Riding the winds of change
A lot of guitarists complain of gas. More so than players of any other instrument. We’re referring of course to Gear Acquisition Syndrome, i.e. the constant, unrelenting quest to accumulate ever more piles of interesting, unique and often quite expensive bits of kit with which to augment our rigs.
See, most guitarists will have one or two guitars which they constantly come back to. Reliable workhorses which fulfil the majority of tonal and aesthetic needs, and are the metaphorical equivalent of a nice pair of slippers. Safe, functional and always there when you need them. But it’s only human nature to wonder what else is out there, right?
Despite what non-playing people close to our hearts would have us believe, there really is no limit to how many guitars we can own. Typically though, a GAS guitar will fit one of three criteria. It will either be something a bit off the wall, a bit of fun. It might be a replacement workhorse. Or alternatively it might just be something so darn pretty that you can’t let anyone else have it.
With that in mind, here are our top guitars to give you gas.
Gibson 2016 Les Paul Standard Traditional – Honey Burst
Yes, we understand, the A in GAS stands for acquisition, and realistically this is perhaps out of reach for the vast majority of players, but just look at that finish. Quite incredible. I’ve heard guitars such as this referred to, perhaps harshly, as ‘dentist’s guitars’ purely because only those with salaries at the higher end of the scale can afford them, but that’s missing the point. This one is pure top shelf material, and we’ve all got to plan ahead for future lottery-win splurges?
At the more practical end of the scale comes this rather fetching alpine white Les Paul Custom. Of course, whatever range Epiphone put out, there will always be an alpine white LP Custom, but even after all these years it still retains a certain classiness and beauty which would lend itself to any band setup you could think of. The newest model features upgraded pickups and coil-tapping, further increasing the versatility of these classic guitars.
There’s something so comforting about playing a Fender Telecaster. It’s like you’re holding on to a piece of rock history channeling the greats with every chord you play. It’s a versatile instrument and like a good wine, gets better with age. Although the design itself hasn’t gone through a great deal of changes (“if it ain’t broke…”) Fender have tweaked this infamous guitar and updated it for the modern player as part of their Elite range adding 4th Generation Noiseless pickups, effectively taking care of any unwanted feedback and and modern “C” to “D” profile neck for a smoother experience when playing. Everyone needs a Telecaster at some point and the American Elite Telecaster in Butterscotch Blonde is a great place to start.
Any fan of Nirvana (or Grunge in general) will recognise this guitar. The Mustang was favoured by Kurt Cobain, and in fact, he was quoted as saying they were his all time favourite guitar. So as far as endorsements go, that’s a pretty big deal! This new offset range, released in 2016 is turning heads thanks to the sound out of the brand new MUSTANG single-coil pickups as well as playability thanks to the modern C profile neck and shorter scale construction. The 6-saddle strings-through-body Strat hardtail bridge offers superior sustain whilst the 3 way toggle switch allows you to craft the sound you want out of this small, but might beast. The shorter scale may feel a little weird at first, but once you’ve plugged in and listened to this extremely comfortable guitar, you’ll realise you absolutely need this road worthy workhorse in your collection.
Fender Starcaster Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
This is your chance to own a piece of guitar history. As we all know, aside from the Telecaster custom and deluxe models, Fender has been loath to deviate too much from their more well-known shaped guitars. However, the Starcaster completely throws caution to the wind like a devil-may-care rebel!
This is Fender’s only venture into offset-waist semi hollow body guitars and the result is simply beautiful. The semi-hollow body is crafted from a gorgeous laminated maple offering sweet tones, whilst the F-holes add an acoustic flair. For Fender purists, the 70s inspired shape of the Starcaster may take a little getting used to – and no, it might not become your workhorse or even back-up guitar, but it’s certainly one that will give you GAS. Even if you only ever use it for recording or writing at home, for interesting tone, playability and sheer good looks, it’s worth every penny of the modest price tag.
View a complete range of guitars over at the Dawsons website.
Journalist, PR and multimedia specialist. Write professionally on subjects ranging from musical instruments to industrial technology.