Sunday, September 30, 2012


I played an entire hour standing up, yesterday. I had to use the Planet Waves' Planet Lock strap as a safety precaution because the guitar in question is a Gibson Les Paul. I have yet to swap the strap buttons to a bigger version, one which won't slip through the slit of a typical strap when in use. You won't find this version of the Planet Lock strap at the shops any more, it's been discontinued.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Darn. This is a pair of Japan-only Artstar models, looks like the manufacturer is hinting at a return-to-Japan semis/ hollows.

Friday, September 28, 2012


There are too many right handed wonder-fretters & wonder-pickers out there. More often than not, our southpaw friends would feel a little left out especially when they have no idols to look up to. But here's something to behold: Felix Martin. Enjoy the clip.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

SALE: Swee Lee Katong branch

Some good stuff are clearing at Swee Lee's Katong branch this weekend. If you are keen, do drop by the address depicted above.

Selling: EHX Micro Metal Muff (SOLD)

The Micro Metal Muff is the 'medium'-sized family member in the Metal Muff series; any smaller & it's the NANO Metal Muff.
  • Selling: Electro-harmonix Micro Metal Muff (box included)
  • Condition: 8.5/10
  • Self-collect @ CCK mrt stn
  • No reservations/ No trades
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • Price: $75/ RM175 (final)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Washburn: Starfire

This is Paul Stanley's new stratfirebirdRD signature model. Washburn calls it the Starfire.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DM Helix: The difference

You know how it is with commercial slants- they make you believe the hype. But I'm in the midst of evaluating Dean Markley's Helix strings, I think I can do you good by giving some frank opinions.

Do refer to the DM literature above, the Helix is a little different due to its compressed winding feature, so over the same string length, you'd get more windings with the Helix compared to other string brands. So what's the big deal?
  1. Less dirt: Because the wrap wires are closer together, there are lesser depressions to trap dirt from your fingers. This is the chief reason why your strings last longer. This won't make a difference if your finger fluids are very acidic though.
  2. Less scratching noises. If you are greatly disturbed by that noise when you drag your fingers across wound strings, the Helix is less noisy. It's all about having narrower gaps between the wraps.

Alex Hutchings clinic (Ep 4)

Mr. Hutchings shared with us the importance of playing posture. Once again, many of us tend to emulate our idols when it comes to instrument placement, we strap our instruments very low, I've seen guys going below waist level- Slash/ Hetfield, ring any bells?

The over-riding consideration here is to place it where your fretting & picking hands are the most relaxed as this would supplement movements. We make mistakes while playing because we tend to cramp-up our hands & this has everything to do with the playing posture.

The botom line is not to strap your guitars way up there either, it should be where you are most comfortable. Chances are, if you have to strain yourselves just to reach that note, your playing posture could have been better.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

DM Helix: The week after

It's been a week since I installed a set of .009s Dean Markley Helix in my Ibanez S420. After each play, I did a wipe down using dry cloth only, these strings received no chemical treatments whatsoever.

I played this guitar for at least 15min each day. There were 2 days when the session lasted for more than an hour. There were no wipe-downs in between, only at the end of it all.

No corrosion was detected on the Helix but the strings (especially the plain ones) were tarnished, this is of course, normal. The Helix also felt less fresh (duh!) after a week's worth of hands-on but they could go on for sure; they are not dead yet.

To be cont'd...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marshall: DSL40C (Part 4)

I had some pedal time with my Marshall DSL40C this morning. Actually it started last night but the good part of it happened today. I connected some pedals through the FX loop feature of the amp at the rear panel, the cables were long enough to rest it on the amp's top.

What's the difference if one does it this way? This connection allows the pedal to be connected after the pre-amp section so it sounds different compared to regular guitar-pedal-amp connection. The DSL40C blends well with the pedals in this mode, it needs more volume to ensure that the pedal's output does not overpower the amp's pre-amp section. If you refer to specialized amp heads, many of the FX-loop feature has an independent volume knob, this way, we can control how much influence your pedals have in the chain. This feature is absent here.

