Friday, September 30, 2011

Pico, pico...

In the mean time, Batman was at my residence with this delivery...


Got myself the D'Addario 8-string sets for my Schecters, hopefully, there will be some free time come this weekend to do a re-string. The EXL140-8 is available @ Davis GMC.

Adios, September...

Last Chance to Reason: Level 2

This is great stuff for fans of intense music with the inseparable need for guitar technicalities, do bear with the cyber theme prevalent in all tracks- it is a concept album after all. I'm not much of a fan when it comes to heavy music which isn't in the death/ black metal vein unless it has enough individuality to command respect for the music per se, not embracing the flavour bandwagon. 

To date, guitarist Thomas Waterhouse had left the band about 2 months ago, but he left behind some respectable guitar works in Level 2, I'm not giving this one a miss, definitely.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You want uke?

This is Swee Lee's current ukelele promo. I was looking at the price difference between the Epi & the Ibanez, there's like a 2-fold gap there. Is this down to:
  • brand name difference?
  • the cutaway consideration?

Rob's silver

This is Rob Balducci's Ibanez (1977) Silver Series Strat-type guitar, you can see it over at his website. While you are there, click the video clip showing Rob playing this wonderful instrument. The other highlight here would be the fact that his wife, Carina, bought him this guitar...

How many of our spouses:

  • would actually click with our guitar indulgences & do likewise?
  • would actually go beyond just looking at us while we are playing... *bummer*

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cheap & cheerful: Ibanez GATK20

This Ibanez GATK20 bass arrived together with the X-series at Swee Lee's BB Showroom & it has a rocking-good list price of $432. I can't quite get along with a full-scaled bass but I have to give it a firm thumbs-up in terms of tone & playability. Do not expect a slim, SR-type neck profile as the ATKs offer a wider make for a slightly different playing experience. If you thrive on bass slaps, this one has much to offer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ultra III

I'm not a Les Paul fan... but if there's one that I fancy & would not hesitate to reommend to others, it will definitely be the Epiphone Ultra III. This year's offering sees the inclusion of an on-board tuner at the bridge pickup mounting ring in addition to the regular Ultra goodies. The Nano-Mag pickup, to me, is a wonderful inclusion because it's located at the neck end instead of being embedded into the bridge saddles like the common piezo unit. The former installation type means you get to hear a warmer clean tone, just like hearing a great clean coming from a neck position pickup.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The thicker message

The PRS SE 245 is now in store @ Davis GMC. What's the big deal here? This singlecut SE sports a thicker body depth & it adds to the overall weight of the instrument quite significantly. The plus point is definitely that more thumping bottom end you'd like to hear. Also, Davis GMC did a good thing by keeping the price to a sub-$1K tag. Please call the store for further details :-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ibanez X-series (Brief take 3- final instalment): Glaive

The final member of this year's new X-series is the Glaive. It's essentially a V-type guitar with a pair of crucial cutaways for great balance both sitting down & standing up. In fact, the lower cutaway is the reason it's possible to play one sitting down.

As you can see here, I got myself a white version & that bag you see there is part of the purchase package.

The Glaive sports the regular Ibanez headstock, nothing too out-going here. Do note the 'X-Series' label which differentiates it from the regular headstock.

Rear view. Not obvious from the above pic but it seems that this year, Ibanez had resorted to pasting the serial numbers on their instruments instead of printing them. All 2011 X-series instruments are made in China.

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record but just a reminder that the CAP-LZ humbuckers are active & they perform better with distortion. It's a simple affair for the Glaive, just a volume knob & a 3-way toggle switch & I'll show you why there's no tone knob.

It's because the other cavity end is housing the batteries. This is how cramp the situation is at the back.

I'm very happy with what I see & hear from all 3 X-series guitars, more importantly, the Chinese production is definitely holding up in terms of QC. The protrusive fanfare aside, the X-series are indeed practical designs when it comes to posture considerations. The Glaive lists for $970 @ Swee Lee. Thanks to Yadni @ the BB showroom for the assistance leading to the purchase of this instrument.

