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How Many Guitars is Enough?

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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
Topic starter  

Hi all,

This might be a dangerous question to ask at a forum with so many resident guitar enthusiasts. But how many guitars is enough??

I'm asking this because something very odd happened to me this morning. I went into a music shop in the local town, with money in my pocket, and came out with nothing. NOTHING. Not even a music book or a set of strings. I've been saving for some months, plus I had a good tax return windfall recently. I could have bought just about any item in the shop – an amp, guitar, keyboard or whatever. But I couldn't find anything that I wanted, and certainly nothing that I actually needed. There was no GAS left in the bottle…. :shock:

Now perhaps this is a cause for celebration. A natural death of a consumer phase where I kept giving in to shameless guitar lust….. On the bright side it seems to mean that I now have all the gear that I need and can concentrate on developing the talent without the distraction of wanting something new at regular intervals. But somehow it felt a little sad. :cry:

But what about you? Is one or two enough, or do you enjoy building a collection? Are you close to your ideal list, or is it a never ending process? Do you concentrate on one style and go for multiples in a small range – such as different colours, shapes, brands, tones, etc? Or do you go for range – a bass, a classical, an acoustic or two, a jazz, box, plus a 12 string, a resonator, etc… Or do you just let GAS rule you, with no real plan? Please tell us how you see it, and give us all your reasons and excuses, no matter how lame.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

Here's my own list of reasons and excuses:

1: Battered old Terada acoustic. Bought in the early 70s in a fit of enthusiasm that only lasted until I got it out of the shop. Lugged it round the world for over 30 years without ever buying a book, taking a lesson or trying to learn to play. :oops:

2: Yamaha CG-101MS spruce topped nylon string classical style. Bought to have some lessons on – mainly because classical guitars have wide necks that I thought would give more room for my clumsy old fingers.

3: Yamaha 112J Pacifica Strat copy (not expensive). Bought with the misguided notion that I might be able to rock if I had some electricity to work with. :roll:

4: Johnson hollow bodied (jazz style?). Bought with the even more misguided idea that maybe jazz might be my style, and that a hollow body would sound good for practising unplugged (not at the price I paid they don't…. ) :wink:

5: Seagull S6+CW cedar topped acoustic/electric. Still clinging to the idea that electricity might make me sound better rather than just louder. However, this is a really nice guitar that sounds good plugged or unplugged – even in my hands.

6: Cheap Johnson Bass. Part of a fantasy that I might be able to play all the parts – drums, bass, rhythm and lead, and record them track by track. Still on the active fantasy list.

7: Yamaha AES 620 approx. Les Paul style. Another good quality guitar that I'm still working my way towards being able play as well as it deserves.

8: Epiphone SG 400 made in Korea - faded natural/brown. Bought because I couldn't resist the bargain reduced price or the look of it. A guitar I've really grown to love and now play every day.

9: Epiphone SG 400 made in China - faded cherry. Another bargain that I couldn't resist, but a brother to the one above, and also played every day.

There was a 10th – a cheap Johnson Strat copy that I bought to leave in the car for practice when I had to wait anywhere. Sold, for not much less than I paid, because it was really just one too many.

On the one hand it seems ridiculous for somebody of very modest ability to have 9 guitars – but they all have their niche, and I appreciate them all for their different characters and attributes.

Too many for you - or not enough?

Cheers,

Chris


   
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 Celt
(@celt)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2649
 

I voted 6 - 10 but I once read an interesting
comment on another forum.

"How many guitars does one man need?"

"Just one more."

Personally I own 4 at the moment.

John

My SoundClick Page

Collaborations

" It's easier than waiting around to die" Townes Van Zandt


   
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(@twistedlefty)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4113
 

I "only have 9",but i aspire to someday have more than Nick.
(keep going Nick, my excuses are worthless unless you stay ahead)

Lately my Guitar acquisition keeps getting postponed by buying other related gear for recording, etc.

After 3-4 guitars, why fight it?
I don't drink, or smoke, or do any recreational drugs, so my next 50 years entertainment dollars will be largely spent trying to learn to make music and amassing a small collection to hand down to my kids when I'm gone.

#4491....


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

I think I had that expressed as a math equation somewhere.....

There is a formula for GAS.

f=x+1

Where f=the optimal number of guitars and x=your current number of guitars.

Let me count 'em up before I vote. However, I'm pretty sure I am not the holder of the most obsessive title here on the boards.


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I voted 2-5 - at the moment I've got 4.

Fender Telecaster - most recent purchase. Having waaaaay too much fun with this, my other guitars are feeling a bit neglected!
Squier Telecaster - now kept in open G.
SPT Acoustic
Freshman Bass

I also have an Encore acoustic, but it's out on a semi-permanent loan at the moment......

However, thinking about it, I think this would be the MINIMUMl list:

Electric Guitar for lead/rhythm
Electric Guitar for slide/open tuning
Acoustic Guitar for rhythm/finger picking
Acoustic Guitar for slide/open tuning
Bass Guitar

So I'm an acoustic short.....that'd be an acoustic with a cutaway so I could get higher up the neck.

