The internet says I *need* this mod!
Every third or fourth phone call I get seems to be from a customer that starts off by saying “I was reading one of the guitar forums, and I think I need…”
The practical guitar tech in me wants to ask “What isn’t this guitar doing on stage that you need it to do?” while the ruthless business man in me wants to say “Absolutely! I can order the parts for you today!” Fortunately for most of my customers, I’m much more of a pragmatic guitar tech, though my accountant wants to knock some sense into me. (We’re all the same person, so my internal monologue can be pretty interesting sometimes.)
Here are my thoughts on all these mods that are available: if it’s based on actual physics and science, it’s probably the real deal. If Frank Ford (frets.com) endorses or invented it, it’s probably the real deal. If Dan Erlewine endorses or invented it, it’s also probably the real deal, but he sometimes comes dangerously close to shilling for StewMac so these days I take his advice with a grain of salt. If Torres sells it, it will be one of those things that you look back at one day and laugh about with embarrassment, like when you got too drunk at a party and made out with the wrong person. Everything else you read on one of the guitar forums is probably utter nonsense.
Mods should usually be thought of as solutions to problems. A lot of players make the mistake of finding a mod and then trying to figure out why they need it. That’s backwards. You should first think about the tone and playability of your guitar, and then look for a mod that fixes the problem.
I’ve come up with a few questions you should ask yourself before considering a mod:
- When I play this guitar on stage, what is lacking in the tone?
- What would make this guitar more playable?
- Is it actually broken?
- Would I notice when playing with a group?
If you think in terms of solving problems, you’re much more likely to find a mod that makes you happy in the long run.