Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Guitar heroes: When the magic transfers from rock stars to instruments
University of Chicago Press Journals ^ | February 14, 2011 | Unknown

Posted on 02/15/2011 4:39:17 AM PST by decimon

Budding guitarists seek the magical powers of rock hero instruments, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Like people from the Middle Ages who sought saints' relics, modern consumers like the budding rock guitarist desire fetishes (objects perceived as magical and possessing extraordinary power)" write authors Karen V. Fernandez (University of Aukland, New Zealand) and John L. Lastovicka (Arizona State University).

"We live in a world where anybody with a modest amount of money can buy a close copy or a replica of a desired object," the authors write. "We wanted to know why consumers who desired a particular rock star's instrument would settle for replicas of it; and how those copies became perceived as special, magical objects in their own right."

The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with sixteen men who owned more than one guitar and resided either in New Zealand or the United States. They found that many participants believed in the idea of "contagious magic" (the idea that two entities that touch can influence each other). For example, many fans want to have rock stars sign their instruments, and one established performer explained how he used another rock star's discarded guitar strings.

The research also revealed that replica guitars appeal to participants' belief in "imitative magic" (things that look alike are alike). "They often bought the best possible copy they could attain, and then if needed, made further changes to it so that it resembled the desired object even more closely," the authors explain. For example, some consumers switch out knobs on their guitars to more closely resemble the instruments of the artists they admired.

When players acquire new instruments, they play them often and become bonded with the objects. "A guitar then often becomes perceived as a player's confidant, companion, collaborator, wife, girlfriend, or muse," the authors write. And guitar players act out their fantasies by playing their guitars in private and in public.

"A fetish object does not guarantee a hit recording, a major league record, or a safe return home from battle," the authors write. "However, fetish objects increase confidence and reduce anxiety and hence increase performance."

###

Karen V. Fernandez and John L. Lastovicka. "Making Magic: Fetishes in Contemporary Consumption." Journal of Consumer Research: August 2011. Further information: http://ejcr.org. To be published online soon.


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment; Society
KEYWORDS: academia; guitars; intelligentsia; rocknroll
You know who you are.
1 posted on 02/15/2011 4:39:18 AM PST by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: decimon
Sure, close your eyes and picture Jimi igniting his fender, Townsend wind-milling (then smashing) his, Bo Diddley's square sound box, Dickey Bett's red guitar.....
Mmmmm
2 posted on 02/15/2011 4:51:55 AM PST by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

They call it GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) and it’s discussed ad infinitum on music forums.

I own three Stratocasters and God knows what else so I’m happily unaffected by the phenomenon....


3 posted on 02/15/2011 5:02:00 AM PST by relictele
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

Strats. Arguably the most beautiful solid body electric ever created.


4 posted on 02/15/2011 5:02:59 AM PST by sauropod (The truth shall make you free but first it will make you miserable.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Great scene in the movie "Blowup" (1966) -- the Yardbirds perform in a small club, and Jeff Beck's sound system acts up. In anger, he smashes his guitar and throws it into the crowd. People fight over it and somehow the main character (David Hemmings) ends up with the neck of the guitar. He is chased by the crowd, but eludes them and ends up on the street, holding the neck of Jeff Beck's guitar.

He looks at it, shrugs, and drops it on the sidewalk and leaves. Someone waiting for a bus notices this, goes over, glances at the guitar neck, shrugs, and decides not to pick it up.

Because it's junk.

5 posted on 02/15/2011 5:06:08 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (BO + MB = BOMB -- The One will make sure they get one.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon
The people who do this sort of thing are the people who can't really play. REAL players know better. It's fine to cop licks off your heroes, but to try to imitate them, down to what pick and strings they use, etc., is just hero worship. It's no different than grown men wearing a replica of some professional athlete's jersey. It's the behavior of a fan boy. Find your own identity.

I have about 12 guitars. Did I say "about"? Do I really not know exactly how many I own? Aaaah, life is good.

6 posted on 02/15/2011 5:14:48 AM PST by Huck (one per-center)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sauropod

I’m a Tele man. I don’t know why I never liked the feel of Strats. Weird, because most people love the contoured body. I like the square body of a Tele. I do like the 3 pickup, 5 position configuration of Strats. Both my Teles have that setup. One has a Bigsby. Rosewood fretboad. The other is a hard tail with a maple neck. Love em.


7 posted on 02/15/2011 5:17:04 AM PST by Huck (one per-center)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: decimon
All that haughtiness aside, I wouldn't mind a little alone time with this baby, just for fun:

TIGER by Doug Irwin

8 posted on 02/15/2011 5:21:40 AM PST by Huck (one per-center)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sauropod; Huck

There are two kinds of guitar players, Fender guys and Gibson guys. Now you can like both Fender and Gibson, but nobody likes them both the same.

