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The 5 types of guitars you should never buy

There are some guitars that exist where the day after you buy them, you know you've made a mistake. I'm going to list 5 of them below.

1. Any guitar with an acrylic body

acrylic guitar

These guitars are commonly known as "see-through" because you can literally see right through the transparent material. The acrylic will usually be "ice" clear (shown in photo), red, blue, orange, yellow or green. An acrylic-bodied guitar is one of the worst you could ever own. Why? Three reasons.

  1. Acrylic does absolutely nothing for tone or sustain no matter what anyone says.
  2. The body is unbelievably heavy. Even heavier than a 1970s Les Paul. It's absolutely required to wear a well-padded guitar strap if you dare play this thing standing up.
  3. No guitar player has ever said that they prefer an acrylic body. That has never happened in the history of electric guitars, and never will.

Do not buy an acrylic-bodied guitar. Stay away from these things.

2. Steinberger Spirit

Steinberger Spirit

While not all Steinberger Spirit guitars are in the squared-off "broom shape" as you see in the photo, most are.

Is the Spirit a good guitar? Yes it is. Does it sound good? Yes it does. Does it play well? Again, yes. So what's the problem? It looks like an unfinished toy. The Spirit guitar has never been able to shake this stigma. As good as the guitar is (and it truly is good), people just never got used to the design.

If you want something from Steinberger that's cool, get the Synapse Demon instead. It's headless, but could very well be the ultimate metal baritone guitar with it's 28-5/8" scale length, EMG pickups and monster crunch-ability.

3. B.C. Rich Bich 10-string

B.C. Rich Bich

The Bich 10-string (and yes it is pronounced the way you think it is) is just one seriously weird guitar. I will give credit where it's due as it is innovative. I will also give credit that in a natural finish, it looks sexy as hell.

As an instrument however, this thing is a nightmare to figure out. The photo above is a factory stock 10-string Bich. You'd think that with all those switches and knobs that it was some guy that built it in his garage and took the guitar way too far, but no, that's the "standard" layout for the 10-string version.

So what do all those switches and knobs actually do? They are: Master Volume, Rhythm Pickup Volume, Pre-amp #1 Volume, Pre-amp #1 On/Off, Pre-amp #2 Volume, Pre-amp #2 On/Off, Phase Switch, Pickup Selector, Six Position Varitone, Dual Sound Rhythm Pickup, Dual Sound Lead Pickup and Master Tone.

Who the hell would remember all that? I couldn't. Don't buy one of these.

4. Fender Esquire

Fender Esquire

All guitar players not familiar with the Esquire all say the same thing upon first seeing one:

"Hey, cool Telecaster! Why is it missing the neck pickup?"

Yeah, that pretty much sums up the Esquire. If you thought the Telecaster was as simple as an electric guitar could get, the Esquire has even less to it.

From a historical point of view, yes the Esquire came first before the Broadcaster which became the Telecaster and that's why it exists. Yes, Fender still makes the Esquire. No, they're not Custom Shop order only. You can buy a "plain" one (as if it could get any plainer) new right now. Should you? No, you shouldn't. You'll always be thinking, "Geez, I should have bought a Telecaster..."

Get a Telecaster instead.

5. Any double-neck guitar

Double Neck Guitar

The double-neck guitar has always been a very, very stupid idea. They are extremely heavy, difficult to play, usually sound awful, take forever to string up, are a serious annoyance to maintain, and the list goes on and on.

The only purpose for the double-neck is that it looks cool on stage, and that's it because as a studio guitar it's horrible.

Just about every guitar company has built a double-neck and continue to churn these pieces of crap out once every few years as special models, mainly because hardly anyone ever buys one and guitar stores have a very difficult time selling them. Anyone who does buy one of these monstrosities usually only uses it on stage to basically say, "Hey, look at me! I'm playing a double-neck!" Whatever. And yeah, it does get attention, but that's its sole purpose in life, and that's what makes it worthless as a real instrument.

(And what attractive guitars should you be buying? See this.)

Published 2012 Jul 6

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