#1
So I am a designer working on guitar design and want to know what people look for in guitars. If anyone can help me out I would love some feedback on guitar design. Here are a few questions to start with:
-How old are you and what guitars do you play?
-Why did you choose the guitar you use and what were you looking for in a guitar?
-What would a new guitar need to be successful in your eyes when trying to compete with brands such as Gibson and Fender that have been around so long?
-Would you even consider buying a guitar that is different from the norm?

Add any other info that you think would help is greatly appreciated. answer any and all that you want to. Thanks.
#3
-How old are you and what guitars do you play?
23 years old, and I play mostly the 2 guitars I built, though I also occasionally play my Epi Les Paul Standard and my heavily modified Fender Starcaster strat copy.

-Why did you choose the guitar you use and what were you looking for in a guitar?
I've always like to have something to set me apart from others, and I also felt like I needed a humbucker, so I modified my Starcaster with higher quality electronics/bridge/nut and swapped the bridge single coil for a GFS humbucker and put a black pickguard on it (it was the standard tobacco burst with a white pickguard originally). Then after a while I bought the Les Paul for a few reasons. The first, my brother had an Epi Les Paul Standard already and loved. The second, it was cheap - I only paid $110 for it, and they normally go for ~$300. But then after a while I decided I wanted to try my hand at building guitars, since I had an idea for a guitar body that I really liked and have always been good at working with wood. So I built my coffin guitar (pics are in my profile, and if you want to see the build/etc I made a thread for it, just click the 'threads by DuctTapeNinja' button in my profile, it's my first build) which turned out great. There's a few things I wish I'd done differently (neck heel is terrible, should've doubled up the batteries so I didn't have to change them so often, etc) but overall it's still my favorite guitar. Then I built my 2nd guitar (still an unnamed body style - naming the guitars seems to be the most difficult part of the build process for me) because I felt like building another guitar, had another good idea for a body shape, and didn't have a guitar with p90s yet. It turned out great too, and I play it all the time. (again, if you want pics turn to the 'threads by DuctTapeNinja' button, it's my second build) I built it thin because I'm fat and the edge of a thick guitar (like the coffin) cuts across my arm harder than the edge of a thin one and I wanted binding, so a forearm contour a la Fender wouldn't work. I placed the strap button in further on the cutaway instead of on the upper rear 'horn' to eliminate the neck dive that the rear cutaway would've created. (mission accomplished btw, it's perfectly balanced despite the cutaway)

-What would a new guitar need to be successful in your eyes when trying to compete with brands such as Gibson and Fender that have been around so long?
Publicity. No one wants to buy a guitar from a person/company they haven't heard of. The best thing you could do is get a couple famous guitarists playing one of your guitars live regularly, and if you can get a positive review in a popular guitar magazine (guitar world, etc) that would help a lot too. But none of it really means anything if the guitarist hates your guitar when he finally gives it a chance. As I've told a few people, if I want to succeed and do well at making guitars, I have to make them play/sound good enough that the person playing it forgets about their favorite guitar.

-Would you even consider buying a guitar that is different from the norm?
Of course. But it has to at least look good. I like playing something that's different, but just being different is not good enough. When I design a guitar body, I sit there for a long time, tweaking the lines to get the perfect balance in everything. The horns can't be out of proportion to the waist, the transition from the 'ass' of the guitar to the waist can't keep curving in too long before changing to curve back out, etc. And when I finally decide it's good enough, I put it away for a couple weeks and come back and revise it again.
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#4
-How old are you and what guitars do you play?
I'm 20 years old, I play a Fender MIM Telecaster and a Gibson Les Paul Standard (also I occasionally play my Epiphone ZW Les Paul)

-Why did you choose the guitar you use and what were you looking for in a guitar?
I already wanted a Les Paul so I tried out lots of different ones in my price range, and my one was my favorite (sound/feel/looks).
I picked my telecaster up second hand after stumbling across it in a music shop and wanting to try it. I then "fell in love" with everything about it.

It's hard to say what I look for in a guitar... I suppose looks are quite important for picking it off the shelf... however, playability is probably the most important thing when I'm looking to buy one... No matter how nice it looks, if it doesn't feel right I'm not going to buy it.

-What would a new guitar need to be successful in your eyes when trying to compete with brands such as Gibson and Fender that have been around so long?
I'm willing to try any guitar (regardless of brand), as I like "custom" guitars (I'm changing pickups/scratchplate/etc... to make it more "my guitar".
I suppose it would have to catch my eye, really nice top on it (PRS ) and be curveeeeddddd (I don't really like pointy guitars), maybe in a nice colour (Purple, Blue, ... flame top)

-Would you even consider buying a guitar that is different from the norm?
It depends, I would never own a "wangcaster" or anything that far from the norm, but if the shapes nice (norm or not) I would definitely consider buying one !


Hope I helped in some way


Hope
Gibson Les Paul Std HB
Fender MIM telecaster MW
Epiphone ZW Les Paul
Orange Rockerverb 100
Orange 4x12
MXR ZW-44
Dunlop Crybaby
Line 6 Relay G30

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#5
OK. I'm back.

