10 signs that you're a guitar gear snob

Telltale ways to identify a corksniffer

10 signs that you re a guitar gear snob
(Image: © Hiya Images/Corbis)

We all know the type: they sneer at your pedals, look down on your guitar and wouldn't plug into your amp if the gig depended on it.

But ask yourself: have you developed similarly snobby tendencies? Here are 10 telltale signs that you're on a one-way trip to corksniffer central…

1. You shun all modern guitars

Like some leather-clad Nostradamus, you're obsessed with dates, insisting that guitar production went behind a black cloud after 1959, citing the 1965 Fender/CBS takeover as the "blackest day in human history", and muttering "they don't make 'em like they used to" so often that everyone longs to carve it into your forehead with a soldering iron.

2. You despise amp modelling…

You've never actually tried it, of course, but the very concept of your precious '59 Bassman being digitally simulated by something called a Spider IV makes you screw up your face like a man shovelling skunk shit. "But it's not the real thing!" you'll bleat every time you spot a POD onstage, before being elbowed aside by a sea of moshers who couldn't care less.

3. …And loathe solid-state

The first thing you do when assessing an amp is to check the rear panel for the glow of preamp tubes that signifies it's okay for you to start praising the tone. Never mind that millionaire legends from Dimebag Darrell (Randall RG100) to Albert King (Roland JC120) all rocked solid-state gear…

4. Your jack lead costs £££

You're the guy who marches straight past the 'workhorse' section, making a beeline to the solid-gold-and-braided-by-aliens rack to pick up a lead that costs more than an entry-level six-string. You also enjoy discussing hi-fi separates and run your kettle off a similarly spec'd cable. You mug.

5. You prefer the 'rare' version

You're only interested in the limited runs and alternative versions of everyone's favourite gear. We're talking the gold Klon, the green Russian Big Muff, and Japanese Boss pedals with the silver screws. You sir, are an elitist gear hipster!

6. You look down on mainstream shops

Because only plebs buy guitars from actual shops. For the hardcore gear snob, a guitar is only valid if it's commissioned in person from an esoteric boutique builder in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains (where the altitude gives his guitars a "totally different resonance").

7. You only buy American

Mexico and Asia might as well not exist as far as you're concerned. For you, it's the good old US of A or nothing, where your Strat will preferably have been built by someone called 'Hank' or 'Randy'.

8. You're all about the spec sheet

You're so preoccupied by your checklist of criteria – brand, year, factory, timbers, magnets, bobbins – that you neglect to sit down, plug in, spank out Black Dog and see whether the guitar makes your neck tingle.

9. You'd never play it live

How many times have you seen a thumbnail of what appears to be your dream guitar, only to become blue-balled by the realisation that you've just fallen in love with a guitar bearing a budget brand's logo on the headstock? If only you could let it go, you wouldn't have to say things like "I'd play that guitar live if it had a different name on the headstock."

10. Progression is a four-letter word

Your idea of adventurous guitar design is sticking a humbucker in the bridge position of your Strat. Extended-range guitars, Floyd Roses and active pickups are for soulless freaks, and Matt Bellamy's X-Y pad basically makes him a DJ, in your eyes. Well, it's called progress, and without it we'd still be plucking cat gut with bits of tortoise.

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