Yeah, I suppose I’m a gear critic, considering the nature of GuitarGear.org. But one thing that I NEVER wanted to do was establish myself as someone who came off as “my word is is law.” To be honest, I would consider myself an expert on guitar gear – at least in general with respect to guitars and peripherals and how they all work together – but I also realize that my own proclivities and tastes are my own. And despite the fact that I employ rigorous testing in both studio and on stage, inspect every piece of gear closely, looking for build or finish flaws, or admiring the workmanship of some gear; in the end, my analysis is simply… an opinion. Because of this awareness, I’m always careful about making gear recommendations. I rarely, if ever, tell readers that they have to buy something; rather, I suggest they check it out and try it for themselves.
The reason I’m covering this particular subject is because as I was reading through some wine reviews this morning (yes, that’s yet another passion of mine besides guitar and golf), I realized that the critics I gravitate to are the ones whom I consider to have considerably more expertise than me, but rather than dictate, they suggest, and also provide contrast by illustrating similar wines.
Then I looked at my participation in various online forums, and the various so-called experts that practically live there. There are some for whom I have great respect and admiration who give and have given me some great insight and advice on various gear topics. But there are others who love to bandy about their knowledge, pulling out their credentials as proof that you need to listen. The worst thing is that they’re all very eloquent so many people are taken in by the things they say and advise, then they go out and buy a particular gear that the “expert” says they need, and they’re convinced beforehand that it’s everything they need; only to find out some time later that it just doesn’t work with their sound.
Look, I’ve been down that road; hanging on every word that a so-called “expert” says. And yes, I’ve been burned. Just remember this, as said in the movie “Platoon:” “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one.” 🙂 Seriously though, and I know, I repeat this all the time. Don’t just take the word of someone who raves about gear. Try before you buy. And if you can’t try it, make sure you do your homework and research!
“guitarboy” who is a reader of this column teased me recently about getting my Timmy pedal. To be completely honest and transparent, I’ve never played one. But I did do my research, listening to tons of clips, and fortunately for me, seeing/hearing one in action at a friend’s concert (Dylan Brock of “Luce”) where I could see how he set it. I was also able to talk to him after the concert to get his insights on the pedal. That particular conversation sold me on the pedal.