Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Debbie Gibson... only in my dreams

This is not retro-Wednesday, I was just listening to Debbie Gibson's Only In My Dreams while furiously typing on the computer moments ago (hence the Tweet). There were guitars in there, 2 guitars in fact, one was doing some simple chords, the other had the melody lines going & they were clean throughout. It was a simple arrangement but it worked. It propelled the song through without being dominant. The problem with guitar-toting players on many occasions is that they think they should be the highlight of the band/song- you moron.

OK, lunch time. Maybe I can eat & watch Debbie Gibson sing...

Debbie Gibson - Only In My Dreams by jpdc11

Spector: RX-GT

This is a new one by Spector; the RX-GT. Spector's converting their bass designs into guitar outlines which is a good thing because I find the Spector looks very appealing. I sometimes wish Ibanez would manifest an SR guitar version... By the way, the RX-GT isn't exactly new, it's based on Rex Smith's (ex-Pantera) bass design & it doesn't look too far off from a Gibson Explorer either.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Order consolidation: Ibanez parts

Kellie from Eillekoet contacted me earlier today about an Ibanez parts order. She's consolidating all orders by 1st March so if you are interested, here's what you should do:

  1. Choose the part(s) you want from this website:
  2. Contact Kellie to place your orders/ further queries, you can do so via h/p or e-mail:
  3. Wait for your order to arrive :-O

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chimp Spanner: All Roads Lead Here

Do you know Paul Ortiz? No? Maybe you know him by his other i/d: Chimp Spanner? That one man instrumental djent outfit, you might say. But I don't believe in 'djent'. You can say what you want if you embrace this categorization (please, it's not a genre...) but I believe what's peddling now had been there all along. It used to be obscure because it's in the metal zone championed by extremists who churned out perplexing time signatures, only embraced by fellow extremists who are equally patient. That's not the case these days, yes? I'm not here to preach genre righteousness, I'm here to highlight the fact that Chimp Spanner made a choice to be heavy, technical, intellectual & more importantly, vocal-less. 

All Roads Lead Here is an EP, some of us deem buying such releases as senseless but this is a statement of intent; it's done by someone with knowledge (knowing what to do) AND capacity (knowing how to do it, not hiding behind one-offs). The 6 tracks contained here are very celestial but the music per se is downright heavy. What I like about Mr. Ortiz is his sensibility; all tracks were arranged to appeal to both riff mongers as well as the shred geeks, everything done tastefully- bravo! I have Cloud City (closing track) on repeat mode every evening, it's my ear fodder for the journey home. We have to thank Paul Ortiz & Tosin Abasi, among others, for giving us that little difference in this instrumental domain. We can't help but feel that guitar instrumental had been the exclusive provision for rockers, nobody really did something heavy & aggressive which is devoid of vocals (let's not forget Chris Poland & Jeff Loomis- they had some heavy stuff going). Maybe guitar instrumental is taking a turn this time round. People are now not afraid to go instrumental while keeping true to their nature. Enjoy this clip of Paul doing Mobius Part 1 (3rd track of this EP):

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Static Dean

Wayne Static...

... left the ESP/LTD camp...

... to be with the Dean company. The FR bridge inclusion is a little baffling since he's not using it. Pictured above: Dean Wayne Static Modifier.

Mustang promo @ Swee Lee

Swee Lee (Bras Basah showroom) is having a Fender Mustang amp promo. These are digitally-voiced amps that stay true to the Fender bearings. Well, if you can live with LINE6 amps, these aren't too different (I hear a more enticing clean from these amps). Not for dweebs looking for that immaculate Twin-type tube tone but you can hear the semblance in there. If you are interested, do consider the Mustang III; that's my personal recommendation.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ibanez: Anniversary Screamer

I was at Swee Lee a few days ago to try the 30th anniversary version of the TS9. I was hoping those see-through parts would light up when the pedal was activated but no... Is this any different from the regular TS9? Tone-wise, the signature TS cream is in tact but my ears heard a little more crunch on offer. This is just a preliminary take on this pedal, I need to A-B this with the regular TS9 to hear the real difference (if any).

PS: Thanks Faizal & Swee Lee for the invite :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


No, I'm not the one taking a break from guitars (I will play guitar every day even if it's 30sec of noodling before meals) but I'm giving my Noise Gate a rest. I'm removing it from the signal chain to hear my handicap- the inability to control the hands from make unwanted noises while playing/at rest.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Most expensive?

This was in the news last night & I quote (online edition 18th Feb 2012):

The world's most expensive Fender guitar is now in Singapore, and it's available for sale at a manufacturer-suggested price of US$90,000, or about S$113,000.

In my opinion, they should qualify this statement; most expensive- production model? custom model? What?!

Because we know, after the 2004 Christie's auction, Claption's Fender Blackie Strat was sold for more than $950,000.

