Saturday, September 30, 2017


Ah, look who's settled into the ESP camp- Andy Larocque. If you are a King Diamond fan, this guy should be no stranger to you. I particularly like his contribution's to Death's Individual Thought Patterns. But through & through, Larocque's playing is simply a punctuation to all things guitar-related & heavy metal. 

PS: Wishing you a good close to September 😁

Friday, September 29, 2017

Strumming Framus

Framus does strings now. They come in standard gauge sets (you fav 009s, 010s, etc.) as well as those accommodating drop D, 7s & 8s. My beef with many 8-string sets is that their wound strings are simply too thick to be inserted into the machine head holes. Let's see if Framus does address this.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

CITES grip: Ibanez (2)

No surprises here as the Ibanez GIO series now sport a pine fretboard. I do not wish to go into details  when it comes to the GIOs as these do not quite represent value for money. If you can help it, consider something else.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Billionaire possessions

Danelectro released the Billionaire series of effects pedals consisting of the four units you see above. A rather curious choice of series name but nevertheless, these are affordable pieces of gear- USD49 - USD79. There's something about that simple, retro-esque look...

The coolest member has to be this power supply unit which is actually running on batteries! Wish these make it to the stores here soon. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Not coming here

A new finish for the Ibanez RG652, Japan exclusive. Well, just looking. πŸ˜’

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Re-string Sunday

My Charvel DX-1 ST was given a re-string & wipe down today. Nothing excessive, just routine checks. The fretboard was dry so it received the re-moisturizing treatment. 

Nothing fancy, just a pack of Martin Darco 9-42 set. It's actually the first pack of strings I see when I opened my storage box. It was bought in June & still good to go. I remember wiping down the previous set thoroughly after each play but the corroded parts were near the bridge. A classic case neglecting the area where you least expected to be consumed by corrosion. 

Noticed an intense dust accumulation over at the headstock, so that was taken care of.

The interesting thing about this guitar is the binding. Rather excessive I would say as it covers the headstock, neck & body. Considering the price of this instrument, it was extremely well done. I'm not big on binding as it adds nothing to tone & has the potential to become problematic when a re-fret is due. So that's how the Sunday went. There was no initial plan to re-string this guitar but I'm the type who's bothered by oversight & string replacement is something that can be done rather easily. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017


No idea if it's offset season but time & again, G&L simply delivers the goods. This is definitely good stuff. We can live with an offset design with simpler, less cluttered controls. We can also live with heritage & G&L has lots of that; the offset body design to me, is simply an attractive alternative. On top of all this charming goodness, we have charming tones:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Zaza picking

It's a good Friday when the stuff you least expected just popped into the mail box. I ordered the V-Pick Neil Zaza pick about ten days ago. International delivery was free, so why not. I've always been a fan of grooved picks. In this case, the holes there are my favourite kind of indentation that promote grip. To me, a good grip is essential considering the intensity of my picking. The 2.75mm thickness was the other gratifying consideration. I prefer a 3mm pick or thicker but under certain configurations (materials, shape, etc.), shaving a little off the preference works as well. The only aversion in this case is the width; I play better with something a little wider to the grip. 

Wishing you folks a good weekend ahead πŸƒ

Thursday, September 21, 2017

CITES grip: Ibanez

With immediate effect, the Ibanez models you see above are now equipped with pine fretboard instead of its previous rosewood incarnation (T-B):
  • RC220
  • SA160
  • SA360

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Peavey: 6505 Piranha

The 6505 label has a marked legacy. At the very least, it's renowned for perpetuating some of the best tube drive in the industry after a certain Van Halen parted ways with Peavey. The Piranha manifestation of the 6505 is a partial tube variant, running at 20W. Sporting two channels, the CRUNCH is a pseudo clean voicing, breaking up at higher settings. The clean headroom available depends on the amount of gain one dials up. The LEAD channel is a high gain menace, as metal as it gets, no compromise. 

Before we proceed with the appraisal proper, the Piranha is by no means a scaled-down version of the 6505 for a simple reason- it's not a full tube unit & not duplicating that technology per se. The pre-amp section is driven by a single 12AX7 tube & the rest runs on a solid state blueprint. 

The cleans here are mediocre at best despite the tube warmth. I've heard some other solidstate amps out-performing this one in this aspect. Things sound a little more appealing if you factor in some chorus into your signals. Single coil pickups simply couldn't make the tone any more appealing, sad to say. Moving on to the driven goodness, let's remind ourselves it's not the real 6505 in action. Overdrive sounds raunchy in all setting & the solitary EQ knob couldn't quite refine any deficiencies across the frequencies. If you wish to hear more bass, this could be had but it doesn't cure the dreary top end. Same goes for more treble, no mushy low frequencies could be addressed while you're at it. 

The Piranha is rather accommodating when it comes to handling external pedals but that's more so for the CRUNCH option at about 50% gain setting (no break up heard). Even the loop option (seen above, the Piranha's rear panel) lends itself well to pedals, drive/distortion ones included. The LEAD channel on the other hand, reacts best with boost type units. Overdrive & distortion do not supplement the amp's default voicings. A successful formula on the other hand is the employment of active pickups. That's right, the instrument's high output pickups are more successful here. 

All in all, the 6505 label here is a misnomer- there's no true 6505 tones to be heard. We hear a hybrid technology in action which defies categorization; it's neither the sublime 6505 high gain menace nor the great solid state grit coming from a Peavey Bandit (among others). On that note, if you are a fan of raunchy amplifier overdrive that guarantees to fuel the most intense of punk & hardcore tones for that matter, this is it.

All in all, the manufacturer is treading a messy path by calling the Piranha a 6505. Granted it's a clever labelling through product differentiation (by adding the Piranha label there, of course), it leads to confusion & misrepresentation. In view of the 6505 affiliation there, the Piranha is an underwhelming performer with very limited options in tone tweaking should things go south in terms of expectations. However, it does let loose some of the crustiest overdrive coming from a hybrid format. Here's hoping that there are further developments in the works, otherwise, it is simply living in the shadows of the 6505 label.

Rating: 69%

Peavey: 6505 Piranha (storage/carry bag included)
Availability: Guitar Workshop

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Forte Custom

Very much acquired taste for many of us- referring to that extended cut away there. This is to accommodate the 27th fret reach which isn't new for Ibanez. (Seen above: Ibanez Stephan Forte Custom)

The defunct RG550XH had 30 frets & feature a deep cut away for that extra reach.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Gibson: 2018 (4) HP

We're still in the Gibson 2018 clutter but the LP Standard you see above is a 2017 model. It's an HP Standard. Meaning, you get that supposed 'upgrade'- metal & adjustable nut plus a set of robot tuners. All this with the higher tier bling that justified a higher price tag.

Here's the 2018 version. The immediate difference- no mounting rings for the pickups. With the cryo frets as the 2018 feature in many other upper tier models, it means that the prices are not gonna come down. True enough, the 2018 HP model is USD420 dearer than the current version. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Price watch: As much as

These Ibanez Prestige RGs sport the same price tags. That's right, different number of strings but the exact prices for you. Other online references- the 6-string version costs less (duh). 

Cryo cable

Dean Markley's Blue Steel strings, perhaps the most well-known, easily accessible, rather affordable temperature tampered strings which many of us would have tried. DM now has Blue Steel cables, that's right, cryogenic instrument cables. The objective of nitrogen blasting the cable is to produce more definition or clarity in the treble & bass range. Unlike the strings, our tone travels through cables & get affected rather significantly till it reaches the speaker end. However, the audibility of such a reaction remains to be different for many people; some hear it, some don't. Here's hoping this Blue Steel difference will get here soon & maybe be on the more affordable side of prices.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Standard & Pro

By now, you would have known that Chapman guitars are offered in Standard...

... & Pro versions. The guitars you see here are the ML3 Moderns.

The Standard is a bolt-on make with a non-angled headstock, pickups are ceramic. The Pro features an angled headstock, a set-through body-neck attachment. Pickups are Alnico 5 & for Pro versions, the instrument comes with a hard case. Both versions feature ebony fretboards so that's something out of the CITES grip & buying online should be issue-free. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wampler price cuts

Happening at SV Guitars now- Wampler pedals (older designs) clearing for good prices. Do check them out if you are keen 😁

Monday, September 11, 2017

Strandberg V-BDN

This is a Strandberg Boden guitar. It's one of those elite headless entity you'd not regret investing in. That body shape is acquired taste but it doesn't get in the way of playing comfort & that cut away offers so much upper fret reach. In a recent collaboration with BOSS, a V-BDN model was conceived (this particular model here) with technological enhancements, namely incorporating BOSS' V-Guitar technology. You get a voicing simulator, detuning patches & pickups simulation among others. Coupled with an awesome guitar of this ilk, it should be an achievement.

