Alright, it's been confirmed 👍 Please proceed to Davis GMC's homepage & click the banner for ticketing details: CLICK
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Lest you forget, Gibson did make a Les Paul doublecut. The manufacturer is reviving something similar, we could say. Gibson's doublecut models are not as popular as SGs, let's see how long this will continue.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Friday, May 26, 2017
I'm still having a go at the Fender Modern Player series. Don't get me wrong, these are some of the best value-for-money Fender, period (I own more than one instrument from the series, rather unfortunate that they met an obscure demise with much misunderstanding. Here's my take on the series' COD (you have every right to disagree, it's a personal take).
The Modern Player models were downright estranged, even the 'Fender' monicker failed to extend a saving grace to keep them in perpetual production. Take the HSH mahogany Strat for instance (preceding pic); if it isn't a Fender, the mahogany body per se would invite serious interest from tone dweebs. What's that? Keep the alder body, you say? Well, the alder HSS version didn't generate much interest even in that outstanding silverburst finish. Mind you, a Les Paul in silverbust at that same period of time was arguably on top of everyone's want list. A humbucking Jazzmaster, a Jaguar with tune-o-matic bridge, dual humbucking P/J basses, a HSS Tele with a Strat middle pickup- players were not ready to embrace these alien specs. Newbies want a 'real' Fender for keep's sake, not something twisted hiding behind an acclaimed brand name. The seasoned professionals stick to their 'real' Fenders as well- why embrace controversy, yes?
2. Made in China
No offence to Chinese blog readers & friends but the Chinese label effectively de-Fender everything from the buyers' perspective. Prior to this experience, Fender had some excellent models made in Korea with outstanding QC but generated diminished interest (eg: Lite Ash Strat). Keeping this in mind, why would a Chinese label enthused them differently? Some enterprising sleuths connected the Squier brand name to the Chinese Modern Players & that spelt doom for the brand name. The uninitiated camp went so far as to conclude the fact that Fender had then shifted production to China entirely. Aw, damn.
3. Miserable support
This cut both ways. Firstly, when the instruments debuted, can you recall the artists who actually endorsed the Modern Player instruments? Can't think of any? Exactly- no pros gave a hoot about them. Secondly, do you recall any distributors/ retailers who actually promoted the Modern Player models? Ditto- nobody cared. They somehow knew these instruments were plagued by the country of origin dilemma & feature quirky specs & failed to put owners at ease.
So there you go, the sure demise of Fender's Modern Player models. Despite the controversies, I'm actually alright with the bizarre specs as well as them being manufactured in a country where food items are actually semi-edibles in disguise. I know they were well-made after personal encounters in store & they sound perfectly acceptable without outstanding electronics. Still, players were simply not ready for Fender's non-conventional manifestations despite manufacturing these instruments in good faith. It seems that bona fide admiration for the Modern Players weren't enough to pull them through.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
So I bought the Fender Modern Player Jaguar. It's a loser model, already discontinued in 2014, what was I thinking?
I always go with what's best for me regardless if it's a pariah model by popular standards. I don't conform to contemporary consensus & that's how I discover guitars with overlooked mojo. As they say, one man's gem might be another's trash.
This MP Jaguar has a familiar feel, namely its shorter scale length. I find this the crucial difference in making me embrace the instrument, otherwise it's just another standard scale Fender out there. Yes, all Jaguars sport that shorter scale length (24"). I know. The P-90s are nothing special but I'm still enthralled by how they sound in use simultaneously. They even sound fantastic under lots of drive but excuse the hum, of course. I'm still a sucker for satin finish after all these years. If you are interested to own one, be informed that the Fender Traditional bag for Strat/Tele will fit this beast but bear with the tight fit.
For the record, I now own all the offset models Fender had to offer in the Modern Player series, the reason no other models were mentioned in my preceding entry. This instrument, arguably the lowest in the hierarchy & the least commercially viable, was discontinued in 2014 as mentioned above. If a store here still brings them in after all these years, what does that imply? Something to think about.
To be continued...
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Back in 2011, Fender introduced (re-introduced?) the Marauder in the Modern Player series. The Modern Player, my friends, consist of idiosyncratic models which forged its identity by assuming an established Fender monicker only to fall victim to the manufacturer's creative license in making it 'different'.
