TONE TALK | New Guitar or Mod Upgrades?
Everything changes when you start to learn more about your instrument. As your skills progress, your expectations of your instrument change. You want to achieve a certain sound that your current guitar or bass can't seem to produce. Now looking at the possible ways for you to improve your current instrument can broaden its playability — but is it worth modifying your instrument? Or should you just buy a better one?
In this issue, we'll go through both approaches and see which one works for you. We spoke to two musicians who have gone through modding and purchasing, JB Cesario (Head Guitar Tech of Guitar Pusher) and Makoy Portado (pro session guitarist).
Purchasing a high-end instrument
We have to admit that our instruments are our babies. Shiny, beautiful curves, silky tones, and just jaw-dropping. Having something as such can drive us crazy when we go around town and bars with it. But what are the pros of just buying a better guitar compared to modding?
"If you have the budget for something better, go for it! A great guitar comes with better parts and as you progress in skill you'll learn more about the difference in sound and feel. But the question will always be: "How much is your budget?" I've had amazing guitars through the years, and when I got my Suhr Classic S Pro, it was just a damn good guitar. I had nothing to change, it does what I want it to do. You get what you pay for." - Makoy Portado
And for our head guitar tech:
"Aside from the quality, sound, and overall performance, there is also an element of fulfillment in acquiring a branded guitar. It's a goal that makes our music experience more meaningful. And growing up watching our guitar heroes, it won't hurt us to have the same brand acknowledged by our idols." - JB Cesario
It's true that purchasing a better or high-end guitar will definitely deliver what you expect from it. But do keep in mind that price does not always provide the comfort we're looking for. Some musicians still modify their pricey axes to get a certain feel or tone. So spend time with the guitar, play it, plug it in the shop before pulling the trigger.
Modding an old or new friend
Modifying instruments is something most, if not all, musicians go through at least once in their lives. It gives us the feeling of being unique, special, and just overall awesome to have something no one else has.
"My modded JCraft S style guitar is what I use now in both recording and live performances. It's my bread and butter axe at the moment. To be completely honest, I don't really recommend modding for musicians who are still experimenting. Modding a guitar can eat through your savings, yes, it can get really expensive. Every single part that you are planning to change will cost you money." - Makoy Portado
Makoy's JCraft is packed with the following:
Graphtech Nut and Saddles
Bareknuckle Mother's Milk Pickups
CTS 250k Potentiometers
Orange Drop Capacitor
Switchcraft output jack
"The modification of my first guitar made me achieve a certain feel and sound that compliments the level of where I am in terms of tone shaping and performance. As you play different levels of quality, you get accustomed to that “level” and you realize that some of your tools cannot deliver anymore and that’s where you upgrade." - JB Cesario
JB's Squier is packed with the following:
Graphtech Black Tusq
Bareknuckle Bootcamp Brute Force
CTS 250k Potentiometers
Switchcraft output jack
Hipshot O-Ring Knob
Of course, the choice is yours. Both approaches will give you a different experience and will definitely cost you money. However, just as how everything else in life, you learn in every path you take. And as your fellow musicians, we know that the search for "THE GUITAR" is endless.
FEATURED GUITAR | Tagima TG-520
A taste of Brazilian design. The Tagima TG-520 is Tagima's answer to all of those asking for an H-S-S configuration. A bang for the buck with no compromises. Don't let the price speak for it because from wood quality, hardware, and all the way to the electronic components, their meticulous quality control makes sure that the instrument you take home is gig-worthy.
SCALE: 22 frets
PICKUPS: 2 Tagima single coils and 1 Tagima humbucker
CONTROLS: 1 5-position selector switch, 1 Volume, and 1 Tone
BRIDGE: Chrome or Black Tremolo
DRILLS: Chrome or black
COLORS: Black, Metallic Blue, Metallic Purple, Candy Apple Red, Metallic Gold Yellow, Metallic Surf Green
PICKGUARD: Pearloid white, Black
FEATURED GEAR | Headrush Gigboard
Everything you need in one board. The HeadRush Gigboard® delivers the most versatile, realistic-sounding, and responsive amplifier, cabinet, microphone, and FX models ever found in a road-ready floorboard guitar FX processor.
Featuring a finely-tuned quad-core processor and powered by exclusive Eleven® HD Expanded™ DSP software, the HeadRush Gigboard® delivers the most versatile, realistic-sounding, and responsive amplifier, cabinet, microphone, and FX models ever found in a compact, road-ready floorboard guitar FX processor. The 7-inch touch display enables you to touch, swipe, and drag-and-drop to instantly create and edit your rigs in an unprecedentedly realistic and intuitive way.
Access all these features with the intuitive 7-inch touch screen display. Share your settings and board setup with your bandmates or fellow musicians. The possibilities are endless with the HeadRush Gigboard.