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In the Gibson guitar group, a comment thread elicited a remark as to why the commentator chose to collect his particular instruments. It was a strategy as well as a preference. My small collection (five guitars) reflect my own strategy (posted separately). This has left me curious as to what other players' choice strategies might be.
So how and why do you choose the instruments that you have?. Do you go out looking for a particular type, brand, feature? Do you just stumble on to something you just fall in love with? Do you limit yourself to a certain number?
The comments can be complex or simple. I hope you enjoy the exercise.
Michael

Tags: collecting, preferences

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Right now I have 2 guitars: '91 Epiphone PR350E and an '09 Epiphone EL-00. The PR350E was my first when I started this git journey a year ago. It's a full size dread that my coach found for me used and said it is an excellent sounding and playing git to get gong with. I LOVE playing it. Even though it is a "select/laminate" top, it has a sound and volume I like. The past few months I became intrigued with a small body guitar. I did a lot of homework on the internet to find what manufactureres made small bodies like a "parlour" guitar. I the top of my list included an Art & Lutherie Ami, Gibson L-00, Epiphone EL-00. I also looked at a few folk guitars from other manufacturers. My search put the Epiphone at the top of the list based on PRICE. After playing these, I found the Epiphone to be everything I was looking for; sound, playability and VALUE. I was lucky enough to find one very SLIGHTLY used from a player that bought it for a purpose and it didn't do the job he expected. So I got it at a good price and you wouldn't tell it wasn't brand new. BOTTOM LINE: I feel Epiphone gits are an excellent value for what you get. My next purchase just may be another Epiphone; Hummingbird or Dove. Dean
Dean,
Thanks for the "newbie" perspective. I always a number of "lesser" instruments when I am at stores. Having started, like Charles, with a seriously cheap guitar in 1962, I am always amazed how good the newer takes on affordable can sound. Even as my snob eyes pick up on some fudged details I am impressed.
One of my favorite boxes is a aged Sigma dreadnought that ended up in my hands (long story) in much need of attention. I know I spent more money than it was worth new – nut, saddle, bridge, pickup & set-up (half on the pickup), but the result was a great axe for toting to open-mike & porch pulls.
Keep at it. Playing different guitars at the store is not only fun but helps tune your ear to sonic potential (under all that dead string sound). And you can always pop in some new bridge-pins for a relatively cheap tone improvement.
Thanks again.
Michael
I am in complete agreement with both Jon and Charles...I too have about 25 guitars, most of which are acoustic and I too have a wife who is very supportive of my addiction...two of the instruments I own she bought for me as gifts...and it doesn't hurt that music for me is income either! That said, Jon's experiences and mine parallel so much it's scary! But like Charles, I tend to stick to the American classics of Martin, Gibson, original Epiphones, etc. I have never been a fan of the Taylor sound...gotta take a break, will add more about MY stuff soon! Edward
I got my Gibson J160E because I had always wanted a Gibson dread and I always wanted this model...
and also, these two great salesmen talked me into it! Edward


Gibson 2004 J-160E
Ever since I saw John Lennon and George Harrison playing these guitars in the early Beatles movies I had wanted one of these instruments. But, Gibson acoustics are very expensive and the original model had a laminated top that was ladder braced...not a very desirable attribute in the high-end guitar market! At the time, this sturdy construction was probably a good thing for John and George, as the rigid top helped to prevent feedback on stage in front of those beautiful Vox AC-30's that were most likely cranked all the way up. But, in general laminated tops and ladder bracing doesn't make for a great sounding acoustic! Then, this new model appeared and although it looked exactly like the original. Made by Gibson in Montana, this guitar has a solid top that is X-braced, and uses a new P-100 humbucking pickup, instead of the old P-90 single coil that could be noisy. This guitar has a warm rich acoustic voice when strung with bronze wound strings, and great tone via the pickup when strung with electric strings, like a mellow jazz box. Brian Higgins of Bill's Music suggested I try a set of hybrid "zebra" strings which are wound alternately with both bronze and silver to get the best of both worlds. The guitar is very lightweight, but has a solid feel to it, which makes it a joy to play...a real strummer!
Wow, Edward, I was also charmed by the history too, but never played one of the new ones that sounded very good. Now I'm a lot jealous, as Lennon remains a major hero to me. The zebras (DR's , right?) make a lot of sense. Maybe if the one I played a few years back had had the right strings, I might have been more tempted. Then again, perhaps you found a 'good one' and I never did. Terrific!
Michael
Guild JF30 6 string:


