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Posted on Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:39pm
by Ron Wallace

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Sambora has been known to use a wide variety of equipment throughout his career. He has an extensive guitar collection, featuring more than 120 instruments. Information can be found at website


In the 80s, Sambora mostly played Kramer, Jackson, Charvel and Hamer superstrats as well as modified and custom Les Paul models, such as his Rod Schoepfer model. In early-mid 1987, Kramer put out a Richie Sambora signature model with three humbuckers, pointy headstock, gold hardware, star-shaped fingerboard inlays and a Floyd Rose Original locking tremolo, which quit production in 1989. Today it has been reissued by MusicYo, and is named "Jersey Star", no longer carrying Sambora's actual name. His two most notable guitars from the Slippery When Wet era were his Kramer Richie Sambora signature and a custom white Jackson with gold hardware and a Floyd Rose tremolo, HSS pickup configuration,reversed Strat-like headstock and a star on the body and headstock. This guitar is featured on the videos for Living On A Prayer and You Give Love A Bad Name. Another Kramer he used during this tour in 86/87 was the 'King Of Swing' guitar. This was a one off with orange flame maple top, three humbuckers, Floyd rose, gold hardware and pointy Kramer headstock. It was damaged in a flood mid tour and was rushed to Rod Schoepfer's workshop where he replaced the neck with a left hand Kramer one with the pointy headstock reversed. It was only used on the song 'Let It Rock' live. On the video's for Wanted Dead or Alive and Wild In The Streets, Richie can be seen using a black Kramer RS model with rosewood fretboard. It was used live sometimes on Raise Your Hands at the start of the set on this tour.

For the New Jersey tour, Sambora used many more guitars including a quilt top red Kramer RS as seen in the video for I'll Be There For You. This was his most used guitar on this tour. This tour spawned many more one off Kramers. The 'Bad Medicine' Kramer was a single humbucker white Pacer body with black hardware and Richie's tattoo design from his right arm painted on it. It also has 'Bad Medicine' in red lettering on the back as seen in the video for Bad Medicine. It had a rosewood fretboard and black Floyd Rose and hardware. The purple 'Peace Sign' Kramer was a single humbucker Pacer body with some of the upper horn cut away for better upper fret access. This was painted purple and featured a white peace sign on the body, large white peace sign fret inlays on a maple fretbaord and gold hardware. One guitar he played on the songs You Give Love A Bad Name and I'd Die For You on this tour was a custom flip top burnt blue Kramer Stagemaster standard with single humbucker and gold hardware with rosewood fingerboard. On the song Wild In The Streets, Richie sometimes used a gold/yellow Gibson Les Paul fitted with a Floyd Rose tremolo. Probably the most famous one off Kramer from this era/tour was the RS model double neck. This guitar had a bridge humbucker and single coil neck pickup with a fixed bridge for the top neck. The bottom neck was a standard Sambora Kramer with three humbuckers, etc. This guitar was featured in the video for the song Lay Your Hands On Me and was used on this song live at the start of the show for this tour. The top neck was tuned to drop d to facilitate playing the songs main riff whilst the bottom neck was in standard tuning and used for the solo.

Throughout the years having played various guitars, one he played on the Slippery When Wet,New Jersey and his first solo tours was a custom black superstrat which featured a single humbucking pickup in the bridge position, Floyd Rose tremolo system and a maple neck and fretboard with a reversed Strat-like headstock and all black hardware. This guitar once had a Kramer logo on the headstock for a short time during the 86/87 tour which was removed soon after.On closer inspection there is a Charvel neckplate on it. It was retired from touring after the Stranger In This Town but remained with Richie and was in his guitar rack on his 2014 solo tour. According to his guitar tech, Tachumi, this guitar was used to record all the Slippery When Wet album.

Richie used a few acoustic guitars live during this time. On the Slippery When Wet tour, he used a custom Ovation double neck Sambora model. This featured pearloid binding on the body with star inlays and 24 carat gold hardware with pearloid tuners. The necks are arranged reverse to what is common on double necks, 12 string on top and 6 string on the bottom as Richie said he preferred it the other way around. This guitar was used for his acoustic solo before opening Wanted Dead Or Alive on the 86/87 tour. This guitar can be seen in the video for Wanted Dead Or Alive. Two one off's used on the New Jersey tour were a black triple neck and a white triple neck. Both were built to the double neck's specs but featured a mandolin as the top neck. At the time, Sambora was playing more mandolin and wanted to incorporate it into his live show. Both guitars were built for Ovation by Luthiers in Germany circa 1988 and reportedly cost $150,000 to produce each. These were used for the same parts in the set as the previous tour.

