Jump to content
darkandrew

Celebrity endorsements and signature models

Recommended Posts

I suppose it's always been the way but recently I seem to have noticed more signature models of guitars and pickups than ever before. On the whole, do you think involving celebrity musicians in the design / development process of a guitar or pickup leads to a better product or is it just a cynical marketing ploy to persuade bedroom players that they can sound just like their guitar hero?

Edited by darkandrew
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it sometimes leads to a product with better hardware than standard and sometimes just a great product all round (the Steve Vai Gem for instance). However, your question, "Is it just a cynical marketing ploy to persuade bedroom players that they can sound just like their guitar hero?" if often nearer to the truth, sadly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's be realistic: no matter how many enthusiasts work for a guitar company, no matter how much they love their job... it has to work as a business. Guitars are a cunsumer druable the same as cars or washing machines once hte money comes in. In that sense,. a celebrity endorsement isn't a bad thing necessarily. A lot of folks think it's selling out to have signature gear or endorse it. To my way of thinking, if a guitar player has an input into the design or production of a particular product, why shouldn't they get something out of it, from their name on it, their royalties, or a free insturment... Probably only Slash (with his AfD era counterfeit LP!) has sold more LPs than Stve Jones - white customs especially, but Jonesy has never seen a penny fom Gibson. Given that the reality is big name guitar pplayers will always influene fans' hocie of gear if they play themselves, it seems only reasonable that players should get a slice of the profit from their 'advertising' through endrosement. As long as it's legit, of course. I find it a bit naff to see musicians endorsing gear they wouldn't play in reality.

And I've got no time for the guitarsnobs who whine about whether a particular person is "deserving" as a musican. No matte how good you ar,e if your name can't help sell a guitar, you won't get your name all over one. Back to "it's a business".

A lot of players have also doen really cool stuff - I love the look of the Earl Slick 'Slick Guitars'; if they only did lefties, I'd definitely have at least one of their 59 dc Melody-Maker shaped models with the single. A lot like an LP JUnior, but even better becasue they have a bolt-on neck. 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 18/07/2020 at 15:48, darkandrew said:

I suppose it's always been the way but recently I seem to have noticed more signature models of guitars and pickups than ever before. On the whole, do you think involving celebrity musicians in the design / development process of a guitar or pickup leads to a better product or is it just a cynical marketing ploy to persuade bedroom players that they can sound just like their guitar hero?

I think it's indicative of how the market works.  Guitar heroes are idolised and emulated regardless of the actual logic behind the strategy.  In the past, Fender have purchased companies just for their list of endorsees (i.e. SWR).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 24/10/2021 at 06:27, Kiwi said:

I think it's indicative of how the market works.  Guitar heroes are idolised and emulated regardless of the actual logic behind the strategy.  In the past, Fender have purchased companies just for their list of endorsees (i.e. SWR).


Fender's strategy has been very clever in many ways, imo. Why fight to have the market recognise your Gretsch copy as just as good as Gretsch when instead you can just buy Gretsch and sell Gretsches? 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 18/07/2020 at 20:36, EdwardMarlowe said:

Let's be realistic: no matter how many enthusiasts work for a guitar company, no matter how much they love their job... it has to work as a business

 

Well I agree with Edward, it's all about the money to a greater or lesser degree. I personally would never buy a signature model. Yes I may go for a premium guitar sooner or later, but I don't want any signature on it. For me it's wool over your eyes, c'mon a luthier should quite well know how to make a musical instrument without being tipped off by a musician.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, FrankAtari said:

 

Well I agree with Edward, it's all about the money to a greater or lesser degree. I personally would never buy a signature model. Yes I may go for a premium guitar sooner or later, but I don't want any signature on it. For me it's wool over your eyes, c'mon a luthier should quite well know how to make a musical instrument without being tipped off by a musician.

 

 

 

 


I'm not entirely opposed to the concept. I'm not big on Les Pauls, but they're still the original signature model... ;) 

There are some nice features I've seen come out of sig models over the years; I'd have loved a Jimmy Vaughn Strat if they'd have made a left-hander, and even moreso a Johnny Ramone Mosrite. They can be limiting - it is, after all, a guitar that has been specifically designed to suit another player - but all dome and said they do often produce a guitar that is that bit different from the other versions on the market, and that sort of variety is always welcome imo. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a Gibson Les Paul AFD guitar from 2010. It's not that I am a massive Slash fan, I just thought it would look good. However mine doesn't have the reverse chevron flame but it sounds amazing. I particularly like how it cleans up (both pickups on) when you roll the volume back. 

