“Gear Acquisition Syndrome”: Attitudes and Motifs for Collecting Musical Gear Across Genres and Instruments

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This cross-national research project pioneers in exploring the so called “gear acquisition syndrome” (GAS) based on an international online survey of musicians (N = 668) about their attitudes towards their musical equipment and instrument collections. It investigates and differentiates musicians’ personal, social and musical motifs for the collection of musical gear across musical genres (e.g. pop, funk, metal, jazz) and instruments (guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, saxophone, trumpet).
In a multifactorial model a variety of attitudes and motivations such as technophilia, nostalgia, democratic purchases in bands, expressiveness or experimentation were tested regarding their dependencies from instruments, genres and professional status.
Surprisingly, the results have shown that differences between genres do not play a crucial role. The participants hardly agreed that specialised equipment is required to play specific genres, which complies with a negligible relevance of genre-specific criteria when buying new gear. No different attitudes between the genres could be found regarding vintage equipment, experimentation, technophilia or sound artistry. Only some instruments showed significant differences: Especially saxophone players appear to be less affected by GAS than guitarists and keyboardists.
This is in line with the finding of musicians of electric instruments being more afflicted with GAS and owning more equipment. Negative correlations existed for age and playing experience. Older and more experienced players owned more gear but were least inclined towards GAS. A strong inclination to-wards collecting was the best indicator for GAS. The next best predicator was the band that motivated a GAS-oriented behaviour. Musical motifs only played a minor role.
Period3 Sep 2018
Event titleCrosstown Traffic: Popular Music Theory and Practice
Event typeConference
LocationHuddersfield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational