Monday, December 31, 2012

Review of 2012

This would be my last blog post for the year 2012. Guitar wise, I think this year has been good to me. I have made new guitar buddies, have a blog, reviewed many guitar, amps etc. I have bought my dream guitar i.e. the KH2, for a short period of time owned  a LP custom, and bought few other stuffs. I spent countless hours in guitar shops this year. 

The final week of 2012 I spent four days in a row visiting various guitar shops. I was accompanied by Zakk. We even tested few gibson. I tested the ES 335, E355 Custom and also a Seventy Seven ES335 copy. I prefer the Gibson ES335. We also tested the Vox amphone, Vov ACT4 and some other stuff. 

ES 355 Custom
ES 335


My total practice time however, is bad. I think if I add all the mins of practices, maybe it is less that 12 hours for the whole year. Very bad. Therefore, I hope in 2013 I will spend more time practising. I plan to get some guitar lessons from Wak and Jules.

GAS wise for 2013, I hope to buy an amp, after I move in to my new apartment. What ever the amp is, it must make me happy. Perhaps, I can buy another guitar in my small guitar budget next year. 

See you next year and Happy New Year !!

2012 TJ's Special Recognition Award

Last but not least, the 2012 TJ's Special Recognition Award. The criteria for this award is for things other than amps and guitars that gave me the 'Wow' factor or jaw dropped moment. The award goes to Celestion Vintage 30.

to add more metal in your tone

Never mind whether its MIUK or MIC ... this speaker is awesome. My discovery on this speaker.

2012 TJ's Best Tube Amp that my Money can't buy Award

This is my 100th post for this blog, therefore it deserve a special posting. I dedicated this 100th blog post to announce the 2012 TJ's Best Tube Amp Award. The winner is ... 

Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier
Thus far, this is the amp that I really want. However, it is expensive and I don't foresee that I would be saving up my money for this amp. Even if I can get it for a good price for a 2nd hand unit, still, with me staying in an apartment, I could not crank the amp to get the best tone that it could deliver. Nevertheless, it wont stop me of dreaming of owning this amp one day. My review on this beast.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 TJ's Best Tube Amp that I might buy one day Award

Its not easy to decide which one, there are 3 finalist - ht1, ht5 and the jmp1, however, i decided that the criteria would be based on the amp that has the most features and would not hurt my pocket a lot ....

the winner is ...

Blackstar HT5RH

the review

2012 TJ's Best Solid State Amp Award

I did not review many solid state amps, only a few, but that doesn't mean that such amps don't deserve an award from TJ, so therefore based on the idea that I dont mind buying if i have the extra cash ... the award goes to ...

Fender Frontman 212r
My review on this amp.

2012 TJ's Best Guitar Award

Since I have reviewed few gears since I started blogging in April, as the finale of this year, I would like to give award to guitars and amps that I have reviewed. So let starts with the 2012 TJ's Best Guitar Award. I give this award based on a simple criteria - I feel like buying the guitar straight away after testing it. 

and the winner goes to ...

Gibson SG Standard

my review on this Gibson SG Standard

Friday, December 28, 2012

Beginner's review pt34: Blackstar HT5RH

My future amp?
I have tested this amp many times, I wonder why I did not write a review on it. So here goes, this amp has all the features that I want. I have tested other amps with similar or less features, just to look is there any other options than the HT5 but I kept coming back to this amp. Paired with a cab loaded with Celestion V30 and you will get an excellent gain tone as if the HT5 is a different amp altogether. Yesterday, Zakk and I tested this amp, I am glad that Zakk gave good review on this amp. We tested at bedroom volume level and the gain was still intact. 

Never mind the debate on whether this amp is full tube or hybrid, I like what I heard. I have read many reviews that said that the gain tone came from the tube. I even wrote to Blackstar to seek clarification on this matter, their replied was

Hi TJ,

Thanks for your enquiry with Blackstar Amps.

This is the official explanation from our Q&A section -

Are HT Venue amplifiers 100% valve?

