Thursday, May 30, 2013

Re-issue re-think

The guitars you see above: Fender ST57 (maple fretboard)/ ST 62 (rosewood fretboard). These are fine guitars, well-made Japanese instruments. I've tried them in the shops before & they are definitely great players. I've been trawling buy/sell ads (as always) & kept reading the fact that people propel these models as 'reissues' based (loosely) on the fact that there are '57' & '62' in there.

Recently, the manufacturer added the above ST57FR & ST62FR models in their catalogues. So if you are selling them off, would you propel them as 'reissues' as well? I've been talking to people & reminding them of the fact that these Japanese models are no 're-issues' in any way & they are not worth more than what the current market assessments dictate. Thanks to the FR models, we can now understand the fact that Fender made a close reference to what the '57 & '62 Strats were all about & manifest them in essence but definitely not in the strict 'reissue' understanding.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sure signs (of death)

How dead pots/ selector switch look like. These are beyond saving. Before they died, I was treating them with contact spray but this isn't a cure, it's just temporary rectification. Replacement should be done. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Worthy resistance

Resistance is futile. Well, if you've been resisting Dark Throne releases of late- due to the bands detraction from black metal into punk territory- this release is a show of force. The Dark Throne music force, that is. Despite the genre the band dwells in, Fenriz & Nocturno's forceful presence is the one luring you back to the band. If you like the hype & wish for more punkish releases then The Underground Resistance is a sign of recession. The band isn't swearing by this genre any more (or so it seems) but the essence of punk is here. However, what's glaring in this one is the fact that it's a heavy release. That's right- heavy as in 'heavy metal' heavy. You can put it down to the slower, sludgier tracks but as it seems, Dark Throne came & did their thing then got away with it; for a good cause. The re-assurance here is that the band's black metal servings are there (these never got wiped out in the first place) in crusty servings. And being Dark Throne, their subsequent release is already in the works. What?!

Holdsworth @ Musicark

Many Carvins are in at Musicark, the juicy Alan Holdsworth model was there too. When I dropped by yesterday evening, the store was closed but the lights were left switched on; maybe the sales guy went to the washroom. I waited for 15min but nobody turned up so...


PS: Musicark will not be closed unless it's really closed. It's a one-man-operation most of the time so please understand the absence :-)

Monday, May 27, 2013

The un-blackening (5)

My Ibanez S470 isn't a new guitar, it's used. In fact, I am its 3rd owner. I'm particular when it comes to guitar purchase I do not believe in buying used items because, chances are, the instruments would fall short of my standards & forking out money for them would mean eternal unhappiness. 

However, I am not an elitist in this light & would therefore consider owning a good instrument even if it means buying a used product; I view the guitar in its entirety & wouldn't let the issue of subsequent ownership cloud my judgment.

This S470 in question belongs to a friend who had been playing a Fender Strat all the while. There was this sudden itch to own a guitar of a different pedigree for the sake of variety. This is s 50-50 plunge because things may not work out as intended for a simple reason- we are humans & we have this quirky embrace for the familiar. Anyway, the friend would want another 22-fret guitar which moves away from the Strat profile & the S470 here would be a perfect addition. However, due to personal preferences, the S470 became an outcome of a hasty, compulsive purchase & it was chucked aside virtually days after its purchase. It was in quite a sorry condition, some parts were corroded & the whammy bar was stuck in its shaft. This was compounded by the fact that one of the action adjustment bolt had its tip broken so access to this was impossible.

I agreed to purchase this guitar only because I see a potential in bringing it back to life (plus it was offered for less than $200...), if the chances were remote, I wouldn't have bothered so here it is now, after countless parts replacements & a total body re-finish, an instrument which could match something fresh out of the box. I'm happy with it. 

