Saturday, March 31, 2012

Selling: Modtone Mini Distortion/ Overdrive (SOLD)

Selling: My Mini Mod pedals, Overdrive/ Distortion

  • For sale: Modtone Mini Overdrive/ Distortion (box + manual included)
  • True bypass
  • Condition: 9/10
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt stn
  • No reservations/ No trades
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • Price: $49 each/ $90 both
Pedals SOLD as at 12.40PM- thanks!

LTD: H-51/ H-101

I was at Davis GMC yesterday, headed there after the lunch time downpour... There are many new LTD models in store now, the above H-51 (red) & H101 (flame top) are just two of them.

I'm highlighting these darlings for their:
  • Value-for-money
  • QC
  • tone
Bot guitars sport a sub-$500 price tag so it's definitely not gonna hurt your piggy if you are hunting for some worthy no-frills instruments. The H-101 sits above the H-51 in view of its cosmetic appointments, otherwise, these are identical instruments (even the pickups are identical, just a finish difference). I have to applaud the manufacturer's attention to QC when it comes to guitars in this price bracket. Other manufacturers would compromise some quality in obscure areas but it seems these LTDs had nothing to hide. Tone-wise, I hear a wee bit more bass coming from the H-101 but the default ESP pickups are generally bright sounding but it's nothing your amp EQs couldn't cure. Had a blast hearing them in action through Marshall's mini stack. I also had a booster pedal going to give them that sting during solos. Highly recommended, these two.

List prices: H-51 ($396)/ H-101 ($490)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tomas Haake- beyond human

I look up to drummers for guitar inspirations all the time, Meshuggah's Tomas Haake is one of them. I've just watched snippets of Meshuggah's performances in India & Mr. Haake was ever so relaxed & in control. Heck, he even had his eyes closed while playing some of the songs. So what does it take to be Haake-like? Just programme your brain to control your legs & hands independently, the remaining bits should pay full attention to the song & performance dynamics, constantly looking out for cues by fellow band members. Too extensive & intricate for you? Well, there's only one Tomas Haake around, that's how he is, beyond human...


Napalm Death: Utilitarian

The Napalm Death quartet let loose to the world another relentless grindcore set, no signs of letting age dictate the music. When the lads came over in 2011, they were visibly seasoned but their stage activities suggested otherwise. What can you expect from Utilitarian? Assuming you are an ND fan, recall Fear, Emptiness, Despair & the subsequent turn which was Diatribes- a notable change in the band's music specifics. Utilitarian is manifesting the essence of Fear,... after a good spin, you can sense the impending turn maybe in their upcoming releases but that's just a convenient assumption. Regardless of any predictions, it's good to know (& hear) Napalm Death staying true to form. 

I was expecting a slight modification guitar-wise since the passing of Jesse Pintado (RIP) but Mitch Harris handled this professionally, letting the lone guitar role fit the entire music rather than pressing on the fact that the guitars should be the bulk of the presentation. Em... please bear with the opening number (Circumspect), whose tempo & propensity isn't quite representing the rest of the songs.

Earth hour: 31st March

Saw this poster today & was reminded of my participation (no, I didn't go to town & had my EH observance there). What will you be doing come 31-3-2012, 8.30PM?

Anyway, the WWF people should know they left out a question mark at the end of that question.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Current spin

Some new release I've acquired (from Inokii) & listening to:
  • Meshuggah: Koloss. I'm a big fan of the band (not just the guitar duo there). The current music scene has a label genre for what these guys have been doing for years- DJENT. It's a pathetic label, Meshuggah had been peddling heavy music their style, people appreciate what they are doing & attempt to refer to it conveniently. One more time: There's no djent, just Meshuggah & the music thereafter.
  • Naglfar: Teras. A re-emergence by one of the flag bearers of black metal, not quite refreshing but essential.
  • Borknagar: Urd. Still listening to this one, holding back all opinions on it.
  • Morbid Angel: Illud... remixes. Majority of the tracks here are annoying. But I'm glad I bought it. Strange, but true... more on this to come.

Laney Iommi

This is a Musikmesse 2012 debut, it's Tony Iommi's signature Laney amp, the TI100. We'd expect a line of EL power tubes in there due to its British pedigree but the T100 is armed with a quartet of 6L6s instead, so it's a clear statement of intent in terms of voicings.

