Can Gear Make You A Better Player?

TSJMajesty

Rock Star
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If it inspires you to practice, then absolutely. (TL;DR- drop to the last 2 paragraphs)

The more I read stuff on gear forums, the more it becomes apparent to me that everyone has their different things about playing that excite them, and inspire them, musically. For some, it's having several guitars for different types of sounds, for others it's trying and collecting various gear in general..., it could be amps, pedals, modelers, etc., or all of it. I'm amazed at some of the pics of collections I've seen posted!

Still others pursue the creation of their own music, whether that be recording, or in bands..., doing it with actual gear, or software that emulates certain gear. And there's cover bands and tribute bands. And then there's the tinkerers, with their pickup swaps, and wiring choices, all the way to building their own instruments, some from parts, some from scratch. Cabinets and amps as well.

And still other avenues that I haven't thought of. But all of it shares the commonality of actually picking up (I'll just say guitar, since that's probably what 98% of all of us around here focus our efforts on) a guitar, and being able to play it.

For me, that's the part that I really enjoy, and is pretty much my only focus these days, and has been for the past few years.

I've mentioned that I lost my desire to play guitar for a few years, then for some unknown-to-me reason, a fire was lit. I picked up my PRS and just started practicing, acoustically. And boy was I rusty. I had never been all that good, and just slopped through the cover songs I used to play in a band, and I wanted to change that. It's a bit disappointing that I didn't have that drive prior to turning 50, but better late than never, as the saying goes.

I still had my old ADA MP-1-based rig, so I dusted it off, and it still sounded amazing. But I've always loved playing in stereo, and I needed some better gear to do that. So I found a deal on a 2nd 4x12 Mesa cab, and started looking at getting some quality effects. Boy was I out of the loop! All I had was a few Boss pedals. It was time to upgrade.

I love Dream Theater. Even though I haven't really bonded with much of their music since Portnoy left, I've always loved John Petrucci's tone and playing. So I started looking for the same rack gear I knew he used..., TC, Lexicon, Eventide..., but those units seemed risky, given their age. And the newer versions of those types of units..., well let's just say I got overwhelmed by the choices pretty quickly, and I don't know the first thing about how to make all that stuff work correctly when it comes to switching multiple effects on/off at the same time. And I knew I wanted versatility of tones.

But prior to dealing with the gear for the sounds, the PRS was starting to feel limiting to me, and boy did those Majesties look cool. So about 3 years ago I bought an Enchanted Forest model. OMG!! WHAT a fantastic guitar! And my playing continued to improve.

I had always wanted a Tri Axis (been a die-hard Mesa guy for the past 30 years), and I found a killer deal on one, with a 2:90. Now I just needed the effects.

Somehow I discovered Fractal Audio. I did a ton of reading, and finally got the nerve to pull the trigger on an Axe Fx III Mk II. Just..., wow!! Un-freaking-real. Multi-effects processors sure had come a long way since the POS ART Multiverb I still have!

Having an amazing guitar, the sonic bliss of the Axe III, (and the built-in metronome sure is convenient), and the ability to easily put absolutely fucking amazing-sounding, spatially mind-blowing, stereo effects into my ears, and run the gamut of amp tones for whatever I desire to hear at that time, is THE MOST INSPIRING THING I'VE EVER HAD, to make me want to be the player I'd never become. It's gotten to the point where nearly every 3-hour-average playing/practice session leaves me utterly ecstatic with how much better I have become as a guitarist.

I'm just so thankful that, for me, I've found the perfect gear to reinvigorate my inspiration and passion for playing guitar! And so I figured, why not share my journey and joy here with you guys, and ask if any of you have similar stories.
 
If it inspires you to practice, then absolutely.

Nah, it's just lies we tell ourselves to buy more crap we absolutely don't need. Especially to practice.

