Friday, March 31, 2017

Mummy fly cinders

Had been a crappy week. But more importantly, I still got to play guitar, this evening included. 🎸 Kept it light. It's any guitar that's within reach plus the line up above: Blackstar FLY3 amp, TCE Cinders OD & my fav Mummy pick.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Black magic

Was a re-string Sunday. A set of Martin Darco strings into my Ibanez RGR08. What does a name like 'Martin' mean to players in the solid body turf? Not much, really. But the Darco set is one of the most affordable & above-average out there. If you think you don't have much $$ to spare but in need of a reliable set of strings- there you go. Just be informed that the B string is a little thicker, going at 11.5 instead of the standard 11.

Sometimes we just have to go the other way to be inspired. I'm not much of an active pickup fan but I do own guitars with such pickups. The Ibanez RGR08 is one of them. Last weekend was my bout with crushing guitar tones which didn't really make the cut in terms of clarity. I kept blaming the amp for the short-comings but a quick switch to active pickups did the job. Active pickups were meant for simply that- cold, calculated, crushing distortion so they should be the rightful reference. We often try too hard with what we think would get the job done instead of embracing what were meant for it all along.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Floyd tail

This is definitely a good alternative to all things dive-bombing from the industry standard- Floyd Rose's Rail Tail bridge. No mods necessary as explained here:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

California dreaming

Finally gotten time to get these fixed into...

... my Fender American Special Strat. Was done last week at Beez's. Due to the over-hanging fretboard which blocked the pickguard & created a hassle in terms of removal & re-attachment, the entire neck was left at home. I just needed the pickups to work, that's all. It was also raining heavily, not a good day to be lugging instruments around town.

Quick re-string with a set of D'Addario 009s.

Good to go. If you are not accustomed to neck removal & attachment, please do not do so. A bad removal will crack the neck pocket's thinner wall of paint. It'll make it look like the pocket cracked but it's really just the paint. Also, a bad re-attachment may lead to alignment issues or even a bad action setting leading to fret buzz. But if you know what to do, having a guitar body in your bag & getting round in public transportation is bliss.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Earth Hour 2017

Earth hour 2017; we ended our observations just minutes ago. This year, no candles were lit up as everyone in the house was rather lethargic. We chose to sleep it through (ok, they have called it a day), less yours truly here. I'm not someone who would easily fall into slumber under the cloak of night. Born with Batman DNA, I guess.

Anyway, what's an hour's worth of shut down mean to the environment? Dollars & cents aside, it is the accumulative acknowledgement of the people towards power consumption. If you are true to the cause, regardless of the savings, you'd do it. Is it asking too much for you not to consume power for an hour today considering the fact that you've been using more than an hour's worth of power prior to this? How about accepting the fact you've been devouring power for hours on end on a daily basis. That's just a domestic consideration- we have industrial, commercial & civic use of power as well. I'm not an environmental renegade in this aspect but it's about knowing where one stands in this perspective; if you can do your part, why not chip in. 😉


Simple tool but a thoughtful consideration especially for players on the move. Here's more:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Learn to play

For those of us starting to play & the rest who are in need of enlightenment, here's an educational reference: CLICK Guitar chords & stuff made easy & more importantly, informational. 😊

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Exotic tops

Still in PRS territory but now in SE mode... These limited edition (currently Europe exclusive, darn!) exotic top models.

L-R: Ebony, swamp ash, spalted maple & zebra wood. Very, very enticing...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Meanie, greenie, semi

Darn. Another one of those too-good-to-ignore guitar. Was hunting for a birthday present but today's not my birthday. 😅

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kiko's plight

I am sure many of us here have read Kiko Loureiro's  recent guitar adventure or misadventure more like it.  His LACS Ibanez guitar, together with a Nord keyboard went missing at the LA airport. The disturbing scenario- his baggage was found destroyed & empty, the rest of his gear went missing. 

The thing about airports is that, they are clueless when such things happen. It's like the different entities at the airport worship a different management deity each & are not bound by a collective address. We understand the magnitude of airport operations but not having departments in sync with an integral procedure tells a lot about the organization.

This brings back memories of my recent post pertaining to Dave Carroll's plight in claiming damages for his broken Taylor 710CE after a gross mishandling by UA (CLICK to read). Another airport incident, another clueless group of people handling the matter- why is this happening to begin with? Aren't airports & airlines, because they are service oriented by nature, supposed to have a set of protocols to address the issue at the very least? It's like these group of people take pride in deflecting issues & have no obligations to associate themselves with possible liabilities because they are not in the chain of events leading to the matter. From this slant, we see them as being in the business for the money (our money) & it ends there. 

Thusfar, Kiko's case included, things were settled amicably. There are people out there whose human touch arrests all discontent & brings the best out of conflicts. Both airports/airlines & passengers alike, addressing the issue should be priority. Emotional assault is understood but it's the least likely factor in solving problems. However, the initial bit in settling the matter is the most inert & rigid portion. People are confused, unwilling & see no incentive in helping out. Even Kiko himself had to initiate a personal proceeding before people started listening:

I have filed a claim reporting the theft but have yet to get an explanation as to what happened, so I am now forced to take the matters into my own hands.

Airlines & airports have a long way to go when it comes to baggage handling. It's not how much we paid for the service at the end of it all, it's about having humans at the helm rather than zombies doing the job. Humans don't throw others' property & damage stuff while performing assigned tasks. They respect property & are aware that people will be affected by their actions should they fall below par. It's also a timely reminder to the industry that social media will be at the ready to disrepute & hurt them where it bleeds the most- reputations & revenue. UA lost millions of dollars during the Dave Carroll saga lest we forget. 

Pics/quote: Kiko's FB page

Monday, March 20, 2017

Blackstar clinic

Free Blackstar amplifier clinic by Davis GMC. Please register via e-mail if you are interested. Hope to see you there. 👌

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Duncan sale @ 35 Guitar Avenue

If you are pickup-hunting, this might interest you. 35 Guitar Avenue is having a Seymour Duncan price cut while stocks last. Everything is on discount, you can reach the store at the following numbers for enquiries: 6352 2636/ 8222 1601

Generation Axe @ SG

FYI if you are interested. Would appreciate a weekend performance instead of a Tuesday 😖 No ticketing details available as at time of posting, will update.

EDIT: Here's the ticketing details, thanks to blog reader addin for the heads-up ✌🏽CLICK

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The joy of Spring @ City Music

I can't recall any other City Music sale except for the yummy year end price cuts. Seeing this, I must give the CM guys a thumbs-up for their timing. Some of us just don't buy gear at the year end. Please visit the web page & download the sale catalog: CLICK 😁

With immediate effect, thanks

Good morning. It has come to my attention that there is much unhappiness with regards to my discussion of product pricing of certain instruments currently being sold at a certain store here. The bottom line- people are unhappy I'm 'interfering' with their prices. 

First & foremost, my blog is an unaffiliated gear discussion entity with an acute personal slant. I discuss matters openly & have no intentions to malign external parties. If this happens it's probably because of a certain accentuation of glaring inherent ineptitude. My approach can be blunt & people get offended along the way but this is largely a by product of them being affected by what they read. They did a reflection (of sorts) & somehow felt hit by non-existent projectiles. It still hurts nevertheless & some of their interests are at stake. All understood.

Secondly, I have provided open avenues for communication. 2 ways- the comment section here is public access & I've kept it as such all along. This way, if you don't have a blogger account, you can still make comments. I've also disclosed my e-mail at the left panel of this discussion board for other matters which are better off discussed in private. Please get back to me via those aforementioned avenues for clarifications should certain issues touch sensitive nerves. I have ever removed a post with images containing religious consecration with regards to a certain gig promo flyer. 

Thirdly, thank you for reading my blog entries. I am very well aware that there are individuals here who read stuff to keep a tab on trending issues. It's rather difficult to know the current turn of all things music & gear related because there isn't a dedicated, passionate website focusing on the matter. The culture in this country is still too shackled by paper chase & keeping up with the costs of living. Also, I believe this is one of the minority blog sites to openly attribute good services, product knowledge, fair pricing & reputable individuals, among others, directly to stores & personnels. This inadvertently created anxiety which could hinge on the negative; people return to this blog to see if their personal/organizational interests were being castigated.

