Billie Joe’s Guitar – Not Blue – Gibson Harmony Hollow Body

Top 3 and AI 200th Show Tweet - Green Day Twitter

I probably should be writing about Green Day’s tour in South America, but I’m still digesting what’s happening down yonder. The end-of-the-tour shows have been massive celebrations (as BJ said recently in a Brazilian press conference, “this is not a parting, this is a fucking celebration”), as folks in Venezuela, Colombia and so far, two shows in Brazil, have seen crowds that are completely one with the band during the shows. I’ve been lucky over the last year to go to fourteen Green Day shows (plus one Pinhead Gunpowder and two Foxboro Hot Tubs gigs), but I have yet to see a live Green Day show like what I’ve seen via video from South America. In fact, Green Day tweeted out after Porto Alegre in Brazil that the show was in their “top 3 craziest shows” ever. Over a 22-year career like Green Day’s, I’m sure that’s a pretty tall order. Good on ya, Brazil. Keep knocking the boys out, tell ’em how much we love ’em.

Billie Joe Armstrong Gibson Harmony Hollow Body - Photo via Green Day Twitter

Billie Joe Armstrong recently tweeted out a photo with the sentence, “I love this thing.” What was that thing? A beautiful Gibson Harmony Hollow Body guitar. While fans are talking about how his steady guitar “Blue” has recently changed since he has a lot of replicas of his original guitar (there is a marked difference in the Blues from the end of the North American tour and the start of the South American tour), I’ve been fascinated with Armstrong’s use of the hollow bodies. I don’t remember seeing him use this type of guitar during any of the shows that I was lucky enough to attend until the most recent Hartford, CT gig. My friend Jill and I talked about it, and we seem to be the only two out there doing so while everyone else focuses on “Blue.” I don’t blame them for that at all, but I can’t help but wonder if the future of Green Day’s musical direction lies in the hollow body sound, which offers a bit more controlled rawness and reminds me of a Foxboro sound. I am not going to pretend that I’m an expert in guitars because I’m not. I read somewhere on one of the forums exactly what kind of year and make this Gibson Harmony is, but I can’t find it now. If you have any info about the guitar or anything else regarding these types of guitars and Green Day, just shoot it in the comments, why don’t you?

Billie Joe Armstrong Hollow Body - Photo by xGeneralxS

I think that Jason White plays a hollow body on the tour and they use them in the studio, but like I said, I don’t remember Billie Joe using them onstage himself until the start of the second leg of the North American tour, where he played two of them, I believe the one that he tweeted about as well as a second one, pictured on the left from the Hartford show.

Below are two videos of BJ playing each one.


“Minority” Solo on Hollow Body – Green Day, Hartford, CT – YourBestShotMedia

“Minority” With Gibson Harmony Hollow Body at 2:15- Green Day, Porto Alegre, Brazil – rafazce

In a recent press conference interview in Venezuela, Green Day was asked a question regarding why they do side project work such as the Foxboro Hot Tubs. Billie Joe replied: “We just like to do different things, we like to change identities… to make things funner and more interesting, like the band, the Foxboro Hot Tubs… because you need a release from doing a project like 21st Century Breakdown. But what I would like to do in the future is to try to combine both, where Green Day is like… the big project, but also something that’s really fun and has that sorta-party-sorta atmosphere and that celebratory atmosphere at the same time.”

Since I heard Billie Joe say that in Venezuela, I’ve been trying to ponder out exactly what that means. I guess the bottom line is that we’ll know what when they tell us. I’m not sure if the Foxboro Hot Tubs album, Stop, Drop, and Roll used hollow bodies in its production, but these guitars certainly lend themselves well to that garage, celebratory sound, and I can’t help but wonder if a future Green Day album will sound like the Foxboro Hot Tubs or vice-versa. Both Mike Dirnt in a recent interview in Colombia and the above-mentioned Billie Joe interview in Venezuela, said that the band already has a bunch of songs written for a potential new album. Whether that’s both a new Green Day and a new Foxboro album, who knows? After American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, both massive albums with a concept-focus, and the raw plunk of the Foxboro Hot Tubs’ Stop, Drop, and Roll, the only thing I know is that I’m fascinated by the future sound paths of both Green Day and the Foxboro Hot Tubs, whatever those futures hold.

