Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Gear acquisition syndrome is more informally known as G.A.S.. This illness has wreaked havoc on many lives and caused many to simply go insane. The symptoms usually include but are not limited to: Forgetting how to play the guitar, compulsive web browsing, exhaustive research, frequent beatings from loved ones and extreme depletion of personal monetary sources. It’s analogous to obsessive compulsive disorder. There is no known cure. Many are afflicted and will never recover.

The illness itself starts out as one single innocent purchase of a piece of gear. Upon purchase it’s determined that the consumer will require an additional piece to enhance the first piece. These addition peripherals often have a side effect to their addition to the rig thus requiring a third piece to quell the side effect of the second peripheral and this cycle continues infinitely as a pursuit of perfect tone, instrument mastery, or recording perfection. In my case I bought an electric guitar and then found out that I couldn’t just plug the guitar into the wall and I needed an amplifier. I then discovered effect pedals. Therefore, I needed more cables. Then I found that the effect pedals stimulated some hissing sounds, consequently, I needed a noise gate. After all of that was purchased I found that my overall tone suffered so I bought a pre-amp to boost the signal. The pre-amp seemed to boost all the inappropriate parts of my signal; logically I needed a compressor effect. Ultimately, one single innocent purchase of a guitar effect pedal instigated a long chain of effects and cost. The whole process described hereto within was great fun and a learning experience. But what did I learn?

In my little experience with the syndrome I will hence forth refer to only as GAS I found that there is a specific order for effects. This order will help the effects work better and prevent them from canceling each other out and creating more noise than art. Also, I learned that I can spend a great deal of money and waste a lot of time. My waste of time ran into my playing. I would regulate my effects infinitely and forget to play! Lastly, I found I needed to drag these items along and set them up, fiddle with, and freak out on if they didn’t work. Then, in due course, show up to a gig, find that these new enhancements hindered my tone and worse – band mates objected! Back to simple terms requiring only a guitar, cable and amplifier.

In summary, one single purchase leads to another that begins the downward spiral to the abyss of ruination. This illness is insidious, commanding, calculating, and pervasive. Until you let go, (G.A.S.) Gear Acquisition Syndrome may perhaps consume you!

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