Thursday, April 30, 2015

The vintage conundrum

On some days, I believe vintage pickups has the best sustain-inducing goodness money can buy. The sweet overdrive is also one that highlights clarity to propel one's playing. On other days, I feel they are severely under-performing as far as my needs are concerned. Their lack of drive saturation without external enhancements is a sheer put off for me. 

These vintage-type pickups in my Fender TL-Rose are such a conundrum. In a single sitting, I love & hate them but more often than not, they would bow out for other preferred substitutes. I'd say that vintage type pickups suit players with limited overdrive adventure; I'm definitely not that type of a player. Even for a guitar that is removed from any extremist imagery as the Telecaster, I just have to have pickups that sway my way.

Wishing everyone a wonderful long weekend with their favourite instruments.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Boss: SY 300

Many guitar dweebs out there would very much like to explore the synth territory but we would be bogged down by the fact that a synth pickup is required. Not any more. Boss' SY 300 (Musikmesse 2015 debut) provides a direct, 1/4" plug in & promises ZERO latency issues. I'm not usually one who gets turned on by such an entity but it should be worth checking out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Selling: Modtone OD

This under-utilized Modtone OD pedal belongs to Mr. Dzulhilmi. He feels that it deserves a new owner since he's now more inclined towards other effects types. If you are interested (asking: $50), please get back to him: 8-1-27-640-5

Matt Garstka drum clinic

If, like me, you play guitar but are inspired by drumming technicalities, be sure to check this one out. FYI- Matt Garstka = Animal As Leaders.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What the POG?

Once upon a time, the adventurous people at EHX did an alien audio generator otherwise known as the POG- Polyphonic Octave Generator.

In keeping up with the times, the POG evolved to include contemporary features, for instance, a bank option so you could recall your favourite settings at will. By this time, the POG was an interesting FX unit to own but those dimensions were still a put off.

Fast forward 2013, the POG sports a Big Muff foot print. Features were reduced to a pair of octave options because those were the most utilized amongst the rest.

But this year, the POG had been further shrunk into the NANO dimension retaining its 2-octave controls. This spells good news for many pedal board geek among us but what does a POG do? It is an octave generator, churning output that sounds lower/ higher than the tuning you are in. What's the benefit of sounding like that? It benefits those who are interested in having some synth-like tones or simply churning out very cosmic sounding passages in one's playing. On some days, sounding a little queer is an inspiration per se. The POG is akin to BOSS' Octave pedal but dare I say, it's a little more adventurous in its extensive format.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fender: TL-Rose

I would like to end the Sunday on this note- my real birthday present is the Fender TL-Rose seen here.

No, I'm not a George Harrison fan who insist on owning an inaccurate repro for nostalgia's sake. The Beatles were singing the tunes of my father's time. I grew up on a healthy dose of Depeche Mode. Yes, the Japanese Fender you see here is an inaccurate reproduction of the original model, instead of rosewood engulfing the guitar in its entirety, the body sports a rosewood front & rear; the sandwiched wood in question is basswood. No, I'm not a fan of a very arched fretboard radius as well but this guitar plays well in my hands. In fact, the rather thin neck was what drove me to bring it home despite not being a fan.

I'm taking this opportunity to announce the demise of Fender Japan. That's right, Fender Japan is history. FMIC had bought over whatever Japanese stake there was to offer & they are now running the show. They have removed many duplicate models in the Japanese catalog & those which are too similar to the international offerings will suffer the same fate. Many former Japanese models have been renamed & tweaked (in terms of specs) to show the world that these are 'new' instruments emerging from the acquisition. Do you think they will sport a 'new' price tag? We very well know the answer to this question.

All in all, today is still not my birthday.

D'Addario NYXL

The D'Addario brand name was on my dislike list when I first started out. The poor string life was the chief cause, they virtually deteriorated the moment one handles them. I have to say that the D'Addario string back then had the most pleasant, non-gimmick feel but lack the durability to avoid constant re-string. That was a NO for many of us.

Along the way, the D'Addario people did a re-think & personally, I'd say this brand name became more likable. The NYXL version you see here is the souped up version of their standard set which proved to be more attractive in terms of feel & more durable in terms of string life (more notable if you play daily). 

