The Reviews Section - please read.

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TTonyTTony Frets: 11146
edited February 2016 in Reviews Guidelines
The purpose of the reviews section is to share knowledge and opinion, in an easily searchable format, about the gear that we own and have used.

It is expressly not intended to be for reviews of the shiniest newest model release designed to encourage GAS - we'll leave that to the magazines and certain YT channels.

This is for real-life, warts'n'all, I've owned and used it for ages, reviews.

So, you should have owned & used the item for at least 3 months, and the longer the better.  

Also note that writing a "this is absolutely stunning bargain" reviews today, followed by a FS ad tomorrow will be "discouraged".



Reviews will be subjective - it's all about your opinion and assessment, against your criteria and based on your experience.  So expect and accept that someone else may well have a different opinion on the exact same piece of gear.  We'd like to encourage a follow-on debate for each review, whether that's Q&A, a request for more details, or whatever.  If you post a review, please be ready to contribute to any replies to your review.

Each review should have its own thread.  So, if someone has already reviewed the exact same guitar, amp or whatever, you're very welcome to add your own comment to their review, but if you want to write your own review, please do so in a separate thread.



To help search the reviews, the format of the headings should be consistent;

Manufacturer - Model - Variant - Year



We debated having a fill-in-the-blanks template for the reviews, but decided to keep it less formal and use guidelines instead.  See the next post for the guidelines, which we'll keep updated based on experience and feedback.  

However, for consistency, it might help if the review was split into a series of separate posts;

Post1 - the words
Post2 - the pics
Post3 - (optional) any other media (videos, soundclips, etc).

As soon as you submit the first post to create the new thread, immediately "reserve" the 2nd and 3rd posts in your new thread by posting replies (which can be simple ".." comments).



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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 11146
    Guidelines for the Reviews section

    Getting the style right is important.  Guidelines can only take us so far.  Reviews which we read elsewhere often have styles which are not appropriate. Google style reviews are rewarded.  Amazon style reviews are written to promote click through.  Magazine reviews are to entertain as much as inform, and have to be pitched at an uninformed reader.  It's easy to get irritated at the “Hi there, it's ABC from XYZ with a review of ...” approach which we frequently find on YouTube.

    Where possible reviews should be text accompanied by pictures and sound clips or videos.  The value of sound clips and videos should not be underestimated.  They describe not only the item, but the way in which it is being used, and establish the reviewer's credibility.

    The written review title should include the manufacturer, model, variant, year (where known) and any key features
    eg. Gibson - Les Paul - Standard - 1959 - 7 string.


    The review should include:
    A description of the item
    An overall verdict or summary of the reviewer
    The reviewers qualifications for reviewing; eg. I've been gigging this for the last three months, having previously used …
    How have you used it - gigging, non-gigging band, solo-playing (etc).
    When acquired, and was it new/used/traded?
    Discussion of the features, concentrating on what makes the product different.
    Good points, and why?
    Bad points, and why?
    What have you done to it and why; eg. rewire, pickup change?
    Why do you like/hate it enough to post a review?
    Why might anyone else want to buy/not buy one?
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  • JookyChapJookyChap Frets: 4163
    I guess the 'owning for 3 months' rules me out, but I'll try my best to do something should the situation ever arise ;)

    Great idea though and @Roland has set the bar high. Well cool
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  • Awesome, I think this could be a really good section if it is done right. 
    2016 No-GAS Challenge
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 11146
    Any thoughts / suggestions - @meltedbuzzbox & others - about how to get it right would be gratefully received.  

    Seriously, we're making this up as we go along, and I'm sure we'll refine the initial approach as we get some experience and feedback.

    So, suggest away.


    My first thought is whether we could set-up a dedicated "theFretBoard" YT channel to host all the videos ...
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  • JookyChapJookyChap Frets: 4163
    I'd seriously consider trying to find an editor rather than a mod. Somebody who will copy check the text/edit as needed before the reviews appear on the site, and make sure the standard is high and consistent. If you can find a proof reader and an editor (separate people) better still.

    I'd probably go further and publish every Friday or Monthly or whatever, so there is a schedule and an 'appointment to read' as it were. Package it as the tFb magazine maybe, once you've got the content standardised as far as format, why not, you just need a table of contents.
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  • the hardest thing is to be unbiased but I think you generally have the right criteria.
    We do have @Stonevibe to offer some insight and @impmann ;
    Even @Gassage might have some ideas of value

    I will add a review or 2 over the coming week. Hopefully we can get a lot going on here. 
    2016 No-GAS Challenge
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  • stonevibestonevibe Frets: 2631
    Yeah....


