Friday, 10 May 2013

Ravi Lyers: Rocking Raagas

Performed for the first time ever, this track from Ravi Iyers first album - Rocking Raagas, received a standing ovation from the audience at Dadar Chowpatty, Mumbai.
Vravi Guitar Fusion is an Indian Classical Fusion Project by Guitarist Ravi Iyer from Mumbai. For More Info visit

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The Guitar used by Ravi is a custom made Vravi signature series guiter by ace luthier - Sunil Shinde from Malad, Mumbai. The Guitar Amplifier used is a BE3 Custom Amp manufactured specially for Ravi Iyer by Mohammed Ansar of BE3 Amplifiers, Nerul, Navi Mumbai.
On the Tabla is Rupak Dhamankar and on the Bass is Crosby Fernandes
Camera Audio

The Revival of the Bandstand Festival is held every year from Feb to May to revie the bandstand culture of the pre independence days of Mumbai. Places in Mumbai where Police and Army bands played in the evening for an audience were called Bandstands. some of them were in Hanging Gardens, Horniman Circle, and Dadar Chowpatty.

Gigs are held every Saturday at these venue and feature music acts from Mumbai and Pune.

The place is also used by a bunch of Breaking/B Boy-ing Crews for practicing their moves. you can see them in the background behind the artists. Sometimes they try to match up to the music being played.

Inward Eye - Vravi Guitar Fusion @ Revivel of the Bandstand Festival

Vravi Guitar Fusion - Rain song - Live @ Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Ray Russell: Now, More Than Ever New album

Ray Russell: Now, More Then Ever
Ray Russell: Now, More Then Ever w/ Gary Husband, Jimmy Johnson, Anthony Jackson, Mo Foster ** Ships May 21

A bona fide guitar hero in his native England, Ray Russell bridges musical worlds on Now, More Than Ever, his potent debut on the Abstract Logix label. Russell’s latest release comes seven years after his last studio recording, Goodbye, Svengali, the innovative guitarist’s heartfelt tribute to the late Gil Evans. Featuring an all-star cast, including drummer Gary Husband, bassists Jimmy Johnson, Mo Foster and Anthony Jackson, this bold outing straddles that no man’s land between rock power and unfettered jazz improvisation while conjuring up ethereal guitar synth soundscapes along the way. From the hard-hitting opener, “The Island,” fueled by Husband’s muscular backbeat, to the urgently swinging, organ fueled “Way Back Now,” a brilliant showcase of the great guitarist’s blistering chops, to the blues-drenched, heavy duty “Slow Day,” the funky “Rubber Chicken Diner” and the atmospheric duet “Suddenly they are gone,” Now, More Than Ever stands as one of the more dynamic outings in Russell’s extensive discography. Fans of John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth and Terje Rypdal will want to check out this latest triumph from one of fusion’s great innovators.

The creator of such groundbreaking and seminal jazz-rock works as 1968’s Turn Circle and 1969’s Dragon Hill, guitarist-composer Russell emerged on a fertile ‘60s London music scene as a ubiquitous session musician, along with fellow six-stringers John McLaughlin and Jimmy Page. And though he may not have ultimately attained the guitar hero status in the United States as his two UK contemporaries, Russell has remained a highly respected figure throughout the world whose each new visionary release is met with wild anticipation by the cognoscenti. His latest effort puts a premium on fretboard pyrotechnics while providing listeners with indelible grooves from some formidable rhythm tandems.

Russell and his crew come out of the gate with furious intent on the opener, “The Island,” which is fueled by Husband’s crisp, muscular backbeats and anchored by bassist George Baldwin’s precise unisons and insistent walking beneath Husband’s throbbing pulse. A hard-hitting number that is bristling with chord changes, it is the “Giant Steps” of fusion. Russell ‘throws his sound around’ at the outset, in the tradition of Jimi Hendrix, Terje Rydal and Pete Cosey, before erupting with some blistering, fleet-fingered fretboard fusillades. Husband’s brilliant drum solo has a narrative flair to it, a la Joe Morello’s “Take Five” solo with the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet. Husband also lays down the foundation for the syncopated, slow grooving “Shards of Providence,” which is fueled by Jimmy Johnson’s inimitable, bubbling bass lines. Russell’s guitar solo here in rocking and blues-tinged while Jim Watson adds a killer Fender Rhodes solo to the proceedings.