BUT.....other guitars may be needed.....to fully flesh out the sound.....

Electric 12-string
Acoustic 12-string
Electric guitar - different brand to your main electric, there will be times you want a different sound!
A resonator - maybe two, one in standard, one for slide.....
A nylon-strung classical guitar - better make that two, keep one in open tuning.....

AND then - keeping an electric and an acoustic in open tuning is all very well, but where do you draw the line? My slider electric is in open G - OK, open A's the same basic tuning, but I feel I should have one in open D as well - and the same applies to electric and classical.

And what if your acoustic's not got a pick-up? How are you going to amplify it? Hmm, better have another couple of acoustics in case I get drowned out of the mix or the jam....one for EADGBE, one for slide.....

(Actually, I've just bought a "Woody" - Seymour Duncan - soundhole p/u that obliviates the need for amplified acoustics, but still....nice to have them there just in case......)

So let's count up....that's seventeen so far........anything I've missed? Before we get on to lap-steels, banjos, dulcimers, mandolins etc etc.....?

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

I don't know. I really don't need more, I practically use just three of my guitars anyway. Ofcourse, a resonator, banjo and mandolin wouldn't hurt but they don't really count. I guess I just get more 'extra options' buying, say, a violin, clarinet or trumpet then getting yet another guitar.


   
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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Guitars are like passengers on an Asian train - there's always room for one more. :lol:

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
Topic starter  

Thanks for all the replies. :)
I "only have 9",but i aspire to someday have more than Nick.

Aha! we're neck and neck (appropriate phrase for guitars....) I'm pretty sure that it was seeing the pics here of your selection in its early stages that gave me the collecting bug in the first place. Yours and Dogbite's if I remember rightly. So it's you that I have to thank - or blame - for all this wood and wire that I've accumulated. :P
After 3-4 guitars, why fight it?
I don't drink, or smoke, or do any recreational drugs, so my next 50 years entertainment dollars will be largely spent trying to learn to make music and amassing a small collection to hand down to my kids when I'm gone.

I don't smoke or do drugs either, so I might borrow that excuse too. I might have a problem with the "next 50 years" part though. I fully expect to be compost well before that. :wink:

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@the-dali)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1409
 

I voted for 6 -10 because I have more than 6, but not yet 10.

I really do wish I was the sort who only needed one guitar and a beat up amp, but I'm not. I wish I had the internal muse to fall in love with one guitar and just connect with it, but that isn't me.

I like collecting them, lookign at them, hanging them on the wall, playing them loud and soft, using a different one each day, experimenting with new body styles and pickups...

In effect, I just like trying them out!

-=- Steve

"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

I voted 11-20, because it's phrased "enough", not "how many do I want".

I figure a basic kit should have an arch top, two solid bodies (one with humbuckers, one with single coils), an acoustic, a nylon string, a 12 string, and one additional electric single coil and one additional acoustic for altered tuning. So that's eight.

I've never busted a string playing slide or classical. But the others all need a backup - audiences don't like to wait.

So I figure 13 is the bare minimum.

That said, I confess I'm over the minimun in a few categories, because they all sound different - the spruce top classical is brighter than the cedar top, acoustics with cutaways sound different than those without, it's nice to have a couple of cheap ones for trips to the beach, etc.

But if I had to, I could pretty much get by with a lucky 13.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@slejhamer)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3221
 

I like collecting them, lookign at them, hanging them on the wall, playing them loud and soft, using a different one each day, experimenting with new body styles and pickups...

And you really need a variety of amps to play them all through.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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(@kevin72790)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 837
 

6-10. Two electrics, two acoustics, a bass, a slide. While not having too many, you have enough to spread your playing time.


   
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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 827
 

I didn't see "as many as the wife says it's ok to have" on the list of choices. :D

I think the answer is going to depend on what you are doing and what your goals are. Are you playing live? Then you'll need backups of the guitars that you use. Do you play in a straight ahead blues band then probably no need for a classical guitar and maybe all you need is your tele and a backup. So I guess the answer is "it depends" or maybe "as many as you'll really use without them becoming a distraction and getting in the way of practicing/playing".

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

Probably the answer depends on the everyone's goal. A collector will say as much as possible, a professional will say one of each main type...

To me, it depends on the day and if I watch a new DVD concert...

Although lately I'm thinking just one is enough... or one acoustic and one electric since I consider them different instruments. I'm absolutely happy with my acoustic, it sounds better each day. Probably I'll not buy a new acoustic in the next years.

On the electrics. I'm a LP user. I'd like check a Strat deeply. Now I can distinguish the sound of every guitar and probably I prefer the Strat sound. If the Strat were my guitar, probably I wouldn't play the LP. If not, I'd check Teles, semi-hollows, etc.

Summarizing, for normal players (like me, I mean, non-professionals, non-collectors, etc.) and if you get luck with your first buy, just one.


   
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