Sunday, January 20, 2019


Holy smokes! If you think the J-45 Studio was affordable goodness, Gibson has released the new (2019) Generation Series acoustics. Seen here is the G-45 Studio listing for USD999. On my watch list!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Ibanez 2019 (7): Axion

Fan-fretted RGDs are not new in the Ibanez catalog. For differentiation's sake, Ibanez added a new variation this year to the Iron Label series called the Axion Label. The RGD61ALMS you see above feature a pair of Fishman Fluence Modern active humbuckers. Supposedly, these active units generate lesser noise than their counterparts out there & there's also a promise that they sound better in clean settings. Whatever the purported 'upgrades' the manufacturer has for the AL series, I personally think it's unnecessary. There are no comprehensive models to define the Iron Label series & this year, Ibanez bombed us with the Axion Label to further define what the guitars of this nature has for players. We are more confused than liberated. I see the Fluence pickups as consolation, the rest- nothing special.

This model ($1,399) together with the initial batch of 2019 Ibanez instruments, are now available at Swee Lee. This is the first time new models are made available before the NAMM event. On previous occasions, we had to wait till March to see new models making it to the shelves. There was a time when we had to wait till May (damn!). So thumbs up to Swee Lee for putting things in perspective. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Ibanez 2019 (7): A firm return

This is a surprising return from the Ibanez camp this 2019; the Affirma bass (Seen above: AFR4WAP). I'm not really that taken aback by this since it was announced in 2018 that the Affirma would make a return but no further details were available. 

For those not in the know, the Affirma bass was in existence once in the Ibanez catalog & this was how it looked like. It was designed by the late Swiss luthier Rolf Spuler & hence the break away from Ibanez's SR-esque features. Note how the current headstock design is further trimmed for a slimmer outline & necessitated a different type of winding round the tuner shafts. The immediate benefit here is the narrower neck width Also, the top bevelling is now perpendicular to the pickup because Ibanez dedicates this revised channeling to be a deserving thumbs rest.

Over at the flip side, the bass now benefits from a set-neck design for unhindered access to the upper frets. People like yours truly here would love to experience the instrument's stealth design but the 34" scale length would mean a real struggle for individuals with a small body frame. Do note the bass now features piezo pickups as well. The AFR4 is currently a Premium tier instrument.

PICS: Ibanez/Amazonnews

Ibanez 2019 (7): Micro excitement

I have no idea if things are going into the gutters for the PGM model as time goes by. With only this PGMM21 model being a fresh (not so fresh if we take into account the fact that the PGMM concept isn't new at all) member in the signature line up, there's nothing to be too excited about.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

PRS SE 2019: Trio signatures

This is, hands down, a very good proposition; making something personal from PRS' Private Stock lineup, more affordable, more within reach. Paul's Guitar has a very McCarty vibe to it while keeping things in line with the SE philosophy- hence the largely flat top design with beveled surrounds. We also get that mini toggle coil split units for more tonal options. OK, it's definitely the best among the three mentioned here.

This one's a limited run, only 1,000 world-wide. If you don't already know what this is about by virtue of that graphic on the body, you are really... Never mind. 

The last & definitely the most disconcerting from the way I see it, the Santana SE is now offered as a singlecut iteration. This reeks of desperation because the label is riding on another label, the Santana name, to push things through. In the SE realm, the Santana monicker means nothing when it comes to identity. Throughout the years, the Santana SE had never been the more affordable take of the real deal; it's always mutated to manifest its own quirk so why bother with the Santana tag anyway. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Finally decided to get a dedicated neck rest for re-stringing & other tinkering at home.