Most Versatile Electric Guitar?


I'm a veteran professional player, and I've owned many different electrics over the years, from arch tops to bolt ons.

I play a wide range of styles on my gigs, from jazz to rock to funk to reggae, and I need a single instrument that can cover it all. I mostly gig with a custom "super strat" with EMG SAs and a mid range boost control. It is quite versatile in the tones it offers, and I'm not dissatisfied, but I'm curious what others would say is the most versatile instrument they have played?


Silver Supporting Member
The telecaster is likely to be a resounding fave of this thread.
My #1 appears to be a tele, but it has a Bigsby, Filter'Tron and Fralin Steel pole pickups, and a JazzMaster neck.

Gas Hed

I would say my Ernie Ball Music Man Axis Super Sport. Excellent humbucking tones and the split coil tones rival a SSS guitar.
My main guitar is a PRS Swamp Ash Special with Modern Eagle pickups... I use it for everything from jazz to rock, blues, country, P&W, indie, funk, fusion, etc...

I can get any full humbucker sound i want... plus the single coil sounds of a strat.... without noise! :D

i love that guitar


Silver Supporting Member
The one you play the best on ;)

I'm sure teles, Les Pauls, 335s, and ssh strats will be mentioned. Some days I prefer my lpc... Some days a tele... Some days the falcon...I'm convinced it's the player.


Silver Supporting Member
I'd say either a tele or 335. See'em in pretty much every context where electric guitars are played.


Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
I guess it depends somewhat on what your functional requirements are.

Personally I've never been a one-guitar kind of player. I also perform in a lot of different musical genres/styles; there are certain types of gigs where I can get away with a single instrument (jazz brunch, e.g.) but for the most part my rule of thumb is bring three guitars and a three-guitar rack.

But I've recently been thinking it would be nice to streamline things for some gigs. For my gig with a funk band next weekend I've been pondering the exact question raised in the OP. I don't want to live within the tonal restrictions inherent in either a 335 or a Strat, which are the two most obvious choices for what I want. I actually thought for a minute about using just my L-5CES -- there are only a couple of tunes we do where I thought I'd really feel like I wanted something else -- but I landed on the PRS pictured below.

My rationale:
1. there are a couple of tunes where I want the vibrato bar
2. humbuckers that split well for single-coil sounds, without a huge dropoff in signal
3. separate volume controls -- for funk, being able to really dial in that middle (both pickups) sound is key
4. my signature is on the headstock! :D

The guitar is based on PRS' DGT (David Grissom) model, but with some different wood choices and a neck pickup that I like better than the stock DGT. As PRSes go, it's closer to the comfort zone you develop if you've played Fenders and Gibsons for a long time. The pickups are pretty much in the Gibson ballpark, the coil splits are very usable, and as I said in #3 the key element is those separate volume controls.

I wouldn't say it would be my first choice for a straight-up jazz gig, but it would appeal to me at least as much as a super Strat type would in that context, and it certainly works for the jazzier tunes in this band's set list.

Anyway, we had a rehearsal tonight so I got to do try out my theory that this guitar would cover me for the whole setlist which, although it all falls under the general heading of "funk" includes a pretty wide range of guitar sounds and approaches. It worked very well; I couldn't have made a better choice. (and as some of y'all know, I have a lot of options)



I would say a HSS strat, I know teles are the hype around here but the strat with a bucker can cover alotta ground....


"the player makes it so"...I'm sure you could pull it off on any of your great guitars !

What would be your specs on your prs Kingsleyd ? that cocobolo on the fretboard?..or really interesting braz...gorgeous burst as well.

I'm with ldizzle: but forced to pic: 335 variety (and I like the trapeze tail or bigsby..even for funk :) ...than again my tele with the pullpot for phase can funk pretty hard as well.

Jay Ralston

Music Man Reflex Gamechanger.

Take away the ability to switch pickup wiring on the fly with that guitar and I would then have to say it's a toss up between a handful of other guitars.


Silver Supporting Member
I think I'd lean towards something with p90s. Can get nice and raunchy, but clean up really well. My Lp jr is my go to when I'm not sure of the direction of the jamming.

I could see a Tele having the girth to pull it off equally.

Of course, Lesters and Strats are right in the conversation.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Custom User Title
Platinum Supporting Member
If I'm going into something not knowing what I'll be doing, I'll take my Telecaster, Les Paul, or ES-335.


Silver Supporting Member
Telecaster with a splittable humbucker in the bridge and a P90 in the neck.



HSS strat, split the coils and you are good to go

or strat's in general you can hook the electronics to the pick guard, then just swap it


Silver Supporting Member
If by 'versatile', you mean something that can effectively cover the widest range of tones really well while not necessarily being the epitome of each one (after all, nothing like that can), I'd have to say the venerable PRS Cu24 with a 5-way. Tele, LP, Strat, and even a solid jazz vibe from the neck can all be very well represented, with a further advantage being its own unique kind of sound as well. I love mine, and totally understand why it's still PRS's all times sales leader.

I've read that their newer 408 model even takes things a step further, but haven't had the opportunity to check one out yet.

Trending Topics