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Multiple Guitars..why do we do it?

Posted on November 16, 2004 by D' MacKinnon

“You already have four guitars, why do you need another?”
I’ve noticed that non-guitarists are mystified by our incessant need to collect more and different guitars.
There are a lot of reasons, some arguably more justifiable than others. For instance, I regularly write songs in different tunings (standard tuning is soooo 20th century) and if I perform those songs live, you don’t want to retune between songs. Sometimes you can’t retune if you wanted to, like if the song was written with a baritone guitar.
Also, different guitars give different tones. For the non-guitarist, let me break it down simply: there are many components that give a guitar it’s sound, from the wood the body is made of, the design of the guitar, the strings, the pickups, the tuning. A guitar good for blues may not necessarily give you the beefy tone you need for a metal song.
For instance, I recorded a song this past weekend for a movie that contained multiple guitar parts. I originally tried to record the lead guitar part on this old Charvel that I own but the tone sounded a bit thin. Same for when I tried to use my Yamaha for the lead. I finally settled on using my Les Paul, which is what I use for most of my leads because the tone is just so much denser, most likely because the thing weighs like 20 pounds.
There is always the “bad” reason to want new guitars too, the cool factor of owning the latest thing. There are a few guitars out there that I wouldn’t mind owning just because they purportedly kick so much ass. Of course, I don’t have a few grand sitting around to spend on it when there are a dozen other items on my list to buy for my studio.
Are we guitarists really just in love with collecting guitars? Probably. Perhaps secretly we all want that room of guitars that Nigel has in Spinal Tap.

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