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Gear Demo Pet Peeves

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by socialleper, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Another thread inspired me to start this one because I spend a lot of time listening/watching demos of music gear that contain the same, I think, bad choices over and over. Here's your chance to vent about soundcloud/YouTube/etc gear demos and what you think people should and should not do. In this big, crazy world of online buying where actually trying gear before buying it is increasingly difficult, the demo video/audio clip is becoming very important. With any luck people will combine the most common points to make superior videos.

    Here are my pet peeves.

    • Play like a real person. Too many times I see demos of gear that aren't being used in a way anyone would actually use it. Techniques like slap, tapping, and playing arpeggios in a high register will show the dynamic characteristics of an amp or bass, but are useless for showing me the real world tone of the equipment.
    • Play the WHOLE instrument. If I'm looking at or listening to a demo of a 5 or 6 string bass, guess what? I want to hear how those 'extended' features sound. Use the low B or high C in more than just passing. DO something with them so I can get an idea of what they sound like.
    • Use more than one technique. This is sort of the opposite of the first issue I brought up, but doesn't contradict it. Some players use their fingers, some use a pick, some use both. So should the demo.
    • Think ahead. If you aren't an eloquent person, have a funny sounding voice, or can't be bothered to script what you are going to say in your YouTube demo, don't speak. I'd much rather read subtitles than listen to someone say "um" a million times.
    • Using the mic on the camera (YouTube). Whether you are doing a cover or demonstrating a piece of gear, it is always going to sound bad if all I can hear is the sound bouncing around the room or the mic clipping.
    • Don't mic an amp (bass\pedal). It may be just me, but if you are doing a demo of a bass or a pedal, using a mic on a rig adds too many variables. Your head, cab, mic, and room are all going to change what I'm actually hearing. Going right into a digital interface eliminates these factors, even if it doesn't sound "natural", so know i know what I'm hearing.
    • "Clean" tones should be clean. I can't tell you how many times I listen/watch a demo of a dirt pedal that starts off with substantial OD in the signal already. I can't get an accurate idea of what the pedal does that way. The same goes for a bass where the amp adds grit characteristics to the tone that the watcher\view don't realize aren't normal.
    • Rigs that color tone. There are a few well known creators of gear demos that are nearly useless to me because EVERYTHING they plug into their rig sounds the same. Cutting out other equipment helps with this, but so does listening to your demos. If they all sound the same, that's on the video/audio maker.
    • Put on some shoes (YouTube,pedal). This goes along with Think Ahead. If you are going to put the time into making a pedal demo video, take two seconds longer so I don't have to look at you gnarly feet grubbing around at a pedal.
    • Comment your settings (SoundCloud). Use the comments in a Soundcloud clip of a bass, pedal or amp so I know what it is set to. If I hear something I like or dislike, I want to know what you did to get that tone.
    • Not everyone plays a P bass with a pick. For whatever reason, most demos of OD\dist\fuzz pedals are done with a P bass and pick. There are more basses and more ways to play them than that.
    • More bass demos (pedals). A lot of pedal manufacturers are trying to market towards us bass players, which is great, but not if they aren't going to follow through. If you have the time to make a demo with a guitar yourself, you have the time to make a bass one. How a pedal sounds on a guitar tells me next to nothing about what it will sound like on a bass.
    • The mix matters the most. A person playing something by themselves can easily be made to sound good, but the real test is in the mix. Having both solo parts and parts mixed with other instruments really tells the listener/watcher what the gear can do.

    What are some of your gear demo pet peeves?
    winterburn69, jfn77 and Bass Dao like this.
  2. I like your list. Gotta put too much freaking slapping at the top. Harmonics are there as well. Okay to do some, but many demos are almost exclusively such. Please stop...

    Oh, and two basses at the same time. How are we supposed to judge how one of them sounds???

    And one more: Stop showing off and play some basic lines/walks/grooves that the average decent bassist might play, with emphasis on the OP's last item.

