Gear snobbery

Guitar Tricks Forum > Gear Discussion > Gear snobbery

wolfsmg

Full Access

Joined: 07/05/17

Posts: 29

It's refreshing to see a lack of gear snobbery in the forums here. On other sites it seems like players who have a year or two of experience under their belt forgot what it was like to start out.

They forget that most people who want to learn guitar aren't willing to make a large investment financially in something that they may get bored with, or be unable to make a large investment. So the second someone mentions "Starter Pack" they're usually met with dozens of "expert" opinions as to why they shouldn't buy said pack. (One older gentleman was told to buy a Mexican Strat and amplifier x, which would have run him close to 6 times what he planned to spend.)

In my experience, I haven't really had any major issues with any of the starter packs I've bought. About a year ago I decided to re-start playing bass, I could have picked up a high-end bass but was surprised by the Squier P bass. So I picked up the starter pack and it does just fine for goofing off at home and the jam sessions with the neighbor.

When I decided to start learning guitar I once again turned to Squier with their Stratocaster. Once again I was surprised and found that it's been a reliable guitar. Stays in tune well (with only minor adjustments after sitting a while). The amp does what a cheap amp is supposed to do (although I would use it for a small venue if I get to that stage). My only "gripe" was that it felt "tiny" to me. So while picking up parts for my Rogue (my workhorse guitar that was dirt cheap), I decided to try a Les Paul and fell in love.


I like the flatter, wider neck (easier for my big fingers to fret) and the deeper tone. Went to the store for machine heads and came back with another guitar starter kit. Even though she has some issues, I love my Les Paul just like my other guitars. They're family and I hate when people think that "price = better".

We, as musicians, make the music. Our instruments are just tools that we use to express that music and a good musician knows how to make his/her tools work to their best ability. (Just google "Zakk Wylde plays Hello Kitty Guitar" for proof.) I've played good instruments (expensive bass guitars) to improvised instruments (a stand up bass made of a 2x4, some .50 cal casing as nut/bridge and two ammo cans as resonance chambers while in Iraq) in my 20+ years as a bassist. Yet, no matter how funky the sound, I've always managed to have the music I play effect my audience somehow.


The moral of this story my fellow new guitarists: You get out of your guitar the music that you put into it. If you know your guitar, you'll sound just fine.


**Disclaimer**

Sometimes you'll get a lemon and not realize it, but it's up to you to decide if you want to fix it or replace it. Just don't badmouth its brothers/sisters because of one bad experience you had (or what other people say). And sorry for rambling.


Now go eat cookies and make some beautiful music.

What is this "strumming" of which you speak?

Fender Squier Affinity HSS Stratocaster "Kelli"
Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LE "Callie"
Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar "Theresa"

#1

It's refreshing to see a lack of gear snobbery in the forums here. On other sites it seems like players who have a year or two of experience under their belt forgot what it was like to start out.

They forget that most people who want to learn guitar aren't willing to make a large investment financially in something that they may get bored with, or be unable to make a large investment. So the second someone mentions "Starter Pack" they're usually met with dozens of "expert" opinions as to why they shouldn't buy said pack. (One older gentleman was told to buy a Mexican Strat and amplifier x, which would have run him close to 6 times what he planned to spend.)

In my experience, I haven't really had any major issues with any of the starter packs I've bought. About a year ago I decided to re-start playing bass, I could have picked up a high-end bass but was surprised by the Squier P bass. So I picked up the starter pack and it does just fine for goofing off at home and the jam sessions with the neighbor.

When I decided to start learning guitar I once again turned to Squier with their Stratocaster. Once again I was surprised and found that it's been a reliable guitar. Stays in tune well (with only minor adjustments after sitting a while). The amp does what a cheap amp is supposed to do (although I would use it for a small venue if I get to that stage). My only "gripe" was that it felt "tiny" to me. So while picking up parts for my Rogue (my workhorse guitar that was dirt cheap), I decided to try a Les Paul and fell in love.


