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  1. #1

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    Why do guitar players have such a addiction for so many guitars ? Look at people like George Benson, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Scott Chinery, BigMike, Me....the list is endless. You don't see this with other instrument players.
    I know a great violinist and cello player. They would not dream of playing multiple axes. They have one great axe and that is all they play.
    Yes I know there are so many different sounding guitars but we all have a locked in tone that is our own personal tone that pleases our ears. 3 guitars max would cover any tonal need.
    You don't see a clarinet player with 20 clarinets.
    Very few guitar players can be satisfied playing the same guitar their whole life ( Barney Kessel / Herb Ellis ).
    Why do guitar players have this obsession ? Same goes with guitar amps.
    For me there is this elusive tone in my head that is never to be found. I am a dog chasing his tail. What I have realized is the tone I chase I found many years ago. I basically EQ all my guitars to sound close to the same so this addiction for me is more of a art collection than a tonal need. It is indeed a rabbit hole. The deeper you go in their is little hope of getting out.
    A week ago I bought a new L5 and I am already back trolling the net. I need my belt and shoe laces removed and put into a padded room. Seriously after 45 years I think I finally left Wonderland and dug my shelf out of the rabbit hole. Guitar addiction can almost be like a drug habit.
    The guy with the most guitars doesn't win, he is just broke.
    Even Joe Bonamassa had to sell 150 or his 300 guitars because he said he was in way over his head.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    So true. The underlying reason surely explains why the number of users browsing the gear forum is usually more than the combined total of all the others! I for one am sick of this, and am downsizing my collection to only the guitars that I actually play regularly. The rest are the definition of redundant.


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  4. #3

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    Hi, everybody. I am k and I am a guitar addict. I like guitars. I like the way they look, sound, and feel. When I feel like my playing is getting into a rut, I pick up a different guitar, or change string gauges, or raise/lower the action, or grab a slide, or whatever it takes to stimulate the creative juices. As far as buying goes, I rarely go looking, as they frequently come to me, so to speak, sometimes literally coming to my door (this is what happens when word gets out). Usually I'm just looking for some strings or whatever, and boom! there it is, a deal too good to pass up; and next thing you know, I'm happily setting up and tweaking and so forth and the endorphins are flowing like The Spice. I'm not hurting anyone, I'm supporting local-ish businesses, and when things get too crowded, I find good homes for the instruments that need played more. There are worse habits, and many that are more expensive, at least at my modest level. As far as I am concerned, a world with more people making their own music, at however a humble level, would be a better world. I'm just doing my bit.

    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 06-11-2017 at 07:51 PM.

  5. #4

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    Nah. I play one guitar. Two with my strat for an entirely different thing. I have others. Mainly because I've never sold a guitar in my life. I had a few given to me by luthiers or manufacturers. Yay! But I've played my trashy Gibson ES355 since 1982 virtually exclusively. Otherwise I'd feel like a betraying little slut. Lol.


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  6. #5

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    Don't forget "the thrill of the hunt" which can override not being hungry.

    Psychology of collecting - Wikipedia


    There are others worse than you:
    4 Signs that You're an Extreme Collector | Psychology Today

  7. #6

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    Yes. I've never been a collector. I buy. I use. I stop looking. That goes for guitars, amps, audio and recording gear, mics. I've kept away from the endless trap so many fall into.


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  8. #7

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    This is me... Especially the part about finding new homes for guitars. I don't tell you guys about the missionary work I do with guitars, I don't feel right about it. Just like I don't generally share that I just paid for my neighbor's 19 year olds' braces. I mean there are better things in life than simply "hoarding" guitars and I like spreading the joy.

    ADDICTION, naah. Not here. I really did have a lot of guitars come my way. And dang it's fun. More fun though sharing... Especially with someone who needs a little guitar boost to get their creative juices flowing... I can proudly say that has been as much fun, maybe more fun than buying. But I have had some amazing luck, I think the two sort of interact.

