Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The saving grace (57/66)

Nothing new here, just my Charvel DX-1 ST.

However, these are new: EMG 57/ 66 humbuckers.

I lost faith in this guitar, but after a re-think, I blame the default pickups in there which were EMG's 81/ 85 pair. I'm not an ardent active fan but I do make it a point to live with some active tones once in a while. This helps me with tone diagnosis; what to do when dealing with a deviant aspect of my equipment. 

Both the 57 & 66 feature an Alnico 5 magnet core with ceramic pole pieces but there is a need to remind ourselves that all magnetic goodness are displaced by pre-amp influence in an active circuitry. Players who worship active tones tend to declare a real, audible influence in magnetic essence but it's like telling people the voice going through a loud hailer sounds fantastic.

I'm very pleased with the 57/66 namely because they do not sound as tampered by the active circuitry, less charged response, more magnetic. It's like hearing a set of passive pickups with a pedal-boosted assistance. As such, some guitar volume play yielded a rather responsive outcome, making both pickups go from crunch to stun at the turn of the knob. Having said all this, I am not of the opinion that these sound 'better' & more suitable to players already affiliated with passive pickups, but they sound slightly different from their 81/85 counterparts for instance. Clean-wise, I won't say this pair have what it takes to outperform a sweet-sounding, passive pickups but it's more likable & that's a lot coming from an active heretic like me.

So there, my adventure with active pickups taking a turn for the better.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thumbs up & down

I've chosen my best & most disappointing album for 2014 & Eclectic here, is definitely the best release for me this year. Eric Johnson & Mike Stern, two guitar titans, combining some of their best ideas but not stepping on each other's feet. I wish more pro guitarists would come together to manifest such collaborations, not a platform to stroke one's ego in the presence of others but to respect the counterpart's musicianship & fuse ideas.

Kindly Bent to Free Us was a departure release by Cynic. The prog camp loves this but for initial fans like me, it's a total delusion from what they stood for when they first made known to the world who they were through Focus. I can understand how bands evolve along the way but Cynic signaled their willingness to discard more than 50% of who they initially were & this comes with a consequence- they lost believers. I'm sure their more accessible presentations would have gained them other fans along the way but I absolutely loathe this one- whiny clean vocals from start to finish & guitars with the primary assignment of holding the presentations together & minimum creative pivot- a waste of time & money.

SE Indonesia

You've seen this headstock before, nothing new; it's a PRS SE model.

What you might not know is that the 2015 SEs are now made in Indonesia. PRS has released these models to selected countries less the USA (they will get them in 2015). The clueless people will start dismissing these SEs in view of its 'demotion'. Well, it happened when Asian production shifted from Japan to Korea, then China took over, now Indonesia seems to be the choice. So with every demotion, people will dismiss the products even before a personal encounter; just because they are manufactured in a less favourable country, they are doomed to fail. 

On a separate note, we have the Ibanez Premium models to put it on record that serious craftsmanship defies geographical boundaries. I hope to give this generation of PRS SEs a fair appraisal come 2015. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Organ in a box

Hmm... that tittle there suggests some human anatomy trading but anyway, this is something I HAVE to own; an organ simulation unit to offer some escape on days when my brain just goes blank in terms of creativity. Glad to receive it before the year ends.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jack in the box

A relative unknown, Jack Deville makes some fine boutique pedals but the collection isn't extensive. The Deuce Coupe here is an overdrive unit with 2 drive modes albeit a single activation button: Ultra/ Drive. It's on sale, I like what I heard so, bought it :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ibanez: SA960QM (owner's take)

So the Ibanez SA960QM was my final acquisition for 2014. It's in tip-top condition (or so I thought) but I bought this in hurried circumstances; the store was crowded with Xmas shoppers, everyone was trying something at every available amplifier, noisy was a polite reference of the situation. When I brought it home, it was only then that I heard the fret buzzing across the neck at the 15th - 22nd frets for virtually all strings. Some work had to be done to the neck, some frets had to be hammered in place & saddles were re-shimmed; it took longer than necessary because there were no ready spares. I had to improvise with aluminium foil (rather happy with my problem-solving skills at the end of it all). Despite being frustrated, I was OK with how things turned out in the end considering it managed to adapt to my low-profile action.

