Aside from their almost endless versatility, electric guitars are also subject to customization. A lot of guitar players will take a stock model and perform at least some type of modding in order to improve the performance or the appearance of that guitar.
In terms of how far you can go with modding, it’s really hard to tell. There are minor things you can swap in a matter of minutes, but there are also more substantial modifications that require a lot of work and money.
What we want to know today is whether or not modding your guitar is worth the effort. This is a pretty big question considering that a lot of guitar players are interested in spicing up their guitars. We will go over several important things you need to consider before you start doing anything to your instrument, as well as pros and cons of customizing a guitar in general.
If you ask any large online guitar community this exact question, you will see that replies are going to be equally divided between those who are for modding, and those who are against it. Both sides have pretty good arguments, but ultimately the decision has to be made by you. We are going to try and give you unbiased facts that will help you make a more educated decision. With that said, let’s start our modification list from the most popular mod in the world.
If you go to any guitar store, you will see a whole bunch of aftermarket pickups stacked all over the place. A lot of guitar players like to swap out their electronics, either to get a different tone or to upgrade the low-quality pups with some active alternatives.
How much of an impact can you achieve by changing the pickups? To answer this question, we need to understand that the tone of any electric guitar depends on much more than just its electronics. The type of tonewood you have, neck and bridge, all have a lot to do with the tone of that specific guitar.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to changing pickups is to go for it as long as your tonewood is decent enough. Since most pickup mods are done on cheap guitars, you will find that results are underwhelming roughly half of the time.
That is because the rest of the guitar simply can’t keep up with the newly installed pickups, no matter how good they generally are. Active pickups, which you can read more about here ‘Electric Guitar Pickups Active or Passive’, tend to be less affected by tonewood due to their high output, but it’s still an important factor.
Hardware is the type of custom job that can really improve the performance of the guitar for not a lot of money. Just changing the tuning machines will do wonders for an affordable model. Swapping the bridge might be a bit tricky, but that is also one mod that can seriously improve the sustain and overall feel of the guitar.
Changing the TRS jack for a better quality one can improve the quality of your tone significantly. On the other hand, if you are upgrading the electronics, you might need to do this anyway. Same goes for buckets.
The only issue with doing all these mods is that you might spend more money this way than you would if you were to simply go and buy a new guitar. Rarely will you see a heavily modded ax perform better than a higher tier factory model when plugged into a high-quality amp, like any of the ones from this list.
Guitar modding is something you really need to think about thoroughly before you start making your choice. Some guitars are simply not worth modding, and doing so will be a complete waste of money. On the other hand, some guitars can greatly benefit from a few modifications.
One last thing to remember about customized guitars is that their resale value is more or less ruined. No one wants to buy someone else’s pet project because they just can’t know how well it was done, or if the person responsible for those mods knew what they were doing.
When you mod a guitar, you can kiss all that money goodbye. If that is something you are fine with, by all means go ahead and mod your ax to oblivion. Just put all of the facts on paper, listing all the mods on one side and comparing the costs with a factory model that offers those same features. If your mods are going to be more expensive than buying a new guitar, you might want to reconsider your choices.