Monday, February 27, 2017

Darn turd!

If you've got that crappy feeling because it's a Monday, then Dr. No effects feel you. In fact, they reckon that by offering theirs to you, it would somehow make life a little happier, especially when you plug your instrument into one. With reference to the following video clip, you'd agree that it sounds kinda awesome with single coils:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cinders & ashes...

Fighting backache, thought I'd do some walking around at Swee Lee... retail therapy 😁

Anyway, managed to score the new TC Electronic pedal- Cinders overdrive. It's green & does overdrive- you get the hint. However, there's no signature midrange bump, & it could get a little spiky at the treble end if push comes to shove. Bottom line- affordability + above average performance = smiles. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cleaning tips

At the end your instrument cables, ladies & gentlemen, are your plug tips. These are the very parts that come into contact with your instruments' input jacks (don't forget the ones at the amp & pedal ends as well). It's inevitable that we handle our cables by the tip sometimes. So that left some prints, stains & whatever not on the surface. These stains get transferred to the input jacks without us realizing it. 

The question is, do you clean those tips or carry on with the assumption that it doesn't matter? If moisture is transferred to your input jacks this way then it's really unfair that the jacks die of corrosion; it's an induced death. 

I'm not suffering from OCD but I do clean those tips with a dry cloth. Sometimes, When I know my hands were dirty before handling my cable, I would clean the tips with some string cleaner after play & re-insert them into the instrument (or amp/pedal), give it a little twist then unplug, wipe with dry cloth before putting them away. You'd say that these things have a good life anyway so when it comes to replacing them, it's inevitable. Yes, that's a case in point but let's not brush aside the possibility that a problem might manifest at crucial times, during a live performance for instance. There's no compulsion to clean them of course, but let's not be sorry for ourselves for not taking preventive measures. 😅

Wishing you a good weekend ahead (the final weekend for the month). 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pro pricing

Touch down- Fender's American Pro models are now available at Swee Lee...

As expected, prices are beyond the $2K bracket. Ironically, we notice that at the Gibson camp, they are making things more affordable. 😞

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Got synth?

Aw, darn- just when the pockets are a little empty! Anyway, a fresh release by the EHX camp, the SYNTH9. I'm a fan of the Mel9 & Key9 so this one should stir some interest. In action:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Rockett away

Anticipating the availability of this pedal- the J. Rockett Rockaway Archer. It's a collaboration with Steve Stevens & a furtherance of the Archer goodness. I have no idea if there is a sizable Klon following here but if you appreciate overdrive per se, the Archer (Klon's clone) should give you a breather in terms of organic tones as well as a booster-esque function for your solos. The one-up feature here is an EQ inclusion as depicted above. But it comes as a price: USD249 (MSRP)...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Black. Duh.

Latest from the Fender camp- a trio of black Mex models (Noir Special Edition). All black, satin finish with red edge pickguards- these are the highlights, everything else is a typical Mex spec. It's releases like this that screams desperation but in this industry, variation of a theme is a norm. Buyers are somehow hooked on colour play, the industry cashing in on personal preferences. Anyway, this series of instruments are priced below the current generation of Mex models, seeing the initial figures, they should list below the $1K mark.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Legacy drive

Folks, Commander Vai has this new Legacy Drive pedal for those into his tone & tube lovers alike. Yes, a 12AX7 tube is in there for em, tube-likeness 😜 My personal experience with tube-equipped pedals- they aren't quite like what they are in amps. Some of them are next to awful. Regardless, here's the Commander himself playing through the Legacy Drive & you just might agree with me that this is one of the worst playing by him: 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

River bank bust

This was on my watch list last year, it's finally available at Swee Lee but on the deep side of $300. Considering the priorities now, it has to wait. 😒

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fading trend

Trending lately.

Fade finishes.

The fact that even mid-priced models from Cort...

... & Ibanez got them going, prove that it's neither exclusive to boutique hype nor costly to manufacture.


Looks like another winner the V-Picks camp; the Orianthi signature. However, not my type as it features a little flex in the formula. In my hands, I would most probably break it during play.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

New TCs

This new range of TC Electronics pedals are now available at Swee Lee. As promised by the manufacturer, they are more affordable than the other range of pedals: $79

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Anniversary distortion

The commemorative Anniversary DS-1 is now available at Swee Lee- just $20 more than the standard model. 👍

Monday, February 13, 2017


It had not been a good weekend but the bitter episodes are over. I'm not complaining too much because unforeseen circumstances were beyond my control. I just see it through. It's a matter of riding the hard times; it won't last forever.

These are 2 of my amps with crushing distortion on board, both deal with ferocity but they are worlds apart. The EVH is a beast. The industry knows its reputation in appeasing the heavy metal masses & has no plans to tame it despite the current manifestation of a clean channel (LBX II). The Ironheart has a distinctive bark that separates it from being recognized as a State-side tone. Strangely, its clean voicing hold its own. 

My point of bringing up an amp discussion in this entry- we sometimes look too much to our guitars for tonal preferences. In my books, amps play a more significant role in shaping tone than guitars. Consider the fact that a not-so-fantastic guitar would sound amazing through a good amp than a costly-highly-customized guitar through a sub-standard amp. However, we often keep buying guitars as opposed to spending good money on amps. Psychologically, the guitar is more attached to us physically & give an immediate reward in terms of affiliation & recognition. We need not play well but being seen with a badass guitar somewhat alleviates us in terms if being up there on guitar mountain & looking down at the rest of the world. But being up there without being heard is a fatal embrace. That's where a good amp comes into the picture. 

So friends, if you think you are sick & tired of guitar assortments, channel your funds to amps instead. These days, good amps won't cost you a kidney, they are out there waiting to be discovered. The issue with many of us is, we restrict ourselves in terms brand names & do not take time to hear them in action. 

Wishing you a good week ahead. 🎸

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Neil picking

Neil Zaza has a signature pick going & he trusted the V-Picks camp to do the bidding. This is indeed signs of heading into the right direction for both parties; for Neil Zaza acquiring his preferred implement to further articulate his playing & for V-Picks as an affirmation of genuine conviction. On my to-get list, definitely. 👍

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feeling blue

Last night: 1) Migraine headache 2) Exhausted 3) Ticked off. Cure: Play guitar. Ok folks, maybe the headache wasn't cured entirely, but the vicious throbbing became less intense. Took out my Fender American Special Strat to whip out some legatos. Still in single coil land, gonna be here for a while. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

That single itch

I used to dislike single coil pickups. If you're a gain/drive fiend, it's a natural discourse. However, having played guitars that sound awesome with single coils (to the point of inevitable purchase), I wonder why I'm that dismissive when time would eventually unmask my true self. So the purchase of this trio isn't about loving single coil pickups per se but understanding that biting twang in a different context. The one with lesser drive & more top end definition which is rich in clarity. Yes, the ears get jaded after some time but a healthy rotation of humbucker & single coil pickups would make things likeable. They say too much of something is bad & it applies to tone, definitely.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Amplifying looks

When you trust your preferred amp brand name & then you see them treading this way. 😕

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Still Mummy-ing

I'm still busy with these picks. They are not entirely customized to my specs but they are sporting my preferred colours & thickness. The clear version is the manufacturer's default model (2.75mm). I like them for their tank grade hardness but light at the same time so no unnecessary effort is required to overcome the weight resistance. 

What does a preferred pick do to your playing? It gives you more articulation. The simple reason being, it's what you want it to be so it's the 'perfect' tool for the job. It's how the tennis player feel after getting his dream racket & how the footballer feels after putting on his dream boots; the perfect implement at your disposal. There's now more focus on the crucial element- your playing.

Then comes a friend who says your pick is crap, it's unplayable. You should be smiling broadly because you now have proof that the picks are absolutely unusable unless it's handled by you. Perfect. However my friends, your preferences may change along the way, on various grounds. As such, your preferred pick may change. You will then retire your previous love in the knowledge that they've served you well. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Power of 10

An Agile 10-string 😑 Here's the proposition- tune 6 strings to the guitar frequencies, the remaining 4 lower strings can cover the bass range. How's that?

Friday, February 3, 2017

SR 30th

Still in the Ibanez camp, the SR bass is also celebrating its 30th birthday. This is of course over-shadowed by the JEM's 30th anniversary but I'd mention this here on grounds of impartiality. 😁

I'm not a bass person & still struggle when handling a full scale bass. My dad has an SR bass which he plays during wedding performances & that exposure was my personal encounter with the SR. It's is a sleek bodied bass with a very comfortable neck profile. The SR to me is the S-Series of the Ibanez bass range. The SR managed to overthrow the RG bass during its heyday in terms of popularity/preference & survived the years. The anniversary SRs were made special by being semi-hollow units instead of a full blown solid body. It's something the manufacturer never did with this range & has a possibility of throwing the purists off in terms of expectations. Fans should be thankful that the anniversary models are in the Standard & Premium range as opposed to the more costly Prestige line up. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017


New for the year- EVH 5150III LBX II. If you own the current LBX, be informed that there are no new edits to the drive. The new element here is the amp's clean channel as opposed to the former's crunch channel. The manufacturer included stacked pots for independent gain & volume controls per channel. Since Ver 1 is not discontinued, it is now made more affordable, meaning- Ver 2 will now sport Ver 1's current price. The manufacturer recommends a $100 difference so if your dealers charge more, kindly ask them to justify the difference.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Customized Mummies

After nearly a month, the customized Mummy V-Picks are finally in the house. I was trying my luck, e-mailed Vinnie Smith pertaining to the Mummy picks; wanted a non-transparent version & a tad thicker than the standard production model. The red version seen here is the standard thickness (2.75mm) (3mm) while the black one is my preferred 3mm 4mm. Amazing service by Mr. Smith himself but the waiting time nearly killed it.

EDIT: I re-looked at the purchase order & noted the mistake (edited as above). 

Bridge of sighs- fresh issue

For those of us late to the scene, be informed that WEF 2017, Gibson has a dedicated range of entry level guitars called the S Series. These are affordable models that do not represent any upper tier counterparts directly. They are tweaked to be readily identifiable while retaining crucial elements of the Gibson philosophy.

One of the models is this M2 single cutaway. A very simple & functional guitar. I have plans to at least give them a go when they appear in the stores here. I have a better hit with Gibson's lower end models, even the quirky ones.

Less the LP Custom Studio, the guitars in this range feature the Adjustable Wraparound model. I've been talking to owners online & already they are warning me against buying guitars with this hardware. 😶 It seems that even at the lowest possible action setting, string tension would cause the bridge to tilt forward (towards the nut) making the action higher than it should be. Tsk, Tsk.

All pics: Gibson online