The reason for GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

PedalboardGAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome): the steady longing for new equipment. Many know this pretty well: although you are a proud owner of numerous pedals, guitars and amplifiers you rummage through music stores, magazines and forums. Could the overdrive XY may sound much better in my setup than my old one does? How could I improve my sound? These and other painful questions come to the mind of a guitarist that suffers from GAS.

But how does GAS arise? Of course it is always fun to try new equipment. But I think that GAS is not only some kind of “shopping-addiction”.

Many times I came home from the rehearsal room and thought that my sound today was absolutely perfect. So I decided not to change the tuning of my amp to recreate the joy of listening the next day.

But actually the next day the sound seemed to be different. Without life, flat, thin… simply not the way I remembered it. Although the tuning was the same like yesterday.

Listening fatigue

In my opinion the reason for all this is some kind of listening fatigue. If I listen to the same frequencies for a long time, my ear gets used to them and in my mind they does not sound as interesting as they did when they came to my ear the first time.

Sound engineers even know this: while they mix down a song they have to make breaks from time to time.

This is why it makes sense to create a new sound by changing the equipment more frequently. One day a different guitar, the next day another overdrive. This causes a variety and your ears will not get used to the sound. Or you may vary the sound of your amplifier.

GAS is nothing dangerous. And the next time someone tells you “oh, a new pedal again!” you will be able to justify the purchase of your new pedal quite well.