From a thread at TOMB:
I mean, I gotta couple-5 of each, and I am very careful to take care of ’em, not bang ’em around, scratch ’em, let ’em get dusty.
… nice stuff is mebbe less useful, to the extent that I feel I should be careful with it to keep it nice.
Once the guitar is scratched I can bang it on the stage or toss it to someone I’m 90% sure will catch it.
Once a mic is dented (I tipped a stand-mounted MXL V69ME last week and gave the gold screen a souvenir), I somehow feel more free to spit on it and scream, don’t feel totally obligated to case it vs. a toss into the gig bag.
When I say “beater”, I’m not referring to “low quality”, but rather “well-used”.
For example, I consider my 80’s Tele or Paul or G&L F100’s to be well-used, beater guitars, and superior to my newish SG, MIJ Strat, Epi Wildkat and Sheraton II, etc.
When I play the dented and chipped and bled-on former, I rock; when I play the shiny latter, I’m careful of the instrument.
When I sing in my old spit-covered, dis-colored and chipped 58’s or 57’s or AKG’s, what I love, I’m more casual with them than any condensor, or even a newish SM7b or RE320 or 421II.
I have two AKG310’s – the old beat one gets used far more, even tho’ they sound the same; likewise, I use the beat-up Shures before the newer ones (yes, I tend to have pairs of mic’s – I guess I see ’em as testicular extensions or sompin’. )
Mebbe it’s a complex? I always choose the grungier cords or cables for performance, the well-worn picks and loose mic stands and chipped glass slides …
Mebbe it’s ‘cuz my moms always says keep nice things nice, so that I only feel comfortable workin’ the beaters hard.