At What Age .......

       At what age of a guitarists life does the pure quality of an instruments construction X the perfection of its voice / tonality become more important than signature additions, who played what, brand loyalty, Iconic brand names, etc.?
       I'm not dissing signature editions because I own both a Steve Van and Eric Johnson signature edition that are excellent for their purpose.
       At some point in the last 10 years or so, (I'lll be 65 in January), I found I cared less and less about who played what or what instrument was used on which song or which brand was endorsed by whoever and, instead, found myself flipping the bird to all hype and just focused on me, the instrument, our connection and the results. 
       I now own instruments that no one famous has played on a hit single, album or whatever and yet sound better to my ears and fit me better as a player. It's like at 60 years or so I just started absorbing all that gave me me and cared little or nothing about an instruments historical aspect. My finger spread. My choice of pickup voicing. My choice of body woods and body weight. 
       Was I a "late comer"?
       Did others come to the same conclusion at an earlier age?
       
        If you've reached this stage when did you get there?
        If you haven't ........ can you see a time in your future when you will?

       Guitar Manufacturers have reached a point where their history count's more than their current and future product development. 
       Yes. Sometimes the future sucks with Richlite or auto tuners. But other times something better comes along. 

        Where are you?
       

Comments

  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 2,313
    I am sort of an odd case, I suppose. Even as a young, impressionable teen I never cared for signature models. (on that subject, is a Les Paul a signature model? not that I cared for those at the beginning. I liked metal. I really started fully appreciating Lesters until later, when I matured as a player.)

    I started listening to dino rock and also tried to teach myself to play in the early to mid 90's. The stuff i liked was going the way of the dodo in favor of grunge and other stuff I didn't care for. Not that that bothered me but finding info on the stuff that really interested me was becoming more difficult. Thank god I had inherited my uncle's Circus magazines from the early 80's. Those proved invaluable.

    I noticed what my favorite bands were playing. I think Charvels and Jacksons were the first brand I really noticed because the guys on RATT, Viv in DIO and Jake with Ozzy were playing them in those pictures. Then  it was all Fender. Glenn Tipton was pictured with a Strat, that I noticed. Dave Murray always seemed to play one too, and then I started to listen to Yngwie and that was it. I didn't know about pick ups or anything of the sort. I got a cheap strat clone and after a year or so I read an article on EVH where they talked about how he cut a hole on his strat to fit a humbucker. A quick visit to the instrument shop and a quick browse on a tech book on fixing guitars at Barnes N' Noble later and now I had what I now know is a fat strat.

    But it's not that I cared for the brand. I was after the sound. and the playability. These days my main guitar is a partscaster I built myself with Fender, Warmoth and some other manufacturer parts.The brand is of no concern to me, I was always more interested in building my own stuff once I figured I could do it.

    That said, I am more respectful of signature models these days because I know what characteristics and woods those are built of and some are quality stuff. I never cared for say, an EVH 5150 amp for years because I really wasn't crazy about appearing as an Eddie fanboy. But I don't care now. I have come to realize they are great and they are probably the best bang for the buck amps out there right now. Same for guitars. I own a Gibson and a Charvel from the 80's and I like to have them around.

