What Instruments Does Taylor Swift Play? An Insider Look

Taylor Swift, a multi-talented singer-songwriter, has captivated fans worldwide with her relatable lyrics and exceptional musical abilities. Throughout her career, she has shown her talent with various instruments, making her an even more well-rounded and beloved artist.

From her early country roots to her transformation into a global pop icon, Taylor Swift’s instrumental expertise enhances her storytelling and connects her with her audience on a deeper level. With a continued focus on her craft, she remains an influential figure in modern music.

Instruments Taylor Swift Plays


Taylor Swift is known for playing various guitars, both acoustic and electric. Some of her most notable guitars include the Taylor Swift Baby Taylor and the Taylor GS6. The Baby Taylor is a small-sized acoustic guitar, perfect for Swift’s earlier performances and writing sessions. The GS6 is a full-sized acoustic guitar that offers a rich, warm tone.

Swift has also been seen playing the Gibson Les Paul Limited and the Gibson Les Paul Special electric guitars. These iconic models are well-known for their playability and distinctive sound. Recently, Swift has taken a liking to the Fender Johnny Marr Signature Jaguar, a limited edition electric guitar celebrating the legacy of the legendary Smiths guitarist.

Another notable guitar in her collection is the Taylor Presentation Series PS-14ce Grand Auditorium acoustic-electric guitar. Equipped with an ebony fretboard and premium materials, this guitar offers a smooth playing experience and impressive tonal range.


In addition to her guitar skills, Taylor Swift is proficient at playing the piano. This versatile instrument allows her to display her musicianship in a different light and adds emotional depth to her performances. Swift often uses the piano for ballads and introspective songs, showcasing her ability to convey stories and emotions through music.


The banjo is another stringed instrument in Taylor Swift’s musical repertoire. She occasionally incorporates this folk instrument into her performances, adding a unique touch to her songs. Swift has demonstrated her banjo-playing skills on various occasions, displaying her versatility as a musician.


Lastly, Taylor Swift is also known to play the ukulele. This small, four-stringed instrument provides a distinct sound and allows Swift to experiment with different musical styles.

The ukulele’s portability makes it an ideal choice for casual performances and impromptu jam sessions. While not as prominent as her guitar and piano skills, Swift’s mastery of the ukulele is a testament to her diverse musical abilities.

Taylor Swift’s Musical Journey

Early Life

Taylor Alison Swift was born in West Reading, Pennsylvania, on December 13, 1989. She had a keen interest in music from a young age and progressed quickly from children’s theatre to her first appearance before a crowd.

Taylor’s journey in learning guitar was a mix of both formal lessons and self-taught skills. Her initial guitar mentor was Ronnie Cremer.

Career Growth

Swift’s career took off with her debut album Taylor Swift in 2006. The album became successful due to its young heartache themes and country-pop sound, featuring hit songs like “Our Song” and “Picture to Burn.” She signed with Sony/ATV and later Big Machine Records, which helped boost her presence in the music industry. Taylor’s popularity escalated with each album, covering various themes and experimenting with different styles.

Some of her iconic albums include:

  • Fearless (2008): Featuring the chart-topping “Love Story” and cementing Swift as a country music sensation.
  • Speak Now (2010): A highly personal album written by Taylor showcasing her singer-songwriter skills.
  • Red (2012): Transitioning from country to pop, this album includes hits like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
  • 1989 (2014): A fully realized pop album consisting of infectious hits like “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space.”
  • Reputation (2017): A darker and edgier sound, exploring themes such as betrayal and her evolving public image.


Taylor Swift plays several instruments, which have evolved throughout her career. Starting with the guitar, she has played various models like Les Pauls and Fender Johnny Marr Signature Jaguar. She is also known to play the piano, as seen in the magical music video for “Cardigan.” Songs such as “Death by a Thousand Cuts” and “Mr. Perfectly Fine” showcase her skills on the piano and her ability to create captivating melodies.

Throughout her musical journey, Taylor Swift has continuously developed her skills, adapting to different instrumentations and genres. With each album, she offers something new to her audience, be it her charming country tunes or catchy pop hits.

Her Guitar Skills and Techniques

Chords and Rhythms

Taylor Swift is known for her guitar skills, primarily focusing on chords and rhythms. Throughout her career, she has showcased her ability to play simple chords and create catchy melodies. Many of her songs involve basic open chords and the use of capos to alter the key. Additionally, Swift often incorporates arpeggios, a type of broken chord, in her playing style, adding depth and texture to her music while maintaining a clear rhythmic structure.

Swift learned to play the guitar at the age of 12 with the help of local musician Ronnie Cremer. Although she is not known for complex guitar techniques such as shredding, her command of chords and rhythm allows her to effectively convey emotion through her guitar playing.

Performing Live

As a guitar player, Taylor Swift genuinely shines during live performances. When she first entered the music scene, Swift often performed solo with her guitar and vocals. This demonstrated her ability to not only play the guitar but also to connect emotionally with her audience.

Over the years, her live performances have evolved to include a full band, with guitarist Paul Sidoti playing a pivotal role in her tours. Nonetheless, Swift still maintains her connection with the guitar and occasionally performs solo or acoustic renditions of her songs, exhibiting her intimate bond with the instrument.

In summary, Taylor Swift’s guitar skills mainly revolve around chords, rhythms, and connecting with her audience during live performances. While her playing style tends to be simpler, it effectively complements her songs and showcases her ability to convey emotion through her music.

Notable Performances and Collaborations

Taylor Swift has achieved widespread success in both pop and country music due to her powerful lyrics and captivating performances. Throughout her musical career, she has showcased her ability to play various instruments, including guitar and piano. Some notable performances include her appearances at the Country Music Awards, where she first gained recognition with songs like “Teardrops on My Guitar.”

In addition to her solo work, Swift has collaborated with numerous artists across different genres. For instance, she co-wrote and performed “Kiss Me” with Rascal Flatts, toured with Brad Paisley, and worked with rock artist John Mayer on the song “Half of My Heart.” These collaborations not only demonstrate her versatility as an artist but also her ability to captivate audiences with different musical flavors.

Swift’s transition from country to pop came with her album “Red,” which included the hit single “I Knew You Were Trouble.” This marked a significant moment in her career, highlighting her evolution as an artist. Her performances on stage often feature a Red Sparkle Gibson Les Paul guitar, showcasing her love for the instrument and the influence it has had on her sound.

Another notable performance of Swift’s was her rendition of “Look What You Made Me Do” at the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This event displayed her ability to command attention even in a non-traditional musical setting, further solidifying her status as a versatile performer.

In terms of instrument preferences, besides the Gibson Les Paul, Swift has also been seen playing a Fender Johnny Marr Signature Jaguar. This guitar choice indicates her appreciation for the legacy of the legendary Smiths axeman. The fact that she can perform her songs on various guitars is a testament to her musical prowess.

Taylor Swift has also been associated with other artists covering her music, such as Ryan Adams, who famously reinterpreted her album “1989” in his unique style. Such tributes from fellow musicians emphasize the significance of her songs and their impact on the current music scene.

Throughout her career, Taylor Swift has demonstrated her ability to masterfully play multiple instruments, perform in diverse settings, and collaborate with numerous well-known artists. As she continues to evolve as a musician, her performances and collaborations remain essential to her enduring success.

John Godfrey

John Godfrey is a music fanatic, as well as the owner of Songpier.com which provides music guides. In high school, he learned how to play the drums which inspired him to learn about rock music. He began to write articles for various music magazines and during this period he realized he had a passion for writing music descriptions. He has a Master's degree in music education from the University of Redlands.