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Current State of the Pedal Demo World

Sea_Dweller

Member
Messages
219
Is it just me or is the pedal demo community experiencing some awkward growing pains? Like many of us I started getting into demos around the time Andy & Knobs started cranking them out. They seemed to be doing it because they genuinely loved these devices. Knobs especially seemed to put his heart and soul not only into the exploration of sounds but the creative presentation as well.

Jump to our modern day when a pedal company drops a new product, sends it out to 50 different reviewers who all say the same generic stuff and are afraid to really get into the negatives of the pedal for fear they'll be cut off from reviewing future pedals. When they do tend to "criticize" it's almost a positive like "this pedal almost has too many features!"

It's getting harder for me to trust these reviewers. Many of them are basically making advertisements for these companies. I love it when you see their actual pedalboards and they are not using some of this stuff they just praised up and down as the greatest new thing beyond the initial promo. Pedal companies are buddying up with these folks basically as a symbiotic relationship. Knobs+Chase Bliss, Rhett Schull+Strymon, Ambient Endeavors+Cooper...on and on. Kind of hard to really get a well rounded review, positives AND negatives when your buddy who you pay, or give free pedals to is doing the review.

Do you love this comment: "[insert pedal maker] is not paying me to make this demo but they did give me this $450 pedal for free to review". Where I come from that's called payment and it definitely makes it a bias review. If you bought it with your hard earned cash like everyone else, then I think you'd be a bit more honest.

I get it. I'm in marketing and this is what this is but as a pedal consumer I don't trust most of these folks anymore. There is also this super fake, overly nice, I only say positive things about pedals attitude that has taken over so many of these folks. I used to interact with one of these guys quite a bit on instagram but one time I made the comment that one pedal sounded great but it's design was horrible and this guy stopped responding. It's like really? I have to ONLY say nice things about your friends pedals for you to interact? Can't we be honest about some stuff that's obvious?

I don't know but I don't like it. What do you guys think?
 

zigwigwig

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
120
Fair. But most of these are demos, not reviews, which are different.

Additionally, this is a source of income for these folks who I doubt are doing great these days

Just watch what works for you, and look for reviews by “normal” people. But then again, when a normal person reviews a pedal, the comments that ensue are around how the sound was crap, or they only used single coils and not a variety of guitars, etc.

in addition to the fact that more normal folks reviews are few, well, because it’s not their business to do it

I don’t have a good answer for you. But this is all sales, not honest reviews by definition. Take all of it with a pinch of salt
 

aaronjcurtis

Member
Messages
2,044
I understand where you’re coming from, that’s why whenever I watch a demo or a review I don’t give two sh*ts about what comes from their mouth. All I care about is hearing the sound of the pedal and whether it’ll work enough for me to continue to explore it, and perhaps buy it.

Same thing happened to me with someone on Instagram. Ask an honest question and you get no answer, or an answer that skirts the point of the question, so I stop following all but two guys. Even they’re on the chopping block as of late.
 

Mosley

Electric Catnip
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,009
I think demos are pretty great lately. The current demo scene has some very cool players making original music for the demos and using their demo platform as a way to spread their own thing. Definitely always take the praise of the gear with a grain of salt though haha they’re demos, not reviews, so they’re meant to highlight the cool aspects of the stuff, not call out the shortcomings
 

I-IV-V

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,085
I need to log out of YouTube to see what effect it’s having on search results. It seems like I used to search a piece of gear and mostly joe blows would pop up, and then I had to sift through those, but now I only get the pro demonstrators, it seems like.

I don’t recognize the names you mentioned. I’m sure I’ve seen them, but maybe we’re into different genres?

I can name a couple that constantly pop up who I don’t like, but to be honest, I’m getting what appears to be honest reviews and demos; the guys I watch will say what they don’t like about the gear. I’m mostly thinking of pedals here.

But I do kind of miss the joe blows from McHockingsville, even if it was a pain most of the time.
 

Centerfire

Member
Messages
72
I definitely trust a review more when they say both negative and positive things about a pedal or other piece of equipment. The fact that they are willing to say negative things makes it at least seem more honest to me.
 

raj007

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
683
I’ve struggled with this too. on one hand I think we are lucky to have so many demo videos to choose from, especially when there are multiple demos of a pedal you’re interested in...you get to hear it in various set ups.

but, I’ve found that some demo folks EQ stuff and aren’t providing a true representation of what the pedal sounds like.

And I wish there were “real reviews” that offer critical opinions on gear. It seems we’ve transitioned into this “can’t say anything bad about anything” culture because of some fear or another. I don’t know.

