What are YOUR GAS symptoms? (TT 13)

Well I’d like to kindly welcome you to Tone Taxi. Come on in, welcome aboard. Here we are driving through the subdivision, real close to tech headquarters. I used to live over here, and the roads definitely were not plowed yet. I’ve got four wheel drive, it’s engaged, and it might be a little shifty, but the Tone Taxi continues. The Tone Taxi plows ahead, it has to. It’s a place for stimulating musical discussion.

The ULTIMATE Guitar Practice Routine

Just show up every day, and I'll tell you what to play!

I have a very interesting topic for today. Today I want to talk about gas. Not the kind you put in the car, not the kind you get after jambalaya or whatever you eat, the kind that’s the acronym, is it acronym or synonym, what is it? Pseudonym?


Acronym? Yeah, “GAS.” It stands for Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, and this is something that I think any guitar player can really relate to, where you just start accumulating guitars, and accumulating, and you’re always looking for the perfect tone. Today I want to talk about the symptoms of GAS.

I want to know what, when you know that exact moment when you’re like, “You know what? That’s the guitar, and I’m definitely going to buy that guitar,” and for me I know a surefire bet. I know I’m going to have a GAS attack when I go to sleep, or I try to go to sleep, and I literally just lay there in bed and think about that guitar. I think about what I could possibly do to get that guitar, and think of how awesome it would be to have that guitar. Literally I cannot sleep, I’m just too excited.

That’s my symptom, that’s a signature symptom for me, and I want to know what your symptoms are when you absolutely know you’re going to go to the store and buy that guitar. Please leave a comment below, and I just want to let you know I really appreciate you driving along in the Tone Taxi with me.


  1. Profile photo of Richard S
    Richard S

    My GAS symptom is nervousness and overwhelming desire to see or hear a guitar either electric or nowadays acoustic guitar that can make a sound that I have yet to obtain in my instrument collection. When I was watching the Acoustic Letter with Tony Polecastro, I would watch how Tony’s appreciation and wonder of a certain guitar would affect me and when Tony said and demonstrated a guitar that he was really sold on, I would go to the closest guitar stores and listen and play that guitar and any other that was comparable until I knew for certain that that guitar did or made a particular sound that I NEEDED TO HAVE then think about that guitar incesently until I absolutely had to have it! I was sold on the Martin D28, D35, HD28 and HD35 until I was listening to the clarity of the Taylor guitars in the same price range. I thought to myself does the Martin play as deep with tonal clarity or does it tend to thump at lower notes? The answer showed me the way to THE BEST SOUNDING AND LOOKING GUITAR I HAVE EVER SEEN AND HEARD THE TAYLOR PS16ce/Brazilian. Then I happened onto the demonstration that Tony did on ,” If I was to make my perfect guitar, what would it be?”
    Tony selected a medium sized guitar with Adirondack Spruce Top and bracing and Brazilian Rosewood Back and sides. He built it or had it built at the Taylor Factory and THAT SOLD ME!!! I then searched for one as they are relatively rare and bought mine from Willcutt guitars in Louisville , Kentucky.
    My wife bought it for me and that is THE GUITAR IN MY LIFE. I Have 12 others but they don’t compare. THANKS TONY!

  2. Profile photo of Greg C. W
    Greg C. W

    My GAS is being manifested by the following symptoms:
    1- A new Martin 000-28 in 2015…Why? Well I needed something to play while my HD-28 was at the luthier being repaired.
    2- 3 trips to the Martin factory in the 8 months…Hey, one of New Jersey’s redeeming traits is it proximity to Nazareth, PA.
    3 – I am having a custom Martin OM built…should arrive in about 7-8 months…I think I have a lots of GAS. At least my wife tells me I do! And like Tony, I can’t go to sleep without picturing it in my head The guitar not the GAS).
    4 – On the drive home tonight I was wondering what it would be like to build an all mohagany 00 or 000.
    Maybe I should wait a bit, at least until the OM is done!

