Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is that the right way?

The lad you see here is Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad). He recently did an endorsement with Peavey guitars, a series of his signature models were released but not the one you see here. So what's with this one? I don't know if Mr. Townsend wrapped his strings round the machine heads as such intentionally but it's the wrong way round, take a closer look at the arrowed section (click photo if you need clarifications); not one but all of the strings were wound as such.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Full metal!

The MXR Fullbore Metal was mentioned as my must-try pedal this 2010. It lists for $265 @ Swee Lee

I did try it today at Swee Lee. The guitar in use was Ibanez's GRGA11.

The pedal lived up to its expectations as a menacing distortion unit, very much addressing the needs of the average heavy metal guitarist. This then begs the proverbial query: Is it better than the (BOSS) Metal Zone? While the Metal Zone serves to be quite the bench mark for heavy distortion, the Fullbore Metal wasn't conceived to replicate or out-perform the Metal Zone by any means; it's something quite different despite having Digitech's Metal Master's overtones in the mix. The 3-band EQ section has an impressive sweep, especially the treble section. I don't deem the scoop function necessary/ useful, while some of us here swear by this tone sculpturing, its real application in a band context is acquired taste, especially for those of us in need of single note clarity. It's also impractical during performances as one needs to bend down to press-activate the minute switch which can't be done with the feet, especially with shoes on. The noise gate inclusion is a thumbs-up feature here which can be set via a trimming pot underneath the pedal chassis. There's currently a 25% discount for this pedal which would end very soon: 28th Feb... like it's tomorrow. I was then off to Ansari's for a sublime briyani serving.

Discount announcements:
  • Swee Lee is having a store wide discount for guitars/ basses (30% off) & pedals (25% off) till 28th Feb. You still have one more day to consider any purchases while you still have your hong baos in hand
  • Ansari Briyani Restaurant will slash 10% off your final bill every Friday in case you procrastinate stopping by for a meal

Skitliv: Skandinavisk Misantropi

This is the sophomore release from the ex-Mayhem front-man, Maniac. Skitliv is a doom outfit, Maniac is currently in admiration of all things down-tempo & crushing. He cited Burzum as inspiration. As such, there's only one track which alludes to black metal, if this was intentional at all- Densetsu. Please do not expect any persistent manifestations of the aforementioned music genre, majority of the tracks here are deliberately unhurried. Guitar-wise, Skandinavisk Misantropi is unpretentious in its delivery. No technical noodlings but all the necessary ingredients to get the job done.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Godin: Redline

We often know Godin for its acoustic/electric models like the Multiac, above.

However, they do make solidbody, super-S type like the Redline model. I've yet to see this one in store, dealers often bring in better-selling models for certain brand names but often forget about variety. Maybe they feel safer with faster moving instruments off their shelves, it's about business,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fender strings: New Packaging

The above is the former Fender strings packaging. You'd find them in stores in the typical individual string envelopes + plastic master pack.

However Fender strings now features the above packaging- the paper box type. Why bother? Just wanna say when I buy Fender strings, the ones in the former packaging contain rusty units, especially the plain strings. We'd have better luck with the current version... once these get here, of course.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oldest & newest

The oldest item in my house is my Ibanez RG560, it's 19 years old this year. The newest item is my Samsung washing machine, just 4 days old.

4-string guitar

Was there ever a 4-string guitar made? Yes, Gibson made an ES-350 TG tenor guitar, supposedly for transitioning banjo players in the 1950s. As the jazz scene expanded way back then, the banjo chaps were replaced by guitar players as the bands increased their performance volumes. The banjo wielders, in preservation of their profession, learned guitars in this switch & the ES-350 aided this crossing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Veasley

Smooth jazz bassist, Gerald Veasley has a new Ibanez bass- it still sports 6 strings. The revised features which are noteworthy:
  • Bigger headstock- Mr. Veasley hears more sustain from this revision
  • Thinner neck- Believe it or not, this bass has the same neck depth as the JEM guitar, yikes!


