My Husband has GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

Gear Acquisition Syndrome

My husband has GAS. He knows it. I know it. The mailman and UPS delivery guy knows it.

I am not embarrassed to admit it; my husband has Gear Acquisition Syndrome – an affliction common among musicians. When I met him, he had a couple of electric guitars and an amp. He rarely played. After many years, he has rediscovered his passion for music, and now that there is a bit more room in the budget, well, he’s begun acquiring more and more gear.

He is an avid follower of YouTube shows like That Pedal Show and Guitar Paradiso. eBay and Craigslist have been consistent sources of hard-to-find gear. Weekend trips to Guitar Center are common.

GAS is a tongue in cheek name that describes someone, like my hubby, who purchases music gear often enough that the UPS and FedEx delivery guys notice! But make no mistake about it, GAS sufferers take their gear acquisition very seriously.

GAS doesn’t apply only to guitar players.

Drummers have been known to acquire numerous cymbals. It also goes beyond musicians. Some photographers accumulate dozens of cameras and lenses. Then there is the related syndrome of CTAS – Compulsive Tool Acquisition Syndrome – individuals who acquire vast power tool collections.

Is GAS a problem? Not necessarily. If you have ample physical space to store your music gear, you enjoy using it, and your collection is not negatively impacting your finances of your relationships, then your GAS is not a problem.

What if you can’t let go and can’t stop collecting?

On the other hand, there are those individuals who have a hard time letting go of items they no longer use, items which are broken, or may no longer have value (other than sentimental). Collections of gear can grow to such an extent that it becomes overwhelming. An abundant collection can turn into a SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy). The collector may lose track of what he/she owns, where specific items are located, and as a result they may not be able to use their gear at all. Sometimes, these individuals continue to acquire gear hoping that in some distant future they may begin to use it again.

When GAS takes over your house.

Sometimes collections of gear take over bedrooms or common living space and create a storage shortage. Everyday household items have no place to go. In the case of tools, garages can be taken over by tools and equipment, leaving no space for the cars, bikes, and holiday bins. If this is happening in your home, set aside a dedicated space for your gear keeping in mind a boundary that respects the needs of the rest of the family. In some cases, a gear collection creates strain on the family finances. If that is the case, take an inventory of the gear and estimate what the collection is worth and use that information to formulate a financial boundary. When considering buying new gear, it may be necessary to sell some gear to stay within the agreed upon boundary. Be authentic to your lifestyle today – if life is getting in the way of your hobby, then perhaps it’s time to stop acquiring gear for the time being.

Your collection should be something you use and enjoy, not a physical or financial burden for those you live with. As far as my husband’s GAS – the music collection is fine, but we might have a chat about all those mountain bikes! 😉


Photo by Stephen Niemeier from Pexels