Monday, August 31, 2015

Super V

The Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Super V is a signature product for George Lynch. Despite its celebrity status, it features an Alnico II magnet & 2 conductors only.

The Super V is a current resident in my PRS S2 Standard Singlecut's bridge position. As the magnet on board is the weaker Alnico II, the pickup has limited volume performance & that's all too natural. In fact, it struggled to keep up with the Seymour Duncan Phat Cat you see here in the neck position & there was a need to reconcile their respective heights for optimum performance in this aspect. So why bother, you ask? The Super V was conceived to propel sustain & harmonics in mind. As such, the magnet should not over-power string vibrations too much & Alnico II was the right magnet for the task. As such, the sustain available was impressive. The harmonics are true to claim, especially so if you are at high gain settings. Speaking of gain, the Super V is drive-inclined through & through. You'd aspect a weaker magnet to shine in clean mode but the Super V isn't as stellar in this consideration as expected. A celebrity pickup with lots of superb potential but limited by price & availability- pity.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Will you?

Ladies & gentlemen, this Premium Series Ibanez SA1060 is listing for the above-stated price. The 'Z' finish (zircote)is a limited edition offering for the year.

The Prestige Series RG655GK is listing for much less, the difference can easily get you a decent amp for domestic use.

The question- Will you fork out more money for a model in the manufacturer's lower series, granted it's limited edition? I'm not trying to instigate a price revision here (it'd be wise, though) & I'm not trying to put Ibanez down either- I've been a fan since day one. Chances are, prices were not dictated by the distributor but pegged against the manufacturer's recommendations & production costs.

If I am the salesperson in the store, who would I offer the SA model to? Considering that it's not the manufacturer's flagship model & the average Ibanez fan out there knows nuts about zircote, how soon can I clear this from the shelves?

Something to think about, yes?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Z driving

OK here's something you don't see coming from the clean connoisseurs at the Dr. Z camp- a drive pedal. The two channels you see above offer a very fuzzy drive but one sounding more abrasive than the other. We can't say Dr. Z is attempting to re-create its amp tones in a pedal because their amps don't specialize in driven voicings but it's a worthy take. Hear it in action:

Friday, August 28, 2015

St Vincent

Is this a genuine attempt at a re-design or simply a reject embrace? Lest we forget, Gibson did it with the RD & it is somewhat on the road to revival. We see some interesting angular stuff for Bo Diddley as well so this St Vincent model by EBMM is arguably a hit/miss affair. Let's not judge a guitar by its outline but the outline per se determines if it's gonna sell loads. In this case, EBMM isn't a ready proponent for such an adventure unlike BC Rich with its thorny offerings but this one is indeed an interesting take. Regardless of its outline, we know EBMM makes fine instruments & by virtue of this reputation alone, the St. Vincent would be deemed a good guitar. Really hope that it is.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Compressing Timmons

It's a little surprising that a compressor is Andy Timmons' pick for a signature pedal but this preference had been the all along; Mr. Timmons is someone who takes spride in tone refinement, especially the non-drive aspect. You'd note that the pedal might suggest a direct recreation of Carl Martin's standard production model but it's actually loaded with the specific level & compression preferred by Andy Timmons. This means the range on offer is differentiated from the standard offering so it's a hit/miss affair, best you try one yourself if it it's your thing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The thickening

An interesting release by Keeley; while the rest of the world is pretty occupied with pitch displacement doubling, this one lets you get away with a thickening focus. Yes, it can do some pitch displacement like its peers but that's not its focus. It gives you a very chorus-like thickening with further addition of reverb. Also, you can run it in mono/ stereo. I'm actually looking forward to try one.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bricking it

This brick is a firm statement by the manufacturer in offering a sensible power supply for your needs- yes, needs. We sometimes need a single unit to cater for different input voltage & the Iso-Brick has it. It also features 2 variable input points for you so it's a great PS to have on your board, especially when it's light-weight. It's also a trend now for such PS units to feature variable voltage options so the rest of the PSes out there would need to 'upgrade' or be left out.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Master Beez, hard at work as usual. Giving his 100% & nothing less but meticulous workmanship.