Throughout the 80s Richie used Marshall jcm800"s both 2203/2204 and 2210s and up to ten of them in his rig at once. For his acoustics he would use kmd amps with a shure sm57. His effects consisted of a Eventide h3000, a Yamaha spx-90, A bk butler rackmount tube driver, And a Electro-Harmonix Golden Throat for his talk box.


In 1991, Fender issued a Richie Sambora signature Stratocaster model which featured an original Floyd Rose tremolo system and an HSS combination of DiMarzio PAF Pro humbucking and 2 Fender Texas Special single-coil pickups. This guitar came in two versions; American and later in 1996, Japanese. US-made Sambora model featured an alder body with ash veneers and was available in Cherry Sunburst and Arctic White, while the Japanese version had an alder body with black paisley graphics (LTD), Snow White or Cherry Red Sunburst finish available (per the 1996 and 1997 catalogs). Other features included a one-piece maple neck/fingerboard with 22 frets and star-shaped position markers, as well as a 25 dB active mid-boost circuit (US version only) with TBX (US & Japanese Paisley) tone controls and an active/passive push-button switch.

In the 1995 video Live from London, Sambora uses a custom orange burst double neck Fender Stratocaster featuring a traditional maple neck with star inlays and a locking tremolo (on the lower neck). He uses this guitar on the song 'Lay Your Hands on Me' on the London DVD.

There was also a Mexican-made standard version of the instrument, featuring a DiMarzio PAF humbucking pickup in the bridge position and two standard single-coils in the neck and middle positions. The guitar also sported a rosewood fingerboard with 21 frets and white dot inlays, as well as a Floyd Rose II locking bridge. Both the US and Mexican-made Sambora models were discontinued in 2002, though now there is a Fender Standard Series Stratocaster HSS Locking Tremolo with about the same specs as Sambora's own guitar, but its only available through Guitar Center.

Sambora continued to use his black Ovation double neck until 1999 when he joined Taylor. On the Keep The Faith tour, he sometimes used a red/orange Ovation Sambora model.


In 2000, Taylor started the production of a Richie Sambora signature model, a 6-string acoustic made of koa wood, called the RSSM. Only 100 were made all in the year of 2000. All of his double neck acoustics feature a 6 string neck on top and a 12 string neck on bottom, opposite of the normal manufacturing standard.

Since Sambora has been known to use his favourite Martin acoustic, among others, on a lot of recordings, Martin guitars put out two of Sambora's signature models in 2006, a 6-string and a 12-strings, based on his mentioned favourite 1930 Martin OM-45. He has also been seen using a Yamaha double neck acoustic at specific live shows.

He still plays a variety of Fenders, apparently over 40 Stratocasters (mostly vintage, American Deluxe and Custom Shop models), such as the Telecaster doubleneck used on "Have a Nice Day". Sambora also has a '59 ash-body Telecaster used for "These Days" and "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night". From 2003–2006, he played a wide variety guitars on stage, including custom "Sambora" guitars built by his guitar tech Chris "Lumpy" Hofschneider, Zemaitis Guitars, Floyd Rose guitars, Ovation, Taylor and Martin guitars, vintage and Custom Shop Gibson and Fender models, as well as guitars from his collection. One of the guitars built by his guitar tech features a fretboard made of both maple and rosewood, on an ash body with neck-through-body construction and a custom humbucking/single/single pickup layout. Currently, he mostly plays the custom black "Sambora" guitar (which is now a custom model called Sambora SA-2 for ESP), different models of Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters (American Vintage, American Deluxe, Custom Shop and other models). On October 10, 2012, when he was about to play his second gig of the "Aftermath of the Lowdown" Tour in Amsterdam (NL), Richie got a custom Italian guitar hand crafted by Fabrizio Paoletti as a tribute to his music. Bon Jovi Club Italy organized the delivery. He loved so much the guitar that he played "Stranger in Town" with it, the same night. From that day, the Paoletti Wine Stratospheric has become a permanent instrument in his live guitar racks and was used on the "Because We Can Tour" as well.

Sambora also used Gibson and Guild acoustics, particularly a Guild F-50 12-string, which he used on the song "Wanted Dead or Alive". He acquired this guitar directly from the Guild factory due to it having a finish flaw.