Watson’s burning organ work in combination with Anthony Jackson’s walking contrabass guitar lines and Ralph Salmins’ swinging pulse on the kit sets a jazzy tone on the intro to “Way Back Now.” The piece segues to head banging rock and a provocative rubato section, then builds to a swinging crescendo on the strength of Watson’s killer organ solo, and Rupert Cobb puts a mellow capper on the proceedings with some subdued muted trumpet statements that, inevitably, summon up the spector of Miles Dave. Russell’s six-string work throughout the many phases of this ever-shifting opus is positively brimming with fretboard heroics. “Slow Day” is a rockified anthem that has Russell unleashing with wild whammy bar abandon on his Stratocaster. “Suddenly, they were gone” is a tender duet with synth wizard Watson that recalls Jeff Beck’s lyrical opus, “Because We Ended As Lovers.” On the other side of the dynamic coin is the slamming funk-rocker, “Rubber Chicken Dinner,” an organ-fueled, Deep Purple-ish number that has Russell wailing in unrestrained fashion like a Ritchie Blackmore on top of Mo Foster’s funky pocket hookup with drummer Salmins. “Odd Way Out” opens with Russell’s evocative chordal swells while trumpeter Cobb adds some ambient touches with his echo-laden trumpet work. The piece resolves to a somber yet lyrical ballad feel that quickly segues to a slamming rock progression that triggers some of Russell’s nastiest six-string intentions. The album ends with the evocative “Cab in the Rain,” which combines infinite sustain melody lines over gently picked acoustic guitar arpeggios for a whimsical, merry-go-round kind of vibe.

Though Russell has an abundance of recordings to his credit, from small group sessions to soundtrack recordings for movies and tv, Now, More Than Ever stands as a primer for the wide stylistic swath that this inspired artist continues to cut with his trusty six-string in hand.

Ray Russell: Now, More Than Ever Album EPK (Releasing May 21, 2013)

Eric Gales,Doug Pinnick: premier guitar interview

Eric Gales Photo by Willem Kuijpers
Interview: Eric Gales & Doug Pinnick - Gospel Grooves & Abnormal Blues
Joe Charupakorn

Eric Gales, King’s X bassist/vocalist Doug Pinnick, and former Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen hole-up in the studio for two weeks and emerge with an album full of blazing blues-prog.

Read more:

Eric Johnson: Tests Out the American Vintage '59 Strat

Fender signature artist Eric Johnson A/B tests the new Fender American Vintage Strat '59 against one of his original '57 Strats to compare the tones.

For more information on the Fender American Vintage '59 Strat, visit

Eric Johnson Tests Out the American Vintage '59 Strat

Anastasiya Vorovey: Superb jazz Trio

Anastasiya Vorovey
Anastasiya Vorovey Trio
Смотри профиль участника Мастер-Джем Феста:

The video-presentation for participation in the try-out tour of the first international festival-contest of jazz improvisation skills "Master-Jam" (Odessa).
MJF2012-Guitar-Anastasia-Vorovey-Germany-01 (full)

MJF2012-Guitar-Anastasia-Vorovey-Germany-02 (full)

NASTYA VOROVEY TRIO Round Midnight(T.Monk)
Смотри профиль участника Мастер-Джем Феста:

The video-presentation for participation in the try-out tour of the first international festival-contest of jazz improvisation skills "Master-Jam" (Odessa).

Morgan Pettersson: Waves of Shred Guitar Competition

Morgan Pettersson: My entry. I use a Fender American Standard Telecaster with a Dimarzio Chopper T in to a Marshall YJM.

Really nice backing track! Thanks a lot!
Morgan Pettersson Waves of Shred Guitar Competition

Tom Quayle,Yiannis Papadopoulos: Waves Of Shred Competition closes 1st June 2013

Poh Jindawech: Waves Of Shred competition

Gear : Ibanez 2570MZ, Roland Cube lite, Auria DAW iPad

'Waves Of Shred' Entry - Poh Jindawech

Tom Quayle,Yiannis Papadopoulos: Waves Of Shred Competition closes 1st June 2013

Pablo Romeu: Waves Of Shred Entry

My entry for the Waves of shred contest! Amazing backing track of Yiannis Papadopoulos!
I hope you like! Cheers!

Waves Of Shred Entry - Pablo Romeu

Tom Quayle,Yiannis Papadopoulos: Waves Of Shred Competition closes 1st June 2013

Dave Price: Waves Of Shred Entry

Here's my entry. I hope you enjoy it!

Waves Of Shred Entry - Dave Price

Tom Quayle,Yiannis Papadopoulos: Waves Of Shred Competition closes 1st June 2013

Rati Prachayanuporn: Waves of Shred Guitar Competition

เปิดสอนกีต้าร์ไฟฟ้า กีต้าร์โปร่ง ukulele สนใจติดต่อ
บทเรียนดีๆ + backing track + lick อีกมากมายที่

Waves of Shred Guitar Competition - Hut's entry -

Tom Quayle,Yiannis Papadopoulos: Waves Of Shred Competition closes 1st June 2013

Dmitriy Zhirnov: Waves Of Shred Competition

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Enjoy and feel free to comment)) Thumbs up if you like it).
Thanks for watching)

WAVES OF SHRED ENTRY - Dmitriy Zhirnov

Tom Quayle,Yiannis Papadopoulos: Waves Of Shred Competition closes 1st June 2013

Christophe Godin: Gnô - Crass Palace - the new album

Christophe Godin: Gnô  - Crass Palace
"Momentum" first single from the Gnô new album "Crass Palace", available now :

Buy album :
Digital shop :
Gnô facebook fanpage :
Label :

Gnô _ "Momentum" _ issu de l'album "Crass Palace" (2013)

Greg Marra,Bruce Bouillet,Joy Basu: Lose an Earby and Collective Disorder

Greg Marra: Lose an Ear
Crushing instrumental shred by L.A. based guitarist and producer Greg Marra, featuring Ray Luzier (Korn) on drums, and Bruce Bouillet (Racer X) on dueling lead guitars.