Moral of the story- just because it's another 22-fret guitar, it doesn't equal a Strat replacement.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Got mine. A little excited because Satch's previous releases were somewhat unconvincing. This one's a track from this release, A Door Into Summer. Enjoy:

The un-blackening (4)

The final few touches for my Ibanez S470 happened yesterday. The ZPS system was restored as depicted above. When I bought the guitar, the previous owner had one of those screws (1) missing, the surviving one was terribly corroded. The whammy bar was also stuck in the bridge shaft. I had to work the mechanism from the rear, broke some very fragile, plastic parts along the way (2) but managed to get the bar out. I placed orders at Eillek Oet & it took a while to come. The entire back plate was oxidized & threatened to decay but that was taken care of by some chrome polish which worked wonders.

Before heading over to Beez's, it was re-strung with a set of Pyramid strings (.009).

Moving over to the headstock, the entire nut locking assembly was replaced; one of the locking studs was missing, one was rusty & the final one was rounded. The chassis was removed as well, I'm very happy with the Gotoh replacement unit- fits to a tee. The string retainer bar was also replaced & I had a hard time finding a direct replacement. The ones in the shops now are conforming to Fender/ Floyd Rose measurements so they are a little narrow. The one here was another Eillek Oet order. Chrome screws- a little out of place, I know. They will be replaced in time to come.

Finally, a new set of tuners as the previous set was half-dead with corrosion threatening to take over. They were on sale at Eillek Oet anyway so it was a good catch.

Electronics makeover done by the Beez master himself. Can you see the orange cap in there?

All done.Glorious restoration, I'm terribly satisfied. Played with it till late last night while watching Batman.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The un-blackening (3)

After much spares-hunting & waiting, my re-finished Ibanez S470 is ready for revival today. Will be heading down to Beez's after lunch for the electronics to be done & it's good to go.

SGJ error

You know the Gibson SGJ...

Some of the online stores got the specs wrong, two of them are depicted above. This would be a little complicated if you rely on the details & went on to buy the product. Just keep in mind that buying-selling is a legal engagement (in fact, it's contractual) so any error(s) would entail some (legal) issues.

Here's the details from the manufacturer's website. There you have it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Selling: Carl Martin- Blue Ranger (SOLD)

Selling my Carl Martin Blue Ranger pedal.A raunchy drive, making it very distortion-like & then some faux fuzz at upper drive settings. Box included as seen above. Heck, it's still wrapped up.

  • Selling: CARL MARTIN Blue Ranger hard drive/ distortion pedal
  • Condition: 9/10 (box inluded)
  • Self-collect: CCK MRT station
  • No reservations/ No trades
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • Price: $75 (final)
Still available: Jet City GS HI-GAIN boost

Gibson: SGJ (2)

The SGJ is equipped with a pair of Gibson's 490R/ 490T pickups. In this case, they are the covered version. I'm not enthusiastic about Gibson pickups maybe that's the reason I'm drawn to Gibson guitars in general but the 5XX & Bursbuckers are absolutely great pickups. The 490s here are Alnico II units which aren't high output. If you do lots of fuzz, I'd recommend you check them out. For those of us who are treading the aggressive distortion path- there are other more suitable pickups for you. Also seen here is the SGJ's 24 fret neck. This does not equal a longer neck as the scale length remains the same. To put it simply, it's not an extension.

For the J-models, Gibson employs its PCB mounted circuitry which I don't fancy. It doesn't allow part replacement. If you have a pot down or wish to have your own coil split pots in there, the whole circuit has to go- DARN.


A deserving holiday for me. Things to do today (in no order of priority):
  • Re-string guitar
  • play guitar(s)
  • Watch DVD
  • Read
Wishing you a great Vesak Day & a good, long weekend ahead :-)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gibson: SGJ

Between the two new J-models offered by Gibson, I chose to acquire the SGJ. I'm just very happy with it; a simple, no frills guitar for those of us not particular about cosmetics. However, still deciding if I wanna keep or ditch the default 4XX humbuckers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sullen Les Paul

This is a signature Gibson Les Paul Studio dubbed the 'Sully Erna' (for the guitarist of Godsmack). I'm for the simplicity of this one- just a single humbucker in there for minimum distraction. However, the guitar also features a kill switch as well as a built-in flanger so there are actually 'extras'.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review quickie: Gibson J-series

Alrighty! I've tried both the LPJ & SGJ not because I'm a keen Gibson fan but because these are my kinda guitars- gloss free neck + no frills hence the price tag(s). 

