Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 2011 Update!

Hello fellow readers!

So you must be wondering what is up since the last update?

I finally gotten my American Fender Deluxe Stratocaster - Where pictures can be found here on my Flickr site.

Besides the guitar, it's being hooked onto several BOSS pedals and a Jim Dunlop Wah Pedal in respective order:

1) Jim Dunlop Buddy Guy Signature Series Wah Pedal (BG-95 .. Which I recommend you to check out with its unique two-tone switching system. I find it very handy during live performances even if you have to consider how many people are there in the band)
2) BOSS Distortion (DS-1)
3) BOSS Blues Driver (BD-2)
4) BOSS Digital Delay (DD-3)

All of these pedals and the guitar are being run through a "practice amp" that I prefer to call it - the Roland Cube 30X.

The American Fender Deluxe Stratocaster is a very interesting instrument. It's my first proper Stratocaster and it's somewhat magical. It's versatile in terms of its conventional 5-way switching system that's hooked to 3 single coil pickups. All of them are the Noiseless N3 pickups, which is somewhat mind-bloggling.

There is no hum, or noise, from the neck pickup when you leave it alone for it to be idle! Something different compared to the pickups I have from my other guitars.

But something tells me that this has a minor catch to it. For the moment, I still don't see any cons out from it. It still gets the same amount of bite, gain and sustain. It's pretty hard to control, and switching from an Ibanez JEM JR to this guitar is like a kid skipping puberty, but he has all the hormones required to be a man.

I never really messed around with the tone knob on guitars before, and most of the friends I have usually cut off the tone knob from their humbuckers to get less resistance from their wiring.. and… a lot of technical terms that I will never understand until I see what's in the guitar, and learn about electronics.

I tried the BOSS BD-2 that ran through my practice guitar before the Fender Stratocaster came - the Samick Interceptor (Made in Indonesia), and the HSS setting really ruined the BD-2. But when I plugged the Stratocaster in, I had to re-set all of my tone controls on my amp, on the pedals (except for the DD-3). Shows how different this guitar is, with the wood, and the hardware on it. I was really happy with the BD-2 because it gave me the ideal tone I was looking for in Blues music.

And listening to my long-time guitar mentor - Kelvyn Yeang (from Penang, Malaysia), he suggested (if I was looking for a compound sound) to layer a BD-2 and DS-1. Now, if you were to be new in guitar stuff, you probably thought he was insane. But if you really paid attention to guitar music, you'd notice that Steve Vai runs through a MIDI-setup for his distortion sound, and he layers a DS-1 on his pedal board for his rhythm sections (Easiest to spot when he plays Bad Horsie), and that is why some pedals comes with 2 distortion functions instead of one. Like the Jemini pedal Steve Vai designed.

The whole effect board is one way how a guitarist gets about. But sometimes if you were to have a really good amplifier, you won't really bother with the effects. Like Eddie Van Halen. If I'm not mistaken, he usually does a direct run from his guitar to his amp, and boosts the gain up to its maximum for his recognised style of playing (tapping, anyone?)

Of course, tube amps play a bizarre role in tone as well besides effects. I ran a Gibson SG-61 through an Orange Dual Terror pre-amp and an Orange 4x12 stacked amp, and I admit that I have very shitty playing on and off..

.. But I sounded pretty good. And after that, I never liked Gibsons because of its odd proportions. But the tone that came out from that amp and the guitar sounded really good.

Like the time when I went back to Malaysia last December in 2010, I tried a 2x12 Marshall tube amp (I forgot which model - it was going for about RM2300 - which was about AUD$750-ish), and it was absolutely mind blowing!

But that's it for my musical experience throughout the update and the new guitar.

I know that I need to revamp my effects board because I need probably one more fuzz pedal that's not too piercing (BD-2), or something too crunchy (DS-1). I want something in between. I sent another email (which means more money to be spent) to my guitar salesman for fuzz pedals as he understands my situation (as he goes through the same too), and he mentioned something about Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor.

I have no idea what a Hughes & Kettner is, but it looks really good. Problem is, it's tube-technology and I'm running through a transistor-based amp.

This ought to be interesting. But until then, I will try to give a clearer update on perceptions of music and all.

Till then, keep on rocking on!