The Pitfalls of Wanting it All
Todays episode is a word of caution to those that believe they can create one mighty riff stick to rule them all through extensive "modding". It's important to consider when upgrading or altering a guitar that sometimes you can go too far and still get nowhere.
Most instruments are developed by luthiers and electronic engineers to fulfil a specific sound profile, but many people get obsessed with the idea of the Swiss army guitar. A guitar that can replicate all the great sounds of the many guitars they love. The sad thing about these overspecialized guitars is that they are always okay at a range of sounds but never quite all you had hoped for.
A buck of all trades, master of none.
A Les Paul will never be a Jazzmaster. A Strat will never be a Gibson ES335 and that boils down to simple, unchangeable factors. Hollow bodies impart a distinctive resonance that solid bodies do not. The neck feel and radius choices on different instruments present musicians with significantly different player experiences effecting the way they mould with the instrument. Differing scale lengths, fret sizes, bridge types, nut types and profiles... the list goes on. All have an overarching effect on how we, the player, interface with the instrument.
Certain hardware options are rarely the tonal "golden ticket" they are often presented as. Case in point; split coil pick ups never sound as great as specifically designed single coils. This is for the simple reason that the designers focus was not with single coil tonality but to create a great sounding humbucker with the single coil function as an optional extra.
So, what's to do?
Well my philosophy regarding instruments is simple: "Get the right tool for the job"
Screwdrivers are great but you wont remove a tire with it. You don't see many black metal bands sporting Fender esquires. I've never seen John Mayer rip blues solos on an Abasi Concepts Larada 8-string.
Create a specific tool box of answers rather than rely on one less than perfect multitool.
In other words amass a sick arsenal of glorious riff sticks to blast every style you enjoy with extreme prejudice.
Happy hunting Rifflords and Riffladies.