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Does better gear make you play better?

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  • Does better gear make you play better?

    This came up in another forum and I wanted to get everyone's take. Someone told me better gear would make me play better. The forumite suggested I get a US made PRS and a Divided By 13, and I'd finally know what proper gear is. Granted, nobody can play well on one of those vaguely guitar shaped objects we've all seen but once you have a decent guitar that's been set up properly, IMHO you should be able to play about as well as you're going to. For my part, after 40+ years I'm a fair rhythm guitarist and that's all, and no expenditure on gear is going to make things any better. That doesn't make me a "rank amateur" but I'll freely admit to being a hack. What say you?
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  • #2
    Frankly, I can get 'my sound' on my $400 Modern Player Tele through my $350 Blackstar HT 20 the same as I can with my $3500 LP Custom and my $3500 1964 BF Vibrolux Reverb.

    I firmly believe that a competent guitarist can sound better on cheap gear than an incompetent player on custom shop gear. Anyone can spend a $#!+pile of money on gear, but that is no guarantee they can make it work correctly; I know this from playing with a lot of wealthy wannabes over the years who were playing custom shop teles, strats, lesters, SGs, etc. through custom shop Fender amps, Swarts, TopHats, BlackCats, ToneKings...and nearly every single one was stunned when they found out I was 'outplaying' them using essentially 'middle line' gear [even though I do own first class stuff, that first class gear is going to pay for my funeral, the lesser gear is paying for itself and more new stuff every gig].

    I am totally underwhelmed by the corksniffers...as you apparently are, because we know the truth...great gear WILL NOT make you a better player. Talent, hard work and perseverance will.
    Last edited by daddymack; 05-16-2019, 03:38 PM.
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

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    • #3
      If your gear is a technical barrier, obviously upgrading will help. Also better (sounding) gear can inspire a player to tighten up and stay in the music zone. Obviously if the player is not that good the experience will be mostly delusional; common I think at live events where the audience is generally ignorant.
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      • #4
        Personally the best of the best stick mostly with one guitar and amp and practice and practice till they know the insides and outside of that particular instrument.

        It has nothing to do with expensive or cheap.

        Clapton has been playing mostly strats since like 1970.
        Santana, PRS since PRS has been in business.
        Hendrix strats.

        I own many guitars and I love my tele made in Japan in 1985. It was pretty inexpensive.


        Divided By 13 are on one of a zillions amps made. If it's not your sound, it's not your amp.

        I own a PRS CU 22 and may buy another one someday. They are nice, but mine doesn't get played a huge amount.
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        • #5
          some years back I did a gig with a band who i stood in with now and again and on this particular night i decided to take a small peavey bandit combo instead of my then usual Marshall and 2x12 cabinet just through sheer laziness ,what a terrible time I had .it,s funny though cause only a few years before that I used to use a peavey special all the time and loved it .but at the moment I could not imagine being without my Marshall in any electric situation .I suppose it's what you get used to .
          did you know that it is illegal to call an MP or a member of the "government ","L-I-A-R " while in the house of commons ,i wonder why?.we hear opposition shout rubbish and bah ,because legally rubbish is waste and bah is something a sheep does ,neither would stand up in court .

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          • #6
            I need all the help I can get. I have enough battles in my brain and fingers already, don't need external struggle with inanimate objects. I suppose I am lucky in that I have a small condo and hump my battery powered amps down to beach to play with friends.
            Different guitar & amp combos (forget about pedals, other than a Pandora mini effects at times) provoke different inspirations/results (at least in my case), drawing me into areas for exploration and fun.
            Yeah, a great player can make lesser guitar sound good. Recall Balinese guy in North Bali. Guitar was real acoustic beater, strings looked like lockjaw incarnate, but dang...! I'm not great, but enjoy what I do (most of the time)
            I was kicked out of music class for passing notes...
            Tuned out, turned in and dropped off

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            • #7
              only practicing and playin more makes you a better player.

              if nicer/better gear makes you play and practicing more than its part of the process.

              if you buy gear as replacement of playing time, you will just end up with more gear, and not more skill


              ...been there, done that, have a t-shirts (and lots of gear)

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              • #8
                Great gear will motivate you to play better but won't make you a better player.I have many amps Fender Pro Jr. Marshall's to Fuchs and once I dial them in for the sound I like( articulate with sustain & Very little Gain ) they're interchangeable .Same with guitars once set up.Mostly it's how good you are and how sure you're of your abilities.The best player aren't the ones that play the most or the fastest note they're the ones that play the right ones and say something with them.
                .