    BTW, I think Ed F. does the best job in these regards.
    el jeffe bass likes this.
  3. hertmntpizza97

    hertmntpizza97 Inactive

    Oct 24, 2015
    Los Angeles Area (TMZ)
  4. Ed is definitely the best when it comes to gear tests. He usually plays the same line throughout the video and uses finger style, slap, and plectrum. It also helps that he can play his butt off when necessary. Another channel that seems to do a pretty good job is Pedals and Effects. Juan usually plays with a pick and finger style and often uses multiple basses. He also varies the aggressiveness of his attack so you get an idea how the pedal responds. The worst tests I have seen are often carried out by the guitar magazines. There is just something about a guitarist trying to play bass....
  5. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    My problem with most reviews and demos is the reviewers don't do their homework!
    If you are reviewing a bass that is geared towards metal and hard rock, I DON'T CARE what it sounds like for country and if you are reviewing something that is vintage oriented, I DON'T CARE how it sound for slapping or metal.
    Know the story - don't make something up based on your impressions ('cause guess what they're probably WRONG).
    I don't know how many reviews or previews I've read/seen that simply don't GET what they're reviewing.
    I think by now people around here know that I'm more than a little into Danelectros. I can't tell you how many times I've read reviews that suggested they felt like "plastic". Okay - it's good to tell people who are NOT me that these are light (maybe even chincy) feeling, but then you need to say WHY - it's built to reproduce a chincy product from the 50s and 60s. People who are looking for one of these, will want that. And don't speculate that they ARE plastic - do like two minutes research (ever heard of Wikipedia?) and find out what the thing you're reading is all about.
    My example is from my area of knowledge - but I've seen just as many people reviewing super modern, aggressive sounding basses and then they write that this is 'crap' or 'not very good for my bluegrass trio' or some other equally irrelevant comment.
    To sum up:
    Know what you are reviewing.
    Know ABOUT what you are reviewing.
    Review stuff that is relevant to your audience or experience - ie if you're an oldies player - don't review the latest Warwick ultra-metal model and if you're into shred - avoid the new Kay 1956 upright reissue - it is almost certainly NOT the best bass for metal.
    DON'T review the setup if you just got it purolated to you in the middle of February in Michigan - set the thing up!
    Then - do everything the OP said - all good points - especially the points about room mics, too many other things colouring the sound.
    Actually use the product IN CONTEXT and see how it works - possibly add a clip of it (don't make it the whole review).
    socialleper likes this.
  6. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    ^100% this.

    Also (regarding effects demos), please - never EVER play just the effect tone. ALWAYS start with the clean. And please switch back to the clean tone now and then for comparison's sake.
    socialleper likes this.
    I swear that UH and UM are going to send me over the edge of sanity, on which I tiptoe already. Seemingly every typical live-news reporter, sports reporter, Youtube bassplaying hipster, meteorologist, politician (including the U.S. President, one of the worst "uh" abusers in the history of leaders since the beginning of time; there's "Uh Count" videos of him out there for trainwreck watchers), and FM radio personality absolutely ABUSES the pitiful crutch of using those waste fillers.
    It is perfectly normal and acceptable to have a split-second's worth of pause and silence in face-to-face conversations, when thinking about how to answer a question, or pondering an intelligent statement. The insecure need to keep making noise while feigning knowledge in front of any audience is NOT. I worked in broadcasting for years, and I'm fully aware of the consequences and perceptions of the forbidden Dead Air, but to interject "um" and "uh" in that millisecond instead makes the speaker sound as if he or she is having a STROKE.

