Friday, December 9, 2016

Strat set up (2)

Usually, I would re-condition the rosewood fretboard of a new guitar on its first re-string. This is what I have been using- wood conditioner from the hardware store & it's not a guitar product. Usually, guitar-related manufacturers would alleviate product desirability by adding scent to the formula & this would more often than not increase the acidity to the content (eg: lemon or other citrus ingredients). Acidic fluid, when applied frequently to fretboards, would soften the wood & it becomes less resistant to scratches or dents. It might eventually weaken the neck strength altogether.

I'm easily bothered by nut choke (& how it affects tuning) so I make it a point to address this by lubricating the slots. I'm using commercial vaseline (bought this one at Mustaffa Center) & again, it's not a guitar related product. Use a pointed implement to apply the vaseline into the slots, in this case, a satay stick does the job. 

No vaseline in the house? Vicks Vapo Rub works as well.

If you are particular about what goes into those slots & would want a safe bet, look for slot lubricants in the stores such as this GHS product. The reason why I stopped using them- they cost more & don't necessarily work better. Some guitar techs would tell you just rub pencil lead into the slots, that's the least costly way to do it but that stains the lighter coloured nut & might prove to be a point of contention during re-sale situations.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Strat set up

I set up all my guitars since day one. That's right, I went through the dark, misinformed times without internet reference. It was mostly magazine reference from the library. I would spend hours at the Geylang East branch browsing through back issues of Guitar Player & Guitar World. I also worked with sub-par tools. Today, we are fortunate to have stores selling player-friendly tools & implements to keep our treasured possessions in check. The internet access opened up a whole new range of tool acquisition possibilities. But the large part to this advancement was the credit card; this increased my purchasing power somewhat. Anyway, I recently re-set up the Fender American Special Strat you see above which was purchased from Swee Lee's end of year warehouse sale.

Despite being playable, this was how the string saddles look like when I brought it home. It's evident that someone lowered/raised the strings without due consideration of the fretboard radius. It was a crude attempt, almost a noob level effort at best. Let's not rule out the fact that this could be done back at the factory. What do you think?

I was very happy with how straight this guitar's neck is. There were no traces of shimming & upon removal of the neck (to satisfy my curiosity), I was right. 👍 This could only mean that they got it right back at the factory. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cat scratch fever

I used to dislike the Fender Jaguar. The electronics are downright confusing & that headstock is simply obnoxious. The first Jaguar I came across was a double humbucker version at Swee Lee which I duly bought. It's about the shorter scale length primarily, it made me play differently. Dare I say it- faster 😙

The situation today- I'm gravitating towards the Fender single coil tone & the Jaguar has something different to offer compared to its Strat sibling. Those excessive switches- it's something to overcome. 

The red Jaguar sporting block inlays is an older model (but a recent acquisition) lying in wait at the Swee Lee warehouse. As it is, Fender offset models are somewhat second fiddle to the Strats & Teles. Currently, there seems to be a revival with the Duo-sonic, Mustang, Jaguar & Jazzmaster going through a rebound which will see its full swing in 2017. The white Jaguar was a difficult decision. I was holding back to fund a new phone but through partial funding by way of gear sale, of course, that one was one of my best purchase at mid year. 

I had a chance to put them side by side today & was happy to observe QC consistency despite at least 3 years difference between them. They both weigh 3.5kg & sport identical neck carve. The difference lies in tone. The red Jaguar sounds warmer & has more clarity in the neck pickup. On that note, both guitars need a new set of tone capacitors to boost that rather narrow tone range. This adventure will continue as soon as the tone caps get here 😊

From Satch to you

The great Satch has this freebie for fans (salute!). Click here to proceed to the relevant download page: GET SATCH's FREE EP!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Suhr: KIKO drive

Kiko Loureiro finally gets his signature pedal, the Suhr Kiko Shiba Drive. He's already been using the Shiba prior to this endorsement citing its ability to push the amp's front end for great solos as a primary attraction. If you are such a player- someone who's already contented with your amp's pre-amp section- you might want to check this out.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bridge of sighs (Jaguar vs Mustang)

I read with interest how Fender Jaguar owners out there are pretty upset with their instrument's bridge. The common misfortune- the strings won't stay put on the saddles. On occasions, when a wicked bend or whammy adventure is done, the strings would jump off & cause severe detuning (not to mention severe embarrassment when playing live).

The simple observation here is that Jaguar saddles are the threaded version. There are no precise indentations for the strings to rest in unlike the Mustang version as indicated above. 

In the 1950s - 1960s, Fender was still experimenting with bridge saddles & the threaded version did make it into some instruments like the 60s Telecaster depicted here. Unlike the Jaguar, the Telecaster observes a very acute break angle travelling to the body cavity or bridge end. The Jaguar is the clear loser here as it doesn't observe such a feature & there is simply insufficient tension to hold the strings in place if players choose lighter gauge strings for their instrument. Remember that the Jaguar & other offset models were short-lived in the Fender catalogs, no further R&D made it to the instrument prior to their passing. However, the revived Jaguar & Jazzmaster in the upcoming American Professional series (2017) will feature Mustang saddles as default 😙