There’s no doubt about it…some of us may hate shopping for a new car, groceries, linens, whatever it may be, but there’s nothing like choosing the right guitar for the job! I often pride myself in bringing many guitars to a recording session, affording me as many “real” sound alternatives as possible when it comes to my choices, but many of us don’t have this same luxury.
I always feel that when you buy a guitar it must certainly be a good “fit” for the player, physically as well as sound-wise, but I also feel it must be as versatile as possible. Studio work as well as live playing truly dictates this need, and lord knows I have made very few guitars at times, work for so many different kinds of sessions, it’s mind-boggling. Still, these days, with all the options available to you, you can truly choose wisely when it comes to a guitar’s versatility.
Pickup combinations, sound choices, coil-tapping, on-board overdrive, Piezo pickups, the variations are staggering, and of course, if you don’t mind tinkering on your own or paying extra for others to do it, you can really Customize” your axe! A good tremolo (whammy-bar) unit may be just the ticket for you to add-on, or a third pickup in between the bridge and neck ones for sure will give you more variation. You then can choose any number of pickup switching combinations that can get you an incredible array of sounds for sure, even some things where you can “split” the coils, and alternate between single-coil or humbucker-type tones.
I really think the best kind of variation that will give you the most bang for the buck is definitely the single-coil verses double-coil “humbucker” approach. This will allow you to get either bright and warm tones, overdriven sounds, or just pure, clean sounds, all of which are certainly desirable, and may be needed in the course of a concert or a recording date. Onstage, we don’t want to do too much guitar switching, as it kind of slows things down too much, so a versatile guitar is really a “must” for these situations. When you are calling “your own shots” musically, it is of course, one situation, but when you are working for others who may make sudden demands on you, the most versatile approach is surely the one you want to take!
Stomp boxes aside, and I do believe many of them are valid, you still must make sure you can first get as many variations of sounds and tones out of your beloved guitar, before “farming out” any other sounds for sure! Remember that the most important tonal variations still first and foremost come from your fingers, and if the guitar truly “fits” you, then it’s the one to go with for as many situations as possible! I hope you enjoy that tonal ride!