Anyone who plays guitar knows the feeling, that mastery of the guitar, or at least competency, is only a purchase of the right gear away. It’s a poor workman who blames his tools, but a poor workman usually has shitty tools, and they always want better ones. Every purchase of a guitar, pedal, amp, or other guitarist gadget inevitably leads to more; it’s called G.A.S., Gear Acquisition Syndrome. So, to the Slaent guitarist, what has your G.A.S. made you buy? What axe are you slinging? What pedal stomps your box? What rig are you gigging?

I’ve got a crap-ton of accumulated guitars and gear, but I’ll start with my two newest guitars. I was recently in Guitar Center to buy my daughter a new ukulele for her 15th birthday, as she has really been devoting herself to practicing (I ended up getting her a baritone ukulele, which is tuned like a guitar, and she likes it a lot). While I was shopping for her, I also looked around for me, as one does. One guitar caught my eye, a 2015 Epiphone Blueshawk. Two P-90s, semi-hollow, a marriage of Les Paul and SG shaping, with an odd additional chicken-head knob. This is a Varitone, which offers various pre-set “scooped” tones, cocked-wah sounds, throaty or bright settings. You end up with 18 tone and pickup combinations. I liked what I heard in the store and the guitar was priced well below eBay, and Craigslist, so, sold!

Unfortunately, it had to be held another week for Pawn Shop laws, so in the meantime I turned to Google. In my reading, I kept seeing reference to the Nighthawk, a sister guitar to the Blueshawk (both had started as Gibson models and were twice released in Epiphone versions). The Nighthawk has three pickups: a neck mini-humbucker, a Strat-like middle pickup, and a slanted humbucker at the bridge, with a coil-split, for 9 pickup-combinations. So I window-shopped online, as one does, and there was a local Craigslist ad at a really low price. However, I didn’t really like it in a Sunburst color scheme, so I managed to convince myself to not contact the seller (it would linger for a while before being sold, as well as another one popping up). Besides, I would probably want to eventually upgrade the pickups to the special Seymour Duncan replacements. A few days later a 2013 Epiphone Nighthawk in great shape in my preferred finish showed up at an Austin, Texas Guitar Center, for the same price as the Blueshawk and it already had the SD pickups and upgraded Graph-Tech saddles! So, sold again. After all, I had 45 days to return either guitar.

This ends exactly as expected, that I’ve fallen in love with and am keeping both guitars. Though these have actually quelled a lot of my G.A.S. Between them I cover so much tonal ground that I’m having a hard time justifying buying anything else in the foreseeable future, even to myself. Oh, well, there’s always more amps to buy.

An “Advice for Guitar Players” thread will soon follow. Here, show off your gear!