It seems that my GAS is in full swing, which is annoying because it's something I thought I'd beaten. As you'll see in the following video (which was filmed a while back), GAS was something I think I understand, and something I'm smarter than... but can we ever beat that itch we need to scratch?
Gear Acquisition Syndrome is a term that's been about longer than I've been playing guitar, and not one I can trace back to a place where I can say exactly who coined it... perhaps it's the closest thing we have to an ancient, pure evil that pre-dates man?
You could call yourself a collector, but the reality is that when collecting becomes obsessive, it begins to mutate into something new entirely.
I mean, John 5 is a collector in the purest sense, this is a man who has tracked down a fender telecaster from every production year... but he does tell us it started when he sold his huge KISS poster collection for $75k.... so obsessive collecting isn't a new thing for him. Before you know it, you're Yngwie Malmsteen who has literal PILES of strats just lying on the floor on top of each other. That's so cool...
I don't need a new guitar. I currently own 4 Vigiers. That's enough for anyone. I'm unbelievably lucky to have the collection I have, and many people would kill to have it.... it's not my guitar collection that's lacking in my playing.....
You see, I think it's fair to say I'm a hoarder. I've got a pedal steel guitar sat to my left that I've had for a year and not tuned in at least 9 months. There's a Buster B. Jones DVD sat between my hands as I type this.... I've had it 6 months and not got round to opening it. I got about 8 new books for my birthday (November) and 4 new books for Christmas. I've got download lessons from Truefire and MyMusicMasterclass and a bunch of DVDs this year. I've transcribed so many tunes for myself these past 5 years and I've never got round to learning any of it. I've almost done ALL of Brent Mason's last album and I couldn't play a note of it. I've purchased a ton of albums I want to listen to and transcribe... but I've not.
I looked at my Timehop today and a year ago to the day I was “sat working on my half whole diminished vocabulary for the morning then off to write more of my album with Dave”, and a year later my diminished phrasing still sucks and I'm looking at a new book on the subject expecting to find some magic exercise that's going to do all the work for me and just give me all the skills and sophistication I want... and it's just not going to happen.
I say with absolute confidence that I could give a great player like Mike Stern any guitar and any amp... and he's going to sound great. (I pick Mike because I've played his guitar and it was awful... and he's not known for his tonal richness... * cough* *cough * DS1), but the statement would be true for anyone. Eric Johnson has one of the best tones I've ever heard... and he sounds like him on a strat, an SG or a 335. I'm sure he'd sound like him if I have him a shit plank £300 youtuber signature, and those youtube goofs would still sound shit if they used his rig.
Thinking about it critically, I realized that GAS is deeper than just guitars and amps. It's that feeling that you don't have what you need to do what you need to do. That might be a shitty excuse like you can't play jazz because you don't have a Gibson L5, or you can't play country because you've not got the right book to teach you yet.
What do you think? Drop a comment below and lets try and beat this illness together!