Dealing with G.A.S.

I have mentioned, discussed, shared, and complained about Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) many times on this blog. Tone Reports recent article exploring what GAS is with such a healthy recognition that it exists and discussion of how to address it is probably one of the best and most timely messages for me.

Having recently paired down my gear significantly, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I started to see gear I wanted. And instead of being able to sell stuff I already owned so I could buy the new stuff, I just wanted to buy the new stuff. I deserved it. I now had the space for it. I even had a little cash left from past sales that could go toward each piece of gear I saw.

This became exceptionally apparent when a group of friends started talking about starting a garage band. In the past, I had everything necessary for us to plug in and play. That is no longer the case. I no longer own a microphone, let alone bass, bass amp,PA, etc. I can play guitar and someone can play drums, but that is about it. I sure hope it is an instrumental guitar/drum duet!

I have continued to go back to why I sold my “excess” gear and how much happier I am with where that money went. It isn’t easy. But this article helped a lot by reminding me that I can figure out alternatives (see the part about “re-researching your own gear”). I can explore what gear I have already. My daughter has a practice amp. I have a POG2 for low octave stuff. I have friends with gear I can borrow.

Maybe someday I’ll have all the gear (even though they keep making more). But learning to live within limitations is the reality all of us live with, and we need to learn how to do so happily!

Wi-Fi For Your Guitar

My brother recently sent me an email asking if I had ever heard of Jack, the wireless guitar cable. I had not. They recently funded their kickstarter campaign.

I really like this concept. Having recently sold my mixing board and usb interface, I have been using my Digitech Jamman Solo to record my guitar and then import the filed onto my computer using the Digitech loop file management software. It gets the job done, but this looks great.

Plus I’ve always wondered what wireless play is like, but not enough to get a wireless set. The standard system used today seems very one dimensional now and overly expensive.

Practice Amp

I’ve been watching Craigslist for a while and a Matrix amp came up. It looked pretty good with hi and low inputs, phones out, line out, reverb footswitch, master volume, 10 inch speaker, etc. So I got it for pretty cheap and cleaned it up.

matrix amp

The insides are pretty straight forward, I think. It has a slight hum that gets louder with the treble knob. I cleaned all the pots.

matrix amp insides

Then I put it all together and added it to her little set up. Fun stuff!

starter set up

DOD FX-17

It arrived! It is easily half the size of my Ernie Ball VP Jr.

I like it, but it is certainly used. I had to try it out first to make sure it works, even before cleaning it. It also squeaks when I move it up and down, so the cleaning will be pretty thorough.

EB VP JR VS DOD FX17EB VP JR VS DOD FX17 sides

The travel for engaging the pedal is short, but I expected that. If I were doing a lot of swells or ambient stuff, I would probably stay with the Ernie Ball. After cleaning it up, I messed with the adjustment screws to see if I can improve it. I was able to dial in a decent taper so that almost the entire travel of the pedal works for controlling volume. If I want the entire travel to impact volume, then it doesn’t go completely silent when I have the pedal all the way down. So there are compromises.

dod fx-17 insidesDOD FX17 adjustment screws

With those settings on the adjustment screws it does not do the wah very well. I think reviewers who have said you get one or the other (wah or volume control) nailed it. However, I don’t use wah very often and it does work as a wah.

Overall I am happy with the DOD FX-17 wah/volume/expression pedal. It does what I need in the size I need (and the squeak went away with a little lube). I’ll spend the next few weeks reorganizing my entire pedalboard, but for now, here’s a picture of how much space it will generate.

pedal board changesMore posts to follow.

EDIT: And of course once it arrives, Boss announces a small form volume pedal with the FV-30H. It looks cool, but I can’t find any mention of what size it actually is. And I haven’t seen it sitting next to any other pedals. I’ll just enjoy the DOD on my board instead of GASing for something only seen in a press release!