Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mini Mod

So how small are those Modtone Minis? As you can see here, Dora The Explorer could very well reach the control knobs without platform assistance.

The mini's underside features a foam pad which assists the pedal in staying put on the ground if you do not wish to Velcro it down to your pedal board but this proves to be rather ineffective as the pedal per se is too light to be tug resistant.
It's the final day of July, with Summer NAMM as the primary source of exhilaration for use gear dweebs, but the was no personal appeal, gear-wise, for me. Add to this the depleting reserves for gear funding.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Spandau Ballet: Reformation tour

Spandau Ballet was one of the bands I grew up listening to; even through the speakers of my FM mono radio, Tony Hadley's voice had that signature depth which made him instantly recognizable.

I had wanted to purchase this reunion DVD from Amazon online but it's available at Gramaphone when I was there today so it was a definite purchase. The songs in this release were mostly the ones featured in the 'Best Of' album I own but I bought this to hear the depth & details of the live performance which was not quite the case in the '80s recording. Post-production materials sounded thin but the live coverage didn't disappoint in this aspect. No guitar widdling on show here, just great songs to relive the nostalgia however Gary Kemp has some blues mojo going in one of the extended solos.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Hunter

Mastodon's forthcoming release: The Hunter, definitely on my to-get list.

Fuchs: Plush Cream

I simply love Fuchs' Plush Cream pedal, it has one of the best stand alone saturation which is essential for me as this complements my playing quirks (I tend to pick harder than I should be if the drive saturation isn't to my standards). I'm currently looking for a non-metal distortion/ drive tone to just spur me on & this one comes my way. The Cream sounds like a boosted Tubescreamer without the accompanying extra fatness; it retains definition well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

LTD: EC-54

This is a wicked bass by LTD, it features a solitary pickup which I initially thought was an active unit since it sports a battery compartment- the pickup is passive but the controls are active. There's a healthy dose of boom on board which would appeal to traditionalists but I like my bass tones to have a brighter option for solos which is not quite the forte of this EC-54. Available at Davis GMC...

*PS: At time of testing, the retail price was not released yet.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ESP: Special order - touchdown (4)

I was at Beez's last weekend, had a push-pull coil split switch installed in my ESP Special Order M-II so that the Duncan JB there could be reduced to a single coil for a wider tonal option. I'm currently liking the fact that there's no tone knob in this guitar so it churns out that very protrusive growl.

This is how the control cavity looks like- spacious & absolutely neat all round.
My other ESPs:
  • Eclipse II (satin finish)
  • Horizon II
  • Horizon III
  • Phoenix II

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sheraton, anyone?

Fancy an Epiphone Sheraton? If you do, the guitar you see here is for sale (but not mine). Please get back to Mr. Ian @ 90-77-56-24/ Asking price: $600 (bag not included).

Decepticon: Hercules

You've seen this contraption before; it's the Hercules guitar stand...

... it's now a full-fledged Decepticon.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 339...

In 2007, Gibson released the ES-339, pictured above, a smaller bodied semi-hollow guitar with a scaled-down body size.

The 339 is now manifested as an Epiphone version. In addition to the smaller body, the guitar features a slim-tapered neck profile as sell as some push-pull coil split switches.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My dear neighbours... (Part 3)

I was at my childhood neighbourhood today- Geylang Bahru. I had initially planned to be there last month but time just didn't permit. So today, my first stop was Block 68, my mum bought me my first guitar there but of course, I didn't really expect to see that same stationery store there still up & running. A confectionery is currently operating in that shop space. I used to wait outside that stationery store while my mum did her marketing just a few paces away- the covered walkway you see in the picture above leads to the market.

Re-visiting this neighbourhood meant it's an opportunity for me to see what developments took place at Block 58, my residential block, the same place where my neighbours were slaughtered. The original Block 58 was no more, it's the reason why I had to move out, the authorities wanted to reduce the number of rental units in this neighbourhood. However, the new block of housing units here isn't a 58, it's in fact block 59.

There was a canal in front of the original Block 58 which is still there. Across this canal, there was an open space used as car-parking lots but currently standing in that area is the new Block 58 seen on the left of this picture. When we played soccer at the 5th floor staircase landing, kicking too hard would see our ball plunge down & bounce into the canal. That would mean the end of our soccer session & effectively saying goodbye to the ball, none of us could fish it out of the canal's rather haunting channel. Nobody would take the risk anyway because should there be an unfortunate slip, we'd be washed into the Kallang River.

