Saturday, January 31, 2015

Peavey: Anniversary 6505+

We end January with the knowledge that Peavey has good stuff out this year in conjunction with its 50th Anniversary. This anniversary 6505+ is one of them. It's good to know that the manufacturer is still going strong especially in its amplifier department. The question remains: Who distributes Peavey here in SG?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Laney: Desktop ironing

This is the talk of town now- Laney's Ironheart Pulse. It's a desktop interface (nothing new) but it features Laney's acclaimed Ironheart drive & those are indeed caged-up pre-amp tubes; the ECC83. In addition to the digital applications, this pedal will double up as your proverbial booster but keep in mind that it needs its isolated power supply. 

Digital interfaces, tube-laden pre-amp boosters- these ideas aren't new but we acknowledge the fact that Laney has added its own signature to the fold. It's a matter of convincing us, players, it'll do good to our tone rather than clutter our boards.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ibanez: Adam Nitti

Good morning, guitar nation. OK so it's a bass entry but you would agree that many of us guitar dweebs are inspired by our bass counterparts. This is the Adam Nitti signature Ibanez SR bass. I own a 6-string bass so I'm constantly on the lookout for inspiring players out there & Adam Nitti is definitely one such individual. 


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ibanez: Xiphos Iron Label

Totally unexpected- the Ibanez Xiphos returns this year, now in the Iron Label fold. This means, the instrument gets an active make-over in terms of electronics & finished in a dark tinge, em... black. The guitar also gets an EZ2 bridge & an ebony fretboard so instead of just re-hashing some jaded features, the instrument moves up (albeit a little bit) in terms of features.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fender cap

Perhaps this is a significant debut by Fender- a treble bleed capacitor bearing the manufacturer's name. The manufacturer says this cap is a no-frills mylar & (tin) foil construction that lets your guitar tone stay true at various volume reductions. The 'true'-ness here needs to be heard to be believed because we know there are less costly ceramic ones that does the job well. Nevertheless, it's heartening to know Fender is into component recognition in the mean time as opposed to instruments per se.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gibson: Les Paul Monitors

As mentioned before, 'Gibson' is now not exclusive to just guitars. The manufacturer has extended the name to label other products & we now have Gibson monitors seen above. As if that's insufficient to convey the intention, the ones you see here are the Les Paul models.

We expect some quality when it comes to a 'Gibson' & we hope whichever product bears this name would pay tribute to the legacy trickled from the instrument branch. It gets sticky when the 'Les Paul' name is included here as if implying the legendary individual has everything to do with the development of these monitors & that would be a fair assumption until one bothers to read a little history behind the name. 

If you ask me, I personally think this is desecration; leave the Les Paul label alone, let it be exclusive to guitars. You can 'Gibson' everything else under the sun but some things should be respected, especially when the individual is no longer around to defend his stead. 

Rockett: Archer

The weekend was spent discovering this pedal. It's an Archer (by Rockett), a drive cum boost unit. The limelight here is that it's a replica of the acclaimed Klon Centaur which is a discontinued unit. The Archer so to speak, is perpetuating the drive-treble boost function of the Centaur which isn't a fresh attempt to do so because there were others before the Archer, EHX's Soul Food is an example.

The Archer was an absolute cracker with my Marshall JCM800 (1W) even when it's pushing dirt before the amp's preamp section (ie, not via a loop connection). I have limited applications for it as a stand-alone drive source because it's not an intense type pedal, so it's made to boost some of my other pedals as well: Butah (CMatmods)/ OD1X (BOSS)/ Metal Muff (EHX). The Archer benefits from another mild/medium drive type pedal casding into it. The Metal Muff is a little excessive for the Archer, the latter has no progressive result in terms of furthering the former's drive capacity. The top end was excessive but lowering the Archer's treble response to cure the situation is as good as saying a treble booster shouldn't manifest too much treble- duh! There was also excessive hissing so it wasn't an enjoyable pairing.

