Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: Ibanez Rocket Roll Sr.

Features: The Ibanez Rocket Roll Sr. is a Japanese copy of a Gibson 58 Korina Flying V, that they made from 1975 to 1977. Ibanez had yet to put serial numbers on their guitars back then, but I know mine is from early 1975, because the back of the headstock isn't painted black. Being a copy of 58 Flying V, it pretty much has the same features: Rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, 24.3/4 inch scale length, 2 humbuckers, 2 volume - one tone knob, transparent yellow finish, and the gold plated hardware, including the Cadillac tailpiece.

The wood differs from the original. It has an Ash body, and a maple neck, as opposed to a korina body and a mahogany (?) neck. Other differences are the headstock angle, which is a little to shallow, and the location of the input jack, in the lower wing. // 9

Sound: The guitar is loaded with the stock super 70's pickups, which are very PAF'ish sounding, but a tiny bit more powerful, due to the stronger alnico 8 magnets. These pickups are becoming very sought after because Eddie Van Halen used them on half of the first Van Halen album. Their sounds reaches a lot further than the brown sound however. Being a classic humbucker, they nail blues and jazz tones as well, and anything in between. This makes the Rocket Roll a lot more versatile than the standard Gibson Flying V's, which are equipped with extremely HOT ceramic pickups, not suited for anything but hard rock... // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: It plays like a dream. The action is nice and low, intonation is precise, and it stays in tune wonderfully.

Some bad points are the locations of the strap buttons and of the input jack. The strap buttons are placed on the heel and on the tip of the wing, which makes the guitar left leaning and neck heavy. The input jack is placed inside the wings, which makes it impossible to play it sitting down, and hard to stick your leg between it to strike a cool pose on stage. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The guitar seems to be rock solid, no flaws at all. I would play it without a backup.The only thing one must take in a count is that the neck doesn't stick very deep into the body, which makes it easy to break the neck joint. As long as you don't drop the guitar, you're fine. // 8

Impression: The quality of these old Japanese copies is often measured by how well they compare to the originals. The Ibanez sounds a lot warmer, and is more versatile. I don't know how it compares to a real 58 Flying V, or the reissue one, but hey, it's supposed to be a copy. The 59 reissue costs about as much as a car, and the original as much as a house. The Ibanez Rocket Roll is an amazing guitar, still available for around a 1000 dollars, and no Gibson is able to compete against it at that price point. // 9

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Wisdom: Simple Ways To Improve Guitar Tone

Many players on the unending quest for guitar tone often overlook key elements of the sound in favor of some new gadget. There are quite a few simple, and often inexpensive, ways to improve your sound.

Picks come in all shapes and sizes. Experiment to find the best for you in terms of feel, thickness, and precision.

There are as many styles and varieties of strings as there are players. Wound, unwound, different composite metals, gauges, and on. Experiment! Beware that changing string gauge affects other aspects of the guitar, like tension on the neck, intonation, and more. It can become even more complicated if you use a floating tremolo like a Floyd Rose.

Set It Up
A proper setup is absolutely critical. Your instrument can be set up in a variety of ways. Neck relief, action, intonation, pickup tuning, and proper contact points are just some of the factors in a thorough setup. Some players favor a lot of relief, some guys like to shred with really low action. Some players prefer the sound of the pickups close to the strings with polepieces flat, other prefer to move the pickups farther from the strings and crank the polepieces up higher. In the end, it's all about what gets your sound where you want it to be.

Overwound Pickups
If you play really loud or with a lot of gain, overwound pickups can do you more harm than good. Many of the greatest guitar sounds of all time came from weaker pickups through a cranked up amplifier.

Guts and Glory
It takes a little more electronics knowledge, but get in to the electronics cavity of your guitar and look around. Your electronics could probably use an upgrade, especially if you have a lower-end model. Often times the electronics is skimped in favor of cutting manufacturing cost, so replacing the wire, capacitors, and potentiometers can often yield a better response from the instrument. You can also have fun with different pickup wiring configurations and the versatility they can provide.

Swapping speakers is a great way to improve the response of your amp or cabinet and get different tones.

Don't Plug In
Try playing without plugging in from time to time. It can reveal sloppy playing when not hidden behind a bunch of gain. On the other hand, if you often play without plugging in, practice some more plugged in. The feel and response of the guitar definitely changes when an amp is involved, but the bottom line is: practice how you are going to perform!

Move It
Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective. Consider transposing licks played on the bass strings to a treble string variation, or the other way around. Moving licks to different registers is a great way to come up with alternate arrangements or new riffs entirely.

Guitar Strap Height
Yes, the guitar-around-the-knees gunslinger look still drives rock n' roll (at least the photoshoots!), but play with the guitar where it feels right to you. Don't sacrifice sounding good for looking cool.

Quality of cable, as well as total run length can have a huge effect on your sound. Running a large amount of stompboxes can add to tone degradation. Use a high-quality, low-capacitance (which most are) cable like Mogami.

Direct Current is Your Friend
Instead of powering your stompboxes with a daisy-chain or wall-wart, consider using 9v batteries. Batteries provide a direct (DC) form of power over the alternating (AC) provided by plugging into the wall. This leads to a more consistent, even flow of power and many will say a better tone. It also frees up your pedal board from having to be “X” distance away from an electrical outlet.

Do you use a lot of stompboxes? Consider getting a buffer pedal to restore “tone suck” that can happen due to long cable runs. A dark or muddy tone can be an indicator of this. Without going into too much detail about buffers, beware that many pedals (like BOSS) have buffers in them. Adding more buffers won't necessarily hurt you, but it won't really do much good.

Effects Loop
Some pedals sound great through the loop, especially time-based and modulation effects. Some loops are buffered, which can be another benefit. The sound can become much more defined when these effects are added post preamp, and the delay repeats aren't washing out that awesome preamp distortion.

Overdrive It!
Many beloved amps (namely tube amps) don't really hit their sweet spot until they're pretty cranked. Needless to say, this is not always plausible or possible to achieve. Consider finding an overdrive pedal that can get you where you want to be. Some of the higher-end ones sound phenomenal.

Another option would be to put an overdrive in front of the amp to push the breakup of the tubes more. This can be a compromise, as some gain can be acquired through the pedal, and some from the amp.

You can probably cut more bass frequencies from your sound than you think. Once the bassist starts thumping away, you will disappear.

Cut the Gain
Less distortion means more dynamics, a more pronounced and definitive sound, and less of a playing crutch. It can also help you cut through a band that has many players, or other instruments that are competing for your frequency range.

Play with Dynamics
Let the dynamics of you, as a player shine through. If you play with massive amounts of overdrive, distortion, or compression, the more of your dynamics are lost.

Don't Wash Yourself Out
Time-based effects can sometimes wash out your sound, especially in a band with instruments that compete for frequencies like two guitars, guitar and keyboard, and so on.

Read the Room
Every place you will play is different, from the sound reinforcement system to the physical dimensions of the space. Your overall sound will be up to the skills of the front-of-house engineer, but reading the room can help you tailor your effect settings so your echo repeats aren't being eaten alive.

Art is expression. If it weren't for the crazy dude who wanted to clip the hell out of a sine wave, we may never have gotten the first fuzz pedal. Break the rules and see what happens!


Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm back!

Well last week was a busy week so i didn't come here at all. But I'm back so we shall be posting regularly again. 

Also, if you like rock and roll, you may like this webcomics series that I stumbled upon. Its mainly about rock music and the writer actually dues a little of music sharing and reviewing as well. check it out!

The writer is currently away for a week but hey, that just gives you a chance to catch up on the crapton of work he had done earlier. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guide on buying guitars (part 2)

Here is part two of the guide. I'm in a hurry so please, forgive the grammar.

So now comes the technical parts or the specs if you want to call it, i will divide them into sections:

a) tuners
b) bridges
c) neck
d) pups
e) controls
f) wood

a) Tuners

Tuners are probably the most important part of your axe, unfortunately its also one of the hardest thing to select. most guitars come with stock tuners, the upper end ones come with brands like gotoh. I have yet to find out what is the best means to test if a guitar has good tuning (in a shop), all i know is i go by the price and by experiences of others. one trick i know, is to aggressively bend the string when testing teh guitar, pull the string up a few times with slight force. if the guitar gets out of tune fast with a slight tug on the strings it likely will have bad tuning, thus trick unfortunately doesnt really work on floyd roses.

c) bridges

floating vs non-floating

personally despite not owning one, i find that fixed bridges are the best and most beginners or budget hunters should stay away from floyds as much as they can. why? floyds are feeble, they break often and they are unreliable, did i also mention that they eat tone? yes floyds eat tone and sustain.

but thats not really the issue about floyds, the problem is its very hard to tell the good from teh bad. the ibanez catalog itself has countless floyd roses with qualities ranging from great legendary stuff to something that you want to beat the stray cat with. even the OFR has a few "models", the high end german ones, "stable" korean made ones, the taiwanese made ones, and the china made ones.

its a safe bet to assume guitars below 2k have got terrible floyds, but this is not a assured bet there are reviews that the recent floyds in Horizon FR's are of terrible quality. so be midnful, do your research, personally i feel that its not worth it to spend more money and effort on something that allows you to do crazy dive bombs.

d) neck

this plays a huge role in your guitar playing but not a definitive role, some like thin some like thick, i personally like high gloss necks. understand that it doesnt mean the neck is thin means its fast, speed comes from practice not which neck you have.

d) i. neck finishes

Currently I guess these are the finishes available for the neck:

Painted - satin : available for models, dull/matte feel
Painted - glossy : most makes have this kind of finish, same finish with the body

Wood - oiled (tung, gunstock- based oils) : available for guitar with natural finishes, or sometimes for bolt-ons
Wood - raw/unfinished : somewhat rare, I can't recall whether rosewood necks are oiled or not
Wood - satin : nitrocellulosed without the paint, quite common too

Translucent - rarely found in a satin finish, most likely painted/dyed over then buffed to a gloss finish.

d) pups

this section is probably the least you should worry about, pups are like an engine to a guitar but its also the easiest to change.

e) controls

This is the one that people dont bother about, but very under-rated. good control placing allows you to mess with them at play, ever seen youtube videos of people shredding and mixing up their pups with a flick of a switch (often used in passages with appregios). again find one that suits you, personally strats fit me the best as i learned some finger techniques along the way. yes there are techniques for controls

f) wood

first thing, bass wood is not bass wood. confusing ? yes. but why i put it this way?? ask the guitar companies. often you pick up a ibanez RG and you see it features basswood, then you look at a JEM777 (which costs about x7 that RG) and its bass wood. some of us will think "same wood what" unfortunately.. no

now whats the difference? wood has got grades, like everything in life there's good wood and bad wood. the JEM777 will likely feature a large chunk piece of american basswood where else your RG might have multiple pieces of such a wood. this is not only to a single company, MIM fender is known to have 4-5 pieces of alder wood in their body alone. MIA 2-3 which is why the latter normally has better finishes.

how much this affects your overall tone is still questionable, some say the less wood the better the sustain but no one knows for sure.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Guide on buying guitars

Today's post will be about how to choose a guitar. This is part 1 so stay tuned for part 2!

Before i head on to the more technical sides of this topic let me put down a few ground principals:

Not all great guitarists was born with a 1959' Gibson LP in his room.

Some guitarists are lucky, some not, but we tend to believe that all of them started guitar at age 5 with a Gibson Lp in their room with a Marshall Plexi and an array of pedals to waste time with. Fortunately for you, this is untrue.

A number of them start with pretty much nothing, some with less cash than what you have now. For example today the "Number One" used by SRV would fetch crazy prices from fender custom shop, but if you were to spot a similar guitar in a guitar shop there is a high chance most of us will regard it as trash. why? it can be considered as a broken and worn partcaster, now there are some part-casters in the world but its definitely not a fender deluxe strat, LP Custom shop, etc etc etc. Don’t worry if you cant afford a ESP or a prestige - its normal.

Dont compare yourself with the gears of the greats.

First I said this before; no amount of vai signature equipment will make you vai. This is very true, you can get every JEM in town a matching amp and you would not achieve it. The best way to sound like vai? Learn his phrasing, how he does his notes and play them, it wont be perfect but you will definitely sound nearer.

The greats got gear that can buy you a car or even a house, they normally have stack effects, at least 1 guitar a year (mustaine got 11 guitars a year from Jackson), a team of legendary roadies and guitar tech. For you you probably get a guitar every 3 years and you need to save up for it (painfully), which comes to an advice get a guitar that suits you, not because malmsteem used his sweaty hands on it.

Some great guitarists also can lie about their stuff, these people are marketers mind you. EVH is quoted to fabricate information on his gear so that his guitar tech gets more business; even his 5150 amp is not the amp he used in his early van halen days. (EVH used a Marshall in those days, and made HUGE modifications to it.)

How to look at hot axes

You must always look at a guitar as a whole a sum of its parts not like how you see a computer and what specs it has. Guitars never work that way, you can have all the best specs in the world with shoddy workmanship or some strange means the guitar can still fail.

You also cant buy an Ibanez GIO and put stuff into it to make it “like” a prestige, it doesn’t work. Both guitars are made differently and you will find that at the end of the day buying another guitar would suit your needs more.

But this also means that, by some strange means cheap guitars and partcasters can be good. The number one was a good guitar while being cheap, it featured a neck that SRV loved, then theres the frankenstrat. You will also find a lot of cheap guitars around that are good, you just need a good ear and be very very picky.

Always get an axe that feels good to you. I personally hate thin neck profiles cause they don’t “feel” right, i can play on them but at the back of my head its always this is too thin the feel sucks. How you get the feel? Simple and cheap, go to each guitar shop in town and test their guitars, if they don’t let you test don’t buy, if they want to be snobbish screw em’ its your money.

Why don’t buy a guitar before testing them? First unless you like the risk, every guitar is different even by factory standards. Some shops i come across set their guitars with terribly low action making it “easier” to play, some set their guitar up with a very light trem bar so when you sway the guitar a bit the trem bar shakes, both of which can be irritating to the aspiring buyer. But there are other things also, the more major ones are like certain gibsons don’t meet requirements, just as certain fenders don’t too, be mindful of what you buy. While most times it comes out alright, there is a certain risk to buying a guitar which you have yet to touch before

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Most Expensive Guitars

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you; the worlds most expensive guitar! Its a strat which sold for 2.8 mil. Why you may ask? Well, thats because its signed by the most awesome guitar gods ever! this is a pretty old article which I dug up. Thought It would be interesting! Enjoy!

An autographed Fender Stratocaster® guitar auctioned off on Nov. 16 in the tiny Middle Eastern kingdom of Qatar fetched an astounding $2.8 million, shattering the previous world record for a guitar sold at auction.

Auctioning the guitar was the work of internationally acclaimed Canadian songwriter/musician/photographer Bryan Adams and Fender Europe Artist Relations Manager Jamie Crompton, who both wanted to find a way to raise money for Asian disaster relief in the wake of last year’s deadly Indian Ocean tsunami.

The buyer was Her Highness Sheihka Miyyassah Al Thani, heir to the throne of Qatar and chairwoman of Reach Out To Asia, a fund-raising campaign dedicated to supporting numerous relief efforts on the Asian continent, with a special focus on promoting global responsibility for basic, quality education to children and adults throughout Asia and the Middle East.

The previous world-record price for a guitar sold at auction was held by Eric Clapton’s famous “Blackie” Stratocaster, which went for $959,000 at Christie’s in New York on June 24, 2004.

The auction was part of that evening’s gala charity dinner at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Doha, the inaugural event in Reach Out to Asia’s planned yearlong campaign of high-profile fund-raising events for the 10-year (2005-2015) Fund For Asia. Adams and members of the Qatari royal family were joined by guests including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, British entrepreneur Richard Branson, Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx, actor Jet Li and CNN presenter Richard Quest.

“I decided to launch a fund-raising event to benefit those who had been affected by the disaster,” said Adams, who also gave a short performance at the event. “I asked my peers to sign one single guitar, which could be auctioned in aid of the cause, with the guitar acting as a kind of symbol of hope and solidarity.”

Early in 2005, Adams, acting under the banner of his own Tsunami Guitar Project, procured from Fender an Arctic White Standard Series Stratocaster, which he then had signed by a veritable who’s who of rock royalty. In addition to Adams himself, the guitar was eventually autographed by Clapton, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Brian May, Liam and Noel Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi, Mark Knopfler, Angus and Malcolm Young, Paul McCartney and Sting.

Another member of Qatar’s royal family bought the guitar from Adams at an auction in early 2005 for $270,000. Adams surprised guests at the Nov. 16 event in Doha by announcing that the original buyer was donating the instrument to Reach Out to Asia for re-auction, after which it soon reached its world-record price.