  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 18,270
    edited August 2019
    I was heavily mentored in all things instruments and amps by my teacher (who has been my lifelong big brother) who was 9 years older than me.  I was still playing bass (and already a tone hound on bass) when I purchased my first two cheap-shit guitars to noodle on. At that point, it hadn't occurred to me that I'd be switching to guitar completely. I still believed that my quickest route to musical success would be on bass (and probably would have been) but I was getting more and more interested in playing the guitar myself. I would have been about 20-22. This was smack bang in the middle of the pre-Slash, Superstrat era when LPs were going cheap. And my friend who owned my 54 LP decided he wasn't going to play guitar anymore, sold it back to my mentor-teacher, who called me and said: "Steve just sold the 54 back to me. YOU HAVE TO BUY THIS GUITAR." (He didn't need it because he had a 55 LPC) And I had played the guitar before and knew how good it was, and I knew he was right. I was also pretty much done with being in bands around this time (around 87) and knew whatever musical future awaited me was probably going to involve the switch to guitar. So I sold the two cheap shit guitars, gave him the money, and he let me pay off the rest. So my 54 LP was my first "good guitar," and I later put the work into it to replace the fingerboard to fix the fretscale problems. I would have been 22-23 years old. And that was the ONLY guitar I owned until I built the Blackmocaster in 1999. And I didn't play a lot in those years, but I sure as shit knew how great that LP was. It was obvious when I heard and played other peoples guitars at jams. And that guitar became the standard by which I would measure all my future electrics. Not so much on specific sonics (I knew I wasn't going to get those sonics from other guitars), but it taught me what a superlative instrument felt like. What superlative fretwork and other objective points felt like. So any guitar I picked up after that had to feel like a quality instrument, or it didn't impress or excite me.  And the only "cheap" guitar I've had since was a $400 MIM Strat beater.

    Now it would be disingenuous to suggest I was or am immune to what my favorite players played.  That has played a part in some of the instruments I've acquired. But it usually had to be more than just that, too. The Blackmocaster was obviously inspired by Ritchie, but it's not an exact copy of a Fender RB Strat. And though I was a purist when I built it, and insisted on 21 frets, it became obvious over time that I should have served ME more than purity and I should have built it with 22.  And two years ago, I added the 22 fret all these years later -- experience correcting a past mistake.  So even when I end up with an instrument that is inspired by some player I like, these days, I'm more inclined to tailor it to suit my own specific needs.  And almost every instrument I own is customized to my preferred specs to some degree.
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    I threw me guitar out. Why bother? Why bother? Use it as a coffee table. Because I can't play it like that. 
    -- David St. Hubbins.
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,704
           My first quality guitar was a '71 / '72 SG Deluxe. I guess being a huge fan of early Alice Cooper Band music, with Glen Buxton playing a 3 pickup SG Custom and Michael Bruce playing the 2 pickup SG Deluxe / up graded Standard of that time, played a role in my choice. When my mind thought "Electric Guitar" the SG was just front and center. A few years later, when Frank Marino hit the stage with his SG it pretty much cemented that mental image right into the '80's. So I guess I started as a dude who based his taste in electric guitars on performers who used a particular instrument.
           It wasn't until after the turn of the century that I really started looking for a guitar that reflected me rather than someone else in my head. Then it took me almost another 10 years before I achieved that goal.
          Although I still love the look of the SG I haven't owned one in a very long time. Tele's and LPs took over and, realizing the extreme comfort of a Strats balance and body shape, got me to thinking about builds that would combine the best of these models to be a perfect fit for me. That's pretty much where I am today with electrics.
  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 18,270
    edited August 2019
    I was a die-hard Gibson purist for a lonnnng time. Didn't really find myself wanting a Strat until I got serious about playing again, and by then I'd been listening to tons of Blackmore, Beck, and Gary Moore. Of course, now I have many more Strats than LPs -- though only one is a Fender.
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    I threw me guitar out. Why bother? Why bother? Use it as a coffee table. Because I can't play it like that. 
    -- David St. Hubbins.
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 2,313
    Regardless of what I posted above, I would own a quality Les Paul in a hearbeat if given the chance. Because I know what a good axe they can be of you find a good one. Again, quality over brand or rock star pedigree, I suppose..

    I love how a Strat feels in my hands. i don't think any other guitar gives me that. A few years ago I saw a post in some forum of a dude who built a Strat with a mahogamy body and a maple top, with PAF style PUs. I suppose he was going for a Les Paul with a Strat shape thing. That got me curious, might try it at some point.
  • I saw a post in some forum of a dude who built a Strat with a mahogamy body and a maple top, with PAF style PUs. I suppose he was going for a Les Paul with a Strat shape thing. That got me curious, might try it at some point. 
    How to turn a Strat into a 9lb osteo-disability that still won't sound like a Les Paul!
    I threw me guitar out. Why bother? Why bother? Use it as a coffee table. Because I can't play it like that. 
    -- David St. Hubbins.
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,704
     "A few years ago I saw a post in some forum of a dude who built a Strat with a mahogamy body and a maple top, with PAF style PUs. I suppose he was going for a Les Paul with a Strat shape thing. That got me curious, might try it at some point."