Fender also released the Jaguar in the same series, altering it significantly to manifest some Gibson-ish DNA in terms of tone- P-90s, tune-o-matic, 3-way toggle... these are definitely not Fender genetics.
On that note, they messed with the Jazzmaster as well, desecrating its signature tone by including humbuckers & a rather profane fretboard switch to maple.
And while they're at it, why not include the Mustang into the mix. P-90 equipped Mustang instead of traditional single coils.
To be continued...
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
'Supp!? I'm still in single coil mode.
But these are fat single coils aka the P-90s, unlike the ones in Strats. These are the least likely candidates for shred as they hum excessively under lots of gain/ drive. I have them out for variety's sake- hearing too much traditional single coil tones lately so something has to give.
On the topic of single coil pickups, can the P-90s pull off the twang? Answer: Not that apparent when used in isolation. However, you can hear that when both P-90s are used simultaneously. In guitar speak, it means leaving the pickup selector in that middle position.
Confession- I used to like only humbuckers. Simple reason- I started off with humbuckers & I'd been hearing them in action for a very long time at the exclusion of others. I deem everything else as 'inferior' until Stevie Ray came into the picture. Then I told myself I must have single coil tones or I'd die unaccomplished (in some ways). Then Danny Gatton came into the picture & the Tele honk was haunting me till I bought my first Tele. So as you can see, opening yourselves to other people's music, the ones which are not your cup of tea especially, is key to embracing change. Change is good, my friends, as it forces you to step out of your comfort zone & understand many things from a different perspective. ★
Monday, May 22, 2017
Last weekend's noodling; Ibanez Talman & Schecter VE-TE.
The Talman is a wonderful Telecaster variant, not that it's close to the real deal, but it retains the Ibanez defiance in doing things the manufacturer's way. Pickguard semblance & pickups arrangement plus that metal surround all scream Tele. Tone-wise, it's closer to the Tele than the Strat but managed to avoid the former's honk.
The Schecter VE-TE is a gem (to me). Tele in every way less the headstock. The Japanese has this penchant for outperforming originals & this was one of them but I had to Duncanized the pickups. Outcome- high gain single coil monster, not for those with a thing for cleans. But I have to give it to Seymour Duncan for packing some great cleans into these Quarter Pound pair, just not the vintage type. Also, this guitar was grounded, staying true to the vintage vibe but not that pleasant if you are into excessive drive.
Where do I go with these two? There will be times when I'm bothered by contemporary looks & tone, these are my go-to 'substitutes' to keep things in check.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
It took a while but a singlecut Jackson guitar finally made it into standard production. Debuting in 2016, the Monarkh was an obvious risk for the manufacturer as it was something not within the pointy Jackson DNA. As Marty Friedman is currently backing it following his return to the Jackson camp, it should be staying in the catalogs for some years to come. It's a commercial symbiosis, we see many models from other brand names dying without endorser support too many times.
The JS22 version of the singlecut Monarkh is an alright guitar in terms of tone. Nothing too enticing when it comes to clean, the default high output humbuckers were just not cut for that. Drive-wise, much clarity could be heard coming from both pickups but the treble dominance could be addressed. I somehow like this excess in the neck position but that's just my metal inclinations talking. On that note, this is nothing less than a shred machine or a heavy metal implement but do not expect a thin neck for manoeuvrability. You can still speed across the fretboard & such but the narrow nut cramped proceedings a little. Quite a Les Paul vibe going on here considering the 24.75" scale length, without neck stickiness which is a plus point.
After 20min of test time, the thinner body made it feel like an SG in many ways. It's compounded by the fact that the neck had a diving tendency due to the acute cutaway but the chamfered body edges added to playing comfort, definitely.
The Monarkh is a Jackson by virtue of its drive-inclined tone. The most familiar reference here is that substantial (but a Gibson 50s neck it is not) but inviting neck. A worthy consideration for a good budget purchase but nothing unique in terms of offering.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
A follow up to what's mentioned here: CLICK
From the Fender camp:
Fender is committed to the continued use of Rosewood in American-made solid body guitars, such as our American Professional Series. After actively exploring alternate wood options to Rosewood for selective use on a few US models, we will be transitioning most of our Mexico made product away from rosewood to pau ferro, a fantastic alternate we currently use on the SRV signature strat. The American Elite series is transitioning to ebony fretboards with dealers and our inventories. Rosewood is still used on many series of instruments, as it is a historically accurate tone wood. The changeover will be somewhat fluid in the market, there is no set date at this time.