I feel that the world's most desirable signature amp had been (& will still be) Van Halen's Peavey 5150 which went beyond the exclusive service of the endorsee himself; the current EVH brand of amps is not living its life as a desirable implement unlike its predecessor- maybe it needs a little bit more time & presence (no pun intended). If Laney wish to speak to the distortion fiends in amplifier tongues (we do associate Black Sabbath/ Heaven & Hell with gobs of distortion, don't we?), they should be making a statement with the T100.

Hopefully, this amp would be made available here for us to have a go at all things sludgy & doom-laden, just like how the Iron Man Iommi likes it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Special pic? No, it's my wrist. Arrows pointing to swollen parts.

What happened? Was trying guitars out at the stores yesterday, wrist was swollen after some time.

Did you warm up? Yes, stretched as well. Maybe I played too fast, too much vigorous vibrato, he he...

Treatment? Self-treatment; massage + applied deep heat cream. It helped.

What would you tell others about this? Once the pain sets it- stop playing. Apply cream/ice, it helps. It happens even after you warm up, so it's not entirely your fault. Maybe you are getting old. We age every day...

LTD: EC407

This is an above-average LTD 7-string for your consideration if your are looking for an affordable model: $880 @ Davis GMC. Once again, we need to be reminded that the singlecut design bears no resemblance to Gibson's Les Paul in terms of tone. Even the feel is different; the EC-407 sports a thinner body, the typical depth of a contemporary player, very much like its M-series sibling. If you have issues reaching the upper frets with this kinda design, do remember that its 7-string profile means things get a little bit more challenging at that area.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Selling: Ibanez SA260 (Traded off, thanks)

A friend of mine selling away his Ibanez SA260, yours for $400...

Confirmation/ queries here:
  • E-mail:
  • H/P: 82-82-2390 
Guitar had been traded off as at 8-4-2012. Thanks.

    ESP: Vintage Plus FR

    One of the new ESPs offered in this region; the Vintage Plus FR. I'm somehow glad to see the VP series moving away from the relic finish & manifesting some contemporary features.

    Ibanez: S1XXV Anniversary marking

    That 25th Anniverasry stamp is the only indicator of the Ibanez S1XXV's special existence. Otherwise, it's comparable to the standard S570.

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    LTD: Active + bolt-on

    It's good to know that LTD's H-330NT is already in store at Davis GMC (pending list price). This is one of the manufacturer's affordable series of instruments featuring a pair of active (in-house) ESP humbuckers as well as a bolt-on neck feature.

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Ibanez: S1XXV... keeping them green?

    Ibanez's S1XXV comes with a set of green strings- I've no obligations to replace them with the same set of greens...

    A Looping Vox

    Looking forward to try this- Vox's Lil' Looper has some drive effects instead of just looping your signals. It's a debut at 2012's Musikmesse so don't expect it to be here that soon.

    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Cool Marshall (no pun intended)

    Cool debut at 2012 Musikmess; the new Marshall amplifier fridge...

    Musikmesse 2012: New Strat

    The 'new' Fender Strat (American Standard) at Musikmesse isn't entirely new (we already know this, yes?). It's given a set of custom shop pickups & some aged parts (the reason you see cream coloured pickup covers & knobs in the pic above). You want one?

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Ibanez: RG821... foiled

    Here's a look under at the Ibanez RG821 control cavity.

    It must be a standard procedure now- to line a foil in addition to the shielding paint, we've seen that in another Premium model, the S970. This is by no means a superior treatment because shielding is effective even without the foil inclusion. More importantly, if your pickups are given the correct treatment in dealing with extraneous noise (eg: wax potting), this should be a secondary concern.

    The standard of workmanship here is quite the extra you pay for- neater, less cluttered & very visually pleasing. 

    The RG821 is a dual humbucking guitar but the pickup selector is a 5-way option.

    Musikmesse 2012: Ibanez ATK800

    This is simply attractive; Ibanez's ATK800, another addition to the manufacturer's Musikmesse 2012 selection. The instrument retained its ash body but this model sports a maple fretboard so it's not all rosewood in the ATK range now.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Jesper Stromblad

    You might know Jesper Stromblad; he's the ex-guitarist of In Flames. He now grinds his stuff in The Resistance- moving on from ESP, Gibson & now Ibanez.

