Harry Styles is a British pop singer and songwriter and a former member of the boy band One Direction. He was born in Cheshire (UK) in 1994 and grew up with his mother and sister after his parents divorced. He soon became interested in music, eventually starting his own band.
In 2010 he was selected to participate in the British edition of the X-Factor program. He did not win, but from that moment, that talent would go on to form One Direction, in addition to Styles, by Liam Payne, Zayn Malik -Gigi Hadid’s partner-, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson. As a member of One Direction, he released five albums, becoming one of the most important fan phenomena of the early 2000s.
Harry Styles, despite being one of the most followed and adored members by the so-called directioners, managed to get rid of that youthful image with his first solo album, with which he makes it very clear that his thing is rock and classics.
Styles achieved a debut album that reflects not only his great musical inspirations but also makes it clear to everyone who considered him just another member of a boy band that he has a natural talent for music and interpretation.
A Story of Success
After leaving One Direction and hitting the ground running with his solo career, Fine Line (his second album) was released in the fall of 2019. On its cover, signed by Tim Walkers, he defied the conventions of the genre, a constant in his style, heir to that of other British musicians such as Elton John or Boy Goerge.
His debut single was Lights Up, a song with reminiscences of soul and R&B. His second single, Watermelon Sugar, an optimistic song dedicated to caresses, which was released with a video of hippie and seventies aesthetics, and filmed in Los Angeles, became one of the hits of the summer of 2020.
Though nowadays we find it completely normal to see Harry picking up a guitar and knowing his way around the fretboard, he did not learn long ago. He revealed on Twitter that at a younger age, he had already tried and given up playing.
Since he started in One Direction, he received some lessons from his bandmates, who were already very talented musicians. One of his guitar lessons from fellow bandmate Niall Haron back from 2014 is still posted on Instagram.
Since then, and with his solo performances, Harry Styles has played intimate sessions where he has played acoustic guitar and electric guitar quite skillfully. He is not the most technical player or most advanced, but he is comfortable enough to take it up in open performances like the 2020 Tiny Desk Performance he did.
His singing and guitar playing fit very well in this folk and funk-influenced performance, adding some lush vocal harmonies and soft instrumentation.
In this setting, it seems Harry is playing a Gibson Trans Ebony, or maybe a custom build or decorated one, as it has already been proved that this is one of the guitars in his lineup, as he played it in a show in Norway, on his song “Anna.”
Gibson Trans Ebony:
From 2016, the Gibson Dove Custom in the Trans Black finish is a beauty. The guitar features a flamed maple back and sides, a Sitka spruce top, and a maple neck. The woods are very good quality, and the finish appears darker in the photos.
One of the cooler features of this guitar is the use of Imperial tuners. These are the luxury tuners generally reserved for the high-end Gibson SJ-200s.
This guitar has a tone to match its looks. It has a very tight and focused sound with plenty of volumes. The trebles have a crystalline quality which allows them to cut through chords. This beauty retails at around three grand, depending on where you can find it.
Here we see Harry sporting a Gibson ES350T. He was first seen using this guitar on SNL in 2017 while debuting his new song ‘Ever Since New York.’ Since then, he has also used this Gibson on ‘Kiwi’ and ‘Carolina,’ as well as when covering 1D’s song ‘Stockholm Syndrome.’
This larger jazzlike body doesn’t answer to the tone that the guitars have in this song but does the trick. Its wide neck is easier to shape chords for beginners, and by the way, he tenderly frets the first power chord, making sure it’s clean, giving me the reassuring sense that he hasn’t been playing for long.
The chords and progression of this song are a simple but effective melody and remind me a lot of Wolfmothers’Joker and a Thief power chord progression.
The original is an extremely rare guitar the went on auction on the second-hand market. This magnificent collector’s guitar belonged to a famous Italian-French guitarist who accompanied Stéphane Grapelli in the ’60s, in all the cabarets and Jazz Club in the south of France and Paris.
The one we see Harry Styles playing is a duplicate; The ES-350 T is a thin body archetype fit with humbucker pickups. This guitar can go for up to 20 thousand dollars. Specs:
- Body material: Rosewood
- Body Type: Maple Hollow body
- Six strings
- Body Shape: Single Cutaway
- Neck Material. Mahogany
- Gloss finish
Even though he is seen with multiple guitars across different lives performances, I am sure of one of his favorite guitars that for sure he owns, as it was a gift that appears in his documentary Behind The Album.
Mitch Rowland, fellow composer and friend of Styles’gives him a White Fender Telecaster as a gift, and Harry has decorated and used it since on multiple live shows, mainly with stickers that highlight his solidarity with popular social issues nowadays like LGBT community support, the BLM movement and global warming concerns.
1970’s Arctic White Fender Telecaster:
This gem of a guitar is a model that came after the 51′ Telecaster. It only has a bridge pickup and is hard to find on a reseller website. It has a worn-down look and has been tampered with, but I would think it is the solid ash body, a maple fretboard with 21 frets.
I would think this is one of the cheapest (though not cheap) guitars in his collection; hence all the modifications and stickers and whatnot put on it, but it is probably the workhorse guitar and the one he is most fond of—other similar models I have found online, but not for less than four thousand dollars.
Other Acoustic Guitars
In some live sessions and performances, Harry has used other more well-known and accessible acoustic guitars, which have been unclear whether he owned or has just used or been lent.
Harry plays this in many acoustic performances. This is a very well-known model that sounds and plays beautifully.
