Why some guitars don’t get played, and why we should stop worrying about it.
If you check websites offering relatively recent used guitars, you’ll notice that many of the descriptions sound alike. Things like “zero fret wear” or “10+ condition” or “like new” seem to suggest that while a guitar is, in fact, used, it never saw much actual use. Guitar shop employees and dedicated musicians will often snicker about someone who buys a new Martin or Paul Reed Smith every year or two and apparently never plays them, as if it’s a flaw in the character of the purchaser. But maybe all those unplayed used guitars are a sign of something far more positive—not merely proof that many people who buy new guitars are too lazy to practice.
Just what is a guitar when it isn’t being played? We all know that a guitar is a tool for making music, but isn’t it also much more? If you think of the number of posters and media images prominently featuring guitars, it’s obvious that both acoustic and electric versions of the instrument are powerful icons of freedom, protest, and artistic expression.
That a guitar’s curvilinear shape is also considered romantic—or even downright sexy—is widely known. But what many people don’t realize is that both the shape and sound of the guitar are romantic ideals from over two centuries ago, when the guitar evolved from similar fretted-stringed instruments like lutes and citterns. When you think of a lovesick guy serenading his girlfriend beneath her window in the moonlight, what instrument is he playing? Sure, you can sing love songs while playing the violin, but fiddles don’t really fit that scene and pianos are, of course, too cumbersome. Whether strapped on the back of someone riding a Harley, walking along the railroad tracks, or strolling a busy New York sidewalk, the guitar is the shape associated with many of our romantic dreams—even when there’s no sign of it being played.
Is it any wonder, then, that people buy guitars and don’t necessarily play them? What if a poster of a guitar isn’t enough and they would rather have the real thing on their walls? If you like horses and what they signify, having a real horse instead of a painting of one is a huge commitment and an impossible leap for most of us. Motorcycles are a bit easier when you want to jump from looking at a poster to feeling the real thing, because they don’t have to be fed every day.
But guitars aren’t much more trouble than a pair of hiking boots, and no more dangerous. Speaking of hiking boots, there’s probably a pair in your closet that hasn’t seen near the amount of scenic trails you imagined when you bought them. Be it gym memberships, easels, golf clubs, bicycles, or surfboards, the list of inspired purchases whose potentials go unrealized is a long one for most of us. If that’s not true for you, congratulations—but what about that pair of jeans you bought in hopes of being able to fit into them later?
A large portion of the inventory of unplayed, recently made guitars can be attributed to the explosion of brands and models in the last 25 years. After the extreme guitar drought of the early to mid-1980s, the guitar’s popularity came roaring back in the 1990s just as new CNC technology was giving manufacturers more production capacity and flexibility than ever before. The result was a bewildering flood of new models and limited editions, until promotional advertising made guitar magazines look more like catalogs.
Online forums have also amplified the onslaught of new guitar models and tweaks to familiar ones to make them more like prized, vintage examples. Who wants to read a posting from an online pal about the sound of the same guitar he’s been describing for the last decade? Active guitarists often can’t resist the temptation to “expand their sonic palette,” as one advertisement put it, but many of those experiments in different woods, neck shapes, or finishes don’t stick. Even the guitarists who practice every day often find that a new model that seemed enticing was, in the long run, too big or too small, had too much bass or not enough of it, or something else. And then the new addition winds up languishing in its case (except when their familiar favorite goes in for yet another fret job).
There’s another compelling reason why we should stop criticizing those who buy guitars but don’t put them to use. Just think of how much money they save the next purchaser of that used-but-unplayed instrument! Most of these “underused guitars” have been well cared for and look great, but sell for a lot less than the equivalent new example. Whether you want to expand your collection or your sound, or both, you can do so without constantly facing obvious dings and scratches left by the previous owner.
Remember: Guitars mean different things to different people and it’s not just the music they produce that varies. So enjoy!
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.