Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beginner's Review Pt 9: Mesa Single Rectifier

The Single Rec Beast ...

I dont' know what the salesperson did when he switched on something behind the amp head .. but what ever he did .. he unleashed the gain 'Beast' from this Mesa Single Rectifier. I am not sure whether it is still in production, cant get any info from the mesa website. Zakk (my guitar buddy) and myself tested this amp with several guitars namely, Jem 7V, Jem Premium, RG Prestige with EMGs (which I am dissapointed with the tone coming from this guitar, dunno what model) and Fender 70's MIM. Zakk also tested this amp with an Ibanez falchion,  my initial thought was Zakk doing an injustice to this Single Rec. Affordable guitar and expensive amp don't get along well. But I was way wrong, the Ibanez Falchion goes along very well with this amp, it sounded nice. We tested with a 2x12 Mesa cab.

Conclusion, this is a very good amp, able to go along with wide range of guitars, good for metal i.e various forms of metal (maybe).Definately not a bedroom amp.

Beginner's Review: Pt 8: Blackstar HT Studio 20

Ht Studio 20 Combo, pic taken from Blackstar website
I tested this amp two weeks ago at Ultimate Music in Hartamas, initially I was there to test the Schecter Demon FR 6 but end up testing this amp. The clean tone is acceptable for me, I love the gain from this amp. Maybe ... maybe ... the amp would sound nicer with a 2x12 speaker. I tested with Shecter Demon FR 6, Tokai LP Custom and a Tokai Love Rock.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beginner's Review Pt7: Ibanez Jem 7V

The beautiful white Jem 7V, pic taken from Ibanez wiki

what can i say about this guitar .. in my book this is the mother of all signature series guitars ... tested it a few months ago .. the extremely good feeling of just playing power chords can still be felt till today .. the neck was so smooth and for the first time I understand what it means 'a smooth neck' ...

Tested it with a Mesa Single Rec .. good combination .. expensive guitar + expensive amp ... both I can't afford to buy !!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beginner's Review Pt6: Gibson SG Standard

Gibson SG Standard (Ebony), pic taken from sandman guitar

First time I was holding this guitar, I felt a bit awkward, thick neck, huge fretboard, thin body, very light .. I felt that I can broke this guitar into two ... but after a few seconds .. with just playing power chords .. that awkward feeling became .. nice .. very nice .. everything is nice about this guitar ... almost perfect ... the neck pickup tone was creamy .. eventhough I have heard a creamier tone from anither guitar .. but the SG was creamy enough for me .. really worth to be in my wish list .. If i own one ... I might put a P90 on the neck .. I think it would sound nicer .. I think ..

I tested with a Marshall MG amp ... good enough for me ... I mean if the SG can produce good tone  thru the Marshall MG .. this SG must be very good right? ;) ..

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A visit to Otoko/DoReMi

I was busy for the last two weeks and sort of stressed with work too, so on Saturday i decided to go to Otoko, just to test few guitars. The last time I went to Otoko was in February, I enjoyed it, by far this is the best guitar shop that I have ever been to, maybe because there are a lot of guitars that i like, i.e. ibanez, gibson, fender, orvilles etc .. and I dont feel afraid or shy to ask them ... perhaps because the owner i.e - the father (uncle) and son (lawrence) are very friendly.

So yesterday,  i tested a couple of Greco LP customs, 1 greco Lp standard, 1 rickenbacker and 1 gibson SG standard ... i was gassing on greco the nite before, and felt lucky to test a few of them. But the best guitar that i tested yesterday was the SG, my next post will be about it.

Like my first visit to otoko, yesterday I left with a big smile, felt very satisfied, not sure why ... as if I bought a guitar that i like so much .. but the fact is I did not buy any guitars, only bought a patch cable. I'm sure to pay otoko another visit before ramadhan, hopefully with Zakk and Jules.

for more info clik here -> otoko

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beginner's review pt5: Ampeg GVT15H

I tested this amp last week at the request of a friend. I used Tanglewood LP and FGN (Fujigen) LP. I should have tested with a strat but then I was rushing, maybe next time. I was surprised with the sound or tone that this amp produces, it generates the 'expensive' clean tone. Well, it is an expensive amp. I can feel the natural tubed tone. The volume was set at only 10 o'clock, it was already very loud for me.

It is a 15w amp but can be stepped down to 7.5. I like the clean tone from this amp, I think for jazz and blues players this might be a suitable amp for them and its worth for them to check it out. For rock or metal, definately need a distortion pedal  via the fx loop. Might also test the fx loop next time.  

This amp is available at Candor Music in Solaris Dutamas. Look for Steven.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blast from the past ...

