If I was ever actually going to spend money on a signature guitar, I’d buy the Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World model — a semi-hollow telecaster with two P90s. Chef kiss. Perfection.
I don’t think it was, I think it was a smooth and calm left hand!
It’s a riff based on an E chord form — so there’s very little movement, and it does take advantage of the open strings. So you’re both sort of right!
Mostly it comes down to the sometimes unique specs on signature guitars. You get something different than a normal, non-signature model. People can enjoy that even if they don’t have any connection to the signature. Just because you (general “you,” not specific “you,”) don’t understand it, doesn’t mean other people also don’t.
The worst offenders in this category are the “tribute” guitars, where they try to replicate celebrity guitars right down to the damage on the body, the worst of the worst being the Joe Strummer telecaster that has rust on the bridge, and saddles at uneven heights (the one I tried anyway.)
And the guys who bought a tribute guitar with the faked wear and tear accidentally scuff it, and take it to the shop to have it mended, and the shop repairs the wrong scuff. Tragic.
I’ve slowly come around to swallowing enough ego to look seriously at “signature” models. I didn’t want to replicate someone else, I want to have my own sound, even if it was terrible. But the Duff McKagan bass has all the little features that I would want in a Bass. And the the Brent Mason Telecaster is a real hot rod and something to behold.
I read some advice on reddit saying “Never get a Jimi Hendrix Signature pedal with his face on it. He’s just going to look up at you and be disappointed”
Absolutely. I think buying it for the specs is a perfectly reasonable choice. I don’t even have anything against anyone who buys it because they love the artist and want to sound like them. There’s nothing wrong with being the kind of player who emulates their heroes. I’ve seen some great cover bands in my life. That’s just not me.
I’ll even (begrudgingly) accept that some people might want to pay more for a guitar that’s been pre-beaten-to-sh*t for aesthetic purposes. It takes all kinds.
Agreed. Relic’d guitars aren’t for me, but I don’t shit on people who like them.
Great piece, Thom!
I happened to be in the market for a new electric guitar for a beginner the other week (a child of mine) and have to say that the value and quality when you go above very rock bottom prices is outstanding. I didn’t play the very cheapest Squiers with only single pickups but the standard models above that are very, fine guitars.
In the end I went into a small shop after trying a bunch in a couple and we told them her favourite bands and the kinds of guitars they used (as it happens a brand that doesn’t have a dealer in Ireland which was why I’d ended up there, they had the most like it) and they picked out some suggestions. We ended up with an entry level Cort X100 and it plays beautifully all down the neck. Sure if I was playing a stadium I’d sooner have the €1000+ big sibling I played there too but it’s a very fine guitar for playing. You might want to think of that approach rather than going for something the same as everywhere else. A decent player that you like to see and makes you smile and want to pick it up. Simple doesn’t mean you should have only one pickup really.
I was really impressed with the quality out there though. Go to a shop rather than Thomson/Sweetwater. The tenner difference on the guitar is going to be worth it for the assurance of not getting a lemon.
Guitars are not just work tools, though. In fact, the vast majority of guitar players do not play guitar for a living. For most of us, it’s a hobby. The guitar, for us, is an instrument, a work of art, and, for some, a collectible. I don’t collect guitars because I don’t have the money, but if I did, I might want to own an SRV Strat, an Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent, and maybe a Tom Morello Strat. Will any of those make me a better player? I wish, but no, of course not. But that’s not why most people buy signature guitars.
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