This guitar is truly one of a kind, and they only make a limited amount each year. To date, there are only 444 in the world. That was accurate up to 2021 a few months ago, as per the Martin factory.
This guitar is a great instrument, built with a thicker neck profile for more suitable for fingerpicking and less for barre chords. Its sound is strong, clean, and typical of a Martin. The woods are great, and the construction is noteworthy.
This guitar retails somewhere between two and three grand.
Taylor GS Mini Acoustic:
This is an easy playing and lightweight acoustic guitar to take on tour or to travel with. They are good-sounding guitars, and though the fretboard may be too small for some chord inversions and big hands, they hold up quite well volume-wise.
I have never been that partial to small body guitars, but they are useful for what it’s worth.
There is a picture of him sitting in a studio holding a black Fender Malibu with stickers on it. Though I do not usually go with Fender for acoustic guitars, it is an interesting, small guitar. Aesthetically the headstock doesn’t go along the lines of what I like.
I think this “electric guitar headstock” imitation looks a bit off. Apart from that, good playability and sounds decent. It can’t make a lot of low-frequency presence, but it makes a lot of mid-treble noise and doesn’t sound bad at all. It would be nice for recording music if you wanted to switch up your guitars.
Naturally, with his clean-sounding indie-folk style, one of the amps that we see him using in his Abbey Studio performances is a fender model. More precisely, the Twin Reverb Silverface. Specs:
- Vintage series 68 Silverface
- 4-valve 12AX7
- 2-valve 12AT7
- 4-valve 6L6
- 2 x 12″ Celestion G12V-70 speakers
- Two channels (Custom and Vintage)
- Custom CH controls: volume, treble, mid, bass, midrange, and brightness
- Vintage CH controls: volume, treble, midrange, bass, reverb, speed, intensity, and brightness
- Reverb and vibrato effects
- Tilt-back feet
- Includes 2-button footswitch and cover
The design and construction of the ’68 Custom Twin Reverb are unmistakably Fender, something that Fender is very good at: Trademarking its aesthetic. It is still very similar to the original, with the classic Fender ‘Silverface’ look of the late ’60s along with the Fender badge in the upper left corner. However, the addition of the turquoise front panel is very striking and a nice touch, as is the silver turquoise grille cloth with aluminum trim.
Under the hood, this amp justifies its higher-end price with exceptional components. These include hand-wired 6L6 power tubes (four of them) and six preamp tubes, all connected to vintage-spec Schumacher transformers, and two 12″ Celestion G12V-70 speakers to deliver a whopping 85 watts of power.
The vintage channel offers the more traditional warm tube timbre with great definition, capturing the dynamics of your playing very well. In contrast, the custom channel provides a ‘modified Bassman timbre stack,’ which takes pedals with ease.
This is a traditional tuner pedal, with some new interesting features, like the new “buffer mode.” It is possible to use the pedal in the conventional mode (with True Bypass that does not alter the signal) or use this new model, which is inspired by the Bona Fide buffer of the same brand
. This not only allows its use with long cables that could impoverish the signal but also allows us to have the tuner display always active, even while playing.
A good power supply for pedalboards. Slightly pricey but worth it if you compare it with other cheaper or more common power supplies. It does not cause additional noise in your pedals beyond those generated by them, it has no grounding problems, and it is smaller than other power supplies, so it fits better in the pedalboards.
The total amperage and the number of outputs are enough to power quite large pedalboards without any problem. It does have some drawbacks; the first and most important is that it has no On/Off button.
The second is the cables that come to feed the pedals, somewhat flimsy, better than those of pedalboards like the “powerplant,” but not at the level they should be for the price.
This rugged metal microphone picks up even low frequencies, and you can vary between treble and bass without any problems.
It features a hum compensating coil, avoiding any kind of vibration that may affect your vocals, so it is very useful for live gigs and sessions.
Sennheiser SKM 5200 II:
This wireless microphone is a performance/stage mic and one of the best on the market, hence its very high price point. The wireless range on the thing is nearly limitless, and the frequency response is perfect.
Harry styles are not the only artist to use this microphone for live performances, and most major live venues have this microphone as industry standard nowadays.
Answer: Harry Styles’s first solo album was the 9th best worldwide selling album in 2017, selling over a million copies. quite good for a first album
Answer: Not that the other members of One Direction didn’t have any tattoos, but Harry might be the most tattooed of them all; Harry Styles, at last count, had 52 tattoos, according to some media outlets. His love of tattoos fuels his passion for also tinkering around with his guitars, it seems.
Answer: Harry was born in ’94. He is currently 27 years old. He famously doesn’t shy away from having come from a boy band, either, having said that 30-year-old hipsters don’t necessarily have better music taste than 15-year-old girls.
Answer: No. According to various sources, he doesn’t eat meat, not because he is a vegan but because he is a vegetarian. Maybe that gives him the superpower of learning guitar in 3 years.
Answer: Harry Styles is a huge fan of The Beatles, John Mayer, Coldplay, Elvis, and Pink Floyd, amongst others.
Harry Styles, although not known for his prowess as a guitar player, has been known to play a handful of instruments in the past, including the drums and piano.
He has become a social phenomenon due to his cute looks, his role in One Direction, and being a role model for the LGBT activist community and has been quoted as saying, “I want to make a difference, and for that to happen, I need to be out.”
If you’re keen on picking up the same gear as he has, I hope you are willing to cash out a serious amount of money. Even the less popular guitars he plays, like the Martin D28, are flagship models and instruments that even more advanced players would love to play.