"GAS, GAS Go Away!"

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by duceditor, Oct 9, 2021.

  1. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    "GAS"... Clever word that! "GAS" -- "Guitar Acquisition Syndrome."

    It'd be fun to search out the roots of this acronym. It may have been around as a word for years, but I -- and I suspect many of us -- know it mostly through its use here on Squier-Talk.

    Do you suffer from "GAS"? How can you tell?

    Not, I think, by the number of guitars you own. If you, like me, have been playing for a long, long time, and have the separate malady of never selling anything you buy (Known in my circle as "filledclosetitis") such may not actually be a symptom of GAS. It all comes down to what you're endlessly hankering for. AND how you feel about what you've already got.

    As I've mentioned here before, I for many, many years -- serious playing years mind you -- was satisfied with just one electric guitar. And one classical style acoustic. And one amplifier.

    My gear was good -- but not (as you might think) top dollar. I had a "student grade" Gibson guitar and a Fender combo amp that put out about 45 watts. That was it. And for a good time I yearned to own nothing more.

    Why should I have? They totally served my purpose -- yes, even when that "purpose" included playing large concert venues and numerous recording studio sessions.

    Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 8.25.36 AM.png 3 - Abstracts at AIC2.jpg

    Also (as I've mentioned before), the focus was not on the gear but on the music.

    But now I have over two dozen guitars. Doesn't that mean I at least sometime suffered from GAS?

    Maybe. Just maybe.

    But if so I no longer do.

    Is that because I have sworn some solemn oath to never purchase another guitar or amp? Nope. For although I have no plans too, neither have I forsworn doing so if the right guitar someday comes along.

    No, the answer for me is elsewhere. And it is not for me something new -- just relatively newly focused on. It is, in Mick Jagger's timeless word, "Satisfaction."

    Yes, "satisfaction." Being satisfied with what I currently own.

    "Satisfaction" is not something we are born with. In fact quite the opposite is typically true.

    Ever heard a kid who endlessly squeals? He does that because he "wants." Milk. Cuddles. Attention. The drying of a wet bottom. Really -- for some kids at least -- anything.

    Now , what happens do you think when that kid -- it could be you or me -- grows up?

    Well, if he become a guitar player he gets it. "GAS."

    Are we such?

    Were we once?

    Or were we born, or (more likely) have we taught ourselves, to be satisfied.

    Being satisfied doesn't mean never wanting "more" or "better." We might. Indeed, we likely, will. Such is a positive driving force of humanity. It's why we live in houses instead of up trees or in caves.

    No, it's more a matter of on what we focus. On the good of what we have and what we can do now that we have it -- stay warm and dry, invent new technologies, brew beer, make babies, create art and music. Or focus on simply getting "more" or "different" -- that so we can be dissatisfied still.

    And it is that last thing that tells us whether or not we suffer from GAS. That "dissatisfied still" thing.

    Our own posts might reveal this to us.

    Do we post more often on how (or why) we enjoy this or that guitar, or amplifier, or style of music, or learning technique? Or do most of our posts speak to what we next will be buying?

    The word "most" is critical there. Because having genuine excitement about owning a certain instrument could of itself be evidence that we do not suffer from GAS. That we have a single, long-term and healthy desire for a certain something -- something that we have long longed for and that perhaps now -- finally! -- may become ours.

    You know... Like Neil Armstrong's desire for a moon rock.

    How different that was from someone who endlessly fills a bag with any ol' rocks. Yes?

    The later suggests a disease. (Or a "syndrome" to put it more politely.)

    The earlier suggests a positive and constructive drive. -One that leads to accomplishment, not just bags of nothing special about them rocks.

    For me the answer is, again, "satisfaction." Be it for "rocks" or rockin' guitars. And such is a cultivated state of mind.

    Satisfaction with whatever life has provided us. Or, when such is truly not satisfactory, is replaced with a focused, purposeful, plan to get whatever it is we truly lack.

