Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ibanez: TM71

The Ibanez TM71 you see here is the only semi-hollow guitar I own. Those familiar with the guitar outline would know it was a member of the discontinued Talman series. The only surviving member is the signature Noodle's NDM2 (NDM1 has also been pulled out of the catalogues WEF2007 but still available in the stores).

The reason I bought this guitar wasn't actually an infatuation with the semi-hollow acoustics but really the regret of not buying the solidbody version when it was still available. Anyway, what intended to be a consolation proved to be rather lethal in terms of driven tone & playability. This is one of the very few guitars sporting a wide neck which I find very manageable. The cleans from this baby isn't stellar (blame in on the shallow body depth) but it's enough to generate a warm midrange response when one utilizes its neck humbucker for some distortion-free moments. This guitar is indeed one of the overlooked tone generator in my line-up, there were times when I plugged it in just to hear how good it sounds rather than embarking on a practice regime. It's also a showcase of the superb Artcore series craftsmanship- I've actually not come across any Artcore model which is a dud.

RG321 (2008 version)

With reference to the pic here, note the 2008 version of the popular RG321 now features binding over at the headstock.

I would like to thank Adam @ Swee Lee (Bras Basah showroom) for the kind permission to snap a pic of this new feature.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Seekz Stompers: Punch Tone

I am very privileged to have the Punch Tone pedal for testing
at my premises- first & foremost, a big thank you to brother SEEKZ for the consideration.
This Made in Singapore pedal mirrors what the Crunch Box (MI Audio) has to offer by virtue of its drive tone. The Punch Tone (PT) is a distortion box, capable of being mild-mannered at lower gain settings & some in-your-face assault once the relevant dials are turned up but a metal-type distortion it is not, let's be clear on that.
As a stand alone pedal, if you are looking for some crunch in your drive, the PT has some good voicings to offer; from blues mongers to some angst-ridden music, you'd do well to check this pedal out. I'm not bent on comparing it to the above-mentioned Crunch Box because doing so would be rather convenient but it propagates a superficial understanding of what the PT can do. I personally prefer this pedal as it has a cascading gain circuitry at the helm translating into impressive saturation & the triggering of second order harmonics.
Nevertheless, I have pushed the PT's performance envelope by adding a TS7 in the chain as a drive booster. What I get is one of the fattest, crunch tone this side of the Marshall Menace & the pedal's tone sweep allows me to smoothen proceedings with ease- I'm sure many of us appreciate crunch better with less top end sizzle, especially for that woolly, neck humbucker, woman tone.
With this in mind, the PT doesn't quite manifest its distortion capacity when utilized as a booster owing to its inherent intensity; we'd do better with mild-type boosters for our amp's dirty channel & we have our Tubescreamer (or its variants) for that task. All in all, thumbs up to the PT.

Ibanez: PM35

This 2008, jazz titan Pat Metheny has an affordable model for the jazz fledglings who so adore that discontinued single humbucking PM20. The PM35 depicted here is the first Metheny signature model to be made in China by the Artcore Custom handlers; this is a testimony to the good craftsmanship of the Chinese made Artcore hollows which are nothing less than superb. Coming from the master himself, Metheny is indeed impressed with the marked improvements in craftsmanship of the affordable jazz boxes available today.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TESLA: VR Extreme

When it comes to replacement pickups, many of us would only embrace notable units; DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan, EMG, etc. This isn't a demotion of the TESLA pickups featured here, it's just that many people would not be swayed to spend money on a made-in-Korea pickups when they know other pickups could be had for a comparable cost consideration. The fact that TESLA pickups are relatively new in the market & isn't backed by endorsements would further plunge the manufacturer's reputaiton into the deeper unknown, only to be ventured by the valiant campers.
The humbuckers you see in my Ibanez S1620 here is a pair of VR Extreme. As the label suggests, it is a high output proponent, very much inclined in the high gain/ drive domain. However, this isn't the only staple the VR Extreme is serving, it sounds very acceptable clean which is quite extraordinary for a high o/p unit. The neck model is particularly adept to clean, jazz-type comping tones which is a bonus for dweebs like me who aren't too involved in the clean channel- why buy a distortion-dedicated pickup & expect a stellar clean tone?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Guitar + bass amp...