Moral of the story- if the circumstances are affecting your pre-purchase instrument scrutiny, you are better off buying on another day.

I have other purchases prior to this one & that's for other blog entries before 2014 ends, of course.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mission boosting

At a single glance, this qualifies as a wah pedal. At best, it might be a volume pedal as well. Be informed that this pedal here, Mission Engineering's V-Boost, is a booster unit in a rocker-type concept. I think this is a neat idea especially for players who, after stomping on their boost pedals, realized there's too much/little gain & bending down for some adjustments is a no during performances. So varying one's boost output wah-style is the way to go.

Ibanez: SA960QM

The Ibanez SA model received the Premium treatment in Fall 2013. This SA960QM guitar is finally here for our consideration but don't blame us players if it has lost its appeal after only appearing about a year later, we have other distractions along the way.

Quality/ fit/ finish
The SA960 has no issues in this department. The manufacturer's 'Premium' stamp there established it as a tier above the standard offerings & it lived up to its tag in every way. That provocative quilted maple top is an elaborate laminate because it's a little thicker than what manifested in the S870 for instance. Top marks for the stunning looks, definitely. However, I was a little upset by the loose volume & tone knobs; it's like some factory hands had forgotten to lock them in place before they left the factory. It's nothing an allen wrench could not handle so all's good here.

Playability/ tone
Warning: The SA series isn't in the same league as the RG in terms of neck profile. I wouldn't offer any adjectives alluding to slim manifestations, in fact, it's quite the opposite. The carve is substantially thicker & rounder, a very substantial C-profile. If you are a Fender fan, there would be some appeal. Despite replicating the S-Series top, the SA body profile sports a flat back & the edges only taper at the top. As such, there is no profound slimness & the body's treble-side edges sit comfortably on your lap in a sitting playing position.

The DiMarzio IBZ pickups on board are manufactured by DiMarzio in the USA. Some years back, when these pickups debuted in the Ibanez RG2XXX series, players thought they were OEM models manufactured in Asian shores but that was not the case (here's proof: CLICK). We can hear them to be of substantial tonal character in both driven & clean settings but those single coils there, they are a little under-powered & couldn't keep up with the hotter humbucker in clean applications (yes, I did raise the single coils up to procure more volume but that failed to address the circumstances). The humbucker per se excels in heavy, prog-esque tones but dialing in a wicked black metal voicing was tough. The single coils make excellent contemporary quack but if you are after an SRV-type fatness, these won't please you. Reality check- this is an Ibanez, it's not a Strat.

Conclusion
I've played many Premium models by Ibanez (currently own 2) & this SA960QM proved to be the least engaging in terms of presence despite not manifesting any visible flaws. As they say, it's lacking mojo despite being a looker. Tone wise, this SA manifest lots of smooth driven voicings typical of a DiMarzio supplemented instrument so if you are this type of player, you'd be flippin' happy. Also, if you are after that RG playability, the SA model is an alternative to that feel so be warned.

Rating: 75%

Ibanez: SA960QM
Availability: Swee Lee Co.
Price: $1,299

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ibanez: PGM80P

The latest in the Ibanez Premium signature range- Paul Gilbert's PGM80P. I think Ibanez played it safe by opting for a more mainstream RG outline (there are many to choose from the PGM range). The whammy inclusion is a little baffling because Mr. Gilbert doesn't fancy one lately. Pickups on board: DiMarzio Master/ PGM/ Master

Season's greetings!

It's that time of the year again but if you don't celebrate Xmas, treat it as a universal day of rest. Here's to a good day ahead, lots of merry-making, gifts exchange, renewed camaraderie- cheers!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Grateful

I'd like to thank Beez for having this done on time. The pot of this Ibanez GRGR010LTD went dead but it's the usual diagnosis- corrosion. I had been keeping it alive via contact spraying but there's only so much such temporary remedy could do. Despite closing at 4.00PM on some days, Beez would make it a point to wait up for customers who are delayed by inclement weather or held up by traffic jams so thumbs up to Master Beez.

