Photography Hayley Madden
Spearheading a six-month social media campaign, six current and emerging UK artists and their guitarists are taking to the road for ♯TestDriveRevstar, to help influence and supercharge the electric guitar market.
Over the next six months BBC 6 Music favourites ‘The Dutch Uncles’, London based indie rock bands ‘Belle Roscoe’ and ‘Tenth Electric’, popular Manchester three piece ‘The Mantells’, highly acclaimed singer-songwriter Ellie Rose and hotly tipped newcomers ‘The Navettes’ will ♯TestDriveRevstar, capturing every aspect of the guitarists’ life with their new ‘other half’, including writing, rehearsing, recording and gigging.
♯TestDriveRevstar will culminate with a unique gig at prestigious London record shop and music venue Rough Trade East that has entered into an innovative and far-reaching musical partnership with Yamaha.
As a prelude to an intensive day of filming, interviews and live performances at Yamaha’s UK Headquarters in Milton Keynes, over 30 musicians involved, along with their artist managers and label representatives, met over an informal dinner with Yamaha product managers and the creative team involved, including documentary film, music photography and TV production specialists.
The following morning kick-started the process of documenting every aspect of ♯TestDriveRevstar, with first stop, a tour of the stunning HQ showroom, to experience the scale of the Yamaha range and might of the world’s largest musical instrument brand.
Next came the moment the guitarists had all been waiting for as they entered the state-of-the-art live room where the full Revstar range was revealed and each guitarist was invited to try the guitars and select their ‘other half’.
With Revstars chosen, the six guitarists filmed interviews and were treated to a bespoke set-up by Yamaha’s in-house Luthier, in preparation for an afternoon of inspired live performances by all six artists who took centre stage for the launch of ♯TestDriveRevstar.
Robert Webster, Sales and Marketing Director – Yamaha Pro Music Division stated, “At the core of the #TestDriveRevstar campaign is music and the people who make it, bringing new artists together with our New guitars.”
Artists commented as follows:
Matty Gurry – Belle Roscoe
“Yamaha are pushing themselves into a new avenue with musicians. I thought to myself, if they get the sound right here, they’re going to have a great guitar – and yeah, they’ve done really well.
When we first came through, it was a bit like Willy Wonka asking the golden ticket kids to come into the chocolate factory for the first time. Just naturally everyone was drawn to a certain guitar. I certainly was drawn to one guitar – I tried all of them but the one I went back to was the one I was originally drawn to. When I plugged it in I was like – done. This is good.
My honest opinion and what I would say to anyone looking to buy a new guitar is to give these Revstars a chance because they will stack up to the well-known brands. It comes down to the sound and how it feels and there is something different here – I think it will speak to a lot of people.”
Tom Barrow – The Mantells:
“Today was like being a kid in a toy shop… really exciting. I ended up liking about four (guitars), so I had to whittle it down. I chose the Revstar 720CR… there was a bit more body than other guitars.”
“The first guitar I learnt on was my Dad’s Yamaha Orange Label acoustic. I was looking at what was on the market and it’s perfect for what I’m after. They’re beautiful, the finishes are really nice and it sounded so amazing. It’s really cool to come full circle and be back playing a Yamaha. There are some really talented artists here, I’m lucky to be amongst them.”
Peter Broadhead – Dutch Uncles
“I can imagine it working really well with our live set. I hadn’t heard of this new range so it’s always great to explore and research new things. This one might be removing the Les Paul from the set. It’s going to be seeing a lot of daylight over the next few months. Another good axe for the rig!”
Tom Owen – The Navettes
“The moment I saw it, I was like – that one. I saw it from across the room. It’s got show-off, it’s got grit to it – it was just beautiful. It sounded just heavenly, and you could hear everything. It was like getting a new dance partner. Yes – I have definitely found my other half.”
Mose Tronci – Tenth Electric
“When I walked in and saw all the guitars on the wall it was like a dream come true. I specifically liked the simplicity of the 820CR, it’s a beautiful guitar. It’s all about the tone. The neck of the guitar felt right immediately.
They’ve really done a great job in getting a tone that is very distinctive and you can switch from a tone that is more melodic to a hard rock sound. Playing the live show was incredible, great energy!”