Sunday, October 31, 2010

The sound of tanks

The final day of October- spring cleaning...

Came across these 2 forgotten pedals form the Ibanez Sountank series which are really value for money units before the manufacturer introduced the Toneloks. Both pedals suffer from intermittent signal losses due to deteriorated connections, the Powerlead is in need of a new battery clip. The Tubescreamer was bought used from a friend, Marcus, who used to work in a shop/ jamming studio in the Queenstown neighbourhood. The Powerlead was a packaged deal from a former school mate who got married & had assigned his gear into oblivion. I bought his battered Ibanez guitar & the pedal was in the bag, he said it was convenient inclusion. 

We know the nature of the Tubescreamer, how it's referred to for its creamy overdrive, the Powerlead is really a distortion, one which functions more productively as a distortion type booster as opposed to a stand alone pedal. Wish they revive the Soundtank series...

Hey, dad! (Part 38)

Hey, dad! What's in this bag?

Whatever's inside, the bag sure feels comfy... could hug it all day. He, he...

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Was at Swee Lee (BB) yesterday to check out acoustics- yes, it's one of those strange days when I'm not into solid bodies... Fender's Malibu SCE model got me excited because of its smaller than standard body dimensions & the neck profile, well, it screams electric all round- definitely felt & played like one. This guitar will definitely not appeal to us traditional acoustic fans because of its lack in depth, tone-wise. However, if you wish for shredability from an acoustic, this is it. List: $642

Then I was off to Geylang's food centre for a serving of rojak bandung...

Friday, October 29, 2010


Here's another moment of Kiko Loureiro not playing his ESP guitar. He's more often seen with his Tagima models & there are no ESP credits over at his official website, which then begged the question- Is Kiko still with ESP? According to ESP's artist roster, there are no changes, Kiko's still an ESP lad. I've also found out recently that Tagima & ESP are good friends... wonder what that implies.

UNO: D-Classic

Have you handled a Les Paul Custom? The Epiphone version, you say? No, that's only a Custom by name, the neck profile, body mass, overall tone are all... em... 'wrong'. I wouldn't say the UNO D-Classic here is a better manifestation but it's treading along those lines, especially the neck profile. Unlike the LP Custom whose substantial neck depth dictates a very rounded affair, the D-Classic has a nice 'D' to it, personally, I feel this promotes grip. Tone-wise, this guitar has lots of clarity simply because the pickups are uncovered & it's a Duncan JB in the bridge position; the pickup known for its fierce midrange response. Over at the neck, you'd be surprise to know the '59 here, because of its uncovered nature, has more attack to it which might displace the 'woman tone' fans but it's nothing your amp EQ couldn't cure. How's the QC then? Absolutely top class & deserving of its $1,250 price tag.

Strings blitz

Standard Value is currently having a price revision for their strings so it was my chance to stock-up. Bought GHS & Pyramid strings yesterday & managed to drop by Mustafa Centre to get drinks as well, he he... The regular GHS Boomers are going for under $5, the Pyriamids now list for sub-$10... 

Bro Ijau, if you are reading this: You want any? He he...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fake: Gibson LP Supreme

This used to be an entry about a fake Gibson Les Paul Supreme. The guitar was indeed a fake there's no doubt about it but since it's a Gibson, there were retaliations pertaining to how I put forth its pirated nature. We need to be wary of used products with a too-good-to-be-true asking price. We need to assess the item in question in whole, which include the assessment of supplementary accessories, in addition to the instrument per se. 

Sometimes, after we read such entries, we are moved to re-inspect our possessions, especially when we purchase them in the after-market & the revision of our understanding & acceptance of the item as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

UNO: Standard

We get excited upon seeing a Les Paul-like guitar because the instrument's reputation precedes everything else. UNO's Standard isn't a Les Paul, it just looks like one. The Standard is my most likable UNO singlecut design & it's the most affordable in its range- it's Indonesian. However, the manufacturer took measures to make this guitar (very) attractive- stunning looks as depicted above, custom TESLA humbuckers & superb construction; the model I tried was faultless. However, the other attraction is the guitar's thinner body akin to what ESP has to offer with the Eclipse models but the extra seduction here is that slim neck. Imagine a Gibson slim taper profile but only slimmer (nothing Ibanez-thin though...). You like distortion? The Standard performs well with loads of that. Nice cleans for you? Just engage the neck humbucker & listen. Sub-$1K budget for you? Well, it's only $590...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UNO: Warzone II

I'm just back from Standard Value (Woodlands) in search of strings actually but knowing Mike, he talked me into trying the new goodies in store. I tried all the UNO guitars today (was fixed on the Standard singlecut model but had to give it up to audition other models). This is the first in a series of UNO guitar entries so if you are really interested in these instruments, watch this space...

I'll start off with the most intriguing model in terms of distortion applications- the Warzone II. It's a Floyd Rose bridge in there, mind you, it's the original article despite the sub-$1K price tag. Also, you get a pair of custom Tesla humbuckers to fit the aggression bill; stellar performance with lots of clarity & then some sweet cleans from the neck. Albeit the shred invitation, the neck profile here isn't typically Ibanez-skinny but substantially slim to promote lots of speed fretting. Upper fret reaches? No problem because the Warzone II sports a set neck construction. So all of these enticements for a mere $790 listing? If you wish for a predominantly rock-type tones, a familiar outline with attractive playability, the Warzone II would give any mid-priced guitars a run for their worth. Definitely recommended.

Remembering my ex (Part 7)

I used to own this pedal- Toad Works Mr. Ed, it's pretty much in line with BOSS' DS-1 as far as distortion intensity is concerned, save for some crunchy extensions. Mr. Ed here refers to a certain Dutchman who's rather fabled for his 'Brown Sound' tone but coming from the pedal here, it's a little lacking. So it became a drive booster for my needs but didn't do good in terms of transparency. On hindsight, that's asking too much knowing this pedal was intended to re-create a certain tone, it's not meant to be transparent to begin with.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Edwards: Gus G

If you are a die-hard Gus G fan & would love to own his signature ESP guitar but deem the asking price to be a little prohibitive, the Edwards version is available for your consideration: E-GG-150MA. Gus G made a trip to the Edwards production facility to witness the making of this manifestation.


This is neat stuff. A locking contraption to ensure your gear stays put. Equipment get stolen all the time, especially when you think it's safe to leave them for a while at trusted venues, during performance break. Your guitar/ bass can now be safely attached to a utility pipe for instance, while you are away. But beware the fiends who come with wire cutters... The Rock Lock device you see above is not available here. Yet.

Re-string: G-LP

Gave my Grassroots G-LP-50S a re-string- Curt Mangan .0095 set, which I'm running out of. G77 does have the CM strings in store but not the .0095s... I simply love the feel of these strings, very similar to the Pyramids but with extra crunch. Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh set of strings to enjoy playing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ibanez cloud-potato-guitar

This is a one-off from Ibanez for guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh (Devo)- an Ibanez which looks like a potato/ cloud body outline. His hands-off pose here proves that the body thickness is sufficient & flat-edged to allow an upright placement without a guitar stand support.

Flood victims

It rained for 2 days in May, 2010. That's enough to flood a town. Unfortunately, that town was Nashville, Tennessee, USA- where Gibson guitars are made. High water levels meant the instruments were virtually submerged in the water. Damage was extensive of course, as seen above.


You've seen my Grassroots G-LP-50S (otherwise clik HERE)- notice the flame top, yes? For lower tier guitars, despite the gorgeous flame top you see, it's actually a visual deception. Manufacturers equip these instruments with the thinnest cap material (referred to as laminate) for obvious cost restrictions. They just want to get the visual captivation going, oblivious to the fact that a substantial cap would do wonders to tone. Other manufacturers don't even bother including a wooden laminate, they make do with photo tops- yes, it involves the photographing of a gorgeous flame/ quilt top & pasting this image on the guitar body to give an illusion of a wooden presence (back in the late '90s, some of the Japanese Fenders are of this make).