“The result was overwhelming,” Adams said. “With the donation of a Stratocaster guitar from Fender and a very kind donation from Her Highness Sheihka Miyyassah Al Thani, we will finance two very important projects: the re-building and supply of equipment for a school in Thailand and the building of a village sports center to provide facilities for seven village schools in Sri Lanka. My sincere thanks to all of my fellow musicians and friends for their time, generosity and kindness.”

Adams said the project was exciting and added that he is “delighted to be able to support the efforts of those involved in the Reach Out to Asia campaign.”


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Manson / Matthew Bellamy (MUSE) M1D1 Manson

Iv'e Just got back from somewhere, which explains the lack of posting these past few days. I will start again tomorrow. For today though, lets chill out and check out this cool guitar right here. Although it's not my piece of cake, I have to admit that its interesting! Not sure if its up for sale though.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Epiphone Les Paul Junior

   A few weeks ago we did a review on the Gibson Les Paul Junior. Today, lets take a look at Epiphone's low-budget take on it.

Features: This guitar has a single cutaway Les Paul style body, 21 frets, a wrap-around bridge, one open-coil humbucker in the bridge position, and one volume and one tone knob. The headstock is in the Standard Epiphone style and there is a black pickguard. Not many features, but just adjusting the tone knob can make the humbucker sound like it's in the neck postion and anywhere in the middle. // 8

Sound: This is great for almost all types of music. It gives you both warm and bright sounds, all you have to do is turn the tone knob. When you have the guitar on its brightest setting, there is a bit of noise when you're not playing. Because of the variations of the sound you can get out of this one pickup, you wont really feel the need to buy a guitar with a neck pickup. The only reason I would buy one with a neck pickup is to get the sound of both pickups together. The clean sound isn't that bad for a humbucker either. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Unfortunately, the factory set-up was terrible because the action was too low and there was a terrible amount of fret-buzz . You should raise the action just enough to stop it. But a high action is not very desired so a six will have to do here.  // 6

Reliability & Durability: The strap buttons are really solid. As most les pauls are, its a solid piece here. The finish is pretty good, but it will scratch off if you're not careful. // 8

Impression: The things I love about this guitar are the looks, the simplicity, the price and the general straight-on rock sound. The thing I don't like is the action, which you can't lower cos there will be too much fret buzz. When comparing this to Squier Telecasters, some other Epi LPs and a few low-end Ibanez's, choose this because its awesome and honestly, Ibanez sucks. // 9

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: ESP KH-2 Kirk Hammett Signature Series

Today's review is for Metallifags. Its a ESP KH-2 Kirk Hammett Signature Series Electric Guitar. Yes yes, I know, Metallica. Stop booing me, I just figured that since there was no proper review out there in the interwebs, I could jolly well do one!


Features: A Standard LTD body and reverse headstock with an extra thin neck, makes for very easy playing. Neck-through-body construction and 24 XJ frets makes it more confortable to play and shred in. Body wood is american alder and neck wood is solid maple, with a rosewood fingerboard. It has a distressed black finish with some stickers that Kirk put on the original one. The bridge is an original Floyd Rose, great for doing some of the sounds that Kirk makes on the albums. The pickups are active EMG 81 and 60, in the bridge and neck position. Also you get two volume pots for each pickup and a master tone pot. The nut is a Floyd Rose locking nut, then you have Standard Gotoh tuners. Black hardware everywhere. Comes with a hard-shell case. // 10

Sound: The sound of this guitar is out of this world. I usually play heavy stuff, but not necessarily metal. The sound of this guitar is virtually perfect to me and I don't process the tone much. Infact the only effects I ever use with this guitar are the WH-1, Deal, Reverb, Chorus and Wah. The rest of the processing is done my the amp (Laney TFX300) itself. The distortion on this guitar is to die for. It has a massive ammount of bite to it and it really lets you cut through the mix of sounds during live performances. The EMG '81s are usually labelled as very sterile and bright pickups. I usually fully agree with this however, with this guitar I found that the EMGs are actually full don't sound sterile at all. They also weren't as bright as I had expected.

The clean on this guitar isn't really anything too special. However, with the selector Switch in the middle position and after mixing (using the two volume knobs) both pickups together, you'll get an excellent clean sound. Unfortunately, I'll have to admit that you would be better off passive pickups if you plan on playing a song that requires a lot of clean sounds. However, if cleans are not that vital, this guitar should do the trick just the same. So as I rating I'll have to give it a 8 because of the lack of cleans. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The world flawless doesn't even get close to describing how this guitar came out of the factory. The guitar came perfectly set-up from the factory and it was even in tune. As expected with guitars coming out of the ESP Custom Shop, everything on this guitar was perfect. The skull and crossbone inlays were perfectly fit and defined (even the two tiny inlays at the 24th fret are as well defined as the rest). The frets were beautifully filesd and crowned, the nut is perfectly aligned, the bridge sits perfectly flush with the body, the bridge route is perfect, the wiring is pretty neat and very well sheilded. The tuning heads are solid, even though they are pretty useless on a guitar with a locking nut. The action on this guitar is also perfect. The string height along the neck barely varies (this is due to the Original Floyd Rose). The guitar feels like your favourite pair of jeans. Unlike most guitars that tend to need some time to "loosen up" this guitar was already loosened up. However, bending on this guitar is a bit tough on the higher frets since the Floyd Rose springs are still pretty tight and hard. Well, if I had to really think of a flaw or two, I'd have to say that the only flaws I found were these: a screw on the selector Switch was loose and the selector Switch is a bit hard to move, but that's all. // 10

Impression: The highlight feature has to be the skull and bones inlays plus the Kirk Hammett signature on the headstock. This is a guitar made for a die hard Metallica fan, who I can surely say, wouldn't be disappointed. // 10

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Gibson SG 61' reissue

Okay, okay. Wipe off the drool everyone. It isn't polite to stare at a lady, especially one as beautiful as this. That's right, this wonderful specimen here is the Gibson SG 61' reissue. 

Lovely isn't she?

Well, quit staring!, we've got some reviewing to do!

Features:  It has a slim 60s neck, 57 classic pickups, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fret board, chery paint and nitro finish. It has a Tune-O-Matic bridge, 2 volume and 2 tone knobs with a 3 way selector. It came with the case and owners manual. // 8

Sound: Like all SG's, its highly versatile. It excels in hard rock and metal, but if you want a clean tone as well, this baby will pull it off for you. The SG achieves this versatility by having a mahogany body like the Les Paul which gives it that dark tone. However, unlike the Les Paul, the SG is thinner like the fender, thus producing a lighter sound than the Les Paul. I absolutely love the 57 classic pickups, the tone is amazing with every amp I have used it with. The bridge tone is quite bright with plenty of bite, the neck tone is muddier but still has lots of definition and power. My favourite tone comes from the neck rolled right back and both pickups selected. // 9.5

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar is built to last, the knobs feel very sturdy and precise, the binding and inlays are spot on. It has a wonderful one piece mahogany body, larger '60s style headstock and small type pick guard. The figuring on the one piece body is to die for. I couldn't fault it in the looks department. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This is a very dependable guitar. The strap buttons were extremely secure. I am very heavy handed and this guitar looks very elegant and delicate but it can withstand a good bashing by my shovel hands. Some people have said the shallow neck joint is a problem but I have found it to be solid, it also gives you excellent access to the lower frets. A word of caution however, its very neck heavy so you need to watch out that it doesn't come swinging down to the floor when you let go of the neck. // 9

Impression: With the right amp this guitar can cope with anything. This is a very light instrument, and is very easy on the shoulders. All in all, this one is to die for. // 9

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ways To Improve Your String Bending Technique

Well, instead of a review today, here is a very good article from  Dan Acheron  on ways to improve your string bending technique.Hope you guys find it beneficial!

Well hopefully with enough practice you'll end up bending your notes like this guy!

Bending notes can be a very powerful technique on guitar. It is important to learn to correctly use this technique in order for it to sound good. Many guitarists in the beginning stages of learning string bending do not do it properly. Either they do not know what a correctly bent note sounds like or their ear is not developed. When done wrongly, it often sounds bad and sloppy. This article will show you a few ways to start improving your string bending technique today.

When bending notes, you need to know what note you are trying to bend to. If you do not know what note you are bending to, there is a good chance the bend will be out of tune. The most common bend is a whole step bend, which is two frets, but there are other bends as well. The key to getting good at bending notes is consistently being able to bend to the desired note.

1. Use a tuner

A tuner is a great tool to help you improve your string bending technique. It will tell you if you are correctly bending to the desired pitch and if you are in tune. If you have a difficult time telling if you are bending to the right note, use this technique. Have your guitar connected to a tuner, play a note, and bend that note up to your desired note. Watch the tuner and see when you correctly bend to the desired note and when it is in tune. Observe what it sounds like and your fretting hand position. Repeat this a few times to get used to correctly bending to the right pitch.

Bending notes is a lot about having a good ear. You do not want to rely too much on this technique with a tuner. If you rely too much on the tuner, you may not develop your ear and the tuner will become a crutch. Use this technique if you are having a difficult time with string bends but work on using the following technique to really help develop your string bending.

2. Listen to the desired pitch before performing bend

Listening to the pitch before performing the bend is a great way to develop your ear. You will have to rely on your ear to bend to the correct pitch and it will significantly help develop your string bending. This technique is simple. Play the note you are planning to bend up to and get that pitch in your head. Then bend the note up to that pitch. Once you bend up to the pitch, play the fret you wanted to bend to and see if the pitches match. If the pitches match, you are doing it correctly but keep working on being able to do it consistently.

Here is an example of using this technique. Lets say you want to bend an A to a B. First, you would play the B to get the note in your head. Once the sound of the B note is in your head then you bend the A to the B. You can see if you did it right by picking the bent string and then picking the B note and seeing if they match.

If you are having a difficult time hearing whether you are correctly bending then I recommend combining techniques one and two. You are going to follow the steps for technique 2. Get the desired pitch in your head and bend the note up to the desired pitch. Once the note is bent to what you think is correct, check it with the tuner. See if you are bending the pitch too much or too little. Always check the tuner after you think you are at the desired pitch. This will help develop your ear and help you be able to distinguish when your bends are flat or sharp.

3. Learn to bend with all your fingers

Learning to bend with all your fingers will help you in your playing. Most players prefer to bend with their ring finger. While the ring finger is the easiest to bend with, you do not want to rely only on this finger to perform string bends. Sometimes in your playing, you may run into licks where it is difficult to use your ring finger for a bend or you would have to shift your hand for just one bend. Being able to bend with all your fingers will limit this problem and make you an overall better player.

To improve bending with all your fingers you need to spend time practicing bends with each finger. You should use the previous techniques when practicing with each finger. You may find it difficult to bend with certain fingers but keep working on these fingers. For me, I found it difficult to bend with my pinky but after working on it, it has become a lot easier. Now when I come to playing situations where I have to bend with a finger other than my ring finger, it is no problem. Spend time improving your bending technique with all your fingers. It will help your playing and you will not have to worry about being limited to bending with certain fingers.

String bending can be a difficult technique to learn because it requires a developed ear to consistently do it right. It is easy for your bends to be a little flat or sharp. That is why it is important to use these techniques to improve your ear and your bending technique. Make string bending part of your practice sessions and your string bending will greatly improve and make your playing sound a lot better!

About the Author

Dan Acheron is a hard rock guitarist, songwriter and instructor in St. Louis, MO. He is the author of the ebook: Become a Better Guitarist Today. You can sign up and receive a free copy of the ebook today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Jackson PS2

    Todays review is a Jackson. Jacksons are famous for being metal guitars and this is exactly what one should expect from a Jackson.

The Jackson PS2 is a pretty good guitar. It could use a better route for superior pickup replacement capabilities. The H-S-S pickup routes are new to me, I'm use to H-H. The Floyd is alos new to me, having a locking system is cool and all, but mine came all worn out so it don't stay in tune real well. With a better trem it would be a much better guitar. The neck is so comfortable, it feels like its made for your hands.  The overall shape is pretty damn good too, just some parts. But not as bad as today's mid range guitar (the ps2 use to sell for like 350 brand new).

The electronics were real decent, besides the pickups. I have replaced 2 and hucked the middle pickup. I'll get more into that later. But the pots were both A500K's and the wiring was really clean. Korean made with Korean made tuners which kind of suck, they could use a swappin out with grovers, they'll go in with out modification. I believe the body is made from Alder, it's got some weight that's for sure. // 6

Sound: Sounds great! It doesn't sound and dark and heavy as the less paul but it sounds great with distortion. It plays all sorts of metal.Like most Jackson guitars, it doesn't sound that well on clean but it has a pretty average sustain. Metal is what it play. This guitar my metal machine. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The setup was fine for an cheap guitar. It seems to be built pretty solidly and would withstand live playing. The wiring, as i said was pretty well done and should not give you any problems. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I wouldn't chuck it around no, but if taken care of it'll be fine. The paint will probably last me forever really, the neck is very secure and the frets could use a little bit of work. I would never gig without a backup. This thing's got a floyd so if one string breaks, you're out. // 7

Impression: The only things I can complain about is the floyd (which is pretty important and it does need to be replaced). But that'll be worked on when I have some more denaro to spear. With the pickups upgraded and the floyd blocked, it shold be a pretty badass guitar. // 8

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review: Gretsch Electromatic Hollowbody 5120

Today's post was brought to you thanks to my copypasting abilities! Haha. But seriously, this review was so good I decided that I might as well just copy the whole thing and do some light editing. Well, hope you like it!

Features: This guitar has the Gretsch Dual-Coil humbucking pickups, an adjustable bridge, chrome-plated die-cast tuners, and a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. These Gretsch’s are manufactured in Korea
Detailed features are as follows:

It is crafted with a laminated maple body
24-3/4" rosewood fretboard on maple neck
Bigsby® B60 vibrato tailpiece
16" x 2.75" laminated maple hollowbody
Laminated maple neck (24.6" scale)
Rosewood fingerboard
21 medium jumbo frets
1-11/16" nut width
Vintage style machine heads
2 Gretsch chrome covered Dual-Coil pickups
Master tone, master volume, neck pickup volume, bridge pickup volume
3-position pickup toggle
G-Arrow Knobs
Adjusto-Matic bridge on rosewood base
Chrome-plated hardware
Gloss urethane finish // 9

While playing the Gretsch I was instantly able to hear the breathability of this guitar. It had a very warm tone. To me I instantly felt like I could be playing in any R&B band (sound wise not ability) from the 50’s and 60’s. The air passing through the body gives it a very warm yet clear sound. Sharp but not punchy, clear but not too crisp. It has a soft side to it, an old rustic blues side. Reason being is this body type speaks very well to Jazz.
Although this guitar has humbuckers these are extremely low-output in comparison to most Standard humbuckers. I believe these are ever slightly hotter than P-90’s. I must say Gretsch did a fantastic job with keeping this guitar affordable and providing a quality sound. I think you get a little more than what you pay for on this guitar. For $699 as listed on most websites I think this guitar is about $50 overpriced, just to be nit-picky. Furthermore, in terms of sounds this guitar is not that versatile. It does not have the range that the Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro or Gibson 61’ SG have.

If you like to play hard rock or rock n’ roll BUY SOMETHING ELSE unless you love getting enormous uncontrollable feedback. Being a hollowbody this guitar has an inherent desire to squeal. Keep in mind it is your own fault if it does squeal because you probably shouldn’t be facing the amp directly or be that loud or have that much overdrive/distortion going on. If you do decide to go against your better judgment get ready to get booed on stage! This guitar is meant to play much softer blues, jazz, and very light rock, a la Buddy Holly. For what it sets out to achieve, it does it incredibly well. Good job Gretsch. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The Orange finish on this guitar because to me it really stood out. I was just drawn to it. I have the same feeling with a Gibson SG cherry red. Something about that just ‘pops.’ The set up is very good and seems to be solid. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I am happy to say that I believe the hardware pieces will have a very long lifespan.
A rather common issue involves the input jack. While playing it would get extremely scratchy and cut out for a very short time. This is probably due to corrosion. // 7

Impression: My overall impression is very good. I really believe that this is the best hollowbody money can buy for under $600. At least I have not played anything else to date that I believe comes close to the quality of craftsmanship, sound, and playability of the Gretsch Electromatic Hollowbody 5120. Although being a large guitar it is easy to play as it is incredibly light.  // 8

Friday, March 16, 2012

A break from reviews. Check out my favourite blogs!

Here's the thing, a review every single day is kinda boring. Don't get me wrong, we all love guitars, its just that it can be pretty monotonous. Well, for today's post, I'll post some of my favourite blogs that I often look forward to visiting everyday!