    Not everything comes equally to every person. Much is like 'looks' and beauty. To some degree it is the 'luck of the draw' -- something you have or you don't. But some of the world's most "beautiful" people work mighty hard to develop and sustain that beauty. That by both what they do and what they don't do.

    Like endlessly stuffing their faces. Like endlessly sitting on their couch.

    And so it is with satisfaction and GAS. We may or may not be born with it. But what we do with what life gives us is -- or, more accurately, can be -- determined by us.

    I don't know how or why I was satisfied with having only one guitar for all those years. Or why, instead of GAS I had a focus on 'doing.'

    Maybe it was my circle of friends? (But why did I choose such?)

    Maybe it was simply that there really wasn't that much available back then -- and few places designed to make me hanker for what I did not have.

    Who knows? But in any case I have learned that I am happier when I am GAS-free. And that the greatest joys as I look back on my now almost 75 years, is not what I've owned, but what I've done with my life. Seeking out opportunities, while every day being thankful for what life has somehow brought my way.

    Do I ever suffer GAS?

    Yup. Occasionally I see a guitar and think "Wow, that's sweet. Maybe I ought..."

    "Nah!" I most often decide. "Just go enjoy what you've already got!"

    And I do.


    My GAS is then gone.


    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
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  2. brians

    brians Squier-holic

    Oct 1, 2017
    South Africa
    Great post Don, I'm happy when I'm happy with my gear.

    When I'm not happy, it's not my gear that's the problem, it's me.

    And if I feel a new amp , for example, will make it better, it does, but it's a short term high. It doesn't solve what I think is missing.

    What is missing is oft within ourselves and a CS guitar and a $4000 amp will make us think ( for a short while ) that we are better than yesterday.

    I have watched many street musos play with the cheapest of the cheapest gear and they are fantastic.

    Yes , is GAS a product of forums like this ?
    I think so , because the exposure all day of everyone's new gear is like , man , I've gotta have one of those !

    Recently I was watching an Andertons video of the new range of Magnatone amps.
    Man they are so impressive, but they $4000 , and I was thinking, if I had one, would I be a better player?
    Of course we know the answer.

    Anyway, back to my Squire and my Vox and a pedal or three , and I will make myself feel better IF , I play well, I am ok with it.
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  3. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Supporting Member

    Although I didn't perform publicly, I also felt that one amp and one guitar were all I needed. I did eventually buy a second amp that of course I still have, my Peavey Decade, so I had something small and easy to take on trips. This gear is about all I had for a good 40 years. It was only right around when I joined this board that I started getting more guitars and more amps. Is this a coincidence? Of course not!

    On another note, I notice you use the word "such" in your writings more than most people. I think this makes you what I think of as a "sucher".
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
  4. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA

    Do I do such a thing?


  5. techowiz

    techowiz Squier-holic

    Aug 21, 2014
    new york
    Well said Don! As for me, "I can't get no satisfaction", so I keep buying new gear!
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  6. grizzlewulf

    grizzlewulf Squier-holic

    Dec 11, 2020
    Lucerne, California
    GAS is an interesting thing for me. I only have 2 electric guitars, a parlour size acoustic, and a bass that's currently in disrepair simply because I haven't been moved to play bass much lately.

    Part of that is I haven't been collecting very long, started shortly before the pandemic when I decided I have to get back into music.

    But part of it is intentional. I honestly don't want a huge stable of guitars. I do a lot of looking up new guitars, window shopping online etc. But I think that's more of a pastime/self-education than seriously shopping around.

    Really, I could be happy with 2-5 guitars. Might be because many of my favorite players (ie Neil Young) have a signature guitar they're associated with, or maybe a small number of recognizable guitars.

    That's not to say that I'm not often tempted, I am. When my virtual neighbor is showing off his or her cool collection, I admit that I do often covet. But it's fleeting. I'd like to think what I'm really doing is appreciating without selfish greed, but, yknow, I'm only human.

    I think eventually I'd like to add a T-style of some sort. Maybe a P-90 driven thing of some sort. Maybe those are even the same guitar. And I'd kinda like to take a crack at making that guitar something of a home build, or at least self-assembled from various sources.

