Monday, May 31, 2010

SIT silencer

This set of strings are almost a year old; left in another one of my guitar bags & forgotten. The 'silencer' label is there to indicate its coated nature; the strings are coated with a very thin layer of silk so that when one drags one's fretting fingers over the wound strings during play, it would minimize that annoying screeching sound that entails. This coating's other benefit would be its corrosion retardation function- the strings inside are still shiny & ready to go.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ibanez: Talman TCY10EDX

Yes, this is an acquisition from yesterday's Ibanez SALE @ Swee Lee; the Talman TCY10EDX. I'm not an acoustic guitar fan, so the Talman speaks for my inclinations- some very solid body-like specs manifested in an acoustic format. Specifically- thinner acoustic body + slimmer neck.

The guitar features a very basic pre-amp (AEQ-200T, one of Ibanez's most fundamental make): Volume + 2-band EQ (I'd prefer 3, some midrange manipulations would be good) & an on-board tuner. All these are functional upon plugging into an amp, unplugged, the guitar is strictly acoustic.

The tell-tale signs of good QC lies with the binding works (among others). Impressive workmanship would mean no binding material bleeding into the guitar's finish. As seen above, the Talman's binding did bleed into the blue finish manifesting a jagged end-product. This would imply some hurried production exercise back at the factory or some novice hands at the job. I can't come quite come to terms with the default string gauge either, I suspect it's a set of .011 in there, a total reject for me. Let's see what can be done after lunch...

Missing gauge

You need not get your eyes checked; there are only 5 string envelopes in this Ernie Ball pack. Could I have checked this before leaving the store? Of course not; the new sealed, element-proof packaging means the buyer have no content access until s/he tears it open for use. I do not use the strings I bought immediately, most of them are next-in-line, stand-by units. If I have to tear this open immediately after purchase just to check the contents then put them away, it defeats the purpose of buying an element-proof product. Bummer.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Schecter @ Davis GMC

Schecters are now available @ Davis GMC. The C1 series are aplenty.

RIP: Paul Gray

Many of us would have known this by now; the passing of Slipknot's Paul Gray. Paul was recently believed to be overcoming his narcotic habits & was discovered dead in a hotel room. Accounts by close friends & relatives revealed his isolation as an attempt to address this situation, having informed his family of his whereabouts & remained contactable throughout. What really saddens me is that Paul is expecting a daughter.

Some of us are in isolated battles in overcoming our personal nightmares. While going solo remains to be a personal choice of remediation, if we do know of anyone among us out there who needs help, we should offer them as much help & attention as possible. Human intervention would prove crucial in addressing any real problems.

RIP Paul Gray (1972 - 2010)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Brett's other Horizon

Brett's Garsed's other ESP guitar is the partial-hollow Horizon-esque, Southern Cross model you see here. Unlike his primary guitar, this one's equipped with a pair of covered DiMarzio humbuckers. Looks rather captivating less that headstock- acquired taste, this one. I always make it a point to check out the gear of my guitar idols, in this case, Brett Garsett, who is primarily a no-whammy, fusion, shred baron, has simplicity in mind when it comes to guitar. During his Quid Pro Quo days with TJ Helmerich, Mr. Garsed played a whammy equipped Steinberger but subsequently, we can hear the non-whammy guitars in his solo involvements as well as in the fusion super group, Uncle Moe's cabin.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ibanez... Sale... $$$?

Just helping the good people @ Swee Lee to convey the message...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joey Tafolla

One of the overlooked '80s shredders is Joey Tafolla. I really like his playing because of the abundant chromatics incorporated in both licks & solos. However, my impression of him in his debut, Out of the Sun, was that of discontent. Much of the tunes here are very Malmsteen-esque, which was what Vinnie Moore did at this point in time too. But listening to this release was about paying attention to the technicalities involved; I could hear Mr. Tafolla possessing that niche phrasing which really appealed to me.

