Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ibanez: RG331M

The new addition is my Ibanez RG331M. A simple guitar sporting a fixed bridge & maple fretboard. It's not a regular production run, a limited edition release for spring this 2012 but as you noted, it's here a season later. Also, it's not offered in the USA, so we're kinda lucky to have it here.

My thanks to Swee Lee for bringing this model in upon my recommendation, so it's not a special order after all; recommended for general offering :-) I'm sure there are many of us out there looking for an affordable, no-nonsense dual humbucking RG since the discontinuation of the RG321 (for this region).

Monday, July 30, 2012

New bag... guitar inside

New guitar bag, em... with guitar inside. Will reveal a little later, giving it a re-string despite being new- .010s not for me...

Turtle rescue

I've been reading up on polish-related issues pertaining to guitars. I think I've been trying too hard to look for something that works in this aspect without opening up avenues to consider non-guitar products (*DUH*). Professionals dealing with this matter recommend the Turtle Wax brand for body & hardware polish.

The CHROME POLISH you see above works very well in returning shine to faded, oxidized metal parts. However, do not expect a return-to-original condition, just expect something impressive. It also works well in removing fundametal rust/corrosion so I had an enjoyable time seeing some of my slightly rusty frets return to life.

The RUBBING COMPOUND is another effective worker; it simply relights my gloss-layered guitar bodies (& headstocks). Also, those minor scratches were invsible as well but it takes tme to work in the effect; you need to apply maybe 2 - 3 layers & really buffing it off with a separate cloth but it's worth the sweat.

You can purchase these items at the local petrol station because they are essentially car-related products to begin with but they cost less at GIANT supermarket :-)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jon Finn on the S-Series





Professor Jon Finn talking about the Ibanez S-Series. So Mr. Finn is someone who knows his gear well, unlike some other dweebs who were paid to purely be seen with the instrument.

Midtown P-90

Here's something new by Gibson- the Midtown Standard P-90 model. It's basically an ES-335 variation, the buoyant version, you could say that. I find Gibson's P-90 very acceptable in terms of definition in both clean & distortion modes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

No go...

Here's news:

Fender goes off-key, cancels its IPO

By Martha C. White


Fender Musical Instruments Corporation failed to strike a chord with investors. The famed guitar maker scrapped its planned IPO less than two weeks after announcing an offering price.

“Current market conditions and concerns about economic conditions in Europe do not support completing an initial public offering at what we believe to be an appropriate valuation at this time,” CEO Larry Thomas said in a statement. The proposed offering price of $13 to $15 would have valued the company at up to $395 million.

Analysts say Fender’s financials didn’t justify rock-star pricing.

"There wasn’t demand enough for the premium they wanted," said Francis Gaskins, president of IPO Premium.


In 2011, Fender turned a profit on the slimmest of margins, and analysts weren't expecting that to change much this year. "Investors are really looking for growth right now and Fender wasn’t providing that," said Greg Leffert, a research analyst at Renaissance Capital. "It sounds like they would’ve been able to get it done if they cut the price."


"There just wasn't demand at $14 or even at the low end," Gaskins said. Fender executives balked when underwriters suggested a $10 share price, he claimed.

Fender may have been hoping that classic rock fans would have snapped up the stock at its proposed offering price without caring as much about its financials, but the bungled Facebook IPO diminished appetite among retail investors for “brand name” stocks and sentiment-driven purchases.

The other sticking point was Fender’s problematic relationship with Guitar Center, on which it depends for roughly 15 percent of its sales. Despite $2 billion in annual sales, the retailer is saddled with $1.6 billion in debt, $650 million of which carries a 9.9 percent interest rate. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services changed its outlook from stable to negative in May, and its executive vice president of direct brands departed last week after an 18-month stint.


"Once people started looking at that, there were some warts they weren't expecting," Gaskins said. "Right now they’re damaged merchandise."