Greg Marra: Collective Disorder
Greg Marra is a Los Angeles based guitarist and producer that has performed and recorded with Billy Sheehan, Philip Bynoe, Joey Heredia, Ray Luzier, Jimmy D'Anda, Andrew Freeman, etc. Greg has been featured in Premier Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player Magazine

Jasun Tipton: Cynthesis DeEvolution and ReEvolution

Jason Tipton: DeEvolution
Cynthesis sees Zero Hour members reuniting with the original vocalist, Erik Rosvold, and enlisting former Enchant drummer, Sean Flanegan. In many ways, the music presented on DeEvolution can be compared to Zero Hour, but there are also some key differences, which will be highlighted in this review.

As can be assumed, the main similarity is in the riffing. Jasun Tipton's immediately recognizable style is fully intact here. Heavy and pulverizing, almost all of the tunes carry his unmistakable rhythm work, deftly complemented by Troy Tipton's deep, grave bass tone. However, overall, the guitar work is less intricate than on Zero Hour material, especially their last two albums. Tipton also branches out, hence the need for a side project. He utilizes beautiful blues-tinged guitar phrasings, best audible on the short instrumental, "Twilight." This is not something he would have experimented with in a Zero Hour context. His Gilmour-like touch and wonderful tone is the underlying force to the otherwise melodic and heavy songs. Tipton plays a lot of keys on the songs to achieve deeper atmospheres, underpinning Erik Rosvold's soul-melting vocalizations. Actually "Shallow World" is defined by an entirely synth-driven aesthetic.

Erik Rosvold is by far the most underrated vocalist in prog, or even metal. It is a dream come true to hear him sing after all these years. The last album he sang on was Zero Hour's quintessential masterpiece, The Towers of Avarice. Think of the song "Reflections," in which he delivers one of the most moving vocal performances ever atop acoustic guitars and synth inflections. Amidst the heavy and super technical material, that song stands out easily. On DeEvolution, Rosvold sings in this style on many songs, most notably the aforementioned "Shallow World" and "Divided Day." The latter belies its true charm with its searing opening riff -- it is so heavy and relentless that one has to hear it in full to see the whole picture. Tipton breaks it down at key points, allowing Rosvold to shine through with a powerful 'chorus' that is arguably the catchiest thing he has ever sung.

The album closer "A Song of Unrest" is also a personal favourite. It blends together all the Zero Hour elements with soft passages, amazing drumming (check out the fills in the finale), and some of the best singing ever. Fans have never heard Rosvold sing like this -- his vocals soar on eagle's wings, particularly during the "Fly, Fly, Fly" section of the song. His emotional intensity is indeed goosebump inducing and Tipton's run-out sweeps, where he pays homage to the great Jason Becker, make this one of his greatest songs. This album is actually almost entirely written by Jasun Tipton (with lyrics provided by Erik Rosvold), so kudos to him for putting this band together.

Dino Alden's production is stellar as always. On this album, the sound is warmer, compared to the more angular material of Zero Hour, and the mix is awesome. The synth tones are prominent and vocals are given a more central role. The riffs come through during the heavy parts, which is usually the intro or outro, but take a back seat to allow the conceptual lyrics to reach the listener more effectively.

Whether DeEvolution surpasses the Rosvold-era Zero Hour albums remains to be seen. Personally, to me, albums like Metamorphosis, The Towers of Avarice, and Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond (with Chris Salinas) are genre masterpieces, but to many who had a hard time getting into later-day Zero Hour, DeEvolution is the album they have been waiting for.

Jason Tipton: ReEvolution
Cynthesis is a new band that reunites three of the original members of Zero Hour (Jasun and Troy Tipton, and Erik Rosvold) along with Enchant drummer Sean Flanagan.

ReEvolution is the second part of a dystopian trilogy begun with 2011's DeEvolution. The central character, a shaman, is sent out to gather more slaves. He comes across a tribe and senses a light within them that triggers a distant memory of his past. He realizes this is the original tribe he was taken from. He takes them back to the city and encounters what was done to the population and sets them free.

The album is a seamless mix of technicality and heaviness combined with atmospherics and melody

Roma Ivakov: Destroyer and Chamber of Solace

The severe amounts of headbanging kept knocking my earphones out. LOL at my gangsta necklace.
Roma Ivakov: Alpha & Omega
'Alpha & Omega' available at:

Roma Ivakov: Golden Stellar Pyramid

'Golden Stellar Pyramid' available at:

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Roma Ivakov - Destroyer (Play Through)

Official music video for 'Chamber of Solace - The Fourth Attainment'. Filmed and edited by Blake Egan 2013. Huge thanks to Kay Dickerson at 'Snipettes - Hair and Beauty' for costuming, hair and make-up. Music composed by Chamber of Solace

Chamber of Solace - The Fourth Attainment - OFFICIAL VIDEO

David Bond: Static Dorian Jamming on Tom Quayle's Suhr Classic

This week's free lesson snippet is focused on static dorian vamp soloing. I'm playing on a beautiful Suhr Classic lent to me by the awesome Tom Quayle.

