Need vs. Want in Music Gear


I was trying to process how much I spend on music gear and how much I actually “need” to spend.  I save a lot of money on repairs and some wiring because I can do many of them and do my own set ups and intonation. I also have the luxury of being able to take it to a place like Action Music (Falls Church, VA) or the Guitar Dr., Steve Ripley (Arlington, VA), that have Peterson Strobe tuners, just to really fine tune if needed. I am also very blessed to have a string deal with DR Strings and some other things going. I still have to pay but it takes a little off the initial impact. I have a very good amp, great cabs and a great combo, 2 awesome Devon 5 string basses, a great Fender Jazz w/1972 neck, a very good Samick acoustic electric bass and a decent Fender Mexican Deluxe 5 string. I should note – I didn’t need the Fender V. I just wanted it for situations where I don’t feel comfortable taking my Devon’s into. Like… [Ficticious] Petey’s Strimp (Shrimp) Pit and Poker Lounge. Lately I find myself “wanting” a few more things. Things like swapping out the battered body of my Jazz bass. Do I need to? Naaahh… But it’s been a battle for almost 6 months!

Obviously, if you want something, it becomes somewhat of an issue versus actually needing them. So… Where do you stand on your wants versus needs? Meaning: If you have a bass that’s functional and sounds good, what’s the draw for having another one or trading that bass? Same with amps – If you have an amp that sounds good, has sufficient power etc.. Why get another one? Now, I’m not talking about wanting a new bass or amp because your style or music demands have changed. Meaning: If you were in a Punk band and you used a P Bass with an Ampeg SVT with a 2X15” cab. Now you play in the worship band at church or you’re in a Jaco or Marcus Miller cover band and now you’re playing Israel & New Breed, Michael W. Smith, Hezakiah Walker and late 90’s Parachute Band stuff, along with Tutu, Panther, Teen Town and Portrait of Tracy. Now you need a little more clarity of note and a 5 string bass. Hence the term NEED, due to the change.

I guess my only ignorance to my personal “wants” are the fact that I change a piece of gear and then go back to what I had or similar to what I had before the change. I think I’ve had about 3 or 4 of just about everything. Why? Too dumb to realize that what I have IS what I need versus going after things that I want. The want items don’t satisfy, then I go back to what I need. Ooohhh…. This will go over well. I guess I’ve got Musical Infidelity issues – Much like people that do or have cheated on their spouse. You “Want” to try something, it cost you your spouse’s trust and then you run back home because what you “Need” is there. With the gear, it cost you about 15% – 40% to return or sell back something, then you pony up on some more cash to get (in my case – what you had to begin with) something else… moving on to the next desire.

All of that being written: If you were to make an assessment on your current music situation – How much do you need to spend per year to make your music life go? Next make an assessment of how much your “Want” list would cost. Uhh… No need in putting you want a Fodera Emperor bass @ $7K, if you know it’s not even a possibility. Im talking general stuff like – Wanting that 3rd Fender just because it has a Maple fingerboard, versus the Rosewood and Pau versions you already have.

If music gear is your hobby or also serves as a hobby – Ignore 60% of what I just wrote. Like I’ve written prior – If it’s your hobby and you just like to buy gear for convo pieces, the want rules don’t apply to you. You always want!! So have fun with that. LOL!

Okay, I gotta go… The Scorpions “Big City Nights” is on the radio!!

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