          My #1 electric, a Melancon Custom T, is a Les Paul disguised as a Telecaster with the deep back carve and balance of a '57 Stratocaster. Mahogany body / (burl) Maple top / PAFs . An added 3 way micro switch allows me to choose between humbuckers in parallel, humbuckers in series or humbuckers split with only one coil active to get a true single coil option. For me ...... it's perfect.
  • mr_crowleymr_crowley Posts: 6,651
    edited August 2019
    Never been a big guy when it comes to signature guitars, or gear, I don't mind it but I've never bought anything solely becuase of that. But of course it makes sense to buy the same gear as the guys who's tone you like - at least to me. Pretty much all rock and metal I like has that Marshall-esque tone going so for me it makes sense to have an JCM1 as the core of my setup.

    All the guitars I own sort of serves a purpose but they are bought or modded with kind of a purpose in mind. The reason I was attracted to my Superstrats (550 and a Gunslinger) was becuase of my manic obsession of 80s hair metal. I saw those kind of guitars in videos and wanted something like those myself. I modded the 550 into the much more streamlined design (with HS setup and only one volume and mini toggle) because it fitted me better. I also put the EVO and a rail in there becuase it was the best choice for getting that very saturated and processed tone I wanted out of the guitar. Same goes for the EMG I put in the Gunslinger, tonally it kind of did what I wanted to achieve with the guitar and also having an EMG was handy when playing a lot of rented backlines becuase it means you always slam the front end hard and can have a rather consistent tone no matter what you play through.
    My DC Lester with P90s I got becuase I love the tone of P90s and figured it would track really good. It also looks very bad ass and rock n roll! I wanted something to contrast my fire breathing superstrats with, not less fire breathing but definitely in another way. I would not have gotten it if I didn't thought it looked cool.
    My Tele is kind of the same way, I love single coils but don't love the "clonkiness" of Strats. What to do? A tricked out Tele, that's what. It is kind of a Tele Paul in a sense and it is one of my best sounding guitars. But as the same as above, a guitar sounding exactly the same but that didn't look cool and sort of played on the aesthetic I wanted it would have been a no-go.

    I think in a sense for me all the tones I like I sort of also connects to a certain look and vibe in a guitar and that has to go hand in hand with it. It has to sound AND look right and those has to make sense as well for me for it to be an instrument I like. I don't know if that is something I'll ever "grow out" of, I am very vain :lol: And how those tones and looks got intertwined in the first place certain comes from "idols" or players and bands I admire or whatever you want to call it. You know I hear something I like, and see what they look like and from that moment on that look and sound is sort of "locked together", in a sense. I'd never play 70s rock on my Ibanez and OTOH I'll never play hair metal on my DC. It could be done, neither would sound bad but it doesn't make sense.

    To sum it, for me look and brand plays a big part and that has to be aligned with the tone and what I want out of that very "tool" at that given moment. If I found a Jagstang delievering the best late 80s metal tone I've ever heard would I get it? To be quite honest, no, I wouldn't. Same goes if I could cram the chimest nicest clean out of a BCR, wouldn't really matter.

    As a side note I also have a big aversion going out on a stage with knock-off brands on the headstock - I want it to say Gibson or Fender or Ibanez or Jackson or something like that... Just one of those vanity things I do care about no matter how silly it is. I am kind of growing out of it though, I don't really care as much as I used to... Maybe in time I will be on stage playing the most soothing clean guitar hymns on a chinese no-brand Warlock :lol: 
    Post edited by mr_crowley on
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,704
     "If I found a Jagstang delivering the best late 80s metal tone I've ever heard would I get it? To be quite honest, no, I wouldn't."

