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There's a nice interview with Tom Petty a few years ago in which he says they have about 144 guitars, but you only need one.  I have a good acoustic, a good electric, and something for the campfire (to play not to burn...).  How many do you need??

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Oh boy...

At this time, I feel I need:

an acoustic/electric 6 string steel

an acoustic-only 6 string steel

an acoustic/electric 12 string steel

an acoustic-only 12 string steel

a classical with no electronics

a classical with electronics

an electric guitar

and a steel string travel guitar - the go-guitar walnut grande with a 1 3/4" nut...

so 8...I've got 4 so far...list subject to change... ;-)

As many as that are necesary to make a dollar.ship

My brother-in-law asked me that question, when he saw my guitars in my room.  He's a fisherman, and he's has quite a collection of rods and reels.  Not to mention his 8 or 10 tackle boxes with all kinds of lures and whatnots.  I just smiled, and asked him, how many lures, rods, and reels did he need?

Yeah, you really only need one to play at a time, but there's just something about guitars I've always loved.  My dream job would be to run an Acoustic Guitar Museum, where folks could visit and actually play the guitars.  Lotto numbers anyone???

Phil, your comment reminds me I finally got to visit and tour the Taylor factory in El Cajon, CA, last week.  Fun!  The best part was the visitors' center where they have all their models hanging on the walls and you are invited to try any and all of them.  Even have two rooms where you can plug in the electrics.  I suppose if you live near enough and need a "fix" you could slip over there and spend an hour or so.  The staff are very friendly, but after a few visits you might have to start wearing disguises.

I've been a gigging guitarist since the mid-80s. So I've played a LOT of gigs over the years. Most of that time has been playing electric in various rock, hard-rock, and country bands. But I did a two-year stint of classical playing at weddings and such. Right now I've got my solo flamenco-jazz project going, and will soon have my "new-age" solo steel string thing going as well. If there's one thing I learned playing-out a long time ago... "two is one, and one is none". I always have at least one spare of whatever I may need at gigs. That means solid body electrics, steel string acoustics, nylon string acoustics, electric tube amps, and acoustic amps. Cables, picks, strings, mics, etc, etc, etc. Or in other words... I've always subscribed to the Boy Scout motto "be prepared".

 

No doubt a minimalist would look at the pile of stuff in my man cave and be horrified. I have tried to whittle my collection down to 2-3 of everything these past few years, cause I am tired of my "stuff" owning me. But as long as I intend to keep playing-out and charging money for my playing, I will always have backups of everything. I no longer collect for collecting's sake though. Just what a feel that I "need" to get the job done.

 

-Johnny Walker

http://jwflamenco.net

http://soundcloud/com/jwflamenco

 

As many as you want & can afford.

Ah - but what if your amount of "want" surpasses the amount you "can afford"? Guitar doldrums? Great melancholy?... ;-)

   More than the 12  that I have.

The answer is the same no matter what toy you prefer, fly rods, guitars etc... "One more."

This is the corect answer. Well done!

I guess it's like shoes or pants - you can only use one pair at a time, but it's nice to have a choice.

I got up to 15 guitars many, many years ago, then pared it down to a couple.  Now, I'm back up to over 20 instruments (guitars, basses, Sticks, mandolins, ukuleles, cello...).  Just when I think I have too many, another one shows up at the local music shop that I feel needs a good home.  Just this morning, I went out to the store for coffee beans and came home with a used 12-string Seagull.

They're all nice playing, nice sounding instruments, but none of them are a Santa Cruz, Huss & Dalton, or Taylor/Martin.  Except for my Chapman Stick and NS Design cello, the most I've payed for any one of them was $350.00.  Each one has it's own characteristic that I enjoy for whichever style I choose to play.  While I love having them all available to play at will, there are only a couple of instruments (a used Breedlove Atlas and my Chapman Stick) that would cause me concern if I were to lose or sell.  When I can no longer enjoy an instrument, I want it to go to someone who will enjoy it.

I don't play golf, smoke, ride motorcycles, own a boat, or even have cable TV.  I don't even play music for a living anymore - I guess everyone must have a vice/past-time! :-)

What if someone asked you how many friends you need?  Would anyone say something stupid like, "You can only talk to one person at a time."?  I think guitars are like people, everyone is different.  Some you like and become friends with, and some just don't have personalities that work with yours.  As you meet more and more people you have more and more friends.  It's the same way with guitars (and that includes basses, mandolins, banjos, etc.), the more you meet the more you "need."  I think I'm up to 13 now or is it 14?  We will always welcome more.

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