On my way into work this morning I popped into P.M.T. in Leeds. Whilst in there buying some strings I got tempted into trying out a Roland Blues Cube guitar amplifier. I'd seen loads of videos on them and had even recomended them to students based on the strength of the reviews. I was happy to find that they are great amplifiers with a very solid sound, easy to use and like most Roland gear it is built to last. Check it out...
My wife will be happy to read that I left the shop empty handed, save for a couple of strings. I'm not on the market for a new amp, I'm actually selling my Peavey Delta Blues amp because it simply isn't getting used, not that it isn't a great amp. I have a Mesa Boogie MkV at home which covers everything that I really need in a guitar amp.
On my way to work I got thinking about this. Many years ago I would be straining to figure out how I could get this on finance, doing the sums, trying to justify it to myself and eventually biting the bullet. I've aquired so much stuff this way and this is known to many as Guitar/Gear Aquisition Syndrome (GAS). A cursory google search will tell you all you need to know about this if you are still wondering.
In recent months though I've begun to condense the gear that I have because guess what? Having loads of gear doesn't make you a better player. After years of spending £Thousands on guitars, amps and pedals I've finally reached the conclusion that I'm happy with my lot and that they setup that I have is more than adequate for what I need. If I think back to the 13yr old me who started playing guitar with a cheap Encore guitar and Horner amp, I wanted it all and my tiny mind would be blown with what I have available to me now.
One of my proudest moments was getting this guitar and it's still a firm favourite - a childhood dream realised!
I'm still very much in love with guitars but I think what has changed is what exactly I want out of it. I'm not saying for one moment that getting loads of gear is a bad thing. I have had many students over the years who love to collect gear. Some do it more sensibly with a 'one in one out' policy (usually enforced by their more sensible other half) whilst other go nuts and just horde stuff. That's great as they are getting pleasure out of it in some way. In their case it's nice to own them, to collect them, to look at them, sometimes even to play them.
But if you want to make music, if you want to get good on your instrument, if you want to play with others, if you want to write etc then you really don't need much and there is plenty of good gear out for a very reasonable price. Buying a fancy guitar/amplifier/FX pedal/whatever might cure your need for a buzz right away but it's not going to help you to do those other things. A friend of mine was talking to me about this the other day. He still uses his Epiphone Sheraton, even though he's a well respected professional musician. In his own words 'it still sounds good' and ultimately isn't this what matters?