An article in which I hurt your feelings

As a rockstar wannabe, you naturally spend hours on Facebook and Instagram, drooling over some fine looking guitar, amps or any other type of gear.

Well, um… how can I put this delicately…. you’re wasting your fucking time. Every minute where you dream about a new amp that would make you sound better, is a minute you don’t spend perfecting your craft and working towards your goals. No, that amp will not help you. Your playing will still suck, your music will still be lame and your record is not getting closer to your fans.
Are your feelings hurt already? Good, because I’m not done yet.

You have everything you need

Have a computer? Your instrument, be it guitar, bass or drums? Good. You have all you need to record and release music.
It’s easy to get lost in the how and why of what you’re doing. How am I going to record this, what software should I use to produce this, what gear could help me get the tone I want. The truth is, no gear will write music for you, or make you good at what you do. Sure, a nice guitar may inspire you. But buying a $2000 guitar will not help you if you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.

Your fans don’t care

In the end, 90% of the people consuming your art won’t care about what pickups you have in your guitar. The only situation where people care about your gear as much as your music is probably if you’re an instrumental gear nerd oriented band, like Animals As leaders.
But even there, nobody cares about the EQ plugin you’ve used on your kick drum. It could be your stock DAW plugin, if your music is well written and doesn’t sound horrible, it’s fine. So don’t spend your week end looking for sales on a website, convincing yourself that you HAVE to have that plugin, or else you’ll never be able to release your record.

Band Sculptor - Nobody gives a sh*t about your gear

You can brag about your gear, but it won’t get you anywhere

Do you care that Facebook invented Graphql, a query language for APIs? I guess not. All you want is for Facebook to work. Only nerds will care about that. Well, your fans are the same. Only drum nerds will care about what stick your drummer uses. So yes, go ahead and post a picture on your band’s Instagram, but just be sure that it will probably only get you likes, not tons of new fans. Sure, someday someone will look up pictures of guitars, see yours, check out your music out of curiosity and like it. But don’t count on your gear to build a following.

“But all these pros they have expensive gear”

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but no.

An example: Jakub Zytecki. You may not know this guy, but he’s a genius (I write the article, I decide who’s a genius or not) and an extremely talented guitarist. He has released a solo album and two with his band Disperse and he’s respected by many more popular artists.

Genius are made of free plugins, talent, and hard work. source

On his solo album, Jakub used a free plugin for his guitar tone. Now listen to his album and tell me it sucks. Go ahead, I’ll wait here.

“But he must be really good, and he’s probably endorsed by a big guitar company”
Sure, he has really expensive guitars, but he could probably play anything. And yes, he’s really good. But being good comes from hard work, not posting on Facebook which plugins is better. What do you think he did, load his free plugin, say it sucks and go plugin shopping? He probably spent hours playing with it. You need to learn how to use your tools, because even a $1000 amp or plugin won’t sound perfect right out of the box, you’ll need to learn how to use it.

So I should… just be happy with what I have and make music?

Yes, that’s it. And I don’t even want to hear you complain because all you have is a $100 guitar plugin. When I started, I didn’t have the internet, I was plugging the headphones out of my 15w Marshall straight into my PC, recording over a shitty beat loop from my Digitech pedal, all this into a 4 tracks demo of a DAW. Now you have access to more tutorials, podcasts and free resources than you’ll have time to consume in your entire life. And the free stuff sounds way better than what I had for 500€ back then.

So stop thinking buying that guitar, that amp or that plugin will get you a better sound. Use the right tool for the right job, but learn how to use your tools before upgrading.

Want to know how to have a great guitar tone without spending a single dollar? Good, we have a video coming to show you how to do that. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when it’s out!

Romain Berger
Guitarist for over a decade, I’ve founded and played in several bands (Suicidal Massacre, Brain Collapse, …) and released multiple EPs and albums with these bands and as a solo act. Software engineer in parisian startups by day, I play guitar in Undisclosed Dimensions, write for Band Sculptor and run Solipsism Studio by night.