As I have the done the last few years, I bought more gear than I need this year. Truth is, I guess all the gear I bought this year was more than I needed, because I haven't really needed any of it. But that's another post. This year, I've bought guitars and pedals and more pedals and more guitars over the course of the last 12 months. Here is where I'm going to talk about some of it. Also, just so you know, I might mention something even if I bought it used. It's new to me, so I'm calling it new gear.
First up is easily the worst piece of gear I bought this year. And it's really the only thing I bought this year that I thought was bad.
It's my Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster in Metallic Purple. Admittedly, I bought it from overseas, and that may've been part of the problem; it didn't have a US warranty that would cover the problems out of the box, The store did what they could to try to make it right, but it was just a hassle from my end, and, even after taking it to my local luthier, it has never played like it should. Out of the box, half the strings were thumpy and wouldn't ring out. They set it up real good and did some work to the nut, and it fixed the problem for about a day.
After a couple of days of letting the guitar set-in, the bass side turned thumpy. Granted, now it's just one string rather than three, but it's still the same problem. I really wanted a purple Tele when I saw them last year, and figured I'd get the Squier instead of the Fender because it was half the price. The Squier ended up being a bust. It's now my beater that I use when I travel because, if it got stolen, I wouldn't care a bit. About six months after I bought the Squire, I went ahead and ponied up for the purple Fender. It's a much better guitar. It didn't make my list of best gear this year, but I wasn't irritated after buying it. I should've bought it in the first place.
And the obligatory side note and disclaimer since I only know of one shop that sells that Tele. I'm not linking the guitar. Also, I have no qualms with the store that sold it to me. They tried to make it right and paid for some of the repair work done on it. I've bought stuff from them before and after that Tele. I just happened to get a bum guitar. I blame that on Squier and not them.
Now for some of the best gear I bought this year. And I'm going to link them all through the site where I bought them in case you want to see them. The GC purchase was my local GC even though I have the link to the website.
The third best gear purchase this year was the Electro Harmonix Satisfaction Fuzz. It's not the first fuzz pedal I've owned, but it's the first that I really like. I'm not a huge fan of fuzz. I get tired of fuzz pretty quickly. This one, however, gave me that fuzzy sound without sounding like all the rest of the fuzz pedals. It's a little different. To my ear, a little tighter fuzziness. And I liked it. I think I have 5 fuzz pedals in the closet, and, since I bought it, this is the one that I have reached for every time I grab a fuzz.
In the number 2 slot would be the Fulltone Dejavibe. The one with the foot pedal. Ever since I first heard it, I have like that vibe-y sound. If I'm going to have any sort of modulation effect on my board, it's a univibe. And this pedal does that sound perfectly. I like that it has the foot pedal so I can speed the vibe up or slow it down as I play. I don't remember what I paid for it right off, but I do remember that I watched the used prices for about 2 months before I bought one. When I did, I remember thinking I got a great deal on it. Looking at the current prices on Reverb, I got a screamin' deal.
Best gear purchase this year would pretty easily be my Epiphone ES-335 in gold. Oddly enough, it was a purchase that was almost an impulse buy.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving I wandered to my local GC to look at a 335-type guitar. I had heard good things about the Sire brand, and wanted to test drive one, and the website showed my store had a couple in stock. So I took myself down to try them out. Didn't like them. Something about the neck. They felt really thin to me...almost like playing on a toothpick. But I saw down the row a gold thinline, and I had never seen one before, so I picked it up. It was an Epiphone. Didn't have a price on it. Sat and played on it for probably 10 minutes. Then plugged it into an amp and played another 10 minutes. Loved it! It sounded pretty good, and the neck was nice and chunky, so it felt good to play too.
I hadn't planned on buying the Sire even if I liked it, and I certainly hadn't planned on buying anything else. But, since I had never seen a gold top 335, and I was totally digging it while I played, so I found a sales guy and asked how much it was. Apparently, they had a Black Friday sale still going on, so the price sounded more than fair. I left with it. It hasn't turned into my favorite guitar (that's still the LP from last year), but it definitely sees a lot of play time. It, that LP, and an acoustic are the 3 that have been out on stands since I bought it. Epi has really stepped up their game the last few years. My last two purchases from that brand prove that. I may have to do a little fuller review on this guitar later on.
