Archive for Guitar General

Power Tab Editor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 23, 2008 by Staff Writer

What do I use to create those cool tab diagrams and also the ‘little black dots’ chord diagrams?

Power Tab Editor 1.7.

Free, intuitive and easy to use, and totally bitching.

Get it here.

Rockin’ out in Seoul, Korea..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 22, 2008 by Staff Writer

A couple of work colleagues and I went out for a few after-dinner beers last night in the Seoul district of Itaewon. None of the places looked particularly savoury so we plumped for one called ‘Woodstock’ given that two of us in the group were fading old classic rock fans.

Unfortunately when we walked into the (empty) bar they were running a series of Beyonce Knowles videos which urged us to drink up very quickly and then for us to depart, but it turned out that we could make requests for any music we preferred.  I asked the guy if he had any rock music and gave Led Zeppelin as an example. Turned out that the guy had pretty good taste as he assembled a playlist that included:

  • Led Zeppelin – Black Dog, Stairway to Heaven
  • Deep Purple – Hush
  • Pink Floyd – Brain Damage (unfortunately cut off before segueing into monumental Dark Side album closer ‘Eclipse’)
  • Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
  • Queen – Don’t stop me now
  • Rainbow – Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses – Welcome to the Jungle

Was nice to hear some guitar-driven music in a bar for a change instead of the usual crap.

Search terms that bring people to this blog…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 21, 2008 by Staff Writer

Interesting to note that almost every day, since I first uploaded pictures of my Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocaster that it’s that post which attracts the most hits via search – usually by a very large margin. Yesterday alone, the following search terms led people to lil’ ol’ Gitbuddy:


Additionally, the term ‘tyler guitars’ and ‘James Tyler’ has appeared consistently along with searches looking for info on the Taylor solid body.

Well, I found it interesting anyway…

What now for James Tyler Guitars?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 11, 2008 by Staff Writer

We will still build a limited amount of guitars at my shop and sell them direct once we have filled dealer orders. There are still a lot of dealer orders to be filled in the next few months, so keep checking with the dealers if you want a guitar.

Good luck to James for the future and thanks for my great guitar which I now feel even more privileged to own.

Full story here:

Anatomy of a GAS attack

Posted in Heavy Metal with tags , on January 31, 2008 by Staff Writer
Saturday 26th January, 08:00 On toilet reading Guitarist magazine. Close Encounter of the First Kind with ESP Ltd. Kirk Hammett Junior (i.e. I saw it in the magazine). Hmm.. currently sitting on $4K of proceeds from sale of Warwick bass.. slowly burning hole in pocket. Slight raise in bodily temperature.
Saturday 26th January, 08:10 Checking prices on Musician’s Friend for above mentioned item. $249. Would probably cost another $50 to ship to Singapore, so SGD $450. Order or can obtain locally? Pupils dilated.
Saturday 26th January, 10:30 Friends come round to swim in pool.
Saturday 26th January, 12:00 Canadian 241 Pizza. Mmmm…
Saturday 26th January, 15:00 Find out from Davis Guitar Website that they bring in ESP. Butterflies in stomach.
Saturday 26th January, 15:01 Phone call to Davis. Yes- they have one in stock – SGD $381! Oh no! Must…. restrain…. GAS…
Saturday 26th January, 15:02 Find out on harmony Central that Boss has just brought out an updated Acoustic Simulator – the AC-3. Shit. I must own it. I ‘need’ it for my band rehearsals for those clean parts. Internally convinced it will sound exactly like a 1945 Gibson J200 (it doesn’t).
Sunday 27th January, all day Church – pray will not cave in to GAS attack. God help me. Shortness of breath and attention span.
Monday 28th January, all day GAS attack becomes acute but stupid work meetings prevent leaving office to go and spend money. Accidentally say the words “pointed headstock and skull inlays” during presentation of Regional Sales Figures. Damn job. Crushing pain in chest radiating down left arm.
Tuesday 29th January, 12:00 Uncontainable urges. Drive to obtain shiny new unnecessary toys becomes unbearable. Lunchtime visit to Ebenex music – target acquired – Boss AC-3 @ $175. Slight drop in fever.
Wednesday 30th January, 12:00 Observe colleague drop $2K on recording gear, removing all remaining boundaries. Mental resolution to buy the KH Jr. Line is crossed. Thin upper lip and steely resolve. Credit card flexed at the ready.
Thursday 31st January 11:46 Davis Guitar – target acquired – ESP Ltd. Kirk Hammett Junior.
Thursday 31st January 13:00 Meetings cancelled. Went home ‘sick’.

