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
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