As always, head here for the free backing track:

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Free Guitar Lesson - Static Dorian Jamming - David Bond

Carl Mörner Ringström: Random Patches Of Cool Trees

Carl Mörner Ringström - Random Patches Of Cool Trees

All music recorded and programmed by me.

Carl Mörner Ringström - Random Patches Of Cool Trees NEOCOLONY ALBUM OUT MAY 15TH

Carl Mörner Ringström - Neocolony

Neocolony is the Swedish guitar virtuoso Carl Mörner Ringström's debut solo album.

From arena-rock anthems like "So Who Votes In Favor Of The Heliocentric Theory?" to 80's synthesizer-laden tracks like "More Stick Than Carrot" via drum'n'bass inspired grooves in "Champagne Wishes And Caviar Dreams" and contemporary world jazz fusion in "The Cause". This album is a treat for fans of great songwriting, intense guitar playing and beautiful sounds and production.

Neocolony is Carl Mörner Ringström's first outing as a solo artist, after being active on the music scenes in Sweden and Denmark and playing around the world for over ten years. Carl has been heard playing in as diverse genres as balkan folk music, hiphop, straight ahead jazz, fusion, death metal and improvising over Steve Reich's music with an orchestra. All these influences have fused into one distinct, very personal sound with no boundaries of genre or style and with 100% energy and output.

Carl Mörner Ringström: Neocolony 

Richard Hallebeek: RHP II - big in Japan!

Richard Hallebeek

Promotion of RHPII at Tower Records in Shinjuku, Tokyo, may 2013

Now that's the way you want to see your CD... bang!! I even want to buy another one of those babies right now!!!!  just looking at those Japanese wrapped CD cases! Yeah! (copyright Dennis Leary)

Pro Series: insights into sponsorship

Pro Series: insights into sponsorship

Pro Series: insights into sponsorship

Truth In Shredding want to help you with your career prospects and are putting together a series of articles covering the actual work and pitfalls encountered by musicians.  This is the first in the cleverly titled “Pro Series”.  So first up is an article that can give you some insider professional insights  into the world of sponsoring.
Sponsoring... yes, you know, all those little questions that all guitar players ask themselves at sometime in their career.  How do I get it? What does it really mean to get it? Where do I look for it? What’s the selection criteria that instrument manufacturers use to chose their preferred artists?  and are all endorsements the same?
This will be a long and very boring reading for sure... 
If you feel that you are the kind of person who can't get to the end of it or just read small parts here and there you are probably the person who needs to read this the most!

It is good to know that there really are no easy, short, or “one fits all” answers to any of these questions. If you ask 100 sponsored players, you will probably get 75 different answers on how it happened. There are so many variables that come into play, the size of the company in question, what level you at in your career, how much exposure you have, how much you stand out from all the others players out there... yes the same ones asking the same questions.  Factor in personal chemistry, being at the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, luck..., just to name a few of them.  With that said, even if there is no “one” answer that fits all,  there are  better ways to proceed with your ambitions, compared to some others.
The Sure fired way of getting a tier one endorsement is that you are already at the top of your career and have become super famous, for example at Steve Vai’s level. Then you don’t really have to know anything about the process of getting sponsoring, all the sponsors you could ever want and more,   will come to you, without you even asking for it. But as we know, it not really that easy to become super famous as a guitar player these days, almost impossible, but it is for sure the best way in. So let’s look at it from a perspective that will make more relevance to the upcoming guitar player, that’s you right? The guy who who has amazing chops, but you’re just not super famous... yet!

Sponsorship... What it really is.
Before we jump at it is it is a good idea to quickly sort out what sponsorship really is.
And this is the most important part of everything in this text (so read it twice).

Sponsorship is business; and the only purpose of it is for brands to sell more of their gear. 

From the brands side it’s that they believe that having you in their team will sell more of the product in question or that they want a part of the image and exposure you can supply (which really is another way to say “sell more gear”).
From your side is it to get support with instruments (or other gear) and/or parts for gear when they break, a chance to borrow gear if you have a gig far away in another country. Also to get the exposure that being associated with a “name” brand can give you (online adverts,  clinics etc), all of which help you boost your career.  
It will help you tremendously to always have that in mind and to always treat all endorsement or sponsorships as business contracts, just like any other business relationship they do need to be managed for the best to come out of them and for them to go on for a longer time. Think about the way you write, for example, most people you deal with are older than you and not really part of the SMS/Facebook way of writing. So if you are contacting a potential endorser, use proper language, spell check communications, if you are not sure about it then check it with someone else before you send it. Always remember to be respectful, say hello and goodbye in a grownup way and leave all smileys and other Internet ways to write out of there (things like “lol” and other “internet words” grownups don't understand). Write like you would when you would send a CV for a job interview. Mistakes you make when writing in another language other than your native tongue can be okay, but work on your English or work with someone who can check your English if you are not confident about the quality.  