This guitar is a Les Paul, just not your kinda Les Paul. So much is removed from its typical incarnation, it's a bare bones player, enough to serve needs, nothing extra. The LPJ can be deemed as a BFG variation through & through but the neck here is maple, not mahogany. So that's the expectation when you handle one.

Tone wise, the LPJ offers rounded tones from both pickups due to their covered nature. The gloss-free, lighter body- plus the fact that it's chambered- balances things off somewhat so there is neither an excessively bright voicing nor is there a deep, grinding bottom end to be heard. The test model was flawless- thumbs up.

Same finish treatment, same pickups, same neck profiles but hey, the SGJ doesn't sport a chambered body :-) It also has 2 more frets than its LPJ brother. Due to its different dimensions, the SGJ manifests great clarity even from the neck humbucker- it clicks even for non-490R fans like me. So is that a good thing? It depends on your tonal preferences, there would definitely some of us who would like the SGJ's tone to be smoother but that's nothing a good EQ wouldn't help. Or a capacitor swap for that matter.

Gibson LPJ ($899)/ SGJ ($799) are now available at Swee Lee Co.

Sonic pickups of death

Many of us are familiar with this Nazgul- you did watch Lord of The Rings, didn't you?

The other Nazgul is Seymour Duncan's latest addition to the fold- high output, chug-friendly pickups. Currently offered for 7 & 8-string instruments only, it SHOULD be a good alternative for many of us. Some sound bytes here:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gibson: SGJ

Gibson's SGJs are now available @ Swee Lee as well- $799. Unlike its LP counterpart, the SGJ has 2 more frets. Everything else pertaining to the 'J' LP model applies to the SG as well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Plugged Sunday

No major guitar activities today, played guitar in the morning, lunched out, came home & chilled out watching DVDs & did a plug conversion (2 to 3 pin) towards the evening. Maybe tomorrow's a little bit more exciting but my Mondays are usually foul. *sigh*

Lite update

If you are interested in the Cube Lite, it's listing for $279 at Swee Lee...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Carvin clearance

One of a few Carvins clearing at TYMC: SH445 going for $2,160 $1,725...

LPJ- now available

You've read about this Gibson here before: CLICK It's now available at Swee Lee for an introductory price of $899. As the price suggests, it only comes with a bag. Also to note- it's not a traditional LP as it features a maple neck & a satin finish. If you've handled the BFG before, this isn't too different.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Housing invasion

Following the success of the Pegasus treatment, Seymour Duncan's Invader model is now offered in an active housing/ mounting as seen above. What this means- it conforms to the active pickup measurements so it fits directly, no further gouging of cavity/ pickup dimension filing necessary. In my opinion, this is a wise move by the manufacturer, it lays to rest the concerns that our pickups won't fit into the current cavity due to different dimensions as preferred by various manufacturers. Nice.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Gee... really hope you didn't buy any such Ibanez...

Cube Lite

It looks like Yamaha's TR amps will face a stiff competition against Roland's new Cube Lite as seen here. Fundamentally, the Cube Lite is not a total departure from the TR; they are both desk top units more suitable for personal moments rather than pitting volumes against your drummer. However, the Cube Lite accepts input from your iPhone so it acts like you are attaching a 'pedal' to it. Neat.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Screamer trivia

Here's the answer to the TS trivia posted previously (this one: CLICK)- the TS5 is one of the manifestations that read 'Tubescreamer' instead of 'Tube Screamer' like the TS9. It's petty but it's history.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Insole inline

My Ibanez 'goldie' is still undergoing a make-over. When the body was sent for a re-finish, the lining in the bridge cavity had to be removed to accommodate the paint. However, the agony of hunting for a replacement lining, akin to a gasket of sorts, was painful. It's not sold at guitar stores under replacement parts- hopeless. Hardware stores offer a thick, foam-like material, unsuitable for this application as it will hinder the bridge movement more than providing a fundamental cushion for the job. It was a futile hunt, I was on the verge of giving up & resorting to some fabric substitute when I came across a shoe insole, the thinnest on offer. It has a rubber surface on one side with a pseudo leather feel on the other, all for $2 a pair. A suitable outline was traced out on the insole & cut accordingly so the end product  is what you see above (arrowed). It's hardly 2mm thick so it's definitely suitable for the job.