SOURCE: NBC news 20-7-2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

KM's 7

Keith Merrow has just received his signature Strictly 7 Guitars. Listen to this:



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ihsahn: Eremita


Yes, it's the Emperor mastermind himself, Ihsahn, with a new release, Eremita. I look forward to every Ihsahn release, it's the anxiety of listening to a very capable player who transcended genres as a statement of capacity. We'd think that majority of those black metal dweebs couldn't really play guitar (or write decent music for that matter) to save their lives; not for Ihsahn. He had proven his abilities in excess, I'd dare say that.


Eremita is Ihsahn's departure from his previous release but to the careless listeners, you'd ask how could this one be too different from his prior albums- it just sounds too... similar. In fact, I wouldn't ignore its parallels to Emperor's final album, Prometheus... But the departure here is in terms of composition. Eccentric twists & turns aplenty, it's as if this was staple all along. The intensity in terms of it being a metal release is also more pronounced here than the preceding collection. It's some consolation for us Emperor fans because we know the elements of Prometheus are embedded in Ihsahn's current music manifestations, it's all too obvious. But all in all, Eremita is a thinking album, quite the signature of universal prog releases; you know what you are listening to can't be procured through casual composition, lots of thinking is involved. Jeff Loomis lent his guitar mastery in The Eagle & The Snake, quite possibly it's him returning Ihsahn the guest appearance favour (you can hear Ihsahn in Mr. Loomis' latest release, FYI). The saxophone bits were also qualified inclusions, none sounded wrong, all done in good taste.

I really took my time to listen to Eremita, returning to my favourite tracks on bus rides, also re-listening to the slower numbers, in an attempt to understand why down-tempo was chosen to deliver ideas. They say music mastery is the incorporation of restraint when the world expects its absence.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wrapover explained

People have been asking me why I wrapover my strings at the stop tail portion as seen above. Here's an overdue explanation why that happens to all my tune-o-matic type bridge, one thing's for sure though- it's not a Joe Bonamassa technical emulation. I've been doing this way before I know who JB is.

Forgive the crude illustrations but here goes (side view of guitar body at the bridge area):
  • A: Guitar strings
  • B: Tune-o-matic bridge
  • C: Stop tail
Every time I acquire a guitar with a tune-o-matic + stop tail bridge type, I'd lower the action to suit my playing. This would mean component B would be screwed down. The immediate effect of this procedure is that A loses tension even after the instrument had been re-tuned. This is bad because the lower tension would mean the strings won't stay put at B's slotted tip; they would get dislodged from the slots if I bend or pick hard.

So to return A to its correct tension setting, I lower C- it's lowered to its lowest possible position. But take a look at what happened there- the strings come into contact with B. This causes buzzing at that spot & you don't want that to happen.

It's a simple problem, yes? The simple solution here is to employ the wrap over stringing so that the angle created from the tip of B to C would ensure strings elevation, ta da! No more contact with B. So that's why you see what you see, it's a practical need as opposed to the primary aim of adding more resonance at the bridge are. But the fact that it does is a bonus :-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Snark spotted!

Spotted at the recent In Thrash We Crust- Snark tuner in action (clipped onto guitarist Zach E's guitar).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gambale's Ibanez

Frank Gambale recently sold off some of the guitars from his personal collection. The FGM400 here is one of them. Stunning.

But we know the specs for this guitar could have been more accurate. Here are the corrections:
  • Bridge: Lo-Pro Edge
  • Neck/ Middle pickups: IBZ SB2
  • Bridge pickup: IBZ AH2