We are still currently evaluating options for Squier and the acoustics category. (A. Mooney, CEO)
Friday, May 19, 2017
Yesterday- the demise of Chris Cornell (1967 - 2017). I first heard him in Sound Garden's Badmotorfinger (on cassette tape). That era when guitar's secondary, everything else on slack mode was hype. But Badmotorfinger was alright, Kim Thayil's good & Cornell sang like no other.
Everyone out there has a Cornell song to call their own, I have one but it's not a landmark tune per se, just something different he did while still having Sound Garden going. As above. RIP: Chris Cornell.
LATEST: Cornell's death verdict- suicide by hanging (Wayne County MEO).
LATEST: Cornell's death verdict- suicide by hanging (Wayne County MEO).
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Still in the Vox camp, but this time treading a little dangerously on the novelty end, we have an AC30 radio. You read that right- it's a radio. As in that thing where you dial in your favourite broadcasting station & listen to music, news & not to mention, extensive advertisements.
Do you listen to radio at all these days? By the way, it's called the AC30 radio; all radio without the AC30 tone. 😑
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
So Vox released this pair of 'ultimate' desktop amps rather recently (Adio Art GT/BS) & we should take notice. It sports a very FLY 3-esque dimension but has an upper hand in terms of tone by giving the user 2x3" drivers. I have no idea how this would benefit a guitar experience in terms of tone (the FLY 3 pulled off some of the best desktop offerings with just one driver on board, lest we forget) till I hear it in action maybe soon.
There's one for guitar & the other, bass. This pic here is one showing the guitar version from top view- rather feature packed & aimed to please in terms of variety.
Lots of distractions from the video clip above but enough to showcase what's expected if you decided to fork out some money for one.
Monday, May 15, 2017
Single coil mode still on. Getting ready to put aside menacing distortion for creamy drive. I've been putting the single coils through too much distortion for the last week or so, I still need the saturation to manifest acceptable legatos but it's time to abandon the amp & pedal boost this time round.
I like the Jaguar. I used to hate it a life time ago due to pickup squeals & unnecessary switches. I failed to fully appreciate the tone per se & that shorter scale length. With the American Pro Jaguar now available, I should be heading for that option but the price is simply a deal breaker. Really glad I grabbed whatever came my way. That Schecter VE-TE is another glad-I-bought-it instrument; simply great tones with those Duncan Quarter pounds in there.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
These are the talk of town lately, a rather hot topic, I must say. Friedman releasing a smaller combo version of their Dirty Shelly & Pink Taco models is a forward thinking move. Players have a smaller option addressing their needs, especially bedroom guitar warriors who have nothing to prove by owning big, high wattage amps. However, these little ditties, despite being excellent in their respective turfs, are simply too costly for many of us- USD1,799 ea (SGD2,526 thereabouts). 😞
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Got this a week ago. I have ceased updating recent purchases immediately namely to give sufficient time for a deserving appraisal. I'm not a Strymon fan due to price-related matters but I deem the Sunset OD as beneficial to my inclinations- I appreciate pedals with built-in boost/ cascading features. More updates in time to come.