  3. Profile photo of Gary T
    Gary T

    I felt it creep up when you showed off the Martin 2-17 some months ago. It usually happens when my eBay trigger finger starts itching… I have been guilty of winning one that I thought would sell for at least $500 more than I bid. Funny, I don’t seem to have a problem with guitar stores. I guess that I’m not comfortable in a public setting…

  4. Profile photo of Steve A
    Steve A

    One symptom that came up for me was dizziness and confusion – I started losing track of which guitar went in which case. Solved that though with a label maker. No more problems! 😉

  5. Profile photo of X

    I have my GAS under control. Has a lot to do with space (well, finances too, but that’s a different discussion). A guitar teacher I learned from a while back had so many guitars that literally, his living room was full of them. Made me think about how unhappy that would make my wife, and that was enough to control my GAS. I think I could buy a new guitar, but only if I sell one I already own. Same is true with acquiring books for me, which is something I’ve done most of my life. Now I only buy books if I am willing to get rid of books that I won’t use anymore. But I do have a different syndrome: SAS : Song Acquisition Syndrome. I just love learning to play, and playing “new” songs. I just created an iTunes play list of songs I’m learning or want to learn. There are 15 songs on it! That’s probably about my 2 month average, and I’m always adding more on the side. Luckily the songs usually just mean additions to my iTunes playlists and sheets added to my books of song charts/maps.

  6. Profile photo of Michael F
    Michael F

    Guitar Lust! Its the burning desire to possess a guitar that I do not need and can not afford. Nonetheless, I still want it. I do have great discipline in not giving into my guitar desires and a wife who always brings me down to earth. I should be happy with what I have which is a Martin D35. But I want more.

  7. Profile photo of Bernard G
    Bernard G

    Yes, I must confess, GAS virus has got me. I have “only” two guitars -one acoustic and one electric- , but last year I began to think that my acoustic guitar (a Seagull S6) didn’t sound so good. I noticed it when I tried to learn songs on You Tube for example.
    I got the same symptoms as Jeffrey : watching videos, demos, searching sellers to have descriptions etc.. And I began to fall in love with the Martin HD 35.
    And fortunately I discovered The Acoustic Letter and of course TAC. That confirmed my choice but I thought I didn’t deserve such a guitar, so I decided to improve my skills with TAC , and by the way to pick up my guitar every day before I could buy the Martin.
    Since then I ‘ m quite sure I want to buy two other guitars : a Taylor ( maybe 814 ce ) and the Gibson J 200. That seems crazy but that’s my project for next years. I think I’ll buy the HD 35 before summer, and as Tony says I’m very excited, thinking about it night and day !
    I’m in a hurry to test it in a guitar shop, I imagine myself with this marvel in hand. My only fear is to find it too hard to play…
    GAS is a good thing and I think we are lucky to be caught by such a disease. Thanks to that I’ll pick up my guitar more and more often, I hope so.

  8. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    The biggest problem I think we all suffer from is believing the garbage out there that a specific guitar like Willie Nelson’s “Trigger” has such an incredible sound, that is so unique, there is nothing else like it in the world. Pulleeeeze! He even wants to be buried with it when he dies. Talk about selfish! What might sound good to me, might not sound good to you. We all want to find that one guitar that we believe is better than anyone else has. One salesman in the music store told me he looked at 25 Taylor guitars of the same model before buying his guitar because that guitar sounded was so much better than the rest. And he said that everyone who plays it says it has an incredible sound. Pulleeeeze! Just like a new set of golf clubs, a new fishing pole, a new baseball glove, a new bowling ball, we believe if we buy something new, it will take us over the edge and we will become better at whatever hobby we are doing than we actually are. The fact is, if we all spent more time actually playing and practicing guitar than shopping for guitars, we would all be better guitarists. I get why some of us want more than just one guitar, but whenever I get the urge to buy a new guitar, I go play the one I have, to help me realize and accept that I won’t be making a living playing guitar anytime soon, so maybe I should just stick to improving my skills.

  9. Profile photo of james f
    james f

    If anyone has a real BAD GAS attack going on, I have a 2006 Petros FS model, dream series, Brazilian/alpine, 1 3/4 nut, v neck. FOR SALE $12K.

  10. Profile photo of James C
    James C

    I get GAS about two months before I final payment on a guitar last financed. A couple of months before I paid off my Les Paul I was on the hunt for a Martin. Constantly on my Ipad watching Tony’s videos.Then weeks of trying to decide and changing my mind a million times. I want a D-28. Nah, a D35 is better. I don’t want a dread I want the CEO-7. F*** it a D-16 will do and I’ll save some bucks.

