#1
So, Hi everybody

My band is getting ready to release our first EP and our first music video.
With all this junk happening, I got offered my first endorsement deal from a smaller guitar company.
Their instruments look solid and are ordered in the same fashion as Kiesel/Carvin guitars. The
base shapes aren't something I'd go for but should I take a deal on one of their instruments anyway?



I am mainly concerned about coming off as a professional musician, would having the backing
from a company help?


Anyone one have positive experiences with smaller companies?
I feel like maybe taking the deal could lead me to other contacts down the road.

I'm really bad at phrasing my questions but I don't know anyone to talk to about this haha so
please excuse this post if it is a bit incoherent
My Soundcloud dudes
Recording gear:
Yahama Hs8
Saffire Pro 40
Shure Sm57
Shure Sm7b

Guitar gear :
Ebmm BFR7
Axe fx XL+
Walrus audio Janus
Ibanez Ergodyne
Black Market Custom cab
#2
Don't take an endorsement deal to make you look like a professional musician.
In particular, don't expect that getting an endorsement deal from a small player will help accomplish that.
Frequently, it's the opposite.
#3
If you believe in the company and think they make good quality guitars, why not? If they seem like a fly by night operation that is just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, then I would say no. Have you ever even played any of their guitars?
#5
If you like & use their guitars, why not?

Also, stop teasing! Which company? If we know the company's rep, we might change our answers based on experience rather than just a general rule of thumb.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#6
Quote by flexiblemile
if their gear is legit and you get it for free, I see no reason to turn it down.


Gear endorsements at the professional level have progressed well beyond that sort of '60's, "We think you're great and we'd love it if you were showing off our guitar to your many fan" mentality.

First, there are a lot of endorsements available at the amateur level ("you'll get a 40% discount on our strings and we can use your name in our ads and you can use our logo on your website"). Amateurs think, "If their gear is legit and you get it for free, I see no reason to turn it down." If you do amateur endorsements, it will be obvious and you will look like an amateur, not a professional.

Professional endorsement deals are far more complicated, contractual and committed. And, of course, the money should be commensurate and you should have people like lawyers, financial advisors and management in on the negotiations. Free gear is the smallest part of it. You get asked to make appearances at shows (NAMM, etc.), you're required to have logos displayed at certain sizes on anything that publicizes you, you're not allowed to be seen or photographed with someone else's gear. Lemme give you a ferinstance: Don Johnson, at the height of his popularity during his last-half-of-the-80's Miami Vice days, had a contract with Pepsi for somewhere around $8 million dollars (sizable money 30 years ago). He was in the Everglades shooting scenes in 110 degree heat with 100% humidity and came off set on a break asking for *something* to drink. Someone handed him an ice-cold Diet Coke, which he tilted back and downed. A photographer was, of course, standing nearby and got a great shot of how refreshing that Diet Coke was in that instant, published it, and within hours Don Johnson was informed by Pepsi he'd broken the contract and was no longer in their employ. He was such a hot property that he turned around and got an even larger contract from Coke. But he never again touched a Pepsi product while he was under contract to Coke. A lot of celebrities learned their lessons in that regard the hard way, and sometimes there are people in their entourage that exist just to monitor product placement around them.

In short, whether you take an endorsement deal or not depends on a lot of factors, the least of which is whether or not you'll look more professional by having one.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 12, 2016,
#7
Quote by dspellman
Gear endorsements at the professional level have progressed well beyond that sort of '60's, "We think you're great and we'd love it if you were showing off our guitar to your many fan" mentality.

First, there are a lot of endorsements available at the amateur level ("you'll get a 40% discount on our strings and we can use your name in our ads and you can use our logo on your website"). Amateurs think, "If their gear is legit and you get it for free, I see no reason to turn it down." If you do amateur endorsements, it will be obvious and you will look like an amateur, not a professional.

Professional endorsement deals are far more complicated, contractual and committed. And, of course, the money should be commensurate and you should have people like lawyers, financial advisors and management in on the negotiations. Free gear is the smallest part of it. You get asked to make appearances at shows (NAMM, etc.), you're required to have logos displayed at certain sizes on anything that publicizes you, you're not allowed to be seen or photographed with someone else's gear. Lemme give you a ferinstance: Don Johnson, at the height of his popularity during his last-half-of-the-80's Miami Vice days, had a contract with Pepsi for somewhere around $8 million dollars (sizable money 30 years ago). He was in the Everglades shooting scenes in 110 degree heat with 100% humidity and came off set on a break asking for *something* to drink. Someone handed him an ice-cold Diet Coke, which he tilted back and downed. A photographer was, of course, standing nearby and got a great shot of how refreshing that Diet Coke was in that instant, published it, and within hours Don Johnson was informed by Pepsi he'd broken the contract and was no longer in their employ. He was such a hot property that he turned around and got an even larger contract from Coke. But he never again touched a Pepsi product while he was under contract to Coke. A lot of celebrities learned their lessons in that regard the hard way, and sometimes there are people in their entourage that exist just to monitor product placement around them.

