Thursday, March 31, 2016

Strange figures

We end the month by looking at strange figures embedded at Swee Lee's web store. No offence to the good people at Swee Lee; some of the best sales rep are from this store & I enjoy talking to them.

Another here.

And another. However, I am confident the good Swee Lee chaps are able to see to the matter. We cannot rule out the fact that these figures would be wiped out upon final payment; many stores do a good will round off/ adjustments. :-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Multi-tasking


Ibanez MTZ11 is a handy multi-tool for guitar players. The idea isn't new. There was a time when every Fender Japan purchase came with such a complementary multi-tool. There is a similar multi-tool sold at budget stores but it serves a general need, the components do not address a guitar emergency specifically. Also, the material isn't as durable, some features are too soft for repeated hardware tinkering. The Ibanez MTZ11 is now available at Swee Lee (List: $19.99).

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Talman in


The objective of getting this Talman isn't about re-living the past but embracing the contemporary. The Tele/ Strat theme had been over-done, really. Every manufacturer who can think straight & has some financial figures to crunch would do well to have this interpretation manifested in their catalogs. Things are looking good with the current Talmans (more details to come), Let's hope it stays for a little longer than suffer the fate of Ibanez's we-tried-that models. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Re-string Sunday (& a little bit of re-set up)


Re-string therapy; giving a fresh set of La Bella (009s) to my Schecter KR. Did a little re-set up as well. 1) These days, I'm not after the lowest action for every guitar. I'm setting up according to their individual strength so to speak. I noticed that I play better with an arched string radius so even instruments sporting a flat fret radius received a little bit of curve. It's my picking hand posture, I tend to fumble if I try harder to pick those middle strings (G/D). 


2) There's also no obsession with straight necks. Yes, I do make it a point to look out for excessive bowing (because this affects playability) but if the instrument benefits from a slight relief then I would leave it as that. I noticed many of my thinner-necked models play great with this application, it could be attributed to the fact that I torture my thicker strings during rhythm play. That little bit of relief could be a crucial leeway in making individual notes ring more instead of rattling against the frets. 3) Pickup height- adjusted according to the respective strength. By strength here, I'm referring to both the magnetic pull & overall output. It used to be like, oh, it has to be the loudest for all pickups but we know there is a trade off between magnetic pull & sustain. Some of my neck pickups are also of higher output than its bridge counterpart so the height there should reflect the required volume during play, not the loudest I can manifest. 

Have a great Sunday, everyone- the final weekend of March :-)

Especially overrated


I'm waiting to get my hands on this Way Huge pedal- the Overrated Special. Yes, it's alluding to that Dumble amp. No I'm not a fan of the amp. I'm interested in the re-interpretation of the tones, just like the Klon. In fact, I'm going to cascade it into another drive pedal for some personal adventure but let's just wait for it to be here first.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

'Bucking Ashburn


If there's a guitar out there which successfully re-capture the Fender elegance without being a clone, it has to be the John Page Ashburn models. This year, the Ashburn has a double humbucking sibling & it's still made in Japan. 

Construction/ fit/ finish
We have to give it to John Page for not merely re-hashing the outline of his ex-employers when churning out the Ashburn models. Yes, his Fender DNA is still present in his current instruments but it's an extension of other considerations as well; playability is certainly one of those. The standard of production is top notch, nothing distressful to report. It's worth mentioning the fact that Mr. Page entrusted the Japanese to handle his hardware- Gotoh. So for your money's worth, you get a custom shop grade finish for a non-custom shop price tag.

Tone/ Playability
I would opine that the highlight here would be the instrument's playability. Joh Page manifested his practice with very progressive considerations in mind. The treble side cutaway is proof enough. If you have been hampered by your Strat's inability to offer a higher register access, Joh Page got that covered without removing balance or resonance. The neck profile is a rather beefy C but the flat-ish radius (12") means it's easy on the hands, especially for speed freaks if you wish to extent such abilities here. The instrument is Fender-y without leaving other applications in mind.

