Tom Morello proclaims "gear doesn't matter"

vanderkalin

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In a place like this, there is more than enough denigration of people based on gear going on (the list is so long, but usually comes to utterly false notions of absolute "good" and "bad" tone). In second place is the supremacy of live performance, regardless of context (bar band guys looking down on "bedroom" players). A little bit of push back to the side of writing and recording is healthy now and then.

I have a lot of gear, so I would not knock anyone else for having a lot of gear, for liking gear. What I think is counterproductive - and I have seen this in person as much as I have seen it here - is the "old ladies gasping with indignation while knitting doilies" brand of gear orthodoxy and indignation. People who use the term "the real thing" with regularity, or whose primary advice to young players getting started is to "save up" for whatever amp/guitar they personally like, are people with whom I don't share a musical point of view.

I am so grateful that so many guitarists past and present ignored the old ladies, used whatever gear they happened to have (or decided they liked), and made sounds that were "wrong." We may think of some of those sounds as classic now, but they started as one player's voice, and one that probably would have made gearheads of the 21st century aghast if that player hadn't already done it 40 years ago.

I think gear can help you make the sounds you want to make in the context of the music you want to make. I don't think gear matters in the sense that it alone means anything close to what music means to me. I can afford to get a bunch of gear, and it's fun. It doesn't get in the way of my creativity. For one, I am an experimenter, so having a big crayon box helps me do that. For two, I never intended to make music my living, and I write and play for fun first and foremost.

But if a young musician wonders where gear fits in relative to practice, writing, passion, and knowledge, well...it's at the bottom.

I know some find gear inspiring. I find gear interesting, even satisfying. I find music and playing inspiring. Objectively great tone doesn't exist. Nothing works for every song, every mix, and every player. Chasing tone is often chasing your tail. As @justnick put it, Tone is a Lie - when it is a reification devoid of musical and personal context.
Fair enough. It has been said that Jimmy Pages tone would make you cringe if you heard it in a guitar store.
 

jimipage

Member
Messages
395
But if a young musician wonders where gear fits in relative to practice, writing, passion, and knowledge, well...it's at the bottom.

I know some find gear inspiring. I find gear interesting, even satisfying. I find music and playing inspiring. Objectively great tone doesn't exist. Nothing works for every song, every mix, and every player. Chasing tone is often chasing your tail. As @justnick put it, Tone is a Lie - when it is a reification devoid of musical and personal context.
Well put, I pretty much agree with you. My observation (ever since I became a self-professed gear head to notice) is that here in LA, generally speaking, young bands that are outwardly experimental, risk-taking, non-formulaic in their song-writing tend to have basic (or even sh*tty) gear. While those that have top-notch boutique tend to be basic and predictable. Most are in cover bands. Nothing wrong with that, just thinking about Morello's overall point. Sometimes its a bit comical when you see a guitar player with great gear play pretty bad, they seems to care about gear more so than improving their playing or musical imagination.
 


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