Also, I'ts caturday!

  Ok, the first one up is called It's Rhyme Time by Pat Hatt. This is by far one of the most entertaining blogs I have seen. This guy/cat pretty much rhymes shit together. And his rhyming has been proved to be infectious too! Almost everyone seems to be trying their best to rhyme as well as him in the comment section. But heck, he's so good he could probably rhyme out of his ass!

   The next one is  Daily Freebies  by Heaven, because lets face it, who doesn't like free shit? If its free and they're giving it away, Heaven knows about it. But seriously, sometimes, she posts really awesome stuff. Too bad that some offers are so good they leave me crying as they're US-only offers.

  Now how do I describe the next blog? Hmmm. We'll put it this way,  Anne's Attic  is probably the only blog  with a higher alcohol content than a shot of vodka. Most of the time she posts about her daily (mis)adventures, served with a dash of humour of course, which can prove to be pretty amusing. Also to be noted is that Anne own's her very own imaginary airline company, O'Leary Air.

   For the next one, I would have to warn you. This blogger takes his television seriously. If he's not satisfied with the content on his screen, He'll get started on a long rant that in most cases, turn out to be more entertaining than the original show! Yes, thats right, I'm talking about Besercules and his blog, The Berserk Herc. I could spend hours watching his reviews! they are hilarious!

  Well, I'm gonna save the rest for another post soon. If your blog hasn't appeared here, then it will appear on the next time I post about my favourite blogs! So don't feel bad guys, I haven't forgotten about you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: Tokai FB45

Here is a brand that I've grown to like. While scouring the web searching for info to do these reviews, Tokai has popped up numerous times and people just seem to sing praises of them. They seem to make good quality for money guitars and that is exactly what beginners are looking for. Anyways, today's review is of a Tokai FB45, a Gibson Firebird copy.

Features: 22 frets on a rosewood fretboard and a 24 3/4" scale. The body is made of alder, and the neck is made from maple, so it's a wee bit brighter than your average Firebird, which is made from mahogany and walnut. A set neck, which is different than your neck through that you get on a Firebird as well. It's finished in a gloss gold which was only made in 2004 I believe, so I suppose it adds to the rarity. Tune-o-matic bridge, and your normal 4 controls (2 volume 2 tone) and the one selector Switch for the two mini humbuckers. Standard Kluson-style tulip tuners, which is different than the banjo tuners on the Gibsons as well. // 8

Sound:  The mini humbuckers are brighter than regular humbuckers but darker than single coils. The neck pickup was extremely bassy, and I wasn't really satisfied with that tone, since it sounded like the tone control had been turned down even when it was on full. The bridge pickup was also a lot lower in volume than the neck pickup as well, but after a few tweaks it sounded great. I suppose it isn't the most versatile guitar in the world, and it doesn't do heavier styles very well. The clean tones are better than what I've heard in other guitars. I suppose the best thing about this guitar is the amazing tone I can get, it's just one of the tones I've been looking for for a long while. The sustain is amazing. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up alright from the factory. Not great, but not bad either. The pickups were set quite badly however: the neck pickup was set so that it sounded as if the tone control had been turned down, and the bridge pickup didn't even have half the output of the neck pickup I'm not sure if that was the factory or just by the way the shop set it up though. The action was good, there was no fret buzz and it's still quite low. Other than that, everything was alright, and only required minor adjustments. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This guitar would withstand live playing quite well I think. It's a sturdy thing, and it does take a lot of bumps without denting. The strap buttons are solid, and the controls and Switch are high quality, and they look as if they aren't going to break soon. The only gripe I have, and this is a big gripe: the tuners. They are horrible. They fall out of tune quite easily, and it's really annoying. They look a lot cheaper compared to the rest of the guitar and I feel as if it's just something on a guitar that really shouldn't be forgotten about. It does stay in tune however after a bit of fighting, but it isn't really good enough. I think if you're going to get this guitar, you might have to change the tuners. // 6

Impression: This is a good-for-money guitar. It plays great and isn't expensive. If you are looking for a lighter kind of sound, this might very well be your guitar. // 7

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: Les Paul Junior 1958 Reissue

Well this time its a Gibson. But heck, Its a cheaper Gibson. Also, I would like to remind you that I in no ways own these guitars. This reviews are made by researching online and gathering info so you guys wouldn't have to. I usually copy a few of  these reviews and edit/ put them together to fit the info that I have collected after searching online. Well, enjoy!

Features: - Made in U.S.A.
- Frets: 22, Dot Inlays, 628mm scale, 43mm nut width
- Wood: mahogany body, set mahogany neck,
- Finish: Satin Cherry
- Body Style: Les Paul Junior
- Bridge: Wrap-around bridge
- Electronics: Passive
- Pickup: Gibson P-90, With Dogear
- Tuners: Non-locking, Gibson Deluxe
- Accessories included: Gigbag. // 9

Sound: This Guitar is perfect for any rock style, from heavy overdrive to a clean ballad.I just love the sound. The biggest drawback with the sound should be that it's very noisy, due to the P-90 pickup that picks up more noise than a singlecoil or humbucker. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The only thing that I think is worth mentioning here is that the paint is that kind that easily fall of, and makes the guitar look "used" and old, but personally, I find that nice on guitars, though I've had this guitar for 6 months and no paint has been falling of jet. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I would highly recommend to use this guitar live, but remember to buy straplocks becouse the strap in the upper end is easy to fall of. I would therefore used this guitar without a backup, I find it very reliabel, and even the volumecontrol is able to stop the signal completly. That's the quality of Gibson! // 9

Impression: Since this is the best guitar I've ever tried, whith that I mean it fits perfectlly for rock/alternative/punk/hard rock. This one of the cheapest Gibsons you can find but they are in no means cheap. But for its price, it really delivers. // 10

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Vintage Modified Telecaster Thinline

  Here's a really sexy guitar. The Vintage Modified Telecaster Thinline. Check it out!

Features: Here's the basics:
- 2011 model made in China.
- 22 medium jumbo fret maple C shape neck with rosewood fretboard (24.75” radius)
- Semi acoustic alder body with 'F' hole
- Sexy Shoreline Gold polyurethane finish
- Thinline Telecaster body (obviously)
- Telecaster "ashtray" bridge with body through stringing
- Passive Duncan designed singlecoil pickups TE-101N (Neck), TE-101B (Bridge) with 3 way blade switch, master volume & master tone knobs
- Generic die-cast non locking tuners  // 8

Sound: It sounds like... A Telecaster, bridge is a little weak and brittle but it still has the distinct Tele twang, turning the tone knob down rounds it off a fair bit and reduces the brightness well. Neck is fairly standard, bit dull and muddy but does the job. The pickups are a down side to this guitar but I had this in mind when I bought it, they'll be replaced with some real Seymour Duncans in time.

As for tones, it'll handle most stuff from country to blues to rock, bit of shoegaze/indie stuff, even metal with the right amp settings, although don't expect brutal riffage... It's a Tele with single coils after all. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The fit & finish is what let this guitar down, originally it was set up with the action FAR too low and extremely buzzy & the intonation was out.
problem number two:

The bridge saddle hex nuts are loose as hell and vibrate unless you set each saddle at an odd angle, while it's not the end of the world it's a pain to find an allen key to adjust them when they start buzzing again.
And problem number 3:

The neck pickup's lower fixing screw had no thread on it, so when I went to adjust the height the pickup slipped down into the cavity below which was a mission and 3/4 to get back (My guess is they fix the pickguard onto the body before the neck in the factory as it's impossible to slide the pickguard into place with a pickup loaded at the neck).

Other than these things the finish was pretty good, paint job is excellent (mmm Shoreline Gold!... Sexy!)the neck is extremely playable with no jagged frets and the electronics are noise free. For the price I'm not too fussed about these minor easily fixable things. // 6

Reliability & Durability: It'll probably stand up to live playing but I'd never go on stage without a backup, Hardware probably won't last.

The finish should last but being poly it'll chip if it gets dinged, but then again that's what adds character to a guitar, right?. // 9

Impression:  I LOVE the colour, Shoreline Gold is so sexy! Pictures online don't do it justice! (Go check it out in the flesh) What I rally hate though, is just that buzzing, but eventually it'll be tamed.

