Signature Guitars: What's In A Name?
Well, it’s happened.
You have saved your filthy lucre and it's time again. Time to buy a sick riff stick of epic magnitude. You want the best you can get and now you're eye balling all your favourite artists signature models for the most premium there is, but is it really the best you can get?
Signature models can be viewed a few ways.
Viewed kindly they are a way to experience a loved artists pro specs and appreciate the choices they arrived at and developed to utilise through their career.
Viewed cynically they are a simple marketing tool to piggyback on the fame of an artist to promote a brand. They get some sweet promo, move some units to a new demographic and have a great reason to slap a few hundred extra bucks on an instrument's price tag.
And viewed harshly signature models are a sweaty fan boy/girl collector’s item. A thinly veiled excuse for buyers to purchase the same guitar again and again in different colours because I love the shit out of Dime Bag and YEEEEHAWWWWWW! (Pulls sick dive bomb).
So, what’s the verdict on whether or not to indulge in a signature model?
Realistically it’s down to what you value.
Here’s a basic mental checklist:
What do you want this guitar for?
If it’s just to have a collectable wall hanger, go ape! Get the best looker you can find. However, if you’re going to try and use this live or during a recording session you will need to consider far more than just the visual appeal alone. And let’s be real about one thing, honestly, outside of Pantera tribute acts have you ever seen anyone convincingly use one of those Dean/Washburn Gumby guitars? Me neither, only one man could make that bad boy look truly natural, R.I.P.
What are the specs that really count to you?
There are no magic bullets for tonez. You might love the sound an artist got on record, but you have no idea how much layering and gear they used to get there. Not only that but how they used that gear is just as important. I've seen many disappointed players struggle with unfamiliar pickups and bridge configurations. Do some research and avoid disappointment.
Lastly is it even worth the outlay?
Don't just get suckered by slick marketing. Take a good look at what’s available and what upgrades you can afford. You might find a non-Sig model you can max the stats on that would be a way more usable piece of equipment than someone else’s idea of perfection. In other words, make your own signature riff stick.
I hope this helps you make a good choice on future riff stick purchases.
‘Til next time, stay safe and riff hard.