Beez worked on this guitar:
  • Neck: Seymour Duncan Phat Cat
  • Bridge: Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Super V
Tone report to come :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mod drive

Was looking at the Modtone sale @ SV Guitars, I tried whatever drive pedals there were in store & this one was the most appealing. Bought.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Modtone: Bohemian OD

This red little ditty is one of Modtone's overdrive units featuring simple controls & pedal board-friendly footprint for us tone dweebs. The knobs here are aluminum, adding a touch of class at this price range. In addition to the standard layout, the pedal features a boost function activated via that flick switch there marked +/-.

The Bohemian isn't a mild driver to begin with. In terms of a familiar reference, Boss' Super OD would be a good understanding of the type of intensity involved but things get a little shoved & mean once the booster is engaged. With all due respect to the British voicing touted by the manufacturer, I'm still trying to understand the relevance to such a claim after spending 20min with it & having tried different configurations, I don't hear that Brit grit in this one.

What does the Bohemian have in store for you, then? Some fat overdrive & nothing subtle. That's right, the Bohemian would have been a standard affair if not for that drive control that adds extra volume to proceedings in addition to making it more scooped sounding once dialed up. The addition of such intensity can be heard rather early so if you wish for a subtle drive type for that bluesy moments, the Bohemian might be out of place. Engaging the booster option at higher drive settings simply turns the pedal into a boom unit with lots of bottom end thump.

Rating: 70%
Availability: SV Guitars
On sale: $91 (offer ends 31-8-2015)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Desirable, unavailable

Friends told me that these J-Custom Ibanez are absolutely drool-worthy but I'm not one who buys such guitars, really. I've handled J-Customs in the stores here & that was just it- a handling experience. Purchase was far off my mind. I couldn't bring myself to spend money on visual appeal which is a highlight of the instrument while the rest of the attributes are standard features which are featured in guitars in the same family but costing less. The thing with many of us is that we tend to rank those costly pieces highly without being objective. In this case, what can a J-Custom do a Prestige model couldn't? Maybe only one- being more visually appealing. In any case, the JCRG1501 (t) & JCRG1503 (b) are regional exclusives, chances of them making it here is very slim. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Re-string Thursday

This Yamaha 5-string bass was at the office, gave it a re-string & a good wipe down. The action was untempered & I'd say it's a very comfortable take indeed. A cause for concern is its bridge which is a little corroded at a particular corner & it's eating into the body. Yikes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Saving grace?

Hot on the heels of the marked-down Gibson 2015 prices, we have this Les Paul Traditional Pro III model. It's spared those 'revisions' save for that robot tuner. It might be the only one you'd consider spending your hard-earned money on.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

More SE goodness

More affordable goodness from the good people at PRS- the SE Custom 22...

... & its semi-hollow counterpart had been added to this year's lineup. After the move to Indonesia, the SE models didn't waver in terms of QC. The default tones are largely down to the pickups offered, these may be a hit/ miss & would probably be a personal take for may of us. In any case, after-market pickups are the way to go with these darlings :-)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Devil's throat (2)

Seymour Duncan's El Diablo is a custom shop unit, the chances of one offered in stores as a regular production unit is slim. This one here is a special offering to SD's distributors & it costs $100 more than a standard production model. Despite being touted as a distortion monster, the El Diablo features an Alnico II magnet which is the highlight of the pickup itself- a monster based on tamed essentials. Jumping right into the driven territory, the El Diablo has no issues delivering impact; all manner of drive/ distortion is supplemented by a very crunchy voicing, meaning, it has a treble highlight but nothing repulsive. Imagine your tone being supplemented by a treble boost unit but not set to stun. Moving over to the opposite end, the El Diablo pomises some of the best & tightest bass notes delivery especially for those of us who palm mute our notes. With these in mind, expect a scooped overall response but it's made rather undetectable due to the top end emphasis somewhat. 

Where does the Alnico II advantage come in? It's for those of us who further trim our tones via the volume pot or we have a tone control which is aptly supplemented by a named capacitor. This is where the the El Diablo shines, subtle dialing in of tones but not one that relents when distortion is concerned. 

