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Buyer Beware! Don't Let Your GAS Overcome You!
Written by GoofyDawg

Brendan Delumpa is a professional web engineer by day, but his alter ego is GoofyDawg, a singer/ songwriter, webmaster of GuitarGear.org, and self-styled guitar gear freak-o-maniac!

Last week, I was perusing guitars at the local shop near work. I was on a mission to check out Telecasters and Telecaster-like guitars, as I've been thinking about adding a Tele to my small collection of guitars. I tried several; some solid-body models, some semi-hollow. They all had great tone, and each had their own unique character. Then I longingly looked over at a G & L Comanche hanging on the rack, and thought to myself, Man, I'd just love to have one of those, but they're out of my price range. I picked it up anyway, plugged it into an amp, and savored the sweet, rich textures that I've come to love with that guitar. After a few minutes, I sadly shook my head, unplugged the guitar, and started putting it back on the rack.

Then I looked at the price, and almost pissed myself. The tag read $799.00! How could that be? A basic Comanche normally sells for $1600! Did G & L guitars become so popular that they decided to drop the price? Then reason took over and I realized that G & L must've done the same thing PRS did: They used an overseas production company to provide high-quality, yet more affordable models. This was borne out once I called a sales guy over and he confirmed what I was thinking and said that what I just played was a Tribute Series Comanche, made from the same materials (though different hardware) as the original, but constructed in Korea.

Finally! I could get a Comanche! I've played several Comanches in the past, and this one looked, played and sounded like its American counterpart. I was so excited, I almost whipped out my wallet and purchased the guitar right then and there. But thankfully my reason kicked again and, after a longing sigh, I decided not to buy it on impulse. It's a tough thing not to be impulsive when you "suffer" from a perpetual case of GAS, but in the end, and from past experience of holding back, my patience has been rewarded.

I shared that experience because I wanted to see if I could impart a bit of gear buying wisdom that I've learned over the years. We've all been through it before: You go into a shop or go online just to browse, then end up walking away with something. A lot of times, it's a good purchase, but a lot of times you might think to yourself, "Should I really have bought it?" I hate that sinking feeling. But my pride usually takes over and I rationalize my purchase. But why go through any buyer's remorse at all? And even if you can rationalize the purchase, usually rationalization is just a way to cover up any bad feelings or rants from the wife that you already have "too many friggin' guitars!"

So here are some things you might consider:

  • The biggest challenge, but the first thing you must do is: STOP. Do not take action. Don't reach for your wallet, and step away from the item.
  • Next, get the facts about the item. If it's on sale, how long will it be on sale? Will there be other opportunities, like better prices elsewhere?
  • Then ask yourself: Even if I have the money, is this really what I want? Will I be satisfied with the 90% or even the 95% solution?

I have a much more thorough GAS test on my site here. It's a really great way to help control your GAS-eous urges.

In any case, let me apply that test to the Tribute Comanche. I've wanted a Comanche for a long time. After I played it the first time back in 2007, I started saving for one, but as luck would have it, my finances needed to be directed to other things, and I had to defer my purchase. I've built up enough to buy a Tribute Comanche outright, but then the nagging question three above kick in: Is the Tribute Comanche REALLY what I want? And the answer is no. I want the locking tuners and better bridge. I want the G & L hardware. And even though the Tribute probably satisfies about 95% of what I like in the Comanche, it's still not 100%. I'm willing to save a bit more and wait longer to get what I really want.
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