The objective of employing the Archer is to add saturation where it matters so any mild-type drive units would benefit from this consideration. Bear in mind that the Archer will not turn the average Tube Screamer-type pedal into a heavy metal serving- this won't happen. The Archer increases the saturation of those pedals & add some clarity for a killer lead break. You'd appreciate those extra top end if you are playing in a band context, playing a lone at home, you might hear yourself being a little sharp at times but that happens because you are dealing with a treble booster- if you are using a bass boost, shouldn't you hear more bottom end?

How the Archer looks like with the base plate removed. I'm running it on batteries in the mean time.

I like everything about this pedal & wouldn't want it to be something it's not. My only gripe- these tiny screws used to secure the base plate. As it is with small stuff, they have a higher potential to go missing & slip out of one's grip. These are not to be removed in dark performance venues, definitely.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ibanez: The Parlor menace

Yes, something I've been waiting for! A decent parlor release by Ibanez but nothing exorbitant in terms of price- the AVN2. Don't get me wrong; the AVN1 was alright, just that I want to avoid the spruce + mahogany formula. The AVN2 goes one up by being a full solid model. Another one on the 'to-try' list.

Still on the parlor front, sporting an even smaller body- the PN1. Nothing fancy here (laminate body = more affordable) & it's definitely one for the spruce + mahogany fans. I'll still give it a try when it reaches here but it won't be a purchase consideration.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ibanez: BTB33

More bottom end goodness from Ibanez, this time it's from the Bass Workshop line-up- the BTB33. It's a through neck unit, 33" scale length & sporting some of the most accessible upper fret access ever. There's a ramp attached between the pickups (removable) & it works just like the traditional thumb rest of those P & J basses we adore. Bass Workshop models manifest a custom-grade workmanship without costing a bomb. I own one (not this model) & it's definitely worth every cent.

Selling: MXR Micro Amp + (SOLD)

Yes, this is only about a month old but it's for immediate clearance. Reason being, I need something with a Level/ Volume control in addition to the Gain feature. Do check out how much this one lists for at the shops & get back to me if I'm being unreasonable in this aspect:
  • MXR: Micro Amp + (box included)
  • Condition: 9/10
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt stn
  • No reservations, no trades
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • Price: $99 (FINAL)
Item SOLD :-)

Ibanez 2015: Talman bass

This was an unexpected offering, really. Ibanez did away with the Talman design after the Noodles signature a few years ago & I thought it was a done deal. This 2015, the Talman is back in a bass incarnation & it looks good. Too good to ignore, in fact. The TMB100 is a 34" beast with stacked knobs there to EQ each pickup. So expect some great tones on board especially with a mahogany body to boot. On my To-try list :-)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Marshall: Silver Jubilee 2555 reissue

Marshall has reissued its Silver Jubille amp, that stellar tone of 1987, at NAMM this year. I've heard the tone in action before- sounds very much like a polished JCM800/900 which some players would prefer (especially for those of us who crank things up for a living).

Driving Mogami

Another NAMM 2015 feature- Mogami's Overdrive cable. Let's understand the fact that this cable won't cause distortion like a pedal does to your signals. The manufacturer omits electronics in this cable, just pure copper for a non-intrusive signal path. Awesome concept here but let's look at the list price: USD125 = 12"cable length. Shocked?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Seymour Duncan: Get a grip

Seymour Duncan is adding to its increasing line up of pedals; we have a booster unit, fuzz, overdrive, distortion, delay, tube-based units, now a compressor joins the fold.

2 things to note: 1) That Blend function dictates how much dry or compressed signals are heard at the amp. 2) The H/F/M means a frequency shaping of your dry signal before it blends with the compressed ones. Neat.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Peavey: Mini terror

Peavey is making the right moves this NAMM (2015)- two mini heads, two of their most revered, so to speak. The Classic 20 & 6505 should be familiar models with fans out there. Fender & Marshall aside, Peavey's Classic tube amps are some of the most revered in terms of cleans but these amps prevailed on a quiet front, discovered only by true tone critics. Wait till you hear that bluesy crunch these amps have to offer as well. This 'reintroduction' is definitely a welcomed affair. Moving on to some ground shattering distortion, we know what the 6505 has to offer when it was tasked to perpetuate the 5150 legacy. More importantly, the amp can be attenuated to manifest a 20W, 5W & 1W performance.

