Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grassroots: G-LP-55C

Grassroots has another LP-alike model in their catalogue (new for 2011): G-LP-55C. I just wish they are more readily available here. While we look to the Edwards brand name as an alternative to the ESP selections in terms of cost, those guitars remain to be out of reach for many of us beginners or those working with a tight budget. The Grassroots offer a better range in this aspect.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Scott!

Scott Ian has new Jackson signature models out this spring- the single pickup model looks enticing. Wonder why the traditional Jackson shark fin fretboard markers were not used...

Duncanized: Ibanez RG471

I was at Beez's last weekend, going about the ritual of splicing my instrument to my specific wants but no DNA re-engineering was involved, of course. The Orange Drop cap was de riguer inclusion.

Ditto the coil split push-pull switch.

Some time along the way, your sleuthing would reveal Ibanez's (commercial) association with Cort. An evidence of such collaborations would be the default pot you see above. Do note the Cor-Tek label; that's Cort's technology there forming part of the RG's innards.

Replacement pickups in my RG471, a Seymour Duncan affair:
  • Neck: '59
  • Mid: Classic Stack Plus
  • Bridge: Screamin' Demon Trembucker
Fresh strings for it as well; a set of .009 Cleartone. It's much more affordable than the Elixir brand but equally effective. Unlike the latter (which is smoother to the touch), the Cleartone has this Curt Mangan/ Pyramid feel which I fancy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Selling: Seymour Duncan Classic Stack + (Mid)

I was searching for some (misplaced) spares in the house recently when I came across this unused Seymour Duncan Classic Stack Plus pickup for the middle position. It's totally unused, it's yours for $80 if you are interested...

Seymour Duncan Classic Plus (middle position) in white:
  • unused, screws & springs included
  • box was unsealed to check contents
  • asking price: $80
  • confirmation via e-mail only:
  • self-collect (meeting venue will be disclosed upon confirmation)
  • no reservations, no trades

Ibanez: SW15

Ibanez had reduced the Soundwave bass amps to just 3 offerings this 2011- SW15/ SW35/ SW80. The smallest family member- SW15- was given the tilt-back design so it's not a puny, practice-grade unit exclusively. I've learnt to hear the small bass combos in action before dismissing their volume-related performances. The SW15 is loud, enough to fulfill a small, indoor gig requirement. It'll match a 30W guitar amp in terms of loudness. In a small venue context, it'll make you audible. 

For $120, it's hard to beat in terms of tonal quality & ease of use. Just a little heavy for a make of this wattage rating. The SW15 is available at: SV Guitars/ Swee Lee.

Final pack: Curt Mangan strings

This was my final pack of Curt Mangan .0095 set... went into my Les Paul BFG. Curt Mangan strings are still available at G77 but not the .0095 version. The Curt Mangan has everything right for me, durability, feel & price. Gallistring & Pyramid are the closest in feel to the Curt Mangan, but not offered in the .0095 version...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ibanez: RGR321

Just back from testing an Ibanez RGR321, it's the 2011 version. The manufacturer says it's a Wizard III (chunkier) but it feels different from the current S-series' Wizard III so what is going on? Does it imply that the models sporting whammy bridges are equipped with the slimmer Wizard III neck & not the fixed bridge ones? We'll know when more 2011 models make it here.

New EVHs

2 new EVH guitars are released this Spring. The one you see above is the Custom, a shorter scale model without a whammy bridge.

The other model is the Stealth, a departure from Mr. Edward's preference is the guitar's ebony fretboard. Maybe it's just me but I'd rather the knobs be entirely black, without the indicators.

PS: Please participate in the POLL @ the left shoulder of this page, thanks in advance.

Precision or Jazz?

This Fender Mark Hoppus signature bass is listed as a Jazz model in the manufacturer's catalogue. However, the headstock states otherwise. If we do not know Mark Hoppus swapped the neck of his pre-signature Jazz bass with a Precision neck (because he prefers the feel) & that detail was perpetuated to date, then we'd be confused. Some newbies would have thought he's duped by the stores if no efforts were made to explain the misleading categorization.This is a revised model for 2011, I thought they'd revise the labels on the headstock as well but as evident here, they remain in tact. Well, if they were updated to be politically correct markings, then it won't be what Mark Hoppus would have wanted, yes?

Ibanez: Infinity 2011

Ibanez had updated their pickup details this time round; the (humbucker) wires are colour coded so in times of tinkering, we can identify our pickup wires easily. Thumbs up to this.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amptweaker: Tight Metal (Part 1)

This was what I bought a few days ago; Amptweaker's Tight Metal. When I saw it initially, I procrastinated & it was snapped up but it didn't happen this time round. Besides the intensity on offer, the TM has an on-board noise gate & it runs on both 9V & 18V for some tonal variation.

