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Bass Player Magazine: What's the Deal???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mr. Goody Good, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. The December Bass Player Magazine has a 4-string shootout. Outstanding basses are given a special "Editor's Award" for these categories: Outstanding Value, Outstanding Construction, Outstanding Tone, and Innovative Product.

    So far, so good. Now here's the problem:

    They reviewed 25 basses. 21 out of these 25 basses got awards. Some basses gor more than one award. All totalled, there were 25 awards given out for 25 basses.

    Is something wrong with this picture? If you hand out awards so freely, the awards begin to lose their value.

    The way to interpret this shootout is not to look for awards, but to look for the lack of awards. Because awards were given so freely, the lack of an award is a cause for alarm. For example, a bass that didn't get an "Outstanding Construction" award probably has outstandingly poor construction!
  2. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    i havent got my bass player yet. but thats a really good point! Its really sad that they review like that. I also noticed in their normal reviews you have to read it 3 times to figure out what a basses weak points were...I understand that they cant be opinionated but come on! It would be nice if they were a little more straight forward....
  3. The only item I can ever remember BP writting a bad review about was this: http://www.music123.com/Item/?itemno=43668

    They gave it a 2 out of 5, something that really surprised me.

    So far I think right here, Talkbass is the best place to get a review on something you're interested in.

  4. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    If you want a good review of a bass, don't go to a media source. Go to TalkBass, or ask someone else. Even if it's not one of their sponsers, they might be in the future (Why ANYONE would support that waste of paper is beyond me). And in fact, the bass companys probably say "We will let you review this if you give it a good word!". Most of the ones I read, the basses come from the bass maker themselves, not a music store.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    A few things. I would NEVER trust a review from talkbass (for that matter I would not even listen to any of the pompous pros here:D ) I know first hand that there are people here who have posted negative reviews becuase they have an axe to grind. We also do not know the level of expertise that is being presented here. I've seen people who truly seem to know what they are talking about, but under further scrutiny they have only been playing for a year or two. It is onething to be able to spout off tech info, etc. but it is a totally different thing to really "know" what you are talking about.

    A word about BP reviews. Suffice it to say that they will not trash anything, but I do not think that it has to do with advertising so much as trying to view things from many points of view. A certain bass might work great for me and suck for you. I think that they truly beleve in that. I have talked extensively with Jonathan Herrera and have had heated "discussions" with Bill Leigh. I do beleive that they mean well and do not overtly seem to care about the advertisers. As a representative of EA, I had numerous discussions with them on the review of iAMP800. I pointed out numerous inconsistanceis or just factual errors in the review. Although I did not necessarily expect them to change editorial content, they were very accomodating to both the changes in factual errors and in content where I could clearly proove my point.

    Also there is a great pic on page 10 of the Dec issue
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I wouldn't trust one review in isolation on TB - but rather you get to know which people are reliable and knowledgeable and who have similar interests. Then you can evaluate many opiions and recognise who has agendas (!) and who is telling it like it is!

    So, for example - DB strings are pretty expensive and I didn't know where to start on choosing between the various brands and types. But I got soem great recommendations from the DBers and there are people who frequent the DB forums, whose opinions I would trust over any magazine review!! :)
  8. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    This is a reply to some complaints in the "Letters" section of that same issue:

    My point is why not tell the BP editors and see what they say. Bill Leigh sometimes posts here and seems like a sincere guy. I've also had email correspondence before with one of the other editors and he was cool too.

    And to all you people that claim that BP never seems to find flaws in the reviewed instruments I must ask - Have you looked at BP lately? I personally find the review section to be much improved and every review has pros/cons comments. Sometimes it seems like they have trouble finding cons such as the comment for the EA iAmp 800 which is just "inconvenient mute-switching" but hey, that's probably the only con I'd be able to find with that amp too! Yeah, some of the reviews could be more critical, but I still read them and I think they are usually honest about the shortcomings. Many of the basses reviewed in the shootout had at least one comment from someone who noted a shortcoming of the bass such as "thin low end" or "shy in the mids." That's why they changed from a hard rating scale to a more detailed thing...different strokes for different folks. One man's Stingray is another man's Johnson ( :eek: No, no, no...not like that!) and a rating scale cannot accurately reflect that fact.

    And btw, the shootout is inherently going to be less critical than other reviews because when you review 25 things as opposed to one thing there's just going to be less time and scrutiny spent on each one. Such is the nature of "the shootout." I could have done with fewer awards as well but is it possible that they decided to give those to all that deserved it for the price without limiting the number and that this is just reflective of increased product quality?

    brad cook

    btw: It should be noted that I'm receiving no advertising revenue from Bass Player Magazine
  9. AHA! Mike is on the right in San Fran photo. :)

    Cool, Mike. Way to go. :cool:


  10. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    Quote: The way to interpret this shootout is not to look for awards, but to look for the lack of awards. Because awards were given so freely, the lack of an award is a cause for alarm. For example, a bass that didn't get an "Outstanding Construction" award probably has outstandingly poor construction!

