Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is this morbid?

Here's a contender for the heavy distortion camp; Weehbo's Morbid Drive. Judging by the skulls there (he he...), the intensity is indeed unquestionable but the overall EQ on offer manifests a good degree of protrusion, even the scooped setting sounds a little sharp but definitely usable. The lead/ rhythm channels offer a slight differentiation which is discernible at high volume levels (raise your amp's if the pedal's LEVEL ain't enough). Mr. Weehbo sir, smaller knobs for future considerations maybe? Because that gap between the treble & middle controls could use a little more breathing space, even my small fingers got pinched there. Just a reminder to all interested parties- this one's from planet boutique so be mindful of the list price (available at SV's home page)

PS: Thanks to the guys @ SV Guitars for the testing.

PPS: Goodbye August...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ed's quilt

Edwards has added this quilt top beauty to their line-up (E-MA-100SD/QM)... the thing with ESPs & Edwards guitars is that, they actually sound & play as good as they look. Too many of us go for looks above every other consideration but we ended up miserable because our beautiful investments don't sound & play as killer as the visual attraction.


Wishing all Muslim friends, acquaintances & readers of this blog a blessed Aidilfitri.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sonic ESP

If you walk past Davis GMC, you'd notice the ESP Doraemon model...

ESP now has a Sonic the Hedgehog guitar. While the graphic is as striking as the Doraemon counterpart, the outline of this instrument is certainly more playable. By the way, you can pre-order one through Davis if you are interested... don't look forward to play faster after acquiring it though :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The little Bastard

If you are in search of a harder-hitting distortion unit- nothing in the metal territory- you'd want to give Weehbo's Bastard a listen. It's beyond what a BOSS DS-1 has to offer in terms of intensity & the 3-band EQ section there helps to highlight your preferred voicing but there's another plus feature here. The Bastard has more bass than the average distortion unit so if you think you need to chug your way through, it's not a problem. However, the manufacturer should consider removing that 'Low End Distortion' label because we'd be mistaken into thinking that it's, well... a low-end, run-of-the-mill product, which it's not. That 'low end' reference there is hinting at the extra bass on board.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Konsortium

If you are a black metal fan exclusively, you will overlook this album by virtue of the band name- The Konsortium... how malignant & hideously black metal is that? We have cyber coverage to thank because after checking The Konsortium out, we'd know they are black metal & they mean business. The obligatory intensity aside, the members of this outfit are capable players, they hail from other established bands out there but in the mean time, only Teloch (currently one of Mayhem's live guitarist) is the rooted member of The Consortium. The rest of the members are mysterious entities who do it for the music...

...because if they are in it for glamourous recognition, they shouldn't go round in masks. The music, despite being largely black metal, include industrial sampling & atmospherics so expect something different, yes? But nothing too divergent. I enjoy such a concoction as this reflect a bold step of inclusion- embrace music, first & foremost.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wooden liability (2)

This happened to Gibson in 2009: LINK

Just 2 days ago, Gibson's premises were raided by the Feds for breaching the Lacey Act (act was recently amended to address illegally sourced timbre). Gibson's CEO said:  

Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights. Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of ANY wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.

What's the wood involved in the recent case? Indian rosewood.

Duncan cream

Had a great time with my Ibanez GIO & Plush Cream pedal. This is a recurring theme lately- Duncan pickup & the Cream pedal teaming up to good effect.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

John Scofield: A Moment's Peace

Lest we forget the need for respite at the end of the day, there's John Scofield to remind us. I was expecting the jubilant jazz serving from Sco (A Go Go/ Bump) but that's not the case here. There is this stern embrace of down-tempo music as if a reminder that the genre's fine moments are the ones done not in due haste. Guitar-wise, I dare say I'm hearing a slightly different guitar tone coming from his Ibanez; the raspy overdrive is full & present but it seems that there's a touch of top end roundness this time round. A Moment's Peace is my current end-of-the-day music, just something to relax to & feel the burden of work exfoliating from the miserable soul.

