What is "it" for you....?

DBDM

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I have 2 guitars, seemingly identical in model and make (both Class 5 custom shop Standards) and I love them both but I love one of them more. I cannot seem to figure out why one has "it" and the other does not. So this is a question that is intended to help me out. It is not neck construction, strings, or setup (that I can identify). I think one of them needs a new nut but I dont think that is the "it" (could be that I answered my own question but I do not think that is the "it"). Any insight?

What have some of you identified about why one would feel better (not necessarily sound better) than another seemingly identical guitar? Have any of you made any adjustments that took a guitar from "not it" to "it" compared to another like guitar? Help a curious brother out!
 

DBDM

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Black one has "it", Tangerine burst seemingly lacking "it".

Double Standard.jpg
 

efstop

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I have a Standard Tele and a Vintera '50s Tele. The Vintera has all the '50s details not present on the Standard, so that one has "it" and the Standard doesn't, although there's nothing inherently wrong with the Standard.
 

Juan Wayne

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You can't measure it, I don't think you can point at one thing specifically on any guitar.
It's the thing that makes just you go.
 

Overture

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Been trying to put my finger on this for years. I've owned a lot of nice instruments over the years, several LP'a, USA Jacksons and PRS, Japanese ESP's and Ibanez, and a Music Man JP6.

However only about 4 of all those guitars had that "it" factor that I can't explain. 2 of my current 3 Pauls (58 Reissue and LPC), an 07 LPC that I kick myself for selling almost every day, and a 2012 58' Reissue Paul that I had to sell due to some financial stuff at the time.

I never bonded with any of the other ones the same way. the JP6 was arguably the "best" guitar I've ever owned in terms of playability and build quality, but it sort of had no soul? I almost prefer guitars to have little imperfections, kind of a personality.

Thats my story anyway.
 

InTheEvening

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Hard to pinpoint i think. That “it” factor is the sum of many variables that make up the guitar, all contributing in just the right way together to make an instrument feel just right. That’s why it’s so hard to replicate. It’s not just one isolated adjustment like changing the bridge height or changing the nut, or twisting the truss rod but how all of the various adjustments interact together, including the wood itself which varies between guitars.

I have a tele that didn’t have “it” and even after a pro set up, it just never felt great. Even between my two LPs, both feel great to play, but I’m noticing my standard 60’s is a little bit easier to play and takes less effort.
 

Standard

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I have 2 guitars, seemingly identical in model and make (both Class 5 custom shop Standards) and I love them both but I love one of them more. I cannot seem to figure out why one has "it" and the other does not. So this is a question that is intended to help me out. It is not neck construction, strings, or setup (that I can identify). I think one of them needs a new nut but I dont think that is the "it" (could be that I answered my own question but I do not think that is the "it"). Any insight?

What have some of you identified about why one would feel better (not necessarily sound better) than another seemingly identical guitar? Have any of you made any adjustments that took a guitar from "not it" to "it" compared to another like guitar? Help a curious brother out!

Let's not forget that while those two guitars might have "identical" specs. They don't. There will be minute differences in the shape/angle of the neck, the string height, frets, shoulders, pickups, and very obviously the wood itself.

They might not be big differences but they could absolutely add up.
 

mgenet

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Sounds like you are trying to intellectually critique Comedy.

Why is it funny?
When is it not?

Same with your guitars. Enjoy them for the joy they provide to you.
 

DBDM

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Although I know yall are being completely honest and giving sold, true advice, it is not helping me much!
 

BRMarshall

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It is part of the mystique of guitars.

Now, these are the least expensive electric guitars I own - two (seemingly) identical sea foam green Squier Strats. I have a 94 American Standard Strat so I bought the Squier to mod. The thing is, I liked it so much, even the thin pickups, that I wanted to leave it be. So, I ordered another. A/Bing them, the first one just had a feel to it even though they are both mass produced, made in Indonesia, budget guitars. The second got the DiMarzio prewired Area pickguard. I still have and enjoy them both, but the first just has a certain feel to it.
 

Jymbopalyse

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It's like choosing a magic wand.