    The reason there were so many award's is that
    alot of these companies have stepped up there
    construction and inspection process over the last few years. I am freinds with the owner of one
    of the companies that recieved a few awards, and
    they have very strict quality control procedures.
    And are always moving forward and improving there
    product line. The fact is most of the ones that
    recieved awards deserved them, cause they are made well or have good tone & features.
  11. Correction: 15 basses (not 21 basses as I had reported), got 25 awards. That's still a lot of awards showered on a lot of basses.

    8 of the 25 awards were for good tone. So this award "inflation" is not just a matter of "the overall quality of basses improv[ing] exponentially over the years."
  12. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I would much rather hear a review by someone that had an "Axe to grind" (not that many people do, and even a newbie can know the sound of a bass if he has played it enough.) then by some huge corprate magizine that was payed to give a bass a good review.

    But as a whole, I would trust TalkBass reviewS. Combining all the knowledge of TalkBass to get a good opinion on a bass, or a printed piece of tainted paper?

    Not that hard of a choice to make for me.
  13. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Believe me, in my dealings with them for EA, they really could not care less that we were advertisers.

    On the other hand, I don't think it would be wise for them to truly trash anything. They take the stance that they try to find the good points about things as opposed to harping on the negative.

    On the otherhand, I have seen, here at TB, outright lies, pure ignorance and stupidity in user reviews. The anonymity of this forum allows people to get away with saying anything with little or no consequences. I am clear when I talk about EA, MTD or TI that I am en andorsed player and clinician. I sign my name to the posts and am pretty visible in the bass community. You can see who I am, know my affiliations and take the info that I present with some idea of who I am and what I stand for. What info do you have on anybody else?

  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Well, all one has to do is wade through the manure, eh, Mike?

    It had to be said.:p :rolleyes: ;)

    By the way, you'll notice I've removed the whole country bashing thing. Let's focus on the question and keep the background noise to a minimum, m'kay?

    BP awards are stupid.
  15. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    hip deep, baby! hip deep
  16. Mike; your points are well presented.
    Pollybass; should'nt you ensure your brain is in gear before letting out the clutch on your typing finger?
  17. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD

    I think you are taking the term "award" too literally. I don't think it means that the bass is the BEST over EVERYTHING else, I just take it to mean that the bass is good in that area. Outstanding construction award means "That bass is well built!". Outstanding tone award means "That bass has a really good and versitile tone!". Out standing value award means "That bass is really good for the money!".

    Remember, these basses are at the top of that brand's line for that price range. $800 is a lot of money for a good, well made bass. These basses are the best <$800 bass that the said company makes. It is only expected that a bunch of them are going to be well made, have really good tone, and are good value for the money.

    Makes sense to me.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have many years experience of hearing people on here talk about what music they like, music theory, playing Jazz, their gigs , what happened to them etc. etc.

    I often feel that I know more about some TB'ers than I do about people I play music with on a regular basis!! And in some cases... more than I ever wanted to know!! ;)
  19. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Uh, oh .. here I go arguing with Bruce :p

    I was not talking about my personal perspective, but more of a global one. I have a student, a newbie who was looking for his first bass. He came here for advice, read many reviews of this inexpensive bass. People prasied this bass up and down, he got caught up in the excitement. Luckily for him, that excitement blinded him (and continues to do so) on just what a real piece of crap that bass is. It is one of the worst basses I have ever seen.

    My point is: Bruce you spend a lot of time here, others don't have the time or the ability to not only learn about the gear but also read all the posts of a particular individual to get to know them.

    Being in the industry, I also am privy to both sides of certain issues that have been raised here at TB. I've seen members trash EA but not ever mention their "little" part in the matter. If you knew both sides of the story, you might think it was funny. If you also happen to be working for that company you would be infuriated.

    At least with BP and other rags, their is a certain consistancy (if not objectivity) that you can count on.

    Man, this reads like I'm actually a fan of BP. In truth, I'm not that big of a fan. I think their editorial style is meant for certain demographic (the demographic that they are trying to reach probably does not understand the word demographic). They put players on the cover that don't really deserve it. There is a lot more to the mag that does not appeal to me. The do, however, have a code to which they are consistant. I'm not sure it you can ask for more.

  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I buy BP and look at it as making me aware of things - but I don't take any notice of their ratings/reviews and make up my own mind about whether things are worth having or buying, based on many other sources - including TB!!