For more information on Gibson’s Hollow Body guitars, here’s some links of interest:

Harmony Semi-Acoustic Guitars

Subway Guitars: Jazz and Hollow Body

Vintage Guitars – This is a great site that has a wide selection of Gibson guitars profiled, plus old catalogs archived.

About Green Day Mind

Writer, blogger, archivist, not a mom. Three cats. Used to go to a lot of punk shows. View all posts by Green Day Mind

18 responses to “Billie Joe’s Guitar – Not Blue – Gibson Harmony Hollow Body

  • Jamie Skinner

    I think he used the hollow for minority cause the studio recordings of Warning (album) have that sort of acousticy sound to it. I used to have a Gibson hollow body and it made Minority, Warning, Macy’s Day Parade etc sound great.

  • Green Day Mind

    Jamie also told me that BJ uses a similar guitar in Bullet in a Bible during Wake Me Up When September Ends and Minority. If anyone else has any information, I’d love to hear it! Thanks!

  • Homer

    Great blog man! I’m susbribed with Google Reader 🙂

  • Jill

    Ahhhh… that solo in Hartford contributed to my heart attack! LOL
    He just let loose on that guitar there… kid with a new toy and I loved every second of it!
    The Harmony is pure guitar porn all the way, and he was a bit more gentle with that, but can ya blame him? 😉

  • Bex

    Excellent! I think your right about that they will be using this guitar for this Foxboro Hot Tubs/ Green Day sound album coming up. But we shall see for sure when they release it! I’m pretty excited to hear the combo. Reading this blog post, I had to go see a vid from the show I went to in Detroit. And yup, he played that tweeted pic Harmony guitar in Minority there! Beautiful! You can see it up close around 3:17. I haven’t watched many vids from Detroit still, so I was pleased to see this. (btw, that Mike heartpound right at the beginning of this vid was right to me! lol)
    This was a great read! Thanks!

    • Green Day Mind

      Well, Bex, I have no idea if the two bands will combine, it’s a wild hypothesis, but BJ’s comment at the press conference has been rattling around in my brain and heck, who knows what that means? of course, I’m probably dead wrong about everything, lol, but it’s fun to think about, nonetheless. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for that vid from Detroit. I’ll check it out later on.

      I also went back to Minority in London at the 02, and he didn’t use a hollow body live for a solo then, but Jason’s was there, methinks. Anyway, like I said, all wild speculation, but when BJ says something like “what I would like to do in the future is to try to combine both, where Green Day is like… the big project, but also something that’s really fun and has that sorta-party-sorta atmosphere and that celebratory atmosphere at the same time,” he’s gotta know that fans are gonna wonder what the hell he means, lol.

  • bogod

    Hello boy! Im from Brazil (city of Blumenau) and I was searching for Green Day’s show at Porto Alegre (I was there), and I found you blog.
    Man, I am more fan of Aerosmith and Metallica, and I was in both shows of this too bands. I went to Green Day’s show just to listen, but, it was the best show that I went. Surelly!
    Incredible 2 hours and 40 minutes. They played almost everything.
    And I really really liked to read on twitter about the “top 3”.

    If you want to know something more about the show, send me an e-mail. Bye boy! seeya (sorry for my english)

  • Miguel

    Its not a gibson guitar…
    Actually its a Harmony h59 rocket!D
    Pretty afordable!D

  • Ronnie raffaniello

    Hi, you are using my photo of Billie Joe’s guitar in this blog post and I would appreciate it if you please take it down, as I have not given you permission to use it on your site. Thanks.

    billie joe armstrong's guitar (green day)

    • Green Day Mind

      Sure, not a problem. However, may I use it with your permission? As you can see, it’s a vital part of this particular post. I have seen this photograph in many places unattributed, and I do make every attempt to find the photographer, but in your case, I was unable to. I have posted pictures of many photographers, the great majority of them with their permission.

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