Miscellaneous Rumbles

Is it better to have one really good quality guitar than several me…


A couple of months ago, I had to sell 2/3 of my guitar collection to raise money. One of the guitars was my 2015 SSLVO, and I've been Gretschless ever since (and it's killing me). I've actually been considering selling the rest of my collection to raise enough cash to by a used G6120 1959LTV Chet, or a used Country Club. If I did this, it would be my only guitar for some time. I've been looking at G5420t's and while I find them extremely tempting, having had a Pro-Line Gretsch I just don't know if I'd be happy with one. What do you guys (and girls) have to say?


I would rather have one really good guitar than several mediocre guitars.

However, some guitars suit a situation better than others.


If it were me, I'd opt for having one great guitar over a few mediocre ones. Your thinking of that particular Gent or a Country club tells us you're thinking of the high end/flagship model and it tells me you might be quite disappointed with a lower model. A lower model might mean you end up spending money in upgrades you wouldn't get back when later sold to upgrade to a top end model. With either model you mentioned you'll have a wide range of tones and cover a lot of needs but it depends how fussy you are on specific tones you'd be happy with.


Quality guitars enhance the enjoyment. You probably play more often and better. Get an affordable but nice Telecaster as a second and don't look back.


Back in the day when I first got bitten by the GAS bug (but we didn't know what to call it back then), you only had one guitar. Sure George Harrison had two guitars that he used in concerts (the Country Gentleman and the Tennessean) but no one else did. When I saw the Stones back in '65 both Keith and Brian played their Firebirds the entire concert. They didn't switch off for different sounds, different feels. You might also have an acoustic and/or a 12 string but none of the switching from a Strat to a Tele to a 335 to a Les Paul to a Gretsch etc. that we see today.

For a time, I had both a Strat and a Tennessean but I was looking to sell the Tennessean. Then I sold all the electrics and just kept an acoustic.

So, after the kids left home and I started to get back into things I got a Strat, then a Guild hollow Body, then better Strat, then a Tele, then a 6120, etc. etc. When I started playing with a band my wife was coming to gigs so I had to use several guitars to justify having them all.

Could I get by with one? Sure if I had to. Plus an acoustic. And a 12 string. And an acoustic 12. And a small body acoustic. And a Tele. And a Jazz Box ...

What was the question again?


Absolutely. I'd rather have one absolutely great guitar than a stable of mediocrity. Besides, with just one guitar you are going to be intimately more familiar with it; that's going to make a huge difference too.


Go for the one Pro-Line. Having already had one you’ll be happier in the long run and not satisfied without it. And if you’re happy with it, you may not need another guitar in the future and will be ahead of the game.


Yes! At least one nice Gretsch is a worthy goal.


I haven't had more than one or two guitars for the last 15 years or more. Before that, I felt the need to have an "arsenal." Then something clicked and I realized that it made more sense (for me) to have #1 and a backup. #1 has always been something pretty special, and backup isn't far behind. I don't miss #3 through...who gives a rip. Not in the least.


Hard to say but it’s good to have a variety of guitars to cover different sounds or style of music. So if you can only afford one really nice guitar or a few mediocre guitars of different varieties I’d go for a few mediocre. With that said I think progression as a guitarist is hindered by too many guitars even though you get variety. Only having one guitar allows one to concentrate on playing and learning rather than jumping around to different guitars. Just my theory.


I have too many (8 at last count), and not enough (oddly, also 8).

Each has been obtained to satisfy a particular need- usually a particularly needed sound for the music I was playing at the time.

Lately, I have managed to downsize by selling off the backups I kept around when I was gigging 170+ nights a year. They'd become case queens, but I found they still had value when they funded my T5z

So for now, Eight is Enough...

For now.

Interesting footnote- the least-expensive (to me) guitar in my collection is my Chet. I paid all of $650 for it. Of course, that was in 1974!


I had to sell a ton of gear almost a year ago to get by, I actually do only own one guitar and it's a 53 VS duo jet. One amp also. I don't miss any of the other stuff, so I'm in the camp of quality over quantity. Duo jet and princeton, high quality and really versatile! I have a small handful of pedals, so that helps, but I really only ever use my favorite delay, the Way Huge Aqua Puss


One great guitar is better. The guitar should be a better instrument than you are a player to keep you inspired and give you room to explore and grow.

Mediocre guitars are like amps with no headroom. The constraints can be fun, but overall they’re usually only good for one or two things.

Fortunately for us, most high end Gretsch guitars are more capable than most players. And I don’t mean that as a knock against the players.

That said, after you have at least one great guitar, it can’t hurt to build a collection.


I'd be in the one guitar camp, and you simply can't go wrong with the 6120-59, as long as you are ok with the smaller frets (which is my sticking point- other than that that guitar is for me, the most desirable). The exception is if you are gigging. Then, it is nice to have a backup, say a 5420, if the gig is at a place where you feel less secure about your guitars' safety (theft/temperature/getting knocked over) and especially if it is a louder venue where subtleties in sound may be lost.