I was too attached to my bass for the whole of last week so it got me thinking, why the attraction? Could it be the bass per se or could it be the amp? So for the thrill of it, I plugged my guitar into my bass practice amp, an Ibanez SW20.

There wasn't any specific reason why the SOH/ TS7 pedals were used here, they were within reach so they attachment was convenient. Unlike the average, entry-level, solidstate guitar amp, the bass amp exudes a certain warmth which might be due to the difference in frequency focus- almost tube-like, dare I say. So what started out to be a simply curiosity feed turned into 2 hours of play time. So I guess there was a certain tonal charm when the guitar dweebs back then plugged their guitars into Fender's Bassman amp.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

MI Audio: Tube Zone

One of the unsung heroes in my pedal collection (which are mostly tucked away because nothing beats an amp + guitar set-up) is MI Audio's Tube Zone. As the name suggests, it includes a convincing tube-like nuance in the output so the tone elitist would be rewarded with tube-like warmth without having to employ tube-equipped pedals which are rather fragile & require a PSU to operate.
Unlike the Ibanez Tubescreamer, the TZ has a generous drive serving but it's versatile enough to act as a booster pedal; simply reduce the drive level. One of the better features of the TZ are its numerous (ok, there're only 6...) controls which allow the user to manifest a palette of tones. Being the drive nut that I am, I always set its drive to 70% & use my ever-trusting TS7 to further its drive capacity. The TZ becomes more menacing but remains sweet in its drive voicing.

There are players out there who proposed that the TZ's drive intensity could match the dynamics of a MESA amp which is quite believeable but it's not a sure substitute. What draws players to opine as such is the TZ's capacity to propel impressive high gain saturation with lots of tube vibes in the mix, which is what it is tasked to do otherwise it's not worthy of its 'tube' label.

PS: Thanks Beez for inviting me to try this pedal (when he was still working @ G77)!

Marduk: Morgan Hakansson

One of my most respectable guitarist in the black metal circle is Marduk's Morgan Steinmeyer Harkansson.
In this music genre, we'd note that guitar proponents often choose an instrument of a gruesome kind, most notably the very prickly selections from BC Rich. One of the very few players who insist on what works for him regardless of the brand name & looks is Marduk's Morgan Harkansson pictured here with a '70s-style Fender Stratocaster. Nevertheless, the bridge pickup in his Strat has been swapped for a humbucking unit, more suitable for the intense distortion propulsion for the music he peddles. Respect!!

Ibanez: AF105

One of my favourite Ibanez in my collection is a hollowbody; the AF105. I don't own any acoustic guitars because they are difficult to play namely due to the action & body depth which induce lots of mistakes on my part. Ibanez has a brilliant line of hollow/ semi-hollow guitars in the Artcore series which got me hooked when I first tried them some time back. The AF105 here is a representative from their Custom range (Custom by name, not by make).

Since there are times when I yearn to hear a simple acoustic tone, the AF105 was my answer to owning an acoustic guitar. It's not really one but it renewed my intention of not owning any acoustics on the ground of playability as mentioned above. The AF105 is a joy to play because the neck's profile has more inclinations towards the electric guitar rather than the average acoustic. The resplendent unplugged tones made me play this guitar unamplified most of the time. I do plug it in sometimes but into my bass amp (surprise!!) which would yield a fusion of unique bottom end accentuation & the crystalline acoustics.

However, the real gem in this guitar is the under-rated pair of Ibanez Super 58 humbuckers which are equally superb clean & overdriven. In fact, one of the most commanding distorted tones from the lower frequencies, comes from this guitar.