    I could also see adding a dreadnaught for a warmer, richer acoustic guitar sound, because the parlour really is mostly for fun, a cheap thing to bring to the park and pass around socially. And I could imagine someday down the line, perhaps if my music projects are finding some kind of success, I could see treating myself to one really really high end guitar for once in my life-- something vintage, or boutique, or custom. But even that's kind of a pipe dream, as opposed to a goal.

    Really, for the must part, I'm satisfied with what the 2 guitars I have. They're each totally different feeling and sounding from one another, they cover most of the tonal bases I want. And I think the near immediate future will be mostly continuing to upgrade and fine-tune the current guitars.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
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  7. grizzlewulf

    grizzlewulf Squier-holic

    Dec 11, 2020
    Lucerne, California
    But I make no promises about PAS (pedal acquisition syndrome)
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  8. Slacker G

    Slacker G Squier-Meister

    Sep 6, 2021
    "GAS, GAS Go Away!"

    It'll only come another day.
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  9. JohnnyMac

    JohnnyMac Squier-holic

    Mar 5, 2018
    Front range Colorado
    Great post Don.

    I've finally learned (am learning) to control my GAS, (to some degree).

    Selling off lesser used, lesser appreciated gear and not acquiring new stuff just to do it. But it makes sense that when I first got interested in this stuff I felt a desire to try out different styles of guitars and amps to see what suited me. Now that I've experienced most types of guitars I know what I like and what isn't for me. Amps, now that's a different story.

    Now, if I could just learn how to play the damned things.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
  10. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    If you have found a way to really do that you are ahead of me.

    I haven't mostly because of privacy concerns. (No, I do not want you "buyers" to know that I even have this stuff ! Or where I live.)

    Too, I suppose, is laziness. Squiers and such sell for so little. Add up the time of selling, shipping, etc. and it is just too easy to 'stick 'em in a closet.'

    The "good" gear is dollar worth it -- and I've sold a few mid-level value guitars thru this forum. But even there only to members who could/would pick it up, thus no shipping costs and risks.

    How much is privacy worth? To me the answer is more than the dollar worth of all my guitars.

    But my entire life has been based on that. Or everything since I left the rock scene all those years ago.

    MY life, lived MY way. Sharing what, when and with whom I wish.

    Such fills ones closets quickly. :D

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  11. JohnnyMac

    JohnnyMac Squier-holic

    Mar 5, 2018
    Front range Colorado
    I don't have an issue with privacy when selling gear. I only let the buyer see the item that he is interested in and actually have made some good friends via local sales.

    I guess when it comes to selling those low dollar items I just want them out of my life. I get anxiety when I have to much unused stuff sitting around.
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  12. miket1117

    miket1117 Squier-holic Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Kansas City
    Over the past two years i've been GASed good. I think mostly because i kinda set out initially to have a Tele, a Strat, a 335 type, a Thinline, a Les Paul, etc., and it kinda went from there. and there was no one there to tell me no. :cool:

    Now that i have 27, it seems too many and i've been able to determine, finally, what i really like and what moves me when it comes to electrics. yeah, i bought a high(er) end Fender Tele and it's great to have, but in the end, i like the Squier Contemp Tele RH better. And so it goes with some others - the Mascis, the Cabronita, the Epi 335 Pro, all of which are now cased and will be on the block.

    and after i sell those i will turn around and shop for a Squier VM or CV Jaguar... :D.
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  13. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    What I see there is personal knowledge. You have tried and listened, not to others, not to the common lore, but to yourself.

    That, sir, is the beginning of wisdom.

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  14. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Squier-Nut

    Mar 9, 2020
    Greybull, WY
    I have had bad GAS since September 2019. I got along fine with 4 Gibson's and 2 Martin's for over 30 years. Then came the GAS.

    I needed a 12-string electric to go with my 2 acoustic ones. It was so nice I had to have a 6 string version.

