Monday, February 28, 2011

Selling: Carl Martin Crush Zone

Selling my Carl Martin Crush Zone- this is an intense distortion type but not exclusive to the heavy metal genre.

  • Condition: 9/10
  • Box included
  • Price: $69 (final)
Please e-mail me for confirmations:

EDIT: Pedal SOLD, 1st March, 8.33a.m

Re-string: Rally/ Ibanez

This was the first guitar which received a new set of strings last night, my TM-70. There were some traces of mould on the fretboard as well but that was taken care of with a quick reconditioning treatment. I really love my TM-70 because of it's semi-hollow nature. This guitar was largely ignored by those looking for a semi because of it's 'wrong' body depth; it's thinner than its peers so we can't expect the same warm tones, it also manifests a brighter acoustics. Therefore, it sounds splendid with lots of distortion- my kinda guitar.

The Neosound JR, on the other hand, had a set of .010s by default; not my preferred string gauge & with all the rust, it deserves a re-string. I have D'Addarios in both these guitars.

Bucket Paul

Les Paul fans should know that Buckethead has a signature Les Paul, a white guitar with 2 distinctive red buttons for some sci-fi muting action & other quirky sonic mayhem. The pic above is his original LP Custom before the signature model took effect. I'm no too keen with LPs but I'm attracted to that Storm Trooper knob.

Ah, the final day of February is here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ibanez: Discontinued models for 2011

I've been wanting to do this but not motivated enough to get it going; so here it is, the list of discontinued Ibanez solidbody models for 2011 (E&OE):

  • RG3550
  • RGT6
  • RGA420
  • SAS32
  • SA120
  • AR250
  • AR200
  • JS1600 (Joe Satriani signature)
  • MBM1/ MBM2 (Matt Bachand signature as pictured above)
  • STM1 (Sam Totman signature, superseded by STM2)
  • APEX1 (Munky signature)

Big listening

Mr. Big's What If... album is on heavy rotation extended repetition in my music player mobile phone. However, I'm only into 3 songs:
  • Undertow
  • All the Way Up
  • I Get the Feeling
Unlike Mr. Big & Lean Into It, the instruments here are less out-going, there's more song focus in the formula but they are all Mr. Big in essence. Trying hard to like Paul Gilbert's fuzzy tones...

Cradle of X

James McIlroy (Cradle of Filth) seen here very happy with his new customized Ibanez Xiphos X-Series model. From the looks of it, it's satin finished- I want one. Many people who had seen this picture thought they saw Linda Blair holding a guitar. They look equally possessed, we could agree on that.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Applause: Ibanez GART80EX

The Ibanez GART80EX is one of the new 2011 models already in store at Swee Lee. It's a GIO model so anything too engaging in terms of physical presentations & tone should be arrested- this is the general treatment the GIO series get from the average buyer. However, I managed to try it & the guitar proved impressive in so many ways; tone, playability & QC are among others. The default action was fantastic to say the least, I usually don't speed up playing such guitars but it's too tempting not to. What's there not to like about the looks of this guitar as well- attractive laminate top & the finish was prim & proper. The EMG-HZs also did well for clarity & they made the thicker basswood body more audible, especially the lower frequencies so here's an example of a coupling that works. The price isn't out yet but it shouldn't cost too much. I have limited attraction for the GIO models but this is one of the truly impressive ones. But nothing spectacular, mind you.

PS: Thanks brother Faizal for the assistance.

Gilbert's 103

This is Paul Gilbert's customized Ibanez AS103...

... for his Beatles tribute band.

This is how the original AS103 looks like. The fact that the current Artcore motif is there, we know Mr. Gilbert is holding a new (2011) guitar.

Know what you are talking about (please)

The clip here is taken off GUITAR WORLD magazine (online edition- thank you GW magazine), featuring Bryan Monte Money from the band Escape the Fate. Listen & you'll hear him say: ... Ibanez Floyd Rose Prestige series... Oh dear, Bryan.

You can escape the fate but you can't escape Ibanez fans.

PS: I have nothing against Bryan but he's on the manufacturer's endorser list, he should do better than this.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bass screamer (slight return)

My daughter's unwell, I think she might have transferred the germs to me. So I looked like a quasi-zombie today, very lethargic with no reasons to smile.

It got worse after I found out the Ibanez TS9B (which is now available in the stores) is listing for $304.50...

It's a clear indication of inflation, my friends. Not too long ago, the TS9/ TS9DX listed for $250.00.

Direct link

This is what we need if we are actively plugging our guitars into our computers- a direct connection without a bulky intermediary. Alesis' Guitarlink Plus features a 1/4" cable at the guitar end & a USB plug at the other.

This way, our instruments plug into our computer directly, we have less bulky contraptions to lug around as well. However, the manufacturer cautioned players against relying it too much for pro-grade recording, this connection only serves to address convenience more than anything else. It's good news for dweebs like me who sometimes bring my guitar to the office.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


This is a neat effects unit by Empress; a 3-in-1 pedal on days when you can't decide what to employ in your set-up. It' sports a 3-band EQ & a further 3-channel offering for the distortion so there're options for you to experiment with- great! I'm not aware if this is in the shops here (if you see it, do disclose the location- thank you in advance) but seeing Davis GMC inventorizing the Empress pedals, the might be hope of its debut.