This is a very special guitar with great sentimental value to me. It was bequeathed to me by my friend Bruce Hathorne in 1993. I actually helped him pick out this instrument, and negotiated a decent price with the salesman when he purchased it. It still has his initials, BAH, on the faux tortoise shell pickguard. It was one of five instruments he left me when he passed away. The instrument is in excellent condition. It is constructed of all solid woods, especially the spruce and flamed maple sides, with the exception of the laminated arched maple back, which has no braces, and is actually a feature carried over from Guild's acoustic archtop line. The huge body is 17" wide, as wide as my Gibson J100, and almost identical in shape. It has simple, no frills appointments. A Fishman pickup system came factory installed with this guitar and it truly brings out the instruments unique voice. I originally installed a Hipshot "D" tuner on the low E, but don't use it much anymore since I now keep it tuned down a whole step to D.
One more for now:

1980 Guild JF212XLN


This guitar was purchased new from Veneman's Music in Rockville, Maryland. It is in excellent, playable condition, tuned to concert pitch, allowable due to the unique double truss rods in the neck. There are a few minor dings in the top finish from normal wear and tear. The "N" in the model name stands for natural finish. The widest measurement of the body is 17" across, hence the "XL" in the model name. I still have the original hardshell case. In 2001, I had a Fishman under saddle pickup and preamp professionally installed at Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe in Catonsville Maryland. I owned this instrument for 28 years (it was older than all of my children) before it was stolen in September, 2008. I wrote many songs on this instrument, particularly "Light at the End of the Tunnel" and parts of my "Uncharted Skies: Suite." Unbelievably, the guitar was returned to me after the person who stole it tried to sell it back to the local Guitar Center!
Edward,
Wow, those are amazing guitars and narratives. They deserve more than just a simple note. I am heading out to take my wife out on the town, but I promise some more thoughtful response tomorrow. Thank you for your generosity with your posts.
Michael
My current guitar is an Alvarez Yairi DY67. I saw it hanging in a guitar shop in '86 -- first satin finish guitar I'd ever seen. It was so damn pretty: solid cedar top, coral rosewood laminate back and sides, ebony fretboard and bridge. I asked to play it and well, hot knife through butter. I had to have it. The best part for me was the neck.... I've never played a neck that felt so right for my small hands.

I'd been playing for about two years at that point and had a pretty decent Washburn dreadnought already (with a great neck as well), so I didn't need a new guitar. Needless to say, I've never regretted my purchase, and I became a much better player for having it.

To answer the question in the opening post, I pretty much stumbled onto it. It was the neck, ease of playability and sound (better bass response than my washburn) that sold me.

Now I'm looking for a new guitar and taking my time doing it (and saving up for it.) I've been looking a lot at Santa Cruz's and Bourgeois. I thought I wanted a parlor size guitar -- something for finger style -- but I realize that what I really want is a dreadnought, D-28 style. Something like a Santa Cruz Tony Rice. I want to take another look at Gibson, because the nut size might work better for my hands from what I understand. A friend's guild dread from the 70s always felt great in my hands as well.

My other instruments are a harmony mandolin and an epiphone viola bass aka "the Beatle Bass." The mandolin was at my brother's and had a busted bridge, so I swiped it and fixed it and mess around on it from time to time. The bass I bought because I decided to play bass in a lil cover band me and some friends have. The short scale neck felt really great in my hands, and the lightweight nature of this bass made it very comfortable to play.

So I'd say the neck is a primary issue for me in looking for guitars.

As for number, if I don't play 'em, I don't keep 'em.
Would love to see pics of the harmony mandolin! Edward
Mary,
I had an early Alvarez on the '70's and loved it, too. Yairi guitars are, on the whole, pretty instruments.
As to the neck issue…, talk to the folks at Santa Cruz about the neck. They are first rate about that sort of customer service as are most of the boutique shops. H&D comes to mind as well for making a Tony Rice model.
Michael
thanks for the suggestion. When you say "the neck issue" you mean getting a custom guitar? I hadn't thought about doing that. Its a good idea though.

I'm going to be taking my Yairi in tomorrow to gryphon -- needs fret work. the frets are too low to crown so we're going to be looking at replacement. i'm hoping we can do a partial fret job rather than a full, since its only the first 3 frets that really need it.

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