V-Pick: Onyx

Here's a new one by V-Pick: the Onyx. The manufacturer says it's the fusion of its two other models, the Nexus & Psycho Shredder. Looking forward to try one...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Snark it!

The SNARK tuner is one little performer.

I've read rave reviews of it in countless guitar literature, online sources included so I've decided to get one, not costly this one: $15

Design-wise, it's not a state-of-the art affair, in fact, it looks rather toy-like & shoddy but let's remain practical here; we're in it for what it can do, not how it looks like. The main draw is the tuner's sensitivity, there's hardly any lag time between the picked note & response display, unlike other tuners which require a re-clipping elsewhere on the headstock to induce responsiveness should it failed to work initially. The colour display also holds its own in brighter surroundings, that's another plus for many of us. Highly recommended :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obscura to perform here

Obscura are coming over! TBC: 27th Spet 2011. More details to come, watch this space.

Watch it Go!

Here's a new one by Neil Zaza: Go! Look at the Carvin- count the number of pickup pole pieces :-)

Simply incredible

This is Ken Parker, a luthier extraordinaire. You might find him unfamiliar...

... but his guitar headstock might be more recognizable.

Of late, Mr. Parker had been busy with archtop designs, one of which is shown here. I'm not too keen with semi/ hollow bodies but this design proves to be beyond impressive. Just take a look at that soundhole design; despite not being really fresh, he reinforced the outline with that brace so that the instrument remained aesthetically attractive.

The neck-body attachment is also unconventional. Should I be the designer of this instrument, I would have forced myself to think of a way to attach the neck directly to the body but this is common thinking. Mr. Ken Parker saw the use of a shaft block in addressing the matter, simultaneously fulfilling the need to compensate for the bridge elevation. Genius!

Over at the headstock, it's a case of thinking out-of-the-box; take a look at the reinforcement method.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The nut case

This was the label stuck on the rear cavity cover of my Omen 7 & 8. It means that my Schecters were equipped with Graphtech's Black Tusq nuts at the factory.

Is this a case of stamping superiority on one's product? 'Superiority' here is subjective but whatever's the case, I am happy to know that Schecter made a wise inclusion for its guitars. We often overlook the nut's importance when it comes to tuning stability. We often do not make sure it is suitably slotted & lubricated for a reliable performance. 

Thumbs up to Schecter for this.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creamy Jack

Woke up this morning & gave a fresh set of (Pyramid) strings to my Jackson. Decided to play while waiting for the newspaper to arrive at the door-step but that lasted for 2 hrs... The (Fuchs) Plush Cream goes well with Duncans, definitely. I love how the Jazz (neck) sounded super creamy with lots of saturation in tact- this is important to me:
  1. So that I don't sound wimpy
  2. So that the noise gate would be triggered all the time
When you next re-string your guitar, do tune it sharp & let it rest for a few minutes or so, proceed to re-rune your guitar. Why do this? It's as good as stretching your strings & re-tuning it afterwards. I stopped yanking my strings to stretch them because they sometimes snap.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

SE amp!

The SE range by PRS now extends into the amplifier offerings- hope these make it here... more details to come, watch this space :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Flying bridge

New... em... not exactly, but you know how it is with Gibson... Anyway, Flying V Trem, that's what the manufacturer calls it.

Schecter: Omen 8

Got this yesterday: Schecter's Omen 8...

... sporting a walnut satin finish, which proves that I'm one heck of a boring person when it comes to finish preferences. I'd rather address my needs than being titillated by some lavish cosmetics which do not influence tone. Anyway, do note that the Omen 8, unlike its 6 & 7 siblings, do not sport a tune-o-matic type bridge, It's the CTM-8 here which brings the picking hand very close to the body for a different playing experience (not too different, mind you...). 

The immediate difference between the 8 & 7 is the neck profile. While being wider to accommodate that extra string, it's significantly thinner so if you think an 8-string instrument proves to be more restrictive in this light, the Omen 8 here will prove otherwise. Those default Diamond Plus humbuckers are above-average performers, definitely.