Low Horizon

This is a crude measurement of my ESP Horizon FR-II's action; showing only the bass side E-string at the 12th fret. 

As you can see, it's just slightly above 0.1cm there which is a super low action but this guitar has no problems adapting to the situation- no dead notes along the fretboard register. If you play fast (& faster when nobody's looking), this action setting is very rewarding. This is the new low for me, one of my Ibanez guitars sports a 0.15cm action at the same fret but this guitar proves that lower action is possible; it's all about construction & provision.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New pickup- Ibanez SA1260

So this is the latest pickup trio in my Ibanez SA1260:
  • Neck: DiMarzio True Velvet
  • Middle: DiMarzio Area 67
  • Bridge: D'Activator X
Initially, the neck Area 67 stayed put but after some time, I feel I can do better with a more twangy pickup in the neck, especially with lots of distortion so the 67 migrated to the middle position. I have a non-stacked unit in the neck, the True Velvet, which is the best for this guitar. It's frustrating hunting for the right preferred DiMarzio for the SA1260 due to its heaviness. Also, I'm not a DiMarzio fan, the selections I made are less fruitful, I'm more familiar with the Duncan selections but I would want to keep the pickups here an all DiMarzio affair.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Phat Horizon

Was at BEEZ's today to have the neck pickup of my new ESP Horizon FR-II installed. This is how things are in the pickups cavities- very neat & tidy, even the shielding paint had been applied evenly.

Ditto the controls cavity; everything prim & proper in there. I'm very happy that ESP made a point to have Orange Drop caps in the Horizons- it's a statement of quality. I don't see the point of naming my guitars after girls, I just have stickers pasted on them, strategically, of course.

The Horizon FR-II features a push-push coil split pickup switch.

The current pickups in there:
  • Neck: Duncan Phat Cat
  • Bridge: Duncan JB trembucker
 I have the JB-'59 combo in my ESP Phoenix II so the neck '59 here made way for the Phat Cat. It's now a single coil + humbucker pickup guitar, would it be any lesser than it's previous H-H feature? Definitely not, it's what I want to hear from this guitar & I got want I wanted; a brighter, less boomy tone in the neck pickup position.

Thanks BEEZ, for the splendid job, as always.

PS: Vanessa, if you are reading this, nice meeting you today.

Morbid date

From source: Floridian death metal veterans MORBID ANGEL will make an exclusive Southeast Asian appearance in Singapore on May 25. More details will be made available soon.
This is my kinda show, will definitely be there.

ESP: Horizon FR-II

My latest ESP is the Horizon FR-II. Yes, it's another black guitar but I've chose this particular one because it clicks very well with me. The tone & playbility is outstanding. That's an ebony fretboard there.

The brand name & series are clearly stated at the headstock. This is my first ESP sporting this pointy version.

The dual cutaway is well-beveled as clearly seen here. Pickups:
  • Neck: Seymour Duncan '59
  • Bridge: JB Trembucker
 The top's curve with a levelled centre neck-through piece.

The upper fret access is a breeze with this block-free neck-body joint. Also, the rib-cage chamfer is one of the most generous I've come across; it's almost touching the rear cavity area.

I'm very happy with this guitar, it's worth every cent of the asking price namely because it has all the features I want from an ESP. If you intend to own an ESP this is the time to grab one as there will be a price revision come April, latest.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What the...?

What the...?! My ESP isn't due till May 2011, so what's this all about?

Malmsteen's POT

It's a great time for Malmsteen, he has a new set of signature pickups, Marshall amp & even his own, cutomized volume pot. Notice how Malmsteen has his pinky ready at the volume pot? That's because he utilizes it as second nature, muting & accentuating notes for a differentiated tone all the time. It'd be a clumsy affair should the pot in question not address this quick roll on-off...

... so Seymour Duncan customized a pot for him which in fact is a super lubricated unit, nothing extra. This product is manufactured by Bourns for Seymour Duncan but ladies & gentleman, even if you do not possess the YJM pots, there areothers out there which are equally easy to manipulate- I have a GOTOH unit in my Ibanez GRGR010 as proof. However, no harm trying this one, yes?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Carl Martin: Classic Chorus (Ver II)

I currently own 2 Carl Martin Classic Series pedals; the DC Drive & Crush Zone. I had considered the the Classic Chorus but decided against buying another in the trapezium outline housing; it's space consuming.

