Top Things Guitarists Can Be Thankful For

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Electric Guitar

The Influence of The Past

One thing we’re all about here at Guitar-Muse is the future. The future of music, the future of the guitar. Hell. The future in general. But if there’s one thing we’re sure of it’s that the future will never be anything without the influence of the past. The list presented before you is a modest tipping of the hat to the many things that have helped cultivate the best damn musical instrument existence as a whole will ever know.

Truss Rods

Simple one here. What’s worse than a guitar with a bowed neck? If you answered with anything you are WRONG! Clear as day. The answer is nothing. A guitar with a warped neck is enough incentive to contemplate making toast while taking a shower and who could blame anyone for that? Metallica’s “Fade to Black” is based around warped guitar experiences. That’s why so many guitarists have drug problem. Thank you, truss rods, for minimizing casualties.

Everything Les Paul Ever Did

Les Paul Playing Guitar
And this is how Les Paul saved the world.

Seriously. Without Les Paul where would the guitar, nay, the entire world of music be today? Without Les Paul there wouldn’t even be a recording industry to speak of. The world gets to bask in the warmth of surround sound these days, but if you take Les Paul out of the equation what do you get? Mono. That’s short for mononucleosis. That’s what people had before Les Paul. Thanks, Les Paul, for saving lives.

Picks

Back in the day if a guitarist wanted to use a pick he had to grow his fingernails out. You know what? I hate long fingernails. I’m not even overly fond of them on women, let alone on my own hands. Plus by now my fingernails have been treated more like a midnight snack than anything so thanks to picks for a much better alternative.

Straplocks

There isn’t one guitarist out there that doesn’t know where I’m from with this one. One of the biggest causes of dents on a guitar comes from the all too frequent occurrence of a strap wearing down to the point wear it can’t even support the guitar anymore? Or what of those guitars that were designed with buttons in the most absurd places that put the strap at an angle ready to just pop off? Thankfully with straplocks and oversized washers that’s not a problem anymore.

Effect Pedals

guitar effect pedals
A modest selection of effect pedals.

What makes the guitar better than any other instrument? The ability to plug it into things. Even better is that we can use those things to alter the guitar’s sound into pretty much anything you want. Want so much distortion that you can’t even recognize the instrument that’s being played? There are pedals for that. Want do sound like you’re playing in the grand canyon? Thank you reverb. What if you want to sound like you’re playing through a telephone with someone else in the back on the other side of the room. Thank you EQ and delay combo.

And when was the last time you heard of a trumpet player sounding like a guitarist? Never. But with pedals like Boss’ GR-55 a guitar can sound like winds, brass, organs, you name it. Take that rest of the music industry. Thanks to pedals for acting as a multiplier to the guitar’s greatness.

Fingers

Let’s face it. Guitars would suck without them. Nuff said.

Something most people don’t know these days is many millennium ago the guitar was first invented on the planet NowWhat by boghogs. You know what happened? Boghogs don’t have fingers and the guitar bombed and was doomed to unpopularity. Thanks fingers for preserving the guitar’s might on our planet.

Modeling Technology

Amplitube Amp Models
Now all the amps under the sun can be yours.

Something that’s become synonymous with the guitarist is the pursuit of tone to a degree that some guitarists almost don’t care what they play so long as they have the right sound. Now I’m sure other instrumentalists care about their sound quality too, but let’s face it. Between single-coil and humbucker pickups, tube and solid state amps, woods, cables, and digital and analog effects the guitarist has everyone else beat in sound altering variables.

The only thing is exploring these avenues to their fullest potential is incredibly pricey and not all of us can afford to buy a few vintage tube amps, a couple of 59 Les Pauls, and a baker’s dozen Tube Screamers. What the digital modeling technology has done is offer a means to replicate the revolutionary sounds of the guitar’s history in a lump package and for an oft very affordable price. For anywhere from about $100 to $700 (or a few grand if you’re after an Axe-FX II) the sky’s the limit with the effects available thus opening greater possibilities to a wider audience. And as digital continues to grow the quality of the effects are only increasing with the technology.

Electricity

Electric Guitar
How Ben Franklin really discovered electricity.

And finally. What is the greatest thing that ever happened to the guitar? What alteration could have possibly been made that would change everything about the guitar from the general perception of the instrument to the way it was played ultimately making it the dominant instrument for decades to come? Electricity. That’s right. The same stuff used in executions.

Electricity was what opened the door for everything that’s become possible on the instrument. Pretty much everything else on this list can be linked back to electricity for opening the doors. Strings have been made more flexible and durable for those screaming bends and whammy bar dives we all love. Harmonics and techniques like tapping found invigorating new life and everything that is effect related be it hardware or software needs a current to be used. Electricity was such a great idea that even acoustics have found a way to get a piece of that charged up pie by introducing pickups themselves.

So yeah. Without electricity we wouldn’t be celebrating the guitar today… and not just because our computers wouldn’t turn on.

So what are you thankful for? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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