For the price I didn't expect more, but eventually I'll swap out the pickups, electronics, tuners and bridge for better replacements, I viewed it as £282 for a sexy body and decent neck.
 I think it would suit a beginner nicely as is (With a good setup first) and anyone else if they're willing to put some effort into upgrades. // 8

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Epiphone Demon

Here's a pretty rare Epiphone that I kinda fancy. Well, hope you guys like it!

Features: The Epiphone Demon was produced only one year, 2001, in Korea. 22 frets, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. I have the light metallic blue model. 2 covered chrome humbuckers, a three way selector, volume and single tone knob. The headstock is angled, allowing better sustain. That's a feature you don't typically see on a guitar in this price range. // 7

Sound: The Demon has a mediocre clean sound so I mostly stick with a Strat when playing the latter. The bridge pickup has a really awesome growl on the low end, though it seems to break apart a bit if taken down to drop C. The mids and highs sound great. As it is stock, it's really a guitar meant to be played with high gain.  // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The intonation seemed fine, but the action was a little high. The only flaws I see are a weak output jack and a loose pickup selector. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This guitar if pretty hardy and despite it having its guaranteed share of  bumps (it is almost 4 feet long), it should hold up great. The paint job is surprisingly durable. Strap buttons are solid. // 9

 For around $200 this is a fantastic guitar for it's purpose, I haven't seen many others in the price range that I'm interested in.Light metallic blue is also a great color, it's exactly what I would have picked if I could pick any color. It just looks fantastic. I wish it had a better clean output, though that's something I'll probably fix with a new neck pickup.You can't play this guitar sitting down too comfortably, unless perched on a high stool. I don't take off any points for that because the only reason to pick a Flying V over a more traditional shape is of course, for fashion. And it does look great. // 8

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Review: Squier Bullet

 Well, figuring that most of my traffic sources are those who are looking for cheap beginner guitars, here's another for you people out there to consider; the Squier Bullet. This is a short review because honestly, there isn't much to say about this guitar. 

Features:  21 frets. 5 way selector, two tone, and one volume. 3 singles pickup configuration. Definately Strat body style. Most squiers are made in Indonesia so you can pretty much sum up the quality. // 6

Sound: The sound isn't bad, you need some nice lovely distortion to give it that 'punch', but what guitar wouldnt need that? It's noisy on the centre and bridge pickup sets though, so that's something to note down. Overall, for a guitar this cheap, I'd say its not bad sound. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was a little too crappy so I suggest lowering it but then again it comes down to personal preferences. The pickups were adjusted like perfect. A noisy pickup selector is a bad problem on this. // 6

Reliability & Durability: Will this guitar withstand live playing? Probably not, do not use it for that. Does the hardware seem like it will last? Probably. Is the finish good enough to last, or does it seem thin and easy to wear off with lots of playing? It'll wear off with lots of playing. Are the strap buttons solid? No. Can you depend on it? Would you use it on a gig without a backup? No, I wouldn't ever use it at a live show, all I use it for is band practice and its broke on me there like so many times it sucks. This is a cheap guitar and its built like a cheap guitar. Don't be over-ambitious here. // 3

Impression: I hate how you get so much noise out of the pickup selector. Squiers are strictly beginner tier and usually aren't built to last. If you're looking for a cheap guitar you can bang around while still learning to play, this is it. If not, you'll be sorely disappointed. // 4

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: Stagg S300

   Today we'll be doing Stagg, a company that makes decent basses. However, they also make not so decent, albeit cheap, guitars. Well, on to the review I say!

Features: I'm reviewing the NS version of the S300 with 21 frets. The body itself is made of solid Alder wood with an intreging walnut printed scratch plate. The wood is semi glossed and looks like a basic Stratocaster copy. The neck is made from Maple with a Rosewood fret board. This guitar is passive featuring three single coil pickups with a five-way selector, two tone dials and one volume dial. It comes with all the allen keys needed for tweeking and a whammy bar as standard. // 8

Sound: This guitar cannot match (in sound quality) high-end guitars but for the price payed it can produce a rich full tone that's very satisfying on the top pickup. However the other pickups can produce abit of white noise also they arn't very good at holding harmonics. With the overdrive setting on it feels flat, heartless and empty, I don't recomend them for metal players but on clean its not too shabby. // 5

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory settings were 'ok'. I needed to readjust the teeth as some of the screws wern't all the same. The pickups were at the correct distance as so they didn't obstruct the strings. The bridge is made of plastic and shouldn't break too easily but I would replace this for peace of mind. The build of the guitar itself is as expected of a beginners guitar, a nice wide fret board with responsive string bending capability, very easy to get used to. However the string tightening ratio is quite high as any small ajustment using the pegs will have a dramatic change in tone on the string so its best to be careful when setting the guitar down. Also the aesthetics such as the tone and volume dials are abit basic but the can be easily pulled off should anyone want to replace them. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I can't judge if this would withstand live playing but the wood quality and tuning pegs are solid. However using the whammy bar will put the strings out of tune but one good feature is that it is a screw-in so it wont 'ping' out in a solo. The lead socket on mine was securly screwed in but it is worth keeping an eye on it as they do have a tendency to come loose. The finish is chunky so I can't imagine it wearing off any time soon but like all things they will wear out eventually. It is a good solid peace of work and should last a long time. // 6

Impression: If you want a cheap guitar, this is one. This is a basic begginer guitar that I would recomend for those who like a rich clean sound however this guitar is cheap so don't exspect the world from it or good overdrive sound. The features I dislike is the slight white noise when left on standby but the pickups need replacing anyway. I also dislike the dials but I also intended to replace these. The aspects I most prefer with this guitar is the sound the top pickup produces and its appearance.

What must be bared in mind is that this is a cheap beginners guitar and it fits that criteria. I am comparing this to other beginners guitars in the £80-£140 price range and I feel it deservers a good 7 as the only serious down side is the sound quality but like I keep repeating it is a cheap guitar. // 7

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Back from Borneo + Review: Aria MAC-45

   Okay people, i'm finally back and can probably get back to posting regularly. My internship program in Borneo was great and I'm looking forward to further my studies there but that being said, its a relief to be back. Well, without further ado, lets get on with the review!

Features: Year - don't know, but it was brand new from ordering
Frets - 24
See-thru black finish
Body - Alder? I think
Neck - Maple with rosewood fingerboard
Superstrat shape
Bolt on neck
Lisensed Floyd Rose
Passive pickups
1 vol, 1 tone
5 way switch
Coil tap switch
2 'buckers, 1 coil
no-name tuners
Locking nut (with floyd)
no accessories

Pretty average really, what would you expect from a £300 axe. One thing I must say, this guitar is like a Les Paul, Strat and Ibanez all in one. It dosnt look like it, but it weighs a TON. // 7

The pickups aren't great, just ordinary stock pickups. They can handle high-gain, but not as well as EMG's. But this also means it can do really good cleans. I use all pickup con-figs, a total of 9 becaues of the CT. It has so much variaty its almost unbelivable. it can do strat, LP, anything. It has balls too, just like a LP.

It is very versatile sound-wise. I can get Hendrix, Metallica, Clapton, almost anything out of this guitar!

This guitar also has so much sustain! Strum and E powerchord and just listen to it resonate! I timed it, 30+ seconds! Now that is a long time.

I gave it 7 because it has variaty, but it can't do somthing extrodinarly well, like a start, or a full on metal axe. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: It still wasn't set up well, the action was waay to low. I ajusted the pickups to my height, got it properly set up. But no visible flaws or anything.

Fortunately, the floyd stays in tune nicely. You might have pay to set it up properly though. // 6

Reliability & Durability: I would immediately put strap-locks on it. This guitar is built like a tank. This guitar would break the floor, not itself! I would with a backup, only because of the Floyd Rose though, not the electronics or anything. // 8

Impression: Overall, this is a nice guitar! If your looking for a good, not to expensive 2nd guitar, then this is a good choice. If you play a lot of diffrent styles, then its about as good as you can get in this price range. If your looking to be more metal though, I would recomend the LTD MH250 (trem or no trem) as it has EMG HZ's, thru neck and a floyd

I gave it an 8 overall because its just a good guitar, sure there are better but this is £300, what more do you want! If you wana be picky just same up 3x as much and buy a guitar not 3x better.

The onlything I don't like is the fret acses. Not the greatest for shred but you can still get up there. Its a bolt-on.. What can you do.  // 8

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Tokai SG60

Well guys, here's an update. I'll be off to Borneo pretty soon for an internship program as a research assistant for a biologist. So, I'll be off the net for a couple of weeks. However, I'll get my friend or my brother to do me a favour by updating this blog and keeping everything running. Anyways, enjoy today's post!

