Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
...seen here still with the former trio of pickups. Paul got it equipped with a set of TESLA VR-1 single coils. In summary, the VR-1 sounds very vintage in clean mode but once in overdriven phase, it's as contemporary as can be.
Some discussions with Paul:
About his Strat
- bought in 1994
- stock parts less the pickups/ frets
- I played the guitar for a while (because I don't click with the .010 string set on board); the neck was very worn in, devoid of whatever overcoat that used to be there
- it was well set up by Mike so it was shredtastic to say the least & it's a blues-rock tool through & through
- Paul likes the Plexi Drive & Plextortion particularly
- with his TESLA equipped Strat yesterday, he likes how the pickups sound thick with the above-mentioned pedals
- Samad suffered a heart attack which led to his demise
- having been through a heart attack himself, he accounted how his muscles were virtually wasted & had to undergo therapy to recover. He did some weight training to strengthen his fretting arm as well. From then on, every note 'is more meaningful'... We should be grateful of our abilities, we simply don't know when we would be stripped of them.
- playing with Douglas Oliviero
- the above-mentioned Strat was tuned down to suit Mr. Oliviero's sonic range...
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A well set-up guitar can do wonders to one's playing in terms of inspiration. My advice to everyone out there- make your gear slave for you (mod it, upgrade it, etc...).
Monday, October 27, 2008
- D'Addario EXL110-7 set (.010 - .059)
- additional SIT .008 high E as the 8th string
The thing I like about him is that he fits in the guitar parts into the songs regardless of the song's nature. This is also the reason why I like Zooropa the best- the most electronica U2 release & probably the most disliked if you are a traditional U2 fan. I remember having Zooropa in my Walkman years ago (in perpetual repeat mode) & cycling along East Coast Parkway at sunset... those were the days.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
What in guitardom is a shim? It's a wedge inserted in the guitar body's neck pocket to raise the neck placement.
The neck of the H1 Tele is first removed. If your body's neck pocket contain some dirt/ dust, it's best removed/ swept away before proceeding. As you can see here, Fender still stamps some assembly detail in their neck pockets as it was done in the past. My H1 tele is indeed a fresh product, assembled in July this year.
Create a simple shim out of a piece of paper. The recommended thickness is one similar to that of a cigarette box. If you don't smoke & having fag boxes in the house would get you into grave trouble, use a food container box (eg: cereal box/ granola bar box/ etc) or your string pack (the one I used here) for that matter. The length of the shim should match that of the pocket (duh!) but the width need only be 2cm or lesser. The objective is to raise the tip of the neck, nothing excessive.
You need not create any holes on the shim (because as you screw the bolts back in, they would easily penetrate the paper, yes?) but I did that to ease insertions.
Righty! It's done! My H1 tele needs a fresh set of string & I'm using EHX's set of .009 this time...
There are 2 school of thoughts when it comes to string cleaning:
- Don't clean: Strings are expandable. Play your guitar, leave it be, if the strings rust, you can always get new strings.
- Clean: After each play, you leave dirt & grime on your strings. If you don't clean them, you'll be coming into contact with them the next time you play- this will affect feel.
Its replacement is a traditional, jazz-favoured wooden bridge & the difference was marked. With the previous metal bridge, the tone was still immaculate but there was a lack in midrange fullness. The wooden bridge refined the lower midrange, adding more definition while increasing some bottom end thump. There's a certain crisp when played clean, in driven mode, the AF105 does metal-type riffing much better & solos are more upfront through the amp.
The name subsequently appeared in Yamaha's database, Mr. Bullock has a certain affiliation with the manufacturer pertaining to the company's DG amps (one favoured by Alan Holdsworth as well).
Hiram Bullock was an enigmatic session player, Jaco Patorious, Stevie Ray & Chaka Khan were among the stars he collaborated with. He was also known to be that outgoing, barefoot guitarist in Paul Shaffer's World's Most Dangerous Band. The cause of death was unclear, a major report cited throat cancer but the man was also known for his substance binge after shows.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
- You are emulating your idol & wish to replicate his guitar hardware so just instal what he has in his guitar, in yours- this is a reckless move. Your idol is probably some pro running his signals through countless processors so by the time these reach the amp, the tone is super polished; it's not about the pickups per se, it's the entire set-up for consideration.
