Over the last few days I’ve been posting pictures and asking questions on my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts. Of course they’ve all been guitar related questions, but they’ve been questions with reason. By posting these photos and asking these questions I’ve compiled quite the list of reasons people need multiple guitars. I now have justification for my current collection as well as future purchases. Yes! That’s how I’ve justified it in my mind at least. If you agree, you also have the benefit of this list of reasons to refer to when justifying your next intended guitar purchase.
So if you’re anything like me, you have an addiction to all-things guitar as well as a partner who doesn’t share that fixation. If you’re truly like me you’re also over six foot tall and could probably use a shave. But that’s beside the point. What you probably need is one source that highlights how your current guitars are different from each other. Different enough that your non-guitar playing friend/s understand that you do need all of the guitars you have/want.
The images and questions I asked through the wonderful world of social media went as follows. I hope you enjoy the process and the list of differences between the many guitar types out there. You’ll probably soon discover you need another guitar. Now. I know I do.
1. Bridge types
How your strings are attached to your guitar body is not a simple thing. You could have a guitar with the Les Paul style Tune-o-matic and stop piece. You could ignore the stop piece and go for a string-through-body. You could have a Stratocaster style tremolo bridge or a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge. You could have a Telecaster that is string-through-body or all contained in the bridge itself. It’s almost endless. You have at least four justified guitar purchases just there. That’s a great start.
2. Fretboard wood
There’s obviously maple and rosewood to choose from. But there’s also ebony. I’m sure there are more wood options. There are even options that aren’t made from wood if you’re feeling incredibly adventurous.
3. Fretboard inlays
This is obviously more aesthetic, but if everybody had the same tastes there’d only be one kind. It makes a difference. Les Paul style, Shark fin. standard dots, offset dot positioning … Almost countless options.
How many frets should you have or use? Common options include 21, 22 and 24 frets. It can go higher. Options. It’s good to have them.
Black, white, chrome, gold, other … Colour aside, there are so many design styles to choose from that you could probably style over 50 black Stratocasters with different hardware options and have them all looking different.
No, I’m not suggesting that having multiple guitars is nuts. The kind of nut you have is also up to you (and the bridge type you use for the most part). Standard or locking. You choose.
7. Machine head alignment
Common machine head (or tuning peg) alignment options include six-a-side, six-a-side (reversed) and three-a-side. But there are other options such as the four and two style many Music Man guitars use. Then of course there are the options for seven and eight string guitars. Somewhat related is the machine head type. Regular or locking? So many options in the land of the machine head.
8. Pickup type
I could go on forever regarding the pickup types available today. I could even subtly inform you of a concept being worked on for pickups that allow you to dial in different tones directly from the pickup itself. The most common options though are single coil and humbucker. But what about PAF? Humbucker style in a single coil size? Oh the fun that is to be had with pickups.
9. Pickup manufacturer
Linked to the category above is pickup manufacturer. Many aftermarket options can be installed into popular guitars directly by the guitar manufacturer these days. Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Wilkinson and EMG are just some of the popular options today. The boutique market just opens up your options to a near endless list of opportunities.
10. Pickup covers
On or off? That’s the simple choice here. It’s aesthetic but it also affects the tone. It’s an important choice to make.
11. Pickup switch
This may seem like a small option to consider, but if you’re going to switch between your pickups during a song then the location of a pickup selector switch is incredibly important. Not sure what I’m talking about? Watch Zakk Wylde. He uses the pickup switch like it’s nobody’s business.
12. Strap buttons
This is an often overlooked aspect of a guitar purchase. Strap locks or regular strap buttons? If you’re going to gig or attempt to spin the guitar behind your back in the bedroom, then the strap buttons you choose could literally make or break your guitar.
So there you have it. That sums up the reason behind my recent barrage of images and questions. I’d like to thank all the people who gave me their feedback when I posted the images and questions initially. You’ve made me realise there’s much more out there to consider. There are options I’m yet to try. I have additional reasons to continue with my guitar collection. I thank you. My wife doesn’t.