The cure for G.A.S.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by IvanMike, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    For those of you who don't know that stands for Gear Aquisition Syndrome. It's an ugly disease affecting countless members of TalkBass as well as other musicians, not to mention people with other interests that involve expensive equipment. You know it if you have it. The pressure, the bloating, the embarassing.........oh wait, wrong condition. :p What I meant was the gnawing feeling of "gotta have it". The newest amp, the coolest cabinet that you just tried out, the four thousand dollar wonkawood bass that your favorite player used on his last hit "ultra mega funk baby". Most of us here have suffered this painful condition, and many are deep in the agonizing throes of it as we speak. The waking up late at night wondering how much we could sell our children for. Would our spouse notice?

    I say try out the new gear. But before you drive yourself crazy, do this. When you find an amp or cab or whatever that you like, come back to the shop with your rig. The whole thing. Your amp, Your cabinets, Your bass. Make an appointment if you have to when you can crank it up and really find out what things sound like. I've been lucky to have a couple of stores near me where they let me do that without having to jump through hoops, but if you have to jump through a hoop or two, do it.

    I'm lucky enough to have collected some cool stuff. Not to brag but I'll list it to make my examples meaningful;

    SWR Electric Blue Head
    Eden WT-400 Head
    Alembic F-1X preamp
    Alembic SF-2 superfilter preamp/tone processor
    Demeter VTBP-201 preamp
    DBX 262 Compressor
    Stewart 2.1 poweramp
    Sans Amp BDDI bass driver DI box
    Bag End S15-D 1x15 cabinet
    Bag End S12-D 1x12 cabinet
    Bag End D10B-D 2x10 cabinet
    Aguilar GS112 1x12 + horn tweeter cabinet
    Tobias 1986 4 string bass

    Whew, a big list, (not nearly as big as some of yours - :p ), but I listed it to give you my benchmark for comparison. Most of it was bought after a lot of reasearch and exhaustive tryout. I've had other stuff, but this is what has stuck. When I find a head or cabinet or bass that's giving me goosebumps i schlep my stuff (not always all of it) down for comparison. I'm not picking on Aguilar, but I'll use some of their fine stuff as an example because that's what I've most recently been trying and having G.A.S. pains for. Before i get into trouble, let me say that Aguilar stuff is tops and if i didn't already have what i have i would have had to buy a lot of aggie products in the past few months. Anyhow, I was floored by the DB-750 so to be fair i brought the alembic and demeter preamps and the stewart poweramp along with my bass. Bottom line, the 750 is a killer amp, sounds great, and is as loud as hell. However, I got just as loud bridging the stewart, and i liked my preamps a wee bit better than the preamp in the 750. If i had the money i would love to get a 750, but there's no need to sell my stuff to get it. Likewise, i thought the aguilar DB-500 was an awesome amp, but i brought down the eden, sans amp and my bass for a test drive, (i also brought out my warmouth 8 string because I'm more likley to use distortion with that). Result? The DB-500 is a fantastic amp with a great overdrive sound. Tonally i think the eden and the aggie are darn close in clean mode, and i preferred the sans amp distortion to the aggie distortion, but that's a very subjective decision. Volume wise the aggie was a wee bit louder, but not in an earthshaking manner. No need to sell my eden for half of what it cost me and still have to come up with six more bills to buy the aggie. If i didn't have the eden? Well, aguilar would have been getting a warranty card in the mail. I could go on, but you get the point. BTW, the tobias has saved me a lot of money, it's gone head to head with foderas, alembics, elricks, etc and always been better or just as good. Thank you Mike! :D

    Personally i think it's great that there is a percentage of players who have to have the "latest and greatest" gear. That makes for a superb used market for me, and more importantly, for the younger players who need to get a quality and powerful amp, but can't shell out a few grand for a new amp and cabs. For an example, remember when Eden and SWR were THE hi-fi amps? Guess what, they still sound darned good and there are a lot of players benifiting from 500 dollar wt-400's and Bass 350's, not to mention 300 dollar 4x10s.

    Yeah this post was long, but It's been on my mind as of late. Got G.A.S.? Bring your stuff in and compare. You just might find out that a quick A/B demo and some mylanta is all you need. ;)
    11guitarguy likes this.
  2. picknslap


    Sep 9, 2004
    well, I always bring my bass (duh) but next time, I'll bring some of my gear with me. Maybe my BDDI will keep my mind off of that SVT....yeah right. :D
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    You should try having GAS as a drummer. :(
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    thanks smash
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Yep, very well put. Since I've been on Talkbass, I've purchased a fair amount of used stuff at good enough prices to mitigate not auditioning first. It would've taken an 8 hour roundtrip drive to audition any of it. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised to own none of it in six months, particularly if I bail from my current band, which seems likely. My old stuff (which i still have) is perfect for what I used to play, and only laziness motivated me to buy somewhat smaller, easier to handle gear.

    I'd also like to put forward the notion of really looking at return on investment. I've amassed a pretty decent PA without ever going into debt, and most of the pieces paid themselves off in far less than 1 year. That's a personal choice, of course, but it merits consideration, I think.
  6. timibud


    Aug 29, 2004
    I am a drummer! I actually have set my self up with 2 sets so superb in all ways, that I've been g.a.s 'n over bass & guitar! I'm horrible on a guitar! I now have well over 1000 watts of Marshall, Peavey, & Ampeg, not to mention Ibanez, Washburn, Kramer, OLP & Epiphone!
    On the bright side, nobody has to bring any part of their rig to come over & jam. I quite enjoy playing bass & my drummin' is all about the pocket now that I know what it's like to hold down the groove alone while the drummer's wankin' it! :scowl:
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    Good points. With the exception of the poweramp, three cabinets, one head, and the bddi, everything else on my gear list was used. I waited a long time for some of those units, (the gas pains for the preamps went on for years), but i couldnt justify buying them at the time. I don't think i'd lose a dime on any of the used stuff if i sold it. Heck, i get offers for the bass 1 grand more than what i paid for it, (but admittedly, that is really an investment quality peice). And, no, i don't keep that bass in a closet, it goes to every gig. :D
  8. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Well done Mike.