Now to the all important question- who distributes Peavey in Singapore?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


To debut at 2015 NAMM- just days away- the Digitech Trio. It's a rhythm section for you if you require a band context to spur your playing on. Many of us are simply put off by such devices because there's too much digital tinkering involved. So with the Trio, you get knobs for immediate editing.

You need a ear/ headphones access? There you go. Let's appreciate the fact that technology today ensures players get maximum support even when they play alone at times.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fender: Vintage hardtail

My kind of Fender- for 2015, it's an American Vintage hardtail model. Pretty much for those of us who don't whammy but the fact that it's from the American Vintage series, the price would be substantial but I don't mind paying for a Strat which isn't rear-routed; more wood :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The weekend

The weekend comes & goes. For many of us, work encroaches our weekend for a simple reason- we let it happen. I have a strict work-rest principle: Work stays at work. I'm the type who makes sure rest days remain work-free. Rest days are for my guitars but this Takamine here isn't mine. However, it's a regular visitor to my residence; the EG510. It's given a fresh set of .011s & it's fretboard re-moisturized. I started work yesterday but was drawn to some DVD time so the final bits of work ended this morning.

Then came some ME time & I chose to play through this 1W-er; my Marshall JCM800 anniversary model. There was a strong urge to plug into something bigger but restraint triggered some ideas so it was worth it. All this done before lunch. 

The rest was family time, naturally. My family understands my inclinations so it's only natural that I return the understanding. Nothing fancy, lunch in town which concluded with some ice-cream. Those of us who do not have family commitments (yet) might indulge in excessive guitar time but once family comes into the picture, I urge you to include family as & when they require your presence.

Family time includes spending time with the cat as well. This is my cat, Lisa. I used to own a cat years ago but it passed away the week before I got married. That was a depressing moment in my life; the loss of a family member. Yes, my cat is family because both cats came to me. They were neither bought nor picked up from the streets; they literally came into my life. Lisa was an abandoned cat at my work place. I started noticing her & fed her after seeing how hungry she was every Monday- nobody fed her over the weekend. We decided to trap her one day for a sterilization programme but the vet said, upon inspection, she's already sterilized. I arranged for her to be sent over to my residence after hearing that the work place would be closed down by the end of 2014. It would mean a total uncertainty for Lisa in terms of food. Lisa was already toilet-trained so that surprised us & re-inforced the fact that she's an abandoned pet. So here she is, a family member for life. 

If you respect life, never abandon your pets. They are living creatures like the rest of us & would be subject to trauma once left behind. Only humans are heartless enough to abandon a living entity by choice so that puts us lower than animals but we don't take time to reflect.

Enjoy the final moments of your Sunday. If you feel cheated by now, chances are, you didn't understand what 'weekend' means in the first place. Cheers!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gotoh tele saddles

Tele fans, we are frustrated because our preferred 2-strings per saddle assembly feature stiff saddles which cannot be slanted to our needs as depicted above. This of course, affects our intonation.

Good news- Gotoh has the BP-2329 seen here.

Note the movable bit, fixed by the allen screw there, so this lets you swivel that crucial portion for intonation purposes. I came across this product while searching for a brass replacement for my TL-71, so it's double bonus for me- brass + intonation-friendly.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ibanez: FR365

I think the Ibanez Premium JEMs & UVs slated to appear at NAMM '15 are over-rated. I prefer this Tele-like FR instead. I simply love the fact that there's a single coil there in the neck as a H-S configuration is quite the preference for me lately- & it's a Tele-size single coil as well. Sweet.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Martin: Dreadnought Jr

