On the precurser to the precurser to the precurser to this forum. Way before, even, this 'This forum makes me feel...' thread. My friend Single Coil posted the Single Coil Manifesto. I present it again, 15 years later...
The Single Coil Manifesto originally posted February 1998:
Here's Single Coil's opinions on nearly everything important about guitars. I've limited to 20 points, all of which should be accepted as Gospel. Trust ye the word of Single Coil on this folks, he knows what he's saying.
1. The vast majority of players play amps that are too powerful. If your tube amp is not being turned up past 5 or 6 on a regular basis, you're not using it to it's design specs. Most people don't realize that a "little" 15 watt tube amp is pretty loud. Sure, you may need that 100 watt head for the next 120,000 seat outdoor festival you play . . . but you'll still have to mike the amp. And how much stage volume do you really need? That's just the way it is.
2. Sounding good beats sounding "just like" some famous player. A great clean sound, a great blues sound and a great lead sound are all you really need. You can still play that Santana song without a PRS into a Boogie. That's just the way it is.
3. Buying effects is the least effective way of improving your sound. Most effects end up unused after the initial thrill is over (and it doesn't last long). The most frequent exception to this is a decent distortion box. That's just the way it is.
4. Admit it, you really DON'T need more than a couple distortion / OD / fuzz boxes. That's just the way it is.
5. Don't get your feelings hurt if non-guitar playing people in the audience don't notice your awesome tone. They're probably watching the singer anyway. That's just the way it is.
6. Nobody wants to hear you solo for more than about three minutes. I don't care HOW good you are. That's just the way it is.
7. Humbuckers sound "bigger" when playing at higher gain. And they are undeniably quieter. When playing clean or at lower gain overdrive, however, no humbucker can match the sparkle and definition of a good single coil. That's just the way it is.
8. Your amplifier accounts for anywhere from 55% - 80% of your tone. If your amp sucks, buying the best guitar in the world won't help much. That's just the way it is.
9. Tube amps still sound more organic than solid state amps. The difference is mostly in the power amp section, however. That's just the way it is.
10. All preamp distortion, tube or solid state, will sound buzzy at low volumes. I don't care if it's a point-to-point wired Matchless Hotbox, a Boogie V-Twin or whatever, preamp distortion sounds buzzy unless it's used moderately in combination with a hot power amp. That's just the way it is.
11. When used with a decent power amp, a good solid state preamp or high quality solid state stompbox can sound as organic as good tube preamp distortion. That's just the way it is.
12. Digital modeling is not just a fad. Transistors will continue to sound more like tubes. They will continue to gain more market share. That's just the way it is.
13. Tube amps will always be around. Vintage gear will continue to increase in value. Guitar players are inherently conservative about equipment. That's just the way it is.
14. Most jazz guitarists and the better country guitarists can smoke most rock guitarists. Playing through the chord changes is a good thing. That's just the way it is.
15. Heavier gauge strings sound bigger and fuller. That's just the way it is.
16. Fender and Gibson will continue to dominate the market, give or take about 10% from time to time. Guitar players are inherently conservative about equipment. That's just the way it is.
17. The $800 rule. On solid body guitars you get what you pay for (at regular street prices) up to about $800. After that, quality continues to increase with price, but with diminishing returns. Another way of saying this is that you pay most dearly for that last 10% or so of quality. That's just the way it is.
18. The guitar and amp markets are dominated by lower end gear. The high end gear is the most fun to discuss. But most players are shemps who play in their bedroom on low priced equipment. That's just the way it is.
19. If you've been on the guitar forum long enough to remember who Fink, Proffy, Friendly, or Kiwi are; if you've ever submitted a post complaining about tab requests or too many "Epiphone versus Gibson" posts; or if you've actually read this entire message, you should consider playing more guitar and reading less forum stuff. That's just the way it is.
20. Collecting guitars is fun. But actually keeping more than five guitars properly set up, in fresh strings, and in tune is a pain. More than five is for collectors, not players. That's just the way it is.