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Guitar World Gear Reviews

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by deeptubes, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    Am I the only one who has lost all respect for GW's gear reviews? They used to critique absolutely everything. They used to put out honest, unbiased reviews with pros and cons. Now they just sound like a mouthpiece for whatever company's gear they are "reviewing". Integrity is the most important part of any product review. Consumers need the reviewer to take a step back and give the full scoop, not just what the manufacturer wants to tell us. GW reviews seem to be bought and paid for. I do still peruse them, but now I perceive them to be ads. If companies don't want poor reviews, perhaps they should focus on the quality and fine details of their products rather than crying about crappy reviews of their even crappier products.

    /end rant
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I stopped reading all music related magazines years ago. It's impossible for them to provide an objective review of a product when that product is produce by the same companies who are also paying for advertising in the magazine.
  3. Sticky position to be in. Too harsh and ya might lose advertising or get sued. Not objective enough and you're not telling the truth any more.
  4. Chatdawg


    Jan 26, 2013
    Unfortunately, the people who run these magazines are usually buddies with a lot of the people who produce the gear. Makes it hard for them to give an unbiased opinion.
  5. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Same thing with golfing magazines. They only review the companies who advertise with them, and gloss over anything that might be a problem.

    The yearly "New Clubs" and "Best Club Reviews" are just a total joke. You never see anything from the smaller companies, just advertisers.
  6. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    The only mag i read is jazz times...The rest is all based on sales/ marketing...want good reviews...spend money with my mag in advertising and we'll give you a great reiview...Golf industry is the same!!!...BS!!!
  7. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is what Ed Friedland does too. Gets paid for his reviews and never says a bad thing about any product. He may not be lying but certainly stays away from the negative.
  8. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I've noticed that I've never heard him say anything bad about a bass.

    I guess there really is nobody to trust. Just ask on here if you're inquiring about a bass.
  9. SlowMike


    Nov 28, 2012
    Like the Golf Digest Hot List? What a joke.

    Tough times in the print magazine business. Balancing product review integrity and the bottom line isn't easy.
  10. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    To be fair to Ed: It's pretty tough to get a bad instrument these days. What's there to fault?

    On the other hand: If you own a magazine, and Fender & Gibson pay you six figures/year in advertizing revenues - you may not be too inclined to bite the hand that handsomely feeds you.

    True objectivity isn't there.

    I take all reviews with a grain of salt
  11. Brian Fox

    Brian Fox

    Aug 23, 2004
    Editor, BASS PLAYER
    Haters are always gonna hate....

    Why is it that a positive review is automatically suspicious? Fact is we review products -- warts and all -- from manufacturers regardless of whether or not they advertise in the magazine. Right now I'm reviewing the new Aria Pro II Cliff Burton signature bass (I haven't checked to see if they're advertising). The pickup is microphonic, which creates some feedback issues, especially when playing with distortion/overdrive. Will that make it into the review? Of course it will.

    I'm the one who assigns Ed the gear he reviews in BP. Because I know that you're more likely to spend a lot of time with gear you find interesting or cool, I tend to assign him things I think he might enjoy checking out. This isn't in order to please a manufacturer. It's to ensure the writer spends time with the gear in question and "gets" it. Truth is, unless you're cranky by nature, it's hard to write reviews of gear you don't particularly dig. If there is a flaw, we call it for what it is.

    Believe what you want to believe. But please don't question people's integrity when you don't know the facts.

    And let the BP flaming continue.... :)
  12. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    Well said.
  13. I wouldn't say their reviews are biased due to advertising, but with instruments, and especially amps or effects, the reviewers musical taste is always going to affect his/her opinion. These reviews are just a guide, and can often help you narrow your field of choice. That's really what they're intended for anyway; just to let you know what's out there and if it might be something you're interested in - in the end you have to try products out for yourself, but you never will if don't know they exist.

    In the days before the Internet, magazines like Guitar Player, Guitar World, etc. were the only source of information many young musicians had, and I was very grateful for them.
  14. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Thanks Brian, it's all good.

    Well, I understand the complaint, and I acknowledge the fact that I rarely say something negative about a product. That is not to say that I would personally want to use every product I test. I've reviewed lots of things I don't care for, but that doesn't mean it's garbage. My goal is to figure out what it does, and explain why and how. Yes, there is crap out there. I won't bother to review it. I have refused plenty of items. If something comes in and isn't worth playing, it's not worth reviewing. Some of my editors in the past have not been pleased with that choice, but I'm not a good liar. Ask my wife. And if I DO like something, it's pretty obvious. My trend for the last few years has been to seek out products to review that I'm personally interested in. It's way more fun. I do this whenever possible.
  15. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    good policy. Great reviews, by the way... my only complaint is there are only few video reviews (well, there are a ton, but always want more), but it's not your guilt. As a professional, you get the job done when you are properly paid for it, and there is nothing wrong with this. I hope you will get paid 10 x in the next two years so you can take time and effort to produce even more videos, maybe of other micros (Markbass line, Tecamp Pumas etc) that you would eventually be pleased to test...
  16. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    And THIS is exactly the difference between someone that approaches it professionally or not! As a professional, I see it as my job to get my personal preferences out of the way when I review something. Another trap to watch for is when reviewers start getting nit-picky over small stuff to create the appearance of objectivity. I have reviewed so many basses, amps, pedals, etc. that I would never dream of playing... but when examined OBJECTIVELY - they are good for what they are. In fact, some of the instruments I like the least are the most popular reviews I've done! MY taste is not what it's about. Am I doing you a service by slanting a review to be negative just because I don't want to play that bass? My goal is to educate the reader or viewer so they can make their own informed opinions and choices. I'm not here to tell you what I like or not. But if it's bad gear, I'm not going to bother with it - I don't get paid enough to waste my time on crap, and I don't need the money that bad.

    With the proliferation of social media... now EVERYONE is a gear reviewer, or an "expert" on any subject. There are a handful of people in my field that know what they're talking about, but these days, the majority are clueless reviewers sitting on their momma's couch or in their bedroom. And the sad thing is... many people accept this. We've head into a place where most people don't care about accuracy, or integrity - just as long as it's free. Let's face it, the "Bass Whisperer" wouldn't be so popular if y'all had to pay to watch. Of course the TB crowd is more discerning than most when it comes to bass, but the kids coming up today? The people that will be the core market in 10-15 years? They mostly don't know or care because they grew up on "instant experts" telling them everything they "need" to know on Youtube.

    As content consumers are now used to their info on demand 24/7 for free, the quality of much of that info goes down because experienced professionals like myself are still hung up on getting paid for what they do. In this day and age, I'm lucky to still get paid for this. And I guarantee this - the day that stops happening is the day I stop doing it.
  17. I wasn't being critical. I'm sure you all try to be as objective as possible, but if you have a jazz musicians, or a metal head reviewing gear, it's likely the review will come out quite differently. That's understandable - I wasn't accusing anyone of being purposefully biased.
  18. I think there was a lot of that before, but now these folks now have a megaphone and sometimes an audience. At the same time, these folks can dish it but seldom take it. I suppose that's another topic for another day.

    To a certain extent, I think reviews should be a little more "intense", but appropriate to price point. Something like a modern Squier might have a decent low B, but something like a Modulus should have a far superior low B. Not all basses are created equal. In the guitar department, not all guitars are created equal when it comes to low action capability.

    Still, I don't know how or why Gibson gets a pass for selling neck divey basses with FRAGILE headstocks on a set-neck instrument. The guitars might not suffer from neck dive, but I'm never shelling out dough for such a design flaw. The inlay filler they were using a few years back was kinda junky at the price they were charging, too.