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Guitars are one of the most popular musical instruments in the world! This is because they offer a diverse range of sounds and playing styles.
Owning one guitar may be sufficient for many players, others opt to have a collection of several! But how many guitars do you need?
A beginner should own one guitar. That’s it! This is because there is much to learn, and having too many guitars may impede your progress.
Anyone who is more familiar with the instrument can own as many as they like. It can be either to meet demands for specific needs. Or just to collect them all.
This Killer Rig article will explore the reasons for owning multiple guitars. We’ll look at the phenomenon of Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. Plus, the factors to consider when building your collection.
How Many Guitars Do You Need?
The right number of guitars will vary depending on several factors. These include their level of experience, playing style, and some practical considerations. Things like storage space and budget. It’s different for everyone!
When you’re new to the guitar world, less is more. As a novice, you’re still figuring out the ropes of playing and understanding the instrument. Hence, one or two guitars are plenty.
- Beginning with just one guitar helps you concentrate on grasping the fundamentals. And without the distraction of many guitar types. This could be an acoustic guitar, often suggested for newbies due to its wide-ranging use and easy handling.
- If you lean towards owning two guitars, you could think about one acoustic and one electric guitar. This lets you explore and learn the contrast between these two main guitar types early on.
As a mid-level guitarist, you’ve nailed the basics and are now venturing into varied music styles. Here’s when possessing an array of guitars proves advantageous.
- Classical Guitar: recognized by its nylon strings, a classical guitar offers a specific playing feel and sound. Especially fitting for classical and flamenco music.
- Acoustic Guitar: An acoustic guitar, usually with steel strings, is multifaceted and finds a place in numerous music genres.
- Electric Guitar: An electric guitar ushers in a universe of sound explorations with its capacity for amplification and effect alterations.
Professional guitarists typically have a larger collection of instruments. Often ranging from five to ten or more.
This allows them to tailor their sound to specific genres. Plus, modify their setup for live performances. But also provide backup instruments in case of emergencies.
It’s important for professionals to strike a balance. This is between having enough guitars to meet their needs. But not acquiring so many that it becomes a burden. Traveling around the world with guitars costs money!
Further Reading: Why do players change guitars between songs?
Why Own More Than One Guitar?
There are many guitars on the market. It can be overwhelming to settle for just one. Believe me, I know! But you have to ask yourself, why would a player need more than one guitar?
This is different for everyone. You must decide based on your musical situation. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Music Styles
Guitars, in their many forms, really do cater to specific musical styles. You could attempt a speedy metal riff with a Fender Jaguar or jazz it up with a Charvel, but the outcome might leave you wanting.
Undeniably, some guitars mesh better with certain music styles. A jazz enthusiast might not be thrilled strumming a Jackson decked out with EMG pickups.
Just like a death metal player may cringe at the idea of using a hollow body equipped with low-output pickups. It’s not that it’s impossible; it just may not yield the sound they crave.
Truth be told, it’s not set in stone. Yes, any guitar can belt out any tune you want, but does it always sound just right? Not quite.
So, you get why someone might want many guitars. Each one, you see, is tweaked just right to make special sounds for different types of songs.
2. Specific Roles
Each guitarist in a band usually has a specific role, which can also influence the number of guitars:
- Rhythm Guitarist: This guitarist typically plays the chord progressions of a song, providing the rhythmic and harmonic foundation.
- Lead Guitarist: The lead guitarist plays the main melody lines, solos, and riffs, often using techniques like bending, vibrato, and slides.
- Additional Guitarists: In larger bands, additional guitarists might be used to add depth to the sound, play complimentary melody lines, or even to perform on different types of guitars.
3. Different Tunings
Imagine, you’re switching between songs, each with a different tuning. Won’t you start longing for an extra guitar already set in those tunings? Yes, you will, because most guitarist I know eventually do.
Swapping from your standard tuning to a simple drop D doesn’t really stress the system. That’s a swap you can pull off without much fuss.
However, imagine tuning into arrangements like C sharp. Here, a guitar that’s already in tune can be your best friend. It saves time and energy.
Plus, constant tuning and re-tuning puts undue strain on your strings, reducing their lifespan. It even affects the guitar’s intonation.
It also doesn’t look good to tune your guitar in between songs. Especially if the tuning is radically different. So you need another guitar to pull it off quickly.
4. Convenience and Backup
Another advantage of having multiple guitars is convenience and backup. No one wants to be caught without a guitar in an emergency! Having a spare instrument can save the day in these situations.
Additionally, owning more than one allows you to switch between instruments quickly. This can be useful for live performances or recording sessions.
5. New Experiences and Challenges
Owning multiple guitars can provide new experiences and challenges. Trying out different guitars can help you expand your playing style. It can also broaden your musical horizons. Maybe you’re exploring musical genres and trying out new playing techniques.
Or even experimenting with different modifications. Owning multiple guitars can help you take your playing to new levels. There are many types, too, so maybe you need some electric as well as acoustic guitars.
Guitar Acquisition Syndrome (GAS)
Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, or GAS, is a term used to describe the compulsive desire to acquire may of them. Often without practical consideration! This might be the result of brand loyalty, a new look, or even tones.
Owning multiple guitars can provide versatility, convenience, and new experiences. But it’s important to consider the potential pitfalls of having too many instruments.
Symptoms of GAS may include constantly searching for and buying new guitars. Neglecting maintenance and upkeep of existing instruments. But also difficulty controlling spending on guitar-related purchases.
The Pitfalls of Having Too Many Guitars
Having multiple guitars can offer many benefits! But it’s important to consider the pitfalls of having too many instruments. Over-acquisition can lead to financial strain, storage problems, and neglect of individual guitars.
All of which can detract from the overall enjoyment of playing. It’s important to strike a balance between having enough guitars to meet your musical needs. But also not having so many that they become a burden.
Can You Be Happy With Only One Guitar?
Absolutely! Owning multiple guitars can provide versatility and convenience, it’s true. But it’s not a requirement for being a happy and fulfilled guitarist.
The number of guitars a player needs is a highly individual decision. It depends on various factors such as playing style, genre, and budget.
For some, having a single guitar that meets all their playing needs and preferences is enough. Doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, hobbyist, or professional! Having a guitar that you love and enjoy playing can bring immense satisfaction!
In fact, having fewer guitars can simplify your life as a musician. You won’t have to worry about maintenance, storage, and keeping track of many instruments.
It can also force you to become a better player! This is because you have to rely on your skills and techniques to produce sounds and play styles.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to find what works best for your interests. Whether it’s one guitar or ten! As long as you have an instrument that brings you joy and allows you to express yourself musically! Then you have all that you need.
How many guitars does the average player own?
Depending on their skill level, musical preferences, and financial situation, the average guitarist may own anywhere from one to dozens of guitars.
Nevertheless, many guitarists typically own at least four or five instruments. Consisting frequently of both electric and acoustic guitars.
This allows them to explore a variety of tones and styles. But remember, these are just averages and the “right” number of guitars for you is a highly personal decision.
How many guitars does a professional guitarist typically have?
The number of guitars a professional guitarist has can vary widely. Some might only have a few that they use regularly, while others might have a large collection of dozens of guitars.
It often depends on their personal preferences, the styles of music they play, and their budget.