In short, whether you take an endorsement deal or not depends on a lot of factors, the least of which is whether or not you'll look more professional by having one.


I still havent heard a reason as to why he shouldn't do it. Neither you or I know the details of the arrangement but you're telling him he shouldn't do it because some guy no one under 30 has ever heard of drank a diet pepsi in the 20th century
#8
I think despellmen here makes a great point - what are they asking of you? If they hit you with a contract like the one he describes, you should have a lawyer look at it to fully understand it. For example, lets say you have a prized 59' les paul that you wrote all of your famous songs on and that you love to play live. What if the contract says you can only play their guitars live or something like that? Just consider all the factors.
#9
Quote by flexiblemile
I still havent heard a reason as to why he shouldn't do it. Neither you or I know the details of the arrangement but you're telling him he shouldn't do it because some guy no one under 30 has ever heard of drank a diet pepsi in the 20th century


He was just giving an example. Also, I doubt that this guy will get gear for free. He will probably get some discount and that's it, but in that case question should be: is it okay to sign a contract and giving yourself a commitment for a discount on a guitar or two? Especially, if those guitars aren't something special.
#11
dspellman FWIW, executives. can and do get fired for the same violation. One of my mentors saw that happen to a company veep when his boss looked down the table and noticed the drink in a glass of ice sans can. Fired on the spot, in front of family & colleagues.

Very "mob movie"...

Your concerns, while valid & accurate, probably don't apply to a band releasing their first EP, though.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#12
more details would be nice. if you don't care for the guitar to begin with that does seem kinda bogus if you take the deal. integrity is part of being a professional.
#13
Others have said this but let me be crystal clear - READ THE ENTIRE CONTRACT - every single word and if you don't understand EVERY SINGLE WORD in the legal context pay a lawyer to review it or do not sign the contract. Speaking from experience here about contracts (that weren't music related).
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)

Amps:
Mesa Dual Rec Roadster 212
Peavey 5150 212 with V30s
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver
#14
Quote by flexiblemile
I still havent heard a reason as to why he shouldn't do it. Neither you or I know the details of the arrangement but you're telling him he shouldn't do it because some guy no one under 30 has ever heard of drank a diet pepsi in the 20th century


You really don't want to play the "I'm ignorant of marketing history because I'm too young" and "If it didn't happen within my short lifetime, it probably doesn't matter." card. It tags you as an easy mark.

The history of the music industry is full of musicians saying things like, "I was young and stupid," and "If I'd known then what I know now," and "We were just so excited to get a contract that we really didn't read it..." You want to find someone who has experience in the field and have them explain things.

The question was whether it was a good idea to find an endorsement deal of some kind to "look more professional." The answer was that an amateurish endorsement deal would make him look amateur, and that a truly professional endorsement deal needs to be carefully weighed to see what effect (restrictions, etc.) they have on your future options.

And the side note here is an observation that multi-jillion dollar companies like Coke and Pepsi that hate each other and that compete heavily against one another take endorsement deals *really* seriously. What you do as an endorser impacts them, and what they do as a company impacts *your* image as well.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 13, 2016,
#15
Quote by dannyalcatraz
dspellman FWIW, executives. can and do get fired for the same violation. One of my mentors saw that happen to a company veep when his boss looked down the table and noticed the drink in a glass of ice sans can. Fired on the spot, in front of family & colleagues.

Very "mob movie"...

Your concerns, while valid & accurate, probably don't apply to a band releasing their first EP, though.


Friend of mine had a major drink company's photo shoot going on in his studio. Dancing girls, elephants, yada yada. Cases upon cases of the client's product stacked everywhere. The company execs came down to visit the shoot, and the earnest assistant asked them if they'd like something to drink. They all asked for items carried by their own brand. The assistant apologized and said, "All we have cold are..." and proceeded to name competitor's drinks. The shoot was immediately cancelled and that photographer never did work for them again -- he lost a contract worth several million dollars of additional photography.

We *nearly* had something similar happen; we were shooting for Arrowhead water and in walks OUR water guy (a much smaller but competing company) with a cheery, "Blah-Blah Water! Good Afternoon!" We were quietly informed that if we wanted to continue working with the company it would really be a good idea to switch water companies. They were good-natured about it, but the warning was ironclad.

metalmingee's caution is on the money. READ every inch of that contract and consider it carefully.

If it's a "band releasing their first EP," the likelihood that an endorsement deal will make them look more professional is extremely low, but it may prevent them from getting something representing serious money at some point in the future.
#16
Kyle... First, do their guitars appeal to you? Play one and see. If you can't get by that hurdle, it's over. If you like their instrument, can see yourself playing ONLY that guitar (or that model or brand) for a few years? The contract will state what they will give you, what you will pay for, and WHAT YOU CANNOT DO OR PLAY (instrument wise). Think about that long and hard. Your favorite guitar, your number one ax, will be unavailable to you for the length of the contract. And if you fall out of love with their gear, your bound legally to it.

