Why are guitar magazine reviews so shallow?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by mpr, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Will Chen

    Will Chen Member

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    This is the very reason I started FrugalGuitarist.com. As most affordable instrument companies can't afford advertising, most magazines ignored their existence. Unfortunately, after 5 years of struggling, its proved to be too costly to keep up. That advertising revenue is absolutely necessarily to keep a "review" based site/publication profitable (or even to break even).

    I have a gift subscription to Premier, but barely look at them anymore honestly. The most legit publications I've seen by a long shot are those coming from the UK, but they're costly to get in America and occasionally their focus are on regional brands which aren't sold here.
     
  2. BCy2k

    BCy2k Member

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    This is it IMHO.

    Sometimes there's a certain level of conflict of interest, mixed in with occasional 'sucking up' in some cases. All eye of the beholder stuff, but I can't remember the last time I read a particularly negative review of anything. In the worst case, they've never been worse than luke warm. Quite a coincidence huh?

    I have no doubt things are only getting harder for all print media these days. For a variety of reasons I recently decided I'm not going to renew the few subscriptions I have left.

    I also find it difficult to give most reviews as much credibility as I used to. In part because I know my needs are fairly particular, just as I'd expect the case to be with others.

    Buyers are fickle. I know I am.

    .
     
  3. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    Um. Aren't most forum board reviews basically shallow as well? 'This is awesome'. 'A keeper for sure!' 'Puts a smile on my face'.

    It's all about finding out for yourself. You make the best decision based off of what you need, and what available information (INFORMATION....not opinions), buy and see if it works for you. Most reviews are advertisement, or plain pleasure at 'new stuff'.
     
  4. Will Chen

    Will Chen Member

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    Let's brainstorm. Would you be more or less influenced by a review by a forum member than by one in a magazine? to me, the new buyer honeymoon is equally if not more biased than what you find in magazines. Not to mention the anonymous nature of the internet. What would be the ideal review delivery platform? Maybe on in which other users ranked each others reviews? I realize nothing makes up for first hand experience, but there are many, many cases where that's just not possible.
     
  5. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    Most gear these days is just not bad. Mediocre sure, but not something you'd call bad.

    I guess they also have to balance the line between in depth and enjoyable to read. I mean if you look at this forum you can find people obsessing over minute details and discussing things like how a certain circuit works. Throw in the D-word and you're in a whole world of OCD madness. Not necessarily the kind of stuff that appeals to the average guitarist.

    Still, I do wish they went a little bit more in depth with the gear they're reviewing and dared to point it out if there are obvious flaws.
     
  6. BCy2k

    BCy2k Member

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    Interesting points Will & LaXu.

    At the risk of sounding like I'm sicking up - I find your reviews and blind A/B tests more useful and entertaining than anything I've seen in print lately Will.

    I agree that not all reviews are done equally. It might be a lot better if there were a 'panel' of reviewers. Each submitting their findings blind, and with their various backgrounds fairly well known. So as to allow the reader to weight things according to where they might be coming from.

    I don't know. Just thinking out loud here.

    I've read a bunch of anonymous user reviews that really left me scratching my head.
     
  7. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    GP used to send the gear to someone who owned a music store to review their gear so as not to appear biased. I also remember some 'shootouts' back in the 80s/90s where they rounded up guitars (actually bought some if the maker didn't want to send one) and they were brutal, which made for great reading.
    It would be interesting to read reviews of gear in an actual store that they brought in for review. It is what most people would experience, right? I am sure the builders go over their gear with a fine tooth comb before sending it in- that isn't what most of us receive when we buy it off the shelf.
     
  8. Cylon

    Cylon Senior Member

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    thats why nobody buys those crappy mags anymore.
     
  9. mpr

    mpr Member

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    Your reviews are better, but I think there's room for even more detail. How do you decide how much to write on a topic? To suit the audience or what you think is noteworthy? Or is it just how much time/effort you're willing to invest at the moment (since it's not profitable)?

    That again depends on what's the objective of magazines. Computer hardware review sites will review anything of interest, assuming they've heard of it and they can get it. Some don't wait to get supplied by manufacturers, they just buy the gear.

    I wonder how much this reason contributes to the result. It's too late to change the first post to add a poll, but it would be interesting to see how many people actually do want more detailed reviews, and what degree of detail.

    I think detailed and short-and-to-the-point can coexist if the article is properly structured (easier to do online).

    But bias aside, which everyone focuses on, there's a simple lack of info to begin with. Maybe this review standard is actually the norm, and what I see with computer gear is the exception.
     

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