Features: The SG60 has 22 frets and was made in China. Both the set in neck and body are in a glossy cherry red finish with a fixed black half pickguard, normal for most SG copies. It has the expected humbucker pickups and full controls with a Tune-O-Matic bridge but terrible stock tuners with a puke green plastic cover that can barely handle tuning between Standard and drop D. It is really comfortable and light, espcially good for a damaged left shoulder. Other than the let down with the tuners the rest of the guitar is really good quality. // 8

Sound: It play really well and produces a sound that can be compared to the sound from a Gibson SG. I play through a 15 watt practice amp with an analogue delay pedal and an overdrive distortion pedal. For distortion I generally use the bridge pickup as I have set up in such a way for maximum sound quality, the neck pickup sounds bright and full of tone. With gain up high it can get a bit noisy but nothing that is too awful but other than that no noise whatsoever. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Other than the screwed up tuners, the guitar set up was reasonable but the action and pickup heights needed adjusting. The is only 1 REALLY annoying problem with the jack input which was not put in correctly and, after taking it in to another store, needs replacing. Everything else is in top shape. // 6

Reliability & Durability: I am yet to gig with this guitar but it looks like it is solid and could easily take a gig without backup. The strap buttons are good but I have straplocks of course and the hardware looks good too that will definitely last. The finish is good but gets a bit fingerprinty but that is nothing a cloth can't handle // 9

Impression:This is a great guitar but if I had the money, I would buy an Epiphone G-400. I would recommend this guitar for the awesome upper fret accessibility and the SG look and style but for that there is Gibson, I would recommend this to beginners however. I just wish that the tuners were better. // 9

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Epiphone SG Tony Iommi Signature

Well guys, with all the news about Black Sabbath reuniting, Tony Iommi's cancer and Bill Ward refusing to join them, I guessed it would be a good time to do a review on this baby here, the Epiphone SG Tony Iommi Signature.

Features: This is a japanese made model (I am presuming at least). 24 frets and 24.75" neck, solid top, two-tone, two-volume, standard push/pull Gibson 3 way switching, passive H/H setup with two 'Iommibuckers', mahogany SG body obviously, Stop bar bridge, black finish (not matt), Grover tuners. Got a groovy chequer strap and full SG fitted hardcase for free with it. No tremolo, but I don't use it anyway, so I'm not bothered. //8

Sound: I know what you're thinking, Iommi SG = for Black Sabbath wannabes only. Wrong. If you play hardcore and standard rock, this baby can swing with the best of them. The Iommibuckers are extremely powerful, with a great crisp edge to them, but still a full, rich sound. The feedbacking is fine too, even if you play loud in small rooms. The only gripe is that like all highpower pickups, the clean sound leaves something to be desired. // 6

Action, Fit & Action came nice and low. Its neck is smooth and creamy, I also belive it's slightly thinner than other gibson/epiphone necks. But not so thin that it feels horrible. The black finish is nice, but I wish it had chrome hardware instead of the boring black. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The strap buttons were coming loose. Apart from that, it's fine. You shouldn't gig it without backup. Apart from that, it's all good. // 8

Impression: I personally love this guitar, but I can see why other people may not like it. The clean sound in particular is quite flat and the powerful pickups knock the amp into overdrive unless you play very quietly. Ideal for metal or heavier stuff. This isn't a classic axe, and it doesn't do anything unusual, but for what it's built for (grinding overdriven stoner rock or sludge metal) it's great, and it's certainly changed my view on signature guitars. // 8

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Album Review: Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy

 Well guys, for the sake of something different, I decided that I shall start doing album reviews. I mainly listen to 70's and 80's rock/metal and also a lot of grunge related music. However, my recent dabbling in Pink Floyd's music has lead me to this death metal/jazz fusion/psychedelic/ambient band (I know, sounds hipster as fuck), Cynic. Don't ask me how Pink Floyd leads to Cynic, I really don't know what happened. At first I was a cynic (pun intended). I never fancied the harsh growls and deep screams of death metal. But this band was different. It's light and airy jazz riffs seem to balance the dark sounds and gave an air of 'spirituality' which fit in with their lyrical themes quite well. Also the ambient sounds serve to create a soothing atmosphere amid the grinding riffs. Its hard to explain but it feels 'balanced'. Anyways, I found myself liking the band a lot (especially after their "Traced in Air") and when they announced a new EP, I was pretty damn excited. Anyways, lets get on with the review!

Sound: An oddity if there ever was one, Cynic have been keeping busy since their enthralling comeback album "Traced In Air". While creative output has been minimal since then, they’ve hit the road hard, showcasing their discography, flinging business cards every which way, getting stuck into life as working artists again.  "Carbon-Based Anatomy" feels like a story being told about humankind. Its a journey of rediscovering ourselves. But somehow, I just don't get it. The meditative, spiritualist side to eccentric frontman Paul Masvidal has really come to the fore on this, their third major collection of original material. While the size is light and the style even lighter – you can forget about this EP sounding much like "Traced In Air", yet alone 90s death metal gem "Focus" – the placement of unusual mood tracks makes it a serious listen. Exotic washes of ambience mark the beginning, middle and end of this 23-minute affair and are coloured by, among other things, spoken word ("Hieroglyph") and tribal chants ("Amidst The Coals"). What may be decoration on most full-lengths (and superfluous decoration at that) becomes an important factor in a short release, and these three tracks give the EP a prevailing air of peace, despite the harder hitting stuff elsewhere.

The bulk of the material though, and the material most recognisable as Cynic, is explorative prog rock. While most metal elements are toned down, the technical exuberance of the band actually comes through in a new way, emanating more psychedelia than the jazz fusion they built their name on. Without compromising identity, this slickly and commendably bridges the gap between the space-rock wastrels and the drugged-up academics that shared a stage in the 1970s. To forge such a sound through technical and meticulous playing is a credit in particular to drummer Sean Reinert, whose contributions are as much a trademark of the band as their vocals or glistening guitar tone. // 8

Lyrics and Singing: Perhaps due to the weirdness being dialed up elsewhere, Masvidal has slimmed down on the vocoders and other processing effects put on his voice. Coupled with the absence of death growls, this marks a fairly significant change in the way Cynic’s lyrics are communicated, and it pays dividends on "Box Up My Bones". The song exercises all that’s good about the band in the 21st century, and the human quality of the voice adds to its euphoria, delivering Masvidal’s story of self-realisation with more potency than he could ever have dreamed of before. // 8

Impression: Despite the stylistic framing that tracks like "Hieroglyph" provide, "Carbon-Based Anatomy" does feel incredibly short, and not necessarily because we don’t want it to be over. Perhaps it’s that the tales of transcendence are not mirrored by a clear sense of direction over the course of the record; in fact the alien territory covered can leave you with the feeling that you don’t know where you’ve ended up, and that you don’t really know where you started either. That is this EP’s only major flaw, but one that is easily overlooked when so immersed in its positive glow. Whether it’s an isolated adventure or just the tip of the iceberg remains to be seen, but either way the future is bright for Cynic. // 8

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Ibanez AC35CENT

  Okay people, as i promised, here's an acoustic guitar review. Enjoy!

Features: This guitar was an absolute steal! It has a solid Cedar top with mahogany sides and back (looks Gorgeous). Maple binding for the sides and back. The Abalone dot inlays in an ebony fretboard are integrated seamlessly. It has gold die cast tuners with beautiful pearloid knobs. B band Under the saddle pickup and Ibanez SRTn Preamp with an accurate onboard tuner. It includes knobs for volume, bass, treble, tone and pitch. Another really nice feature is that the guitar has both 1/4" and XLR outputs. This guitar's got features on it that many $1500 Taylors and Guilds lack. //9

Sound: This is a guitar with a loud, clear voice. The biggest problem with Guild, Taylor, Takamine, and Gibson was that their acoustic-electric guitars had a very tinny sound. They ceased to sound like acoustic guitars and sounded like some bastard hybrid between a steel guitar and a hollow body. The guitar had a deep, warm tone. Incredibly full and rich. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The action is perfect! I tried lowering it just to see how close to an electric feel I could get and I found that the factory already had the strings as close to the frets as they could get without causing buzzing. The wood is superb, pickup is incredible too! It sounds the exact same wired as it does unplugged.
The only problem that I found with it is that the tuning pegs are loose when the guitar is unstrung. They seem to be a little small for the holes (insert sexual pun here). But when the guitar is strung, there's no problem, and, as I've already said, it does not hold a tune really well. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This guitar seems really durable. I'm not going to try banging it around a bit to verify that though. The onboard electronics are really incredible. They sound amazing. The strap buttons hold crazy tight. All of the hardware is die cast, so it'll last. Overall, it's one of the best acoustic guitars I've ever played with. // 9

Impression: For its price, this guitar is great. I would easily pay twice that for this guitar.It lacks nothing, performs better than guitars that cost five times as much as it does, and hugs back (just don't get too friendly on the first date). // 9

Review: Ibanez RG471AH

Well, I'm pretty busy lately and try to squeeze in time for my blog whenever I can. I should be able to return to my normal blogging routines pretty soon though. In the meantime, enjoy the review! Oh, and tomorrow's review will be and acoustic so look out for that.

