Amp and Pedal Guys

Amp and pedal guys are those common types who populate the guitar section of the internet -- they go through amp after amp, pedal after pedal, fetishizing tiny differences in the endless and futile pursuit of some unobtainable tonal utopia. They're all over the internet discussing every little facet of every pedal and amp ever made and those only imagined.

I have gone through a couple of these amp and pedal phases, and what I've discovered about myself is that I adopt this mentality when I'm not being productive by either gigging or recording.

When I'm producing music I plug into all sorts of stuff and just make it work. Usually this involves some digital modeling or plugin thing. I just make it work and I've never really been disappointed with the results as far as guitar sounds go.

Some years ago my project studio situation became miserable and I stopped recording almost entirely for quite a long time. It was then that I entered my most recent amp and pedal guy phase where no pedal or amp was good enough and every pedal was lacking in some way. Even pedals and amps that I liked one day sounded terrible the next. Sometimes they would sound "great" or "terrible" and then back to "good" and shift over to "ok" and swerve off to "amazing" in the span of 10 minutes.

Being an amp and pedal guy will make you crazy.

Anyway, I finally got my studio situation squared away and then I got back to being productive and, suddenly, everything sounded just fine. Even tools that I thought sounded terrible in isolation I used anyways and make them work within the context of the song; a little EQ nip and tuck here and there and you've got a nice texture.

That big pile of pedals go unused or, when I do use them in front of my interface and plugin amp emulation, they all get the job done just as well as the other. Oh, should I use the Zen Drive or the Full Drive or the Sparkle Drive? Who gives a shit? Nobody can tell a difference in the context of the whole mix anyways.

Any pedal can sound amazing or horrible just plinking around with your guitar with no musical context.

Amp and pedal guys will obsess neurotically over the subtle differences between every pedal but couldn't pick any of it out of a lineup relying solely on their ears. They go nuts over names and logos, paint jobs and bulb colors, ad copy and forum hysteria. And I've seen these types completely defeated when it comes to identifying the difference between a vintage Deluxe Reverb vs. a Line 6 Pod using only their ears.

And when they fail they rationalize it away.

Amp and pedal guys make the gear world go around because they're just unproductive dudes sitting in a chair in a spare bedroom or out in the garage with their guitar, pedals, and amps, playing abstracted licks and riffs. Their heroes are those gear demo dudes on YouTube who don't do anything but play abstracted licks and riffs for the duped amp and pedal guys surfing YouTube and guitar forums in pursuit of a material substitute to fill the gaping hole in their creative lives.