In the HT Venue amps we have used some op-amp circuits where there is a tonal or reliability
advantage (i.e. for some pre-distortion gain and preamp filter circuits). This is in keeping with
our 'no tonal compromise' approach when designing the HT Venue Series.

Kind Regards

Jamie Thompson
Product Specialist
Blackstar Amplification
+44 (0)1604 652844

I was expecting a simple yes or no answer from them. I don't understand the explanation however. LOL.

Beginner's review pt 33: Marshall Class 5 and JMP1

The classy class 5

I wanted to test the Marshall Class 5 for quite sometime, finally did it last Wednesday with Zakk. It has four tubes and MIUK. Bentley is selling for less than 2k RM !! another good YES deal. The strength of this amp is the clean tone. Though just 5watt, it can be very loud. The gain from this amp is very mild and definitely not suitable for metal. A very basic amp with only three knobs - volume, treble and bass, also has a headphone output. 

The classic JMP
 The next amp that we tested was the harmless looking 1w JMP. Our first impression by just looking at it was the gain tone from the JMP would be similar like the Class 5. We were wrong. Put the volume at 3 o'clock of full blast and this cute little amp showed that it has serious gain inside. This little thing can Metal !! Awesome gain !! Even at 0.1 watt the tone is still intact only sound  a bit muted, that's very obvious isn't. The gain tone from this amp is far better than the Mesa Mini Rec. Definitely an amp for any bedroom, however, it is 3300RM. We tested both amps with the Ibanez RG2570 and a fender custom shop.

Later, i refered to Marshall's web to get more info on this JMP1, I think we may have on the gain boost switch during the testing, that's why we get the awesome gain from it. When we tested it, we can't get much clean tone from the JMP, we got the crunch tone after 9 o'clock,  perhaps because of the gain boost was on. Great little amp indeed. Marshall Rules !!

My dream amp and cab, though 30% discount, still very very expensive

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beginner's Review pt32: Fender Frontman 212

the amp for the frontman

I have tested this amp a few times with various guitars and this amp never fail to impress me. The overdrive tone is nice but the best from this amp is the warm clean tone. Honestly, the clean tone from this amp is nicer than some of the fender tubes small amps. Its a 100w and definitely not for a bedroom. Wakc my guitar buddy told me that there smaller version of this frontman but the 212r is the best for this model. I am not sure about the weight but it does look heavy. Selling price is around 1800rm.

The Semi Hollows ... Shoud I get one?


Gibson ES-335
Gibson Midtown

Well, with my limited playing ability, perhaps I should not get one .. but these semi hollows are simply beautiful and sexy ...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Beginner's review pt 31: VHT Special 6 Ultra Combo

the bulky 6w amp
I went to Guitar Gallery in Ampang to test this amp. The shop is the distributor for this brand. They have several models of the VHT but I only tested the Special 6 Ultra Combo. It's a 6w amp with some added features.

you may choose high or low power, if its still too loud .. use the power attenuator
It has a power attenuation, which is useful for those staying in an apartment. At full power, this amp is loud and at minimum power it has affected the tone I'm afraid. In my opinion, this amp sounds better with power from 3-6w.

the texture switch
Another feature is the texture switch. I think this is an EQ control but in a simple presentation.

two inputs?
Well, this is the part that I don't understand. Technically this amp is a 1 channel amp, but it has two inputs for clean and ultra/gain .. so does that makes it a 2 channel amp or what? .. It can be troublesome to switch inputs ... 

Its a hand wired amp and MIC, price .. almost RM2000. Tone wise, I know this is subjective but with the selling price, I think there are better amps out there ...

Tested with LTD Kamikaze.

Merry Christmas Mr. Zakk

Dear Mr. Zakk,

I know your favourite amplifier is the 5150, I can't afford to buy one for you, well this is the best I could do for you at the moment ... 

the Peavey 5150 .. designed and hand built in the US of A
I was at a guitar shop in Ampang earlier. I found this amp hiding behind some boxes. A bit dusty too. According to the salesman, this amp is not functioning well and its not for sale. So Zakk, use your charm and ask the manager to fix it and sell it to you.

