I was browsing The Gear Page when I came across a post in the thread, "Anyone jaded after going through tons of guitars?" It might come across as longwinded but I thought the poster (CubanB) brought up some very good points, not only about guitar-related GAS, but about the general thirst for gear and the increasing price and difficulty of finding happiness.
"This in a nutshell one of the big trappings of a consumerist society. Once you reach the top.. it all becomes.. "blah".. unless you think about things like this and become more aware of it. And even if you do, it's sort of a bittersweet thing.
You start of as a kid or teenager and would be happy with anything. Probably were happier then, than you are now. Then it might be the first proper strat or the first USA made guitar, or the first with good pickups etc. Or the first hand wired pickups. Then if you keep going, it might be the first custom shop, or the first custom boutique or whatever. And there becomes a point where it all starts to mean nothing, it's trying to chase a high or an illusion that doesn't exist. Where do you go from there? Unless you can go back to being a kid again and having nothing.
Society/marketing/advertising dictates that there will always be something newer, something more expensive, something better and that you will be happier if you want it.. and buy it. Whether it be phones, TV's, cars or guitar modellers like Axe Fx.
But does it even matter? Isn't it simply about what you connect with and what you enjoy on an emotional level? I know that guitars are tools but they are also vehicles of expression and we do form emotional bonds with them. Your favorite guitar doesn't have to be the best, just has to feel the best when it's in your hands. And if other people enjoy the sounds you make, then it's doing it's job. But we always want to keep searching for perfection, or something new.. so it can be hard to ever be content or happy. To the OP, it's definitely psychological. It's sort of a clash between your real world experience vs what society has taught you. If you buy the custom shop handmade super expensive guitar, it's supposed to be better. But what if you don't enjoy it and feel jaded (to use your word) instead? How can you feel bad about owning such a good guitar? Or not be enthusiastic about it? Or to take it to another level.. from trying lots of guitars, or basically.. from having any guitar you want? And still not being happy about it? What we are talking about is the clash between seeing things for what they are vs what we used to see them as before. Before you could "see through the hype" as you put it. In some weird way.. it felt better back then.. except that it was an illusion or a lie. Like Santa Claus.
In my own experience in the last 5 years, I'd say that the grass looks greener on the other side. Before you've ever had these experiences of owning them, it looks so perfect. But if you've experienced the other side, it can actually become worse. It's sort of like money in general. You need enough to survive, less than that is bad. You can have more and it's better. But if you have too much, it can become worse and introduce a lot of new problems and can actually become a curse. Or to the very least.. not what you imagined it to be. For someone who's only ever been poor, it's almost impossible for them to imagine that this could be true. It's sort of the same with guitars. Someone using the same run of the mill decent guitar for many years (like the guy in this thread with his RG470) would never have to worry about thinking about this.
The constant search for tone, and gear in general can be great but it can also be a curse depending on how you feel about it, or what you're experiences have been. So figure out what makes you most content or happy, go with that.. and screw what marketing, or society or what anyone else says about it. You probably already feel that way about it but yeah. Like the post above with Jake the Snake.. it can happen with cars, women.. or anything. It's not just a guitar thing. It's basically searching for happiness in the wrong areas.. but the reason I mention consumerism is because since birth.. every day we are bombarded with the idea that if we buy new things, they will make us happy. To already be content and happy with what you have got goes against the grain of society."