by Bruce Adolph, courtesy of %%Christian Musician%%

We've come a long way baby! We remember the days when you would mention the biggest names in Christian music to different musical instrument companies: {{Amy Grant}}, {{Petra}}, {{Michael W. Smith}}, and you would be lucky if any of them had even heard of {{Amy Grant}}, let alone given a product endorsement to her. But through the years of Christian music growth and probably the persistence of both artist, management, and strategically (shall we say divinely?) placed individuals in certain instrument companies this has dramatically altered. There have always been small companies who are sympathetic to the cause (may God bless them for their generosity) but more and more in-roads are opening for Christian artist and major gear endorsements. Similar to their secular musician counterparts, the companies like to see that an artist has influence with the product (high visibility, touring, and records sales) and according to each company's standards they will evaluate an artist in their prospective market. They usually fall into two categories: "A" endorsement - the artist will be given free product in exchange for some type of promotional trade-offs (i.e. a print ad developed with the artist, press releases etc.) "B" endorsement - The artist will be allowed to purchase any product the company makes at wholesale or slightly below wholesale prices in exchange for promo trade-offs.

What has been an unexpected surprise to the major manufacturers is that artists they have agreed to enlist as endorsees have gone the extra mile and crossed over into secular markets, thus giving the companies more bang for the gear. A case in point, several years ago {{Michael W. Smith}} and Korg USA teamed up. {{Michael W. Smith}} was happy with Korg's keyboards and Korg's Brad Strickland (A&R man) had his first major artist in Christian music as an endorsee. One week after the agreement was reached, {{Michael W. Smith}} hit Billboard's pop charts with a top ten single. I could just see the guys at Korg saying "hey Brad, isn't that the Christian guy we endorse, what's he doing on the charts?" {{Jars of Clay}} is another good example. Now with secular labels involved in marketing Christian bands through current distribution agreements, you will see this happen more and more. Keep your eye on {{Newsboys}} and {{Deliriou5?}}, you can almost see the wave of endorsements coming their way.

%%Christian Musician%% took a sampling of different artists (both session players and solo or band artists) to show our readers "who's playin' what?" as far as endorsements go. Check out the artists and their gear listed below!

{{Steven Curtis Chapman}}
Sparrow Recording Artist/Songwriter

  • Taylor 510 Acoustic
  • Taylor 815C Acoustic
  • Taylor 810 Limited Acoustic
  • Taylor 910 Acoustic

"I have around 20 guitars that I own now. I played at least four Taylors on the ==Signs of Life== album."

{{Gordon Kennedy}} of {{Dogs of Peace}}
Sparrow Recording Artist, Songwriter and Session Guitarist

  • Langejans Acoustic
  • Tacoma Papoose P1-E Acoustic
    About the Papoose: "It's like if you go out on the golf course and you've got to have that certain size club to make the shot."
  • Fender Eric Clapton model Strat
  • Fender Jeff Beck model Strat
  • Yamaha O2R Digital Mixing Console
  • Matchless Amps HC-30
  • GHS Strings

{{Margaret Becker}}
Sparrow Recording Artist & Songwriter

  • Epiphone Texan Acoustic
  • Epiphone Emperor Electric Hollow Body
  • Epiphone Les Paul Electric
  • Epiphone Casino Electric
"All the Epiphones are great on the road. They can take the 'abuse' of hard use. They sound awesome in all their applications."
Tacoma Papoose P1-E Acoustic
"My Papoose from Tacoma is a charmer. Its high tuning coupled with the full-bodied sound makes for a great texture, somewhere in between a mandolin and a guitar."

{{Ashley Cleveland}}

  • Cadence Recording Artist & Songwriter
  • Gibson Custom Dove Acoustic
  • Gibson J-180 Acoustic

{{Jerry McPherson}}
Session Guitarist & {{Amy Grant}} Tour

  • Parker Fly & Nitefly Electrics
    "This tour I'm using a Nitefly. It has a more traditional feel that fits in with the vintage guitars that I use in the show. Great tone, great feel."
    Marshall Amps
  • Vox AC-15 Reissue Amp
  • Korg Toneworks Pedals
  • Danelectro Pedals
    "One this tour my solo sound is a Danelectro Daddy-O (Overdrive pedal) into an old Tweed Fender Deluxe Amp TONE!"
  • GHS Strings
  • McPherson Acoustics
  • Tacoma Papoose P1-E Acoustic
  • TC Electronics
  • G-Force FX Unit

Matt Slocum of {{Sixpence None The Richer}}
Squint Entertainment Artist & Songwriter

  • Epiphone Noel Gallager/SUPERNOVA w/ vibratone
  • Tacoma Papoose P1-E Acoustic
    "The Papoose has become my constant companion on the road. It has a great feel and a wonderful tone which projects very well. It is the ideal tool for large and small performance settings and it is perfect for working out song ideas. I love this little guitar!"

{{Bob Halligan Jr.}} of {{Ceili Rain}}
Songwriter

  • True Tone Sound M7 System Guitar pick-up
    "It produces a very realistic sound and can go loud enough to compete with electric guitars and drums."

{{Michael Hodge}}
Session Guitarist & Producer

  • Yamaha Pacifica USA Electric
  • Yamaha L11 Acoustic
  • Yamaha G50 MIDI Converter
  • Tacoma Papoose P1-E Acoustic
  • Peavey Classic 30 Amps
  • Yamaha O2R
    "What can I say? This baby [Yamaha O2R] is paying my rent by enabling me to work at home. More studio bang for the buck, more time for the wife and dogs."

{{Phil Keaggy}}
Myrrh Records Artist & Songwriter

  • Zion Electric
  • Olson Acoustics
  • Gibson ES-336 Electric
  • Parker Fly Electric
  • Langejans Guitars
  • Tacoma Papoose P1-E Acoustic
  • Heet Sound E-Bows
  • Audio Technica Mics
  • Crate Amps
  • GHS Strings

{{Tony Palacious}} of {{Guardian}}
Myrrh Records Artist & Solo Instrumentalist

  • Epiphone Les Paul Electric
  • Epiphone Sheraton II Electric
  • Peavey Tubfex Classic 50/50 power amp
  • Peavey Transfex Combo
  • Peavey Scheffield 4x12 Speaker Cabinet

{{Seven Day Jesus}}
ForeFront Recording Artist

  • Fender Bass
  • Matchless Amps
  • Aquarian Drum Heads
  • Ernie Ball Strings
  • Dean Markley Strings

{{Steve Hindalong}} of {{The Choir}}
Cadence Recording Artist, Drummer & Producer

  • Mlasko Quality Custom Drums

"Aaron Mlasko builds one kit at a time in his Seattle apartment. Mine was, I think, his official first. These maple drums are warm, rich and loud!"

{{Chris Rodriguez}}
Producer & Session Guitarist

  • Taylor 612C Acoustic
  • Taylor Grand Auditorium
  • Yamaha Pacifica USA Electric
  • Yamaha CS-150CEE Classic Guitar
  • Yamaha DG-1000 Pre-Amp
  • Peavey Classic Series 50 Amps
  • Tacoma Papoose P1-E Acoustic