Peavey has incarnated its Vypyr amp in a portable format with a battery operation option (4 x D-size batteries). So what we have here is another to-go style amp for take along to picnics & other external needs with some amp modelling options from clean to metal-type distortion. Watch out you Marshall MG2FX, Roland microCUBE & VOX DA5...


 Here's another new, cool pedal in the market; Morpheus' Droptune. Just another tuner? No, it helps you downtune your guitar/ bass in half step decrements up to 3.5 steps. It seems that the market has it all these days...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rooting the MG

Had a great time with my Marshall MG10 & Grass Roots G-LP-50S. I lowered the guitar's action slightly but I am still unaccustomed to the .010 set of strings in there. Playing time was an endurance act, really, but the tone & neck profile of this guitar made me play on. The MXR Distortion + plugged into this amp also helped me maintain clarity throughout, especially when the neck humbucker is in use.There's no delicious LP-type tone to be heard, it's what I like to hear; lots of Marshall growl & individual note clarity. In fact, had some serious shredding going on & the picking hand gave in to lethargy & quasi-cramps on a few occasions. Nevertheless, a very satisfying day with some budget equipment in my possession.

GP battery

Good news for us dweebs who still prefer batteries for pedals; things just got cheaper at Mustaffa Center- GP 9V battery @ $0.70 each. Great!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ibanez SZ... much missed

I used to own this guitar. It's a simple, dual humbucking SZ320. The satin body & neck finish made me buy it. I had the default humbuckers (Duncan Ibanez) swapped to Seymour Duncan's Alnico II Pro (neck) & C5 (bridge). It's the first tune-o-matic type bridge Ibanez guitar I owned.

I bought an SZ2020 subsequently. Both guitars sport a very similar finish but the SZ2020's tone is incredible so it was for keeps.

It's agonizing to suddenly feel the loss of one's possession, especially so when it was so involved in one's appreciation of the simple but worthy things in life...

Ibanez: Discont'd models for 2010 (Standard RG)

Implication: The existing through-body Ibanez RG (Standard models) all feature active units. The RGT42 featured a pair of INF passive humbuckers but it's good-bye for 2010...


Implication: No more RG3XX series without a pickguard, the remaining RG350DX sports one.

Michael Wilton: T-shirt booze

Queensryche's Michael Wilton is a busy man. In addition to being a a guitar player for his band...
...he has his own line of clothing.

And recently adding booze to the business.

Briyani attack!

Friends, if you are gear hunting in the Bugis vicinity & think the Zam Zam & Islamic restaurants are just too overwhelming with people at times (especially when you are lugging around that instruments of yours), do head a few doors down to 753 North Bridge Rd- that's where Ansari Briyani Restaurant is located. I'm not a briyani fan per se, but like good guitars, I won't ignore tasty food, regardless of what it is.

Yes, Ansari offers briyani like its countless neighbours along its locational stretch but here are the notable differences:
  • Tender chicken/ mutton: Top marks for this; neither too tough to chew nor too delicate to make its presence felt (in the mouth, of course).
  • Less oily rice: A combination of briyani-type white & yellow rice, not too excessive with the oil. I often get this repulsion at wedding receptions; the briyani rice is just too oily to be truly enjoyable.
  • Mediterranean: Ansari's own interpretation of the briyani dish; it's less Indian, more Middle Eastern in its entirety. There are some secret/ cryptic ingredients in the mix- to be understood upon consumption, not inspection
  • Dhalcar: The other special feature here; many other servings are just too overpowering in its sour department (well, that's how dhalcar is suppossed to be, yes?) but Ansari's version preserves the spicy aftertaste, it's not just trying to be sour per se.
Even if you are not gear hunting, do drop by Ansari's for a quick tuck in.

PS: Ansari's co-owner/cook is a follower of this blog :-)

Ghostly SZR

The more I play my Ibanez SZR, the more I am reminded of the Ghostrider, one was owned by the extraordinary Shawn Lane seen above.

