The Chase For 'The Best'

László

Historical Entity
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Michigan
There was an interesting article in the New York Times today about the tendency in lots of folks to have to have 'the best'. Doesn't matter what it is, could be a wastebasket or a toaster. Could be a guitar or an amp. Could be a pizza. Any item at all can be part of the chase for 'the best'.

Oh you bet, I'm guilty, I'm no holier-than-thou critic!

I temper it by evaluating things for myself, but once I decide what the 'best for me' is, I'm most unready to compromise. I have a hard time accepting second-best (given I've decided for myself what best is). I'll wait and save if that's what I have to do. Doesn't matter much what the item is.

Is this self-defeating? An expert in psychology apparently did a study on it, and thinks so. The study found that people who are into that 'best' chase are in fact less satisfied with the decisions they make. They're also more likely to be borderline clinically depressed:

"...it's not really doing anyone a favor," was the quote about the whole thing.

Oh my goodness, I'd never sell a perfectly sweet guitar (or many) because I think I've found a better one, and regret it later! :rolleyes:

I always say there's no best, there's only what's best for you. I guess that doesn't mean you're necessarily any better off deciding what 'best for you' actually is, or chasing after it, though I have to say it can be a lot of fun to arrive at that destination, even if it's only a temporary thrill.

While I accept the fact that I'm pretty bad about all this, I know people who are even more into it. I suspect that none of us are 100% immune.

"But honey, it's the JD Powers #1 truck of 2023!"

"Here are Wirecutter's rankings of the best vacuum cleaners."

"The people on the PRS Forum say the 594 is the best PRS!"

Etc.

So here's my 'best' advice (you see what I did here):

Never listen to me, ever.

Even now! ;)
 
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Longneck Tenon

New Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2023
Messages
234
There was an interesting article in the New York Times today about the tendency in lots of folks to have to have 'the best'. Doesn't matter what it is, could be a wastebasket or a toaster. Could be a guitar or an amp. Could be a pizza. Any item at all can be part of the chase for 'the best'.

Oh you bet, I'm guilty, I'm no holier-than-thou critic!

I temper it by evaluating things for myself, but once I decide what the 'best for me' is, I'm most unready to compromise. I have a hard time accepting second-best (given I've decided for myself what best is). I'll wait and save if that's what I have to do. Doesn't matter much what the item is.

Is this self-defeating? An expert in psychology apparently did a study on it, and thinks so. The study found that people who are into that 'best' chase are in fact less satisfied with the decisions they make. They're also more likely to be borderline clinically depressed:

"...it's not really doing anyone a favor," was the quote about the whole thing.

Oh my goodness, I'd never sell a perfectly sweet guitar (or many) because I think I've found a better one! :rolleyes:

I always say there's no best, there's only what's best for you. I guess that doesn't mean you're necessarily any better off deciding what 'best for you' actually is, or chasing after it, though I have to say it can be a lot of fun to arrive at that destination, even if it's only a temporary thrill.

While I accept the fact that I'm pretty bad about all this, I know people who are even more into it. I suspect that none of us are 100% immune.

"It's the JD Powers #1 truck of 2023!"

"Here are Wirecutter's rankings of the best vacuum cleaners."

"The people on the PRS Forum say the 594 is the best PRS!"

Etc.

So here's my 'best' advice (you see what I did here):

Never listen to me, ever.

Even now! ;)
I am so happy with the gear that I have and the sounds that come from it. I have been wanting an ES-335 for a while, and I actually had a dream about one the other night, but it can wait. My goal is to play one guitar for one hour every day and see where it takes me.
 

AceRimmer

Wide Fat Nuts
Joined
Mar 15, 2023
Messages
317
Location
Planet Earth (well occasionally...)
The only time I ever tell anyone to listen to me is regarding my field of work because...after 40 years yes I do know what the bloody hell I'm talking about!
Everything else...yep forget it don't listen to me as you will likely regret it...

I will admit to also having this "must have the best" addiction to a mild degree within the boundaries of what I feel I can afford.

So I guess it could be worse as I would not go into debt ( well apart from the car loan which is not unusual) for the "best".
 