Played this week

All guitars played since Monday (L-R):
  1. Yamaha RGXA2-  I'm paying more attention to guitars with hollow/ semi-hollow bodies as these instruments sound different with intense distortion. They manifest this different kind of thickness as well but the RGXA2's default pickups have to go. Waiting for replacements to be available...
  2. Gibson Les Paul 50s Tribute (humbucker)- still trying to like Gibson LPs, still trying. PFFTTTT.
  3. Jackson DK2T- One of the most rewarding guitar in my possession, those Duncans in there sound... I've loved Duncans all along so I have nothing negative to say :-)
  4. Schecter Omen 6- I'm really glad to have this guitar in the house, it goes to show that you can have a good guitar without spending a bomb. Also, the pickups in there are superb: TESLA's Opus2/ Nitro. I think the Nitro is my most rewarding discovery.
  5. Edwards E-MA-100SD/QM- I'm rather averse to singlecut designs, namely because it alludes too much to the Les Paul- play any singlecut guitar & the other person in the store would go, 'Oh, it's a Les Paul'. But manufacturers like Edwards know what they are doing when it comes to a thoughtful design, regardless of the outline, of course. People like me wouldn't mind owning a singlecut if they are appealing in terms of playing ergonomics. Janet said there'd be more Edwards to come (@ Davis) & I'll definitely be on a lookout for them :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beautiful devils

These are beautiful SG models- Diablo Premium Plus. They are new, they are not available here yet but it's my kind of SG: 2 knobs/ 24 frets. Would be checking them out, of course.

Knobs swap

I've just swapped my Gibson Tribute 50s tone knobs from the default 'hat' type ones (left) to the more cylindrical version- I need a more sure grip to pull up those coil-split selectors...

Ramadan greetings

Ramadan greetings to all my Muslim friends, acquaintances & blog followers/ visitors.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Morons @ cinema


All I wanted was to enjoy a good Batman show but I think that's too much to ask from some **** morons who chose to keep talking while the movie went on.

So I had to SHHH! these people & they weren't happy.

People these days are educated but they can't reflect upon their own wrong-doing. When others tell them off, they get offended. One of these days I should just whack & stop reasoning.

Dark Knight... rises (spoiler alert)

It's a Batman movie, the concluding Christian Bale instalment. As in any movie interpretations, staying on the original comic plot is purely optional. As such, Bane's chemical sustenance mechsnism is purely adaptive, don't expect a Hulk-like Bane as depicted in the comics. Are your waiting to see an all-out Batman assault on the evil that encroached Gotham? You get liberal doses because this episode is about soul-searching more than Batman per se, about a semi-crippled millionaire who became a recluse because the world before him crumbled beyond repair, about a depressed boyfriend who made-believe his deceased squeeze had chosen him instead of another crime-busting entity (moral of the story- just die, don't leave others with false hopes). But as Alfred reminded him, it's his world, the real world moved on...

Don't bother staying after the credits to watch any sneaks- none on offer. However, the concluding bit alluded to the coming of a new Batman with a sidekick. No prizes for guessing who that sidekick will be. It's more than 2.5hrs long, remember to switch your bladders to reservoir mode.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Re-string?

Geetings, friends. I'm offering some services to re-string your guitar if you are living in the Choa Chu Kang neighbourhood (other residences- will consider...). I think some of us need assistance when it comes to locking, whammy bridges (Floyd Rose et al). I'm not doing this for supplementary funding- that's not the primary aim. Let's just say that I need the experience for future references (he he...). I need to see the condition of other people's guitars when they are due for a re-string, particularly:
  • Are the necks in a presentable condition?
  • Do all re-string circumstances require fretboard attention as well? If so, to what extent?
  • Are players with no re-string experience dealing with action-related issues as well? How would they like the action to be?
  • Are owners aware of some re-string related issues they should know?
  • Can I advice you on your string/ guitar neck health- would you take heed & act accordingly?
E-mail me if you are interested, I'm looking forward to make guitar-friends more than anything else.
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OK, someone already e-mailed me about my charges. I can't think of a figure now, I'd just disclose a token sumin tie to come? How's that?

Tantra

Last week's In Thrash We Crust congregation saw Tantra's debut performance.

As it was Friday the 13th, a different set of guests were duly invited to grace the occasion...

... as such, the venue's decor was made appropriate.

Equipment aesthetics included.