Despite the notable progress, I'm not too agreeable with the price. A set of NYXL costs more than $10, today, we have other brand names that offer a similar standard in performance which cost less. I'm a fan of D'Addario but I won't make the NYXL a standard affair for all my guitars. I do make it a point to re-visit the NYXL set occasionally because after playing them, you can feel the difference. That is the reason.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kyser: String cleaner

The Kyser brand name was the first string cleaner I tried (that was like more than a decade ago...). I still remember that strong camphor odour, very similar to our Axe Oil. It was a put off & the very fact that an elderly in my residence mistook it for medication so it was promptly discarded. The manufacturer revised the formula along the way & what we have today, the KDS 100 version, is an improvement in terms of odour (almost odourless) & feel (less oily). Regardless of these changes, the fluid picks up dirt well. This should be the foremost consideration & I give it a thumbs-up.

Friday, April 24, 2015

EHX: Bass Soul Food

This EHX Soul Food is meant for bass (as indicated). However, if you refer to the manufacturer's demo clip, it's equally effective with guitars. I'm interested because it has a gain reduction function there which is rather useful if it's cascaded into another gain type pedal. This means, your signal keeps the Soul Food in check in terms of gain so that it won't be over-bearing to such an extent that it overpowers the other pedal in use. Splendid.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gravity chicken

Was at Davis GMC to get these picks.

  1. Gravity's Sunrise model is something I've been waiting for. It's not a shred-type pick exclusively but that shape there is simply awesome for fast passages. The overall grip is good despite a marked engraving or the likes.
  2. The Chicken Pick is something I embraced recently. In use, it's not as clunky as the gravity but you can virtually hear the difference- it has that lethal zing that makes playing rather addictive. I bought this to be kept permanently in my bag. In addition to acting as a spare, it provides an alternative playing experience based on feel & tones.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

LTD: Elite ST-1 (2)

The pickups in my LTD ST-1 are Seymour Duncan Custom (b) & Classic Stack Plus (n/m). These are default pickups & I don't intend to swap them out because they are the right ones for the instrument.

The Custom has more bass push in addition to being a super PAF-type pickup. The guitar needs this kind of tone spec for its bridge unit because of the Floyd Rose bridge there which can displace the lower frequencies in an amplified setting. The CS Plus middle & neck models are just plain goodness, great single coil tones without the hum.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

GJ2's gone East

Fresh from Musikmesse 2015, GJ2 now offers a pair of instruments manufactured in Korea- the Shredder (L) & Concorde (R). Further details will be released soon but it's good to know that even a renowned luthier like Grover Jackson acknowledges the worthy Asian craftsmanship. We get more affordable instruments this way but not compromising on quality.

Pic: premierguitar@FB

Monday, April 20, 2015


DOD has a new distortion unit, the Gunslinger & it features a MOSFET type circuit. Personally, DOD's vintage type pedals such as the one featured here (no, it's not churning out vintage tones) are winners with me as they are good sounding pedals which are affordable. The manufacturer promises a wide range of distortion on board & hearing is believing:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

LTD: Elite ST-1

After trying it a few times at the store, this came home with me. The LTD Elite ST-1, it's the passive pickup model sporting a maple fretboard. I have no issues with this guitar, to me it's a landmark model by the ESP people who decided to have this LTD series made in Japan. Does it offer an ESP-like workmanship? It's as meticulous as an Edwards construction for sure but it's missing that magical feel of an ESP. I like everything about it less the fact that it sports an ESP 12th fret marking. Despite the manufacturer's bona fide effort to alleviate this guitar's status into a preferred standing, the 'ESP' mark there was confusing.

This had to be a splendid birthday present indeed but it's not my birthday :-)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Super (over)driving

I shall never forget what got me started when it comes to drive saturation- the proverbial BOSS SD-1.

I used to own this pedal like two decades ago, it was the only offering out there (at that point in time) to be specializing in saturated drive which wasn't treading the distortion zone. It was a simple pedal to use & it worked with everything- single coils, humbucker, P-90s... you name it. When the Metal Zone debuted subsequently, I sold it off. Recently, I made it a point to reclaim 'lost' treasures & this one was on my acquisition list.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Astorian episode

This is Marshall's current offering- the Astoria series. Looks the works isn't it? Well, it's for show only, we will get to hear it in action come Summer NAMM 2015.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wah... Boss!