    So today I made my mind up and pulled the trigger on a D-28 Sunburst. The madness has ended! For now……

    1. Profile photo of Anna K
      Anna K

      Congrats James! I thought I was just fickle going through that process. It’s all a part of is disease. Enjoy the D28 and post pics and videos soon.

  11. Profile photo of Chris Donaldson
    Chris Donaldson

    When I feel like buying a guitar, I ask myself what else is going on in my life that is making me stressed. For me, most of the time that I am buying something that I don’t need, I notice a correlation between that and anxiety that I am experiencing from something else in life. Then I think about the folk musicians that I most respect most, that could only afford 1 guitar at a time throughout there life. Then I focus on my guitar and think about how blessed I am to have such a beautiful sounding instrument. Then if I still want the guitar, I’ll wait it out anyway. If I still want it after a few months, it’s probably something that my current guitar can’t do and I’ll go buy it.

  12. Profile photo of JP Collins
    JP Collins

    I used to think: I’m not a good enough player for that guitar. Something that well crafted needs a true player to appreciate. That thinking kept me in the realm of knowing “licks”, half a song, some riffs and crappy all laminate guitars. I get a solid top — amazing thing playing gets better and I started playing more–like once or twice a month. Refinished an 1897 Washburn and discovered vintage and 12-frets! Playing every week and playing in front of others. Bought a D-15M and now I am certifiably hooked, a guitar junkie practicing/playing twice a week. Read Tony’s blurb on best guitars for different styles and bought myself a 000-15SM and am playing daily.

    So my GAS symptoms have changed as my ‘stinking thinking’ changed. Symptoms now are sweating itchy hands, grin on face (especially when money in bank matches my grin), and the mind projection of me with that guitar playing with Big Bill, Muddy, and such. God it is so nice to be an empty – nester with disposable income. My hands are itching over a cigarbox now.

  13. Profile photo of Tim

    I satisfy my GAS by building one. Some times my GAS build up is set off by one coming into my shop or by one I’ve seen or heard on the internet. I usually keep it around awhile before I let it go>

  14. Profile photo of Brian B
    Brian B

    Funny you should bring that up. Soon after I signed up to my yearly subscription to TAC I saw this bearded fellow playing this awesome sounding guitar. The Martin HD35. It hits, ” GAS ATTACK”!! Well over the next several months I wore my wife down that I need to buy yet another (5th) guitar. Well it worked and I received it ( Martin HD35) about a week before Christmas. Haven’t put it down yet. I’m almost afraid to see others play there instruments for fear of another GAS ATTACK. Incidentally I can for sure say that I’m a GAS PASSER because that’s what I do for a living. I case you don’t get the reference it’s anesthesia. I’m happy all the time HAHAHA

  15. Profile photo of Daniel H
    Daniel H

    Well this is a timely topic!
    I have always had a little bit of GAS, like most guitar players, but I have to say that the AL and all of Tony’s reviews certainly contributed to it all. In the past 3 years many guitars have come and gone out of the house (Martin HD-28V, D-28, HD-35, D-18, D-35, 000-28H, 000-18, Gibson Southern Jumbo, Sheryl CrowSJ, Collings OM1… and few others) Can you believe it?! I now have Collings OM2H SS (the Texan), a 57 Martin 00-18 and a 65 Martin 00-18 (the Twins), and an Eastman E20SS.
    I have to say that I absolutely enjoyed doing this. Finding the ‘right’ one, waiting for it to arrive, seeing the delivery truck at the door…fantastic! What I I discovered in the end is that there are a lot of great guitars out there. I prefer short scale for my stubby little fingers, and there is something special about playing a well set-up vintage instrument. I think I am cured and that I will stay with what I have for now…unless of course Tony starts raving about another guitar he discovered 🙂
    I don’t have problem ..really…denial may be a symptom…Is there a GAS Anonymous club?

  16. Profile photo of Doug M
    Doug M

    It is actually articles like this that give me GAS. It is like watching someone yawn, you just can’t help but yawn yourself. Tony, did you get paid for this subliminal advertisement by the manufacturers?

