#1
This is another "pick a guitar" thread at heart, but i'm trying to come up with an answer to a slightly more difficult question.

What is the fewest number of guitars that will allow you to cover all of the bases, and what specific guitars?

I only want to put a few simple restrictions on the discussion.
1. I think that most of us are willing to concede that amp, pedals, player skills, etc... are more important factors than the make and model of the guitar. I hope we can agree that we shouldn't allow ourselves to be derailed by that.
2. No variax or other modeling guitars allowed. Cheating.
3. "All the bases" is intended as "all genres". You don't need to be able to nail any particular band's sound, but you should at least be able to make a representative sound for any genre.

Aside from that, i think that the premises that you want to set for yourself are a part of the challenge. Do you put an acoustic guitar in your list, or do you figure that a semi-hollow body electric is sufficient? Do you take an HSS strat or do you feel that you're not getting the right sound unless you've got a single coil in the bridge? Do you need a 12 string Rickenbacker? Is the Les Paul sound important enough to demand the inclusion of a Les Paul? And are there certain genres that owe more to the tone of the guitar than others?

I hope this doesn't seem too dumb. I think that it would be interesting to read everyone's opinions, and the more diverse the better. I'd love to see if the guys who play metal (for example) would insist on having a metal guitar or if they'd be satisfied with using one particular guitar for all of the harder rock tones. I wonder if there will be anyone who feels that an HSS strat is all you need? There's a lot of different ways you could approach this, I'm hoping that a few of you will be inspired to give your own answers.
#2
What is the fewest number of guitars that will allow you to cover all of the bases, and what specific guitars?

I only want to put a few simple restrictions on the discussion.
1. I think that most of us are willing to concede that amp, pedals, player skills, etc... are more important factors than the make and model of the guitar. I hope we can agree that we shouldn't allow ourselves to be derailed by that.
2. No variax or other modeling guitars allowed. Cheating.
3. "All the bases" is intended as "all genres". You don't need to be able to nail any particular band's sound, but you should at least be able to make a representative sound for any genre.


Good one!

1 Classical
1 steel string acoustic
1 electric with HH (coil split), HS, HSS, or HSH- trem optional, 7+ strings optional
1 electric with high gain/active HH (coil split), HS, HSS, or HSH- trem optional, 7+ strings optional
1 semihollow or hollowbody electric with HH or .2xP90- trem optional, 7+ strings optional

There are also some wildcard technologies out there: piezo bridges, a blend circuit (like the Reverend Rick Vito), bass contour (Reverends and some other brands), or tech like Godin's HDR, Seymour Duncan P-Rail pickups or Moog's pickups add flexibility to instruments that could condense the list a bit more.
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Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 6, 2014,
#5
The first few discussion points have arisen!

Dannyalcatraz has acoustic, classical and semi-hollow whereas mhanbury has only the semihollow.

Is the distinction between acoustic and classical important? Is mhanbury assuming piezo bridge pickups or just not that concerned about acoustic sounds?

I am also interested that you both have p90 as a required technology. I myself was assuming that the strat single coil could stand in for that, but i was wondering if a jazzmaster pickup would be necessary? This seems interesting.

@justrooster - i don't dislike modeling guitars, i just don't have much of a challenge to pose if all the questions can be answered by one guitar.
#6
Even an average acoustic will sound and project better than the unplugged tone of most semihollows and hollowbody guitars.

A good piezo can close that gap white well, but won't improve the actual acoustic tone.

Classical and steel stringed guitars do differ in tone. While it is possible to play classical pieces on ANY guitar, it won't sound right to the classical listener.

The P90 (and some of its cousins) is distinctive enough that it is the single-coil of choice for certain genres, like jazz or swing. You almost won't find a modern "jazzbox" with one of the smaller Strat, Tele, or lipstick type singlecoils. (They exist, but they're rare.)
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#7
Quote by paul.housley.7
This is another "pick a guitar" thread at heart, but i'm trying to come up with an answer to a slightly more difficult question.

What is the fewest number of guitars that will allow you to cover all of the bases, and what specific guitars?

2. No variax or other modeling guitars allowed. Cheating.

I hope this doesn't seem too dumb.


I'm voting "too dumb."

I've got the rack of guitars necessary to fill out the genres, but without that "genre" list, it's difficult to know where to stop. Slide Dobro or banjo-style sounds for Doobies or Eagles? 12-string acoustics and electrics for Led Zep, Eagles, Byrds? Rockabilly sounds? Cah-huntry twang? B and G-bender licks? Drop tunings down to Baritone? Coral/Danelectro Electric Sitar for late-60's psychedelic stuff?

