After a while , when you get down to it ....." gear is gear "

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by thunder58, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. wilblee

    wilblee Synchromatic

    May 23, 2013
    TX Hill Country
    Gear is just gear.

    Yeah, no. Can’t go there.

    One example springs to mind. I have three EL84 based amps; a Fender FSR Blues Jr, a Marshall 1974X, and a Mesa Lone Star Special. The Fender is a great amp, and I love, love, love the Marshall, but the Mesa is the clear winner of the three. It’s more versatile. It sounds better. Plus, it has shrugged off abuse that would have destroyed either of the other two. On top of that it’s priced right in the middle of the other two.

    When we moved into our temporary gate digs, I opted for only one amp and that was the Mesa. A while back I took the Mesa into the shop for some new tubes and a general check up. While it was in the shop I’ve got the Blues Jr. out of storage (it was nearest the front and the easiest to carry). I put it in the same spot that I’d had the Mesa in. The very next day I went back to storage (a 2 hour round trip) and excavated until I dug down to the Marshall. Much better, but I still missed the Mesa. When I finally got the Mesa home, hooked back up, and playing I felt stuff relax that had evidently been clenched since I put it in the shop.

    I have gigged all three and they can all handle a gig, but again the Mesa is the clear winner.
    Henry, Charlie westside and thunder58 like this.
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Good to have yo back my friend :)
    sh4rkbyt3 and Doc Helliday like this.
  3. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    My acquisition of gear had the most to do with exploration. I didn't have a "sound," and I really can't even say that I have zeroed in on "my sound" yet. As a result, I bought the best guitars, amps, and pedals that I could afford, after trying one out and hearing something special in it's tone/playability.

    I have a Fender DRRI that I can't seem to let go, even though I got a Vox AC10 that gets more playing time. There are just times when I just feel the need for the sound of the DRRI and a good Strat.

    As to acoustic-electric guitars, I have a Taylor 710ce (Engleman Spruce/Indian Rosewood) and as a backup an Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500mce (Sitka Spruce/Mahogany) with stereo output. Both are very fine guitars, with slightly different voices. The Taylor is the #1 because of it's playability, although if I could get someone to setup the Epiphone like the Taylor (bridge and nut adjustments) to improve it's playability, I would have a tough time deciding between them, even though there is a price difference of about $1,200 between the two. Oh, and I played the Masterbilt plugged in stereo into on older Fender SFX amp and a new SFX amp. Man, that was heavenly!

    Is gear just gear? IMHO, the answer would be, "Sometimes, but definitely not always."
  4. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Country Gent

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    It's all feel for me. In days of old, I always went with the market standard. The gear that was making a big splash at the time. I thought that if I bought expensive it would sound expensive. There is so much gear available. I would even say clone saturation. I enjoy playing a nice quality guitar. As far as pedals and stomp boxes are concerned, I stopped spending hundreds of dollars on these. I think the most expensive pedal I have on my board right now is about 120.00
    the most inexpensive is a about 29 bucks. I perform live with this equipment and to my ears the sound is great. Of course That's subjective right?. So yeah. Gear is just gear to the extent that you get what you want from it regardless of the cost. Imho.
    TW4990, thunder58 and Merc like this.
  5. Funky54

    Funky54 Gretschie

    Aug 12, 2010
    I think we all obsess for the tiny tiny subtle little differences between some pedals.

    A BB circuit is pretty much a BB circuit. And in the context of playing live no one would ever know the difference if you’re using a King of Town or a Blue Crab.

    A phaser is a phaser is a phaser. Sure, they have distinct flavors and sound different from one another. But again, in live context, nobody cares or can tell the difference.

    Where I do think it’s not just gear, is with the guitar. You can go into a store and grab three 5420 guitars, but one of them will just plain feel better to you. It will inspire you more to play. I’m not just talking about guitar set up, there’s some kind of weird mojo with a guitar in your hands.

    Amps, there are a few now and then that are sort of magic. But in many ways a EL 84, 30W amp sounds like in the EL84 30 W amp.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  6. Doc Helliday

    Doc Helliday Gretschie

    Dec 21, 2009
    Thank ya, kindly
    thunder58 and Charlie westside like this.
  7. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    Sometimes it's apples vs. oranges; othertimes it's Red Delicious vs. Granny Smith. Sure, a Dano isn't going to sound like a Gibson L-5, but it'll sound better than a Gipson.

    That Smart 4two is technically a car just like a Rolls. Which one would you want to be in when you're hit by a pickup truck? Which one would you want to take a long trip in? You're still stuck doing the speed limit.

    I have an old Guild D-35 and a $50 Epi flat top. I'm just as happy playing either one. The Guild sounds better, but the Epi's easier to play. Most people couldn't tell the difference. I met an Indian guy who was tickled to have a "genuine Gipson", probably more than many guys would be with the real thing. It's all subjective.

    The real difference is within you.
  8. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Gear can be a scource for inspiration. I am always motivated to practice by new gear.

    And a lot of gear holds a very emotional value to me.
  9. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Synchromatic

    Jun 20, 2017
    With any type of gear, there is a sweat spot, price, quality, and features wise, and when you pass it you are operating within the laws of diminishing returns. And it varies item by item.