Sponsorship are relationships that rely on trust and credibility. This means you need to act as you say you will act. If, for example, you say “I will send you those pictures / text / info or whatever by tomorrow” then you must send whatever it was, by tomorrow, not in 3 weeks time.  If they ask you to send photos of yourself ASAP, then make sure you do it ASAP. Make sure those pictures meet the standards that are required, a webcam photo will not cut the mustard in today's media rich world. So make sure you get the details of what they require and deliver to that standard or better. If you are meeting face to face then you must be on time or a little early (you just never come late to a business meeting), shake hands and behave like adult.
This is not a one off thing, but is something that you should do with all the contacts you have, AR guys, gig booking guys, record label guys, media guys etc. (even if it is just a guitar website that has asked you to write a little lesson, deliver it in time). Always, always do things when you say you would do them and always do things you get asked for as soon as you possibly can. That way the business relationship is strengthened, your reputation and credibility are enhanced, business people will know you are a reliable guy. The opposite is also true, fail to deliver things, or deliver badly and that news is sure to get around.  
Everyone in the music business is looking for reliable people! 
The people you work with are spending both time and money on the relationship so they need to know that you are trustworthy, reliable and someone that delivers in time, every time. If you are super famous can you sort of forget this part,(you might even have someone who does that work for you) and no doubt if you are  super famous you'll not need to read this anyway!
So sponsorship is not just meant to be a ego boost to make you look cool among your friends, it is not a career measurement to make you look big, it is not a “get me some free stuff thing and get outta my way”, it is not a support of talented guys because someone really likes to be nice to super talented guys like you... (even if it does happen).  It is a business relationship pure and simple, and one that (hopefully) helps the brand sell more gear and (hopefully) help you to boost your career.

Sponsorship... A few words about free photos and other protected material.

One of the parts that an artist is responsible  for in a sponsorship deal is to supply material for the company to use, material that will be used for promotion etc, materials like photos, video etc.
All sponsor contacts you have will expect you to send free photos when you supply pictures. “Free photos” means that you have the right from the photographer to use the photos anyway you like, that you, or people you send them too, can use them in adverts in printed material or on the net without a photographer sending a bill for it.  Photos (text, music, paintings etc) are all owned by the person who took them, the fact that it is you who is looking great in the picture doesn't mean that it is your photo or that you can use it. The fact that the photographer gave a copy to you doesn't mean that you have the right to use it for anything but personal use. The photographer giving you the photo can send you a bill if you publish that photo on your webpage, or even worse, send a bill to the company you gave the photo to. If that happens, you can be pretty sure that this will be the last day of that relationship for you.

A photographer can send you a bill if you edit the photo in Photoshop as well, crop it or whatever Photoshop ideas you have in mind. So make sure you get the full usage rights for the photos from the photographer and preferably  in writing. You will need to get the right to publish, or for someone else to publish, your image to the public in any shape or form. Get it in writing even if it is your friend who took the photos. People can easily become greedy if they see their photo being published all over the world and you will have problem proving that said “use them”. Trust me, a photographer sending a bill for photos you supplied as free will, for sure, be the last you see of that business relationship.
Ensure that the photos you send are high resolution, well taken, pro looking photos. An iPhone snapshot of you in front of your computer in bad light just won't cut it.  
It is worth paying a photographer to get some good photos, especially if you don't have the ability to do them yourself. Good photos are always needed and you really need sets of them ready for promotion purposes, because one photo will not cover all your publishing requirements. If you can't afford a pro photographer, you might be able to find students at college who are studying photography or other media studies who need to build a portfolio of work and they might be happy to have a set of an upcoming player.
While you're at it, really think about your image, how do you want to come across in those photos, what message you want to send? Picture and graphics can also be a great way to stand out, so use it. Everything in the image can be viewed by a sponsor, so you need to think if they reflect the sponsors requirements, for example, don’t pose with another brand of guitar if you are sponsored by another company! Remember too that photos have a lifespan, so keep your stock up to date. So make sure you have good and free photos that you can use.

Sponsoring: Different levels and places.
If you are new to the sponsorship world, then it is good to know that there are many different levels of sponsorship out there, not just one... you know... the one that you want, the one  where you get everything for free...
Sponsorship can be everything from getting massive amounts of money (ask Tiger Wood what he thinks about it), all the gear you could dream of and loads of global exposure,  adverts of your beautiful face in the biggest guitar magazines... right down to getting a bit better price on limited amounts of gear, say a discount of 20% for a year from X brand.
Most companies have something similar to these levels or tiers.
1. Almost unlimited amounts of free gear and getting paid for using it.
2. Almost unlimited amounts of free gear.
3. Limited amounts of free gear (generally 1 or 2 instruments) and better price on all gear above that.
4. Better price on limited amounts of gear.
5. Better price on one (1) instrument.