Owning the AF105 has renewed my belief in the following matters:

  • You need not be a jazz elietist to own an instrument conceived for the genre
  • Guitars made in China aren't the pariahs they were portrayed to be, in fact, this Chinese AF105 would put some western craftsmanship to shame

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Canare cable/ Amphenol plug

I just got my custom length Canare cables (2m each, nothing too long for domestic use) from LOOK FOR BEEZ today. As you can see, I've chosen brown with black/ chrome plugs, which are of the Amphenol brand. As the spouse puts it, brown represents ageing & retirement befitting of a selfless character who puts negligible value to cosmetics due to excessive exposure to quantity, opting for quality intrinsics instead- a perfect description of yours truly...

However, if you are interested in this cable brand, be assured that Beez has colour assortments in stock with varied thickness. You can also specify a patch cable type length with relevant discounts for liberal quantity acquisitions.

As you can see from this heap, Beez also has other brand name/ shape plugs for your selection, the cost of which hinges on the material used as oppossed to the county of origin.
How much? You pay for your personal selection, which is the sum of the cable/ plugs/ service charge. An estimate of a 10ft long cable equipped with a pair of Amphenol plugs: $22.00, 1/2ft patch cable starts at $6.00+ with the relevant plug charges included. If it's your maiden purchase, drop by LOOK FOR BEEZ & ask for selection quotes. If you decide to purchase on the spot, Beez would effect your order immediately unless he has his hands full.
After telling Beez what I wanted, he took 10min to complete the cable termination- the Jedi Master at work...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Beez @ work

I sent my Ibanez RG560 for an electronics make-over days ago to none other than the Jedi master himself, Beez.

After all these years, it's still a joy to watch Beez do the soldering because his methods has become second nature, watching him work is an inspiration per se.

As all Jedi masters would employ mind games while plying their art, Beez would engage you in some small talk or shed some educational insights to his work which is indeed waylaying to the uninitiated. Before you know it, whatever has to be done gets completed & you'd go- what the?! Because it's all about the sleight of hand, not to mention the master's employment of The Force...

You can make an appointment with Master Beez to resurrect your guitar/ bass' electronics here: Look for Beez, 50 East Coast Rd, #01-125, Roxy Square II Shopping Centre, S(428769). Call: 97732633

Bass occupation...

Confession: I've not been playing much guitar lately, I spent the whole of last week with my bass, picking up the guitar only for pedal auditions. I'm not about to switch to bass full time but there are times when I'd reflect how little time I had with my bass & there's this growing need to play more of this wonderful instrument.
The bass has been traditionally relegated to the 2nd fiddle when it comes to an instrumental band format, the guitar always gets the limelight while the bass gets its shadow. I'm rather thankful there are people like Billy Sheehan, the late Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller & Mark King (among others) who make people listen when the bass speaks. I'm left awestruck everytime I watch Michael Manring play his Zon; it's beyond plucking the strings for aural entertainment, it's an art. Manring incorporates lots of knocks (yes, hitting the neck & body with the plam/ fingers- how musical can that be, you ask? Well this lad made it musical...) into his playing, not to mention that sublime detuning/ retuning during play. He takes his time to carefully fret his notes & employ his choice of picking/ pinching/ slapping/ popping; with Manring, you don't know what's coming but when it does, it's nothing less than a masterstroke. I'm really glad I bought Soliloquy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Visual Sound: Son of Hyde (Part 2)

I've tested the SOH thoroughly today & was content with its performance, suffice to say that if you are not interested in the DS-1 type of mild serving, the SOH is one to invest in.
The pedal's drive benefits from its Volume level enhancements; the higher the volume, the more saturated the distortion.
Being me, I simply had to pair the SOH with my 'workhorse' booster, the Ibanez TS7 & it's a lethal pairing indeed- this pair can match whichever metal-type distortion you have in store, bring it on! As this set-up benefits from a cascading gain effect, the saturation & harmonics trigger would surpass a stand-alone metal distortion & that's definitely good news for solos.

