Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Which Guitarist Are You?

   We guitar players are a judgemental lot. When we're at a gig and you or your roadie comes out and starts tuning up and futzing with your gear, we immediately make all kinds of assumptions about what we can expect out of you. Which one of these slingers are you? Well, read on...

Gibson Les Paul

Sure, plenty of young ladies in rock bands have shouldered one of these beasts, but make no mistake...This is a man's guitar. Big, heavy, and flashy as hell. When you're flailing away at one of these things and you've got a couple of hundred watts behind you flattening people, testosterone levels skyrocket. If you could lay the blame on any one solid body electric guitar as being responsible for the most unwanted pregnancies, this would be it. Rock and Roll!!

Paul Reed Smith

Outrageously well made with a price tag to match, this is the guitar equivalent of a Range Rover. Are you a plastic surgeon who likes to hit up open blues jams on the weekends? Are you an aging rock star who's just lost his endorsement deal with Gibson? Is your record label throwing wads of cash your way? Time for a PRS! The really nice ones are usually locked up in glass cases or hanging high on the wall at Guitar Center so unless money is no object, it's unlikely you'll ever get to touch one.

Full Custom

Nothing says "I'm a pretentious nerdbag" better than when you pull one of these very expensive, made-by-nobody-you've-ever-heard-of monstrosities out of it's case. These are always made from about a dozen species of wood with names you can't pronounce, usually sport tons of medieval hippie Rennisannce Faire inlay, and are wired up with complex tone circuts you need to be 3 bong rips deep to navigate successfully. So, if an ordinary off the shelf guitar is a less than adequate vehicle for your advanced abilities, or your jam band just landed an opening spot on Phish's reunion tour, you'll probably need to commission a guy from Canada or northern California to hand build you one of these superior music-making tools. Tool being the operative word.


While it's true that luthiers throughout the Pacific Rim have stepped up their game of late, the guitar market is still bloated with these slapped together, perpetually out-of-tune, 6-string travesties. Available at fine retail establishments like Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us, the ultimate fate of most of these planks is to be encrusted with stickers, tenatively bashed on for a year or two, and tossed into the corner of some kid's bedroom to be forgotten in favor of sports, chicks or video games where you pretend you're playing the guitar. Look for them on Craig's List, eBay, yard sales, pawn shops, or hanging on the wall of your local sports bar, shrouded in neon and further humiliated with Budwieser logos.....Sad.

(Not vintage)


 It used to take passion, dedication, and time for an electric guitar to acquire the distinctive patina of heavy use. Every so often you'll run across a guy who's digging into some crusty old junker he picked up in a pawn shop for 200 bucks back when nobody cared about old guitars and has been playing the living hell out of it for 40 years, but in this fast-paced age of instant gratification, who's got the time for passion and dedication? These days assembly line workers in Mexico and "custom shop" hacks the world over can crank out artificially aged versions of all your favorites! Pair it up with brand new Levis shot full of holes and a fresh off the rack t-shirt made to look like you've worn it since college, and you're good to go, buddy! Now you can look like you've "seen it all" and "been there" even if you haven't been anywhere or seen shit. Thanks a lot, Stevie Ray!

Shred Machine

Back in the 80's, every coked-up hair farmer from here to South Pasedena could be found on stage dry humping one of these honeys. Usually coated with day-glo paint, skulls, bull's eyes, snakes, checker boards, samurai swords, stripes, naked chicks or all of the above. Double locking trems and frets the size of railroad ties insure that even the most sausage-fingered can "wheedly-wheedly-wheedly" away all night long and sound like they've just graduated from GIT. Remnants of a bygone era. Can now be found mostly in the hands of Norwegian death metallers (in black, of course), indie rockers trying to be "ironic", and your guitar teacher.