Sponsorship can also come from many different places, even if it is for the same brand. It can, for example, come from the brand directly, from a countries distributer of the brand or from a local shop. From the brand directly generally means that it is active in all countries where the brand is represented. Sponsorship coming from a countries distributer, is generally  active in that country. And coming from a local shop that it’s generally active in the area where the shop is based. By active, I mean exposure of adverts, size of area to do clinics etc.
The brand (wherever the sponsorship comes from) pays their part of the deal with instrument support and exposure of your name. Instrument support can mean both the instrument itself and fast support when gear breaks while on a tour, or in the studio. The support you get can either be both of them or only one of them, and the last one is by far the best one to have, unless you are a bedroom based YouTube player only. A deal can involve a lot more than that, but all of that will be regulated by the contract you get.
You pay your part of the deal by using the gear in all your public appearances, supplying pictures, videos and other promo material when it’s asked for, being available for clinics when needed, having a good attitude towards the brand, having brand logos in your media (album covers, web pages and so on). What they get from you is also regulated by the contract, but you doing more is always a massive bonus from their point of view.
Most sponsorship deals out there are actually without a written contract; for example that someone might give or sell you some gear but never really use you as an artist in their sponsor team (and not really expect to hear from you again). Maybe giving the player a pedal if they make a demo video of it on YouTube, maybe sell someone a bunch of strings for a recording or a tour (often called tour support) or something like that. It is often a one time thing,  that should be looked at more as a short term support thing, rather than real sponsorship. 
There are several reasons for this “sponsorship without using it” and one of them is to tie an artist to the brand and hope for that he (or she) becomes bigger in the future and... conversely... just drop them if they don't. Have this in mind when someone is offering you a contract, just so you don't get tied to a contract to something you won't get anything, or very little, out of. 4 month later and your album have sold 2 million copies and the brand you really wanted offers you a good contract with massive exposure and you have to say “no thanks” because you are tied to a bad contract with a no-name brand that gave you a 20% discount and no exposure at all... well... It is just not worth it!

Sponsorship: how to outstay your welcome... “Sponsor whore”
There is a stamp/status out there that artists sometimes get from people in the industry that has several different nicknames that all can be summed up in one, “sponsor whore”. This is a negative stamp that gets slapped on artists that changes brands like normal people change their underwear.  An artist that is sponsored by one brand, but is always using another brand or seeking similar things or newer deals, swapping at the drop of the hat.  
Basically a guy (or girl) that jumps on anything they can get their hands on just to get some free gear. These people are not seen as loyal to the contracts they have. This is a stamp that is very, very hard to get rid of and stays with you once it’s been  stamped on you. The industry is small and a lot of the AR guys know each other and talk with each other and reputation spread fast and bad reputation spreads faster still. So what it all comes down to for you, since it really is the only thing you have to offer, is keeping your trustworthiness, your credibility and “sponsor value” intact.
If you change brands all the time what happens, after a while, is your fans stop caring for what you endorse because everybody knows you will move on to the next new toy and play any gear that you can get.  Then your values as a sponsor artist is completely diminished.  You really don’t want to end up there, so really think before you jump at anything, look at the endorsement offer for a bigger perspective.

  • Don't jump for things that are gear you don't really feel like using anyway.
  • Don't jump for brands that you can't see yourself using for many years.
  • Save your trustworthiness for the stuff you really want and/or really need.
The more fame you have, the more you can call on your trustworthiness with sponsors and the more they respect you for not jumping on any available deal. But it’s all like a cat, you only have nine lives to burn. When they are gone are you out of the loop, and most likely for the rest of your career. The value  of someone looking for sponsorship for the gear that they already use is very high. The sponsorship  value of someone who gets sponsorship from Fender after having played Fender for ten year is much, much higher than for the same person suddenly getting a sponsorship from Gibson.  The main advice here is avoid official gear changes unless you really have too and always ensure that when you are leaving a sponsor you do so without prejudice or bad feeling. Remember your new sponsor will see the way you behaved with your old ones.

Sponsorship: What about me... Let’s get started.
All brands are looking actively for artist more or less all the time, bigger brands even have people doing only that, AR (artist relationship) guys. All brands need sponsor artists to give a certain image to the gear, give credibility to the brand, to get the gear out there to be seen, to show the gear being used and so on. Some also use endorsement guys to road test gear, to see if it can take being on the road. It is next to impossible for a brand to get their gear out on the market without getting an artist (and hopefully the right ones) to use the gear.

Keep in mind... brands need artists more than artists needs sponsors.  
A little tip here is to always supply proper feedback on all gear they supply, both good and bad things about it. As mentioned previously, there are many brands using sponsor guys to test and evaluate gear even if they won't always say it or ask for it. But your feedback as a user is important information for product development or products to come, so make sure you always supply that feedback even if nobody asked you specifically for it. Also make sure that you really have tried the gear before you supply it, what you think about the guitar ten minutes after you got it is not really that useful information. Let them also know how the gear behaves after 5 years on the road.

