Do “sponsor friendly” and “honest” gear reviews existing on the same pages? Are there “honest” gear reviews? Maybe you see them these days as “brutal” or “fearless” gear reviews, as shown in the following example. If you would be so kind to indulge me, I’m going to throw out a commentary. An editorial, if you will.
What precipitated this? I stumbled across a “Fearless Gear Review” by Spectre Media Group‘s Glenn Fricker. Glenn hit the Line 6 Spider V pretty hard. And I do mean hit. Feel free to watch the entire review, but I’ve given you a Fast Forward to the epic climax, starting at 08:37
Added points if you start from the beginning to see the skewering of people giving “sponsor friendly gear reviews”. HaHa!
I see a lot of Snowflake meltdowns over Glenn’s gear review of the Spider V. To be fair, Glenn’s review is not the only one out there that serves up some humble pie to Line 6 on the Spider V. Wait… do I have a problem with Line 6? Not really. I do have a POD Studio UX1 from a time when I tried my hand at recording product demos. And honestly, I get far better results from going into my old ADA MP-1 out to the UX-1 and only using the PodFarm software for the cab sims. What about amp modeling in a combo amp format? Yeah, let’s not talk about my experience with the Marshal CODE – one of the few pieces of gear I did return for a refund.
The idea of Glenn’s “Fearless Gear Review” and the lampooning of “sponsor friendly gear reviews” hit me in the funny bone. And maybe not in the way that gear companies would like. LOL!
Let’s start with the idea of “sponsor friendly gear reviews”. Talk among yourselves, but I see that as “the system”. The musical gear publications that for the most part regurgitate or simply reprint the marketing sent to them from the gear companies. When you do see an actual review, it is almost always flattering. How equitable is a review from a publication that takes advertising dollars from these same gear companies?
Additionally, do these publications even review the items they receive? There is more than one narrative out there about the tables of unopened gear sent in by the gear companies that is seen as freebie perks for the publication’s employees. Nice gig, if you can get it. HaHa!
Are my evaluations “sponsor friendly”? For starters, I have no sponsors. I do have different agreements with the gear companies that I deal with. Some are more formal than others. But I am paying for gear. Nobody is sending me big cases of free stuff. I can count on one hand the items sent to me for free and in all cases I return it or offer to buy it.
That’s a common complaint about the Spider V video: “Why didn’t he keep it?! What a waste! Give it away to someone!” For starters, Glenn paid for it. End of story. Secondly, Glenn gives away plenty of stuff.
Back to the honesty issue. Are my evaluations honest? You bet. I may not like something and still find something that others might like. That’s not selling out. It’s trying to do right by other people with a genuine interest in a product. The Arcane Mr Scary humbucker is a good example. My personal opinion of the items is not favorable at all. It’s the one review to date that allows some of that to show through. And through gritted teeth, I provide things to benefit players wanting a scooped-sounding pickup with shrill highs. Nothing against Arcane Inc. I like their Brownbucker humbucker and would like to get my hands on Arcane’s Phil X humbuckers.
So you see, I try to find positive things about the gear that I check out. And another aspect of that can be how the companies handle themselves. There are some that I genuinely cherish dealing with. Companies like Mojotone and Brandonwound are good people and the sort I want to deal with even if not involved in this sort of endeavor. They obviously know what they are doing, but they share their joy for what they do. They are trusting and can be trusted.
Some places are all business and you always know where things stand. DiMarzio is like that, for example. You know the pricing, they are professionals about Media Releases, and it’s pretty cut and dry. Fairly simple and that’s a good thing. The cherry on top is that DiMarzio does make a lot of good stuff. People on the “double cream!” whine line are simply missing out on some great pickup options from DiMarzio.
Or maybe a company like Schatten Design. I have their Multiple Puller tool, and it’s an excellent product. Yet any time I reference them or the tool, it get’s liked or shared on social media. That makes me want to check out more of their stuff. Bigger companies with a dedicated social media apparatus could take note: a little effort goes a long way for the free promotion I provide.
Other places have fine products, but could be a little easier to deal with. The stories I can tell. And there are some that would totally affect the public image that some companies try to cultivate. So why not put that online? Maybe it’s the sentimental fool in me to hope that a change within an organization can happen and be for the better. Or maybe a company is just one dude that is so small potatoes that railing on the fool would give him more attention that he gets on his own.
The goal here is always to help other players know a little more about a product before they drop the hard-earned money. I think Glenn is doing the same thing.
Maybe throw a little feedback if you have an interest in a little more brutal honesty or if things are the way you like them.