Back to the pic shown here, a quick look into the pickup cavity reveals no real maple cap/ laminate for that matter so the implication here is rather obvious.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I was re-stringing my Grassroots G-LP-50S & chanced upon the opportunity to share how a dry fretboard looks like.

A closer look at the extent of dryness; the white patches/ bits there are dry spots. Note the overall hue of the fretboard wood before treatment.

The dry spots are given 2 coatings of Beemis Wood Conditioner (the same fluid used for this proses: CLICK), a 15min drying time was observed after each application. It clearly benefited from this re-moisturizing process, the darker fretboard looked much 'healthier' thereafter: Love your instrument, it'll serve you well.

Still on the issue of dryness, my throat had been excessively dry lately- it's the haze from the forest clearings in Indonesia.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The other way to Beez's

Many of us would take buses which stop at the primary bus stop to Roxy Square II when heading to Beez's; it's the same Marine Parade Rd bus stop which you would alight at, should you be making your way to Parkway Parade. However, if taking buses number 10, 12, 14, 32, 40 are to your convenience, you can alight at East Coast Rd, just 1 stop after Katong Shopping Centre. I have taken the above pic from the afore-mentioned bus stop, you should see the various eateries & a 7-Eleven store on the left as you approach the overhead bridge to cross over to Katong Plaza on the right. This building, together with Roxy Sq & Roxy Sq II are all interconnected.

Hey, dad! (Part 37)

Hey, dad! My banana becomes more delicious if I sit in this boat... I mean, your guitar hard case. Yum, yum!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Golden buttons

New strap buttons for my Gibson LP Studio PP- Planet Waves buttons, as always but this time it's the gold finish.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joe Satriani: Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards

I always had high expectations when it comes to a Joe Satriani LP; for the last two occasions, I had been rather disenchanted & perplexed- why would someone so extraordinary, churn out ordinary music? Someone in the office said Satriani had surpassed that need to be impressive. So he is now, if I understood this correctly,  manifesting self-observance; fulfilling his needs more than anything else. There are still devotees who deem his post-Engines of Creation releases to be stellar despite me knowing there are other Satch releases which would out-measure those tunes. Black Swan & Wormhole Wizards threatened to steer into the ordinary because the propagation of his 'ordinary' efforts continue but this time, the master guitar wielder ensured his simplicity is extended by intriguing touches. As such, Premonition, Dream Song & Phyrric Victoria are memorable & appealing to the cult fans as well as newbies alike. All in all, this new Satriani release hinted of a come-back of sorts, the great master assimilating his commanding touches to some seemingly regular guitar tunes if we take time to listen out for those bits- it's all there.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ibanez RG1451: Duncanized

After the acquisition of my favoured Seymour Duncan pickups, I finally had my Ibanez RG1451 Duncanized. Beez was responsible for the make-over, it's one of his sub-15min routine.

I would like to share with you the looks of the guitars' innards, particularly the pickup cavities. Note the special channel which passed through all 3 cavities as indicated; this is a thoughtful inclusion by Ibanez. As we adjust our pickup height & screw in accordingly, the wires underneath might get crushed. That channel ensures some room in there in the event that we screw in our pickups till they hit bottom but the wires don't get flattened unnecessarily. Neat, yes? The finish is also deserving of its Prestige tag- very tidy.

Along with the pickups swap, the familiar Orange Drop cap & push-pull switch to go with the tonal change.

The pickups in this guitar:
  • Neck: Jazz
  • Middle: Classic Stack +
  • Bridge: JB trembucker

Dimmu Borgir: Abrahadabra

The remaining trio of Dimmu Borgir (as above: Galder/ Shagrath/ Silenoz) are currently propelling the band's music & image on an evolutionary front. If you take a closer look at Abrahadabra's inner sleeves, the members are all dressed in white, a statement of digression but holding true to the music, or so it seems, to the cult fans. The orchestra involvements here are more intensive compared to the prior release, In Sorte Diaboli, in fact, the horns, strings, percussion & everything orchestral form a good half of the music manifestation. Some inner voices of the black metal community have opined that this is over-done, to say the least. There is no longer a firm focus on the genre's nefarious elements, the band's music are largely appealing to non- black metal fans as well. Perhaps this is the reason why Dimmu Borgir find it agreeable to perform in the presence of Korn fans.