Now coming to tone, the JP-2 humbuckers are not high output players. In fact, the lower frequencies offered by both units fell short of a good impression when it comes to high gain settings. These pickups thrive on crunchy, Marshall-ian push. With this said, I'm of the opinion that the midrange on offer won't disappoint any genre considerations. However, expect some wooly tones coming from the neck exclusively & this won't appease the prog fans who prefer some bite in this mode.

Conclusion
The John Page brand of guitars won't disappoint you. There is a need to approach both the HH model & its SSS sibling with the proper perspective. These are not contemporary shred-fest instruments you'd grab for your Dream Theater or Scale the Summit antics. They are great guitars in fine form bearing the overall performance where pickups play a great influence in what you hear. Everything about the Ashburn is a familiar affair but once handled, we know it is an extension of fine improvements which the reference influence failed to venture into. 

Rating: 79%

John Page: Ashburn HH
Availability: Davis GMC
List: $2,450 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Astorian


I wonder how many of us here would go for a Marshall when we wish for a boutique performance, particularly from a hand wired unit. Naturally, for this amount of money, we'd be looking at the names associated with such acute performance- Two Rock & Dr. Z are among others available alternatives here. Neverthelss, that 'Marshall' name is security enough when it comes to the after market. It's a safe investment, you can say that.

Marshall Astoria (various models) units are now available at Swee Lee. The one you see here is the Classic version (List: $3,799).

Thursday, March 24, 2016

When Gravity fails


I've been buying gravity picks online so this message is shocking.


They replied my query recently & this was the reason. Firstly, whichever fraudulent degenerate who had been doing this is giving the country a bad name. The lack of trust now spills over to others, their lives are made unpleasant. We cannot rule out the fact that this individual isn't a Singaporean, merely using such details for his dishonest means. Secondly, I made an effort to show Gravity Picks my order history but it seems that this proof does not qualify me as a genuine buyer. It's not good enough. It seems that GP do not make any individual consideration for fans like me. My enthusiasm doesn't mean anything in this case. I understand where they are coming from. They lost lots of money recently on this ground & they have the right to be extra cautious. 

I have other options & I'm moving on. It's rather pointless trying to prove one's worth in this case because Gravity Picks- they are not the only specialized guitar picks manufacturer out there. It's a real loss to me because Gravity Picks are currently making what I really like. All the best to them. In time to come, I hope they would go the extra mile to manifest that little bit of trust in true fans (don't treat them as suspects to begin with just because you had a foul encounter elsewhere). It's an investment in one's goodwill.

With immediate effect, I no longer play Gravity Picks. I have stopped following them in all social media & will not update any Gravity Picks-related mentions here. With all due respect, they deserve it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Giveaway 2016: Winners


Congratulations to the following winners:

  • Nur-Ainul Yaqien
  • Robbie Goh
  • Dylan Yeo
  • Theodore Lai
  • Vincent Lee
I have gotten back to you & the strings are on the way!

It's good to know that people are reading my blog in London- appreciate it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

EHX: Mel9

The EHX camp is at it again- this time it's the Mellotron sounds in the Mel9. There are no latency issues to deal with, if you have come across the B9, C9 & Key 9 pedals, you know the quality on offer. Guitar players- do you need synth tones on board? Do you then drive your synth tones? How many songs out there require you to pull off a synth tone? These considerations aside, I'm sure you'd agree that these tones will trigger some creativity in you. This clip is a little lengthy but it's worth hearing the Mel9 in action.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Edwards FRX


It's a little misleading but this isn't an Edwards FRX model. It's in fact the EX model.


And this here, is their SA model.