During the 80's and early 90's I used to listen to marching bands songs, scottish bagpipe tunes, a little bit of classical especially Johan strauss, kenny G. richard clayderman, local rock bands i.e. search, lefthanded, wings .. and a little bit of Bon jovi .. at that time for me rock songs are just loud noise ... unpleasant to my ears ..

until I watch this vid ..

this song somehow change my perception about rock songs ... and rock groups ...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Beginner's review Pt4: Gibson Les Paul Standard

Gibson Les Paul Standard (Pic taken from dv247 website

The last few days before I left Derby in 1996, I have the guts to test a gibson les paul standard. The LP look something like the above picture, a cherry sunburst LP standard. Together with a friend, we went to the music shop and told the salesman that I would like to try the LP. The salesman said no problem. He took the LP and direct us to to a room, then plug the LP with a huge Marshall Combo .. way huge that my 10watt. I think its a 100w Marshall.

Test the clean tone, then I pushed the gain button. Strum E power chord .. then .. literally speaking .. my jaw dropped.

If George Bush Jr made the 'shock and awe' campaign against Iraq in 2003, I had my own experience of''Shock and Awe' moment way back in a sunny afternoon in September, 1996 in a music shop's small guitar test room located at a small and sleepy town called Derby.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My amplification dilemma ..

It has been said that once you heard or test a tube amp ... well, there is no turning back ... you want a tube amp. The first time I heard a tube amp was the Mesa Boogie Mark V combo, clean and hi-gain mode, from that moment onwards, I knew what I want (not the mark V of course, way too pricey and definately not for a bedroom). Tube amps doesn't come cheap, especially if you have your desired specs. 

my spec for a tube amp would be:-

1) head n cab
2) fx loop
3) line out for recording
4) could deliver NWOBHM tone 
5) could also deliver acceptable clean tone
6) affordable 
8) has an attenuator

There are few amps around that fit my spec such as the Blackstar HT5, HK Tubemeister 18, Gigmaster 15 but then there are not affordable. Recently I came across AMT SS20 pre-amp, very small, slightly bigger than a normal pedal, but then again, not affordable, I think its more expensive than a Blackstar HT5 head, furthermore its not available in Malaysia, and obviously it needs a power amp and a cab. Although it has a line out function, but then it needs to go thru an audio interface, I wonder if it can go thru my G2NU then to mac. But still SS20 its not cheap.

There are tube amps that cost less than 1k RM i.e. vox's amp .. but then it doesn't fit to my specs.

My dilemma continues ...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My no 2 Guitar hero is ...

the genius, the master of the space age guitar .. Mr. Steve Vai ...

My all time favourite song .. Liberty ...

I went to his concert in 1997 at HRC in KL, only one word could describe that concert ... Awesome ... my friend managed to shake hand with him, while I could only touch his arm .. hahaha .. too bad we didn't bring a camera ..

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beginner's Review Pt3: Indiana IE1 Strat

Indiana IE1 White

Its difficult for me to review this guitar, simply because its a single coil, and I only play power chords, so very true to what has been said about single coils that it can't produce a fat tone. I tested with a Rover 15watt amp, I wish I could test it with a Roland micro cube. Nevertheless, the finish is nice, it looks solid (alder body), based on reviews that I read, its a very good guitar and more importantly its very affordable. Less than 600RM.It comes in white, black, red, surf green, tobacco sunburst and pink .... yes ... PINK !!

Honestly speaking, I tested a Fender 70's classic MIM (almost 4kRM) with an ibanez tube screamer amp, I believe the tone it produces is the same as this indiana. But then I may be wrong, please forgive me, I'm just a beginner.

The guy in the video is my best guitar buddy

another video .. this time with hi gain .. and a PINK indiana strat .. PINK can ROCK !!

if you want to buy this indiana strat, just drop your email in the comments box and I will get back to you ASAP (now I may sound a bit biased dont' I .. hahaha).

hmmm I might get one for myself ...

A little bit of entertainment .. Layla

More than 27 million views ...

The intro, solo and the second part of the song ... just beautiful .. acid song ...

My No 1 Guitar Hero ..

Mr. James Hetfield of Metallica

Founder, frontman, songs and lyrics writer

Why? I like his riffs, style of playing, his tone,his solo's especially the second solo in Nothing Else Matters. Cool explorers- the Gibson's 84 and 76, ESPs and Ken Lawrence.

Jaymz Hetfiled with his ESP Explorer - picture taken from Modern Rock Living Website

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beginner's review Pt2: ESP KH2

KH2 has been in my guitar wish list since 1996. The first time I had the chance to test it was in 2010, it was also the first time I hold an ESP guitar, belongs to a friend, not too light, the neck was also not too slim, a bit thicker that my x jackson. However, the KH2 that i tested has been seriously modified, the fretboard has been changed to ebony (no more skull and bone, just dot inlay), pickups were changed to seymour duncan, a bolt on model.

Tonewise, cant remember ... tested it in 2010 .. well not much of a review ..

In february 2012, I saw a guitarist named Trabye who made a showcase in Ultimate Music Hartamas, he used a KH2, and it sounds very nice (not sure whether 'nice' is the right term to use). I thought that KH2 is not a versatile guitar due to the EMG pickups, but after listening to Trabye, I have changed my perception .. but then of course Trabye's KH2 went to his rig, obviously Trabye's fingers and style of playing may also have effect the tone .. the nice tone.

