The Gear of The Eagles' Guitarists

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty Images

Formed in 1971, the Eagles have solidified their place in the rock and roll history. With six Grammy awards, five American Music Awards, five No. 1 singles, six No. 1 albums and more than 150 million albums sold, the Eagles have had their share of fortune and fame. They’ve also experienced the pitfalls of success, including several lineup changes over the years.

Unlike many bands, however, each member of the Eagles had a distinct personality, a tale to tell, and a sturdy presence on and offstage. As with all musicians, the members of the Eagles changed and continue to change the equipment they use. While it would be impossible to include every single piece of gear they used, we’ve tried to hone in on the core of their sounds and offer the best list possible from the major active periods in the group’s history.

Don Felder

Don Felder’s Guitars

Throughout his career, Don Felder has played a range of Gibson Les Pauls, Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters. On his current solo tour, he can also be seen playing a Zemaitis MFA-101-BK for his slide work on songs such as “Victim of Love,” and, of course, he still carries the eye-popping Gibson EDS 1275 for “Hotel California.”

In the ‘70s, the pickups under this double neck were routed so that the 12-string neck went through a Leslie cab and the pickups under the six-string neck went into Felder’s normal amplifier. In recent times, he’s been using a Boss Chorus Ensemble to emulate the Leslie effect.

Gibson EDS-1275
Zemaitis MFA-101 BK

Felder has been using Taylor guitars for acoustic parts recently though he used Takamine acoustics for many years.

“The acoustic guitar in the intro [of "Hotel California"] is a Takamine 12-string with a DeArmond pickup,” Felder said in an interview with Guitar World. “We miked the acoustic and put that in the center of the mix. Then we took the pickup’s output and ran it through an Echoplex and a Leslie. We miked that in stereo, so it has this left-to-right kind of swirling, ethereal characteristic. It’s blended in with the direct acoustic as well.

Don Felder’s Amps

Felder has primarily used Blackface Deluxe Reverbs and Tweed Deluxes for his amplifiers, specifically his narrow-panel Tweed Deluxe, although a Mesa/Boogie Mark 1 appears behind him on the Hotel California tour.

"I had a '59 Les Paul sunburst, and I plugged into a '50s Tweed Deluxe, a narrow-paneled model – it was probably a '55 or '56,” Felder said in an interview with “Joe played a Telecaster, but I'm not sure what amp he was using. And I think I had an Echoplex in the loop at that time, but that was about it."

During the Hell Freezes Over Reunion tour, you could see a Marshall Bluesbreaker and a ’59 Bassman 4x10 behind Felder, though some speculate that the Bassman was his primary amp.

Nowadays, Felder mainly plays through Blackface Deluxe Reverb reissues, although Tweed Deluxes have appeared on stage.

Don Felder’s Effects

On the recording of the Hotel California album, Felder used an Echoplex and a Boss Chorus, presumably a CE-1 Chorus Ensemble.

Don Felder’s Current Effects Pedals:

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh’s Guitars

Joe Walsh has probably used every guitar in existence at one time or another. In the early days he and Felder alternated between Telecasters and a Les Pauls; if Felder were playing a single coil guitar like a Stratocaster, Walsh would frequently play a humbucker guitar like a Les Paul, so that they would have two distinct sounds.

Since the Hell Freezes Over and subsequent tours, Walsh has played a slew of different guitars, but he notably used a black Rickenbacker for slide work and has been a long-time endorser of Carvin Guitars. Various Gretsch and Duesenberg guitars regularly make their way into the set as well.

For acoustics, Walsh used various Takamine and Gibsons.

Joe Walsh’s Amps

With the Eagles, Walsh primarily played Fender Blackface Deluxes and Tweed Deluxes, although a Mesa/Boogie Mark 1 can be seen behind him on the Hotel California tour. He used a Roland Cube for his talk box, as well as for some slide work, including on “The Long Run.”

On the Hell Freezes Over tour, a Fender Blues Deluxe, a Peavey head and a Dr. Z 2x10 cab can be seen behind him. Since then, his amps are almost too numerous to list but he seems to be fond of a Dr. Z Maz 38 2x10 as well as the Z-Lux.

Although not an Eagles tune, Joe Walsh is said to have played a Telecaster into a cranked up Fender Champ to achieve the tone on The James Gang’s classic track “Funk #49.”

Joe Walsh’s Effects

The talk box was probably Walsh’s most famous effect. Used on songs like “Rocky Mountain Way,” and “Those Shoes” this has become a signature of his.

During the recording of Hotel California, he supposedly used an MXR Phase 90 and an Echoplex.

Bernie Leadon

Bernie Leadon's Guitars & Amps

Bernie Leadon primarily played a brown Fender Telecaster with a B-bender. The guitar has an interesting history; it started as an early ‘60s Tele with a white body and rosewood fretboard. Dave Evans, now of Evans Pull String Guitars, installed a B-Bender, and it was refinished by pedal steel guitar player Red Rhodes to have the natural brown look. The neck pickup was also a full-size humbucker. Leadon used the Tele in this configuration for the first two Eagles albums.

Around the time Don Felder joined in 1974, Leadon bought a ’53 Telecaster with a maple neck and different electronics. He then transferred the neck and electronics into the ‘60s B-bender body and played it in that configuration for the duration of his stay with the group.

Leadon also plays Martin dreadnought acoustics, and on “Witchy Woman,” a tobacco burst Les Paul with mini-humbuckers.

During the current History of the Eagles tour, he keeps with a B-bender Telecaster and brings out the Les Paul for "Witchy Woman." Currently, he also plays a Huber VRB-75 banjo.

Leadon used a variety of Fender Deluxe Reverbs and Tweed Deluxes.

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey’s Guitars

Frey’s main electric for years has been “Old Black,” a black ‘50s Gibson Les Paul Jr. with P-90s, which he has played live and in the studio for years. In the ‘70s, he occasionally played a Gibson 330; he also played a Gibson 335 on the recording of “I Can’t Tell You Why.”

Strats and Teles also fit in the mix; acoustically he has played Takamine six- and 12- strings and has his own signature model, the Takamine EF360GF.

Glenn Frey’s Amps & Effects

With little variation, Frey has mainly used a mid-’60s non-reverb Fender Deluxe amp. Glenn Frey’s Effects Pedals for the Hell Freezes Over tour include:

Steuart Smith

Steuart Smith’s Guitars

Steuart Smith took over Don Felder’s position in 2001. He co-wrote several songs and co-produced the Eagles on the Long Road Out of Eden album.

Smith’s Music Man double neck is a reverse of a Gibson EDS-1275. The upper neck is a six-string, and the lower neck is a 12-string. He frequently uses Ernie Ball Music Man guitars, including the Axis and Silhouette models, as well as a ‘60s three-tone sunburst Fender Stratocaster. Although he has been seen using a variety of other Strat’s and Tele’s, these appear to be his go-to guitars.

Steuart Smith’s Amps & Effects

Smith’s main amplifier has been a Peavey Classic 50, although he occasionally can be seen with a Fender Bassman, 65 amps and others. Steuart Smith Effects, as of Melbourne Concert:

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