The Doors Guide
News     History     Research     Music     Film     Contact     About

The Doors Equipment List

A list of the equipment known to have been used by The Doors from 1965-1972.

Although I've taken a lot of time to double-check this information and have it confirmed, I will be needing some help to expand and update this section. Any fans with more knowledge on a particular instrument or suggestions for improvement, should please feel free to contact me. The goal is to maintain this page as the most accurate equipment list for The Doors available and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Robby Krieger Ray Manzarek John Densmore Jim Morrison


1964 Gibson SG Special

Robby Krieger plays a red 1964 Gibson SG Special with P-90 pickups on the first two Doors albums and for a bulk of the group's live shows from 1966-1970 (later with an added tremolo bar). Sadly, this legendary guitar was stolen and remains missing. I have the guitar's original serial number so anyone who believes they've found it can contact me for confirmation. Note: Robby sometimes incorrectly refers to this as a '64 Gibson Melody Maker.

1958 National 'Town & Country' (Model 1104)

Robby Krieger can be seen playing a yellow 1958 National 'Town & Country' Model 1104 guitar in the "Break On Through" promotional film from November 1966 and in photos taken in the first half of 1967. The guitar originally belonged to Ray Manzarek's brother, Rick Manczarek. It appears to have been used mostly for bottleneck playing until mid-1967 when it was retired in favor of the Gibson SG Special and, later, a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom.

1967 Gibson SG Special

According to an Elektra memo, Robby Krieger purchased a red 1967 Gibson SG Special in November 1967. It was likely acquired for use in the studio as session photos from early '68 show him with this guitar. He also played it during at least one set at the Fillmore East in March 1968. This model can be easily distinguished from the '64 SG Special by its larger batwing-style pick guard.

1968 Gibson SG Standard

Robby Krieger started playing a red 1968 Gibson SG Standard in March 1968 and used it throughout the '68 summer tour. But by the fall of '68, he appears to have returned to playing his '64 Gibson SG Special, using the SG Standard for occasional bottleneck playing along with his 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom. Robby's Gibson SG Standard is distinguished from his Gibson SG Special by its humbuckers, pearl trapezoid inlays on the fretboard, and a long vibrola tailpiece.

1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom ('Black Beauty')

Robby Krieger acquired a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty in mid-1968 for bottleneck playing. Gibson's replica of this guitar is missing the gold Bigsby tailpiece and has a Seymour Duncan mini-humbucker in the neck in place of the stock Alnico V pickup (modifications Robby made in later years). This is the guitar Robby used in the studio to record "Wild Child." He can also be seen playing it at the Hollywood Bowl, in the group's Critique television appearance, and during the Post-Morrison Doors tours.

Black Gibson SG Standard

In addition to his black 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom, Robby Krieger also played a black Gibson SG Standard with humbuckers and a vibrola tailpiece during his two tours with The Post-Morrison Doors in 1971-72.

As for Robby Krieger's guitar strings: Since he played without a pick when he was in The Doors, he preferred to use lighter gauges — specifically Ernie Ball Super Slinky Electric Strings (.009"–.042").


1965 Vox Continental Organ (V301H)

Ray Manzarek plays a Vox Continental Organ on the first two Doors albums and for much of the band's early career. As The Doors did more touring, the Vox became less reliable on the road, often breaking down and requiring a last-minute repair. On Sept. 9, 1967, Ray switched to a Gibson Kalamazoo and only used the Vox a few more times in concert. The Vox can easily be distinguished from the Gibson by its red and black color and chrome Z-shaped leg stand.

1967 Gibson Kalamazoo (G101)

Starting with the Village Theatre show on Sept. 9, 1967, Ray switched from his Vox Continental organ to a Gibson Kalamazoo G101 and it becomes his main touring instrument until the end of 1970. This is the organ heard on all live releases from 1968-1970 with the exception of Critique and the Aquarius shows for which Ray returned to a Vox as he felt it recorded better.

Fender Rhodes Piano Bass (Gold/Silver Sparkle)

Realizing they would never find a bassist, Ray Manzarek acquires a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass in early 1966 (thanks to a loan from Robby Krieger's parents) and plays the bass line to every Doors song with his left hand in concert. His first piano bass has a Gold Sparkle top and a brown case. He also plays a Silver Sparkle model with a black case in late 1967 and early 1968 before making it his regular touring instrument on Nov. 7, 1968. He returns to using a gold model on May 1, 1970 and stops using a piano bass entirely in 1971.

RMI Electra-Piano

Ray can be seen "playing" an RMI Electra-Piano during The Doors' lip-synched television appearance on 4-3-2-1 Hot & Sweet. It can also be seen on stage the following night in Frankfurt and in Saratoga Springs, NY. Road manager Vince Treanor says that Ray decided he didn't like the RMI and it wasn't brought on tour again, though one was apparently used during rehearsals for Critique.

Hammond C3 Organ

The band buys Ray a Hammond C3 Organ for his birthday in 1968, which he uses in the studio to record several songs including "Wild Child," "Who Scared You," and "The Soft Parade." He also uses one on the L.A. Woman album, most notably on "The Changeling" and "Hyacinth House." Although he later uses a Hammond B3 in concert, he never uses the C3 on tour.

