Friday, May 24, 2019


PRS is now in the baked maple camp. OK, it's the SE Custom 24 range but more importantly, PRS joins the rest on the industry players in recognizing this proven treatment. However, this is a Europe only release- bummer. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Washburn revival

Howdy, folks. This sleek looking guitar here is the Washburn D12SCE. This is the revived look as I've brought it back to life recently. Sort of. It's passed to me by a colleague who requested a simple re-string but seeing some things in dire need of attention & replacement, I couldn't just ignore those anomalies. Here are some highlights leading to this manifestation.

This is how the headstock looks like. From just the looks, I could tell that something was amiss. A renowned name like Washburn do not blanket their brand name with a layer of tinted overcoat. We'll get back to this in just a bit. If you are wondering why it's nut-less...

... it was in bad shape & had to go. If you look closely, some slots were chipped & the rust in the B & E slots was permanent. I'm the type who insist that nut slots should be rust-free. Trace amounts of rust could infect fresh strings. Rust also cuts into strings so the chances of new strings snapping at the nut end would be higher than rust-free slots. 

The deserving replacement is a Tusq nut. As you can see here, it's an affordable replacement & it's good stuff- I've tried it in another guitar (Yamaha) & it had proven to manifest a tad more clarity. While at it, I also purchased a set of replacement bridge pins as the current ones were terribly chipped & scratched. These Hosco ones are also good, affordable replacements. 

The tuners were also removed & cleaned up. Mind you, these are quality Grovers that would salvage some value should this guitar be scrapped one day. There is a ready market for a set of Grovers because they had beed proven to be worthy in terms of reliability & stability. This here is an example of a post-polish condition, a far cry from the initial state it was in.

Folks, there is something about this headstock that screams tragedy. Over at the flip side, I had to fill up the tuners' screw cavities with wood filler (those pale dots you see there) because all screws were loose. At the base of a headstock, I could see a crack running across the width & that pick holder there might have been installed to cover this up. 

Compounding the situation would be this revelation, so to speak. As I was polishing the surface, bits of the overcoat came off & it revealed the brighter, livelier Washburn decal. Whatever happened to this instrument, the neck was a major casualty & cover-up took place.

The replacement nut was glued in place & left to set in overnight. That's my standard; a wet application on an instrument must be left to dry adequately before moving on to further rectifications.  I like Tusq nuts because they address a lower action profile & the slots were rounded at the factory unlike some replacement units where the incisions are V-profiled. As you can see here, a new nut simply injects life into an instrument's aesthetics. Unlike previous iterations, Tusq now proudly proclaims its presence on the product surface & the brand name really deserves the attention.

Frets were cleaned & polished- just look at the rejuvenated fret (yellow arrow) vs the neglected counterpart (blue arrow).

Not forgetting the fretboard- moisturized (blue arrow) vs the drier bit (yellow arrow).

Finally, a set of Elixir strings & it's ready for action.

This Washburn has some good tones in there; it's down to the solid top & an overall heavy build. With a fresh set of strings & that spanking new nut, notes ring clear & there's a marked loudness coming from this one which makes it likeable, just pity the headstock condition. Judging from the fret wear, this guitar is a chord-intense player; I didn't notice any wear beyond the 8th fret. The neck was surprisingly straight despite what it'd been through & no adjustments were made. By the time you read this, it's on its way back to its owner & getting ready to belch out hundreds more songs before a deserving retirement. This guitar was handed over to me without a bag. I just feel that it deserves some form of protection due to its rather worn condition. This guitar was resident here for about two weeks. I was waiting for the replacement nut to be in stock & wasn't interested in the plastic ones in store. This guitar model had been discontinued. To date, Washburn had re-designed the headstock for this series of guitars.

FYI, D12SCE stands for:
  • D = Dreadnought
  • 12 = Series reference. The lower tier models feature a single digit & those are the more affordable versions with laminated tops.
  • S = Solid top
  • C = Cutaway
  • E = Electro-acoustic. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wider, please

My hand is telling me to lay off Gibsons for a while. That narrow, rounded profile is not doing the fretting hand any good in terms of wide stretches. Ironically, wide stretches are better done on wider, thinner necks. I'm avoiding any Ibanez necks in the mean time, trying to condition my hand to accept thicker, rounder stuff but it's difficult. I've been playing thinner, wider necks since day one, anything different, the hand would tell me to quit playing & switch to something else. So for the last two days, it's the PRS S2 SC250 which sports a wider feel but not Ibanez thin. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Guitar mastery

Came across this quote some days ago. I've been playing for more than a decade. After all those years, I must say that, despite being fluent in certain playing aspects, there's still a deeper discovery waiting to happen when it comes to all things guitar. Come to think of it, despite the same number of frets and strings across players & many playing styles, there's still a fresh manifestation every time the instrument is used to put forth musical ideas. 

As for me, every time I acquire a new instrument, I'd be swayed to think & play in a certain way not that the fresh player-instrument relationship has anything significant going on, but it's that differentiated vibe injecting subliminal behavioural changes. It happens every time. This is the reason why I tend to prefer a certain guitar for certain solo, phrasing or song idea.

PIC: AZ Quotes

Monday, May 20, 2019

TV & practice

Was watching TV two nights ago, had this set up going:

  • Blackstar FLY 3. Nothing beats this one in the mean time in terms of the most desirable tone coming from a portable unit.
  • BOSS DS-1. Giving the Fly a little boost, nothing extensive.
  • Ibanez GRGR010LTD. The only Ibanez GIO in my possession. It's the one that keeps me firmly in check; it's not about the bling or the label, it's totally about what you must do with your talent.
I was actually watching the news but got pissed after 10min. From the very beginning, political figures made their presence felt. It was a live news coverage, they did a special on-location broadcast from a festival market here. If they are indeed inclusive, the programme would have included other prominent local figures & not just those political few. Switched the set off & played guitar for the remaining 20min. TV vs practice, practice wins.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Vesak 2019

Wishing everyone a deserving long weekend. Stay focused, play guitar. 🎸🀘🏼