Thursday, May 29, 2008

Keeping Up With the Joneses: What Gear and Women Have In Common

Today I was talking to my friend Matt Hallam. Matt works for the biggest guitar company on the planet. We were chatting about gear- how it makes us melt when we see it and how we enjoy the chase almost as much, if not more than the catch. Case in point- I was telling Matt about a recent gear acquisition of mine and how I realized, post purchase, just how much the chase can account for my wanting a piece of gear. It occurred to me the day after I procured and plugged in the new find that it had some how lost its luster. It’s not that I was disappointed by the pedal at all- in fact the opposite. It’s a great pedal. It’s well made and it sounds fantastic, but something was missing. I came to the realization that “jonesing” for the pedal and looking forward to getting it is half of the reason I wanted it.

Maybe you guys out there can relate. Have you ever pursued a girl for a while and then realized that the pursuit was half the reason you were after her? I know I have, although not with my fiancé (I love you honey!)!!! Seriously though, there’s something to be said for the similarities between women and pedals (or any other gear obsession that might be applicable). You search online and/or in the local music shop for that perfect piece, then finally- there it is- the one you’ve been waiting for! You get it home, plug it in (your heads aren’t in the gutter, are they guys?) and then with any luck, sweet singing tone! Sometimes of course, there is the occasional disappointment, but it’s usually not anything that a quick trip to Craigslist or back to the music shop won’t fix. Sometimes, some minor maintenance is needed- maybe you and your pedal can’t agree on the sound or tone you’re going for. You might stress about it when all you needed to do was change out a little patch cord and, voila! Good as new! I’m sure you can see how deep this rabbit hole goes!

Keeping up with the joneses really defines the quest some have taken up when it comes to gear. I would be so bold as to say that we are not after the perfect tone at all. Instead, it’s my belief that we are after the pursuit of the perfect tone; we want the chase! We take great pleasure in the planning and strategizing of how we’ll get that next stompbox, guitar, or amp. Eventually and inevitably we always reach the goal and manage to land the piece; either that or we lose interest. Not long after we do though, the desire to plan for the next one rears its ugly head, and we’re always happy to see it.

We gearheads are an interesting bunch. The thought that we would bust ass and hope and dream for a PEDAL of all things is ridiculous enough to the common outsider. Even more insane is the idea that once we’ve finished the process of waiting and have managed to land the gear we’ve wanted for so long, we lose interest. Where these feelings and ideas come from, we may never know. Even people who understand, or are at least aware of my gear fetish sometimes look at me funny when I spout off about my latest find, so I can’t imagine what a complete stranger would think! At the end of the day though, we all have our demons, it’s just easier to power some demons with a 9V battery than it is others.

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