We guitarists love to debate our instruments. Every minor detail must be analyzed at great and unnecessary lengths. Reputations have been staked on wild and unfounded claims and guitar players egos built on every variety of myth and misconception. Here are 7 of the dumbest guitar myths we’ve ever heard.
1.Rosewood vs Maple Fretboard
The rosewood vs maple fretboard discussion is as old as time. A myth so deeply engrained in the psyches of guitar players everywhere that to question it is akin to committing heresy. The myth states that maple fretboards produce a snappy, sharp tone, while rosewood yields a soft and warm tone.
For decades, guitarist led astray by this myth have wasted hours contemplating and furiously debating the difference between rosewood and maple. And all to no avail, since time and time again comparisons demonstrate that between the two types there is virtually very little difference in tone nor any tonal consistency between guitars with the same type of fretboard, it’s almost like the rest of the wood your guitars made from is what actually makes a difference.
2.If you like a Certain Band or Genre you have to Play a Particular Guitar
One of the dumbest myths you come across as a guitar player is the idea that if you like a certain band or want to play a particular genre of music then you have to have a specific guitar. You like AC/DC then get the SG, you like Joe Satriani then play an Ibanez, and so on. This is nonsense.
Play the guitar that feels right for you. Of course, pick a guitar that looks good to you as well, but also choose one that has a nice neck profile and that feels comfortable in your hands. Most importantly, pick a guitar that you enjoy playing. This way you will end up playing more and becoming a better guitarist.
Don’t worry about what genre a guitar is intended for (or rather associated with). Just choose the guitar you like the best and play whatever music you want to. Play country on an Ibanez and death metal on a Stratocaster, whatever feels good to you.
3.Small Strat Headstock vs the Big Strat Headstock
Some people claim the size of the headstock on the Fender Stratocaster alters the tone, adds sustain, or changes the weight in a way that affects the guitar’s sound. All of this is nonsense and thus constitutes one of the dumbest myths we’ve ever come across.
The real reason Fender changed to a larger headstock was to create more space for their logo. That’s it. No precision engineering involved, just good old fashioned marketing.
4.Boiling your Strings Brings Back Their Tone<
Some guitar players claim that treating your strings like inedible, metallic spaghetti will bring back their tone. Simply bring a pan of water to the boil, throw in your used strings and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally….If this sounds strange to you that’s because it is!
Whether or not this technique works is besides the point. Removing and replacing the strings results in all sorts of extra kinks and curves. The strings will be weakened, they are liable to fall out of tune quicker, and will not play as well. And really, is buying a set of new strings occasionally that much of a problem?
5.You Should Only Buy American Made Guitars
While this might have been true during the glory days of American manufacturing dominance, these days high-quality guitars are being made all over the place. Guitars made in China, Indonesia, or where ever, can easily be as good as guitars made in the USA. This myth is probably perpetuated by the like of Fender who farm their cheaper models out to other countries.
So, unless you are buying American for nationalistic, trade war reasons, then just buy whatever guitar you like the best.
6.F-Holes On Electric Guitars Alter the Tone of a Guitar
Most people are familiar with the Gibson L5, which features two f-holes on either side of the body. These days lots of different guitar models include f-holes and conventional wisdom would tell us that the addition of the f-hole will greatly alter a guitar’s tone. People will tell you that f-hole guitars are great for jazz, that they have an airy tone with exceptional high-end, etc.
In reality, the main function of the f-hole is mostly aesthetic, beyond that, they do project some sound so in certain settings that will blend into the mix, ie if you mic the guitar up as well as the amp. They do not change the tone one bit.
Nitro Finishes vs Poly Finishes
It was once claimed that nitro finishes sound better than poly finishes. This wild myth took root and became an obsession for many a foolish guitarist. Let’s be clear about something: pickups are responsible for 90% of a guitars tone, while the other 10% is derived from numerous other factors, none of which are nitro or poly.
Beginners should start with cheap guitars? Why? You’re more likely to write off the loss and it’s harder.
Beginners should start with acoustics, same issue for difficulty.
Thicker gauge strings mean thicker tone.
True bypass = better tone
Have you heard an even dumber guitar myth? Share it with us in the comment section below.