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Is your guitar a noble musical instrument, or just a tool?

zweston

Member
Messages
35
It's a tool…

Which creates art and is a form of expression which may move somebody other than myself. For me, it's an escape. Suppose I have two hours to kill alone -- what would I do? On most days, I would use that time to play some music. I handle them all with care but they all have at least minor signs of use and I don't worry too much about that. Some have small dings or chips but I am cautious enough that a lot of my gear is in great condition for its age. I've done some debatably abusive things live, in the moment. For the most part, I am very reluctant to let other people use my gear because I fear they haven't learned how to handle nice instruments with care. To me, "battle scars" due to negligence is undesirable.
I resonate with all of this and the thing I’ll add is that I agree that a ‘battle scar due to negligence’ is unforgivable, as with any good tool, but, a ‘battle scar due to worksmanship’ is to me totally acceptable. I buy affordable guitars because to me, in my genre of music, looping a delay into a fuzz and dropping your guitar on the ground is one of the most satisfying uses of my tool.
 

Mr Fingers

Member
Messages
2,500
The OP poses a false dichotomy. Those are not the only two things guitars can be, nor are the two categories listed mutually exclusive. "Just" a tool? Utterly amazing tools exist in this world. "Noble" musical instrument? Noble? As in pompous, worshipped... what? Sorry, but I consider this bad thinking from the get-go. Why pigeonhole -- and in such unhelpful categories?
 

TwoHandsTenThumbs

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
I like guitars in general, and mine specifically. My gear is well-maintained and kept in good working order.

I don’t abuse them, but I’m not precious about them either.

I suppose to me they are tools that intrinsically capture my interest because of what they are, and hold my interest because of what they allow me to do.
 

mvsr990

Member
Messages
4,779
Neither, it's a toy - and I don't mean that in any demeaning way. Toys are wonderful things that bring you pleasure - but I don't earn any kind of living with a guitar and I don't put it on any particular pedestal (aside from how I got it - my mother made me spend part of an inheritance on myself).
 

Davy

Member
Messages
1,385
My acoustics I look after and treat gingerly, my electric I don't worry too much about. If the electric gets a knock I couldn't care less. I consider them all as really nice toys though, not tools or art. I don't make a living from music but I do like really nice toys :)
 

Average Joe

Member
Messages
11,519
A craftsman takes care of his tools. They're tools, but tools I like to work with, and so I'm careful with them. They are also beautiful, which is yet another reason to take care.

I'm more careful around the semi or the nylon string acoustic than the strat. The strat get knocked about a bit
 

Joncaster

Member
Messages
102
I feel like a great guitar is more than the sum of its parts.
I don't know how it happens, but when I connect with an instrument, it's a powerful feeling.

I also think we can learn something from the way a concert pianist approaches their instrument, and the relationships they create.

The way a person treats their tools speaks to their character.
What a person creates with their tools is their character.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,286
They're lots of things: tools, toys, muses, pieces of art, collectibles, historical artifacts, nostalgic devices, status symbols, investments, fashion statements, heirlooms... guitars can be dozens of things and none of these need be mutually exclusive.

All that matters is that, whatever your personal preferences, they give you whatever you need from them.
 
Messages
243
It's precious as you said, like the multiple Stradivarii. Anyone who doesn't agree, is either rich and able to own billions of ("faceless") instruments or hasn't found a real instrument that they can bond with. I've found 1 that was (unbeknownst to me at the time) spectacular in every way and regret parting with it after about a few years later. So yeah, precious no doubt.
 

Frozen Rat

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,189
Totally a noble musical instrument. I use tools to attach things to other things. I use tools to make sure the plumbing sends the waste water to the septic tank. I use tools to turn a pile of wood into something that, in the right light, appears to be a shed. I use my guitar to massage my spirit, calm my nerves, and replenish my artistic sensibilities.

A guitar is not a tool. It's a creation from the hands of artisans meant to bring beauty into our lives.
 

Brad2

Member
Messages
570
The OP poses a false dichotomy. Those are not the only two things guitars can be, nor are the two categories listed mutually exclusive. "Just" a tool? Utterly amazing tools exist in this world. "Noble" musical instrument? Noble? As in pompous, worshipped... what? Sorry, but I consider this bad thinking from the get-go. Why pigeonhole -- and in such unhelpful categories?
There are guitar players who see their instrument just as a tool. There are also guitarists who fancy their instrument more than their wives. So there is nothing wrong with what the topic starter puts forward.
 

moehuh

Member
Messages
319
I'm careful with all of them, but I'm not afraid to use my Fender-style guitars. Every wear and ding adds to the guitar's history. I'm a little bit more careful with my '89 ES-335, but it looks and feels well played so I'm still relaxed when using it. I also have a newer Gretsch Falcon and honestly, I'm almost scared to play that guitar. It's in a cherry red over gold hardware and looks like an art project. Almost too noble for me and takes some fun out of playing that thing TBH...
 

C-4

Member
Messages
13,430
I was always careful about just everything I owned, even if I did not.

And of course, my guitars have always been very precious to me. No matter if expensive or not, I treat them with equal care.
I never leave them laying around, they are in from their cases or gig bags, played, and returned into them. No way I let them laying about, to be just knocked down inadvertently.

It is just out of respect and worshiping the enchantment they produce when played.

I detail them so they always look best. No greasy finger prints, no ding, immaculate like the day they came out of the factory.

I can't describe what I felt when looking at Pete's destruction craft. Like someone desecrating his own creativity.

Anyway, I maybe obsessive compulsive about my guitars, and I was wondering if you guys were just considering your stringed instruments as mere tools, or noble companions?

Look at those using Stradivarius Violins... why should we treat our guitars differently?

I know that musical instruments are tools for making music, but I was brought up to treat my guitars with respect and care, and not just as I might treat a hammer or screw driver.

I keep them clean, well adjusted, and care for them, as I would anything I might show respect for, such as my car.

I understand that some players don't care as much as others might, with extra respect and appreciation for what they have. This is a personal thing, so I don't criticize others for how they treat their own gear. This is also why I don't let anyone I don't know and trust, try out my guitars, if they ask too.

I have no problem saying "No", and I don't apologize for saying it either. I learned the hard way about how some other players treat their gear, and from this, I have also learned not to be wanting to play someone else's guitars.
 

GulfportBound

Member
Messages
8,231
I was always careful about just everything I owned, even if I did not.

And of course, my guitars have always been very precious to me. No matter if expensive or not, I treat them with equal care.
I never leave them laying around, they are in from their cases or gig bags, played, and returned into them. No way I let them laying about, to be just knocked down inadvertently.

It is just out of respect and worshiping the enchantment they produce when played.

I detail them so they always look best. No greasy finger prints, no ding, immaculate like the day they came out of the factory.

I can't describe what I felt when looking at Pete's destruction craft. Like someone desecrating his own creativity.

Anyway, I maybe obsessive compulsive about my guitars, and I was wondering if you guys were just considering your stringed instruments as mere tools, or noble companions?

Look at those using Stradivarius Violins... why should we treat our guitars differently?
When they're not being played (and I mean played, not abused), I keep my guitars either in cases (when gigging) or in a safe when I'm home and, yes, I clean them a) after gigging, and b) while changing strings:


(L to R: 67RI Flying V; Epi 58 Korina V; Les Paul Classic Antique GOTW#19; R6; R9 (Michael Bloomfield sig model); Lou Pallo sig model Les Paul.)

Also, where I live, if I'm doing a gig the guitar(s) of the night go into cases between sets. I've seen too many people out here treat their guitars worse than they'd treat their worst enemy, and I'll be damned if they're going to get as much as one fingertip on one of my instruments.
 

Robert Libutti

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,210
Somewhere in the middle. I'm a hobbyist. My guitars make me $0. So when I look at or think about my rig, there is always a 'cost' associated with it. My Les Paul is X hours, months, etc. of working and saving. I don't bash my stuff around, I know it will get dinged if I use it. But I do try to take care of them. I treat my LP Classic with more care than my Studio. Similar to my car. It will get scratched and worn; some jag will hit it with a cart. But I still wash and wax it, and ArmorAll the interior.
 

plaintopper

Member
Messages
1,426
One of the (many) things that is totally overdone on forums like this is that people fetishize everything.

Yes, historic Les Pauls in particular make me feel warm and fuzzy. Playing them, holding them, looking at them. But they have no soul. No guitar does. I assign them no nobility, no names, and I don’t personify them in any other way.

In the end, like all guitars, they are just wires and wood.
 




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