On a personal note, I would deem this release enjoyable but do not attempt to exfoliate the band's music in an effort to understand the basis of black metal. The music in its current format, is retaining only traces of the genre & moving away towards, dare I say it, general entertainment.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Squier: John 5

There are some fresh Squiers at Swee Lee, I tried the John 5 Telecaster here- thumbs up to craftsmanship & tone! The J5 is very much a distortion-inclined instrument which is devoid of the Tele twang whatsoever. Do take note of the quirk- the guitar is equipped with a dual volume control so to those of us who find the inherent tone a little too bright to our liking, do the EQ tweaks at the amp or get the instrument modified in this aspect.

It's listing for $963 so the implication here is that it's not a starter unit but a mid-priced player instead.

Hey, dad! (Part 36)

Hey, dad! Thanks for letting me stack up your pickup boxes & spray polish, he he... This is the best tower thusfar.

Premium orange

As depiceted, my LP Studio PP got ORANGEd yesterday. It's one of Beez's fastest job, slightly more than 4min.

PRS: SE Orianthi

Orianthi's SE (PRS) model is now available @ Davis GMC & it's listing for lesser than the rest of the signature SEs there... Hmm. The glitter finish is acquired taste but the craftsmanship on show is superb.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

LTD: H-1001

The LTD H-1001 is a simple instrument made elegant by the headstock-neck-body binding but it's not all about looks. The craftsmanship here is simply superb & the guitar's placement in LTD's upper-most tier is justified. I would also accept the EMGs in there as the right humbuckers for the job; this is one of the best sub-$1K guitar I've come across which feature both great playability & tone but it's definitely not for those of us who employ polite levels of overdrive.

Many attractive LTDs are making their way to Davis these days, so in addition to the entry-level units, we can have a go at the upper tier models & justify the price differences. Trying hard to control myself as the current expenses are already allocated to instruments which are making their way here.

Jackson JS32

New from Jackson, the affordable JS models now given the dual action vibrato bridge- the JS32 series.


3S: Satriani - Seymour Ducan - Strings... stuff bought yesterday.

Satriani: Bought Satch's latest, Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards... have not had the chance to listen to it. Yet. Soon.

Seymour Duncan: Quarter Pound Staggered for one of my Ibanez darlings.

Strings: A pack of pure nickel set with a slightly different gauge: 9-11-16-23-31-41, a thinner low-end for some wicked bends, he he...

Em... toy horse not free with any purchase.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bag for acoustic

Was at Swee Lee (BB showroom) today to buy the above padded bag for my Ibanez Talman acoustic guitar; realized I need a more substantially padded bag for my acoustic which received lots of knocks. Managed to try some Squiers too- more on this soon.

While playing, I  overheard one of the customers there inquiring the availability of  Gibson Les Paul Studio which wasn't in stock. He then said he knew someone who recently bought a Les Paul Studio over at Davis, last Tuesday to be precise- Could there be more than one person buying a Gibson Les Paul Studio on that particular day considering there's only one such guitar there? Hmm...

PS: Today is also the final working day for brother Jumahat (@ BB showroom), who had been helping me with lots of equipment queries- wishing you all the best with your new employment! Do check out his indulgences here:

Worthy quotes: Carlos Santana

It may look nice, but if it doesn't have the tone I want, I'm not interested.

Some of us are too engrossed with the instrument's cosmetics (especially the flamed/ quilted tops of guitars), we forget that this has limited (if any) influence on tone & playability. We do not need to be of Carlos Santana status to know or understand this consideration (we thank him for this reminder) but it's rather difficult to convince the human mind this is the case. I've talked to countless people about it but they say looks would add to that feel-good factor- nothing beats being seen with an attractive something- guitar/ car/ coat/ shoes/ house... you name it. But I'd caution you against your haste should you choose looks above everything else when making a selection for guitars. You handle the guitar & its tone serves your needs- these should be the immediate concern so all factors contributing to playability & tone should be foremost. Visual attraction should be a bonus inclusion. However, we note the renowned brand names out there- they would make it essentially attractive when it comes to their product offerings, in addition to the feel & ear candy. They believe that an instruments which feel & sound good, SHOULD look good as well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

FRAUD alert

Due to the recent intrusion of my e-mail, the inevitable has happened- there are fraudulent correpondences going round asking for financial assistance using my account. I thank the kind souls who had taken the effort to inform me of the situation.