A new entry in the Martin fold for 2015- the Dreadnought Jr. It's a shrunk down version of the manufacturer's D model, featuring a solid spruce top & and all solid sapele back & sides. I've been avoiding the travel-sized Martins all along for a simple reason- there's too much compromise in terms of wood but this looks to be a good consideration. The idea isn't new though, dimensions that sit between a travel & standard-size model, it's done by Taylor- the GS mini. Looking forward to this one, definitely.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Schecter: Chris Poland

Chris Poland has decide to settle with Schecter's Solo (Poltergeist) model, sure glad he opted for this headstock instead of the default Solo version. Pickups on board are Schecter's own USA Pasadena humbuckers. The FR bridge is the manufacturer's acclaimed 1000 series make & everything else looks good for the money. The money here refers to what a signature Korean model would be listing for (you can refer to Jeff Loomis' models for approximate prices).

Selling: Sigma TM-15 (travel size) (SOLD)

It's well taken care off, I have something coming my way so this will make way for that :-)

  • Sigma TM-15 (travel size acoustic, bag included)
  • Condition: 8.5/10
  • No reservations/ trades
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt stn
  • Confirmation/ queries:
  • Price: $199 (final)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Schecter: SII

One of the new members in Schecter's 2015 line up, the SII. This is the 'Custom' version. That's right, it looks very much like a certain Gibson.

Maybe you prefer the 'Platinum' version here featuring my current favourite EMGs- the 57/66 humbuckers. Glad to see Schecter venturing into an off-tangent territory this time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

ISP: Beta

You bass players are a lucky lot. ISP has not forgotten you. I currently own the Theta pedal for guitar & would mention (again) how formidable it is in terms of tone & features. Now comes the Beta unit for you bottom feeders & I reckon it'd be equally menacing in this aspect. Keep in mind that the ISP name is synonymous with noise-reduction technology & it's included here as depicted.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Schecter: Banshee Elite

I've had a go at the current batch of Schecter Banshee guitars at Davis GMC & they are wonderful players which deserve a mention for its bolt-on make (& flat body top), unlike the majority of other Schecters in the store which are set-neck models. The manufacturer had recently expanded the range to include a through-neck model- the Banshee Elite.

The range includes a fixed bridge variant as well. Regardless of the circumstances, I would like to get my hands on the bolt-on make first, a fixed bridge version, please.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Aero tolerance

An interesting development:

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a final rule implementing section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, requiring U.S. airlines to accept musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage on commercial passenger flights, provided that certain conditions are met. The rule states musicians must store smaller instruments in an approved location either overhead or under the seat, but that even oddly shaped instruments such as a violin or guitar will be recognized as approved carry-ons and will be allotted space on a first come, first serve basis.

Many other international airlines could follow suit but some over-conservatism might prevent this from happening. These parties would most probably cite security issues as the over-riding concern. There are current technology in place to scan/ x-ray baggage contents so it's a matter if understanding the plight of musicians who would want personal attention for their instruments because they know airport handlers are idiots when it comes to respecting a musical instruments in transit.

Extract: Hyperbot

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fender: TL-71

Towards the close of 2014, I managed to grab this Fender TL-71. I had a Strat in mind but felt that a Tele manifests my single coil moments better. The TL-71 has a gloss-finish neck so it feels like a Gibson upon handling but profile-wise, the neck was anything but a Gibson. That ash body is way lighter than my PRS SE 245 but the acoustic sustain is impressive.

The single coils on board were not of vintage specs, it's rather hot-sounding & they both possess a very commanding top end but thanks to the ash body chemistry, we also hear a strong lower midrange response. Despite this impression, I have some replacement pickups in mind, in fact, I'm heading over to Beez's soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The loop way

Say you bought a $3K amp & love that driven tone of yours, would you plug pedals into it, especially the drive-type ones? Once you plug a drive type tone the traditional way ie. through the front panel input access, you are actually adulterating your amp's drive tone compounded by the total loss of pedal character due to the fact that your amp's preamp section is overpowering your pedal. This means that your favourite Maxon overdrive & a BOSS overdrive would sound the same, quite a futile exercise isn't it (unless you don't mind the loss of character because all you need is a drive source to boost your guitar signals)?