Summary of 2011 X-series models:
  • Falchion
  • Halberd
  • Glaive
Other X-series models:
  • Iceman
  • Destroyer
  • Xiphos

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ibanez X-series (Brief take 2): Halberd

The Ibanez Halberd XH300 is the other new member of the X-series this year. It's perhaps the most reserved looking model in this line-up, certainly the most feasible when it comes to playing sitting down. We can see the Halberd retaining the former Iceman headstock outline with a little beveled tip for differentiation's sake. Once you handle the Halberd, you'd be pleased with the weight, but some of us would find this disturbing when it comes to the natural bottom end resonance- it makes the instrument bright-sounding. You won't find the Les Paul bottom feeder here, definitely. Once again, the unmarked fretboard would be a little challenging to deal with; it's the standard feature of all 2011 X-series models, but the dot side markers are there to provide fundamental guidance. Any good news for clean tone fans? Not really, the CAP-LZ humbuckers are distortion bandits. The bag you see in this pic is a complementary accessory with the purchase, it should be made available to you upon payment. All 2011 X-series instruments comes with one.

SE Angelus

PRS has this in store for us- the Angelus acoustic in a more affordable SE format. Let's hope it gets here soon.. I'm still looking for that elusive acoustic which sounds & feels great for fast playing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ibanez X-series (Brief take 1): Falchion

Ibanez X-series (2011 offerings)- they are finally here & thanks to the good people of Swee Lee, I've managed to try all 3 models. This is the first installment featuring the Falchion. Simply put, it's the most well-balanced model despite looking like a mutant star, in fact, place it upright & it looks like a dancing person with a very long neck... 

Anyway, the message here is, we should not dismiss any instruments just because they don't look appealing to us. The Falchion excels in its balancing act both sitting down & strapped on. Shredders would love the generous upper fret access but a blank fretboard would prove a little challenging for some of us. As for me, I love blank fretboards- it makes you look lethal when you play fast, adding a touch of mystery along the way. Tone wise, the CAP-LZ humbuckers in there might have limited fans by virtue of its singular offering- I hear awesome distortion but once you clean up your tone, it sounds lacking in warmth & character. Not really a dud pair but it's not as dynamic as we'd love them to be. Remind yourselves that there is no tone control to offer some consolation in times of need. But I have to say that the Falchion's non-heavy nature makes it sing more than croak, it's a rather light instrument even with the Edge III bridge in there, it doesn't stray too much from the weight of its other siblings, the Halberd & Glaive. Hope the manufacturer would include a non-whammy Falchion for us, I'd REALLY appreciate that.

Hey, dad! (Part 49)

Hey, dad! Just a reminder that I am now taller than all your guitars- yes!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yummy Yammy

Yamaha's SG1820A is now available at Beat Spot, gorgeous guitar, equally appealing in  terms of tone & playability. You just have to hear it in action. However, would you pay $4.7K for it?

Mascis' Squier

Squier introduced the J Mascis signature Jazzmaster recently, we can't help but acknowledge the instrument's gorgeous looks.

Looks like Squier is pushing the non-Strat/ Tele models through signature backing but we, objective buyers, would want to invest in a 'Fender' when it comes to the non-Strat/ Tele selections. We know that the outline per se is less commanding when it comes to re-sale, keeping this in mind, we hope the 'Fender' label would be the fall-back factor fore re-sale considerations, but it's a 'Squier' in this case. Anything wrong with Squier? Absolutely no, I own the Duo-Sonic, one of the best the manufacturer has to offer. Bought it with no firm intentions to sell-off in time to come (I always plan to keep the instrument first), maybe that's why I have no re-sale security issues. He, he...

Satch's (upcoming) Marshall

Satch said this in a recent Chicken Foot interview:

The star of this record was the prototype of a version of the Marshall JVM410 that (engineer) Santiago Alvarez made for me, which is going to be a signature model.

And so we shall wait for it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Selling: Ibanez RG270 (not mine- SOLD)

Ah... my colleague, Mr. Wong, is letting go another one of his Ibanez, this time the '90s model RG270.The pic above is our lounge table- with the RG270 on it, of course. The water bottle was there to prop up the neck, I don't believe in laying an angled headstock instrument unsupported.

Proof that it's a 1990s model- Made in Japan...

... & the TRS bridge is the other proof. This TRS unit is the 505 version, meaning- it's a top loader, you just have to insert the string's ball-end from the saddle slot, no snipping off required, that's the plus point.

