The philosophical ethics of guitar alteration.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Heavy Tele, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Huh?

    However, I'll play along, even though I doubt the seriousness of the OP.

    Any "essence" my guitar has was created by me.

    The only things "Fender" on my Tele are the body, the neck (except for the new nut and string tree), and the output jack. Everything else was added by me: pickups; bridge; saddle; control plate; pots; switches; knobs; tone cap; wiring; pick guard; nut; strap buttons; string tree; and decal.

    Should guitarists not alter the "essence" of a mass-produced utility instrument, then most guitarists are essence-killers, which is a ridiculous notion.

    This 1954 Strat is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
    [​IMG]

    I guess these Telecasters have no "Essence". Don't listen to any music that was played on them:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Sheesh, I've spent way too much time responding to this click bait...
     
  2. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Here's my thoughts - you own the guitar, you do what you want. Ethics don't really apply in guitars unless you're making changes to a guitar that you don't actually own or intend to sell it as something that it isn't.
     
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  3. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    My degree of comfort with modifications depends on the age and rarity, or lack thereof, of the object being modified. If something is easily replaceable at commodity prices, do what thou wilt.
     
  4. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    The arguement is much the same with vintage automobiles.
    Many of which I have hacked and welded into something else.
     
  5. OldGuy6873

    OldGuy6873 Tele-Holic

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    A guitar is a vessel for creativity. The player provides the soul.
     
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  6. Special Tom

    Special Tom Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Funny you should picture BB King. In the 70s I was at a concert, front row. He was having problems with Lucille--when he would bend a string (not sure which one, maybe the B) it would slip off the bridge. Happened several times but he quickly put it back in place and back to playing. Wonder how long he let that go on before he modified Lucille <G>
     
  7. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    The idea that it's morally wrong to modify a guitar is a simple troll post, you guys. Come on. The OP has already deleted his account. Morals involve questions of harm to other people or possibly animals (though we mostly stick to arguing about cute animals, it's a real slippery slope).
     
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  8. shupe13

    shupe13 Tele-Holic

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    For years I was afraid to do anything other than change strings. Tweaks and mods are what opened my eyes to the beauty of the instrument.

    It's like buying a Harley-Davidson. A Harley isn't a Harley until it's been modded or personalized.
     
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  9. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    You can say the same thing about architecture. Thoughtful, well-executed modifications can add value, beauty, and functionality. But a hack job can do the reverse. So you need to be careful.

    I will say I am always amused when I hear about someone who spent a lot of money for a guitar, then changed the pickups, the tuners, the pots, the bridge, etc. etc. Why didn't you just buy a different guitar to begin with?
     
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  10. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

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    Because the vast majority of the modifications I've made to my guitars have made them better. There is nothing priceless about my 2005 SG standard or 2000 62 AVRI tele or 2009 MIM Deluxe strat so I don't need to baby them like a '59 burst. I was existential about guitars until I wasn't.

    What do you want from me? :lol:

    Lemme guess, the guitar's signal is also as pure as the Elessar so you must resent tampering with it in any way as well? No overdrive, distortion, artificial reverb, slapback, or modulation effects in your setup right? :twisted:;)
     
  11. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted

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    I've had my guitars altered. There's just too much of a guitar overpopulation problem, and not enough good homes to take care of them all. :eek: :D
     
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  12. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    So glad to know I'm not suffering alone in the shame, remorse, and guilt. At the time of this picture, the only original thing about this CV50s Tele besides the body was the pots and tone cap. I replaced the pots last week...
    IMG_20181010_095511742_HDR.jpg
     
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  13. Wildcard_35

    Wildcard_35 Tele-Meister

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    I take this question in two categories: guitars that are okay to mess with and guitars that are not. I have a Fender Deluxe Strat Plus that I bought new in the early 90s. I have only done modifications that replace things that are broken. For example, I replaced a pickup that went dead with exactly the same kind of pickup that was in it. I'm also contemplating a re-fret, since the frets are worn down in spots after 20-plus years of playing. This does nothing to change the guitar's original intent, since I'll use the same gauge of fret wire. I would hate to see someone do a hack job on a guitar like that since it is really nice to begin with and has a certain vibe about it.

    However, I have no problem taking my Mexican telecaster and swapping out pickups and tuners to something more to my liking since it is maybe worth $300 tops to begin with. It's not "vintage" or whatever, it's just a basic guitar that I wouldn't feel weird about modifying as long as the modifications are within my skill level and don't harm the value or aesthetic of it.
     
  14. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ohhh nooooo!!! That song is going to be stuck in my head all day long now.
     
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  15. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    I am not going to buy or play an historic guitar. I don't collect instruments. Anything is up in the air that makes the guitar better for my needs. Rarely do I come across an instrument that has everything I need. At the very least, on day 1, everything gets straplocks (why aren't these standard?).
     
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  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm sure. Have you ever looked at his reissue guitar? Completely different bridge. Never seen it on another Gibson.

    He made it work for his needs. Same as every other person who's ever modded their guitar (or paid someone to do it).

    There's a whole big box of paints in the world...
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Agreed.

    Your mod was in bad taste and should be amended.

    The missteps of youth can only be forgiven if we adjust our course!

    BTW, have you adjusted your technique and developed some callous so you don't hurt yourself playing guitar?
    Maybe you no longer need that girly man bridge on your manly guitar?

    Remember: Guilt multiplied by years equals shame!
     
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Most of my most shameful butchery has long been rendered into matchsticks, but a few recent botch jobs remain.
    I’m pretty close to having a balanced HB bridge sound and SC bridge sound in one guitar, never liked a split HB as much as a true SC.
    Also wanted a JM bridge sound with a solid three saddle bridge in a lighter than an oversized JM body and without oddball parts.

    I have a stack of blank Strat guards coming so I can get rid of all those extra holes and get a less shameful appearance.

    Image1542044756.550392.jpg
     
  19. Ragnar

    Ragnar TDPRI Member

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    You modify the guitar with every strum, glance or thought. Just by interacting with it, you are changing it. Some changes are subtle, with a little more finish worn away or a micro-dent put into the fret board. Some are more immediately noticeable like pick up changes, paint jobs or bridge replacements. Some changes are regretful like a nice chunk out of the neck from a fall or changing pickups only to discover the ones you had in it were better.

    All changes are journeys of self discovery and acceptance. Find your journey and love the results.
     
  20. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    My wife has done that...we have an impressionistic floral painting that was very beautiful, but it had an over-abundance of pastel pink on the upper third, which washed out the wall behind it and generally looked boring and meh.

    She popped out the oils and went to town, covering over portions of the pink with a sky-blue tint, making all the colors more vibrant. It made the painting "pop"...

    Of course, this was a mass-produced consumer art piece she bought on sale at Ross, not a Picasso
     
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