A lot of people become inspired to take up playing guitar because of one special musical hero, or perhaps a set of people attached to a specific music style that resonates with them. If this is you, then when choosing a guitar, you may gravitate towards models that are associated with a certain artist or genre.
Hendrix fans have long been buying white Fender Stratocasters, whereas grunge fans tend to love the Fender Jaguar. Blues fans often like the look and sound of the Gibson Le Paul, whereas metal fans tend to fall in love with guitars by brands like Ibanez and Jackson.
Guitar specialists like Buzz Harmony can certainly hook you up with a guitar that has the flavor of your favorite idols to it, but is this necessarily the best way to choose your new instrument?
Guitar Styles and Set Ups
One thing to bear in mind is that guitars are designed differently for a reason. People with smaller hands, for instance kids and some women, have trouble playing certain styles of guitars in a chord based, rhythm guitar style. This is because they can’t easily hold their finger across all of the strings to make a barre chord. For solo style playing where the emphasis is on dexterity rather than finger strength and rhythm, it can be less of a problem, however can still limit you.
For people like this, a guitar with a low profile between the strings and frets is best and will be easier to play. This may rule out some of the guitars your hero’s use, if you are different to them in terms of your hands.
Equally, the weight of the guitar and the features it has (for instance the classic ‘whammy bar’) should also fit to your body and style of play.
One thing you should consider if the guitar your favorite player uses isn’t for you physically, but you love the sound, is that you can use effects pedals to alter it. These can allow you to program in all kinds of effects and levels or reverb and distortion, and access them with your foot as you play. It is almost like photo shopping your music as you go.
This can mean that if you find yourself enjoying the feel of a Strat when you really wanted the warm sound of a Les Paul, you can actually have the best of both worlds.
Unless you are in a tribute band, you don’t have to emulate the guitar your hero plays to be able to put their influence into your music. You can play punk on a Les Paul or metal on a telecaster if that’s what suits you, so find a guitar you think is beautiful and fun to play and don’t feel held back by these genre associations!
Guitars can be a big investment and objects you get very attached to, so make sure when you choose your new guitar it is really right for you!