Friends & blog readers, let's be clear that this blog is not a license for limitless, insensitive & calculated reference to particular entities, distributors or individuals. Such practices should not be tolerated. I'm taking this opportunity to also rehash the fact that I'm reiterating malpractices which are already there to begin with. If external entities detected it before you did, what's the implication to your organization? It's very frustrating to see one of my favourite guitar stores with departments not moving in tandem to further the philosophy of the company especially so when efforts were made to embrace transformation. New store front, new service philosophy, revised price considerations, everything moving ahead but someone fell asleep with the online references. The ones that are arguably bringing in the other half of the revenue to the business. My stand today- why am I caring too much anyway, it's not even my store, I'm not commissioned by them in any way either.

On that note, with immediate effect, I will stop promoting, referencing, updating & mentioning, among other blog entry rigours, Swee Lee Music Company. Products under the company's distribution are not owned by the company & the brand names will continue to be mentioned  & discussed here.

PS: To be very clear- not lobbying for support, just an FYI post. If you have to comment, please be constructive. Be mindful of the company that's not here to present their perspectives. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Not true

Every day, guitar geeks out there spend hours on end detailing gear. They take note of every possible detail, every irregularity, every variation, every inconsistency, every this & that because it's their passion. What happened over at a popular social media website featuring more photos than anything else (yes, you should know what I'm talking about) is about pride. 

As indicated above, the manufacturer wanted people to check out one of their models through that posting. Nothing malicious here, they are a commercial entity, they have every right to carry out a product promo.

What cracked everyone up was the fact that the picture was not a Firebird Studio model. I'm putting the right reference here for you to compare/ take note of. No idea what took place but an oversight like this one speaks volume about the amount of pride taking place over at the organization's commercial division. You wish others to embrace your instrument philosophy but you overlooked such a simple task. Hmm... 😶

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Deep discount

In the mean time, the price for this E-II ST-2 is currently at a 40% discount, online. It was good enticement but I've decided to purchase something else. 

I'm keeping watch on prices. I'm not one who buy guitars readily from online sources but I'm gonna go the online way for a more worthy consideration. It doesn't make sense to be compelled by domestic prices when somewhere out there, better bargains could be had. The only risk here is that of playability pertaining to QC. Should you receive a lemon, it' rather cumbersome to return the product & mitigate damages. My take is this; if there is a custom option for online purchases, go for it. Chances are, the people handling your custom order offer a more personal QC than the standard production line. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


A friend of mine, Marcus, is flying off with his guitar on tow. He wished to know what airlines are like these days pertaining to instrument handling; do they allow a carry-on or observe a strict check-in affair. Two days later, I came across this book (was on sale) which documented Dave Carroll's plight with a very uncaring United Airlines who broke his Taylor guitar & showed crass treatment pursuant to his appeals. Dave, being a musician, took matters to another plane (forgive the pun) & retaliated through his music. He did a music video highlighting his plight with the intention to create awareness which was the underlying concern throughout the encounter (hey, airlines give a rat's ass about your fragile property, they are just not interested). 

The video, as depicted above, was a tongue-in-check approach in dealing with the matter but at more than 10mil views, it managed to hurt UA in the most unexpected (& downright deserving) manner; it brought share prices down by 10% which translated to be a whopping $180mil in value- take that!

The flip side of this very costly affair is that UA made amends, they are still using the video for corporate training (customer service related, of course), Dave got the break (no pun intended here, for sure) he wanted for his music & Taylor guitars were more than happy to be part of the reconciliation process. Take aways from it all: 1) Don't mess with angry musicians whose gear you maltreated- they are more than capable in bringing you down. 2) Address the situation- if you see matters off without addressing the real issue in hand, it's gonna be costlier than you think 3) The human element always wins it- in case you missed it, things ended on good terms because people chose to let the human element take over. The damage had been done, moving on with positivity and the over-arching need for improvements & precautions are signs of human considerations- plenty of humans involved in this case, yes?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Price watch (6)

Was online shopping (didn't buy anything, though). Came across the above instruments. You'd agree (especially Ibanez fans) that the guitars on Side A are the same guitars on Side B, less the finish options but prices are different. Why the fuss?

Not fussing but online business entities can do better with pricing consistencies. As an Ibanez fan, I know these guitars were released at a different time hence the different pricing with reference to the currency rates of that particular year of release. Maybe it helps if there's a reconciliation of sorts in terms of price. There're implications when you stock the same items sporting two different prices. At the very least, it affects the business' goodwill. No offence to the business entity concerned but at this day & age, buyers are wary of the seller's reputation.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


These are the default pots in my Fender Duo-Sonic (Mex) & they are evidently of Asian origin. This is a popular consideration for many guitars these days, even American ones. Skimping? Maybe but let's not be dismissive of the fact that they work well.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


A pair of reclaimed wood PRS models (limited release): The CE24 as seen here...

... & a Vela. Both in a semi-hollow format which is arguably a good variation.

Making guitars from reclaimed, old, obscure wood types is at best, hype. Many if us are unfamiliar with them & they have no proven records in the music industry. However, we trust luthiers to exercise their power of association in manifesting tone. Many undiscovered/lesser known wood types out there are very similar in properties when it comes to tonal association. The thing about these kinda wood is that it allows manufacturers to mark up prices citing exclusive materials as primary considerations. Have no idea what ti expect in terms of prices should they be made available here. Chances are, it's gonna be a little higher than the standard production version.

Friday, March 10, 2017


Sharing with you how a Mexican Fender looks like under the hood (the pick guard more like it). As indicated above, the surfaces were not levelled/filed down to a smooth finish. They didn't give a hoot about it & went ahead with the shielding paint. Mind you, this product has a 'Fender' slapped onto the headstock, it should carry some fundamental pride in terms of goodwill but that's how it is if things aren't 'American'. Surprisingly, the instrument displays good QC in all other areas so they skimp at places where you can't see. Tsk, tsk...

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Out there

This RGCTM1 was manufactured by the Ibanez Guitar Development Center, an establishment I didn't know existed. So they made this as a limited run with quite the specs to entice serious considerations; Ash body, Lo-Pro Edge bridge, Bare Knuckle pickups, among others. I personally dislike this kinda deal- limited availability, exclusive distribution... mere eye candy to many of us. What's the point? 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Cinders battery

Someone asked me if the new range of TC Electronic pedals could be run on battery- here you go. If there is a battery option for pedals, I'd run it on battery first to see if there are issues. Subsequently, I might run it on PSU, that's the ritual. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Beez sonic

Was at Beez's yesterday. Pickups & capacitor installation in 10min.

So here they are, Seymour Duncan Custom Staggered (b) & Alnico II Pro (n) in my Fender Duo-Sonic. Some kind of appraisal soon. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Selling: PRS SE 245 (SOLD OFF)

For sale- my PRS SE 245 (Indonesia), bag included 😁

  • Pickups: Seymour Duncan Custom (b)/ Seymour Duncan Jazz (n)
  • Condition: 8.5/10
  • Will re-string upon confirmation
  • Queries/ confirmation:
  • No reservations/ trades
  • Price is final: $400
Item SOLD OFF- thanks... 👌🏽

Flat & curved

Started playing yesterday with the Singlecut which has a flat radius. Things were alright but the fingers got tired rather quickly after a legato workout. 

After the break, the Strat took over & the fingers felt more relaxed, there were less mistakes.

Implication: Flatter radius does not equal easier playability. Yes, there is a fair amount of ease when one plays with a flat radius. The action tend to be more uniformed across the fretboard but that does not always translate into a preferred playability. The flip side of this is of course, our playing style, particularly how we posture our fretting hand. Personally, if I am focused on rhythm & riffs, I'd grab a flatter radius. 😁

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Micro availability

Remember this junior-sized Ibanez PGM? It's now available at Swee Lee (List: $299). What PG himself has to say about it:

Vulgar display of restrictions

I'm still trawling guitar sites to see what I've missed out from NAMM '17. Dean released this Vulgar Display ML which looks interesting but we know it's a celebrated budget affair; the FR Special bridge is an obvious sign. 

That aside, I'm more intrigued by this announcement & very soon, we might see it everywhere. In case you missed it: CLICK

Friday, March 3, 2017

Begin end

Officially released- Alpha/ Omega pickups by Seymour Duncan (in collaboration with Mark Holcomb- I trust you know his band). The bridge is claimed to manifest a strong percussive midrange response. Stuff:  


Bought this online since there was free shipping offered. Sometimes, it's just more prudent doing so & save the hassle of travelling down town to grab strings, provided you know what you want & don't mind a little shipping mishap along the way. This arrived crushed but the strings were in good order, of course 👌

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ten grand reasons

March greetings, friends 😊

Do you have $10K to spare? If you do, maybe these anniversary Ibanez Universe models can satiate some Ste Vai-ish desire ($9,999 each, available at Swee Lee now). What's that? You can get a Steve Vai-ish tone for much less? I'm glad you know.