Thursday, June 30, 2016

Killing it

This is a new one by the Seymour Duncan people- the Killing Floor pedal. It is a clean boost as well as an angry boost, treading into the drive territory. Definitely on my to-check list. We have Nick Johnston here with some Killing Floor applications:

That pretty much wraps up the mid-year as well. Happy second half of the year, everyone. Time sure flies.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Interesting- while boutique picks are moving towards the plastic end, Ibanez moves the other way by exploring rubber. Hmm...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Selling: Joyo Mjolnir

To go- my Joyo Mjolnir amp head.

  • Joyo Mjolnir 15W high gain amp head (power cable/ foot switch included)
  • No trades/ reservations
  • Strictly self-collect: CCK or Yew Tee mrt station
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • Price: $275 (final)

New rhino

I recently did away with my Way Huge Green Rhino MkII. So in came the MkIV which is of a smaller built & a little tighter in its midrange performance. Update soon :-)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Waza chorus

I'm not a chorus fan, but had been reading some positive feedback on this new BOSS chorus debuting  at Summer NAMM 2016. It's made in Japan unlike its other Waza siblings so here's how it will serve you:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The sweep master's quote

PIC: FG instagram

Food for thought, really. There are people out there who take pride in keeping a guitar that ripens with age. We keep reading of how people feel accomplished having owned a '62 Strat or a '57 Les Paul. But these people are buying these gems for keeps. Oh, it's an investment, they said. Nothing wrong with that but it's a darn waste. These instruments were made to be played. I have more respect for you if you have been playing yours to death & duly retiring it thereafter; it's a deserving retirement. 

Some (recommended) stuff

You might have seen a similar set up to the one depicted above; guitar- pedal- pocket/ desk top amp. I'm an advocate of simple set ups  especially when focus is the order of the day, not a flashy display of possession. Despite the fundamental line up of gear here, it's actually a display of discrete quality & certainly not a boutique affair:
  1. LTD ST-213 I refer to my LTD instruments as 'LTD' & not ESP LTD because it's not an ESP to begin with. No doubt, the LTD label is a sub company of the ESP name, I do not wish to ride on the safety of a higher brand name & let the reference be; it is as it should be referred to, not something else. With that said, I am totally happy with the Series 200 LTD instruments & it's unfortunate that the manufacturer had decided to do away with these models early this year. Unfortunate because the ST-213 is a quality instrument from head to toe, much overlooked by people who are too busy chasing after a Fender-backed alternative when hunting for instruments in this price bracket.
  2. Tesla Plasma 1 Tesla is one of Korea's pride & joy in terms of quality manufacturing. Despite the different ingredients used for pickup concoction unlike its American counterparts, this brand name still deliver the goods. Totally happy with these pickups in this guitar.
  3. Graphtech Tusq I'm totally happy with Graphtech products as well, the Tusq range included. They are affordable. They are reliable. They are fuss-free. The reason why I have them here- to replace the default set of vintage-type saddles with protruding screws that kept jabbing my hand. While at it, why not invest in something with a little extra in terms of delivery? So, there.
  4. Amphenol plugs Beez introduced me to this brand of cable plugs when he was still operating at Roxy Square. I remember bringing him a crackling cable for a re-solder job. The soldering came off at the plug end simply because the default rubber/ plastic plugs were not meant to last. He mentioned the Amphenol brand as a personal recommendation & I gave it a try. They lasted till today. Eight years & counting.
  5. CMATmods I first bought a CMATmods pedal from SV Guitars at its Marsiling branch. I don't look up to boutique brand names because they are costly. Not all boutique pedals out there are pleasant sounding in terms of tones, the cost to satisfaction ratio is bordering on the ridiculous. The availability of affordable alternatives just proves the fact that boutique brand names are selling you subjectivity more than anything else. However, the CMATmods people know what they are doing & they don't promise you something they can't deliver. I own three CMATmods pedals in the mean time, the Brownie here is one of them.
  6. Blackstar I must say the Blackstar brand had gained positive momentum over the years not just based on reputation per se but on delivery. I will give my backing to their non-digital amps any time & these amps are worthy drive-wise as well as cleans. The FLY 3 desk top amp here is in my opinion, a break through; something this small yet pleasant sounding for a quick grab-&-play application. Highly recommended.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Summer NAMM 2016- the debut for EVH's 5150IIIs, the EL34 equipped version of course. I will only make do with sound clips as there are no more EVH distributors here. Bummer. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

LTD singles

Good Friday morning! It's another weekend ahead of us. You might have seen this guitar of mine previously loaded with Seymour Duncan pickups: CLICK

Just yesterday, I got it de-Duncanized not that I gave up on Seymour Duncan pickups, but I'm returning it to its former glory featuring a trio of non-stacked humbucking pickups. There were no plans to have its default pickups do the job, I went with Tesla this time round, a trio of Plasma 1s in all positions. 

