Archive for September, 2011

Went gear hunting today

Posted in Guitar Gear on September 30, 2011 by Staff Writer

I did a bit of rooting around the internet – you know, how you do when you have some NSG (non-specific-GAS) and had come across 4 or 5 different guitars that I had it in my head to try out. Went to Swee Lee at Bras Basah, had a look around, but didn’t really see much of interest. Then I went to their Sims Drive outlet and mooched around there for over an hour.

I tried out a bunch of guitars – a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS (amber w/RW) which was ‘ok’ but the humbucking pickup wasn’t high enough output and to be honest, the Amber finish doesn’t turn me on – it looks like a badly varnished wooden chair kind of finish. Still – price was fairly decent.  After that, I played a $15,000 Don Felder limited edition Gibson EDS-1275. It was quite fun – it was actually quite easy to play sitting down but there was no way I was gonna spend that kind of money on a relic’ed axe (I think relics are dumb). Plus, the necks were really fat – much fatter than I prefer, and finally, well, I want the heritage cherry one – like Jimmy Page has.

I played a bunch of other stuff and finally ended up buying a bunch of assorted picks:

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Must have been some kind of special offer – since I bought so many picks, they also threw this little thing in for free ; )

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If Homer Simpson designed a guitar

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27, 2011 by Staff Writer

Did you ever see that Simpsons episode where Homer meets his long-lost brother who happens to now be a rich industrialist with a successful car manufacturing empire? Homer is then invited to design a car which includes all the things he thinks an average American would want. It ends up looking like this:

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From the Simpsons wiki (which I also stole this picture from) it includes all these useless accoutrements:

  • The Homer has two bubble domes; one in the front, while the one in the back is for quarreling kids, and comes with optional restraints and muzzles.
  • According to Homer, the engine sound causes people to think "the world’s coming to an end."
  • There are three horns, as Homer claims that "you can never find a horn when you’re mad." The three horns play the song "La Cucaracha."
  • The car also features gigantic cupholders, which actually became a feature on many cars in the 1990s onward.
  • The car has various outdated features such as bubble domes, shag carpeting, and tailfins. It also has a metal bowler as a hood ornament.

Of course, nobody wants such a car and the costs to develop and produce it end up ruining the company which then folds.

Which leads me to this: what if Homer designed a guitar? What would a guitar designed by somebody with no aesthetic sensibilities look like? And if Homer said to himself ‘what if I could pack absolutely every little gadget and gizmo I could think of into the guitar’? 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Gibson Firebird X:

Engineer: “but Homer, this thing will suck and cost $5000 with all the crap you want to put in it.”

Homer: “Build it anyway.”

Engineer: “remember the Robot? The Dusk Tiger? The Zoot Suit? The Authentic Hendrix ‘Strat’? They made us the laughing stock of the guitar universe. This has all the hallmarks of following in the same suit.”

Homer: “Build it anyway.”

Can’t get no satisfaction…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2011 by Staff Writer

…from all this digital stuff and DAWs and plug-ins and all that. I’m sure they have their place, but sonically, at least the setup I have, the sound isn’t inspiring me. There’s too much fiddling and config and it just seems so sterile.

I installed Reaper x64 on an HP Notebook. It’s a pretty powerful machine – Core 2 Duo – not exactly a netbook. I use this machine for a bunch of things, so I won’t count the cost of it.  I bought Addictive Drums for laying down backing drum tracks which I gotta admit is some great sounding kit – that was $200. Then I splashed $300 on Amplitube 3. As an interface, I bought a Line6 GX thing for $150 that goes in via USB and comes with POD Farm software.

God the tones are horrible. And the sound is laggy. It doesn’t seem to pick up any of the natural sonics of the guitar. Everything sounds so trebly and compressed. The cab and mic sims don’t seem to do anything useful to give you that feeling of air moving. Maybe I just haven’t got the patience.

Then, I plugged in my guitar into my Mesa Mark V, pressed it onto channel two and I have instant gratification. It’s all about the air moving baby. The problem is, how do I get that sound into my computer? And why can’t the fricking computer make that sound?

I guess I just don’t have the patience for recording. And I hate wearing fricking headphones. Am I really gonna splash out on some monitors now? Oh no…

14 months and still waiting…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2011 by Staff Writer

Well, what exactly is a reasonable period of time to wait for a guitar? Even a dream guitar?  In July 2010, I placed an order with a respected U.S. online retailer for a guitar and put down a $500 deposit. I guess I’d better not let out who exactly this is with and what model it is, but let’s just say it couldn’t be a bigger name in guitar making and leave it at that.

I’ve lusted after one of these guitars since I was 15 and finally, 25 years after I picked up the instrument decided that I was going to order one new as a 40th birthday present to myself.

To cut a long story short, they (the manufacturer) told my dealer that the guitar would arrive in a couple of weeks. This seemed reasonable and I was very happy.  The end of the month arrived and no guitar. The manufacturer eventually reverted saying the delivery was now set for October presumably (since they did not specify a reason) because since these were built by their Custom Shop they had to batch a few orders up to get economy of scale while building or something. Slightly annoying, but OK. I’d waited 25 years, what was 3 more months.

October came and went. No word from the manufacturer, sincere apologies from my dealer and many chasers on their side to the company.

*Eventually*, just prior to Christmas 2010, the manufacturer came back with a firm date of the first week of January. OK. Pissed as I was, I had already waited almost 6 months. A date was set and all I had to do was wait for my dealer to take delivery before paying my balance.

Nope. Come January, no guitar. A few back and forths with the dealer and eventually a response from the manufacturer resulted in a delivery date being set, with a half page excuse of ‘oh we are waiting on parts to be delivered from Memphis (did that give it away at all?) and yours is coming up soon – please wait, we’re sure you’ll be delighted.’

May became June, June became July, July became August (ooh – they did say ‘August definitely’ sometime in there). Well, it’s now September 2011. My dealer, who in fairness has tried their best to chase on my behalf is caught between me, the eager buyer, and the somewhat laggardy manufacturer who is letting the whole side down; they (the dealer) have been awesome throughout and have offered a couple of times to refund my deposit (against their normal policy) but I have so far declined reasoning that this might be my last chance to get one, and am secretly hoping a miracle email appears each day saying ‘FUCK – YOUR GUITAR IS FINALLY HERE!’, but I mean Jesus HENRY – this is one of the biGgest names in guitar making and they can’t get a guitar built to order within a year of taking it? It’s not as if it has two necks is it? Oh… wait… yeah – it does. Or at least it should have if it ever makes it to my house.

Recent rig futzing

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2011 by Staff Writer

Here’s what I have today after an hour and a half of futzing around with cables and shit to get it just so.

Goes like this:

Guitar –> Plutoneium Chi-Wah-Wah –> Amp

In Fx Loop:

MXR EVH Phase 90 –> Guyatone MC3 Micro Chorus –> MXR Carbon Copy.

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I’m using a Godlyke Power-All that I picked up at Peninsular yesterday afternoon which suits this little board just nicely. I like the Micro Chorus but am getting a little bored with its sound so might go looking for a new chorus this weekend.