Both are equipped with Floyd Rose's FRX bridge. Top mounted without the need for a whammy cavity, it might spark some mod-related ideas for us but, em, visually, they could have been more appealing. That's besides the point, yes? As long as it's singing your song. These aren't permanent in the catalog, both instruments are spot production models, highly likely it's to test the appeal fo the FSR.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ibanez: Talman


So it happened :-)

Earth Hour 2016


We observed Earth Hour last night. It's very simple; we switched off as many electrical appliances as possible for an hour- 2030hrs - 2130hrs. Only the fridge & wifi were available. Everything else was switched off. We gathered whatever birthday candles we had left & lit them up in the wash room & living room. The cat found this activity enjoyable because we were made to live an hour in its realm. The night hunter thrives on very little light unlike us bumbling fools. 

The objective of this exercise was to teach my little girl the value of energy. More importantly, energy is taken for granted in this country. Proof- many people don't feel guilty leaving appliances switched on even when these were not in use. At closing time, walk around the shopping centers here & you'll see some lights left switched on in retail units. Was this necessary? A security personnel told me it was a security measure. Some lights left switched on would give away criminal movements. I'm sure stores here would have armed their stores with state-of-the-art security equipment by now. These things could document criminal shadows in the dark but you wonder how many stores here are interested in such security measures.

Back home, how many of us actually switch off our modem before we go to bed? That night light- is it necessary at all? How many public lifts here have sleep features? It's easy to see how energy gets used up all around us. Our infrastructure today is very energy reliant. Let's not forget energy production here comes from natural resources which we do not posses. It's a costly affair & it's about time we do something about energy consumption. 

These days, if I stop playing for more than 5min to figure something out, I would switch everything off entirely because I know I'm wasting energy. I actually need some off time to do something else other than playing guitar so things are better off switched off. I'd switch everything back on again much later when I know there is a continuous playing time, it's more efficient this way, less wastage. 

What can you do to prevent energy wastage?

Goodbye: SV Guitars (J Cube)


Managed to say goodbye to SV Guitars (J Cube branch) last Friday (18/3/'16). According to Mike (owner), this branch would have seen its 4th anniversary in a few days time but there was no obligations to have a sentimental end to this. From my observations, retail stores suffer at J Cube. Many F&B outlets had folded since the center's opening. It's just not renowned for commercial activities other than movies & ice-skating. The Jurong neighbourhood is currently cluttered with shopping centers; Westgate, JEM & IMM- all competing for customers. The newly opened hospital in this neighbourhood would have increased consumer traffic but it's all about choice- people still give considerations to preference & proximity. Why break a sweat to dine at J Cube when there are plenty of choices at JEM/ Westgate? 

Anyway, many thanks to SV Guitars for giving us guitar dweebs the options while they were residing in J Cube. They are not gone for good, SV Guitars still has its primary branch at Peninsula Hotel basement. All the best in their future endeavours. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Re-string Saturday


Managed to re-string my Taka earlier today. Many of us tend to forget the bridge; yes, it benefits from reconditioning as well. 


Nothing beats the feel of a crisp, fresh set of strings. Just inspires me to play.

Thank you: Giveaway 2016


Dear friends, theGUITARaddict has exceeded its 2.5mil readership mark. As a way of saying thank you for all your support (& patience), I'm giving away 5 sets of Dr. Duck electric guitar strings. These are the hybrid 9+ set (009/ 011/ 016/ 026/ 036/ 046). 5 lucky readers will receive a set each, here's how:
  1. E-mail me subversion.sg@gmail.com with the following subject title: TGA Giveaway 2016
  2. Do not disclose your mailing address yet, wait for my reply
  3. Please include your names/ nicknames/ screen names in your e-mail, tell me how often you've been reading the blog- I appreciate it. All winners' names will be published here.
  4. Giveaway ends tonight, 19th March 2016, 2359hrs.
Hope to hear from you soon! 

Poll: Fretboard markers

Thank you, everyone, for participating in the fretboard marker poll.


For many of us, the traditional fretboard marker placement is still our preferred navigation reference. We started with guitars bearing such a feature, we are used to these visual markings, many of our preferred brand names out there feature such references any way. It's a 'safe' reference, it works, it's the way to go.


