Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A little birdy told me...

Wrapping things up for November; it's just a mere Fender leak but it's worth noting. Remember the news of the American Standard discontinuation? They will be allegedly replaced by the American Professional series. 😌

Prices are revised upwards on grounds of more 'quality' inclusions which remains to be seen. Also new to the fold are 2 offset models seen here; a Jaguar & Jazzmaster. We finally get both models in a maple fretboard version & the Jaguar gets a simpler electronics control. Awesome.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fender (Japan): Jaguar

On the second day of the Swee Lee sale, I got myself this Fender Jaguar. It's an old Japanese model which remained unsold but still acceptable in terms of physical condition. I managed to test it out a little bit to make sure the electronics justified the $1K+ price tag. Prior to bringing it to the cashier for payment, I was informed that it doesn't come with a bag & the accessories were also missing (no whammy bar). I went home clutching this guitar dearly to avoid unnecessary knocks & dents. I was also thankful the gloomy weather contained its fury so walking home with this instrument in hand was the Lord's grace indeed. 

While I remain grateful to Swee Lee for making this sale event happen & the awesome service rendered, I sincerely believe a little more price compensation could be factored in for older instruments with missing accessories. They were not meant to be luxury items by the manufacturer but supplementary to the instrument. Try selling a car without windshield wipers.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fender: American Special Stratocaster

This was Saturday's catch from the Swee Lee warehouse sale; Fender's American Special Stratocaster. I own 3 Strats in the mean time, one of which is an American Special so this addition to the fold required a little difference to make it worth the trouble; I chose a rosewood fretboard version. Nothing outstanding about this guitar, just that I've never owned a rosewood fretboard version before so this was a good pick (no pun intended). Come to think of it, my heroes embrace rosewood fretboard in their Strats- SRV, Thomas Blug, Jeff Golub, Jeff Beck & Nick Johnston before he moved to the Schecter camp. Will be doing away with those Texas Special pickups soon, time to go shopping (again). 🎸

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Price watch (3)

I was at the Swee Lee warehouse sale (again). I returned to the scene because I saw the older Ibanez S-Series (S520EX, 22 frets) which I fancy & I thought it would be a good buy after a 30% discount (prices stated above are pre-discount). However, there was a great disparity in prices which might be due to confusion. Ibanez fans will know that the green version was released before the grey one. These guitars might be shipped in at different times of the year when the currency exchange rates  were different. Regardless, the price difference was dreadful in view of the exact same model being offered, less the colour variation. 😲


I first heard Steve Digiorgio play in Sadus. He was (still is) one of those bass dweebs who won't let the guitar/ drum bury the low end in a band context. He holds his own in terms of bass technicalities as well, in fact, one of the very few metal bassists out there to strap on a fretless unit. 

I was trawling Ibanez's web pages & was surprised to see him there now playing the BTB bass. No idea if this is an exclusive deal but he switched camps for sure. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Was there

No snaking queue, no excessive anxiety, no issues all round at the opening of the Swee Lee sale this morning: 9.00am. Items on clearance are going for 30% off. 

The stuff on my to-grab list weren't there so this was a consolation.

SALE: Sound Alchemy

Ah, yes- Sound Alchemy is the latest on the SALE list! 👍🏾

SALE: Yamaha @ Beat Spot

Even Yamaha is joining in the SALE fever... 👍 In view of the grim economy & paltry year-end bonuses- it is the right thing to do. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

SALE: City Music

The other sale happening this season is that sale that always happen at this time of the year- City Music's year end sale. This sale lasts till the year end so it's good news for those of us waiting for the year end surplus to happen before shopping. 👌

Thursday, November 24, 2016

SALE: Swee Lee

Happening this Saturday. No, the ritual Swee Lee sale is not back, it's just this one happening at Sims Drive. Usually for SL sale events, I'd be recommending some stuff worthy of grabbing but I can't do likewise here because I simply don't know what's there for the taking. Also, if you wish to drop by the store for a look-see; it's closed for the sale preparation (try calling them). What's that? You wish to queue overnight for your dream gear going for a dream price? Be reminded that Sims Drive was a Zika cluster. Alright, see you there if you are in the mood for retail therapy. For the rest of us who are still not in any position to shop- Thanksgiving greetings to you. ☺