Much reprieve came when I purchased Infra-Blue. The tunes in this one are more self-actualized & has that lesser emphasis to manifest a million-notes-per-bar just because one is technically competent. Wrecking Ball, Kraken-V Zip & A Place in the Sun are unforgettable tunes to me- the reason why I recently purchased the CD version of these albums. Also, John Onder was on bass to complement the guitars- outstanding. My cassette tapes for both releases were too mouldy & edge-crinkled to salvage.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Worthy quote: Sammy Hagar

We know him too often as Van Halen's vocalist but when it comes to guitar playing, Sammy Hagar holds his own. Some stuff from the man:

Man, I gotta have straight guitars, no pedals, no 'boards, nothing. I plug in with the shortest cord possible. I'm not a wireless guy, I'm not a pedalboard guy, I wann go straight into my amp- no effects. Zero.

Mr. Hagar here is clearly from the straight-through school of guitar set up, he just wanna hear his guitar breathe through his amp & nothing else. I embrace this setup nature because it lets me hear the true tone of my guitars. Our tone becomes artificial once pedals or any other signal processors get added to the chain. Some of us actually prefer such tampered tones; it's anything & everything that works for us, regardless of how it should be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Longest & shortest

I had these two guitars out today: Ibanez RGD320 & Squier Duo-Sonic, the former sporting the longest scale length in my line-up (26.5") & the latter, the shortest (24").

I started with the RGD as the longer scale length helped me warm up; some slow, doom-type riffing then moving on to licks & finally all out acceleration.

Switching to the Duo-Sonic put me in 'rest' mode despite still playing on. I did not feel the strain of having to stretch-fret my notes & this helped me play faster of sorts. Psychological really; it's the human mind interpreting 'lesser strain' as 'going faster'.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I am the Blackstar Wizard

The latest individual in extreme music to embrace Blackstar amplifiers is the black wizard himself, Ihsahn. According to the master himself, the amp has all his distortion needs for his music & hence its presence at the Inferno fest 2010...

Cathedral: The Guessing Game

I very much dislike mentioning the music genre peddled by Cathedral- Doom Metal. It conjures some slack instrumental execution, one associated with the lack of technical capacity & endorsed laziness. When asked by colleagues & friends alike what this music is all about, I often gave them a two-word answer: Black Sabbath.

But the sonic assault offered by Cathedral isn't one bent on crawl pace heaviness, Cathedral's craft hinges on variety & much technical know-how by all instrumentalists in the band. The Guessing Game could be touted as the band's best effort, period. I personally thought its predecessor, The Garden of Unearthly Delights, was tough to beat but the band has internalized their potential & beating themselves at their own game isn't an issue. What can you expect from The Guessing Game? Constructive guessing, definitely. We continue to ponder if there are other hidden developments to be offered by the band in perspective of their progressive developments. This 2-disc offering is a Cathedral definitive & more. The band has honed their abilities to such an extent they could get away or turn creative the most trivial issues they decide to manifest in their music, as exemplified by the concluding track (Disc 2) Journeys to Jade- an ode to... themselves.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Alternative Cat

Beez called me midweek to say the (Sprague) Orange Drop caps are back in stock. So out came my Ibanez RGR321EX for a pre-installation inspection- I usually check the pots' working condition before bringing it over to Beez's. But I couldn't even turn either knobs after plugging the guitar in. Culprits: Deteriorated pots as seen above...

Master Beez did a quick, full-rewiring of the electronics. These fresh components were installed:
  1. Orange Drop cap
  2. 3-way switch
  3. Output jack
  4. Volume + Tone pots
I also had Beez install a push-pull switch for...

... the new pair of Seymour Duncan pickups in my RGR321:
  1. Bridge: Alternative 8
  2. Neck: Phat Cat
As this guitar sports a single-hum pickup combo as such, the push-pull switch in only functional for the bridge pickup.

My 'fresh' RGR321... just stopped playing it, by the way.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Guitar buying: Initial considerations (Part 2: 3 considerations)

You are now financially ready to proceed to the stores to choose your guitar. Many of us would do this only to be there & get confused by the various selections. It's rather futile to be asking if a certain guitar is good for you when the real decision is the willingness to part with cash in exchange for that instrument which you have tried, heard & scrutinized. A good guitar for Person A might be rotten for Person B, therefore the instrument's offerings per se is subjective & would appeal differently to various individuals. These are some considerations for you to ponder upon before you take too long at the stores & coming home with a regrettable purchase:

Work with your budget
Head to the stores with your budget in mind. Do not spend time at places where nothing seems to be within your purchasing capacity. Look at the instruments & note the price tags. My advice here would be for you to be sure of your selection & not be moved by what others are trying in the stores on your purchase day. Get opinions from the sales people pertaining to your budget bracket, they might be more knowledgeable with the range of instruments across brand names.

