That's a tricky question for me because my favorite guitar depends on the situation I'm in, and some guitars just sound better though certain amps. But to answer your question I would have to say I have two favorites, and here they are:
This is my favorite strat, it's one I built so it has my favorite specs. I have many strats but none of them were a 100% to my liking, one has the weight, but not the right neck and another has the best playing neck, but not the right tone, color, etc...
So 4 years ago I set out to build a strat that was a combination of all the little things I liked about my other strats.
I hand picked the body to make sure it was the right weight and that it was an older piece of wood that was dried properly. The body is a Northern Ash so it's very light, and it's one piece.
I hand picked the birdseye neck, and yes that is a one piece birdseye neck with a Bolivian rosewood strip down the back. It's also is big chunky neck that tappers off at the neck joint. It's a big neck without the big shoulders like the SRV has. The fretboard radius is flatter than most strats, and it has 22 medium/jumbo frets.
The neck pocket is cut a little deeper so the pick-ups sit in the body a bit more, and the pick-up cavity is cut shallow so the pick-ups almost touch the body. I have the cavity foam lined.
The pickguard is not new plastic but the old school woven pickguard material. Yes there is a tone difference. I had it cut to look like Jake E. Lee's Charvel, A.K.A my favorite guitarist......
The pick-ups are Dimarzio, Fred in the bridge, a red velvet in the neck, and I'm not sure which one is in the middle, but it sounds good. The pots are CTS, the 5-way switch and out-put jack is Dimarzio.
The bridge block is aluminum and the saddles are string savers. The tuners are Planet Waves, (Awesome tuners!!!) and the nut is bone, with Dunlop strap locks.
That guitar is lean and mean. Great instrument.
My next favorite is this one:
This is my Les Paul that I re-built. I have had this guitar for many years and it has gone through many changes before it got to this stage, it's a great guitar.
I have played many, many Gibsons over the years and most of the Les Pauls I have played that I love have been either out of my price range, custom built, or a vintage guitar.
This guitar in none of those. Like I said I have had this guitar for years and I bought it when Gibsons weren't so popular and especially this model, so I got it cheap.
This Les Paul is a 91' chambered body Studio, with an ebony fretboard, a thin neck, and a thin lacquer finish. The only other neck like the one on this guitar I have ever played on a Gibson is the Jimmy Page Les Paul, and a 71' SG, it's a small neck for a Les Paul.
Like I said before I like old, custom made Les Pauls, so my quest to make this one like those meant that I would end up replacing everything on this guitar, even the frets.
The guitar has had at least a hundred different pick-ups in it over the years. I have changed the electronics out four times etc... So here in 2009 the specs on this guitar is as follows:
The neck has Jumbo frets, the biggest I could find, to compensate for the small neck. It has an Earvana Nut, because like most Les Pauls intonation is all over the place. It has a Shaller bridge and tail piece with the fine tuners. I put it on just to try it and it's cool, it works. I replaced the tuners to Planet Waves like I said before, very cool tuners.
But the best thing I ever did to this guitar is installing the Seth Lover Pick-ups. My buddy Evan at Seymour Duncan sent these to me and told me that I would fall in love with these pick-ups, and he was right....... WOW!!!!!!! These are made to Seth's actual specs, they are microphonic 59' humbuckers, these pick-ups are a must try for a guitarist. It's cool to hear what a real humbucker sounds like. This was the start of it all, but they aren't for everybody.
I went out and bought all the original Gibson pots Butterfly caps, and electronics, and this guitar finally plays and sounds like the Les Pauls I have always wanted.
It's a players guitar with tons of wear on it. I have been everywhere and done everything with this guitar. The only thing I think I'm going to change is the knobs, I think I will go back to the traditional Gibson knobs. I've been looking on E-bay for a set of old ones.
Sorry for the long answer, more than you bargained for, but as you can see I love to talk about gear.
Tony J. Pasko
More of Tony Paskos thought on all kinds of gear can be read at GEAR411 on The Rock House Method Site