I bought it new, unseen and almost returned it because I don't like the top very much.

What a great guitar and they only made 600 of them.

 

I have a Jerry Donahue Vintage telecaster. It cost peanuts really. Again not a JD fan but the wiring and 5 way switch made this guitar very appealing to me. It is also a great guitar

 

I also have a Brian May red special guitar. I use this in my 80s duo. An interesting sounding guitar, nothing like a strat really but still a really useable guitar. I use it exclusively in my 80s thing.

 

and a Justin Meldel Johnson Fender Mustang bass. No idea who JMJ is, they got great reviews on basschat, so I bought one, again, unseen. It is my favourite bass and is my goto instrument.

 

Signature models sometimes offer a different flavour on a given guitar, which will suit some people but not others.

 

Just enjoy

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 20/01/2022 at 12:47, police squad said:

I have a Gibson Les Paul AFD guitar from 2010. It's not that I am a massive Slash fan, I just thought it would look good. However mine doesn't have the reverse chevron flame but it sounds amazing. I particularly like how it cleans up (both pickups on) when you roll the volume back. 

I bought it new, unseen and almost returned it because I don't like the top very much.

What a great guitar and they only made 600 of them.

 

I have a Jerry Donahue Vintage telecaster. It cost peanuts really. Again not a JD fan but the wiring and 5 way switch made this guitar very appealing to me. It is also a great guitar

 

I also have a Brian May red special guitar. I use this in my 80s duo. An interesting sounding guitar, nothing like a strat really but still a really useable guitar. I use it exclusively in my 80s thing.

 

and a Justin Meldel Johnson Fender Mustang bass. No idea who JMJ is, they got great reviews on basschat, so I bought one, again, unseen. It is my favourite bass and is my goto instrument.

 

Signature models sometimes offer a different flavour on a given guitar, which will suit some people but not others.

 

Just enjoy

 

 

I rather liked the bass that was a sig model for ones of the guys in Blink 182, I think? It was a J bass body and neck, but with a single P-bass pickup and pots. A real 'could have been'. That sort of thing is fun. I don't think I've ever been completely put off a guitar I'd otherwise have liked but for the name association... Oh, though.... There is that Lowden "budget" (for them) model that's branded a 'Sheeran' Guitar... Eh. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it just adds variations, so its not such a bad thing- i have had a few signature models while not caring about the person whos signature it was, just that I liked what it offered. Guitars manufacturers always relied on musician tie ins to sell their instruments, when you are young you tend to pick your first instruments based on who you like

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's signature models and signature models though. In that some are just a standardish instruments with a different pickup and paint job and others are completely different instruments from the ground up than are otherwise available. 

Being from the bass side (apologies) this is bass related, but I bought an Epiphone Jack Casady, a Yamaha Billy Sheehan Attitude Ltd2 and a Yamaha Peter Hook BB last year. 

All three have had extensive input from the artist, especially the Attitude and the JC, both being completely original basses in their own right and nothing like anything else available. I'm not even very familiar with Sheehan or Casady's music but to ignore the basses purely because they are signature models would have had me missing out on a couple of excellent basses. 

The PH is because I'm a huge fan but again, if it wasn't unlike anything else in their current line up I wouldn't have bought it. 

Where as something like the Nate Mendel Precision is basically a standard Precision with a Quarter Pound pickup. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Maude said:

Where as something like the Nate Mendel Precision is basically a standard Precision with a Quarter Pound pickup.

 

I don't think the pickup is the significant difference in the Nate Mendel, I think it is that the neck is thinner and narrower than the standard precision, and that is the only shipping P model that that is the case of. Anyone can change the pickup in an instrument, sourcing and changing the neck is a lot harder.

 

I think it is not a question of ignoring the model because it is an artist model is a different thing to actually going out of your way to buy it because of the artist affiliation, rather than whatever difference that creates, such as I notice there is a (increadably expensive) George Harrison telecaster. Some people will presumably buy it because of the George Harrison link (although for the life of me I don't remember a picture of him playing a telecaster, although he obviously must have), and some people will buy it because it is the only model made with a rosewood body. I doubt that anyone would deliberately not buy it just because it was connected to George Harrison somehow.

