Sunday, January 31, 2010

Marvel drivers

Hi darling, the reason why daddy brought his Peavey XXL amp out of isolation was to do a reality check; sometimes the lesser known wares sound much more intriguing than the branded items. Peavey equipped its XXL combo amp with a pair of Blue Marvel drivers, these are in-house units but the amp in whole sound fantastic.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Slash LP irony...

Gibson is currently featuring a work-in-progress Les Paul guitar (above pic), it's a remake of Slash's celebrated model used during his Appetite for Destruction (GnR) days. You can read about that guitar here:

So... em... is Gibson copying a copy of their own? He he...

8 acoustic

When everyone else is busy with solid-body electrics, Taylor decides to join the 8-string camp but keeping it acoustic instead. Not a standard scale length tohugh, it's a baritone offering.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ihsahn: After

From the day I started listening to Emperor, I knew Ihsahn is a genius in his turf. He is blessed with exceptional musicianship & the technicalities to manifest his ideas. He is now living a shadow of his former establishment, which was quite a fraction of his true capacity.
After is Ihsahn's 3rd solo adventure since laying down his Emperor cloak. This is the punter's favourite album because it showcases the individual at his best. We all know 'best' is subjective because the materials laid down in After involve trace amounts of his musical past, it's a subsequent development which arguably peaked here. The layperson out there would label this 'progressive' as oppossed to treating it in isolation of preconceived opinions but that is beyond control relating to the nature of the music. After is a peerless effort. The music per se is a melting pot of intensity & exceptional taste. It is also peppered with beautiful quirks- would you expect some saxaphone solos? Or perhaps some chapman stick overtones.? We know Ihsahn recently associated himself with an 8-string guitar (Ibanez) & that makes its presence well heard here. This is a fresh acquisition for me but I've listened to the entire album more than 5x... Hauntingly beautiful.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dark Funeral: Angelus Exuro pro Eternus

An anticipated release on my part but not for critics who deem this as a re-shambling of what was heard before. I don't blame Dark Funeral for releasing Angelus Exuro pro Eternus only to be shot at by people who are sick & tired of this staple. It's double standard, really. We don't execute Pink Floyd for each astral & psychedelic album they churn out. We'd be disappointed if they don't sound like themselves...

Moving on, Angelus... is a brave effort by DF- admittedly, they don't sound new in any way but the efforts here would make one feel one's belief in this band & the brand of black metal they embrace, justified. Between Endstille & DF, they sound rather common but the note choices would set them apart. The production helm of Peter Tatgren might also be accountable for this sonic assault. Guitar fans would be encouraged to take a listen not that there are zen solos to be delighted with but the level of commitment, guitar-wise, is refreshing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Of parents & sheer ignorance

I was in a guitar store a few days ago; it's only normal my addiction brought me to such venues, yes? While I was scrutinizing a guitar, in came a lady with her son. On tow was an acoustic guitar with a broken string.

"We just bought this guitar last week, some of the strings are rusty & this one's broken."

Upon some probing, her son admitted to over-tightening the broken piece in an attempt to re-tune the instrument. Wiping the strings down after each play was never in his practical vocabulary.

When you are interested in all things guitar, please be informed of the strings being expendables. If you can't understand what this means, it's very similar to your dad buying a car & having to bear with the tyre-related costs. He is out of his mind if he goes back to the seller telling him the tyre has worn out since he bought it some days back & one of them is punctured. You also need to tell your mum (or dad) to refrain from pivoting on a cause which would only reflect her ignorance on the matter. Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Marshall MG2FX

This is a neat little ditty by Marshall; the MG2FX- very portable & user friendly.

I'm rather interested in it but it requires adaptor powering which would be hum inducing...

... & it lacks a midrange control. However, I've heard it in use & would endure the setbacks just to enjoy the good tones on board. KIV, definitely.

Hey, dad! (Part 14)

Hey, dad! I see that you've brought your Peavey XXL out of retirement. What are you gonna do with it?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

JB Beast

My beloved BC Rich Beast Jr...

