Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.) is a common phenomenon that plagues many musicians from all walks of life. It’s a state of mind where one always seeks the latest and greatest gear to get the ultimate sound.
There’s no dispute; access to quality gear and software can enhance one’s sound. How much better? That’s where the rubber meets the road. It is important to remember that G.A.S. can harm one’s creativity and productivity. I have often been tempted to buy gear because it’s on sale. Oh my, I have to have it!
As mentioned, G.A.S. is driven by the belief that better gear will lead to better music. While this may be true to some extent, it is essential to remember that the quality of one’s music is ultimately determined by their skills as a musician.
As the legendary producer Rick Rubin once said, “Great music is not about the gear or the technology. It’s about the soul and the emotion that goes into it.”
I’ve had this affliction many times, and it’s not just limited to music. I was once convinced that my golf game would improve if I purchased new clubs or the latest training device. Ask anyone who’s ever golfed with me if they think those were wise investments!
A musician’s OCD tendencies will fuel G.A.S. These tendencies can make it hard to resist the lure of the latest and greatest gear. Additionally, they believe every piece of equipment or software has a place in their studio. They spend countless hours researching and reading reviews, looking for the perfect gear to change the game.
Here are 10 tips to help you overcome G.A.S.
1. Set clear goals for your music:
Before investing in any new gear or software, defining your goals as a musician and producer is essential. What kind of music do you want to create? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses as a musician? What areas do you want to improve on? By setting clear goals, you can focus on the tools that will help you achieve those goals rather than getting sidetracked by the latest trends in gear and software.
2. Learn to use your existing gear and software fully:
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that new gear or software will solve all your problems. However, the reality is that many musicians and producers never fully utilize the gear and software they already have. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of your existing tools, and experiment with different settings and techniques. What you already own might surprise you if given the chance.
3. Focus on the music, not the gear:
At the end of the day, music is about emotion and expression. It is not about having the latest and greatest gear or software. Creating fantastic music starts with connecting to emotion.
As producer and engineer Bob Clearmountain once said, “People listen to music with their hearts, not their ears.”
4. Surround yourself with like-minded musicians and producers:
Surrounding yourself with other musicians and producers who share your goals and values can be helpful. Don’t become distracted by all the shiny bells and whistles. Work to collaborate with those people who can help you create great music.
5. Get a budget:
Having a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend on gear and software each year is essential. Once you’ve set a budget, stick to it! Don’t let the shiny new toys tempt you into overspending.
6. Rent before you buy:
Before investing in new gear or software, try renting it first. This will allow you to test it out and make sure it’s really something you need without committing to a big purchase.
7. Use what you have:
You may be surprised at what you can achieve with the gear and software you already have. Take the time to learn how to use it to its fullest potential and experiment with new techniques.
8. Utilize the “30-day rule.”:
When you are urged to buy new gear or software, wait 30 days. If you still feel like you need it after that time has passed, go ahead and buy it. But you’ll often find that the urge has passed, and you don’t need it.
Collaborate with other musicians and producers instead of buying new gear and software. You can borrow or share equipment or even pool your resources to buy something you can all use.
10. Sell what you don’t need:
If you have gear or software that you’re not using, consider selling it. Not only will you free up some space in your studio, but you’ll also have extra cash to put toward something you need.
Now that you understand what G.A.S. is try to avoid it at all costs! It’s a real issue that can lead to financial problems for musicians and producers. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome it with innovative strategies and creativity. To start, set a budget and utilize what you already have. Remember to focus on the music and have fun with your approach to gear and software! And, as you know, it’s really unavoidable:)