I'm not a collector- honest. I don't go all out to invest in collectibles, special editions, limited releases, etc. I don't purchase instruments in the hope that they would appreciate in value over time; that's not my primary concern. I pay good money for guitars that connect with me, the ones that become the extension of my ideas, regardless of the brand name or the standard that they bear. Take this Ibanez you see here for instance, it's an entry level GIO model. When it was in its original incarnation, the default pickup wasn't fantastic. It sounded awesome with high wattage, high gain amps but clean-wise, it was beyond bleargh! So I had a Duncan Custom Custom in there & had that cover installed as novelty. The default pot also made way for a smoother alternative & it instantly became an appeal as opposed to an excess. 

For many of us, we wouldn't dare spend on entry level instruments especially after we have acquired our dream machine; an up-there model with lots of drool-worthy appointments. My take here is to embrace an honest, economical guitar, one that got you thinking in terms of performance above other considerations & keep it as a second fiddle (OK maybe you have more than 2 guitars thereafter). Come back to it on days when you think you are at the top of your game only to be humbled by that secondary implement that requires you to focus on the things that you have taken for granted; bends, left hand vibrato, muting, picking accuracy & the list goes on. This will complete you as a player, the ability to check & correct yourselves with the instruments you own because you had put some thinking into your purchases instead of spending everything on snob appeal.

Ibanez: More Roadcore goodness

There are 2 more Ibanez Roadcore models to look forward to come 2015. This green meanie is the RC1720M, featuring the highly acclaimed Ibanez Super 58 humbucker in the neck & a Core Tone counterpart in the bridge. I've had personal encounters with the Super 58 & must say that it's one of the best non-high output pickup I've heard in action- the reason why George Benson & John Scofield leave them be in their signature models. However, those signature models are hollow/semi-hollow instruments. The Super 58's performance in this solid body remains to be heard.

The final member in the new 2015 lineup is the RC1720S, featuring a pair of Ibanez Super 9 pickups. I'm not an ardent fan of single coils but I do pay attention to the ones that do well with distortion so this one needs some audition time once it gets here, of course.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ISP: Theta Pro DSP

I'm a big fan of ISP's Theta pedal & the manufacturer has extended its technology into this- the Theta Pro DSP, a foot controller. Not just a standard programmable foot controller but it includes the Theta features in it, meaning- you can add in pre-amp & drive/distortion voicings in there. If that's not enough for you, the manufacturer has included some effects as well, not forgetting a speaker emulation should you need this for recording. It's gonna be an interesting 2015... :-)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ibanez: RC2720

An interesting release by Ibanez for 2015; the Roadcore RC2720. Interesting because it's not a Prestige model by description but it's made in Japan. It features a pair of Seymour Duncan humbuckers; the P-Rails. There's a special selector switch there just next to the tone button that gives you 3 tone modes: 1) Full humbucking 2) P-90 only 3) Single coil blade only. Interesting, yes?

Selling: Ibanez bag

My friend is clearing this Ibanez bag from the ISG series, able to fit 6, 7 & 8-string guitars. Should you be interested, you can reach him at: 8-3-88-645-3. Item condition: 9/10

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tombalek overview

A little more details for you if you are still interested. Remember, the next cycle starts in Jan '15 :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Flexing

I currently own a Spectraflex cable which is more than 5 years old. Some things just speak of quality & they last. It's no reason to be buying another but I did- a braided Original. I have simple criteria when choosing cables:
  1. Low noise/ noiseless- the utmost consideration. I should be enjoying my guitar tones while playing, not put up with humming or hissing cables. If a cable fails this criterion, regardless of the brand name or boutique plugs they sport, it's not worth my money. The cables should also not receive radio signals while you're at it. It's a sheer indicator of poor insulation.
  2. Durable- it's pointless to be spending good money just on tone only for the cable to die a few days later. Cables of yesterday tend to be short-lived by their lack of durability. How do I know this? I've stepped on cables countless times & those sub-standard ones would crackle for a simple reason; their innards were squashed & they couldn't carry the signals through. Also, I've stepped on plugs quite often & the flimsy ones would have the connection squashed as well & that's a sure sign of death to come. So two things here- durable plugs as well as final coating (regardless of the material).
  3. Frequency response- this is a little sticky but the standard here is of clarity & non-inclination. Meaning- the cable shouldn't influence your signal frequencies, it is a neutral implement which lets your guitar & amp do their job. However, there are cables out there that give you more high end or add to your bass frequencies. This isn't an anomaly, they were actually manufactured as such to suit personal needs.
Spectraflex is my first real experience with a quality cable. I was enduring cheap cables before that & it's not doing me good; they affected enjoyment. Subsequently, I tried many others but I have the following brand names to recommend if you are in the market for a deserving cable to supplement your tone quest (no order of merit):
  • Evidence
  • Spectraflex
  • Free the tone
  • Canare
  • Lava
  • Monster
  • Mogami
  • Planet Waves (American Stage series)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Selling: EMG 81/85

