It was about marketing; nothing more, or less. Artist endorsements used to be limited to really great players, but these days some of the artists they choose as endorsers don’t impress me. With regard to the Monkees, I think it came down to Gretsch trying to make lightning strike. They had Chet as their star endorser, then George Harrison appeared on Sullivan playing a Country Gent and, without an endorsement agreement, Harrison gave Gretsch publicity that reached a new generation.Generally artistic endorsement on instruments was from virtuosos - Chet or Les.
no insult to the Monkees but they are what they are - a production of song writing - marketing, studio musicians etc. and the Monkees - a team.
But players - no way. Tork’s bass 6073 is sweet don’t get me wrong - but Tork ain’t Chet. Nor was he a bass player anyone was following.
I always found it an odd endorsement as they are not inspirational players.
When the Monkees came along, Gretsch would falling all over itself to get their instruments on that show. I don’t know if there was an artist endorsement deal in place, or if it was just aggressive product placement.
The whole thing makes no sense to me now. I can understand wanting to have the same instrument as one of your musical heroes, but these days it‘s all but reversed and I hear people talking about artists endorsed by gear manufacturers. That makes no sense whatsoever. An instrument is a tool, and an artists reputation shouldn’t be dependent upon which instrument they play. Not that I’m in any danger of becoming famous, but I would never desire an endorsement from an instrument maker.