THD Electronics – customer service commendation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 31, 2008 by Staff Writer

Was trawling through some old e-mail today doing a clear out and came across this old exchange between myself and Andy Marshall of THD Electronics. I’m always a fan of companies who give personal time to each and every customer and this only draws me closer to them as a loyalist.  I still have my UniValve and although it’s not super versatile live, at home it gives some of the greatest tones I’ve ever heard – in fact this little baby is positively dripping with tone – on some occasions I’ve even laughed out loud that there is TOO MUCH TONE coming out of this little head!

Anyway – this is what I wrote.. and for the record I believe the tech screwed me making up some crap to overcharge me.

Dear THD guys,

I am the proud owner of a THD Univalve that I absolutely adore – it is positively the best amp I have ever owned – for this I thank you. 🙂

I would like to relate a recent experience to you and ask for your advice please: recently, I had some technical difficulty with the amp – I turned on the power, let it warm up a while and then flipped up the standby. There was a crackling noise and I saw a purple incandescence inside the power tube – like a quick flickering flame. After this, there was no sound emitted from the speaker. I changed the power tube but still the amp did not work.

I brought the head to a local tube amp repairman. I had described the symptoms to him and he immediately told me what his suspicions of the problem were. At the workshop, he replaced one of the fuses, turned it on and we heard the same crackling noise. He told me he had to do some work on the PCB. I collected the amp the next day in working order and he told me something to do with ‘screens and humidity’ (Singapore is very humid except my amp resides in an air-conditioned room) and having to raise up components from the PCB so they weren’t so close in order to cause arcing (the root of the crackling he said). BTW, repairs weren’t expensive – approx USD $30-$40.

Not being a tech head, I didn’t understand this, but he mentioned something about the attenuation and more recently has posted this on a local forum:

-You must also have a good technical background to use a product as a tube amp attenuator.

-Improper connection, or using it outside the boundary (very easy to happen for the untrained and unfamiliar), could cost you irreversible damage.

-Tube amps are meant to be ‘impedance’ matched properly for the output stage. Improper matching could result in shorted out tubes or worst transformer meltdown.

-Either case, I personally frown upon putting an amp on a “treadmill” situation. This I surmise from some of the THD univalve units I have seen so far with built-in attenuator.

-With the case of the SL sales that is happening on a regular basis, I do suspect the resale values of such amps will deteriorate.

I have not heard of similar problems in running the amp with attenuation *all the time* which is essentially what I want to do as a bedroom player. I certainly don’t want to suffer transformer meltdown.

If the info is relevant, then my tubes are: stock China 12ax7, Mullard NOS ECC83, Mesa Boogie EL34.

Can you comment please?

Thanks in advance and kind regards


Andy Marshall personally replied:

Thank you for your email and for purchasing a UniValve.

Let me start off by stating that I am very sorry that you have had any problems with your UniValve. I am glad that the repairs were inexpensive.

The situation that you are describing is almost always caused by a short in a power tube itself and is almost always rectified by replacing the power tube and HT fuse. As you changed the power tube and still had the problem, clearly your situation was somewhat different.

As for your tech’s assertion that some components needed to be raised off the board, this would only make sense if the board were not completely coated with a moisture-proof completely insulating solder mask layer. Furthermore, the components in the screen circuit are either raised at least 1 cm off the board or are mounted point-to- point at the tube socket, implying that your tech must have been mistaken in his assessment of the cause.