I have this pair of EMG 81/85 for sale, those mounting screws included. Unfortunately, I do not have other supplementary accessories to go along with them.
  • Selling: EMG 81/85 set (mounting screws included)
  • Condition: 8.5/10
  • Self-collect @ CCK mrt stn
  • No reservations/ trades
  • Queries/ confirmation: subversion.sg@gmail.com
  • Price: $165 (final)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Return to ice

Kiss' Paul Stanley came full circle & returns to Ibanez. All those Washburns & Silvertones aren't quite 'it', yes? Personally, I feel he's the right ambassador for this guitar.

Pic: Ibanez UK

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tombalek trip

I was at the Tai Seng (off Paya Lebar) premises yesterday to visit Tombalek GR&E.

Tombalek offers you the chance to create your dream instruments (guitars/ basses) from the ground up. Practitioners start with blanks & slowly materialize that elusive custom shop-esque dream squeeze over a period of 3 months.

So at the end of it all, you bring home a fully functioning instrument of choice crafted entirely by you.

The premises are equipped with machines & a full range of tools to help you see through your woodwork.

More importantly, you will receive a personal attention from founder/ luthier, Mr. GJ Kung in seeing your work through.

While I was there, I managed to get a glimpse of the wood available which ranges from raw blocks to work-in-progress materials. See that slotted piece there? It's Madagascar rosewood, something you won't be able to source in the open market any more due to trade regulations. No worries though, all working timber at the premises were acquired legally, namely through individuals who don't quite know what they posses in hand but were willing to trade them off.

So if you are interested in this adventure, do browse through the available course over at Tombalek's homepage & sign up quickly because only a handful of vacancies are left for the upcoming January 2015 slot: TOMBALEK

Monday, December 15, 2014

MXR: Micro Amp +

MXR's Micro Amp + isn't a complete re-thinking of its standard, non-Custom Shop version, the Micro Amp (M133). This pedal isn't a dedicated drive unit, it's a boost pedal which is suffering from a performance confusion of sorts (in a positive way, definitely) because it's clean for most part of its gain stages, dirt only kicks in past the 1 o'clock mark (depending on the pickups of your guitars).

Like its standard sibling, the MA+ offers up to +26dB of gain so you get what this one's driving at (no pun intended); subtle push when used as a stand alone unit. The 2-band EQ there adds to some gain at upper settings in addition to some frequency push.

In use, the MA+ has no drive push in the lower gain settings. However, you can hear the output difference, namely a fattening effect unlike a bass-only enhancement. I am pleased with the Treble control for its ability to enhance clarity as opposed to making the signals too sharp-sounding. The Bass knob delivers what it says- more lower end. This control also enhances gain in its upper settings unlike the treble counterpart. In its stand alone application, I observe that single coils benefit more from the MA+ in fattening notes up but a treble restraint need to be observed.

Because I'm a distortion dweeb, putting the MA+ in a drive enhancement situation is obligatory so it was made to push an already driven amp. Verdict- wonderful provided you understand it's more-boost-than-drive function but with that said, the MA+ makes an angry amp sound more defined so it gets a thumbs up from me in this application.

The 2-band EQ here gives an illusion that the MA+ has more dirt than its M133 counterpart but it's clear that both pedals serve the same amount of gain range. Yes, the EQ plays some part in gain enhancements but do not expect a marked jump in drive if you put it through some applications. Let's see now, the MA+ is a proto-under drive pedal but serves a bit more pleasure if you think it's an exclusively clean boost. Get it?