  17. Profile photo of William v
    William v

    LOL I think I passed GAS! I go into a music store, see a guitar, play it for a bit, then if I really like it, I just buy it. I’m up to 44 guitars as of this writing and have two more on the way this week. It actually may be time to begin to thin out the heard and sell a few.

    1. Profile photo of Carol M
      Carol M

      William V! You have 44 guitars??? That’s more than they have at my local music store-It might be time for you to open your own store! Think of the great employee discount you would get!!

    2. Profile photo of Quigley

      I think there is a different name for this type of affliction – it’s quite serious and should be treated by a licensed medical practitioner! Is there a doctor in the house? Knowing that someone out there actually owns 44, soon to be 46 guitars, actually makes me pause and wonder, why does anyone need 46 guitars? Let me know when you hit 50, maybe by then I will have paid off my first and we can celebrate together!

  18. Profile photo of Tony D
    Tony D

    Tony- you may not be a medical professional, but you are a Doctor of the Soul. You have successfully diagnosed my chronic condition. I’m planning on showing this to my wife to help her understand my insanity. I know I’ve got it bad when I start searching the usual websites for deals.
    Thanks Again

  19. Profile photo of Lee K
    Lee K

    Tony, this Tone Taxi is so timely! I am in the midst of a gas attack and not quite over it. My current gas attack has to do with a parlour size guitar. My symptom is most often the obsessive watching of YouTube video reviews that (usually) lead to the purchase of something.

  20. Profile photo of Jason T
    Jason T

    My worst GAS symptom is when I start thinking about how I am going to survive and play my new guitar without my wife knowing I have acquired a new guitar….

    1. Profile photo of james f
      james f

      Talk to the guy with 44. if u have that many, she’ll have a hard time telling them apart.

  21. Profile photo of Tim F
    Tim F

    P.S. My cure for this case of gas is a Manuel and Patterson custom from little ole Covington, LA. Makes me feel better just thinking about it!!!

  22. Profile photo of Jeffrey B
    Jeffrey B

    I had always though GAS stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome.. anyways…
    My symptom for GAS is when:
    Stage 1. I start Youtube-ing demos, reviews and ads of that specific gear.
    Stage 2. I have watched all available demos no less then 3 times each and starts to look for forum discussions about it.
    Stage 3. I start looking for sellers: ebay, amazon, other communities.
    Stage 4. I realize I have read the entire user manual (LOL) or I have started to sell my least used gears to get the new prospect.

    I knew I’m gonna get one when stage 4 is reached. harharhar

  23. Profile photo of Tim F
    Tim F

    Tony- first crawfish, now jambalaya? Maybe some gumbo Chére? Dude are you sure you’re not from Cajun Country?!? Yea I’ve got a tremendous case of GAS. I want one of everything. Happy Mardi Gras mes amis!!!

  24. Profile photo of George G
    George G

    I consider myself very lucky. 38 years ago when my son Dave was born I wanted to get a guitar so he would know where music really comes from. There was a second hand store downtown and in the window ( horrid place for a fine crafted wooden instrument ) was a Goya. It was one of the final guitars to have that stamp on it. Not the original Swedish version but a Japanese one built when Martin owned the factory. I picked it up for a song. $100.00 I’ve been playing it all these years and it suits my needs just fine. I never get GAS. I did however get another nice guitar as a “bring to the campfire” guitar so I wouldn’t have to risk sparking or spilling beer on my main squeeze. When I pick it up to play I float away on the sound. I don’t perform so It is only my ear that matters. I do love to get together and share with friends and know some who have GAS. I try not to sit too close to them when they play. Just close enough so I can chime in with my GOYA. Guitar Owner Yesterday and Always.

  25. Profile photo of Anna K
    Anna K

    I am having a GAS attack right now!
    I want so many.
    After consulting with a dear TAC-ite, Thanks Carol!, I am sure I have found THE cure. I am planning to purchase a Gibson Keb’ Mo’ by the end of this week. He will show up on my Guitar wall soon.

    Has anyone else found you want to spread this disease?!? I push friends into guitar stores and watch them try to resist GAS. Joy and envy hit me while they feed their need.
    I even push GAS on my grandchildren! The sound of a two year old pulling on strings and the look on their faces when they create that magical, musical sound… I know I have led them to a lifetime of GAS.
    I am Anna
    And I have GAS.

