It’s in the hands

My Grandmother’s Hand

I have seen, over the years, people always searching, talking, and asking about gear. I am sure it’s the same in any profession but in mine it is particularly prevalent. “What amp is that?, Is that a ______ bass/guitar? , That year is the year they wired it…”.  If you insert these into a conversation with me and pay attention to my face, you will see a heavy glaze cover my eyes because in my mind I am having an “Ally McBeal moment”, where I am setting fire to all my gear while fishing with you and having any other conversation. It doesn’t bother me to talk about music and musical equipment. I don’t mean to sound pompous, it’s just that I don’t care most of the time and it is not remotely the most important thing to me. Honestly, the only reason I have the gear I own is because I heard it in my head first and have good friends to help me find the proper sound.
The question is usually(never) “How did you learn to play like that?” or “How did you develop your sound?”.  It’s always about the “American” misconception: “You can have it if you can buy it” – which is not entirely true -even the same gear isn’t going to make you sound like Jaco, Victor Wooten, or even Duff McKagan; it’s in the heart and spirit that comes through the hands. You can’t buy that. So if you find yourself talking to multiple musicians about gear, ask them how they got to where they are, or what advice they can give to you about how they developed the playing style they wield. These things aren’t a quick fix but will benefit you in the long run if you take them into consideration and practice. You can’t beat experience. On the same token, I wouldn’t know anything if I didn’t have my trusted “gearheads” in my life!

— Never substitute gear for practice.

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