Meshuggah: ObZen

The masters of tampered tempo are back; Meshuggah's ObZen sees a fresh bassist in the lineup: Dick Lovgren. This release is still the signature we-dictate-our-own-tempo heretic Meshuggah that got them noticed. There are still reverberations of the Catch 33/ I oddities in this collection but these are controlled in offerings. It's good to hear Thordendal propagating his Allan Holdsworth type solos this time with an increased urgency & presence. The production here did justice to the guitar's 8-string tonalities as these do not mess up the bass end of the songs. However, the song structures are more compliant with regularities & would leave purist fans with a sour compliance in their mouths. But worth the purchase, definitely.
PS: Thank you inokii for getting me the slip case version!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ibanez: Return of the (Tube) King

So his majesty, the (Ibanez) Tube King has set foot in my humble abode. Ok, cut the shenanigans, if you are interested in the padal, please note the following:
  • it's strictly adaptor powered (12V)
  • it's heavy- 2kg
  • it's BIG- refer to the relative size comparison above (TK999 vs TS7), so pedal board proponents, please tkae note...

Tone wise, there's definitely a marked, tube presence upon activation. As Ibanez anticipated a lower-frequency mush-out when a tube saturates, a presence feature had been wisely included to offset the predicament. The other thumbs-up feature here is the pedal's VOID control which is a noise gate pot (that knob nearest to baby bear...) & it works wonders eliminating the background hissing typical of high gain devices. The TK999 is impressive as a stand alone pedal, capable of invoking that Les Paul type wooliness in the neck humbucker & all things creamy for that matter. Despite being labelled as a 'distortion' by the manufacturer, the pedal is indeed a high octane overdrive (for all things distortion, kindly refer to Visual Sound's Son of Hyde). It works very well boosting your other, lazy/ mild-mannered overdrive or simply opiating your amp's tubes to give you that tone nirvana. If you are looking for a metal type tone assault (despite the manufacturer's allegations that it could), you are reading the wrong literature- are you drunk?

Gotoh: Pots...

Moving parts, especially our volume & tone knobs, deteriorate over time. These parts, should they be left unused over time, would jam due to moisture seeping into the fine gaps & cracks- yes, even if we take extra care to wipe down our instruments, moisture from our humid climatic conditions, would seep through.

The purists among us would be picky if their Fender or Gibson parts (or any other boutique instrument parts for that matter) deteriorate. The electronic components are indeed known to play a tonal contribution hence the preference for the manufacturer's own parts instead of other substitutes. Of course, parts bearing a formidable label such as 'Fender' for instance, would cost much more than other replacement brands, like the featured Gotoh pots here.

Since the deterioration of some pots in some of my guitars over the years, I've been replacing them with the Gotoh units on grounds of:

  • durability: My Ibanez RG560 recently underwent an electronics make-over, the Gotoh pots were completely dead & that's after six glorious years of service.

  • affordability: Gotoh parts aren't cut-throat in pricing, the pots you see here aren't even $7.00ea...

Is this an over-glorification of a personal brand name preference? Of course not, I don't get free stuff from Gotoh by saying the above; simply sharing what works well & won't cost a bomb. More importantly, the Gotohs do not get in the way of my tone.

*PS: Ibanez & ESP are brand names which incorporate Gotohs into their instruments (not the entire offering, though)

Gotoh parts are available at: Davis/ Look for Beez

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Visual Sound: Son of Hyde

My latest acquisition is yet another distortion pedal, this time a product by Australia's Visual Sound. This year, the manufacturer decides to release some trimmed-dimension pedals, some of which are actually detachments from the original unit which features a 2-in-1 module. The Son of Hyde here, is the distortion half of the parent Jekyll & Hyde. This SOH is only one such pedal in a series known as the V2 range.