Personlly I’m very fond of my Squier ‘51, arguably the best cheap guitar ever made. Strat body, tele neck and a split coil humbucker in the bridge. Best of all worlds. If only Fender would make a top quality version.


9 posted on 02/15/2011 5:33:55 AM PST by Hugin ("A man'll usually tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear it"--- BTW)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Huck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdtlWmjoEms/


10 posted on 02/15/2011 5:36:05 AM PST by waterhill (Up the Irons!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

“Now you can like both Fender and Gibson, but nobody likes them both the same.”

Not totally true.

I like both my Strat and my Les Paul just as equally.

It really all depends upon what you are playing as to which one is the most desirable for the song.

Different sounds require different instruments.


11 posted on 02/15/2011 5:38:33 AM PST by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: decimon
they play them often ... "fetish objects increase confidence and reduce anxiety and hence increase performance."

Key points there, played often and reduced anxiety means practiced and relaxed. It's not the object, per se (although it IS easier to correctly play a quality instrument than a crap one), it's the state of control and mind that make the most difference.

Schecter here - duly noting that the pickups suck. Anybody starting a child out on an electric, I recommend the Ibanez Mikro. Great sound, decent hardware all around.

12 posted on 02/15/2011 5:47:04 AM PST by Cboldt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bigh4u2

I’ve owned most of the Fenders and Gibson/Epiphones over the years (if I still had them all I would be darn near rich), and I liked one more than the others, just not always the same ones. But I didn’t say you weren’t allowed to change your mind. Still, there’s usually one that you pick up to noodle around on day in, day out.


13 posted on 02/15/2011 5:49:36 AM PST by Hugin ("A man'll usually tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear it"--- BTW)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Electric Guitars are indeed Magical Instruments and a Guitar played extensively by one of the "Guitarati" becomes imbued with god-like super powers enabling the ordinary Guitar player to achieve Guitar Hero level playing skill!

Everyone knows this...

14 posted on 02/15/2011 5:50:00 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

“There are two kinds of guitar players, Fender guys and Gibson guys. “

Tell that to the PRS players.


15 posted on 02/15/2011 5:57:55 AM PST by Rebelbase
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

“Still, there’s usually one that you pick up to noodle around on day in, day out.”

Actually, I don’t.

I usually don’t touch my guitars unless I need to learn something new.

Over the years (47) I do less and less ‘noodling’ than I used to.

I’ve been very fortunate that I seem to able to retain most everything I learn. Even if it’s been years.

Hasn’t really gotten me anywhere, but at least I still remember it.

:0)


16 posted on 02/15/2011 6:07:04 AM PST by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

I should mention that’s 47 years of playing.

I’m older.. :0)


17 posted on 02/15/2011 6:09:33 AM PST by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Bigh4u2
I’m older.. :0)

Yeah, me too (sigh).

But I still like to noodle around and try to come up with something new for fun. And I usually pick up a fender.

18 posted on 02/15/2011 6:12:46 AM PST by Hugin ("A man'll usually tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear it"--- BTW)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Huck
" . . . Find your own identity . . ."

EXACTLY!

19 posted on 02/15/2011 6:18:17 AM PST by blues_guitarist (ISLAM=DEATH!! . . . . . . black & humble . . .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: decimon

“Researching” guitarists is like grasping a handful of air. You’ll never get it. Fuggeddaboudit. And go stick your probes and meters somewhere else.


20 posted on 02/15/2011 6:20:05 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (talk to the hand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Huck
Can't bring myself to get a tele, but if I did, it would be setup as you describe - that's the "Nashville" thing, right?

Johnny Winter once said he just couldn't play a strat. Loved the sound, but the pickups always interfered with his hand. It is an issue.

Anyway, every true Tele man knows about this site.

21 posted on 02/15/2011 6:25:54 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (talk to the hand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Huck
Can't bring myself to get a tele, but if I did, it would be setup as you describe - that's the "Nashville" thing, right?

Johnny Winter once said he just couldn't play a strat. Loved the sound, but the pickups always interfered with his hand. It is an issue.

Anyway, every true Tele man knows about this site.

22 posted on 02/15/2011 6:28:22 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (talk to the hand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: decimon
I don't think that aspiring jazz players like myself have such a fetish for their guitar heroes' instruments.

But a lot of guys shot heroin in the 40s and 50s, because they thought it would make them play like Bird.

