Monday, January 30, 2012

PRS: SE 20 combo

The PRS amps are in @ Davis GMC. In fact, they were there before the Lunar New year for amp dweebs like me to hear them in action before taking the holiday break to think. Think hard, mind you.

I've heard them all in their full glory but I'd start with the little brother of the family, the SE 20. PRS has objectivity in mind when they offer us these amps to the market; there are distinct channels on board for clean & driven applications with the respective set of EQs, no sharing please. However, distortion mongers like yours truly here would find the missing GAIN control very disturbing but PRS wants to make it clear that the VOLUME knob in this channel does that. However, turning it up in search of driven goodness is coupled with increased volume (the label says 'VOLUME' after all, duh...). It's how the amps of yesterday work, very volume driven & organic. Yes, that's the plus points of this amp; volume interplay opens up lots of definition & sensitivity manifestation. This amp will definitely appeal to those of us who dig into our frets & play with lots of feel.

No heavy metal here. That's right, the drive definition on offer does not tread the aggressive turf, you can still pull off Welcome to the Jungle very convincingly though, hope you don't approach this amp with intensity in mind but it's still hard rocking goodness through & through. 

Because I've heard all three amps in application, I must say that the SE 20 exceeded what we expect a 20-watter would do as its power rating screams 'entry level' but that's not how it turned out to be. Nevertheless, the 20 could have been better in terms of depth; it's mind boggling how an increase in wattage opens up a very different voicing experience & dynamics. The SE 20 sound subdued but the warmth on offer makes it likable despite the limitations. Maybe that's the 6V6 magic... :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gibson: Diablo SG

OK, so the SG got a Floyd Rose in it this year as well, this one's called the Diablo. Note the lesser number of knobs in there (2 more frets here in case you missed them...) but what I like is the body's curved top unlike the flat traditional model- lovely.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gibson: LP Studio Shred

Gibson's latest Les Paul incarnation (2012)- a Floyd Rose equipped Studio dubbed the 'Shred' model. But Mr. Gibson, sir, we've been shredding our LPs without the need for a Floyd Rose.

We'd rather you slim down the neck for us (but this one still sports the traditional Studio 50s neck profile) & maybe include a more feasible neck joint for upper frets access. Next time, no? And what's that Richlite fingerboard you got there?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hey, dad! (Part 52)

Hey, dad!

Look- I am now taller than your standard-sized guitar.

He, he...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Schecter's new 8- note the bridge

This is a new (2012) 8-string by Schecter.

Look at the bridge...

Schecter promises more details soon.

Fender ST-72: Duncanized

I finally got this done- had Duncan's Classic Stack + in all positions of my Fender ST-72. I have a simple reason for liking the CS+; they perform equally well in both clean & driven settings.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sister Lily

Lately, I'm into clean-boosting my signals. I absolutely love my Ibanez Bottom Booster, was looking around for a match/ deserving adversary & thought of giving the Lily Boost a go. This is one of those simple pedals that works. There are 2 boost stages here (Pre/ Post)so quite a palette of boosted tones on tap. It yields a more desirable outcome with driven tones, any clean applications would see your headroom diminish but I guess there are some of us out there who love pick sensitive drive.

Dragon year!

Was gonna say this last night but fell asleep after medication- Happy Lunar New Year to all Chinese friends, fellow guitar dweebs & all blog visitors!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Selling: Single coils (Strat pickups content)

I'm doing away with my default Fender ST-72 pickups (Model: ST-Single)- nothing wrong with them, just that I wanna hear something else, something more familiar & to my preference. If you are interested in them, $55 for all three pickups.

Duncan's hybrid

Looking forward to this Duncan.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Replacement needed

I was up early today because my blocked nose needed some attention. I couldn't sleep thereafter so I decided to re-string my Fender ST-72 but there was something amiss with the 5-way pickup selector switch because it didn't notch into place when in use. True enough, as seen above, corrosion had virtually consumed it. *Ewwww....*

By virtue of this occurrence, do we deem Fender's ST-72 a lousy piece of work because the parts deteriorated over time? Simple answer: NO...

Mechanical parts do give way over time as they are exposed to the elements but how could an internal component be subjected to such decay? When we play our instruments (more so when you are in active performance), sweating is inevitable so the traces of moisture made its way into the residence of these internal components (through slots & gaps + some of us actually spray our polish fluid directly onto our instruments- you are actually forcing moisture through those gaps/ slots). This deterioration is expedited by the fact that some of us don't even bother to wipe down our instruments after play. In addition to this, we bring our instruments to venues with varying temperatures (indoors vs outdoors/ warm vs air-conditioned) so elementary Science tells us that condensation would take place & this is something beyond our control. It is therefore a healthy practice to service our instruments when the time comes especially so when we come across tell-tale signs of deterioration.