    Big


    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Hi, everybody. I am k and I am a guitar addict. I like guitars. I like the way they look, sound, and feel. When i feel like my playing is getting into a rut, a pick up a different guitar, ore change string gauges, or raise/lower the action, or grab a slide, or whatever it takes to stimulate the creative juices. As far as buying goes, I rarely go looking, as they frequently come to me, so to speak, sometimes literally coming to my door (this is what happens when word gets out). Usually I'm just looking for some strings or whatever, and boom! there it is, a deal too good to pass up and next thing you know, I'm happily setting up and tweaking and so forth and the endorphins are flowing like The Spice. I'm not hurting anyone, I'm supporting local-ish businesses, and when things get too crowded, I find good homes for the instruments that need played more. There are worse habits, and many that are more expensive, at least at my modest level. As far as I am concerned, a world with more peolpe making their own music, at however a humble level, would be a better world. I'm just doing my bit.

    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

    Guitar addiction...Why ?-img_0451-jpgGuitar addiction...Why ?-img_1332-jpgGuitar addiction...Why ?-img_0049-jpg
    Last edited by BigMikeinNJ; 06-11-2017 at 04:45 PM.

  9. #8

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    I have about 12 guitars, some ukes and 3 amps--none highly collectable, but all fulfill a purpose. We are thinking about moving soon, so that will give me an excuse to sell a couple.

    I was talking about this with my fiancee today--the difference between a collector, an addict and a hoarder. IMO a collector takes a minimalist approach--has the absolute best in a category they can acquire. An addict is thrilled more by the hunt and by having a bunch of things, not necessarily the thing itself. A hoarder doesn't care--quality is not an object.

    We were at an estate sale of a house that belonged to a wealthy couple--the guy was an avid photographer and had thousands of dollars of high-end cameras for sale--probably close to a hundred. But then he had about as many cheapo cameras still in the box! I can understand the Nikon and Nikkormat, but I don't understand the Kodak Point-and-Click.

    I have collected records, books and comics strictly for the utilitarian value, not for price. I did get into antique tool collecting pretty heavily about a decade ago, to the point I had to step back. It can be a slippery slope...

  10. #9

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    I like to have options, but I'm not a collector the way some folks around here are. I am up to 8, and that has me thinking I should sell one. The Godin is the only one that doesn't have some kind of sentimental value so it will probably be the one to go. Unfortunately, it's not really worth much...$350 maybe. So is it even worth selling? I need the space so it probably is.
    If I had more space and more disposable income, I might be more inclined to collect. Guitars are just so damn cool!

  11. #10

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    blame it on electricity!! we grew up in an age of tones...and recorded tones!!..and when we hear sounds we like, we want the guitar that made them...a 335 just can't sound like a strat in the 4th position etc etc

    any excuse!! haha

    cheers

  12. #11

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    Ha ha!! I'm a hoarder!


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  13. #12

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    Having options is the kosher one I can think of. Knowing that if something very specific shows up that you can dial it in.


    Inspiration. I'm guess those cello and violin player are fitting into a centuries long tradition, so that they do what they do period. Guitar is something else ... everyone feels and sounds differently so they inspire you.


    And finally escapism. Most hoppies are a sort of escapism and why not guitar. Some buy art for a lot of money cos it makes them happy. Some like their guitars. Much better than art. They look good, but also make distinct sound when played.

  14. #13

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    An entry level cello will set you back at least 20k, according to a player I know (who recently had a bow of his on auction for 10k). A great archtop guitar can be had for 3.000 dollars, or less. So guitars are cheap.......

    All I personally need is two electric guitars (whether archtops or not) set up with flatwound and roundwound strings and a flattop. Not a collector.

  15. #14

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    I just love guitars. If I had the money I would probably buy a guitar every week. I like to play all of them. And I have more archtops than anything else - they all do have different sounds and feels but I don't have that many because of that, although that was my excuse when I was still married, well at least not separated and sharing incomes. I had to sell six instruments when I got depressed which sucked.

