Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson, one that could potentially save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars.

I was on the schedule to play electric guitar at my church.

Since there would only be one electric guitar, I opted to bring my Gibson Les Paul Studio to the Saturday rehearsal. (I like playing through thick-sounding humbucker guitars when it’s just me.)

The entire rehearsal I was fighting the guitar. There was a certain tone I wanted, and I just wasn’t getting it.

I made it work, but I wasn’t terribly happy.

Sunday morning, I decided to grab my Ibanez Artcore semi-hollowbody guitar and take it with me.

As soon as I plugged it in and played a note, I knew this was the right guitar for the job.

It just responded better and gave me the tones I wanted without needing to tweak it. (I think I’m a hollowbody guy at heart.)

Now, there was an internal struggle going on.

On the one hand, I have this beautiful, Pelham blue Les Paul (a $1200 guitar with upgraded pickups). On the other hand, I have this less-flashy, $400 Ibanez Artcore guitar with stock pickups.

I came SO close to using the Les Paul, for the same reason people will use their most expensive mic, even if it doesn’t sound right for the job — it’s more expensive, therefore it must be better.

Thankfully, I came to my senses and trusted my instincts, and I’m glad I did.

Am I saying that the Les Paul was a waste? No, not at all. But on that particular day, playing those particular songs, it wasn’t the right choice.

So I’m calling this the “-$800 lesson.” Sometimes the piece of gear that costs one-third as much as another piece of gear is the right item for the job.

And I’m finding that to be the case more and more, which explains why I usually use stock plugins when I mix a song. They give me what I need.

You can see me in action as a Dueling Mixes member.

Get your free sneak peak right here.

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

  • Jonny Lipsham

    A while back, I was looking to buy a fretless bass. I have wanted one for YEARS, but never could have dreamed of affording one. Then, while I had played some VERY expensive Fender Jazz basses from the early and mid 70s, I could never afford them. I was disappointed. Then, through a friend I discovered a company called Vintage. They specialise in “ageing” guitars and basses. I found that they had a near-exact copy of Jaco Pastorius’ famous “Bass of Doom” – a 1963 Fender Jazz Bass stripped of frets by the man himself. I tried it. It blew every one of those horrendously expensive basses out of the park for sound AND price. Instead of £3000-5000, I was paying £220!! I could NOT believe it.

    Now, my far more expensive bass often stays in the studio, while my £200 Vintage ICON Series VJ96 goes to gigs and to Church!

    Total revelation.

  • Ian mehrle

    Hi my name is Ian Mehrle and I am 14 I have been following your blog and YouTube Chanel for about a year. I have noticed that all tips and knowledge about music production you put out there is clean. I have looked at at other places for help, and they Allcome back volger. I saw on here that you play at your church, and it finally made sense. I am a Christian/follower of Christ as well and am excited that I now trust that all your knowledge is clean and what God would want to read. But aside from that I had a question about sound. I haven’t been able to get the right good sounding mix with out peaking my system. Any advice would really help. Thanks

  • Mario Efraín Treviño

    I love this!! As much as i would love to own an actual Fender Strat or Tele, or a Gibson Les Paul, I have the more affordable Squier and Epiphone versions, and they give me all the versatility I need for playing at church! Someday, I might upgrade, but for now, I feel good with what I have! Nobody has complained yet! haha