Not to kill the early enthusiasm but if it's the technology you are after, there are other more affordable takes (check out how much a Boden retails for at Davis GMC & factor in this technology into the price tag), namely from the Fender & Vox camps, to consider. 

Anyway, to show you the extent of the instrument's capabilities, here's maestro Alex Hutchings in action with one; he's a BOSS ambassador, he definitely knows what he's doing. 

Happy Monday everyone, have a good week ahead πŸ˜†

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Angry driver

Collaboration. That's right, two companies from two walks of life got together to give us the Angry Driver. As seen above, it's a fusion of BOSS' Blues Driver & JHS' Angry Charlie. The former is a restrained-type distortion unit, much associated with the Bluesbreaker tonal palette while the latter is a furious distortion which does not cross into the heavy metal threshold. This pedal lets the user access each pedal individually & when boredom kicks in, you can put both into action simultaneously. 

Looking at the design per se, we see so much respect there. The pedal retains its BOSS outline; there's nothing JHS about it while the label says JHS. If you are big on keeping your ego in check, you would want your brand name there but let's just call it the Japanese virtue of retaining sublime identity. 

JHS founder, Josh Scott, was a BOSS geek to begin with so this collaboration is a natural segue for him. By the way, should these pedals be available here, would it come under the BOSS or JHS distributorship? Are we expecting two different prices? FYI BOSS is overseeing the production of this unit. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Gibson 2017: Price drop

Following the Gibson 2018 new models announcement just last week, dealers are shaving off prices for the 2017 models. The LP Standard T you see above: USD2519 (USD280 off)

Les Paul CLassic T 2017: USD1,799 (USD200 off)

Firebird Studio T 2017: USD1,119 (USD130 off)

These are just some of the models with price cuts. Check if your local dealer is keeping up, otherwise, it's a good time to buy online. πŸ‘Œ


You know this guy. He has a signature Les Paul. He's seen here with his new signature series.

He can put his name on any guitar he wants, I don't give a turd. Not a fan. What bothers me is the fact that by doing so, he'll drive prices up for the non-signature models. Idiot.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ever hip

News from the ESP camp- the Hipshot bridge option is now available for the E-II Horizon 7.

There's the Evertune version as well.

Which is offered for the Eclipse 6.

GS mini, low end

An interesting & valiant manifestation by Taylor; the GS mini now has a bass incarnation. Solid (spruce) top, on board pre-amp, ebony fretboard... what the GS Mini sports, the bass replicates. That goes for the scale length as well, they are both 23.5" 

The good- if you are accustomed to the guitar, the bass version isn't a struggle as both feature the same scale length. This also means, the guitar bag will fit the bass. How's that for economy?

The not so good- if it's a bass & it sports that scale length, it would mean that a special set of strings need to be there, not the standard ones, even the ones meant for shorter scaled basses. True enough, the default D'Addario ones were made specially for this bass. It is unclear at this time whether D'Addario or Taylor would offer these strings off the shelf for subsequent replacements. 

Whatever the case, this GS Mini bass is worth considering. Yes, even if you play guitar.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

On SALE @ SV Guitars

Some stuff are on sale at SV Guitars, I'd recommend the above pedals (I own them) if you are looking for something above average but nothing excessive.

Hotone: Wally Looper
A simple looping unit, something that would definitely squeeze onto your pedal board. Has great clarity & that elusive output control, it actually adds gain to your signal.

Artec: Gainer Boost
One of the numbered boost units out there that feature an EQ section. Set the bass to nought & pump up the treble for a -you guessed it- a treble boost function. Raise the bass & set the treble to 20% - 25% setting for a smooth legato application. All this without muddy-ing out or sounding too piercing. This isn't merely a volume boost, the gain adds a good amount of drive to your settings, do note. 

Still not available

We're now into the final quarter of 2017, there's still no news pertaining to the reverse headstock Ibanez S-Series you see here. Highly likely, they won't make it here at all since they are not featured on the (SG version) manufacturer's regional web page. Let's see now, they are available in the USA, Australia, Germany, France, Canada, Russia... everywhere else but here. If you recall the Talman models which were recently re-introduced to the market, those made it here late. By the time they appeared on the store walls for sale, the year has turned & people are into other, newer models. It's also a perfect excuse for dealers to say, "Hey, these things won't sell." If you are moving with the times, this shouldn't be the case. I sound very disgruntled because I'm a fan. I have a flailing interest in Ibanez now partly because not everything in the catalog is available here for consideration. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Бпасибо, Russia!

