This gets thrown out all the time, whenever somebody is fretting too much over the details of their guitar playing/tone. Your audience cannot tell the difference, or they do not care. Unless you are in the “guitar god rock” genre, chances are it’s absolutely true. Not only do most people not know the difference between a Les Paul into a Marshall vs a Strat into a Vox, but they cannot tell the difference. If you make a mistake, unless it’s catastrophic, nobody will know 99.999% of the time. If they did know, they would not give a fuck. Those things are not nearly as important as the basic elements of the song (specifically, “can I shake my white ass to the beat?” and “can I sing along with the hook?”).
So why bother?
Because it’s worth it for that 0.001%.
Because maybe that one in every million people that gives a fuck will have a friend that also gives a fuck, and then suddenly you have a group of people who actually give a fuck!
And most importantly, for you. Don’t you feel accomplished when you discover a new and amazing tone or master a complicated lick? Don’t you play better when you bang out a chord and your distortion has a super natural decay and not some nasty digital shitbox fall off a cliff stop? When you find the perfect guitar/amp/pedal don’t you get excited and want to keep playing more and more?
There are really awesome people out there that risk everything to build amazing amps and pedals and whatnot. A lot of them build stuff out of their garages or basements and take insane pay cuts, because they feel like they have an awesome product and there are others out there who will appreciate it. And it’s really important that musicians don’t let the morons in the audience determine their capacity to care. If everyone took that whole “nobody else cares about tone” attitude, the only thing to listen to would be hollow/soulless crap like Nickelback or Faith Hill.
Please don’t let all of our music turn into Faith Hill. Please, keep giving a fuck.