My initial thoughts on a guitars as a product draw me to the user; who is it that is playing guitar and what common themes and true stereotypes are present.
As a guitarist myself, I looked at the things I value most in a guitar and found a few key points.
The wonder of a machine that is used to create audio art; music in a very physical way. The electric guitar is a subtle machine; an elaborate wooden device that is a beautiful, fetishised interaction of physical force (in the playing) and engineering development (in the pickup and development of sound manipulation and the seemingly endless possibilities artistically).
This common theme with guitars is almost a slogan: “You get what you pay for“. Increasing price does seem to increase quality and guitarists truly treasure their instruments. For this reason this body of wood commands an immense value that translates from money into emotional worth. Because we pay large amounts for something we want that uniquely fits out style, we aim to care for it and grow to love our instrument; such is the way with many other
To completely contradict my previous point, many guitarists welcome knocks, scratches and breaks to the instrument as we believe it creates personality and reminds us of memories of that personal inter-relationsip with your instrument. (see Hendrix setting his guitar on fire and The Clash’s London Calling artwork/guitar smashing culture/rock’n’roll). The guitar industry is aware of this and has monopolised on it; brand leaders Fender now create brand new guitars with a “relic” finish; battering the top layer of paint on a guitar to create a faux-personality. Whilst opinions are divided on whether this is a good thing or not, there’s no denying that provenance and value of an item can be taken in many different ways, and guitar companies should be mindful of this.
Semiotics in relation to this?