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Why do we chase guitars ?

MarcB

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2023
Messages
716
Why do we chase guitars?
Why do we seek the ultimate guitar “the one”?
Why do we think a certain wood, pick up or string will make a difference?
Is it because we believe it’ll make us a better player..?
Is it a belief in the fables of the guitar fraternities?
Is it a status thing?
Is it a distraction from the actual art of playing?

I’m inclined to believe the most important aspect of the guitar world is the playing of the guitar..

Japan’s most famous Samurai - Miyamoto Musashi says about collecting swords (ergo guitars) in his “book of 5 rings”

“Don't collect weapons beyond what's useful”

Musashi carried two Katanas (long swords) and one Wakizashi (small sword) and those were the weapons he practiced with and wielded when needed. He exhorted going beyond what was most needed. Basically, the idea is to focus on one sword/craft (guitar) until you attain mastery in it.

There’s a lot to be take from the “book of 5 rings”.. which translates to anything we do in life..

I believe we should Master our art.. not our arguments.



….

I just want to add that I have been a victim of “guitar lust” and have amassed around 20 guitars .. all very different and very enjoyable.. that said since buying a SG 61 RI and Standard LP this year and thus joining the forum.. the debates and responses have raised the questions above..
I’ve been wanting a True Historic for ages.. and have been very close to getting one recently.. but what’s stopped me is the question of “why?”
The standard I bought from the demo shop.. is truly brilliant and I really couldn’t ask for more in a guitar.. as in.. it looks good, plays good and was a great price.. and ticks the LP box for sure.. so why do I need a TH.. ? Is it influence? Marketing? Greed?
I’ve come to question my collection and further collecting.. to the point where I get the most enjoyment from my ES’s so really I should consider those rather than solid bodied guitars..
that said I’ve got the two Gibson solids I wanted (SG & LP).. so even though I want a TH.. (and will probably still get one at one point) .. the influence of the fraternity (forum) has raised a number of questions.

Maybe I’m just getting old lol.

Bonjour.
 

JASIII

Active member
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
98
I think it's different for different people or circumstances. From when I began playing guitar at 13-14 until I was in my early 30's I only owned 1 electric guitar at a time. That's all I needed, or could afford. Now I have about 10 or so, and want to acquire 1 good example of the most well known guitar types. So, it's about collecting at this point. I only have 2 or 3 in my active gigging rotation at any given time though. But for me when I find a good Strat, Tele, LP, etc I don't continue to buy more of the same model, as some do. Owning a guitar similar to our heroes is also a big one too. While owning a burst style LP repro and a Marshall won't make me sound just like Clapton on Beano, it'll get me a lot closer than a Strat and a Princeton. And once I started acquiring better guitars my playing did improve. Can't say for certain whether it was because I started taking playing more seriously, or if having a better tool allowed for improvement, I have a feeling it was both. My take has become "If it brings you joy get it. If it doesn't get rid of it".
 

DutchRay

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
871
All my guitars symbolize important moments in my life. I don't remember most of them but I still have the guitars.

But seriously, I've always loved guitar stores, so why not have one myself, at home? I could have spent my hard earned money in way worse ways, like holidays, cars, women, kids, alcohol and drugs. I didn't and spent it on guitars and amps and most, if not all, have seen the stage or practise room at least a few times.
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
5,210
I started with 1 MIJ 62 Telecaster for 15 years until I added a Les Paul Classic and ES-335 59 Dot Reissue. I wanted to cover the bases. Also, I had to pass on a killer 12-string Ric during those intervening years, right after the Tele, cause I was a poor student and didn't want one in, one out.

Really wanted a LP but lefty's were rare and I didn't get on with Epiphone necks. Took years until I found the Classic, Gibson pumped out a batch of lefty 1960 gold tops and I spent several road trips up and down the coast between DC and NYC to pick one, from north of Baltimore.

I almost went for a Sheraton when then 335 came my way, it was in a glass case when I walked into Russo's on my way between my home base and a work assignment.

Started going to shops and shows more often, by way of entertainment, knowledge building, etc. Almost scored a vintage Duo Jet Sparkle, but winged price given its the condition.

By chance, scouring E-Bay, I came across a Lefty Country Gentleman in Australia, before all of E-Bay's protection came into play. International transaction with cashier's check and shipping... talk about holding breath, fingers crossed, and ring puckered upon arrival. Whew, all's well.

After having 1 Ibanez dreadnought since 1980, twenty-some years later I grabbed a J-45 from the Ren Ferguson era of Bozeman.

Then, once I could afford more... I wanted to flesh out more from a palette of brushes and colors perspective.

After hearing Paul bash lefties forever since the mid-80s, there was a McCarty run. Finally got one.

Tracking the first Page Signature, that's what eventually led me to hone in on Historic Reissues, landed first one in 2003, which eventually led me here.

My goal was refined. I still wanted more for the palette across brands, and I have some reissues from Fender, Gretsch, etc. but the Gibson draw was strong, and I dip into Reissue to cover the years and model variance. They are all different and even where I've doubled-up or more on R9s and R0s, they have legitimate differences and values, being from special runs like Stinger Series, or other features. SGs, and so on.

I've kept going on other fronts, with some 'cheaper' guitars that I fancy, while still looking out for more depth in Gibson. I'd still like an R4 staple Custom, I hope the Archtops allow me to pick up an L5-CES, for example. Maybe I'd M2M a matched set of 58 Korina designers.

