I should have been more specific. Yes, bands still record playing together as a unit. And guitarists in bands make sure to have whatever tones they want at their disposal, but they've probably worked that out already in getting the band together.
I was referring to the golden age of the pro studio session guitarist, who spent the entire day jetting from studio to studio, session to session, playing multiple styles on multiple things and having to be a stylistic and tonal chameleon. People like Dean Parks, Steve Lukather, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour... there was an entire ecosystem to support these guys in the height or the recording studio business. They had specially hot-rodded amps (Riviera-modded Deluxe Reverbs were a fave, that could sound like a clean Fender or a cranked English amp or in between) and one each of every standard guitar: Strat, Tele, Les Paul, ES-335, a good acoustic... and pedal boards and rack systems were invented primarily for them... in L.A. and Nashville, they would have two sets of all of this, and they'd get to the first session and tech number one would have everything set up for them and working and they'd do the session then dart out the door to the next one while tech number 1 packed everything up... at the next session tech number 2 had equipment lot number 2 set up and ready to go, so they'd do that session and then dart out the door to session number 3, were tech number 1 had equipment lot number 1 all set up... they spent 5 or 6 days a week doing this, all day if they were first-call guys. New York's transportation and parking differences made it different: they relied on studios having an equipment list they could rent as far as amps, and the necessity of covering bases caused a lot of them to start modding guitars... putting humbuckers in Fenders that could be coil-tapped to still have the single-coil sound when they needed it, etc.
Recording studios are becoming an endangered species these days in New York (because of real estate prices) and L.A. (because of the drop off in use)... hell, Abbey Road in London is perpetually for sale...
Nashville remains kind of a hub, though a lot of the studios are being closed for lack of business, but people like Brent Mason still make a great living playing guitar solos on hit singles all day there.
And Mason is a good example of someone who could've benefitted from this axe. He says he needed a Telecaster, a Stratocaster and a Gibson when he first started working, and he only had a Tele and couldn't afford anything more, so he modded his Tele to sound like all three... Putting a mini-humbucker at the neck and adding a single coil in the middle and modding the electronics to give him tonal options in using them all. With this guitar he could've just popped in the needed pickup (though they should do a three pickup version, for Strat tones).
The articles I read by people like Lukather now they talk about having their own Pro-Tools studios at home, and files are sent to them to record and add things to and they send it off. So, They have their entire gear arsenal at their disposal.
People used to ask me to go into studios to add guitar solos or bass parts to things... then a few people started to have me over to their house or bring their laptop and stuff over to my place to add that stuff. Now they just email me files and ask me to add stuff... and I 'm not set up to do it at the moment (I'm angry at Apple for selling me dud MacBooks...) and even the idea of me popping over to their places seems to be too much for them to deal with... maybe I need a better deodorant?
An ironically contrary to that is that players who had little time to consider their parts, while sometimes contributing great music (as in the classic Brian Wilson work) sometimes might've made even better contributions had they time to consider their contribution before submission,as they do now.
Is we moving N2 a better future or is we not ?
BTW, A Road has been a loser profitably from before WW2 except for the era of The Beas & G Martin.