Now, as for the humidity in Singapore being an issue, it is not so much the humidity itself, but more likely a matter of small crawling or flying critters making their way into the amplifier through the vent-holes or the jacks themselves. I have seen countless cases over the years of exactly what you are describing (in other amplifiers, not THD amps) being caused by spiders, ants and other uninvited guests strolling across the terminal strips, the tube sockets or the circuit boards, providing a nice, juicy path for arcing and leaving a nasty burnt trail where they were cremated when the amp was turned on. I see this in many amps from the tropics as well as amps that have been stored in dark basements or attics. Often there are little legs and wings left over, but sometimes there is just a burnt smudge, which could be misinterpreted as inadequate relief for voltage and humidity. Our relief spacing on the boards, sockets and terminal strips are adequate for 95% humidity at up to an altitude of 2000 meters, so unless a little visitor was involved, I would have to guess that you had a “freak” accident with the amplifier.

We have over 2000 UniValves in the field, with roughly 1/4 of them sold in tropical areas, and this is the first we have ever heard of this kind of problem being anything other than a bad tube, so I would have to go back to my assumption that your experience, though unfortunate, is an isolated incident.

As for your tech’s prejudice against attenuators, that is another matter altogether, and clearly had nothing to do with the problem you had with your amplifier. The UniValve was designed from the ground- up to be run 24/7 with it’s built-in attenuator and doing so will not shorten the tube’s or the amplifier’s life at all compared to running at the same settings into a speaker. As for our external attenuators, they are constant-impedance devices and always show the amplifier the same impedance, assuming that the amplifier’s output impedance, the Hot Plate impedance and the speaker impedance all match. For these reasons, I fear that your tech is expressing more of a prejudice than anything else.

I hope this helps.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you should have any further questions.

Sincerely yours,

– Andy

Review – Eric Clapton: The Autobiography

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 22, 2008 by Staff Writer


When the liner notes describe this book as ‘disarmingly frank and honest’ they aren’t kidding. In his direct and simple style (which is actually quite articulate and very, very readable) Eric describes his life and relationships throughout the years with wine, women and song. The book is packed with intimate revelations (which sometimes make you wonder how some of his statements impact some of those mentioned who are still alive) and detailed introspection on his behavior throughout the years.

Guitarists hoping for a peek into ‘how he did it’, i.e. how he got to the top of his game as one of the world’s most widely respected and rated guitarists from a technical standpoint, how he approached practicing (honing his craft he refers to it as) and any other musical insights may be slightly disappointed. He describes his influences thoroughly but spends little time talking about the actual mechanics of his guitar playing, songwriting or soloing approach. Nevertheless this is a compelling read apart from the slightly ponderous ending chapter in which he describes the minutiae of his recent domestic life (the book goes right up to the end of 2007) though this does include a reference to his stop in Singapore last year which I was fortunate to attend at the Indoor Stadium.

The early chapters give a very detailed account of what it was (and maybe still is) like growing up in the London Home Counties and as a Londoner myself I identified with many of the locations and anecdotes very closely, occasionally laughing out loud. Americans may find these first few chapters boring. His battles with alcoholism are well documented here and all the tragedy, bad behavior and self-destructivism that resulted from it which adversely affected his lovers, friends, family and musical associates are here. Many of these passages are gritty and harrowing and go some way to deglamorizing the rock-star lifestyle and putting it into some very identifiable human perspectives from which I  took comfort and inspiration when I examined my own addictions.

One of the most attractive aspects of the book is the rock-star name-dropping that gives you an insight into the inner circle of the music fraternity that his fame/notoriety made him privy too. There are numerous anecdotes involving nearly all the very famous characters from the early sixties-thru-eighties music scene, including The Beatles (especially George Harrison whom Clapton became very good friends with after stealing his wife Pattie), Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Steve Winwood, etc. etc. etc.

It’s hard to make any moral judgement abouts Clapton while reading this book – in some ways he’s quite successful in deflecting self-blame and shirking responsibility from a lot of his appalling behavior as resulting from either not knowing any better, being an innocent (and ignorant) victim of  circumstances and being almost entirely consumed by his requirement to get drunk for about half of his adult life, and from the honest way in which he writes, one is drawn for half of the time to think ‘Jesus – what an arsehole’ in equal measure as one feels bouts of severe sympathy.