Questions About Doing Gear Reviews

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Rawkmann, May 3, 2018.

  1. Rawkmann

    Rawkmann SS.org Regular

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    Been seriously considering posting some gear reviews on Youtube but I'm not really settled on the presentation format yet. First of all, how do You guys feel about playing actual popular well known songs vs. original riffs/noodling when demoing gear? I know most of the gear reviewers I watch tend to play a few generic riffs that fit into the clean/crunch/lead mould which is fine, but personally I do like when they play something well known so I kind of have a point of reference for the sound. Also, should I even do any sort of intro or talk about features or just go straight into the playing and demoing? I believe most viewers just skip past the person talking about all the features of a particular piece of gear and just want to hear how it sounds. Lastly, any suggestions would be great, what do You guys like/dislike when watching gear videos?
     
  2. ZombieLloyd

    ZombieLloyd Not one 7 string

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    If I were going to do gear reviews, I'd structure it so that all of the talking is out of the way, and then get to clips of playing original stuff for like 30 seconds, and then playing something familiar. With an annotation to let people skip all the talking. This is just what I'd do, but I hope this helps give you an idea, at least.
     
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  3. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    This. And even better, if you are demonstrating a specific setting, leave the text describing the setting visible the whole time for that setting, not just flashing it at the beginning, and then disappearing quickly.
     
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  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I don't know how youtube handles covers in gear reviews, but most of my cover and parody videos have been restricted or taken down entirely due to copyright reasons. A couple of the lesser known songs are still up, though.

    If I check out a gear review, then it depends on the particular type of gear as to whether I want to listen to someone talk or not. A little bit of talk goes a long way, and too much talking can get really cumbersome fast. If you are showing an amplifier or pickups, I would really try to include a minimum of talk and just get right to the point when you do, especially for pickups. For a guitar or strings or whatever, I'm just as interested in the fit, finish, and feel as I am in the tone, so I need information, but I don't want to hear about how Eddie van Halen's dog used to eat milkbones whilst listening to Eddie use the piece of gear practicing at home or whatever.
     
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  5. ZombieLloyd

    ZombieLloyd Not one 7 string

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    Yeah, or maybe a close up shot of the settings maybe in a corner. As you said, visible the whole time.
     
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  6. Rawkmann

    Rawkmann SS.org Regular

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    Thank You, I didn't think of that but that's definitely one of my pet peeves when watching these types of videos.
     
  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I feel like what you play really depends on what the gear is, and what you're trying to get across. If you're playing through a signature piece of gear, people are more likely to want to hear a song from the associated artist, etc., since they might be searching for that tone. If the product is one that claims to be very versatile, then play a whole variety of things. If the product it pickups, you'll probably want to hear it clean and under a bit of gain, but maybe not buried in so much gain that differences are negated. You get the idea. Let context decide on what you play.

    If you're going to spend a lot of time talking about the gear, I'm more interested in hearing about the experience of using the gear, your impressions, etc., rather than just rattling off marketing bullet points. I can go the product website for that. I don't care how many bells and whistles something has, I care about it's quality, it's sound, the value it presents to an actual user of the product, etc.
     
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  8. ZombieLloyd

    ZombieLloyd Not one 7 string

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    This, so much. I watched a guy demo a Dave Mustaine signature guitar, and he played nothing but Metallica songs the whole time. I wanted to hear Megadeth riffs, so yes, if it's signature gear, play that artist's songs.
     
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  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    So, my experience has been mostly doing pickup comparisons on Youtube - I started doing A/B clips while making a swap just to help me really quantify the difference, and since I had a Youtube account figured I might as well shoot some video while I was doing it to see if it was helpful for anyone else. That was 5-6 years, 900 subscribers, and maybe 3/4 of a million views ago. Since then I've gotten a LOT of feedback. :lol: For the most part it's been positive, and here's what I can share.

