Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ibanez: Xiphos Iron Label

Totally unexpected- the Ibanez Xiphos returns this year, now in the Iron Label fold. This means, the instrument gets an active make-over in terms of electronics & finished in a dark tinge, em... black. The guitar also gets an EZ2 bridge & an ebony fretboard so instead of just re-hashing some jaded features, the instrument moves up (albeit a little bit) in terms of features.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fender cap

Perhaps this is a significant debut by Fender- a treble bleed capacitor bearing the manufacturer's name. The manufacturer says this cap is a no-frills mylar & (tin) foil construction that lets your guitar tone stay true at various volume reductions. The 'true'-ness here needs to be heard to be believed because we know there are less costly ceramic ones that does the job well. Nevertheless, it's heartening to know Fender is into component recognition in the mean time as opposed to instruments per se.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gibson: Les Paul Monitors

As mentioned before, 'Gibson' is now not exclusive to just guitars. The manufacturer has extended the name to label other products & we now have Gibson monitors seen above. As if that's insufficient to convey the intention, the ones you see here are the Les Paul models.

We expect some quality when it comes to a 'Gibson' & we hope whichever product bears this name would pay tribute to the legacy trickled from the instrument branch. It gets sticky when the 'Les Paul' name is included here as if implying the legendary individual has everything to do with the development of these monitors & that would be a fair assumption until one bothers to read a little history behind the name. 

If you ask me, I personally think this is desecration; leave the Les Paul label alone, let it be exclusive to guitars. You can 'Gibson' everything else under the sun but some things should be respected, especially when the individual is no longer around to defend his stead. 

Rockett: Archer

The weekend was spent discovering this pedal. It's an Archer (by Rockett), a drive cum boost unit. The limelight here is that it's a replica of the acclaimed Klon Centaur which is a discontinued unit. The Archer so to speak, is perpetuating the drive-treble boost function of the Centaur which isn't a fresh attempt to do so because there were others before the Archer, EHX's Soul Food is an example.

The Archer was an absolute cracker with my Marshall JCM800 (1W) even when it's pushing dirt before the amp's preamp section (ie, not via a loop connection). I have limited applications for it as a stand-alone drive source because it's not an intense type pedal, so it's made to boost some of my other pedals as well: Butah (CMatmods)/ OD1X (BOSS)/ Metal Muff (EHX). The Archer benefits from another mild/medium drive type pedal casding into it. The Metal Muff is a little excessive for the Archer, the latter has no progressive result in terms of furthering the former's drive capacity. The top end was excessive but lowering the Archer's treble response to cure the situation is as good as saying a treble booster shouldn't manifest too much treble- duh! There was also excessive hissing so it wasn't an enjoyable pairing.

The objective of employing the Archer is to add saturation where it matters so any mild-type drive units would benefit from this consideration. Bear in mind that the Archer will not turn the average Tube Screamer-type pedal into a heavy metal serving- this won't happen. The Archer increases the saturation of those pedals & add some clarity for a killer lead break. You'd appreciate those extra top end if you are playing in a band context, playing a lone at home, you might hear yourself being a little sharp at times but that happens because you are dealing with a treble booster- if you are using a bass boost, shouldn't you hear more bottom end?

How the Archer looks like with the base plate removed. I'm running it on batteries in the mean time.

I like everything about this pedal & wouldn't want it to be something it's not. My only gripe- these tiny screws used to secure the base plate. As it is with small stuff, they have a higher potential to go missing & slip out of one's grip. These are not to be removed in dark performance venues, definitely.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ibanez: The Parlor menace

Yes, something I've been waiting for! A decent parlor release by Ibanez but nothing exorbitant in terms of price- the AVN2. Don't get me wrong; the AVN1 was alright, just that I want to avoid the spruce + mahogany formula. The AVN2 goes one up by being a full solid model. Another one on the 'to-try' list.

Still on the parlor front, sporting an even smaller body- the PN1. Nothing fancy here (laminate body = more affordable) & it's definitely one for the spruce + mahogany fans. I'll still give it a try when it reaches here but it won't be a purchase consideration.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ibanez: BTB33

More bottom end goodness from Ibanez, this time it's from the Bass Workshop line-up- the BTB33. It's a through neck unit, 33" scale length & sporting some of the most accessible upper fret access ever. There's a ramp attached between the pickups (removable) & it works just like the traditional thumb rest of those P & J basses we adore. Bass Workshop models manifest a custom-grade workmanship without costing a bomb. I own one (not this model) & it's definitely worth every cent.