    So you can certainly start overpaying for ever diminishing returns, but you can also buy something cheap that is of inferior quality and fails at getting you where you want to go, or is just generally unreliable.
  10. toddfan

    toddfan Synchromatic

    Mar 12, 2012
    I admit it....I buy guitars, amps, pedals, cars, etc. based purely on their appearance. I have a unique ability to make all of them perform at their lowest potential. :eek::D:rolleyes:
  11. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    55? 65 around here mostly... Anyhow, when I get in my GT and go 65, it's a lot like going...65 in a GT. Great sound, great handling, superb ability to accelerate to the spot I want when changing lanes, wonderful tunnel experience, a blast to accelerate from 0-65. Frightening actually. It puts a smile on my face every day. I rarely listen to music in it because the sound of the engine is amazing.

    When it comes to guitar gear, it's in the tone, the response, and the reliability. Can't stand Boss compressors - sound terrible to me. But I love my Diamond compressor because it's response is smooth and it doesn't color the sound. But dang if I didn't have troubles with one of the pots. Not a gig ruining situation, but still disappointing (dang Alpha pots - hate them). After I changed out all the pots and put dust shields on, it's been solid as a rock. But I love my Boss OD-3. Never a lick of trouble. Sealed (Bourns?) pots, foot switches never give me trouble in Boss pedals.

    I have one custom boost pedal that was really flakey until I changed out it's pots and foot switches. Put in mil spec pots and carling foot switches just to see if they're "better". We'll see how they hold up. It's been solid and quiet ever since.

    So boutique brands don't necessarily excite me apart from what they can do for me and I've not had better luck for reliability either. I tend to go for what has the tone and result I'm after. But there are some brands I would never take to a gig and some pedals I wouldn't take to a gig unless I've used them extensively.
  12. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Synchromatic

    Feb 25, 2019
    Gear is gear, but good gear is better than bad gear.
  13. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Gretschie

    Apr 28, 2019
    Metro Detroit
    I think some guitars/amps/pedals are better for some things and they aren't all the same. But assuming we're talking about quality gear, I think of them as different rather than better/worse. I don't think a Dumble is better than a Twin (for example). Just different. I use different equipment based on the gig and what I feel like using at the time, but there isn't one piece of equipment I have to have to play/record/whatever. Any gig I do with my Carvin Belair can just as easily be done with my JC-120 (for example). Or my PE-60. I don't have one dirt pedal that I rely on and tend to rotate through them just because.

    When my last band recorded our last album we decided to use only equipment they had in the studio--though my Taylor 12-string made it on the album. It was fun to experiment and I ended up buying a Barber Trifecta fuzz after playing through it. All my electric parts were recorded with a completely beat up no name Tele. And while it was all fun, I'm not sure the record really sounded much different than the songs we've recorded with our own instruments.

    Why? Because I think I tend to dial in the tones I like whatever I'm playing through. And that leads me to familiar territory (for me). I think most of us are wired that way and we can achieve that to varying degrees.

    BTW, here is that Tele. It looked like it had been through a war, but the neck was nice and it did the job. If I record in that studio again, I'll likely use it again just because.

    blueruins and new6659 like this.
  14. dmunson

    dmunson Gretschie

    Dec 19, 2015
    Charlotte, NC
    NO! If your thinking is that your gear is just gear, maybe you haven't found the right stuff.
    As several of the more experienced players have noted, it's an exploration into finding the tone and instrument that does something for you. Makes you want to sit down for a few hours and really put yourself into it.
    Then, while many of the components you end up with may be replaceable in kind, you at least have a good idea of why and what to replace. With guitars in particular, once you have the ability to set the instrument up to your preferred feel and sound, you have taken a step towards insuring that even replacing that instrument is not beyond hope.
    But many will admit, the hunt is the heart of the game.
    LivingMyDream and loudnlousy like this.
  15. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    That's like a bad day of fishing' is better then a good day at work ..... lol
    wabash slim likes this.
  16. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    LOL..... I've driven in Atlanta son . Yuz guyz are nuts with your 8 lane highways . Give me the Cross Bronx Expressway any day images.jpeg
    stevo likes this.
  17. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Gretschie

    Apr 28, 2019
    Metro Detroit
    I think this is more a matter of personal taste and perhaps outlook/personality more than experience. I have plenty of experience--but I look at my guitars as tools and I use them pretty much interchangeably. I've certainly never engaged in a search to find "the one" because I don't think of guitars that way. When I pick up any instrument (or play through any amp), provided it's setup properly and of good quality, I can dial in something I like and use it.

    Understanding that I know there are guys who are wired differently and have found one guitar they love (for example). One guy I play with has been playing the same Les Paul for 25 years and will likely only play that guitar until he dies. Because for him--it's the one. And that is all good, right? Different strokes.
    LivingMyDream, new6659 and thunder58 like this.
  18. musicman100

    musicman100 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2008
    Its only as good as the hands holding it.
    audept and thunder58 like this.
  19. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    I guess i get what you meant, i find myself saying sometimes, if this was the only guitar i had i would still be fortunate. Usually when I'm playing one that isn't particularly valuable, my $117.00 Yamaha Pacifica is the bee's knees!
    19MGB76 likes this.
  20. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    You know Rich, I get it. Gear is just gear. Sometimes I consider my spiritual ascension as a musician, realizing all I really need is a Squier Strat and a Roland COSM Cube 15. Selling all the great gear I've accumulated over a lifetime. Ditching the 1961 Fenders, the Matchless, the Allens and my Traynor collection. Selling the Gretsch's, yes, even Anni, the Wild Child, my SGs and Strats and Teles, the Bassmans and the Princetons and more and more. Complete freedom by ridding yourself of these beautiful creations of sonic engineering.... nirvana, baby.

    But then I wake up and have a coffee and think, Rich Padilla is making me lose my mind! I'm going to go plug in and play some Alice Cooper.

    And I'm going to dedicate it to Wildeman and Wabash Slim.
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