It’s in basic human nature to always strive towards something bigger and better; we’re never satisfied with what we have. In a similar vein, guitar players always seem to be on the lookout for a better, flashier, and more expensive instrument. Why is this the case?
Here are 7 reasons why you seem to always want a new guitar:
- You’ve outgrown your previous instrument.
- You’re looking for a change in sound.
- You’re after a different feel.
- You’re considering a change in style.
- You want a better quality instrument.
- You’re pursuing an investment opportunity.
- You’ve grown tired of your old guitar.
This article will explain each of the reasons listed above in more detail. Read on to find out why guitar players always seem to want a new guitar.
1. You’ve Outgrown Your Previous Instrument
The first reason young musicians want to make a change and purchase a new guitar is outgrowing the instrument. While there are multiple ways you can outgrow your instrument, physically overgrowing your guitar is the most valid reason for buying a new one.
Guitar players who start playing the instrument very young should never start with a regular-sized guitar. Instead, their first instrument should always be sized according to their age. For reference, here’s a table of guitar sizes and their typical players’ ages:
|Guitar Size||Age||General Height|
|1/4||4 to 6 years||Approximately 3’9” (115 cm)|
|1/2||5 to 8 years||Approximately 4’3” (130 cm)|
|3/4||8 to 11 years||Approximately 4’8” (140 cm)|
|4/4||12 years and above||From 5’3” (160 cm)|
While children should be fine playing on an instrument that is small compared to their constitution, it’s highly suggested to replace the instrument with one that best fits their age and height.
Even though it might seem most economical to just get a full-sized guitar, this is one of the things that guitar experts suggest we should refrain from doing. Playing on a larger instrument can severely hinder their guitar playing skill development.
2. You’re Looking for a Change in Sound
Finding a single guitar that can fulfill all of our sound requirements is rare. This is why guitar players are always searching for a new instrument.
Various aspects can affect your guitar’s sound, and the most common ones are:
- Guitar body wood.
- Guitar body shape.
- Fingerboard wood.
- Neck wood.
- Pickup configuration.
Depending on the types of wood used during the build process, guitars can sound warmer or brighter. For example, those after a warmer-sounding electric or acoustic guitar should look into guitars made of mahogany, koa, or rosewood.
On the other hand, wood species such as maple, walnut, and ebony offer maximum brightness. For a perfect balance between warmth and brightness, choose an instrument made using woods such as alder and basswood.
Similar to wood types, the type and configuration of pickups affects the sound of electric guitars significantly. Typically, single-coil pickups offer more brightness, while humbuckers produce a much muddier tone due to their high output.
3. You’re After a Different Feel
In addition to the basic difference between classical, western, and electric guitars, there are noticeable differences in how various models from each of these groups feel to play. For example, a Taylor or a Martin acoustic guitar can feel completely different, even though a layman might not be able to set the two apart.
Guitar enthusiasts might say that each guitar has its own personality. Some more experienced players might even find noticeable differences between guitars that share the make and model. This is why most guitar players would be more than glad to have every guitar type available at their disposal (Relevant Question: Why do guitarists have so many guitars?).
Unfortunately, this isn’t an option, as it would cost us millions of dollars. Getting just one new guitar, however, is a much more reasonable solution.
The feel of any guitar is a highly subjective topic. While some players might find a particular model playable, others might find its playing characteristics and feel abysmal. Depending on your mood and general vibe, you might be after different feedback from your instrument.
These are just some of the reasons why feel is such an important factor in why you always seem to want a new guitar.
4. You’re Considering a Change in Style
As already mentioned, a single guitar can’t do it all. While excellent for playing classical, flamenco, and similar styles, classical guitars, for instance, have little to no application in heavier music genres such as rock or metal.
It’s only logical that a classical guitar owner who’s looking to transition into these heavier music genres would want to buy a different guitar.
Even though no genre has specific guitar make or model requirements, we tend to associate different music styles with certain guitars. Here are just some of the examples of the typical guitars used for different music styles:
|Music Genre||Guitar Make and Model|
|Metal||Ibanez RG Series|
|Classic and Hard Rock||Fender Stratocaster|
|Gibson Les Paul|
|Indie / Pop||Fender Telecaster|
|Folk||Martin DSR 1|
No one can claim that you can’t play rock music without a Fender or a Gibson or that you need to buy a specific instrument to play any genre. However, not all guitars are created the same way or using the same specifications.
Any major change in your style is a valid, common reason why we seem to always be after a new guitar.
5. You Want a Better Quality Instrument
Returning to the first item on this list, it was mentioned that kids can outgrow their instruments. In a similar way, even adult guitar players can outgrow their guitars.
Once you reach a certain skill level, you’ll notice some signs that you should get a higher quality guitar. Here are some of those signs:
- You start noticing your old guitar’s flaws (cheap build, bad pickups, etc.)
- You start having difficulties playing your old guitar (poor intonation, buzzing frets, etc.)
- You feel like your guitar is holding you back.
Buying a quality guitar can be an expensive endeavor, especially if you’re going for the top-end models. However, you don’t always have to spend thousands of dollars on a brand-name guitar.
Guitars can be divided into several grades according to their price. Here’s a general guide on how much each of these can run you:
|Guitar Grade||Typical Price|
|Introductory||From $200 to $500|
|Mid-range||From $500 to $900|
|High-end||$900 and above|
|Custom||$2,000 and above|
Just like with any other product, guitar manufacturers that are famous in the industry charge a premium for their instruments. On the other hand, their lesser-known competitors might provide the same, or even higher, quality for a lower price.
Getting a new guitar because you feel like the old one is holding your musical development back is another valid reason to add another ax to your arsenal. Doing your research first, however, is the key element if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
6. You’re Pursuing an Investment Opportunity
Believe it or not, buying a guitar can be an excellent investment opportunity. This isn’t just a lie you can tell your partner to justify spending thousands of dollars on an instrument. Some guitars that were originally purchased for a few grand have been sold for millions of dollars.
However, not all guitars will gain in value over time. In reality, most guitars lose value.
If you’re expecting to use your hard-earned money to buy a guitar as an investment, there are some tips that can help you stay in the green:
- Buy an expensive model that uses special materials, electronics, and production methods.
- Go for limited production guitars.
- Acquire a guitar that has been played by someone famous.
Finding a guitar that meets any of the criteria from the list above can be a difficult task in more ways than one.
- These instruments are rare, and the owners won’t easily part with them.
- When you do find them, investment guitars can cost a lot of money.
- You might need to spend a lot of time waiting for the value to increase enough to make selling the guitar worth it.
There’s one final tip I’d like to leave you with if you want a new guitar as an investment: Always get a certificate of authenticity.
7. You’ve Grown Tired of Your Old Guitar
The final reason you seem to always want a new guitar is probably the simplest (Related: how to keep your guitar pick from slipping). Growing tired of an instrument is something with which most musicians are familiar. Whether it takes years or days, any guitar is likely to become boring.
As someone who bought a new guitar and then came home an hour later just to search for the next one to buy, I can attest to that.
Getting familiar with an instrument to a level that nothing about it can surprise you is a wonderful thing. Still, most guitar players can’t handle going more than a year without getting tired of their old one, and purchasing a new ax.