Why bother? I'm still in the single coil itch in the mean time. My John Page & Edwards were the most played guitars recently & their single coils in there had proven its worth; there is still life in planet overdrive even if you don't employ humbuckers in your instruments. With Teslas in this LTD, it means that I have a line up of single coil equipped instruments featuring different brand names for variety's sake. 

The Teslas are smooth in the neck & middle positions so if you are looking for a brash, SRV-type twang, they are not quite available. However, the fundamental single coil twang is still in tact; more top end definition without the lower frequencies getting in the way. The bridge Plasma 1 is the twangiest of them all & it might be a little too sharp-sounding for some of us but I like it this way. 

This episode proved two things: 1. You don't need a Fender guitar for good single coil tones- you need good single coils. Many of us ignored the pickups consideration entirely, we were blinded by the brand name priority on many occasions. 2. Good overdrive tones come with clear objectives & singular perspectives will usually end up with more confusion than accomplishments. Ask yourselves what you wish to achieve before splurging good money on upgrades. Chances are, you only need to spend on the crucial consideration & not re-vamp your entire rig. Also, leave conventions behind & go with your gut feelings. 

Thank you once again to Master Beez for the quick & dandy electronics job as always. FYI, this LTD ST-213 had been discontinued WEF 2016. What a waste.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gus Jackson

PIC: T. Tronckoe

Latest: Gus G had left the ESP camp, now with Jackson.

Selling: Green Rhino (SOLD)

Letting this go:

  • Way Huge: Green Rhino ver WHE 202
  • Box included, condition: 8.5/10
  • Self-collect @ CCK or Yew Tee mrt station
  • No reservations or trades
  • Confirmation/ queries:
  • Price is FINAL: $99

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Martin Howe

Something to look forward to- Carl Martin's Lick Box. It's a signature pedal as indicated. I'm a sucker for a stackable overdrive arrangement, especially one offered in a single housing. Pedal will debut this 1st August. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


The lone pickup in my MM SUB1 guitar is a Seymour Duncan Black Winter. Why was this pickup chosen? I would first address the guitar concerns. The SUB1 is a rather hefty instrument & naturally manifests a bass-inclined tone. With the default pickups, the overall tone wasn't strong in any particular frequency. It's as if the pickups were there to neutralize any particular accentuation of  certain frequencies. The Black Winter is by default partial to midrange, something like what you'd hear coming from a JB but without the slicing treble response. It was conceived to serve the twisted metal dimension in the first place, so menacing distortion is its thing, my kind of pickup in such an application. What it did to the SUB1 is important to me. It brought out the lower midrange accentuation typical of the fusion between such a pickup & an instrument of this weight threshold. Marvellous!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Worthy Plus-es

The Schecter C-6 Plus is new for 2016.

If you are looking for a sub-$500 player which isn't shabby with much visual attraction...

... they are now available at Davis GMC in various colours.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Subtracting SUB1

This is my Music Man SUB1 guitar, bought from Davis GMC in 2005. The SUB1 range were the only models they had in store & at that point in time, I was hoping the EBMM instruments would be distributed by Davis GMC thereafter but apparently, things didn't follow up well. It wasn't a boutique MM model that's for sure. Back then, Fender did a Highway 1 & the concept of just finishing the instrument in satin instead of a gloss overcoat to reduce cost, caught on- Gibson did their Faded series at about the same time. Music Man did their SUB1 which was discontinued in 2006.

Just last week, I brought it out of hibernation & the electronics were cranky which no contact cleaner could cure. The main culprit was the corroded input jack. That was when I decided to give it a make over to serve my needs. I sent the original pickguard as a template reference to TYMC & they did a bridge humbucker only version which you see here. Controls were reduced to a solitary volume knob & everything electronics-related was handled by the master himself, Mr. Beez

So here it is, my revised MM SUB1 guitar which I think should not have been discontinued. EBMM couldn't keep up with the production costs to maintain the wonderful price so that spelt the end of this series. The Sterling range currently offer a SUB series of instruments which are much confused with this model. I would tell you that the SUB1 is a solid player & worth every cent.

SALE @ Luthermusic

Luthermusic is having a clearance sale; selected acoustic guitars, microphones, monitors, drums, keyboards, etc. are going for cheap. The solid top LAG T100D you see here is clearing for $199 (!) but quantities are limited. Interested parties should head down to:

I'm applauding Luthermusic for clearing their blemished & display sets periodically which, in my opinion, should be practiced by all instrument stores.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Look for Beez @ new unit

Managed to drop by Beez's earlier today. As you can see, he's busy at his new work place. It's just next to the stairway after Memphis Music. We are grateful that he decided to stay put at the Excelsior Hotel area.

