Saturday, May 31, 2014


We end May on a good note- Eno pedals are now in stock at TYMC. These are very much like the Mooer range of pedals but they are of a different price range, particularly tagged to please, really. I'm pedal-hunting in the mean time & these are good stuff for the money.

Pic courtesy of TYMC.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gibson: Long Scale LP

It's a little disturbing when your current fanfare is something that everyone else had done before. However, if you stick to your roots & let others do whatever they wish to do, then you'd be prancing around, feeling a little accomplished with something like this 25.5" Les Paul. That's right, the 'long scale' here is not a baritone reference, just a regular 25.5" that would make everyone else say, "Been there, done that." 

If you think a Les Paul can do better dwelling in a Strat scale length, then you'd need to know that scale length is the utmost consideration when it comes to fundamental tone (read Tony Bacon). Reducing a Strat to a Les Paul scale length or lengthening the LP to the Strat stretch will not emulate anything in terms of tone emulation (compounded by the neck-body attachment as well). The LP was conceived to be a landmark when it comes to humbuckers, set neck construction & the 24.75" scale length. So a variation in one of these considerations would somehow cause an upset in status quo. I'm not trying to put the LP fans off but do take note of this 'disturbance in the force' :-) If this scale length had proven to be beneficial to the LP in any case, then why now, Gibson?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Carvin: NZ624

Carvin has officially released the Neil Zaza signature guitar, seen here is the NZ624. It's not a ground-up design, the guitar took the CT624 & gave it a signature whiff. Designs from Carvin are nothing short of stunning & that's just the looks. Do take time to listen to Mr. Alright himself:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maxon: OD808

This is good stuff. I'm not seeking a Tube Screamer tone/clone regardless if Maxon is the name responsible for putting the Tube Screamer on the tone map. The OD808 is a simple pedal, it has lots of Tube Screamer goodness on board & it's not ashamed to churn it out. However, it's a little jaded if it sounds like its Ibanez counterparts but not this one. It's nothing too different but it has that fatness that adds kick in both bottom end reinforcement as well as saturation. So what you get is a thick drive, nothing distortion-like, mind you. This is especially helpful when you think your single coil pickups are sounding too treblish for their own good.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gibson: Les Paul Supreme ver 2014

Here's another Les Paul in the em... Les Paul range. It's em... another Les Paul but in a thinline format. The neck pickup is a floating mini humbucker & by virtue of its non-solid body, it should give you a very engaging jazz moment should the need arises. The fretboard markers are acquired taste but it's nothing too adverse pertaining to the entire instrument's aesthetics. For the record, Gibson states that the ebony fretboard there are the 'government returned' lot.

Let's give it to Gibson for the variation but at the same time let's check how many of us are actually keen in owning a non-solid body Les Paul with a specialized neck pickup? Come on, hands up.

Moving in: Beez

Hey, everyone. Not to worry, Beez won't be moving out of Excelsior Hotel basement at all, he's just shifting unit. So WEF 1st June 2014, you can look for Beez at #B1-07B. It's the one next to the washroom. Things are getting a little cozier in this unit so if you have to hang out at the corridor prior to your consultation (it's beginning to sound like a clinic), please understand. You can get a haircut while waiting, of course. The barber's just next door.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Seymour Duncan: Perpetual Burn

This here is the Seymour Duncan Perpetual Burn trembucker, developed with lots of Jason Becker DNA in there. OK, just tone DNA. It's an Alnico 5 at the core, it sounds blistering with drive, very Distortion-like but due to its non-ceramic nature, there's a sweet top end polish. Being an alnico pedigree, the pickup sounds sweet, clean. In summary- the PB can get as hot as it wants to be but it's not forgetting its alnico roots.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

X-Men: Hanging days of future past (spoiler alert)

To sum up the latest installment of mutant adventure: Love is the root of problems. Everybody else in the movie not centered around this subject, is merely supplementary. So to give it straight to you- the characters in this movie are all over-hyped with only minutes of appearances either at the head or tail end of the story. Do not look forward to a triumphant battle because almost all Sentinel-inclined conflicts ended up in mutant decimation. Personally, I looked forward to this movie as a buffer episode, explaining the bits following the conclusion of First Class & The Last Stand, but not quite. Majority of the occurrences were still hung up, unexplained. Well done but not awesome.

Pic: 20th C.Fox

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moving out: Beez

Please note that 31st May 2014 is Beez's final day of operation at his current location (Excelsior Hotel basement, #B1-34).

Friday, May 23, 2014

ESP/ LTD sale @ Davis GMC

The ESP/ LTD sale is now on at Davis GMC.

Prices are enticing, to say the least. Please check if the selected model you wish to purchase comes with a case/ bag. To my friends/ blog readers in Malaysia/ Indonesia- it's worth the trip :-)

Pics courtesy of DGMC

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Super D 7 & 8...

Dimarzio had gone full swing in the production of its ever reliable, Super Distortion 7.

OK, so they did the 8-string version as well. If you've ever encountered the SD before, you know you'd get your PAF-esque performance with lots of high octane drive voicings. I'm largely a Duncan fan but DiMarzio's Super Distortion is something I make a point to have (in certain guitars).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Theta pack

If you purchase the ISP Theta, these are what you get:
  1. That big box. The Theta per se doesn't require that much storage space...
  2. PSU. The Theta comes with its own power supply unit.
  3. User manual. It looks more like a course-book. Contents include explanations of both the pre-amp & noise gate circuitry as well as some recommended settings.
If you are purchasing the Theta used, do take note of these inclusions. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Deluxe muffing

EHX's Big Muff Pi was there from the start & never did it disappear in the ocean of drives, distortion & fuzzes out there. To reinforce the fact that it's the flag-bearer in this turf & should be a force to be reckoned with, it's now manifested as a deluxe version featuring some midrange focus (which I sincerely think is lacking in its other incarnations) & a noise gate (yeah!). If you are not a fuzz fan (like yours truly), it is at least worth checking out. I've trimmed down my fuzz line-up & left with my trusty Russian version but this one is on my audition list :-) OK, some visual beef to convince you:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hotone: Lift Up (2)

This was the line-up yesterday; the Hotone Lift Up went to the end of the signal chain. It was a blast & I must say that I'm happy with the inclusion. I'm largely a guitar-into-amp person, the reason I am going through this trouble is because I'm short-listing some pedals for a board. Yes, I would want a pedal board for days when I plug into a clean amp to humour my boredom. The objective is to put together a smallest possible board for personal use. Two more pedals & I'm done :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hotone: Lift up

If size matters, then the bigger pedals would out-tone the little ones but we know that's not the case. Hotone pedals would easily fit into your palms & they pack a punch. Some serious punching, at that. Anyway, the Lift Up here is a boost unit, a clean boost. Something you'd employ to beef up your solos. The deal with many clean boosts is that they give you a higher serving of volume & that's it. The more adventurous booster pedals add some gain into the mix, making your signals break up like a tube amp set at upper volume levels. 

My requirement- I want a boost that can do a clean volume push as well as add a little dirt when the need arises. It's gonna be difficult starting with a distortion unit or a very mild drive for that matter because it's about subtraction. One has to slowly & tactically remove the dirt amount from one's settings & it would be quite impossible to remove this entirely because one is dealing with a dirt-specialist so to speak. Clean is not an option. So this is the reason why I chose a clean boost. The idea is to bring the gain up a tad without causing too much clipping so I get to hear more of what I have without too much added flavour. I've tested some other clean boosts along the way & the Hotone Lift Up was my final pick due to that Warm function there. Besides giving the user some PAF type warmth in clean mode, this rounds up the midrange in drive mode so my tone won't end up sounding a little sharper than it should be. Done :-)

Rating: 85%

Hotone: Lift Up
Availability: SV Guitars
Price: $120

Saturday, May 17, 2014


There was no playing yesterday as I was busy welcoming the cat into the family- Lisa. This little darling appeared one day at my workplace. She was very tame but got nervous around noisy, obnoxious idiots. We recently sent her to the vet for sterilization but when the doc cut her open, we discovered she had been sterilized before so we suspect it was a case of abandonment. Following this surgery, she spent about a week at a friend's residence to recover. She was ready for us yesterday so I had to rush home from work to mesh the front gate & some windows up to prevent unnecessary incidences in days to come.