  26. Profile photo of AVRIM T

    Pickers beware; this is some serious illness we be talking’ ’bout here.
    I have a particular strain of GAS called Songwriter GAS. This variety comes from the belief that all guitars (old and new) come loaded with songs, and it is up to me to extract them from the wood. Being an acoustic guy, my ailment is pretty much limited to acoustic guitars, and I keep around a dozen give or take 3. I only purchase guitars with the intention of playing them and not for investment reasons. Fortunately I have been able to manage my disease by constantly buying and selling for many, many years. Note: many wives become agitated by our GAS symptoms.
    One downside to having chronic GAS is that I never seem to have enough time to play them all. When I find my next guitar (r, when my next guitar find’s me), and have to pick one of the herd to sell, I always feel sad, as if I am selling one of my kids or my dog even though I remind myself that I just don’t play that guitar enough to keep it.
    During the past year my disease has gotten stronger. It led me on a search to find some Brazilian Rosewood to use for acoustic guitar neck blanks (which I succeeded in finding a piece of 47 year old quarter sawn, plained and air dried which I extracted 3 neck blanks from), and now I’m having two custom acoustic guitars built.
    This year I also purchased my first electric guitar since I sold my last one in 1970.
    I feel lost on it, like it’s a completely different instrument, but I’m committed to get comfy. And finally, I have been obsessing on Tenor guitars and spending way too much time on eBay and reverb than I should. I never had a Tenor, but I played one at Artisan’s Guitars in Nashville last year and I can’t get it out of my mind.
    This is indeed a serious disease…make no mistake about it. GAS can wipe a man’s savings out in a single strum, and take your house and your wife and your kids too, so everyone best be aware of how powerful GAS is. But it’s a wonderful disease too, and I’ve chosen to go down picking’ ‘n grinnin’ so it’s officially chronic and uncureable. One last thought – I’ve been able to survive GAS this long by keeping a separate bank account for “music money”. I highly suggest this prescription; if not tune in to Dr. Polecastro for the right meds to help your condition.

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Avrim, I like your belief that every guitar come with songs for you to discover 🙂

  27. Profile photo of Thom

    My GAS symptoms are less than 2 years old which began when I decided to pick up the guitar and seriously learn how to play after 40 years of playing other people’s guitars. I had sufficient experience with over buying hobby like items only to lose interest and really wanted to be prudent, just in case. I also question the type of guitar to purchase, questioning whether I could even hold one of those big boys. I opted for a reasonable Taylor GS mini to start and tried very hard to enjoy it. In retrospect, I think I should have taken it to my local ER guitar MD who does a lot of set ups, but I was still a little too naive to know that he even existed and anxious that he would laugh at me since my guitar was so little. I eventually got some courage and started to visit local guitar shop’s which helped me disprove some of the myths I had been holding onto. As the story unfolds, I sold my mini on eBay, got a good enough price and purchased an open box Gibson J-15 in mint condition saving a few bucks. I have enjoyed it now for 7 months and despite that, I am craving the base of a Martin guitar. It probably is a result of a new psychiatric condition called ALRS or otherwise known as Acoustic Letter Review Syndrome. Some of the symptoms include watching it on your big screen TV with your family in the vicinity while they just shake their heads at one another making comments just out of range. Or your wife asking you if you had made any large purchases on the credit card lately. I am rather certain that this is somewhat akin to being pregnancy as I await the birthing (figure out how I can do this without anyone knowing) process. What shall I name her? Will it really make me better? I hope I get adequate money from selling the Gibson…I hope that thats not a sin for thinking that. I long for the day where I can afford multiple guitars and lament about the ones that “got away”. The bottom line is that I remain a student of guitar and this web site has provided me with the daily oxygen I need to sustain this evolving passion. Enjoy your Day! Oh…I am thinking an OM-21 /;-)

  28. Profile photo of Dom T
    Dom T

    GAS…………..GAS??? All I can say is DID YOU SEE THE GIBSON IN YESTERDAY’S EMAIL from Music Villa? What A beauty. Called, got price from Chad…..ALMOST bought it!!!!

