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darkandrew last won the day on April 7

darkandrew had the most liked content!

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  1. I think there's a video posted on you tube by EBMM where they show how to "finish" an unfinished maple neck and fretboard with TruOil.
  2. Sorry, I hadn't seen your question until just now. I'm probably going to keep the Rif Raf for now - I'm currently pairing the RR bridge with a Mule in the neck but I'll probably keep hold of the RR neck for now just in case I change my mind.
  3. A lot depends on whether you're intending to use the gear at home or for gigging. If you're not intending to take the gear out then it's amazing what can be done "in the box" on a computer these days. There are many guitar effects and amp / speaker simulations which are perfectly OK (Amplitube, Guitar Rig, etc) and a plethora of recording packages which include libraries of drum and other loops ready for you to arrange and edit as you see fit (FL Studio, Garage Band) or if you want to go a bit more "pro" you can get something like Protools or Cubase and a dedicated Drum VST such as BFD. You will also need a low latency audio interface for your computer which will allow you to plug your guirar into it. If you don't want to go down the all-in-one-box approach of using a computer with various items of software, then you can get some pretty decent hardware for not too much on eBay and the like - something like a Line 6 Pod or Boss GT with a digital multi-track recorder.
  4. Holy Diver bridge pickup - almost new (only installed for less than a week), black/cream reverse-zebra open coil, 6 string / 50mm spacing, short legs and 4-conductor cable. Designed as a hot Alnico 5 pickup, along the lines of a Seymour Duncan JB but without the mud at the bottom end and ice-pick spike at the top - a great pickup for rock and metal. Currently retailing for £129 from Bareknuckle, so £85 including UK postage (Sorry, due to bad experiences in the past, I will only post to UK addresses) is a pretty good price. Payment by bank transfer or cash on collection from Chatham, Kent.
  5. Riff Raff neck pickup - almost new (less than a month old), black open coil, six string, short legs and 4-conductor cable. Probably the brightest neck humbucker that Bare Knuckle make, not quite a single coil tone but probably as close as you're going to get to it in a humbucker. A great pickup for rock, pop and funk or just for brightening a dark and muddy neck position. Currently retailing for £129 from Bareknuckle, so £85 including UK postage (Sorry, due to bad experiences in the past, I will only post to UK addresses). Payment by bank transfer or cash on collection from Chatham, Kent.
  6. If it's reading 0 ohms then I'd be surprised if it was the switch - I would have expected an infinite or open circuit value if that were the case. Personally as you're reading a 0 or short circuit on the meter, I'd be more inclined to to suspect that a signal wire is touching earth somewhere - for a example, a single strand of wire that not been soldered with the other wires and is intermittently touching something that is earthed.
  7. I remember reading in Gary Numan's autobiography that Bill Nelson was one of his heroes but other than seeing him credited with playing some guitar on a Cabaret Voltaire album I don't know much about him or his style. Please educate me ...
  8. I'm from the UK and I always phone the shop and ask them in person what "the best price' is on anything I buy. As long as you're polite and friendly about it then they should be too.
  9. My recollection of the Super Distortion is similarly monstrous but I prefer a bit more subtlety these days. Have you tried the Air Nortons? I've read about them, etc, and they do sound interesting but never actually tried them myself - I might have to give them a go one day, especially with Bare Knuckle' s prices continuing to creep up.
  10. I've never had to contact Dimarzio but have tried that other well known US pickup manufacturer that you mention and understand your sentiment - the reply took two weeks to arrive and was just a "cut and paste" answer from their website that didn't actually answer my question. Are there any particular Dimarzios that you'd recommend?
  11. Over the years I've tried many pickups from many manufacturers - EMG, Seymour Duncan, Bare Knuckle, Dimarzio, etc. Although different pickups have different roles and suit different guitars, of all the pickups I've used, Bare Knuckle Nail Bombs are probably my overall favourite. They feature Alnico V magnets in both the bridge and neck pickups (BKP also offer a ceramic option in the bridge if you want it) and although they are definitely modern in tone, they do a really good job of bridging that gap between modern and traditional pickups. The bridge pickup has a very bright, hairy, top end and then flattens out very quickly, giving you plenty of pick attack but also a pickup that sits perfectly in a mix - it really is the ideal rhythm pickup. The neck pickup is similarly bright yet balanced with no boomyness and a lovely woody tone. They're not cheap though, currently a new set direct from Bare Knuckle would cost you around £250, and they are very sensitive to pickup height - 1/2 a turn can make the difference between being in the sweet spot and being well outside of it, but if you're willing to invest your hard-earned money into buying the pickups and your time into getting them set up just right then they are definitely worth the time and expense.
