Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cheap & cheerful (1): Schecter Omen 7

If you are looking for an affordable 7-string  guitar with lots of goodness in tact, do check out Schecter's OMEN 7. The build on offer is incredible for the money. Despite being in-house units, the pickups on board are above-average players. The OMEN 7 lists for $465 which makes it a great value-for-money purchase. However, be informed that the scale length is slightly longer than the average 7-stringer, going at 26.5"- but I've played this instrument without issues, I expected early lethargy to set-in but it feels 'normal' through & through.

New Dreamer

Here's Dream Theater's new drummer: Mike Mangini

Pork innards

The (Way Huge) Pork Loin overdrive pedal possesses a trio of inner pots for more tone meddling. The 3 trimmers are:
  • A Filter control: Messes with the clean preamp. It works with the Drive Mix to determine the amount of clean headroom available at lower Drive Mix settings.
  • Presence: Just like how it works in an amp, it's in charge of how much top end is enhanced/ suppressed in addition to the EQ control.
  • Drive Mix: I see this as the drive sweep control. It determines how much drive you can finally manipulate via the primary overdrive control. You can set it to its narrowest option so what you get in the end is a clean boost, no drive at all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Separated at birth (slight return)

This is the affordable Squier Bullet HH- looks simple & attractive if you are an objective player, shopping on a budget.

The Aria STG 005 bears an uncanny resemblance (save for some differences) & it's less than $160... I played this guitar a few days ago at Davis GMC, I won't hesitate to recommend it to those in need of an above average player that's very reasonably priced.

Synester special

All you Synester G fans, take note of Schecter's latest offering (Musikmesse 2011) ; the Synester Special. It's what the manufacturer would classify as a no-frills version hence made affordable to you, ardent followers, but still retianing the 2 crucial features: Duncan (Invader) pickups + Floyd Rose bridge.

SWEE LEE (Katong) SALE (May 2011)

If you have the cash to spare, do take note of the above-stated event...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Napalm Death @ SG

Napalm Death will be performing here on 29th June 2011 - watch this space!!

Way Pork Huge Loin

Knowing there's another overdrive unit offered by Way Huge (@ Davis GMC), I just had to check it out. Buying it wasn't really on the agenda but it happened anyway. The Pork Loin is actually the restrained sibling of the Green Rhino. It's not capable of manifesting an excessively thick, creamy drive as indicated there for all to see: SOFT CLIP INJECTION. However, it's not as up-front as it looks, I'll tell you why next time...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The new & the old

Here's another look at Chris Broderick's fresh Jackson signature model. In the mean time, I'm just not attracted to the body outline; the offset design looks wayward but I'm sure the ergonomic considerations far out-weigh the need for good looks per se.

Can't help but look at the Ibanez... This is the final collaboration before one of metal's most talented guitarist parted ways with his preferred brand name instrument. It's all history now.

NOTE: This was a custom model based on Mr. Broderick's specs; note the ZR bridge in there (which is currently exclusive to the S-series + extended tuners)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Here's another addition to Nuno's Washburn models; the N7. A new model with an additional string. No Bill Lawrence pickups this time, but a pair of Duncans:
  • Neck: '59
  • Bridge: Distortion

Monday, April 25, 2011

H&K: Tubemeister 18

This is a new amp by Hughes & Kettner; the Tubemeister 18. It debuted @ Musikmesse 2011, it sounds very commanding, listen to the Thomas Blug demo here:

Hopefully it'll be available soon @ Woodworkz.

The Haunted: Unseen

The Haunted holds a formidable reputation for being one of Europe's thrash juggernaut but that seems to be history. Revolver was the last of such documented reputation, subsequent albums suffered a lost of form, the band now treads on pop-tinged fodder which would be best left to Korn, Deftones, et al.

I have always looked up to the band for their ability to serve tasteful thrash without trying too hard to appeal to the masses. But Unseen is a firm waste of time & money if you are expecting a Revolver-type authority. This isn't The Haunted which some of us worshiped & adored. Wasteful.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rhino Drive

I waited for this pedal to be available here to hear it in action because Montreaux's Screaming Lady proved to be too much distraction for me- they are both the overdrive manifestations I prefer but the GR here was my pick this time round. Sound clips to come...

The Way Huge brand name is actually a division of Dunlop. I find the mad scientist + over-sized brain motif rather repulsive but it remains to be on the pedal's underneath, out of sight during play.