-How old are you and what guitars do you play?
I'm 42 (I've been playing longer than your previous two posters have been alive...OMG!)
I have a Westone Thunder I-A (first guitar), Ibanez RG450, Ibanez S470, Harley Benton HB7 (because I wanted to try a '7'), cheap Epiphone dreadnought and Ovation Celebrity Deluxe. My dad has an Epiphone Les Paul Standard that I rather like playing and my step-daughter has a Peavey Raptor that I'm partial to (despite not liking the SSS strat style - feels nice, sounds like shyte IMO) and a Vintage (brand) SG that I really don't get along with.

-Why did you choose the guitar you use and what were you looking for in a guitar?
The S470 is definitely my favourite because it's just so damned comfortable (@DTN: you gotta try one if you like 'em thin). After my first (the Westone, which I got 2nd hand and lasted me for through university), when I was ready to spend a bit of money on a guitar, I toured the shops trying everything. I was into Vai and Bettencourt (early '90s, lol) so I was sort of hung up on Ibanez and Washburn, but I did try pretty much everything. The Ibanez (RG450) just felt right, but then I also wanted to be Steve Vai (didn't happen BTW) so I don't know how much that affected my choice. As has been said, the eye-candy will make you pick it up, but if it doesn't feel right to you then you tend to put it back down again (unless youre a complete poseur). And what feels right is different for everybody.

-What would a new guitar need to be successful in your eyes when trying to compete with brands such as Gibson and Fender that have been around so long?
A bloody miracle. No, seriously, you've got some major brand loyalty and image to battle against there. If you're intending on competing in the same market then you're really going to have your work cut out. Would you fancy going up against Coke and Pepsi with a new cola? But I suspect you might be a little lower volume than Fender and Gibson. Unfortunately I think DuctTapeNinja has hit the nail on the head: it probably wouldn't matter if you produced the most beautiful looking, smooth playing, awesome sounding axe in the history of luthierism, if you've not got big talent and superlative marketing backing you then you're probably not going to get too far. That all depends upon your definition of "successful" of course.

-Would you even consider buying a guitar that is different from the norm?
Absolutely, but then I'm not one of those that instantly assumes that if there isn't a big name on the headstock and it costs less than a thousand bucks then it must be a PoS. But then I think you'll find a lot of people around here want something "different from the norm", which is why they spend so much time, money and effort making their own guitars. Tough audience. But possibly a good one to be quizzing.

Honestly? It's a pretty saturated market so I reckon you're going to have to pull something special out of the bag to make a go of it, whatever end of the scale you're looking at. But then it all depends on what you're aiming for.

PS: I'm a computer engineer, not a marketeer, so I may not know what I'm talking about.

[edit]
It just struck me, reading back, that it's possible that nothing I've said is actually any help if what you're really after is a statistical analysis of what people like in a guitar. If that's the case then here's mine:

Slim but broad-ish neck with a slight radius, lightweight, well balanced, humbuckers. preferably hard-tail but not averse to trems. Shape not an issue but it's nice to be able to play sitting down (I like Jackson RRs, but after trying one I couldn't live with it). Everything else is gravy.

Don't know if that's any more helpful.
[/edit]
Last edited by von Layzonfon at Feb 3, 2012,
#6
-How old are you and what guitars do you play?
15, Bought a Shecter Omen 6 when i was 13.

-Why did you choose the guitar you use and what were you looking for in a guitar?
Back in the days, i told myself:''Avenge Sevenfold plays Shecter, I'll be good as them when I'll have a shcecter. Lame, i know.

-What would a new guitar need to be successful in your eyes when trying to compete with brands such as Gibson and Fender that have been around so long?
Thick neck, low action, smooth radius, lightweigt, high fret access, good sound versatility without beeing overcomplicated. Like, a 3 way switch, two volumes, a toggle for coil split and one for killswitch. Fine for me. I'm not a fan of either LP or strat: I prefer a PRS Custom shape. Right in the middle.

-Would you even consider buying a guitar that is different from the norm?
I dent eactly get what that means...
Last edited by n1ckn1ce at Feb 3, 2012,
#7
How old are you and what guitars do you play?
15, I play an Epi Les Paul Junior Doublecut w/ P-90

Why did you choose the guitar you use and what were you looking for in a guitar?


First off, it was cheap and I was broke. I also knew that I wanted P-90s because I was and still am (to a lesser extent) a massive classic rock fan. I also thought that the doublecut was a much more attractive guitar than an LPJ singlecut. At the time, I didn't know much about any brands other than Gibson and Fender, and thought that all Fenders were like strats, which I don't like all that much.

What would a new guitar need to be successful in your eyes when trying to compete with brands such as Gibson and Fender that have been around so long?


It would need to be different enough to stand out in the crowd (try something like weird pickup combinations or stranger shapes) but not so radical that its just insane and ugly. Also, quality counts.

my preferences: mid level radius (10-12), Bigsby or or fixed bridge, P-90s or Gretch style humbuckers (a combination like Filtertron bridge and P-90 neck to be adventurous) , thin but still sturdy neck, three a side headstock, solid color pickguard (no tortoiseshell, pearloid), rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, all controls on treble bottom side (i.e. no bass horn mounted pickup selectors), output jack on side, all frets free of the body, offer everything in thinline semi also

Would you even consider buying a guitar that is different from the norm?


I would definitely get a guitar thats different from the norm, depending on level of strangeness and price. I'd be great to see some new ideas shaking it up a bit with the big guns
Last edited by Paddledude at Feb 3, 2012,