From a personal perspective, the El Diablo is a little differentiated because of the afforementioned magnet in use, otherwise, we would be hard pressed to recognize its subtleties considering what the Nazgul, Black Winter & Distortion could do in this turf.

Amps used:
  • Marshall JCM800 Anniversary 1W
  • EVH 5150III
  • Randall LX20R

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Less Gibson

Hear ye, hear ye- Gibson prices are on the down. That's right, the manufacturer had decided to trim their asking prices for the 2015 models which had been reflected by the US stores (actual list prices are even lower). I have no idea if this is going to be the case here but it's the sign of the times, really. It's the effect of tampering, that's right- tampering. Gibson fans are largely traditionalists, they don't like it if the current Gibsons don't sing & feel like the Gibsons of yore. Why is this the case? Because those Gibsons are true gems which set a standard in the industry & they should be respected. I'm not a Gibson fan but I respect well-made & good-sounding Gibsons; we should accord this to all guitars for that matter. Componding the situation are features which nobody looks forward to have- brass nut, differentiated scripts, pretentious tuning system, wider neck width & the most rotten of all, citing the fact that the Les Paul pickguards are now removable- when were they not? Let's not think (too hard) how much these instruments are going to be worth in the after-market.
Putting things in perspective, the 2015 SG Standard you see above is $1,000 more than its 2013 predecessor (because I bought one then- thank goodness!)- how is this current manifestation much more desirable than the 2013 (or even the 2014) version? I'm not a Gibson basher by any means but the people behind the brand are not doing its heritage any good in the mean time. Yes, we deal with inflation & increasing production costs as we go along but to misrepresent this with perceived improvements reeks of desperation.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The devil's throat

Was at Beez's...

To have my Seymour Duncans fixed into my Schecter KR-24-2H-FXD:
  • Neck: Distortion
  • Bridge: El Diablo
I'm about done hearing them in action in driven mode, time for some cleans... (to be cont'd).

Friday, August 14, 2015

City in store

Jet City amps are now available at Sound Alchemy- great-sounding amps that won't break the bank, do check them out.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The singing Martin

I'm not a Martin guitar fan but I don't mind trying the strings. I've tried the D'Arco version for electric strings before so this isn't a first. The 80/20 version are bright-sounding so there is no question of  clarity here. However, do note that there is a trade-off between clarity & warmth. The latter consideration is partly attributable to the guitar's acoustics as well, so we understand that brightness (especially excessive brightness) will mask off warmth. I feel that the 80/20s are great for big-bodied acoustics in need of single projection.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


This was a recent intro at the Summer '15 NAMM- LTD's Fishman Fluenced equipped Snapper model. The Snapper isn't new, the Fluence is. Fishman's Fluence are coil-less pickups so instead of fine wires going round the magnet core, it's replaced by an applied material. Advantage- humless applications. I've yet to hear one in action personally but it should make a good consideration for those of us who are looking for  alternatives.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Creamy goodness

There are no more excuses to procrastinate the acquisition of the acclaimed Blackstar Fly 3 desktop amp now that it's offered in another finish- cream. Otherwise, get someone else to buy it for you, tell them you deserve it for whatever reasons. Understood?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sale @ SVG

Happening @ SV Guitars. Now, that's more like it :-)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Satch's b'day message

Here's an SG50 message from the master himself. Thank you, sir.


Happy birthday to my country- 50 years of achievement & nothing less. The ousting was a blessing in disguise considering the circumstances now but I'm not here to laugh at history but to be thankful for how it's turning out thusfar. I express concern over the current state of affairs because it's largely a 'plug to save'  development, not really the address for future stability & opportunity.

Also, despite this golden celebration, no music stores out there are interested in commemorating this event by offering discounts & such. Maybe Davis GMC stands out a little because they have a commemorative Takamine acoustic guitar with the SG50 marking which is currently going for a little discount. I won't be around to witness SG100 but I know that nothing much really happened during SG50. Nevertheless, enjoy the long weekend, everyone. Remember- free calls & public rides so get out & spend time with good company (especially the family).