As this pedal is a solitary distortion unit unlike its parent's twin offering, the reduced feature afforded trimmed dimensions as mentioned & this would be a welcome news to pedalboard mongers (of which I am not). Your eyes are not deceiving you- yes the pedal is missing a BASS control but it's not entirely unavailable, just hiding underneath the housing (that white circular contraption at the top portion), mounted on the circuit board. This isn't the only concealed tweaker, the board also features a built-in noise gate (the other white circular contraption at the bottom portion). It is activated by a minute slider switch so the user has an option to deactivate it should it get in the way of his/ her utility. The final noteworthy feature which I'd like to mention is the hinged battery flip cover; the fact that it's attached to the baseplate means you would not lose it should you fumble in dark performance venues.

Tone-wise, the SOH is my current favourite distortion unit. The mere 'distortion' label to many of us would invoke an image of a certain mild-mannered orange distortion box but 'mild' isn't what this pedal has to offer. Yes, at lower drive settings, the SOH is more than capable of a mild, booster-type distortion which many of us swear by, but turn the drive up & you can hear the rage of this little ditty; there's enough intensity & saturation to rival a metal-type distortion. The BASS control is maxed-out by default so there's lots of bottom end but it did nothing to muffle the overall drive voicing- this is what I find impressive. The noise gate function here is set to 'ON' inherently but dialed up to a rather low treshold value, however it did its job by suppressing excessive background hissing/ humming.

All in all, the SOH is a great discovery on a personal note since I have tried the original Jekyll & Hyde unit & could not credit its overall performance on grounds of tonal/ drive excellence (it may be a preferred unit to some of us but certainly not me). If you are looking for an alternative to the Landmine distortion because you need a more responsive EQ section, this is one to consider.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Death Metal: The pedals...

I used to own BOSS' Metal Zone (MT-2) once, it was my first distortion pedal, I believe I was the very few to have bought it when it first debuted at Davis guitar store (back then Davis was located at the tailor unit, next to the eatery both of which are existing Peninsular Hotel basement floor shop units). I respect what the MT-2 had to offer (still does but it's not a personal favourite) but I was constantly searching for worthy rivals. It was years later that the DOD company (now owned by Digitech) introduced the Death Metal pedal; the very name would suggest the level of distortion intensity in store.
So being a fan of all things extreme, I bought this pedal for variety's sake (at that time, my amp was a Peavey Rage 108 whose default drive is of a get-by calibre at best). The pedal's intense, no doubt, but the level of intensity is uncontrollable- you can't reduce or increase the distortion; it's there, love it or move on. Everything about the pedal's ace less the bass control; at maximum level, it's still drowned by the overwhelming midrange & treble. DOD took things too invariably back then; they duly replicated the very tone of the death metal bands at that point in time which were largely propelling a bass truncated tone & shrill upper frequencies.
Thankfully, the pedal was revised by Digitech to actually feature a functional bass response without a loss in distortion ferocity, but the distortion intensity control remains unreachable to us mortals; it was not meant to be tweaked by worldly hands. Nevertheless, I like what the current Death Metal pedal has to offer but generally, this pedal would appeal to a limited camp due to its limitations & inherent voicing.

Planet Waves: Tru-Strobe tuner

Planet Waves has this nifty little strobe-type tuner in store for those of us militant players who won't compromise on tuning.
The fanaticism aside, the strobe-type tuner is indeed useful for your instrument's intonation, bad notes would especially be audible when you commit your stuff to recording- be armed or be sorry...

Flashback: Zoom 510

The pedal you see here is Zoom's 510 Dual Driver which is a decade old. Back in 1998, the manufacturer released its 5XX series of pedals & these easily became the most affordable multi-FX unit in the market. I first bought the 505 but deemed it unnecessary 6mths later as I do not employ the modulation & time-based effects modules in it & I still don't today- I'm basically a guitar+amp person (because nothing should get in the way of good tone). The 505 was promptly sold away & the 510 made it into my set up as it is truly the unit which complemented my playing style; I'm particular about drive/ distortion more than anything else when it comes to guitar.