Test it out
Handle the instrument & hear it in action (always get the stores' permission for this, always...); the guitar's playability & tone would be the key considerations for your purchase. These details would inspire your performance because you are handling the instrument & getting acquainted with its sound/ tone. If you are starting out & possess no knowledge for this scrutiny, get a more learned friend to do this for you.

Brand name/ outline/ finish
This should be the least of your worries if you are the prudent buyer. A preferred brand name, popular body shape & fantastic colour contribute the least to playability & tone. We feel safe being with the flow but it might not give us what we want at the end of it all- personal satisfaction.

Starla X

Earlier in the year, I've set my mind on the PRS SE Korina as a possible acquisition. However, with the debut of the Starla X, my focus has shifted.

Unlike the other PRS models, the Starla X feature a more traditional tune-o-matic type bridge so for us dweebs who use thicker string gauges, intonation issues will no longer bog us down.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fujigen amp

The good people @ Fujigen who gave us some of their best outputs in the guise of Ibanez & Fender, have an amp up their sleeves. Despite being a proto, this has generated much interest in terms of quality & tone. I can't wait for further developments...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ESP: SD Arched

Another new outline by ESP Guitars; this one's known as the SD Arched. Interesting to note both the curvy & pointed outline in a single offering. The Forest headstock seems to be popular lately.

John 5: The Art of Malice

I have tremendous respect for John Lowery or as the current state of affairs puts it, he is known as John 5. John keeps his personal techniques & playing style relevant when it comes to the music he peddles. This is a prime example of how an individual brings his abilities to his music. In John's case, it's putting a halt to introverted indulgences & deliver focused efforts. But the halting was never in entirety as John's music is sheer evidence of how his hybrid picking expertise still steers his ideas. I've been following John's solo releases because I see him as a very skilled player, very much under-rated as the world is too busy applauding popular music. When I look at John, I see Ibanez instead of the Fenders he currently embrace because that's how I first saw him in my 1997 Ibanez catalogue when he was still John Lowery playing for Red Square Black. The Art of Malice is my favourite amongst his solo releases because I hear progression in his playing. There's more focus here. The Art of Malice is a polite track in this listing, contrary to the destruction it implies. I've been listening to this album ever since I got a few days ago. Nothing but The Art of Malice till further notice.

1,000th entry

This is my 1,000th entry. When I started out this blog, I didn't know I had a thousand guitar-related things to say thereafter. I am perhaps too attached to this instrument to not want to say anything as it has become an extension of myself more than an instrument for specific idea manifestations.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Broderick's (guitar) body

I can't seem to stop looking at this guitar. Anyway, Mr. Broderick's custom Ibanez RGA model features a generous amount of maple as seen under the finished top.

For any wood capped onto a guitar body, there should be at least a quarter inch's worth of material for it to play a significant contribution to tone. Otherwise, it would simply be a cosmetic top or what the industry refers to as a laminate top- visually stunning but there for a decorative function only.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Star Kamikaze

That Kamikaze graphic is unmistakable; screams George Lynch from the very sighting. Mr. Scary has decided to have it on the star body outline. Who are we to argue, yes?

Re-string: Ibanez AF105

Was considering a 24.75" scaled guitar to play today, out came my Ibanez AF105. Played for quite a while & the strings felt very dead when it's time to stop. Gave it a re-string: D'Addario .0095 set. I always love how Ibanez's Super 58 humbuckers react with drive/ lots of distortion.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fresh PRS SE @ Davis

The above PRS SE models are new at Davis GMC: Mikael Akerfeldt model (List: $950)/ Torero (List: $1,250). Upon handling these gorgeous darlings (remember, visual attraction does not always equal immaculate performance), it seems that the good people over at the World Music Factory (Korea) have increased production standards of sorts; these instruments made their class difference felt in this price bracket. The QC manifestations here are very different from the initial batch of Santana SE units I used to try. Very impressive indeed.

