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Backup Guitars with exact same setup

mikeller

Member
Messages
1,502
I always bring 2 guitars to every show. I try to pair two that play similar but offer some differences in case things aren't feeling or sounding right to me. As others have said, its a me thing, I am very positive the audience never hears a difference.
 

JBid

Member
Messages
1,440
dscn1174-jpg.11115
images

I always wear a belt and braces, just in case.....
Nah, I usually take one of the too many SGs and something else. I do my own setups so they are all "perfect" for me. The two LPMMs would be indistinguishable to me, in the dark and the SG specials, with ebony fingerboards, are virtually identical, made a few weeks apart in 2002. I often switch between different scale lengths and occasionally even play a T-bird bass, so after 48 years, I suspect you could put just about any guitar in my paws and I'd sound just the same.
 

C-4

Member
Messages
14,535
My main guitar is carbon fiber, and I have three of them. Since they were built in a mold, they are as close as any three guitars can be.
I have always had at least two guitars that were the same. Most of the time I used one type of guitar and carried a duplicate of it. I seldom have string breakage as I change them prior to working live or in sessions.

I also recognize that the audience doesn't care what guitar I play. Nowadays, I carry one carbon fiber guitar and one of my other type of guitars, for my variety.
 

beanoboy

Member
Messages
76
As someone who's toured with multiple guitars - let me give you a word of advice. In a live situation, not only are they not gonna sound 100% the same, but your audience doesn't give a sh*t. It's about the songs and performance, not whether the part you're playing was originally intended to be played on a Telecaster. No one cares. NO ONE.

So yes, have a backup. But don't worry about it being an exact clone of your main guitar.

Play better on stage. That's what people will be talking about. Not what friggin tone pot was in your Les Paul.

I agree, most, if not all the people in the audience, except fellow guitar geeks, don't hear a difference. They're there to have fun. However, if having a backup that is close to your main guitar inspires YOU to play better/perform at a higher level, they will notice that. I use a '91 PRS Artist as my main guitar. It has Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups. I purchased a PRS SE Custom 24 because I wanted something that was in the same ballpark feel and tone wise. The SE has a WCR Darkburst/Crossroads set. Naturally the Artist has superior tone woods, electronics etc but the SE has a similar neck and as you all know ( or should) the SE line is great bang for the buck. The two sets are PAF type ( low output, clean up nicely etc.) but the Wolfetones are cleaner with an almost piano like clarity and ring, the WCRs a tad "creamier". I find I switch between them for different songs to inspire me in whatever direction the song dictates. I'm the ONLY person who hears a difference but it makes the gig more enjoyable for me. Which in turn, hopefully, the crowd picks up on.
 

scelerat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,298
I just got used to dialing in the same (or close) tone from the amp with the different guitars. i.e. if I started with a humbucking guitar, I kept the mids low and the highs high. If I switched to a tele, I'd bump the mids and reduce the treble a bit. An EQ pedal can help with this. Adjust amp volume or gain, too. If you've got time to switch guitars, you have time to turn a couple of knobs on your amp.

Or, just gig with two guitars with similar pickups (where most of the volume different come from). Like others have said, it won't be exactly the same, but close enough, and your audience won't care.
 

JimHalinda

Member
Messages
923
I have lots of different guitars, but if I have to pick up a backup on stage, I want it to sound the same.

I bought a Squier CV 50s strat, and I liked it so much, I bought a second one for backup. It turns out I can't tell them apart with my eyes closed, they feel and sound identical to me. I'm happy with that!

I have a good sound dialed in for the Strats, and when I try it with a Tele or humbucker guitar, it just doesn't sound the same. So I stick with the 2 strats for gigs.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,563
I think it's down to the individual. From an audience perspective, I agree with those saying it doesn't matter - very few people will notice if you play a Les Paul song on a Tele, and even fewer will care. From a performer's point of view, if you're only comfortable playing a particular guitar and a particular set up then it makes sense to carry spares - but then practicality comes into it and it depends how likely it is you're going to need the spare: if you're only paying two or three songs on a Les Paul and the rest on a Tele, carrying a spare LP on the basis you might need it for one or two songs is a bit different to if you're paying an hours worth of material on each guitar.

I usually carry two of my main guitar so I don't have to retune for different tunings and if one has an issue I'll make do with the other. My current pair are a Duo Sonic and a Musicmaster, and a 12 string - but coping with a missing string on a 12 string isn't such a big deal so I'm not backing up that one.
 

dubdub

Member
Messages
700
So I shoot for guitars that compliment each other's voices these days.. and in regards to practice, I bring all of the guitars and will play one pass through the song on Gretsch, then switch to the Tele.. etc. etc. Because of that, the band knows what to expect.. as do I. My ears have become so much better at playing the different songs with different guitars.. adapting.. and really appreciating the differences from night to night. For us, it keeps it fresh. It's a different show, regardless of whether you see us on back to back nights. There's an element of risk in this process.. but in the best of ways.

That being said.. I know guys who literally own 3-4 different teles and nothing but!!
So, it's all about you, and what enables you to get the best sound and the best songs out.

Let it bleed!!
Practicing with each guitar one after the other is actually a really good idea, I've never tried that.

I agree, most, if not all the people in the audience, except fellow guitar geeks, don't hear a difference. They're there to have fun. However, if having a backup that is close to your main guitar inspires YOU to play better/perform at a higher level, they will notice that. I use a '91 PRS Artist as my main guitar. It has Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups. I purchased a PRS SE Custom 24 because I wanted something that was in the same ballpark feel and tone wise. The SE has a WCR Darkburst/Crossroads set. Naturally the Artist has superior tone woods, electronics etc but the SE has a similar neck and as you all know ( or should) the SE line is great bang for the buck. The two sets are PAF type ( low output, clean up nicely etc.) but the Wolfetones are cleaner with an almost piano like clarity and ring, the WCRs a tad "creamier". I find I switch between them for different songs to inspire me in whatever direction the song dictates. I'm the ONLY person who hears a difference but it makes the gig more enjoyable for me. Which in turn, hopefully, the crowd picks up on.