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

JS Art 2

Ibanez-Satch collaboration; the JS ART2 guitars. They are now shipping, model No. 38 & 69 will be made available here (if you are interested). 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The same for 2017

For 2017, all the SE models will receive a PRS signature on the headstock less the Indonesian made Standards. 👾 #justsaying 

Painless connection

I sincerely wish such an assembly & its other siblings would be readily available here. This is a pre-wired ObsidianWire Strat-type pickup selector & control pots. You simply insert your pickup wires into the connector slots & you're ready to go; absolutely solder-free. Yes, it accommodates input jack wires as well unlike some other pre-wired assemblies. A quick video reference:

Monday, November 21, 2016

The need for (plenty of) gain

Had been playing lots of guitar for the last couple of days. If there is one thing that I'm accustomed to right now that I cannot do without is high gain from an amp. Pedal combinations don't quite work for me. I need the guitar to interact directly with the amp & nothing else in between. OK, so a booster unit or a noise gate would be employed every now & then but my ears would reject a loss of definition when these pedals are in use after a while. My ears are picking out stuff that works for me & I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Catching Trower's wisdom

Robin Trower is from the blue's old guard who still prides himself by balancing vocals with dedicated guitar works. His 'no hurry' approach to music might be a case of extended inertia for some but it's all in the music if you care to listen.

I chanced upon this quote by him recently which is very reflective of my playing philosophy. I don't sit down to figure out what the other guy is playing. At most, I'll analyze what was used in the music & maybe get inspired to incorporate some phrases. I'm really against playing others' ideas for playing sake. Some might argue that we start learning by copying others but that doesn't exist in my learning philosophy. I've been playing guitar for quite some time now. Given this amount of time, I could have dedicated enough time to devour others' ideas into mine but it had not happened- what's the point? Playing & having people identify some others' style in my playing; what does that make me?

People like Trower & I, we won't make it big in terms of getting there. The Trower name for instance, doesn't gather as much crowd as Clapton. But look at where he's at in terms of belief & self-fulfilment- bigger than ever. Respect.

PIC: Rose G

Selling: Ibanez OD850 (SOLD)

Contrary to the 'overdrive' label, the Ibanez OD850 is a fuzz unit. It was conceived in the same era as a certain muff-y pedal in direct competition, of course. As far as fuzzy tones are concerned, I'm not a fan. The pedal you see here is a mere 2 month old.

  • Ibanez OD850
  • Box, adapter cable included as seen above
  • 2mth old, 9/10 condition
  • No reservations/ trades
  • Self-collect @ CCK mrt station
  • Further queries/ confirmation:
  • Price: $140 (final)
Item SOLD off- thanks ☺

PRS CE ver 2017: Salute!

Two days ago, I managed to squeeze some time to test out PRS' CE model which was re-introduced this year. At the back of my mind, I was rather upset that PRS is misallocating resources to reinvigorate a done deal. This bolt-on take on the manufacturer's renowned outline was discontinued in 2008 & it wasn't a strong selling point given the different neck-body attachment.

But having played one in person, the CE is indeed worth the resurrection. First up, the satin finish was crucial in both playability & comfort. This somehow managed to supplement the wide-thin neck profile, there's this sublime grip factor going while the instrument was in use. Secondly, the pickups there- a pair of 85/15- are deserving in getting some clarity through. They are great with any amount of drive dialled in but those clean aficionados might find the break-up factor of the neck humbucker a little troubling; it happens too soon so some volume play might be necessary to keep things dirt-free. Is bolt-on a desecrative construction profile for PRS? Not if you are splitting hairs & insists the manufacture should bend only one way for their instruments' tone in general. The increase in snap here is likeable & I personally find it non-wayward in any aspects. Even if it's not a flagship tone for the manufacturer, it's done in good taste.