    I play both guitar and bass and have 13 right now including one upright bass. 8 guitars (5 archtops, one semi, one classical and one solidbody) and 4 electric basses (2 fretless, a 5 string and a 6 string). I am not drawn to buying more upright basses - it is something about guitars. And I am buying another guitar (an es-175) next week even though I just got my pm100 last week. I like playing them and looking at them and it is mainly the hollow archtops that I always want more of.


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  16. #15

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    There is no right answer to this question.
    Most of us buy them just to play them. And the bottom line is, they are not bad investments. For the most part, you don't really lose much when you sell them. So, it's like money in the bank.
    You are not hurting anyone. Heck, I think going on a vacation every year is worse. Yeah you have memories, but you don't get your money back..

  17. #16

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    A guitarist should have an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar as they are different animals. Anything more is an art collection. But what is wrong with having an art collection? Looking at things of beauty is a reward and pleasure in this life.

    At my peak, I had 22 guitars. I like to rotate them (IMO, all should be played regularly) and at 22, my bond with each of my guitars was getting strained. I have since slimmed down to 18 guitars and am bonded with and enjoy them all.

    I have been with my wife for 20 years and have been faithful to her. As the author Edward Abbey once said "being faithful to one woman means being unfaithful to all the rest" (Abbey was married five times!). I am OK with being faithful to one woman, but I choose to have a harem of guitars.

    Reading the threads here and surfing the net, the temptation of a new guitar is always there. These days, I am more concerned with improving my ability to play the ones I have. But being an art collector of sorts (18 guitars IS an art collection), I still enjoy looking at the fine art of the many guitars you guys share here. So keep buying them!
    Last edited by Stringswinger; 06-11-2017 at 05:03 PM.

  18. #17

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    I have seven. Last week I asked a buddy, "When I play the Jazzmaster am I cheating on the Nighthawk?" I guess I worry too much...Recently it occurred to me why I have numerous instruments. It's like a painter having a variety of colors to work with. It's tonal color. Timbre. Nevertheless, everyday every instrument is on trial for its life. When I think I should sell the Jazzmaster, I play it. What an instrument! I love it! It makes me feel sixteen again. But I should really sell the Nighthawk. I play it. What an instrument! It's a strat. It's a tele! It's an LP! But I should really really sell my 330. Those P90s. I play it. I'm Grant Green! It's a great time to be a guitarist! I won't sell them. I'm close to them. I bought them for their tone and I keep them for the way they make me feel. If I bought a Jaguar, would my Jazzmaster's feelings be hurt?

  19. #18

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    I have always liked getting "gifts" for myself. (I started working at a young age and stayed single for a long time, allowing me more control of my income).

    If I were not buying guitars and gear, then it would be clothes, electronics or something else - hopefully a lot less expensive stuff.

    Over the last few years, as I have watched my once-expensive state-of-the-art electronics become outdated, along with my expensive clothes, gaudy jewelry, and other purchases, and while I inflicted often irreparable damage over and over on items I had tucked away in closets and in the shed, I found that I had a realization. And now, while I am no minimalist, I have become a much less materialistic. Of course, I don't have that "long money" to burn anymore either.

    But, while I can give away Versace shirts, Ferragamo shoes, high dollar furniture, and other sundry items, I still can't bring myself to part with any of my guitars, amps, or other musical gear. Go figure.
    Last edited by AlsoRan; 06-11-2017 at 05:49 PM.

  20. #19

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    At my peak I owned 5 real D'angelico's and thought that they were getting in the way. So I said to my self, "is this mammon" and sure enough it is. I sold my Style B, Style A, and my 19 inch cutaway New Yorker and that was 13 years ago during lent. I feel much better and now I still have my 2 New Yorker's along with my Hollenbeck and Barkers. I personally know deep down I will not find any better acoustic carved archtops. They might be different and sound thrilling, play incredibly great but frankly GAS will only be the mammon.


