Gear hunting Saturday

I swung by Swee Lee on Saturday afternoon and unbeknownst to me they were having a sale (actually it seems like they’re having a sale about 50% of the time these days, but I digress).   Anyway, once again, can’t say enough good things about the service staff there – this time I was attentively accompanied by a friendly young salesman called Faizal who positively enticed me into the little glass rooms with all the expensive stuff (despite me wearing a dirty T-shirt, shorts and Crocs) and spent about 40 minutes letting me handle a whole bunch of guitars no-problemo. Here’s what I tried out:

Fender CS Masterbuilt Reverse Headstock Proto

One of one hundred Masterbuilt pieces(Dennis Galuska), this baby caught my eye immediately due to the reverse 70’s large headstock. I’ve actually been after a reverse headstocked Strat for a while so asked if I could get a quick go on this. A nice player, but I didn’t go for the aesthetics of  front-side contour myself. The frets felt like vintage skinnys (I prefer mediums) and the pickups seemed to have a very low (probably period correct) output.  This is a Closet Classic, so it has aging and checking and stuff, which doesn’t do a lot for me – not at a nett price of SGD $11000 anyway (online lists this baby at around USD $4500 – just over half the Swee Lee price). Still, nice to have tried it, but let’s move on.

Gibson Holy Explorer

This guitar got a bit of a bad rap in the blogosphere when it was announced, but I actually like the look of it – at least in the nicely lit PS’ed shots on the Gibby website. In person though, it doesn’t look so great – the holes in the body have a nasty rough matt black finish – think the paint job *inside* a Marshall cab and you get an idea. It’s a shame, since the main varnish outside is nice and smooth, yet the routs were dust coated and wiping them with a finger was unable to remove it due to its roughness. Seriously makes me wonder about Gibson’s design team’s attention to detail. Additionally, the pickup tape was wound inaccurately and stuck out a lot – and this will no doubt get caught on the right hand and pick up loads of crud.  Yeah – then there’s the sonics – the body, with less mass didn’t resonate all that much.  Still, the price wasn’t too bad – $2300 Sing at sale price. I thought about this for about 30 seconds, then ‘nah’.  Nice and light though – I see an Explorer in my future too – surprisingly comfortable to play.

Gibson Les Paul Traditional

Nice axe – great setup. Very buttery and smooth to play.I spent a long time shredding on this (hoping to impress all the young chicks who were out accompanying their boyfriends). Still, very steep pricing – $4300 after sale discount, plus the colour range wasn’t there – if I’m getting another Les Paul it needs to be Heritage Cherry and with a serious flame. This was a desert burst (which I already have). Still, nice to know that Gibson can make a decent guitar when they want to.

Gibson SG Zoot Suit

Yech. Fat neck, ‘sticky’ finish. Quite light though, comparatively. Think it was SGD $2300.

Well, I played about 20 grand’s worth of axes and in the end I bought 80 bucks worth of DiMarzio neon coloured cables and 4 bucks worth of manuscript books for my son. 25% off. Nicht schlect. They must love me in there.


One Response to “Gear hunting Saturday”

  1. hi there. i dropped by swee lee just last wk and went to see the les paul traditional, coincidentally, it was faizal who attended to me! got to say he is really friendly. anyway…. do you think the retail price of a gibson traditional at swee lee is worth it? $4300 for a new one. because i have decided to buy a new one instead of looking around for a second hand

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