More importantly, the TM features an EFX Loop so you can arrange for some parallel connections (in addition to the conventional series arrangement), just like what you'd do to an amplifier with this feature. More to come, watch this space...

PS: Thanks brother Burn (Davis GMC) for the assistance.

Applause: Duncan's sealed pack

I recently bought Seymour Duncan's humbucker & would like to applaud the manufacturer for keeping the pickup height adjustment screws & springs in a sealed sachet. I've come across rusty units before & had to buy replacements so this is a thoughtful move by the manufacturer.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour 2011: Embracing darkness

2011's Earth Hour just ended moments ago. The community around me was oblivious to the attempt in giving  Mother Earth her due respect. A quick look out of the window showed no signs of massive participation. The wedding preparation two blocks away showed no signs of moderation either, life at the coffee shop across the road went on as usual, full of loud talking & approved time squandering. 

There was an attempt to maintain essential visibility in my residence so a box of little candles were put to good use. The observation was that birthday candles would last you 10min while the slightly bigger variant for kiddy lanterns, gave light for 30min. It was time well-spent listening to music & lying down since bed-time was looming ahead. At the end of the observance, a quick check with the local news showed more participation down town where concerted efforts created the necessary awareness to rope in public participation. People, left to their own undertaking, wouldn't see the hour's worth in sparing a thought for the planet in which they live in.

I sincerely believe there are guitarists, bassists & other musicians alike who took part in Earth Hour this year, regardless of how big/ small their contributions were. I salute you.

Earth Hour 2011

Dear friends, let's observe Earth Hour today. Please switch off as many electrical devices/ equipment as we can at 8.30PM for one hour. The people of today are educated enough to empathize with the fate of this earth, let's act within out means.

A big THANK YOU in advance.

Burzum: Fallen

In countless interviews, Varg Vikernes reminded journalists he's not playing black metal. The insistence was that it's his music, free from any righteous categorization, if it happens to be black metal, so be it. After listening to Fallen, which isn't is English (but that's besides the point), I can't seem to remove the fact that it is a black metal release. More importantly, Burzum had not gone astray from its roots, the music remains to be a coarse assault to the ears, with very little respect in ensuring a balanced EQ as far as guitar tones go. I enjoyed Varg Vikernes' post-confinement manifestation, Belus, because the guitars in there, despite being very repetitious & protrusive, had good inter-play. Just listen to them carefully through head phones & you can hear the variation in certain phrasings. In many twin guitar bands, the two guitarists at work often confine themselves to the specific roles of rhythm & lead players; they often play the riffs in unison. The more interesting establishments would make efforts to vary their riffs, so we hear interesting differentiation through the left & right channels of our speakers/ headphones. It's good to know that Fallen is no different but the stark contrast here lies with the vocals; there are more clean spoken words this time. In fact, some of these are quasi-whispers, there were no efforts to raise vocal intensity. Fallen is a deserving follow up by Varg Vikernes, to say the least.

According to Varg, Fallen was recorded with the above Peavey guitar. Regardless of whichever guitar was employed, it got the job done (tone-wise).


I went down town today to visit Kellie, whose shop name had gained a following for being unpronounceable- how do you say 'EILLEKEOT'? Anyway, that's besides the point. Kellie deals with spares, namely by Gibson, Fender & Ibanez. When I was there yesterday, the Ibanez Edge III & ZR bridges (7-string version included) were available, so were some Gibson spares & pickups- Burstbuckers, 490-series, '57s, Iommi... I placed an order for a P-94, he he... There are more spares to come, if you are interested in any, you can place an order for what you need. Store details:

545 Orchard Road
Far East Shopping Centre 
#02-09 Singapore 238882 
Call: 96577757

Friday, March 25, 2011

Duncans @ DGMC

Seymour Duncans are in at Davis GMC. If you are looking forward to try the Fury (Malmsteen) set, they are also available (& clearing fast).

Ibanez: S420 (Part 1)

The current generation of RG & S-series now sport the deserving neck profile which made them very desirable back in the '80s. No, the current neck carve isn't that slim but it loses the chunk of the Wizard II. I'm very happy with this S420 & it was an unexpected purchase since all I wanted to get when I stepped into Swee Lee yesterday was a microphone for my daughter's use. I DID buy the microphone, of course.

PS: Thanks brother Faizal for the assistance.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

LTD: V-50

The LTD V-50 is the most affordable V-guitar in the LTD range yet there's something opiating about this instrument. It might be due to the fact that there's more wood after the bridge area hence giving rise to a healthier sustain response. The wider body outline might also be attributable to a different taste in the lower frequencies; the instrument in whole is less prickly (tone-wise) given the notoriety of in-house pickups in disregarding tonal dynamics especially the ones in the budget-friendly guitars. So this V-50 is quite a winner if you are looking for something rather pleasant-sounding but its limited appeal when you have to play sitting down might be the only repulsion here.

