Do you ever have so many guitars it becomes unethical?

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8en6

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I realise this might be a very unpopular thread but here goes:

You don't have to look far to see jokes on this forum about "if you can't decide, buy both" or "the only problem here is you don't have more" (cue picture of a wall of 20+ guitars) or "only need two more to complete my dream collection of 15 Les Pauls" etc. I also see plenty of comment signatures where people have these huge lists where they show off how many guitars from the 50s, 60s and 70s etc they have.

Now I know collecting is a "thing" and I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but do you ever think it gets a bit obscene? A classic (extreme) example is Joe "Smaug" Bonamassa: If you wanted (for legitimate musical reasons) to play thru an old tweed fender amp or any of that other stuff he's into, you're gonna have to hope you've got a house to mortgage because they're rare as hell because he has them all in his basement. Every guitar he has could be somebody's pride and joy, but instead it's just telecaster number 14 out of 40 or whatever.

In fact I get the scary feeling there's a lot of vintage gear out there (maybe even the majority of it) which almost never gets played, meanwhile there's a lot of young musicians and songwriters who would love an old guitar and would be willing to pay (a reasonable price) for one, but that's impossible because they are all lined up collecting dust on the walls of boomers' man-caves. And let's face it, most of the best music was made by artists when they were young, like in their teens, twenties, maybe thirties.

It just seems like a bit of a sad, greedy end to the story: Rather than being passed onto the next generation, these great instruments, still so full of potential to change the world, are pretty much unattainable to most of the people who might actually change the world with them.

I'm no saint myself, I recently had a bit of a wake up moment and sold two guitars I was not playing, but I guess I just struggle to reconcile the fact that lots of people on here obviously are nice folks and love guitars and know how much joy they bring, yet seem to have normalised having way more than they need.

Maybe it's just human nature, or general western consumerist decadence, or maybe I'm wrong. How many guitars do you have? Do you play them all?
 

efstop

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I have 14 electrics, two acoustics and a bass. They each get played sooner or later. Note that I do not own any vintage or high end instruments. I buy whatever is cool and reasonably priced at the moment.

I don't feel I'm being unethical by collecting mostly run of the mill guitars. A few are slightly uncommon, but not rare.
 

TXOldRedRocker

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I have just sold two. I am down to 7 electrics, but I have my eye on another one, specific model. Browsing now. Oh, ordered some new pickups today for one that I have now.

I play them all. I have each one set up different. I have multiple amps. Quite a few pedals. Lots of fun playing many different tones. Some made up by me, some copying other people's tones/music.

Consumerism keeps the economy humming. As said above, as long as you're not depriving your family of anything, get all you want.
 

CB91710

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Nope. If you can afford it and you're not depriving your Family of anything, go for it
Bingo.
I have over 20 guitars. "Vintage"? Do you count a Japanese import Kramer Focus and a couple of 3-bolt G&Ls?

There is nothing unethical about buying things and doing what you'd like with them.
Joe B's guitars get played regularly... every guitar he takes on tour is played every night, and the majority of his collection rotates on tours or in the studio.
His tweed amps? No... they're not used for touring. Maybe recording or home practice, and he DOES loan those amps to friends.
He also talks about selling items in order to buy items.

Unethical? The cost of vintage gear has nothing to do with any one performer. The vintage market blew up when the Japanese collectors started buying up everything when the Yen was extremely strong compared to the dollar in the late 80s and 90s.

I don't hear car nuts saying that Jay Leno or Harrah's are unethical or driving up the price of vintage cars.
 

BadPenguin

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I was up to 70 or so, (Sorry it sounds pompous, but I lost count.) Now down, due to covid and not working in almost a year, to 46. When I had the cash, I bought. When I had a case of flat wallet syndrome, I sold. VAST majority of things I sold, I will never has the pleasure of holding in my hands again. And I am fine with that. I am just a caretaker for some future owners dream instrument.
 

cherrysunburst00

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I have just sold two. I am down to 7 electrics, but I have my eye on another one, specific model. Browsing now. Oh, ordered some new pickups today for one that I have now.

I play them all. I have each one set up different. I have multiple amps. Quite a few pedals. Lots of fun playing many different tones. Some made up by me, some copying other people's tones/music.

Consumerism keeps the economy humming. As said above, as long as you're not depriving your family of anything, get all you want.
I have regretted selling just about EVERY one I have ever sold
 

mudface

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CB91710

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I have regretted selling just about EVERY one I have ever sold
Those I do not regret selling: My first Les Paul copy, Hondo Model H-1, late 70s Goya 12-string, Epiphone (Korean) LP Standard (it went back to the guy who sold it to me), mid 90s Partscaster that I sold to my former boss, Antigua Partscaster that I gave to my buddy's son
Those that I regret selling: '78 Antigua Strat (replaced the LP Copy), '79 Anniversary Strat, '80 Kramer DMZ2000, '95 Ibanez JS-100.

Those that I regret buying and still have: '14 Epiphone aged SG, '19 Harley Benton, '18 Solo Les Paul kit (still unbuilt), minimal regret over the D'Angelico Premier EXL-1... should have spent the extra bucks on the higher end EXL.
 

Southwest

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I have two guitars. It's enough for me. If someone else wants or needs more, that's their call and it's fine by me.

If the OP's point is about good guitars not getting played by the quality of players they deserve, then I guess I will end up with none. I'm not a good guitarist. If its about conspicuous consumption or collecting I will bow out as I have no experience of that.

IMHO - If you can afford it and you want it, buy it. It's nobody's business but yours.
 

mudface

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All I know is someone got my hard earned money for every one I bought.... they weren’t stolen.... therefore somebody got what they wanted and I got what I wanted.

Keeping people employed or in there homes and their kid in braces.... I’m sure those instruments served its purpose going to me.
 

mjross

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I worked 40 years for the same company while earning my college degree, and also gigged regularly 6 nights a week and toward the end most weekends and yeah, I have a few guitars. I do not regret it at all! I also donate and help others as much as I can! I do not understand people that are concerned about the number of guitars I worked many years to have! Anyone can do it if you put your mind to it...
 
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Rando375

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It just seems like a bit of a sad, greedy end to the story: Rather than being passed onto the next generation, these great instruments, still so full of potential to change the world, are pretty much unattainable to most of the people who might actually change the world with them.



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efstop

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The stuff I sold and traded 40 years ago might make the OP sad if I still had them, but how was I to know those guitars would become lusted after by wanna be owners of all income levels?
 

ARandall

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Well, there are not a limited number of instruments in the world. So there is no case where you buying something causes someone to directly have to go without due to your purchase......save of course the pedantry that somebody can't buy the instrument you own of course.

Is there are wider issue that you are really trying to address here.....as in more global aspect of avarice throughout a consumer society??
 
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