As most are well aware, I very rarely get attached to gear. To me, it's tools for the job & I believe most of the tone & "your sound" comes from the player. Having said that, I have bonded with maybe a half dozen guitars out of around 100 that I've owned. Some just sucked. Some fit what I needed for a particular set of gigs I was involved with. And some just had that magic where the stars aligned at that time & it worked on every possible way. Of the guitars that have become my #1 instrument for several years, they stick around because they are the best playing instrument I've come across.
The problem with me is that I never just settle. When I came across another instrument that outplays & outperforms, #1 becomes #2 or soon finds it way out the door in favor of the new #1. Repeat as necessary. It's not so much "Gear Acquisition Syndrome" or "Who has the most toys, wins," but more of a refinement of what Shannon likes & finding that ultimate instrument for all my peculiarities. When what I thought was the perfect instrument for me gets trump by a newcomer, I have no qualms with selling off an instrument to get one notch closer to my personal sonic nirvana & something that plays just as I've envisioned.
1. 1984 Yamaha Eterna EF-15 - It's my 1st guitar that I began playing on in late 1984 & my only acoustic. I spent my first 10 years of playing on that guitar. Giant baseball bat neck, strung with 13s in standard E. Those frets are very worn. While the guitar is essentially worthless to everybody but me, there's a huge amount of sentimental value & it will never leave.
2. 1997 Ibanez UV777BK (all-black) - My 1st 7-string that I bought new in early 1997. What a revelation for me. I really wanted the black/green model, but they discontinued them at the end of 1996. Anyway, I had been tuning my 6-strings down low for several years & unlike most, I didn't want to go lower. I wanted my high E string back. The 7-string gave me a standard tuned & baritone tuned guitar in one. This is the guitar that started my 7 craze. I had a ball with this guitar & it was one of the most musically productive times in my life.
3. 1999 Ibanez UV777BK (black/chrome) - A friend of mine had acquired this guitar from a guy who had Steve Vai's guitar tech trick it out with 6000 fretwire & some of the lowest action I had ever felt. From the moment I played it, there was an instant connection. Like buttah! My friend had an instant with my custom RG7620 that had been modded with an all white finish, EMGs & 3-way LP selector. We traded straight across. I used this UV for several years & I wrote some of the most technically demanding music I've ever come up with. It just begged to be played with ferocity. Unfortunately, this UV & my ESP 7 were stolen out of my car in a guitar center parking lot around 2002. Sad, sad day. Which leads me to....
4. Steinberger Spirit GU-7R (flamed green) - In 2002, I bought this guitar from MusicYo. At the time, everything I wrote required a 7, so this was basically a travel/practice guitar for home. When the UV & ESP were stolen, I was left with one guitar in my possession....this guy. I slapped on a set of 13s & tuned it to Bb & away we went. I had to adapt my 7-string arrangments to a 6 because I just didn't have the money for a replacement 7. Little did I know that I would fall in love with this guitar. I loved the way a headless played. Perfectly balanced. The less you're fighting with a guitar, the better you play. It really opened my eyes to what a wonderful design steinbergers are & it worked perfectly for Byaxis (super demanding technical band I was doing at the time) & for a variety of cover gigs. It was my main guitar for several years & I had 2 more GU-7Rs (black & white) as my backup/alternate tuning guitars. Unfortunately, I hit hard times when I was laid off. I sold the green one to a friend for $200 because I was dying financially. It killed me to do it, but I had to do. There's a lot of sentimental attachment to that guitar. Over the years, I had offered to buy it back for up to twice what I originally sold it for, but no deal. Oh well.
5. "Greenie" The Mike Sherman-ized 1991 Ibanez UV777GR - You all know Greenie. I had been searching for a GR for 12 years & it just happened that Steve here was selling his for a great price. It was instant love & was everything I hoped it would be. At this time, I was way better off financially. I had built a nest egg, was playing a TON of paying gigs & started building quite an arsenal of gear. However, NOTHING I played, even guitars costing 3x as much, even came close to how well Greenie played. I was offered some amazing guitars if I would trade Greenie, but I couldn't do it. As a gear whore, it was so weird for me to actually NOT want another guitar. Greenie was the go-to instrument for the hundreds of guitar gigs I did from 2008-2011. I bonded with her musicially moreso than any other instrument up to that time. I thought she's be around forever until.....
6. "Strypoverse" The bastardized Ibanez 7 - ....fucking Donnie creates the Strypoverse.
Donnie has a very special gift with making guitars play unbelievable. He spent many hours hand crafting this guitar. This guitar called out to me in many ways though. Playability & setup aside...
1. I love old school Universe necks & this neck was the best I had ever come across. Donnie's abilities are the stuff of legend. He knows how to make a guitar perform at its best & most of what makes this guitar's mojo is that.
2. I'm a HUGE EVH fan, so the black/yellow stripe design called to me.
3. I'm a HUGE Dimebag fan & EVH's original black/yellow guitar was laid to rest with Dimebag. Two of my musical heros encapsulated into one 7-string. Perfect...Shannon....guitar. Unfortunately, the affair lasted around a year because I've recently discovered Carvin 7-strings & I'm just floored by them. As a mainly diehard Ibanez 7-string player for 15 years now, it's hard for me to admit there are sonic better guitars out there, but there are.
When I sell off a guitar I've become attached to, it's only because I've found something this is superior to what I thought was previously untouchable & the pinnacle of playability for me. When those revelations happen, I just want to move up. I currently have a Carvin headless HH2X on order & I'm making my final specs for a Carvin DC700 or DC747. The search is never ending, but I've enjoyed my time with each of these killer instruments.