Piano.jpg
 
No it does not make you a better player but inspires you for sure, a great playing guitar will go a long ways in keeping you inspired to play
I'm not a pro I'm a bedroom enthusiast I play for my own pleasure, but I'm serious about it, I adhere to a strict practice regime
and what I like to do is cover songs that i always wanted to play when i was younger (new player of 3 years now)
and for me I have to get the tones pretty close to the original recording, yes that does motivate me
And with my Helix i can accomplish this, which is why its my most valuable piece of gear i own
:chef
 
Certainly gear that I love to play and is inspiring to play causes me to play more which in turn does make me a better player.

I could get away with less expensive gear for what I’m doing these days. But why? Life is short.
 
I bet most of us learned to play our instruments and developed our musical ear on entry level or an old beat hand-me-down gear
True. But I remember when I upgraded from my first piece of crap Bullet guitar to a nice Mexi-Strat, it felt and played so much better that I practiced more and seemed to progress faster not having to fight against the guitar.
 
While I made that post about having no creative output for the last year, I certainly did play a sh*tload of guitar, more than I have in the last 15 years and it was definitely because I kept getting new gear. The Strats alone were enough of a departure from my normal playing (half-assed proggy stuff) style that I just sound like ass on them unless I’m playing something that‘s suited towards those single coil tones, it’s like being naked for a high gain, humbucker guy.

I suppose if the intent to get better is there, it’ll happen regardless, but having gear that lets you get past the “My gear sounds like sh*t and is uninspiring to play.” then it’s definitely going to help!
 
While I made that post about having no creative output for the last year, I certainly did play a sh*tload of guitar, more than I have in the last 15 years and it was definitely because I kept getting new gear. The Strats alone were enough of a departure from my normal playing (half-assed proggy stuff) style that I just sound like ass on them unless I’m playing something that‘s suited towards those single coil tones, it’s like being naked for a high gain, humbucker guy.

I suppose if the intent to get better is there, it’ll happen regardless, but having gear that lets you get past the “My gear sounds like sh*t and is uninspiring to play.” then it’s definitely going to help!
That says it much more concisely than I did. Even if you remove the background stuff. ;)
 
I bet most of us learned to play our instruments and developed our musical ear on entry level or an old beat hand-me-down gear.

My first electric is one my buddy took from his older brother (maybe stole?), and to whom
I traded a dime bag of weed for circa 1984.

I couldn't even tune that fucker to pitch because it was a Kay SG with an headstock crack. Didn't
know it then. Just know at one point tuning up to standard it would just get flatter and flatter. Zoinks!

Still a great deal for me that I have never once regretted.
 
Not a better player, per se.

It’s definitely made me a more comfortable player, in that I love my gear, it inspires me to play and I’ve taken the time to learn it.

I have less anxiety about playing in front of people, whether that’s a show, an open jam or just getting together with a buddy and tipping a few to see what riffs pop out.

Having zero GAS helps; I’ve gotten to a point in life that I don’t jones for anything any more. Bought all the guitars and amps and modelers and FX I wanted, having no GAS is a nice thing, for me.

I think in the end if you find shit that really just GELS hard with you then yeah it can make you a better more well rounded player.

Take all the above with a grain of whatever, I’m pretty fuckin delusional most of the time lol
 
Strats .... sound like ass ... unless I’m playing something that‘s suited towards those single coil tones.
Yep, right on the money.
Thrash metal is my main genre and I do have a nice American Performer Strat, it is definitely challenging to mentally readjust to what suits this type of instrument after years/decades of tight palm mute shredding on EMGs.

So I Thrash on the Strat too.
I win. :headbang
 
I just sound like ass on them unless I’m playing something that‘s suited towards those single coil tones, it’s like being naked for a high gain, humbucker guy.
I know you said "I sound...", but I also think playing something that doesn't necessarily fit can be a good thing. I'll roll the volume down a little, and the tone way down on the neck PU on my Majesty, using a high-ish gain tone, which I consider totally out-of-the-norm, and I end up playing completely differently. If I wrote music, I'd most likely do that sort of thing on purpose.
 
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