What term can we propose for someone who attempts to substitute equipment over skill building.

Someone like an amateur/beginner guitarist who is forever exploring guitar/amp/pedal/string/pick combinations instead of investing that time in skill building.

My initial suggestion is toneophile.

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    It's easy to criticise the extremes of this behaviour, but knowing how to work with equipment and get the sound you want is a musically-relevant skill - I'm not sure that separating it out from "musicianship" is healthy? – topo Reinstate Monica Oct 18 '19 at 12:46
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    I agree. This question seems rather condescending quite frankly – Lightness Races with Monica Oct 18 '19 at 13:20
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    A music lover uses his equipment to listen to music. A stereophile uses his music to listen to his equipment. – ttw Oct 18 '19 at 13:30
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    Whether you want to define those skills as 'musicianship' is for ELU.SE rather than here, but they're important skills all the same. "Do you think Satisfaction (Stones) wouldn't have been a rock anthem if Keith used a different model amp and fuzz box?" - Who knows? To me, that timbre is a key part of the track; If he'd used a Boss Metal Zone into a Peavey Rage 108, many people might have perceived the song differently. "Doesn't a collector just own stuff to own it?" maybe, but not everyone who has a lot of something is a collector. – topo Reinstate Monica Oct 18 '19 at 17:09
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because its primarily purpose is to coin a new term. Even if it were asking for existing terms, I believe the question wouldn’t be on topic here as it is not about music per se. – Édouard Oct 19 '19 at 11:59

The first terms that came to my mind are "gearhead" (like in this article), and "suffers from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)".

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    Related: "All the gear, no idea" – Chris H Oct 18 '19 at 15:14
  • Wow. That's a good one. Can you make one for "Bad Gas"? – Randy Zeitman Oct 18 '19 at 15:32
  • I know both of these terms from photography. – Carsten S Oct 18 '19 at 16:18
  • @RandyZeitman - Barely Any Drive? – Darrel Hoffman Oct 18 '19 at 17:18
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    @RandyZeitman would that be "Bad Classical Gas" ? – Carl Witthoft Oct 18 '19 at 18:04

A recording engineer's job is to do essentially this, not just with guitar signal chains but also with microphones and plugins for vocals or any instrument. He's hired by people who've (hopefully) gotten the composition and the musicianship sorted out, and they need somebody whose expertise lies is getting the sound the client wants to hear in the mix at the end of the day. This is at least as broad and challenging as performance and composition.

As a hobbyist songwriter who's lucky to gross $20 and a PBR on a gig, I won't be too harsh in criticizing another hobbyist who's enjoying the time he spends with his gear. An engineer with no client seems silly, but most amateur musicians have no audience.

There's a stereotype of guys who just buy stuff and post pictures on Reddit, but I don't know how many of them are really doing nothing with the gear.

  • This is a very balanced and kind point of view, and a nice counterpoint. – Wayne Conrad Oct 18 '19 at 17:20
  • They're not related. A sound engineer is building a palette of needed sounds. The question here is about those who are never satisfied with any equipment to the exclusion of playing the instrument. They're not collectors ... collectors buy things they like ... these people are never satisfied as every new guitar, amp, pedal, or gadget drives their attention instead of a new Youtube video showing another way to conquer the fingerboard. – Randy Zeitman Oct 18 '19 at 20:31
  • -1. I don't really know what this asnwer is even trying to say. But at any rate, it's a gross mischaracterisation that recording engineers should care “mostly for gear”. Sound engineering is (just as much as musicianship) mostly about skill, not about gear. A good engineer can produce a decent-sounding recording using only a pair of 50€ mics, a standard laptop and freely available software. A bad engineer may have a top studio filled with 500000$ of gear available, and only produce a useless mushy flat-sounding result. – leftaroundabout Oct 19 '19 at 10:32

A collector?

Reminds me of the old joke,

Q. How do you make a million by making music?

A. Start with two million ...

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    agh you ninja'd me with "collector" – Carl Witthoft Oct 18 '19 at 13:39

It’s a condition called Equipmentitis.

  • There's another good candidate. – Randy Zeitman Oct 18 '19 at 15:32
  • Goose is clearly an M.D. :-) – Carl Witthoft Oct 18 '19 at 15:41

I don't have a term for a person that behaves as you said. But I've long had a term for the behaviour itself - new golfclubs syndrome.

Whatever the term is, I don't want to be that person.

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    "All the gear but no idea" – Brian THOMAS Oct 18 '19 at 15:33
  • This runs in other circles too: the Mustang GT driver who can't exit Cars & Coffee without injuring bystanders and "remodeling" his front end; the woodworker with "just the basics" of one or two of every type of power tool but still can't put up a shelf; the gamer with a water cooled nonsense box who "wins" by bullying other people; the "aspiring author" with bookshelves and an email inbox full of writing guides from romance writers... – Rich Oct 18 '19 at 20:27

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