How To Come Up With A Name For Your Guitar

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It’s Bigger Than We Thought.

Neil Young's Gibson Les Paul Guitar

Yeah – as we look across the search terms that bring people to Guitar-Muse, we’ve noticed a consistent trend. We have about 2 articles on the site about guitars with names, and then during the course of reporting on various guitar related things, we do mention if any guitars in question actually have names. Like when we talked about Willie Nelson’s Trigger. And there are a few others that deal in some way with guitar names.

That handful of articles gets a crap ton of action from the late night googlers. This means it’s really on your mind, at a time when you really need some solid advice. Solid guitar advice is kinda what we do here.

So, you’re telling us what you need. We’re here for you.

Things to consider when naming your guitar

Why?

Why are you naming your guitar? Obviously you feel close to it, and it brings out the best in you, and it makes you feel great. All things you want in a relationship. However, human relationships almost always come with names, but guitars don’t. What gives?

Seriously, though, ask yourself why you want to name it. Any reason is ok, there are no rules here, but make sure you know why you’re even hopping on this thought train (see #2 in this post).

What’s important to you when you think about this particular guitar?

This is important. Don’t just think about what’s important to you about guitars in general, think about what’s important to you about the guitar you’re going to name. There’s no sense in naming it if you make it all abstract and generic. Think about that guitar. Why do you like it? What were the circumstances under which you acquired it?

Was there ever a situation where this guitar had a significant impact on a situation, gig, recording session, etc.? Have you ever hit any one with it? What memories about this guitar stick out in your mind?

Do you want to name it after a person?

Be careful with this one. Guitars will love you forever, but people don’t come with any guarantees. If you name it after a girlfriend that might be kind of a bummer when she runs off with your drummer (they deny it, but it’s always the drummer).  There are other relationships that are probably stable enough to name a guitar after. Like a spouse. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll probably lose the guitar anyway. Your mom is another solid one. Someone who made an impact on your early in life. A guitarist who inspires you. You get the picture.

If you’re going to name it after a person, make sure its not a volatile relationship type.

Do you want to name it after one of its characteristics?

Another method for naming a guitar would be to name it after something that its physical appearance reminds you of. I had a car once, that we called the “Green Goblin”. It didn’t look luck a green goblin so much as it looked more like a green goblin than most cars on the road. So it got a little personality assigned to it because of how it looked.

So if your guitar has something interesting about how it looks, there’s another solid idea for a name.

Is there anything at all unique about it?

I had a guitar that made a really unique squeaking sound when I’d rest my hand on a certain part of the bridge. We called it “Squeaky” for awhile. Then I sold it. So if your guitar is practically begging for a name and handing it to you on a silver platter, I’d say roll with it.

Maybe just wait.

If none of the above inspires you, maybe just wait until something does. Maybe the name will become ridiculously obvious to you in a month or a year. For now, call it “The Les Paul” or “The Strat” or “My Guitar” if  you only have one. Wait until a name just pops out of someone’s mouth someday and it sticks.

The last thing you want in a guitar name is something that isn’t genuine.

Or just go off the rails

If you don’t like the advice you just got here, I’d like to kick you off this site in favor of a certain guitar forum where, in February of 2011,  a certain inspired individual has decreed:

The guitar should be named after a wimmin who done you wrong.

Boom. The other side of the coin awaits … 


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Guitar-Muse Staff

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