For most of the 80s and early-mid '90s, he used Marshall amplifiers, particularly the JCM800 models with 4x12" speaker cabinets and a variety of rack and pedal units (including effects). During his Stranger in This Town tour, Sambora used 2 Marshall JCM800 2203 heads and a Fender amp head (model not specified), with 3 4x12" Marshall cabinets. In 1995, Sambora started using Fender ToneMasters with Fender ToneMaster 4x12" speaker cabinets, following the These Days Tour. On tour, he used up to 12 cabinets on stage. For the studio sessions of his second solo album, Undiscovered Soul, he also used a Fender Bassman 4x10" combo and a Vox AC30. On the tour, he used Fender ToneMasters, a Marshall amp head, a Vox amp head and a VHT Pitbull in combination with Fender ToneMaster 4x12" and 2x12" speaker cabinets. In 2000, Sambora started using the Marshall JCM2000 DSL series (both on the tour and recording sessions of Crush). The song "It's My Life" was also recorded with a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. He has also used the Marshall DSL series on the Bounce tour, as well as a Hughes & Kettner amp, occasionally. During their Have a Nice Day tour, Sambora used Diezel and Divided by 13 amplification and custom made 4x12" speaker cabinets. During the studio recording sessions of the Lost Highway album, he used Matchless, Bogner Ecstasy and Diezel Herbert amps. In 2007, he started appearing on stage with 2 halfstacks, again featuring Marshall JCM2000 DSL amplifiers and custom made 4x12" cabinets.

In late 2007, Sambora became an endorsee of The ESP Guitar Company, and a new Richie Sambora signature model, the LTD SA-2, was debuted at the 2008 Winter NAMM show.

According to Young Guitar (Japanese magazine), Richie Sambora used (during the Tokyo shows in 2008) an A/B box, Framptone Talkbox, Jimi Hendrix Dunlop Wah, Keeley Sd-1, Stock SD-1, Roger Mayer Octavia (butane paintjob), Boss CH-1, EHX Electric Mistress Deluxe. He also uses a MIDI rig.

Sambora is endorsed by D'Addario and uses D'Addario strings on all of his guitars. He uses a variety of sets for different tunings, including EXL110 (.010-.046), EXL115 (.011-.049), EPS540 (.010-.052), EXP15 (.010-.047 acoustic), and EXP38 (.010-047 acoustic 12-string set).

Sambora Is currently endorsed by Blackstar Amplification,

Now, from 2010/2011, Sambora is using a rack system. Some effects the rack includes are: Furman Power Conditioner, Lexicon and Eventide rack effects. Some of the pedals that Sambora is using on the Circle tour are: BOSS OD-1, Hermida Audio Zendrive, Tone Freak Effects Naked OD and Abunai 2, Klon Centaur, Analog Man Octron, EHX Micro POG, Tone Freak Effects MelloTremo, BBE Soul Vibe, Retro-Sonic Chorus, MXR EVH Flanger, MXR Phase 90, Maxon Auto Filter, EHX Deluxe Memory Man. These effects are all run by a MIDI Controller. The effects he has running from his guitar to his amp are: BOSS TU-2 Chromatic Tuner, Moollon Wah, and an Ernie Ball Volume Pedal.

Sambora professes that he still takes guitar lessons to improve his skills and is being taught how to play fingerstyle by Laurence Juber, after meeting him in a guitar store and thinking it was two guitarists playing from a distance. They later performed together and with Tommy Emmanuel, recording an acoustic version of "Livin' on a Prayer".

Among of Sambora's current touring guitars are: 1961 3-tone Sunburst Fender Stratocaster called Beater, one of his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Sunbursts, 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldop called Goldie, another Gibson Les Paul which was refinished to 1959 specifications, 1953 Fender Telecaster signed by Keith Richards, Gibson Flying V, 1954 Gibson Les Paul Junior, 1959 Gibson ES-335 in natural finish with dot inlays called Alvin, PRS custom 24, reliced 3 tone sunburst Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster with HSS pickup configuration, Floyd Rose tremolo and black pickguard, loosely modeled after Stevie Ray Vaughan's No. 1 Stratocaster, old Black Charvel-Jackson Superstrat with 1 Humbucker, Floyd Rose and a maple neck with reverse headstock (this was Richie's main guitar in 1986–1991 period), brand new Rockbridge acoustic 6/12 and his Taylor acoustic 6/12 double neck.

Sambora is currently not on tour with Bon Jovi, having left due to personal issues, although he is on tour as a solo artist.

On June 29, 2014, Sambora made a special unannounced appearance on stage with Dolly Parton during her encore at the Glastonbury music festival in the UK.

On July 23, 2014, Sambora honored legendary guitarist Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, where Les Paul himself performed weekly until his death. He performed two sold out shows that were recorded and are to be aired on the PBS series Front and Center.



Richie Sambora - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from -