Archive for April, 2009

Call me a simple guy…

Posted in General whining, Guitar Gear with tags , on April 24, 2009 by Staff Writer

…but I think I’ve realized that I have fairly simple gear needs. I want some great sounding core tones that are quick and easy to get, and I don’t seem to have the aptitude (nor burning desire) to want to spend hours and hours tweaking and twisting knobs on a relatively complex gadget to get a bunch of new sounds from it that are a 5% incremental in terms of personalization over what the presets have to offer.

Cases in point: the Eventide Harmonizer PitchFactor that I bought last week and sold yesterday, and the TC Electronic Nova Delay that I bought and sold last year.  Some great sounds inside these gadgets to be sure – these are awesome products with huge potential, but I just find the immediate gratification of my guitar into a distortion pedal into a delay and then into my amp so satisfying that I don’t need any more weirdness and/or wonderfulness on top of it. Alternatively, a simple clean with a bit of reverb and a decent wah pedal and I’m in tone heaven.  I don’t require quad-voice pitch shifting with individual tap tempo assignable delays that go forwards, backwards, up and down and left and right.

It  goes to show the ingenuity of the marketing of these folks where they can manipulate the GASeous urges of individuals to want to buy stuff that they don’t even know that they need. When will I ever learn? (answer: whoa – what the hell is that? I have to buy one of those…)

On the Eventide, well, yeah, I lost some money – about $10 on what I paid for it. Well, consider it as I rented a new bit of gear for a week, tried it, and then moved on.

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Vanity shots of Tom Anderson and Ibanez Pat Metheny

Posted in Guitar Gear, Guitar General with tags , , on April 21, 2009 by Staff Writer

My Atom and PM-120, nestling near the Boogie.

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Hmm… what’s that piece of crap there in the window? I’ll give you 50 bucks for it… Denied.

Posted in Guitar Gear with tags , , on April 20, 2009 by Staff Writer

I wrote the other day about a jam session I had with an acquaintance of mine.

While hanging around outside and saying goodbyes and so forth, I was peering into the window of the studio where they also had stuff for sale. There was a big selection of pre-owned pedals – mainly BOSS ones and they all seemed to be marked at SDG $120 (about USD $80). Nestled among all the CS-3s and DS-1s and normal run-of-the-mill stuff I suddenly spied a reddy-purplish box in mint condition with ‘DM-3’ marked on it. GASP! A BOSS DM-3 in original (mint) box sitting there gathering dust in  a store window in a backwater part of Singapore? What!?

I looked around to see if anyone else had seen it, then took a closer look. It was in the box, so I had no way of telling what its condition was going to be like, but the box was in excellent, near perfect condition with very little fading and no bumps.  I had actually bid on a DM-2 box to house my own sample (note – *just* the box) over a year ago, which ended up going for about $50 USD in the end, so seeing this baby looking so well, I couldn’t wonder at what a great condition the pedal inside would be.

The studio was too busy for me to get to the store owner at that point, plus I had to say goodbye to all the new folks I had met, then buy some dinner and rush it home, so I resolved to return the next day to see if I could get the DM-3.

That night I did some checking on eBay. BOSS DM-3s were going for at least $200 USD and many of those were unboxed and a little beaten. If I could secure this VGC one I could probably flip if for a 300% profit – assuming I would even sell it. I began quaking a little with excitement.

The next day, I left the office early and took the train out East. The store was right near the station. I had deliberately dressed a bit slummy and wore jeans and a Tee to disguise myself a bit.  It was the middle of the day – bands would not be jamming. I would be able to get near the store owner. I saw him outside the store, carrying a baby and talking to a couple of old uncles.  I walked up to the window and started casing the joint – pretending to snoop around disinterestedly and poking a couple of the cheap guitars that were hanging up.

I turned my attention to the window with all the pedals in it. There were so many and there it still was – the DM-3 box, nestling on top of a couple of old TS-9s. I swallowed a couple of times and looked around to see if I could catch the store owner’s attention.

“Hello, yes, can I help you?” he said.

“Are all these for sale?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“This Octaver – says $120 – is that the best price?’”

“All prices are there.”

“Ok – thanks. Can I look at one of those TS-9s please?”

“Ok – wait ah..” 

I pretended to look around some more and eyed up some other pieces. “Oh – what’s that on top of that. I’ve never seen one of those before…” I said, playing dumb and pointing at the DM-3.

“Oh, that one not for sale.”  I began to shrink.

“You said all these were for sale. Why is it there if it isn’t for sale?”

“That is rare BOSS analog delay – very collectible. Are you a collector?” What the hell was this old uncle doing having an actual knowledge of what he had in his possession! The utter bastard!

“No” I said (not really a lie, but I didn’t really want to say that I wanted to pay peanuts for it then sell it for a vast profit on eBay). “I just never heard of one of those and was wondering what it was like. Ok, well it’s not for sale then…”

“No.”  Denied.

“Ok then.” 

I slinked off defeated. Bastard. I considered my next move, possibly involving waiting until the dead of night, a stocking mask and a brick through his window…

I clicked ‘Add to Cart’ but it told me to p*ss off..