    Flashback 90s

    We had a psych session last week & was instructed to bring an item which had the most impact on our adolescent lives; I brought my mint condition 1990 issue of Guitar World magazine featuring SRV on the cover. So the doctor went round & gave feedback on his findings- apparently, teenagers are impressionable people (no surprises there, I've known this even without an official diagnosis *duh*) who are attracted to morbid issues in life. It becomes dangerous if they draw too close to death because it would manifest in suicidal tendencies. Fortunately, that wasn't the case for me...

    I was attracted to this mag because it did a cover story of the recently departed (back then) Stevie Ray. I kept hearing people saying 'Eric Clapton' when it comes to the blues but after listening to ol' Slow Hand, I'm not into his style/ music. Naturally, SRV had that technicality in him which didn't compromise his music- that's my kinda player. 

    Unlike my peers, I chose to stay home & read this mag from cover to cover on weekends while they were too busy gyrating their crotches & flirting at tea dances. RIP Stevie Ray Vaughan.

    Ibanez: RG920M

    You know what's happening this week? Musikmesse 2012, that's what. Whatever's gonna debut there aren't as extensive as the NAMM event but there are still some significant introduction by the manufacturers. Ibanez for instance, is releasing its first Premium RG series sporting a maple fretboard- the RG920M you see above.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Ibanez: RG821 bridge

    Ibanez's RG821 features the new Tight End R bridge. It's not a very refreshing manifestation since the Tight End bridge was already in production prior to this version. The design, as you can see, is a little too much in terms of the physical outline, the Tight End was a simple unit. So what's the point, really?

    The Tight End R emulates the outline of the Edge bridge- trace the outline & compare the similarities. This way, the player who is accustomed to the Edge, will feel at home with this guitar. The common feedback from players who prefer a non-whammy bridge in their Ibanez guitars is that it feels different from the standard whammy bridge version. No excuses now, eh?

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Ibanez: S1XXV (mine)

    So I went with the green- not too particular about the finish but this one has that slimmer neck profile among the rest. Before someone 'discovers' it, thought I'd grab it.

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Selling: ARIA STG mini

    My ARIA STG mini (22.1") is for sale- bag included :-)

    • 4mths old
    • Condition: 9/10
    • Self-collect @ CCK MRT stn
    • No reservations/ No trades
    • Queries/ confirmations:
    • Price: $110 (final)
    Thanks for reading.

    Ibanez: RG821

    New guitar: Ibanez RG821 pictured with the humbucker protection plastic still in tact. Anything special about this one? Not really, it's a stripped down RG devoid of a whammy bridge & locking nut. If there's an attempt to lure the player into its individuality, then it's the neck feel- FEEL, mind you, not quite the legendary Ibanez Super Wizard slim profile.

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Anniversary necks

    So it's another Ibanez 25th Anniversary model rant, eh? Yes, it is & it's a material entry after trying the S1XXV yesterday. I discovered neck profile differences, not a marked one but the type you can make out after spending some time with one model & noodling with the next almost immediately. 

    Now, don't go into the stores & DEMAND you try a few units just to get lucky, the stores don't have that many extras to begin with. Don't be too picky because these anniversary models are token repros, they were NOT manufactured to the exact original specs. Sheesh.

    Ibanez S970: Foiled

    OK, let's take a look at what lurks under the Ibanez S970 cavity. We see a treble bleed capacitor for the volume pot, it's not a standard feature in Ibanez guitars so expect a difference if you roll your volume knob down. What does it do, really (if you are new to this)? It retains the top end if you choose to have your instrument volume at less than maximum levels. This means your tone won't mud-out, especially useful for the neck pickup applications. The other prim & proper treatment here is that additional shielding foil; we can clearly see adequate shielding (black) paint there so the foil inclusion was (to me) unexpected.

    I'm wondering why Ibanez still chooses to equip the guitars above the standard tier offering with cheap, below par tone caps. ESP has Oranges in there, the rest of the manufacturers could learn a thing or two in this aspect.

    Bevelled Premium

    The main difference between an Ibanez Premium & Standard S-series body is that bevelled bit at the treble-side cutaway (the flip side, not front). This way, you'd know if the body was switched.

