The Great Gear Reset Game

You’re given a chance to re-build from eh ground up; what do you do?


At some point or another, all of us gear heads have played the hypothetical situation game. What rig would you build if you only had a modest amount of money to spend in total? You’re stuck on a desert island and can bring one guitar, one amp, and “x” number of pedals; what do you bring? And so forth. Recently, I was chatting with some other guitar playing friends and we ended playing an interesting variation on the above hypothetical, which resulted in some interesting observations. Naturally, we here at are interested in your thoughts, so please play along in the comments.


The scenario is this: A natural disaster of epic proportions wipes out your entire gear stash. Every single item you owned at that point has been swept into the void. You. have. absolutely. zero. gear. period.


The good news is that during the cleanup you come across a mysterious lamp, from which emerges a benevolent genie. The genie senses your sadness and makes you an offer: you get one wish, and one wish only, to restock your rig in anyway that you’d like. No limits. You can get brand new stuff. You can resurrect the exact stuff you lost. You can reclaim stuff you sold years prior and regret moving on from. You can ask for every genuine ’59 Les Paul in existence, one thousand Marshall stacks, and every Boss Metal Zone pedal ever produced if you want. You can request a Stratocaster owned and played by Jimi Hendrix. You can have all your stuff back AND all the stuff that was just mentioned. No limits whatsoever.


But there’s always a catch. Whatever you choose, you are stuck with for eternity. You can’t sell it, gift it, pawn it, throw it in the trash, donate it to charity, cut it up into little pieces, modify it, burn it for heat, cook it up and eat, or anything else. It will follow you throughout the course of your life. How you receive it is how it stays and you’re stuck with it forever.


Nor will you ever acquire anything new. You’ll be forbidden from buying any new gear, receiving any gear as a gift, trading for any gear, buying a bunch of parts and assembling new gear, finding gear on the side of the road, etc. All such G.A.S.-associated ideas and impulses will be banished from your brain. And, by the way, the genie doesn’t have a lot of time so you better hurry up and tell him what you want to do. Strings, picks, cables, and small, disposable items like polish, batteries, and things like that are excluded (the genie ain’t that big a jerk).


This scenario was presented to two of my six-string sliding buddies. It’s an incredibly small sample size, the results were quite interesting to me and not quite what I expected. For background, both have been playing guitar for many years and are quite knowledgable about the gear market. They actively keep tabs on what’s new and exciting and regularly buy, sell, and trade stuff. The both have fairly good-sized collections. One plays in a couple of bands and the other is an active composer/songwriter. They own or have owned a range of equipment, from boutique to bargain bin.


Observation 1: Both would ask for most of the stuff they owned pre-disaster.


Neither respondent took advantage of the opportunity to completely reset. I wasn’t so shocked that my composer friend “took back” some of the gear he already had. He’d essentially re-built one of his guitars from the ground up over the course of several months (new pickups, refinished, added some custom artwork). Another was in the “dream guitar” category and he’d worked quite hard to save for. So yeah, not shocked he brought those two back.


It was the same result with my gigging friend. He was pretty happy with most of the stuff he owned and would have those items restored as well. Neither respondent thought too hard about it.


Observation 2: Despite having a “no limits” clause, both were fairly modest in their overall wishes.


Despite expressing that they’d hang on to most of the stuff they already had, both did get into the spirit of the question and said they’d add a couple of items here and there.


My composer friend had an interesting approach: he’d take the opportunity to grab some great examples of classic instruments that he doesn’t already own. A nice Strat. Maybe a Gibson Firebird. A really sweet PRS? Sure, that’d be cool! A nice Les Paul, maybe a bit nicer than the one he already has. Oh, and a Dunable for sure (he’d been crushing hard on those at the time we had this discussion).


My gigging friend has spoken of getting a Rickenbacker 330 or 360 for some time, so that was an easy one to add to his list. A Gibson Explorer was also thrown into the mix as sort of a, “hey, why not?” piece. It would represent well his old-school metal fandom.


The gigging respondent didn’t mention any amps, but my composer friend was definitely into bringing some power to the fore. A “big Orange,” a Mesa Dual Rectifier, and even a “really good modeling amp” (no particular brand identified) all got shout-outs.


Now, as a Chuck Levin’s shopping list the gear rosters above could be considered pretty extravagant. But given the total lack of restriction on what could be asked for, I found these responses surprisingly tame.


Observation 3: No pedals were mentioned!


Not once. Not even a, “hey, if we can have everything and anything, I’ll take a couple of genuine Klons and Jimi’s wah,” sort of answer. The composer has a pretty big and well-configured board already. The gigger keeps things very simple and tends not to get caught up too much in the details about brands and things like that. He’s definitely a price-point shopper.


I expected at least a couple of nominations here. It’s not like these guys aren’t buying pedals on the regular. But it never came up. Hmmm.


So, what does it all mean? And more importantly what would you, kind reader, include on your eternal wish list? And why? Let us know in the comments!

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