    Ok it is Sunday and the deacon needs to stop preaching. I would give one up if Lord could get my old bones to sub 50 min 10k speed. Unlike playing the guitar running takes a speed toll real bad above 50 years old.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    ...Heck, I think going on a vacation every year is worse. Yeah you have memories, but you don't get your money back..
    Indeed and when I fly to my vacation spot, I leave a big footprint out there. I fly internationally at least once a year and it costs me and the earth much more than an average guitar does.

  22. #21

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    I don't get the guitar hoarding thing at all, and I have 2 dear old friend that each own 20-25 a piece. I think many players got into it back in the 70's due to publicity of Steve Howe and Townsend's collections. Most players then had one guitar, maybe two if the other was an acoustic. If a LP guy wanted a strat, he'd sell the Paul; it just didn't occur to folks to own multiple guitars. It's one thing to be quite well to do and have to buying power to buy $$$$ guitars that could be a strong investment (no, your custom shop guitar will never be a good investment, it's just money you spent); he guys I think are out of their minds are the one saving their money to buy another PRS ten top, a 5th LP and a 7th strat.

  23. #22

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    "Ok it is Sunday and the deacon needs to stop preaching. I would give one up if Lord could get my old bones to sub 50 min 10k speed. Unlike playing the guitar running takes a speed toll real bad above 50 years old."

    Deacon Marc,
    Interval are your friends, even though they feel like your worst enemy. Embrace the pain, try to make it hurt more. Don't stop when it hurts, stop when you have nothing left to propel you forward.

  24. #23

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    I figured out that, for me, having more guitars than I can play on a regular basis stresses me out. For me, three is the sweet spot (not counting a guitar for airplane travel) but I would be fine with just two.

    Being totally in love with my no. 1 guitar is a factor though. I haven't even done a NGD on it yet. One of these days.

  25. #24

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    I'm not sure how to fully describe my guitar buying behavior - perhaps part collector and just a love for Archtops - but my buying is beginning to be slow down- since I have just about everything that satisfies my current desires - thank goodness.

    I've had just about every great Archtop made and my focus has always been more boutique builders with some high end Gibson's in the mix. I mainly play unplugged - so a straight acoustic voice is most important to me.

    I do find myself looking at guitars everyday , and not sure if it's just a habit or just occasional boredom. But as Vinny notes, I also just bought a gorgeous dead mint Lee Rit L5 , and a few days later I'm looking around again. I thinks it's partly due to many great instruments available at great prices......it does become very tempting on a continuous basis.

    After selling off a collection of high end Archtops at the peak of the market in the late nineties, I find myself once again building it back up but not to the same extreme. I think the major difference is the market has changed significantly and I find myself being extremely careful about what I spend compared to the Archtop renaissance period - when you could almost certainly expect a return on your investment.

    I also love being present during custom builds and interacting with builders. My experiences over the past 30 plus years with having custom guitars made by D'Aquisto, Monteleone, Benedetto, Campellone , Solomon , Thames , Trenier and now Borys has been priceless and the friendships made have been long lasting.

    So - is it GAS, addiction , collector spirit or just an ongoing obsession with a piece of art with steel strings. Not sure - but at times it's both fun and extremely stressful and you can still only play one at a time. I do find myself beginning to loose a little interest in buying - maybe because we are entering summer - not sure .

    I think Vinny said it right - we are searching for an elusive tone (at least that's what we tell ourselves) and quite honestly - I hope we never find it - because then what will some of us obsess about.

    Perhaps this really is a sickness.
    Guitar addiction...Why ?.

  26. #25

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    BTW, it's not just guitarists. My bandmate who plays saxes and flutes has about 10 of them, if not more. He just recently bought a piccolo.

    I also have a bandmate who owns about 30 (!) upright basses. He buys them used and abused and refurbishes them. He has a friend paint most of them, and has a couple of all-aluminum models from the 50's.

    But, again, we're not hurting anyone. Some instruments that might be stuck in someone's closet or a school storage locker find a home where they can be appreciated.