Below is a rundown of Trey’s most frequently-used Paul Languedoc guitars, with a brief description accompanying each picture. There are a few others that have made occasional appearances that are not (yet) included here; Trey’s acoustic guitars are at the bottom of this page.
Languedocs are unique for many reasons, one of which is that they have a 25.5″ neck scale like a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster but dual humbuckers like a Gibson Les Paul, 335, or SG. Strats and Teles usually have single coils and Gibsons generally have a 24.75″ neck scale, so the Languedoc doesn’t fit neatly in either category. Furthermore, so many of the mass production guitars made today are variations on the basic Fender/Gibson ideas that there are hardly any mass production guitars out there with the 25.5″ + dual humbucker combo (notably, several of Jerry Garcia’s guitars featured this rare combination). The scale length gives the guitars a twangy Fender-ish bite and vocal quality while the pickups give them that high-output, compressed, mid-range-heavy hard rock sound. Trey describes it as having “the bite of a Strat and … the meat of a hollowbody.” All while the superior tonewoods and hollow chamber lend a woody, natural tone and unparalleled sustain. Paul’s hollowbody guitars are fully braced and completely hollow, like a violin.
Later iterations have featured coil-tapped humbuckers for single-coil tone variations. The mini-switches under the bottom F-hole control pickup selection, coil-dropping, and series/parallel options.
#1: Old Reliable (“Mar Mar”).
Aka “Blonde No. 1.” Built in 1987. Single coil reinstalled for Fare Thee Well. “Who’s the Mar-Mar?” thought bubble over Marley headstock inlay. This guitar has a different headstock than Paul’s later guitars, which have a headstock inspired by the shape of the state of Vermont.
#2: Spruce “I’m the Mar-Mar” (Refurbished 2014 with sunburst refinish).
Marley chasing a cat on the headstock. “I’m the Mar-Mar!” thought bubble over Marley. During the 2014 TAB Tour, Trey explained the provenance of this guitar to the crowd. He said it was built in August of 1991 and had a spruce top and maple back. He explained that the neck started to “twist” shortly after Paul built it and it fell into disuse, but that Paul “stole it back… sawed the neck off, put a new neck on it… put the sunburst on it” and returned it to Trey.
#3: Koa 1, 1996.
Rectangle inlays. White plastic binding. Less prominent flame. Paul’s signature inlaid on the headstock. The first Languedoc Guitar I fell for. This guitar has been in very heavy rotation in 3.0; particularly over the last few years. It was used almost exclusively during the fabled Baker’s Dozen run at Madison Square Garden, with Koa 2 used sparingly for alternate tunings.
#4: Koa 2, 2002.
More prominent flame than Koa 1. White plastic binding. “Bracket” inlay at 12th and 24th frets. Paul’s signature inlaid on the headstock. I had initially pegged the build date of this guitar as 1999, but according to Paul it is 2002.
#5: Ocelot (Koa 3), 2010.
Ocelot inlaid on the headstock. Very prominent flame and darker color. Redwood binding. Introduced by Trey at the Greek Theater in Berkeley on 8-5-10. “Bracket”-style inlays at 12 and 24. Mr. Miner penned some thoughts about the fan-dubbed “Ocedoc” here.
#6: Blonde No. 2.
Wood binding, Paul’s signature on the headstock. Introduced Summer Tour 2016. Trey talked about it with Jambase. Diamond inlays, with double-diamonds at 12 and 24. Folks who have spoken to Paul about this guitar have emailed me to say that the topwood on this guitar is not spruce, as Trey said in his Jambase interview, but is actually maple, with mahogany back and sides and curly maple binding. That’s consistent with its appearance, which shows a nicely flamed maple look.
Trey is currently favoring the first two of these acoustic guitars on his solo acoustic tours:
1. 1943 Martin D-28 (sunburst).
Trey seems to be favoring this almost-pre-war Martin D-28 these days. The D-28 is Martin’s flagship guitar, favored by some of the most famous players in acoustic music history. The sunburst is original, according to an ad from Gruhn guitars that’s still up and appears to be for this guitar before Trey bought it. Until about 1969, these guitars were built using Brazilian Rosewood for the back and sides. Around that time, Martin started using Indian Rosewood instead. Brazilian Rosewood is endangered and importation to the US is banned. It is probably the most highly prized guitar tonewood in the world.
2. 1968 Martin D-35.
The D-35 is a dreadnaught guitar, like the D-28. While the D-28 has a 2-piece back, the D-35 has a 3-piece. Given the era, this guitar is likely made of Brazilian Rosewood, as well.
3. Martin Trey Anastasio Signature Model
This guitar features a cutaway for easy access above the 14th fret. It has rosewood sides and a 3-piece back, like a D-35, with koa in the center and rosewood on either side.