Your answers: are guitarists open to innovation?

For all the miraculous inventions that take place in the guitar world, we still refer to the same tonal landmarks: '50s Strats, '59 Les Pauls and original Marshall Plexis to name but a few.

Attempts to reinvent the electric guitar are often met with disdain - let us never forget the reception received by Gibson's Firebird X or Dusk Tiger - although guitarists do seem more willing to progress in the amp world, with the convenience of modelling units increasingly taking precedence over weighty vintage heads and combos.

But with vintage replicas, distressed finishes and handwired reissues on the rise, are guitarists stuck in the past?

We're dying to hear your thoughts, MusicRadar folk, so leave 'em on our Facebook page, and we'll post the best ones up here next week. Go!

Your answers: are guitarists open to innovation?

"I think they are. But that it's not necessarily a bad thing. Look at violins, which you could argue are set in the past: they have a golden era (manufacturer, actually) and people are fine with that. Ultimately, innovation can get to a point where you are changing something that does not need to be changed, and I feel manufacturers aren't helping that by churning out model after model."


"Oh no, not at all. Guitarists think the electric guitar in its present form is the be-all end-all of music; just look at how many guitars rip off the basic design of classic guitars, especially that of the Strat. Many of them refuse to look beyond those so-called 'classics', which is a shame considering how much would be possible if guitarists stopped being so conservative with their gear.

"I'm not saying a vintage Strat or Les Paul is bad - far from it, they're industry workhorses - but it would definitely be nice to see even a new body shape, let alone more advanced onboard electronics or all-new sonic possibilities.

"I mean, even electronic musicians, who are far from open to innovation in their gear, have been far more receptive to new technologies like sampling and DAWs. Heck, many controllerists who perform advanced routines on MIDI Fighters, MPCs, and Launchpads come from a classical pianist background, which is pretty much as conservative as it gets.

"If we were to see the same sort of thing happening with guitarists (and the only person I can think of who even comes close is Roger Linn, who still insisted on sticking to some tenets of guitar design with his LinnStrument), then the music scene (which is pretty dead right now outside of hip-hop) would almost certainly be looking far more vibrant."

Juan Martin Velez Linares

"I would say that, given the uproar over the Gibson 2015 range, most are not. I love my 2015 SG however, but there again I have several slightly 'off' guitars and like all of them."

Nigel Read

"Of course they aren't open to innovation. Guitars were the instrument of the last century. If anyone hasn't realised that by now you need your head checked.

"Give me a guitar that plays my Ableton sounds when I play it and a lot of people will buy it."

Peter Bower

"HAHA, about 98% are not. So many times I will have guys come over to my small studio and say 'I will not play through that.' I ask, 'have you tried it before?' They say 'No, and I don't want to try it now.' I'm talking about products like Positive Grid and S-Gear.

"I am a guitar player that does not like working with guitar players. Call me crazy, but I am one of those guys that thinks the songs are more important then messing around with 50 pedals."

Steve Kozak

"I think a guitar is a tool for making and playing music, and the more gimmicks you add to it the more difficult it gets to reach that goal. Pedals and amps are a different story, as their main purpose is to change your guitar sound and tone in interesting ways, but I think that's where they should be kept."

Wesley White

"Of course we are. You've already mentioned amps and sims; then there are pedals, EBows, Kaoss Pads, etc. When it comes to guitars, I think perfection has already been reached. What more can you do with 6 strings and 21/22 frets? Maybe someone could invent a new type of pickup, but it would have to do something pretty special. People that try to reinvent the guitar only change the body shape - usually to something ugly."

Chris Ginger Timmins

"Hah, no, not at all. Being a developer in a tech startup, seeing how quickly things develop and how stagnant the smelly pool of guitar gear is... Absolutely, unequivocally no.

"To clarify: especially user interfaces. We are *just now* seeing digital interfaces that do not just emulate the analogue knobs but do the things that actually make sense on a touchscreen (see Line 6's apps, for instance, and the new Marshall Code app).