So when the manufacturer offer this series of pedals in the more squarish, trimmed format, I didn't hesitate to get one. Being a distortion inclined person, I have a particular preference for a chorus unit- it shouldn't intrude into the distortion, just enough to expand the tone's width, ie. making it fatter. I've tested many chorus units, the ones which work well & don't intrude into distorted tones too much are the vintage voiced units, one of which is the Carl Martin version you see above. The modern chorus voicing can be too lush even at minimum settings & the flanging/ vibrato effect would be intrusive & magnified by distortion; I get bothered by this too easily.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What if

Got my Mr. Big What if... album last night. This is a limited edition copy with the 3-D hologram cover provided. It also contains a supplementary DVD featuring studio footage, band's opinion on the album & the Undertow music video which had been featured here recently.

I had high expectations for this album, must say the songs here are all great, Mr. Big worthy songs. The instrument technicalities are limited though, there's more focus on songs but it's definitely not another Hey, Man! release. Paul Gilbert doing single coils are rather apparent in this release. I'm not too keen on his fuzzy tones though, find it annoying in fact.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hey, dad! (Part 42)

Hey, dad! How small is the NANO EHX pedal? Lemme see... this is my hand here & it doesn't seem to be any bigger. That's a very compact built, isn't it?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Selling: Beta Aivin Super Chorus (CH-100)

Clearing my other chorus pedal, the Beta Aivin CH-100. I won't affirm its emulation of a certain BOSS pedal, suffice to say it gives the user a contemporary chorus voicing, quite the opposite of a vintage unit.

  • Condition: 9/10
  • Self-collect (meeting place to be disclosed upon confirmation)
  • Price: $44 (final)
  • E-mail me for confirmation
  • No trades/ No reservations
Thank you for reading.

EDIT: Pedal SOLD, 17th Feb, 10.40PM.

Interesting tuners (slight return)

The gearless LSR tuners seen in Mr. Hoffman's Jackson, are not new...

... Jackson used them before in their limited edition Roswell Rhoads guitar.

Nano Double MUFF

I was at Davis not too long ago & managed to try the NANO Double Muff. One of the Muff channels can be isolated by the the Single/ Double flick switch so when it's time to use both channels, just flick the switch.

The Muff content is unquestionable but some of us might be disturbed by the lack of any tone shaping controls. This is particularly so when both channels are put into maximum action, the cream on offer makes the overall voicing a little too boomy, affecting definition. But it's good value for $98 (list), definitely.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hoffman's tuners

I've been wanting to know what the Hoffman brothers are up to these days; they were some of the more formidable players in death metal not too long ago when they were in Deicide. It seems that the Hoffman brothers have their own outfit, Amon. Fans would know that Amon was what Deicide used to be called before the name change. They have an album out & it's certainly on my to-get list.

Anyway, Eric Hoffman here is seen with his Jackson King V which is equipped with a set of interesting tuners. The guitar also sports a Kahler bridge.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dry (Part 2)

The pics you see of my Ibanez AGB200 prior to this posting were all featuring post-treatment rosewood fretboard. The fretboard you see above was the condition during treatment, I had re-conditioned half of the fretboard leaving the other half as it was. This (dry version) was the showroom condition so you can imagine how much drying took place in an air-conditioned display space.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ibanez: Artcore AGB200

I've been wanting this bass, honest. So when it was still available during the Swee Lee SALE yesterday, it was a sign. Nobody was interested in it maybe because it sports a shorter scale length (30"), not a solid body instrument in its entirety & the fact that the neck humbucker there, sitting flushed against the neck end, presented a limited slap-&-pop technique applications. The shorter scale length was the key interest for me so without hesitation, the Ibanez AGB200 became mine.

I love all the features the bass has to offer but the plastic tuners were quite a turn-off.

Like all Artcore models, the body is arched at the top...

... & at the rear. I've not played the instrument enough to give a final say in terms of tone & playability. This will happen at a later update. I can feel the strings here are not .045s, will swap them out soon.

PS: Do note, this AGB200 is a pre-2011 model sporting the former headstock decal. In addition to this revision, the current AGB200 features a pair of Sure Grip knobs & the easy access truss rod cover.

Dry (Part 1)

I had my Smash S2 Lite out Saturday night but couldn't bring myself to play it because:
  1. Strings were rusty. I recall not wiping the strings down after play the last time & left the guitar out on the stand.
  2. Fretboard was dry. As seen above, the fretboard became dry rather quickly especially so when the last few days were some of the hottest days this month. This is another proof that, in this climate, we need not restrain ourselves from applying conditioning fluid onto our fretboards as & when the need arises. Remember, we are NOT in the tropics.
A more presentable & healthy looking fretboard after re-conditioning.

A set of GHS .009s in there & it's all play thereafter.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I was at the Swee Lee sale today, some clues as to what I bought. Revelations to come.

Ibanez RGD321: Radius check

There wasn't any focus on speed when I spent the initial moments with my Ibanez RGD321. Each & every fretted note was a check for dead notes/ uneven frets; there weren't any of course. When the speed came, I knew something was amiss when I always fumbled coming to the B & G strings. A quick look at the string saddles revealed uneven action; there's an abrupt change in height moving from the D string to the G.

A slight adjustment here to observe a more regular curvature. Initially, I thought I had a bad Gibraltar (Standard) bridge but that's not the case.