Do reviewers have to trash stuff to be honest?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Cheddar Kung Pao, May 25, 2020.

  1. Cheddar Kung Pao

    Cheddar Kung Pao Member

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    So in the blooze lawyer thread I mentioned I never trash anything on my silly channel. It's not because of a relationship with the brands. I buy everything I do a review on so I can say whatever I want.

    For me it's about what kind of person I want to be and what kind of content I want to create. It would be easy for me to buy lots of affordable gear and when I get something that slipped through QC I could read them the riot act. But to me that's silly and borderline dishonest. Because I know the reason my Squier PJ Vintage Modified bass was $299 is by saving time spent on each instrument. So inevitably QC is gonna miss some stuff. When I got one with an issue I didn't make a rant video, I returned it and Sweetwater took care of me. No need for drama.

    I prefer to focus on positive things and what I love rather than what I don't like. Again, I could buy instruments I know I'm not gonna like just to rant about them but that seems silly and less honest, not more.

    What do you all think? Do reviewers have to throw out a rant every so often in order to maintain your trust?

    also to be clear; my channel is tiny and stupid and bad. So this is not me having an ego about being a "youtuber". I am just a nerd sharing my hobby through videos.
     
  2. 8len8

    8len8 Supporting Member

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    You don’t have to be extreme about it. One or two “cons” or “areas for improvement” comments in a review isn’t the end of the world.

    I personally don’t trust any review that is 100% positive, or at least reviewers that are 100% positive about everything they review.
     
  3. Jellymon

    Jellymon Member

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    There is plenty of garbage out there and it needs to be called out as such so unknowing people don’t waste their money. I watch reviews to make sure I’m not buying garbage. If every review was positive, then why have reviews? I can read the specs on their website.
     
  4. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

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    I like reviews that show me what a piece of gear can do, rather than telling me what it can do
     
  5. TTHX

    TTHX Member

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    If you do a review that does not list pros or cons or an opinion, I'd consider that a demo, not a review.
     
  6. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

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    Ya, that’s what I like, good point!
     
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  7. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Member

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    There's a difference between reviewers and demoers. Most just demo products, so there's really no room to say anything negative. Would you give someone a free pedal knowing they might say it's shallow and pedantic? Prob not. You'll give it to the guys that do a 10 min long run through and make it sound as good as possible, especially with quality post-production.

    Lee from Anderton's is occasionally brutally honest, especially for someone that sells the very product. But I like that he does it matter-of-factly.

    My fav review/demo of a product ever is this because they present all angles - the good, the bad, the customer service, etc.



    Or there's Greg Koch. He only demos great guitars to begin with. Tough job - it's like being the weatherman in AZ. So I watch him just to cop licks and laugh.
     
  8. xmd5a

    xmd5a Member

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    I'd say try to distinguish between objective and subjective flaws. If you think overdrive is too raspy, that's subjective, but if the amount of noise seems really high, that leans more objective.

    If a product has QC issues and has to be sent back, that's worth mentioning, it should not have left the factory and ended up in your hands, all of that is wasted time and money. You should not have had to interface with their ubernice, super friendly and helpful support staff. I often Google to find out if I'm the only who, for example, the Line6 G10 is highly unreliable, I want to know if it's just me, or if it's possibly the product.

    There was another thread no long ago saying that a certain YouTube was "anit-compression pedal" until Strymon sent him one of their own, and now he's an always-on, never leaving the pedal board compression enthusiast... and he has links to the product on Amazon in the video description, and gives his address where you can send him free stuff. That's the sort of hack you don't want to have any resemblance to.
     
  9. Cheddar Kung Pao

    Cheddar Kung Pao Member

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    Thanks for weighing in so far everybody. I definitely agree pros and cons are great to have. I chose the wording I did for the question delibeately; does a reviewer need to put out reviews where they just absolutely hammer something in order to be honest? In my view the answer is no, you don't have to do that. You can just opt to not review it because maybe it's just not for you.

    Do you guys expect totally negative reviews every so often from the reviewers you watch?
     
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  10. MartinCliffe

    MartinCliffe Member

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    No. A complete trashing does nobody any favours. Most reviewers I like simply won't review stuff if it's bad. Partly because there's no such thing as bad publicity, but also because it can undermine the value of the reviewer to people looking to send stuff out. If you were a manufacturer, would you want someone to tear something you made apart? Or would you rather have someone say "I don't feel this is the right thing for me to review, because it needs ... sorting"?
     
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  11. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Silver Supporting Member

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    If you think it's trash and you're being honest.

    I see some reviews that try to bury it by saying something that comes across like "But if you're looking for a total POS in this price range, check it out".
     