Friday, May 12, 2017
That's right, I'm a little picky about picks. I'm down to 2 preferred brand names when it comes to getting a preferred selection. The first is V-Picks. The Shredder & Pachelli were purchased just prior to Easter since they had a store-wide 20% discount going. As such, I took the opportunity to try something out of my comfort zone. The Shredder is a little extreme in terms of outline & it serves players picking a certain way, very much like how Al Pitrelli picks his notes. Any other way, that rather extended pointed tip would snag strings & it's mistakes galore. Not my type, bought it to try. The Pachelli is a trimmed down Dunlop Stubby without the middle indentation. It's a 4mm monster that serves aggressive riffing as well as fast solos, especially those who pivot their wrists more than their elbows. My type of pick- like 👍
The other brand name is DAW. I recently retired my Karma pick & refrained from using my remaining 2 as they are discontinued. These picks you see here are my likeable alternatives, the Shredlines. The bigger, more triangular version of the Shredline is called the Trix. Despite disliking bulky triangular shapes, I find the Trix to be very efficient for aggressive riffs. The standard Shredline there in red is great for- you guessed it- fast picking. I've tried all the picks DAW has to offer including some discontinued models like the N4.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Good morning guitar dweebs & tone chasers alike, how's the holiday thusfar? The single coil adventure continues with my Edwards & Schecter. It's a spillover from last Sunday, actually. I had no desire to hear any humbuckers in action. I suffer from this on a cyclical basis, it takes on a different theme each time. Anyway, single coils have taught me to appreciate the top end. Yes, that treble bit we don't quite like to hear when churning out heavy metal type riffs. Single coils also taught me to appreciate cleans better. I'm not a clean fan, I need drive/high gain to play like I always do. Lately, I prefer single coils for tapped stuff as well, especially the neck pickup. Lastly, lower drive settings sound more forgivable with single coils; pedals like the Ibanez Tubescreamer & JHS Morning Glory sounds wonderful with single coils.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Good day everyone. On this holiday eve, I'm not schooling you in on how you should be running your Ibanez inventory because you have your own store policies, unique terms with the manufacturer & more importantly, you have a strong team of market analysts to back your commercial decisions- good for you. I am an Ibanez fan, I have my own perspectives of all things Ibanez & some of these are based on how you (the Ibanez distributors) behave in both domestic & international contexts. I'm not putting anyone under the microscope, just sharing what I observe & the implications thereof. You could say that my engagements with the Ibanez brand name have reached the geek status (if there is such a thing to begin with) due to a healthy dose of obsession, purchasing power & a good relationship with the local distributors (trying to think of another authorized Ibanez distributor besides the well-known one here. Hmm...). The final element of that last statement- well I'm not trying to hide the fact that it had gone south but I'm not at the detriment of this episode. I have moved on, I am buying fewer Ibanez guitars with immediate effect. Maybe I have another avenue for my Ibanez acquisitions... 😜
To begin with, when dealing with Ibanez, there's a simple philosophy to uphold: Go with the flow. Ibanez is not a brand name where buyers look at past models gleefully with an intent to purchase a good investment. Ibanez is not Fender or Gibson. Past/ discontinued model references do not automatically make it a valued possession. These older models have a time-shackle element; they are awesome at the particular time of release. If you keep them for too long in the showroom, especially when the manufacturer themselves have clearly moved on, you have dead guitars in the premises. A clear example will be the Falchion model you see here. Together with the Glaive & Halberd from the X-Series, these were departure models for 2014. If you are still selling these & insist on keeping the original price tag, it shows a lot about you.
Still on keeping up with the times, we need to observe some turning points with Ibanez. Paul Stanley was back with Ibanez (2014) & people are buying the regular Iceman model again with the standard (4 by 4 pegs) headstock. The ICT version (pictured above) was done with in 2012. Despite featuring DiMArzio pickups in there & a technically more efficient bridge, players are not looking forward to invest in a variant, certainly not in 2017 (2018, 2019... clock's ticking).
Ditto the signature models. Marty Friedman ended his Ibanez deal in 2012. Heck, he reverted to the Jackson camp after a PRS stint so selling a half-decade old signature piece (at a price where one could easily consider the most affordable Gibson) is an uphill task.
Worth mentioning in passing- the Mick Thompson model. This was the latest casualty (2016) so clearing it at the quickest possible opportunity is a wise consideration.
The other aspect of an Ibanez inventory consideration- featured parts. Ibanez fans know that when it comes to individuality, Ibanez is hardcore. Think of an Ibanez model with a Floyd Rose bridge in there & you'll get the picture. There is a strong insistence on putting their own features into their products; it's more pride than anything else. The founders even commissioned trusted partners to manufacture special components for their instruments (The Ibanez Electric Guitar Book, 2013). Along the way, parts were revised & newer versions substituted preceding models. Even higher tier models like the Prestige (RGT320QM pictured above) line weren't spared.