Wurlitzer Electric Piano (140 Series)

Ray Manzarek can seen playing a Wurlitzer Electric Piano (140 Series) in photographs taken during the L.A. Woman sessions, although it doesn't appear to have been used on the album. A Wurlitzer can be heard on the Morrison Hotel song "Queen Of The Highway."

Fender Rhodes Electric Piano (MKI 73)

Ray Manzarek uses a Fender Rhodes Electric Piano on the songs "L.A. Woman" and "Riders On The Storm" (not a Wurlitzer as some believe). He can be seen playing it during The Doors' final concerts with Jim Morrison in Dallas and New Orleans in 1970 and continues to use it through 1971 and 1972.

Hammond B3 Portable Organ

In 1971, Ray acquires a Hammond B3 Portable Organ (a Bill Beer "chop") for use on the Post-Morrison tours. He can be seen playing it during the band's appearances on Beat-Club and The Old Grey Whistle Test. It becomes his main touring instrument along with the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano through 1972.


Gretsch Drum Kit (White Marine Pearl)

John Densmore's first drum kit he uses with The Doors is a White Marine Pearl Gretsch. He can be seen playing it in photos taken at the London Fog in 1966 and continues to use a Gretsch set regularly until September 1967.

It's worth noting that with all of his drum sets, John used a Ludwig Supraphonic 400-series metal snare drum. As for drum sticks, he preferred size 7A.

Rogers Drum Kit (White Marine Pearl)

John can be seen using a White Marine Pearl Rogers Drum Kit during several shows from April to May 1967. Its use is short-lived so it may have been a kit he was trying out while his Gretsch was being used in the studio during recording sessions for Strange Days.

Ludwig Downbeat Drum Kit (Mod Orange)

This Mod Orange Ludwig Drum Kit has become known as John Densmore's signature set up. He first used it on Sept. 9, 1967 at the Village Theatre. In 1968, he acquired a bass drum cover with "The Doors" logo on it, but with the exception of the Madison Square Garden concert, only used it for TV appearances. After using the White Marine Pearl kit (below) during late 1968 while the Mod Orange kit was in the studio, John returns to using the Mod Orange set throughout 1969.

Ludwig Downbeat Drum Kit (White Marine Pearl)

This kit first appears in the fall of 1968 when The Doors begin recording sessions for their fourth album. John moves his Mod Orange kit into the studio and uses this White Marine Pearl Downbeat Drum Kit while on tour in Europe and the United States. He appears to use it until the end of 1968.

Ludwig Standard Single-Six S-340 (Black Strata)

In 1970, John Densmore switches from his Mod Orange Ludwig to what appears to be a Black Strata S-340 Ludwig Standard Single-Six Drum Kit. It's distinctive for the three small drum heads at its front. He uses this kit throughout the 1970 tour.

Hayman Vibrasonic Drum Kit (Gold Ingot)

During the Post-Morrison tours, John Densmore plays a Brushed Metallic Gold Ingot Hayman Vibrasonic Drum Set. He later said he stopped using it because it fell apart, although photos show it lasted until the final Doors concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 1972.


Electro-Voice 676 Microphone (Silver)

Jim Morrison's favorite microphone was the EV-676. Introduced to the band by road manager Vince Treanor, Morrison uses it for a majority of Doors concerts from 1968-1970. It's also occasionally brought into the recording studio (unplugged) and used as a dummy mic for Jim to perform into while another nearby microphone did the actual recording.

Electro-Voice 676 Microphone (Gold)

Perhaps tied in fondness with the silver EV-676 is this gold model which Jim used for many Doors shows from 1968-1970. He can be seen using it on The Smothers Brothers Show and during his final concert with The Doors in New Orleans.

Shure SM56 Microphone

If the EV-676 was Jim Morrison's favorite microphone, the Shure SM56 could be called Doors engineer Bruce Botnick's favorite. It was used at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 and for nearly every concert recorded for Absolutely Live (with the exception of Boston 1970). For most concerts in between, Jim returned to using an EV-676.


More than any other instrument, Jim was fond of playing a single maraca in concert, usually during extended solos, such as in "Light My Fire," as well as during the opening and closing of "The Celebration Of The Lizard." He would also occasionally use one at the start of "The End."


Jim Morrison didn't play the tambourine all that often. He played one during his birthday poetry session and at The Doors' last shows in Dallas and New Orleans, all of which took place in December 1970. It's possible, even likely, that he played it at other concerts, but they were few and far between. Any tambourine or jingling bells heard during "The Celebration Of The Lizard" or "The End" were usually played by John Densmore.


In the group's early club days, Jim would sometimes grab a harmonica and attempt to play along. During a set at The Matrix in March 1967, Ray can be heard telling Jim that his harmonica won't work with the next song ("Crawling King Snake") because it's in the wrong key. Jim plays it anyway. He also plays one in Miami 1969 and during "The End" in Detroit 1970. But he seems to have been largely dissuaded from playing the harp in concert, only using it sporadically from 1967-1970.

Please Submit Any Corrections/Additions

News     History     Research     Music     Film     Contact     About
The Doors Guide

The Doors Guide on Twitter The Doors Guide  |  Copyright © 1999-2014 by Len Sousa  |  All Rights Reserved The Doors Guide on Facebook