I hope to get my goldie done up this week.

Destroyer re-visited

This is an interesting development- the Ibanez DT520 Destroyer is offered in Europe only following the recent Musikmesse show. We hope this would make it here because this version bears a closer resemblance to the discontinued Rocket Roll models circa 1980s.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The morning tank

I had an old friend out for some tone works this morning. In fact, I just stopped playing. This is a budget pedal from Ibanez's Sound Tank series, so if you think the Tone Lok series were affordable, then you know there's something even more affordable. It's not in mint condition as evident here but it still works. The input/output access should be cleaned soon; the loss of signals were annoying. The LEVEL knob had seen better days as well, could use a replacement or some rectifications- would attend to this soon. The TS5 has a good Tubescreamer voicing but it lacks the cream of the TS808 which is in a different league considering the prices.

TRIVIA: The TS5 is a 'significant' member in Ibanez's TS history; do you know why? Answer in next installment :-)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Beez @ Excelsior

It's the first weekend for Beez at his new premises, managed to drop by for a look-see. Business as usual...

Beez's signature soldering iron, if you are familiar with his tools.

This is his new work light. He he... FYI- Beez won't be stocking spares such as strings, pots, etc. as these are easily obtainable from the nearby stores (Davis/ TYMC/ SV guitars). However, he will still keep the Sprague Orange Drop capacitors in stock as well as doing custom length Canare cables with your preferred plugs. One more time, Beez is now located at Excelsior Shopping Center, #B1-34. He is also no longer doing business under the 'Lookforbeez' identity so his link reference here had been removed.

New case

My Ibanez S570B gets a hard case- yes, it's another W100RG model. I'm slowly giving some deserving guitars their respective resting places.

KIko @ Ibanez

News: Kiko Loureiro is now in the Ibanez camp. Glad he didn't choose an RG. So if everything goes well, the Ibanez SA would get a new ambassador & this would help alleviate the SA profile. It's been a sparse offering if you refer to the manufacturer's catalog. There isn't any top-of-the-line SA model on offer since the Prestige offerings were removed not too long ago. Then the set-neck SASs were gone as well. The SA isn't offered in the USA any more this year, so...

Friday, May 10, 2013

SOLD: Ibanez TSA15H

This is my Ibanez TSA15H amp head. You can run it on 15W or 5W...

... it's a little stained at the top. There was another amp head resting on it.

It's also missing a pair of 12AX7 pre-amp tubes. The amp's in perfect working condition, just needs those tubes there. Clearing for $150...

Selling: Ibanez TSA15H amp head (15W/ 5W)
Included: 3-pin power plug
Not included: 12AX7 pre-amp tubes/ Head to speaker cab cable
Condition: 7/10
Self-collect: CCK mrt station
Enquiries/ confirmation:
No reservations/ no trades/ non-returnable/ non-refundable
Price: $150 (final)
Amp SOLD as at 11th May 2013- thanks for reading :-)

All that jazz

I don't usually give guitars from any custom shop a second look- they are quirky & cost too much to be true. But here's something that struck a chord (no pun intended) with me; Fender's CS Limited Jazzmaster Pro. It's a simple, one pickup guitar from Fender's 'lesser limelight' design, the Jazzmaster. There's a slight variation in the bridge & pickup. Top that with an ash body- a really no-frills guitar, this one. The catch? It's not one for folks with shallow pockets.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lookforbeez: Farewell & hello (3)

As promised, more on Beez's new location- as seen in this pic, Beez is now located at Excelsior Shopping Center, #B1-34. If you are dropping by Memphis Music, you'd see his new premises rather clearly. Do you need directions to this place? He he... :-)