Hot on Morley's heels, Boss now has a space-saving wah in their line up, the new PW-3. There's a voicing option to toggle between a more vintage vibe & everything contemporary in an analog format. An interesting release, should be on my to-check list.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bang pedal

Debut pedal by Orange amps- the Bax Bangeetar. I have no idea what's going on behind the name but it's good to know the Orange chaps are bringing their tones to us on a more portable platform. Glad that it's a 2-in-1 concept & it looks promising, more updates to come.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Smooth options

These pedals are rather fresh. Both are signature products & they are treading the same path, one which serves great smoothness in drive voicings powered by a 2-in-1 concept. 

The Wampler Dual Fusion is a complex beast. There are subtle controls here that would alter your tone rather drastically especially at higher volume settings. It is able to manifest an 'alternative' arrangement akin to switching the positions of two pedals aligned in series. Marvelous.

The JRockett Allan Holdsworth pedal is no wimp when it comes to drive intensity as well but it works on a slightly different note; one of its channel is a booster unit as opposed to the Wampler's double drive serving. The immediate advantage here is that the booster unit doesn't temper with your tone drastically, instead, it supplements your gain concerns. Awesome.

I've been meddling with both pedals individually because an inital hook up just manifested too much gain to such an extent it becomes a very fuzzy affair, something I'm not too keen with. Both pedals are menacing when it comes to that smooth fusion tone so these specialists are singular in their performances in this aspect, it's not quite as good for anything else for that matter. If you think you need some inspiration for your legato techniques, do check them out.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The other green meanie

This is a drive pedal (by the obscure manufacturer called Valeton), the hue of which implies the obvious; it's a Tube Screamer repro. It's Chinese & has no obligations to shadow the original product closely. It also runs on adaptor only, the smaller footprint here means it's a favoured selection for the pedal board geek. I don't own a pedal board & I think I have enough TS variations to see me through some above average drive tones but after hearing this one in the store, it had to come home with me. Too many of such clones failed miserably when both volume & drive are turned up but this one maintained its composure so the harmonics sensitivity as well as drive saturation are present without dysfunctional distractions. All this in a vintage platform that would appeal to players who prefer a contemporary voicing. Splendid.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The green meanie

The default pickups in this Jackson were a pair of EMG HZ. Those had to go not because they were sub-standard products in any way but they were not my kind of pickups. I think it's important for my instruments to manifest what I want, nothing else matters. So here were are: 1) Sentient (n) 2) Nazgul (b).

Nothing fancy, just a Bare Knuckle capacitor in the electronics, everything else was left in tact. You are looking at Beez's workmanship; tidy & very pro.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I managed to drop by Beat Spot yesterday after work. They are clearing their Laney amps & they were displayed proximate to the store's entrance. Majority of the amps had moldy covers so that would put potential buyers off but prices were good. Moving to the guitars section at the glass panel showcase, the instruments were evidently not taken care of. Hardware was visibly oxidized & some guitars had rusty pickup pole pieces (no, they were not relic models). 

I have no idea if the store is on the verge of calling it quits judging by the state of their wares but it's a little disturbing considering the fact that they are actually intended for sale. To think that this used to be one of my favourite haunt some time ago (when Beez was around).

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ibanez: RG655

This is one of Ibanez's subsequent batch of Prestige models, it has only three digits in its model alpha numerics reference- RG655 - as opposed to the traditional 4-digit assignments in this range. Despite this 'lesser' attribute, the RG655 is actually 'more'.

Construction/ fit/ finish
Nothing wimpy in this assessment, it is a Prestige model after all. There is no particular highlight in this department when it comes to the body (I personally feel it's a lacklustre affair) but the neck is as Prestige as it gets; very well finished in terms of details, no wayward fret edges to account for either. The rosewood fretboard is a commendable grade, no dry spots detected.

Playability/ tone
When it comes to an upper tier Ibanez, playability & tone are everything. The RG655 sports a Super Wizard neck & this is the proverbial carve that propelled Ibanez into ultimate playability before the turn of the century. It's given a fighting chance to re-ignite acceleration in guitar playing & it seems to have hit the mark. There is this immediate presence upon handling & as one plays the instrument, the urge to go up a notch in terms of speed is very tempting- I was in single coil mode most of the time but that didn't slow things down.