PS: Thanks to Davis GMC for this 'unexpected' acquisition... he, he...
Obiter Dictum: The SMRT Corp was called upon by the authorities to review their security measures after a recent lapse saw another train vandalised. They promised to step up security measures which would possibly see a revision of the company's security infrastructure. Simply put, should the company see this need in order to comply with the security standards, do you think fares will not be increased to offset this implementation?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Job for a Cowboy: Gloom

I started out not quite liking these guys; they belong to this current breed of metal bands whose musicianship lacked the punch/ intensity because their song structure is somehow juxtaposed with some displeasing phrases bordering on commercial appeal. But what constitute this commercial qualification is rather hazy, it's down to the individual appeal & JFAC's debut LP, Genesis, wasn't a hit with me.

Things changed thereafter, Ruination proved just that. The band now peddles this death-grind structure which encompasses great technicalities for us guitar dweebs, in short, the chaps in this band can play guitar... very well indeed. I just purchased JFAC's EP, Gloom, & to my ears, the band just tuned things up a notch. Here's an official Youtube reference (Misery Reformatory is the opening track in Gloom):

One more thing- you might remember this guy on the cover of this year's Ibanez catalogue? It's JFAC's Bobby Thompson...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Humbucking tribute

The Gibson Tribute series Les Paul Studios are indeed great guitars for the money; some of us are loving our '50s P-90 version. Good news is, the humbucking version is now available as depicted above but it's exclusive to Europe's Thomann online store. *Bummer*


If you are familiar with some of the LTD models (especially the Deluxe selections), they come with the Earvana compensated nut like the one pictured above. Please note that these are not included in any of the LTD models with immediate effect. If you check the ESP webpages, there's no mention of them as well. Be mindful of people who would be asking you for more money just because they are selling off their Earvana equipped LTDs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Copy cat

Take a look at the contents of this blog:
Looks familiar? Welcome to my parallel universe. My, my... even the Swee Lee sale entries were duplicated... unless... somewhere out there, beyond the reaches of common sense, tangential to the boundaries of limbo, there exist another Swee Lee... we'd never know for sure. It'd be interesting to see if this particular entry would appear there :-)

Pestilence: Doctrine

If you are a cult Pestilence fan, this one would let you down. It's all about the guitars, the ones featured here seem to have down-shifted in terms of technicality & intensity. However, there's a commanding presence simply because the band had stayed true to their music despite a varied presentation. We move on with the bass &  drums which often take a shadow role when it comes to this music genre but I must say Jeroen Paul Thesseling & Yuma Van Eekelen had outdone themselves here (bass & drums respectively). In fact, I personally feel that they have moved to the front of the music leaving the guitars, in this case, to cog the music on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Schecter: Omen 7

I've been neglecting the 7-string; these days I play my 6s & resort to the 8 if there were moments that require lower notes peddling. So today, after Janet alerted me to the arrival of my Omen 7, I headed out to town despite the flu bout... 

As stated on the headstock truss rod cover- Omen 7. This is the entry level tier of Schecter's offering but the QC on show would shame many other costly instruments. I like everything about the Omens; they are really no-frills guitars fit for the beginners or seasoned players alike, who wish to focus on play rather than be over-delighted with instrument cosmetics.

I've chosen the lacquer-free finish for all my Omens (my upcoming Omen 8 included), I simply love the brighter acoustics because this does good to the overall heftiness of the instrument. Based on my personal encounters, I know this finish type compliments many Tesla pickup models which are what I will purchase in time to come, to replace the default pickups.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

LTD: H301

ESP has made it clear that their LTD models are the company's more affordable instruments without a stark contrast in QC. Well, my encounter today with the LTD H301 was a simple witnessing of the company's promise. The H301 was a class act from one end of the instrument to the other. Perhaps the only feature which doesn't quite manifest class appeal are the active pickups (EMG 81/85) but this would tread the issue of personal appeal- some of us prefer these pickups because they help us achieve our objectives. To me, pickups which over-power the instrument's dynamics & literally breathe a life of their own, should not belong here. However, these pickups did wonders to the instrument's commanding presence, even I enjoyed the tonal offerings (not quite the cleans, though) after plugging the H301 into a 30W Marshall- fantastic!

