Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Re-string: ESP Horizon III

It's the end of July, four more months of the year to go.

The other ESP I managed to re-string last Sunday- my ESP Horizon III. The B string actually snapped at the machine head while I was unwinding it due to rust. I wish ESP would have more Horizon III variations in their catalogue. It got me excited to know that the LTD Elite models feature a Horizon as one of their models but it turned out to spot the traditional pointy headstock instead of this 'tongue' design. Ah, well...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Squier Cabronita

You've seen this before- Fender's Cabronita Telecaster. It's currently a success story for the manufacturer, quite unseen here as local players are largely not receptive to Telecasters fitted with such pickups.


This commercial success triggered the inception of the Cabronita in the Squier range (Vintage Modified). The immediate implication here is that of price- it's even more affordable to own one.

Re-string: ESP Horizon II FR

I managed to re-string my ESP Horizon II FR last Sunday as well, I guess once I got the momentum going, I might as well do it.

I'm not a Floyd Rose fan, no quality issues or the likes. Just not into locking bridges which attempts too much too please but falls short in terms of user-friendliness. I'm used to handling & setting guitars up with these devices in there but just that at the end of the day, it's too much work for too little pleasure. Maybe it's the coming of age as well, I'm more into simplicity these days, anything too excessive in terms of getting ready, I'll be put off. Eww...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Selling: Pickguard

Selling this pickguard, originally meant for a Swing guitar but it was sold off before any mods took place.
  • Selling: HH pickguard
  • Condition: 8/10 (plastic lining still in tact, please peel off yourself)
  • No reservations/ no trades
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt station
  • Confirmation/ queries: dark1349@hotmail.com
  • Price: $15 (final)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

An eclipse morning

The first thing I did today was to re-string my ESP Eclipse. This is perhaps the most comfortable singlecut design I've come across & I'm glad I own it. I'm not a fan of active pickups but they are incredible in this guitar. This guitar has a set of locking tuners which stabilized tuning, especially for string which do not travel straight to the machine heads. Gibson could have done this to their guitars but we know too well that they won't do it as a standard feature. The body features a ribcage bevel which helps to keep the instrument snug against the player's person, once more, Gibson could have done it to theirs but let's not shoot them excessively for what they could have refined. Let's not forget that there are many other guitar manufacturers out there, if you don't fancy a certain brand name for its implements, there are alternatives to embrace.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scale the Summit: The Migration

I've been listening to Scale the Summit almost every day after work, on my way home. I'm totally into the quartet's all-instrumental affair in The Migration; there's this sublime awe when it comes to bands who team up to create vocals-free music. This is definitely a put-off for pop music enthusiasts, very technical musicianship but the music in this release is somehow enveloped by restraint. I only realized this after repeated listenings, in fact, some of the arrangements were subsequently re-used in other numbers, very intelligent & tasteful incorporation, mind you.

And the band looks like computer geeks taking up music as a hobby.



However, after listening to guitarist Chris Letchford (seen here doing a clip for EMG pickups) playing one of the tunes off the record, we know these chaps are worthy addition to the future of instrumental music.

Snapping good

Something new from the Edwards chaps- a dual humbucking Snapper (E-SN-120). It's a simple guitar with non-locking parts. That covered neck pickup just adds a tad of class there. I've got to give it to them for coming up with simple stuff that thrills.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Modern Players Gen 2

These are the new additions to Fender's Modern Player series. If you are new to this range of Fenders, the Modern Players are China-made instruments which are superb in terms of QC per se. I was skeptical initially but after trying one, I was hooked to one of the first generation offerings, the Marauder. Seen here from L-R (all price references are MSRPs):
  • Strat HSH: Mahogany body Strat- heck, yeah!! (USD599.99)
  • Jazz Bass V satin (USD839.99)
  • Jazz Bass satin (USD759.99)
  • Jazzmaster HH (USD699.99)
  • Mustang (USD699.99)
  • Dimension bass (USD699.99)
At least one of the guitars is a sure acquisition for me, highly likely- the HSH mahogany Strat. That Dimension bass is also very attractive albeit a long scale model which I know I would struggle with.

Hotone: CHUNK

This is my other Hotone pedal, the Chunk- it's distortion for the rest of us. I'm very happy with the level of saturation on board, let alone the distortion intensity. It doesn't sound that 'metal' but with the HOT button engaged, it could do some damage. I would say the Chunk has some likeness in response with reference to Wampler's Pinnacle pedal. That's how big the Chunk is against a pick. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gibson: LPX

This is new by Gibson- the LPX. Note there's no mention of 'Les Paul' in the model reference, just the abbreviation 'LPX'. There's no 'Les Paul' over at the headstock as well. Hmm...