Yes, we're on the same page. Its completely personal, I don't mind if the audience can't tell. I'm 100% sure the only person that it bothered was me, it is me performing after all.
 

bdm

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,698
I usually roll up to a gig with a pair of SGs from the same era that have the same pickups, pots, tuners, etc.

I rarely have to switch guitars on stage but when I do I don't want to have to be super selfaware of the differences.

Every guitar sounds a little different but I need the "feel" and the way the guitars react to be a similar as possible.
 

JBid

Member
Messages
1,440
Practicing with each guitar one after the other is actually a really good idea, I've never tried that.



Yes, we're on the same page. Its completely personal, I don't mind if the audience can't tell. I'm 100% sure the only person that it bothered was me, it is me performing after all.
I've got this old Les Paul Standard that has pickups just degaussed enough to be great. the frets are worn out and have been for about 20 years. I've played it so much and so often, my fingers know where the flat spots are and lighten up accordingly. After 45 years of playing gigs, I'm a lot less self conscious on stage (and know a lot these tunes backwards and forwards)and focused more on the music and blending with the singer/ensemble than any single aspect of the performance, but there is still an F#, from a show in 1972 at UC Davis, that is on my old bass players favourite tape to haul out at parties. It was a good show and everyone loved us. Owsley didn't hurt. I know I'm still the only one that knows it was supposed to be G, but I cringe, every time I hear it. If I could go back in time for 5 seconds, I wouldn't save JFK, or kill Hitler, I'd play that g%#&^@ed G.
 

mikebat

Member
Messages
11,738
I am not rich enough or too cheap to duplicate my guitars.

I usually bring two, and lately #2 stays in the case unless it is needed. I used to put it out on a stand and switch guitars for certain songs...but ultimately, I really don't think the audience cares except for the fact that it is new eye candy for them
 
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cap10kirk

Member
Messages
9,132
On the rare occasion I do have a backup handy, it's my Tele. And it doesn't sound or feel anything like my Les Paul. I don't need the backup to be exactly the same, but I am shopping for another Les Paul or an SG to have as a backup, just so it sounds closer than the Tele does.
It would be too much for me to make another Les Paul exactly like mine. I'd have to call Seymour Duncan and get some pickups made (slightly out of my budget at the moment, custom shop isn't cheap), change all the electronics, etc. Just not something I can do right now.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,530
So I have a bunch of guitars and I usually take two to a gig, one main guitar and one backup in case a string breaks. I didn't mind so much before, I could have taken a les paul and finished the set with a tele if I broke a string, it would simply give the songs a different feel. I still don't mind that much, but recently I've written some songs where I feel like I need the specific tone that I wrote it in. So looks like I'm going to have to start looking to setup a duplicate guitar for each of my favorite guitars specifically as backup guitars. Who has multiple guitars with the same setup, same pickups, caps, wiring, etc, etc? Post em if you got'em.

How often does a guitar fail you on stage that that's a real problem for you?
 

zastruga

Member
Messages
1,874
Fender_ThinSkins_02_140424_med.jpg


You'll have to ignore that odd yellow thing and the chromed out one, but the three Jazzmasters are virtually identical and are my main gigging guitars. Same model, same pickups, same bridge, etc. The only difference is the color. Though I often gig with other Jazzmasters that have slightly different bridge/pickup combinations and find it really doesn't matter that much as long as the feel and response is pretty much the same. Soundwise I can always tweak amp/pedal EQ and get close enough. For me, its really the tremolo that I miss if I accidentally grab that yellow abomination instead of one of the Jazzmasters.
 

zastruga

Member
Messages
1,874
How often does a guitar fail you on stage that that's a real problem for you?

Can't speak for OP, but backups are a necessity of life for me. I'm a HEAVY trem user with a heavier hand and a proclivity to bend the daylights out of every string. Because of this, I tend to pop a string every third show or so. And since I absolutely cannot stand it when bands take 10 minutes to restring a guitar, I gotta have a backup on stage and ready to go (often switched out and playing again before the next verse).

As stated above, I'm not THAT picky about the backup being an exact copy and I'll often take something completely different just to mix things up, but I do miss the Jazzmaster tremolo dearly when it's not available.
 

slipbeer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,487
I have 2 very similar but not identical McCartys. I bring them just in case I break a string.

However, I have not broken a string in years so I sometimes wonder why I bother. Still, I'd hate to stop bringing a backup and have to stop in the middle of a set to do a string change, which would be just my luck.

Obligatory pic.

mccarties_web.jpg
 

Mincer

Member
Messages
4,581
I usually bring my 2 Music Mans. One is a Silhouette Special (with a scalloped board) and the other is a USA SUB1 (non-scalloped). They sound different than one another, in a good way.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,530
Can't speak for OP, but backups are a necessity of life for me. I'm a HEAVY trem user with a heavier hand and a proclivity to bend the daylights out of every string. Because of this, I tend to pop a string every third show or so. And since I absolutely cannot stand it when bands take 10 minutes to restring a guitar, I gotta have a backup on stage and ready to go (often switched out and playing again before the next verse).

As stated above, I'm not THAT picky about the backup being an exact copy and I'll often take something completely different just to mix things up, but I do miss the Jazzmaster tremolo dearly when it's not available.

I'm not saying you don't need a backup, just that if you're having equipment failures often enough that you need a backup of every guitar, you're probably doing something wrong.
 




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