Bigger brands are generally not really looking at the forefront of what is going on in the guitar community (player wise); they are mainly looking for players who already have an amount of fame or someone who is on their way to becoming famous. The artists they work with are mainly artists they have contacted themselves directly, really investigating them, checking them out  before they contract them. They go to festivals and concerts etc to check bands/musicians out and make contact with the players if they like them and they fit the sponsorship requirements.  From the guitar players perspective, just going out and looking for sponsorship from bigger brands by contacting people directly is almost impossible, unless you have good contacts who can put you in touch with the right people.  Knowing the right people is  a good way in a line of business to get anything in life, you’ll have to be social and you’ll have to be an easy going person. There is no time for the guy who his self obsessed.
Smaller brands are generally more on top of things and much more accessible, simply because they need to be just to get more out of the market.  This means that small brands really need artists much more than bigger brands do, and are much more willing to give you a try.  I would say that it is 100 times harder to get into a big name brand’s artist roster, than it is to get into a, for example, small and new brand making overdrive pedals.
Bigger companies have more muscles than smaller companies, they can offer better deals, more publicity, and more contacts with other artists and it is (generally) a higher status to be on their team.  Bigger brands have distributors all over the globe which makes the options for clinics etc so much bigger, so the bigger artists tend to go for as big companies as possible. 

Smaller brands don't really have the budget for that type of publicity and often have no distributors at all and generally have to work with smaller artists.
The most common way to get bigger brand endorsement, like 90% of all of them, is from the distributer in the country you live in. That is where it starts for almost most everyone. The distributors are normally much more on the ball and are aware of what is going on in their local area than the brands themselves. And, generally, much more open about getting someone less famous, maybe because they are good, have the right attitude, are influential in their area, even if they're not really famous etc.
So start by trying to get in contact with the distributors in your country or in the area you are active in.  If you relationship works well with them they will introduce you to the next level, from the brand themselves.  Don't try to rush it with taking too many big bites, let it take some time and get the better deal, if you recall Aesop's famous fable about the tortoise and the hare. And don't jump on anyone asking them for signature stuff as the first thing you do, it will only make you look like a guy who has no idea of how things work. They will ask you about making signature stuff when you are ready for it... and when they can make money out of it.

Wherever you try to start,  there are lots of people working with some kind of AR, someone who is looking for more or less the same thing in the people they choose to work with. They are all looking for someone that has loads of exposure in any of the forms available, live playing, selling albums, media, YouTube or other web related activity. If you are playing 200 gigs (and not super small ones) a year, you are selling massive amounts of albums or are in media all the time, then it will be much easier to get in than if you are playing in your bedroom only.
The AR guy is also looking for an artist that is respected among other artists, guys or girls that will influence other players. For example, these are likely to be the most respected player or teacher in your town, the guy that people look to see what he's using and what are his settings. That is also very attractive for the brands to get hold of, players with kudos. But the truth is, the more of the first you have (fame), the less of the second you need to have.  And vice versa, the more respected you are, the less famous you have to be.

Artists are sort of divided into two categories by AR people, either as artists that make other people want to take up playing an instrument (influence people that aren't musicians) or artists that influence people that already play (influence musicians). The first type of artist is more important for the AR people then the second, but both types are needed for the company to reach out and sell product.
They are also all looking for someone that stands out from the crowd, either image wise, playing wise or even what sex you are. There are 10000 male guitarists for every 1 female guitarist, so the female can have a much higher chance of success at sponsorship and career wise because they have a higher rareness value and have a potential of opening up new markets for female players. Girls are still significantly underrepresented in the guitar field. Guys might find this upsetting from an ego perspective, but that is just the way business works, people can be more interesting just because they stand out.
The female perspective is a big one. All brands would love to see that more  girls starting playing and getting into guitar and gear more (doubling the potential market opportunities) and girls playing can be a much better influence for other girls to pick the instrument, much better guys playing, ten times better. So try your best to be original without going stupid with it.

This might be surprising to you, but how good you are as a player is only a very small part of the all things that are being looked at.   How much exposure you have is a hundred times more important or valuable than how good you are as player. If you are super famous,  you do not really have to know how to play at all, you’re in anyway. If you have something most of the others don’t do you also have doubled your chances.
Being the best player in the world, but only in your bed room, has very little value for anyone beside yourself. Work on getting out there, take all gigs you can get, make yourself seen and heard. Record music and get your playing out there. But, make sure that it is up to the right level before you do so; be hard and critical on yourself. But don't let being your own worst critic drag you down, just use it as a force that pulls you forward and the drive to evolve as a player. Ask people you trust to be honest about where you stand. 

Getting out playing with people is a good way to get a measurement of where you stand in the scheme of things. Being able to play the riff of that Metallica song or being able to pull that cool Petrucci lick off  is not really a good measurement tool of where you stand. You won't really be able to build a music career from anything like that ... both Metallica and Petrucci are already there (and much better at being them than you will ever be).

You have to consider where you are seen, what areas you play, as being important when you are in contact with distributors or shops. A distributor in Spain doesn't really care much for if you are playing 300 gigs a year in Norway. Under those circumstances you’re much better off contacting the distributor in Norway instead.  So contact people on the market where you are active.  
The brands themselves are more global and wants to been seen all over the place, but distributors only care if you are seen in their territory. So again, look for sponsors in the area where you are active, where you are seen, as a player.