Fender 2012: Machete amp

I happened to chance upon Fender's Tone Master some time ago (like a decade ago, maybe) & it's perhaps the manufacturer's perfect amp for intense distortion. If you dig up the amp's history, you'd read about a certain Bon Jovi guitarist who clashed head-on with Fender for associating him with this amp He'd like a little respect for such associations because he wasn't formally the amp's ambassador despite having a signature Fender Stratocaster model. This led to the demise of that Fender signature guitar which was a hefty loss in my opinion because he single-highhandedly made the Fender fraternity like a Strat with a humbucker in it. Tragic. I'm with that Bon Jovi guitarist in acknowledging the fact that Fender's Tone Master set itself apart from the glassy-clean domain of Twins & DeVilles in propelling distortion goodness. I certainly wish the Tone Master would be reincarnated one day...

But this 2012, Fender has the Machete to tempt us all. I've not heard it in full bloom because it's still a fresh offering, I'm sure there'll be plenty to refer to in planet You Tube once NAMM's 2012 winter blizzard retreats to other realms. By virtue of this following clip (it's not too fantastic sounding, though), it sounds promising:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Davis GMC- closed till...

Davis GMC will be closed for the Lunar New year WEF 21st January (Saturday). Business resumes on 26th January (Thursday).

I happened to be there today, asked them if I could pick some stuff up over the weekend; that's when they told me the operating hours over the CNY period.

Dean: Vinman 2012

Here's a new Vinnie Moore Dean model for 2012. What's the difference, you ask? Not much deviation from the USA model but this one has an FR Special bridge so it's not gonna dent your piggy too much.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

To the Riches

Jon Donais bid farewell to his ESP...

... & says hello to his BC Rich.

Ditto Matt Tuck with his Jackson...

... it's a BC Rich 2012 for him as well.

PRS SE: Korina One

This is a simple beauty- simply wonderful, simply well-made, simply attractive in every way. For those of us who thrive on limitations (because it pushes us to our limits & give our best, not relying on detailed provisions) we'd love PRS' SE Korina One. The other sweet factor here is the instrument's body wood: Korina.

The documented goodness of Korina is of course backed by the venerable Van Halen who used to own an Ibanez Destroyer made from this wood (circa Women & Children First). The subsequent hacking of this guitar's body which rendered the instrument irrecoverable is the stuff of legends. Recently, Paul Gilbert's Fireman 1 Ibanez guitar featured this wood for the body as well. But more importantly, the instrument's tonal goodness speaks for itself upon hearing it in action. The SE Korina One is now available at Davis GMC for you to hear just that, its list price is pending release, ladies & gentlemen.

The PRS SE Korina was previously mentioned here: CLICK
Van Halen's Ibanez Destroyer was previously mentioned here: CLICK

PS: Thanks Janet/ Chris for letting me plug this guitar into the PRS SE amp.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Squier 2012: VM 70s Strat

New for 2012; Squier's VM 70s Strat. Great looking, they even glossed the neck for the occasion. However, 70s Strat fans would be more delighted if the body's ash (period correct body wood) instead of the VM's basswood. I'm not putting basswood down (too many of my Ibanez sports a basswood body; they are all great guitars) but it affects tone. I've tried the Classic Series Strat- that was a great guitar.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Charvel 2012: Desolation Star

This is the other Charvel revival for 2012; the Star model, still under the Desolation Series offerings.

But we know Gus G has a certain liking for this body outline.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Charvel 2012: Desolation Soloist

This is one of the new guitars featured in NAMM 2012; Charvel's Desolation Soloist. It's new for the manufacturer, not new to us but we are aware of the Jackson-Charvel affiliations.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

GJ2 @ Davis

Davis GMC is now the official distributor of GJ2 guitars- more news to come... :-)

Power boost

I've put away my Marshall/ Laney in anticipation of a new amp so in the mean time, it's my Killer Ant + pedals. These are the pedals I use, nothing excessive, just the Power Stack & BB9. I'm grateful to BOSS for voicing the Power Stack like an amp, the BB9 acts like a pseudo EQ via its TONE knob manipulation while the GAIN feature defines/ saturates the distortion further.

Flu's back...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Worthy quote: Larry LaLonde

Some of us are the players we are today due to our (guitar) teachers. Primus' Larry LaLonde paid tribute to his teacher in a recent guitar magazine interview:

... he really was an amazing, patient teacher. He taught me tons of technique, specifically string-skipping & sweep-picking, but he also helped me to break out of bad habits & make my fingers go to places on the fretboard that they didn't want to go. I still have my lesson book, & I go back sometimes & use the warm-up exercises that he showed me. The thing that set him apart from other teachers was that he was good at giving you information as well as just saying, 'Here's how you play.'

