Why do you need multiple guitars?

I’ve noticed that people here tend to have a collection of guitars (often a large collection of guitars :slightly_smiling_face: ). I can see the need for an electric and an acoustic, and I can understand if you are a guitar aficionado and they are bought as collectibles. But I have been wondering what different electric guitars do for you musically.

I got thinking about this because I saw Jackson Browne last night and his main guitarist (Val McCallum) had a rack with about 12 guitars behind him. He’d play a tele one song, then swap it for a strat next song. There is no way I could pick out any subtle tonal differences in that big band situation.

The poor bass player used the same guitar for the whole night!


Well Alan sit down whilst I explain how your retirement fund will be broken…

But seriously - guitars are not all the same.

for Electric you may have one with a flatter fret for fast lead, one with a more radiused for rhythm, some with different pickups ( single coil, humbucker, active etc) , some different scales. Some better suited to slide. Some with a Floyd rose some with hard tail. Some you may string up for particular tuning (there are many tunings and switching between is a pain).

Same for acoustics. There are many many styls, sizes, cutouts, woods , fret and neck options.

Its like saying why does more than 1 shape and size of hammer exist. Because there are reasons.

And sometimes its just because they are works of art.


Nobody needs multiple guitars, It’s more of a Want multiple guitars.


OK. That makes sense. I was really only thinking about pickups and sound, but different build specs would also be an important factor.

Oh yes… I can certainly see that people want multiple guitars. But it hasn’t been a thought for me… I am perfectly happy with my current one and see no need for another. Maybe in a decade or so when I get good enough to notice the neck radius or fret height is not adequate for my amazing Clapton licks.

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When I started, I bought a Strat thinking it would be the only guitar I would ever need. I am someone that prefers to have less stuff and really enjoy the stuff I do have. After a couple of years, I added an acoustic guitar because I was starting to learn finger style and felt like it would be better to learn how to sing with the acoustic instead of the electric.

I have found that the two guitars really compliment my learning as each of them tend to get me to focus on different aspects of my playing. I can say that I am very happy with both of them and glad that I do have two guitars.

I could see myself modifying my guitars in the future (maybe some different pickups in my Strat or adding electronics to my acoustic) but I don’t think that I will ever feel a strong enough need to own another guitar that would overtake my desire for simplicity and minimalism.


Why does anyone need multiples of anything? I can’t speak to what bass players think or do. :wink:

Do you follow little Ellen Alaverdyan on YouTube (Ellen Plays Bass) or Facebook? She’s 11 or 12 years old and And already has a large bass collection.

She’s worth following even if you’re not a bassist, just for the pure joy she brings to her playing.


Not everyone will want or need multiple guitars.

Some pro’s are known for using the same guitar for decades.

But even then you cant just take 1 guitar out on tour.

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Some bands certainly can’t.


Nandi Bushell, on drums, is also very much worth following.
Just wow.

That’s the nicest thing anyone has said about me all day!
Thank you. :slightly_smiling_face:

for the vast majority of us in here, no need at all. most of us never take the guitar out of the house. if you’re on the road making money with your guitars i understand. everyone else is just an expensive toy collector

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Let me explain:

Q: How many guitars should a normal person have?

A: About five.

Q: Umm, that sounds more like a guitar enthausiast to me.

A: No, a guitar enthausiast has about fifteen.

Q: That sounds more like someone who is obsessed with guitars.

A: Nope. People obsessed with guitars can have hundreds.

Q: Hundreds? Yike! That sounds like a psycho!

A: No. Psychos seldom own guitars, or at most tend to have just one or two.

Q: Ah, now that sounds like a normal person.

A: No no. A normal person has about five. We already covered that.

(like most things on the internet, stolen from somewhere else :smiley:)


Having had some experience with the rarefied violin world I am constantly amazed at how incredibly cheap guitars are in comparison.


There are few guitars worth millions!

I’ve got a Tele, and a Les Paul. What more could you want? :nerd_face:

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Strat? 335? Acoustic?

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How many guitars do you need? I thought the correct answer was always “Just one more” :grin:


For the same reason there are many varieties of wine and whiskey.

Don’t ask why, ask why not.

Neck radius and fret height are things that become preferences, and I suspect due to familiarity.

I have 4 guitars. Never thought I’d get there as fast as I did though. Each is different in significant ways:

  1. PRS Tremonti SE HH: extremely pretty clean sound that I often use for acoustic music even though this model was targeted at hard/metal rock. Heavy weight and solid neck feel. Capable of most any style I want to attempt with reasonably good duplication of sound. Has tremolo bar.
  2. Ibanez SEW HSS strat style: Thinnest body and neck by a lot. body vibrates into my own when I play. I cannot duplicate the subtleties of the sound with anything else I have. Very easy to move fretting hand on this one. Longest scale length I have.
  3. Epiphone SG HH split coil: bright sound and shortest scale length I have allowing me to reach some chords I cannot otherwise reach. Actually hard to play compared to others. Duplicates some tones (AC/DC) better than anything else I have.
  4. strandberg Boden NX6 HH split coil: extremely light; neck shape is very different and the most comfortable; pickup switch options are very different from each other. I can duplicate HB and double single coil sounds with this easily. It is very easy to play without my body in unfavorable positions. Very pretty clean sound that can duplicate acoustic well enough. The resonance of the chambered body gives it a warm depth that no other guitar in my collection has. Has tremolo bar.

each of these has a place in my play goals. I have found that I can duplicate SOME of the sound of other guitars but not completely and not all that accurately. A quick look at the recorded waveform shows the differences quickly to explain why they have such a different tone.

I cannot replicate sounds between guitars. I CAN get in the ballpark well enough to support your argument of a single guitar in many cases. I have not found a good way to duplicate single coils with humbuckers. They just don’t respond the same.

I don’t have a single-coil in the neck option in my collection. Splits are not really the same as a true single coil. Maybe a tele or SSS strat is in my future. at that point I suspect I have enough coverage to not need anything other than something unusual or from basic desire and can narrow down my wants to a specific goal.

Using the different options gives you an experience that you cannot get from reading or listening. The different feels of scale length, the different sounds of the pickups, the change in string tension. All of this needs to be experienced to understand. This is the best use of multiple guitars as a new-ish player