I think part of the process of purchasing new gear is to convince yourself that you’ve made the right choice and then to try and convince anybody else who will listen. Self deception is a very interesting tool or perhaps the tool is the person deceiving themselves in the first place.
It’s in the fingers stupid…
I know, I know you’ve heard it before but the facts are that it really is. When you try to emulate your favourite players you can get as close as possible, copying their licks, using the same gear. You might get close but you will never completely nail it.
I remember Mark Goldenberg, a great guitar player in his own right telling the story of how he was touring with the legendary Peter Frampton and had the opportunity to play his gear at a sound check. Frampton’s guitar, amps, racks of gear…disappointed he said, “I still sounded like me”.
There is no grail…
Sorry to burst your bubble but there is no “holy grail” of sound. There are some great guitars, great amps and great pedals out their and everyone will add themselves and the tone will be different, not good, not bad just different.
Different days, different moods, different stages, different rooms, different weather conditions, these things all add or subtract from your sound.
What you can do…
Get yourself a nice guitar. Learn to play it, take time to develop your craft and your sound. Experiment, play around with different things, buy and sell, it’s all part of the learning process; this never stops. Read up, check out reviews of gear, check out the shops, the online stores.
A good mate of mine Shane Diiorio has a great YouTube channel, “In the Blues” and website “Guitar Pedal Demos” where he reviews a lot of gear with some help from Doctor Ric, it’s really informative and can be great starting point.
Dream of your fantasy guitar. I remember every time I went into the city I used to go and check out this guitar through the window of Clements Music. I saved up for a couple of years and was eventually able to buy it, lucky for me it was still there. I was meant to have it I reckon.
Dream and be obsessed by your instrument, I think this is a reasonably healthy obsession if there is such a thing. It’s just the obsession with the mythical tone that’s not…it can never be reached. You will make life impossible for yourself let alone anyone else you have to work with.
Enjoy playing music and enjoy playing it with and for others. Enjoy playing it for yourself.