Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or NAMM – Day One

NAMM Show Floor (2014)

It’s the opening day of Winter NAMM 2017, the music gear event of the year for most musicians I know.  Vendors roll out their latest drool-worthy instruments and gear. And there’s a name for the affliction many musicians emerge from NAMM with – Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS).

Umm… Gear Acquisition Syndrome?

Yep, it’s a thing. GAS’s key symptom is a relentless drive to grab your wallet and upgrade all your instruments, gear, and accessories to the shiny new hotness you’ve just played with.  When it comes to GAS afflictees, I’m pretty much a poster child – so it’s a good thing that I’m not attending in person this year.  Restraining my wallet hand is getting easier with age, but from early signs we may need medics at NAMM this year.  It’s gonna be a gear acquisition syndrome outbreak!

Here’s my first two candidates for ‘wallet magnet of the week’.

Darkglass Electronics – Alpha/Omega (distortion/DI)

Finnish bass pimps Darkglass Electronics are well known for their impeccably-built (and sounding) bass gear, and their new Alpha • Omega distortion is a fine addition to the family.

Darkglass Electronics Alpha - Omega Distortion - gear acquisition syndrome

Sporting a three-band EQ with shaping switches, DI out, and two unique blendable distortion circuits, it’s a beast. The Alpha • Omega was o-developed with Karnivool bassist (and tone aficionado) John Stockman and fits alongside Vintage Deluxe and Microtubes B7K as a unique pair of distortion ‘voices’. If you’re into tight, punchy distortion, roll the “mix” knob towards Alpha.  Or do you want aggressive, over-the-top chaos in your grit?  Roll the “mix” knob towards Omega and rock out.  Or better, find your own blend of the two voices somewhere in between.  I may succumb here, folks – hide my wallet.

Aguilar AG700 (Re-release)

New York City’s Aguilar Amplification just announced it’s AG 700 bass amp. The re-envisioned AG 700 steps up Aguilar’s highly-portable Tone Hammer 350 and 500 class-D amp models. And it’s undoubtedly going to be a lightweight monster for gear acquisition syndrome – afflicted bassists.

Aguilar AG 700 class-D bass amp - gear acquisition syndrome

Sporting 700 watts of class-D digital power it provides extra headroom beyond what the Tone Hammer 500 delivers.  If you’re driving a big 8×10, 4×12 or 2×15 cabinet rig, this is going to be super loud at just a svelte 5-pound package.

However, I’ve got a slight concern about the midrange controls worth noting.  I’m not sure I’ll prefer the AG 700’s two fixed (unspecified) frequencies over the Tone Hammer preamps’ single, sweepable midrange control.  I’ve become fond of the TH 500’s mid controls and bristle a bit at fixed EQ points.

However, two mid frequencies do offer more range than the single 750hz control on Aguilar’s topline DB 751 amp. And the AG 700 should sound sweet no matter where those two frequencies land, as with most everything Aguilar produces.  My case of gear acquisition syndrome can’t wait to find out.

Got News? Ping me.

That’s my two biggest bass gear drools so far. However, I’m certain NAMM will trigger more gear acquisition syndrome further into the week.  If you’re on the show floor and see something really cool, DM me on Instagram (@sfegette) please.