Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In It for the Money… Lesson Learned

One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn when it came to gear, came in form of doing what I thought was the right thing. I was faced with a choice- one pedal, used had a price tag of $60. It was an old style Electro-Harmonix pedal that has been re-done, but is still very popular today- the Bassballs pedal. The other pedal was a BOSS Super Shifter (w/ delay- ouch) that carried a price tag of $80. I fiddle back and forth with each pedal for what must’ve felt like a full day to the sales guy. I wrestled with the decision and went back and forth. In my desire to make my gear dollar go as far as possible, I made the conservative choice and went with the Bassballs.

Now don’t get me wrong- EH makes great stuff and the Bassballs pedal is a quality filter pedal. It’s not that I disliked the effect; it just didn’t fit into my sound and inspire the way I had hoped it would. I began to realize how far I could’ve dug into the BOSS and inevitably, a wash of regret seemed to flood over me. I took the pedal back to the music shop, but alas- I was too late. The BOSS was gone. I don’t remember what I made off with in place of the Bassballs, but I do remember the BOSS as one of the “ones that got away.”

The moral of the story is this: when it comes to effects, the slutiest of us gear-whores know that any day, even today could be the day that you find the effect that will change your musical life. There’s no better feeling for a pedal-head than walking into a shop and seeing that special piece sitting in the case just waiting for you. On the same token though, there’s no worse feeling that knowing you bought the wrong effect. In most cases, if you’re lucky, you can remedy your situation much easier than I could mine. Still though, it’s worth noting that from now on, buy for the effect and not the price. Believe me- $20 is not worth missing out on a cool pedal.

These days, price does matter. And it should go without saying that bypassing a quality, low-priced pedal is no more intelligent than going cheap to save a buck. Consider then, the advice of our gear-hear forefathers: “If it sounds good to you then it sounds good.” Making smart gear choices is about more than price, quality and tone; it’s about finding the middle ground between three. Doing this causes you be floored by an effect and truly appreciate it. In so doing, you are more capable of fully conveying why the effect is worth the price paid and in turn can more effectively spread the word about it. And so, the circle of life continues- Company makes great product, consumer makes good choice, consumer tells friend, band mate, etc… It’s the “Gear Circle of Life”. Just like in ‘real life’, it takes a little shit to make the gear world go ‘round. Just remember- don’t buy shit just to save 20 bucks. I learned my lesson and you will too!

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