Paul Gilbert also owns one but his version is very personal as you can see.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The guitar you see above was reportedly stolen in transit; someone simply could not resist owning this piece of red candy, a limited edition (No. 16 of 50) Custom Shop Stratocaster re-issue made in commemoration of The Shadows 50th Anniversary. It got stolen in transit, so the lesson here is to personally acquire such a prized possession instead of getting it via mail.


D'Addario make good strings. They aren't exactly fantastic, they don't last that long but they work just fine. I'm still having the .0095 set in my Ibanez SZR. I started with this gauge set since I bought this guitar, it's been working fine for me, no reasons to replace them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tele Dean

A fresh set of Dean Markley .009s for my telecaster. I used to dislike playing this guitar due to the ash-tray type bridge, makes playing a little excruciating but after the string saddles replacement (Gotoh's brass set + non-protruding action adjustment screws) & a pair of Seymour Duncan Classic Stacks for Tele, this guitar is definitely one of my return-to instruments.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Strat metal

The Fender name is still very much involved in the metal scene today. Obituary's Trever Perez still prefers a humbucking Strat to get the job done. Nice.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


When I first saw Nuno's Washburn guitar, I thought it was rather dumb not to feature real upper fret access in reflection of Nuno's fretboard technicalities. The neck joins the body at the 15th fret, making it very restrictive.

Upon seeing its flipside, then I understood what those markings on the bass-side cutaway was all about- it's a patented Stephens extended cutaway. A design feature which allows extra access to the upper frets by virtue of its curved, inward extension.

It's nothing too different from what Fodera did to their basses except that the Stephens version deals with a bolt-on attachment while Fodera ensures a seamless, set-in feel.

Head to head

I was browsing the 2010 Ibanez catalogue after dinner & noticed the above. It's the RG2228 headstock, all too familiar to me as I own this guitar.
Then I saw the RGA8 headstock, this guitar is new this year. I thought Ibanez went economic & did the RG2228 neck wholesale for the RGA8 model but the differences are there for all to note. The headstock tip is a little longer, construction-wise, it implies the RGA8 body being a little heftier which necessitates an off-set balance at the neck/ headstock area. I also keep forgetting the RGA is not a Prestige model... hence no 'Prestige' tag there implying a more affordable price tag. Judging by the in-house LZ8 pickups installed, it would seem so. Nothing's for sure until this guitar gets here, of course.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ibanez: Discont'd models for 2010 (Prestige models)

The following are 2009 Ibanez models discontinued in 2010. We begin with the Prestige RG offerings...

Implication: There is now no more through-neck models in the Prestige RG range

Implication: No more HH pickup combo in the 6-string Prestige RG range

The 'discontinued' nature of these guitars would naturally induce sellers to mark up their instruments' prices should thy wish to sell them. My advice here is, if you badly want to own these guitars, chances are, they are still available in store, not when Fender & Gibson are still the faster moving items off the shelves. Resort to used items only when the asking price is reasonable/ when the distributor exhausts stock. Of course, you can still get them online elsewhere...


It's my MG10 & SZR520 all morning. Great grizzly tone coming from this combo, acquired taste to everyone else of course.

Ok, afternoon siesta calling me...

MG10 & Distortion +

Was playing guitar for almost the whole day yesterday, my amp remained to be the MG10 for all guitars.

I thought the TS7 made a nice contribution in kicking up more dirt with this little amp but I just had to try MXR's Distortion + with it. This yellow pedal reinforced the Marshall voicing much to my liking. I didn't hear this with the bigger Marshalls I own, it all boils down to the driver in use, I guess.

Monday, February 15, 2010

All at once

Why should we get excited over a new tuner in the market? The new TC Electronic Polytune pedal is a tuner which detects all six strings simultaneously when you strum your guitar. As opposed to checking your instrument's strings individually, you can check all in a single attempt. Neat.


Many of us would have seen Greg Howe in action with his sister's hair band round his guitar neck. Functionally, it's hair band turned into a string damper. This is the most economical version, of course.

