Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not 9s in there?

I'm basically too attached to my Ibanez RGA32 for the last few days or so (ok, so I did play my Fenders & ESP as well...) but felt something was amiss while playing it; I made too many fundamental mistakes & felt tired rather quickly (no, Red Bull didn't help). So I decided to re-string it today (GHS Boomers rules!) & discovered the source of my clumsiness & lethargy- the default strings were not a set of .009...

Mike @ Standard Value confirmed my suspicion as the RG321 guitars in his store are equipped with .010s from the factory. So there we have it, the Indonesian models were not strung with .009s...

Friday, January 30, 2009

That un-flat top

How curved is the RGA's body top? Hope the above pic gives you an idea of how it is (featured guitar is my RGA32). If you are wondering what's the big deal with the RGA, then be informed that the top is arched- the 'A' in RGA.

Sounding huge

This is my current spin right now (Mindi Abair- It Just Happens That Way), not new though, a 2003 release but I bought it for a reason- some great tunes are played down-tempo, greatness is not about how fast one can play (especially you shred dweebs out there).

The saxophone is also a very commanding instrument as it is able to sound huge without layering/over-dubbing. It also has a natural reverb to it, making it full-sounding, compared to the average guitar.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Japanese, Chinese & Indonesian

This 2009, Ibanez fans would see Japanese...
& Indonesian guitars offered in the stores. There would be no more Korean models.

Lock it!! (Part 2)

Say you love your current strap & it's the type which doesn't feature a locking device, so the chances of your guitar committing suicide by kissing the floor during a stand-up play, is very real.

This is where your investment in Dunlop's Ergo Lok would be a prudent move. It's simply a device you cap onto the strap button.

Of course, make sure you buy a pair...

This product was first featured here: Read this

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I had Beez replace the volume/tone pots of my Ibanez RG7620 last weekend, had him install the orange drop caps in there as well. Why do you see 2 caps in there? The other is a treble bleed cap for the volume knob. I could use some treble sustenance when lowering the volume of this guitar especially so when there's an additional low, B-string in there.

Relic Hamilton

Helmet's Page Hamilton gets a new, old model (or should that be an old, new model?) this year; it's actually a relic version of the first ESP he played.

It seems the relic-is-cool application is catching on with more brand names. Fender & Gibson have bigger shares in this market owing to a stronger acceptability of owning a trashed-but-loved guitars; it's all about what's on the headstock. I think I'm the very few people left on planet earth who get excessively perturbed when I ding my guitar.

When dad's not looking (Part 7)

When dad's not looking, someone brought over some friends to play with used picks...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ibanez guitar... em... bass? What?

This is the latest attention-grabbing instrument offered by Ibanez this 2009, the SR7...

The 'SR' prefix indicates its bass nature & its overall outline is indeed reminiscent of a typical Ibanez Soundgear (SR) bass. However, the manufacturer reckons the addition of a high E string in there makes this a 'hybrid' instrument; something capable of churning out the bottom end frequencies as well as enabling the player to break into solos...

Default tuning (low to high): B-E-A-D-G-C-E

Significance: An innovative release by Ibanez, it's still in its proto stages so seeing one in stores would take time. I'd say it'll catch on with the bass dweebs more so than the guitar slingers due to its bass scale length.

Concern: As depicted, the instrument features a stressful string break angle from the nut to the machine head (especialy so for the ones at the extreme ends) & this would affect tuning effectiveness (friction related).

PS: Click pic if you think you need to see a bigger manifestation...

Time flies

A year ago, when I started this blog, I took a pic of my little girl with my Ibanez RG8- this is the same person with the same guitar...

Escape to the void

I was up early today, decided to play guitar but the daughter was still asleep & my wife was working on some papers in the next room (where I usually play) & wanted the room door left open in case the daughter wakes up. I grabbed my RGA32 & mini Fender amp along to the void deck...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Deatspell Omega: Chaining the Katechon

My first purchase for '09 is Deathspell Omega's Chaining the Katechon; it's a one song EP lasting 22min- definitely not for the impatient.

I'm a keen fan of this French black metal outfit; the band keeps a very mysterious profile yet the music remains very commanding & ahead of the times. Chaining is a typical DO song, with lots of guitar dabbling, nothing too elitist in tone but the arrangement here is worthy of exaltation. While the change in pace to address the various phase of the track isn't exactly original, the band's conviction for the music genre remains clear- uncompromising.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Twin Tube Blue

Seymour Duncan's tube adventure continues this 2009 with the Twin Tube Blue, an extension of the TT series. If you are the in-between player- ie. you deem the Twin Tube too polite & the Twin Tube Mayhem too excessive- the Blue might have something for you. The hue here is alluding to a certain BOSS offering which is responsible in making all things crunchy very addictive.