You have to find one that matches your temperament.

hp.gif
 

Duane_the_tub

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For me it comes down to four categories: Play, Sound, Feel and Look (in more or less that order, too). A great guitar has to score very highly in the first two, highly enough in the third and then if it checks the fourth box too, it has "it." Case in point...

My 2018 R9, my lifetime #1:
Plays like an absolute dream; I can pick it up anytime, for a minute or four hours, and just play it and be supremely happy. I also seem to always play my best on this guitar, which might be the essence of "it."
Sounds incredible; I've never met its equal and am confident it may not exist. Just a perfect confluence of parts (most of which are vintage) and, I guess, good lumber. Tonal character, how it interfaces with amps and effects.
Feels perfect to me; weight, balance, curves and carves (especially the neck profile, which also factors heavily into the first category), finish, everything under my hands and arms just fits and feels great.
Looks awesome; unique top with a ton of character, very cool and somewhat unusual spray job and there is no substitute for the visual mojo of vintage parts. Inspires me every day to pick it up and play it.

Together, that's "it" for me.

20210622_172045.jpg
 
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Shelkonnery

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Given supposedly identical instruments in build, specs and quality, I guess what does it for me is what the instrument inspires me to play and how it incites me to play it.
 Each guitar brings something different in you.



And that could be something as superficial as the looks of the guitar.

That black one is badass by the way. That would do it for me without even testing both. :dude:
I know it sounds frivolous, but do any of us own any ugly looking guitars?
 

v-man

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I really loved my Alpine V I got as a husk (ebony board) that I built. It was my favorite ‘67 RI of the stable but economic necessity crept in and the herd thinned and thinned. Having a couple cosmetic blemishes (and some assclown putting screw holes for that awful vibrola) I figured I could get another some day... if need be. But I had to be sure.

I had one more ‘67 RI left - one I’d never sell because the custom finish work made it a liability to the average buyer rather than a premium needed to justify selling. It was a plain “worn” series, rather nice finish before I had my way with it and a good, dark board. I A-B’ed them on the spot and damned if the Worn didn’t win roundly that day. Still miss the white ‘67, but I got a newfound appreciation for the one I’m hitched to.
 

Socrates

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No idea man....but if you ever figure it out you will have attained self enlightenment...sorry I know that doesn't help...lol
 

mudface

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For me it’s simple..... response to my touch..... does it react pleasantly to my aggression or my sensitivity.... whether it’s loud or whisper quiet..... control of those elements..... and most of all does it pleasure my ears.

Can it vocalize my voice?..... that’s it.

Not all guitars can do that,.... but all the ones I own do.

That’s just my “it” for me.

Guitars I parted with for not having “it”.

1976 Les Paul Deluxe.
1982 Carvin DC 200 Koa.
1982 Fender ‘62 reissue.
1985 Fender Japan Paisley Telecaster
2012 Studio Shred
2015 True Historic R9



Except for the Deluxe they were all bought brand new.... I stopped compulsive buying in the ‘80s.... but the Studio Shred was tempting but it didn’t work.... the THR9 was beautiful but just disappointing.
 
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Roxy13

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Guitars are made from wood. All of it is different.

So the hardware, strings, electronics and set up can be identical but yet the guitars are not.

So yes, some guitars have "it" and others don't.
 

Platte City Paul

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My '94 Standard is it, but it took a lot of work to get there. I replaced the pick-ups twice, because the stock 490R/498T did not sound good to me at all. Their output was around 8K and 13 (yes) K. I moved through a set of Seymour Duncans, and then a set of Zhangbuckers. (Duanebucker in the bridge and a Pagey 2 in the neck). I also had it re-fretted with frets that were the same width but taller and half-moon shaped. This is also the guitar I just had refinished, which doesn't really change the sound, but it looks cool. ;)

I have a 2019 Classic with 57 and 57 plus pickups (I think - can't find the spec page anymore.) I had the frets rounded too, because modern Les Paul frets feel school bus shaped and catch my fingers because of the way I play. Note lots of folks have no issue with them.

I'm not sure that helps, but it's the combination of you, your style of playing, and the machine that is your guitar. The dreaded signal chain matters too. I lost count how many distortion pedals I went through before settling on the one I have on the board now. If the chemistry isn't there, you either have to make changes or go try another guitar, or adjust the single chain.
 

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