I have had actual demo people tell me they’ve turned pedals away to demo because they didn’t like it...I would love To know those pedals and why they didn’t like it! But again, people are so precious these days and nobody wants to hurt anyones feelings. Then how can these builders get better? Maybe some honest criticism would push them to do better? To try different things. To grow...
 

Edoardo_P

Member
Messages
463
if they wanted us to trust them, well, they should team up and all come clean and all say the same thing at minute 4:20 of the review or something.

"This button? Yeah many people asked, is this button for A -> B daisy chaining? NO! This button only changes the preset because the pedal still does one effect at the time. You want a tremolo and a filter? Get two. KISS"
 

Improbable Joe

Double Platinum Member
Messages
2,198
Is it just me or is the pedal demo community experiencing some awkward growing pains? Like many of us I started getting into demos around the time Andy & Knobs started cranking them out. They seemed to be doing it because they genuinely loved these devices. Knobs especially seemed to put his heart and soul not only into the exploration of sounds but the creative presentation as well.

Jump to our modern day when a pedal company drops a new product, sends it out to 50 different reviewers who all say the same generic stuff and are afraid to really get into the negatives of the pedal for fear they'll be cut off from reviewing future pedals. When they do tend to "criticize" it's almost a positive like "this pedal almost has too many features!"

It's getting harder for me to trust these reviewers. Many of them are basically making advertisements for these companies. I love it when you see their actual pedalboards and they are not using some of this stuff they just praised up and down as the greatest new thing beyond the initial promo. Pedal companies are buddying up with these folks basically as a symbiotic relationship. Knobs+Chase Bliss, Rhett Schull+Strymon, Ambient Endeavors+Cooper...on and on. Kind of hard to really get a well rounded review, positives AND negatives when your buddy who you pay, or give free pedals to is doing the review.

Do you love this comment: "[insert pedal maker] is not paying me to make this demo but they did give me this $450 pedal for free to review". Where I come from that's called payment and it definitely makes it a bias review. If you bought it with your hard earned cash like everyone else, then I think you'd be a bit more honest.

I get it. I'm in marketing and this is what this is but as a pedal consumer I don't trust most of these folks anymore. There is also this super fake, overly nice, I only say positive things about pedals attitude that has taken over so many of these folks. I used to interact with one of these guys quite a bit on instagram but one time I made the comment that one pedal sounded great but it's design was horrible and this guy stopped responding. It's like really? I have to ONLY say nice things about your friends pedals for you to interact? Can't we be honest about some stuff that's obvious?

I don't know but I don't like it. What do you guys think?
I more feel like almost all modern gear sounds pretty good, so you're rarely going to hear a modern review saying "this gear sucks" because very little gear sucks anymore. I would guess that it is impossible to find a pedal over $100 that doesn't sound really good for at least 25% of players.

Maybe the problem is in your expectations? You're wanting people to crap on a bunch of gear, so you know the best of the best to make your choice easier? The reality is that everything sounds better in 2020, the tech to mass produce good gear is worldwide. You should be happy!!! Most gear actually is really good!
 

zhivago

Member
Messages
1,233
Indeed, I treat them all as adverts...the big problem I find with all of the review/pedal channels is that they ran out of stuff to make videos about a long time ago. How many more review or shoot-out videos do we need about overdrives, or the sound of a real PAF pickup etc etc?

Even when a new pedal comes out, unless it is something really special and "out there" I don't even bother watching it anymore.
 

soma

Member
Messages
1,339
That's the problem with a business model, just like 24hr news, of requiring 'content'. Not quality content but just 'content'.

Hence the news inventing news and creating outrage and tons of youtubers copying each others' work and/or replying to each other's videos and posting response videos etc etc
 

7thString

Member
Messages
1,340
Part of the problem is the difficulty in finding the channels who really are just doing it for fun (such as myself). The algorithm buries my videos pretty deep since my channel (like many others) isn't large enough to monetise.

Perhaps people could post their favourite 'honest demoer' channels in this thread.

I like Do Noise, Ryan Lutton, hovercraft artifact, pinstripedclips, pedal friends & guitar bonedo and some others I can't recall right now.
 

Tootone

Member
Messages
5,590
As a consumer, the key is to watch as many demos of said pedal as are available. Then discount the shabby muppet demos, and refocus on the "well demoed" vids.

Painful, time consuming, but its all you can do.
 

DewieCox

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,485
I guess I don’t remember these good ol’ days. Most you’re ever going to get is “this might not work for ______”.
 




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