The 510 enabled me to activate a pair of drive modules simutaneously, it was the device which triggered my understanding of a cascading drive concept which liberated my playing tremendously because more drive means:
  • less effort needed for picking: less lethargy = less mistakes
  • harmonics can be triggered easily
However the trade off here is the increase in background noise & single coil pickup hum; which Zoom duly addressed by incorporating a noise reduction feature. So the 510 triggered my interest in noise reduction as well.

However, the 5XX series evolved to become Zoom's G-series today simply because of its waning popularity- players still deem the rotary control ('knob' to the rest of us) a critical pedal feature as this enables immediate authority when it comes to tweaking.

Seymour Duncan: Pickup Booster

Seymour Duncan, a primary guitar pickups manufacturer, makes great pedals as well. My first Duncan pedal is this red wonder here which is a pickup booster but it is specifically meant for single coil units more than any other pickup types. Humbuckers would only benefit from one of its three modes on offer as these pickups are inherently fat in certain frequencies so a voicing make-over by this pedal would yield a poor difference.

As mentioned above, I employ this pedal when playing my Strats. Single coil pickups are great for solos but they aren't high output by default to generate a certain saturation level in overdrive mode. They are also too protrusive in the upper frequencies so for those of us who peddle bass notes in certain songs, the tone generated would be too shrill.

Please do not go away after reading this entry thinking the Duncan PU Booster converts the average single coil into a humbucking thumper- no. It merely boosts selected frequencies to fatten up the tone for it to rival the latter pickup type. Be assured that the twang in your single coils are kept in tact after all that boosting.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Artec: Analog Delay

I've never been a fan of the delay effect; I dislike bits of my playing to trail off, to me it's simply annoying. I prefer reverb to delay but as it is, my Epihone Valve Jr amp is devoid of any other feature save for a volume knob. This is the very reason why Artec's SE-ADL made it into my effects line-up.
I set it up to propagate a reverb-like effect which is possible with any other effects unit/ brand name for that matter but the SE-ADL is a simple unit to mess with & it gets my vote in the affordability department. Nevertheless, the Biyang delay which I tried recently gives this pedal a run for its worth in every aspect.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hate Eternal: Fury and Flames

Fury & Flames is a release on my 2008 anticipations list. Knowing Dim Mak's Shaun Kelly's presence in the recording line-up is very re-assuring guitar-wise. My expectation of every Hate Eternal release is very high, namely because Erik Rutan is a first class guitar proponent/songwriter in this music genre, whose work rate has been consistent since the debut, Conquering the Throne.
True enough, Fury & Flames is a non-compromise in terms of intensity & musicianship. It is heartening to see other members co-writting the tunes but as a whole, Fury & Flames showcased improved production (especially the bass). Rutan's solo approach is still the oriental tinged noodling & if you are familiar with Shaun Kelly's playing style, you can actually identify him in the mix. Great release, to say the least.

Monday, March 3, 2008

RIP: Jeff Healey

The guitar world mourns the passing of Jeff Healey on March 3, 2008. The blind guitarist succumed to his final bout with cancer which began in his infancy, the gravity of which claimed his eyesight. His passing came as a shocking development to band mates who witnessed his return from countless surgeries.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Biyang: OD-7

I've managed to put the Biyang OD-7 through some set ups today, the picture here was the pedal at its most beneficial. Some notes:

  • *The pedal acts as a solitary drive unit very well. If you thrive on cleans but would require minimal dirt at times, this OD-7 would impress.

*The WARM mode is especially fulfilling as it recreates that revered TS808 offering with the right amount of drive intensity & tone colouration. No surprises here as it's equipped with the same tone chip as the aforementioned pedal but at 1/3 of the price...

