"Somebody probably used it as a canoe paddle" – Chris Stapleton reveals the longtime songwriting acoustic guitar that cost nearly three times the price he paid for it to repair

Chris Stapleton performs at HGTV'S The Lodge At CMA Music Fest - Day 3 on June 8, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee
(Image credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HGTV)

GQ's 10 Things You Can't Live Without series has hit peak form with singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton – from the chair from his home that follows him everywhere to a 1979 Jeep-Cherokee and two wonderfully worn guitars, it's an especially personal selection. But naturally, we gravitated immediately to the acoustic and electric guitars – and they do not disappoint.

Alongside the 1964 Fender Jazzmaster Stapleton was gifted by his wife and bandmate Morgane, is his main songwriting guitar; a Sunburst Gibson LG-2 he's not even sure of the year on.

It came to him in quite a state, but he clearly saw something in it that has been repaid many times over in the songs it's helped him mine.

I bought this guitar very early in my songwriting career and most songs I've written have been on this guitar

"It has a replaced neck on it and replaced tuners," he explains. "Somebody probably used it as a canoe paddle – there's mud in it and so many repaired cracks you probably can't count them.

"I bought this guitar very early in my songwriting career and most songs I've written have been on this guitar," he adds. "These are the foundations of most of the music that I've made in my songwriting and record making career," he says of the Gibson and Fender. 

The LG-2 proves that some guitars need a lot of TLC and money put into them to reach, or reclaim, their potential. 

"I paid about $380 for this guitar," says Stapleton. "It took about $900 to make it work currently. But it's earned its keep and I don't know all the stories that made it look like this, but it's certainly been with me for a lot of good ones." 

Chris Stapleton performs onstage during the 2015 "CMT Artists of the Year" at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on December 2, 2015 in Nashville, Tennesse

Chris Stapleton onstage with the Jazzmaster at the 2015 Country Music Television awards: it still had another eight years of road wear ahead of it at this point  (Image credit: John Shearer/Getty Images for CMT)

The Jazzmaster is the "first nice old guitar I ever got", reveals Stapleton. "When I received it, it looked very mint and I kept it that way for a while and then I started feeling bad. It's a tool to me and it's meant to be used so I've used it over the years and it's certainly in the room for everything I've ever recorded, even if it's not played on everything I've recorded. It's played on a lot of things that I've recorded."

We love the "honest wear" Chris has made from using it. "It's served me well," he adds. 

Check out the full episode in the video above. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.