I'm trying to resist the notion of a bolt-on PRS being 'good' or even acceptable because this will lead to tone dichotomy more than the tone appreciation per se. This CE proves to be difficult because it is good in its own right, regardless of the manufacturer's segue into other construction philosophy in trying to prove a point. Good manufacturers will remain successful regardless of any guitar-making adventure & PRS is one of them. Forking out more than $2K for a bolt-on PRS is quite foolish but we fork out more than that amount for a Fender or a Suhr without batting an eye. Decisions, decisions.

Rating: 80/100

PRS: CE 24 (ver 2016)
Availability: Davis GMC
List: $2,400

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hype blood

As at 17th Nov, there were no KHDK Dark Blood (DB) pedal sound bytes/ sample/ video review. I had the opportunity to hear it in action at the store yesterday. The pedal's endorser claimed this pedal had plenty to offer in terms of drive/distortion. He was confident it would measure up against something high gain in similar offerings. Let me share with you my friends, that the DB is indeed a high gain entity but it belongs to the intense distortion camp. It doesn't serve a heavy metal type distortion comprehensively, BOSS's Metal Zone/ EHX Metal Muff would be more than able to out-metal this one given the right settings. This pedal employs diode clipping which was hidden in the innards but traces of light could be seen from the knob & switch gaps. Having a 2-band EQ is a little deficient in terms of voicing, I was trying to dial in some usable tones for solos but found it either a little too bland for the bridge humbucker or a little too muffled when the neck pickup was in use. The most attractive feature here is its noise gate that helped to really eliminate background hissing or other extraneous picking noises. 

Having watched the promo clips of this pedal (just mere verbal appraisal), I would deem the endorser's attempt to hype it up a little misplaced given that it is very close to being a one-trick pony & a little misrepresented, at best.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Possible return?

Now that the Mexican offsets (Mustang/ Duo-sonic) are in full disclosure & rocking, perhaps Fender would consider reviving the Bronco as well. Construction-wise, it's too darn similar so if there's any claim for 'additional' costs in production, it's downright unreasonable. A simpler bridge would be more enticing, though. 

Hot wired to desperation

In an unprecedented move to promote new material awareness, this had to happen. I've already lost respect for these chaps, they just got lower. The reek of desperation. 

Blood type dark

You know that guitarist in Metallica? No, the other one- yeah, the guy who drowned his solos in wah. He has a new pedal out (strategically before the holidays)- the KHDK Dark Blood. It's touted to be an over the top distortion for you dweebs who believe in pedal drive to drive (forgive the pun) your tone.   I wonder why he would want one considering his rig includes a more than competent Randall amp. #justsharing 😶

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Price watch (2)

That's right- this Ibanez GIO model is going for a near $1K in the after-market. If you are such a seller & others probe your intentions politely, do reply cordially. Do not refute the fact that others may be more in the know than you do.  

Available, played

Work starts later after lunch for me today, so I had some playing time. 👍

The first guitar played was the Fender Jaguar. I'm kind of addicted to the super low action & shorter scale length. Also, the pickups here are some of the best single coil tones under high gain & they are default units. Stuff played with this guitar- 4-notes-per-string legattos, shred stuff. Couldn't play anything else. 😁

Had time for a second, so the Ibanez Talman was next. Despite the non-heavy metal looks (is there a legit heavy metal look for guitars to begin with?), it's all heavy stuff with this one. The way some guitars interact with the amp, it sometimes sway you to play in a certain style. 

Back to Jack(son)

Marty Friedman is officially back on the Jackson roster. Predictably, his guitar of choice is the singlecut Monarch. 

PIC: K Diane

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Standard 7

A late release by Gibson- the Les Paul Standard 7-string 😶. Yes, we applaud Gibson for being bold & going with the flow & we note this isn't the manufacturer's first 7. I wonder how many of you are really keen on this investment (we note how difficult a 7-string re-sale could be in the after market) &  do you recall Gibson's other two 7-strings?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


ESP is clearing B-grade stuff online. Wish they were available here...

Monday, November 14, 2016

Next gen?

Pssst. You heard of NEXI industries? No? That's because they are new to the scene. They have this Solution Pedalboard where you can plug in pedals that are cable-free. The catch is, it's their kind of plug-&-play pedals, not something that you already own which could be made compatible for the board. Nevertheless, it could prove to be a difference with all those messy cables out of the way. 

