Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Ugh.  I posted to a comment and then it was deleted!  So now I am going to be a bit brief in rewritting my response on Gear Aquisition Syndrome.  Since 2004, when I stared NiteRail with Korey Hicks and James Schneeberg, I have used the same mic, harps (customized them to an extremely high level, fixed the, and sometimes replaces them), cases, stands, cables, Kinder AFB+, Samson Wireless, amp stand, Harp Commander.  I have, however, gone through quite a few amps, backup mics, and a couple of pedals.

When I started gigging, originally, I used nearly all my profits for gear and used advice from on "flipping" gear to continually upgrade.  Other than the AFB, cases, cables, a few speakers, and harps, I have never really made a gear purchase that wasn't on a used piece.  Then when wanting something different, I have sold gear to fund new things.  I am very careful with how I do this to maximize my profits and minimize my out of pocket expenses (usually shipping).  There have been two times where I burdened the family with music gear.  This was when I bought a Bassman Ltd and recently when I used some cash to pay for a HG50 (which included the trade of a DT).  We have some strict rules at our house about music and money, which I agree with, and if I need money for gear, it comes from selling other gear, getting it for gifts, or using gifts of money. 

My GAS started with the Bassman Ltd (I had had two amps before that) as I was led to believe I really needed a 4x10 even though I had no clue what I was doing or how to use good gear.  Quickly I realized it didn't sound good at low volumes so I used gig money to mod it.  I saved up for a Pro Jr.  I then was able to get a HG Double Trouble in part by selling the Pro Jr.  Those were my amps until 2008 when NR went on hiatus and I had a musical "breakdown".   I sold my Ltd and DT just to vent from the loss of gigging, my obsession with Derek Trucks, and the want to be "different".  That was stupid.  I should have kept both amps and conintued to be done with flipping. 

I used the profits to set up a pedal board for my own band.  I then decided I wanted a Super Reverb like Derek Trucks, so I bought an 2x10 Allen Old Flame and Vibro Champ with the money from selling my other amps (and pedals and cables and tubes).  This was at a time when no one was selling a mid-sized harp amp that worked well with pedals.  I had a great looking setup that was really solid sounding, but I was frustrated with the Old Flame needing to rely on the AFB to be giggable.

NiteRail then came off hiatus and my guitar player had really downsized his rig.  I decided that I didn't like the OF and was using the Champ on pretty much every stage for a year.  I noodled with modding it, but it wasn't what I wanted (which was essentially the HG50 1210, but it didn't exist).  I then took some calculated risks in getting rid of the OF in trade and cash for another Champ that was worth way more than what I was offered for it.  NR was playing small clubs and life was good.  Then we started getting good shows and the amp was getting drowned out.  I downsized my pedal board by trading for a Pedal Train Mini and used the profits from the OF and pedals and Champs I wasn't using for a DT, speakers and tubes for the DT, and tools to do professional grade harp customizing this time, I had lost a couple hundred bucks from the initial selling of the Ltd and first DT. Stupid shipping!

The DT worked great for almost every gig.  However, we recorded the album and I finally realized what I wanted from my amped sound (hey, I've only been playing harp for 6 years!).  I wanted the DT but with more having everything but my amp firmly figured out, I was out of things I could part with.  So I used the DT in trade with cash (so lost some money) for the HG1210.  I tested the two side by side to make sure I could use the 1210 without being too loud - and at higher volumes where it wasn't enough.

So when all is said and done, I am down the cost of a new Double Trouble (which sucks).  I have a great small pedal board, some fantastic harps, and a wonderful amp.  Down the road, I plan on getting a HG Rockbottom, but that is way down the road.

This would all be much easier if I used all my music profits from gigs, lessons, etc., but I willingly donate that to the family (my son and wife are extremely spoiled) so we can do some fun things like vacations, finish the house, and buy some treats here and there.  I always treat that as "our" money and not "my" return, when I need a new harp or cable, it isn't a big deal to go and buy it.  It is nice that my extended family typically buys me music gear for gifts.  ;)

In closing, regarding gear, you'll almost always see me using the following:

Hohner custom harps (have been using more Marine Bands then Golden Melodys)
Ultimate 57  (made from one of two SM57 I've been using since 2003 and didn't have to pay for)
Gepco Cables from Lava Cable
Samson Wireless
Kinder AFB+
and NOS preamp tubes

Amp, on the other hand, could be just about anything, lol.