Perhaps it’s heresy to speak about reducing the number of guitars you own on a guitar-focused blog, but this year I’ve been very deliberate about reducing the number of guitars in my collection. While there has been a tinge of regret with selling a few of them, I’ve been happy about my decision to sell them off.
I started the year with 11 guitars, most of which I’ve accumulated over the past five years or so. Each purchase usually began with the idea of adding a new sound to my arsenal. For instance, I wanted a Telecaster to add some variety to my single coil tones. After 8 different Telecasters and two years of trying, I’ve realized I’m just not really a Telecaster guy.
What I was finding happening is that when I decided I wanted a new sound, I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect guitar. So much time, in fact, that I wasn’t playing much guitar while I was searching for the next one. Repeat this several times over the course of a year, and I started to realize that I really wasn’t even playing much guitar at all. Buying and selling guitars was taking the place of actually playing the guitar.
Furthermore, I was spending more time just playing different guitars to hear them than trying to improve my playing. I’d grab one guitar and start playing for a few minutes. Then, I’d want to hear another guitar and grab that one and play the same riffs and licks that I was playing on the first guitar. Repeat for several more guitars, and I’d really accomplished nothing in my playing session other than hearing what each guitar sounded like.
I’ve sold six of my guitars so far this year, with at least one more on the block to go. I have one guitar that I’ll never sell for sentimental reasons, but the rest must prove to be useful to me in order to stay. That is, if I don’t play one for a while, then it’ll likely be put up for sale. My hope is that this will help me whittle my guitars down to just those guitars that actually inspire me to play.
I’ve realized that having multiple guitars that provide slightly different sounds is less important to me than having fewer guitars which are all comfortable and inspiring to play. If I want different sounds, I can add a few pedals or adjust my attack to alter the tone. And, buying less and playing more is going to help me improve my tone with the guitars I have.
I love guitars and I’m not willing to say that I won’t buy more guitars in the future, but right now I’m very happy with fewer guitars. It’s allowed me to put more focus on my playing than the tools I’m using.