Personal gripe: Where's the midrange control?


It's been a while since a last played my Ibanez Talman- was distracted by active pickups, protruding guitar body outlines, 8-strings & bass, among others. This affordable guitar is definitely my firm favourite namely attributable to the neck profile. I do not favour a finished neck, I sweat too much & the sticky sensation would kick in quickly during play but the overall profile of this neck makes me wanna play for hours (which I did last night). It has that wide/flat feel which helps me play fast with minimal mistakes. The bonus here is that I managed to lower the action to rival some of my RG models so playing it is as inviting as the rest. The default humbuckers are also a surprise; these aren't the darling Super 58s but they are fine through my amps, lots of warmth & clarity.

I'd do well this year to check more Artcore models out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seymour Duncan: Triple -shot mounting ring

This is a clever product by pickups manufacturer, Seymour Duncan; can't get used to splitting your humbuckers via your guitar's volume/tone knobs? The simple but brilliant solution is seen above- the Triple-shot is a pickup mounting ring which lets you do that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New EVH Wolfgang

This is the new Van Halen signature guitar- it's still called a 'Wolfgang'.

The headstock is a love/hate affair. However, it's not a total departure from its Peavey predecessor- just a mere removal of that beveled section.

Look at how much shielding is on board...

Significance: While Fender's custom shop currently handles the production of both his amp & guitar, there's still no 'Fender' moniker anywhere on these products. Instead, 'EVH' is now a stand-alone brand name which is an easy recognition for the man himself considering the enormity of his following.

Edward Van Halen can choose any wood in the world for his guitar body but it's basswood for him- & there are people out there who still think basswood is a pariah material to invest in.

Lock it!

If you love your guitar, you wouldn't want it to kamikaze to the ground while playing it strapped-on. This happens because the strap slit for the button to fit into, has worn out over time, expands & manifests lesser grip for your instrument.

The strap you see above is my Planet Waves' Planet Lock strap, which has a ready locking system; just fit the strap button into the gap & lock it. It fits majority of the strap button less PRS'. So if you love your Gibson Les Paul & deem replacing the small, problematic, default strap buttons a desecration of authenticity, this strap would help.

Does the plastic material scratch you guitar body's finish? No. The underside of the locking mechanism is lined with rubber, your guitar stays scratch free but because the locking contraption tightens up upon use, when you move about, you'd hear it squeaking. Some people find this terribly annoying while recording fanatics say it (the squeaking sound) bleeds into their recordings.

All in all, the Planet Lock is an affordable security strap, a definite alternative to using Dunlop's Strap Lock buttons & pins.

Monday, January 19, 2009

GH's Laguna

Super guitarist Greg Howe has teamed up with Laguna guitars to manifest the LE924FRT. This isn't a long term deal but a limited period collaboration & we know how Mr. Howe had done so with Peavey & ESP guitars, among others, for such enticements.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Marshall- MG series, revised

The popular solidstate range by Marshall, the MG series, is revised this 2009 (it's now known as the the MG4...). As you can see (you cant? click pic, please...) the buttons on board are sleek & the amp features a tuner. I really hope the tone gets some revision as well; planning to get the head version... it's either this or a CRATE model.

Also, in this light, I'm hinting at the likelihood of letting one of my tube heads find a new, more deserving owner...

RG321... farewell?

Word has it that the RG321MH will no longer be available for the market here- I'm still trying to confirm this...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

PG's new (Ibanez) pedal...

In addition to his signature Ibanez guitars, Paul Gilbert has a signature pedal to entice you effects dweebs; the Airplane Flanger here features a flanger only offering as well as a chorus/flanger combo. Neat.

Fixed JEM

This is the confirmed production model (for 2009) of the Ibanez fixed bridge JEM (JEM7EAFX). The fixed bridge here is the manufacturer's Tight End model featuring a locking saddle-to-base plate mechanism for superior vibration transfer.

Ibanez ARTB

The Ibanez ARTB100 is in stock @ Swee Lee. It's very similar to the Artcore bass (AGB200) in terms of outline & scale length (30.3") just that this one is a solid body version.

List: $856

PS: For the record, S'pore is one of the very first few countries to have the initial 2009 models in stock (second week of JAN '09); Europe's getting them after 20th Jan & over at State-side, NAMM '09 takes priority...

Friday, January 16, 2009

When Dad's not looking (Part 6)

When Dad's not looking, someone brought over her Sesame Street friends to jam...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who makes the best Les Paul?

From the above list of manufacturers, which Les Paul is the best?

Ans: None of the above guitars are Les Pauls...

The 'Les Paul' tag is so synonymous with a singlecut design, it's used freely to refer to the latter- that's how influential the 'Les Paul' name has become.

Ibanez: XP300 (Part 2)

The XP300 is a simple guitar despite its protrusive body outline.

It features a bolt-on construction unlike its 700-series siblings.

I dislike the manufacturer's INF humbuckers (due to excessive upper frequencies) but in this guitar, they sound just right. I'm keeping them in the mean time, my spare Duncans will have to wait for other guitars. The XP300 also sports a fixed bridge, making re-stringing & tuning a simple affair.

Like its other XP family members, the instrument comes with one of the strap buttons detached. If you purchase a Xiphos, do not scream bloody 'cheat' when you see a hole in your guitar; check the darn accessory package.

Crunched PPE

I've never plugged a high drive/ intense distortion pedal into my Marshall's crunch channel because I deem this a desecration of Marshall's greatness but on days I get bored, anything goes. I plugged my Pocket POD Express into the aforementioned amp's channel & it was great- a pleasant concoction of tube crunchiness & digital intensity. Without the noise gate in the chain, the background hissing was excessive.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Silver MG

If you fancy the low wattage Marshall MG series, it's now available in silver...

Ibanez: RGA32 (Part2)

The RGA32 joins its ART sibling in offering an affordable active output. Unlike other brand names, Ibanez assigned an AA battery pair in powering up the humbuckers. Besides being different, the AA battery type is more readily available than a block 9V unit.

This is rather mysterious to me- the RGA's serial number indicated its 2009 inception but this is only the third week of January. I am wondering if the guitar was manufactured late 2008 & finished in the budding days of this year hence its chronological indication. If production was strictly initiated this year, it was a rushed job.

Ibanez: XP300

The other Ibanez I acquired is the Xiphos XP300. If you purchase this guitar, be informed that the bag is an inclusive accessory. I'm not a big fan of protrusive body outlines (especially a Jackson Warrior wannabe...) but this one appeals to me in terms of tone & overall QC. The bummer here is its black finish- it's another black guitar for me.

AT100- reissued...

For the record, Andy Timmons is no longer an Ibanez endorser. This 2009, in the spirit of true benevolence (believably...), the manufacturer is re-issuing the AT100; here's what Mr. Timmons has to say about it (taken from his official home page):

Hi Folks,

I'm very proud to announce that Ibanez and I have agreed to re-issue the original AT100 on a global scale. As opposed to the original AT100 which was a limited production (we think @ 300 were made), the AT100CL will be available worldwide and will be made to the exact specs as the original including the hand shaped neck!!

As you may recall, I announced a while back that I had parted ways with Ibanez and that I just wanted to play whatever I felt like playing. I never had any intention of signing with another guitar company as many had speculated. I did get approached by many companies once word got out (which I was very flattered by) but it was more important to me to remain independent and avoid a reputation as an "endorsement hopper".

What I discovered in this time period is that I do love to play Strats occasionally as well as SG Specials, Teles and Les Pauls but nothing feels like "home" like my original AT100. Tone, feel and expression.

It's truly MY guitar. As I was coming to this realization, Hoshino invited me to play for their 100th Anniversary concert in Japan w/Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert.

I was very honored to be asked to do so and I thought it was cool for them to ask considering I wasn't currently an endorsee. During my visit they approached me with the idea of re-issuing the AT100. It was just perfect felt "right"!

I know there has been a lot of interest in this guitar in the past, so I'm so happy to say that it will finally be available in 2009!

The guitar will be unveiled at the January NAMM show (and available for pre-order) in Anaheim and should be in stores by Spring.

The Andy Timmons Band will appear opening for Paul Gilbert and Racer X
as part of the NAMM festivities. Good stuff indeed.

I'm off to play...I'm inspired!!!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ibanez: RGA32 (Part1)

Having a soft spot for a lacquer-free body finish, I was naturally attracted to the new RGA32, so it's naturally the guitar I brought home yesterday. I own an RGA121 but this Indonesian version is very much lighter than its Prestige counterpart.

Here's a look at the guitar's rear...

I have no gripes with the overall QC but it seems that someone over at the factory missed a spot in one of the screw cavities.

The Gibraltar Standard bridge is a neat inclusion, but it's not easy finding replacement parts as this is a unique Ibanez hardware. It's a marvelous first 2009 acquisition for me- but which other guitar made its way here as well? Stay tuned... :-)