And what happens if I need to use two (or more) of these guitars in a single song. Go watch the Doobie Brothers "Dangerous" at the Wolf Trap, as three of them start out the song playing acoustics (including slide) at the introduction, then switch to superstrat/PRS/strat guitars for the main body of the song, switching *back* to the acoustics (mounted on stands) in the middle and then back to the electrics. What about Boston's "Amanda" with 12-string in the intro and LPs into overdriven Marshalls layered over that?

I'm cheating.

That's right. Modeling guitars. Three Variaxes, with a fourth (looking for a 705 bass) on the way as soon as I can find a deal on a good one. Cheat, cheat, cheat.

Ditto when this question comes up regarding amps. 15 tube amps alone, sitting around here, plus solid state stuff, some of it dating back to 1971. Two of the big flap-top bins of pedals, tightly packed. Honestly, though, a Pod HD (or Axe-FX Ultra) and a Torpedo C.A.B. and a foot pedal into a PA or some other full range flat response output.
#8
Quote by paul.housley.7
i don't dislike modeling guitars, i just don't have much of a challenge to pose if all the questions can be answered by one guitar.


And that's really the point. If you *have* that challenge ("I need to sound like a whole lot of different guitars"), you can pay for the initial expense, the cartage, the space, the insurance, the strings in bulk, etc., or you can say, "challenge met" and answer it with one guitar.
#9
Quote by dspellman
And that's really the point. If you *have* that challenge ("I need to sound like a whole lot of different guitars"), you can pay for the initial expense, the cartage, the space, the insurance, the strings in bulk, etc., or you can say, "challenge met" and answer it with one guitar.



This is....
Well let me put it this way:
It's like refusing to have a debate about which iteration of the Avengers is most powerful - on the grounds that any of those rosters would lose to Dr. Manhattan.

But even so I do still enjoy the input. For my part I'm willing to do without the sitar and banjo sounds. You might not be. From my perspective the real payoff of this thread is the chance to learn things like this.
#10
Well, I went through this process myself.

First, got Ibanez Acoustic/Electric steel string to cover both acoustic & electric.
But it really sucked for electric.
Then got Epiphone G400 for electric, but was not all that happy with build quality or stock pick-ups, not all that versatile.
Then got semi-hollow to cover jazzier stuff, brighter, some types of blues, Epiphone Dot Studio (also looked at Ibanez Artcore), and lucked into better build quality on this one, very happy with it, and it can do hard rock / distortion surprisingly well. I can also enjoy playing it unplugged, though not for audience, just for myself. If i had one guitar, I think I'd get a semi-hollow.
I wanted to explore classical, and it seemed a steel string acoustic does not get you there, so I had to buy a nylon string classical (you can find some nice deals used, got a 40 year old with good tone for under $200). I play this more than any other because I'm too lazy to plug in, and it sounds so good. But short neck means you cannot practice playing high on fretboard (like past 14th fret) and I use fingers for it, so does not let me practice picking skills.
Due to problems with G400, finally shelled out for more expensive solid body electric, a PRS, and I could play that all day long. Best build quality, so it's my go-to when I don't play classical. Split coil pick ups give a lot of options.
So, on reflection, I'd say:
1-classical nylon
2-solid-body electric
3-semihollow electric
4-steel string acoustic (I guess if you want to play country, some folk stuff or certain types of bluegrassy stuff, it does this better than nylon string classical). If your solid-body is good for heavier stuff, grunge, metal, then you can get a semi-hollow that will probably do for brighter rock tones as well as blues, jazz, and if you want to get really acoustic jazzy/bluesy, you go to acoustic steel, and then if you go even more to super-clean classical sound you switch over to nylon classical. That's how I visualize the spectrum, though I know it's oversimplified.

If you want more than 4 guitars, I think then you get into different types of solid-body electrics -- based on build type (Fender, Gibson, PRS) or pick ups (single versus double) or whether or not it has whammy bar, or combine these (e.g., a gibson with dual humbuckers & no whammy bar, and a PRS with split coils & whammy bar). My PRS does not have a whammy bar, so I'm thinking my next guitar will need one so I can play around with that option. And my PRS has dual coil, so I'll probably look for something with at least one single coil pick up. And try a new maker. So Fender fat strat with one dual and one single, and a whammy, may be ideal for just trying it out. I really do not spend enough time in a guitar shop to really learn if I like a certain type of guitar just trying it out in a practice room, so I really need to own it for 6 months or so to suss it out. If you shop carefully, you can generally find a good price so you know you can resell whatever you are getting for what you paid down the road, which really takes the pressure off having to find the "perfect" gear.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#11
Well; one Warr Guitar should enable you to cover all guitar and bass bases at the same time:



Now that's a lot of strings!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#12
that's a good question. I dunno because I don't play all genres. I don't play classical, and I don't play (much) acoustic- I suspect the acoustic forum would say you really need several different types of acoustic guitar to cover different styles of acoustic playing.