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Selling: Blackstar LT Dual distortion (SOLD)

Also to go- my Blackstar LT DUAL distortion, 2-in-1 distortion unit:
  • Selling: Blackstar LT Dual distortion (box included)
  • Condition: 9/10
  • No reservations/ trades
  • Confirmation/ queries:
  • Price: $99 (final)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Selling: Takamine GX11ME-NS (medium scale). SOLD.

Saying goodbye to my Takamine GX1ME -NS, still in very good condition, about 6mth old. Please note- this is a shorter-scaled guitar (22.5") but it's NOT a travel size instrument. The dimensions are along the lines of Taylor's Big baby/ GS mini or Martin's Dreadnought Jr.
  • Selling: Takamine GX11ME-NS (bag included)
  • Condition: 9/10
  • No trades/ reservations
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • Self-collect: CCK mrt stn
  • Price: $199

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ibanez: RG470PB

The Ibanez RG470PB is now available at Swee Lee ($699) & it's one of the models to feature the Std DL bridge (Standard Double Locking). This bridge was a recent fitting in the more current models & looks to be a return to familiar days. Familiar because it looks very much like the TRS models fitted into the midrange Ibanez models in the late '80s -'90s. I'm not trying to talk you out of buying a well-made guitar (yes, the guitar per se is awesome for the money but if it proves to be a re-naming of the discontinued TRS then you are better off buying other models in the Ibanez range with a more established double locking bridge. Let's not dwell too much into the details because personally, I consider those TRS a done deal, they were dead & buried but maybe some people feel there is a need to resurrect past episodes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mini beating

The good guys at Beat Buddy has released the lite version of the aforementioned pedal- Beat Buddy mini. Despite a 50% reduction in price, there was no total migration from its predecessor into this compact manifestation, meaning, some of the editable modules/ patches were not included. Whatever the case is, I hold the BB name in high regards for being practical in terms of considerations, not forgping

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

PRS: S2 Singlecut Standard

PRS' S2 Singlecut Standard is just the S2 Singlecut with a pickguard. Everything else should be identical, yes? I now own both models & noticed the rounder, more 'wooly' tone coming from the Standard's  neck humbucker. Also, the split coil tones from the neck humbucker is less twangy. I've messed with the pickup height a little to hear if this is causing the difference but there's no notable tonal difference after this episode. Whatever the case, I'm doing away with these pickups soon.

Monday, August 3, 2015

No singing allowed

This week's playlist- strictly instrumental.

1. Chimp Spanner (All Roads Lead Here)- Paul Ortiz is perhaps one of the most overlooked guitar player out there because his playing style places no emphasis on technicalities.Having said that, all guitar dweebs out there, those who take pride in churning out instrumentals especially, posses this latent technical ability which is manifested in their compositions, Mr. Ortiz included. Metal? Well, if you believe there a genre out there called 'djent' then this would believably catagorized as such.

2. Exivious (Liminal)- Cynic sans vocals. Enough said.

3. Brett Garsed (Dark Matter)- I have no idea if TC Electronic's Dark Matter distortion took the cue from this album but I've been a fan of Mr. Garsed's legato & 4-notes per string chromatics, especially when it's done tastefully. One of the most relaxing technical guitar instrumentals out there.

4. Richie Kotzen (Electric Joy)- I'm not a fan of his vocals but his guitar-ing rules. Electric Joy dropped gear somewhat, there's less distortion heard as well so collectively, it makes a 'different' release by Mr. Kotzen & I'm a fan of this particular release.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August's standard

Was there, was looking at me, was not part of my plan, was reduced to a consideration, was subjected to a change of mind, was bought.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alien invasion

I welcome August with a planned alien invasion.

SV Guitars tried to contact Ogre to order this particular overdrive for me in a green finish (for that TS allusion, obviously) but the manufacturer remained uncontactable. So this one was acquired today. I'd like to thank the SV people (Penin branch) for their patience & top notch customer service when I was there for a pre-purchase try out.

Ogre pedals were first mentioned here: CLICK