Seen here: Beez attending to my Music Man SUB1 guitar. Update soon :-)

Boss tuning app

Good Saturday morning, a rather gloomy one. BOSS has joined Ibanez in giving us an app tuner which I already installed in my phone. It responds to your voice as well so when your vocalist is out of tune, you'd know :-)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Exotic driving

Got my SL Drive. It looks puny but there are more control options inside to keep me occupied. Tried it for a while at Sound Alchemy before bringing it home. Bottom line- my kind of overdrive.

Xotic effects: SL Drive
Availability: Sound Alchemy
List: $179

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ibanez: Thermo acoustics

Good Thursday morning, guitar nation. Have you heard of this process whereby wood reserved for guitar making are made to go through a heating process before being turned into instruments?

It's called 'torrefaction'; forcing wood to dry up in a vacuum space. This way, the material concerned would become more tinted & lighter. Ibanez chooses to call it thermo ageing. In essence, the instruments featuring such processed wood would sound louder (improved projection) & richer across frequencies.

This Summer NAMM 2016, Ibanez offers a quartet of such thermo aged guitars in both top only option of full bodied thermo aged selection. All models are depicted here.

So Ibanez joins Martin & Taylor in this wood treatment but as you know with Ibanez, their selections cost lesser than the competitors'. We shall wait for these models to make it here before passing further judgments pertaining to tonal preferences. In the mean time, here's a brief take:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Jr 2

Meanwhile in Martin-dom, they have just released this Dreadnought Junior in sapele for Summer NAMM 2016. Check out the tone:

SALE: Little Martins

PIC: City Music

Head over to City Music if you are in the market for a travel-size acoustic as the Little Martins are on sale. Package includes a Korg tuner as indicated.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Green Wonder

Back to some pedal shenanigans; this little green pedal is worth it. Oh yes, there's no hiding the fact that it's a variant of a certain green pedal out there. No, I didn't buy the hand wired version which lists for much more than this one; I got what works for me. 

So where does this sit in terms of relevance? The LGW is a low compression unit so it has more headroom for your direct guitar signals. Simply put, it drives later & less readily than you expected it to. Plus point- it interacts well with your guitar's volume play. The other advantage here is that this feature makes it more 'stackable' with other drive/ distortion source & proves to be less in the way when you use it with your amp's dirty channel. This was how it impressed me at the store with both single coil & humbucking guitars. The manufacturer did well in labelling the EQ section as BODY instead of tone. This is note-worthy because this feature is a center detent control that pumps up the treble at clock wise rotation & lower midrange at counter-clockwise direction. So there you have it, slight differences from what you'd expect from a green dirt box but many of us would require that little bit more careful listening to appreciate the quirks. 

Mad Professor: Little Green Wonder
Availability: Davis GMC
List: $165

Monday, June 13, 2016

Awe-in-1 PICKS giveaway- congrats & thanks!

Good Monday morning & congrats to the following individuals, your Awe-in-1 pick are on the way:

  • Theodore Lai
  • Andrea Wongso
  • Vincent Lee
  • Bryan Yeo
  • Benedict Ho
More importantly, thank you all for zipping by this blog page for your reading pleasure- I truly appreciate all your support! 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Promo @ SV Guitars

PIC: SV Guitars

Ongoing promo at SV Guitars, great for starters or a simple set up at the office. That's right, stash it under your work space. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

ESP Kelliher

In an initial press release announcing Mastodon's Bill Kelliher joining the ESP camp, only this LTD version is shown. The ESP version will be shown on Summer NAMM which is coming soon. This Eclipse spin-off is interesting because it's a slab design so no belly contour at the rear of the body & there are no model number at the 12th fret for the LTD version. We await further details.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Giveaway: Awe-in-1 picks

Yes, folks... it's time for another giveaway, this time the Awe-In-One picks. As seen above, I have 5 picks to spare, these are the Thrash II model, 1.8mm thick in see-through finish. If you'd like to try one, here's the drill:
  1. E-mail me with the following subject matter: I want Awe-in-1
  2. Please disclose your name 
  3. Wait for my reply asking for your mailing address which also means you had been a successful applicant
Simple, yes? This giveaway ends tonight, 10th June 2016, 2359hrs. Hope to hear from you :-)


A piece of Gibson news (from a non-Gibson fan); I'm definitely interested in this non-reversed Firebird if it ever gets here. It's finished in a non-mainstream colour which I favour. Also, the tuners are the non-standard type unlike the through-headstock version typical for this model. It's on a limited run so seeing it here is rather unlikely. Darn.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


