Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Guitars.

Now, the things that I have at home in Penang, would be an unknown branded Indonesian made classical guitar, which is undoubtedly the only guitar you’ll see me play anywhere if it were to not be my Ibanez JEM JR.

I also have a dreadnaught Santa Cruz acoustic guitar with a cutaway body of 20 frets, which has a very distinctive tone on it with the right strings. My choice would be DiMarzio 0.11 gauge. It just sounds so much more rigid compared to the other strings I’ve tried.

My third guitar would be the electric guitar, that is as heavy as shit, with the brand of Feeling. It looks like a typical black and white Fender Stratocaster, but it’s just not the real deal. And the real weight, as well. Came with the usual – Rosewood frets, maple neck, single-single-humbucker pickup setting, two tone knobs and one volume knob. This strat has a liquid paper marking stating “Lydian”, which is the name of that guitar. Currently, it is beat up. But if I ever go back to Penang, I just might revive the guitar with new hardware pieces and replenish the guitar to be a working one.

Hence, I got lazy to fix my old strat, and it being only 21 frets, I couldn’t play all the flashy stuff. Came the Ibanez Jem JR. Yes, the lowest range amongst the lot. It’s not even a Korean JEM5, to start off with. So, it’s missing of a good Floyd Rose tremolo bridge, actual DiMarzio Pickups, actual fretboard design – vine inlay like Steve Vai’s one, so on and so forth. It was just an Ibanez RG series (not even prestige!) that had a few extra holes hammered onto it.

Now, to get some bits sorted out. I acquired the Jem JR only because it has 24 frets, a working tremolo and the basic pickups which were adequate for punk rock or some of the flashy shredding bits for solos. The 24 frets setting was fun. But it came to the end of the day where why my guitar instructor, Kelvyn Yeang, preferred 24 frets on some of his guitars, because it makes the 22nd frets accessible for bending and fretting purposes. I don’t know about some of you, but my preference is the same, and I seldom use the 24th fret. Even if I were to hit any of the string’s 24th fret, it’ll be just bended to the pitch that I want to. Even if the note is 3 semitones away from the note you’re hitting.

Plus, playing on a guitar like that, with advice from a local guitar technician, the Wizard necks from Ibanez tend to bend a little bit more than you expected. It comes out straight after production purposes, but in the long run, he mentioned that the neck will bend due to the string tension being too strong for something that thin.

Although the Wizard necks on Ibanez guitars are fun, but it does make sense regarding that issue.

That’s what I heard, and what I heard about Joe Satriani is he purposely picked a fatter neck with smaller frets for him to play easier, and to not face that issue of his guitar turning into a boomerang.

Plus the Jem Junior was a good alternative in terms, and in priority, weight. Although the neck was a bit fatter compared to the Feeling, but I got used to the high action, and better feel in some ways.

Plus, a full white guitar just looked so awesome - compared to the black Jem JR that they had available in the shop, anyway.

Although here’s the basic fact that you should consider in buying an electric guitar, if you’re getting one:

- The more mass you have on the guitar as a whole, leads to a better and more solid-bodied tone. This results from the neck, to the bridge. If the neck were to be super thin, and the bridge comes in a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge, you’ve had it. You have to depend on your pickups and your amp to project a good tone from your guitar. Because the main point for a guitar to have its tone, would be the strings. And if the string vibrates, the end points are your headstock and the bridge’s saddles. Which if it were to be a floating bridge, it’ll get vibrated into thin air. If it’s a flat tail bridge, everything will channel through your body, and it’ll contribute back to your tones and back to your pickups.

It’s a simple fact, but many beginner guitarists tend to oversee this point. I have as well.

And this might answer some facts about how the Fender Stratocaster may sound good in a versatile way? Same goes for Gibson Les Pauls, and many other guitars out there.

I’m not saying that some guitars were just produced wrongly. If they were, how come they’re used widely by different artists? It really depends on what you’re looking for. I went for the whole Jem Jr thing because it was nearly (.. well not really) the thing that Steve Vai played. But everything turned out wrong in terms of quality. The whole whammy and divebomb that many great guitarists out there would do.

But if you want to have a look at insane whammy usage, you can search up for Brad Gillis on YouTube. Never have I seen anyone using a whammy bar that psychotic.

For the moment, that’ll be it for guitars. The next bit would be the stuff you have to consider first, before playing the guitar.

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