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View Poll Results: What are your Bling preferences?
I am over 60, no bling on any guitar 18 10.71%
I am over 60, a little tasteful bling on a guitar or two 62 36.90%
I am over 60, lots of bling on one guitar 15 8.93%
I am under 60, no bling on any guitar 24 14.29%
I am under 60, a little tasteful bling on a guitar or two 46 27.38%
I an under 60, lots of bling on one guitar 10 5.95%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 168. You may not vote on this poll

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  #16  
Old 02-23-2018, 10:36 AM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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I don't think I'd ever buy a guitar for bling. If a *little* bling were in the design I wouldn't mind, but it wouldn't sway me one way or the other... unless it were too much. There is one rule that I live by that transcends many of life's aspects:


When you over-do a special effect, it's no longer special!
When you over-do a special effect, it's no longer special!
When you over-do a special effect, it's no longer special!

See what I mean?
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  #17  
Old 02-23-2018, 10:49 AM
Mad Rose Mad Rose is offline
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Used to think it was OK to have a fancy acoustic. Nowadays, I prefer a sedate looking model, leaning more towards 28 style appts. Thatís w/o saying, a 000-42 would certainly be a dream guitar for me...
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  #18  
Old 02-23-2018, 11:09 AM
SuperB23 SuperB23 is offline
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For me its always tone and playability first, if there's bling and beautiful woods that's a plus too.

I enjoy tasteful well done inlays. Some are a bit over the top for my tastes but I think like a D-45 is a thing of beauty for example. Some of the crazy vine inlays on the fretboard are just a bit much for my tastes.
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  #19  
Old 02-23-2018, 11:25 AM
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Years ago I would have said no thank you. Now it does not bother, as long as the guitar can live up to the bling.
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  #20  
Old 02-23-2018, 11:52 AM
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I chose over 60 and have 1 or 2 with bling.

I guess my guiding principle is that the way a guitar looks should be in the spirit of the type of guitar it is and the era from which it came.

So, my Guild 12-string has those big, blocky, pearl-and-abalone fingerboard inlays and Guild shield logo on the headstock. But those, for me, are inherent to what the guitar is. It's an iconic Guild with a design that has been largely unchanged since its origins more than a half-century ago. Similarly, when I had a Gibson SJ-200, it was heavy on bling. I wasn't wild about the look and would never trick out any other model of guitar with that much ornamentation. But it was a guitar designed by a cowboy who wanted something to catch people's eyes at a rodeo. Again, the appearance was consistent with the history and context of the guitar's origins. To a degree, that look was definitive of that particular guitar.

The various versions of Waterloo guitars all resemble the instruments that inspired them and I like that. Some are quite plain, others fancier. But the look seems right for each individual model. There really isn't any bling strictly for its own sake. It's there (or not) on these because it was there (or not) on the models that inspired each model.

I have some mandolins and banjos that are laden with bling. But they're instruments from the era between the 1890s and late 1920s when that's how good-quality instruments looked. The bling on those old instruments is original and looks right to my eye. My non-vintage mandolins/banjos were almost always far plainer, the exception being a 5-string Gold Star that I bought in the 1970s that was a reproduction of a 1930s Gibson. Just like the originals it had the wreath inlay on the fingerboard, fiddle-cut headstock, and the other classic appointments. Again, the bling was there because it was how the original that inspired it was ornamented, not just to jazz up the appearance arbitrarily.

Most of my guitars aren't necessarily calling back to a previous era so there's no normative appearance constraints. To the extent that they are inspired by earlier instruments, they, like the models they are based on, are quite plain. And most of them are very simple, with nice woods, maybe some wooden or ivoroid binding, and simple position dots on the fretboard. Absent any external reason for bling, I'm usually happy with a fairly clean, unadorned appearance. Occasionally, I've come across specific instruments that I really liked that had a bit more bling (like maybe an abalone rosette) than I would not necessarily have gone for. But I liked that guitar enough to buy it without actually giving much thought to its appearance. In those cases, the bling wasn't the reason for the purchase, but just something that came along for the ride.
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  #21  
Old 02-23-2018, 11:59 AM
Lakedaisy Lakedaisy is offline
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70 years old. Some have bling. Some don't. I don't really care, love 'em all. I do know that I would never "not buy a guitar" because it did or didn't have bling.
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  #22  
Old 02-23-2018, 12:23 PM
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Hair over 60 here. I have one Alvarez that has abalone as part of the top binding. I like the guitar very much in spite of that for playability, fit and tone, but I think it's gaudy.