    Then there was the fact I didn't have a Strat or a Tele or a high end Gretsch or a 335 type. You can see where lead me to. From 6 to 25 in 2 years time. Of course I had to add some amps and multi-effects pedals into the mix also.

    Some of these purchases were items I had wanted for a long time, some were just because they were a good price and I didn't have one. I think my main reasoning was because i don't have many years left and wanted to experience the joy of playing the items.

    So here I set waiting for my Vox AC10C1-TTBM amp to arrive next week and my new Gretsch which doesn't hit the streets until next month.

    I consider myself blessed to be able to get what I want. In respect it may be curse instead.
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  15. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    I too had only one instrument for decades (three actually, but technically I bought two of them for my ex who only took a couple months of lessons). During that time they were almost never played… as career, and family were my focus.
    I can say for certain when my GAS Took off… when I started flipping, and eventually modding.

    I’m a technician for a living, and when I started playing again in the early 2000’s, my job was pretty stale technically (I was an electronic fireman on equipment I knew like the back of my hand, plenty of work, but no challenges).

    While I did do electrical/electronic repairs on guitars and amps back in the day, I’d never fully learned how to setup a guitar (I pretty much just did strings and intonation… and that often with a pitch pipe). I never turned a truss rod on a guitar that was mine until 2006.

    This is where the Internet is a wonderful thing, there were so many good set up guides; both videos, and written explanations with excellent pictures. It was something new, and interesting, and the results of learning that were immediately obvious to me on the three guitars I had in hand.

    I converted my old Knight tube amp to a three prong modular plug, removing the death cap, and ground lift switch connections. It was a little too loud, heavy, and ugly to have in our bedroom, so it was relegated to the basement in a closet where I had to pull it out to play it.

    Six months after buying my Mustang III (which was deemed attractive enough to be allowed into the bedroom), I decided to sell the Knight, and with the money I made on it, started feeding my GAS in earnest. I was very careful to buy low and sell high, and I kept track of all my buys and sells, doing the repairs and setting up Guitars I would buy for $20-$40, flipping them for 100, and then using the profits to buy a nicer guitar for myself (my ex was an accountant, and didn’t want it to effect our budget).

    They weren’t always nicer, there was my original 51 which really got me going on the Modding bug, I purposely started looking for broken guitars, which were often almost giveaways.

    This is when I started buying/flipping guitars off of craigslist in earnest, and in a few years made a couple grand in profit. I had a nice stable of new, and used guitars, and I was discovering what I really liked (and didn’t like) in guitars (I think I went through something like seven variations of Les Pauls before I just gave it up, discovering that they didn’t match up with me physically). I kept my tally, so the ex didn’t seem to mind as long as it wasn’t a money pit.

    I know some guys with GAS, who have taken their house payment money to buy a Gibson or USA Fender! I’ve never spent more than $500 on a guitar that I’ve kept (I did spend more on two, both went back with issues), though I’ve sold a few for more than 500, and I’ve traded deals/repairs I’ve bought for $500+ guitars (like the Aria Steve Bailey bass I repaired/traded for my Martin dreadnought/HSC)

    So I’m thinking my GAS is mostly deal/value oriented.

    Performing out again has changed my focus to mostly acoustic, and made me realize some guitars I had were wants, if I’m not playing them, why do I still have them.

    I am sorry to tell you Don, that when I bought the Supro’s, my original thought was to do exactly as I eventually did… Sit on them for a couple years, and wait till the value went up to sell them. I enjoyed playing them, but neither of them (IMO) is really a practical guitar to play out.
    I made a tidy return on both.

    Except for the Martin’s, everything I’ve kept over the last five years has even $300 & under, and some sub $200 guitars a lot of other guys think have been diamonds in the rough, have been kind of on the “meh” side (Firefly 338, and Thinline). these guitars have been very easy to move if I didn’t love them (right now is a good time to sell guitars, I think the bubble will burst shortly). Of everything I’ve sold in the last two years, only two have I taken a hit on (Rogue Mandolin, $10, and
    Rogue resonator $20). I probably could’ve moved them for break-even or profit if I left the ads up longer, but was tired of haggling over $10-$15 on craigslist emails.