I like to bring my best gear to gigs, I don't believe in case queens, but, I try to use common sense gig by gig. You aren't losing much by playing a 5420 imho, especially with TV Jones, but, yes, for me the Pro Line is the one to have if you can only have one.


Another vote for one great guitar. I'm lucky to have six great guitars - if you can have a great guitar why have an average guitar? I need all the help I can get!

I don't understand guys who have loads of mediocre guitars. I would much rather have one great guitar. And a 6120 can be a great guitar. My SSLVO is just wonderful.

Actually today I was wondering which guitar I would keep if I only had one - and I think it would be the RI Gibson ES-225. It can do pretty much everything I ever want to do.


I think cqs nails it. Get the good one now and then a lesser one later when you can for those times you might not want to take out the good one for whatever reason.


I agree that it's better to have one good guitar as well but that could easily be a G5420. Karolyn's G5420T feels and plays just as nice as my Falcon and I'm not saying anything bad about my Falcon. They're just that darned good. If you have to compromise for cost, I'd say go with the G5420T. You won't be disappointed,IMHO.

And NO I ain't selling my Falcon.


I also vote for one seriously good guitar.

Perspective -- My guitar-playing life began more than 6 decades ago. Per Don Birchett's comments above, for most of those years the idea of multiple guitars was totally foreign to me. "What if I had been a pianist....??"

I believe (like others here) that you can accomplish more in developing your skills and sounds with a high quality piece than a mediocre one.


I’d also rather have one great guitar and one other instrument rather than one great guitar and one mediocre one. I’ve found other instruments make me a better guitarist. Dexterity has gone way up since getting a bass, understanding theory has gotten better since learning (or trying to learn) piano. I know many guitarists that learned to write melodies from playing horns and learned song structure from drumming. Everything connects... eventually.


Don't make the mistake of conflating "mediocre" with "inexpensive." I have a number of guitars that didn't cost a lot, but there's nothing "mediocre" about them --- they're all really good.

Still, if your style of playing and the music you want to make can be accomplished on one guitar, I'd vote to start with one great one, then add variety later when you have the means and the desire.


Don't make the mistake of conflating "mediocre" with "inexpensive." I have a number of guitars that didn't cost a lot, but there's nothing "mediocre" about them --- they're all really good.

Still, if your style of playing and the music you want to make can be accomplished on one guitar, I'd vote to start with one great one, then add variety later when you have the means and the desire.

– Parabar

I was going to say exactly that. Also- regarding the comments about "connecting" with a guitar... that has NOTHING to do with price. A cheaper Electromatic might INDEED BE "the" guitar you connect with OVER a Pro-line... in which case, TO YOU, the Pro-line is the "mediocre" guitar and the Electro the great one.


Oh yeah, one great guitar is way better than several mediocre guitars. I have several great guitars, rather than a boatload of cheapies. My Electromatic 5422, was the least expensive, but my is probably my favorite. I've been concentrating on improving my fingerstyle, and the 5422 is excellent for this. I bought it about a year and a half ago, and I returned the first one back to the Guitar Center (online), for having a bridge pinned off center, but everything was perfect with the second one. I think that is the risk of buying a less expensive guitar.

As ThePolecats and BuddyHollywood mentioned, I need several different guitars, to cover different sounds. If they can be afforded, that's the way to go. But if only one could be afforded, I'd opt for having just one great guitar.

Parabar brought up something that I couldn't agree more with, don't confuse price with quality, there are so many great guitars, that cost significantly less than a name brand, like Gibson. I've always said that "with Gibson, you pay a third for the body, a third for the neck and a third for the name!

I've noticed, over the years, that many of the great guitarists, have only one guitar (or type of guitar) that they play. It allows the guitarist to be extremely proficient on that one instrument. They know it inside and out, and never have to readjust to a different model. It can take me a few minutes to switch gears mentally, when I switch guitars.


Tone is in the ear, and that goes for what "quality" represents.

I'd rather have several guitars, because "mediocrity" can still sound dang good through a decent amp.

Mediocrity may not really be mediocre. It's all in the ear!

Addendum: The music played, the sounds, the melodies, those are the art. The guitars and amps are just the tools, like paintbrushes and canvases.



Don't make the mistake of conflating "mediocre" with "inexpensive." I have a number of guitars that didn't cost a lot, but there's nothing "mediocre" about them --- they're all really good.

Still, if your style of playing and the music you want to make can be accomplished on one guitar, I'd vote to start with one great one, then add variety later when you have the means and the desire.

– Parabar

I've got a bunch of guitars that are really just 60s Japanese hunk-o-junk things...Kawais, Teiscos, Fujigens...love 'em all. They feel clunky and a bit like toys but they have their own thing and a unique voice. Also very inexpensive

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