Anyway, you'd recall they have similar intentions with the release of the Firebird X, this LPX just brings things a little higher up in terms of digital incorporation. Are you ready for a digital LP experience? One which allows a rather extensive emulation of external tones as well as memory incorporation; this guitar is virtually a memory bank of sorts, you can actually save some user presets in there. 

It's rather ironic that there are technologies out there, of this nature, trying to emulate the Les Paul tone & here we have an LP trying to be something else. I shouldn't comment excessively on this because I might be deemed as a Gibson basher despite the fact that I have some Gibsons here & continue to respect the craftsmanship. 

I bought a Les Paul. In fact, bought a few Les Pauls because I wish to own one of the most iconic guitar tones in history. I wouldn't want a Les Paul which claims to be more than what it's supposed to be. With all due respect, if Gibson started this from scratch, if they wish to purely focus on the technology by letting a fresh range of models do the commercial bidding, something totally new, not a model to leverage on from the current range of guitars- they wouldn't take off.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

KOMPed

As you would have recalled reading in these entries, I'm not quite a pedal fan but time & again, I see greatness in some pedals I come across & wouldn't hesitate buying them to reinforce my tone. My latest addition is this little wonder (it's smaller than your credit card- ha!) is a Hotone Komp pedal- a compressor unit from the Skyline series.

I really wish majority of the compressor units out there are effective as this one; it adds much saturation to whichever drive/ distortion unit you couple it with. I'm currently placing it before the drive/ distortion source & it's simply great! You'd hear immediate & marked injection to your tone, increases pick sensitivity as well. If you like cascading 2 drive/ distortion sources into each other, try replacing one of those pedals with a compressor- hear more of the same but at a heightened performance, that's my best take on the situation. 

Hotone pedals are available at SV Guitars, they are smaller-than-your-palm units aimed at giving more tonal performance & the obvious sacrifice here is its inability to be powered by a battery, PSU is the only way to go.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Limited killing (LTD content)

Come 25th July, this limited edition LTD guitar will be released to commemorate Metallica's 30th Anniversary of their Kill 'Em All album. However, only 300 units are available worldwide...

Kill 'Em All wasn't my first Metallica album, Garage Days Re-revisited was it. It got me listening to ...And Justice for All in my early adolescent years. At that point in time, it was really hell trying to locate all of the band's previous releases- nobody did a re-issue/ re-print until much later towards the early 1990s. All this was on cassette tape & that was when I bought Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning & Master of Puppets in a single purchase. Those were the days...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Selling: Fender bridge (vintage type saddles)

Selling, this 2-week old Fender bridge (it's a genuine Fender Japan article- note 'Fender' string saddles). Not needed any more as I'm converting my project guitar to a fixed bridge unit.
  • Selling: Fender (Japan) bridge (vintage type saddles)
  • No whammy bar (it didn't come with a whammy unit in its original packaging)
  • Condition: 9/10 (2 weeks old)
  • No reservations/ No trades
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt station
  • Confirmation/ queries: dark1349@hotmail.com
  • Price: $35 (final)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Assembly project (3): The halt

This was an awful start; I spent the whole morning putting this together, almost had everything done then this had to happen. Something was amiss when I had the bridge in the cavity because the block wouldn't line up with the spring claw so one of the whammy springs was in contact with the body instead of traveling straight to the claw. Upon a closer look (depicted above), the cavity was actually slanted. In this case you can see how it's not parallel to the ruler. Bummer. 

This project takes a back seat while I convert it into a fixed bridge model instead.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ibanez: AR325

I ended Friday by testing this guitar- Ibanez's AR325 (at Swee Lee BB branch). This isn't a fresh idea by the manufacturer, in fact, it's a regurgitation of the Artist series. The new feature here are those mini 3-way toggle switch to provide parallel & split modes in addition to the standard humbucking mode. I kinda ignored this guitar in its previous incarnation because it sounded too much like an SG which was in need of a slightly clearer sounding pickups. However, this 2013, the AR is equipped with a pair of Super 58s so while hearing it in action, I was reminded of why I look up to these pickups, not because they are crazy high output units, because they are good in clean & driven settings without trying to be something else- it's not living in the shadows of any other Ibanez models (as far as I know). No list price as at testing time. Hmm...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Re-string/ set up: Ibanez RG350M