I'm going to go all politician now and answer the question I wished you'd asked rather than the one you actually did

Since this is an electric forum, I'd say to cover the most common electric guitar tones, you'd probably need, at a bare minimum:

strat
tele
Something gibson-y with humbuckers (probably les paul as the classic one but an SG or similar would also work)
Something gibson-y with p90s

If you play heavier stuff a superstrat or similar with a faster neck and higher output/tighter humbuckers (and maybe a floyd) is almost essential, too. Also some other genres have types of guitar which are very closely associated with them (gretsch with rockabilly for example, or jazzboxes with jazz) so if you played any of those type of genres they'd be very important, too.

i think the problem is that one person's niche genre is another's favourite genre. For example I've probably unfairly written off rockabilly as niche there whereas a rockabilly fan would likely write off 80s metal as niche.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#13
I have not played a Gretsch yet. Is the sound distinctive enough that it can be identified pretty easily?

Let me see if i can establish perspective....
I think that the Les Paul has a distinctive sound. It's different enough that I can tell it from a similarly constructed and equipped guitar. But although I may prefer that particular sound i'm not certain that I'd be giving up too much if I played the similar guitar instead. The character of the sound may be noticably different but not necessarily different enough to say that you can't live without a Les Paul.

Like for me - it seems that I've already learned that I've underestimated the difference between classical and acoustic guitars, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it turns out that Dave is correct when he supposes that they'd insist that more than one is necessary, but I don't think that my bases will ever be so finely ground up that I'd need to achieve that level of differentiation.

I look at something like the ibanez artcore series and I wonder how suitable that would be for playing acoustic songs. I assume that it's a noticable compromise, but there's levels of distinctions that could be made. If the substitute instrument is so different that it requires a re-interpretation of mood - as with Metallica's version of "turn the page" - then the substitute instrument is no true subsitute. If on the other hand something like the ibanez artcore is capable of doing a passable rendition of turn the page that doesn't change the mood of the song then it suggests to me that you don't necessarily need to have an acoustic guitar at all.

I hope that helps.
#14
Something like a Gretsch would have a distinctive tone, but not a genre-defining one.

An electric semihollow like the Artcores without a piezo would not sound anything like an acoustic, and a hollowbody would sound only marginally better.

And without amplification, neither would sound at all like an acoustic.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 7, 2014,
#15
Quote by paul.housley.7


But even so I do still enjoy the input. For my part I'm willing to do without the sitar and banjo sounds. You might not be. From my perspective the real payoff of this thread is the chance to learn things like this.


How close is "close?" How many genres (bases) do you have to cover? And at a time when we've got people buying fan-fret (multiscale) guitars and guitars with 8, 9 and 10 strings and wanting to change tunings (usually ever lower) every song, what guitars cover those bases other than very specific guitars?

Modeling guitars can do things that no combination of guitars can do. For example, changing tunings once or twice during a set on a Floyd-equipped guitar will pretty much convince you that it's not a great idea. But a modeling guitar can handle that literally in a heartbeat. You're not going to find a lot of 12 string guitars that can do Floyd tricks. The modeling guitar can come pretty darned close.

What this thread DOES do is point up the strengths of a modeling guitar. The level at which it accomplishes those goals can be debated endlessly, but it certainly seems to be where things are going, just as modeling has done with amp technology.
#16
Quote by paul.housley.7
(a) I have not played a Gretsch yet. Is the sound distinctive enough that it can be identified pretty easily?

(b) I look at something like the ibanez artcore series and I wonder how suitable that would be for playing acoustic songs. I assume that it's a noticable compromise, but there's levels of distinctions that could be made. If the substitute instrument is so different that it requires a re-interpretation of mood - as with Metallica's version of "turn the page" - then the substitute instrument is no true subsitute. If on the other hand something like the ibanez artcore is capable of doing a passable rendition of turn the page that doesn't change the mood of the song then it suggests to me that you don't necessarily need to have an acoustic guitar at all.

I hope that helps.


(a) Neither have I. I've bad enough GAS as it is without trying anything more

(b) I don't think I've tried the artcore but any semis I've tried sounded like electric guitars, just ones which happened to not be totally solid-bodied. They have magnetic pickups; they're electric guitars.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#17
almost doesn't matter since you can use modeling fx or amps to cover everything. not cheating by your rules. plug my strat into an axe-fx and all bases covered.
#18
Would the piezo bridge on a semi-hollow or hollow be closer to a true acoustic sound than a piezo bridge mounted to a solid-body?