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Premium tool

     Take a look at the interesting components of the Ibanez Swiss Army-type pocket tool which is complementary with every Ibanez Premium series guitar; it includes both flat & cross tip screwdrivers as well as a mini ruler. These make it a more complete unit than its generic counterpart which I bought at Daiso (that red one there) for $2... If you purchase a used Premium series guitar, remind your seller of its inclusion.

    Refuge at bus stop

    Evening downpour so we had to wait a while at the bus stop before heading home... :-)


    Neon guitarist spotted @ Marina Bay...

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Hells Gate

    I'm skeptical when it comes to many intense-type distortion pedals because they are second to the amp's drive channel. Carl Martin's Hellsgate (it's this spring's Musikmesse debut model...) is a little different because the manufacturer designed it to work with the amp's FX loop feature, meaning; it's gonna bypass your amp's pre-amp section for a consistency in tone. Let's hope it lives up to its claim (once it gets here, of course).

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Fender going public

    Here's news: Fender Musical Instruments Corp has filed for an IPO & hopes to raise about USD200mil for global expansion.

    That's historical, really. But the sound of being accountable to shareholders on matter pertaining to profits isn't quite music to the ears (no pun intended). It might detract the core spirit of instrument-making per se. Maybe (just maybe) this is the reason why they are OK with doing some models in China (Modern Player series) now that there's some accounting proper to consider. 

    Hey, it's not even done yet, just an initial step in making it happen- my initial/personal thoughts here. I'm not into that CBS-era Fender went through, I have tremendous respect for the 'Fender' name & its legacy. I personally feel that guitar-making is best left focused.


    An Ibanez acoustic guitar was at my residence recently, it was a fresh unit, one right out of the box so it had no in-store display stint.

    We'd think that by virtue of it not being exposed to indoor air-conditioning the fretboard would be saved from excessive drying but this pic here proved otherwise.

    I've re-moisturized the upper fret area just to show the contrast in conditions.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Ibanez: S920

    The Premium S920E is one of the new Ibanez in store at Swee Lee. It sports a simple layout- a pair of EMG humbuckers, a volume knob & a 3-way pickup selector. By virtue of its S-series pedigree, the S920 has a mahogany body & that blank fretboard is elegant in my books. Tone-wise, there's not much to say about an instrument equipped with a pair of blaring EMGs- it sounds like any other instrument with a pair of blaring EMGs. But it's the feel that counts; the Premium selection had been crafted to manifest that little more attention in terms of finishing & this made the playing experience more gratifying & differentiated from handling the standard Ibanez models. 

    I'd prefer a tone control in there to tame the prickly EMGs but if that's what you want- no-holds-barred screaming, active pickups- then the S920's economic feature shouldn't be a demerit. Regardless if you are an EMG fan, handling a Premium grade Ibanez is a delightful affair, especially this test model which was virtually blemish-free. Surprise! Ibanez included a Collet knob here, so it's not exclusive to the Prestige RGs any more :-)

    Monday, March 12, 2012


    This is my Swing SS1, it's for sale, nothing wrong with it except...

    ... that it's not wired. I've detached the original pickguard recently to test-fit a pair of P-90s but I've decided to use them for other meddling + I've an in-coming guitar to deal with, he he... 

    For sale: Swing SS1
    • bag included (as depicted) + complementary string set (your choice of .009 or .010)
    • Condition: 9/10
    • guitar currently NOT wired
    • original string tree replaced with rounded version (click here for details: CLICK)
    • Self-collect at CCK mrt station
    • No reservations/no trades
    • Asking price: $149 (final)
    • All queries/ confirmations:
    Less priority to those with the following queries: Any further discounts?/ Anything wrong with the guitar?/ Why are you selling it away- only 3mth old right?/ How much is the original price?

    Guitar SOLD as at 3rd April 2012.

    Anniversary: Premium vs non-Premium

    If you've been too distracted by the 25th Anniversary RG/S-series' bright, neon colours, maybe the manufacturer intended to do just that. While many of us are too busy deciding which finish to choose from because these are limited production units so to speak, we failed to notice that the RG version is a Premium model, while the S-series isn't; it's rather obvious from the pics above (see: Headstock).

    Implications: The RG is a preferred model, it gets a set of 'preferred' pickups (not too sure if there are that many of us who'd swear by the Ibanez IBZ pickups) & by virtue of its Premium nature, a semi-hard case is included in the purchase. However, the S-series version, because it hails from a regular selection, has nothing extra to offer; it's just a standard model given a distracting finish. Double standards?