    Heck, while I've certainly had GAS to some extent before I learned about Talkbass, I would have to say there was no FDA required warning lable attached to my first logon. It should have read:"Caution, the Attorney General has determined exposure to Talkbass can result in a lighter wallet/heavier credit card."

    We only have Guitar Center and Sam Ash locally. All of a sudden, I'm interested in iAmp, Thunderfunk, Bergantino, Schroeder - stuff I was blissfullly ignorant of before I came here.

    Then again, it's some sweet gear that will lighten my load and help my sound.

    Your advice is the best. One other thought: If you're like me and can't try the brands you want before you buy, as you say, *do your research* and when you are sure 1) check return policies before you buy new and/or 2) buy used so you can re-sell at little to no loss - or sometimes, at a profit.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Nah !!

    The real cure for GAS, is to become a Jazz purist and take up DB - then only play 'unamped' gigs!!

    The amount of effort you will need to put in, in terms of practice and the fact that once you have a bass that allows you to project decent volume, you certainly won't want to change it - adds up to the perfect cure for GAS!! ;)
  10. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Think about the hours learning about gear, talking about gear, buying gear, selling gear and wondering "why the heck did I ever sell xxxx?" instead spent practicing (which probably adds more to the sound than any new effect/pre/amp/head/cabinet acquisition.)

    hmmm, think I'll logoff and practice.
  11. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    Excellent post. I have bought a lot of used gear because it was not in my area to try first. I am now gassing for some Aguilar stuff even though I have never tried or heard it, that makes a lot of sense doesn't it :p . I never tried Mesa stuff until TB and then I played the Walkabout and got major boogie gas and bought a bunch. I think if I follow your advice and A/B the Boogie stuff it will be a long time before it is up for sale.
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Ain't that the truth!

    Again, I will add that you have produced a well thought out, insightful thread, Mike. Thanks! Now where were you a couple of years back when I first joined! ;)

    I will add one caveat, though. Those of us who live far from where they sell the really fun bass gear are at a bit of a disadvantage. So, my strategy is, read every scrap of information that you can get your hands on, listen to whatever you can, whenever you can, watch the prices of used gear, so you know what's a good price and what isn't (and what sells quick, and what doesn't), and always be prepared to pounce on a good deal when it comes along! :D Sometimes, this is the only way that you are able to audition gear. I know that I would have never had a chance to hear any EA gear if I hadn't taken that first leap of faith and bought a used VL-210.

    Now, in theory, if you have done well, you shouldn't have any problem selling high demand gear that you were able to buy for a fair price (or better yet, stole for a song!). I haven't really put that theory to very good use, though... :p

    Later, Tom.
    Al Kraft likes this.
  13. Nightbass


    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I've been thinking about that, and there certainly would be less obsession with gear... once I figure out if I want a plywood or carved bass, a new one or old one, who the double bass equivalent of BassNW is, if I want a French or German bow, what the deal is with all that arco and pizz stuff, why those Spirocore thingies cost $100 a string, how often I have to have that David Gage guy set the dang thing up, which magazines to subscribe to, which pickups to install just in case, which one of my amps and cabs sounds best with it, whether I should get a Walter Woods or a Clarus, etc......

    Yep, certainly less GAS over on that side of the fence! :)
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    NO no,....

    You can't afford an old one and there are no recognisable brands and very little choice - get a carved one!! ;)

    There isn't one - end of story!! ;)

    99% of Jazz is pizz - forget about the bow! :D

    But strings last forever and sound better the older they are!! don't bother buying any more!

    Move to somewhere too far away from him (England?) and get a cheap local guy to do it!

    There's only one - "Double Bassist" !!

    We're only playing unamped, remember!! :meh:

  15. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    who let him in here??? :p
  16. Emergancy Exit

    Emergancy Exit

    Sep 26, 2007
    Mobile AL

    i can imagine. however drums you can allways just add to and replace piece by piece. with guitars/bass you have to save up a whole thousand+ dollers to get the new stuff and get it all in one lump sum. drums evry $100 gets you part of it (okay somethings are more expensice but in general) and many are cheaper than that.

    likewise you would be broke more often as a drummer because it seams like you can afford evrything so i can see the downside to Drummer GAS.
  17. Nice post.

    I would have to say TalkBass is responsible for me getting equipment I might not have otherwise thought of.....yes.
    But you here at TalkBass have all conspired to save me time, effort and actually money aswell.
    I now have a dominating bass rig (including homebrews) that can get us chucked out of a pub gig - and its' cost me A LOT less than what I could have paid for lesser gear.

    So - I reckon, whilst TalkBass gives you G.A.S., it can also be a Potential Money Saver - or PMS for short......
  18. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses

    Mike hit the nail on the head.... save yourself huge losses in trade differentials, frustration and anger.... drag your whole rig with you to the store....

    I know it can be a headache... ( I have 2 preamps, a power amp, a combo, a head, 3 basses and a bunch of DI and effects.... it usually involves two runs... )

    but you will be so glad you did.........
  19. ChrisPbass


    Jul 18, 2006
    Fairfax, VA
    Want to cure 95% of GAS? Blow up your internet connection.
  20. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    No kidding. I was happy with my Squier Affinity P-Bass and 15W practice amp before I found this place. :D

    Now I've got Hartke, GK & Ashdown amps, 2 cabs with a 3rd on the way and currently own 5 basses and have offed a few more.