Smashing Malmsteen

Time to stop for lunch; had been playing my Smash the whole morning. Managed to re-string this guitar with a set of Malmsteen approved Dean Markleys. If you are interested in this string set, do note the following difference:

Regular .009 set: 9-11-16-24-32-42
Malmsteen set: 9-11-15-24-32-42

Broderick's head(stock)

I was looking at Chris Broderick's custom Ibanez RGA headstock. Noted the following:

  1. The headstock is free from a string retainer. However, there's a sponge-type wedge behind the nut, this is not a replacement contraption but an implement to reduce/prevent string buzz.
  2. Do you see any string excess wrapped around the tuner's machine heads? There isn't any. This implies the instrument features a locking device which is a prudent inclusion as the nut is of the non-locking variety. If there is any secondary measure to ensure some tuning consistency, it has to be in this form.

Hey, dad! (Part 32)

Hey, dad! Thanks for letting dolly & me play in your guitar case. I think I spilled something here, he he...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kinder pick

If you have bought the Kinder Joy chocolate snack (for yourselves *admit it!* or your kids), it comes with a plastic spoon for you to scoop the edible bits out of the half-shell.

This spoon doubles as a great guitar pick for us strummers. You can hold it either way & make use of the different picking edges to play your favourite chords. Not so applicable for precise (solo) picking...

Coated explorer

Dora the explorer discovers GHS strings do come in the coated version as well.

Ibanez: S5470K

The Japanese market also offers the Ibanez S5470 in koa top with matching headstock; the good stuff are always not here... *SIGH*

New ESPs

Here are some fresh designs by ESP for this year:

  1. Formula: This one has a fusion of the Horizon III (body) & Forest (headstock) outlines.Very inviting cutaways to the upper frets.
  2. Eclipse Doublecut: Due to this double cutaway design, it seems there is more allowance to the upper frets; we note the neck meets the body at the 21st fret, very SG-like, this one. The trade-off here would be some neck heaviness. Until we handle this guitar in person, the jury's out on this one.
  3. Antelope: This is fundamentally the Forest body outline with a little variation over at the treble cutaway side.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Trigger the RGA

In a recent conversation with Sick Sounds magazine, Rob Purnell (Trigger the Bloodshed- pic above) said:

... I use Ibanez guitars because we love the profile of the guitars; the playability is unrivaled. I used the RGA42, which is a Prestige model, ...

But we know the RGA42 (pic above) is not a Prestige model...

... however, the RGA420 is. Might be a typo there...

By the way, Rob isn't strapping an RGA420 in the first pic there, it's the discontinued RGA321.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fuzzy bat

The wacky chaps @ Coffin Case, who gave us the coffin-shaped Blood Drive pedal, promises to deliver the Batula Fuzz unit soon... So we thought the skull-shaped Skull Crusher pedal was cool, we have another on the list.

7 + 1

This is the set back of playing an 8-string guitar- the hardship of finding a set of 8 per pack manifests itself every time the instrument is due for a re-string... I'm fortunate enough to find a .065 sold as an individual offering so it's a set of D'Addario 7 + a single .065... I am dutifully enduring this tribulation until Ibanez comes across my blog & sees that I am a big fan of their instruments & decides to reward me with a year's worth of 8-string packs- in my dreams.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ibanez: RG1670

This Ibanez RG1670MZ is currently only offered in Japan. The bare maple headstock & uncovered truss rod is not a norm for an RG make. That's a rather non-conventional finish there as well. Nice.

But currently, I'm too distracted by ESPs...

What Marty plays

What does Marty play these days? Is he still doing certain endorsements? Here's a little bit of what's going on:

I will play anything that sounds great and stays in tune. Believe it or not, very few guitars can do that to my scrutiny. I think Les Pauls are great looking and sounding guitars. Lately I have been playing mostly PRS and Gibson, but I play Ibanez and some others too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ibanez: Chris Broderick custom S-series

If you prowl You Tube (I'm sure you do, e-Bay as well, eh?) you'd see Megadeth's Chris Broderick playing an Ibanez S-series. We know he has a few RG/RGA models, whether this is a firm migration to the S-Series remains to be seen. Anyway, he has a customized S-model in the works recently & it's been done as seen above. The artwork's great as it is but much of what the hand is doing got covered by the (bridge) pickup & the bridge itself, well it's an integral part of the interpretation isn't it?

Stolen gear

Here's some info on stolen gear which happened recently, kindly click pic to read enlarged text/ see pics. That 'tiger' guitar there looks very much like a Fender HM Strat: