When you read this title, you may ask yourself am I in the right place? Is this a question on luthier’s or manufacturer’s website. And the answer is: YES!
If you have already asked yourself this question you are in the right direction. Mainly because it seems that you are able to analyze (the) things, and also because maybe you are on the way to a new custom guitar.
So how does one choose a guitar? Usually, people make some criteria, a list with pros and cons. You may also ask, but how does one establish these criteria? And the answer is, that mostly by emotional bond.
Just think about it, how do most guitarists get their first instrument? They listen to some music, they decide, they want to play this song, they check for the guitarist of the band, check his gear out, etc. Or, when the idea is in their mind for a longer time, they go into a music store, check out the guitars, that fit their budget, and grab the best!
Sadly, this is not what usually happens…. the novice usually grabs the nicest guitar (beauty, of course, is a subjective matter) with the lowest price tag in the store. He takes it home, starts using it… and since he does not have any real comparison, he starts to fantasize… and unconsciously fabricates “lies” or half-facts about his guitar:
- That this or that frontman uses a guitar similar to his, so his instrument should be great, too (“yes”, but the frontman’s guitar is 10x more pricey and 5x higher quality instrument).
- His friend told him that these are the best guitars in this price range. What basically means: there are some eastern brands that produce a higher number of good instruments than others. (This is mainly because of the very different quality requirements of various brands, as there is high probability that these instruments are made in the very same factory.)
- The pickups in it are totally dope (of course: after he got the guitar, and started to search the web, what the hell are those… and then find a thread in a forgotten forum from some years ago with 2 good comments about the pickups).
At this point you may start to get what we are talking about… or you are totally misled. To properly answer the question in the headline, the most important thing that a guitarist has to have is: Experience
You may ask: So, a novice can’t have a custom or a pricey guitar? Yes he can, but he will never differentiate, what makes a good guitar good and a bad guitar bad. And, probably, he will never appreciate the uniqueness of his guitar. So, would we make a custom guitar for a total beginner? In most of the cases: totally not.
Apart from this, how does experience help? It helps you to tell apart the real need from desire. Do I only want this guitar because it’s dope, or do I want this guitar because I like the looks, but also like the… (here comes any real argument which he can make).
The next thing experience can help with, is the sound. An experienced player knows what sound he is looking for. The more you play, the more idols you have, the more bands you are in, the more techniques you need to use, the more unique or precise sounds you need for your new album or studio… Simply said, you know what you really need, what are the main arcs of the properties you want.
Still do not believe that emotional bondage exists?!
Watch the FULL video please.
Experience also means that you have already tried a few guitars (we would say at least three) for a longer period of time (probably half a year per guitar). Almost every guitar player has a phase when he wants to play, for example, a Dimebag style guitar. He buys it, plays it, realizes that is not his cup of tea, but still he starts to make arguments which support that he has done good (again, emotional bond)… but, as time goes by, he slowly realizes: it’s a nope. It is too big, or it’s too heavy, it’s totally uncomfortable (especially when sitting down). And he gets rid of it. (Same with the thunder bird shapes – I’m looking at you, fellow bass players! 😉 ) So after all thi, he realizes that comfort is not just a word, it is a must for convenient playing. So with experience, one should already know what he finds comfy and what he must avoid.
After this philosophical essay, we probably can finally sum the answer for our question:
Does one need a custom guitar?
Someone with sufficient experience can answer this question. Experience enables him to establish some criteria for and against a custom guitar:
- Can I buy factory guitar with the sound I need?
- Can I buy factory guitar that I find extremely comfy?
- Can I buy a factory guitar which looks this good? (look out: emotional bond)
- Can I buy a factory guitar that is unique? (look out: emotional bond)
- Can I buy a factory guitar that is tailored to me?
- Can I buy a factory guitar combines at least 3 of above?
If the answer to at least 3 of these questions is “No!” (and max. 1 of those is an emotional bond), then he DEFINITELY NEEDS A CUSTOM GUITAR. 🙂 If 2 of those “No!”s are emotional, then we would advise him to get a custom instrument only, if finances are not a real deal for him.
With asking and answering these questions, one also already defined what his custom guitar needs to be like.
Hope you like this little blog article about our personal view on buying a (custom) guitar. And we also hope you managed to learn something new. 🙂
See you next time, in our next blog post!