Other Tube Screamer-type pedals I own:
  • VHT: V-drive
  • MXR: GT-OD
  • Guyatone: OD-2+
  • Biyang: Mad Driver
  • Biyang: OD-8
  • BOSS: OD-3
  • Visual Sound: Route 808
  • Rocktron: Austin Gold
  • Behringer: VT911

Re-string weekend: Jackson DK2T

I've been playing my Jackson DK2T for the last couple of days & the default strings finally gave way to grime & rust. I bought a pack of GHS Infinity Steel ($9.30) from the good people at TY Music; I'm a fan of steels lately for their inherent brightness. Friends reminded me of their abrasive property but I'm not too concerned with that as I employ minimal string bending. Don't squint your eyes because the wound strings you see there are indeed black- the Infinity Steel features black coating for the wound trio in this .009 set. The coating here feels much thinner than DR's Neons but let's give them some time to prove their durability.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

They know not the stand

Going about town carrying a guitar stand made me an easy security target. It's inevitable since security measures are effective especially at MRT stations & the officers on duty don't see dweebs carrying guitar stands too often- they don't know what the contraption is. I am glad my country prioritizes security 24/7 but I got sick after being asked what I was carrying. The following conversations took place at some of the stops yesterday:

CITY HALL station
Security: Boy, what is that?
Me: I am not a boy, I'm more than 30 years old. Oh, what thing?
Security: This one (pointed to guitar stand)
Me: Oh, spare parts for my broken toilet pipes. Here, you can check.
Securty: Oh, OK. No need to check, just asking. Thank you.

Security: Excuse me sir, can I check your item?
Me: Sure, be careful it's fragile.
Security: Sorry, any electrical components inside?
Me: Yes, when I pull the leg open here, it's switched on but right now I have no plug or cable to show you.
Security: Thank you, just checking.
Me: No worries.

Security: Excuse me, can we check your item, please? What is this, book-shelf is it?
Me: How'd you guess?
Security: He he... I think I've seen it before. Thanks.
Me: No problem.

For 7

Bought a new guitar stand for 7 guitars; it's a Warwick Rockstand. Nothing too extravagant, sufficient padding to hold my guitars in place. From L - R:
  • Gibson: Les Paul BFG
  • Schecter: Blackjack ATX C8
  • Ibanez: RGD321
  • Fender: American Special Stratocaster
  • Jackson: DK2T
  • Brian Moore: i91
  • Aria: XL Standard

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Today is Earth Day, I remember this day. Unlike Earth Hour which happened not too long ago, there's not much publicity for ED. Maybe ED is unfashionable, remembering earth's woes for 1 hr only is currently preferred- double standards, plain for all to see.

This is my current practice- accumulating guitar-related trash for recycling. What better day than Earth Day to send empty guitar envelopes, boxes & used batteries to the recycling bin, which happened moments ago.

Nevermore @ 50% strength

Nevermore's Jeff Loomis...

... & Van Williams have left the band. More stuff here: CLICK ME

Check this space soon to know if their date here is called off.

Selling: Wilkinson tuners for reverse headstock/ LH guitars

It's been a week. I'm trying to locate a set of misplaced Seymour Duncan pickups, did some cleaning-up this morning & found a set of Wilkinson tuners instead. I have no use for this in the mean time as they're for guitars sporting a reverse headstock/ left-handed guitars. I wanted them for my Ibanez GRGR010 which sports a reverse headstock but Ibanez tuners do not require the external screw. So here they are for sale:

  • Selling: Wilkinson tuners for 6-a side headstock type, reverse headstock OR left-handed guitars
  • Condition: 10/10... have not opened the packaging since the day of purchase
  • Asking price: $25 (note original price tag on package: $40)
  • Self-collect: Details to be disclosed upon confirmation
  • No reservations/ trade
  • All confirmations/ queries through e-mail:
Thanks in advance.
Item SOLD as at 12th May 2011.

Aria: XL Standard

Yesterday's catch: Aria XL Standard.

Simple headstock design, very much in the Kramer vein. The Fretboard markers are blatant Jackson duplicates, no hiding that.

The neck profile for both the XL Standard & Deluxe is that slim, shred-worthy spec. In fact, it's slimmer than Ibanez's pre-2011 Wizard II make.

The neck heel is a little beveled to give excess to the upper frets but in use, it didn't help much. Nevertheless, upper fret reaches are not very restrictive.

What's this? A sumptuous neck binding for $195? Upon closer inspection, it's faux binding.

