That’s right, I’ve got G.A.S!
No, not the embarrassing bean-induced digestive distress, and not the American equivalent of petrol.
Amongst guitar players, G.A.S. stands for Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, defined thusly by GuitarDaddy over at The Guitar Buzz:
…the uncontrollable need to purchase “just one more” guitar. Then, when the new guitar arrives, the G.A.S. symptoms return. It’s a never-ending cycle that can be… terminal.
It’s an insidious condition, really, so common amongst musicians (not limited to guitarists, and therefore AKA Gear Acquisition Syndrome), that the acronym can be found on the interwebs in thousands if not millions of articles, blog posts, and discussion forums.
My favorite piece on G.A.S. is at Music Radar, titled 7 Stages of Gear Acquisition, where the 7 stages are listed as: Dissatisfaction, Desire, Research, Purchase, Guilt, Acceptance, Relapse.
I particularly love this bit from the section on Desire:
You’ve seen the guitar you want, and it’s embedded in your brain like a want-splinter. Only this guitar can bring happiness. With it in your hands, your playing will improve and you’ll become a sexual colossus.
“Want-splinter”! LOL! So funny, and so, so, true!
I think most musicians would agree that these stages are not linear and sequential, and that one can bounce around them in no predictable order. Not all who suffer G.A.S., for instance, give into the Desire and amass massive collections and massive debt, and my own “collection” consists of only two electric and two acoustic guitars.
The vast majority of the time I vacillate between Desire & Research: checking the Craigslist musical instruments listings and Reverb.com almost daily, regularly getting lured in by a nice-looking guitar, scouring the reviews, watching YouTube clips, daydreaming and dreaming about the guitar, going to music stores to play the guitar if possible, etc.
Today, this is the one that got my G.A.S. symptoms raging:
In the grand scheme of things, this is nowhere near an extravagant instrument. The Crestwood reissue sold for as low as $300 brand new, but because it was a limited run and is no longer available at retail, those available at eBay or Reverb.com range from $500-$600. Small beans compared to, oh, let’s say, a $2,500 vintage 1968 Gibson SG or a $20,000 1957 Fender Stratocaster.
Still, I don’t need another guitar. This is simply a want-splinter, nothing else.