- Amplifier before pickups- this is a lesson learnt throughout the years of playing. I had a handful of guitars in my early playing years but still plugging into a practice-grade amp (typically one with a small driver, enough to push the airwaves, nothing spectacular or respectably decent for that matter). I equipped one of my Ibanez RG with DiMarzio pickups but the end result still sounded like plugging into a practice-grade amp... It's not until I acquired my Marshall DSL401 (all tube, 40W, 1x12 combo) did I hear a marked pickup performance output.
- Higher output = better for distortion? This is perhaps one of the active (forgive the pun) misconceptions in guitardom, today. No- higher output pickups are not exclusively better performers when it comes to signal overdrive/ distortion. Again, citing a personal account- I swapped my Ibanez RG560's default bridge humbucker for a DiMarzio Tone Zone withe clear regrets; I didn't sound a million times better thereafter. So one fateful day, I entered the guitar store in sado-masochistic mood & bought a DiMarzio PAF humbucker, (one of the lowest ouput humbucker out there) & installing it in the very same Ibanez RG. It worked wonders when it comes to distortion (excess distortion in my case). Do note that the pickups in active units like an EMG for instance are indeed low output pickups which become high output due to the inclusion of an on board pre-amp; so now you know...
People spend a lot of time practicing technique & not enough practicing musical things- a sad state of affairs. Like the old adage "You are what you eat" musically speaking "You are what you practise". If you spend too much time practicing scales, when you get on a bandstand, you'll probably play a bunch of scales, which is not music.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Luthiers often classify basswood as a good tonewood to tool with due to its soft nature. It's more abundant than its other tonewood siblings hence its lower price tag. The uninformed always attribute abundance & the lack of material toughness as 'bad'; just because it doesn't comply to certain expectations doesn't mean it's dud. Fundamentally, basswood gives off a muscular midrange response but we often hear a lack of pronounced manifestation from a particular frequency hence making it one of the most neutral wood to propel guitar acoustics.
In this light, basswood is perhaps the best working material to propel your favourite/ boutique pickups' tones with minimal resonance colouring. However, the situation today is still one of basswood disapproval because it's not used in high-end guitars so it must be bad.
To date, Suhr guitars, one of the most respectable names in grand guitar craftsmanship, cites basswood as a splendid tonewood. Guitar wizards such as Joe Satriani, John Petrucci & Paul Gilbert, among others, chose basswood for their signature guitars- they must be dumb to do so, yes? Something for us to reflect upon...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
So they made way for a brass set (GOTOH) & the added zing is bliss- not recommended for dweebs who can't handle bright top end responses. I don't mind added clarity, I can effectively tame them down via EQ but having a muddy tone to start with & trying to inject some sizzle in the mix is unnecessary labour & quite ineffective too.
- the Gotoh saddle length are naroower so they don't come into contact with each other as this can induce buzzing at this end if your instrument (& sometimes you wonder where that darn buzzing's from...)
- the action adjustment screws are much shorter, they don't stab your picking hand palm
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
- I knew something of this nature would take place because the Ibanez SZ series had been discont'd (he played the SZ in the studio)
- The studio clips of The Age of Nero recording sessions saw Satyr playing ESP
This amp is a budget version of Mike Amott's Ninja stack. The first thing to note here is Randall's wise decision in equipping the combo with a superb driver- Celestion's Rocket 50. As such, the cleans are definitely above average.
Drive-wise, if you are looking for one of the best default distortion/ drive because you wish to remain pedal-free, this is perhaps one of the most gratifying solidstate tone for the money. The dual EQ feature here is indeed the key component of what makes this amp good to the ears. The amp has a boost feature for that much needed saturation for us distortion overdose dweebs. However, I personally feel some reverb would propel this amp into greatness. Highly recommended. (Absolutely love the price!)
- Product: Randall V2XM (30W, 1x12") combo
- Availability: Davis GMC
- Price: $215.00 (NETT)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Versus is the band's 7th full length release but one which continues to fray the fan base. If you get really lethargic listening to its predecessor, The Dead Eye, you'd be likely to be dead beat after a spin of this. The album, at best, is a respectable, heavy release but one which is rather uninspiring. There are no opiating guitar riffs such as the true-to-form grabbers in The Haunted's first five releases, the drumming was primarily holding foundation while Peter Dolving's vocals leads into a very hardcore-like phrasing in every track.