Another successful re-string/ set up episode to share- Ibanez RG350M belonging to Brother Akmal @ Bt Batok. This guitar was in very good condition but because it was acquired used, the initial owner could have been more forthcoming in disclosing the demerits of the instrument. Seriously, if you have something to hide, you are better off keeping your guitar rather than selling it in the after market. Should some faults be discovered along the way, it would undermine your reputation, unless of course, it's a bona fide oversight.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Assembly project (2)

Tuners are in. Looks easy enough, yes? Mere fixing & screwing but I don't have a drill. This was done the primitive way; I nailed some holes to get some depth going then insert those screws in there. Not for individuals lacking in perseverance.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Winter's yield

Yes, I got my set last Friday but have not decided which guitar it should go into. The Black Winter humbucker may be the manufacturer's most vile distortion-type pickup to date but specs-wise, it's not a total departure from Duncan's Distortion model. I like that assurance :-)

Check the Black Winter ($200- calibrated pair) out at Davis GMC + a whole other range of fresh Duncan  pieces.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Assembly project

I recently bought these parts for personal assembly. I'll let Beez handle the electronics when the time comes. I was looking at the spares I have accumulated after countless swap-outs of other guitars. I would like to put those to use, hence the purchase.

So far, I have manged to instal the input jack bracket which is a fairly simple affair. He he...

Douglas: Grendel (2)

Did the ritual to my Douglas Grendel today. A push-pull coil split switch...

Orange drop capacitor. This pic also shows you the interior appearance of the control cavity; a well-finished affair, I should say.

A pair of Tesla Plasma 7-1 humbuckers. I hear good stuff from this pair in my Schecter Omen 7 & they did well here- more definition, less mush from the 7th (B) string.

After much playing & physical scrutiny, I am giving my Grendel a quick appraisal:

The Douglas Grendel is a cheap guitar, there's no hiding that. But there's also no hiding that it was well made; from one end to the other, it's top notch. It's not a 'wanna be' guitar, it didn't draw inspiration from any particular brand name model out there so you won't feel played out by some false expectations. 

I need to remind potential buyers out there that the neck profile here is the fat & wide type, coupled with a rather flat radius (13.7"), it could be quite a challenge to some of us who are too accustomed to a 6-string. Compounding this experience would be the fact that the manufacturer employed a 'uniform neck profile', meaning- the thickness at the first fret, traveling up to the 12th, only experiences a 0.5mm difference. Please keep this in mind.

Electronics-wise, the Grendel is equipped with budget features so the pickups there are the typical 'get-by' grade, nothing fantastic. In fact, some of us might find it excessively bland across frequencies. One of the pots was extra stiff & I did away with it yesterday.

All in all, the Grendel is arguably a worthy 7-string to own. I wouldn't quite recommend this to players who are starting out with an extra string in their guitar, due to the neck profile. However, if you find skinny necks detestable, this would be a good pick. It's value for money, no doubt about that, it just need a little getting used to.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blackstar LT

Blackstar is another amp manufacturer to be churning out pedals this summer. These are simple units that promise to recreate the manufacturer's amp voicings. In fact, some models feature the patented ISP feature found on Blackstar amps so you know what you are getting here in terms of 'Blackstar' tones. Looking forward to them being here for a simple reason- they are more affordable than the tube-integrated HT series.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Vox's garage

Another summer goodness- Vox's fresh Tone Garage pedals. Yes, those are tubes integrated into the pedal's circuitry. The manufacturer made a unique turn for convenience this time round; the pedals can accept standard 9V PSUs. Yummy.

Dean Bathory

This used to be Zoltan Bathory's (Five Finger Death Punch) signature BC Rich model...

This summer, Mr. Bathory opens his accounts with Dean guitars.