    1. Profile photo of jumpin' jeff s
      jumpin' jeff s

      Yes I saw that custom songwriter mystic and was also strangely drawn to it. I had to spend fifteen minutes on Youtube keeping my eye on the real prize , that one I am absolutely sure I “need”…vintage D18. Listening to those old Martin D18s my attack subsided. (Can you have one attack counteract another?) I even ventured back to music villa’s own website where two 1944 martins one D18 and one D28 are played and compared. D18 for me. Dom you get the gibson and bring it in the summer to the jamboree.

      1. Profile photo of Dom T
        Dom T

        I am done for now. I have no idea which one I am putting into the hands of an airlines for Bozeman……….sigh!n I think I might ship it to Bozeman.

  29. Profile photo of Gord B
    Gord B

    Early on I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I bought 3 guitars as a teenager in the mid 60’s before getting one that is still going strong (also one I could afford) a Gibson B24 natural ( no credit cards just lay away or cash)
    I Thought that it cured me and I had Was saved!
    But As I approached my 50 th BD it returned!!
    I also didn’t know that it was either contagious or a hereditary issue ! But it was passed onto my son !!!
    Symptoms were the same : day dreaming about guitars , an urge to stop in every guitar music store , all u can talk about is the next guitar, planning ( scheming ) how to save the cash for it.
    I found out too late about GAS . I tried to worn my son, but was too late!!!

    Together we have 13 different guitars -all beautiful 7 acoustic 6 electric.
    I know that it’s not over yet.
    I wished that there was a cure?
    Can anyone out there help!

    This was fun !

  30. Profile photo of Lou Q
    Lou Q

    Yea I’m full of GAS. This causes a lot of window shopping and dreaming. Another symptom is drooling, which is embarrassing when shopping at work. #guitarporn on instagram has not helped the issue any and I will probably need professional help soon.

  31. Profile photo of Vic G
    Vic G

    For me, it usually starts with finding a need. Just like Carol, I’ll look at my collection and think “what am I missing from this collection?” Next, I’ll get a marketing email from Acoustic Letter, or Sweetwater, or Musician’s Friend, or from one of my local shops, about a sale. Then, I actually try a particular guitar at one of my local shops. But the most significant symptom is imagining someone else getting their hands on a guitar that I liked and buying it before I can. I ask myself, how bad would I regret not buying that guitar when I had the chance? If the regret scale is high, then my credit card shouldn’t be far to follow.

    BTW, I’m up to 12 guitars and I must say that having a variety does come in handy when you’re asked to play for a gig or function, because I can match the guitar to the event and its need.

    Lastly, the words “Limited Run” should be banned from guitar makers’ vocabularies….ugh. I get a GAS bubble just hearing those words.

  32. Profile photo of Quigley

    Well, for those of us out there like myself, who can really only dream of purchasing that second, third, or sixth guitar, I think of things like selling one of my kidneys to get it. But then I think again, nah, I’ll hang onto that extra kidney for now. In the meantime, my Taylor 314, “old reliable” will just have to do – but a fine guitar I might say. Now if I only spent as much time practicing as I do perusing the acousticletter.com and other fine web and local establishments drooling over “that” next guitar, well…

  33. Profile photo of Carol M
    Carol M

    Hey, what a great topic! I am all too familiar with GAS- I think I have a chronic case of it… My general symptoms are: noticing how nice and new and shiny all the guitars look in the latest issue of “Wood & Steel”, Rubbernecking into the acoustic room at the music store on my way back to the practice rooms for my lessons, Feeling slightly jealous whenever somebody posts a picture of their brand new guitar, and- just a general feeling that my current collection is just missing something….
    I have 7 guitars now (1 is electric and was a gift- does that count?), and each time I purchased one, I knew I had to have it from the first second I held it and played it. You know it’s gonna be yours when it fits you like it was made for you, and mostly, when it makes you sound sooooo good! Oh, and when you stand there admiring it like it’s a painting in a museum- definate symptom there. When you start worrying that someone else might sneak in the store and buy “your” guitar, you need to act quickly and just go get it!
    GAS. Yup I’ve got a chronic case of it. 7 guitars and counting.

    1. Profile photo of Carol M
      Carol M

      P.S. I watched this episode of Tone Taxi on You Tube, and now my list of recommended videos is full of remedies for bloat, flatus, and fiber supplements!! Yuk yuk yuk!

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