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Do we constantly spend money on gear and guitars because we are not a good guitar player?

your name here

Silver Supporting Member
I do it because I’m bored and haven't found anybody to play with consistently, where I live. Everyone wants to play either grunge :confused
or old man folk/acoustic stuff.

Stinky Kitty

Silver Supporting Member
I still rock a Peavey Bravo so while I certainly am drawn to new technology, it's a pursuit whose reasoning is nothing more than I love trying new stuff despite rarely buying it. Proficiency cannot be purchased. It will be the year 2045 and learning a musical instrument to a compelling degree will still require practice. I don't think we're ever going to see a Matrix moment where you can just plug into some awesome gear and suddenly become Guthrie.


Silver Supporting Member
I have a race car, but will never be a competitor at LeMans.

I have nice guitars and gear, but will never be "on tour".

I have a racing bike, but will never be in the Tour de France.

The point is, we enjoy doing things. We tend to enjoy them more when we have good gear to do them with.

Mark Douglass

I started to play guitar when I was 13 (that was 42 years ago) and my guitar teacher who was completely awesome and my idol let me play his Gibson Cherry Burst (ala Jimmy Page) Les Paul for my lessons. What sucked was when he'd hand me my Mel Bay book and tell me to go practice on my $100 El Greco classical guitar. This went on for a couple of weeks and I wasn't practicing and lived for just going for my lessons so I could play that LP and make believe I was Page until finally he yelled at me that I wasting my father's money and he wasn't going to teach me anymore. He asked me what it would take to master the stupid Mel Bay #1 book. I said I want to learn a real song. He said come back next week knowing every portion of the Mel Bay stuff and a record with what I wanted to learn.

Sure enough next week came and I had Mr. Mel Bay completely memorized and (hating every note of it - although Aura Lee wasn't too bad) brought in my new Heart - Little Queen record (we're talking like 1977 here). I played all my exercises and then he said "OK - what do you want to learn" "Barracuda". He puts the record on and learned the song in 5 minutes just listening to it. My jaw was on the ground and he started teaching me the song. Then he told me, you're gonna need an electric guitar now. Start saving he said. You need at least $750. It took me all summer but I saved it up and he grabbed a newspaper (it WAS 1977!) and next thing I know we're at this dudes house and he has this semi-beatup Gibson Les Paul Gold Top w P90s, replacement Grover tuners on it and generally disarrayed shabby room. My guitar teacher picks up the guitar, plugs into the dude's Twin Reverb and starts ripping. The guy wanted $1000 for the guitar. After hearing my teacher play and then explain to him how horrible the guitar was but luckily for him I was just a beginner and told him it wasn't worth $500. Next thing I know, I walk out with the guitar AND the Twin Reverb for $700 (and an extra $50 in my pocket). Turns out the guitar was definitely a bit beat up and at the time I was disappointed it was so old! It turned out to be a 1967 Gold Top (after all we wanted new back then). It was amazing to play though and I loved it. I had no idea what I had. The amp was awesome as well. My practice time and playing improved greatly in a shorter amount of time.

The moral of the story (although there are many - some to remain untold) as it pertains to this thread is this: As Jimi says: "You don't need more pedals, you need more practice!" however, my own personal experience has been that the better my equipment (and better is subjective) the more inspired I am to pick up my guitar and just play. I've gone up and down with the spending thing thinking this next amp or pedal is gonna solve all my problems but in the end, it's all in the fingers but if I bond with my instrument then I want to play it more. If I hate the neck, I'll never pick it up.

I do truly believe that a solid good instrument is the key to setting oneself up to achieve as much as they would like to. A solid amp is the key to a great style. An overabundance of really cool pedals is a....luxury that wears off the minute you hit the wrong switch at the wrong time in the wrong song...ugghhh epic failure!

Thankfully, my career took me a different path then music but I play now more than I ever have and I'm always looking for that piece of gear that King Arthur pulled from the stone. Luckily my job allows me to pay for what I want - except I want That Pedal Show's studio with ALL the amps and ALL the guitars and ALL the pedals!


I think what's important is being internally honest with the difference between "want" and "need". I suspect for many of us, that line is much too blurry.


i'm pretty sure i buy as much gtar & fishing gear as i do because it's about the only thing life i have control of. i get exactly what i want (within reason) when i want. the rest of my life hasn't ever been that easy!!
I think what's important is being internally honest with the difference between "want" and "need". I suspect for many of us, that line is much too blurry.
I need a good neck with six strings and some way to make them louder. I can't afford the collections I see here and elsewhere. That sure as hell hasn't made me a better guitarist, unfortunately.
I also collect fountain pens, yet my handwriting is atrocious. So far the pens have done nothing to improve it. My novels remain unpublished as well. Maybe I need to buy better ink? Or solid-gold nibs?

