My thoughts on signature instruments
Edoardo
Thread Starter
#1
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
My thoughts on signature instruments

Don't wanna be rude to anyone... But I've never got those who are proud of having someone else's name written on their instrument... Of course I'm not speaking about the luthier/manufacturer name/brand... I'm speaking about signature instruments.

Two categories:

Cheaper/budget signature instruments: it seems that both the manufacturer and your "hero" are deliberately fooling you. Of course there may be tens of other reason for buying an instrument coming in your price range, but I would not choose the signature one just cause the other guy's name on or behind the headstock, or even on the catalogue, would make me feel silly.

CS / overpriced signature instruments: even if I thoght that "combination" would give me the tone I want, I'd rather get one made by a trusted luthier for much less, and it'll bear only the luthier name and my choices, even the copied ones.

Don't see how you can look "cool" with someone else's instrument. IMHO! Has anybody ever said "whoah, you've got the 4000-€/£/$ Gilmour signature strat! You must know what you're doing"



And yet I know so many aspiring musicians in their late twenties going after some asian-made laminated-made hollowbody guitar, well willing to drop the extra cash, thinking their "heroes" really invented/added something unique to it, and that'll be coming out from some city-sized asian factory as well.

They see any other archtop - or a violin bass, or a cello - and say, actually surprised, "Whoa, it's got the holes just like Noel Gallagher's guitar!"
I'm serious, True story.

"Buddy do you know anyone who can paint a Union Jack on mine?"

http://guitarplayer.files.wordpress...._maineroad.jpg

"music" cosplaying.
#2
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #2
Gear Head
 

I'm an electric guitar player and I mostly own ESP guitars, some signatures and other standard models. I agree with you it's not worth/good to choose to buy a bad quality instrument just because there's your idol name/sign on the headstock but from my personal experience I can say that the signatures I own are the exact same quality of the standards: it's just a different series with different graphics/finishings that don't exist in the standard series and some artist's technical specs that are supposed to make your play easier. To confirm that, the brand uses the same prices for same quality instruments, of course, independently from the series.
#3
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Winny Pooh's Avatar
Sometimes the custom options make is worthwhile. Most sig models, esp gibson are vanilla and overpriced. I really like the eric johnson rosewood strat with the Neck binding. The purpose of these guitars is sales and is their "value" rather than the opinion of broke musicians, guitar makers are not charities.
#4
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
 

Pure marketing. Creates sales. Nothing new. The 50's and 60's Gibson catalogs were full of them. But at least those were individual designed guitars, not existing models with bigger frets.

The whole sig guitar thing has become a kind of running joke. I can't believe there's no blue Trini Lopez/Grohl model. A re-purposed signature/signiture guitar! ---- Oh, there is! How about that!

Of course, that's already been done a few dozen times with the Les Paul/(add your favorite Paul player sig here) guitar.

On the other hand, marketing is an OK thing. It keep the economy rolling.
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#5
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #5
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Silent Sound's Avatar
I've been wanting to pick up an SRV signature Strat. Not because of the SRV name, but because of the left handed "tremolo". I don't know why they put the "tremolo" arm on the bottom of the bridge. To me, it always seemed like it'd be easier to grab and use if it were up top. Also, the Texas Special pickups are nice. Anyway, it's the features, not the name that I'm after. But I've got other things on my wish list ahead of that one, and I may just install a left-handed "tremolo" on my frankenstrat and call it good. I'm just not sure how it will fit.
#6
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #6
I saw David Gilmour live playing his signature Fender Black Strat live once - I don't mean the original, I mean he was playing the Custom Shop version that came out a few years ago. That was pretty meta. Found out later it was the prototype and he was 'road-testing' it. So that was interesting, it became proof that he did have a hand in at least OKing the real deal.

Sometimes there are features that only signature models have. If you want scalloped frets on a stock Fender Strat, for example, you have to get the Yngwie Malmsteen model.
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#7
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #7
Gear interested
 

a rose by any other name?