  12. I've got ti say that I wholeheartedly disagree with that as a learning / practice technique. It's far easier to learn something than un-learn it. By playing slowly and accurately you will learn far more efficiently than playing at break-neck speed with mistakes, because once you've made that mistake and repeated it, you've then developed a "memory" of it which you have to over-write with the correct version, which is more difficult than actually doing it right in the first place. I'm not doubting anybody's talent but I've got to question playing at 240bpm as a practice technique, it's like bands that go into a rehearsal room and crank every amp, PA, etc up to 11.
  13. As above, I'm no guitar virtuoso so my main influences were those people that I could play along with and learn from. I've always loved the way Gary Numan mixed synths with guitars and I'd say I probably spent more time playing along with his stuff than anybody else when I was first trying to figure out how to play guitar. Once I became a little more competent, I also remember playing along with Andy Taylor's guitar and learning from him - again it's the way that Duran Duran mix punk / hard rock guitar with synths, and of course the way that Andy Taylor also mixes that with funky rhythm playing, which brings me onto my other major influence - Nile Rodgers. Once I'd got the basics of rhythm playing, the only place to go to begin to learn the intricacies of it was Nile Rodgers. So there you go, my 3 main inlfluences as a guitar player - Gary Numan, Andy Taylor and Nile Rodgers.
  14. I've got to say, I'm really loving these Seymour Duncan STK-S4s; all the benefits of a humbucker (which technically they are) but with the tone of a single coil. I've always been wary of single coils due to their inherent noise but these are absolutely noiseles. Thoroughly recommended.
  15. I recently posted that I had picked up a LTD M403HT superstrat from eBay and I thought I'd post some brief comparisons between this, my LTD elite Eclipse and my ESP standard series Eclipse, and the work I've done to it since buying it. Now, I know the M403 and the Eclipses are very different guitars but by comparing them it is still possible to gain a bit of an insight into the difference between a full-fat ESP, a top-of-the-range LTD and a mid-range LTD. First off, the general build quality of both Japanese built Eclipses is identically excellent, the hardware is identical (Gotoh bridge and locking tuners, hand-cut bone nut) however the fretboard binding on the LTD elite was a little too angular but nothing that 2 minutes with a cloth and some rubbing compound couldn't fix. The other, and probably biggest difference, is that the body shape of the LTD elite is slightly different, adhering to the 3 knob and shorter bottom horn variation of the American model rather than the traditional Les Paul format found on export models - I assume that having just one body type saves production costs for the LTD but other than this there are no other signs of cost cutting. It's probably worth noting also that the LTD elite range only lasted for about a year before it was superseded by the E-II range. It would be interesting to compare the LTD elite with a Korean built EC1000 to see how they compare. Moving on to the Korean made, mid-range LTD M403 now: hardware-wise it has Seymour Duncan pickups all round - a pair of STK S4s in the neck and middle positions, and a Custom 5 in the bridge. The tuners are Grover non-locking tuners, the bridge is a decent copy of a Hipshot hard-tail and the nut is a similarly decent copy of a Graphtec graphite enriched moulded plastic nut; obviously using non-branded hardware for the bridge and a moulded nut are 2 ways to keep costs down but they seem to be decent enough quality, so all's good so far. However, build quality and finish was a bit hit and miss. The pickups didn't align properly with the strings - the middle pickup was slightly slanted and not parallel to its route, the pickups where packed with foam behind them and without springs, and the nut was playable but cut too high for my tastes and was also slightly wider than the neck so that the edge could be felt overhanging the neck slightly. Finally, the binding on the fretboard was very square and a bit uncomfortable. One last thing, the pickup combination also struck me as an odd choice, with the two S4s being hugely overpowered by the much hotter Custom 5 in the bridge. Anyway, apart from that, it was all fine! Now don't misunderstand me, the M403 was not as bad as all that sounds and is a fine everyday guitar but you could feel the difference in the finish and attention to detail when compared to the LTD elite and ESP. Now here's a good question - with time, effort and some experience of this sort of thing, is it possible to make a mid-price guitar play like a top-of-the-range one? So with that in mind, I set about addressing all the little niggles with the LTD M403 - plugged and re-drilled the holes for the pickup screws, fitted springs under the S4s to work alongside the foam to keep the pickups better supported and aligned, trimmed and re-finished the nut, rolled the fretboard binding, swapped the Custom 5 for a TB59 for a better tonal and volume balance between the pickups, and gave the guitar a damn-good setup. Two weeks later and it's all done, but is it now as good as the other two more expensive guitars? I would love to say "yes" but the real answer is going to have to be "nearly". It's a huge improvement over how it was "out of the box" but the Japanese made Eclipses still have the edge, but bearing in mind that full-fat ESPs now retail for over £2000 and E-IIs for around £1800, I'd say that the Korean LTD, with a street price of around £600 offers fantastic value for money and a good base to build on if you have the time and patience to tweak it a little.
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