I have a confession to make. When I hear a song I like on the radio or online, I oftentimes become more interested in the gear being used than the song itself. As a gear hound, it’s almost instinctive. I’m not proud of this.
In some ways, learning about the gear can be inspiring. It may open up new possibilities in your mind about gear you already own or help you find the sound you hear in your head.
But, all too often, I find that it’s a distraction rather than an inspiration. I get caught up in acquiring the gear of a song I like rather than trying to apply the techniques that make the song appealing to my own playing. I may spend hours watching demo videos, looking up information, and trying to find the best price for a piece of gear when I could have spent that time playing and improving myself.
Moreover, it is my contention that “normal” people, i.e. non-musicians, don’t listen to a song for its tonal characteristics. They simply want to hear good music, whatever that means to them. A good song played on mediocre gear is going to go farther than a bad song played on the best gear.
I love gear, and I love pursuing the tones I hear in my head, but I’m trying to make a conscious effort not to let the pursuit of gear get in the way of making music. And isn’t making music the reason why we picked up the guitar in the first place?