Lewguitar

Old Know It All
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
1,977
Location
Paonia Colorado
It's a been a fun and lifetime quest and relatively harmless.

Right now I'm searching for "the best humbuckers" for my Bernie Marsden.

You listen and research and listen some more and then just take the leap.

So far in the quest, I'm thinking Bare Knuckle Abraxas based on this clip:

 
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veinbuster

Zombie Three, DFZ
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
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14,515
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GTA or wandering aimlessly
I like good stuff, but am not obsessed with acquiring (or consuming) the best. I am interested in what the best is. I do the math about whether or not I would actually get the value out of it and then spend on what is the best that would serve me.

I get plenty of satisfaction out of good enough stuff.
 
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László

Historical Entity
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
32,086
Location
Michigan
Many folks have never heard of Diminishing Marginal Returns and it shows
We've all heard of it. The diminishing marginal returns on any item are worth it to some, and not to others (though isn't that an economic theory about production and output?).

Depends on the individual and their needs.

Example: The diminishing return on a classic Telefunken/AKG 251 that sells for 20K might be worth it for a studio where major label records are made. Wouldn't be worth it to me, even though my stuff goes to broadcast, because I don't need it for a 30 second ad spot where there's a voice over announcer (who I don't record anyway).

And the mics I choose might not be worth it to someone whose recordings aren't their livelihood. Everything's relative.

If you're a Formula 1 team, diminishing returns can be the difference in winning races.
 
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Moondog Wily

Howlin' At The Moon!
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Feb 12, 2021
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Piccolomini Crater, Luna
My quest for best is generally based on wanting something that will last. The "best" generally have the highest levels of workmanship and durability. I despise having to buy something again and again when it can be made to last for some extra dollars. Beyond that level of "best", the rest is really objective the way I see it. Now I funna' go cry in the corner due to my depression over corporations choosing to push us into a disposable world (where my version of best is best described as unobtanium)! Truth be told, I am going to go rebuild the carburetor on the riding more and hopefully then cut the grass (no time to cry or recognize my crushing depression)!!
 

El Fenix

New Member
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Jan 28, 2020
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Location
Dallas
We've all heard of it. The diminishing marginal returns are worth it to some, and not to others.

Depends on the individual and their needs.

Example: The diminishing marginal return on a classic AKG 251 that sells for 20K might be worth it for a studio where major label records are made. Wouldn't be worth it to me, even though my stuff goes to broadcast, because I don't need it for a 30 second ad spot.

And the mics I choose might not be worth it to someone whose recordings aren't their livelihood. Everything's relative.
Ask 100 people off the street what it is and get back to me.

Most have no idea
 

László

Historical Entity
Joined
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Messages
32,086
Location
Michigan
I like good stuff, but am not obsessed with acquiring (or consuming) the best. I am interested in what the best is. I do the math about whether or not I would actually get the value out of it and then spending on what is the best I would best serves me.

I get plenty of satisfaction out of good enough stuff.
You're the third better man than I in this thread! I need to go live in a cave.

Wait...I mostly live in my basement. That's worse than a cave.
 

László

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Messages
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Location
Michigan
Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who said, "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best?"

There is a well-known German car company whose motto since 1902 is, "The best or nothing."

Not that I claim to know whether this is good, bad or indifferent, but human nature being what it is, it's interesting. ;)
 
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Drew

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Apr 26, 2012
Messages
847
I fall into the "best for you" category when I buy things. What comes to mind for me is just I bought a bottle of Makers Mark. Sure, there are much better craft whiskeys/bourbons out there, but I just like a whiskey and ginger every now and then and thus don't want to waste a better whiskey on that. Same with guitars. I don't need a private stock. Non-10 core is completely fine.
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
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I fall into the "best for you" category when I buy things. What comes to mind for me is just I bought a bottle of Makers Mark. Sure, there are much better craft whiskeys/bourbons out there, but I just like a whiskey and ginger every now and then and thus don't want to waste a better whiskey on that. Same with guitars. I don't need a private stock. Non-10 core is completely fine.
I would put myself in this boat, too. Sure, I buy a top shelf scotch or bourbon on occasion, but not all the time. Same with guitars. I’m downsizing, and don’t find myself intending to keep the best, just the best for me.
 
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