Welcome to For Your Consideration, I am Nicholas La Torre and I am here to present relevant issues in music that are on my mind. I will present multiple sides of the issue for you to consider and ultimately we will try to gauge your thoughts on the issue. In today's talk, I'm taking a satirical look at what each guitarist's main guitar says about them or their personality. I'll be making fun of all of us, so try not to take things too seriously...
For the most part, a majority of the guitar styles used to day have a long lineage of use in the music world and while technology has helped a great deal, most of the shapes and sizes have remained the same. Over time, we can observe patterns of which types of musicians choose which types of guitars. Any guitarist will tell you they choose their favorite axe based on sound, tone, and playability. Get one drunk and they may tell you a hidden directive, which is to look badass! Of course, each of these types of guitars have a leader or a mascot, who is famous and have extended their fame onto the guitar of their choice. Today, we are looking at the regular folks, who way outnumber the few celebrities who play them. Let's look at some of the most common guitar models/styles today and see who are the types of people who really choose them as their go-to guitar.
This is one of the most beloved guitar styles of all time. The Stratocaster has been copied by pretty much every
guitar manufacturer throughout the years, and for good reason. They straight up sell. Strats have a body that many find super comfortable and a neck that is thin enough to be forgiving. Who are playing these today?
That's right. As my go-to guitar style, I can attest to this. Don't get me wrong, Strats have had their place amongst
the most rebellious genres of music and are still loved by the young folks of today. But when I imagine those
models, I think of sticker-ridden Strats with duct tape straps and enough scars to tell the tales of their journeys (most of which came from letting the damn thing fall on their floor rather than any real touring time). When I consider my favorite, a 2010 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS, I think of overweight touring musicians who keep their Strat bodies polished as much as their receding hairlines.
Ahh, the Tele...In some genres of music, these symbolize near royalty. Bring a shiny Tele to a country concert and people assume you mean business. In the Alt world, when I see a Tele, I think of hipsters. Our fearless leader, Michael La Torre, loves his Tele and spurns the description I shared with him when considering this article.
"I have loved Teles since hipsters were babies and I was a hipster," La Torre said. "I hate you right now."
Sounds just like something a hipster would say, right? If I were to design a Telecaster starter kit, it would come with much more than a guitar and a tuner. I would include items like: A six pack of craft beer, a backup 12-pack of PBR (which is underrated, right? Gross), a tweed strap and case, and a fedora...Fans of these guitars are proud that the Telecaster came before the Strat, and that they knew about them first, and aren't afraid to tell you that.
Gibson Les Paul
Oh boy. What does owning a Gibson Les Paul say about you? Well, you're probably rich or retired. You had dreams
of seeing Led Zeppelin live (or maybe you did) and dream of the day you will have your own Jimmy Page moment. Most regular folks cannot afford these guitars and unless you grew up hearing them, you probably wouldn't drop three times what you could over another competitor model. Even if you do save the money to get into the Les Paul realm, you'll drop a good amount on a Standard or Studio model. Most of their coveted models are way more than that. Gibson, who has faced a great deal of financial issues recently, continues to focus on adding technology to these guitars. The problem is, most of the technology is seen as gimmicky and many of the folks who can afford these things can't even work an iPhone.
Gibson does make some entry-level models (aka Epiphone), but even as the owner of a nice Epi Les Paul Ultra, I wouldn't recommend buying one unless it's the legit model with the "open book" headstock. Because let's face it, you really wanted it for the "open book" headstock anyway. Also, watch out for Gibson snobs. They are everywhere.
Ok, ok. You're fancy yourself a pioneer, but these guitars are still on the verge of major comeback. You're either really trying to be different or really trying to be like people who are different. The mindset reminds me of a book I once read titled, How to be a Nonconformist. Once again, our leader came to the rescue when I shared my thoughts:
"I love my Jag," La Torre said. "Yeah, I was trying to copy J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.)."
I will say, I am glad these guitars are making their way to the forefront in several genres, including alternative music. The little switches on the Jazzmaster look great, even though most probably don't know what they do (including me). So if you're really trying to be different, pick a relevant guitarist who plays one of these, and copy the hell out of them.
BC Rich/Ibanez/Dean Entry-Level Metal Style Guitars
We are not talking about the advanced models of these guitars, many of which come with active pickups and Floyd
Rose tremolos. We are talking about the entry-level models that feature nothing over their competitor's models with the exception of sharp cuts and wild paint jobs. I would imagine their bread and butter comes from younger clientele. The entry-level models are some of the coolest looking (I guess) guitars for the sub $200 market. A lot of kids cut their teeth on these guitars and much like their mopeds, try to hide them from their friends later. I know. My first legitimate electric guitar was a B.C. Rich Warlock and I felt like a complete badass playing it. Never mind it weighed like 1,000lbs and was very hard to hold unless you were standing up. It didn't like to stay in tune either. I later added some better pickups and tried to revive the guitar, but a bowed neck ended that. Who loves these guitars? Middle schoolers. Unless you're attempting to start an underground metal band that no one will ever see, leave these guitars where they belong...in the 80s.
This is more about a type of guitar than a model. What does this guitar type say about you? You're Eddie Vedder. That's all.
Feel free to comment with your go-to guitar model/style and I'll come at you next!