How Many Guitars Are Enough?

I’ve noticed that some professional guitarists change guitars and change endorsements as often as most people change their underwear, say, around once a month.  (What?)

But other professional guitarists choose a guitar and seem to stick with it for years and years and years, and get associated with THAT guitar.  David Gilmour’s guitar, B.B. King’s Lucille, Brad Gillis’ red strat (although the last few years he seems to be switching around quite a bit, including Hamers).

Is there ever one perfect guitar?

How many guitars are enough?

For me, it is mostly function, partly appearance:

I lust after beautiful guitars.  But a beautiful guitar that plays crappy isn’t worth it, and an ugly guitar that sings takes on a beauty all its own.

Part of the answer to “How many guitars?” for me is what I’ve had a chance to play.

Before, 2 electric guitars were probably enough: one superstrat with a locking tremolo and H/S/S configuration with the bridge Humbucker splittable, and a H/H fixed bridge.  That way I’d have most traditional sounds and techniques covered.

But then I needed a 24 fret guitar.  Got one with a fixed bridge.

And then I wanted a 24-fret with a tremolo. (Why I want to have a trem guitar when I can’t use ’em for shit is beyond me, but I do).

That’s 4 right there.

Then I started to realize the difference between maple, rosewood, and ebony fingerboards.

So that is making me look for an ebony fingerboarded guitar.

Sonic differences also require another roster spot.

So I have:
1) my Carvin, fixed bridge, 22 fret, splittable H/S/S, low action, maple fingerboard, swamp ash body.
2) my JB Player Sledgehammer H/H, 22 fret, rosewood fingerboard; possibly swamp ash body; keeping it because it is unique among my guitars for the sweet neck position tone and the unique feel of its low, narrow frets for chording.
3) Hamer XT SATF, 22 fret, H/H, rosewood fingerboard; keeping it because of the Hamer/Duncan Design tone, and overall ease in playing, and beauty of the flamed maple top
4) Hamer Stellar 1, 24 fret, H/H, rosewood fingerboard; keeping it because of the Hamer/Duncan Design tone, and 24 fret flexibility, and unique (to me) Lacy Oak figuring
5) Shredder guitar – this one isn’t fixed yet.  All of them I have right now have 24 frets and rosewood fingerboards.  I have a Fernandes Pro with a Sustainer, H/H with a good vintage sound and the sustainer for good trem tricks; I have a Hamer Korean Cali, H/S, but haven’t been able to play it because I haven’t fixed the burr in the high E string saddle…no idea how it sounds/feels, because (I think) that’s why the guy sold it on eBay…buyer beware, eh?; I have a Hamer Korean Centaura, H/S/H, sounds good and the trem stays in tune, but I haven’t played it much because I haven’t had time to fix the action/tuning/intonation (action is high because I was strugging to get it tuned; you guys have told me how to fix it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet).  But I’ve heard enough good things about the Peavey Vandenberg that I have been considering discarding all three of the aforementioned shredders.  the Vandenberg is known for its thin/fast neck, and its ebony fingerboard would be unique in my collection.

I think I could be quite happy with 5 electric guitars, once I decide on my shredder.  I would have enough to be able to grab the guitar that matches my mood and style of music, but few enough that all would be in regular rotation.




Filed under guitar, Me, philosophy

10 responses to “How Many Guitars Are Enough?

  1. I would say there are a few different contexts in which we frequently change guitars. First lets divide it into two categories: We usually have guitars specifically for studio play, and guitars that are specifically for live performance.

    Of each of these categories, each guitar is set up with different kinds of pick ups, strings, fretboards, body endurance, etc, which all have a very particular sound for certain songs they play. They each have a different feel of action for the guitar riffs that are played on them too. 🙂

    Nice reading your blog. Come by sometime.

    • chiefmuser

      The sick thing? I don’t gig, I don’t record, I don’t even play or practice regularly. I don’t know if there are 5 songs I can play all the way through (but I know LOTS of licks).

      But I have 7 electrics (plus 4 I’m going to sell), AND two acoustics. And that’s not including the classical…

      I’m sick, sick, sick, sick…Oh, look! A Peavey Vandenberg!

  2. You’re suffering from G.A.S. (Gear/Guitar Acquisition Syndrome), which can be a problem if you’re not a fiscally responsible person. But, from what I’ve seen of your other posts, you should be fine.

    My collection went from three guitars to eleven in fairly short order, but amazingly enough, seven of them are gifts, with the twelfth, yet to come, a unique form of gift as well.

    An ovation acoustic got me started in 2001.
    A Taylor 514 showed up as a thank you for helping a sales rep close a humungous deal. My wife is fabulous on birthdays and Christmas and has delivered a Peavey Wolfgang Special, a Cheapie Kramer strat copy, a Fender Squire bass, a late 50s Gretsch Rambler, and this year a Hamer SATP90.

    Oh, and the big hole in your collection at the moment is something with P90s. Given your appreciation for Hamers, I’d highly recommend the import XT with P90s, available gold or flame topped.

    • chiefmuser

      I’m WAY into Hamers these days, true.

      What is P90 character tone? I’ve seen a few with P90s that I nearly bought, but didn’t quite. I *really* like the Duncan humbucker sound.

  3. Imagine a humbucker with tight, controlled bass.

    Imagine a single coil with the power to just beign to drive the tubes into distortion.

    I don’t know- it’s the best of both worlds. I’ve got a traditonal Strat and Telecaster, both with distinctive GFS single coil pickups doing the single coil thing so well, and then I’ve got a Les Paul, Peavey Wolfgang, and Hamer Standard, and Kramer super strat (Striker) doing the humbucker thing with power and distortion.

    But standing alone is this new Christmas Hamer gold top with P90s. (SATP90). And I can’t put it down. After I play it the single coils sound shrill and the humbuckers all sound muddy. The P90s are just tone and warmth and power and dynamics.

    Take a listen to this:

    or this:

    And since you can snag a new one for ~300, they’re worth the investigation.

  4. “Mississipi Queen” is the definitive work.

    Or you might know some of Pete Townsend’s stuff.


  5. Rishi Gajria

    Guitars are always a good investment as they hold their value quite well. Especially if you add goodies when you are selling them such as cables, cases, and the like. And especially if they are well taken care off. So don’t feel too bad or guilty. For me, I think 20 is the perfect number. 4 acoustics with a couple being for Flamenco styles and the rest electric. A fender strat, a les paul, and a jazzmaster would be the absolute musts.

  6. walt

    Just one more…

  7. Danni

    Hey guys i was just wondering, i have one of the Fernandes Brad Gillis signature guitars, was just wondering if any one could give me an idea of how much its actually worth, although i wouldnt sell it for the world, it would be nice to know, its the nicest guitar ive ever played and i feel lucky to own one 🙂

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