With any Tubescreamer/ Tubescreamer clones/ drive type pedals, the DSL40C sounds very creamy. In fact, it's able to take away some of that signature Marshall sting if you don't fancy that in excess. I know this amp likes distortion type pedals (no the intense metal type) instead, to make it sound very fierce but watch your pedal's tone control, do not let the top end get out of hand, otherwise you'll hear too much high frequency in there. With any distortion units through the loop, I need not raise the amp's gain too much, in fact, it's more fruitful having it at the half-way mark.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flashback X4

I know some of us here are a little agitated by the 1-button feature of the Flashback's current design but the good chaps at TC Electronics now have the X4 version to offer. Neat, eh?

Alex Hutchings clinic (Ep 3)

There were some Fenders on the performance platform during Alex Hutching' clinic & the only reason they were there was because they feature Roland's synth pickups in them. I was glad he picked those guitars up & played them so it's proof of musicianship, not about certain guitar brands being 'better'.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dust SE

Another cool addition to the PRS SE Signature line: Clint Lowery (Sevendust) model. When I saw that adjustable saddle bridge, I suspected a little difference. Upon reading the specs, I was right- C# G# E B F# B, this is the default tuning as the instrument sports a ticker string gauge- .011s.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Alex Hutchings clinic (Ep 2)

The aural assault dished out by Alex Hutchings were all from his trio of floor effects (L-R):
  • RC-300
  • GR-55
  • GT-100
The good part of his performance was amp-free, all devices were hooked up directly to the PA system. It sounded good & it underscored the fact that we could achieve great tones in so many ways. But what do we hear from people out there? 'Nothing beats a tube amp tone', well if in your world there exists nothing else but tube amps, this statement would be conclusive but not in this world.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alex Hutchings clinic (Ep 1)

Alex Hutchings was here for a Roland clinic yeterday (16-9-12). He's an incredible player, nothing short of talent & a big proponent of feel so every now & then we'd get to see him do some facial expressions in relation to what he plays. This pic is one such moment just before he finished his track. 

I picked up some key pointers in terms of equipment & playing philosophy. Somethng that still sticks in my mind is the fact that he has a set of .008s in his guitar. Is this being trendy? Of course not, it's strictly supplementing his light touches; he's that kinda player who doesn't pick too hard because it'll only deteriorate his tone & feel. Many of us fell into the thicker strings = better tone trap too often because we are either just starting out & listen too much to what others have to say or we try to emulate our idols & replicate their set up. We need to be bold & assess our needs more than anything else.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Dean Markley's Helix strings come in a sealed black polymer bag. The individual string envelopes are inside.

They are in my Ibanez S420, performance report in due time.

Re-string/ Set up (Ep 1)

I am still offering this service: CLICK

Brother Koi contacted me on Wednesday to have his guitar looked into but he's at Bt Batok. I have some spare time yesterday so it was no problem at all, we met up somewhere near Bt Batok central to get the job done:
  • Re-string
  • Fretboard re-conditioned
  • Neck bow reduced
  • Action lowered
Someone asked me if I differentiate the services offered, ie: Re-string only/ set-up only. If a re-string is done, a quick set-up would be obligatory-  I don't leave you to deal with the quirks of a fresh set of strings, I make sure they conform to the standards before you get your instrument back :-)

If you are in the Bt Batok neighbourhood, I'd be glad to attend to your instruments.


Grover Jackson's GJ2 brand has the new Concorde model to offer Randy Rhoads (RIP) fans. This was launched together with the book about the iconic guitarist. Neck-through construction this one.

Paul 12

Latest introduction by Gibson: Les Paul Traditional 12-string. Seriously, who's turned on by this?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Played yesterday

Guitars played last night (L-R):
  • Ibanez S420
  • Schecter Omen 7
I started with the 7 first, it's got the extra string & the extended scale length, perfect for warm-up. Then on to the S420, as expected, it felt a little 'easier' to play. It's psychological, really.

My S420 is fitted with a pair of Duncan's Pearly Gates, the least expected performer for intense distortion but it's not about expectations, it's about knowing what it could offer- lots of top end poke. Adding adequate bass to that & it's a great voicing to work with for all aggressive ideas.


