Monday, September 1, 2014

The koa camp

Just heard that the Ibanez AVNK14LTD koa model is now available at Swee Lee. I should be checking this out since the AVN standard model is a spruce top take.

Over at the Taylor camp, the GS Mini-E is currently being offered in koa as well (albeit a limited edition offering). 

Martin has its own LXK2 as well, featuring its own HPL technology.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Poll: Next gen Duncans

Hey, everyone. Thanks for taking part in the recent Seymour Duncan poll. Well, the results aren't surprising. The Black Winter & Nazgul received a fair bit of fanfare because these two are the most featured pickups (by the manufacturer) in the mean time. Thanks to Keith Merrow, the Nazgul is a proven performer, every bit competent when distortion comes to play. It's a very versatile pickup in this aspect. The Black Winter is a surprise package to say the least. Despite being touted to be mean, this humbucker is giving the Nazgul a run for its worth in terms of versatility- every bit competent in terms of distortion & a little extremity in the mix. In fact, Seymour Duncan is currently pushing it for its versatility & not the dark & doom vibe it was conceived under. In terms of control, the Black Winter can be overbearing if one isn't careful with one's overall tone so that's the 'danger' right there- the possibility of losing control. From personal experience, this is true at higher amp volume.

The Pegasus & Sentient are not to be overlooked in this aspect. The former is the geek member in this bunch; it's not averse to drive but if one needs to draw blood, the Black Winter & Nazgul do it better so it takes a back seat. For prog applications, the Pegasus is ace. Also, if one isn't interested in extras in terms of punch, the Pegasus is recommended. That leaves us with the Sentient. This one, ladies & gentlemen, is the spectre of the '59 & Jazz but moving on in a driven direction. I absolutely love this pickup in the neck, it might just be my next fav humbucker in there. It gives that saturation & transparency of a clean performer but once drive/distortion kicks in, the Sentient holds its own.

There you have it, the next gen Duncans in a nutshell. I'm thankful that these are made available in the 6-string version as they started out as 7-string models (less the Black Winter).

It's the end of August, a turn of the season awaits. The final lap of the year is here. That's how time flies.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fender: Triple Tele

Another intriguing release by Fender in its Classic Series selection- the Triple Tele. You'd argue it's another Tele out there now fitted with 3 single coils & you're darn right it's another Tele but those single coils- they are actually 3 bridge pickups. How do we know this? Simple- 3 mounting screws, not the usual 2 side screws for the neck. I'd like to try this one out as soon as it gets here to hear how this would sound in action.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gibson: SGJ 2014

It's been a fairly good Friday; I've finally tried Gibson's 2014 version of its SGJ model among other things. There isn't a drastic migration from its 2013 sibling but there are some stuff to note.
  1. The 2014 SGJ sports Gibson's 120th anniversary inlay
  2. Pickups are Gibson's uncovered, '61
  3. The bridge & hard tail are the satin chrome version
  4. Those knobs are huge Max Grip Black Speed
 The SGJ14 is a bright-sounding instrument unplugged. I wouldn't say it manifests a good degree of warmth often associated with bright sounding solid bodies strummed this way. It might be attributable to its overall weight. If you handle this guitar personally, you'd realize that much of the reverberation comes from the neck. After giving the SGJ14 an electric feed, the instrument isn't as thumping as a Les Paul (it shouldn't be; it's an SG!) but it sure doesn't sound like a thin-sounding cheapo. The pickups aren't contemporary affair but I'd say you can pull off those driven prog-esque tones with the help of a good EQ section. The knobs are love-hate for sure. They are grooved at the top edges but these are a little too tall to trigger a familiar reach.

Nothing too life-changing here, if you own the 2013 version, this wouldn't be an upgrade. However, you'd love the sustain here. In fact, it's one of the best.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fender: Rascal bass

Another newbie by Fender & it looks good. I love short-scale basses & this one seems to offer something different in terms of tone options. Yes, Fender has the Jaguar bass that offers some switching options but the Rascal here has a 5-way selector so you get a very guitar-like familiarity. Add to that a push-pull switch & there you have it- a lethal shorty with some voicings to boot. It won't be a piggy-breaking affair either as the Rascal here is a member of the Classic Player series. Something to look forward to, yes? :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fender: Channel bounding goodness

Fender has something new for us (but nothing revolutionary)- look at this bound-neck Tele. That's not actual binding.

Note that the 'binding' is of the same colour as the neck- well, that's the neck. This channel bound idea has the entire rosewood fretboard embedded into the neck. Meaning- the neck was carved out to accommodate the fretboard. Fender says this would make the neck feel whole, like a single unit instead of a neck with a fretboard piece glued onto it. The other benefit is of course, we get smoother edges all along the length. Awesome. The channel bound neck Strats & Teles are from the American Standard series so rest assured, the chances of getting a shoddy workmanship is slim.