Keith Richards is an electric guitar icon, but he prefers playing acoustic – and his unplugged Rolling Stones approach is full of smart ideas

Keith Richards with a Gibson J-45 acoustic
(Image credit: Luciano Viti/Getty Images)

Picture Keith Richards, and your first image is probably of the Tele-toting, bandana-wearing wildman of rock. However, explore The Rolling Stones’ back catalogue and you’ll see that acoustic instruments feature heavily, from strummed and picked acoustic guitars to 12-strings, mandolins and Nashville-tuned guitars (the high strings from a 12-string set).

For the acoustic singer-songwriter or accompanist, the styles of Richards and his accomplice Ronnie Wood are essential study.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Stuart Ryan

Stuart Ryan is best known for his acoustic guitar playing, from Celtic fingerpicking and traditional folk to modern percussive phrasing and fresh interpretations of popular pieces. He has released several solo albums, written pieces for UK examination boards and created nine tutorial books ranging from acoustic guitar arrangements to Americana styles.