PS: No offence to Swee Lee, of course, it's good to know a guitar made the news here- we don't read that too often :-)

Exivious... the thinkers' academy

This isn't fresh material, it's a self-titled 2009 release by the extremely talented quartet who are:
  • Robin Zielhorst- Bass
  • Stef Broks- Drums
  • Michel Nielhuis- Guitars
  • Tymon Kruidenier- Guitars
That's right, there is no vocalist in the line-up, this is an all instrumental affair. The quartet here are specialists in their own rights, each excelling at what they play. Right from the opener ( Ripple of a tear- very addictive, this one), the band propels a very intellectual approach to metal not quite embracing the heaviness of Animals as Leaders but the technicality will shame many fretboard gymnasts who often put very little thought in what they play at the expense of speed. Tymon Kruidenier is no stranger to such idea expletives & this was what made him the able other guitarist in Cynic's Traced in Air. Need convincing? Here:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

God Seed: Live at Wacken

This is essentially Gorgoroth, or what once was Gorgoroth till the legality of name usage was given to Infernus. The embittered duo- Gaahl & King- went on as God Seed but this didn't last as Gaahl retreated from the metal scene into anonymity. This live package consists of both the CD & DVD presentations of the performance at Wacken. The additional musicians helping this act were:
  • Ice Dale: Guitars
  • Nick Barker: Drums
Now, why does all this look familiar? That's because this setting was virtually a recreation of Black Mass Krakow complete with the stage aesthetics/antics. We can't help but think of the Gorgoroth name while listening to the materials here, there are no original God Seed materials, it's a re-hash of Gorgoroth's more known numbers. But it's good to know that despite the 50% line-up difference, the tenacity of black metal was present & enjoyable.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

See through screamer (2)

The Ibanez 30th Anniversary Tubescreamer is avaialble at the following stores:
  • Swee Lee (Bras Basah showroom)
  • Ebenex
  • SV Guitars
Please call the stores for price checks. Click the store link on the left panel of this page for contact details.

Fender promo @ BB showroom

This is happening WEF today, 18th Feb. Great promo prices for the instruments, expect more than the standard discount given on regular days.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

See through screamer

Limited edition Ibanez TS9 30th Anniversary pedal featuring selected see-through components- more updates soon...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ibanez: RG120

Some of us are just through chasing after elusive desirables; we just want something simple that just works fine. Ibanez RG120 is one such guitar but even such simplicity isn't readily available (in no praise of the brand name, of course).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ESP: Rob Caggiano 2012

My bad- Anthrax's Rob Caggiano is also another player who prefers that headstock outline.

Rob's guitar is actually based on the discontinued Horizon bolt-on; same body/neck wood, same electronics layout but features a simpler bridge unit. No wonder it looks familiar :-)

Monday, February 13, 2012

LTD: Ben Savage

I'm still looking at the ESP 2012 line-up, this Ben Savage LTD looks good. He's the other player who prefers this headstock, next to Page Hamilton of course. I'm just too into an unmarked fretboard these days. Psychologically, it frees my mind to play more chromatics :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Slayer LTD 2012

This is the 2012 Slayer model by LTD; I was thinking, can this one be rightfully called the 'Slayer' model since not the entire band plays an ESP/LTD instrument? What if BC Rich decides to commemorate another Slayer release- would that count? Hmm...

Mustang on he floor

Fender joining the multi-fx camp- unexpected. For the manufacturer per se, stiff competitions are out there & the 'Fender' name in this aspect isn't a stronghold compared to labels such as BOSS/LINE6/VOX/et al. This one reminds me of the defunct Cyber Twin amp; I kinda like that one, Gary Hoey was here for the demo some time ago & it was great hearing it in action.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guitar art

After you are through playing your Epiphone LP Studio Goth...

... you can turn it into an art piece. Zachia, if you are reading this- pic posted as mentioned.


A few days ago, my LTD was used in a  photo shoot. This shot was taken during one of the breaks. The guitar's glossy surface + flame top turned out well in low key shots & em... real models were used to pose with it, not Silver Surfer's girlfriend.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Roto grime buster

This, in my opinion, is a neat contraption; Rotosound's string-cleaning clamp. All we need to do is place our instrument strings between the lid & the base plate, move it across the fretboard & WALLAH! Clean strings.

The base plate also doubles up as a fretboard cleaner so no worries about scratch issues, no? Conflicting information online, to be confirmed.

I feel good playing with clean strings, not necessarily fresh but CLEAN. I deem this important because it affects feel & performance. Psychologically, we tend to give off our best when not worrying about dirt under our fingers during play.

Selling: Suhr (not mine)

What you see here is a Suhr guitar in a stunning blue denim finish. It belongs to my friend Edmund, if you are interested & willing to deal in the $3K price bracket, please get back to him:

Product is SOLD (as at February 18th). Thanks to all interested parties.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is that straight?

