Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This Is Religion There's No Doubt, I'm One Of The Devout

2014 is the year I discovered Reverend guitars.  It started with the Jetstream HB (front) from the Guitar Center used inventory.  The craftsmanship is up with with the best custom shop Fender but the shape is also as unique as it gets.  The korina body of the Jetstream resonates like nothing I have.  I woke up at 3am one morning, started playing the Jetstream, unplugged, and the solidbody wood sings like a hollowbody 335 unplugged.  Of course, these things never end with just one.  About a month later, I saw a used Warhawk 290 (in case, at the back) at the Sam Ash store in Ontario Mills.  The design of the Warhawk has a raised center through the bridge similar to a Firebird.  Think increased sustain.  But the real appeal of the Warhawk is in these two P90-type pickups.  A little hotter on the bridge and it goes very well with a modern amp like a Bogner or a Blackstar.  The 3rd Reverend is an actual semi-hollow, the Manta Ray 290.  I file this under the category of grunge machine, complete with feedback when playing with drums and bass.  I had played these Reverends exclusively for my standard tuning and dropped D songs to the point where my Les Paul and Midtown (in cases on the right) are feeling somewhat neglected.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Picking Up Where I Left Off

It's been at least 3 months since I had posted something.  The first month of 2014 is almost over.  I've moved several guitars mostly to make room for new one.  Got my first Les Paul and have not put it down since.  At one point, while I was selling a guitar, a buyer found my postings and read all about the guitar he was about to purchase.  Makes for a good story.  I have a lot of gear stories to tell in the next several postings with the hopes of picking up where I left off.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rock 'N Roll Pilgrimage

I finally made it on October 11, 2013!
71161 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, California

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ibanez Jet King 1

 I had to try this just to see if it will work.  Guitar Center lists all used instruments that they carry in their nationwide network of stores.  I wanted something unique enough and inexpensive enough that it's worth my effort and at the same time, I'm not out too much if it doesn't work out.  Enter the Ibanez Jet King 1 (JTK1) guitar.
This butterscotch Ibanez is at the Guitar Center in Towson, Maryland -- about as far away from California as they get.  First of, I didn't use the online ordering forms.  I had to talk to a live person, a Guitar Center employee who can verify the guitar in that particular store inventory as well as describe its condition.
The Jet King 1 is the first of a series of Jet Kings by Ibanez and my guitar is most likely made around 2004.  According to some online sources, the JTK1 is supposed to resemble the 60s vintage Teisco with the fret markers and pickup configuration.  This Ibanez has coil-splitting switches that toggle the sound from single-coil to humbucker.
Overall, the guitar is 7.6 pounds (Made in Indonesia) but has a less than solid feel -- even though I think it's a very well made guitar.  The overall weight just doesn't give me a balanced feel when playing strapped on.  But it I am to judge this guitar as deserving to be in the collection, it is on the merits of playability and overall sound.  Did I mention the neck?  Yes, I like its overall flat radius and width at nut of 43.5 mm (strat are typically just a little over 42 mm).  It almost plays like an acoustic at the lower frets (1 through 5).
In conclusion, my experiment of online buying of a used guitar seems to be an overall success.  I think being able to talk to a salesperson who described to me every aspect of the actual instrument definitely helps.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ibanez Talman TC 630

When I looked up Craigslist ads on Sunday morning, I thought there was little chance this Talman was still available.  The ad was asking for $400 or trade for a small tube amp.  I had accumulated a few small tube amps and I think this Talman was worth at least the Marshall Class 5 that I traded the Takamine for.
I took the chance and sent the seller a few pics of the Marshall and by 830 pm, I was driving up the 15 freeway with this Ibanez Talman TC 630.  Not exactly sure what color Ibanez called this but it is a very  creamy white with a complementary red pearloid pickguard.  The pickguard was all scratched up at the neck pickup position which definitely adds to the guitar's character.
There was a slight fret buzz that all but went away as soon as I changed the strings to a hybrid Ernie Ball set (46,36,26,16,11,9).  I also added a 4th spring to the tremolo which stiffened it a little bit more.  The pickup heights were also adjusted to an optimum set -- trial and error mostly, based on what I thought was the proper gain.  The 5-position switch is similar to a strat in terms of pickup combination.
These lipstick pickups were my biggest surprise.  I have never had a guitar with these before and I have to say, the neck pickup has that perfect warmth/twang balance.  Playability is 9 (on a scale of 10) and my only complaint is the guitar's weight at 9.4 lbs.  Other than that, I am content not having the Marshall amp (which I really liked) and instead having my second Talman.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Jarrett, Peacock, DeJohnette (9/28/13)

No photography was allowed during the performance at UCLA Royce Hall as requested by the artists so during intermission, I headed to the front row and captured a lasting image of Jarrett's grand piano, Peacock's double bass resting on its side and DeJohnette's Sonor drum kit.  Ever since Dave Brubeck passed away last year, I had made it a point for me (and the kids) to see these giants of jazz whenever possible.  I wasn't sure how the kids would react to the jazz trio format but I figure them playing bass and drums, they would have somewhat of an instant appreciation of Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette.  But the real genius of this group is Keith Jarrett, who at age 68 continued his grunting and dancing while playing jazz standards.  Jarrett requested a Royce Hall staff to change the piano bench after one song claiming it was uncomfortable -- consistent with his reputation for being somewhat of a pain in the ass.  But his mastery of the piano and the standards is also one of the few remaining consistent things in jazz today.