Cork Sniffing , Or Silly Things We Gear Nerds Do

Though i DO repair vintage tube equipment and used guitars partly for a living (and mostly for fun!),  it’s no hidden fact that I am, unashamedly, a gear hound. I troll forums and sites and craigslist and ebay and other auction and gear store sites, for gear information, gear itself, and gear knowledge. In combing through all these sites, there’s always some things i’ve noticed with the same like-minded people as i am:  they/we are all NERDS!

There are a lot of information on the internet and among offline players and industry people, but a lot of them are fluff – for every question,  there are more questions, side-car questions, questions to questions, rebuttal of a question,  wrong answers, vague answers, answers that do not answer the question, and then there are the valid and truly informative answers. Like some google searches, you may have to read thru pages and pages of replies before you truly get a golden nugget, the real answer to your question.

  • There are those that recommend a special type of gear because “they have one and they love it!”. “it’s the bee’s knees!”. “Nothing else like it!”. “plays like a dream!”.
  • There are those that immediately tell you what NOT to get, but never telling you why. Or they’ll tell you why, but never tell you what to get.
  • There are those that prefer “boutique” gear, no matter how expensive they are. Because they’re very expensive, they must be the best! Even though there’s a similar gear costing half as much and using the same parts. “it’s just not the same!”.
  • There are those that prefer “brand name only”,  because that’s what pros use. To this i slightly subscribe to – there IS a certain workmanship involved with higher-end gear, where labor is mostly intensive and usually what drives up the price. Though I HAVE come across brand name gear that are simply crap, and ‘cheap’ gear that simply “plays like a dream!”. 😀
  • There are those that insist they are THE expert on [insert field here], and back it up with NO substantial proof other than ‘it is what it is’, and reply with nerd anger and indignation when questioned.
  • There are those that make sweeping statements, such as preferring hand-wired amps because “they sound better”, and that the green PCB “muddies the tone”, that the reissues are far less superior than the gear teh reissue was based on, etc.
  • There are those that run with whatever is the ‘hot’ thing at the moment (low-wattage amps, boutique DIY pedals, etc.), and talk about nothing else for weeks.
  • There are those that will ask the same question that’s been asked hundreds of times already (Use the search, Luke!)
  • There are the brave/foolish newbies- those that ask about highly technical things they absolutely should NOT even handle, like trying to Bias a tube amp because it was written somewhere that “it will sound better and can be done easily”. Yes – BY A TRAINED TECHNICIAN, SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN DOING IT FOR A LONG TIME. Tube amps require high voltages, and the risk of electrocution is great for the uninitiated. Maybe it’s ok, it would be sad if they die or injure themselves, but we can nominate them for the Darwin Awards.
  • there are those that boast of getting a ‘rare’ sought after gear for pennies on the dollar. Though it’s great, one can’t help wonder if it’s simply just trying to bait for compliment or make people jealous or envious. “i got something you don’t!”.
  • then there are the Ferengis. those that find a great deal online and decides to snap up ALL of it. Why get just 1 when you can get ALL of them, so you can sell them for twice as much later? Profits to be had! By the way, for those who are not Star Trek savvy, Ferengis are a race of beings whose primary goal in life and culture is profit. At all times. And they’re hideous and ugly.  On purpose.
  • then there are the Trolls. those that do nothing but contribute nonsense and nonsequiturs. replying to questions with answers that make no sense or add little or nothing to the topic on hand.
  • THen there are the flame-baiters. those that start incendiary posts just so they can elicit a response, ANY response. Kinda like what news reporters do these days.
  • As there are flame-baiters, there are flame throwers and first responders. those that either dont know theyre being baited, or are obligated to correct anything and everything that comes in. Ignore is NOT in  their vocabulary.

Bottom line is it’s not the gear, its HOW you use it, and how you make it useful in making music. The same can be said about ANY gear. If you’re making a successful living with it, and if it makes you happy in the end (there IS a happy ending! 😉  IT DOESN’T MATTER!.

Do you see yourself in there?