Do other “artist’s”/creators of “art” fixate on the tools with which they create, as much as musicians (especially guitarists) do ?

Mike Eskimo

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- Did Billie Shakespeare (whoever she really was) need a Profundo #6 quill - pre-1590 only! - and a certain type of paper or he couldn’t get down to business ?

-Did Van Gogh dream about the day he could afford the vintage palette knife he had always lusted after ? Was it fixated in his noggin that only then would he get the results that he was after ?

A million cross-thoughts and permutations suddenly arise even when you turn the spotlight directly back on guitarists and more specifically their obsession with “vintage”.

How much of Joe Bonamassa’s live audience would drop off if he was suddenly only touring with a pink Jackson from the 80’s completely with modern wiggle stick - much like the one Jeff Beck used for a second in the 80’s

Then your brain hops over to Jeff Beck and you realize he was creating his art for a lot of the last 40 years with off the rack equipment.

And for those who pursue other avenues in the arts, are you as obsessive over the equipment used in that endeavor as you are with your musical tools ?

The mind reels…


Disclosure : this thought was burst out of my craggy brain, because I was reading an interview with Joe Henry who is a phenomenal singer songwriter and producer with an extremely poetic but down to earth use of words, and he’s also a vintage nut of many interests but could no doubt create using my Farida (cheap Chinese Gibson LG-2 knockoff) just as easily as one of his old Martins and Gibsons …
 

loopfinding

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art supplies are really expensive. either the tools or the consumables (though in the long run mostly the consumables). i've seen people spend hundreds or thousands on that for a single work, where we as musicians spend hundreds or thousands and get tools that create works indefinitely.

that being said, you still can't really compare making music or contemporary art stuff (installations, stuff that requires CNC, laser cutting, 3D printing, microcontrollers, etc) or film & photography to things like writing or painting. the tools used dictate the terms of the work, and the tools aren’t just tools, they’re instruments/machines. considerably more complex than a palette knife or pen and paper, considerably different ball games.

reducing all those things to "art" is a bit like reducing a building and a table to "engineering."
 
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AquariumRock

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I don’t think actual professional musicians are as fixated as us peons and collectors. A lot of us are “guitar havers” more than “guitar players.” Sure they have their preferences and can be idiosyncratic, but there’s not the “quest” mindset that a lot of us have. Keep in mind Prince used Boss pedals so when one broke he knew he’d be able to find a replacement in whatever city he was in at the time. And he bought his Madkat because the pickguard matched his guitar strap at the time.

I remember Max Collins, singer and bassist in 90’s rock band Eve 6 summarizing his career as “going around the country getting caught backstage with guys you don’t want to talk to trying to start conversations about music gear.” I get the impression that pros aren’t as preoccupied by the pursuit of new gear.

So, that being said, instead of Van Gogh or Shakespeare, we should be asking if semi pro or amateurs in other hobbies are as fixated on gear and in my experience (drawing) yeah pretty much. There’s that same “if I just get these markers, then I’ll really take the next step.” I’m sure it Carrie’s over into other hobbies, too.

Hobbyists will write entire consumerist mythologies to get out of practicing,
myself included.
 

arlum

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To any artist, I would think, improvements to a tools functionality would be a benefit while improvements to a tools appearance would be meaningless.
 

schmee

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I think mostly no, but artists do want certain things that work well for what they do, but just not on a constant search that takes up as much time as their "doing" their art.
When it comes to guitars, some great players are gearheads and some are not at all.
 

Mike Eskimo

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To any artist, I would think, improvements to a tools functionality would be a benefit while improvements to a tools appearance would be meaningless.

Perceived value/superiority

I’ve been paying attention to Jason Isbell since his time in the drive-by truckers up to the present day.

In that time, he has accrued a pretty substantial vintage guitar collection that covers pretty much all the bases.

In his mind and to his ear, he wants to create his music with those things.

It’s a choice because he has the means to procure them.

But anyone’s idea of their superiority over modern versions falls apart when you do the blind test like any symphony orchestra audition.

He’d at best get maybe half of them right.

The other half would tournament out to be Squiers, Chinese Epiphones,etc…🤣
 

Beachbum

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I attended an art school when I was young and got to be pretty good a sketching but no pencils aren't my thing.
 

Festofish

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Why wouldn’t they? I love buying my guy fountain pens/inks. He loves those and makes art with them. I love the culture . There are tons of YouTube “channels” on the subject. I bought him an $80 Monte Verde and that’s probably the most expensive in his collection. He recently ordered 2 Pelikan twist pens for less than $10 each and they’re great!
4A0D2D55-CE04-4916-8285-E0573B9F5340.jpeg
 
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darkwaters

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Well art historians/restorers fixate on the minutiae of pigment colour and composition, not to mention brush strokes used by this or that painter, so I’m guessing that you can go deep down a rabbit hole in many endeavours artistic or not. I’ve read of famous painters who spent vast sums on extremely rare paints.

I had to pick up several trowels the other day for some guys doing work for us. They rejected two outright, but decided that the third was just right, thank goodness.

We’re picky little primates.
 

Nogoodnamesleft

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Great point.

The best wood carver I've ever seen or heard of uses (primarily) one knife. I think that might have changed this past summer to include a few other things. And the knife is a $40 Frosts or Morakniv 120.

His kit, until very recently, was that knife, a hook knife for spoons, and a hatchet for roughing found wood (not exotic woods but things he found in the forest).

https://www.gilesnewman.com/
 

Toto'sDad

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- Did Billie Shakespeare (whoever she really was) need a Profundo #6 quill - pre-1590 only! - and a certain type of paper or he couldn’t get down to business ?