    Neither would I. Not even if they included ice cream and a new car. There are lines that can't be crossed!
  • JoebuddhaJoebuddha Posts: 2,143
     I can't recall ever really being drawn to a signature model as such. I know that as a kid I got into ESP guitars because George Lynch, Vernon Reid and the guys from Queensryche all played them. Then the fact that ESP custom shop was located on 48th street and after playing them I really loved them. 
    I think that was also the reason why I started using GHS Boomers back then as well. 
    These days though I would really love an Eric Johnson Strat, nothing to do with Eric it's just that one of my students has one and I love it! 
  • Joebuddha said:
    These days though I would really love an Eric Johnson Strat, nothing to do with Eric it's just that one of my students has one and I love it! 
    That kind of stuff does happen. Townshend plays an Eric Clapton Strat because he really loves it. Meniketti put together a Strat with a Bonnie Raitt sig. body, because he loved the color.  I've always thought the Ibanez Satriani had a fantastic neck profile and a lot of great Superstrat features, and while I like and respect Satch, he's never been a guy I was that into. He's amazing, and great in spurts, but his all legato style grates on my nerves after a while.  But I've always found his signature guitars very comfortable to play.  
    I threw me guitar out. Why bother? Why bother? Use it as a coffee table. Because I can't play it like that. 
    -- David St. Hubbins.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,638
    edited August 2019
    my first nice electric was a Washburn N4.  this was 1991, so the first or second model year for that instrument.  i didn't buy it because i liked Nuno, i just loved the guitar.  if any of you have ever played one, you know what i'm talking about.  it's a real racecar, and built like a brick shithouse.  it wouldn't suit me today, the neck is way too thin, but it was a good guitar in it's day.  i've vacillated between owning nice guitars and shitty guitars ever since.  if i like one, i'll buy it, and it doesn't matter to me if it's a $300 beater, or an r series Lester.
    Post edited by bourbonsamurai on
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 2,313
    inmyhands said:
     "If I found a Jagstang delivering the best late 80s metal tone I've ever heard would I get it? To be quite honest, no, I wouldn't."

    Neither would I. Not even if they included ice cream and a new car. There are lines that can't be crossed!
    Years and years ago I read an interview with some dude in a mid 80's metal band (I think it might have been Mark Brody from Jag Panzer, but my memory is hazy at this point) who came clean that he recorded all his records with a telecaster. I remember thinking oh boy, now that's a brave man for admitting that!!!. Not that there's anything wrong with teles, but they are not exactly identified as a metal guitar, and those where the days when everybody was playing super strats...

    That kind of stuff does happen. Townshend plays an Eric Clapton Strat because he really loves it. Meniketti put together a Strat with a Bonnie Raitt sig. body, because he loved the color.  I've always thought the Ibanez Satriani had a fantastic neck profile and a lot of great Superstrat features, and while I like and respect Satch, he's never been a guy I was that into. He's amazing, and great in spurts, but his all legato style grates on my nerves after a while.  But I've always found his signature guitars very comfortable to play.  
    Aside of songs like Surfing with an Alien and Summer Song, this is a guy I never really connected with, not even as a 16 year old. That said, I have to acknowledge that he helped me in my formative days to identify stuff like tone and style. I was listening to a song on the radio one day and I thought "I have never heard this song before, but I can tell it's Satriani." I totally get you with the legato stuff. I have always been more unto the super alternate pickers, even before i knew what that was.

    A friend just told me a couple days ago he is been offered a JS 1000 in a trade. I told him to go for it. Those are great guitars, although personally i would swap those pick ups in a heartbeat for a couple of Duncans. I am not into that super compressed sound.
  • I've never listened to a ton of Les Paul, the person (though I acknowledge his great playing), but I love and play (great examples of) his signature model.
    I threw me guitar out. Why bother? Why bother? Use it as a coffee table. Because I can't play it like that. 
    -- David St. Hubbins.
Sign In or Register to comment.