Imagine. You’re in a forest and come to a clearing, the sun washes over your skin. You spin and dancing is the warmpth. You stop and take a deep breathe and try to move on, but you cannot see the trail out of the clearing. You begin to say “I can stay here a bit longer.” “There’s no need to leave just yet.” You lay down and return to the sun. Time comes and goes and you begin looking for the exit. You find the clearing and move on once it is found. You don’t stay in the tall grass without direction and without progress, but that wasn’t a waste of time, if anything that’ll be the part of your journey you will talk about for a while on your way to the next one. Your progress required you to leave behind the warmpth and excess of the clearing. You have a path to follow.
Yesterday I traded in my electric guitar for an acoustic-electric. I had that electric for only about eight months, but I knew that I’d rather only have one perfect (for me) guitar. One that accomplishes the tasks it needs to but doesn’t get in the way with other potential feats. However, I’ve said that before.
2016 I traded in an amp, a Fender MexiStrat, a series of pedals including many distortion and reverb pedals as well as my looper for an acoustic. I was going on a summer long road trip and didn’t have storage. I went down to items that fit in my car and wouldn’t get in the way of the trip. That acoustic now, is to my right and looking for a new home. It doesn’t meat the needs I have for a guitar anymore.
I regret only that I lost that amp and looping pedal. I cannot name another pedal on that board that I cared about. This was a learning expirience, if I still had that board, I wouldn’t have learned my lesson. I needed a looper but I didn’t need any other pedal on that board.
All this to say, you learn from mistakes and you learn through time. I’ll probably never have the perfect set up that I so crave. It may never be. However, as musicians, we can look at our gear with a full understanding of potential, but without the understanding of practicality that our wallets and heads would appriciate.
I’m not saying you should get rid of all of your instruments to get down to just a computer with a midi controller, or down to just one guitar. All I am saying is that getting down to the basics of what I need, has freed my mind of clutter and given my creative energy a path to follow.