In this age where intellect is the source of capacity, it is quite incapable of preventing the human soul from detracting into senselessness.

If you receive the following e-mail in your HOTMAIL account, do reply with a firm F**K OFF:

Account Alert

Dear Valued Member,

Due to the congestion in all Hotmail users and removal of all unused Hotmail Accounts, Hotmail would be shutting down all unused and unconfirmed Hotmail Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Info below after clicking the reply botton, or your account will be suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.


Is that your floor?

Earlier today, someone in the office thought I had customized my guitar with excess floor wood, "Is that your guitar with your floor bits in it?"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Inside look: Les Paul Studio PP

A good indicator of great worksmanship is often the unseen bits of the instrument. My new Les Paul Studio PP looks great on the outside, only the insides would be proof of dedicated production. Take a look at the 3-way toggle cavity above...

...the control cavity...

...& finally the pickup cavity. They are as meticulously handled as the instrument's external appearances. So this is a thumbs-up for QC. I've seen shoddy finishes for costly instruments, the manifestations here are certainly respectable. Also note the maple cap which is substantial at the centre portion.

Note: Change

Hours ago, I received an e-mail from the Windows LIVE team instructing me to update my details for database management. Failure to do so is proof of inactivity & the account concerned would be closed. I have complied to the instruction & now could not sign in to my account.

As such, I am disowning this account for privacy/ security reasons. Hope we can still chat @ MSN online, I have reverted to my former account:, please note. Thanks.

Coloured balls

When I removed the default set of strings from my Fender American Special Strat, I saw a set of coloured ball ends; thought Fender finally gave in & had D'Addario strings in their instruments but I took a closer look & realized the coloured balls aren't as glossy as the D'Addario version. So I had to be sure & check out the fresh, re-vamped, Fender strings. True enough, the current Fender strings feature coloured balls as depicted above.

Appetite for Epiphone

The current Slash Les Paul, the Appetite model, is given the Epiphone manifestation. Every time I recall the 'original' version, I always smile thinking how an imitation got away being big, how Gibson actually took a closer look at an imitation to replicate a replica of themselves, he he... I have nothing against Gibson, I just bought a Gibson 2 days ago, yes?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dimmu Fender

Just collected my new Dimmu CD & finally located my misplaced Fender strings.

By the year's end (slight return)

New target acquisition since the previously mentioned Horizon (from ESP's Original series) was unattainable- maple fretboard M-II. The white emphasis remains.

Extinct premium

My new addition is a Gibson Les Paul Studio Premium Plus- a discontinued model. The reason why I am showing the hard case- it's evident to its year of production; the black lining here indicates a pre-2009 make. A quick check with the serial number reveals a 2008 model, so it was made in its final year of production. The hard case features a white lining WEF 2009, the year production moved to Canada.

I've tested countless LP Studios & couldn't bring myself to like the default 490R & 498T pickups. Upon reflection, maybe those selections were models without a flame cap unlike this guitar. Upon testing, the instrument manifested more definition pertaining to individual notes but not as appealing as the Burstbuckers in my LP Standard. I can live with them in the mean time.

That's how much cap material Gibson added to the top- not much really. My Ibanez RGA121 has more maple than this one. Not too attracted by the looks of this instrument, definitely not the gold hardware. I have no idea what a Gibson was doing at Davis GMC since they are not the distributor for this brand name & I didn't need to know why either: Test- Inspect-Purchase. Simple.

Some tinkering to be done this weekend:
  • Re-string: I need a set of .0095s in there + reset action
  • Replace strap buttons
  • Orange cap addition- to check if Beez can accommodate me this Saturday
  • Fretboard could use a little moisturizing
PS: Thanks Janet & the good people @ Davis GMC for your kind understanding.