There's Nothing Wrong With An Addiction To Buying Guitar Gear, Honest

Debunking the myth that G.A.S. is shameful   25-Sep-13

There's Nothing Wrong With An Addiction To Buying Guitar Gear, Honest
Photo by Germanium

Amped columnist Rich Beech puts his cards on the table after attending a meeting to develop new guitar technology, he says there's nothing wrong with being a gear nerd...

So as with many great anecdotes, this one started sat in a room full of complete strangers.

All I knew is that I was meeting people like me, people with serious addiction to gear... it's not something I readily admit to being addicted to in the UK, because it's also a slang word for a Class-A illegal drug.

But no, I mean guitar gear. I can't say too much about the particular meeting because it was to help develop Yamaha's new top secret amplifier (which even I know almost nothing about at the moment). But it was a funny situation, strange, I've never felt I've had so much in common with a group of strangers.

Sat around in a circle, we were prompted to talk gear, what we like, what we don't like. It all sounded so familiar, the splashing of cash on items we know we don't need but we want, showing each other photographs on our phones of our guitar collections, talking about who does the best modded version of any particular pedal.

And it made me simultaneously proud and embarrassed to be part of this special club. I know the gear community often gets seen as being a bunch of (mainly) men with nothing better to do than spend their money on equipment that they can't even play.

But it's not like that, it really isn't. Another criticism I've heard time and time again is the age-old "you need to learn how to play the guitar properly before you use all this extra stuff" which is a complete load of old bollocks.

I've been playing guitar for the majority of my life, I don't play because I want to go on stage with Yngwie Malmsteen and shred of version of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' or whatever (that sentence sounds disrespectful to the great man - I love him, I just don't want to be him).

Everyone at Sonic State has the same story. We play because we love music, we love sounds, we love making music and manipulating tone. When I play live or in front of friends at a dinner party (I'm getting old) they don't think "Rich really needs to stop buying guitars and work on his four-finger tapping."

Playing guitar isn't just a skill it's a hobby, an obsession, an escape. Playing in bands I know that I can justify any purchase I make, even if it is a pricey guitar. But even for those of us who don't play in bands, don't let people tell you that you shouldn't be buying the Les Paul you've always dreamed of, or the Telecaster you've wanted since you were a kid.

Then there's the sorry old bunch of people who claim that the pursuit of 'tone' is a wasted one. Again, don't listen to them! You can get a great sound with merely a guitar and an amp, but nobody can stop you from wanting 10 guitars and 10 amps to choose from, plus 20 pedals.

There is nothing wrong, or seedy about the addiction that we have, so embrace it. If anyone doesn't like it, tell them to come and see me.

G.A.S. for life.

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