September 5, 2012

Real World Working Musician’s Gear Reviews

I’m a gear proponent; and at the same time I’m a proponent of ‘horses for courses’. Not all gear fits all situations for all players. To that end, I’ve done quite a lot of reviewing gear over the years. I tend to do a ‘every man, working musician’s’ sort of viewpoint discussion when it comes to gear; with the advent of forums, reviews are not just a static list of the features and some impressions. They are the discussions and question/answer discourse that happen after the fact by guys that know what they are talking about firsthand.

A pet peeve of mine is folks offering expertise and opinion on gear they have not personally tried. I just disagree that you can have opinions on gear that you have not personally used. I personally feel it is bad form to offer opinions on gear that you have not tried firsthand.

It’s my personal philosophy and I’m just upfront with that opinion. I do not offer opinions on gear that I have not tried. The only way to decide on gear in this man’s opinion is to actually try it firsthand. I hold everyone to that acid test, whether I agree with you or not. To that end, my reviews are just that – my opinion of gear I have personally used. It is useful to take that into consideration if you are interesting in learning about the gear; but it is nothing more than my personal opinions and observations. It is essential in all things to try it out firsthand in order to draw your own conclusions. That’s the only real world way to know if something works for you.

I do not offer opinions lightly, nor am I shy about pointing out both the positive and negative aspects of gear. Over the years, I’ve beta tested and field tested new products and product lines for many manufacturers and try to offer my opinions and findings in as balanced a way as possible. I do this privately for many companies; but also do straight up reviews and discussion when asked to.

I plan to add as many personal reviews here as possible including links to the discussions of those products on the online forums I hang out on. I am very forthcoming about certain aspects of gear reviewing as possible including the following: I do not trade positive reviews for free gear or discounts on gear; I do not offer companies the chance to edit the content of my comments before I post them. That’s something that most guys that review gear do NOT do; whether they tell you or not that it happens. I do sometimes buy the gear I review because I do like it that much; and sometimes I do buy gear and THEN review it as an owner. Most often, I am sent a sample of a product and then use it, review it and discuss it and return it. I am honest with my opinions and have my integrity to uphold; so these things and how they are done matter. I am a musician, a guitarist and my honest assessments are offered in that context. I’m not a shill, nor do I broker or sell reviews or demos. If I like something or if I dislike something, you’ll know it and you’ll get the context from me to best understand where I am coming from. I do sometimes find something that I really struggle to work with and in those cases I offer my opinion privately to the company and simply refrain from offering any review at all.

With all that in mind… let’s talk some gear!

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