Got Helix, will restring (tonight).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Marshall: DSL40 (Part 2)

Maybe this is what you need to see; the new DSL series are made in Vietnam, just like the MA series. No detrimental tonesgenerated, I assure you. Marshall's signature voicing is present & commanding. If you plan to get one from Davis GMC, here's the price reference:
  • DSL15C- 15W combo: $580
  • DSL40C- 40W combo: $680
For my Johor friends- brother Jo is making them available at his store, we were together that day to hear them in action. We were impressed (to say the least)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Charvel vs Jackson- you have spoken...

This is the recent conclusion to a poll here about mid-priced Jackson/ Charvel- it seems that players prefer Charvel's Desolation series over Jackson's X-series guitars. These offerings are within comparable price brackets & playability but despite being on par, we still don't know if payability/ tone factors or the 'Made in _____' factor swaying the votes.

Monday, September 10, 2012


New this 'fall but not in this region- Ibanez's S-series fixed bridge model in a long while: S421. Let's see if we can convince our dealers to bring this here. If you think this should be made available where your are, +1 this post.

Mashall: DSL40 (Part 1)

I hear something good, I just have to have it. I have like... 4 Marshalls here so this is another Marshall but it's not about restricting myself from being excessive with a particular brand name- heck, no. It's about hearing something good & giving it due credit.

I've been spending some time with the new Marshall DSL40C today & it sounded good. This is a reiteration that it sounds quite removed from its 'DSL' predecessor in drive mode. I know the difference personally because I used to own the DSL401 combo. If you think you want a rounder Brit grit, you are better off with the MA series. The new DSL is an angry amp, that's what I like about it. It's more fruitful taming an angry amp to manifest a degree of politeness but it's not as breezy injecting ferocity into a gracious amp.

Here's how it looks at the rear, it's not entirely a 'closed-back' unit. That switch you see there is the half-switch; it reduces the amp to half power.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New CDs...

Recent purchase:
  • Steve Vai- The Story of Light... I actually misplaced this, it's in one of my guitar bags. Glad I found it.
  • The Faceless-Autotheism... Michael Keene is one of the most talented players in this music genre. I couldn't give this a miss.

Hey, dad! (Part 55)

Hey, dad! Thanks for transforming your Marshall box into a temporary piece of real estate. He, he...

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I personally appreciate VOX for doing this- doing away with the amPlugs & manifesting them in this headphones version (it's not an in-house budget unit, mind you. It's a collaboration with Audio Technica). What you get are the same amPlug tones in a headphones format. Smart move because when we plug in our amPlugs, we're scrambling for a pair of headphones anyway so thumbs up to this. :-)

In the mean time, only 4 models are available (hopefully more to come): AC30/ Twin/ Lead/ Bass

Uniquely SG

We see this often here. Despite the education, we still see this often here. We then ask ourselves, are these people educated, maybe they learnt a thing or two about being mindful to others when they were younger? But when they grow older, those values disappear or they are overwhelmed by other pressing considerations, like the dire need to sit in the train & listen to wrinkle-removing music.

We now know why our kids find it difficult to manifest considerations towards others- because the adults don't show it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

SOLD: Barber Direct Drive SS

This is a discontinued pedal by Barber, it's a raunchy distortion unit. The controls are not just limited to the trio you see there, there are some trim pots underneath the hood. BOSS' DS-1 voicing by any chance? No, it's more intense but it's a metal type thing, be informed. Yes, it's conceived in Barber's custom shop facilities.
  • Selling: Barber Direct Drive SS (Box included)
  • Condition: 9/10
  • Self-collect @ CCK mrt stn
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • No reservations/ No trade
  • Price: $100/ RM245 (final), my Malaysian friends- you know what to do :-)
Pedal SOLD as at 9.9.12- thanks everyone :-)
Still available:
  • Jackson JS20
  • Plush: Cream
  • Gibson: 490/496 humbucker (gold cover)
  • Marshall: 50th Ann JTM 1W head

The race (to compact oblivion)

Vox has raised the bar (Ok, not too much, though) in the compact pedals realm, the ones you see here are the new StompLab 1 & 2 (with expression pedal) series for guitars (red black) & basses (black red). The rotary knobs provide quick access to editing for sure, not to mention that chicken head livery of vintage amp controls, he he... It means that ZOOM's G3/G3X need to keep up.