To date, the most number of blog readers here come from Russia. A little unexpected but grateful nevertheless. Thank you- Salute! πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬

PS: In descending order: 1) Russia 2) Singapore 3) USA

Gibson: 2018 (Part 3)

This is the model that sets the standard for Les Pauls- the Les Paul Standard. As you can see, nothing has changed (you were really expecting a radical change?) but please be informed that it's not offered in the traditional, more rounded, thicker, 50s neck carve but only the asymmetrical slim taper type. Interesting revision- the frets are cryogenically treated. Ask yourselves if you consider this a plus or do you prefer stainless steel frets instead. 

Here's the interesting bit- come 2018, no LP Standard T (Traditional) model is offered. There's only the LP Standard (the one you see here) & an HP counterpart. We virtually have no relevant model to peg against for price comparisons. Nevertheless, between 2017's LP Standard T & this one, things just became more expensive by USD380. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Clean living

The real reason why I purchased the Marshall MX112 cab is seen here. I need a good, working clean tone. The best bet is to invest in a Fender amp but I'd like to capitalize on what I currently own. The cab is supplementing my JCM800 & I know what you folks out there are thinking; that's the wrong amp to be taking my cleans to another level. You are absolutely right. The 800 is known for its bark; the more distortion you pump into one, the more menacing the 800 becomes. Provided of course, you crank things up which I'm not planning to do to keep things clean. I've been plugging the 800 into a Blackstar cab all this while but I hear excessive bass in there so in the name of keeping things all Marshall-y, the MX112 was factored into the equation.

Still on the MX112 cab, the driver in there is a Celestion Seventy 80. It's best described as an outstanding no reaction model, often equipped into a budget range across manufacturers. Translation- there's nothing outstanding this driver has to offer except that it makes what you already like to hear a little more appealing. You know, removing that wee bit of harshness from the top end & making sure the bottom end doesn't boom too much that it kills definition. If you are into this kind of offering, the Seventy 80 in any manufacturer's cab should be considered.

Finally, a good clean isn't a good clean if you don't understand what goes into making a good clean; it's not the amp per se. I must say that the Tele & chorus played this one nicely (no pun intended). On that note, I'm not after a pristine, chimey type of clean, it's my type of clean- something that propels me to play & not mess up motivation considering I'm not the clean type to begin with. Also, if I'm sick of hearing too much cleans along the way, then I know what the JCM800 is good for. 

Happy Tuesday, everyone. πŸ˜†

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gibson 2018 (Part 2)

Gibson's Firebird Studio survives another year & offered in a P-90 pickup configuration come 2018. However, the fretboard is now granadillo & please pay USD119 more for this version. Granadillo is a close-grained wood, rather dense, similar to maple in terms of acoustic characteristics. So is this a deserving rosewood substitute? It remains to be seen but comparing the two wood types in terms of likeness is rather futile as they are different. Substitution is not the approach here.

The Explorer also sports a granadillo fretboard for 2018 & price goes up by USD140. The respite here is that it now sports a pair of Bursbuckers. OK, I personally prefer the Burstbuckers compared to the default Series 400 pickups which could sound muddy under high gain. Then again, some of us rely on Gibson for that wooly, woman tone.

Another granadillo victim recipient with Burstbucker pickups as well. Prices- up by USD140. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017


This was a recent release (Summer 2017). I think I missed it due to a growing disinterest in Ibanez, have not been checking stuff out. Satch's JS2480 is equipped with a couple of updated features: 1) A Sustainiac Driver (neck) 2) DiMarzio Satchur8 bridge humbucker. It'd be interesting to see how much it would list for considering there's only pickup difference here.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Gibson 2018

September means Gibson is ready to announce their 2018 models & true enough, the list is out sooner than expected. I'm just listing a few here which I find more sensible than the rest, starting with the LP Tribute. Yes, the Tribute range represents the manufacturer's more affordable take on the upper tier models without skimping too much in various departments. The satin finish stays put & for 2018, the Tribute offers a non-weight relief model (seen here in an awesome gold top) so that is something to look forward to- especially so when it's listing for less than USD1K πŸ‘

The SG Special looks the works with mini humbuckers but prices go up by USD100 for 2018 😠

It's good to see the LP Classic getting a P-90 twist as well. Controls revert to the 4-knob affair unlike the current 3 (knob) + 1 (flick switch) manifestation. This Pelham Blue finish is stunning.