Seen here is the current Block 58, looks serene & nothing like the former, bleak 58. Well, it has no reasons to manifest its predecessor's reputation, it's not even located at the original Block 58 site.

This picture was taken on the Geylang Bahru side of the Kallang River bank. That bridge you see there is a one-way road leading to Bendemeer Rd & Jalan Besar. There is this evident tranquility when I was there snapping pictures unlike the old days when the river banks were muddy & undeveloped. There was indeed a jogging track in place in the mid-1980s but we were not drawn to its provision because drug addicts were still at large going about their vices quite openly.

The Geylang Bahru - Bendemeer link bridge you see above is the obvious feature representing change. There was no such connection back in my time. I remember shouting to my school mate, who lived across the river bank, in one of those rented apartment blocks as well. I shouted at the top of my voice for a simple reason- I had no telephone back then. I was from a low-income family, my mum was a single mother (she's still single today, decided not to re-marry after the divorce with my dad), watched monochrome television for as long as I could remember & had no refrigerator until I was about 10 years old.

As I walked about the Geylang Bahru neighbourhood today, my mind was like a muted documentary show commenting on the changes but only for me to hear in my head. It's good to be back & breathe the air & feel the sunshine of the neighbourhood where I grew up but the air & sunshine today felt different. I felt a little sore leaving this place with a deep seated mystery in my head but that's out of my hands, really. Whoever came to hack my neighbour & presented that tragedy in 1979 as a permanent entry in my mind was beyond my authority. I certainly would not want to remember Geylang Bahru for this atrocious record. Remember, the killer is still at large. This individual might revisit the neighbourhood for all we know, in search of the meaning to his/ her ghastly deed. Seeing people in person when we grow old, to seek personal apology/ forgiveness & moving on in life is better than curing one's cancer.

Matt Schofield: Anything but Time

This is a great blues album by Matt Schofield, a true class act. I have limited patience for the blues namely due to the fact that the same notes are being played, recycled & rehashed without much fresh perspective. But that was an account of the past, I think I forced myself to listen to the old-school blues players too much, (no disrespect to them), who rooted themselves in melancholy & excessive vibrato, he he... Then I discovered Stevie Ray, Kenny Wayne Sheppard & Chris Duarte, among others- these are the people who showed the world that the blues can be dirge-free, certainly my kind of blues. However, like all true blues album, Anything but Time contains one such aforementioned patience-taxing track; See Me Through. But that's been deleted from my playlist. For the whole of last week, Anything but Time was my companion to & from work. Listening to players like Matt Schofield, who paid much attention to tone refinement is important because it forces us to leave the technical priority aside to appreciate an important aspect of music- tone. I personally like the guitar tones here, it moved away from the traditionally clean setting to a much more distorted working tone. An absolutely worthy purchase.

Korg: Extensive darkness

More summer goodness, this time it's from Korg- the Pitchblack +...

This one allows you to attach 2 instruments to be tuned simultaneously. If that's not enough goodness on board, the Pitchblack + is also a power supply unit, supplying 9V of juice to your other pedals. 

I've had good results with the PB & it's my primary tuner since I bought it in 2009, I guess it's no harm checking the PB+ when it debuts here.
UPDATE: The PB+ is now available @ City Music, Promo price: $111

Worthy quote: Devin Townsend

Here's some food for thought from one of the wildest, most aggressive individual (& definitely an under-rated genius) in metaldom: Devin Townsend

... instead of picking up the guitar & riffing until something comes out, try to think of a riff in your head first, then find the notes on the guitar afterwards. The guitar should be a translator for the ideas in your head.

I've fallen into this trap so very often; picked the guitar up, widdled but nothing concrete happened in terms of ideas. Then lethargy took over & suppressed creativity. However, to avoid this frustration, I've learnt to think first before getting into action, have that idea play in my mind before figuring it out on the guitar. What Mr. Townsend said here is definitely a gem of an advice; the guitar is a translator, primarily. It shouldn't take over the player's control of his/ her ideas. But we are often weak-willed, we love to hear our instruments in action first, we often get into this rather subconsciously. So the next time you play, stop; think first before you widdle & get stuck in a rut.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

LTD's summer

ESP has some fresh stuff for summer, the 7-string LTD Eclipse you see above is simply attractive.

But I'm definitely putting this P-90 equipped Viper on my acquisition list...