Once again, Merry Christmas bro ...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bentley Year End Sale and 12/12/12

Good Deal No 1
The Mesa Single Rectifier - Retail price RM8700 after 30% discount RM6090.

Zakk tested the amp with a Mesa 4x12 cab. We tested it for house/apartment volume level. The master and output knobs were set at 8 o'clock. Sounds OK to me, but Zakk was not impressed. Anyway, still a good deal as compared to the Mesa Mini Rectifier, though RM500 (after 15% discount) cheaper but you will get a better rock and metal tone from the single rec. 

Good Deal No 2

Fender Princeton Reverb - Retail price RM4800 after 20% discount RM3840.

Come to think of it, I am not sure whether it is a good deal. I read good review about the amp and according to the sales rep it is MIA. 

Good Deal No 3
Charvel San Dimas - Retail Price RM5k++ after 50% !! discount, less than RM3K

Might be the cheapest brand new MIA guitar in Malaysia. During the mid year sale it was 40% discount, let see if its still available by 2013 Bentley mid year sale, will it be 60% discount ?

Good Deal No 4 and 5
Ibanez RG 1550 (right, blue with black pickguard) - Retail price RM4250 (maybe) after 25% discount RM3187.

Ibanez RG 2570 (left) - Retail price RM5700 after 40% discount !! RM3420 !!

Let say, I have been saving up my money to buy the RG1550 for the the past one year, the day that I want to buy it, I found out that there's a better guitar and I only need to add RM233. That would be very happy ending guitar buying story isn't it.

The RG2570 is definitely the best deal for this year bentley year end sale. As usual, too bad I don't have RM3420 to play around. Will it be 50% discount come next year's mid year sale?

Anyway, to commemorate the 12/12/12 I have decided to purchase something.

bad pic
 Two Ibanez picks. RM7. At least I bought an ibanez, though not a guitar.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Beginners Review pt30: Fender 70s' Strat MIA

No discount tag

It was one of the guitar that I GASed few months ago, I have tested the MIM version so I wonder how the MIA would sound. Different. The MIA tone was more rounded than the MIM. I like what I heard. The only thing is that the neck is a bit too glossy and it reminds me of the Highway 1 model.

Tested with a Fender Pro Jr amp.

What's on my mind pt11 (Home office/studio edition)

Every studio has a carpet
A desk. Something like this, and the lamp too
always wanted a chair like the above. Chesterfield of president's chair
an ottoman

Auralex panels. Might be useful if I have an amp.

More on the Mesa Throttle

Mr. Marcus up there demoed the pedal with PRS Single Cut, Lone Star 100W -- Channel 1 Clean, 4x12 Rectifier Slant Cabinet with Mesa Custom Celestion Vintage 30 Speakers, Heil PR 40, Sennheiser 421.

Can they test the pedal with an Ibanez GIO, Marshall MG or Smarvo? Then only we know how good the pedal is.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What's on my mind pt10

Everyone can own a Mesa? ... its 199USD in US ... I bet it will be super expensive in bentley
The DSL1. Though it is just 1 watt, the price I think its the same as a 50 watt.
The JVM1. Cute little monster.
The JCM1. Simple but can be brutal.

some updates ..

Though its already December, I am still busy with work, perhaps I am only free on the last week of the year. On my quest for the year end sale, it seems unachievable even for the vox cable, first I want the white coily, apparently no stock. If its in stock, it will be pointless anyway, since I don't have any amp. So might as well I dont buy it.

The roland CM 30 and the EMG 81/60 will have to wait. Bentley gave a good price for both EMGs, 540rm, but then they dont have any stock. No stock here and there, I take it as a sign from God to not buy anything yet. 

Anyway, I am planning to buy an apartment, sorting out the loans etc at the moment. So all my savings will go for the apartment S&P, furniture, lights, fans, fridge, washing machine etc .... I dont have much savings anyway ..

Yup .. this one
Checkout bedroom no 2. That will be my home office/studio ... hmm maybe I could squeeze an amp in my new apartment budget.