Nothing comes free... there is always a price, and it can be very steep. It may not look steep now, but may be in the future. Read EVERYTHING (with legal counsel) and be FORWARD THINKING. What you get now, may be a road block in the future.

Best of luck either way!
--- Joe ---
07 PRS CE22 || 11 PRS MC58 || 77 Bradley LPC || 04 Ltd EC-1000FM ASB || 95/02 Fender Strat || 03 Epi LP 56 GT P90 || 04 Fender Tele || 10 Epi LP Special II
12 Martin GPCPA4 || 06 Ovation Elite-T
Boss GT100 || Peavey Stereo Chorus 400 || Peavey Bandit 75 || Tech21 Trademark 10
#17
The other thing is, if you endorse a product that's crap, you're connecting your name- and that of your band- with a crap product. Do you want people to associate you with a piece of crap?
But the reverse is, if you really like the product, and believe in it, then go for it. You'd be helping a small, local manufacturer gain some exposure.

If I ever found myself in that position, I'd ask myself if I would buy the product for retail price; if not, then I don't think I would put my name to it.
Last edited by luke.g.henderso at Oct 20, 2016,
#18
Why would you endorse a bass you dont like? Just to be cool? Its only worth it if the instrument is great, or they pay you more than your music is worth...i guess....
#19
I was in a band with a dude that got a potential endorsement from a popular custom maker guitar shop, but to my surprise, he would just receive the guitars at cost... no freebies. He couldn't even try a guitar before he paid for one, so he backed down.

I'd check the offer and test it before you jump in the water.
Try adding more delay.
#20
Quote by telecastrmastr
I was in a band with a dude that got a potential endorsement from a popular custom maker guitar shop, but to my surprise, he would just receive the guitars at cost... no freebies. He couldn't even try a guitar before he paid for one, so he backed down.


A lot of people seem to think you just get free stuff, and maybe with cheaper stuff like picks and strings it's easier, but you have to be a reasonably big deal to just get given free guitars. I was watching a rig video for Lee Malia from Bring Me The Horizon, when his signature Epiphone was still being worked on, and he/ his tech was talking about Gibson lending them guitars for their US tour, that they were swapping out pickups in.

But then I'm sure I saw a video with someone (maybe Joe Trohman from Fall Out Boy) who said that they bought a guitar from a store and then Fender (or whoever) reimbursed them.

Speaking of Joe Trohman, artists will often switch brands when their contract is up; I think Fall Out Boy were with Washburn at one point, then moved to Fender and Gretsch, Paul Stanley has been with Washburn and Ibanez (amongst others I would imagine), Tom Delonge went from Fender to Gibson, Eddie Van Halen has had so many... the point is, you're not stuck with one brand forever.
#21
It depends on the company and the deal. If you get free guitars, why not? If you have to pay and they don't appeal to you...dunno.
Maybe you should try one first and decide what you want to do, so have them ship you one if they can so you can think about it.
#22
I agree that it's important to try the guitars and if you like them and deal sounds fair, go for it. Diabolical is right that with some endorsements you need to read the fine print. I have never been offered a deal and never will but I played in band back in 1989-90 with a very successful songwriter who had the gold records on his walls to prove it. One of his songs got to #6 in Billboard (recorded by a very popular band). He ended up getting a Gibson endorsement which he had for many years (I'm not sure if it was all free stuff or greatly reduced stuff). He told me he had an issue with Gibson a few years earlier when a local magazine took pictures of his band in the studio while they were recording. One of the songs being recorded just needed a different guitar tone so he borrowed a Fender Strat for the recording. When the article was published he got a warning letter from Gibson stating that should refrain from being photographed with any other guitar brands or risk losing his endorsement. This was just a random studio picture.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#23
Quote by Rickholly74
When the article was published he got a warning letter from Gibson stating that should refrain from being photographed with any other guitar brands or risk losing his endorsement. This was just a random studio picture.


Yeah, it is a serious deal. BTW, I remember when Dave Mustaine had every endorsement under the sun, Jackson guitars, Rocktron processors and Line6 processor/head amp, he got around by having the Line6 endorsement because he only used the fx return jack and not the "processor" part
#24
Quote by Rickholly74
He told me he had an issue with Gibson a few years earlier when a local magazine took pictures of his band in the studio while they were recording. One of the songs being recorded just needed a different guitar tone so he borrowed a Fender Strat for the recording. When the article was published he got a warning letter from Gibson stating that should refrain from being photographed with any other guitar brands or risk losing his endorsement. This was just a random studio picture.


It amuses me when guitarists talk about recording and using their signature gear/ stuff they endorse, then throw in, "well, I layered this with a Les Paul," or "I used a Strat/ Tele for a different sound here"; I suppose they're all big enough to get away with it.
#25
Most of the time stuff that ends on record is not the endorsed gear, or maybe is just partially the endorsed gear.
Back to the example of Megadeth - on their last album there isn't a single organic amplifier sound, its all AxeFx or plugins, as is most of their live show, yet they're Marshall endorsees.