Selling: Kramer Vanguard S-440S

Kramer Vanguard S-440S, why am I selling this guitar? Should there be a reason to do so? I play guitar sitting down most of the time, that's the primary reason.
  • Kramer Vanguagrd S-440S (bag included, no mods)
  • Condition: 9/10
  • No trades/ reservation
  • Self-collect @ CCK Mrt stn
  • Confirmation/ query:
  • Asking: $420
 Thanks for reading :-)
Still available for sale:
*Sound Drive: SG-612R (head only)
*Danelectro:  Cool cat Distortion

Friday, July 22, 2011

AXL: Badwater 1216 JR

You've read about how the AXL Badwater proves to be one of the best vale-for-money instrument available here, yes? The 1216 Jr you see above is a new entry for Summer & with that single pickup feature, we'd see how truly affordable this instrument will be. Will update availability soon; Davis GMC is attending to my availability query ASAP...
PS: Judging by the poll results, it seems that heavy metal has a strong following here...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

G&L: ASAT Deluxe Carved Top

How's this for a gorgeous guitar? It's fresh offering from G&L (ASAT Deluxe Carved Top), an otherwise Telecaster-looking model save for that curved top. Good news is, it sports a very affordable price tag. Let's see if it will make its way here...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Selling: Tight Metal (Amptweaker)

For all things aggressive, I prefer my amp to do the barking- I prefer the saturation manifested by amps. The Tight Metal pedal you see here is a relatively recent acquisition but I can do without it.

Selling: Amptweaker- TIGHT METAL (aggressive distortion type)
Condition: 9/10 (box included)
Self collect: CCK mrt station
Queries/ confirmation:
No trades/ reservations.
Asking: $99

Thanks for reading.
Pedal SOLD OFF as at 10am today- thanks to all interested parties.

ESP: M-II Deluxe (discont'd)

I don't think the ESP chaps had any major problems in manifesting my Special Order. The model you see here is the discontinued M-II Deluxe which was rested in 1998- note the single coil slot in the neck. They had the template ready for it, that's what I reckoned.

PS: Friends, I accidentally deleted a recent e-mail pertaining to my Kramer V, if you are reading this, please reply- thanks!

My other ESPs:
  • Eclipse II
  • Phoenix II
  • Horizon II
  • Horizon III

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ibanez: RG7321

This Ibanez RG7321 is for sale, but it's not mine. If you are interested/ in need of more details, please get back to Mr. Naz, at the following e-mail address:

ESP: Special order - touchdown (3)

Rushed home today to hear my new darling in action- ESP MII Special Order. I've had enough of black, so it's an all white affair this time.

The only special change for this guitar- otherwise it's an ordinary, off-the-shelf M-Series- is the inclusion of a single coil neck pickup instead of a humbucker. This is my first Special Order guitar, I just want to observe the QC standard which is unquestionably superb!

Body rear view- the heel there had been inclined & bevelled as an upper fret allowance.

A very ordinary, M-Series headstock...

... the rear headstock has the label proof that this is not a custom order model. The Special Order is any Standard Series guitar with specific instructions from the buyer to incorporate a little deviation in specs.

This is another ESP guitar of mine, featuring an Original Floyd Rose bridge, which allows for a very low action. I'm not concluding that a Floyd Rose inclusion is the end-all solution for you if you wish for a low action but it facilitates this set up.

The pickups in this guitar:
  • Neck: Seymour Duncan Classic Stack Plus
  • Bridge: Seymour Duncan JB
I am currently favouring the single coil pickup in the neck for its more top-end protrusion; I wouldn't like to hear too much bass in this position.

My utmost thanks to Janet @ Davis GMC for making this acquisition possible, Chris for leaving a message to inform me of its arrival & Burn for helping me hook this guitar up with many Fuchs pedals! Thank you, everyone!

LTD: TE-202

I managed to try the above LTD TE-202 while I was in the store to collect my ESP Special Order guitar. This one's made in Vietnam & feels rather hefty. Unlike its ST counterpart, the TE has a more authentic feel when it comes to the 'relic' finish especially on the neck. The guitar in its entirety isn't a vintage product, particularly the pickups which are rather hot with distortion in use. The good people at Davis GMC told me the set up is as it is out of the box which I find very impressive- a comfortable action for both speed fretting or extended blues bends. The weight also contributed to the thick tones on board so if you are looking for that Telecaster twang on a budget- not quite. Also, the distressed nature here is merely a novelty but I must say it's a good player for fans who aren't too keen with authenticity but a fan of the Tele outline nevertheless.

LTD TE-202
Available @ Davis GMC
List: $550

Monday, July 18, 2011

ESP: Special order - touchdown (2)

I've brought my Special Order ESP home; revelation tomorrow. Tired... not feeling well.

