|Sad but true, at least 98% of all the major magazines have advertisers
to whom they must answer to. I personally have been a freelance writer for numerous
magazines, and not just in the music industry. I have written articles on such
diverse items as motorcycle accessories for several motorcycle publications to reviewing
sleeping bags and mountaineering gear for an outdoor publication.
Normally when I would write these articles they would be edited for
spelling & punctuation etc. etc. This was perfectly acceptable to me. I never
claimed to be an expert on punctuation anyway. What would really get my blood
boiling is whenever I wanted to make any negative statements about any products
that were being advertised. There would be comments from the editor like, "Please
don't be so negative about that item after all they do pay us $168,000.00 a year
in advertising." OR "If you insist on printing that I will insist that you no
longer write for us." Well screw them!!!
Many times I agree wholeheartedly with some reviews & comments but many
times I can see right through their BS.
How can I be so sure of this?
About 14 years ago when I was still the owner of Eastcoast Music Mall, I
was also producing a line of exotic high quality 4, 5, and 6 string Bass
Guitars. These instruments were truly great quality. They were all handmade
and they played and sounded excellent. I decided to run some full color full
To make a long story short, I contacted 4 different publications. All 4 of
them offered to do reviews on my instruments. One of the magazines actually
wrote their review before they had received the sample instrument. Another of the
reviewers actually made overtures to me regarding him keeping the sample
instrument in exchange for a glowing review. One magazine never printed
their review, and in fact when I never did run the advertisement in their rag
they actually asked for the copy of the review back.
On another occasion, It was my purview to play host in my own home to a
dozen or so guitar luminaries. Members of the Cars, Blue Oyster Cult, Steely
Dan, Mountain, Genesis, Joe Jackson, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, and a number of
well known studio musicians. This was to be a cover story and was intended as
a summit meeting in regards to the old original no longer available
guitars. These guitarists were all
going to be interviewed by a well known guitar magazine.
In preparation for the
interviews, I was contacted by the chief editor of the magazine. He informed me
that they intended doing a large story on tape recorders in the upcoming issue, and they
wanted to tie the two subjects together. He asked me to try to make available
some tape recording equipment to be positioned around in my living room for
background effect and so he could try to start a small dialog concerning tape
recorders. I told him that I would be glad to provide these Items. After all I
did happen to have on my property a working studio that employed two Fostex 24
track machines synched up. During the conversation the Editor/Interviewer made
it quite clear that the equipment to be used should be Tascam and not Fostex. I
was a little slow on the uptake here. It took me about 2 minutes to realize that
the magazine, or the interviewer, probably had a sweetheart deal worked out with
Well to make a long story short, I brought in Fostex gear, the tape
recording subject was never even broached. There were many pictures used in that
article including the cover of the magazine. Not once do you see a Fostex
machine anywhere in any of the photo's.
For these reasons, I cannot believe anything that most magazines print. I
know the information might very well be tainted.
Some of the reviewers are very cool and manage to stay relatively honest.
But I can only think of several off hand. I must state for the record that I
almost never read any reviews anymore. I simply don't trust what I am reading.
I have been in the market for a good camera lately, I have found myself
reading reviews on Nikon, Canon and Minolta. Then I find myself being worried
because I suspect the camera magazines of similar treachery. Have you ever
noticed these reviewers rarely say anything bad about any product and when they
do I'll bet you won't see advertising from that company in the magazine.
A couple of years ago I got a subscription to Consumer Reports, I felt
like what they were reporting was 100% true. The only problem I have with them
is they only test the low end consumer products. they don't seem to bother with
the high end boutique products that I like. So it did me almost no good at all.
I will be adding to this page when I get the time.
Additional Note From Ed Roman
(Baker Guitars) has
chosen to advertise in publications like Guitar Player, Guitar World Etc.
Consequently he will be treated the way they treat all their advertisers. He
will get reviews and mentions in the magazine. This will help Gene sell guitars
because it will add credibility to his product. It won't make his product better
it will just help to sell it.
These reviews came as a surprise to me. I refuse to read
the industry publications because I usually don't trust them. I was attracted
to Gene's product by the look feel and tone and of course by some of Gene's
All my parts suppliers were telling me about the product.
while many companies like Warrior & Brian Moore were switching to Japanese Gotoh
Bridges people like Gene Baker were using Tone Pros bridges. They cost more but
they sound better.
If you read the magazine reviews you will immediately notice that
Gene is being compared to PRS, Hamer, McInturff & Gibson. Believe me it's not
because they don't know
exist. These magazines simply don't want to give any credibility to these
companies because that will potentially harm sales for the companies that they
I just think it's so totally transparent of these
magazines to leave out some of the best builders in the world just because they
don't advertise with them.