I like the flatter, wider neck (easier for my big fingers to fret) and the deeper tone. Went to the store for machine heads and came back with another guitar starter kit. Even though she has some issues, I love my Les Paul just like my other guitars. They're family and I hate when people think that "price = better".

We, as musicians, make the music. Our instruments are just tools that we use to express that music and a good musician knows how to make his/her tools work to their best ability. (Just google "Zakk Wylde plays Hello Kitty Guitar" for proof.) I've played good instruments (expensive bass guitars) to improvised instruments (a stand up bass made of a 2x4, some .50 cal casing as nut/bridge and two ammo cans as resonance chambers while in Iraq) in my 20+ years as a bassist. Yet, no matter how funky the sound, I've always managed to have the music I play effect my audience somehow.


The moral of this story my fellow new guitarists: You get out of your guitar the music that you put into it. If you know your guitar, you'll sound just fine.


**Disclaimer**

Sometimes you'll get a lemon and not realize it, but it's up to you to decide if you want to fix it or replace it. Just don't badmouth its brothers/sisters because of one bad experience you had (or what other people say). And sorry for rambling.


Now go eat cookies and make some beautiful music.

What is this "strumming" of which you speak?

Fender Squier Affinity HSS Stratocaster "Kelli"
Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LE "Callie"
Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar "Theresa"

Guitar Tricks Admin

Administrator

Joined: 09/28/05

Posts: 1660

Hi wolfsmg,

Good advice here. I definitely agree that you get as much as you put into the instrument. A really cheap Squier can sound great if given enough care and played by the right hands.

And about gear snobbery, I think we're pretty humble here because we're all aspiring or continuing guitar learners and it's so great to have everyone on the same page! That, plus, gear is expensive! Ha.

Best,

Billy

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us.

#2

Hi wolfsmg,

Good advice here. I definitely agree that you get as much as you put into the instrument. A really cheap Squier can sound great if given enough care and played by the right hands.

And about gear snobbery, I think we're pretty humble here because we're all aspiring or continuing guitar learners and it's so great to have everyone on the same page! That, plus, gear is expensive! Ha.

Best,

Billy

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us.

raydemarc

Full Access

Joined: 09/10/16

Posts: 1

I've seen gear snobbery multiple places but I think a lot of it is because people are just frustrated with the lack of availability of better gear when it comes to shopping in a guitar store now days. Guitar Center has become the Wal-Mart of the music world and compared to when I was playing years ago, their inventory has really changed and has become centered around starter kits and low priced modeling amps like the Line 6 Spider. And this all happened after they put many of the mom & pops out of business. This has also created a change to the gear a lot of companies now manufacturer.

#3

I've seen gear snobbery multiple places but I think a lot of it is because people are just frustrated with the lack of availability of better gear when it comes to shopping in a guitar store now days. Guitar Center has become the Wal-Mart of the music world and compared to when I was playing years ago, their inventory has really changed and has become centered around starter kits and low priced modeling amps like the Line 6 Spider. And this all happened after they put many of the mom & pops out of business. This has also created a change to the gear a lot of companies now manufacturer.

JeffS65

Full Access

Joined: 10/07/08

Posts: 1014

My theory is; buy as much guitar/amp as your burget can afford. This comes with a large number of caveats too.

To wolf's point, if the starter pack plays nicely and that's what your budget can afford too, nothing wrong with that at all. This does go back to what I was saying; as much as you can afford. If you have $200 to spend, get out there and do your best to maximize the quality in that $200. However, if you have a budget of $500, don't just look at starters but expand the horizon to fit in the best gear in that budget.

The ykey is to be sure that you have instruments that you enjoy playing.

Also, I'm not always sure that having a collection of budget gear (unless you're Jack White) is very useful. I remember an interview with some famous person who was talking clothes, but it applies here; 'I'd rather have one really nice suit than have 10 suits that aren't that nice. It's not how many you have but how well they work for you irrespective of the price.

