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Happy New Gear (Recession is Over, If You Want It)

Think you can''t afford any new gear? Think again. Tom tells you how to position yourself for gear acquisition success.

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to a new season of Stomp School!

To start the New Year off right, I’ve got some good news for you. Ready for it? The recession is over! That’s right, I said it. Recession is over, if you want it (to borrow the lyrics of a John Lennon song). But wait, it gets better— I’m going to share with you my secret to acquiring all the gear you want. All you really need to have is an open mind.

You may be wondering how I can make such a bold declaration. It’s as if I’m saying the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s is actually over. I’m not an economist by any means, so how could I know such a thing?

Well, the recession is over if you want it to be over. A proper discussion of this topic is really beyond the scope of this column, so I’ll try to summarize. There were several factors that contributed to the initial collapse of the economy, but the situation was subsequently aggravated and prolonged by the public’s panicked reaction to it. I touched on this in the May ’09 Stomp School column. Experts are now saying that the recovery of the economy depends on consumer spending. So in a practical sense, the end of the recession is up to you and me.

This is a bit oversimplified and idealistic, but I can assure you it isn’t mere conjecture. On a personal level, my own observation and experience has demonstrated that my financial well-being is directly related to my attitude about it, regardless of outside circumstances. This leads us to the good part—allow me to tell you how I’ve become a magnet for attracting gear.

In a relatively short period of time, I’ve amassed a small fortune in choice musical gear without the apparent means to do so. I run a small business and it’s sometimes a struggle. I’m certainly not wealthy. I do have an uncanny knack for acquiring gear, though. In fact, I am now convinced that I can pretty much have anything I want. Nothing is off limits or out of the question. How do I do it? It has more to do with my mindset than what’s in my wallet. This has to happen first.

Here are a few tips that have helped me acquire more gear than I can play in a year.

Positive Mental Attitude Maintaining the proper attitude is the most important factor in the successful acquisition of gear. Many people deprive themselves of the gear they’re gassing for by immediately thinking of all the reasons they can’t afford it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the practice of living beyond your means, recklessly incurring debt, or resorting to unethical or illegal tactics to get your gear fix on. I’m simply pointing out that by focusing on the problem, you may prevent yourself from seeing the solution. In other words, as soon as you tell yourself “you can’t,” guess what? You can’t!

Make a Wish List Now that your mind is open to the possibility of actually having it, the next thing you’ll want to do is make a list of all the gear you want. Not just a mental list, make a real list, just like you’re writing a letter to Santa Claus. There’s something about the act of taking the time and effort to create a tangible, written list that brings the objects of your desire one step closer to reality. The process itself helps clarify what you want. Suspend all disbelief and skepticism, and just do it!

List All Your Gear Now, make another list of all the gear you own. Make sure you include everything—instruments, amps, effects, recording and P.A. gear, accessories, cables… the works. This is a good idea in general, especially if you want your gear covered under any type of insurance policy.

Don’t Worry (Be Happy) Look at that list you just made, be grateful and appreciate all the cool gear you already own. Sure, you’re still gassing for something else, but there’s no need to feel desperate or deprived. Try to eliminate any negativity in your gear acquisitions. That means not being jealous or envious over someone else’s gear. It also means not cheating or deceiving anyone to get what you want.

Desktop Picture Tip Here’s a little gear acquisition trick that never lets me down. I usually save this for the more high-end pieces that seem to be out of my immediate reach. It’s simple. Get the best, most hi-resolution picture you can find of the item in question and make it the desktop background picture on your computer. Leave it on your desktop and see what happens.

That’s it, you ask? How does the gear I want magically appear after following those steps? That’s for you to find out. Trust me, I’ve acquired a ton of gear starting with the above suggestions. It works fine for me, and I have no doubt it’ll work for anyone who’s willing to try. Give it a try, what have you got to lose? Once you’ve got the right mindset and an organized approach, that gear can be yours. If you want it.

See you next time. Until then, KEEP ON STOMPIN’!

Tom Hughes
(a.k.a. Analog Tom) is the owner and proprietor of For Musicians Only ( and author of Analog Man’s Guide To Vintage Effects. Questions or comments about this article can be sent to:

Analog Man
( is one of the largest boutique effects manufacturers and retailers in the business, established by “Analog” Mike Piera in 1993. Mike can be reached at