There are some of us who prefer a half-way mark reference only. Visually, this helps us divide the neck into two particular portions, we are less confused this way. We are not entirely comfortable with a blank but this bare minimum is definitely a plus as opposed to many markings.


There is a sizeable number of players who prefer a totally blank fretboard, many citing the ease of transposing fingering patterns without a visual limitation. These people are very familiar with positions & placements, looking at what one plays is actually optional.


In any case, we have our side dots to help us navigate a blank landscape should our bearings fail us. Whatever the case may be, the human element here means we have different visual preferences. We stick to what works for us. However, my dear friends, do not let differences in features prevent us from learning how to play better. In many instances, that wee bit of struggle helps shape us into better learners; labour now, smile later. Also, do not let others dictate the features you should have in your instruments, "Hey, you WILL play better with a blank fretboard." There is no definite outcome when there are differences across individuals; what works for the rest might not work for you.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Flashback Friday: Ibanez Talman


It's Friday already, hope everyone's having a good lunch before completing the later half of the working day & ushering in the weekend. Anyway, I'm still in planet Talman, managed to dig this up from my Ibanez catalogs; it's the final year of the series' production- 1996


As you can see, the Talman back then sports a truss rod cover, 2 metal knobs, a proprietary bridge design & a trio of lipstick pickups, unlike this year's TM320 in this gorgeous blue finish.


The other version featured a pair of P-90/ Jazzmaster-esque pickups. One of these was hanging on the wall of Swee Lee, beckoning me every time I pass by the store. Back then, the Plaza Singapura shifted to Takashimaya SC before closing down altogether. Those were the days.


The 1990s was a difficult period for manufacturers like Ibanez because it's the decade of anti-guitar. Grunge was taking over, everyone wants to be seen not being able to play the guitar properly. Shred was out of the question (but it wasn't dead). Ibanez had to enlist players like Tom Morello to propel the Talman model. 

Destruction


Back in its heyday, Ibanez was known as a clone manufacturer; whatever the big two had in their catalogs, Ibanez would offer an interpretation at a fraction of the cost. The Destroyer here is a mutant of a certain Gibson, the initial design was legally taken to task so this version perpetuated the manufacturer's knack for following others. However, we know how the Destroyer played its part in history (Van Halen/ Def Leppard, among others) so to date, there is still a Destroyer lurking somewhere in the Ibanez catalogs (they disappeared entirely along the way, but come backs happened every now & then). To date, the DT425GB is the perpetuating Ibanez to note.


For discussion's sake, here's how Phil Collen's Ibanez Destroyer looks like. These still go for a good price at evil bay. 

pic: jackson.com

In a recent resurgence, Phil Collen collaborated with Jackson for this X-stroyer model. Hmm...


I'm glad I got mine when it was on clearance :-) (DTT700)


Thursday, March 17, 2016

SV Guitars SALE: Recommendations (2)


Are you afraid of single coil equipped guitars featuring rosewood fretboards? Lest you forget, there's a certain Stevie Ray Vaughan whose phenomenal music reminded us of what a slight variation in preference could do. If you are on a tight budget but wish to venture into such exceptions, the Swing S1 here is actually going for less than the price of a branded replacement pickup.


This is Swing's Anniversary S2, finished in gold for good measure. It features a more straight up one volume, one tone control & a 5-way selector compared to the S1 but that Wilkinson bridge underscores its pedigree. All this for less than $400 & a gentle reminder that the SALE will see its final day tomorrow, 18th March 2016

Semi-Tal


I think I missed this one along the way- Ibanez has this semi-hollow version of the Talman TM302. It's not featured in the catalogs yet as many of the Talman models (those Strat-esque models especially) will debut in the stores only after Musikmesse 2016 (Spring time). Here's hoping this one would make it here.