The bridges featured above are older models. They had been defunct for various reasons. The Edge Pro was conceived to address a patent issue when the licensing agreement between Ibanez & Floyd Rose ended so no Edge/ Lo-Pro Edge were manufactured for a period of time till 2010/2011. It wasn't put to rest for technical reasons, in fact, it's one of the best dual action model at that point in time especially so when it accepted the strings' ball end into the system cavity. When the Edge/ Lo-Pro Edge returned to the scene, players opted for the tried & trusted model instead of the Edge Pro (compounded by the fact that endorsers like Satriani & Vai wouldn't part with their Edge/ Lo-Pro Edge units) so when you see an Ibanez with this bridge in there, you'd know how old it is & re-think how much you should pay for one. The Edge III was the least favourable model as it proved to be technically incompetent when keeping tuning in check. Basically, it was a stiff unit affecting tuning accuracy when in use. The Falchion featured here was equipped with an Edge III. So if you were a seller in this aspect, you should be clearing models sporting the older features due a drastic drop in desirability. More importantly, the manufacturer had stopped offering spares for these older models so should a technical issue surface, it would be a dead end for owners.
Enough for now. I'm reiterating the fact that I'm not putting any one party responsible for the Ibanez developments here. There's no more 'here' come to think of it as online purchases are there at the ready for our wider considerations. We should be supporting one another in this small community for a win-win outcome but when $$$ considerations get in the way, some hands are tied. They are acting in the best interest of the company & we totally understand the dispositions at stake.
However, please do not deny the real situations taking place as time ticks on. There is a limited market here for musical instruments & we are no longer staying true to our previous convictions in light of the developments. This is especially true when Ibanez is no longer flexing its significant Japanese muscle as we know it (the Premium models are very good distractions. You didn't realize it most probably because you were distracted- there it worked!) & the limited inclinations are currently driving players away more than attracting a stronger legion.
There is no other way to clear the older Ibanez models than to free them from their current listed prices. Do not hide behind a clearance promo like offering a free amp or pedal as enticements because buyers are still paying the same, old prices for them. A drop in prices will trigger interest from, first & foremost, the collectors or true fans of the brand name. These are the very people who do not look forward to re-sell their purchases in the near future so they won't think too much about acquiring these instruments for the sake of allegiance more than anything else. You might have a different, undisclosed, strategy with regards to the matter & I wish you all the best in dealing with zombie Ibanez models in store.
Monday, May 8, 2017
Thank you, GHS strings, for addressing the matter. For short scale bass players like myself, we have issues with the wound string length. Some manufacturers provide very little leeway at both ends of the string resulting in the tapered bit sitting in the bridge/nut slots instead of the actual string itself. So there we have it, another manufacturer doing their bit by listening to the issues on the ground, not insisting what they do is the right thing. 👍
Sunday, May 7, 2017
If you are doing neck rectifications & your guitar sports a body end truss rod access, do capo your strings at the nut end.
Proceed with your neck rectification thereafter. This way, your strings won't be flapping in all directions.
My Schecter here sports a rather high action. After several action adjustments, a quick neck sighting revealed excessive bowing so it received some due attention this morning. In conclusion, there are 2 considerations if you wish to address a guitar action. 1) Lowering/ raising the action via the string saddles at the bridge. 2) Neck bow considerations to suit your preferred action. Both factors are working towards your embrace for a certain string gauge, lest you forget.
I always hear this from uninformed players- the straighter the neck, the better it will be for the player. Neck bow is very much a preference setting. If, for instance, you prefer heavy-gauged strings, a straight neck would manifest excessive buzzing (compounded by low action). Also, low-action dweebs would do well to embrace straight necks as unchecked bowing would manifest note choke at the upper frets. Happy guitar Sunday, everyone 👍
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Still in rosewood mode 😁 Fender is the standard to beat when it comes to single coil tones but we know today, there are many worthy alternatives out there. The thing with players is that their expectations with Strat alternatives is a little misplaced. They wish for an exact replica less the brand name. Every manufacturer strives to out-Strat the Strat in some ways so significant variations apply. Too many players deem alternatives as unworthy due to such differences. So the proverbial adage still applies- you want a Fender tone & feel? Get a Fender. Everything else is for those who accept differences.
