Hello folks. I have been suffering a horrible case of GAS for the last year or so. I feel like there are 2 types of GAS. The first kind is the fun kind. It is the daydreaming about buying a Fodera, or a Custom Shop Fender, etc etc. Your day to day gear is working and playable, but one can always dream, right? The second kind of GAS is the not so fun kind. It's the 'my amp isn't loud enough, what's the cheapest thing I can get for under a grand'. It's the, my 'input jack failed and I've been thinking of replacing the pickup, should I have it done all in one shot?" kind of GAS. It's the "I have some hand fatigue problems and my P neck isn't cutting it anymore" type of GAS. This type of GAS is just like putting out small fires here and there just to get back to square one again. I still consider it GAS because it has the 'If only I had x' side to it. I.e. If only I had the Geezer Butler Pickup, then my P bass would sound great. It's the "Type II" GAS that has been plaguing me all year. It's why every band practice is a contest for which bass will I bring and what strings to put on said bass. It's frustrating to make gear choices based on a once weekly practice. Rather than getting into the music I am more focused on whether or not my sound is working or not. Not fun.....BUT - I HAVE FOUND A CURE! The cure is to focus on simplicity, cost effectiveness and the reality of the current playing situation: So without further ado, here is my GAS-free setup: 1) Amp: Fender Rumble 500 combo. I am not an amp person, and my previous amp, the Ampeg BA115HP was really just not cutting it sound or tonewise. I asked for opinions here, but I start losing interest when talking about ohms and extension cabs, etc. What I know about this amp is 1) It is extremely loud, 2) It sounds really really good to my ears. The 'vintage' button on it is pretty close to my ideal sound. It's full and thick, but also pretty clear. Great for blues, classic rock, reggae type sounds. The 'contour' button works great for playing with a pick or for more modern sounding stuff. Overall this amp has been a game changer for me. Previous issues with my basses have been pretty much equalized by the tones I can get from this amp. Love it. $550 in the box from the Great Great House of Guitars in Rochester, NY. Lesson learned: If your amp isn't loud enough or doesn't have the right tone - don't try to supplement with pedals, or using the direct out in practice, etc etc. Just get a louder amp. 2) Bass: Squier VM Jazz Bass. This decision took the longest to arrive at because my favorite bass I own is my Am Std P Bass. I love that bass, it feels so nice and is super light. 2 Problems though. 1) I have been having hand issues that make the P neck harder to manage. 2) We play a ton of different styles, and I find myself needing the J bridge pickup. I tried the jazz neck on the P for awhile which solved #1 but not #2. Then the input jack went on the P. Now their is a grounding issue with the P. It never seems to end. Meanwhile, the VM Jazz has been rock solid since I unboxed it in 2011. The thing is seriously a tank, it has the tightest fit and finish of all my basses. So, while I like the P better for aesthetic reasons, the J works better for what I need to do in the band. 3) Strings: Fender rounds. This was a total surprise. Above all else I am a string junky and have tried every string possible. I love flats, I love stainless steels, and everything in between. However, for the diverse styles we played I needed something more middle of the road. Flats were awesome when playing Rehab by Amy Winehouse but not so great when playing something that needed a crisper sounding string. SS were awesome on some stuff but too bright for others. In the end I have a pretty decent setup that I could pretty much re-order from Amazon for less than a grand any day of the week. By constraining myself to this setup I have been much more able to focus on playing and not on the gear. I find the fact that it is 'budget' gear kind of refreshing to be honest. I am less attached personally to the gear. When I am playing I am not thinking 'wow my #1 P Bass with flats is sounding awesome', I am thinking about (queue chong's voice) "the music man". We shall see how long it lasts.