A Faliure to Bond: Why No Two Guitars Are Ever The Same

Moi onstage in 2003

I will always have a warm place in my heart for the Gibson SG. In 2000 after a long break I made a conscious decision to play more guitar and perhaps join a band again. In 2001 I had relocated back to my home town in the Midlands and had heard some great demos by a friend. Musically it was like stoner rock, but with an uptempo fast rifftastic vibe Anphetamine rock anyone?…. or Sabbath meets Marylin Manson. My friend thought my rig at the time was pointless and wishy washy…..and he was right. The best phrase I can offer any guitarist looking to buy equipment and what he told me was “to just get stuff that does what it says on the tin”.

I bought a Marshall JCM2000 TSL60 & 4 x 12 , at that time non of my guitars suited the vibe we were going for, as my friend had let me use his Gibson SG Standard for recording more demos. I had grown to love it. A lightweight, simple guitar that could rock out hard. When funds allowed in 2001 I decided to buy one. As my local guitar shop was suffering from unrealistic pricing syndrome I decided to look further afield.

I’d never bought a guitar mail order before and with a Gibson I soon learnt the lesson that that Nashvilles finest were all prey to poor quality control. Hank and Earl were so absobed by the heritage at Gibson they kinda forgot to check for basic finish flaws, I found that my SG had subtle annoyances in fit and finish that you’d never find on even the cheapest chinese made Squier or indonesian (child soldier) made Yamaha Pacifica. The neck binding at the body end had cherry stain on it and the inlays were full of filler, the original spring on the ABR-1 was falling off, so I had to get my brother to mod it back to a workable shape.

In short this was not a great example of the breed.

BUT!!!!

I bonded with it, that guitar re-invigourated both myself and my playing. The Stoner band did 6 moths of rehearsals and nothing else, but my guitar playing self was re-energised. I found myself in another band and finally gigging again, the other band led to a better band and….a better me!

Along the way I had bought a Gibson Les Paul Classic and then in 2005 I bought my Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster. That was a landmark guitar, able to both play strident rock riffs and delicate licks it pretty much became my main instrument. The fender bolt on twang was perfect for cutting through the guitar heavy Heroes of Switzerland mix, especially live.

In light of my allegance switch, I started to play the SG less and less and in 2006 I decided to offload some guitars to keep my bank manager happy. Along with 2 Yamaha SG’s The Gibbo went on Ebay.

After I sold it, I missed it almost immediately and in 2009 when funds allowed I bought another one. This time I hunted around the classifieds and bought a mint 2005 example (off a bassist who’d gotten pissed one night watching a Who live DVD and decided he wanted to be Pete Townsend, after an orgy with his credit card, he’d bought it strummed it at home and realised he wanted rid). I turned up with a wad of cash and he was happy to let me have it.

My new SG was an altogether tastier proposition in terms of both build quality and finish, it was a far better made example with less of a Scarlet finish and more of a proper Heritage Cherry colour. The body was far tidier, the newer SG’s have a Nashville Style bridge which is much more heavy duty and it played like a dream.

However….

I never really played it that much beyond the first 2 weeks, if I wanted to play guitar I still went to my Telecaster or if I wanted to widdle out, my floyd equipped Ibanez Roadstar did the job admirably. So the SG sits there in the case looking at me. Im tempted to sell it from time to time, but if Im honest I restrung it yesterday and it sounded and played great. But this morning I played my Charvel and this afternoon my Tele.

I think the problem is that Ive failed to bond with it, when I bought my original SG it was used in both rehearsals and recordings, both it and myself had a musical sense of purpose. That situation made us grow together. Ive no pressure to bond with my new SG, I realise now that I bought it out of a sense of nostalgia, it represents a time when I was finding my feet again as both a player and a person.