The turn


Look at how much discount's on offer for the final 2 days of SV Guitars sale. If you think you are walking away from this, you might just turn around & maybe consider that thing you just brushed away from your mind recently. You thought, well, maybe if it's going for a wee bit more discount, you'd be getting it. Whatever it might be, you know what to do.


And then there's this one. You thought it was over & done with but the Yamaha people thought otherwise. I didn't know, really. Let's just say, I don't wish to know because I'm unhappy with them in the mean time. The sale range isn't as extensive as their last sale, please note (but worth checking out).


The thing is, Yamaha is offering 20% off their new Revstar models. This sale isn't limited to the Beat Spot outlet, here's a list: CLICK

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Keeping tab

This isn't about how many guitars I own but how many I bought from each of the stores listed above. Along the way, I've sold some off so the total listed here does not equal to the number of guitars/ basses I own. Here goes:
  • BGW Guitars: 2
  • City Music: 2
  • Maestro Guitars: 3
  • Music Theme: 1
  • TY Music: 3
  • Sound Alchemy: 5
  • Beat Spot (Yamaha): 1 2
  • Davis Guitar: 39 42
  • SV Guitars: 10 11
  • Swee Lee: 71 75 76
Edit: I'm slowly recalling the stuff I sold off, I should have kept this on record as well.

Happy Birthday, City Music!


Happy 48th birthday to City Music. I remember you guys for your hospitality & a happening year end sale every time! Many good years to come!

Ibanez: Iron Label RGA


Before I am accused of being biased towards all things visually stunning only, let me tell you that the 2016 Ibanez RGA re-intro models seen here (now in the Iron Label family) are awesome guitars for the money. If you wish for some DiMarzio goodness from those Fusion Edge models in the RGD Iron Label models but can do without the extended scale length, the RGA is highly recommended. Besides the gorgeous flame maple top, the instruments also feature an ebony fretboard. On a personal note, I don't see why the kill switch feature was retained in this reincarnated version. I'd rather it was replaced by a tone control. These are available at Swee Lee now.

RGAIX6FM: $1,099
RGAIX7FM: $1,199

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

That demo (reprise)

video

Feedback from friends- video unplayable- now reloaded in new format. Please feedback if it's still problematic. Thanks in advance.

Holdsworth's Kiesel



Listen to the master talking about his new guitar. It's a highly chambered instrument & it was conceived as such under specific instructions. Having air in one's guitar isn't bad, it's different. Sometimes, it's preferred. It's all about what one wants to achieve. Alan Holdsworth is amazing, as usual.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pedal amp

This is a pedal size amp. So it's an amp. It means you hook it up to the speaker cab, not to other pedals. Break throuh? Electro Harmonix & Rivera had been there & done that. Worthy investment? Let's listen:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Loomis' Duncans


We've seen these pickups in Jeff Loomis' new Schecter Cygnus guitar. We know Jeff Loomis is with the Seymour Duncan camp this 2016. More importantly, we know Jeff Loomis knows exactly what he wants. Interestingly, he mentioned the primary purpose of having these in development- for solos. Lots of great midrange on offer, listen:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

No ice


As the Ibanez Iceman gets refined over time, it returns to its original form (very close in this case, save for some contemporary appointments). That's very assuring but some good things are simply not available here (IC520GB- Japan only). Bummer.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Playable damage


Guitar tinkerers, Devil & Sons, are taking the 'relic' understanding to a new level of acceptability. The guitar above is absolutely playable. The question is, would you spend your good money on one?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wipes


For those of us who actually bothered to set aside some money for our instrument's TLC, these wipes might be of interest. However. I'm the type who believes in drying everything up once some moisture or fluid is introduced to the instrument. The video clip below demonstrates how these were put to use. Note how the strings were cleaned- just merely wiping the top surface- FAIL. If you wish to clean your guitar strings, do it one by one. Pinch each string & move the cloth along at least twice. There's this belief that dirt & sweat do not settle themselves under the strings. Dirt & sweat settle on fretboards as well, these get transferred to the strings under side. Do take note.