As you can see from the preceding pics, the guitar is not in immaculate condition, I'd give it a 7/10 rating, it's not for the fussy buyer, definitely. Be assured that the electronics are still functional, you'd be surprised with the knobs- they are still super smooth in operation till today.

OK, if you are interested, do text Mr. Wong at the following contact number: 9-644-8375... Asking price is $200 (slightly neg).

On fire

The Chinese Ibanez Fireman (FRM100TR) is now available at Swee Lee (BB showroom), managed to play it today & I must say that it gave a different single coil experience. That's partly due to the fact that the DiMarzios in there are functionally humbucking but the single coil character are definitely present & delightful. All 3 pickups sounded thicker than an average twanging unit & I'd say they have lots in store when it comes to drive/ distortion.

PS: The list price of this instrument is still pending; patience...

BOSS: Feedback booster

Together with the Combo Drive, the Feedback Booster is one of the fresh offerings by BOSS at this time of the year. It has a dual function, a clean boost as well as what the label promises- a feedback enhancer. The objective is to promote that signature guitar-amp interaction squeal when the former is angled by the player in a certain position so as to enhance that feedback which is arguably made popular by the U2's With or Without You.

After reading the debut article for the FB-2, I could have sworn I'd seen this pedal before but in a different manifestation but my gray cells just couldn't recall what it was until late yesterday. I suddenly registered the original incarnation was of a different chassis colour & true enough, as seen above, the DF-2 was orange. The other difference was that the DF-2 doubled as a distortion unit unlike the clean offering of the FB-2. So the idea is entirely fresh, yes?

Puppet stand

Looks like someone is using her Dad's guitar stand to prop up her paper puppets...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Marshall spotted

I was in a bus which passed through Chinatown a few days ago & it stopped right in front of Cash Converters. This picture was taken while I was still inside the bus & what do we have there on the top shelf with its signature black/gold cosmetics? It's a Marshall amp, an MG15 to be precise. Someone was rather desperate for cash...

Monday, September 19, 2011


I'm still waiting for the Ibanez 2011 X-series models to be here & in the mean time, I'm further taunted by the fact that some new finishes are offered along the way- this Mars Shadow finish for the Halberd is one of them...

In the shadows... but not the lesser pickups.

I spent the whole of yesterday's playing time listening to how good TESLA pickups are in a straight through plug-in. The pickups you see here are:
  • Neck: Plasma 2
  • Mid: VR-1
  • Bridge: Nitro
In summary, these TESLAs give me great drive response, even the medium output Plasma 2 does just that. This is perhaps one of the reasons why I kept toggling between the 2 humbuckers just to hear them in action.
As for the VR-1, I'm not expecting a Fender-esque twang but something equally drive responsive to keep up with the humbuckers & that's what I get from this single coil pickup. Great performance from a brand name in the shadows of the other more renowned labels but certainly not one to be churning out dud tones.

Whammy the ARZ

I was itching to see if there are more Ibanez models under (US) exclusive offerings this fall & true enough, the ARZ400T is one of them. OK... so the bridge is the Edge III model...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The great Tosin Abasi

I have always avoided linking live performance videos here; the sound quality from them is just atrocious BUT this one's exceptional. You'll see Tosin Abasi there wielding his 8-string guitar & making it look very simple to play (& making us feel very stupid because we can't even master our 6...), at the end of the clip, ask yourselves where the bass player is...

Snark tuner: Ver. Red

OK, so I bought another Snark tuner, this time, the red version. What's the colour significance? It represents the different models with different on-board features. But first, let me address the query of which battery type powers this cutie. It's the tablet version as seen above, the cheapest of which (as sold at my neighbourhood budget store) is $0.70- yes, I did a little scouting. 

The red version features an on board metronome but it's devoid of any 'beep' sound; it's the perfect silent ticker. The user is also given the option to set his/ her preferred BPM, I started with a 100bpm as seen above...

...retarding it to 40bpm much later while I was noodling with some doom riffs. The 'heart' you see there is the ticker indicator, it blinks according to the bpm set. Neat, huh? The absolutely best thing about Snark tuners is that they are all very affordable, they don't exceed $20...