.strings, pick ups and amp. Live, in a room, who can really tell the difference between an ash body, a poplar body, or a rock maple body.
I use Dimarzio hum cancelling pick ups in strats and teles. No one seems notice the difference between real fender pick ups and the phoney-bologna pick up, except that my new pick ups are quiet.
I know player that can take cheapo guitars in terrible condition and make them sign.
Shame on the workman that blames his tools!
I can not play like " insert guitar gods name here" ; owning her/his signature model rocket blaster super 5000 custom with the celtic interlocking inlays on the fretboard won't help me a bit, no matter how much i wish it would/could/should/better hada'otta' at this price
Finding a competent repair person to set up ones guitar, just like the afore mentioned guitar-god did will work miracles.
I could be wrong but I certain heard a lot of poor .musicanship from player using very costly instruments. The wood shed, not the showroom floor has really improved my playing.
Edoardo
Thread Starter
#8
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
I've already said that there are a tons of reasons to buy a cheap or relatively cheap signature guitar. It may be a reissued neck profile, it may be a lovely finish at a reasonable price.

But I know more than one luthier that can put a V neck o scallop it. Or change the PUs or the tremolo system... and many of these guitars seem a little overpriced to me for the "differences" they offer.
#9
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #9
Yeah, I get where the OP is coming from

All but one of my guitars I've changed a good deal, Pickups respond differently in different guitars. Some guitars play great with .008s others like .011s better. Some people play better with a lower action, others like it slightly higher: Neck relief, neck finish, nut material, pot values, cap values, '50s or modern circuit. etc etc etc.

I guess all of my guitars are my signature because I set them up to give me exactly what I want. It doesn't matter if other people can get on with them because I'm the one that plays them

I'd have no problem buying a signature guitar if the price was reasonable if it came close to what I wanted out of the box. but the up-charges for someones name on a certificate..Yikes! (please leave it of the head stock. CHEESY)
But, even if I went out and bought a Lifeson, or Joe Perry, or slash, or Billy Gibbons, Zakk Wylde etc model (I like Les Pauls ), I'd still probably have to change a lot of it to make it work with my style, my amps, my pedals and my idea of what a "player" should feel like

I guess at the end of the day it comes down to whether you are trying to copy someone else or find your own path

YMMV
#10
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #10
Gear addict
 

My usual goal is to make my guitars my signature. That said, I really like the Vintage Mick Abrahams sig SG--where else are you going to get a reissue SG Special with P90's for $400.00?
#11
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #11
The two exceptions that come to mind are the Jack Casady signature bass and the Brian May guitar - both are significantly different from anything else on the market.
Edoardo
Thread Starter
#12
28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
The two exceptions that come to mind are the Jack Casady signature bass and the Brian May guitar - both are significantly different from anything else on the market.
I don't know about that bass [edit: googled it, got it], but I thought about Brian May guitars before starting this, and I'd say "Brian May" is guitarist, manufacturer and brand altogether... So... "Brian May" or "Les Paul" guitars are not what I had in mind...
#13
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Winny Pooh's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubberrodeo101 View Post
.strings, pick ups and amp. Live, in a room, who can really tell the difference between an ash body, a poplar body, or a rock maple body.
I use Dimarzio hum cancelling pick ups in strats and teles. No one seems notice the difference between real fender pick ups and the phoney-bologna pick up, except that my new pick ups are quiet.
I know player that can take cheapo guitars in terrible condition and make them sign.
Shame on the workman that blames his tools!
I can not play like " insert guitar gods name here" ; owning her/his signature model rocket blaster super 5000 custom with the celtic interlocking inlays on the fretboard won't help me a bit, no matter how much i wish it would/could/should/better hada'otta' at this price
Finding a competent repair person to set up ones guitar, just like the afore mentioned guitar-god did will work miracles.
I could be wrong but I certain heard a lot of poor .musicanship from player using very costly instruments. The wood shed, not the showroom floor has really improved my playing.
Are we posting in the same thread?
#14
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #14
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kennybro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edoardo View Post
I don't know about that bass [edit: googled it, got it], but I thought about Brian May guitars before starting this, and I'd say "Brian May" is guitarist, manufacturer and brand altogether... So... "Brian May" or "Les Paul" guitars are not what I had in mind...
The Brian May is probably the most legitimate signature guitar out there. I understand that him and his father made his original from an old kitchen table. Les was certainly instrumental in the core design of the Paul. The two examples that stand apart from something like a J Mascis Jazzmaster or a Fred Akesson SE PRS.
#15
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Pete Townshend has been using Eric Clapton signature Strats for a while now. I found that pretty interesting in an amusing kind of way, considering he has enough "name power" that he could most likely get a signature model of his own from either Fender OR Gibson if he really wanted to.
#16
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tridelica View Post
That's the new axe i plan on getting, a 'Leo Fender Eric Clapton Signature Strat as played by Pete Townsend' signature guitar. And it's only $11,999.99.

