How Many Guitars Do You Really Need?

My guitar collection honestly seems to change every month, for the most part due to my obsession with scrutinizing eBay on a daily basis for rare lefty gems.  However, what doesn’t seem to fluctuate is the size of my collection…

Last week I watched a video on YouTube where John Mayer’s guitar tech showed us around his live setup and it just blew me away how much excess baggage there was.  The guy travels around to every gig with at least FORTY guitars and only plays 10-15 songs at each concert. I’ve always kept a very steamlined, minimalist setup and so it just baffles me why some people seem to feel the need to have such a large collection of instruments.

For the longest time I was a one electric, one acoustic guy and really didn’t see the sense in having anything more than that.  Mostly this was because I was trying to survive on my limited student budget and couldn’t justify anything over what was entirely necessary.  I was content with my simple setup where nothing was surplus to my needs.

Invariably I would end up stumbling across something I wanted to try on eBay, and seeing as I am an impulse buyer I would more often than not pull the trigger.  Every time something new entered the LeftyFretz collection the balance would be upset and one guitar would end up being played far more than the other.  I had to choose between having a rarely played guitar or facing another semester living off beans on toast – it always seemed a no-brainer to ditch what I didn’t need.  The balance would be restored and my two guitar setup remained the mainstay for my entire university career.

Now that I am in a position where I can afford to buy more guitars than I need my mindset still has not changed.  If I buy a guitar that does not get used every week it goes back on eBay where it will find a better home.  Waste not want not and all that jazz…

Here’s a sum up of what I have now and what I have earmarked…

Current Guitars

  • 1.       Nice, Expensive, Kick-Ass Main Guitar (MusicMan JP)
  • 2.       Cheap Knockabout For Alternate Tunings (Vintage V100)
  • 3.       Cheap Bass (Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass)

To Come

  • 1.       Acoustic (Taylor GS Mini)
  • 2.       Balls To The Wall All Rounder (Chapman ML2)
  • 3.       Tele Type (undecided)

This is a problem for me as I keep all my guitars on a homemade wall-rack which only has legroom for four!  The bass was an impulse buy which hasn’t been getting any love so most likely that will go and then one of the two single-cuts will also take a leave of absence, which leaves me with a collection of four guitars.

One high-end main guitar, one cheapo for alternate tunings, one single coiled tele for that authentic clean twang and one acoustic.  Simple!

For where i’m at right now in my guitar playing career four seems to be a good number for my requirements.  I can see all of these guitars getting equal play-time with none going unloved.  Ask me again in 5 years and we’ll see what my new magic number is! I’m sure that as my musical tastes expand and my ears become more finely tuned I will again want to increase my stable, but I think for now four is my magic number.

Ask The Audience

So i’m a minimalist, how about you?

  • How many guitars do you have right now?
  • Do you use all of them regularly?
  • What do you think your ideal collection size would be?

Leave a comment! ;)

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