How much? Please refer to Davis GMC...

Earth Hour: March 26

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MK Tone: EG-15R

The MK Tone EG-15R is home with me- so that's the object in the diablo adorned box. The EG-15R is a practice unit & shouldn't conjure hopes of any boutique offerings.

That's the statement of identity there. There's no secret about the price, it's all on the SVG homepage. Apologies but no reviews of this amp as yet, still testing it in the mean time.


There's something about ash that appeals to me. It has that top end spike which is very tasteful when one does solos. The last (Smash) TG-1 I tried wasn't ash-bodied so it sounded ordinary, a little above-average, at best. This one TG-1 Lite you see above, has more to offer in terms of tone. It won't give you a serving of sparkling Fender-esque voicings despite its outline mockery of the aforementioned instrument but the ash influences are there for the taking.The price is also very inviting for bargain hunters. The manufacturer has placed this model in its 'old models' reference page implying its halt in production so if you are keen, acting fast a sensible thing to do.

List: $260 @ SV Guitars

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Now, what the heck could this be...?

MK Tone

The MK Tone amplifiers are designed in Singapore but assembled in China. It's the in-house product of SV Guitars, largely the outcome of owner, Mike Chen's tinkering. I've been invited to try them out (thanks, Mike!) so watch out for some appraisals to come. 

EARTH HOUR: March 26

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ibanez (Standard) 2011

If you are waiting for the new Standard RGs featuring the EZII bridges, they are now in stock at both SV Guitars & Swee Lee. Good news to those of you who are rather particular with an Ibanez neck- the new Wizard III profile feels slimmer than the former Wizard II. However, not all of us are comfortable with thin necks, you go try them out & decide.

Also in store are the 24-fretted S-series. I managed to try the S570 today, somehow, the INF pickups in there sound more acceptable this time round.

What? No price updates? Oh, gee... you can refer/ call the stores to find that out, yes? *SIGH*

Quake @ Japan (2)

Statement from Hoshino/ Ibanez:

On March 11th, 2011, northern Japan was subjected to the largest earthquake in that country’s history. The damage, at present, is beyond measure.

We are grateful to be able to report that the Hoshino Group’s facilities in Japan are located far enough from the quake’s epicenter to have spared our organization and its people any loss of life or serious property damage.

The Hoshino Group of Japan thanks the many friends and associates who have called or written to communicate their concern.

At this time we, along with our counterparts in Japan, would like to express our condolences to those who lost family, friends, and colleagues. We pray for the well-being of the survivors.

Our thoughts are with them all.

Hey, dad! (Part 43)

Hey, dad! I've got my shades on & rocking out with your BFG. I'm doing great, don't you worry 'bout a thing!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One each

In addition to my recently acquired Jackson DK2T, I also one guitar for the following brand names:
  • Music Man: SUB1
  • Smash: S2 Lite
  • Rally: Neosound Jr
  • Edwards: E-LP-92SD/P
  • Grassroots: G-LP-50S
  • Squier: Duo Sonic
  • Kramer: Vanguard S-440S
  • Schecter: Blackjack C-8ATX
  • Brian Moore: i91
  • Cort: X-3
  • PRS: McCarty

Duran Duran

One of the reasons why the music of today isn't as consequential as the '80s' is its lack of thoughtful melodies. It's isn't about simplicity per se but the lack of efforts in ensuring what sticks in people's heads once they hear the music. I am rather thankful to have grown up in the '80s & Duran Duran, together with Depeche Mode et al,  was playing on the radio. But these days, Duran Duran's past works are a great source of bass reference for me- no technicalities here, just the lines which made the song work. I've been listening to Duran Duran's Greatest Hits for the last few days or so. Great music.


It's a wet Sunday afternoon. Hot tea & cookies.

BFG Trem

It's officially released: Gibson's Les Paul BFG Trem. When the original, non-whammy version was released, the LP community screamed blasphemy as the instrument represented disintegration more than innovation. It's unfinished, unrefined & unappealing manifestations were the wrong attributes to be had in a Les Paul- pure desecration, to sum it up. But being a fan of fundamentals, I actually liked the BFG & bought one. The brighter tones were also agreeable with me; it's how I want my Les Paul to sound like. I'm looking forward to acquire the Trem version if the price is right (but is there ever a 'right' price to begin with?).

As depicted here, the rear cavity is left exposed- we can't seem to see a transparent cover, do we? So be prepared for another bare-bones serving & not argue with the sales people for selling a scrapyard Les Paul for more than $1K (the original BFG was $1,499...).