    But I'm an opinionated old git and so I just moan a lot. 
    How much does it weigh? & Does it play like butter?

    You can now read my insane guitar ramblings daily here http://www.gearnews.com
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  • The only thought I have at the moment is that I feel I could write a very informative review on quite a lot of equipment that I owned for much less than 3 months. 

    I've played enough kit now to know very quickly when something is going to work out for me or not and in the event that it doesn't I'll usually move it on quite fast. Often however in that time I've taken it to practice, played a couple of gigs with it, shown it to a few people and those type of reviews where you say "this is a cool piece of gear, but for me it had one fatal flaw" are probably going to be quite valuable to a lot of people more so than things I've had for a long time where I'm just going to say "The PRS DGT is the best guitar ever" or "The H&K Puretone is my all time favorite pedal platform" etc as I only keep stuff I really love and regularly gig. 
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1261
    @monquixote IIRC you've reviewed several pedals in the past. How about updating those , and adding a few sound clips?
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 5657
    edited February 2016
    Great idea.
    Sadly it'll make me even less popular with certain individuals on here. ;-)
    Although thanks to the new job, I may not have the time...
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  • Roland;977397" said:
    @monquixote IIRC you've reviewed several pedals in the past. How about updating those , and adding a few sound clips?
    Yes I'm planning to
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 6519
    edited February 2016
    Do we take it as a given that reviews should not come from manufacturers about there own products, whatever their scale?


    I.e I should never post a review of a guitar I built 3 months ago.

    Plenty of other areas of the forum where its appropriate
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  • markvmarkv Frets: 153
    I really like this idea. We have some fantastically knowledgeable players and builders on theFB and I am really looking forward to their insights. It's very different from the NGD/NAD "snapshots" of new kit, but also different from magazine reviews which, while usually informative, don't have the personal perspective that this could have. In fact, I think one of the most interesting things about this should be the reviewer's opinions about why it works for him or her.

    So, unlike @meltedbuzzbox, I don't think we want unbiased reviews. I think we want well-informed reviews that are specifically influenced by that person's experience, preferences and requirements, which are inevitably different from anyone else's. If someone wants to disagree, they can do so (respectfully) via the comments, or indeed write their own review.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1261
    WezV said:
    Do we take it as a given that reviews should not come from manufacturers about there own products, whatever there scale?


    I.e I should never post a review of a guitar I built 3 months ago.

    Plenty of other areas of the forum where its appropriate
    There's a separate section for manufacturers. A supplier reviewing his own product in Reviews will get stamped on quite quickly by forum members. That cynical form of marketing will ultimately do more harm than good to a product/company because it will blow their credibility. I'm not expecting to spend much modmin effort on that type of post, other than letting it sink, or moving it to another section.

    The Review section is aimed at products which other people might want to buy. All of yours are one offs. I'm very interested in your thoughts about them, what you think works and what you would do differently next time. As you suggest, Making and Modding is a more appropriate section for that, and I look forward to reading your posts!
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 6519
    Roland;977489" said:
    WezV said:

    Do we take it as a given that reviews should not come from manufacturers about there own products, whatever there scale?





    I.e I should never post a review of a guitar I built 3 months ago.



    Plenty of other areas of the forum where its appropriate










    There's a separate section for manufacturers. A supplier reviewing his own product in Reviews will get stamped on quite quickly by forum members. That cynical form of marketing will ultimately do more harm than good to a product/company because it will blow their credibility. I'm not expecting to spend much modmin effort on that type of post, other than letting it sink, or moving it to another section.

    The Review section is aimed at products which other people might want to buy. All of yours are one offs. I'm very interested in your thoughts about them, what you think works and what you would do differently next time. As you suggest, Making and Modding is a more appropriate section for that, and I look forward to reading your posts!
    I wasn't really just talking about me ;).

    We have other makers consistently posting reviews of their products in other sections. Some do it really well with a little link in their news thread in the relevant section. Others start multiple threads supposedly about other topics which happen to include a review and post in multiple sections.

    If that happens in this section it will quickly lose value.

    I think it might be worth having a rule to clarify this just for this section. The makers can be free to comment on reviews of their products but not post reviews of them themselves maybe?

