How Much Does Gear Actually Matter?

Logan Damery

Wed Feb 17 2021 | 5 Minute Read

We’ve all been down that road. “Is my gear holding me back?” Or  “would this brand new [insert fancy new instrument here] make me play better?” The answer is… no, it probably won’t. 

Key Takeaways


Why Your Gear Doesn’t Matter

Let’s cut the chase. Your gear doesn’t matter… at least as much as you probably think it does. Don’t get me wrong, the gear you use and how you use it certainly pertains a great deal to how you play and sound. The reality is, oftentimes the issue isn’t your instrument, but a lack of technical efficiency and general understanding of your instrument (trust me, I’ve been there.) 

Before you blame your gear, look within yourself and your playing for the problem. Once you’ve done that and have found no issues, then look to your gear. 

Take time to get great at your instrument. Gear only gets in the way if you can no longer express what you need to express based on the instruments faults. At the end of the day, there are so many other reasons to select an instrument. It’s your job as the musician to make the instrument sound musical.

When Your Gear Does Matter

While you are only as good as you are on your instrument, your instrument is only as good as it’s highest ceiling (i.e. it’s poorly made, falling apart, needs new parts etc.) . Rather than approaching instruments from a technical perspective, let’s start thinking more musically. 

Here are some questions to guide the conversation: Does the timbre of this instrument fit the style of what I am currently playing? Do my implements (strings, keyboard patches, drumsticks etc.) match the music around me and allow the music to speak at its highest potential? Does this instrument express what I am attempting to communicate? 

Always ask what you can do to serve the music.

How Do You Know What Gear is Best For You? 

Take time to study your instrument and various builds. How does mahogany feel against birch or maple? How do these choices feel in the room I am in? How does this sound fit within the other instruments in this arrangement? Music should always determine why you pick an instrument or another. 

Bottom Line

The questions are endless. Sometimes we don’t have a choice with our instruments. So pick the best option and run with it. Find a way to express yourself intelligently and proficiently. At the end of the day, make whatever instrument you have access to the most musical it can be.


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