I prefer my bling to be done with different wood inlays; whether purfling and binding or fret markers. I especially like custom design inlays around the soundhole and on the headstock, although there I like a little abalone tear drop or antique style diamond design. I think using different varieties and colors of wood really brings home that the instrument is made of organic materials, and celebrates the source. It also looks warmer, and to me feels more intimate.
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  #23  
Old 02-23-2018, 12:45 PM
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Bought my D-41 mainly for its tone and playability...but its sweet bling is a nice bonus. Gotta say, though, that by the time you get to the D-45...well, too much bling for this boy. But to each his own.
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  #24  
Old 02-23-2018, 12:54 PM
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Way under 60, and no bling at all.
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  #25  
Old 02-23-2018, 01:05 PM
Chedeng88 Chedeng88 is offline
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42 style bling with torch inlay on the headstock. Classic. Tasteful.
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  #26  
Old 02-23-2018, 01:25 PM
Willie Voltaire Willie Voltaire is offline
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Oops -- I misread the poll. Subtract 1 from "Over 60 and no bling on any guitar" and add 1 to " Under 60 and no bling on any guitar."

Or wait two years and it'll be accurate again!
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  #27  
Old 02-23-2018, 01:36 PM
TominNJ TominNJ is offline
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I’m over 60. I like the 42 and 45V bling with the snowflake neck. Combine it with a shade top and and I start drooling. Not a fan of the 41 / 45 block fret markers.
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  #28  
Old 02-23-2018, 01:39 PM
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'I am over 60, a little tasteful bling on a guitar or two'

If that had read, 'I am over 60, a little tasteful bling on all my guitars' I would have voted for it.
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  #29  
Old 02-23-2018, 01:53 PM
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I'm under 60, barely, no bling for me... Unless herringbone counts as bling. That being said I bought the HD-28 for the sound not for the herringbone trim. I'll also say I doubt I could find a blinged out guitar that would have the sound, playability, and price to get me to buy it.
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  #30  
Old 02-23-2018, 02:18 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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So wait - you're saying that you think that the new Martin D-200 I picked up to use as a beater has "excessive bling?!?"





Martin D-200 Backpacking Guitar


I'll have you know that this is a highly practical guitar: there's a fully functional timepiece inlaid into the headstock. That way when I'm laboring away in some funky old bar, swatting away drunks who stagger onstage with my trusty Martin, I can look at the headstock and see exactly what time it is!

Now, tell me that's not practical! It's worth every dime!!

Okay, the fanciest guitar I actually own is a 000-42 similar to the one shown in this photo:



Martin 000-42

That's not my guitar; mine, in fact, wasn't built by Martin but by luthier Scott Baxendale. Scott's a great guy and an incredible guitar builder. But at the time he built my Triple O for me he was going through some personal turmoil in his life, including, eventually, a divorce. So there was a six month delay past when he said he'd have the guitar finished.

Which to me was no big deal: custom instruments often take longer than initially promised. But Scott felt bad about the delay, and while I had ordered the guitar as a copy of a herringbone purfling-trimmed 000-28 copy, he decided to go ahead and trim it as a 000-42. At no extra charge.

Which was incredibly generous of him, but when I first received the guitar I had mixed feelings: I hadn't ordered it with that level of ornamentation. What's more, in 1988 when he built it there simply weren't all that many guitars that fancy in circulation. So I just wasn't used to the idea, and was afraid that other musicians would regard me as being overly ostentatious.

But I got used to it soon enough, and if any of my musical colleagues made snide comments, they kept them to themselves.....

That's the one super-fancy guitar I've ever owned, though when I was working with the Tacoma Guitar Company on guitar designs as a beta tester I had some guitars nearly as fancy pass through my hands.

None of them stuck the way that my Baxendale Mossman 000-42 has, though. That's a lifetime guitar, and it'll be staying in the family: when my daughter was four she marched up to me one time when I was sitting and playing guitar and said:

"Daddy, when you die, that's the guitar of yours that I want!"

I was a little bit taken aback, and said: "Uh, well, okay, honey, but I'm not planning on dying for a long, long time."

She said: "I know, but I wanted YOU to know that that's the guitar I want!"

I said: "Duly noted." My wife was in the room at the time, too, so my daughter has a witness!

Anyway, back to fancy guitars: the main reason I don't have any others is that the really fancy ones cost a lot more money, and I've never exactly been awash in extra cash like this guy:



Not Actually A Video Of Wade Hampton Miller

So my answer to the overall question of ornamentation on guitars and other musical instruments is: get what you like, can afford and can live with for a long period of time. If you want a fancy guitar and can buy one without blowing your mortgage money, get one.



Billie Holiday

As the song made famous by Billie Holiday tells us: "It ain't nobody's business if you do..."


Wade Hampton Miller
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