    I’m back down to my smallest stable in maybe a decade (25 total of which 3 are 2 ukes. and a mando), and in the bunch there’s maybe four I can see as possible flips down the line (none being real profit makers).

    I don’t have AMP GAS, I’m very happy with what I’ve had for the last five years (two of which I’ve had for over a decade).

    I’ll tell you one GAS story that you sent me on Don, and that was for the quest for a P90 guitar that was comfortable for me.

    I love the way P90’s sound, but every one I had just fell short physically, or tone wise.

    So far I’ve had:
    Epi special (LP shape don’t fit me, returned)
    Epi 339 P90 (Good, but returned because of divorce costs)
    Hofner Colorama (double cut, but sitting down still felt like a Les Paul, flipped for the next one)
    Epi Wildcat (even though a little bigger than a Les Paul, still felt like one sitting down, also, pickups didn’t do it for me, returned it).
    G&L Fallout: (Great sounding P90, but every time I played it, was wishing another one like it was in the bridge position instead of a humbucker… this was the winner for about three years).
    Grote Jazz box (Best sounding P90 I have played to date, same issue as the Fallout, kept wishing it had a second one in the bridge position, I still have it because it’s so unique/cool, and is nice to play acoustically.
    And now:
    Grote 335 P90: Two of the same pickup that are in the above Grote. This might be “my” P90 guitar. The guitar had some issues that you can see in my NGD thread, but they were mostly with the finish which is absolutely beautiful one worked on. Now just to see if it’s durable/reliable.

    My stable goes one of two ways; either perfect stock, or perfect after being fixed/modified.

    I don’t have any “wants” in guitars right now, The closest thing to a “want to try” is a Sire Larry Carlton acoustic (as they have both a piezo, and condenser microphone input on their preamp system). I had one on order, before I got the Cutaway Martin, but the seller (Pitbull audio, who I had bought from previously) disappointingly did a bait and switch, and told me it was already sold when I ordered it… then tried to get me to “upgrade”.
    Chicago Music Exchange has the full line in stock now, so I could go try one, but I’m really happy with the cutaway Martin thus far. Also don’t want to buy anything else new (and that costly) until after the guitar bubble pops (though CME will often give you 10-15% off their listed price for previous customers once you’re in their store).

    I’ve given away guitars & gear to a number of young people who were just starting out, as well as to some of my kids friends who are musicians, but couldn’t afford a decent instrument. I’ve also donated a few cheapo‘s that were really nice players after working on them.
    Those are always feel-good moments.

    So I guess the second part of my GAS is rescuing the instrument... maybe for me, or maybe just for someone who wouldn’t have an instrument otherwise. I just want them to be played.
  16. Archtops

    Archtops Squier-Meister

    Jun 6, 2021
    My advice? Don’t buy on the internet after a few beers. Keeps the gas and wants in control. Sort of.
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  17. miket1117

    miket1117 Squier-holic Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Kansas City
    Thanks Don! I'm nearly 70 years old. I'd like to think I've acquired some useful wisdom along the way by now. But in no way do I consider myself a wise man. That's the beginning of being a fool, as such things go... :D
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  18. miket1117

    miket1117 Squier-holic Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Kansas City
    Right... don't wanna buy? Don't window shop, beers or not.

    More than once I've gotten into some one-upmanship with my brother. He doesn't buy as many because he buys much more expensive guitars and thinks Squier and Epiphone are inferior... snob, he is... lol... so I can buy three to his one. I like it like that, and as noted previously, have found I like several of my "cheap" guitars better than the more expensive ones.

    So now to selling off a few in order to buy some others that i've become interested in (Jaguars in particular).
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  19. miket1117

    miket1117 Squier-holic Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Kansas City
    Exactly. Same boat for the most part and dang near over the same timeframe with the same quantities! :D
  20. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-Axpert

    Sep 27, 2014
    Lately, I suffer from LAS - Lego Acquisition Syndrome