Lots of OMG shock horror on various guitar forums at the moment. Joe Satriani has apparently decided to dump his longstanding endorsement of Peavey amps and use Marshall JVM410′s on the upcoming tour of the new “Supergroup” Chickenfoot. Despite having the Peavey JSX signature series heads made to his exacting specifications, Satriani has decided to go for the new(ish) 4 channel head from marshall.
Now lots of people are pointing out quite correctly that Satch doesnt actually use the 2 distortion channels on his own amps & instead uses his own signature distortion pedal, made by Vox…. The Satchurator through his Peaveys clean channel and that its unlikely that there will be much difference in tone through the clean channel of a JVM.
Whatever the reason its good news for Marshall, who, thanks to the exchange rate and a much revamped product line, seem to be regaining ground lost in recent years. But all this news has done to my mind is point out the absolute nonsense surrounding Endorsement deals and the “signature” product industry as a whole.
Its quite common knowledge that a guitarist may be endorsing one brand of amplifier or guitar, while actually using another. The biggest culprits for this racket must surely be Laney & Crate, who whenever I see the artists in their adverts onstage its usually with another brand of amplifier. When Oceansize mentioned how good Laney were in a recent issue of Guitarist, it was embarrissing to see in the accompanying pictures of their backline a Marshall JCM2000 head perched atop a Laney 4 x12 in the background. Crate are also comical in the way most of their endorsers either endorse cabinets only and use another brand of amp ( Marcos Curiel from POD with a Mesa dual rectifier) or just practise amps (Lita Ford/Yngwie Malmsteen). In the early 90′s Bon Jovi’s Ritchie Sambora had a wall of Fender Tonemaster heads onstage and hidden behind them 5 rackmounted Marshall JCM800′s . Even Status Quo allegedly have Vox AC30 chassis built into Marshall JCM cabinets.
The biggest pisstakers in all this though are a tie between
1: Metallica – Kirk Hammetts new signature Randall Head isn’t all he uses, he still confesses to using Boogies live, with the bulk of his tone being created by Triaxis preamps and Dual Rectifiers again, and while James Hetfield talked to Guitarist mag about using a Diezel VH4 as the main amp in the woeful “St. Anger “sessions. His producer Bob Rock told Guitar world it was all done with a Marshall DSL100. Not that I imagine they’d be queuing up to admit to that one…..Ahem.
2: Eddie Van Halen – THe 5150 brand is now ubiquitous, with products made by Fender, Dunlop, Peavey, Musicman & Kramer. The big problem here is while Eddie is a legend, do you really want to buy equipment from a man who hasn’t written anything decent for 17+ years & made all his greatest work on a “parts” guitar costing $50 & an old Marshall plexi?
As with guitars it gets even weirder. Despite having longstanding endorsements with PRS & Gibson. The one guitar Rush’s Alex Lifeson has used as his main recording guitar for the last 2 decades is a decidedly non collectable 52 reissue telecaster. Lifeson bought it in 83 and its on pretty much every Rush record since then.
Obviously a musician has the right to use whatever he or she feels does the job best. But in this world of massive advertising campaigns and marketing hyperbole. It’d be nice to see some honesty rather than PR for a change.