Honorable mention only because I have only had it a week so my opinion is still forming about this one. The Positive Grid Spark Pearl amp. My wife surprised me with this for Christmas last weekend. She went ahead and gave it to me because it came in while we were out of town, and so when we walked in, I saw the box sitting on the counter with a big Positive Grid stamp on the side. Since she knew that I knew that would only be one thing, she went ahead and let me open it. It's a practice amp. It's not something I'm ever going to try to gig with. As long as you keep that in mind, it's got a LOT of functionality, and seems to be a lot of fun. It had only been out of the box for a few minutes before I was dialing in some sounds that I like. The app is pretty intuitive and easy to use. Course it also has the controls right there on the amp, and they do just what you think they do. I think, as much as anything, I like the fact that I can use it as a bluetooth speaker, play my Amazon music through it, and play along at the same time. This may actually turn out to be my fave piece of gear this year, but, since I just got it, the verdict is still out. Something else I may have to do a little more thorough review on later on.
So what was your fave guitar gear from this year? Or the gear you hated? Let me know so I can either get it too or avoid it.
I don't play the lottery. Somebody bought me some tickets once for Christmas, and that's the only time I've ever held any in my hot little hands. But once a year I partake in my version of the lottery. The Premier Guitar Mystery Stocking. This year, like last, the buy-in was $40.
I think I've mentioned in the past that the very first year they held this, I got a pedal along with the general box. Ever since, all I've gotten has been the general box. This year was no different. But, since so many folks always get the box and then complain about it not being worth it, I always like to talk about what was in it.
This year, the box was about like the last couple. When adding it up, it indeed had more than $40 worth of stuff in it. Which is the only thing they promise. And, yes, that's more than $40 worth of stuff using street price on the stuff and not MSRP. Because nobody actually pays MSRP. So here's what I got.
A Gibson beanie hat. Retail price is $20. This was the big thing in the box (sorta). I don't really wear beanies, and this one doesn't make me want to start. It's black with the Gibson logo patch-thing on it. It has a small bill on it. On the rare occasion that I do wear a beanie-type hat, I'm not looking for it to have a bill. Call me old. Or odd. Or whatever. But I have a beanie that I bought 20+ years ago that I still wear when I need one. I like it, and it's finally broken in just right. Seriously, since I only wear it a couple of times a year here in TX, it's finally getting broken in good. And it doesn't have a brim of any sort. My wife said she'd wear it though, so I guess that means it'll get used.
Then there was Fender headstock tuner. Retail price is $15. It's not the kind that I like, but the one that I got in the box last year (that I really like) needs a new battery, so it's kind of timely. So score on the tuner.
The other big item was a D'Addario strap. Retail price is $20. I've gotten a strap every year, and this is the first one that isn't going to immediately get tossed into the give-away box. It's colorful. I like it. I've got a nice leather strap (or two) that I really like, but I've always carried a cheap strap for a backup. I think this is going to be the new backup strap.
Last thing was a EMG Active Pickup lanyard. This looks like a guitar show giveaway item, so I'm going to say no cash value on this one. The only place I use a lanyard is at work. I have a 50th Anniversary Stratocaster lanyard that I have used for 15 or so years. This isn't one that I'm going to use. It'll go in the give away box with the one the D'Addario one I got last year.
So this year's basic box, which is what I believe I got, had a value of $55. Once again, PG was right. It was worth more than the purchase price. Also, once again, it wasn't $40 worth of stuff that I actually wanted or will even use. But, I like the fun of trying to get one for the chance that I might actually get something really cool. For me, this is my annual lottery ticket purchase. Or raffle ticket. Or whatever you want to call it. But I think it's fun. And they even got them out earlier this year.
All in all, I think PG did a good job with it this year. So, until next year's box...
Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.