Still the number 1 guitar in my wish list.

The ESP KH2 - Bolt on - picture taken from esp US website

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beginner's review PT1: ESP Eclipse-I CTM Paul Landers

Pic taken from

Belongs to Zakk. My first and best guitar buddy.

some basic facts ... mahogany body, set neck, EMG 81/60, matte or satin finish. It was formerly the signature model for Paul Landers of Rammstein, but Zakk is no fan of Paul, he bought it because it looks nice, and I agreed with him. This axe is a beauty.

Weight wise not too heavy,  neck thickness I think almost the same as my explorer, tone wise - honestly the 81 in this eclipse sounds a little little little bit better that my explorer.

If not because I have been craving for the explorer since 1996, I would have buy an ESP eclipse, well maybe not this particular model but definitely an eclipse.

My third electric guitar ..

Gibson Explorer 76 re-issue (2008). It has been in my guitar wish list since 1996.

Bought it from US ebay in 2010, comes with the original hard shell case (OHSC), shipped thru fedex (excellent service, but very pricey). Modified by the previous owner - pickups EMG 81/85, knobs and pots - volume, tone and a 'gain or overdrive', jack plate and truss rod.

Have tested it with a Marshall half stack (dunno what model), Blackstar HT5 full stack, ENGL Invader, Line 6 Spider III and Vox VT40+.

I want to test it with a mesa boogie Dual Rec/Mark 5 and Marshall JCM 800.

Clean tone thru my zoom g2nu is nice, both the 81 and 85. The 85 could deliver a creamy tone with or without adjusting the tone knob.

Definately not a beginner's due to its body shape, my right had were tired when playing it the first time. The main reason why I like the most about this guitar is because of James Hetfield.  Yes, i know he uses a 84 Gibson explorer, well this is the closest that I can get. The ESP explorer that James used is way too expensive. I also believe that EMGs goes well with a gibson explorer.

I almost sell it last year, at that time I wanted to buy a house but after discussing the matter with my wife, she said don't sell it since the explorer means a lot to me. I love this guitar and I love my wife too.

My Gibson Explorer aka Rose. Pic taken by Tomato Man

My second electric guitar ...

Jackson JS1 Dinky

Bought it at Music Master in PJ in 2010. An entry level guitar from Jackson, good spec - alder body, maple neck and rosewood fingerboard, pickups not too bad, cool reverse headstock .. nice metallic red and its made in Korea. A new jackson js1 dinky is less than 1k RM, made in India if i'm not mistaken ...

Sold it last October 2011 after a year on sale. Reason for selling - to buy other gears or perhaps guitar ...

My favourite band is ..

Metallica ...

I bought thier first CD in 1993, 'Metallica' aka the black album .. bought it just because its a gold cd .. something that is rare and very different at that time .. Still have the cd and at the moment its in my car cd player .. I just love the black album tone ...

Only started seriously listening to them in 1994, again i was influenced by the same group of people (read earlier post) ... then started collecting Metallica's previous albums. Black album is still my favourite album, and I also like the Ride the Lightning ..

I was a little bit upset with Load and Re-Load .. though there some nice songs in these two albums but they aint Metallica enough in my opinion .. the worst album was after the re-load .. cant even remember what was the title ..

Death Magnetic somehow managed to regain back Metallica's pride and .. honour ..

 Hopefully one day I can watch their concert .. live concert that is ...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My first guitar (s) ...

Back in 1994 I hang out with friends that were really into guitars and somehow it influenced me .. so .. i bought an acoustic guitar .. cant remember what brand but it only cost me 15-20 pounds ( i think) .. bought a guitar chords book .. and started practicing .. and that time I also have a trombone .. but didnt spend much time with it ...

few months later .. a guy wanted to sell his Ibanez RG470 MIK (jewel Blue), an amp and a distortion pedal (amp and pedal cant remember what brand), I think i bought it for 200 pounds ...

(Picture: Courtesy of ibanez wiki, but the guitar above is a Japanese model)

Then i bought a Marshall 10watt amp can't remember what model but is made in UK ;) and a boss metal zone mt2 .. both items were bought at a music shop in Derby ...

Sold everything in year 2000 (rm1500) to a friend ... he still keeps it .. might pay him a visit to one fine day ...

Reason for selling - lack of cash (jobless) and was not into guitar anymore .. at that period of time ..

Reality Check ...

I had the VT40 since Monday and only had the chance to use it on wednseday nite, tuesday was a holiday and I thought i have some time with the amp .. but no .. was bz looking after my baby boy.

Then it strikes me, if i have my dream amp which i may spent a lot of money to own it do i have the time for it .. I mean imagine if i have a RM 4k amp and only use it less than 3 hours per week, is it worth the money?