It's all fueled by a love of cool models, and being inspired by different playing experiences. I'd love to try a Mosrite in lefty, sure. I tried to get in on a group buy for a reissue, it didn't pan out. Am I going to commission everything I want? No, there's always mood and priorities and chance and GAS at play, so something will cross my path, something will fade perhaps to be reignited one day.

That said, I really gravitated to short scale Gibson neck profiles, that's home for me.

Also, another aspect of being a lefty... price point for vintage versus terrific reissue is a factor. Reissue wins almost every time. And certainly for proper Bursts!
 
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Greywolf

Active member
Joined
Oct 2, 2023
Messages
118
The book of 5 rings is a classic read , having spent half my life in martial arts.

As to the chase .. since becoming a Luthier 40 years ago , my collection has always been focused on prime examples of the craft.
It is not so much about the Holy Grail .. I'm blessed to have a few of those .. it's about being a good caretaker , and to learn from each example what made them so special.
 

MarcB

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Joined
Sep 1, 2023
Messages
716
All of your responses are 100% and I can relate to everything you’re all saying .. as this is why I’ve amassed a collection over the years..
I’ve come to realise after being in countless bands over the years and the vast majority of those members are now not playing.. there is a small number of us that got into music because of “music” and that passion also centres around the equipment..

In 1991, i was 19.. I received a cheque from the tax man.. which at the time was the price of a brand new Fender tele..I high tailed up to Denmark St.. on the wall of Hanks guitars were two purple metallic Tele’s one was a USA and the other a Japanese.. the Japanese was half the price .. the USA was all the money I had.. and I had to get it.. so I did..

since then over the decades, I’ve been at rock bottom with zero pennies to rub together.. my point is.. I’ve never ever had the notion to sell the Tele.. and that Tele is still with me today..
so I guess somewhere inside us.. these instruments have an ethereal quality to them.. they are not just objects of desire.. they mean something more.. they are a part of us.. like an extra limb.. so getting a “keeper” is a big deal.. and tbh.. getting any guitar is a big deal.. as long as it used, cherish and kept well..
we are but custodians of these joy machines..

tbh.. this post is an open letter to myself.. to try and understand my passion ..and justify my next guitar..

I appreciate your responses.. 😉



Bonjour..
 
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LeonC

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
790
I have all sorts of reasons. I started out wanting to be able to sound like my heroes - Jimi, Eric, Jeff, Peter, Billy, Dickie, Duane and Richie. Plus I've always liked the way different guitars looked. At the same time, as I branched out into more styles of playing, I wanted different tools for different sounds. Eventually I got to a point where I became interested in "Swiss Army Knife" guitars and I had some built towards those objectives. But within a couple years I was back to the "use the right tool for the job" type guitars. I've also gotten back into some older guitars more recently. I've sold some guitars off, typically for tone or ergonomic reasons (e.g., neck too narrow, too heavy, etc.).
 

MattD1960

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
736
I chase/collect a few things guitars, watches, scotch are the big ones and the thing for me really is the hunt. thats what drives me to buy more. "i have a great les paul but maybe i could find a better one maybe i could find one thats the same and id have a pair ? " thats what keeps me up at night, is it part of a set, do i have all the options do i have the most desirable spec. its a tic/disorder of some kind i am sure. started as a little kid with a binder of baseball cards and it morphed into my interests now. if i had more money id be worse cuz id include cars too hahaha
 

Bob Womack

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Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
2,186
Somewhat like JASIII, in the first decade of my playing (the 1970s)I went through a couple of guitars to arrive at the Les Paul. For twenty years it was my only electric. But in the '90s my career as a recording engineer/producer began slurping over into my guitar world and I started playing sessions as well. Obviously, I needed a few more examples to provide the sounds my clients wanted. But mixed in there was a curiousity as to how certain sounds were gotten and a love for the instrument. That led to experimenting with various combinations of guitars and amps and eventually into modeling as well.

After that, the whole thing boils down to the answer to the question, "Why do men climb a mountain?" Answer: "Because it is there."

Bob
 

Supronaut

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2016
Messages
46
Cause it's taken 18 years for my dad to come back from getting milk? I have my 22' Murphy Lab and I can honestly stop here. Though my brain wants me to buy more. But I've honestly grown totally exhausted from chasing gear. I just want to play.
 

MarcB

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2023
Messages
716
I understand “the chase” the collecting aspect of it all for sure.. I think I could literally be classed as an obsessive hoarder.. luckily my thing is not newspaper and old tins.. it’s nice stuff .. like guitars, mics, amps, percussion, speakers/monitors, coins, watches, motorcycles, records, small toys, signs, button badges, license plates, carnival mirrors, art, posters, knifes, swords, port wine, shoes, bags, hotel soap, stones (?) .. jeeze..

why?

"Because it is there."

Bonjour.
 

Jethro Rocker

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Joined
Nov 6, 2022
Messages
256
It's almost an intangible thing.
Guitars are beautiful works of art. (well, except for original Teles. Ewww...) The fact that ome can play them and have infinte choices of notes etc makes them all the better.

If you have the budget it can just be getting beautiful things to play and collecting them. Beats buying drugs.
I will continue to add to my collection as I see fit.
Amd play them.
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
8,895
It's better than chasing guns, and like good guitars there weren't any in NZ.
When I was a kid I was fascinated by guns and planes, then in pre-teenage years guitars and amps took over.
 
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