Snark tuners are available at Davis GMC/ TYmusic.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jackson Dinky: JS20 dry fretboard

This was rather expected- the Dinky JS20 sports a dry fretboard. It's been resident in an air-conditioned showroom for more than a year...

...but we know that dry fretboards can be easily treated with moisturizing fluid.

Mini ME(SA)

They say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em so MESA did just that. This is a fresh fall offering, a small, 25W (with a 10W option) head you can hide from you Mom or disapproving spouses. 

This is the Mini Rectifier 25 in context, note the slanted cab there is a 1x12"... Being an EL84 skeptic, I'd like to hear if this mini has anything in store for me (tone-wise).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jackson Dinky: JS20 (negative highlights)

We are hesitant to highlight the anomalies of our instruments for the fear that in time to come, should we intend to sell them off, they would not command a good selling price. But there are some user-serviceable highlights that are worth mentioning because the potential buyer would then understand that you, the keen owner, actually addressed those issues & made the instruments more appealing. The strings in my Jackson Dinky JS20 were beyond rusty, as highlighted here. But we all know that strings could be easily replaced, so no major handicap there.

How 'bout this? A crooked bridge vibrato block? What does it imply? Simple- the springs in there were not screwed to promote a uniform alignment. The matters highlighted here were attended to quickly. They were easy tinkering which the user could address, my advice to you is to be familiar with your instrument as much as possible. Do not be afraid to use the screwdriver should the need arise.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BOSS: Combo Drive

Here's a new addition by BOSS; the Combo Drive (BC-2). It has a british voicing so if you are in need of such a tonal palette on the fly, this one has it. It's interesting to see if this one matches up against the boutique offerings with a similar promise. Do not expect to see it on the shelves soon as it's a fresh Fall introduction. Of course, I'm a little turned off by the lack of a midrange control.

AXL semi (Cheap & cheerful)

Another stunning budget performer, AXL's semi-hollow. It's within our budget, definitely- not too far off from the solidbody singlecut (featured here: CLICK). I know what you are thinking- it's a 335 knock-off, so let's get one- not quite. It sounds more like the Rally Neosound than the 335; it possesses that brightness which ensures clarity for solos. I managed to plug it into a Marshall Class 5- sweet tube tones.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Selling: Ibanez GSR180 (not mine- SOLD)

I'm putting this up on behalf of my colleague, Mr. Wong, who is clearing his Ibanez GSR180 for a good price of $150(neg). This was brought to the office for a quick assessment & I'm giving it an 8.5/10 rating for its superb condition, seems that the bass had seen very little play time & the strings in there are a set of fresh DRs, it's not even 2 weeks old.... The neck here is very straight so if you wish to engage in some low-profile set-up, the possibility is there. Mr. Wong says he's willing to deal at the buyer's MRT station of choice, please text him if you are interested/ for further queries: 9-644-8-375

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remember, remember, 11th September...

Fender commemorates the 9-11 tragedy with the limited offering of some Custom Shop Strats (no graphics of dead bodies, that's for sure).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hey, dad! (Part 48)

Hey, dad!

This is easy stuff; all I need to do is wait for the ball end to pop through the string ferrules while you are pushing them through from the other side. 

These rusty strings are really yucky...

Leskelele- now available

All ye Les Paul fans, the Epiphone ukelele is now available at Swee Lee (BB showroom), $269 (list) if memory serves me right...

Jackson Dinky: JS20

Last Saturday, I was left out of some visiting plans because I had to attend to an item collection. I could not refuse this meeting because it would imply that I was being evasive. So I was home alone with no dinner & the decision was simple- dine out. While I was at it, why not drop by the Swee Lee sale despite the late hours & oblivious to the store's imminent closing time.

There was this Jackson Dinky JS20, a rather old model (discontinued- note the 22 frets, current replacement, the JS23, features 24 frets) which was dusty & the corroded strings in there were only fit for zombie guitarists... because if they were infected by tetanus, they weren't alive to begin with. The good thing was, I remembered ever trying this guitar some time back (maybe a year ago...) & trusted it was still functional. By the time you read this, I would have given it a fresh set of strings & done the ritual set-up for new instruments in my possession. 

To be cont'd...