…or “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Many have probably heard this saying, though it’s not real Latin. But who cares? It’s a cool saying, and something I always remember when I visit gear forums. The great thing about the Internet is that it has made the world a lot smaller, but the darker side of it is that it has allowed people to exercise a certain anonymity, and some folks use this anonymity as a license to be an asshole. It’s really too bad because the Internet after all was meant as a way for people to collaborate. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad; and in fact, you can gain lots of useful information on the various forums – I belong to several – that can help you in your buying decisions. But just remember: Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
In light of this discussion, the Internet and web forums are great resources for learning about gear. But here are some rules of thumb to consider when doing a search for some new gear:
- Never ask an open-ended question: “What is the best __________?” That’s just going to invite lots of useless discussion, and oftentimes lots of argument. Instead, phrase it like: “I want to achieve __________ kind of sound. In your experience, what would help me get there?” With your question framed like that, you’ll still get a lot of answers, but they’ll be much more focused.
- Just because someone “sounds” or gives seemingly intelligent responses, doesn’t mean they’re knowledgeable about a particular subject. On the Internet, you have to remember that until you’ve proven someone’s bonafides, everything they say is an opinion.
- Verify, verify, verify. This simply means what I say over and over again: You have to play something to truly know if it “fits.” Going purely off the word of someone – even someone whom you trust – could be an expensive learning experience. Believe me, I’m quite familiar with this. 🙂
- Take what you hear or read from manufacturers with a grain of salt, and don’t get pulled in by their bombast. There’s one manufacturer in particular that I won’t call out by name that is notorious for this, claiming things about his product and charging a super-high price, and he uses a $10 part that does most of the heavy lifting. Instead, get opinions from other users and see if they’ve made comparisons between competing products. That’s more valuable than the hyperbole of a manufacturer.
There are probably more I can think of, but these should suffice for now…