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Are You a Gear Addict?

Read Steve''s list of 15 signs of gear addiction, and share your own.

Even in this economy, addictions run wild. Just take a look at some of the popular gear forums and you’ll see that guitars, amps and pedals are being bought and sold en masse. Maybe the prices have come down, and maybe it takes a little longer for an item to sell, but it’s definitely still happening. I recently sold an amp and was stunned when ten minutes after placing the ad there were over 100 views and two offers. It sold within 12 minutes at the full asking price with no reservations whatsoever. Now I’m not saying this is typical (this amp is extremely popular in some circles and doesn’t usually come up for sale) but it does validate my point.

To help determine if you are a gear addict I’ve put together a set of symptoms derived from conversations with others in the 12-step tone program (“Hello, my name is Steve Ouimette, and I’m a gear addict”). Be honest with your answers and the truth will reveal itself. You may even come up with a few of your own criteria that will help you come to grips with the specifics of your particular addiction. Let’s begin. You might be a gear addict if:

  1. You find yourself saying the next guitar will be your last purchase…at least for a while.
  2. The amp you bought just last week isn’t as good as the one you read about this week
  3. Mustard caps sound better than Orange Drops but you can’t remember your nephew’s birthday
  4. It bums you out that your fingerboard isn’t Brazilian 
  5. You constantly find yourself putting together lists of what you can sell to fund other gear purchases
  6. You take delivery of equipment at your office or a friend’s house so your wife doesn’t see another box arrive at the house
  7. You actually consider the cosmetic similarity to another amp or guitar so when your wife spots it you can say “That one? Nah, I’ve had that for a long time now. You remember, it’s the…”
  8. Your friends don’t want to hang out anymore because all you talk about is gear
  9. It concerns you and ruins your practice session that your frets aren’t properly dressed
  10. All the boutique builders are on your speed dial, including the spot where 911 was programmed in
  11. You can hear the difference in cable directionality but can’t remember to take out the trash
  12. You install mirrors in your practice room so you can ogle your ten-top
  13. All of your saved websites are forums and music stores…and you check them hourly
  14. You need to rent a storage facility to stash the gear that’s out of rotation at the moment
  15. You have the latest issue of Premier Guitar in your bathroom instead of Playboy
If any of these statements ring true, you are probably a gear addict. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all…quite the contrary. It’s healthy to enjoy yourself and discuss your passion on forums and get excited about the myriad of new and used guitars, amps and pedals out there. Gear is something that binds us together and it’s the reason I’m writing this right now.

However, consider when you got your first guitar and the rush of excitement that overcame you just thinking of the possibilities. If you can muster up some of that awe of that first guitar and amp, you can also enjoy what you have and really make the most of it. Think about the hundreds of hours you spent with just that one instrument and all of the great things that came along with that dedication. It’s a wonderful thing. So make sure you enjoy what you have…and if you don’t I’ll probably take it off your hands!
Steve is best known for his work on Guitar Hero III, the multi-platinum selling video game that is turning gamers into guitarists by the thousands. A guitarist/composer/producer, he holds a B.A. in Music Performance and Composition and spends his days and nights writing music for games, film and television. He’s also a rabid tone fanatic and amp enthusiast always looking for a unique sound. His original music can be found on iTunes and at