We were surprised that she was toilet trained so this reinforced the fact that she was abandoned. We let her roam around the house to mark her territories & that included some time with my gear (whatever's left in the house). Seen above- Lisa getting acquainted with one of my amps, had to make sure she didn't use it as a scratch post :-)

It's been more than a decade since I had a cat. That was way back when I was still single. Just days before we moved to my current residence (also days before I got married), my cat died & that was really heart-breaking. I couldn't bring myself to have a new cat since then to avoid plunging into depression once more. That's how close I was to my previous feline companion. But here's Lisa now- I think she was fated to come our way.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ibanez: SRC6 bridge

Here's a close up of the SRC6's bridge- it's Ibanez's own Tight End (TE) model. This isn't a breakthrough debut as the TE is a guitar bridge already used in the RG1451 (CLICK). The implications here are that, despite wanting to go deeper into the lower frequencies, bassists would have to re-think this consideration as the slots here simply could not accommodate thicker gauges. It would also mean that this SRC6 sports a guitar string spacing so if you wish to replace the nut with some other preferred material, you can easily shop for replacements.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ibanez: SRC6

Ibanez SRC6 is as confusing as it gets; it's a bass sporting a guitar's baritone scale length & tuned to the guitar's standard tuning. So there you go- who is this instrument really aimed at? The bassist who would eventually feel the SRC6 has too much guitar vibes to be really bassy? The guitarist who would eventually realize that the SRC6 is really a bass given guitar vibes by the players themselves?

One thing for sure, the SRC6 is there for the taking. If you wish to treat it purely as a bass, by all means, go ahead. It's a bass after all. Alternatively, if you think it's a guitar in disguise, we shall not pretend that there are no baritone guitars out there not matching the SRC6's specs. So ladies & gentleman, the SRC6 is an instrument ready for your interpretations. In both music & art, we shift boundaries & the SRC6 might be the one helping you do just that.

More importantly, I'm glad to have come across the SRC6 & I'm ready to explore its potentials. :-)

**PS: If you are interested, the SRC6 won't be around for long, so... Here's a promo clip by the manufacturer to get a better perspective of what the SRC6 is capable of doing:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

RIP: HR Giger

Just read the passing of HR Giger.

He is the mind behind the terrifying Alien (aka Xenomorph) we see in the movies as well as the Species installments.

Ibanez fans would know him for his art on selected models.

His art is preferred by Tom G Warrior, this one featured on Triptykon's debut release. So who said the guitar dweebs out there are totally detached from the world?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ibanez: PN15

I had some expectations with this guitar (Ibanez's PN15). It's probably a deflection from the travel-size PF-58, something small yet impressive. This one's small, sporting parlour dimensions but the scale length (24.4") isn't travel-type. So playing one today dispelled the association; if it's small, it doesn't incline towards a travel-type performance. The PN15 isn't a wimpy instrument by any means, it's very strum-friendly but the lower frequencies lack projection once you get down to individual notes. Other than that, the PN15 is a fine investment. In terms of construction & finishing, the neck binding suffers from fine fraying at some spots but you'd need to get real close to the subject matter for such scrutiny. The fretboard on this test model needed a little re-moisturizing; it's not excessively dry but a little pale for a new unit. All in all, the PN15 is a parlour wonder, it's one that keeps you strumming your favourite tunes on end, nothing else matters.

Rating: 70%

Ibanez: PN15
Availability: Swee Lee Co.
Price: $209

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Easy picking

Today's playing session was masochistic. It's actually my way of making things easy for myself- by making it difficult at first. I have many picks in my possession so I started by choosing a common feature- depression. All three picks here feature one, they are of different sizes, materials & thickness. The warm-up started with Pick 1. Due to its size, I had to focus on picking every note & making sure it's a sure hit. It's a lesson in focus. Next up, Pick 2. It's the exact opposite of Pick 1, obnoxious, a little lengthy so the focus was not to hit anything else unnecessarily. It's beyond warm up now. I was playing my routine scales & trying out new idea. The objective was to make things difficult for myself & it was definitely working. After the break, I was playing with my preferred pick (Number 3) & it was a breeze. In fact, I got this feeling of playing 'better' when in reality, it's actually how I played all along.