Features: The Ibanez RG471AH comes in two separate finishes, the natural flat or walnut flat. The body is ash and the neck is 3 piece maple. The RG471AH has a Wizard III neck with 24 jumbo frets and a 400 mm neck radius, which translates to 15.74 inches. You also get the standard sharktooth inlays that come with the Ibanez RG series on a bound rosewood fretboard. The bridge is a Gibraltar standard bridge, which is a non-tremolo bridge with separate saddles for each string to get the string intonation dialed in exactly right.

The strings are through body before feeding into the bridge which gives great sustain. The Ibanez Infinity pickups (which are passive pickups) are two humbuckers with a single coil in the middle. The bridge and middle single coil pickup in the middle are alnico, and the neck humbucker is ceramic. You also have a 5 way pickup selector and one volume and one tone knob. The features I would have liked to have seen on this guitar are some coil splitting switches or a push-pull pot. Also, I would have liked to have seen some other finish options and a pickguard. // 8

Sound: The RG471AH is pretty versatile in matching whatever genre you need it to perform for. I don't have any problem getting as heavy as I want with the Infinity pickups that come stock, can easily get pinch harmonics, and can easily get good clean tones as well – it is just they sound a little flat to me.// 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was pretty low when I received this guitar, but after putting some Ernie Ball Not Even Slinkys on here, I re-adjusted the intonation and neck and got the action even lower – Probably close to 1/16th of an inch and no fret buzz. I'm very happy with the action and the neck as being the best qualities of this guitar. The pickups were adjusted properly and no adjustment was needed to their height or angle. I'm not sure what kind of sealant was used on the ash body, but it doesn't really feel like it is giving much protection. It is maybe a very thin matte finish, but I'm not sure. The Ibanez website does not say for sure.

I do know that I've heard someone say they've had one of the Ibanez RG471AH's that had spilled some things on it, and it had dyed the wood, which really makes it sound like there is no type of sealant at all. I know the body feels smooth, and I'm not going to spill anything on it to see if it will absorb it and dye the wood. The weight of the guitar isn't bad – it isn't extremely heavy and isn't extremely light. The jumbo pickups with this neck profile are great and chords and single notes are extremely easy to fret. As much as I feel nervous about the finish, I am so impressed with the action, neck profile and frets that I have to give this an 8. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Unfortunately, this section is where the RG471AH has to lose some points. The finish is very thin, and while I've been very careful and haven't damaged it yet I live in a constant state of anxiety about it. I did not find any imperfections on the guitar when I received it new, but just waiting for it to happen. In the past I've had problems with Ibanez RGs with the hardware oxidizing but so far that hasn't occurred with this specific guitar, so that is a good sign. As far as playability I would trust this guitar for a gig, though I'm not really a gigging musician, I do jam with friends and don't think anything would happen to make this guitar non-functional. I do, however, see a likelihood of damaging the guitar with dents and dings, which I guess if I relax and let it happen then over time it will give the guitar character instead of just look bad. // 6

Impression: My overall impression of the RG471AH is that it is very versatile, it has a great neck and frets, the pickups are mediocre and bland and that the finish is dangerously thin.

Before I bought this I wish I had realized there was a walnut flat finish because it looks much better to me than the natural flat. I think this guitar would be ideal for neo-classical shred for the guitarist who doesn't like tremolo bridges. It takes low tunings and alternate tunings well, but would benefit immensely from a pickup upgrade.// 7

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: B.C. Rich Beast V

Heads up metalheads! Heres a metal-as-hell axe: the B.C. Rich Beast V. That's right, a real beauty this one. Well, without further ado, lets get started!

Features: - CONSTRUCTION: Bolt-On
- TOP STYLE: Beveled
- TUNERS: B.C. Rich Diecast
- NECK WOOD: Maple
- FRETBOARD: Rosewood
- INLAY: Dots
- FRETS: 24 jumbo
- SCALE: 25.5"
- BRIDGE TYPE: Tune o matic
- PICKUPS: B.C. Rich B.S.D.M.
- CONTROLS: 1 volume, 1 tone, 1 three-way toggle
- HARDWARE: Chrome // 8

Sound: The guitar suits Metal more than anything, but is good for Rock and okay for blues. The sound is pretty deep, and sounds heavy as hell. The guitar, as mentioned before, is very good for Metal. It could do with being a bit less metallic-sounding, though. It really shines through with distortion on.  // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was out of tune, but this was to be expected as it came from Germany. The action was a bit high when arrived, but everything from the hardware, the bridge, the pickups, tuners, nut, fretboard etc. Was fine. The guitar wasn't flawed, minus the high action. // 7

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is built pretty well, and I think it will last. I don't know if it will be suitable for live situations as I haven't tried it yet. The hardware is very good. The finish is also good quality and is set to last, I believe. // 8

Impression: If you play Metal, obviously a B.C. Rich is made for Metal and is a good match. The Beast sounds very good, if slightly metallic-sounding. A better alternative would be a B.C. Rich Virgo as that is also a very nice guitar and is about the same price range. I love how heavy it sounds. I wish it had a tremolo system, though. // 8

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Rickenbacker 360/6

Here's a Rickenbacker 360/6. Enjoy!

Features: This is a 2000 Rickenbacker 360. It has 24 frets, and an extremely small delicate scale. It's made out of maple, is a semi hollow body and has dead sexy grover tuners. My favorite feature is its blender knob. You can get very bassy tones, or the signature jangle with it, it sounds like nothing else. And finally it was made in America by skilled workers // 8

Sound: Lovely sound. It is also a ska machine. You can get full chunky upstrummed chords or cool jangly minor progressions. The pickguard actually aids in this, upstrokes are really easy. This would be a crappy guitar to have for metal or an other kind of mindless angry white boy music, the single coil pickups didn't distort in an unhonest metal type way, although the idea of not being able to solo on a rickebacker is poo, the action makes them great for that. So its a 4 for lack of variety, although it should be a 5 if you buy it for the right type of stuff. They sucked anyways. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The pickups seem fine, it doesn't need any adjustments. A far as the finish goes, don't believe any of those stunning pictures y'all see online. They don't do it justice. The finish is a few millimeters thick, and is really reflective. That means it reflects whatever in the room with the picture and doesn't look quite so stunning as it really is. The action is godly. It is the main reason to buy this guitar. It's simply amazing beyond explanation. I should debunk the myth of the small scale. Unless you're an absolute beast it shouldn't be a problem. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This thing will definitely survive live playing. Think of everyone who used these. Google pictures of against me, and see tom getting yanked down by the audience and the like, and yet the Rickenbacker is still there and working, shining and triumphant. The strap buttons have only failed me once, but I was trying to play with my teeth and its a long story, I trust them more than the straplocks on my warlock. I would gig without a backup, and also without fresh underwear, if any at all. As far as the finish goes, I wouldn't be so worried if it weren't so beautiful, but I am. The manual has a few pages on protecting the finish, it shoud last a while as long as you're not an idiot. For a semi-hollowed this is a beast. // 9

Impression: One warning, do not buy this if you have a crappy amp. It will not do it justice and you will be disappointed. It's all a matter of taste and preference, but if you look at a Les Paul, or a fancier American Strat, the worksmanship and finish of the Rickenbacker just blows you minds to how could they make it so inexpensive. It feels like a $5k+ guitar. For its price, it's definetly worth it, if you're looking for a good, solid guitar. But if you do a lot of faster single-note stuff, make sure you have another guitar, sand down the gloss on the neck, or get used to the "squeakiness" of the fretboard. // 9