…which, of course is the question almost every guitar gear slut gets from their significant-other: How many guitars do you need?
To which, of course, the only correct answer is:
JUST ONE MORE
To be completely honest, after I got my lovely, practically perfect Slash L Guitars Katie May, I’ve been pretty set for guitars. Besides Katie May, I’ve got two Les Pauls, three Strats, a Gretsch, a Tele, a PRS SE II Soapbar, and a few other guitars I don’t play; not to mention a few acoustics and a bass. Out of all of my electrics, I’ve been playing Katie May the most simply because she is by far my most versatile guitar. I can get super-heavy to light and jangly tones from her.
But the other day, I was re-arranging a song I wrote called “Never Trade In Her Life” and though I used Katie May for the main electric rhythm part, I needed a different sound for the lead, and she unfortunately wasn’t giving it to me, no matter what amp I used. It’s not that she sounded bad, but she was just way too smooth, and I needed something on the much more open, dirty side of things. So I pulled out my American Deluxe Strat and my world was made right. 🙂
After I got the final recording down, it occurred to me that I was glad that I had my Strat, then took the thought even further to rationalize the number of guitars I have. I’ve told my wife that each one of my guitars has a different voice. It sounds like me playing, but each guitar has a different tonal expression that I can feel and hear. I know, it may sound lame, but there’s a lot to it. For instance, my R8 Les Paul has a very cool and smooth tone; almost like a cello. On the other hand, my ’59 Les Paul Replica has a bright, midrangy tone that’s perfect for classic rock. Katie May also has a smooth tone, but it’s also a bit more hollow sounding than my Les Pauls.
There are even differences between my Strats. My American Deluxe has the classic Strat sound, but it has higher-output pickups, Kinman HSX to be exact, that give it lots of growl when they’re cranked up. And it’s a dirty, single-coil sound that I can’t with any other guitar.
But as I mentioned above, I’m pretty set for guitars right now. But I know that perhaps in a few years, I’m going to be writing some music and will want a different tone that the guitars in my stable can’t produce. So it’ll be back to getting just one more guitar to capture that particular sound. 🙂
Funny thing is that when I play live, I only take two guitars; one of which stays in the car as a backup. That’s purely practical. I don’t have a roadie, so I want to take as little gear with me as possible. If I ever go on the road, I suppose I’ll bring a few for different songs, but in general, I’d still take a practical approach to the gear I bring. In the studio, on the other hand, I can use what I want…
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