Joris Griffioen

"I play a Steinberger SS2F because, in my opinion, Steinberger corrected all the mistakes of traditional guitar design and improved a lot of things along the way. The other day, a nine-year-old girl asked me: 'Is that guitar broken?' Most guitarists think like that girl."

Robert Theunissen

"Depends on the guitarist. Jimmy Page was something of a gadget freak. I think most guitarists, as with most people, are rearward-looking nostalgists. See also the 2015 Gibson lineup of fine guitars."

Dock Myrick

"This is not 100% the case. But, in my experience as a studio producer, songcrafter and music performer, most serious guitar players I've met are the most artistically conservative ilk of musicians I have met. This has always astounded me."

Jonathan Payne

"There are some things that are good as they are. Nobody is worried about 'the cello of the future', or 'the trumpet of new space age'. A cello is a cello, a trumpet is a trumpet… and a guitar is a guitar.
Also, what kind of 'innovation' are we talking about? A modelling guitar is still a guitar, the same as a guitar with a weird shape or a 3D-printed instrument."

Gerardo Iglesias

"Guitar manufacturers are trying to make money. And often, their innovation comes a space of 'how can we get more people play our guitar?', resulting in 'how do we make this guitar produce the most tonal variety possible?' And as many guitar players have come to recognise, this doesn't produce a great instrument. It produces an instrument that does as much as it can. And that's fine, but nobody is going to look back at 2016 Fender Elites with a humbucker in the bridge and say, 'Holy sh*t, that's the sound I grew up on', because it sounds like everything else.

Brandon Higgins

"That depends on the guitarist. Personally, I am up for it as long as I'm still in control. Eg, I love Gibson's G-Force tuners, and I can still tune manually if I want."

Azim Yehiya

"All depends on the music you aspire to and the innovation in question. I got a Peavey AT-200
when the price was right, and what a fine, precise instrument it is - perfectly set up from the factory. I then bought the Ibanez RGKP6 - the one with the Kaoss Pad attached. Completely different animal, but definitely an innovation as far as playing style and its uses - I'm still scratching the surface with this one!"

Gordon Norman

"Fuck no, lmao. Guitarists are so painfully stuck in this mindset that if you alter anything in a guitar that takes it beyond a slab of wood with strings and pickups you're fucking everything up."

Jacob Frisenda

"Are bassists? Drummers? Trumpet players? Harpists? There are plenty of guitarists who are open, plenty who aren't... I'm surprised there isn't more stuff available that's like the Synthaxe that Allan Holdsworth used; that was very innovative, but no-one else seemed to get onboard - then again, it was £10,000 or something. A cheaper version, I'm sure, would be adopted.

"There is the Chapman Stick, and the touch guitar, so there is innovation around if you want it! For bassists, it's harder: there is zero innovation except to add more strings which, personally, I hate!"

Andrew Brown

"Adding components to the instrument that are not part of the guitar's core function only adds a point of failure that will ultimately lead to obsolescence. Improving the guitar by incorporating new technology that improves the durability or function is beneficial.

"Examples of gadgetry that lead to obsolescence: built-in effects like the Electra guitars, or Dusk Tiger. Innovations that lead to greater durability or function: Steinberger's headless design, Carbon-fibre instrument components, improved machineheads. Innovations like 3D printing and electro-mechanical tuners are to be determined.

"Personally, I want my guitar to be a guitar only. Quality musical instruments may last generations or more (see Stradivarius violins, for example), so why would we want to put anything in there that isn't actually required for it to be a guitar? I am not talking about a Gittler, but rather avoiding unnecessary complication."

Gerald Smith

"Put out all the gadgets and allow individual guitarists to decide for themselves. I'm enthusiastic about certain innovations as long as they don't cut too much into my music-making time - and my wallet."

Joel Sero

"Some, but most of the ones I know at the moment aren't open to anything but another drink. Ha, most won't even learn a new chord when it's not necessary."

Stipes Vigilo

"The question still remains: with all these new technologies and gadgets, can we make better music, or guitar solos, than those made some 40-50 years ago?"

Russ Charnsongkram

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.