This leads me to say that one way of appreciating one's preferred tool/ implement is to actually use something else & feel the inadequacies kicking in as you try to adapt. Chances are, given ample time, you can make do with that change. However, if you return to your preferred ___________ (pick, pedal, cable, etc... insert accordingly), you'd know what's missing or bothering you so much that you can feel the difference. Appreciate your quirks, it's what makes you, you.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Selling: iRig Stomp (SOLD)

Since I'm not going to plug into any more iOS devices, the iRig Stomp is for sale:
  • Selling: iRig Stomp guitar interface for iOS devices (box not included)
  • Condition: 9/10
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt station
  • No reservations/ no trades
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • Price: $65

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bacchus goodness

The Bacchus goodness continues- it's a case of coming back to check out what I last tried to be good. TYMC had since brought in more Bacchus guitars & basses in store & prices are very attractive to say the least. So they look like some over-hyped copies of some brand name but let's not overlook the fact that QC & tone are well above average for these instruments. All I did recently was to play one in store (happened to be the Tele-type bass you see above, the BTB-1 to be exact) & was quite over-whelmed by the goodness. I get such vibes coming from Edwards instruments & we know where they are coming from in terms of being very close to a certain established brand name. This gorgeous Sting-vibe instrument retails for less than $300 & that's reason enough to drop by the store to check it out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Origin in Singapore

Origin was here. They played loudly. They re-asserted the meaning of intensity and, mind you, musicianship. There were bands playing before Origin, the opening acts you'd call them & the differences in standards were rather stark. I'm not here to magnify those deficiencies but for an acclaimed act like Origin, a certain compliance settlement was ordered to remind everyone that a compromise is not the order for the day. Especially so when the band is playing away from home & the gear supplied are probably not on the priority list. 

With that said, I got a glimpse of what the band had for the show (gear-wise, that is). The most satisfying sight would be Paul Ryan's embrace of a Marshall JCM900. Armed with his Jackson Warrior & a couple of pedals, it was sonic assault from the word go. Whatever the setting, it cut through the mix & this is indeed important in a band context. The objective here is to deliver audible passages to the audience & not cave in to your preferred, customized & highly specific tone. It may very well sound splendid on a personal account but not when one plays with a no-nonsense drummer & a bassist who can match one's technicality & brutality. Origin was an awesome bill to say the least, one worth the attendance.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ibanez: S771

My first Ibanez for 2014, the S771 is from the Standard series. Nothing special about this one less that poplar burl top. If you wish to acquire this guitar, be informed that the poplar top gives off a very strong timber smell, so strong it smells like leather. More on this in subsequent episodes.

From the rear, the S771 is as normal as it gets; an oil-finished mahogany body, maple neck. Those pickups are gonna go soon...

Monday, May 5, 2014

The case for variety

The RG721FM is a stunning guitar. It's available here. Despite the price being on hold, it shouldn't be too different from it's rosewood sibling: CLICK

I think I missed the update but as at Spring 2014, Ibanez offers the RG721 in a maple fretboard version. On my consideration list, definitely.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

PRS SE: Marty Friedman

Guitar dweebs know who Marty Friedman is & his place in shred history. Over the years, Marty Friedman had embraced many brands of electric guitars but nothing changed the fact that it kept his style of play in tact. To Marty Friedman, guitars are just tools of the trade, they shouldn't change the musician.

PRS is the latest name in the Marty Friedman adventure, choosing simplicity over esoteric details, it was a deserving partnership. I had a chance to play the PRS SE Marty Friedman recently, it's a simple pleasure. Simple because the guitar presented itself as a no-frills instrument. Maybe the star fretboard markers are a little overboard but they are the Marty Friedman choice, it's his name on the guitar anyway. The neck profile is his preference for a grab-worthy instrument; meaty & wide but very playable. In fact, the low action right out of the box greatly helped the playability of this instrument. The urge to play fast was inevitable. The other note-worthy inclusion here is PRS' adjustable bridge; the raised saddles mean it's a much simpler muting affair. 