My guitar playing is certainly better than my penmanship, but I stockpile gear because when I buy things I get an endorphin rush that temporarily clouds that everyday existential horror. Unboxing that new fuzz is fun. Waiting for that new guitar to arrive is fun. Playing it is fun. Knowing that it's waiting for me down in the music room is fun. I found my "sound" years ago, so there's no rational reason to keep buying things, but it makes me happy. What can I say, I still like toys.


.........Is that truth to much to bear like contemplating your own death?.......
I think the answer is here - He who dies first with the most gear wins!

There is some comfort in that contemplation.

Think of the archeologists’ reaction who discovered King Tut’s tomb. You don’t reckon they all shook their heads covetously thinking “Man, that guy had some cool s**t...!”
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I was forced into a break with music and used that time to get geared up; also for a transition back into electric styles.

So I guess that was for practical reasons.

I love buying gear, but once I get the "best" of each thing (which has been a luxury compared to using whatever and thinking it was great) I tend to stop, and think more about how to exploit the various items.

Guess I'm mainly a player. That doesn't mean I practice near enough.

Nothing wrong with being into gear per se. My drummer is. His basement could be a music store easily.

The downside of carefully researching purchases, and then falling into monogamous love with each thing, is you (I) become 'that guy' on TGP, who gushes about their gear. I gush about my picks on a regular basis. I have one pedal I dislike and the rest are awesome.


For me it can be summed up like this: "It's not the thrill of the catch, but the thrill of the chase"

The fun part for me a lot times is the research and learning that goes into seeking out new gear and not necessarily the gear itself because at the end of the day, regardless of what gear I have, I sound and play like me.


The only requirement for buying gear is being able to afford it. Whatever you do with it afterwards is your business. You can collect it because you like how it looks on your wall, you can play it because that's what you bought it for. We have different reasons for why we enjoy and play guitar.

I'm a total hobbyist but I love discussing gear, I like tinkering with it, trying to understand it and I like playing with it. I would probably be really good if I put as much effort in practising as I have on wondering about gear. Instead I would make a better guitar tech than a professional guitar player. I am pretty comfortable with my level of playing ability and have no aspirations of becoming a rockstar. Guitar is something I pick up after a day at the office and use it to relax.

A big part of buying gear is indeed the chase. Figuring out what you want, which option is the best, where to buy it etc. I've sometimes listened to the voice of reason that says I don't need X guitar or Y amp and ended the chase there, but that doesn't mean the chase wasn't very satisfying. I have a few too many guitars as it is but at least it's not dozens of guitars or else I would need a bigger home.

Yamaha 350

No it is because of GAS. And we want more brands. Or at least I do. Most around here is Fender, Gibson, PRS, some expensive amplifier , custom guitar, and 1 expensive boutique brand. but they are more brands cheaper or more expensive.


Is accepting that you (we) (I) wont ever be as good or successful on guitar as our heroes so painful that we must always be looking for instruments and gear to distract us from the real truth to the detriment of our wallets?

Is that truth to much to bear like contemplating your own death?

You are still going to sound like you no matter if you have a '59 or '19 guitar so is it denial?


...Or just plain wishful thinking that on the next guitar purchase you will become Jimmy Page?

Or that next vintage amp purchase you will sound like Vai?

Either way, if its just a hoarding addition, id rather have that disease the form of GAS than collecting bottlecaps and trash and god knows what else those people collect ...

Ignorance is bliss i guess.

Tone is in your fingers, if the music inside of you is ****, then you will be ****. - Van Halen

Time to buy a new guitar.....lol


I don’t think we buy guitar because we’re not good, but maybe because we’re not improving.

Speaking for myself, when i’m deeply focused in the music - playing a lot because i’m taking lessons, working out tunes etc - I am much less interested in new gear.

When I plateau and just noodle with little purpose that’s when GAS hits.


Gold Supporting Member
Not sure about you, but my running count of players that suck worse than me on TGP is 31, which is my allowed number of guitars. I await the next member who bends notes that sound like a cat in heat in the dead of night, as I need to build another guitar :)

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