MXR: Micro Amp +
Availability: Swee Lee/ Davis GMC
Price: Please refer to the respective stores for exclusive prices

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Single Sunday (morning)

Spent some time this morning with the Junior. This is a 2013 model, totally brand new from the store. I would usually avoid such a guitar because:
  • It's not humbucking, the default pickup type doesn't offer a convenient replacement for a humbucker either.
  • Bridge isn't intonation-friendly
  • small tuner buttons
However, the fact that it's a single pickup guitar proved to be more of an attraction rather than a repulsion. The humbucker there is a dog-ear type P-90 pickup & it sounded fat. A very convincing fatness, able to pull off some heavy stuff with it, it's also very receptive to high gain settings so it's a winner despite not being my preference to begin with. There's a pair of intonation screws there to compensate further intonation should the need arises but the manufacturer promises no intonation issues with the provision of a ridged bridge. I trust the PRS version & this one isn't a let-down.Those small tuners are forgettable once the tone & playability are in check. It's the coming of age for me, opting for simplicity & effectiveness over some flashy features that don't manifest talent. I had a good morning :-)

C&M sale

Friends across the Causeway, C&M music is having their year-end sale, you might want to check some things out. I thought the Taylors above are going for fair prices:
  • Big Baby: RM1,699 (SGD638.55)
  • GS mini: RM2,340 (SGD879.45)

They also have the Kaoss Pad equipped Ibanez in stock but I didn't see the guitar version, just the bass: RM1,790 (SGD672.75)

C&M is located at Plaza Angsana, Jalan Tampoi, Level 4.

Pic: C&M sale poster

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Will be busy...

This is an acquisition from the annual City Music Sale; a sequencer cum rhythm machine. I deem this a necessary purchase namely because I play alone (yes, I don't have a band, I don't intend to start one either). So this weekend, I shall be busy transcending into an alternative universe where all forms of beeps, blips & blurps are important elements of time.

PRS SE: 30th Anniversary Custom 24

PRS celebrates its 30th anniversary by releasing some commemorative models & this Custom 24 SE version is one of them. I have utmost respect for this brand name, had been following them for a while & this is another reason to look up to the good people there- they don't compromise even if it's a selection from their more affordable take. That quilt top there is simply stunning. If it does make its way here, be sure you check it out.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cmatmods: Signa Drive

Got it, finally. This pedal has a little history to it, it replaces the Tubeslammer, a pedal that I've been looking for namely due to its under-drive capacity but nothing short in saturation. This pedal is supposedly a one-up improvement but I'm not after some marked differences; I'm after something that would serve me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

PRS: S2 Mira semi-hollow

PRS has 3 variations in the S2 range, one of which is a trio of semi-hollow guitars which this Mira (above) is a member of. FYI, the S2 range is PRS' most affordable selection of USA-made instruments offered by the manufacturer. Unlike the manufacturer's 'core' USA models, these guitars do not come with a hard case, a PRS bag is instead supplementary to purchase.

Overview
The Mira is unlike PRS' other double cut designs- the Standard or Custom models- it features some trimmed dimensions, including the cutaway horns. As with other S2 makes, the Mira sports beveled edges instead of a curved body top. The hollowed out portions of this Mira are limited to the body's bass side. Should that f-hole be covered up, the Mira would qualify as a chambered solid body. The implication here is that the Mira's hollowed out sections aren't as extensive as its Custom & Singlecut S2 siblings. As such, this Mira isn't as lightweight as one expects it to be, compared to its soilid body version. It is the only model retaining its body depth of 43mm so between the S2 solid body & semi-hollow interpretations, there isn't a difference in this aspect.

Construction/ fit/ finish
PRS has promised no compromise in terms of physical presentations despite its S2 range having undergone massive cost-cutting & this Mira is no exception. Simply refer to the unbound f-hole to witness the standard in finishing- impeccable. Despite not featuring a maple cap, this S2 semi-hollow retains that superior feel, worthy of the PRS label. In this consideration alone, the instrument here is worth every bit of its asking price.

Feel/ tone
My personal expectation here was a slight neck-heaviness in view of this guitar being more hollow than its solid body counterpart while retaining the body depth measurement but no such anomaly was observed. Implication- there's a clever play in balance resulting in no penalty in terms of overall feel. There was no additional discomfort pertaining to the finished, wider-necked & very D-profiled neck considering I am someone averse to such neck properties (I attribute this to my Ibanez inclinations). It handles shred & deep blues bends in equal measure so there's no excuse (less personal preferences) to sloppy playing, really. 