When Jennifer Batten started out (seen here still playing her Ibanez) she had a proper contraption fixed to the headstock of her guitar. This version featured a movable arm to bring the damper down to her strings when required. At other times, it could be lifted away.

The ambidextrous Michael Angelo had one in his guitar as well. The objective of this implement is to mute the strings so unfretted notes do not get in the way. Functionally, it's akin to having a noise eliminating device but it's one mechanically operating on one's guitar neck. Howe, Batten & Angelo are among the many players out there doing two-handed techniques intensively so this device is of great assistance in ensuring open string do not contribute to accidental contacts.

This damper also functions as a ready harmonic generator. Instead of having the fretting fingers do touch harmonics, the damper is a 'hands-free' substitute.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Washburn HB32

Tried this guitar recently @ Davis GMC; Washburn's HB32. It has a great semi-acoustic voicing much to the delight of players who thrive on very light drive. The finish is one I favour; I'm not a fan of a gloss overcoat especially at the neck. I hear lots of great midrange performance which would complement the excess of bass or treble, depending on our various preferences, of course.

Mighty small

Bought a small practice amp; Marshall's MG10...

Replaced the 2-pin plug to the 3-pin version.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Euro Paul

I was playing my Les Paul today (yes, the Gibson version, otherwise I won't call it 'Les Paul') & was checking out some of the obscure, under-rated LP player when it crossed my mind Mayhem's Euronymous (RIP) was one. Do remember the LP at this point in time was still sporting a reasonable price tag & SLASH was only starting to tote his em, fake version, for that landmark Appetite for Destruction release. Chances are, Euronymous got his cheap & he didn't give a hoot about preserving the flame top attraction... to think Freezing Moon was written with this instrument, that's really grim...

My fav Ibanez player

My favourite Ibanez player is... I like both Paul Gilbert & Frank Gambale, really. However, my all time favourite Ibanez wielder has to be Frank Gambale for his astronomical technique & tone. I am also intrigued by his use of the S-series for the music while all the shred dweebs in the 1980s were satiating themselves with RGs, the proverbial 1,000-notes-per-second tool. Among other things, Mr. Thunder from Down Under also taught me the taming down of all things trebly. I watched Mr. Gambale live & he has his top end turned way down which gave the guitar a signature rumble without turning mushy & why is that so? Because the midrange is pumped up.

However, the eye-opener for me when it comes to Frank Gambale, is his sweep picking technique which is beyond reach to the majority of us. I thought Yngwie Malmsteen was the ultimate reference of this arpeggiated technicality but I was wrong of course. Unlike Malmsteen, Mr. Thunder's philosophy is incorporation not mere convenience.

Today, Frank Gambale plays Yamaha guitars & Mr Thunder is awaiting his subsequent Yamaha signature which had been, em, infinitely delayed, it seems. *Sigh*

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Ibanez @ swee lee

The above 2010 Ibanez models have made it to Swee Lee recently, these are the Indonesian GIO models:
  • GARTS70: List $695
  • GRGA11: List $588
The GARTS is more costly than the GRGA simply because it features a set in neck which still retained a relatively shallow depth at the upper frets section.

Despite the affordable price tags, the Ibanez guitar prices have definitely increased. When the RG321 was still in production last year, it was listed for $600 & came from the regular RG offering, not a GIO.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My fav Strat player

My favourite Strat player is absolutely the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. Before SRV, I only knew Eric Clapton when it comes to blues. I'm not demeaning ol' slow hand (as Clapton is known) in any way but he's not my type of player... SRV showed me there is life in the blues world, more than merely regurgitating the pentatonic set of notes. He had absolute control over his guitar even in abuse mode, just watch Live in the El Mocambo & you'll understand.

Ironically, SRV's 'Number 1' Strat (as depicted above) brought a premonition of his demise; it broke into pieces when a stage wall collapsed on it, leaving it unrepairable.