There are 3 DiMarzios here to manage some splendid tones: Air Norton (N), True Velvet (M) & Tone Zone (B). As the line up suggests, there is a good palette of tones to work with. You get a good mix of high output, very drive oriented tones working well with creamy, wooly tones. That True Velvet single coil there is simply an exciting pickup to work with when it comes to contemporary cleans & very distorted performance, highly recommended if you are not too into Strat-type single coils.These DiMarzios might work equally well in other guitars but in the RG655, they simply complement the instrument in its expected pedigree; a respectable shred flag-bearer. It's very capable in managing heavy songs & mind you, things can get jazzy with the neck pickup or its combination with the middle single coil. Whammy-wise, the return of the original Edge bridge is everything Ibanez needs (the RG especially) to further buffer its reputation as the manufacturer with a reliable bridge performance. Let's remind ourselves that the Edge was the standard to beat, even Floyd Rose was markedly challenged in its presence. It's simply a formula (or contraption for that matter) that works & should be preserved in its entirety.

Now that the Genesis models are not in the manufacturer's catalog any more, the RG655 is suspect; it might be a re-branded RG550 because it feels very much like one. Tone-wise, the RG655 is one-up, thanks to the DiMarzios in there, wimpy servings are out of the question. If you are new to this 'thinner is more shred-worthy' camp, the RG655 is an excellent embrace. Unlike its other Prestige siblings, the Super Wizard neck was the industry standard. It got tweaked along the way with critical results. Personally, I'm of the opinion that the asking price is a very reasonable figure considering that it's an upper tier made-in-japan Ibanez with branded pickups & a hard case in the asking price.

Rating: 88%

Ibanez: RG655
Availability: Swee Lee Co.
Price: $1,199

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The mini gift

This Takamine GX11ME (cheekily labelled as Taka mini in the sound hole) won't be a hit with the crowd for 2 main reasons: 1) It's a 3/4 size guitar 2) It's not a solid top model. I personally don't mind these unglamorous attributes because I prioritize QC, tone & playability above all else. The rest are, to me, bonus considerations (especially for acoustic guitars). I spent quite some time at the store trying it out before parting with cash. For a G-Series Takamine, the QC on show is respectable. The tone is a little bland when it comes to chords but I'm not a chord fan, I'm playing this for its warm & lush single notes, especially when finger picked. It's a winner with me, nothing else is more important. So happy birthday to me!

Then again, today is not my birthday :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Alright! Here are the winners for the Jazz picks giveaway (in no order of merit):
  • Firdahaus (Firdahaus54@***.com)
  • M. Razali AB (kucinghijau@***.com)
  • Dzulhilmy (dzlhlm@***.com)
  • Ismail (ismailnoble@***.com)
  • Brandon T (tsuiwjb@***.com)
  • Alvin Lim (addinmint@***.com)
  • Theodore Lai (theodorelai360@***.com)
  • Tan Jia Jun (tjj93@***.com)
Thanks for participating, a mailing address request had been sent out through e-mail. I still have a few more sets to spare so if you are still interested, do let me know. Open to Malaysian friends, of course :-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Green gift

Jackson discontinued this colour. I was trying to avoid another sunburst/black addition so this was it- the Soloist SLX. A great through-neck model going for a good price. So, happy birthday to me!

But today isn't my birthday :-)

Monday, April 6, 2015

One Control: Anodized Brown Distortion

Do you need distortion? Here's a distortion unit for you, by Japan's One Control foot switch/ loop specialist.

Do you need the brown sound? Here's some brown sound for you so it means you are not dealing with a paltry serving of distortion like BOSS' DS-1 (it's a different type of distortion we're dealing with here). Yes, it's something more throaty in the EVH vein if you use it as it is. In conjunction with your amp's dirty channel, you can hear some aggression going, no doubt about that.

Do you need some creamy tone? Here's some creamy distortion voicing for you, just turn that tone control down, let it slave for more bottom end while leaving the treble response still discernible.

Do you need more space on your pedal board? Here's one in an economical footprint for you, it runs on battery as well in case an adaptor is not your thing.

Do you need to hear it in action? It's available at Davis GMC :-)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Vox: AC4C1-12

Vox amps enthusiasts will know that the more compelling Vox amps to date are the AC15 & AC30 screamers, just like how Brian Moore likes them. The AC4 model had its origins in 1962 but the contemporary version features an updated circuitry plus a 10” Celestion driver. Today, in addressing the popular request for a more balanced voicing, Vox has this 12” driver version still under Celestion’s supervision & much of its very forthcoming nature is largely based on this make-over.