...recently Beez did a great job with the Duncan JB in there together with the coil split switch (that solitary volume knob in there). I'm not bent on swapping all my guitar pickups with Duncans but this red humbucker was going for a good price so it goes into my Beast. The JB is one of my favourite Duncan to date on grounds of clarity- I can pump in loads of distortion & the note definition coming from any guitars with this pickup on board, won't muck up. It may not be everyone's cup of tea as the midrange response is very protrusive but it's nothing the amplifier's EQ could not address.

Friday, January 22, 2010

This phone...

Would you buy this phone... just because there's a 'Fender' in there? Goodness...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ibanez GAXB- farewell...

I've always recommended players new to the bass/ guitar dweebs who can't come to terms with the longer scaled bass, to try the fantastic Ibanez GAXB (above) but it finally bows out of the catalogues this year...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Smash POD gate screamer

I still get much enjoyment over a simple set up as seen above. I also get very inspired listening to tone generated by non-guitar specific drivers, the reason I love the X-mini speaker so much. This had been my set up since Monday (17/1):
  • Guitar: SMASH S2 Lite
  • LINE6: Pocket POD Express
  • Beta Aivin: NS100 Noise Gate
  • Ibanez: TS7

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That speaker in there...

Ibanez has a featured 1x12 cab for its new TSA15H as seen above...

...what really excites me is the fact that there's a Celestion Seventy80 in there- my fav!!

Fender American Special

New for 2010, Fender introduces a fresh range of affordable (whatever this means to you) American made instruments- the American Special series. These include a traditional Strat (as above), a Tele & a HSS Strat. The AS series sits between the American Standard & the Highway 1 offerings.

If you think the American Standard guitars are prohibitive price-wise, the American Special would be a natural consideration, especially if you can't come to terms with the Highway 1's body finish regardless if they are the most affordable American-made guitars to date.

Monday, January 18, 2010

GIO 2010

This year, the GIO models include some rather tasty guitars, much in line with the regular Ibanez offerings. The GSAS36 above would be quite desirable from its mere looks.

If you like the curved top of the Ibanez RGA but short of $$$, this year the manufacturer offers the GIO version- GRGA11. It seems that the RGA model is quite a hit for the manufacturer this time round like what the discontinued SZ models were some time back.

And an affordable singlecut model for us starters & those in need of backups alike- GART60

Of Beck, Stratocaster & Duncan

We all know Jeff Beck, if you don't, you're most probably new to the electric guitar...

Fender made him a signature Stratocaster in the '90s but he declined putting his name on the instrument, according to him, he's not worthy of such an attribute (oh, goodness!!). However, the guitar continued its existence & was known as the Stratocaster Ultra (pic above).

Even his signature Seymour Duncan pickup was renamed 'JB' instead of spelling out his full name. Some people just want to be left alone...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Marty's new guitar?

Romour: Marty Friedman switched camp, he's now with PRS. A quick check at the PRS website sees his name on the artist list. There are also various clips of him playing the PRS singlecut models, out there for you to believe.

Ibanez: The pic you see above was one of Marty's 2009 photo shoot, that Ibanez singlecut he had there- absolutely desireable but as it is, we can only hope it's going to materialize for further enjoyment. Marty's name is still in the Ibanez endorser roster but it could be an out-dated affair.

Ibanez 2010 sneaks (Part 7): Amp!

Enough Ibanez guitar fodder, what I like this year is the new Ibanez amp- TSA15H. What's the buzz? TSA- the 'TS' stands for Tube Screamer, meaning: The Tube Screamer is incorporated into this amp... So now it's all about hearing it in action. Anxiety, anxiety... but not quite for me. This amp has no midrange control... *sigh* Still looking forward to hear it in person, though.

In the mean time, Rob Balducci's demo is here for everyone's considerations:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gus Ozz

So Gus G is Ozzy's new guitar commander. It would only mean great exposure for ESP. Nothing quite as big as Metallica had since showcased the ESP brand name, with this in place, it's a firm rooting for the manufacturer.

Double pointed

Things are getting too pointed & excessive at Ibanez but for a good cause, nevertheless. This year, the absolutely protrusive Xiphos model is incarnated in a double neck version with a total of 13 strings to keep you busy.

The 3rd

This is an interesting offering by amp manufacturer 3rd Power- a 3x12" cab so you can remain special in between friends who own a 2x12" & 4x12"...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Marshall vs Sound Drive

I am perhaps one of the numbered spectres in guitardom to be paying attention to solidstate amplifiers- the detestable tone generators to the rest of us. I only bothered with the ones that matter tone-wise, in the realms of distortion, of course. I don't quite believe these amps would have any real offerings in terms of cleans, even to sympathizers like me.

Friends ask, between the Marshall (MG100HFX) & Sound Drive (SG612R head), which one is more appealing? I can't offer any differentiated opinions to revere one amp & delineate the other. As far as my ear drums are concerned, these two amps are different drive-wise. The Marshall is distinctly British in this light, very gnarly, protrusive in an appealing way. The Sound Drive has a very appealing lead voicing; it makes my Les Paul very desireable in terms of single note clarity & that's rather miraculous to me.

I was criticized before for wasting precious $ in acquiring sterile sounding amps but let me reiterate the fact that I address tonal appeal regardless of the brand name & nature of the amplifier. Before I heard the Sound Drive in action, it meant nothing to me; a mere get-by Korean unit, a compromise for some unattainable desirebles... but that's not the case, of course. It taught me a lesson- do not be dismissive of the estranged wares out there. Just because it's an obscure item, it doesn't equal to a lemon.

Am I anti-tube then? If you understand the state of my address above, this question won't surface.

Ibanez 2010 sneaks (Part 6)

So it's true, sensei Satriani has new axes to grind this year. One of which is the acoustic guitar you see above; the JSA10.

Meanwhile, the JS solid electric model is given a revision this year (Satriani's preferences...):
  • 24 frets
  • New DiMarzios: Pro Track (N)/ Mo' Joe (B)

Above guitar: JS2400

You can hear what the sensei himself has to say about it (note the amp in use... he, he...)...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ibanez 2010 sneaks (Part 5)

Fans of Prestige RGs but in need of a fixed bridge, the RG1451 will appease you. However, we note the bridge model isn't the regular fixed unit but the manufacturer's own Tight End version. Implication: Spares not readily available should parts wear...

The RGA model here (RGA42T), is given a whammy bridge but sports a neck-through construction. It is hoped that good tones would be the reason we choose to buy this one...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Still on the new LTDs for this year- the MH model above offers 27 frets for us eager finger gymnasts...
...elsewhere, the Ibanez XPT700XH also offers the same number of frets. If we consider the pickups & bridge types on offer for both the LTD & Ibanez, we can see what's really going on here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of Prestige & before...

I chanced upon an ad, someone selling off his Ibanez RG550, which is a pre-Prestige model...

... it was allegedly given the current Prestige treatment, just that it wasn't called 'Prestige' back then- was that the case? Of course not. The Prestige tag was there following the departure of John Petrucci, the manufacturer liked the idea of the (6) extra treatment procedures for the higher end guitar necks, hence the Prestige tag was born. I am in no way trying to ridicule the pre-Prestige units, in my opinion, they are splendid guitars for the money, regret not acquiring more before they became extinct... Every time I pick up my RG560, I'm reminded of this. Dang.

Monday, January 11, 2010

ESP/ LTD 2010

ESP/ LTD are offering new wares for 2010, the LTD info is available at their main homepage. I thought it was interesting how the gold top & silverburst finishes are made available to entice us, the weak-willed & consumers of cosmetic touches, rather than buying something different.

Hey, dad! (Part 13)

Hey, dad! I can't lift your MG100HFX but I certainly can handle this little one... Where you want me to put it?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tubescreamer application: Jeff Loomis

Jeff Loomis, has lethal equipment to propel his ultra heavy tone; an EMG equipped guitar (Schecter) + ENGL amp. Surely, this is more than sufficient to be crushing ear drums but do take time to watch the superb performance above, particularly, take note of the only pedal he's using- why would he need it anyway? This is why I always include a mild drive/ distortion pedal in my set up; it's not the greed of having more distortion, it's what the pedal does for playing ease- it helps rev up picking sensitivities (among other supplements) so I can pick faster without having to apply more pressure/ effort which would entail lethargy & mistakes.

Keep it simple

I have always kept it simple for tonal pleasure. For the last 3 days or so, I can't come to terms with thin-necked guitars so my Edwards (E-LP-92-SD-P) here kept my competence in check. I'm still having Marshall fever hence the MG100HFX is still my amp of choice in the mean time; the CRUNCH channel, with a little kick from the MXR Distortion + did it for me. Pick in the above pic: ALICE 3.0, basically a stubby by another name.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

MG Muff

I've been dabbling with my MG100HFX settings this week, the pleasant surprise was its pairing with the Metal Muff. This also highlighted the fact that indeed, the current generation of MG amps were given the revision they truly deserve in terms of drive definition.

The Metal Muff (NANO version) works best when hooked up to the MG100HFX's crunch channel; it's the case of a hard distortion pedal kicking a mild distortion channel into place. Saturations aplenty, definition was also kept in check. I'm rather fortunate to experience the development of the MG technology & witnessing the various refinements. I was never a fan of the previous MG series of amps.

Elsewhere, a gathering of heretics could be heard with this rant: BAH! It's still solidstate pariah! Tube is bliss!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Squier models for 2010

New Squiers (Classic Vibe series) for us eager dweebs this 2010:

The Thinline model features a mahogany body + medium jumbo frets. The neck radius here is 9.5" The Alnico V pickups here mean there's throatiness should drive be included.

The Custom model features an alder body with a rosewood fretboard, just like how the Custom was in its '60s glory. Same pair of Alnico V pickups.

It seems that 'Squier' isn't a brand name to refer to when one hunts for make-do units for get-by occasions. Long gone are the lemons which we used to fault when dealing with lower rung instruments in this price bracket.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Abgott: Godfather In Black

This is relentless black metal. This is also some of the best guitar playing in this music genre. Critics often dismiss black metal as an avenue for the less talented to get away with their inaptitude but the Abgott lads know their instruments, they certainly know how to play- very well, mind you. However, Godfather In Black is a win-lose album; it wins lots of guitar playing fans, especially those of us excessively critical with talent, it also loses some of the purists who would deem this as a commercial access. You can't please all the people all the time but I am definitely pleased with this one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

RGD scale length

If you are intending to get the new, absolutely attractive Ibanez RGD, be informed of its scale length: 26.5"

The 'D' in RGD implies 'Drop-tuning'; the guitar sports a longer scale length to prevent excessive tension slack due to lower than standard tunings.

Is that something new from Ibanez? No, the discontinued RG1077XL had a 27" scale length...

... the (discont'd) Mike Mushok signature model was 28".

Mike Stern: Big Neighbourhood

Mike Stern is certainly one of my favourite guitarists because he's an exciting player despite treading firmly in his jazz turf. Also, he's one I look up to for a magnificent vocal-guitar harmony as well as appealing clean tones- I'm not a big driveless tone fan but Mike Stern's tones speaks!

In this release, Mr. Stern avoided the dreary jazz approach very well with the inclusion of guitarists Steve Vai & Eric Johnson. I actually listened to this release without looking at the inner sleeves for details & I can clearly hear a commanding humbucking tone (Vai) & that estranged but beautiful fuzz output (Johnson) which are clearly not Stern's. All in all, guitar fans would be pleased with this rock tinged release which stamped Mike Stern's guitar authority in this 6-string neighbourhood which is definitely big enough to hold this fretboard master. To all you brand name snobs out there, Mr. Stern laid down his Fender for a Yamaha. Ha!