Earlier this month I thought it would be a good idea to conduct a social media experiment that would hopefully result in an answer to a question I’d often asked myself … does the perfect electric guitar exist? I am lucky enough to have a few guitars to choose from, but I’d never considered one guitar to be the perfect guitar—I’m told it’s important to not let your children know who the favourite is. I realised that the perfect electric guitar was relative. It would mean different things to different people. So obviously the only way to decide, was to have several different people choose.
After running a series of 17 guitar choice questions in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, I compiled the responses—none of the votes are my own—and went to the Halo Guitars website to construct the perfect electric guitar. I have to say, I think the Interwebs may have just got this right.
Before sharing what the perfect electric guitar looks like—don’t you go scrolling like I know you want to—I will share the questions I asked and some interesting facts that came out during the whole experience. Oh, I should also point out that the numbers aren’t large, but the conversations that eventuated amid the experiment were almost as interesting as the results themselves. They’re just more difficult to capture in a pure data sense. For example, there were several discussions around the reasons behind desiring a 24 fret neck that were not all high-note solo based. The impact a 24 fret neck has on all fret spacing impacts people’s decisions it seems.
Another thing I learned—that I’ll share for anybody else considering running a cross-platform social media experiment like this—is that Twitter users—the ones I engage with at least—are more responsive to a traditional Twitter poll than to a regular tweet asking for a response. I was somewhat surprised by that as I thought the added appeal of the imagery in a standard tweet would be more engaging. Instagram generated more likes than votes in my experiment, while the Facebook technique of “Like for option one” and “Love for option two” proved effective. Facebook tends to generate more constructive criticism as well.
Back to the questions and their results though. Here are the questions I asked. Each winning result has been highlighted through the use of bold. Clever, right?
- Maple fretboard or Rosewood/Ebony fretboard
- Tremolo or No Tremolo
- Tailpiece or String-through Body
- Humbucker or Single Coil
- Two Pickups, Three pickups or Other
- 3-a-side Machine Heads or 6-a-side Machine Heads
- Single Cutaway or Double Cutaway
- Tone Control or No Tone Control
- Individual Volume or Joint Volume
- 6 Strings or 7 Strings
- Dot Inlays or Other Style of Inlays
- Passive Pickups or Active Pickups
- Standard Machine Heads or Locking Machine Heads
- Standard Strap Holders or Locking Strap Holders
- 21 Frets or 22+ Frets
- Scratchplate or No Scratchplate
- Truss Rod Cover or No Truss Rod Cover
There were a few surprises in there for me to be honest. There were also a few learnings along the way. For example, when building this guitar in the Halo Guitars online configurator, I realised that to have the truss rod cover, you traditionally have an angled headstock—such the kind Les Paul owners are used to. When constructing the double cutaway Super-Strat style guitar that these results dictated though, it was recommended to go with a non-angled headstock. However, the results were in, so I went against the recommendations.
Another interesting result came from the results for questions four and five. The preferred style of pickups was humbucker while the number of pickups was three. Ace Frehley, here we come. At first, that also caused concern when I came to the results for questions eight and nine. Tone control had to included, but each pickup needed to have its own individual control. The Halo Guitars configurator doesn’t have such a setup, but I believe you could make it work if you settled for one tone for all pickups—I neglected to ask if tone controls needed to be individual or joint—and individual volume controls. Four knobs. Three for volume and one for tone. I had to Photoshop what that could potentially look like (see image below).
I should also point out that I cheated a little bit when building this guitar in the Halo Guitars configurator. I made the middle pickup a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. It’s almost a Humbucker in a Single Coil space. It looks cool and allowed me to keep all of the pickups in the Seymour Duncan range—because I’m a big fan of their work. While mentioning that, I’ll point out that the actual humbuckers are both Seymour Duncan Invaders. they look amazing and I’ve always wanted to try them.
The last highlight from the results is question 13. Lucky 13. It was a tie. So I chose—it is my project after all. Locking machine heads it is.
I did get asked about potential future questions during this experiment and I also realised on my own that I could have gone much further with the question asking once I began playing with the Halo Guitars configurator. For example …
- Fanned Frets or Standard Frets
- Scalloped Fretboard or Standard Fretboard
- Locking nut or Standard Nut
- Clear Finish or Solid Colour Paintwork
- Chrome Hardware, Gold Hardware or Black Hardware
- Coil Tapped Pickups or Standard Humbuckers
You could go on for a whole follow-up series! But I won’t. I acheived what I setout to acheive. I had the Interweb help me choose the perfect electric guitar. That reminds me, let me share some of the more interesting results in beautiful graph format.
Now to convince my wife that this guitar is worth building and owning. Surely it couldn’t be that difficult. I mean, look at this result we came up with. Yes, we. You should all be proud. I sure am.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the perfect electric guitar that social media built—virtually.