By the way, you heard of a Marshall JVH amp? 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The need to play

This was last night's set up. Had planned for a 15min simple workout but extended to the hour. There's this urge in all of us (more so for those who are dedicated players) to grab the guitar & play when triggered by an idea, a tune, an inspiration- we shouldn't be hampered by our set up. We shouldn't be waiting for the amp to warm up, the need for batteries in pedals, looking for that elusive hum-free cable- you get the drift. We need to grab & get going. I'm grateful for the simple gear that gets me through quickly & the honourable mention here is my Blackstar FLY 3 amp. Simply awesome.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

RIP: Victor Bailey

Sad passing of Victor Bailey, one of the bass greats out there. RIP (March 27, 1960 – November 11, 2016)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Singlecut uke

Agile is once again pushing limits with this electric solid body uke (Model: AL UK HSB). SInglecut appeal, twin humbuckers... something to think about. 🤔

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Howling goodness

Had been a terrible last few days or so, namely dealing with management crap. Reminder to self- the higher you climb, the farther you are from reality. Just received this pair in the mail today- jazz size versions of what I custom ordered before from Howling Monkey, the 2.7mm thickness was retained.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Price check

Dear buyers, do check prices before parting with precious cash...

Saturday, November 5, 2016

EVH: Micro Stack

This is the EVH 5150III Micro Stack, a pocket amp very much in the same league as Marshall's MS-2. It operates on a 9V battery with a power adapter option (not included). The amp has a tilt stand for a slanted projection.

If you think this is a guaranteed emulation of what a 5150 can do then I must say you have a very high expectation for a novelty amp. You might be delusional as well, given the brand name there without really thinking of the implications of size & circuitry involved. We can pile this up with others of its ilk which are so removed from what their standard size counterpart could do & resign in the realization that it's semi-junk. The GAIN on offer is nothing near the 5150 ferocity, things get very fuzzy at extreme settings with low notes suffering from immediate death upon playing. Cleans are only usable at lower gain/ volume levels, beyond noon, things trickle into drive territory with very little appeal in terms of clarity. 

I would hereby reiterate the fact that Blackstar FLY is the only table-top/ pocket grade amp which  remains functional when in use. We need not try too hard looking for alternatives because in the mean time, there are none. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Duncan Hendrix

Seymour Duncan now offers you tone dweebs the Hendrix single coil set. Pickups are reverse wound to emulate how Jimi Hendrix got on with a reversed, right-handed instrument (get it?).

Pre-loaded pickguards are also available (lefty version included).

PIC: Seymour Duncan

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The boss is available

As mentioned in a previous entry, the BOSS GT-1 is NOT a current replacement of the celebrated GT-100. It's simply a back-to-basics version of the manufacturer's GT line. I personally believe that this is one of the worthy no-frills multi-fx unit one could consider acquiring. It is now in stock at Swee Lee (List: $299).

By the way, how much did Swee Lee pay me to put this up? Absolutely nothing. If you think some entries here are inclined towards a favourable mention, perhaps you have yet to understand my dedication for this blog- I empower you to make informed decisions. Nothing else. How then, is such an entry, empowering you towards making informed decisions? Simple- prices are mentioned, store names are mentioned, stock availability/ re-stock frequency is mentioned, fundamental product appraisals were done, so if you have a better deal elsewhere or if you've been had by some online deal, then you have a pivotal reference to reduce/increase subsequent buying experience. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Killing Alice

Very bad picking for the last few days. So went back to what worked well for me when it all started (when I started using thick picks, that is)- a 3mm Stubby-type pick. Seen here is my Alice pick since I don't have any Dunlop with me. Also, the Killing Floor had more gain going this time to help my picking out. That's right, more gain for me means less picking effort & less lethargy, definitely.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New FLYs

TECH 21's FLY RIG 5 offers a simple solution for musicians on the go- a drive, pre-amp & delay in a single serving. The FLY RIG 5 had been tweaked for a Ritchie Kotzen version still offering the same core guitar effects in a single housing. We now have 2 more FR5 refinements- the Brit & Cali, named after obvious voicings if you are a true guitar fan, there's no guessing what's in store tone-wise.

PS: Hello, November!