This is the reason why many reputable manufacturers feature an effects loop access via the rear panel to allow you to enjoy your amp's pre-amp drive section in conjunction with your drive pedals. The pic above is how a mild drive/ booster pedal is connected through an effects loop. Pros & cons? To be continued...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

EHX: Bass Soul Food

This is a fair release by EHX because they remember the bass players out there- the Soul Food OD is now available for bassists. Check out the following clip for some performance potential:

2015: LTD

I've been through both the ESP & LTD experience. ESP is perhaps one of the very few manufacturers out there that closely associates their primary brand name with their subsidiaries. This is the reason why, in ads & promos, they will cite their products as an 'ESP: LTD ____ (fill in the relevant model alpha-numeric)'. I will stand firm in saying that there is a standard difference between an ESP & an LTD. Even the Deluxe LTDs, the most elite in the range, manifest marked differences (albeit a little discrete) in various aspects but the manufacturer (like PRS) strives to bridge the class gap as much as possible. This is a respectable business philosophy that is quickly catching on with other brand names as well (Squier's VM & CV models propelled the Squier name ahead in this aspect, with respect to the Fender offerings).

Moving on, if there's a worthy LTD to pay good money for this year, the Anniversary models should be considered. They feature EMG 57/66 pickups, by the way, in my books, the most worthy EMGs to check out if you are a cult passive pickup fan who wish to embrace an active adventure. 

The signature models (seen here L-R: Gary Holt/ Javier Reyes/ Bunny Brunel) are only to be considered if you think the ESP version is something that will definitely not come your way. They are fine instruments, in fact, sitting above the Deluxe models in terms of details & attributes but that endorsement front adds more to cost than you'd love to bear. Animals as Leaders' J Reyes settled with a Mystique 8-string with an absolutely fine construction & electronics but that headstock would be the primary repulsion. The more economical variations on offer don't really match-up to the higher end counterparts with much loss in essence. These are clearly standard production models with nothing special to offer except for the endorser association.

The LTD range also sees more baritone models added & baritone here refers to a 27" scale length, complementary to largely 7 & 8-string models. 

Pic: espguitars

Monday, January 5, 2015

Selling: Takamine EG341C

This isn't mine but it's going for a fair price of $380 (bag not included).Guitar was bought in 2013.

If you are interested, please get back to Mr. Nashrun: 99-621-999-7

2015: Targets

2015 is here. In a few weeks' time, there's gonna be a list of new releases by manufacturers & that'll keep our adrenalin pumping. I'm keeping my to-get list minimum, I intend to add more playing time instead & half of that time will be devoted to (forcing myself) playing clean.

First on the list is an amp. It will highly likely be this little Boogie Mark V here, if I have to wait till the year's end to acquire it online, then it shall be done. Amps play a big part in shaping what I play & triggering ideas so it's a practical move- spending good money on an amp.

Guitar-wise, I'm looking at the ESP range. I have a soft-spot for ESPs & I have a feeling there's something special for me this year especially so when the company celebrates its 40th anniversary with some interesting releases (in the mean time, I'm seeing too many mundane LTDs...). It will definitely not be a Mystique- it's all about that headstock. On that note, keeping a close watch on the Ibanez offerings; 2015 might be the year I won't give them my money at all despite being a big fan.

Despite not being a pedal fan per se, I do keep a look out for interesting ones that add value to my set up. Majority of them are drive pedals because these go well with an already driven amp & I'm more amp-inclined. I think I missed the dual booster when it was here not too long ago but I have another Maxon on back order. Ibanez's Tube Screamer mini is also on my list.

Finally, I have something that I want Seymour Duncan to look into. It's an interesting fusion of existing models. It's gonna be a little costly but I'm a fan of what these guy are doing & I know they'll do it well.