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

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by p6x, Dec 2, 2019 at 9:21 PM.

  1. estrago1

    estrago1 Member

    Nov 27, 2019
    They're tools, in my opinion. They can be absolutely stunning pieces of art, but at the end of the day, if they don't sound good or play comfortably, they're practically useless. That doesn't mean I don't respect and take care of my tools; I want them in perfect working order. But if I'm looking for a sound that I can't quite get from one of my guitars, I have no problem diving in with a soldering iron and changing it to suit my needs.

    Granted, I'd never modify a rare or vintage guitar, but then again, I would never want to own one. I'd want to play it, and eventually I'd want to mod it, which really defeats the purpose of owning a vintage/rare guitar in the first place.

    I don't really care about the history of an instrument, outside of a museum; I just want something that I can play and sound how I want it to.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 12:15 AM
  2. zweston

    zweston Member

    Feb 7, 2019
    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.
    eigentone likes this.
  3. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

    May 14, 2017
    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?
  4. TwoHandsTenThumbs

    TwoHandsTenThumbs Silver Supporting Member

    May 26, 2014
    Motor City
    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.
    makeitstop likes this.
  5. mvsr990

    mvsr990 Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    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).
    stratadp and rizla like this.
  6. MrDoty

    MrDoty Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2007
    sf bay
    For me a tool, to do what I need it to do for me at any given time.
  7. McGTR

    McGTR Member

    Jul 11, 2019
    I think the looks pulls you in, the playability brings you back, and the sound makes you stay with a guitar.
    So they need to be more than tools, and less than noble..
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 6:53 AM
  8. nowhere

    nowhere Member

    Nov 17, 2018
  9. Davy

    Davy Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    Near Glasgow, Scotland
    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 :)
  10. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    On a chair, behind a desk
    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
  11. Joncaster

    Joncaster Member

    Apr 12, 2018
    South Africa
    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.
  12. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2015
    Manchester, UK
    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.
  13. GenericUserName

    GenericUserName Member

    Nov 4, 2019
    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.
  14. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2015
    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.
    Swami Asango likes this.
  15. Brad2

    Brad2 Member

    Nov 11, 2019
    It is a tool. But as they say in Holland, good tools bring about half the work.
    makeitstop and rizla like this.
  16. Brad2

    Brad2 Member

    Nov 11, 2019
    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.
  17. moehuh

    moehuh Member

    Apr 10, 2013
    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...
  18. C-4

    C-4 Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    I love Red Bank, NJ! Florida now Europe later

    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.
    Mobass likes this.
  19. derekd

    derekd Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
  20. GulfportBound

    GulfportBound Member

    Dec 16, 2011
    Las Vegas
    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.

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