Mediocrity on a Budget

I don’t know about you, but I live on a budget. I’ve mentioned in past posts on this blog and my comments on other blogs about this topic.  My wife made the very interesting comment that too many people try to put together a lot of mediocre equipment in hopes of making it good. Would we be better served with a few key purchases rather than a bunch of bargain hunting, unplanned purchases?  Can we as guitarists find our individual tone if we only buy a few pieces of equipment? Should we be required to master a piece of equipment before moving on or adding something else? How do you decide?

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4 thoughts on “Mediocrity on a Budget

  1. Very thought provoking. I can see both sides of this debate. To pick two or three key pieces of gear, and get the highest quality you can afford, seems on the face of it to be the sensible choice. But I also enjoy some of the odd impulse purchases of cheap gear. Years ago, on a whim, I bought a cheap headless Hohner G2T. Turned out to be a fantastic guitar to play, and because it fits in a holdall I can take it everywhere with me. I wouldn’t want to be without it now. I love the fact that I’ve been able to turn a ropey old Squier Strat into a beautifully playable and great sounding guitar.

    Perhaps there’s a happy medium; one great amp, one great guitar, a couple of good pedals, and then, as budget allows, a few “unusual” purchases just for their entertainment value.

    • I agree with a happy medium, but I do admit that happy medium is different for everyone. My post was prompted by the age old question of: Do I keep saving my money for this piece of gear I think I really need or do I get the really cheap piece of gear I haven’t really thought about before, but at this price, it is now something I’d like to have and how can I pass it up?
      Is that a compound sentence? 🙂
      There’s also the fear of commitment. Is this THE guitar? Am I even good enough to justify the expense of this piece of equipment?
      I think it is important to have a good quality instrument, but low end guitar manufacturing is getting better and better. It is fairly easy to make a cheap guitar very decent with some minor equipment upgrades (as your Squier shows).
      As I ramble in this reply, the real point of this post is the potentially wasteful expense of churning through equipment and instruments. Some people swear by it in their quest for tone and sound. Others try to pick one thing and stick to it rigidly. Others recognize that their interests and tastes change, so their equipment does too. Once again, there must be a middle ground!
      And I’m sure in the pendulum of life, we’ve all been there for a moment or two. Only to swing the other way just as we reach it!

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. It’s hard to say. I could save up for my dream amp, but I can’t really justify spending over $2,000 to buy it. I make do with what I can afford, but I’m sure if I added up everything over they years, it would probably be less then the $2,000 amp I’ve always wanted. I’m going to have to re-think how and why I buy equipment.

    • That is a key aspect of figuring out what you should and shouldn’t buy. If your entire guitar rig is less than the dream amp, then perhaps the dream amp should remain a dream. Just having an amp with no guitar or effects is kind of missing the point! 🙂

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