Has the explosion of signature guitars

Luke

Senior Member
Messages
11,898
diluted the specialness of it all?

Remember when Les Paul, Yngwie, Randy and Clapton were the only guys with signature guitars?

Now it seems ever mid-level rock star has a "signature model", which is usually just a slight variation on product the company already makes.
 

mcgruff

Senior Member
Messages
693
This is product design led by marketing not product design led by musical function. This does not create better musical instruments.
 

Blue4Now

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,025
This is product design led by marketing not product design led by musical function. This does not create better musical instruments.

perhaps, BUT, my recent quest for the perfrct es 335 led me to a Larry Carlton Sig which had the same features that I would build into my perfect 335, so it worked for me.
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
6,707
I remember when Roy Smeck was the only one with a signature guitar - I think it was back in the Hoover administration. :bonk

In seriousness, there are so many options available from the big manufacturers that practically everyone has a "signature" guitar these days, famous or not. Long gone are the days when "I have a Jazzmaster" told you all you needed to know about the guitar. That seems to be a good thing for players, if not for the writers of blue books and catalogs.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,440
I remember when Roy Smeck was the only one with a signature guitar - I think it was back in the Hoover administration. :bonk...
good times...

Then there was that guy in the early 50s who got a signature guitar. Lester something...

I think most of these "signature" guitars are truly non-special. Just an excuse for money to be passed around.
 

Rumble

Instrumental Rocker
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,507
I think it all jumped the shark when the signature-signature became available. For example, when a Les Paul guitar becomes a Jimmy Page Les Paul sig, or Bloomfield sig, or Slash etc. Another example would be a Gretsch Chet Atkins sig becoming a Brian Setzer sig. Wait till Joe Blow becomes famous (or not) using a Jimmy Page Les Paul, and then Gibby issues a "Les Paul-Jimmy Page-Joe Blow" signature model. :jo

*No ill will towards the fine musicians mentioned in the above post, except maybe for Joe Blow.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,115
I cannot think of a single famous player whose endorsement of a guitar would cause me to buy it.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,440
I think it all jumped the shark when the signature-signature became available. For example, when a Les Paul guitar becomes a Jimmy Page Les Paul sig, or Bloomfield sig, or Slash etc. Another example would be a Gretsch Chet Atkins sig becoming a Brian Setzer sig. Wait till Joe Blow becomes famous (or not) using a Jimmy Page Les Paul, and then Gibby issues a "Les Paul-Jimmy Page-Joe Blow" signature model. :jo

*No ill will towards the fine musicians mentioned in the above post, except maybe for Joe Blow.
I'm surprised that Fender didn't do a Pete Townshend- Eric Clapton Strat...
 

23 Fretz

Senior Member
Messages
651
the best signature guitar I played and liked from a guitar store's wall was an white Ibanez JS1000 Satriani model. Not because Satch played it, but because it was so comfy and balanced and had a great feel and tone that I felt I wouldn't have to mod the **** out of it if I took it home.

A very close second was a Washburn N4 bettencourt model. cool guitar.
 

Jimi D

Member
Messages
1,435
I think it was Ibanez who really refined and perfected the art of marketing the Signature Guitar back in the '80s... it seemed like half their catalog in the '80s was a signature axe for someone. Besides the defacto Vai, Satch, Petrucci and Gambale sigs, there was Reb Beach, Vinnie Moore, Luke, Alex Skolnick, George Benson, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, Andy Timmons and Paul Gilbert, and those are just the names I can think of off the top of my head. Ibanez catalogues back then were like the guitar hero version of Teen Beat magazine... it was crazy...
 

Arc Angel

Member
Messages
1,544
the best signature guitar I played and liked from a guitar store's wall was an white Ibanez JS1000 Satriani model. Not because Satch played it, but because it was so comfy and balanced and had a great feel and tone that I felt I wouldn't have to mod the **** out of it if I took it home.

A very close second was a Washburn N4 bettencourt model. cool guitar.
Those are two great examples of an instruments that feature artist driven design based upon their specific requirements.
 

IamKrisJones

Member
Messages
489
I figured that out when Gibson made a Grace Potter Flying V. Don't get me wrong I love Grace Potter. She's an amazing singer and performer. But she strums the guitar on maybe 5 songs in a show. I used to think that if you get a signature model it's because you're at the top of the game or at least influenced a lot of people. Now they just make models for whoever is popular at the moment. Has no value anymore IMO.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,700
I figured that out when Gibson made a Grace Potter Flying V. Don't get me wrong I love Grace Potter. She's an amazing singer and performer. But she strums the guitar on maybe 5 songs in a show. I used to think that if you get a signature model it's because you're at the top of the game or at least influenced a lot of people. Now they just make models for whoever is popular at the moment. Has no value anymore IMO.
Just assess the guitar based on the features present.
More variety is a good thing regardless of name association.:banana
 

GermanCDN

Member
Messages
359
Has it diluted it - yes. Avril Lavigne, Grace Potter, Sammy Hagar, Taylor Swift - not known primarily for their guitar prowess, but they all have had signature guitars at one time or another. As far as the Ibanez thing goes, yes, they were the leaders in flooding the market with signature guitars, but at least to their credit, they were for popular (at the time) guitar players.

Were they special to begin with - that's up for debate. Certainly if you're a huge fan of a particular guitar player, it's nice to own, but a large portion of signature models are slightly modified (and often only aesthetically) standard models with a higher price tag. The "real" signature models (i.e. with particular neck carves, artist designed pickup, etc), as mentioned by others, are someting to behold though. My Steve Morse EBMM is one of my absolute favourite guitars, which is funny, cause I have never deliberately listened to anything he's done.
 

Raymond Lin

Member
Messages
3,042
Avril Lavigne had a signature guitar?! WHAT?

I did know Taylor Swift has one, but it's a only baby Taylor, in actual fact there is nothing on it in terms of physical construction that makes it different to a standard Baby Taylor, as opposed to say a PRS Brent Mason Sig has all kinds of features not found on a standard PRS guitar. A Taylor Swift Baby Taylor is really a 100% marketing ploy rather than the artist doing something with the guitar maker to bring out something to spec as if they are personally ordering a custom shop guitar. Funnily enough Taylor Swift has a red Gibson LP that appears to be custom shop, she also has a Custom shop Taylor Koa with Taylor Swift in the inlay. I guess either of these would be too much money for the majority of her fans to afford, being teenage girls they are hardly the demographic who has $5,000 for a guitar.
 




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