It was a cosy gig, a good 80 people or so were there. It's the kind of attendance that would be greatly affected by the weather but everything was fine in this aspect. This is a great HAILZ! to all who performed. Also a big thanks to friends who came from across the Causeway to watch the bands play.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

LTD: EX-307

You want a 7-string, you are on a budget, you want something a little unconventional when it comes to the body outline & good tones are a must for you. You should consider this beast: LTD EX-307. The thing about LTD's 3XX & 4XX series are that they represent value-for-money without being entry-level in feel. The EMGs in there means your distortion wouldn't wimp out for sure. List: $880 @ Davis GMC.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tasty VMs

It seems that the eager Squier chaps have added some tasty models to the Summer 2012 line, it's the best distraction ever- could it be? Which of these models would make good company for my Duo Sonic? Hmm...

Tone Tattoo

A cool release by Electro Harmonix this Summer- Tone Tattoo. It's a 3-in-1 pedal: Metal distortion + chorus + delay, making it a simple multi-effects unit, 100% analog tone, of course.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blade: XF-120

This is one of the Blades available at Davis GMC, it's the XF-120 (Cross Fire series).

Unlike its other siblings, it steers clear from the strat/tele style design, in this case, it's a simple dual humbucking, string-through-body make with lots of sustain coming from the alder body-maple neck combo. The pickups did well in driven settings but the cleans could do better in terms of warmth, especially the bridge unit. I'm definitely into the neck profile; it's an in-between feel, neither too rounded nor dramatically thin.This one's recommended for those of us looking for a contemporary feel & live by some dynamics in terms of tone. A very reasonable list price too: $480

For the rest(ed)

Would you play this guitar? Who would you play it with? Wooo...

Tube emulation

Summer NAMM 2012 goodness- Blackstar's ID TVP series. Emulation technology has now encroached tubes/ valves. Blackstar's idea here is to provide the user with response-correct power tube voicings so it beats getting many amps for the sake of hearing the tubes in action. Seen here is the manufacturer's 30W ID 30TVP. Also available in 15W combo & 100W head versions.

Gus-star

Summer NAMM 2012: Gus G gets his own signature Blackstar..

Jeans + Converse shoes = a potent rock formula for success. No kidding. Van Halen started out with jeans & a pair of converse shoes- he's a legend now. Maybe we should all reconsider our performance wardrobe.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Excess

There's obviously too much gain here:
  • Source 1: BB9- the gain level is almost MAXed out
  • Source 2: NUX DF- It has a metal distortion module in operation
  • Source 3: NUX DF- It has the overdrive module engaged as well (both distortion & module were set to stun)
  • Source 4: NUX DF- as if lacking in aggression, the BOOST function is engaged
Remember, too much gain sucks tone. But if you can't achieve your preferences, you suck.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Drive capacitor

This has to be one of the coolest innovation for (passive) guitar circuitry; a drive capacitor by Black Ice. It's a must try for me... let's see which guitar dealer would have it here. I may need to convince some of them, though. He he...

Feast!

Some days ago, I met up with brother Zahid to collect... briyani! It's not the typical food center serving, mind you. It's nothing you'd get at Zam Zam restaurant either, it's a special concoction only the elders of the briyani order would manifest. In short, this briyani has non-Indian details to it (no offence to my Indian friends out there, I still enjoy that version), very mediterranean in nature- splendid!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ibanez: RG2XXV

This is perhaps the much anticipated sequel to this year's Ibanez 25th Anniversary RG observance, the RG2XXV. Not much differene in specs to its RG1XXV sibling but look at the headstock- ta da! It's not a Premium model. So expect a more affordable price tag. I'm definitely interested :-)
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Of thrashing & crusting: 1 more day to go...

Shock inc.

Not too long ago, I was in an art immersion programme. One of the topics presented for discussion was the value of shock in art. The extent of which was indeed sensitivity explosion when it comes to religious concern. Religious imagery are deemed sacred & never to be used carelessly, let alone for artistic dabbling I am revisiting this matter because recently, an image displayed on this blog was removed upon request as it was deemed spiritually offensive. I took heed in the name of consideration, it is well understood that what was perfectly acceptable for some of us is outright blasphemous to the rest. I do not wish to lose friendship because I somehow became privy to the development of light-vs-dark episodes. 