The Agile camp is now offering a headless guitar & this got me excited. Having gone through an Agile myself, I can only say good things about this manufacturer whose niche is churning out affordable 7 & 8-string instruments at very reasonable prices. The plus point here- this guitar does NOT require double ball end strings to get things going. How about that?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Clean: Re-visited (sort of)

Confession: I'm not a clean fan. OK maybe the jazzy stuff- that, I can tolerate. Lately, due to a single coil preoccupation, I'm appreciating clean tones. The cleans which contain traces of drive when cranked up. Nick Johnston- that's my best reference. So the adventure requires me to add a pedal into the signal chain because the single coils I'm dealing with are not the high output type; the Ashburn's Bloodline pickups are polite entities. A clean boost is added as seen above, it's a Protone Clean Boost which turns into an overdrive at maximum setting.

What's the benefit of approaching tone from this perspective? It allows the player to clean up the signal via the volume control. Not all pickups-boost combo will give you this luxury, it's a matter of trial & error.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Schecter's 40th

Last Sunday, Davis GMC alerted me to these 40th Anniversary models by Schecter, the C-1 (top) & Avenger (bottom) which were in store. The C-1 is a neck-through model while the Avenger is a set neck. The pickups you see there (OK, not so obvious) are covered USA Pasadena humbuckers which sounded very active; think of EMG's HZ model. These guitars are indeed deserving commemorative units with immaculate construction. They are satin finished from one end to the other, no glossed over parts whatsoever. 

Ibanez: Tuner app

Just sharing: Ibanez has this cool tuner app for Apple devices which you can try. I'm not using an iPhone in the mean time, trying it in my iPad instead.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ramadan 2016

Ramadan greetings to all Muslim friends, acquaintances & readers. It seems that I just did a Ramadan greeting here not too long ago but it had been a year & time just zipped by. My message this time round- FOCUS. Value-add your Ramadan & leave other distractions aside. If it's impossible all this while, now is the time to try. I was affected by the current Aidilfitri ads just days ago; that's really disrespectful for the religion; the Lord gives us the beginning of a blessed month & here we are reminding others of its end... Let's not put this opportunity to waste- a blessed Ramadan to you. 

Summer NAMM 2016: Epiphone

Yes, Summer is here (elsewhere) & some new gear are making their debut at Summer NAMM, one of the more known names there- Epiphone. The manufacturer has a number of release this mid-year after being relatively reserved at the last Winter NAMM & this archtop got me interested- the Century-inspired hollow player featuring just a single P-90 at the neck position. The manufacturer promised an affordable price tag but it's nowhere near a starter price.

What's an Epiphone without the Les Paul invocation & here is the visually stunning new Traditional PRO-II. Main highlights- new pickups modelled after Gibson's own Alnico & Burstbucker models. Also, the instrument features an internal (battery-powered) booster unit for an addition 15db of kick; just pull up the tone knob to activate. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Xotic Alchemy

PIC: Sound Alchemy

I'm glad to announce the availability of Xotic effects at Sound Alchemy. Promotional intro now taking place FYI.

Happy first weekend of June, everyone :-)


I'm trying out the Shred Line picks (red/ black) by DAW, these were in the mail recently. DAW is offering free international shipping in the mean time if you are interested.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Simply works

Ladies & gentlemen- what triggers you to plug in your guitar & play the while away? I think a simple answer to that would be tone. If you have a good tone at the ready, you will be moved to pick that guitar up & start strumming/ shredding. So it begs the next question: What's a good set up to have?

That's quite personal, I would say. Your preferred tone might be sonic rubbish to me. So start taking note of what works for you regardless of the gear in question. It might be a cheap pedal, a seasoned guitar & a small boutique amp or whatever you can get your hands on, that works for you. Also, please exercise some permutations of combination. Combine what you have in different order, use batteries for you pedals on some days, maybe give a different string brand a try, use a shorter guitar cord at times- you get the drift. Very soon, you'll be going back to the stuff that you like hearing or know to work well for certain intentions. There you go. A ready set of reference at your disposal.

Coming back to this pic here, my Blackstar Fly 3 amp is a go-to reference on days when I wish for a quick but pleasant set up. It's not exactly the best in the house but it's a guaranteed affair & that's more important to me than trying to figure things out when I need a quick set up. I've been using this amp often enough to know that it benefits from a little kick in terms of overdrive so a mild drive/ distortion unit would usually be hooked up as supplementary. With these two going, pretty much any guitar I play will sound pleasant or I should say, to my liking. Enough satisfaction on lazy days, on lethargic days, on days when I need a quick fix.