Harry Styles is a global celebrity known for his musicianship and stunning voice. However, is he able to play the quintessential rock instrument?
Harry Styles can play the guitar. He did not know how to play guitar when his music career started, but he learned to play after becoming famous. Now he frequently plays guitar in his performances.
Harry Styles Struggled to Learn Guitar
Harry Styles revealed on Twitter that he tried to learn guitar at nine years old. He said he was too “impatient” and gave up on the challenge.
Harry still could not play guitar when he rose to fame in the band One Direction. However, his bandmates were very musical and tried to help him learn.
Harry Became a Great Guitar Player
After years of practice, Harry now plays guitar regularly. He even plays guitar in his solo performances, revealing his talent to massive audiences.
In his 2017 solo tour he took the stage and played guitar at shows. Harry’s producer Tom Hull commended Harry for being “very musical” and playing the guitar well.
Also in 2017, Harry showcased his guitar playing on his own show, Harry Styles at the BBC. He performed an intimate acoustic cover of “Girl Crush” while accompanying himself on the guitar.
In 2020 he showed his guitar skills in a raw Tiny Desk Concert performance. The performance takes folk and funk influences, with light acoustic instrumentation and lush vocal harmonies. Harry does not play highly technical guitar solos yet, but he is capable of playing guitar in exposed sessions like this one.
Harry Plays Guitar in his Songwriting Process
Harry actually wrote many of the guitar parts for his hit 2019 album Fine Line. When he discussed the album, he revealed that some of the process involved him playing around and finding melodies on the guitar.
In an interview he explained that the first song on the album, “Golden,” was written when Harry started playing around on guitar in the Shangri-La Recording Studios’ kitchen. Harry also plays guitar in the song “Cherry,” which ends with just the sound of his guitar under the voice of his ex-girlfriend speaking in French. However, this guitar riff was originally written by his engineer Sammy Witte.
Harry’s Guitar Contributes to his Activism
Harry Styles is known for taking a strong stance on LGBT and racial equality issues. Surprisingly, his guitar plays a crucial role in his political messaging.
In 2018, Harry Styles added a “Black Lives Matter” sticker to his guitar at his Detroit Michigan concert. Black Lives Matter is a human rights movement that originated in the United States, so Harry is certainly aware of political movements in the cities he travels to.
Harry also addressed American politics with his guitar at a 2018 concert in Dallas, Texas. He decorated his instrument with “end gun violence” stickers. This display of activism came after he demonstrated support for protests in wake of the Stoneman Douglas School Shooting in Florida.
Harry Plays on Multiple Professional-Grade Guitars
Many fans have wondered what guitars Harry Styles plays, and some players have tried to emulate his setup for themselves. Harry’s go-to guitar seems to be his Gibson ES-350T model guitar. He played this guitar in his 2017 Saturday Night Live performance of “Ever Since New York.”
Harry Styles has been seen playing more than ten models of guitars, so it is unclear which he owns or borrows. However, his documentary Behind the Album shows guitarist Mitch Rowland giving Harry his beautiful white Fender Telecaster as a gift. Harry definitely calls this guitar his own now and frequently plays it in performances.
Harry Styles also plays numerous acoustic guitars in addition to his go-to electric models. The Martin D-28 seems to be his favorite acoustic model, and appears in his live music video for “Two Ghosts.”
His guitars are certainly not cheap. His Fender Telecaster is a vintage model from the 1970s. Telecaster model guitars currently sell for $900-$2,600 and Harry’s may be worth even more. Harry’s Martin D-28 model acoustic guitar sells for $2,899 on Amazon.
Harry Styles came a long way as a guitar player during his career. He only learned guitar over the course of a few years, but now demonstrates great ability and musicianship when he performs on guitar in concerts.