    • Generally, people like the format I use. No talking, play through one set of pickups, clean and dirty, just kind of improvising lead lines or riffs, and then do the same thing with the other set of pickups. I'll usually put shortcuts in the description for the different positions, clean and dirty. I figure people really mostly want to hear how two pickups compare, rather than how I THINK they compare.
    • Production value matters - I always track guitars through my DAW as well as through the camera audio, and then replace a mixed and mastered audio clip for the camera recording. Try to shoot in a well lit, clean, professional looking space, if you can, make sure you're in focus, etc.
    • Make sure you're in tune. :lol: One or two of my videos I'd drifted a little bit before getting a good take, and I always hear about it. :lol:
    • If you present something "in the mix" with bass and drums, consider also playing it solo'd.
    • The problem with gear reviews where you demonstrate an item by playing through it, is it doesn't really give you a comparison point. Like, if I do a demo of a Duncan Custom 7 by playing my guitar with one in the bridge though my amp and my cab, mic'd up, and then through my recording setup, it tells you what one possible recorded tone a Custom can do, but it doesn't tell you much about the sound of the Custom itself, because there are so many other factors. so, think a bit about how you can help a viewer compare that tone to something. Some are easier than others - an overdrive, make sure you include some playing with the pedal bypassed as well as engaged, for example. The better you can show the *impact* of a piece of gear, the better your demo will be.
    • I also try to engage as much as possible - when people comment, I reply to them. I don't know if it helps, but I feel like videos with more comments and more discussion tend to get prioritized a little by YouTube. No basis for this other than a gut sense, though.
    • I'd steer clear of covers, too. If you're demoing a Van Halen pickup, for example, play something in the STYLE of Van Halen, rather than playing Unchained or Ain't Talkin' Bout Love. It's more fun, for you, and it'll mean fewer people critiquing the playing. :lol:
     
  10. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, I’d also be interested in A/B comparison videos. Actual reviews of amps or pickups, for instance, do nothing for me, because most reviewers haven’t a foggy idea of what is actually going on, sonically. “Open, creamy, greasy, chunky,” etc terms tell me nothing, because there is no universal gold standard for that sound. If someone were to provide graphs of the sound, like they do on pro-audio forums, that would be useful. But subjective words do nothing.

    Also, because people looking for, say, a 5150 III 50 watt will not be deciding between that and a Fender Champ, you have to be VERY specific on the nuances of the sound. In other words, people considering a 5150 III 50 watt will want to compare it to the 100 watt, the EL34 variety, the Stealth, etc. Those are all suuuper close in sound, and no one is going to be able to close their eyes, and listen to a YT clip and be able to identify which amp they’re hearing. It’s even difficult if you play one after the other.

    What DOES work well is the comparison videos like Hagerty Music Works. Those compare two things, and they do it by playing the exact same riffs on two different amps, and at the same settings. Then, they toggle back and forth between them, so you can get a feel for the differences. For me, those videos are hugely useful. Otherwise I don’t even bother, because most of what is online is people’s opinions, with subjective words, and recordings that I cannot be sure I’m accurately reproducing on my speakers/headphones.
     
  11. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Literally the worst way to make money on Youtube, hahaha

    What you said might be good for viewers, but it's terrible for content creators

    The goal is to make a long video that people will watch ALL of - hence all the 10 minute 5 second long FAQ Friday videos. To pull it off, you need REALLY good content (like The Pedal Show). But the most effective format for money making is the Andertons/Chapman format, where the videos are long, unstructured and you always need to keep watching to make sure you don't miss the bit you want to hear.

    Best advice I can give to OP is, do something slightly controversial, make slightly pointless comparisons, hype it up, have a clickbait title, and get people commenting. The more people comment on your stuff, the more YouTube promotes it. And sure, play famous licks slightly incorrectly - people will love to post in the comments about how wrong you are :)
     
  12. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    short and simple. I dont want to see you playing the whole A Change of Seasons cover only to then change the setting/pedal/guitar/amp/whatever and play the whole song again.

    Play a short riff, (1 or 2), then do same riff with the next setting/gear in that way my memory is fresh and I can actually focus on the tonal differences.