Can't wait. Also, it's tricked out with a road worn finish and 'vintage' tuners, which means it will always be out of tune, but it will do it with mojo!
For that kind of coin, I think I would put together my own Pete Townshend signature RIG: A P90-equipped SG and three Hiwatt stacks.
#17
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #17
Gear nut
 

I have a Taylor Dan Crary Sig Model (no longer made). I only found out who Dan Crary was through this model. It's an 810 variant with a cutaway and non scalloped top braces for a tighter sound that doesn't get boomy when miked. Exactly what I wanted - the artist endorsement was interesting but irrelevant to me.
Edoardo
Thread Starter
#18
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by tridelica View Post
That's the new axe i plan on getting, a 'Leo Fender Eric Clapton Signature Strat as played by Pete Townsend' signature guitar. And it's only $11,999.99.

Can't wait. Also, it's tricked out with a road worn finish and 'vintage' tuners, which means it will always be out of tune, but it will do it with mojo!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodebro View Post
For that kind of coin, I think I would put together my own Pete Townshend signature RIG: A P90-equipped SG and three Hiwatt stacks.
Yeah, I think he's joking as so many asian guitars stay in tune without mojo, but it's another interesting example though because with 12k, after having got any solidbody made from scratch by a luthier and a HiWatt stack, you've still got 7 or 8000$ left I think, that's enough for another stack and/or a Pete Cornish pedalboard and/or a PA rig, and/or a van to bring the whole around.
#19
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #19
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travisbrown's Avatar
Aren't Les Pauls the original signature guitar?
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#20
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #20
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 

If you have a Fender Rory Gallagher 'replica' Strat, please stop reading this post now.


[EDIT: on second thought, after writing about how I really felt about that Custom Shop release quite forthrightly but not too charitably, I now believe the disclaimer above probably says more or less all I need to say. Suffice it to say I love Rory Gallagher but would never, in a million years, buy that replica. As I had written, What's next -- a hole-perfect replica guitar of Willie Nelson's thoroughly worn Trigger?]
#21
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #21
Gear maniac
 
Tone Deaf's Avatar
 

I've never had any desire for any signature guitars before...would feel too fanboyish. However, that all changed when I saw the Gibson Jeff Tweedy SG, which is already out of production. I don't have one, but if presented with the right price/opportunity I would probably buy one. It's understated enough and Tweedy is under the radar enough, that I think I could overlook the signature aspect of the guitar. I like it for the features, has nothing to do with Tweedy.
#22
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Deaf View Post
I've never had any desire for any signature guitars before...would feel too fanboyish. However, that all changed when I saw the Gibson Jeff Tweedy SG, which is already out of production. I don't have one, but if presented with the right price/opportunity I would probably buy one. It's understated enough and Tweedy is under the radar enough, that I think I could overlook the signature aspect of the guitar. I like it for the features, has nothing to do with Tweedy.
So what is it that appeals so strongly about it?
#23
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #23
Gear maniac
 
Tone Deaf's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
So what is it that appeals so strongly about it?
I just really like the simple, understated, vintage vibe of the guitar itself. I really like the color combination of the blue mist body and the cream pick guard. It's an SG that is a step away from what I normally envision when I think of SGs and I just really like every aspect of it. I would find it just as appealing (and more so) if it had just been released as the "61 Reissue SG" and had no connection with Tweedy.
#24
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodebro View Post
Pete Townshend has been using Eric Clapton signature Strats for a while now. I found that pretty interesting in an amusing kind of way, considering he has enough "name power" that he could most likely get a signature model of his own from either Fender OR Gibson if he really wanted to.
While it's the Eric Clapton model, only Pete's has the Fishman transducer system and that extra knob.

