I think many players follow that same trajectory of starting with high output pickups and high gain and gradually tapering off to less and less gain with low output pickups. I’m definitely one but I still like high gain in the form of fuzz or cascading overdrives. But for me? CLARITY is my favorite decision, which encompasses a spectrum of things—not only less gain than when I was 17, 23 or 35, but switching from SG’s to Tele’s was a massive game changer. Then when I got to hankering for an EL84 amp(I’d owned everything else in prior decades), the first dip of my toe being a little Peavey Delta Blues, then I decided to sell my Super Reverb(70W Ultralinear, no bueno) to try and score an AC-30. During that hunt I stumbled on a Dr Z RXES in a pawn shop for less than what most AC-30HW’s were going for at the time, so I plugged a Tele into that and BOOM!!! So crisp and clean, with a set of A3 Tele pickups it’s like an aural artesian well. Nowadays while I do use a smidge of compression I mostly can’t stand anything that’s too wooly or muffled or compressed sounding. I mean I love SP, Dino Jr, & Kyuss/QOTSA as much as the next guy but that tone was just never for me.