I've no idea if there's a mass migration, away from BC Rich but the manufacturer had been off the radar since the start of 2013. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Selling: Carl Martin Plexi Tone (SOLD)

Because there's another Plexi-like pedal coming my way, I'm putting this one up for sale. Barely a month old. As stated on the pedal- it's full of Plexi goodness :-)

  • Selling: Carl Martin Plexi Tone (drive/ distortion/ fuzz)
  • Condition: 9.5/10 (less than a month old)
  • Box included
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt station
  • Queries/ conformations: dark1349@hotmail.com
  • No reservations/ no trades
  • Price: $95 (final)
EDIT: Pedal SOLD as at 12-7-2013 :-)

Cover up

I recently removed my Gibson SGJ pickups which are covered versions (left) of ordinary Gibson units. I'm not bent on reproducing the exact livery of this guitar but I find this cover feature rather easy to replicate. I'm well aware that the Gibson cover method involved a sealing procedure back at the factory which I'm not keen to follow. So I simply used a removable plastic cover (right) instead.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

PRS: S2 series


Summer goodies from PRS- the S2 series. These are basically affordable American models featuring a flat top (with ample beveling). Prices (from left to right):

  • Mira: USD1,179
  • Custom 24: USD1,399
  • Starla: USD1,249

Ramadan greetings 2013

A peaceful, blissful Ramadan to all Muslims out there. Remember- fasting does not equal no guitar-ing :-)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

LTD: TE-212

It had to happen. Especially when it's at the store for weeks, largely ignored by buyers who are preoccupied with other distractions. I didn't buy this to Albert Collins or Ron Wood my playing time, I just wish to own a dual humbucking Tele-style guitar which doesn't cost a bomb & the LTD TE-212 is it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Selling: Gibson 490 humbuckers (covered) (Item SOLD)

These pickups are removed from my Gibson SGJ. They are a pair of covered 490 humbuckers. As you can see here, they were sealed at the factory so they are not removable unless you are willing to surgically remove them. 

  • Selling: Gibson 490 pickups (covered)
  • Condition: 9.5/10
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt station
  • No reservations/ no trades
  • Queries/ confirmation: dark1349@hotmail.com
  • Price: Best offer secures

Re-string: Gibson LP BFG

I had some time yesterday prior to the lunch out, gave my BFG a re-string. I consider this an LPJ predecessor. Assuming you understand what the LPJ has to offer in terms of instrument finish, the BFG was everything LPJ is now. But I believe you won't buy the BFG based on the following accounts...

There wasn't a particular high standard when it comes to wood quality. The pocked marked wood surface seen above & jagged edges were acceptable.

Frayed joint edges were also acceptable. There were many 'hairy' instances on this guitar which would induce a splinter episode if you aren't too careful with handling.

Seriously, 'missing' bits from the flame top. 

However, the LPJ of today are way ahead in terms of the physical respect of the guitar. What you see here in the BFG are absent in the LPJ. It seems that there is this realization that people are not agreeable with quasi-trash, regardless of the revered brand name. But the BFG was conceived to manifest such raw manifestation which many players failed to understand & embrace. I bought one knowing all this was part of the 'package' but more importantly, it's my first exposure to a gloss-free Gibson neck & I some how liked it (still liking it) better than the traditional lacquered Gibson neck. Also, the sharper, more defined overall tone won me over.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Congrats! Dr. Duck's strings giveaway winners

Congrats to the above-listed winners! I've decided to reward all those who made it by midnight 7th July 2013.

Please check your e-mail for confirmations. Remember to reply with your mailing address & preferred string gauge. I've decided to let you chaps try the Dr. Duck brand as the manufacturer recently revised their processes to manifest an improved feel which in my opinion, is worth trying.

Gotcha

If you come across any blokes with bloated ago telling you straight in the face they are proud to buy American, you can show them this pic. I'm not here to disrepute the manufacturer, heck, why would I buy this brand name if I'm of the opinion it's turd. Just wanna prove that when you're not looking, you might be played like a fool.

Anyway, I'm doing away with this circuit board, it doesn't matter. Guitar in question- Gibson SGJ.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

2 million!


I don't celebrate anniversaries, birthdays & such but I'm eternally grateful to you for making this happen- as at 2034hrs today, theguitaraddict had more than 2 million hits :-O I hope to keep going & not lose the interest in documenting guitar-related matters here & I sincerely hope all this effort are meaningful to you.

As a token of my appreciation to you, I'm giving away 2 millions packs of Dr. Duck guitar strings which are sponsored by SV Guitars (thanks, Mike!!) by answering this simple question: 

How many SV Guitars branches are there in Singapore?