Update 2003 Gene Baker goes Bankrupt and Ed
Roman buys the company at auction for 7 cents on the dollar.
Update 2005 Gene Baker goes to work as a
magazine reviewer (Unbelievable but true)
Reprint Of a Letter From Greg DiBenedetto
DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE
In the Feedback section of its May 2004 issue, Guitar Player prints
a letter from a reader, congratulating the magazine on its new design and the
"high standards of its content."
As it turns out, Guitar Player's standards have
fallen considerably closer to the gutter.
We have learned that the letter-the lead item on the
page-was written by one of GP's own employees, a fact not stated in the
The writer, Damien Castaneda of San Francisco, California, is a free-lance
designer currently working for Guitar Player and its sister publication
Keyboard. Both magazines are published by United Entertainment Media.
"The content in GP is consistently superior to that of
magazines like Guitar World, Guitar One, and whatever other
piece of fluff you might find out there," writes Castaneda. "Hats off to GP
for elevating its design to the high standards of its content."
It's one thing for your audience to praise
you. It's quite another to deceive your audience by passing off the comments
of an employee as accolades from your readership. By stooping to such low-ball
tactics, Guitar Player undermines its claims of legitimacy and casts a shadow
of doubt over every letter it prints. Surely, there is a better way to make a
mark in the publishing world.
Guitar World Magazine,
Guitar One Magazine
New York NY
From Ed Roman
mudslinging and pandering to people like myself who already mistrust most of
the magazines anyway. However it does bear out my opinions totally. I have
known Greg DiBenedetto since he was a youngster who came into my store to buy
guitars. Greg is a great guy but sometimes he has a tendency to go over the
top a little.
I can say this because, I am guilty of the same crime.
Hats off to Greg for exposing those pricks
note from Ed Roman
To all you people who read
Harmony Central. Be careful what you believe. Harmony Central has been
acquired by Guitar Center. The possibilities here are endless.....
EVEN MORE PONTIFICATION
Guitar players, I am very sorry to say are for the most part
very much afraid to experiment with anything other than
Gibson or Fender. There are exceptions of course but when I
ask someone what kind of guitar they play I will invariably
get an answer like "2 Stratocasters and an SG". To which I
will reply to with something like "Gee that's original"
Industry people have said that the vast majority of guitar players
are stodgy, old fashioned & brainwashed. I certainly hope not
When I got into this business 34 years ago I was
hoping to deal with creative, innovative forward thinking
people. Not to say that all new products are better, because
that simply is not true. But there are some great products
on the market that go unnoticed simply because of ignorance.
Magazines and other publications are supposed to educate
people, They are supposed to enlighten people to new
products and explain why the newer designs are better. In
the guitar & bass business this simply does not happen.
Editors are more concerned with advertorial stories instead
of editorial stories. Magazines are not to be trusted
because they ignore any innovative new young builders so
they can promote their big advertising corporate clients.
I have a problem understanding how Gibson commands so
much product loyalty, their product is only fair to decent ,
their prices are way too high, their attitude is for the
most part unconscionable and they never seem to have
anything that is new. Fender on the other hand is a good
solid company with good products at good prices and a
warranty department that will treat you with a modicum of
respect (Unlike some others) They still haven't come out
with much that is new for a long time though.
After all the magazines won't give any credence or review any of the new
low production high quality stuff because there is no potential advertising
revenue. Plus these smaller companies could potentially harm the sales of one of
their big advertisers, making it harder for their advertiser to make a profit
which in turns makes it harder for the advertiser to pay his advertising bills
which boils down to lesser advertising budgets and less money for the magazine.
OK, Now I Am Gonna Piss Directly
Into The Wind !!!!!
A couple of simple rules that will improve the conditions in our
1, Don't Believe Any Thing In Any Magazine, Most Of
It Is The Purest Bullshit Known To Man.
2, Don't Deal With Huge Faceless Corporations like
Walmart, Costco, Guitar Center, Office Depot, Sam Ash, Home Depot,
Best Buy Or Any Chain Store. The few dollars they will
save you won't be worth it when all their independent competitors'
are out of business. Then they will raise their prices till you
3, Support your local independent hometown business.
I'm pissing in the wind because it's
already too late,
I think we have already screwed the country
and now it just may be too late to save it..
A. It started when Americans insisted
on buying foreign cars. Because they read a good review in a
B, It got worse when Walmart became the store of choice
C. Then Ebay put the final screws to the country by serving to
devalue all of our intrinsic memorabilia and limited edition
products. ebay killed the vintage market, lots of people lost
a lot of money !!!!