Why modify a signature guitar?

Why modify a signature guitar

  • I was not happy with its sound

    Votes: 6 12.2%
  • I didn’t like the look

    Votes: 4 8.2%
  • It wasn’t comfortable so I changed the neck

    Votes: 3 6.1%
  • I don’t mind turning it into a partscaster

    Votes: 4 8.2%
  • I am a tinkerer and can’t help myself...

    Votes: 32 65.3%

  • Total voters
    49

blackstratmaple

Strat-O-Master
Sep 4, 2010
849
USA
Everyone has an opinion on signature guitars but I have no problem admitting I love them because I'm a fan of the artists they were designed for. If they meet the specs I'm after its a win-win. As far as if I'm going to alter them in any way, it really depends on if its going to affect their value and if so, by how much? Pickup and electronics changes are reversible, so not a big deal to me. If I need to changed something beyond that, its probably not the right guitar for me. Here are the ones I've had so far and what I've done to them:

Tony Iommi SG (epiphone) - ended up not liking the signature Gibson pickups so I swapped those out. This did affect the value of guitar but it was an inexpensive guitar to begin so I didnt; lose too much there; I ended up making money by selling off the signature pickups in the end.

Dave Murray HSH strat - I could not gel with the vintage bridge and felt altering that would negatively affect its value so I left it alone and sold it. (although I wish I would have kept this one as they are quiet the collectors item now).

Jeff Waters Flying V - Was a cool guitar but I didn't have it long enough to tinker with. Flipped it to fund another guitar.

Jackson RR1 - not sure how much of a signature guitar this really is. Its kind of like how a Les Paul is a signature guitar. I ended up putting a YJM pot and new pickups in which did not affect its value in any way upon selling it.

Jackson Adrian Smith
- Installed YJM tone pot, disconnected tone control, added a D-Tuna. All reversible if I ever decide to put it back to stock configuration and sell it.

Need pics of these sweet metal machines!

To answer the original question, I echo those that say the signature model may have unique specs some of us want but we don’t necessarily care about the guitar being somebody’s signature.

I used to be against them but now I own two. A Kirk Hammett KH-602 because it’s neck thru, high quality, and came with the new bone breaker pickups ($200 EMG), and I bought a fender Chris Shiflett because I liked the look, the standard sized humbuckers, the 12” radius rosewood board and 70s style tuners. I may mod the Shiflett tele at some point. No need to mod the KH unless I want an original Floyd rose on it.

Am I a KH fanboy? A little. Am I a fan of the foo fighters? Not really. Just like the guitars but haven’t modded them.
 

sam_in_cali

Scream for me Strat-Talk!
Silver Member
Feb 21, 2014
16,043
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Need pics of these sweet metal machines!

To answer the original question, I echo those that say the signature model may have unique specs some of us want but we don’t necessarily care about the guitar being somebody’s signature.

I used to be against them but now I own two. A Kirk Hammett KH-602 because it’s neck thru, high quality, and came with the new bone breaker pickups ($200 EMG), and I bought a fender Chris Shiflett because I liked the look, the standard sized humbuckers, the 12” radius rosewood board and 70s style tuners. I may mod the Shiflett tele at some point. No need to mod the KH unless I want an original Floyd rose on it.

Am I a KH fanboy? A little. Am I a fan of the foo fighters? Not really. Just like the guitars but haven’t modded them.



Tony Iommi SG (and my old Orville LPC)
full


Dave Murray HSH strat
-
full


Jeff Waters Flying V

full


Jackson RR1 /
Jackson Adrian Smith (and a EVH amp and zakk wylde wah for good measure, haha)
full
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,565
Sante Fe, NM
I owned a Jerry Douglass Tele that I used as my #2 stage guitar. This guitar was designed and sold during the heyday of the Hellecasters. I found the guitar to be way too bright and eventually had to rewire it. When I would switch guitars during a gig the JD Tele had ear splitting treble compared to my other stage guitars. I switched out the pickups to Texas Specials with a standard switch and it was great. I found out around this time that the Hellecasters all used Twins with the treble control set on zero. I set my amp up like that, as an experiment and the JD Tele sounded perfect on that setting, but I couldn’t see using it on stage and having to reset my amp to use it. Hence, I changed the pickups and wiring.
 

Slartybartfast

Strat-Talker
Aug 10, 2020
395
Ca.
Why would someone buy a Signature guitar and modify it?
The purpose is to pay tribute and to capture a look, sound (albeit thats a rabbit hole) or just run the same gear the hero has.