*In conjunction with other pedals, the OD-7 did well by being non-intrusive tone-wise. The 3-modes lets you choose how you wish to boost your dominant drive/ distortion unit. It does the sweet saturation impressively with metal-type distortion.

*As an amp drive booster, the OD-7 proved equally (if not better) impressive against whatever contenders there are out there (I own a few of these). Once again, the tri-modal voicing lets the fickle minded player employ the pedal accordingly, which was especially useful with my multi-chanelled Marshall JVM. The OD-7 was there to complement clean, cruch & high drive settings without switching pedals.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lemon oil: apply or avoid?

Many of us read dichotomised views when it comes to lemon oil. As a treatment chemical, should it be applied (if so, what's the recommended dosage?) or avoided altogether?

Lemon oil is a moisturizing/ conditioning fluid, don't let anyone tell you different. Its job is to address dryness in wood & is often applied to the guitar's fretboard which is only applicable if it's made of porous wood (eg: rosewood, maple isn't porous...).

If you detect dryness in your fretboard (spots being lighter in hue) chances are, it needs moisturizing. In addition to lemon oil (the yellow liquid in the clear surface bottle, above), there are other such fluid in the market. I've featured Dunlop's 02 Deep Conditioner & BEMIS' Wood Conditioner, among others. The commercial lemon oil, sold as a guitar care product in the shops, is especially formulated to be fragrant unlike Dunlop's 02. BEMIS Wood Conditioner isn't guitar exclusive, in fact, it's a general wood care supplement for any wooden products which require conditioning/ moisturizing often; your mum's chopping board is one of them.

My experience with these 3:
  • Lemon oil: the least lasting & least oily but the most fragrant
  • BEEMIS Wood conditioner: the longest lasting with the oiliest concoction
  • Dunlop 02: fastest to dry with a conditioning strength in between its above-mentioned 2 counterparts. Plus points for the manufacturer's wisdom of including a ready-to-apply tip; dabbing on a cloth before application is not required.
When applying any wood conditioning fluid, be sure to give it time to set in (10min or so). Apply sparingly & leave it to sink in before wiping away excess. Products with a lemon derivative especially, are to be applied less frequently due to its acidic nature; it would weaken the fretboard material over time.
In our equatorial climate, the need to recondition our fretboard is to be exercised as & when it arises; our porous, wooden fretboards lose moisture faster unlike in temperate climatic conditions. Also, there are some of us who use scouring fluid (eg: Dunlop 01 Cleaner & Prep) to remove dirt/ grime off our fretboards. This often contains alcohol-based solvents which dry our fretboard excessively hence the need to recondition/ remoisturize.

9V batteries

I'm not one to employ a power source (they hum your output) to my pedals, call me old school but my way is the battery way. I'm also not keen on the alkaline pedigree, this sustains the pedal on reduced power & affects tone (especially for drive/ distortion/ fuzz units). The batteries you see above are what I currently use. I'm very impressed with the Vinnic as it is the longest lasting & costs $0.90 per piece.

Fender: Mustang Bass

Over the years, I've been buying & selling basses & the Fender Mustang (Jap) is the only 4-stringer left in my line-up. This belonged to my father initially, he was sold on the idea of getting a short-scale bass after seeing me buy the Ibanez GAXB but according to him, it lacks the regular thump he loves hearing from the regular scaled units. After much considerations, we agreed to swap basses; my Ernie Ball SUB bass for his Fender Mustang...
It was indeed a regretable move as the SUB was discontinued- not that I dislike the Mustang, but I should have simply bought this one from him & own 2 great basses instead of 1.
This Japanese Mustang bass isn't a re-issue by any means; it's an interpretation (& licensed) by the Eastern craftsmen on a make which was over-shadowed by its regular scaled & more popular siblings, namely the Precision & Jazz. It's not true- the Mustang is as thumping as other basses but it has a more acute midrange response due to its dwarfed nature. Those of us who are more adept to the guitar scale length would welcome the Mustang.