Construction/ fit/ finish
The AC4C1-12 sports the Vox design heritage; a very briefcase looking outline (the handle especially), that golden Vox emblem & the absolutely vintage diamond grille cloth but here’s the sublime ‘upgrade’- there’s a 3-D effect with the green/yellow strands used for the diamond pattern. Controls are on the top panel with other extras at the rear. This amp is indeed a value-for-money consideration if you are in the market for a sturdy, well-built player with no compromise in finish, the AC4C1-12 is a winner.

Features/ tone
We need to understand the fact that a Vox AC in its pure essence, is a single channel unit. One has to subtract a significant amount of gain from the amplifier itself to hear an unadulterated clean tone. However, there is no guarantee this will happen because your pickup’s output will spur some drive to happen. If you turn the gain way down to near zero, it will affect a certain fatness heard only when the gain is somewhere in its 30% application or more. So that’s the compromise there. In terms of tone sculpting, one has treble & bass to work with. The midrange specific chaps will find this disturbing but the glorious Vox tone you hear out there are based on this EQ specification, anything more & you’re tempering with the Vox heritage. To put it nicely, you can look for something else if this is repulsive. With this in mind, be mindful of you gain adjustments as any changes will yield a tempered volume, drive & treble manifestation; that’s how complex a single control is in this amp.

In use, the Vox clean is a distinguished affair. If you think Marshall & Fender don’t give you that richness in ring, I urge you to consider a Vox. With a vintage output pickup in use, the cleans here is a wonderful experience, bordering on a Klone tone with all the gain knocked off, that’s how it is. Also, thanks largely to the 12” driver, there’s a more balanced resonance heard, unlike the 10” driver equipped AC models. I personally prefer this manifestation but if you are a Vox purist who insist on that venerable 10” driver output, at least, give this a listen. It may be something ‘different’ you might appreciate.

Since there is no drive channel per se, the gain control maxed out is the only way to go. What you’ll hear is nothing intense but the drive presence is undeniable. For a fat, fuzz-like affair, do max out both the bass & treble controls. The other alternative is to simply hook up one’s pedals into the AC4C1-12 & I bought this amp for this application in mind. The amp has a good capacity to accept all manner of drive, distortion & fuzz units especially. It seems that there is a certain kind of chemistry when those tubes (12AX7/ EL84) are put to use with external slaves so to speak. Do keep in mind that this amp is a single end tube unit which is largely responsible for whatever drive goodness you inject into it because it aims to preserve the tube tone while working in tandem with an external influence.

We need to understand the Vox heritage before we embrace what it has in store for us. If you are looking for a modern drive voicing with a multiple channel application then clearly, you are asking a Rolls Royce to wise up against a Ferrari. The AC4C1-12 is a more appealing amp in its entirety as opposed to its 10” driver counterpart when it comes to a contemporary appeal. I have personally waited for this version because I know the 10” driver will invite more discomfort when it comes to hearing a good bottom end leverage if drive/ distortion is a primary consideration. I have this disclosure to share before you head to the stores for one; the AC4C1-12’s single end performance generates heat very quickly. If you look at the amp’s ventilation feature, the slots adjacent to the handle are inadequate in addressing heat dissipation. There should be more at the rear so that things don’t get too hot to handle (no pun intended) over at the control panel. I have a small table fan aimed at this amp every time it’s in use so that’s a way to address the matter.

All in all, the AC4C1-12 is an awesome clean amp for the working man. Do not expect too much in terms of versatility especially when drive is the order of the day. I’d say, volume-wise, it’ll struggle in a band context unless you have extended speaker cabs at your disposal. Recommended but not for the fussy.

Rating: 85%

Vox: AC4C1-12 (all tube combo)
Availability: City Music
Price: $445.50

Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's true

Visual Sound effects are now known as Truetone & the manufacturer is slowly phasing out the former brand name from the shelves. Starting off with the Jekyll & hyde pedal above in its Ver 3 manifestation, the manufacturer will be re-looking into other offerings as well, including its popular One Spot adaptor for pedals.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The good Friday give away

Good Friday morning all you hardworking guitar fanatics who are enjoying the holiday (hopefully the long weekend as well). I'm doing a little give away here & you stand a chance to receive the above set of Jim Dunlop JAZZ picks (alien face hugger excluded), the set includes:
  1. Jazz I: Round tip (1.1mm)
  2. Jazz III: Pointed tip (1.38mm)
  3. Jazz III: XL (1.38mm)
 Ready? Please answer this question & e-mail me your answer ASAP:

  1. All answers via e-mail only, replies to this post will be disqualified.
  2. Your e-mail should bear the following tittle: JD pick giveaway answer
  3. All entries should include the sender's name.
  4. All entries should be submitted by 2359hrs on 3rd April 2015.
  5. 10 selected winners will be notified via e-mail with a request for their mailing address.
  6. All winners' name will be published at along with their respective e-mail address (partial address only for security reasons)
Thank you, everyone, for your continued support. All give away picks are kindly sponsored by Davis GMC, I am thankful for their support especially when they exceeded my expectations (Thanks, Janet!!). More importantly, I am grateful for their belief of this humble blog & my dedication to sharing.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

LTD: M-II Elite (discontinued)

I know what you're thinking- LTDs are the Squiers & Epiphones of the ESP brand name & they can never surpass that standard. Back in the final quarter of 2012, the ESP company launched the LTD Elite series which were top-of-the-line LTD models & they were made in Japan. Yes, those were perhaps the only LTDs to be manufactured in Japan, rivaling the ESPs in build & performance. Sadly, due to a manufacturing re-structure, the Elites were around only for a year (2013). By 2014, the models were usurped into the E-II range & the manufacturer had a different distribution focus for its products. Nevertheless, you can still scout for the LTD Elites in online stores but more importantly, the very few that were left recently made it here at Davis GMC. The M-II you see above is one of them.

Construction/ fit/ finish
True to its Japanese pedigree,everything about this guitar is up to standard. If you are familiar with the ESP products, you can simply feel the class oozing through your hands as you play them but these are not the Custom Shop mark, I'd say it's closer to the Japanese Edwards more than anything else. You need to note the Floyd Rose in use; it's the 1000 series as opposed to the FROs in the ESPs. I love everything about the guitar because it definitely manifests itself as a class above the any top notch LTDs out there. As such, there are no adversities to report in this category. Impressive.

Playability/ Tone.
The neck carve on offer is ESP's own U-profile (it's a finished neck, folks, oh ye with sweaty palms, be warned) which is shred-thin but not as slicing as some of the Ibanez Wizard profiles you'd come across. Then again, ESP has no obligations to replicate its rival's specs. Thanks to the neck-through design, upper fret reach is a breeze. The ebony fretboard trumps the presence in feel. You'd argue that those Gibsons out there featuring the synthetic Richlite material could rival this consideration but the feel of wood here in undeniable. That's my primary delight. The overall weight (alder body) does good for strap-on moments, there is enough pull-down to accentuate sustain but it's nothing taxing on the spine.

Moving on to tone, the M-II is a typical EMG affair (81 in both neck & bridge), very scorching in terms of distortion & could have been more desirable in clean mode. However, my personal take here is that the gain-friendly tone & overall being simply exudes class. 

One more time- the LTD Elites are no more. What you find in the stores (online ones included) are the leftovers. The manufacturer didn't exterminate this series of instruments because of their sub-par commercial nature or their regrets in bringing an LTD offering up into a very exclusive standard. They had established themselves State-side & there was a need to re-think some offerings. An LTD Elite is a delightful model to own if you are not too bothered by the 'LTD' tag & your willingness to pay for one (reminder- Made in Japan). A hard case is also included so there's much satisfaction to consider.

Rating: 85%

LTD: M-II Elite (discontinued)
Availability: Davis GMC
Price: $1,500

PS: April is a special month for me & to show my gratitude to all my devoted readers, there will be a give-away activity happening soon so it will be a good Friday indeed :-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Silky smooth

April is here. A quarter of 2015 had zipped by just like that. Time flies but we always failed to see it take off, the reason why we are left behind.

As you know, I'm no fan of signature guitars but I can live with other signature products. Pickups, strings & effects units are OK with me. This is the signature Allan Holdsworth overdrive pedal (JRad) & it got me interested because it brings me closer to the master's very smooth overdrive tone. It's so silky smooth, it's indeed one of the means to getting good legatto phrasings done. We can't fully emulate AH's tone for a simple reason; we are not AH. We might have access to his instruments & other gear but we need to be the man to sound like the man. That aside, I like what this pedal has to offer, a very smooth drive voicing, very removed from the rock front. It is rather self-sufficient in terms of gain structure as it features a booster function on board. This means the pedal retains the drive voicing while manifesting increased saturation. Perhaps the master himself can convince you of some performance notes: