Why do you need multiple guitars?

Thanks @sequences - I hadn’t really thought about factors like scale length and neck radius when I asked the question. I can see now that “feel” is an important factor.

Can I ask you a corollary question? It seems like you can get fancy amps now with thousands of settings that can emulate almost anything. Plus an endless supply of different pedals. Can’t you set them to give you a “humbucker sound” or a “single coil sound”.

I’m still not getting the whole pickup thing, but I guess my ears aren’t experienced enough yet to appreciate the differences.

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No - the HB has two poles and two coils, both in different places along the string. The single coil is in one place. Now consider the string vibration. Since the pickup point is not in the same place on both the HB coils, they combine to a different sound than the single coil will. There are additional things involved electrically, but this is the easiest mechanical thing to visualize (at least I think so).

Regarding the multiple amp models, EQ, and the like… Yeah, you can get a single extended ringing that is in the ballpark - pretty close in many cases, but not the same, and really not the same on pick attack. It takes experience to identify sound differences, not any different than anything we experience in life, really. When I started, I couldn’t tell you an Orange from a Fender from a Marshall. After fiddling with the models and playing enough notes/chords thru those models, I probably can now. It just takes time with the sound and some link to know how to connect it, like knowing it was made with “whatever” amp or pedal, etc.

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OK, thanks for the detailed replies. :clap:

Obviously I will need to get more guitars so I can learn to appreciate all the differences in feel and sound. :smile:


I’ve got a tele, strat, Les Paul and 335. IMHO the sonic differences to an audience, particularly in a live setting are minimal. However they do sound (and feel) very different to me - and that changes the way I play each of them. For me, that’s the big difference, there are licks, chords, styles, even songs that I’ll play on one that I won’t play on others because that’s how the guitar makes me feel.


I think it makes much more difference when you are recording than live. Esp if you are layering guitars.

But we are creating sound. How that sound sounds to us is important.

To me, this is like Taylor Swift making costume changes during a concert. :slight_smile:

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This is interesting. Do you understand why certain chords, licks, styles go with a certain guitar and not others? What song (or lick or style) might you play on the 335, but not on the Tele, say?

Btw, if I had 4 electric guitars, I would go for the Big 4 classic guitars that you have. As it is, I only have an Epiphone 335 (but I’m very happy with it).

I think it’s subconscious, but I just feel different. The 335 brings out more jazzy voicings and I tend to play a bit softer. On the tele I’ll dig in more. I do a version of ‘ain’t no sunshine’ on the 335 which I just don’t play that often on the tele.
The Epi 335 is a wonderful guitar!

Makes sense. Thanks for the reply.

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Well Mmmm ? Just because :rofl:


I asked a similar question a while ago :smiley:


I hope my wife never finds this thread… or any new forum member I meet from time to time (Ooo tomorrow :flushed: but luckily he’s very busy right now ). because what if he suddenly starts a conversation about this stuff with my wife when he sees my next new guitar or hear my next guitar wishes ??? :hot_face:

Well Alan ,You probably didn’t think about all those possible consequences when you asked this (seemingly) innocent question :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Now I’m going to take a quick peek at Thomann :roll_eyes:


Everyone has said something relevant about why we need more than one. Great comments, cool thread.
And lastly.
guitars are just cool to look at (shiny and colorful, easy on the eyes) with all their variety, so obviously ya gotta have more than one to gaze at while thinking about your next tune.

A strat, a dreadnaught, a resonator, a 12-string, a CBG, a travel guitar, another Tele in Open G, and another dreadnaught or resonator in double drop D to start with!


That’s true, and some of them created unique and iconic music with that one and only guitar.

Legendary Brian May just needs his Red Special - and he even had built it himself (with some help of his dad) :guitar:

I love the story of this guitar, and having the pleasure to watch Brian and his treasured Red Special on stage always feels like, well, “It’s a kind of magic” :blush:


Great thread to read, and Ian (@theoldman66) mentioned the reason why I accuired two more (second hand and cheap) guitars over the past month and I just agreed to another deal. So, why am I picking up the third guitar bought in a month next week. Different tunings.

I’ve been working on a project for a few months now and am currently on 6 tunings (standard Eb, Drop Db, Drop Bb, DADGAD, double drop B, open D5) and I have a strong feeling open G will be required as well + I use different string gauges for different tunings and all this together means the guitar needs to be set up every time I change tunings that extremely. And this is not practical + I think it’s also not very good for a guitar to be exposed to drastic changes all the time.

So yeah, apart from the tone that different guitars have, it’s also a very practical reason to have more if you’re playing in a lot of different tunings.


Great thread!

Lots of interesting pinions, which, of course, are varied as there are posters.

Such an individual decision all around, kind of like what songs we may choose to learn.

I do think, in general, that is beginners barely need more than one guitar. But it depends on what we are interested in learning. For what I want to do, I would argue I “need” two guitars at least, a classical nylon string and a steel string acoustic. Some may want an electric of some type and an acoustic. These are different enough instruments that a beginner may still benefit from having the options as they learn. More than that (for a new player like me and many of us) is because we want to, can afford to, enjoy the gear, like playing with different toys and so on. All valid reasons to have more fun stuff. But need? What I NEED is to learn to play the dang things.

As players advance, though, the nuances they appreciate, the expression they want to achieve, they notice the playability differences, need alternative tunings, backups, the list goes on. They are artists and the varied tools they use may impact the art they produce or at least the feeling they get from producing it. Some may not use many instruments, and there art is built around that. Others have lot such a life around their instruments that they enjoy having a variety and collection of their interest.

Currently I have 5 guitars. Two classical nylons, one of which is a nice but beat up guitar I am not afraid to take places, like up to the mountain condo where is a drier than the desert. Two steel string acoustic guitars, one a short scale 12 fret finger picker and the other a longer (normal) scale 14 fret narrower my strummer. The 5th is a strat. I am not playing it really at all, but keep thinking I will. It is quite nice since I rebuilt it well, because t it isn’t worth anything to sell so I may as well keep it. I probably don’t need the longer scale acoustic, but I like it and. Enjoy playing it. If I need the money, it would be the first to go, but I don’t. It was nice to be able to have one extra to lend to a friend for a while as well.

At this time, any additional guitar would be just because I want it, so I am refraining. It is a struggle as I am also one of those who just plain old like gear.


Hi Alan I have 4 guitars the first one is a Squire strat because I wanted to play the hank Marvin Shadows type of music and for that you need a whammy bar I then got into some of the rolling stones and status quo music and i bought a squire tele type guitar I already had an electro acoustic about 6 weeks ago I bought a Vintage V100 GT les Paul gold top type guitar I use this for T Rex type music and also because I wanted one I know the type of amp can change the sound but i like having a choice as Keith Richards said give me any guitar and i make them all sound the same.this is all the types I wanted now I have them and that will do me.

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Sure it will… :wink:

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mmmmmmmmmmmmm well I did like the Gibson Chuck Berry used to play