The Winning Combination: Gear & Skill (Part 2)

John Suhr, the guy behind the beautifully crafted and highly coveted, GAS inducing Suhr Guitars said:
“Practice cures most tone issues.”

If you lurk in social media, specially guitar forums or any music gear sites, you will always encounter the acronym GAS. Which means, Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I did not think about it a lot when I first encountered it a while back because for some reason I did not care much about gear. My first guitar was a beat up cheap acoustic guitar and I practiced with it too much that the fretboard got worn out. I actually credit my alternate picking technique to that guitar, whose action (string height) is as high as the mesosphere. Take a look at your instrument and ask a couple questions.

Are my frets so worn out from practicing and gigging that i have to replace it?
Is my fretboard worn out that I have to replace it already?
Do I need a new set of cymbals because it’s already broken from too much playing?
Do I need to buy a new laptop because my current one is obsolete and can not handle new plug-ins anymore?

Allow me to introduce to you a new acronym.


Skill Acquisition Syndrome. It’s a type of syndrome that make you want to practice nonstop which improves your overall skill and precision as a musician.

Everyone wants new gear (even me!). A new pedal, a new guitar and a new amp. But not a lot of people show signs of SAS. Maybe your guitar doesn’t have intonation issues, you just have to bend the string properly. Wanting to buy the new delay pedal you saw from the NAMM 2018 because for some reason you couldn’t make your old one sound perfectly in time even with the tap tempo feature? Maybe you need to practice playing in time. After all, delays are time-based effects. Do you really need to buy a new microphone? Maybe you need to work on your vocal register. A new guitar amp? Why? is the old one broken from overuse? Did the tube heaters burnout because it was always on for rehearsal? Why do you need to buy a new guitar, did you break the neck of the old one? How many gigs have you played with it? How many songs have you recording with it? Have you ever worn out the volume pedal potentiometer? Did you really needed to buy that new expensive pedal you saw from someone’s pedalboard on instagram?

I have nothing against people who have too much gear (though I think you need justify it!) but most of us don’t need 20 guitars in our lifetime. In fact, most of the time we only need one. You can only play one at a time. You only have two hands. We can always start an argument that to get a certain tone you need a certain brand and a certain amp, pick and even cable. Then you run into videos like this and this of Joe going to different guitar tones using only a single guitar. Can you do that with yours?

Psalm 33

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the Lord is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

This song is reminding us to play skillfully, and shout for joy. As if asking us to practice, practice, practice and show it to the world because he is faithful in all he does and the earth is full of his unfailing love. The truth is we have to be set apart, we have to be good stewards and we need to be people of great skill. We are not called to be musicians with very low standards. The dying world will not believe our good news if they can do it better than us.

I believe God wants to bless us not just with the resources (more awesome gear than what we can play at one time that you just want to give it away!) but also the skill that when used, can glorify him and make an impact to eternity. When we start renewing our minds that we have a purpose, we start to become smarter in our investments. The next time we see a new guitar, a new pedal, drums, a new amp, we don’t go out and buy it, we go to God first and ask for His will. He owns everything. Both the gear and the skill.

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