There is a tendency these days to always put such a heavy emphasis on equipment, and having lots of it! Sure, it’s nice to have this stuff, but do we really ever get to see the true potential of what can really be done with it? I have always found that “less is more” when it comes to using stuff, even in the case of guitars, and the fact that you are working with less, will always make you a more versatile player.
There’s no doubt that for example, you’d have to cover a much wider tonal range on your own if you simply had a guitar plugged into an amp, without all the “stomp boxes” and outboard equipment so many of us favor these days. I know that I always resorted to getting as much out of the pure guitar as possible, such as volume control tricks, tone control “wah-wahs”, and of course, just good old tube amp distortion instead of distortion pedals. Don’t get me wrong, all this stuff has its place, and can be put to definite creative use successfully, I just feel that it’s important to really know when is the best time for you to move on, or “up” to more equipment. Too much too soon can be crazy. I know of one very spoiled kid I was teaching a couple of years back who was getting a new Marshall stack every week, 6 Les Pauls for one birthday, and who kept changing his “massive” pedal board every week! Talk about someone who didn’t understand about getting what he wanted out of the guitar first! All that mattered to him was how much he owned, and how seemingly “hot-rodded” his setup could be. It was a nightmare to teach him, and he also had no attention span, never listened to me and never smiled.
Obviously, this kid was an extreme example, and there was something wrong with him, but if he had just taken the time to really understand the “hands on” approach I was trying to show him, he would’ve been so much more satisfied. It’s as if kids like that are trying to learn the guitar backwards….form all the “flash” and fast playing and crazy effects back to one day realizing that it’s the simplicity that matters, and that “less is more” may be the truest statement ever made when it comes to the guitar, and music in general. Hope you find your way in this regard, and truly learn to appreciate and get as much as possible out of as little equipment as possible, too!