The biggest consideration here is tone. Ladies & gentlemen, what is the purpose of manufacturers hollowing out solid guitar bodies? The immediate desired effect is the fusion of hollow acoustics with magnetic signals to produce that proverbial Gibson ES-335-esque tone. This effect is audible in clean mode, coming from this Mira (albeit not as pronounced as one would like it to be but PRS has 2 other models in this range for your scrutiny). We hear a more sponged-out midrange but once any form of overdrive kicks in, we note the instrument's more pronounced top end despite that acoustic resonance in the mix. Two things- this Mira's diminished body dimensions which means more hollowed proportions should be included for a more desirable acoustic effect and those uncovered pickups. Specifically, PRS had avoided calling them the #7s since they are cover-less but a company spokesman revealed the fact that they are indeed #7s without the covers. The semi-hollow purists would deem this heretical but I'd say it's a gem in terms of clarity if you deem this important to tone. It cuts both ways depending on your interpretations of what you hear. So what would the Mira semi-hollow be good for? Simple answer- everything notwithstanding its hollowed elements.

Conclusion
Out of the 3 semi-hollow models offered in the S2 range, the Mira is the least hollow sounding but its acoustic presence is available despite being a little inconspicuous. There shouldn't be anyone out there equating both the Miras in terms of tone (solid vs semi-hollow); it's a clear 'no'. This Mira has the best defined tone in the S2 semi-hollow range so if that is your priority, it should be a clear pick. I have a personal take on this instrument but I'm saving that for a later discussion :-) Do not approach any of the S2 semi-hollow guitars thinking it's a budget ES-335, the S2s were conceived for that to happen.

Rating: 80%

PRS: S2 Mira semi-hollow
Availability: Davis GMC
Sale: $1,400 (dot inlays, less $100)

Pic: PRS.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MXR: Micro Amp Plus

This is my second chapter with an MXR Micro Amp but this time, I'm dwelling into the plus version. The difference here is the addition of those two EQ controls & the manufacturer tweaked the gain structure a little for a more expansive response. The setting you see here was my final playing episode before calling it a day; yes, I employed only a tad of gain to supplement my amp's OD channel to induce that saturated Tweed-type voicing & it was wonderful. I didn't buy this pedal for distortion madness because that's not what it was conceived for. The MA+ isn't new but I've been ignoring it based on my previous encounter with the MA which wasn't too beneficial for me. One of the more rewarding investments this year, I must say.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mr. Big: The Stories We Could Tell

Billy Sheehan & Paul Gilbert continue to be the bench mark for all things shred in a band context- it's peppered all over this release, no doubt about that. All those speed & precision- preserved, in tact, for your classic reference.

There isn't any song in this collection which is top-40 material. The implication- no strong ballads (despite having more than one slow & acoustic-laden numbers), no landmark rock anthem, in fact none forceful & memorable to sufficiently rival Green Tinted 60s Mind. Maybe that's indicative enough of the standards set here.

Moving on to the guitars & stuff, I'm pretty much sick of Paul Gilbert's fuzz introversion by now. With all due respect, PG has ample relevance for that in his personal interpretation of where his guitar tones are heading. However in the shred context, hard clipping drive isn't that suitable for fast servings. We understand how the fuzz is when it comes to signal attack; it's not as immediate as you'd want it to be but perfectly awesome for music genres that see the guitar players taking their sweet time to have individual notes going. As such I hear too many mucked-up notes in this album especially the ultra fast licks & solos. The case in question is the track The Monster in Me which I believe is the most potent track in this collection but listen to the solos- arguably awful. Enough said, not a hit with me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ibanez: BTB685SC

Ibanez has released a 5-string version of the Terra Firma. So going from 6 to 5 & hopefully, there'll be a 4. That's when I'm gonna grab one & focus my time on bass. Till that happens, of course.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Selling: Samick Corsair mini bass (SOLD)

Saying goodbye to my Samick Corsair mini bass (bag included). Scale length is slightly longer than a Les Paul.
  • Selling: Samick Corsair short-scale bass (MCR 1), bag included
  • Condition: 8.5/10
  • No trades/ reservations
  • Self-collect @ CCK mrt stn
  • Queries/ confirmation: subversion.sg@gmail.com
  • Price: $100 (final)
**Item sold :-)

JFAC: The art of dropping a notch (& still sounding in-your-face)

This is perhaps 2014's best metal release, well at least for dweebs like me who demand an above-average instrument technicalities in addition to a crushing delivery. There is no doubting the technicalities here, everyone in the band wielding an instrument is beyond good; they showcased their introversions with good taste- well done. All this without sacrificing what Job For A Cowboy stands for- intensity & not relenting to any current hype; a rare breed these days considering everyone's interested in jumping into the bandwagon & getting recognized. 