The H301's playability is tops in my books considering I have limited tolerance for guitars with a lacquered neck finish. Top top it all off, the dazzling looks make it worth every cent of the asking price. If you are looking for an instrument in the $700 - $1K price bracket, the H301 should be on your list. Highly recommended (not for those looking for an immaculate clean tone).

PS: Thanks Janet & everyone at Davis GMC for tolerating 20min of my 'test-drive' today.

Ibanez S570B: (Slight) Set up

I was rather fortunate to have acquired this particular Ibanez S570B as it manifested one of the best QC from the Indonesian plant. The neck was ramrod straight so no adjustments were required but take a look at the bridge in the above pic- it's embedded too much into the cavity implying a very low action. To many of us, we equate very low action to shredding goodness- the lower the action so the more desirable it would be, yes? But that's not the case if it impedes movements, especially so if it affects your (individual) playability.

So the objective here was to raise the action to suit my playing comfort, first up would be the unlocking of the top-lock (nut) device. Many of us tend to overlook the (bridge) fine tuners before we do this, we should level the tuners prior to unlocking the nut because we need a 'neutral' positional reference when we next fine-tune our instruments. Raise/ lower the tuners to a mid-point position, this way we get equal travel to compensate the need to sharpen/ flatten tuning after we lock the nut. 

After tuning, do check your bridge alignment (side view) to see if it's sitting parallel to the body's top surface; in my case, it wasn't. The springs-strings required a balancing act & I couldn't be more grateful to Ibanez for this exposed feature- it provided easy access to the thumb-wheel adjuster. 

And there we have it, a raised action (but still low) & a leveled bridge alignment. Since it was a slight adjustment (magnified by the big photos here) the intonation stayed true so no adjustments necessary there. Great guitar this S570B.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Black anniversary

12th August was Metallica's black album anniversary- 20 years ago we bought this black bundle, some of us loved it while the rest of us felt that the money could have gotten us some other worthy albums. I was in the latter camp. It was quite the case of not hearing what you want to hear from the guys whom you've trusted to churn out some of the most commanding music in heavy metaldom.

The songs in there were definitely worthy music- that's incontestable but some of us simply find them unacceptable coming from Metallica. Whatever the case was, I bought the cassette tape format & dumped it into a canal on my way home. The cover sleeve went up in smoke- no kidding, I burnt it. There's no loss of a good cover art, yes? It's barely illustrated, after the incendiary process, it still looked... em... black. He, he...

Desolate ways

The Desolation Series by Charvel- singlecut attraction & a recent addition. It's obvious proof that...

... the guitar world is still in love with the singlecut design.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jani Lane found dead

Ex-Warrant vocalist, Jani Lane (47) was found dead on 11-8-2011. His body was discovered at Comfort Inn, Woodland Hills. No details of his cause of death is currently available.

S-series: Wish list

These are the S-series made available for the US market but not offered here (wish they were...). I am keeping my Ibanez acquisition focused on the S-series because they are the models I prefer over the RG. The QM top here is a mere laminated layer but it adds a touch of class to the overall finish.

The S770PB sports a satin finish & a poplar burl top. I have a soft-spot for a lacquer-free top as it adds sting to the guitar's top end without relying too much on the pickup performance. There's a 770 model available here but it features a flame maple top which is, em... nothing extraordinary. 

But this maple fretboard S570MQM is priority before 2011 comes to a close. Simply stunning...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

COB @ Fort Canning

All ye COB fans... you have been informed. See you there.

Remembering Fender

In memory of Clarence Leo Fender, born 10th August 1909... without whom, the guitars of today would probably be better off as canoe oars. Salute!

Ibanez - Pyramid

It's good to know that I'm not the only one fitting Pyramid strings into (some of) my Ibanez guitars; the Pestilence guys are at it as well... So it means Pyramid strings are quality products after all, eh? We usually come to such a conclusion- brand name embrace by recognized players imply a quality endorsement but it's really a personal experience/ appeal. I know those Pyramid strings are above average products, it's all about what works for you.