Rip it Up. Literally …

“There will always be people like myself who baby their equipment, but we can also agree that minor cosmetic damage can add character, and even complement your gear. Natural wear and tear is great for personalization. Not only does it show that you play the damn thing, you can truly say “this one is mine. There are many like it but this one is mine”. The point I am trying to come across is that, this minor damage can be great but major cracks, dents, tears or even fire damage from the drummer spilling his beer on your head, are not.”

 The above text, for those who are just tuning in, was from some of my previous work on “Diamond Amps” and what inspired this next piece. From early in, most of us have come across pictures of our rock star heroes with damaged or bastardized guitars. Long before he was with Ernie Ball, Eddie Van Halen was so firmly known for the Frankenstrat, Dimebag mimicked the idea for his Dean. Stevie Ray Vaughan was always known to be hard on his instruments, more so with the guitar he called his “first wife”. As I think of Hendrix and his make due, south paw guitar, I realize these are all strats. I promise you, this is a happy coincidence. Now aware, I will address other stage worthy damage. You may not know Tom “Pig Champion” Roberts (1958 – 2006), but he was as big as they come. He rocked an Ibanez Iceman with the iconic cutaway broken off. Lastly a man, I like to call “The Last Bluesman”. Seasick Steve was a hobo, tramp and a bum who played on the streets for spare change. Obviously things have changed since then, but he still carries around his Three-String Trance Wonder. A hallow body guitar he bought for $75 and he would keep it in the same condition he bout it in. This story is briefly written on the guitar, above and to the left of the duct tape pickup. One more, and I promise we will move on, I promise. Watch the Accept “Teutonic Terror” music video. 0:17 in, and you see a battle tested Jackson V and Squier bass. Might I also add, it is nice to see a dude smile while playing heavy music.

 Sharper guitars do have a tendency to be damaged. The first that would come to mind, would vary from person to person. For me it would be my Jackson Randy Roads. The pointed end of that guitar has more chips then Doritos, as would any Warlock, or Bich. Flying V guitars will most likely have scratch marks on the base due to the inherent ability to double as its own guitar stand. This is just the nature of the B.C. Rich Beast. Damage as such simply reminds us that these are tools, and are always prone to damage. They may be badass and downright sexy tools when compared to your mundane ratchet, but they are tools none the less. Even if you have the most sinister hammer around, it would still only pound nails. It was a bass clinic I attended for Victor Wooten, and was inspired by this simple fact that music is individual and not at all a part of the instrument. This is evident with Seasick Steve. If one guitar passes around to a thousand people, never would the same style be heard. You may hear “Back in Black” a few times, but each individual stroke of rhythm would be individual habits, much like the grind of the pick. I can’t remember what band it was, but the bass player had one deep arched scratch from the pick, pivoting from the elbow. To me, it was a beautiful site, regardless of what I thought of the band (I honestly don’t remember). Not only does it expose his habits, it also shows me how intense he plays those four strings. It can be a hard thing for a bassist to stand out.

 It is here I will point out the “Road Worn” series Fender released and the ESP Truckster prior to that. Some people may be attracted to the manufactured effect but others would view these as a pair of $500 torn jeans their daughters or wives want to buy, and would rather their own personal mistakes to grace the gloss. I am honestly not sure how I feel about the concept of “pre-worn” instruments, even as esthetics. Certainly wouldn’t pay extra for it. Also consider how this is a one way door. As much as I love seeing a cracked and beat down Zildjian, at a professional level, it looks gaudy. I don’t expect them all to shine, but if it needs duct tape, it should probably go on the wall after it is signed by Slayer.

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Filed Under: FeaturedGuitarsCommentary / Editorials

About the Author: Started playing bass at 15. It was Danko Jones who inspired me to play at all, and in a small town I couldn't be picky on what I can get my hands on, so I bought a squire with pride. Obtained a B.C. Rich guitar months later. Moved to the city at 17. At 19 joined my first metal band as a bassist which ended at 20. Joined a bass heavy rock band, which I loved being in whole heartily. I now wait to venture into a new project. For the time being though, I am exploring my abilities as a writer.

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