Gear Freaks

There are gear freaks in both the music and tech worlds.

If you go to guitar center on a Saturday (or anytime actually) you’ll see folks raging on crazy pieces of gear always into the latest and greatest effects pedal, etc. I was never one of those people. Admittedly, I usually didn’t have the patience to sit down and figure out a crazy pedal board or effects box. I can barely manage a simple delay pedal with 3 knobs on it.

I think tech is great and can be used for inspiration, but it shouldn’t be relied on. If your song doesn’t translate with the purity of one guitar and one voice then all the over-production in the world won’t save it.

I love going to songwriter nights and hearing the writers perform their work. The artists that recorded the tracks may have world class voices and talent, but it didn’t matter. The songs were just as powerful with an ok musician and vocalist performing them because the raw songs themselves are bulletproof.

I noticed that the really great songwriters that I worked with or talked to kept it really simple. They’d usually write on an acoustic guitar or piano. They’d occasionally have a loop to keep things interesting.

I think the essence of a song is about whether it translates when everything else is stripped away. A great song is a great song whether it’s way overproduced or stripped down.

I feel the same way about code. There’s always a new technology or framework that will be the new kid on the block. Using fancy tech doesn’t make you a great developer, however, a great developer can use those tools to make his/her simple “acoustic guitar demo” code something great.

I hear students asking about what they should be learning- Angular, Angular 2, React, Ionic, Backbone… the sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming. I tell my students that the goal should be to be really good at Javascript and not rely on libraries or frameworks. Those libraries and frameworks (e.g. - effects pedals) will do you know good if you can’t craft your code without them.

There will always be a new tech but can you create without them.