Tone-wise, the pickups on board are not excessively hot but they are there to deliver all manner of cleans & driven tones. In fact, they are typical PRS affair nothing too Marty Friedman about them. Despite not being an American, the SE Marty Friedman manifests impeccable QC from end to end. It's all about manufacturing philosophy, PRS does not embrace a stark difference in quality between their American & non-American instruments, the evidences are all here for your scrutiny. If you wish for a quality instrument with minimal endorser affiliations, the SE Marty Friedman would be a good consideration. The price- it's a very fair tag.

PRS SE: Marty Friedman
Availability: Davis GMC
Price: SGD890

May the 4th

May the force be with you.

But when it comes to string preference, you shouldn't force yourself to like what's trendy. Look deep inside yourself you must, believe it's true.

T-Rex: Moeller 2

I had to check this one out. I'm currently into pedals that reinforce themselves, the Moller 2 enables the user to activate both its drive & booster functions. That's quite a feat considering its other siblings sporting 2 buttons won't allow a simultaneous operation to occur. Let's understand that the M2 here is an under-drive pedal, so to speak. It contains nothing that could put its mild-mannered nature to disrepute. The job of the booster function is to add a clean boost to proceedings. For a more throaty drive manifestation, the boost levels must be pumped way up but it won't give you a definite distortion performance, just some re-inforced drive settings. This one's aimed at the type of player who is content with some dirt in the signals, nothing excessive. The clean boost offers some saturation without pushing anything into dark & dirty places.

T-Rex: Moller 2
Availability: Davis GMC
Price: $265

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lakland @ Swee Lee

A little heads-up here- Lakland's Skyline basses are now available at Swee Lee, do check them out. I'm averse to full-scale basses but if you play any Lakland bass you'll be impressed.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ibanez @ Swee Lee

A couple of new Ibanez guitars at Swee Lee (BB branch). First up is this gorgeous RG721 with that stunning maple top plus a matching headstock. I already own the rosewood top version so playing this today was a checking exercise. Everything is as good as it looks, just a reminder pertaining to that pair of default CAP-VM pickups; nothing too different from the INF models in the standard RG range. However, the sweeter alnico voicing makes the difference.

The other equally captivating (albeit acquired taste) guitar is this S771 sporting a poplar burl top. The instrument is incredibly light due to its aerodynamic body design & an absence of a heavy whammy bridge. Initially, played unplugged, the guitar is rather insignificant tone-wise but that's not the highlight of the performance. The amped tones were something else, very cutting edge & it'd give something to think about when it comes to the default INF pickups.

Prices have yet to be confirmed. Thanks to Mr. Faizal @ Swee Lee BB for the update & appraisal invitation.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

First impression: ISP Theta

We are now in May, time flies when your gear & guitar shenanigans keep you occupied. At least this applies to me. Trust that everyone had a good May Day holiday today.

I've been busy today with a single piece of gear- seen above, the ISP Theta. Nothing evolutionary, just a pedal incorporating a pre-amp section as well as a 2-channel distortion. To top it all off, there's noise gate to keep things at bay because the amount of gain on offer is obscene.

The real initial impression is the one at the store when I first tried this pedal (that would be Davis GMC) but the more applicable account would be the one today when I get to use the Theta with my own gear. The 14 knobs on board might scare many of us especially when we want something functional & to the point but I'm glad ISP did it this way. The controls ensure the pre-amp & distortion sections keep the 2 offerings detailed, not overlapping & dedicated in the delivery of tone. They are in fact, standard EQ, gain & level knobs which are details familiar to us, nothing new, yes? With this in mind, especially the pre-amp inclusion, you would only need a good clean channel to propel your preferred tone. I tried both tube & solidstate amps for this one & both manifested fine tones, nothing averse to report. 

I've only tested the Theta with a humbucking guitar today so hopefully, the next installment would disclose some single coil chemistry, I hope to plug in a P-90 equipped guitar in there as well.

Some closing words: The Theta is worth it if you wish for a dedicated gain source. It's made pleasant by that noise gate which the ISP name is renowned for- no-brainer combo goodness, this one.