The last few instruments I've purchased (a bass, mandolin and resonator guitar) were not super high-end purchases. Though I feel fortunate that I can buy gear I would have freaked about when I was a kid, it doesn't mean I should. I wanted a bass to play bass parts on stuff (duh....) so I went about looking for a good workman-like bass that felt good. I ended up with an Ibanez bass (SR400?) that was on sale and saved $100 or so (I think it goes now of $400 to $450). I use it a lot and it is a grwat playing, relaible instument. The mandolin? Never played it but wanted to start so I spent $200 on an Ibanez (too)...and for the record, a mandolin is strung low to high: G - D - A - E. So if ya can think chords upside down, you can play mandolin right away....Last was the resonator. I wrestled with this. I really wanted a National Steel but just couldn't quite make the move for something I was just stepping in to. So, I split the different and got a Gretch and spent a few hundred on that.

Thing is; know your needs. I have really good playing instruments that suit what I need them for. I could actually afford more but did not need more. Not yet, any way. And that is the point of it all being, get what you need to do what what you want.

Snobbery is kinda useless. It getting the instrument and great that gives you what you need. What it says on the headstock is meaningless.

#4

My theory is; buy as much guitar/amp as your burget can afford. This comes with a large number of caveats too.

To wolf's point, if the starter pack plays nicely and that's what your budget can afford too, nothing wrong with that at all. This does go back to what I was saying; as much as you can afford. If you have $200 to spend, get out there and do your best to maximize the quality in that $200. However, if you have a budget of $500, don't just look at starters but expand the horizon to fit in the best gear in that budget.

The ykey is to be sure that you have instruments that you enjoy playing.

Also, I'm not always sure that having a collection of budget gear (unless you're Jack White) is very useful. I remember an interview with some famous person who was talking clothes, but it applies here; 'I'd rather have one really nice suit than have 10 suits that aren't that nice. It's not how many you have but how well they work for you irrespective of the price.

The last few instruments I've purchased (a bass, mandolin and resonator guitar) were not super high-end purchases. Though I feel fortunate that I can buy gear I would have freaked about when I was a kid, it doesn't mean I should. I wanted a bass to play bass parts on stuff (duh....) so I went about looking for a good workman-like bass that felt good. I ended up with an Ibanez bass (SR400?) that was on sale and saved $100 or so (I think it goes now of $400 to $450). I use it a lot and it is a grwat playing, relaible instument. The mandolin? Never played it but wanted to start so I spent $200 on an Ibanez (too)...and for the record, a mandolin is strung low to high: G - D - A - E. So if ya can think chords upside down, you can play mandolin right away....Last was the resonator. I wrestled with this. I really wanted a National Steel but just couldn't quite make the move for something I was just stepping in to. So, I split the different and got a Gretch and spent a few hundred on that.

Thing is; know your needs. I have really good playing instruments that suit what I need them for. I could actually afford more but did not need more. Not yet, any way. And that is the point of it all being, get what you need to do what what you want.

Snobbery is kinda useless. It getting the instrument and great that gives you what you need. What it says on the headstock is meaningless.

waylonwebster

Full Access

Joined: 08/08/17

Posts: 2

I agree about the snobbery thing 100% and not from just "seasoned" players either. I think too many people have become armchair experts due to forums. Like anything with the internet, you have to take the good with the bad.

The only thing I would say about starter packs though, is brand. I'm not saying has to be top shelf but when it's a no name, the chances of getting something playable drops way down. Then there's usually no customer service either.

I generally say buy all the guitar you can and if you have a pc (internet too) just download a free amp simulator. I'm using that right now after getting back into learning after life got in the way. It's not great but on par with a 20-30 dollar practice amp and left me room to buy an entry Gibson (Fusion SG).

#5

I agree about the snobbery thing 100% and not from just "seasoned" players either. I think too many people have become armchair experts due to forums. Like anything with the internet, you have to take the good with the bad.

The only thing I would say about starter packs though, is brand. I'm not saying has to be top shelf but when it's a no name, the chances of getting something playable drops way down. Then there's usually no customer service either.