ESP: Special order - touchdown (1)

I was at Davis GMC earlier today... em... that should be yesterday. Never mind. I was there to settle payment for my ESP Special Order model which finally arrived on16th July 2011. I didn't bring it home because I was on the way to another destination; dinner beckoned.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Selling: Neosound Jr

My Rally Neosound Jr. is for sale. It's time I settle down with the instruments which complement my playing quirks. The instrument's larger body + narrower neck width affects the way I play. I rate this guitar highly for its tone & QC. The common query here is: Does it sound like an ES-335. Well if it does, then I would not have bought it, he he... It's a variation of the ES-335 tone, definitely, but with added brightness namely due to the pickups in use & its satin finished nature.

  • Model: Rally Neosound Jr (semi-hollow)
  • Condition: 9/10
  • Bag included
  • Self-collect: CCK Mrt stn
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • No trades
  • Asking: $299 (final)
**Will re-string this guitar to its original .010 gauge upon confirmation unless you like the .0095s which are currently in there :-)

Lesser priorities to queries bearing the following details: Why are you selling this guitar? Does it sound like the Gibson ES-335? Is there anything wrong with it?

Bare promo

SV's current promo- thought that it might interest many of us...

Steve Stevens: Memory Crash

I've always known Steve Stevens to be Billy Idol's guitar player. He's one of those no-nonsense rock guitarists who delivers loads of attitude.

Having agreed to do an instrumental record for Magna Carta, we'd thought that Mr. Stevens here is just another one of those fretboard speedster with very little emotions in the playing, if any. But Memory Crash is a collection of fun & melodic guitar tunes with liberal inclusion of his shred work. There's a strong focus on what works for the songs, finger gymnastics are just passing considerations, so if you look forward to a workout-type Rusty Cooley release- it's the exact opposite. We can also hear Mr. Steven's schooled flamenco guitar execution so if you wish to dismiss him as a get-by player, this is proof of capacity. Great Les Paul tones, Mr. Stevens- I like.

Distortion: Means to an end (Part 1)

We definitely love heavy distortion; imagine letting that heavy bass notes propel doom & apocalypse, it's one of the highs of guitar playing. For that to happen, we have those intense distortion effects types to see us through, if you are a serious heavy distortion monger, you'd know BOSS' Metal Zone, at the very least. But heavy distortion is not about those pedals exclusively, we can achieve heavy tones just by utilizing the amp's default drive channel. If that's not earth-shaking enough for us, we know there are supplementary pedals which could be used in conjunction with what the amp has to offer; it's like knowing you can go fast but what the heck, Red Bull's there to make you go faster (subjective, this one...). 

This is one of the reasons why we should not exclude the mild-mannered pedals when we think 'heavy'. As there are many ways to achieve heaviness, there is therefore no exclusive manifestation of what we use to achieve that end- rack effects, straight-through plug in, single effects pedal, stacking soft distortion units- it's the art of knowing what you can use that works for you. There are some people out there who were taken aback upon knowing that Jeff Loomis has a TS9 in his effects chain & that Chuck Shuldiner (RIP) lives on his orange DS1 to death-up his Death outfit. They are merely using what works for them in beefing up their tone so there's nothing too amazing about it. What we lack sometimes, is gear exposure & knowledge which would be addressed, as it was with me, through time. As we move on, grow older (& become wiser, hopefully), it's a matter of time before we expand our gear knowledge. The only factor retarding this education is our attitude towards acceptability which should not happen especially in today's age of information acquisition.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Schecter: JL proto

If it's to your interest, there is a Schecter Jeff Loomis prototype model currently available at Davis GMC. His signature on the body, please take note.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Anaal Nathrakh: Passion

I'm a close follower of Anaal Nathrakh in the hope that the duo would unleash upon the world another genius black metal release akin to The Codex Necro but since Domine Non Es Dignus, they have not manifested their former selves. Anaal Nathrakh is currently a pregnable grindcore outfit with occasional vocal wailing which would have made Rob Halford proud. The content offered in Passion perpetuates the music's brutality but the standard was set in 2007; the Anaal Nathrakh's grindcore brand was most comprehensive in Hell is Empty... Is Passion up to the mark, then? It's 100% Anaal Nathrakh, alright but on issues pertaining to coherence & downright appeal, Passion could have been better. A very forceful release, nevertheless.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fender: American Vintage

Fender has just released the American VIntage series, this '69 Telecaster is one of the guitars. The manufacturer said these were made to re-voice the guitars of the era & feature period-correct deatils.

I find this interesting but would like to see if they use those cheap capacitors in there...