Posted in General whining, Guitar Gear with tags , on April 16, 2009 by Staff Writer

http://www.maverick-music.com/scripts/vintage-guitars.asp?idproduct=1826 

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New gear day – Eventide Pitchfactor

Posted in General whining, Guitar Gear with tags , , on April 16, 2009 by Staff Writer

Just by chance, I mailed one of my favorite local dealers Blackwood Guitars to ask them that when the Pitchfactors did indeed arrive, how much would they be, since (if I may admit to a bit of a GAS frenzy this year) I was seriously toying with the idea of buying one from the U.S. online since I was not sure if I could wait till July when they had last said they were expecting them.  I got a reply saying that two of them had *just* arrived the day before and I immediately asked them to reserve one for me, which they kindly did.

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Here it is, on top of my 20 year old Passion & Warfare tab book. You can see that it is about 2.5 times the width of a BOSS pedal. The first thing I did was to hook it up and dig around for the Steve Vai Ballerina patch so I could play that cute little ditty from P&W, and it sounded exactly like the record (sonically at least, since I flubbed it all over the place and don’t know at least half of the tune…).

Anyway, first impressions with physical gripes first:

Hmm.. this is my first Eventide stompbox; no interest in the Modfactor or Timefactor. Helloooo?! Eventide?! How much research did you do into pedalboard conventions? Input jacks go on the right side (as you face the pedal), *not* the left. Almost every pedal ever created has the input jack on the right so they all link up nicely in a chain in one direction. Eventide’s bizarre design decision to put them on the far left will mean lots of crossed over cables. Add to this that the 4 input and output jacks (this is a stereo pedal) are too close for the user to be able to use space-saving flat-head jacks and this stompbox might end up hogging a lot of real estate on a pedalboard, and having an ugly mass of crossing over wire coming out of the back of it.  Again, on the ‘conventions’ theme, Eventide goes against the grain by covering most of the base of the unit in some grippy rubber. Great if you are using it standalone, but if you want to mount it on a pedalboard with any kind of velcro, Dual Lock or similar, then sorry, but it just ain’t gonna stick. Better to have some removable little rubber feet or something. These might seem like minor complaints, but they add up to big inconveniences for gear obsessives who want their boards to be perfect.  Final gripe is on the power supply. Why do these guys (TC Electronic also take note) insist on using some non-standard voltage or current draw that means you have to use their own cheap shitty PSU instead of being able to plug it to a Voodoo Pedal Power or TREX Fuel Tank? Must try harder.

Anyway – since I spent so much time whining, I didn’t have that much time to spend learning how the thing worked, but a bit of rooting around amongst the various bits of different-sized card and photocopied paper (guys, just stick them into the one user manual) got me access to the presets which I started churning through.  Having had a BOSS PS-5 as my last harmonizing device, the sounds emanating from the PitchFactor were a bit of a revelation. None of the PS-5’s metallic artificial sound, but sweet sounding complementary notes with good separation on the voices. Caveat – doesn’t handle chords or multiple notes well (which I believe is common to all guitar harmonizers) and you will hear some weirdness if you try to play such as the device tries to figure out what you meant.  I will spend more time delving around with it this evening (having just read the manual on the way in today I now know how to unlock the other 80 presets) but I liked the Crystals effects, the diatonic one will be of great use to me, the Harpeggiator looks like you could waste many years playing with just that alone, the Quadravox sounds suitably Brian Mayish and so forth – in other words, first listens to the included sounds are very positive and I think it will be some time before I have to learn how to program the thing myself given the richness of what is already included.

Just ordered this guy from Musicians Friend

Posted in Guitar Gear with tags , , , on April 15, 2009 by Staff Writer

Since Singapore seems to be completely out of them… 7 bucks cheaper from the US, but with the shipping will turn out slightly more, but hey – when you got GAS, what to do?

Just wanted one for very simple looping, i.e. just set up some quick ad-hoc vamps for jamming over, so opted for this rather than the twin pedal RC-20XL or the giant RC-50. I ain’t gonna be no Looping fiend so went for this basic one.

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I did look at the DigiTech HardWire Delay/Looper at Swee Lee yesterday lunchtime which has decent reviews, but being a BOSS fan went with what I know as I didn’t really take to the broader width  of the DigiTech, plus the rubber on the base of them doesn’t look like it lends itself to sticking velcro or 3M Dual-Lock.

Fund raising for Mesa Mark V as of April 14th

Posted in Guitar General on April 15, 2009 by Staff Writer

Target: $3000 SGD

Raised: $1805 SGD 

Jan 18: Sold Catalinbread Serrano Picoso – $135

Jan 18: Sold TC Nova Delay – $350

Jan 21: sold Vox 847 Wah – $70

Feb 10: sold Lego Star Was Star Destroyer – $140

Feb 16: sold Keeley Compressor – $280

Feb 17: sold Roland MicroCube RX – $320

Feb 18: sold Boss PS-5 Super Shifter – $200

Feb 28: sold Shure SM-57 – $110

Mar 3: sold VS One Spot and wires – $50

April 13: sold Zakk Wylde Overdrive – $100

April 13: sold Epiphone Les Paul Pee Wee – $75