Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker Explains Why You Don’t Need Expensive Gear to Sound Good, Shares Important Advice to Bedroom Musicians

Look, it’s no secret that all of us guitar players would enjoy having an elaborate professional studio or live rig to play around with. If we had the money, we’d all hire someone like Bob Bradshaw to make fully custom pedalboards, rack cases, and all the other bank-account-draining stuff. But is there really a point to this? Well, according to Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker, there’s no need to obsess with high-quality gear.

In a recent chat with Total Guitar, Parker discussed his gear, songwriting, and various other topics. Asked whether he has any important advice for guitar-wielding bedroom musicians, he offered:

“Well, for starters, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t know what you’re doing. Find a way to enjoy it. I still don’t know what the answer is, but the only thing that remains true is that, if you enjoy doing it you’ll just keep on doing it, and it will naturally get better.”

“If it’s something that you’ve got to do enough times to get really good at, whether it’s playing guitar or songwriting, it’s very difficult to get there without it being fun. So, you’ve just got to find a way for it to be fun, find a way for it to be fulfilling.”

Tame Impala - InnerSpeaker (Live From Wave House)

“And don’t get bogged down by doing what you think you ought to be doing or what your peers insist is important.”

This kind of a more laid-back approach, so to speak, would definitely be financially rewarding. He recommends the simplest good old method – if it sounds good, obsess about buying a bunch of expensive stuff. And don’t spend time pondering about using a specific guitar for a specific genre. As he further explained:

“It’s not important that you use a certain guitar. It’s not important that it’s expensive. It’s not important that it’s high-quality. I hate the idea that someone starting out sees me and says, ‘I’ve got to play a Gibson or a Rickenbacker.’ You don’t. I just hate the idea that they think that that’s important because it’s not. What’s important is that you enjoy it, and the more you enjoy it the more you’ll do it and find your unique thing.”

Now, it may seem weird to have a famous rock star preaching about how you should use cheap stuff while performing in front of thousands of people and using elaborate expensive rigs. But on the other hand, a bedroom setting and even your home studio won’t require a large investment. And with some online tutorials and experience, you can even make it sound more than just decent.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider buying expensive stuff if you notice that you need it. But start with a simple setup and budget-friendlier gear and then grow from there. When you and your listener notice the growth, then consider getting something pricier.

Photo: Abby Gillardi (Tame Impala-3730 (18222361334))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.