-Did Van Gogh dream about the day he could afford the vintage palette knife he had always lusted after ? Was it fixated in his noggin that only then would he get the results that he was after ?

A million cross-thoughts and permutations suddenly arise even when you turn the spotlight directly back on guitarists and more specifically their obsession with “vintage”.

How much of Joe Bonamassa’s live audience would drop off if he was suddenly only touring with a pink Jackson from the 80’s completely with modern wiggle stick - much like the one Jeff Beck used for a second in the 80’s

Then your brain hops over to Jeff Beck and you realize he was creating his art for a lot of the last 40 years with off the rack equipment.

And for those who pursue other avenues in the arts, are you as obsessive over the equipment used in that endeavor as you are with your musical tools ?

The mind reels…


Disclosure : this thought was burst out of my craggy brain, because I was reading an interview with Joe Henry who is a phenomenal singer songwriter and producer with an extremely poetic but down to earth use of words, and he’s also a vintage nut of many interests but could no doubt create using my Farida (cheap Chinese Gibson LG-2 knockoff) just as easily as one of his old Martins and Gibsons …
Okay, can you please tell whoever is holding you hostage to just go ahead and tell those of us on the Bad Dog what it is they want in the way of ransom to release you. I'll go two bucks on the deal, just to get our old Mike Eskimo back, if only twenty or thirty million of the rest of the gang pitch in, that ought to have you back and cussing and stomping in no time.
 

rand z

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Andy Wyeth spent a lot of time mixing his own paints.

His brother in-law (also an artist) gifted him his powered, pure mineral/vegetable pigments.

Andy mixed them with egg yolk, to make Tempera.

He used Tempera on/in most of his paintings.

Fixated?

Maybe...

imo.
 
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telemnemonics

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Yeah tools, artists tools, art supplies, building supplies like lumber and fasteners or metals etc, all those things come in cheap mid priced and expensive.
Every price pount of every kind of goods has buyers.
So we can hold up examples of artists who use cheap tools, like maybe Andy Goldsworthy?
Or my wife likes to bring up certain paintings done on scraps of cardboard by Picasso and Degas, or on stretched dish towels by Van Gogh.
All those artists painted on and with better or best materials too though, aside from maybe Vincent not having the money for the best materials.

Pigments and oil used in making oil paints is as obsessive as nitro vs poly on guitar. Or oil vs acrylic paint could be compared, except of course that is what the art is made of where music is made of nothing but vibrating air.
Could compare analog to digital too.
Some fine oil paints have hand ground hand mixed pigments made by one artisan and sold under their one name.

Maybe a confusion here though is that gear chat arguing over gear grades is more hobbyist stuff.

Musicians who are professionals are more likely to choose their gear and use it as opposed to sit at the computer debating what gear they should choose.
 
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telemnemonics

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Perceived value/superiority

I’ve been paying attention to Jason Isbell since his time in the drive-by truckers up to the present day.

In that time, he has accrued a pretty substantial vintage guitar collection that covers pretty much all the bases.

In his mind and to his ear, he wants to create his music with those things.

It’s a choice because he has the means to procure them.

But anyone’s idea of their superiority over modern versions falls apart when you do the blind test like any symphony orchestra audition.

He’d at best get maybe half of them right.

The other half would tournament out to be Squiers, Chinese Epiphones,etc…🤣
Well the blind test idea is a ridiculous fanasy created by hobbyists too, a nutty idea that if a carpenter cannot identify what hammer and saw was used by looking at a house, that proves that all hammers and saws are the same, and quality has no bearing on the worker or the things they make.
 

Mike Eskimo

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Well the blind test idea is a ridiculous fanasy created by hobbyists too, a nutty idea that if a carpenter cannot identify what hammer and saw was used by looking at a house, that proves that all hammers and saws are the same, and quality has no bearing on the worker or the things they make.

No, it’s not.

It was by and large created by musicians. People that make music.

Professionals.

And it’s used in its purest form by orchestras.

Hell, they even sorted through a bunch of Stradivari and Guarneri, and put them up against Whitewood violins that were a couple months old.

Look it up !

I ain’t gonna look it up for you
 

telemnemonics

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No, it’s not.

It was by and large created by musicians. People that make music.

Professionals.

And it’s used in its purest form by orchestras.

Hell, they even sorted through a bunch of Stradivari and Guarneri, and put them up against Whitewood violins that were a couple months old.

Look it up !

I ain’t gonna look it up for you
I see that stuff often enough and in cases of in the room violin comparisons, that is as much about the myth that violin makers forgot how to make violins.

In the room comparisons of violins where the violin makes the actual sound, is different from youtube comparisons of electric guitars where the amp makes the sound then the mic hears it, and the recording gear procsesses and EQs it then youtube alters it then our
computer plays it back and some feel that should tell us how old the solid body electric guitar is that made no sound of its own.

I still consider though that the guitar is a tool used by an artist.
Comparisons attempting to apply magical powers to tools, whether the errand is taken on by "guitar players" or not, is still a fools errand.

While one guitar can be better than another guitar, an artist will make art with better or worse tools and the art will have been made by the artist, not the tool.

And while one guitar can be brighter than another, the artist, or really any old hobby player who strums the chords to some song from long ago, can make an overly bright guitar sound warmer, or make an overly dull guitar sound brighter.

Gear comparisons presented to the shopping public is just a marketing game.
Attempts to prove: Claims that gear is the most important are no more or less a fools errand than claims the gear does not matter.
 
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