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  12. 8len8

    8len8 Supporting Member

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    If you don’t give negative reviews to things you don’t like, then that’s less info available to someone who’s researching to make an informed purchase. “No news” is not “good news” in this case.
     
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  13. tbp0701

    tbp0701 Member

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    I recall a few magazines (remember those?) addressing the issue a while ago. In short, if they felt they couldn't be at least somewhat positive about something they would send it back to the company with their constructive criticism. They felt that publishing a fully negative review would only upset the company and people who had bought the product, without really helping anyone.

    I can see this stance, although I think if something is dangerous or so bad buyers are being defrauded, then it needs to be called out.

    That said, as a reader/person looking at reviews in order to research a purchase, I'm very critical of anything that's full praise or full negative. So I like to see a balance of pros and cons.

    For instance, regarding the Squire you mentioned, I would expect you or any reviewer to say that, for the price, it's QC is reasonable/good/whatever it is. You could also mention how much time, effort, or skill it would take to adjust it so it can be as good as can be.

    One other aspect I've appreciated in some reviews is how something compares to competitors around its price range. And again, not "X blows Y away!" stuff, but rather, "In my opinion, X does these things better than Y, but it doesn't quite do these other things as well."
     
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  14. jekylmeister

    jekylmeister Supporting Member

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    I think your approach is honest and sound. I would only say that you might be unintentionally slanting your product reviews if you go out of your way to avoid negative observations. That is all.
     
  15. WordMan

    WordMan Silver Supporting Member

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    The next morning, everyone talking about what Simon Cowell said the most. Lotsa ways to interpret that - do with it what you will.
     
  16. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    I have experience writing gear reviews for magazines, as some of you know. You will almost never see a truly bad gear review in a music magazine, usually because the gear comes from a company that advertises in the magazine. If not, it's a company the magazine is courting as a possible advertiser. The magazine wants to maintain the good relationship they have with Company X, or they want Company X to come aboard with their ad dollars. It's all about business. And it makes sense for all concerned.

    That's why you read reviews where the writer soft peddles something negative with words like like, "This feature could be better," or, "By changing this feature, it will improve the product." You never see things like, "This feature stinks." The review should always be honestly written on the writer's part. But if there's a problem with something, handle it with grace and not spewed bile.

    Also, writers build relationships with gear companies and they want to maintain them. I have great relationships with several guitar companies and I'm not going to do anything to screw those up. If they sent me something that had problems, I wouldn't review it and would diplomatically ask for a replacement, but fortunately, that's never happened. You would think that companies would inspect the gear being sent for review for flaws or issues, but I'm not sure that always happens.

    And yes, occasionally, an editor will step in and rewrite a less than glowing review submitted by a writer, making it more positive. I've seen it happen at a magazine for whom I used to write. I have a serious problem with that. It's one thing for an editor to change a writer's words, sentence structure or style, but it's unacceptable to change the opinion of the writer. I can assure you that does not happen at Vintage Guitar. The editors have integrity, and it's one of the reasons I enjoy writing for them.
     
  17. Fr3shMak3r

    Fr3shMak3r Whatever Gold Supporting Member

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    I think it can be valuable for the viewer to hear about the flaws as well as the good stuff. As long as it’s constructive, and objective, it’s not “trashing” it.

    If it’s something truly egregiously wrong - like, an amp explodes and burns all the neighborhood kittens - that’s probably worth a stern finger wag or two though.
     
  18. Doomrider78

    Doomrider78 Member

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    As has already been said, I dont trust reviews that are 100% favourable, unless they can clearly demonstrate there is nothing wrong with it, and even then our own personal preferences should raise some "issues".

    There are ways to talk about gear problems without making it into a drama. YT seems to be becoming a "who can shout the loudest" competition, these days and is losing it's usefulness as a result.

    If there are no cons, then it comes across as a sponsored video, IMO.
     
  19. kwicked

    kwicked Silver Supporting Member

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    There is a difference between pointing out what a particular piece is not a good fit for and a sensationalist trashing. These are tools after all and folks are looking at them for many potential different reasons/needs. It is great when something that is not made well is identified as such as that can be very tough to tell unless you have it in hand. Doesn't have to be love or trashed there is room for an objective review and perhaps a recommend/don't recommend overall at the end. Not sure that's the way to get views but its what i prefer.
    And yes, show rather than tell as @TL;DR mentioned.
     
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  20. General_Specific

    General_Specific Member

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    An honest review is somewhere between loving everything and a hateful rant.

    I watch reviews to learn if an item is right for me. Glowing reviews have led me to some disappointing purchases.

    If there's something you don't like about something, point it out. You can mention consesssions for low price gear.
     

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