    PS: This is a big 'Hi!' to brother Ryan whom I've not met for quite a while (years, actually) but he appeared in-store today (Swee Lee). Good to see you, bro! Looking forward to your performance on Friday night.

    Premium Accessories

    These are the supplementary items with every Ibanez Premium instrument purchase (in addition to the semi-hardcase):
    1. Instruction manual
    2. Multi purpose tool (a set of wrenches actually)
    3. Whammy arm
    The whammy arm is not supplied with fixed bridge models, of course... (*duh*).

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Van Halen: A Different Kind of Turn (yes, TURN...)

    I've been listening to this for about a week now, we know Van Halen is back. It's David Lee Roth singing  & Wolfgang doing bass. You know that single 'Tattoo' going viral online to showcase the master's return? Well, I deem it rather hype & it's a meek number in contrast with the rest of the songs in this collection. 'Big River' should be the signature VH number; just listen to the guitars in there & the overall infectious grooves. 

    Wolfgang did well on the bass, technically, he's very competent & we expect nothing less from him since Dad is there to show him the way. Did David Lee Roth bring back the flash to Van Halen's glory days? When it comes to Van Halen, regardless of who's singing, it's still glorious, just a matter of how much gloss is in there but Mr. Roth's vocal range somehow didn't so justice to the depth of the songs. With Sammy Hagar wailing, I somehow felt that Van Halen's songs were bigger, punchier, more in your face but hearing David Lee Roth blowing wind into the microphone reminds me of an aging band- still lethal but not as venomous. I guess I grew up in the Sammy Hagar era & accepting someone else singing in there (Gary Cherone was nobody to Van Halen) is unacceptable. However, I'm more into the guitars so the bloke singing & strutting his stuff in spandex is much secondary to my interest. This is a turn of sorts for VH, out with the old & in with the... em... older.

    Botom line: Van Halen is back. Don't let anyone tell you different.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012


    This is an overdue update but better late than never. These are the 3 knobs of my Jackson DKMG, just regular knobs, yes? 2 tone + 1 volume except that one of the volume knob is out of order; it doesn't work...

    But it gets a little suspicious when I discovered one of the tone knobs (or so I thought it was) has a push-pull switching system in tact so Jackson had a coil split feature in there- cool. But it doesn't solve the mystery of the dysfunctional knob; it still doesn't work...

    So after a quick peek under the control cavity lid, Jackson has the EMG Turbo Charger pre-amp as default in this guitar. The thing about discontinued models is that we take some of the default features for granted. Why was it dysfunctional? Dead battery; this guitar was in store for at least 3 years so the default battery was beyond dead... the battery you see in the above pic is a fresh replacement (well, it was fresh in January).

    Plans for this guitar next week:
    1. Replace default pickups- Turbo Charger or not, I don't fancy EMG's HZ humbuckers in this guitar
    2. Replace default capacitor
    Will book an appointment with Beez.

    Ibanez: S970

    Yesterday's catch was a Premium S970. Everything's great about this guitar but the action requires a personal tweaking, Ditto the pickup height. More pics soon...

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Ibanez: ARZ300

    I was at Swee Lee (BB showroom) earlier today to check some stuff out, it's good to see the Ibanez ARZ series in store. This is Ibanez's other singlecut model with a more traditional, rounder neck profile; 2 more frets too. I like everything about this guitar, especially the set neck design- it's one of the most pleasant- but I'm no fan of those LZ humbuckers which lack a healthy bottom end response, they are also not as firm as the EMG in terms of distortion. I find the blank fretboard very elegant (maybe not to the rest of you).


    Got my Premium :-)

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Laney vs Marshall?

    I find this disturbing; I just read that someone bought a new Laney amp & said it killed his Marshall. Maybe he doesn't know it but there are others out there who bought a new Marshall amp & that killed their Laney. So amplifier decimation happens every day, eh? That's not the point. If one is of the opinion that a certain product serves him better, he shouldn't say the other is a dud by virtue of one's fresh encounter. It's not an objective comparison. Highly likely, we were swayed to embrace our new amp simply because it has all the plus points to justify another purchase. Our old amp isn't a pariah, we've been sensitized by its repeated performance to such an extent that we feel refreshed if we hear something different, mind you, not something 'better'.