With all due respect, the band still has what it takes to get us hooked but it's something we've heard before in another guise somewhere out there. Perhaps the opening track Moronic Colossus is an internal reflection of... themselves.
Monday, October 20, 2008
For their current reunion tours, Abbath had been seen playing the LTD V-type guitars as there is a current endorsement deal between the player & the guitar manufacturer. In due fairness, the man should be given an Ibanez endorsement in the first place but Ibanez has a record of severing endorsement ties with landmark guitarists, John Petrucci & Frank Gambale are among others worth mentioning.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"We've obtained exclusive rights to pickup wire made by the very machine that made pickup wire back in the '50s. We think the new pickups we've sreated sound extraordinary."
The person responsible for this confusion is Leo Fender, who labelled his new Stratocaster guitar, equipped with a new bridge (new in 1954, of course- that infamous headstock label: WITH SYNCHRONIZED TREMOLO). Ironically, his Vibrolux amp (in 1956) with a built-in tremolo was labeled as a vibrato effect.
So now you know...
Saturday, October 18, 2008
- his Strats were visual attraction, namely due to a unique body finish like the one depicted here (chrome plating)
- his live tones were never like his recordings; I clearly remember because Dave strummed his flange/ vibrato/ delay laden guitar that was never part of Sweet Dreams
- the pedal itself (duh!)
- a STOMPLOCK contraption
- velcro sheet
Tone-wise, the CM-2 is ear candy. We should stop making comparisons to all things green & bearing the overdrive label, to the Ibanez TS9 but the manufacturers can't stop manufacturing units in this light, so it's not our fault, really. What I dislike about it is its lack of midrange control but I'm not one who forsake a good pedal on grounds of personal disliking. In any case, the 2 modes on offer here, Classic/ Modified, add some colouring to the midrange so that's a consolation. This insclusion also addresses the popular buy-&-mod culture among pedal geeks here so the Digitech folks got that covered. Kudos to the inclusion of the velcro sheet- Digitech folks somehow know we own pedalboards...
If you're still wondering what the STOMLOCK accessory is all about, it's a control panel cover, to protect your settings during play. This is for those of us who like a particular setting for our pedals & do not wish to meddle with the prescribed tone any further during performances- not many of us are like that, yes?
- List: $211.40 (NETT)
- Product availability: Swee Lee Co
Thanks: Adam & Co @ BB showrom for the hospitality despite the crowd (thumbs up!!)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
You first read about the new Ibanez Soundwave X amp here: http://theguitaraddict.blogspot.com/2008/06/ibanez-soundwave-x.html
I managed to try the 20W version (SWX20) yesterday (pic above):
- active EQ has a healthy frequency sweep, very dependent on overall volume
- Ibanez retained the default compression circuit- kudos!
- HUE control functions like a dampening switch but one can hardly hear the difference in operation unless overdrive is in use
- BRIGHT/ SHAPE switches further enhances tone sculpting. On a personal note, if you do solos on your bass, the former adds clarity & it helps inject definition into neck/ humbucking pickups
Great amp for the money, highly recommended for the beginners & those in need of a practice unit.
With the demise of Peavey's 5150 amp (FYI- Van Halen now with Fender...), Steve Morse now has his own signature amp head, the ENGL Steve Morse 100. Besides the tremendous amount of gain (3 x Gain channels) included, it's equipped with 4 midrange controls (2 x Lo-Mid/ 2 x Hi-Mid) implying the gravity of this frequency in Morse's EQ needs...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
- Sco's live tone was his recording tone- the man knows tone acquisition despite the different amp (live amp: VOX) used in both circumstances
- There was effective use of pickups switching & volume management; the master manipulates his Ibanez first & foremost before messing with his pedals
- The upholding of jazz elements was unmistakable but Sco is one jazz cat who EMBRACES technology rather than seeing it as an intrusion. There were countless moments when his phrase sampler was put to good use, often leaving Joe Lovano in exhiliration limbo
- The bass/ drum lads were exceptional! They promote band chemistry & were not relegated as mere accompaniments- bass & drum solos were fine touches to the overall performance
Em... half the audience were Caucasians...