..a cocker spaniel.
Archive for July, 2009
Kudos to Gary Kramer guitars for jumping on the hot-chick-sex-sells advertising bandwagon ala Dean guitars. They got my attention anyway for their *ahem* smooth curves, radiant complexion finishes and uh, see-through tops that reveal a bit of nipple, and I was typing in the URL within seconds to see if there were more pics at their website (the above is the only one disappointingly).
Can’t help but guffaw a little at the names of the models though – The Crusader. The Conquest. The Venom. Come on Gary; these names are just a little bit like those – “I’ve got a small one, so I need to overcompensate with this huge overpowered motorcycle which is named The Dominator, or The Ninja, or The Ninja Dominator”. Is this really the market you want to capture and brand you want to build?
Gary Kramer yesterday:
Went down to City Music yesterday with my buddy to check out the VOX Big Bad Wah. As always, the City Music staff were helpful and accommodating and within seconds of entering the store I’d been nicely set up with a decent guitar, a VOX VT50 amp (I think) and the BBW itself nestling in-between them.
The first thing to note is that the unit itself doesn’t feel all that sturdy. Looking at the thing in a magazine or on the Web you’d expect it to be quite heavy like a Morley Bah Horsie – but it isn’t; it’s much lighter than it appears which I interpreted as ‘doesn’t feel quite as high quality as I’d hoped’. It has a plasticky feel to it that I think detracts from it a little. Second, the treadle itself (the bit where you put your foot) is quite narrow. Maybe Joe Satch has tiny thin little feet; maybe it was an optical illusion, but it doesn’t quite feel big enough for a wah of its type.
While we’re on the subject of look and feel, it seems rather an odd design decision that all the controls on the right side of the pedal are different. There’s a chicken-head knob to set the drive. Then there’s a two-position flick switch to set the voicing beneath it. Then there’s a push-in button to select the inductor. And finally, there’s a stomp switch to select the wah type. It just seems a mish-mash of stylistic components and I betcha the folks at VOX had some losing discussions over some artsy whim of Satriani’s to make it just so amid their objections of ‘well, it’s gonna look kinda disjointed and a little dumb’ – and well, they were right it does, but hey – Joe’s name is on it.
Not being a fan of those gotta-push-down-really-hard-in-the-toe-position type wah pedals myself, the BBW didn’t win back any points in this respect either due to the fact that the bypass switch seemed too hard to press in, but I’ll let that go as that’s more down to my preference for those tread-on-to-turn-on-spring-loaded types such as my Crybaby 95Q or the Bad Horsie. People who like the other old-fashioned type won’t mind this.
Soundwise, the BBW didn’t really cut the mustard. It didn’t seem to go high enough into the treble range for my liking and no combination of the different knobs, buttons or switches seemed to rectify this. Further, no combination of the different knobs buttons or switches seemed to make that much difference in sound either, with the exception of the 1/2 Wah stomp switch that made the overall sound a little brighter or darker and the drive knob, which is hard to screw up. I could not tell the difference between the voices or the inductors whatsoever except that one of those selections made a little green light come on. But hey – I’m not one of those cork-sniffers who can tell the difference in tone when the break angle from the nut to the string post is 8 degrees and not 9 degrees, so perhaps my aural opinion is rendered invalid.
Rating: 5 out of 10.
Value for money (SGD $235 after discount): 5 out of 10.
Overall: For Satch diehards or poseur rich kids only. For everyone else, get a Crybaby or a Morley BH2.
Picked up the Guitar World 2010 Buyer’s Guide from the newsstand today, which doesn’t bode well for my bank account.
Clearly, the Global Economic Downturn is in effect here though: Gibson only has two guitars on display in the magazine; I think in previous years they paid to place as many as 13-15 in there. Fender still going strong though with 12 models on show including three very nice signature models – the Dave Murray, EJ and Ritchie Blackmore Strats. Uh-oh – one of those looks to be gravitating towards me (or me towards it) but do I really need another Strat? Hmm… what have ‘needs’ got to do with the price of fish? Another area where the magazine has been hit by the recession is in the ‘hot’ models which used to be one of the highlights. In the past we’ve had serious hotties such as Tera Patrick, Bridget Marquadt, Carmen Electra, etc. Ok – I wouldn’t exactly classify the latest ones as dogs, but come on – the one on the left looks like Kira the Gelfling from the movie Dark Crystal. Surely Tolinkski and friends could have paid a bit more than that… a tad disappointing.
Some unknown (and presumably cheaper) models:
Kira (left), the guy Gelfling and Fizzgig.
Oh, and guys, the mag has had the same design and layout for the past (what seems like) 10 years. Maybe time to engage a new DP vendor?