As real guitar-loving, gearhead geeks, we of course love to discuss equipment and enjoy the act of constantly changing and improving our rigs. When you’re talking about me, you are definitely talking about one of the most “low tech” guys around. That being said, I still enjoy keeping my equipment in good shape, ad always being ready for whatever may present itself for me, musically speaking. Most of the time, I’m so lazy that the guitar I grab is simply the one with the newest strings, but I love having choices, and of course, what amp I am choosing is also extremely important.
I believe you should certainly try to get as many sounds and as much service out of as little equipment as possible…after all, these are tough times that demand frugality and efficiency, but still, it’s fun to seek out and find what really works best for you among all the great choices out there these days. It’s also really critical to have a good amp tech who can work on your stuff, because amps will always present the most problems for you in terms of breaking down. I have had many disappointing amplifier repair encounters, and I have found that the search for a good amp person just keeps going on and on. You certainly want to get some amps that are real “workhorses” that you can depend on both in the studio and on gigs. There’s nothing worse than amps breaking down just when you need them the most, and I’ve sometimes had to switch amps 4 times during one show, when there was something that kept going wrong! Talk about an onstage “nightmare!”
As far as your guitar or guitars are concerned, a good repair person is also very important, but I also feel that you should learn to do as much “tweaking” on your own as possible. It’s great to learn how to set your intonation, fix a warped neck, and do a little soldering here and there, you know, things like that. Most of the time, when you bring it to your local music store, the so-called “expert” there for repairs may not really be much of an expert at all! So it’s good to practice some “preventative” repair stuff by knowing how to keep the condition of your guitar up, and hopefully avoiding too many unnecessary visits to the repair shop!
But like with anything else, remember this is a constantly changing and evolving process, and the search for the right equipment and what will hold up best for you should be a fun process. Remember, for example, if there’s that guitar that simply won’t keep low action for you, it may be time to turn it into your main slide guitar! There’s always a good reason to hang onto something that sounds good, even if the actual physical characteristics of the guitar itself may be giving you trouble….try to make it work for you…some of the cheapest equipment can end up being the best-sounding! And anyway, we can always justify needing more guitars! Most of all make sure the whole process is fun! Good luck!