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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 11146
    WezV said:
    Do we take it as a given that reviews should not come from manufacturers about there own products, whatever there scale?

    Definitely.

    Any manufacturer who "reviews" their own product will have the review removed.
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  • Great idea, BUT 3 months is way too long...

    Most people have moved gear on by then
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1374
    Great idea, BUT 3 days is way too long...

    I have moved most gear on by then
    FTFY ;-) 
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 11146
    Great idea, BUT 3 months is way too long...

    Most people have moved gear on by then
    The idea of the 3-month period is to avoid the "wow, just bought this, it's great" honeymoon period review.

    Our angle - our USP - is that we'll have reviews of gear that has been used over a period of time, so it's a proper "long term test" basis during which time the reviewer has got to know the product thoroughly, rather than that initial wow it's great, or knee jerk wow it's crap response.

    Also, for obvious reasons,  we will strongly dissuade someone writing a review this week, and then advertising the item for sale the following week.

    So, this is for reviewers who hold onto their gear for a little while, rather than the serial flippers!
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  • Great idea, BUT 3 months is way too long...

    Most people have moved gear on by then
    Stop and think about it for a moment...that's kind of the point ;)
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 179
    This will be cool. This will be great for those guitars that don't get reviewed that we own. I love my guitars, I love their flaws and their strengths and weaknesses and different sounds and foibles. Were you to read a mag review it would discourage you, but by speaking to someone who plays them and loves them warts and all then we can encourage some of those to be moved around the community more regularly . Just need to work out how to upload some. GoPro clips and get going
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  • xsheqxsheq Frets: 71
    In case it's of any use, I make films and have written for music mags like Clash, DiS, the Quietus etc.
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 10328
    I guess that excludes @Gassage .
    He's never owned anything for longer than 3 days let alone 3 months.
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  • TTony said:
    WezV said:
    Do we take it as a given that reviews should not come from manufacturers about there own products, whatever there scale?

    Definitely.

    Any manufacturer who "reviews" their own product will have the review removed.
    Well said @TTony
    They definitely need to reviewed impartially and independently by an owner of some time, not just someone that happens to have picked one up and played it or bought it a week ago.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 16239

    What about having vendor reviews section?

    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 11146
    What were you thinking @octatonic - what did you mean by "vendor"?
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 16239
    TTony said:
    What were you thinking @octatonic - what did you mean by "vendor"?
    Music shops, primarily- especially some of the lesser known online ones, maybe even eBay stores. 
    What triggered it was a cymbal purchase from an online store that is significantly cheaper than elsewhere.
    The reason why was that they were grey importing bits from the US so anyone considering purchase would benefit from knowing they are grey imports because warranty repair might (or might not) be more of an ordeal.

    I figured there would be equivalent sorts of stores in the guitar world and it might be good to have a repository of knowledge on them.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 5875
    Reviews of vendors then, not vendors reviewing stuff. :bz ?
    Let's turn our attention away from the Lion King to the lion bastards - the politicians. 
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 16239
    Reviews of vendors then, not vendors reviewing stuff. :bz ?
    Yes.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • GadgetGadget Frets: 294
    edited July 2016
    Firstly, apologies for the necromancy.

    Personally, I'd be a little concerned by the "expect and accept that someone else may well have a different opinion on the exact same piece of gear.  We'd like to encourage a follow-on debate for each review..."

    I think space for Q&A within each review is useful, as are expressions of thanks and requests for more details, but debate would suggest that someone with a differing opinion should be able to express it directly within your review thread.

    I think this is wrong and likely to put off all but the most thick-skinned of reviewers.

    If someone has taken the time to do a review, no matter how 'wrong' anyone else considers them to be, it should stand as their review. If anyone else wishes to express a contrasting opinion, then I think they should have to do that in their own, separate review.

    Think about it. You absolutley love your amp / guitar / pedal. You take time to right a well-informed piece about its virtues, following all the guidelines. Then 20 other forumites dive-in and tell you you must be some kind of tone-deaf nutter. Are you ever going to do any more reviews? I don't think so.

    IMHO it would perhaps be best to encourage dissenting readers to add something along the lines of simply "see my alternative review of this item at (insert link) ", then people can go and look there for a different take.

    I'm not trying to stifle opinion or debate, as that is obviously important, but the whole of the rest of the forum is for that. An individual's review should be just that, no matter how many and varied we have.
    I think, therefore.... I... ummmm........
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