But for $195, the manufacturer had included a coil split switch- now this is value-for-money. Thumbs up!

I'm definitely happy with the bridge saddles; despite being the vintage/ traditional type, the action adjustment screws do not protrude to jab the picking hand palm while in play.

The Aria guitars are currently the value-for-money instruments we should consider if we are shopping on a strict budget. Many of us are battling past, repulsive Aria QC episodes in the midst of short-listing the current generation of Aria makes. These are definitely beyond your past nightmares, in fact, the manufacturer wouldn't be foolish to let QC issues dampen the business especially when the technology to create good, affordable guitars are now available.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Aria (Part 2)

The ARIA XL Deluxe, as seen above, is also available @ Davis GMC (black only, please note), I have yet to try it... maybe I'll do it today, he he... So if you are looking for a locking-whammy bridge on a budget, this one's less than $300... For many working adults, the Singapore Government is giving us at least $500 come 1st May, yes? Just reminding you... *grin*


Aria guitars are now available at Davis GMC. I know what you are thinking- oh... it's that second fiddle brand of the '80s you'd love to hate after buying your preferred brand name guitar. I played the XL Standard (above) yesterday & it's a very decent player for less than $200...

The Retro Classic fared as well, sporting a sub-$200 price tag like its XL Standard sibling, above. If you are on a strict budget, the Aria offerings should be considered.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Looks like

Many of us adore the simplicity of Fender's Blacktop Jaguar model.

The idea of a dual humbucking Fender sporting a Jaguar-esque body isn't new; the Toronado was there for the taking but not many of us were interested...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Separated at birth

Schecter's Riot...

BC Rich's Eagle... variation on a theme.

In need of DIVO

Perhaps the pressing need for us tube amp owners is the knowledge & ability to re-biasing our amps following our power amp tubes replacement. In the mean time, this know-how is strictly tech-inclined but a very recent development sees the DIVO technology developed to address this concern.

The DIVO system is currently integrated into the latest generation of Orange amps to manage power tubes performance & optimization. In a nutshell, the system keeps track of errant tubes in the line-up so we know which one to do away with. Upon replacement, the system re-biases the fresh tube automatically- isn't that good news for us?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Squier Jaguar bass

Squier has this new Jaguar Bass SS (Vintage Modified series) which sports a shorter scale length (30"); it's too attractive (for me) to ignore.

Ibanez RG350M: Other finishes

You've seen the neon yellow version of the RG350M which has a cult following owing to its '80s inspired, visual attraction. There are 2 more finishes not offered here; the white version as seen above...

... & its green sibling. Thankfully, the respective headstocks sport a matching finish which makes the guitar more presentable.

Melody Makers

Musikmesse 2011 debut by Gibson- a limited run of Melody Makers; we've seen the LP version before (albeit the different pickup in there)...

... here's the SG take. These are great guitars in terms of simplicity & tone focus but that string pull there- owing to the narrow headstock design- has some tuning instability potential.

But this time, there are 2 more models to consider; the Flying V features a more thoughtful headstock design...

... which is also featured in the Explorer version. It looks out of place, Mr. Gibson, sir. But if it makes you happy...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Audio clip1: Power Stack + reinforcements

How beneficial can a drive type booster + chorus be to your primary distortion unit? I've linked up my Ibanez Bass Tubscreamer & Carl Martin's Classic Chorus to my BOSS Power Stack as above. The amp in use is my Blackheart Killer Ant, the guitar- my Ibanez RG471. I'm using my bridge pickup exclusively; it's a Duncan JB. Listen to the above set up in action: power stack ibanez rg471

Obscura: Omnivium

This is the German quartet, Obscura.

They've just released Omnivium which is a worthy release because 2 of the most talented players in extreme music are in this band.

One of them is the fleet fingered Christian Muenzner (yes, he endorses Ibanez). His techniques & choice of notes are sublime.

The other is the unquestionable, fretless bass wizard, Jeroen Paul Thesseling. Sounds familiar? That's because you've heard him before in Pestilence's Spheres album.

Omnivium is an interesting release because you might deem them repulsive after hearing the opening title, Septuagint; it's too metal-core. Think Shadows Fall. But that's the initial brush with all things intense & technical. Persevere & you'll hear the Morbid Angel & Cynic influences in the mix but these lads aren't doing the cut-paste in terms of ideas. They hold their own & Omnivium proves to be a redemption of sorts especially after you've heard its predecessor, Cosmogenesis. This is definitely one of my favourites for 2011.