But the ZOOM chaps are not fretting in their tech pants because they have moved on to the MS-series, employing the G3's user-friendly interface feature into a smaller manifestation; the typical stomp box dimension so you pedal board dweebs would definitely consider their placement in your line-up.

Tight End- side view

From this angle, the Ibanez's Tight End R bridge looks like the Edge Zero model; the tilt & that tail-end bracket especially.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Want: Super Sonic tone!

Since the Super Sonic amp made its debut, I gave the 100W version a go & really liked it. In fact, Andy Timmons was here for a clinic & he dropped by Swee Lee's showroom, they plugged him into this amp & he loved it. Due to Andy's affiliation with some other brand name amp, this remains to be a personal admiration. I had an opportunity to loop it up with a Tubescreamer (still remember it was a TS7) & it sounded... em... like MY kinda amp- lots of saturation, sensitive to the slightest pick. The Super Sonic was then made available in a 50W version- I waited for that one to make it here because I already own 2 100W amps so having a lower-powered head would be a good variation. Now that Fender has announced the fresh 20W version- I am still waiting.

Floor Snark

Snark fans, get ready for the pedal experience :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marshall: DSL15C

Greetings, friends. How was the mid-week? I had some spare time today, headed to Davis GMC to try the new Marshalls there.

What new Marshall, you ask? We know the JCM2000 DSL/ TSL had been laid to rest by the manufacturer, this year, the 'DSL' tag was resurrected but if you are a fan of the superseded models, the new generation of DSL models are quite removed in terms of voicing & features (the JCM2000 tag wasn't resurrected). This brings back fond memories of my DSL401 which was my first tube amp, I was also the first one to buy it at Davis. Back then, the store was half its present size; I had to wait outside before getting a chance to enter because it's crowded, especially so during weekends. Back to the new DSL- I had the chance to try the 15W combo depicted above. You can reduce the wattage to 50% power & this itself provides a tonal variation.The controls are simple & direct- 2 Channels, 2 sets of volume & gain controls, a master 3-band EQ, presence & reverb. These are the tweakable controls on board but adding to these are the DEEP & TONE SHIFT buttons adding bass & midrange influences respectively.

You get the ECC83 (pre-amp) & 6V6 (power amp) valves to get the tones going & a Celestion GE12-60 12" driver to make sure it's not a run-of-the-mill tone to begin with. Getting straight to the tone appraisal, this new DSL is splendid to say the least. Drive-wise, it's removed from the former DSL you might know. The drive coming from the Ultra channel is ferocious at upper settings, this gets more voracious with volume dialed up. With the former DSL, the drive intensity could never appeal the extreme masses (all ye black metal fiends...), there's this 'wooly' voicing if you turn the amp way up but that's somewhat cured with the new generation of DSL. For me, the immediate benefit is that my upper fret notes are more defined this way. It's definitely a plus point, this revision. 

However, there isn't a dedicated clean channel. For this to materialize, you have to keep the gain in the Classic channel down. That's not ganna help too much if you have high output pickups in your guitars; a little too much force in your picking & it'll trigger the drive. But that's not to say that there isn't any workable cleans to begin with, in fact, that signature Marshall clean is present & well-defined; Hendrix would be proud. Price check, ladies & gentlemen:
  • Davis GMC: $580
  • Online MSRP: USD599

SOLD: Ibanez RG821

I was re-stringing my RG821 last night, ready to put it up for sale but that didn't materialize, my ex-colleague saw my Tweet & he confirmed the purchase immediately. It was a quick lunch time meet-up just now to pass him this guitar. I had put aside this guitar, I think I played it only three times- was waiting for pickups to replace the CAP Ibanez humbuckers you see there. My next Ibanez will look like this one but with different default pickups & a slightly differentiated headstock.

