Playing Guitar: It’s All In The Hands

I’ve been a very vocal critic of guitar snobbery for a long time. Many believe if the name on the head stock of your guitar doesn’t show one of the legacy guitar company names or if you do buy a guitar with a different name, if you didn’t pay thousands for it, you, my friend, are a second class guitar owning citizen.

Many times it’s just the slight innuendo… “Oh you have a *%@%$, um, that’s cool” with all the condescending slather they can pour on it without coming out and saying what they really think, which is “man, you need to get yourself a (G*&$@!# or F*%&#@ or M#!&%^)”

I’ve experienced it myself.

There is nothing wrong with owning and using top of the line instruments. If you can afford a Les Paul and a Marshall half stack, you will have instant cred when you walk into that next audition for the local classic rock cover band. And you should sound good also. But if you play like a hack, you’ll simply be a hack with good tone. But, you are at least half way there.

I’ve said it before, I’ve recorded groups who had very neophyte players who could afford to go to any music store and buy the very best instrument money can buy. The money meant nothing to them, and in fact, it is probably a good investment as very good top tier instruments retain there value very nicely.

But they still couldn’t play the thing.

Guitar forums are filled with post after post of aspiring guitarists asking other aspiring guitarists questions about what equipment they need to get a certain sound. There are usually a hand full of ‘gold member moderators’ who have become experts that can wow the rest with their wisdom. And to be fair, some of them have been pro’s for some of (or most of) their life and do have valid real world advice.

Your mileage may vary.

So, I think the sound is in the hands.

A beginner is a beginner. An aspiring mediocre guitarist is a salespersons fondest dream. I’m not knocking it, cause I’ve been there.

As a recording engineer, microphones were once my big thing. In my impressionable years, I always wanted a very high end tube mic. It took me a long time to realize that yes, a $5000 tube mike may sound a bit better than a 57, but not that much better. If I spend my time working with the vocalist and get a killer performance, that will pretty much dilute the misconception that you need a high end vocal mic to have a relevant vocal recording. (Especially given the precision EQ we have on today’s DAW’s)

Most people I’ve been around say things like ‘killer vocal’ or ‘gosh, what a set of pipes’ or something like that. I’ve never heard anyone (even music folks) ever say ‘they should have used a *%6$@ mic. Never.

I have in my own arsenal a Johnson 6 string Strat type guitar that is totally stock that I have strung up for my ‘Nashville High Strung’ guitar. Sounds great and works fine. $100

Enough said.

I like to see real world musical giants using entry level gear. It somehow soothes the soul and gives hope to the masses.

This last week it was spread that Mike Rutherferd of ‘Genesis’ and ‘Mike And The Mechanics’ is using a Squier Bullet Stratocaster style guitar on tour with Genesis.

The Squier line is Fenders beginner or entry level line and these particular guitars are made in Indonesia.

Check this out about Indonesian made guitars:

Apparently, Mike was caught in lock down without a guitar and went to a local shop and bought a couple of Squier Bullet Strats. He loved the one so much that he uses it on two songs in the current Genesis tour.

Here he is playing the guitar:

Pretty cool.

Apparently, his guitar tech did a few mods to make it more road worthy, and asked Mike if ‘he wanted to have the head stock decal removed’, Mike said to leave it on.

Good for him!

You can find articles about this in Guitar Player:

https://www.guitarplayer.com/players/high-flying-mike-rutherford-loves-rock-bottom-squier-bullet-stratocasters

And Guitar World:

https://www.guitarworld.com/news/mike-rutherford-genesis-squier-bullet-strat

All I can say is ‘It’s all in the hands’.

Author: Chad