This year we have seen some amazing successes and innovations for the guitar, the technology that surrounds playing it, recording it and practising the instrument itself. We have also seen some pretty horrendous ‘guitar failures’ and in this article, I list my 5 favourites from the last 12 months.
Ridiculous, useless guitar gadgets
Someone somewhere has an idea. They cannot understand why nobody has already done this and by sheer determination, they turn it into reality. Sometimes, this results in some incredible innovations. We rejoice at how great wondrous this new thing is and cannot imagine our guitar life without one in our gig bag from now on.
And then someone makes what can only be described as either a total waste of time or perhaps makes bold claims that are never realised and often based on pseudoscience or snake oil.
One such product for me would have to be the PickTape the absolutely pointless, plectrum holder based around some double-sided, foam backed tape. Even when I wrote about this product back in August, I was astonished that they could even claim it was beneficial in any way shape or form. I called it the ‘Pointless Product Of The Year’ and I still stand by my comment.
RRP – from GBP 3.99
17 String Scam – A Monster Disaster
Next up in my list of the Top 5 Guitar Fails of the last year is the unfortunate story of the Jared Dines 17 String guitar scam from October. Essentially the YouTube star ordered a ‘cool’ luthier built 17 string uber Djent machine and says he got fobbed off with a cheap Chinese knockoff instead.
Olson Guitarworks were cited as the offending con artists and luckily for us, he decided to expose the scam via his YouTube channel. You can watch the video below and hear the whole sorry story.
The Jammy is billed as a guitar you can take anywhere and practise on, with a telescopic neck and digital technology all packed into a portable package. Oh, and it has an App!
Pointless Practise tool
In my opinion, which you can read in full here, this product is useless as a practise tool for guitarists. Why? It’s flawed in one major area. What use is a guitar neck that slides up and down along the length of a virtual fretboard? This will never help you attain the proper finger strength and dexterity to play a normal guitar. Therefore, I feel it is a massive fail. Just buy a small 3/4 size guitar like this one if you need to travel and save around $4oo!
RRP – USD 449
Gibson Guitars 2017 – Double Whammy!
So for my Top 5 Guitar Fails of the year, the US guitar giant Gibson has managed to secure not one, but two ‘complete fails’ on my list. If I actually listed all their fails, I think they could have taken a lot more places, but these were the two most serious.
The Broken Les Pauls
How on earth Gibson managed to more than once show damaged guitars on their own website, we shall never know. I have seen internet forums and YouTube videos claiming sabotage from unpaid graphic designers to ‘it was a trick of the light’. Or that there was no damage shown on these pictures.
After the chipped and damaged Les Pauls presented as marketing images, we thought they must have learned their lesson. But no. Gibson followed this up with pictures of what look like cracked headstocks. On their own website! You couldn’t make it up.
A picture can say a thousand words
Either way, if you want to sell a guitar for over $5000 then make sure that your promotional photographs are impeccable like Fender or PRS manage to do on their sites and don’t put just any old photograph on your main page advertising your instruments!
Bill Kelliher Split
Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher didn’t pull any punches about Gibson earlier this year with his comments that we published back in October. How it ever got to this, nobody really knows, but it was a huge headline and many players were shocked that an artist was so candid and public in denouncing a company they were formerly affiliated with.
A huge PR fail and one that has resonated for quite some time and started many a discussion online by fans and detractors alike.