    Watch and listen to shows like Good Morning America and count the number of times everyone like George Stephanopolous and the geeky weather guy who wears those ridiculous-looking tight grey suits with brown pointy shoes while standing at handicap-looking angles, and count the number of times "Uh" is interjected as if on purpose for emphasis. It'll make you puke your coffee, if you have any respect for the English language as it is intended to be spoken.
    When I got to my office Friday night, Anderson Cooper was on the office bigscreen, covering the horrible, tragic events that occurred in Paris earlier in the day. His "uh"s were so distracting from any point of content, I switched the television to a different network entirely. I understand that stress causes tension, and gathering/forming thoughts can take a moment. To cover a deathly fear of silence in that time is not the way to handle it.
    The same, obviously, goes for any Youtube videos/gear demo videos/tutorials and so on. I've actually seen videos on company websites, representative of their products, during which the "talent" or endorsees peppered "uh"s so fluently in sentences, it seemed as if it were meant to be part of a script. Call me hypersensitive, but if that's who you've chosen to endorse your products, I'll check the competition, thanks.

    ALSO, answering a question or starting a statement with, "So, ..." has become ridiculously socially accepted as well. Sad, just sad.

    Rant (not rave!) over.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
    socialleper likes this.
  8. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Rant ;)

    Point taken. Not everyone is eloquent or good on their feet verbally. Verbal mitigations are common everywhere, but as you said, if your job is to speak or if you are making a video on purpose, plan ahead a little. Write yourself some queue cards or something. Or if you aren't good with it, just use text. I hate the sound of my voice and stammer sometimes, so the two short pedal demos I've done are captioned. Easy.
  9. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I've been watching some 5 string and fanned fret bass demos lately and it reminded me of why I made this thread.

    If the bass you are demoing has 5 strings, here's a crazy idea: play the god damn B string! I mean, like, really play it. Don't just walk past it once in a while. People who are buying 5 string basses or multi-scale basses are largely interested in what that B sounds like. Pound on it a little.

    And I'm going to reiterate what I said about playing like a real person. You can play chords and arpeggios high up the scale like an acoustic guitar; good for you. 90% of the world will never do that. Even on 4 string basses the demo guys don't spend enough time grooving on the low notes. That's what most of us do. Focus on what people regularly do, then expand beyond that.

    I know it is easy to just complain. If I had thousands of dollars to spend on cameras and recording equipment, a room or office I didn't use for anything, and no job, I would totally do this stuff myself. But I don't. Demo guys, do your demos, just do them better.
    RichardCranium likes this.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    I don't see that this was covered (apologies if it was): When comparing the tone of two, or more amp heads, make sure the output levels match, to avoid the "louder is better" syndrome.
    socialleper likes this.
  11. Gus Atoms

    Gus Atoms

    Jun 13, 2017
    "Hey guys! Its..."

    And i can read the product spec sheet quicker than even the micromachine man can read it. Click ahead 5 minutes, to find 10 seconds of actual playing. Or just as helpful, 5:10 of noodling.

    And put clothes on when taking pictures of shiny things like chrome volume knobs. And vacuum and do your laundry.
  12. The videos where the person demoing a bass talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks.......
    P-oddz likes this.
  13. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I'm rezzing my own thread over something that has been bugging me for a while.
    There is a small company building some very interesting basses. However, all of his demos are shot on a smart phone in a large room with tons of echo. The demo player is also clearly a guitarist and is bass playing reflects that. As much as my corrective OCD wants to message the builder and say "Hey, you should really have someone else do you demos because they kinda suck" I know that would be a terrible idea since I may actually want to buy one of their instruments.

    This all goes back to some of my original rules:
    Don't use area mics that pick up room noise and use more than a pick.
  14. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    Decent list, but I strongly disagree with the no mic rule. Nothing sounds worse to me than a fuzz or extreme dirt going directly into an interface with no buffer. Some of my favorites fuzzes sound like absolute turds DI'ed.

    To me, as long as they are giving a "clean" reference tone beforehand, I can get a feel of the capabilities of a pedal better way better mic'ed than with the brutal shrillness of a fuzz that is just DI'ed. I would never buy a pedal if I only had a DI reference to go off of.

    I agree with @ZenG ; the excessive talking has got to stop.
  15. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    If the mic'ing is done right, it is fine. Area mics that pick up sound bouncing off the walls and string noise are a big no no for me. It makes everything sound bad.
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 20, 2021

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