I was listening to Stephan Forte on my way home yesterday & decided to check his gear out. The above pic is his 7-string guitar body- note the selector switch. That's definitely not something we see often in guitars! Watch Mr. Forte in action with his LAG 7-string guitar:

Dream Theater: A Dramatic Turn of Events

Many listenings later, I find DT's A Dramatic Turn of Events to be rather ordinary. It's not a bland release by prog's master quintet but that sombre element is present & quite restraining the songs. However, in terms of heaviness, this one's a pleasant surprise. Much expectations lie with  Mike Mangini's competency in replacing Mike Portnoy & the former skinsman levelled his performance with the latter but there were no surprises in terms of technicalities.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Jackson: DKMGT

Here's another catch from yesterday's Swee Lee sale; Jackson's DKMGT (discontinued). This was virtually a forgotten guitar at the store with at least 5 year's worth of gunk & rust on board. I was talking to my friend, Steve, a few days ago who said that the players here are by & large fans of Fender & Gibson products; they don't feel 'safe' owning other brand names. I think I'm beyond investing in righteous brand names & forgoing good guitars per se. I'm not a big fan of those EMG-HZ there so they will leave their residence soon... More appraisal to come.

Ibanez: SD9M (mine)

I just had to grab this pedal at yesterday's Swee Lee (BB showroom) sale. He he...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ibanez 2012: Models not offered here

These Ibanez models are offered in the USA but not here. The RG351 is something that many of us would be happy with; the dynamics of a tried & tested H-S-H pickup configured RG coupled with the hassle-free fixed bridge selection.

A quilt top RGA8; it's not a 'different' RGA8 per se but we are definitely happy if there is a variation in terms of the finish on offer. I would definitely speak for many of us who would want to break away from choosing another black guitar.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ibanez: AFJ81

The AFJ81 is new this year. It's a simple guitar, the more I look at it, the more attracted I am to this instrument. Wonderful. 

Ibanez's Artcore J-series are supposedly meant for jazz applications; the reason why the bridges on all 3 models in this group are non-metal units. This is to enhance the smooth top end- remember, it's jazz, angular treble shouldn't mar the genre's aesthetics. However, jazz cats everywhere are doing fine with metal bridges so this consideration is really the manufacturer's swing at differentiating the instruments from their peers.

Ibanez: SD9M

This is a fresh member of Ibanez's 9-series pedal which is available @ Swee Lee (List: $240). I had the opportunity to have a go at it yesterday while I was in store.

The SD9 isn't a fresh offering, it had been on the shelves in 2009 but was discontinued shortly thereafter. The original version did not feature the GAIN/ MIDS flick switches, in fact, it was a strict Tube Screamer reincarnation with an in-built mod circuitry which had no tweak options. This 2012, you have the options to kick in more gain/ midrange as the labels imply.

In its 'regular' mode, the SD9M does recreate the Tube Screamer resemblance but what I heard had most of the cream restrained. With more gain activated, the SD9M ceased to be a mild-mannered unit, sounding like a hard-edge distortion instead. Bear in mind that this pedal doesn't give you more of the Tube Screamer voicing unlike its TS9DX (Turbo Tube Screamer) sibling but it's quite a transformation from Doc Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk (ok, so the pedal sports a green, Hulk hue... *grin*). The mids offering is a little tricky because it actually takes over the tone knob sweep character which otherwise is your normal tone knob. Upon activation, any application of the tone knob past 12 o'clock would manifest lots of midrange. It's great for those solos of yours but in rhythm mode, the excess nasal honk is more quirky than exotic. However, the SD9M is a great inclusion in the Series 9 family as it offers a differentiated tone in light of the TS9DX & JD9.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Edwards: E-LP-100CD

This is an absolutely drool-worthy release by Edwards this year in the image of a certain Custom model of a popular singlecut design (we know which one that is). I fancy the E-LPs' tone because they feature Seymour Duncan pickups in there, these give the instruments a little breather in terms of notes definition. My gripe with the Gibson version had always been the pickups but changing them to something else would mean the fundamental tone compromise. Many LP fans would want theirs to sound authentic while some of us would want some refinements in there. Whatever makes us happy, no?

Model featured above: E-LP-110CD/QM

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

PRS: SE Singlecut Korina

PRS's SE dual humbucking singlecut korina is the other model available currently at Davis GMC. The guitar-toting community looks up to korina for its sweeter (than mahogany) midrange. This characteristic, together with the instrument's overall weight determines the degree of punch/ top end available for use. The SE singlecut korina is every bit desirable weight-wise against its other standard, non-SE siblings. If you've never handled any PRS guitars before, you need to know that they are not as massive as you'd imagine them to be especially to the traditionalist who equates this to an 'ideal' Gibson Les Paul. I find this guitar very resonant, almost semi-hollow in its voicings, with lots of clarity from the in-house pickups. There are lots of warmth & cream coming from the neck unit especially, so it cuts through very well in both clean & driven settings. Les Paul tone? Maybe 20% likeness, it's not one to begin with but an absolute cracker in terms of tone. It sports a sub-$1K price tag, hmm...

Hey, it's February! :-)