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Brand Identity means something to me when I purchase musical equipment.  Mostly it's about quality.  That being said I've seen some amazing work by tech's to bring cheap guitars to life with simple things such as replacing various hardware and hard work.  I'm still a strong believer that its the artist which brings musicality to the instrument rather then the other way round.  Nonetheless there is something about a well built instrument that carries a legacy to it which can be very inspiring.


Where as in let's say someone brings a taylor to a bluegrass jamboree expect all hell to break lose.  I've seen the same type of behaviour break out at the early blues jams I attended where if it didn't say Gibson or fender on the headstock people would judge the performance by the brand rather than the performance.  Push the performer back to the end of the show even if they sign up early,  just so the cork sniffers aren't going hardcore. 


Non-musicians don't care.  If they like what they hear then it's all that matters.


How attached are you to your brand identities?  Do you think that they help define who you are?





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As a kid they meant something to me. Nowadays they mean nothing. When I was into Van Halen I bought a Kramer. When I was into Steve Vai, I wanted to buy an Ibanez. Never bought one though. I have small hands so really the only thing I care about is how the neck feels in my hand. My most expensive, best brand guitar is a 12-string acoustic. I haven't touched it for over 15 years. The big damn neck on it just wears me out and it's just too uncomfortable for me to use and enjoy at the same time. Although, I'd like to dust it off one day. 

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Good question.

I am not brand loyal.


Yesterday my son turned up with a guitar that was given to him. He wants to start learning now at 35 years of age. He has never heard of Gibson.

He has heard of Fender, possibly because I played one for so long. This included his childhood.


So the public are likely to be very unaware of stuff we take for granted. Brands and models included.


I want it to be understood that I dont play to musicians. I usually have no idea who anyone is in an audience. They may be musicians. I dont kow, I dont care.


After pretty much exclusively gigging a Japanese guitar for 20 years, I now use one of 6 that I've collected over the last 3 years.


3 of them are American.

2 of them are Korean.

1 is Chinese.


So the USA ones are expensive (to me anyway) and the others are cheap. I've upgraded hardware on two of the cheapies. They are now all equal in my estimation. At different times I may favour one over the others. Presently I have been using the Squier Esprit (Korean) for the last 18 days or so. I'm trying out a new brand of strings on it together with a new pick that I designed & made.


In some ways I prefer to use a cheap guitar at gigs because when I use the Les Paul, guitarists come and speak to me about it. So maybe I'm unsociable, but its nearly always after a gig when I'm tying to pack away gear and they are drunk.


For most of my playing career I have been very ignorant of guitars. I knew how to play them, but I knew next to nothing about them at all.

I now know a fair amount about brands, models and history. This has not made me a better guitarist. It has made me buy more guitars.


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Yeah I had this Kramer Stagemaster Custom..  God that thing weighed a ton.  Huge body long scale length.  Amazing, amazing tone. The thing was impossible to play sitting or standing for me.  I'd have to sit on the edge of a stool and play it with a "classical" stance  The tone was stunning to me.  


I'll never have another acoustic.  I've had more problems with acoustics than Doan's has pills.


Had two Gibson Les Pauls.  Used to get quite a lot of conversation about them.  One stolen from my car, when I was packing it all away.  It was locked up tight didn't stop them from smashing a window.  I've thrown in the towel with some brands.  It's funny to me.  I know a lot of Ibanez fans.  They buy Ibanez guitars left and right and then complain about them left and right and then get rid of them only to buy another ibanez.   I'm not talking one time.  I'm talking several times over the course of several years.


I will say that looking forward to purchasing  a guitar and then purchasing it/having it has lead me into different directions.  When I was looking for telecasters I started to think about country players and playing country guitar.  Something I had zero identification to prior.  I'd watch video's, download practice material and try to expand my musical horizons. It didn't make me Danny Gatton or any other country shredder.  It did expand my musical vocabulary.  I'm sure I could have played what I learned just fine on any of the electrics I'd already owned.  It' wouldn't sound or feel exactly the same.


