Like just about any gear head out there, I love to buy/sell/trade (heavy emphasis on the trade) gear all the time. Most of my guitars don't last more than a year in my house. Not because I don't like them, but because there's this little high you get off of the new gear and exploring new tones. So at night while my wife and kids have been out for well over an hour, I sit with a tiny glow looking back at me while I'm looking at Gear Talk Classifieds, thegearpage.net and of course craigslist for the next "gear high."
But occasionally there are pieces of gear that make the cut. Maybe because its that dream guitar or amp you've finally scored. Maybe its because you got such a good deal on it that it just doesn't make sense to get rid of it. For me, there are three pieces that have stayed with me for about 16 years.
This 100 watt beast has seen some things. in 2001, I went to Oklahoma State University to study Graphic Design. My room mate and I got eye rolls as we wheeled in our giant amps and cabs into our tiny dorm room. Our RA quickly learned that we played and told us his brother was selling some gear. So we hurried over to his dorm to see what he had. He pulls open the sliding door of his closet to reveal an Ampeg 4x10 cab with the Russian tone monster sitting on top. After cranking it to 11, we put our faces back on and asked how much. He thought for a second and said that $250 takes the whole thing. My buddies quickly declined being on strict diets of ramen and peanut butter but I told him I'd find the money. I've had the amp ever since, recorded and played TONS of shows with it. It has survived hours of power chords with punk bands, sloppily tapped tempos as I simultaneously discovered The Appleseed Cast and delay pedals and even my dog peeing directly on the transformer. I've taken out two of the power tubes to tame it down but it still roars. This amp is definitely a "never-seller."
62 Reissue Mexi Strat
This was my first single coil guitar. Purchased at Guitar Center somewhere in 2001. I went in the store wanting to walk out with the Tom Delonge signature model but not long after I picked it up, an employee walked over to me and with a turned up nose looked at me and said "What are you doing?" He took the Delong strat from my hands and put this one in them instead. Right away I loved it. I've played tons of gigs with it and have loved how its aged. I cut my teeth in the music scene with this thing. There are dents and dings in it that I can specifically remember what I was doing when it happened. A few years back I took some sand paper to it to fake some relic on the arm rest but you can see in the pic how the tuners have started to age on their own. The pickups have been swapped for the pickups from the 50s Squire Classic Vibe. Bluesy and punchy and surprisingly better than a lot of other Mexi and even American Strats I've played in the past. After swapping the pickups, the tone knobs quit working. Probably from overheating the pots but now I kinda love it. Its this simple, bare bones thing that I can just plug in and play. It's hasn't been my main go to guitar in a while but this one will be around even after I'm not with my kids.
Vox AD212 Cab
In 2002, after seeing some of my favorite bands on tour ditching the half stacks in favor of smaller cabs, I started looking to do the same. This was a short run cab that Guitar Center was selling but I didn't have the money to pay full ticket price. I ended up finding this one on Ebay for around $200 because the owner spilled candle wax on the grill. He meticulously cleaned it up and I can only see the stain if the light is just right. I love the tone I get from the celestion Neo dog speakers. The magnets are very light and have saved my back over the years.
So there you have it. What gear have you guys keep around or what you want to pass on to other members of your family?