Pete has had more signature guitars than most people going back to the 1980s - where ya been?
1980's Schecter Saturn (the TelePaul), later renamed the PT in the line
1996 Takamine
1997 Rickenbacker signature
2000 Gibson Signature SG Jr
2004 Gibson Signature SJ-200
2005 Gibson Signature Les Pauls, complete with the Letraset numbers used to identify them on stage
2011 Gibson Signature SG Jr

Hiwatt Signature amp (issued the same year as David Gilmour's)

Love both PT's and Gilmour's playing, but would never be caught dead using their signature guitars/amps.
#25
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #25
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James Wilsey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
Aren't Les Pauls the original signature guitar?
There have been signature models since at least the 20's/30's.

A majority of guitar players are not in bands. A lot of them have guitar heroes. That's why they sell signature models.
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#26
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #26
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Wilsey View Post
There have been signature models since at least the 20's/30's.

A majority of guitar players are not in bands. A lot of them have guitar heroes. That's why they sell signature models.
Jimmy... I'd buy a signature guitar of yours if you had one! Nice to see you around here.
#27
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #27
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Deaf View Post
I've never had any desire for any signature guitars before...would feel too fanboyish. However, that all changed when I saw the Gibson Jeff Tweedy SG, which is already out of production. I don't have one, but if presented with the right price/opportunity I would probably buy one. It's understated enough and Tweedy is under the radar enough, that I think I could overlook the signature aspect of the guitar. I like it for the features, has nothing to do with Tweedy.
I well understand the idea of buying a signature guitar with a unique feature set if that's the only way you can get that combination of features. And, if the 'signature' aspect is subtle or barely visible, then, who has to know? You can always slap a sticker over it.


That said, consider the humiliation of ending up with a signature guitar by a guitarist you really don't look up to. I saw mention of a sig guitar above from a guitarist who remains popular with a certain aging cohort (a guy I once liked way, way, way back before I knew anything much about guitar) and I have to tell you, even though I play the same basic guitar, if I ended up with one of his signature axes somehow, I'd be looking at disguising that fact, superficial or silly as that may sound. [EDIT: and it kinda does. ]
#28
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Wilsey View Post
There have been signature models since at least the 20's/30's.

A majority of guitar players are not in bands. A lot of them have guitar heroes. That's why they sell signature models.
And totally get it for the Squier/Epiphone level where those guitar heroes may get them into playing guitar for the first time - I don't have a problem with that. Avril Lavine Squier Tele, or a Hello Kitty strat? If it got more girls playing guitar, great.

When it gets to the $3-4K+ level and the only options are cosmetic, it's tough for me to justify, although you're right - it's how they can sell high-priced signature models.

Different story if that signature model has features/options not available in the regular line (ie SRV Strat with lefty Tremolo). No problem with that.
#29
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #29
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
And totally get it for the Squier/Epiphone level where those guitar heroes may get them into playing guitar for the first time - I don't have a problem with that. Avril Lavine Squier Tele, or a Hello Kitty strat? If it got more girls playing guitar, great.

When it gets to the $3-4K+ level and the only options are cosmetic, it's tough for me to justify, although you're right - it's how they can sell high-priced signature models.

Different story if that signature model has features/options not available in the regular line (ie SRV Strat with lefty Tremolo). No problem with that.
I think that's fair, but sometimes it's just easier to buy a signature model to get the features. Ironically I don't own any official signature models but I do have several guitars that are "the" guitar a couple of my guitar hero's play.
#30
29th June 2013
Old 29th June 2013
  #30
Gear addict
 
James Wilsey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
And totally get it for the Squier/Epiphone level where those guitar heroes may get them into playing guitar for the first time - I don't have a problem with that. Avril Lavine Squier Tele, or a Hello Kitty strat? If it got more girls playing guitar, great.

When it gets to the $3-4K+ level and the only options are cosmetic, it's tough for me to justify, although you're right - it's how they can sell high-priced signature models.

Different story if that signature model has features/options not available in the regular line (ie SRV Strat with lefty Tremolo). No problem with that.
When people get older and can afford to indulge their whims, they don't mind spending the money (Harley Davidson). Gibson has been going after this with their 'Gibson Lifestyle' marketing fiasco.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars View Post
Jimmy... I'd buy a signature guitar of yours if you had one! Nice to see you around here.
Haha, thanks...I've read here a lot but haven't posted much- thanks again.
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