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                • #9
                  For me yes. By a long way.

                  There are a million things that contribute to great, but at the end of the day it's just massively more enjoyable to have great sounds, tuning stability, intonation...

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                  • #10
                    Not trying to be an Anderson fanboi again, but the playability is unreal and makes even my excellent guitars feel a bit bland. Except the FK Barncaster.

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                    • #11
                      I don't think better gear will make you play much better than average gear. I have 3 high priced guitars, (about 2000 dollars each), then I have about 7 guitars in the 600 dollar range, then 10 low priced guitars (below 500). They all sound good and my playing is the same as on any guitar. but there is definitely an advantage with higher priced guitars since you can show off more and they fit the body more to get subtle playing advantage like easy note axcess and the guitar as a whole responds better to the human body. I think there's also an advantage knowing that your guitar is expensive, you'll love to show it off and sound good on it since that's what you're supposed to do with it since guitar is an 'advantage' thing. sort of like a credit card...

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                      • #12
                        ^^ What he said is pure ego. And ego only makes you worse.

                        Will it make you a better player? Not at all. Will it open your mind up, and make you think differently? By all means yes. And that may, or may not, make you a better player.
                        Like W said, I can get my sound from the least expensive thru the most expensive. Same overall tone, different gear. I can walk into a GC, pick up any guitar, no matter the price, and get some tone similar to what I want and play. (Yes, playability is a factor.)
                        But having better gear may allow you to not think about how to get around the gears limitations, and allow you to concentrate on just playing.
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                        Some of my guitars: 64 or so Domino Beatle bass; 73 Ibanez 2398; 79 Epiphone Genesis; 79 Manoman; 99 Ric 330; 78 Gibson L6S; 95 Ibanez JS-700; 04 Samick Lasalle JZ3: 05 Ibanez AS73; 81 Paul Custom, 07 Gary Kramer Simulator T and about 50 others.

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                        • #13
                          Bad gear can certainly make you play badly. Or put a beginner off on day one.
                          That said I have (relatively) expensive guitars that I simply cannot get fluid with And I have two dumpster guitars that play like honey.
                          Its like Mikeo says, it isn't about price but what fits you.
                          My 12 buck Encore and Westone Thunder (rescued from a recycling plant) do all I want, straight under the fingers. The LP and the Jackson Dinky just don't cut it, the LP I find a particularly cumbersome design.
                          One thing that has been a joy and worth the money was a modelling amp particularly with Fender fuse on a laptop to play with rigs. Have created lots of tones that were previously elusive.
                          Personally I believe a guitar is primarily about the neck, its profile and finish. The rest is ancillary, sure it makes a difference but a good neck is where a working relationship lives.
                          .

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mbengs1 View Post
                            I don't think better gear will make you play much better than average gear. I have 3 high priced guitars, (about 2000 dollars each), then I have about 7 guitars in the 600 dollar range, then 10 low priced guitars (below 500). They all sound good and my playing is the same as on any guitar. but there is definitely an advantage with higher priced guitars since you can show off more and they fit the body more to get subtle playing advantage like easy note axcess and the guitar as a whole responds better to the human body. I think there's also an advantage knowing that your guitar is expensive, you'll love to show it off and sound good on it since that's what you're supposed to do with it since guitar is an 'advantage' thing. sort of like a credit card...
                            And you are gigging where?

                            I will not take my Les Paul, ES135, '75 Strat or Vibrolux out for bar gigs anymore, that is just crazy...big outdoor stage gigs, with security, sure...anything else is just crazy...

                            and...I don't care what anyone thinks of the gear I gig with. I do care that I put on a great show every time...but that is about MY skills and MY years of experience, not to 'show off' expensive gear that has nothing to do with my ability to perform and entertain.
                            "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

                            "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                            Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick

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                            • #15
                              Will a good microphone make me a better poet?
                              Surprisingly, yes it will because voice tone and delivery are important. How would Richard Burton sound through your daughter's Chinese Karaoke mic?
                              A good mic really brings out your voice. I have done a few readings lately and whilst it would be great if every venue had an SM58 a lot of them have honkers, I guess guitars are the same

                              .

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