Larry LaLonde, Kirk Hammett & Alex Skolnick among others, were once under the tutelage of Joe Satriani. A good teacher inspires others to become masters of themselves, this is proof.

Schecter: Jeff Loomis (slight return... 2012)

New for 2012, a Jeff Loomis 6-string version.

But if you still prefer a 7-string, Mr. Loomis has a V-type model this year.

Friday, January 13, 2012

ESP 2012

ESP's 2012 models are unveiled. More references at their homepage, highlighting a few 'interesting' models here. Don't rub your eyes, the doublecut you see above are indeed Kirk Hammett's new models.

Jeff Hanneman also moved away from his preferred body outline, it's a more Eclipse affair this 2012 but the Kahler bridge's retained.

Frank Bello moves away from the Fender/ Squier camp this year, it's over to ESP but hey, we know that body outline. It's all too familiar. 

This is 'new' for the USA market but the mystic black Horizon was already in store at Davis GMC in December 2011.

I have seen a selected range of non-USA offerings for 2012 & must say that there are some other interesting models which will make it here :-) Stay tuned...

Ibanez 2012: Falchion

2012's Falchion... still no fixed bridge version, still Edge III in there... *yawn*

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Schecter: Jeff Loomis

Speaking of Schecter, the Jeff Loomis model is available @ Davis GMC (List: $1.4K). Everytime I was in store to test it out, I ended up being distracted by something else.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Who's on the cover?

This pic is taken off Schecter's homepage; if you are a guitar fan, you should know who this is. Schecter's online catalog will be available online on 15th Jan.

Fender 2012: Bari-Tele

This is one of the new 2012 Fenders which caught my attention; a Baritone Telecaster. It hails from the Blacktop series & features a 27" scale length. Fender specifies a 9.5" radius here so that the traditional Tele fans won't find it too far off the regular model. On a personal note, the fans of this guitar would probably be the distortion dweebs & we prefer a flatter radius for the job.

PS: Blog follower Joe Wong- sorry for the delayed replay (e-mail), having hiccups with Hotmail in the mean time. I suspect it's the Firefox-Hotmail compatibility thingy going on. Regardless, please check mail :-) Cheers!

ESP: Horizon bolt-on (Part 4)

This is a familiar sight by now, a push-pull coil split switch. There wasn't any in this guitar unlike the current generation of Horizons where a push-push switch is quite the norm. Note the binding there, it's a faux-type, meaning- this part of the ash wasn't stained blue to make it look like there's binding there. The black stains are the ash's inherent stripes.

The default 5-way switch is a Schaller unit which I've done away with. I prefer a 3-way option for a twin humbucker guitar with a push-pull coil split option.

The humbuckers in there now are the Distortion model for both bridge & neck. The pickup selector position is also not at the usual slot, it's nearer to the bridge, just behind the volume knob.

Ibanez 2012: RG2228 ver passive

Also on my acquisition radar, the RG2228 with passive pickups; DiMarzio's D Activator 8. Yes, I know, it's another black option but this black is glitter-free unlike the RG2228 GK.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fender 2012: Greta

This is a rather scheming release by Fender. Yes, it's a Fender product which doesn't say 'Fender' there on the face panel. By virtue of that grille, you'd assume it's an audio product & you're not far off- it's a table top amplifier. What does that mean? It means, the Greta, is a head-like amp with it's own speaker on board. Behind the grille is a 4" driver, don't expect too much in terms of sonic pleasure but be informed that the Greta has some tube sweetness in there- 12AT7 & 12AX7 at your service.

ESP: Horizon bolt-on (Part 3)

The current ESP guitars- those equipped with passive pickups- are equipped with Orange Drop caps. This picture is proof that it's a 'recent' consideration by the manufacturer because my Horizon blot-on model was still equipped with those budget caps.

The default pickups- unmarked models. At best, they could be ESP's in-house units, nothing awful but they didn't click with me. As you can see here, they were removed to make way for Seymour Duncans.

.To be continued... :-)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Squier 2012: Surf Strat

Here's a cool offering from Squier this 2012: The Vintage Modified Surf Stratocaster. The highlight here is the trio of lipstick single coils. GASsing yet?

Marshall: Anniversary 1W models

Marshall's celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Marshall will be releasing 5 commemorative models which are 1W units in both head & combo versions.

There is a grand buzz out there about these amps, in fact, a sizable camp believe these are unconfirmed products since there wasn't any word from Marshall to acknowledge their existence. So are we treading the X-files ground here- do you want to believe?

Well, I have to say that these amps exist & they will be available when the time comes. I've signed a blood contract not to disclose too much details. Unless I don't mind being arrested by internal security for disclosing details which will bring about commercial instability in this country, especially during this economic downturn when people should surge for jobs instead of low wattage amps.

You have been informed.