I love my Gretsch Country Classic Jr. though -- even though I've never seen anyone else play one, including my own guitar heroes like Pat Martino, Lenny Breau, Joe Pass (and lately Bireli Lagrene).

Any time I do a gig or go to an open mic jam session, people always come up and ask me what the hell kind of guitar I'm playing.

23 posted on 02/15/2011 6:29:17 AM PST by Maceman (Obama -- he's as American as nasi goreng)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon
write authors Karen V. Fernandez (University of Aukland, New Zealand) and John L. Lastovicka (Arizona State University).

I would love to see the money trail for this research. At a bare minimum they were getting their salaries paid by their universities to do this rather than teach. At worst they were getting stacks of money from both the United States and New Zealand government to answer these questions vital to both nations' survival.

24 posted on 02/15/2011 6:33:11 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Washington is finally rid of the Kennedies. Free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

To be honest, I usually pick up the Strat when I’m learning something new only because it’s the one nearest to me.

But, I generally put it all together on which ever one is going to be necessary for the song.

Besides, age is no big deal

Heck, if Les Paul could play until he was 93, then I can do it at 62..

:)


25 posted on 02/15/2011 6:45:06 AM PST by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Huck

The best Teles, tone wise seem to be heavy as hell. Weight makes sense for sustain.

A couple of questions:
1. I never liked maple necks. They seem sticky. Mahogany just feels better. What do you think.
2. Some say the Strat whammy bar & floating bridge robs string resonance and sustain, similar to the Floyd Rose.
The Bigsby seems pretty massive.
3. Weight: have you ever found a light weight guitar that works well? ( Soid body, I mean.) Related: makers are introducing lighter weight hardware—using aluminum and titanium and carbon fiber. What’s your take.

It’s great not to think about politics today.


26 posted on 02/15/2011 6:45:35 AM PST by tsomer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Huck

The best Teles, tone wise seem to be heavy as hell. Weight makes sense for sustain.

A couple of questions:
1. I never liked maple necks. They seem sticky. Mahogany just feels better. What do you think.
2. Some say the Strat whammy bar & floating bridge robs string resonance and sustain, similar to the Floyd Rose.
The Bigsby seems pretty massive.
3. Weight: have you ever found a light weight guitar that works well? ( Soid body, I mean.) Related: makers are introducing lighter weight hardware—using aluminum and titanium and carbon fiber. What’s your take.

It’s great not to think about politics today.


27 posted on 02/15/2011 6:45:44 AM PST by tsomer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

>>If only Fender would make a top quality version.

I make my own guitars. Which is nice because you can do whatever the **** you want. Quality is up to you and your skills.

And no I am not talking about partscasters—rough sawn wood to finished body and neck, hand fretted, hand soldered, etc. I don’t make my own pups...yet.


28 posted on 02/15/2011 6:49:29 AM PST by Betis70 (First the House, then the Senate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: tsomer

>>The best Teles, tone wise seem to be heavy as hell.

My best sounding Tele I have is made with poplar and is light as a feather. Sustain for days, makes my LPs sound like they are clipped. I personally think it is all in the neck, as this is one has a baseball bat sized maple neck on it, whereas most of my other guitars are thinner, with either maple or mahogany necks.

The most muddy sounding is made from a single slab of swamp ash, quarter-sawn maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. Go figure.


29 posted on 02/15/2011 6:55:08 AM PST by Betis70 (First the House, then the Senate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Love my Fender 1984 Bullet. MIJ. Great sound,great action! I have a couple of Strat Squires that I beefed up. Love them too. I'm thinking about a Epiphone Dot 335..........
30 posted on 02/15/2011 6:55:17 AM PST by 4yearlurker (I can't afford anymore hope and change!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 4yearlurker

I tried a Epi Dot Studio next to a Ibanez Artcore. Came home with the Artcore. I do have a few Epis and like them, but the Ibanez sounded better to me. Of course each guitar is unique, so side-by-side, such a comparison with two different guitars might have had me coming home with the Epi.


31 posted on 02/15/2011 6:58:38 AM PST by Betis70 (First the House, then the Senate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Betis70
I purchased a Ibanez Artcore last year. I didn't like the neck or the weight. Sold it to my jazz playing brother. he loves it.
32 posted on 02/15/2011 7:04:08 AM PST by 4yearlurker (I can't afford anymore hope and change!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: tsomer
"A couple of questions:
1. I never liked maple necks. They seem sticky. Mahogany just feels better. What do you think."

The tele purists claim "it ain't a Tele less it have a maple neck."

And I can hear a difference (a local guitar god has many teles including two sets of identical models with same pickups made in the same year but with one each a maple and a rosewood/mahogany neck.