    Nothing more useles when someone demo a guitar and goes "this is the bridge pickup".... goes to play 102837 riffs".... then goes "and this is the neck pickup"..... goes to shred solo stuff........ I cant really hear the difference if you dont show me the same lick/solo/riff with both pickups. Same goes with cleans, play the same stuff with both so Ic an get an idea

    for pedal amps and stuff its always good like Ola doies. HAve a loop track and noodle wirth every knob to see whats capable off. THEN go and show your settings

    Production value like others mention. Eyes are eassier to fool than ears. Taht means, get 1st priority to a pro audio recording/mix. Not only on the gear used, but on your voice if you are talking. In the moment you use the on-board camera is the moment I stop watching. Then learn about a good camera/lense to use. Learn about lighting and how to use what you have available

    Then Im sorry to be the one who says it, but "good luck"..... there are way too many channels already doing stuff. What that means is, the eassy format is not longer revelant..... Meaning you in your room talking and demo.... Yoiu need to find your niche, what makes you you. either a different format, sotyr based, memes, type of gear, whatever..... Go search GMR Channel (German Music Reviews).... see waht I eman about doing a whole new format for reviews, and also see the amount of production value and the quality of their work. Reason why Im now subscribed. You channel needs to stand out in a overflowing market

    Also help to review gear not reviewed yet. You arent gonna get many views if you do another tube screamer review. Find that piece of gear that not many people ahve touched yet and people would liek to see.

    Also be ready to start buying/selling gear in order to build up followers until you reach a point from were you can start gettiing some gear sent to you
     
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  13. Avedas

    Avedas SS.org Regular

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    I'm just one dude, but when I see a video like that I don't even watch it. I actually like Anderton videos as they're fun but they're just too long. I don't want to see a 20-30 minute rambling conversation about one piece of gear.
     
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  14. Electric Wizard

    Electric Wizard delightfully devilish

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    On the other hand, the using the same riff isn't great if that's the whole demo. My pet peeve is demos that consist of the same metal rhythm riff played on every pickup position. I'd rather just hear what they're actually used for unless it's going to be a comprehensive demo of every position and every style.
     
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  15. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    To my knowledge, they are the most popular gear channel on Youtube. And they only started to have their own "proper" content around 18 months ago.

    Youtube wants to make it like TV, with a bit of on-demand. They want full-length episodes, uploaded regularly (preferably on a schedule), with subscribers to the channel who know what to expect and when to expect it.

    For the OP, I suppose it depends what he wants out of this. If he wants to contribute something truly useful to the community, listen to the people here. If he wants actual popularity and money, don't.
     
  16. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I'm one of the few people who hates television, but loved youtube when it was still an open forum. I thought it was incredibly idiotic that youtube wanted to encourage its content providers to emulate television programming.

    If I want to see a comparison of two pieces of gear, I will absolutely not click on a >10 min video. I want to get down to brass tacks. Show me the gear, show me the difference, tell me the pros and cons, done. I don't get how some youtubers can do a gear review, on, say, a guitar, by pulling the guitar out of the case, acting unenthusiastically goofy for three minutes, then play a six minute unstructured jam song on the guitar with the piezo pickup switched on, then complain about how it sounds too thin and bright - and go on to get >175 thousand views.
     
  17. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Part-time Elon Musk impersonator

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    What we need is another person reviewing things on YouTube.
     
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  18. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    7/10 please see my video response
     
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  19. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Can only power chord

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    This is a great point because it reflects an issue I have with most of these 'gear reviewers.'
    All of the sound clips are as well produced as humanly possible, so they all sound good, and they all sound like generic metal tracks. No differentiation and no real conveyance on how that pickup is going to sound, for example, when I finish wiring it up and plug my amp in to start jamming. It conveys how it sounds after I've already tweaked, dialed in my settings, recorded a take, and mixed it. That leaves a lot of open space from point A to point B where a lot of stuff can happen that affects the tone / feel of what we're talking about.

    My advise is to jump off of what Drew is touching on here and always provide a stable, baseline comparison, using something almost everyone will be familiar with. If you're demoing a pickup set, compare them to an identical take tracked with stock Ibanez pickups, for example. I don't care if the mix sounds good, I've heard people use those stock V7/V8 sets and sound amazing, good production can make just about all gear sound good. I care about if it sounds different and how so.
     
  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    They also all sound "metal". I find it really hard to find demos of good players who can keep the gain down low enough for any of the character of the gear to come through. Sometimes you want to hear that gain character - but lots of times you don't. That's a lot of what sold me on the Mark V:25 -> not the lead sounds, but the clean demos.
     

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