I generally say buy all the guitar you can and if you have a pc (internet too) just download a free amp simulator. I'm using that right now after getting back into learning after life got in the way. It's not great but on par with a 20-30 dollar practice amp and left me room to buy an entry Gibson (Fusion SG).

lgherb

Full Access

Joined: 09/03/17

Posts: 5

Great points in here.

I'm willing to bet that most famous professional guitarists started off with less than snobby equipment.

When it comes to things like a Squier starter pack, they are actually pretty decent and down the road people can eith upgrade the electronics to make it "better" (warning: relative term) or they can upgrade at that point.

Nobody is going to mistake a starter amp for anything top flight, but it churns out sound and has a headphone jack. That is all they are expected to do.

I see starter packs being resold that have extremely little use that can be had for $100-$125 for the entire kit.

As long as the neck is straight and the tuning machines keep it tuned for an hour or more at a time, they are a bargain.

#6

Great points in here.

I'm willing to bet that most famous professional guitarists started off with less than snobby equipment.

When it comes to things like a Squier starter pack, they are actually pretty decent and down the road people can eith upgrade the electronics to make it "better" (warning: relative term) or they can upgrade at that point.

Nobody is going to mistake a starter amp for anything top flight, but it churns out sound and has a headphone jack. That is all they are expected to do.

I see starter packs being resold that have extremely little use that can be had for $100-$125 for the entire kit.

As long as the neck is straight and the tuning machines keep it tuned for an hour or more at a time, they are a bargain.

maggior

Full Access

Joined: 01/26/13

Posts: 1688

Originally Posted by: wolfsmg

The moral of this story my fellow new guitarists: You get out of your guitar the music that you put into it. If you know your guitar, you'll sound just fine.


I think this is a really important point. Regardless of the cost of the gear, time should be spent with it to get to know it. There is a tendency to want to acquire more...commonly known as GAS (gear acquisition syndrome, or guitar acquisition syndrome). Some of us end up with a bunch of different guitars, amps, pedals, etc. and not a clear understanding of what each one can do for you.


I've been guilty of this myself. I've taken to using one of my guitars (I have 5 electrics and 1 acoustic) for about a month practicing. I'll play it clean, with gain, with other effects and get a feel for what it can do and how it responds. When I switch, I'll find some things with the next guitar that I find I missed as well as things I immediately start missing from the guitar I had been playing. Each guitar offers something slightly different and has a unique voice. Spend time with each to discover these things. It can be part of the joy of playing.


There is also reverse snobbery, where more expesive gear is looked down upon because the cheaper gear is just as good. There's no end to it LOL.


My go-to guitars at the moment are a G&L tribute ASAT and my Gibson Standard LP. Each are in completely different price ranges as you might imagine. They have very different voices too. They are both great guitars to me and give me something I want.

Go here to check out some of my playing
Go here to check out some of my duo's work

#7

Originally Posted by: wolfsmg

The moral of this story my fellow new guitarists: You get out of your guitar the music that you put into it. If you know your guitar, you'll sound just fine.


I think this is a really important point. Regardless of the cost of the gear, time should be spent with it to get to know it. There is a tendency to want to acquire more...commonly known as GAS (gear acquisition syndrome, or guitar acquisition syndrome). Some of us end up with a bunch of different guitars, amps, pedals, etc. and not a clear understanding of what each one can do for you.


I've been guilty of this myself. I've taken to using one of my guitars (I have 5 electrics and 1 acoustic) for about a month practicing. I'll play it clean, with gain, with other effects and get a feel for what it can do and how it responds. When I switch, I'll find some things with the next guitar that I find I missed as well as things I immediately start missing from the guitar I had been playing. Each guitar offers something slightly different and has a unique voice. Spend time with each to discover these things. It can be part of the joy of playing.


There is also reverse snobbery, where more expesive gear is looked down upon because the cheaper gear is just as good. There's no end to it LOL.


My go-to guitars at the moment are a G&L tribute ASAT and my Gibson Standard LP. Each are in completely different price ranges as you might imagine. They have very different voices too. They are both great guitars to me and give me something I want.

Go here to check out some of my playing
Go here to check out some of my duo's work