It’s funny how fleeting satisfaction is in the world of guitar gear. You’ve waited for a new pedal to come out, scraped all the extra cash you could to purchase it. You throw it on your board and the next day your friend tells you about version 2 that was just announced at NAMM-pedal honeymoon over. In any industry where creativity is mixed with technology, there is always the perception that ‘if I only had this new piece of gear, I would be that much better’. It’s true in photography, cinematography, Pro-Audio and even in guitar pedals. There is always this unobtainable missing link we see in the latest YouTube demo or Instagram teaser that will get us the desired tone we’ve been seeking.
Gear Acquisition Syndrome
Thanks to social media, this cycle of has been given a clever diagnosis; G.A.S. or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Like a virus, it can consume and debilitate our ability to do the one task all of our gear was made for; making music. Before my band would go into the studio to record, I was consumed with purchasing as many pedals I could, to ensure I had enough tools for the job. I watched, read and studied every new pedal in hopes I would stumble across that magical combination of boxes that would yield the tone in my head. I remember I was never satisfied heading into the studio and was sure, we would not walk away with the guitar tracks we wanted. In the end, when inspiration was finally behind the wheel, it didn’t matter what was on my pedalboard. We were trying anything that would work and throwing convention out the window; all buffered pedals, distortion before reverb, drums through a POG-it was madness I know, but it was what all of these tools were designed to do; nurture inspiration.
So my fellow gearheads, when you see that first preview of the next great transparent overdrive, or you are ready to watch the same fuzz shootout on youtube for the 12th time or perhaps you’ve just learned the importance of true-bypassed pedals and are ready to rip your pedalboard apart all in the name of tone; take a breath and play your guitar. For the only cure to G.A.S. is a heavy dose of musical inspiration and finding peace with the gear you have.