The Edwards alternative you see above weighs a little lesser than the Fender counterpart. As such, the tones are less thumping in terms of attack & there's more breathable midrange coming from it. Neck wise, the Edwards is a little slimmer & less C-profiled, compared to the Fender. If there's any attempt to replicate authenticity, the Edwards is doing the 60s thing rather convincingly.
The Japanese manufacturers take pride in quality & precision, the Edwards here is an outstanding example, I should say. Then again, people are skeptical when it comes to a substitute brand name. They have this deep seated distrust when non-conventional labels get the highlight. To them, why bother with the competition when the benchmark is still making its mark. Well, to the initiated, there is a growing realization that the benchmark isn't as commanding as it used to be. The people behind tried & trusted names have different agenda these days especially when commercial viability is concerned. These entities were there to make money in the first place, yes?
Friday, May 5, 2017
Nothing new, you've seen this Ibanez RG655 before. But it now sports a new price, won't go into details here because some parties would deem me the disillusioned price police threatening their commercial prosperity. The RG655 is now 45% more expensive than it used to be. Reasonable upward revision in prices? It's still the same RG655 since it started. For you to ponder over the weekend. 😒
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Alrighty! Time to talk music since music was the reason I picked up guitar. Here are my last 3 purchases:
- Mastodon- Emperor of Sand. Lots of talk prior to its release. It was touted to contain some of the most moving moments since it was conceived during emotional & sombre episodes. Sadly, it's not on my like list. The initial single, Sultan's Curse, was rather misleading as it failed to represent the other numbers in this release. It's one of the truly metal tune penned here, the rest of which are bridled aggression, at best. Below expectations, definitely.
- The Allan Holdsworth Collection- Eidolon. Bought this one on the day of his passing, unknowingly, that is. Still eerie come to think of it but this double discs release contain some of the master's best. Even the non-shred pieces were thought provoking & very otherworldly. One simply does not listen to Holdsworth & not get stirred in some ways. Worth every cent.
- Come Together- Guitar Tribute to the Beatles. Finally, Beatles tunes without anyone singing- ha! I'm not the Fab 4 fan, never was. I'm intrigued by the song arrangements but would prefer an instrumental take with lots of individuality & this album is bulging with that content. Allan Holdsworth's Michelle & Zachary Breaux's Eleanor Rigby are my firm favourites.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
I own the standard BOSS DS-1. Yes, that orange pedal that says distortion but not as angry as you'd expect it to be. This black commemorative version is every bit that orange version (still made in Taiwan contrary to popular belief) less the colour difference. I don't hear a difference (tone-wise) between them as some have claimed to have (maybe my hearing is going south due to age). You're paying about $30+/- more for a commemorative colour difference. Done. 😑
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
It was inevitable. A fine guitar from a reputable manufacturer crossing my path- bought. I'm now looking into instruments sporting rosewood fretboards, not that I'm inclined to bow to any market pressure right now but single coils-rosewood combo had not been my thing. I prefer maple with single coils. In fact, I prefer maple boards in general for its seamless look (against the maple neck).
This Edwards E-ST-90ALR isn't a new model in the manufacturer's catalog. In fact, it was featured here: CLICK After a few days of hearing it in action, I'm still torn between keeping the default in-house pickups (very appealing clean tones) & replacing them with a set of Seymour Duncan pickups. All in all, no bad tones were heard, nothing out of place either. 👍
Thanks, Janet & all at Davis for the excellent service as always. 😉
Monday, May 1, 2017
Was across the Causeway yesterday, managed to drop by C&M's Tampoi showroon (Plaza Angsana). There weren't too many people in store, so I managed to try the Ibanez RG470PB.
This isn't a new model, it's at least a 2015 version judging by the serial number. The instrument per se was in very good condition but the action could have been better as my 3mm pick slipped through the gap at the 12th fret very easily. The bridge's fine tuners were almost maxed up so there wasn't enough play to effect subsequent tuning here but the guitar was in tune less 2 strings. Everything sounded pleasant in both clean & driven mode through a Marshall MG combo. I didn't play much due to the high action, just getting a feel of the neck. Despite the Wizard III spec, the neck felt thinner & very straight (several sightings done).
A big thank you to the C&M staff who helped me along & the pleasant experience.