If you're an ardent fan, the first thing that hits you is the tempo here- no, the band didn't wimp out but speed isn't necessarily the order for everything. You'd hear very commanding, slower passages (Sun of Nihility), akin to what a doom outfit would churn out. The other thing that would hit you is how heavy things are in whole, that's right, it's not about a mad rush from beginning to end but the guitar dudes especially, took their time to craft out some heavy palm-muted passages. So putting these two considerations together, we get a very deserving JFAC release. All this with a touch of prog-esque passages every now & then.

After listening to this album a few times, I seriously have no idea what the future would be like (music-wise) when one grabs a JFAC release. However, one thing's for sure, with every new album, the guys in this band-despite numerous line-up changes since Doom-are not about to let their guards down when it comes to aggressive potency. This is definitely my lift-me-up album for 2014, especially so when I went deep into the dumps after listening to Cynic's Kindly Bent to Free Us.

Blackstar: FLY 3... just saying

In my two preceding FLY 3 entries, I've highlighted how this desktop wonder defied its pedigree in giving us a much needed quality tone which is arguably absent in other amps of its kind. Reiterating what I've mentioned before, the FLY 3 gives us some wonderful clean & driven tones in addition to doing well with a mild-type drive pedal in manifesting saturated dirt which is very pleasant to the ears. This segment serves to highlight what could be refined in heightening gratification (not alluding to a deficiency of any nature, of course).

1. EQ = ISF?
What do we understand by the term 'EQ' control? It is the manipulation of frequencies in giving the user more definition of some preferred voicing at the expense of others. In this context, a single control knob that allegedly controls the equipment's overall voicing often highlights the lower frequencies at one particular end & the higher frequencies at the opposition marking. The FLY 3's EQ knob doesn't manipulate the tone as such. As one dials it in a clockwise direction, one does not hear the removal of lower frequencies & the addition of higher ones making the amp going from bassy to trebly- no such effect was observed. In fact, this knob is adhering to the manufacturer's ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) definition; that voices the tone from an American voicing, to a more British take. So a small request here would be the provision of a real EQ control or remove that 'EQ' marking altogether & retain the ISF label so as to prevent confusion. Initially, I thought it was dysfunctional as I couldn't hear the desired EQ effect. 

2.Delay loss
I only discovered this upon the addition of a drive pedal to the signal chain. In a pedal-free set up, the DELAY effect was clearly heard in both clean & driven modes. Once a drive pedal is in use, the DELAY audibility was affected even with the level control maxed out. It's fair to say that players would want the DELAY function to stay true even with the introduction of external pedals in the signal route. If this could be refined- awesome!

With these in mind, it's just insufficient to reduce the FLY 3 from being an impressive little ditty.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

PRS: P245

A new one by PRS- the P245.

Here's the difference- It's a piezo equipped instrument. This guitar also features the manufacturer's new pair of humbuckers, the 58/15. Here's hoping that there'll be an S2 version in time to come...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hollow connection

Good Friday morning. I'm not a fan of semi-hollow guitars because they are better played clean & have limited applications for distortion madness (especially so with all that feedback) but something happened...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

EHX: C9

Even before the heat of EHX's B9 success had dissipated into the annals of guitar history, the manufacturer decided to release the C9. It's not a total departure from its B9 sibling but it is a worthy consideration. Please take time to marvel at its wonders, here:


Selling: Kustom Defender 5H

5W tube head, clean channel only. Great for your pedal indulgence :-)
  • Selling: Kustom Defender 5H (power cable included)
  • Condition: 8.5/10
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt stn
  • No reservations/ trades
  • Queries/ confirmation: subversion.sg@gmail.com
  • Price: $100 (final)