Me I am a rosewood neck kinda guy, nothing else feels right no matter what make of guitar.

33 posted on 02/15/2011 7:15:47 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

Hmmm....gals must go for Martins. That’s all I need, my Martin D-1. You can see it on my profile page. I have a cute blue Danelectro, but rarely play it. Just love that Martin.


34 posted on 02/15/2011 7:18:53 AM PST by Mama Shawna
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Hugin
Now you can like both Fender and Gibson, but nobody likes them both the same.

I agree. For me, I like Fender plugged into a Fender. Nothing wrong with a Gibson into a Marshall, or whatever. But you're right. Most people end up preferring one or the other.

35 posted on 02/15/2011 7:32:55 AM PST by Huck (one per-center)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand

Yup. Nashville Teles. Don’t buy the hype about made in USA vs Made in Mexico. I’ll take my Tex-Mex Nashville teles over US Tele Standards any day. Awesome guitars. Built solid. Great sound.


36 posted on 02/15/2011 7:34:28 AM PST by Huck (one per-center)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: tsomer
1. I never liked maple necks. They seem sticky. Mahogany just feels better. What do you think.

I think it depends on the finish. I don't get too deep into it. Both my teles have maple necks. One has all maple, the other has a rosewood fretboard. I keep a nice polishing cloth with me, and I wipe down my neck before and after playing a set, and it's fine. Not too tacky. Some of em, like the 52s, have a real heavy laquer on the neck that is a little sticky, though.

2. Some say the Strat whammy bar & floating bridge robs string resonance and sustain, similar to the Floyd Rose. The Bigsby seems pretty massive.

I hate Strat trems. I hate most trems. The bigsby, like any other trem, does rob some sustain. I feel like the Bigsby compensates for it a little just by the massiveness of the metal mount, etc. But it still loses some sustain. I just love the sound of a Bigsby wiggling.

3. Weight: have you ever found a light weight guitar that works well? ( Soid body, I mean.) Related: makers are introducing lighter weight hardware—using aluminum and titanium and carbon fiber. What’s your take.

I think those cheap Danelectros are pretty awesome.

37 posted on 02/15/2011 7:40:38 AM PST by Huck (one per-center)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Mad Dawgg

My first tele had the maple neck/fretboard, just cuz it seemed like the thing to do. Only maple fretboard I’ve ever owned. I have to admit it’s nice to play. But when I got my second tele, the one with the Bigsby, I made sure it had a rosewood fretboard, because I’ve always been a rosewood guy too. I have a Godin with an ebony neck, which feels like maple to me.


38 posted on 02/15/2011 7:42:34 AM PST by Huck (one per-center)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Mad Dawgg

>>a local guitar god has many teles including two sets of identical models with same pickups made in the same year but with one each a maple and a rosewood/mahogany neck.

Heck, I’ve made teles from the same slab of poplar with the same brand pups and electronics, both with maple necks, and they sound different running through the same amp. There are so many variables it is tough to tell why one sounds this way and the other sounds different.


39 posted on 02/15/2011 7:43:07 AM PST by Betis70 (First the House, then the Senate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Maceman

Saw the Stray Cats a few years back, I believe Brian Setzer plays one of these.

He can play.


40 posted on 02/15/2011 8:34:28 AM PST by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Hugin

I think you’re right. I love Strats, hate Gibsons.


41 posted on 02/15/2011 10:08:40 AM PST by texmexis best
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand

Bang! Brotherman, you hit it...


42 posted on 02/15/2011 2:41:32 PM PST by waterhill (Up the Irons!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Maceman

Thats a purty girl!

I bet she sounds soft...


43 posted on 02/15/2011 2:58:16 PM PST by waterhill (Up the Irons!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: sauropod
Strats. Arguably the most beautiful solid body electric ever created.

Les Pauls. Arguably the most beautiful solid body electric ever created.

There, fixed it for you. :)

44 posted on 02/15/2011 3:02:27 PM PST by Terabitten ("Don't retreat. RELOAD!!" -Sarah Palin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Terabitten
Les Pauls. Arguably tThe most beautiful solid body electric ever created.
There, fixed it for you. ;)

And the beauty isn't just in the shape, either . . .

Les Paul, "How High the Moon"
Mike Bloomfield, "Carmelita Skiffle"
Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, "Worried Dream"
Mike Bloomfield with the Butterfield Blues Band, "I Got a Mind to Give Up Livin'"
Eric Clapton with Cream, "Spoonful"
Duane Allman and Dicky Betts with the Allman Brothers Band, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

. . . just for openers . . .

45 posted on 02/15/2011 3:17:52 PM PST by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson