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Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by johncg, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Hey Janek,

    Just wondering if you could give us a little insight into the process behind a bassist getting endorsed by a major company (Fender, Ampeg, D'addario, Aguilar, etc.).

    There's obviously the guys like Victor Wooten and Nathan East who are world renowned getting endorsements but I also see somewhat lesser known guys who are great players receving them, and I've even seen a few local players who are very gifted but haven't really done a lot on a national/world scene endorsed by major companies.

    How "good" or "established" do you think a player has to be to get endorsed? And how do the major companies decide who to give endorsements to?

    Also, what are the practical benefits for the working musician (beyond the obvious, "Hey, I'm endorsed by Roto!)? Are musicians paid for this, or do they just get a small amount of free gear?

    I imagine there's probably different levels of "perks" involved. For example, I'm sure if Victor Wooten gets a little more attention because of his name than Joe Blow from down the street who just got his first big break.

    I look forward to your insights. By the way, just ordered the new disc, can't wait to hear it. The MySpace clips are sick!

    thanks yet again,

  2. GhettoBrassGuy

    GhettoBrassGuy Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Simi Valley, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull, Lakland, Aguilar, JH Audio
    Usually the more money you make as an artist, the more free gear you get. Which seems backwards, but all companies really want is their name seen in public as much as possible. They just want to see that you're out in the public eye, touring, playing talk shows, etc. If you are in an up and coming band or are a well known solo artist, you shouldn't have trouble getting an "endorsement". Most guys don't ever get free stuff for playing a particular brand. The company doesn't endorse you, you endorse the company...and get a discount on the gear you need to be a musician.

    There are different types of endorsements. If you have an 'Artist' endorsement you'll usually get their products at cost. About 50% of the list price. If you are exclusively signed to a company the discount will be better, 60-70% off list or more. They have different levels set, and whichever level the company determines you to be, that's the discount you'll get. I'm not too sure about artists being paid by companies to use their gear, I've had no experience with that yet. I'm sure someone will chime in with some insight.
  3. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://janeksbassstudio.com
    Endorsements are pretty simple the way I see it.

    In the beginning it doesn't really matter how good you play or how much you think you may deserve to be playing a certain line of gear.... you just don't have the notoriety or the exposure for a company to get behind you with the thought of being able to sell gear on the strength of you being one of their artists.

    There are many levels of endorsement. There is the level where you get everything you want for free, you are used for the company in magazines for adverts for the gear, you get sent on clinic tours to advertise the gear, and sometimes you have a signature line of gear at the company for which you are paid a percentage of sales, or a development fee if you help design it. there are many ways it can be negotiated.

    Then you have every other level of endorsement that could be anything from a few pieces of free gear, to getting a break on the full cost. It all depends on how much the company wants you to be an artist with them.

    The benefits for the musician can be huge. Maybe you have a good line of gear that sells well all over the world, and you make some good money from your percentage of the sales. For me, the most important part of my deal with Fender is the support they give me when I'm on tour, or doing a record date somewhere away from home. That was one of the main reasons I signed with them as they are the largest musical instrument company in the world and can provide that support wherever I am. Not only that, but their gear is top of the line, and lets me get my own sound wherever I play it.


  4. richkidsonlsd


    Nov 15, 2007
    how does one go about talking to fender about a possible endorsement??
  5. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://janeksbassstudio.com
    you need to meet them at a trade show I would imagine. NAMM - summer or winter, bassplayer live events, etc etc


  6. osanaa

    osanaa Guest

    Sep 15, 2007
    can u get an endosement deal with a youtube video?
  7. ryanowens

    ryanowens Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 1, 2004
    Trickfish Amplificaton
    I guess anything is possible, but in general players are not endorsed based on how well they play. It is more a matter of how many people you play in front of on a constant basis.

    The company wants their gear seen and heard.

    I have seen several players on YouTube who do video type lessons and have a huge number of views and subscribers..... that could lead to an endorsement because the companies know that people are watching their videos constantly and the gear gets seen and heard. But a video that just shows how well you can play may not do much for an endorsement.
  8. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I've always wondered how to approach it to a company at a trade show such as NAMM.
    What do you think is the best way to ask about it to a company?
  9. If they want you, I'm pretty sure they will let you know.
  10. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I don't know why people are so eager for endorsements. If posting youtube videos is the way you hope to get endorsements... you don't need an endorsement. The people that really benefit from them are working, touring pros.

    If you sit at home and make videos, there's a good chance you only want an endorsement because you don't want to work hard enough to get the instrument you want, and think it sounds cool to say you are "endorsed".

    I've been to a lot of NAMM shows and have seen the smoozing, and it rarely makes any sense for the company or, really, the player.
  11. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    Artists Endorse.

    Manufacturers SPONSOR.

    If I were to endorse SWR for years and only use it and then gain some notoriety or my tone and draw crowds there *could* be a chance that I'd have more of an in but most likely because I'd have spent years dealing with people at the company building rapport.

    If I were to network and build relationships with, say, Traynor in Canada on a tour I would try to get tour sponsorship and maybe do a number of in store appearances and clinics.

    Make sense, folks?
  12. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    A bit late to the game.

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