Proliferation of Signature Model Guitars

deernaes

Member
Messages
12
Is it my imagination, or is the market currently inundated with signature model guitars?
I'm looking at the current releases for 2021, since pretty much all manufacturers have released their new offerings,
and I'm noticing a lot of new signature models. Particularly from Ibanez.

And on that note, where you at Schecter?

Lots of players that I'm not familiar with, but that's probably my fault, and these guitars are not inexpensive.
I guess if they're going to release the guitars regardless, they may as well tie them to someone who's currently influencing
other players.
But back in the day, a "signature" model guitar was a big deal.
I still remember Fender releasing their first sig models and that was huge.
Anyway, just an observation...
 
Messages
980
Is it my imagination, or is the market currently inundated with signature model guitars?
I'm looking at the current releases for 2021, since pretty much all manufacturers have released their new offerings,
and I'm noticing a lot of new signature models. Particularly from Ibanez.

And on that note, where you at Schecter?

Lots of players that I'm not familiar with, but that's probably my fault, and these guitars are not inexpensive.
I guess if they're going to release the guitars regardless, they may as well tie them to someone who's currently influencing
other players.
But back in the day, a "signature" model guitar was a big deal.
I still remember Fender releasing their first sig models and that was huge.
Anyway, just an observation...
I find the signature models an interesting move as most people will never buy a signature model.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,241
I think it's worth baring in mind how big the ranges of guitars have become generally over the last 30 years. I was a Gibson dealer in the early 2000s and the catalogue was about six pages long - half a dozen Les Pauls, half a dozen acoustics, half a dozen hollows/semi hollows (the entire 335 line the year I started was the 335 Dot RI in a choice of 50s or 60s neck profiles and the 333!) a few SGs, and some oddball Nighthawks and whatnot. How many lines do they make now? Got to be pushing the hundred mark. And as for Fender, there are more than 100 each just of Strats and Teles. In that context, I think we've seen steadily rising numbers of signature guitars but in correlation to the increasing numbers of lines we're seeing generally.

They also nicely fit into the current approach for both brands (and Martin as well) that you have a relatively small set of core models and then rotate everything else according to demand - with signature models you bring out a new one, sell a decent number to fans in the first six months or so then sales of most of them will show down to the point where they're no longer worth tying up factory output, and which point they're quietly retired to make way for next year's model. If one does especially well, it stays in the line.
 

HyakuShiki

Member
Messages
1,001
I find the signature models an interesting move as most people will never buy a signature model.
I'd be curious to see some sales numbers about signature guitars over the last few years. I haven't got anything but theorizing on this, but it seems like signature models are the best way to get new customers into the market overall. A lot of non-professional and semi-professional guitar culture, in my observation, is in emulation and imitation. "Play like Artist X, Sound like Artist X, ect." You might be right, but I think only in the context of upper-range models do we find a lack of interest in signature models with no major differentiating specs.
 

C-4

Member
Messages
13,597
Indeed- it's all coming down to marketing and what will sell to the masses.

This is how I look at it. However, if I find a guitar with mods done as a signature model and I feel that I like what was done, I would buy and use it. I did that with my LP, with my Fender Clapton and Jeff Beck 1990's era original Strats.

It just saves me from making some future mods to a stock guitar, which is what a lot of players have been doing for many years. And, doesn't making the mods make that player's guitar his or her own signature model?! ;)

I'm not embarrassed to play a signature guitar if it offers me what I want from it, but I wouldn't buy a signature guitar of it doesn't offer me what I want, just because I like the artist it was designed for.
 

smallbutmighty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,490
Easy variations on standard models to create new product with a marketing hook.
Exactly....especially in the case of Fender and Gibson. New color, a couple new specs, and wham-bam....a new product with which to cull our existing customer base. (Easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one!)

EBMM, OTOH, makes signature models that mean something. I give them major kudos for that.
 

techjunky

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
363
I welcome any and all signature models. Whether I know of the artist or agree with them getting their own signature doesn't really matter. It's ultimately one of two variations:

1.) A version of an existing model with differences ranging from color to nearly all specs changed
2.) A completely unique model unlike anything else in that brand's product line

I don't see how either of them are a problem. I can't think of an instance (or at least, there has never been an instance which impacted myself personally nor have I seen impact others) where they discontinued a whole model of guitar and replaced with a signature line version only. And with regard to the 2nd variation, I have no issues with a completely unique model, especially since the standard models are typically all still there.

There is no shortage of guitars available. Bringing out more guitars is not a problem in my eyes. Just like everyone else, I have my brand preferences as well as specifications I want in a guitar. Let the manufacturers keep bringing new models and new signature lines out at all these different price points. It just makes it that much more likely to find a guitar with the specifications and look that I want without requiring me to go the custom shop route. I don't care whose name is on the guitar if it suits my needs.
 

bsacamano

Member
Messages
9,285
There are a bunch now. I appreciate having different variations of different models. I'm fairly indifferent to the name on the signature though.
 

nl128

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,249
The guitar buying market is a fickle bunch and doesn’t react well to new ideas . We have to have slow changes for most of us to except anything new.

so signature models are perfect. They’re usually models and shapes we’re used to seeing with small features that set them apart from the regular models.

throw limited in the name and it’s instant sale candy.
 

LucasVidler

Member
Messages
38
Ok, I might be asking to get flamed here:

I think the proliferation of signature models is yet another symptom that the guitar is dying. I know, people will point to articles saying the guitar is not dying. Younger musicians are still playing the guitar, etc., etc. However, as a platform for musical innovation the guitar is dying IMO, if not already dead.

Nearly everyone these days, even young guitarists want to sound like somebody from the past. And they want their guitar to sound like something from the past - even if they’re playing newer music styles. Very few guitarists I encounter are interested in inventing new sounds or musical forms.

Sometimes I think Harley Davidson is a good analogy. It used to be the bike of young rebellious rule breakers. Now it’s bike of cranky middle aged men (I'm a middle aged man, btw) who loathe change.


:hide
 

D K Souther

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
483
Ok, I might be asking to get flamed here:

I think the proliferation of signature models is yet another symptom that the guitar is dying. I know, people will point to articles saying the guitar is not dying. Younger musicians are still playing the guitar, etc., etc. However, as a platform for musical innovation the guitar is dying IMO, if not already dead.

Nearly everyone these days, even young guitarists want to sound like somebody from the past. And they want their guitar to sound like something from the past - even if they’re playing newer music styles. Very few guitarists I encounter are interested in inventing new sounds or musical forms.

Sometimes I think Harley Davidson is a good analogy. It used to be the bike of young rebellious rule breakers. Now it’s bike of cranky middle aged men (I'm a middle aged man, btw) who loathe change.


:hide
Oh boy. Abasi, Mansoor, Mitchell, etc etc. there are players pushing the boundaries and creating new sounds and styles every day.
I hope you look into some bands like Animals as Leaders, or Intervals; or some players like Kurt Rosenwinkle? Not looking back or trying to sound like the past, quite the contrary.
 

mikesch

Double Platinum Member
Messages
620
I like them and own several. Sometimes you find a set of specs that just works for you, but I generally appreciate that they're designed with a point of view in mind. Off the shelf models are often such an amalgam of specs designed by committee that it's nice to see something a real person plays by choice.

Sometimes you end up with a modern classic (the EBMM JP6), but you at least get something slightly different that you wouldn't have had otherwise.

More options are never a bad thing.
 




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