The art work you see above would have been praiseworthy to the uninformed but to the rest of us who know it by its title- Piss Christ- it's outright blasphemy for the artist to cover it in a layer of urine.

The artist is the same guy who had his work, Blood & Semen III, as Metallica's cover art for the LOAD album; Andress Serrano. Why 'blood', why 'semen'? The image was created by mixing animal blood & his own semen, pressed between two sheets of plexiglass...

You'd argue that there might be a fine line between art & sacrilegious event posters but let's understand the fact that both are intellectual products serving an intent. In any case, people wouldn't want blasphemy in any manifestations, it's just unacceptable whichever way you swerve. 
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In thrash we crust: 1 more day to go :-)

Marduk: Serpent Sermon

Where lies Marduk in today's black metal pecking order? With due respect to the arts, we don't order such outputs, it would imply that there's a certain standard to be observed & those falling below expectations would be deemed less competent. In art, competency has lesser considerations when the level of mastery is achieved. Marduk had been up there all along, the band's finesse had been honed & refined with every release. Serpent Sermon is another episode in competency documentation; there isn't a fall in standards to be heard, business as usual for the quartet. However, of late, I hear this embrace of crawling moments, it's like the band deems recess to be obligatory, they were ingredients in Wormwood & ROM 5:12 as well. Don't expect too many solos though, it's not staple for Marduk songs especially so in this release.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

LTD's blood sucking affair

This is something. If you know the ESP philosophy then it's nothing... nothing new, that is :-) The ESP people had been slapping cool graphics on their instruments since they were around. According to the manufacturer, this is the first in the series of horror graphics LTD models, a collaboration with Lugosi Enterprise. Bela Lugosi of the horror flick fame, you know him? No?

John 5: God Told Me To

Beat it! So this Michael Jackson song was quite the spotlight in this release, it's an instrumental version, lots of guitars, my kinda of rendering. There are lots of guitars in the others numbers as well & it's J5's 'business as usual' serving for us guitar fans. I'm not trying to put Mr. Lowery down but his fast picking could have been smoother. There's something going on in my ears maybe because I hear the sloppy notes in the audio version but in the accompanying DVD, those bad notes were like... what bad notes? By the way, Mr. Lowery's dual humbucking Tele is quite the works :-)

Happening this Friday (now you know)

Self-explanatory. But the show goes on. See you there.

Would I put the flyer back up AFTER the show? Oh, please...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Edwards: Price truth


Yes, it's another shot of my Edwards E-MA-100SD/QM but this is the price tag which I've left in tact at the control cavity cover. 

So the MSRP for this guitar is Y105K, in SGD it would be $1,675.88 (as at today's exchange rate). Previously, Davis tagged the E-MA models for $1.3k which is a very fair price but the latest shipment saw a drop to $990...

I recently bought this guitar- do I need another guitar? No I don't but I saw a good bargain which I couldn't put away, I guess that's me- weak willed when it comes to a good guitars with an exceptional price tags. I saw a bargain more than anything else so it was a confirmed purchase.

Many of us walked into Davis GMC & then left empty handed after discovering there were no further discounts for any of the items there but we need to check if those prices are indeed fair or bordering on the ridiculous. I have to give them my thumbs-up for price considerations.

Ibanez RG2228A

I have plans to get Ibanez's RG2228A- I already own the RG2228 but it's the EMG version. Having a set of passives in there would be good for me (not an EMG fan but they sound good in the RG2228) but this white version is regional exclusive, it won't be available here off-the-shelf... PFFTTT...

Yamaha: RGXA2... lights

Yamaha's RGXA2 has an on-board light show as seen above. These are actually pickup indicator lights (from L-R):
  • Blue: Bridge
  • Red: Neck
  • Both on
What would traditionally function as a tone control (that knob there with no light indicators) is the guitar's pickup selector switch & that's all it does so any tone manipulations from this guitar, it comes from the volume knob. So now let's think of another Yamaha guitar featuring this light display. Answer: No other model. The implication here is that it's purely aesthetics & it's not that appealing/ practical to be employed in other guitars, that's why it stays put in the RGXA2.