Please e-mail me your answer to: dark1349@hotmail.com before 12.00 midnight today (6th July 2013). Winners will be notified by an e-mail reply with a request for your mailing address. Each winner will be entitled to choose the string gauge set of your choice- .009 or .010 :-)

Once again, a big thank you for your support!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PS: Bro Ijau D. Koceng- I have a complimentary pack of strings for you, so no efforts needed, just chill & check your mail box during Ramadhan :-)

The Studio experience

Saturday morning ritual- re-string. This time, it's my Gibson Les Paul Studio Premium Plus. This is actually my happiest LP experience to date. When I bought this guitar, I was truly happy with everything it had to offer. I didn't give it a thorough inspection at the store as I had to make a quick decision; someone was eyeing it & making calls so it was a done deal after he ended his call. He asked me how much it was & said he was prepared to only pay $1K for it- yeah, right. A Gibson LP Studio at that price right off the shelf? He should maybe travel back in time to get that kinda deal.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Standards

This is a follow up of last weekend's activity- playing my Gibson Standards. Both of them do not hold true to their original specs; the Les Paul had a set of locking tuners (GOTOH Magnum Lock) in there which improved tuning stability quite markedly, while the SG had the pickups swapped out to Seymour Duncans. Despite the industry's recognition of them being flagships of their respective series, I don't deem them special. I don't quite fancy Gibson in terms of tone & playability in the first place, maybe that's the reason why I don't click with them as well as my other guitars. However, I make it a point to own Gibsons as a mark of respect to the craftsmanship & playing these 'difficult' guitars forces me to re-evaluate my technicalities & playing approach.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Legitimate replacements


Fender now offers genuine replacement necks & bodies. The current selections are limited to Stratocaster/ Telecaster/ P-bass/ J-bass range. There isn't a wide variety namely because it's at its fledgling stages. You are basically looking at American & Mexican replacement necks & bodies with an average of USD200 difference. The American versions are not priced as scraps, mind you, a Strat neck, for instance, goes for a whopping USD499.99, while its Mexican counterpart is only USD199.99.

So this gives you the perfect reason to assemble part-build Fender instruments to rival the manufacturer's finished article, you might think? If you take time to crunch the cost of assembling an all-American Strat, you'd realize that the American Special range is hard to beat at about SGD1,300. Please don't dream of inflating prices of your Franken-Strats & telling people out there they are 'custom' build by you. Even a genuine finished article retains about 70% of its retail price in the after market so how much do you think your Franken-strat would fetch? It's still a demand-supply situation when it comes to such pricings & the objective of offering these geunine replacement units is largely to pacify owners in the belief that their personal, war-torn, battle-scarred Fenders can be resurrected should the neck/ body fall apart in its entirety along the way. But heck, who would truly want to refurbish such personal relics? :-)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fender's ashes


Fender's ashes... sounds a little morbid but this is actually good news from the manufacturer- a Summer 2013 American Rustic Ash series. I am applauding this move because these guitars are not beyond reach & they still carry Fender's American QC. Yes! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Re-string: Ibanez 540R

I had the opportunity to work with this Ibanez 540R over the weekend, it belongs to Brother Halim (who is having a day off work & most probably sipping coffee while reading this) who passed the guitar to me before he departed for KL.

It required a re-string & a change of string gauge from a set of .009 to .010. The first thing done was to 're-set' the fine tuners to a neutral level- I had it up halfway so there is an equal leeway to flatten (raise up) & sharpen (screw down) the notes after the nut is locked. This is one of the most fundamental things to do but often overlooked.

I removed all strings when re-stringing an instrument for the sole reason of being able to clean/ re-condition the fretboard. In this case, the 540R required only a little bit of re-conditioning but the stubborn bits were the ones over at the first fret but that was dealt with using a toothbrush. Remember, if you are doing this, use a soft-bristled brush. Any harder & you'll end up scratching the board.

I managed to tighten this gap here which gave me some play for the action adjustment subsequently. In fact, I only needed to raise the action very slightly to accommodate the thicker set of strings (.010). 

Over at the headstock, I was happy to have successfully removed those minor scratches caused by the tip of strings during re-stringing. I managed to give it 5 rounds of treatment while watching a Van Halen DVD- applied rubbing compound, scoured, swapped cloth & wiped clean the cloudy build-up.

All in all, I must say that it was an enjoyable episode with the 540R. It's a battle-scarred guitar & there's only so much you can do to such an instrument to make it appealing. Bringing it back to its initial condition is an impossible engagement, it's like asking the cobbler to revive a seasoned pair of shoes to a fresh, out-of-the-box status without accepting the fact that some parts are worn out & require replacement instead of a mere refurbishment.