I'm curious about unusual configurations now...
What would you get if you put one P90 and one humbucker in an LP. Work? Worth it?
Is there a preferred position for a P90? Would you do something like a bridge P90 and a neck humbucker or vice versa? What if this guitar was a semi-hollow and also had a piezo bridge?
Semi-hollow gibson with a humbucker, a P90 and a piezo bridge.

What about a variation on the Marauder that has a jazzmaster on the neck, then a single coil mid and a split humbucker in the bridge? What if the bridge humbucker is mounted like on a telecaster?

I guess I should state that I have heard the Marauder and I didn't think too much of the triple-bucker, but the first few positions sounded great. I've always wondered if it would be worthwhile to replace the triplebucker with something cooler.
#19
Quote by paul.housley.7
(a) Would the piezo bridge on a semi-hollow or hollow be closer to a true acoustic sound than a piezo bridge mounted to a solid-body?


I'm curious about unusual configurations now...
(b) What would you get if you put one P90 and one humbucker in an LP. Work? Worth it?
Is there a preferred position for a P90? Would you do something like a bridge P90 and a neck humbucker or vice versa? What if this guitar was a semi-hollow and also had a piezo bridge?
Semi-hollow gibson with a humbucker, a P90 and a piezo bridge.

(c) What about a variation on the Marauder that has a jazzmaster on the neck, then a single coil mid and a split humbucker in the bridge? What if the bridge humbucker is mounted like on a telecaster?

I guess I should state that I have heard the Marauder and I didn't think too much of the triple-bucker, but the first few positions sounded great. I've always wondered if it would be worthwhile to replace the triplebucker with something cooler.


(a) no idea, i've never tried piezos My gut would say "maybe a bit", but i'm not sure piezos are meant to give totally accurate acoustic-type sounds nomatter what type of guitar they're fitted to (even an electroacoustic).

(b) yep, sure. the gibson bfg had a bridge humbucker and neck p90. i thought it sounded pretty good.

you'd normally put the humbucker in the bridge position because it's noiseless and that's the pickup most people use for heavier distortion. but plenty of guitars have two p90s, both neck and bridge, and bridge p90s sound great too so if you had some legitimate reason why you wanted a neck humbucker but a bridge p90 i don't see why it wouldn't work.

semi hollow just normally makes things sound a bit "airier", for want of a better word. less tight. as i said, i dunno about piezos.

(c) never tried a jazzmaster (again for the GAS thing)

Again, don't see why it wouldn't work, but you'd need a good reason to do it. Most of the more common pickup configurations exist for a reason i.e. they work well together.

if you angle the bridge pickup it makes the treble strings brighter and the bass strings fatter. unless you meant mounting it on a tele-style bridge which i'm guessing increases treble/twang a little too.

You'd need to be sure the triplebucker is swappable with anything else, it might be a different size. that's the problem with proprietary pickup models, you're narrowing down your options for swaps down the road. I haven't tried it, though, it may well be great.

all of the above is in theory (ish), in practice it might not work that way
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#20
Quote by paul.housley.7
Would the piezo bridge on a semi-hollow or hollow be closer to a true acoustic sound than a piezo bridge mounted to a solid-body?


I'm curious about unusual configurations now...
What would you get if you put one P90 and one humbucker in an LP. Work? Worth it?
Is there a preferred position for a P90? Would you do something like a bridge P90 and a neck humbucker or vice versa? What if this guitar was a semi-hollow and also had a piezo bridge?
Semi-hollow gibson with a humbucker, a P90 and a piezo bridge.

What about a variation on the Marauder that has a jazzmaster on the neck, then a single coil mid and a split humbucker in the bridge? What if the bridge humbucker is mounted like on a telecaster?

I guess I should state that I have heard the Marauder and I didn't think too much of the triple-bucker, but the first few positions sounded great. I've always wondered if it would be worthwhile to replace the triplebucker with something cooler.


AFAIK, there is almost no difference between the tones delivered via piezo pickups mounted in solidbodies vs semi or full hollowbody guitars.

There are a lot of guitars out there with a HB in the bridge and a P90 in the neck- Reverends, Gibsons, Fenders, Hubers, etc.- and the Fret-King Black Label Gordon Giltrap is a semihollow that combines that mix with a piezo bridge.

http://fret-king.com/black-label/elise-gg-gordon-giltrap.html#.U0Ml4Ce9KSM
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!