Replaced, yeah!

This was avoidable; corroded hardware. The guitar above is my Ibanez S970, that decayed contraption there was its whammy arm, thumb wheel lock. I was busy wiping & glossing the body over that I 'd forgotten about that one component so it went bad...

But I acquired the replacement part & had that bad one removed; hence the shiny version you see above. You can get one too from Eillekoet. Now, where in SG is that store? Info's here: CLICK. Know what's in store by clicking the store link at the left column of this page.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not quite Fender

Friends, for those of you who frequent Plaza Angsana at JB, this store should be a familiar sight (@ Level 4). It has a good collection of desirable guitars but be wary of the used collection on offer (near cashier area, displayed on multiple-guitar stand on the floor), one of the Fenders there (reverse headstock) is not an original article. This is not an implication that the store is a front for pirated instruments but I have a feeling the store personnel themselves don't quite know what came their way when they acquired it from its owner.

If you are the store owner & you are reading this, I have absolutely no intention to disrepute your business; your store chaps are friendly & obliging, I give them my thumbs up for that. However, if we are dealing with major brand names in our premises, we should be wary of what's in store as this might hurt our business' goodwill upon discovery regardless if it's a bona fide mistake in offering it for sale. Peace.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ibanez: RG721 (Part 2)

The majesty of the Ibanez RG721 is definitely its rosewood laminate. It adorns the body as well as the instrument's headstock. It gives rise to class without the need for a final gloss coat but not everyone's into this. The fact that there isn't gloss in places where it should be means those surfaces ding easily. The irony of this consideration is that, at the end of the day, people want a vintage- 'relic' if you will- look from their instrument. It's all about losing the gloss & feeling the bare wood of your instrument which is exactly what the RG721 is all about. 

That laminate implement is sheer class alright but it necessitated a more economical decal application over at the headstock so as not to break the unity of that wood feel. Unlike other gloss finished headstocks, the Ibanez logo/ decal here is a silk-screened transfer. So if you are captivated by the classic beauty of this guitar, the situation over at the headstock would be an economical reminder of the things that be.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Selling: Plush Cream (Price updated)

Plush pedals are products by the amplifier company, Fuchs. The Cream you see here has an overdrive voicing, a non-aggressive one at that. However, I can pretty much shred my notes with this one due to its saturation levels unlike the traditional Tubescreamers out there. Here's some stuff about it (please check out the soundclips there by Doug Doppler): CREAM!

I bought this one for more than $200, I bought the Extreme Cream subsequently which is essentially this pedal + a souped up channel 2- the reason why I'm selling it away :-)

  • Selling: Plush Cream
  • Condition: 9/10 (box included)
  • Self-collect @ CCK mrt stn
  • Queries/ Confirmation:
  • No reservations/ No trades
  • Price: $149 $120 (final)
  • Malaysian buyers: RM370 RM290(final)

Selling: EHX NANO Metal Muff (SOLD)

Clearing some pedals, starting off with this one :-)
  • Electro Harmonix NANO: Metal Muff
  • Condition: 9/10 (box included/ NO velcro at baseplate)
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt stn
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • No reservations/ No trades
  • Price: $69 (neg)
ATTENTION: Malaysian buyers
I've recently worked up a partnership with Bro Jo@noobaxe, you can contact him pertaining to any purchases here, he will arrange the shipping charges & delivery accordingly. I think this is the best arrangement I can work out in the mean time. My price for my Malaysian readers/ followers: RM170 (neg). 
Contact Brother Jo:
PS: Still available- Jackson JS20 

UPDATE: Pedal SOLD 5.9.2012


OK, so we don't get this one as well; a GIO Iceman, a shorter-scaled Mikro series. The only Mikro model available here is an RG.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ibanez: RG721 (Part 1)

Brand new guitar for a brand new month: Ibanez RG721 :-)

Despite the stunning looks, the RG721 is a typical mahogany-bodied instrument; lots of midrange zing & clarity in the neck humbucker.