neck is fully adjustable through the truss rod. It has a bone saddle and nut and ebony fretboard with custom inlays. The Gotoh 510 tuners make sure to allow you to tune quickly and easily.

This guitar even comes with a hardshell case and Elixir Nanoweb strings.


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Ovation Legend (His Black Acoustic)

In earlier times, he was also was known to use a black Ovation Celebrity. The link and picture here is not the exact model but it is the most similar one that I can find – his version is no longer available.

This acoustic features an ebony top, along with cherry back and sides. It has an ebony fretboard with abalone dots, along with a bone nut and saddle.

The electronics include the Ovaiton OCP-1K pickup with a Op Pro Studio preamp.

Martin DM3MD

The Martin DM3MD is another well known Dave Matthews signature acoustic guitar. This guitar features a solid spruce englemann top with a hybrid “x” scalloped bracing pattern along with East Indian rosewood back and sides.

This 20 fret acoustic guitar has a ton of high end features including a solid mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard with cool signature inlays. The nut is made of white corian. It has grained ivoroid binding around the body.

It also has chrome Gotoh tuners with butterbean knobs and a solid black ebony bridge.

This signature guitar is amazing and a must for any fan of his or just for anyone who loves amazing acoustic guitars.


Gibson Chet Atkins SST

The Gibson Chet Atkins SST is another acoustic that Dave is known to use in the past. This dreadnought acoustic guitar features a spruce top, along with mahogany back and sides.

The mahogany neck is very comfortable to play on and features a 22 fret ebony fingerboard with custom inlays. The neck shape is a modified D shape with a small “C” profile and comfortably soft feel.

Other great features include high grade mahogany fretboard, high gloss finish, bridge pins and saddle as well as chrome hardware.

This guitar gives Dave the sound he needs for his music.


Electric Guitar Brands And Models

When you think of Dave Matthews, you probably don’t immediately think of electric guitars since he mainly plays acoustics. However, he does sometimes play electric too! Here are some of the electric models that he is know to use from time to time.

Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

The Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster features a maple neck, rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and a Stratocaster tremolo bridge. It also has a Fender designed single coil pickup system.

Other features include three-ply pickguard, synthetic bone nut, single-ply fingerboard binding with pearloid dot inlay and 21 medium jumbo frets. It comes with High gloss polyester finish over high gloss polyester body, modern C-shape maple neck, 9.5″-14″ compound radius fretboard and more.

The guitar usually also comes with a molded hardshell case.


Jerry Jones Baritone Electric Guitar

The Jerry Jones Baritone Electric Guitar is a 6 string baritone electric guitar that has a very unique look and sound.

This guitar features a cutaway body. It also has a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard with jumbo frets.

The lipstick tube pickups are made of nickel-plated steel. The chrome die-cast tuners allow for easy tuning and a unique pickup design.


Other Guitar Gear That Dave Matthews Uses

Other than guitars, there is a number of other things that he uses to get his tone.

Acoustic Guitar Strings

The acoustic guitar string of his choice is the D’Addario XT strings. These strings are super duper nice strings, if you ask me.

The strings feature a core of high carbon steel with copper wire wrapped around it to achieve the desired tone. They have a high-carbon steel ball and hex shaped steel core that provides great sound and durability.

Guitar Picks

For picks, he uses the Dunlop Tortex Standard 0.60mm. These medium thickness guitar picks are really just your basic pick that you can find in most music stores.

Dave Matthews Guitar Timeline & History

Over the years, Dave has used a bunch of different guitars – as you probably gathered when you saw the guitars mentioned above.

Dave Matthews Guitar Gear By Year

GuitarYears Played
Ovation Legend Acoustic1991-1993
Gibson Chet Atkins SST1994-1999
Martin DM3MD Dave Matthews Signature1999-2001
Taylor 914C Dave Matthews Signature2001-2011
Rockbridge Custom SJ2011 – Now

His Guitar Sound

Dave is known for his signature sound. He plays with a lot of effects but mainly uses the effects pedals to achieve a chorus-like effect or reverb. He also plays with a custom capo that allows him to play in different keys while not moving his fingers up the neck.

To get this unique tone, Matthews uses a Matchless SC30 amplifier most of the time.

His Guitar Influences

His influences come from many different places like The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and Johnny Cash. He uses their musical styles as a reference point for his own music.


So there you have it – the best guitars, guitars that Dave Matthews uses and his guitar gear. It will be interesting to see how it changes over the next decade or so.