It occurred to us recently that lots of players we know seem to constantly buy new gear, and some of those players don’t think much about how to get more out of the gear they’ve got. With that in mind, we’ve put together a few thoughts for our visitors on our philosophy for getting the most out of your gear.

1. Don’t get too much gear too quickly

It takes a long time to learn how to use a reasonably sophisticated piece of gear, and gear is getting way more sophisticated. My Digitech RP200 is about 100 times more complicated than any other effects pedal I’ve got (because it does ten things at once, not one), and it doesn’t even have MIDI. If you’re getting too much gear too quickly, you never have time to figure out how to use it, and you’re always disappointed that it’s not giving you the sound you want.

2. Learn to use the gear you’ve got

Spend lots of time working with every piece of your gear, trying every dial, knob, and button on it. Keep notes about what worked and what didn’t. (I have a notebook just for that purpose.) Take the stuff that works and set it up so you can use it easily in the studio or in performance.

3. Learn to use the gear you’ve got AGAIN

A good thing to do every once in a while is to focus a couple of hours on a single piece of gear — even one you’ve had for years — and see what else you can get out of it. It’s cheaper than getting new stuff, and it can really remind you of what you liked about the piece in the first place.

4. Once you’ve got gear you like, stick with it

Once your gear is making a sound that inspires you, stick with it. Don’t add more stuff unless it makes an inspiring sound that your current setup doesn’t make at all. Never replace a piece of gear you love with another piece of gear, no matter how cool the new piece is supposed to be. In fact, never sell a piece of gear that makes a sound you like, period.


Gear costs money, but most importantly, it costs time. Minimizing gear acquisition will help you spend your time making music, which is what
really counts.