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Thread March 4, 2017 editorial: comments

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  • 9 participants
1 March 4, 2017 editorial: comments

The Heartbreak of Gear Lust

I am in the throes of a major gear-lust attack. I'm looking for a smaller amp to replace my Fender Twin Reverb, which is too darn big to lug around to gigs anymore. In the meantime, I've been using a solid-state amp that just isn't cutting it, tone-wise. So now I'm lusting after a sweet-sounding 1x12 tube amp.

When I get gear lust, it takes over my brain and I become obsessed. I spend endless time looking at eBay, Craigslist, music store websites, and manufacturer info pages; reading specs and reviews until my eyes glaze over.

But the funny thing about gear lust, at least for me, is that the wanting is frequently better than the owning. In many cases, the most exciting moment is when the package arrives from UPS or Fed Ex, or I pick it up from the store.

That's not to say I'm usually disappointed with the stuff I buy. I'm not. But it never quite lives up to that giddy feeling of anticipation I get during the lusting stage. Like a lot of things in life, expectations don't always equate to reality.

There is one exception to this pattern for me when it comes to gear. It usually happens when I decide to go with a high-quality product, rather than buying a bargain that's "almost as good." From a satisfaction standpoint, I've never regretted those purchases.

So, my point for today is, when you're in gear-lust mode, go for the quality if you can afford it. If you don’t have the funds, it’s sometimes better to wait and then get the better product. A quality instrument or piece of gear tends to maintain its value over time, so if you ever need to sell it, you’re likely to get a better return on your investment.

Since you're reading the Audiofanzine newsletter, I'm guessing gear lust has afflicted you, too. What’s been your experience?

I’ll be back with another column on April 1st. I’ve never been a big fan of April Fools’ Day, but you never know…

you nailed this one. i get the lust with computers, instruments, audio equipment. A very expensive addiction.

Deb Erney




Try a Fender Custom Vibrolux Reverb. Approx 43 lbs, great sound. I've had 9 Vibroluxes since the late '60's.
:-) JP
Where's the Beano when we need it? NO question buying 'up' is always the way to go. I've pretty much done that from the get go and all but computers and computer related stuff (from software to hardware) has been wonderful. For example - just bought a B&G Guitars Little Sister Black Widow. Excited about it. Will be here soon! I know there will be some deflation after a few days but always the value rises over time. The value is in the quality of build and sound. That's why the more expensive stuff can survive the "Oh no" of spending money. It keeps paying you back for the investment. I make my living doing this and have very few regrets other than computer junk.

Synths, guitars, mic's, analogue hardware all keep going up in ROI.

Computer stuff on the other hand is almost always a slow decline into fury for me. I've probably owned 30+ of Apple's finest Mac's over the years. Been with Pro Tools for decades. Now Pro Tools HDX. Both leave me feeling stupid. I mean, they work and they put food on the table but, couldn't they be a little longer lived? I've been babying my oldest Mac now since 08 (vienna ensemble pro VI host). Still going. The 2012 is my workhorse for PT. Both machines are maxed w RAM and SSDs. But I see the writing on the wall.

And don't mention Avid to me. Argh!

yes I do have tape machines but they are now like owning a Model T ford. Parts? Repair people? Tape? Anyhow... They paid for themselves many time over over the years.
Vibrolux and Deluxe are great. The reissue Deluxes are very good. Vibrolux is heavier, but I love 'em.
For Vibrolux I'd go for drip edge or earlier. I have a 67 black face Vibrolux and a RI Deluxe. Both are nice. Vibrolux is a bit more thick, but for recording you don't always want thick.
Nothing like an old Magnatone 213 if you want the vibrato of God and light weight. I've used it from bars to arenas and it always cuts through. They're darker than Fenders. Not so much chime but very thick syrup.
I've had guitar techs from huge bands freak out on my 213s. Come up and peek inside. Even sniff it. Crazy. Beautiful clean. Have never used it for overdrive etc. That's what pedals are for!
You have described with great accuracy what I went through when I was waiting for my first high grade gear! I lusted over a Phil Jones Bass D600,I bought it without trying it, same thing for the 12b cab, and a handmande Paul Lairat 5 stringer. I spent countless hours watching youtube demos, reading reviews, asking questions....it was fun the delivery day made me realize I'm an eternal boy ( although i'm now 31 years old )

Now I'm trying to sort things out with my old mistress: electric guitar! I'm starting again, and I'm lusting over a VHT pittbull Ultrealead amp, and a faded gibson flying v special edition. It is not easy to try anything especially that I'm from Morocco and I should go through a friend in Europe in order to purchase the things I need.

Anyway, I had to put a comment because what you said is true: better to be patient and to raise the necessary budget to fund some high quality guitars/amps...that would last probably a lifetime.

Salam/Peace from Morocco
Good one. I've often had camera lust, for a $5,000 full-frame mirrorless, for example. I know this site is about musical gear, but the lust issue is the same. Now along comes the iPhone 7+, with its superb dual lens camera, and I am embarrassed to say I don't pull out my perfectly capable (if not full-frame or mirrorless) Canon 80D anymore. The i7+ camera is so capable, not to mention always in my pocket, that it's become my workhorse.

How does this relate to musical gear lust? The i7+ is an example of super-high-quality costing a little more but not prohibitively more and being in the long run absolutely worth it because I use it every day, several times a day. I'm sure there's gear musicians lust for that falls into the same category.

As to Mike saying, if I understand him correctly, that his current (or recent) amp isn't cutting it, let me say that I heard him on Mardi Gras night and he was ripping the s*** out of his Telecaster (or Tele look-alike) and blowing away everybody in the audience and on the bandstand. Maybe he was not using the subpar amp that night, but if he was, none of us going wild in the audience could tell.
Try the new Blackheart amps. I played through a Twin for 30 years until I just lost the will to lug it around. I tried all kinds of amps, and narrowed it down to either a 1-12" VHT or Blackheart. I should have done it years ago. The Blackheart has positively spoiled me.
Hey everyone, thanks for the comments and the amp advice. Much appreciated. And to Eric's point about my tone, first, thanks! Second, the reason it sounded so good was that I was playing through a Deluxe Reverb, which is part of that club's backline. I would probably get a Deluxe except that for many of my gigs, I also play pedal steel, which requires a lot of clean headroom, something the Deluxe can't provide. So I'm trying to find a two-channel 1x12 with enough power to be able to cleanly reproduce the steel on one channel, while giving me nice crunch for the guitar on the other.
Mike: Your reply is a great example of what I treasure in life, that there is much more to know about every little thing in it than meets the eye. For example, headroom as a quality having nothing to do with whether you can drive your car while wearing a fedora.