I am curious albeit as a chronic tinkerer I get it.
It's a good question, but here's what I'm thinking when I look at an Eric Johnson guitar. The neck, body and pickups are just what I want, the right finish, the tuners will do, but there are two things. One, I always have a Tele knob on the volume control. Second, I now always use the Oak Grigsby super switch because I hate the neck/middle combo and change it to neck/bridge in series for a Gibson sound. Also, while I like the tone control on the bridge pickup, it now switches off when going to bridge/ middle without having to turn it back up. This switch as it allows you to program tour tone controls any way you want. So yes, I understand the question but to a small degree many will need to change it if they plan on actually making the guitar a part of their life as a player as opposed to a collector.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,565
Sante Fe, NM
I also own a Geddy Lee Jazz Bass, and the best thing about it is that it’s a Jazz Bass. It has has signature on the back of the headstock, but other than that it’s just a regular jazz bass.

B727DF6C-76C8-4F42-8A3B-2409F9A89A58.jpeg
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
6,016
Republic of Gilead
I have two signatures.

A PRS SE "Zack Myers" has been totally de-signatured. I don't know who the guy is, I checked out his band but it's not my style. But I wanted the guitar for the specs, namely the single-cut semi hollow body and 24.5" satin neck. But the headstock, truss rod cover and pickups are all redone.

My John Lennon Casino is stock, though currently the pickguard is removed, which I guess John did anyway, too. I wouldn't change a thing on it.
 

DaMasta

Strat-Talker
Feb 9, 2019
111
California, USA
Perhaps the real question should be “Why buy a signature model guitar”?

I purchased a Duff Mckagan and Michael Anthony sig bass' because I wanted them ... no reason other than that. They both play well and give the sounds I enjoy. Why else would you get any guitar? I have 7 bass and 10 6 string guitars. I got them because I wanted them and liked how each one played.
 

Glyderslead

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
190
Outside to the left
I have a Biffy Clyro, Simon Neale Squire Stratocaster. I couldn't tell you the name of even one of their songs, but I do like the guitar. In fact I believe the bean counters lat Squire lost count when theses guitars were being made..... and gave too much away. Perhaps thats why they don't make them any more.

Two simple reversible mods done.

1/ Tremolo arm changed to another bent into the easy mute shape.

2/ The wimpy block changed for another more substantial block -old items left in the case. IMG_1236.JPG
 

davidrconnell

Strat-Talk Member
Silver Member
May 10, 2015
65
UK Leicestershire
My wife gave me for Xmas 2006 an MK Stratocaster and I loved it, played it for quite a while in its original build I loved the pickups, plus, the colour is great too 2006 before any changes.JPG After 2019 IMG_2032.JPG After 2019 IMG_2032.JPG 2006 before any changes.JPG . Then after a few years, I changed the rest of the fittings to all gold the original was delivered with gold fitting i.e. tuners, tree, and bridge tremolo arm, and lead socket, as in the 2006 photo. In answer to some of the almost (it feels like dictatorial comments), I say, Mark Knopfler's fingers, hands, and muscles are different to mine so it dawned on me, why not change the neck for me personally, to make it comfortable playing longer periods. Cost me over £570.00 pounds to get it to the UK I ordered a bit more sparkle to the neck with the azurite dots and gold frets. In the stage lights now so many people have said to me the Strat looks fantastic and sounds even better than many others they have listened to.
So basically BECAUSE YOU CAN, Yes???
As a PS I'll add, I have kept every single item removed from the original MK and, when I pop my clogs my other half can put it back to original or include them with it
 

Audiowonderland

Strat-O-Master
Silver Member
Dec 19, 2020
835
Usa
Why would someone buy a Signature guitar and modify it?
The purpose is to pay tribute and to capture a look, sound (albeit thats a rabbit hole) or just run the same gear the hero has.

I am curious albeit as a chronic tinkerer I get it.

The question is why not modify it? Its a tool, not some sacred artifact. If its not getting you what you need, then change it.
 

crankit

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 30, 2017
50
santa fe
I never cared for Eric Clapton that much. But one of my favorites in my collection is my 91 Clapton Strat. At my age its just super easy to play. From Maple neck to gold sensors, the feel and sound is great. I would never change a thing on it. STP60992 (1).JPG STP60990 (1).JPG
 


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