Oddly while I think of my next guitar I've finally started delving into the Artiphon Instrument One.  I'm still not that comfortable with it but I won't be without practice on it.  I want to play it like a guitar but that's impossible without a strap.  It won't accept regular guitar straps.  I've had mine on order for over a month now.


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This is a good thing to talk about. We each get to where we are musically with a different impetus, even though we might end up at the same place.


When I tried a Telecaster Thinline (for the first time) last year. I loved the sound. It was mellow, would have been excellent for jazz of course. I rejected it quickly though because the E strings are too close to the edge of the fretboard. This was a problem when I used a strat, though in my case I think the maple neck made it worse in that respect. Its a design feature that I know I couldnt overcome.






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I remember seeing this in one of the guitar player magazines and knew I just had to have it. After I finally saved up enough I finally got it. It's kind of warped now so I'd need to take it in if I want to use it again. Nice, small, fretboard but I had quite a few problems with it over the years. I got the red one.






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11 minutes ago, tunesmithth said:


Yep! Just had my Strat out again yesterday. It's so close to the bottom edge that it's difficult to get a clean tone of that high E. That being said, I still like the sound of the instrument. ;)

Very clean & crisp...try as I might, can't get that out of my SG.




Its something about the build that gives that sound Tom. I love the Fender sound. The bolt on neck maybe part of it?


Its not only the pickups. I put low output single coils onto the Esprit hoping for a Fender sound. Failed! It sounds great, but it doesnt sound like a Fender.

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I sometimes look at brand as a way to indicate value. Not always though. I never thought I would buy anything Epiphone, but I did.and I love it. You can always change tuners on those and pickups. In my case it was an MCE 500 acoustic. I was surprised that no hardware replacements were necessary and I had a top notch guitar. 


If you can't afford to have something made custom, the better known names usually are followed for a reason. Gibson ,Taylor and Martin make great guitars. This isn't to say something else wouldn't work as good or better. 


I went to Guitar Center the other day. You probably know the rest of that story. :) . I have wanted to get a classical guitar. I somehow wandered into the acoustic guitar showroom. Then somehow I started playing guitars and looking them over. I found one I knew was Chinese.It had a built in electric pickup. I liked the price which was really low for this kind of thing. I didn't expect to like it. The first time I picked it off the  hanger I wasn't expecting much. I was surprised at how nice it sounded but I put it back telling myself it wasn't that great. The second and third times I tried it I liked it more and more. Finally I told the salesman to wrap it up. It's a Lucero LC100CE. I've never heard of Lucero, but my ears don't lie. Yeah the tuners are cheap, but I didn't care. I hooked up the electric output at home and was amazed. I think I can record with this through my interface.It has a really nice acoustic sound as well!


So what I'm saying is, sometimes you get lucky. I'm probably a sucker, but I'm a happy sucker. This is the exception though, not the rule. I have bought some brands that were supposed to be half decent and they were terrible instruments, and once I get bitten like that I usually won't even look at anything made by that company ever again. 



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I've had a desire for an SG for decades but never got around to it.  Mostly it has to do with the fat neck and the lack of space between the high E and the edge of the fretboard.

Fred Wilkinson of Wilkinson Parts has a brand name "Vintage" which he sells recreations of classics.  Including SG's



I happened to play one of these Vintage VS6's in a guitar store.  And as he states in the video.  The neck width is wider and less chunky.

While I was there I also tried out the strat copy, and the tele copy.  The strat produced the most Clapton Blackie sounds I'd ever heard. I was blown away.  The tele had me pissed as it out shined my Fender Telecaster by a mile.  I didn't dare play the Vintage LP copy.


It's funny as much as Matt Raines rags on guitar players who are consumed by brand names I'm becoming very much a Raines Guitar fan.  Mostly because of the extra work he puts into it before it ships and the workmanship of the neck.  Personality wise I think he's a blowhard. 

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Yeah.  I envy those who can stick to one or two electric guitars.   I've only seen one SG with a thin neck.  Most I've played had thick chunky ones.  It's funny when ever I see an SG demo video or an SG copy video they always use AC/DC.  That's the last thing that comes to mind when I think of SG's  I think Clapton during Cream years or Santana at Woodstock or Bad Finger.



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