Four Questions

A local sports talk radio station has a weekly segment they call “Four Questions,” where they ask four interesting (and sometimes silly) questions, ostensibly about sports, but also about general culture. I thought that might make for a fun idea for this site, so here are four guitar-related questions:

1. If you had to give up the guitar in favor of another instrument, what instrument would you play?

2. Which Yardbird do you prefer: Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck?

3. Which of the six guitar strings could you live without?

4. Humbucker or Single-coil?

My answers are:

1. I’d probably move over to the bass, but if I had to give up fretted instruments altogether, I think I’d take up the drums. I enjoy being part of the rhythm section.

2. Definitely Clapton. Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck are undeniably great, and they all make timeless music, but Clapton’s music and guitar playing just speaks more to me.

3. If push came to shove, I could probably live without the B string. In a rock context, I’m more of a rhythm player than a soloist, but I think I would need the high E string to add some high harmony to the lower strings.

4. It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in, but until last year, I didn’t own a guitar with humbuckers, so I guess I would choose single-coils if I had to choose between the two. I do love my Strat.


  1. says

    Cool, I love this kind of thing.
    1. I would say drums. I would play the drums very poorly but, have a blast.
    2. OK, this is the toughest one here. My first thought was; who did I like better while they were “in” the Yardbirds. If I answered on that basis, I would definitely say Beck. He was the element that separated the band from the rest of the radio play pack, during his tenure.
    If you are looking at the complete bodies of work, the question becomes much tougher. If I were going to put on a disc right now, I would still say Beck ’cause I guess I’m in that kind of mood. May change later though.
    3. I would probably go the Kieth Richards route-ditch the low E and tune to either a G or A chord.
    4. I’m a single coil guy because I find them more versatile for what I do. Actually though, I’m using Joe Barden pick-ups which, are technically humbuckers but have the tonal characteristics of single coils.

  2. Josh says

    Hey Pribek, thanks for stopping by! Yes, I would also play drums poorly, but it’d be a blast! I guess I meant which Yardbird based on their entire body of work, not just their work in the Yardbirds.

    Good stuff!

  3. says

    1. I’d say piano, but I already play a bit of piano (sort of). I guess I’d go with the Mandolin for this one. I gravitate toward instruments where I can play both melody and harmony.

    2. Clapton for me. Simply because I’m more familiar with his music than the other two. (I’m almost ashamed to admit that)

    3. Probably the high E string. It would be tough for me to move from string to string if I took one of the middle four out, and I like my low E string too much.

    4. Gotta go with single coil here, but only because that is all I have ever played with before.

  4. Josh says

    Hey Taylor, thanks for stopping by. Piano is a good choice, but mandolin is also good. Have you listened to the Punch Brothers? Very interesting music with mandolin.

  5. says


    1. Piano, classical. If no piano available, upright bass, jazz.

    2. Beck. Think he enjoyed it the most and got the most out of it. Clapton didn’t like it too much and bailed to go play the blues. And Page, he was born to be a Led Zep man.

    3. The low E string. A missing string somewhere in the middle would feel weird.Could not do without the high E. No way. That string is where “it” is at.

    4. Single coil.


  6. Josh says

    Hey IG! Good stuff…upright bass is a good one. I can’t argue with any of the Yardbirds; they’re all great. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. says

    1) Y’know, if I had to give up guitar I’d probably switch to something like the mouth organ. I like the idea of an instrument that can hold down a tune (and rhythm) but still be carried everywhere I go. Of course, unless I went chromatic, I’d be weighed down by all the different keys…

    2) Clapton, simply because he seems to have met and played with everyone I’d want to, both past and present.

    3) Probably the A. The low E’s too useful for adding bass and the top four are too useful for playing lead.

    4) Humbucker. Single coils never seem to have enough meat to them for my taste. They sound good, but not ‘great’.

  8. says

    1. Anything other than the bagpipes! I do wish I could play keyboards properly.

    2. For me it has to be Page. I saw Led Zeppelin live at Earls Court in the 70’s (yes I am old) and although Page occasionally pushed himself over the edge and got a bit messy at times in general he just nailed it like we all wish we could. Clapton is of course another of my guitar heroes but I spent too many nights playing ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ in a club band to be able to appreciate or forgive Jeff Beck.

    3. I play so badly you’d think I was missing a string to start with but I always manage to snap my D string before any other so from experience I suppose it has to be that one.

    4. I’ve been learning guitar for 35 years and it was only a few years ago when I bought a Fender Nasville Tellecaster that I discovered the joys of single coil. Down side is the noise when next to a PC (even a laptop or TFT screen) which is much less with a Humbucker (hence the name). If you are into home recording (as I am) and can afford one then go for a Line 6 Variax. Humbucker and Single coil sounds (+ many more) but as there are no magnetic pickups on a Variax you get zero interference when sat in front of computer gear (even old CRT monitors). Oh sorry, to answer the question – this week it is single coil….. until I pick up my Les Paul again! :-)

    5. I’d say that my only possible failing is that occasionally from time to time I may tend to ramble on just a little bit more than is actually necessary.

    6. Only with cheese and a mobile phone within easy reach.

  9. Josh says

    @Derek – Hilarious…Hey, what’s wrong the bagpipes 😉

    @Kenski – As with all other aspects of guitar, whether a pickup sounds ‘good’ or ‘great’ is often in the hands of the player. Some of my favorite guitarists play single-coils, while other of my favorite guitarists play humbuckers. As for me, it often depends on my mood.

  10. says

    Nice Blog and wow…some those questions are something to ponder. 1)Bass Guitar 2)Jeff Beck – He just seems to fit in more with what was happening then, sound and environment 3)I think I would have to pick the D string. I play 3 piece quite often and really need the 1, 2 and 3…equally I need my 2 low strings…wow…I’d hate to do it but looks like I’m cutting off the D! 4)Single Coil – I played an SG for 10 years. Then I tried a Strat. That was 15 years ago. I gave the 83 SG to my friends son…I think he sleeps with it! Ray

  11. says

    Well, let’s see:
    1)Drums! I had an accident at one point and I thought I could never play the guitar again so I considered drums. I really love’em.
    2)Clapton all the way!
    3)Low E cause I could get the chords in an other way too
    4)Single coild for the sparky sound

  12. says

    Josh, re – “What’s wrong with bagpipes?”.

    Ahah!! Me thinks this is a trick question!

    The answer is:

    Absolutely nothing at all if you enjoy the sound of squealing pigs being slaughtered!

    I have other answers but don’t wish to ‘drone’ on (I’m sorry for that one, I really am, please forgive me)

  13. Tony says

    1) I’d go to the drums. I play a little now, so it’d allow to get better at them.
    2) Clapton – no doubt about it!
    3) This is the hard one for me. I’d probably have to go High E. Even though it’s used alot, I need my lower ones for the rhythm. I can use a harmonizer or octave effects to get the higher notes when needed.
    4) Humbucker. I’ve got my mandatory Fender Strat with the singles, but other than that, I go with Humbuckers (DiMarzio at that).

  14. Cole says

    1.If it was me who had to pick another instrument I’d probably pick drums.I’d stink at them because I don’t have that kind of rapid coordination but it would be fun.

    2.If it was me I would have to say Beck. Clapton isn’t my style. Jimmy Page is ok. But Jeff Beck is the best. After I saw him at the Crossroads guitar festivile I knew I liked him the most.

    3.I can’t really judge that yet because I’m still taking lessons and I haven’t even learned all the strings yet!

    4.I like Hummbuckers the best because they give you a harder rock or longer sound on a Yamaha.


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