Jackson: DK2T

I tried to ignore this guitar at yesterday's Swee Lee (Katong) sale but maybe the orange (Jackson calls it October Pearl)  has some voodoo to it so I brought (bought, more like it) it home. It's a DK2T discontinued in 1999, the fact that it's still in good condition & available in the store gave rise to many implications but they were not important. What's important is that it's a good guitar & I got it for a good price.

It's a Japanese production but it doesn't matter anyway...

... because the Duncans in there (they are the guitar's default pickups) made it favourable tone-wise. Well, at least for me. The pickups:
  • Neck: Jazz
  • Bridge: JB
The generous rear bevel means it's a joy to play both sitting down & strapped on; it just molds itself to the body. The post neck-plate bevel on the other hand, did very little to promote upper fret reaches but it's not as repulsive as the Les Paul's bulk at the same spot.

Since I was in the neighbourhood, it's off to BEEZ's to have the Orange Drop cap installed...

... as well as the push-pull coil split switch.

When I reached home, I had a set of SITs .009 set of pure nickel strings in there to quell the inherent brightness- an alder body coupled with a Duncan JB in the bridge manifested lots of rich top end when I heard it in action at BEEZ's. Thusfar, it's all thumbs up with the DK2T especially after I revised the action to my playing comfort. Maybe one of the reasons why it remained unappealing while it was still resident in the store might be down to its colour; to many of us, it's too 'loud' a finish.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

COC: Blind

It's flashback '90s; I've just re-purchased Corrosion of Conformity's Blind album which was released way back in 1991, this time in CD format. My original cassette version of this same album had the tape crinkled at its edges due to overplay. I still kept it for sentimentality's sake but it got very moldy & was discarded before I moved to my current residence. Blind was out of print before this hence the reason I didn't purchase it earlier. 

Why do I value this release highly? It's a lesson in simplicity. The COC guys laid down their metal in a simple form yet the riffs here were catchy & memorable. The production was also impressive but you'd argue that the drum had too much reverb in post-production. Prior to Blind, COC was a hardcore outfit (listen to prior release Technocracy) & as depleted journalism would have it, the label 'cross-over' was a necessary description for what the band did, jumping from one intense genre to another consecutively. It's an attempt to conjure a fusion of hardcore & metal, how exclusive was this label remains unclear. Mine Are The Eyes of God has to be my favourite track off this album. Reed Mullin could be the real predecessor to Brand Dailor's (Mastodon) simple but intricate drumming- just listen to this track.

Coupled with the satisfaction of Blind's acquisition was the memory of the day I originally bought Blind. I bought the cassette tape in 1992, a few months after it was released (in 1991). I skipped school for the day, collected the cassette tape, which was on order at Roxy Records & roamed around town  till sun set. Back then Funan Center still had tiled floors like some of the wet market you see today. So when darkness descended, I settled down on the Singapore River bank facing Victoria Theatre & listened to Blind twice before heading home. I remembered clearly seeing a shooting star up in the sky above what was then the Westin Stamford. They say if you wish upon a shooting star, your wish would come true. Now if only I remember what was that wish.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Some recommendations (Swee Lee SALE 19th March)

Just returned home from Swee Lee (Katong) to take a look at what's for grab come SALE day. I was the only customer there for 1 hour so I had the luxury of making some rounds & squeezing brother Fahmie for some products info (thanks bro!). There'll be no price mention here, I've indicated only the post-discount price bracket- PDPB (I don't get commissioned for this task so I'll make things simple for myself).

Starting off with amps, the (Epi) Valve Special is great for some above-average cleans, it has effects on board as well. Sounds splendid for twang or that warm humbucking tone. PDPB: $500

 Peavey's Bandit is the one to get if you don't do pedals, just plug in & play. It has one of the best on-board distortion I've come across, from great cream to heavy metal menace. PDPB: $500

The Epiphone Boneyard is still one of my recommended LPs out there namely due to its great tones & playability. It's good to see it available for sale. PDPB: $650

Ibanez's RG320FM is also available, there are 2 in store; the finish you see above & a green version. PDPB: $650.

The racing stripe Fender Kenny Wayne Sheppard's Strat is a good tonal investment if you are a single coil fan. PDPB: $800

Squier's Stagemaster 7- recommended for those looking for a budget 7 string, the Whammy version is also available. I can't really recall if it's offered in this blue finish but there are about 3 guitars on the stands. PDPB: $450

The most criminally overlooked instrument in the showroom has to be this Ibanez RD900. I took my time to give this one a thorough look & it seems to be a relatively fresh piece in store; it's virtually spotless. I also deem this to be a value-for-money purchase in terms of features, playability & tone. PDPB: $900

PS: Expect up to 50% tomorrow.