Although I suspect most people would avoid it because it is almost £3k for a telecaster, which frankly everyone who has ever held a saw should be able to make in their lunchtimes! :)

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to fall into the 'got a business to run' camp myself. I don't think I've ever owned a signature model, but I get the rationale.

 

I was a huge Hendrix fan back in the day, and would gladly have had any of several sig models that came out in his name. Sadly none of them were made as lefties... :/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, leftybassman392 said:

I tend to fall into the 'got a business to run' camp myself. I don't think I've ever owned a signature model, but I get the rationale.

 

I was a huge Hendrix fan back in the day, and would gladly have had any of several sig models that came out in his name. Sadly none of them were made as lefties... :/

 

To be fair, they wouldn't have been accurate models if they were!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

Didn’t they once do a Hendrix Strat which was basically an upside down lefty?

 

You'd have to hope they did a lefty version of that as well

 

Nope. I checked at the time.

 

Apparently it was for righties to stand in front of a mirror and pretend.

 

https://www.fender.com/en-GB/electric-guitars/stratocaster/jimi-hendrix-stratocaster/0145802300.html

 

The one in the ad is a modern version with the body set up for a right-handed player. The original was an exact mirror image of Hendrix's guitar. I'll see if I can dig up an image...

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, leftybassman392 said:

I think this is the one:

th?id=OIP.CjcNZi5370O9hbubAf3-XAHaHK%26p

 

Fairly pricey too IIRC. A lot more than a U.S. Standard of the time (late '90s). Might even have been a Custom Shop version (but I'm guessing a bit here...).

Just thinking….

 

How hard would it be to make your own? Presumably it’s just the bit that would need changing?

 

And the stringing, obvs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

Just thinking….

 

How hard would it be to make your own? Presumably it’s just the bit that would need changing?

 

And the stringing, obvs

 

It's a thought. If I were in the market for one, it's definitely something I'd consider. Save a massive amount of wodge too. Getting it to look authentic with the pre-CBS headstock and such would be the trick - I think the pups are redos of the '60s originals, but there's loads of choice in the third party market for Strat pups (or at least there was when last I looked).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, leftybassman392 said:

 

It's a thought. If I were in the market for one, it's definitely something I'd consider. Save a massive amount of wodge too. Getting it to look authentic with the pre-CBS headstock and such would be the trick - I think the pups are redos of the '60s originals, but there's loads of choice in the third party market for Strat pups (or at least there was when last I looked).

When I said “bit” in my post, I meant “nut”. Fat fingers and autocorrect introduce a pleasing randomness to my posts….

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a late 70s strat back in 1990. It was maple board, black and most importantly, left handed. So I had it restrung and set up right handed. It really looked the part and played great. I didn't gig on guitar at that time, so I never got to use it in anger.

I sold it to a lefty friend of mine, who is still gigging it to this day

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 24/10/2021 at 06:27, Kiwi said:

I think it's indicative of how the market works.  Guitar heroes are idolised and emulated regardless of the actual logic behind the strategy.  In the past, Fender have purchased companies just for their list of endorsees (i.e. SWR).

The way I see it companies "Endorse" musicians, not the other way round. Little known guitarist just happens to play a certain instrument, becomes famous, so the manufacturer uses him or her to promote their instruments. Cynical advertising, but as long as the guitarist gets something out of it then why not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, mikel said:

The way I see it companies "Endorse" musicians, not the other way round. Little known guitarist just happens to play a certain instrument, becomes famous, so the manufacturer uses him or her to promote their instruments. Cynical advertising, but as long as the guitarist gets something out of it then why not?

Assuming that you mean companies are looking for up and coming musicians to help them show the market that they can stay relevant?  There's an aspect of that too but it doesn't invalidate my point.  They exist alongside each other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Kiwi said:

Assuming that you mean companies are looking for up and coming musicians to help them show the market that they can stay relevant?  There's an aspect of that too but it doesn't invalidate my point.  They exist alongside each other.

Agreed, I was simply stating my stance that companies endorse musicians, not vice versa. The company sells more product on the back of suggesting the musician could only have attained their position because they use the companies product.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...