For many years having  “loads of views” on the net been a great way to get sponsors attention, finding gigs etc, but over the last year or so it has started to lose a bit of its’ power as a marketing tool for sponsors and gig places. There are three main reasons for this, first people can buy their own video views, both legally and illegally, which means the view stats are of no real use for the AR people or booking people as they have no real idea if the views are credible and where those views actually came from. Are the people looking at you real? are they from their area, maybe where you are looking for a gig or a sponsor? Who knows?
As previously mentioned, a distributor or club in Italy doesn't care much if you have one million views from people in Scotland. Make things so people can see where your audience is, doing gigs and getting an audience for it or album sales is still the best way for that. Whatever you do, do not take short cuts, scams for building online profiles are just that... Where possible, you need to keep real evidence of your popularity, be seen as a goto guy for real reasons, not because you paid for views nefariously .

The second reason why the loads of views model will not work. It has been done too much already and it has lost a bit of its excitement and appeal. Consistently high views counts for your video output is  still a good way to get noticed, or if your video is part of some commercial offering, like Jam Track Central for instance, seeing how your video analytics compare to others with a similar commercial offering. Overall, the industry is looking for something new from players, some new  way of reaching the right people, those who are going to buy guitars and music gear.   If you can invent that “new” then you have a golden egg in your hands. Be creative,  be credible, be knowledgeable, be approachable, be social.  Sit back and think about new ways of doing things, you can learn from other channels, but you have to be aware that the unique quality is what makes the channel sticky, not the fact that it looks the same as another channel. So spend some time, think about your value proposition and try to come up with a new way to get your stuff out there and to make yourself seen.
Sponsorship:  To sum it all up
Fame, being famous will always be the best door opener. So if you really want it, make yourself famous. Throw raw meat at people or paint yourself in the face have worked before and will probably work again, a little tip for your quest for fame.  
Someone that stands out from the crowd by having something that not all the others have.
It can be playing wise, music wise, image wise, personality wise, figure out what you have to offer and remember that you are not static and you grow all the time, so you need to keep reinventing yourself, getting rid of the bad parts and incorporating the good parts, the new connections. So make sure you give all those parts some thought, it won’t happen by magic, you'll need a plan, a plan that changes but has overall direction, take an holistic approach,  think about yourself in the round, the whole artist package. Remember that your future income will come from many sources and each avenue needs to be cultivated and nurtured  or culled if they are unproductive.
When the deals come along, don’t just jump at the first opportunity. Get someone that understands the business side of sponsorship, who understand that it is a business relationship, to read, understand and follow all the contracts you get as they have to be managed during their lifecycle. The bottom line is always, read and understand them before you sign them.

Remember that someone who already plays the brand and who is looking for an endorsement  will have a huge advantage over someone who plays something else.  Remember also that the higher the tier of the brand the less likely you are to get an endorsement.

Remember that responsiveness is a great trait to have, be someone who follows up on things and works with it, sends the pictures when asked for (and make sure they are free), who has pro pictures, featuring the brands in a positive light and not some cell phone snapshots, even if they are much quality now than they used to be.  Pro photos will stand out, will be well posed, will be positive to your brand.

Remember, someone that has a good and positive attitude and has an easy going personality will get on. No one has time for people who are not business orientated and understanding the brands objectives.
Remember, someone who is not stamped as a sponsor prostitute.  This takes some management, you can make mistakes, but make sure they are small ones, saving a few bucks early can cost you a lot more further down the line.
Remember, someone who can play their instrument very well. And here, the most important part,  is not your trick bag of techniques but; timing, tone, intonation (musicality) and/or originality... these are the most important parts.  Technique is something almost every little kid has these days, so you need more to stand out.  Being a one trick pony will get you noticed, but it won’t build your career, regardless of how many plates you can spin with your left foot, whilst tapping out wide interval octave dispersions with both hands.
Remember when you send a presentation mail to someone, make sure you write it properly, but also make sure that it’s short and to the point, have direct links  to everything you want them to hear or see (URLs with their full paths starting http://).  No one has time for novels or to Google you. There is an upside to this in that  you get to present the information in the order in which you want them to view it, with the most important item first.  Present your personal information in a normal way, don’t puff it up or sugar coat it,  so that everything  sounds bigger than it actually is. Be realistic, provide facts that help people to see your business potential.  Don’t ever lie or exaggerate things to make things look better than it is, if you have 200 people to your shows with your band, don’t say 500. It is a small world and lies will catch up with you. Stick to telling people about things that are actually booked or planned.  Your future plans, dreams are what motivate you, but they are not really worth anything to the business. It does not diminish you in anyway and you should have loads of plans and dreams, but keep them to yourself and your friends until they are in writing.
Finally, Remember, present yourself or your band as it is. Write about who you are, why you contacted them, what you have to offer them and what you want in return from them. Attach links and material so it is easy to see and demands minimal amounts of effort from the reader. Make you package as accessible and easy for them as possible, create a check list for your EPK  and make sure it’s professional... don't miss out the important information that shows your ability to sell product, the tours, the records,  the names of record labels, booking agencies etc in there. Quote any professional level attributions from pro players.
And last but not least, don't make no replies or “thanks, but no thanks” an issue,  just keep your head up and keep going, work on your brand and then your day will come!!  

"if you actually read all of this are you the kind of person that can succeed with your goals. You read the fine print too... If not  you are most likely the kind of guy... well what's the point... you didn't get here did you?"