By Darren Carless
If you’re a guitarist (or any kind of musician for that matter) there’s nothing better than standing back and admiring your gear in all it’s glory (for anyone reading this who hasn’t done this…it comes highly recommended). It’s hard to put the feeling into words…there’s just something about the smell of your amp, the sight of the cables snaking their way around the floor, your guitar sat in its stand, your pedals’ lights…it just gives you a warm feeling inside (you know the one). But as a guitarist how many times have you stood there admiring what you have and thought to yourself ‘if only I had one more pedal’ or ‘if I got rid of that and changed it for this’?
Gear Acquisition Syndrome (or G.A.S. as it’s more commonly known) is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact with today’s improvements in research methods and technology, scientists have discovered that it’s a very common ‘problem’ among guitar players. They’ve also been able to establish that more often than not the condition will affect you for your whole guitar playing life and in the majority of cases is unfortunately incurable. That said there does seem to be some hope and there have been several key discoveries made with regard to controlling the condition. Trials are still on-going but to date the most successful treatment seems to be the threat of physical violence or divorce by your better half (no-one’s really sure why this seems to have such a profound impact).
So hands up…who’s got G.A.S.? Who’s longing to add another pedal to their board even though the ones they’ve got already don’t fit on it, or who’s dying to get their hands on the guitar they need to complete their collection, despite the fact that they already have every model imaginable. Do we really need that new thing or should we be happy with what we’ve got and call it quits?
It’s pretty much a certainty that the one little voice inside your head (let’s call it common sense) will at all times be saying that you don’t really need anything else but another little voice (the little mischievous one) is without doubt smoothly suggesting that you could improve on some part of your setup.
Now unfortunately in this day and age common sense doesn’t get much support (other than from the aforementioned better half and in most cases it doesn’t need much more). The ever expanding Internet & smart technology (e.g. mobile phones, tablets etc.) mean that today anytime or any place we’re able to log on and check out what’s new in the world of guitars and amplifiers, what’s for sale where and even do a price comparison check and consider several reviews all before we’ve even really thought about it. It’s not like the good ole days where you had to visit your local music store (which was usually at least an hour’s drive away) or know someone who knew someone to satisfy your G.A.S..
Manufacturers don’t help the situation either. They constantly feed our desires by releasing new models or updated versions of the classics. There’s always a new edition (or a special limited edition) of the same pedal, guitar or amp with additional knobs and extra switches, that has been refined and improved upon since its previous incarnation using the latest technology and materials available.
As guitarists we’ll claim that it’s all about the quest for tone…but that’s a whole different story (in fact see our previous article). We’ll justify the expenditure by saying that we haven’t quite found what we’re looking for, or that what we have doesn’t do what it should, and without doubt we’ll always claim that our latest purchase is ‘the’ purchase, that it will fulfill every expectation and we will never ever again need to purchase anything of its like (sound familiar?). We’ll all go about it in different ways too because every one of us has our little niche that gets us going. For some it will be guitars, for others it will be pedals…there’s just so much stuff!
But all this isn’t meant to dissuade you from expanding or bettering your gear collection. After all…changing your gear and getting new toys to play with is part of the fun. But the next time you feel the G.A.S. building up…stop and ask yourself: do I really need this? Will it make me happier? Will it really let me do something that I can’t already do? Or is it simply a stop gap until the next time? Only you know…