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Everything posted by EdwardMarlowe

  1. I rather liked the bass that was a sig model for ones of the guys in Blink 182, I think? It was a J bass body and neck, but with a single P-bass pickup and pots. A real 'could have been'. That sort of thing is fun. I don't think I've ever been completely put off a guitar I'd otherwise have liked but for the name association... Oh, though.... There is that Lowden "budget" (for them) model that's branded a 'Sheeran' Guitar... Eh.
  2. Those look like really nice little amps. How are you finding the - "microtubes", isn't that what they call them? - compare to 'regular' tubes? I've read a lot about them, but not had the chance to try one. Did sound like an interesting evolution of the technology, though - especially if they could develop them to fit into an amp built for standard tubes.
  3. Interesting guitar. I have a couple of Westones which I plan in due course to sell. They're not the most fashionable style these days, but Matsumoko made guitars are starting to develop something of a cult following, so the value is slowly picking up. The wide, flat neck is definitely something that isn't entirely for me - though I'm told it's great for eighties-style shred stuff like Vai and Satriani and such. The active boost engaged on my Westone Thunder I-A, and it sounds fantastic, like a great Les Paul or SG "should" to my ear (in my hands, they always sound like mud). Good bonus them taking pp3 batteries as well - this modern trend at the high end (see e.g. the US Acoustasonics) to have a guitar charge an inner battery like a phone has too much potential to go wrong, imo... With the eighties retro thing having been fashionable in almost all other areas for so long, it's only a matter of time imo before these Matsumokos become hugely sought after. KNowing my luck, their value will sore the week after I sell mine!
  4. EdwardMarlowe


    Nice. I've not played any of the new Epiphones since they changed the headstock ,but it does seem clear that they are pushing upwards in the market; if all I read is true, they are closer these days to the lower-end of the Gibson line than ever. The studios have a nice, clean look to them. I always liked white in an LP, reminds me of Steve Jones' Never Mind the Bollocks LP (a 1972 Custom, that one - maple neck and all!).
  5. I'm not entirely opposed to the concept. I'm not big on Les Pauls, but they're still the original signature model... There are some nice features I've seen come out of sig models over the years; I'd have loved a Jimmy Vaughn Strat if they'd have made a left-hander, and even moreso a Johnny Ramone Mosrite. They can be limiting - it is, after all, a guitar that has been specifically designed to suit another player - but all dome and said they do often produce a guitar that is that bit different from the other versions on the market, and that sort of variety is always welcome imo.
  6. To me it's only a Telecaster if it has a three saddle bridge. All else is voodoo, in a *bad* way. But yeah, it's always nice to see some new ideas. I particularly like it when new ideas also come in a retro package.
  7. Fender's strategy has been very clever in many ways, imo. Why fight to have the market recognise your Gretsch copy as just as good as Gretsch when instead you can just buy Gretsch and sell Gretsches?
  8. I've always stuck to the view that a budget guitar - as long as it's half-decent - will sound better with a great amp than a high end guitar with a budget amp. A lot depends on what you're looking for of course. Once you get past the basic of a guitar or an amp being solidly built enough to be durable - and the guitar feeling good when being played - it all becomes about subjective differences in look and sound. My little 20w Squier Amp I bought for £39 in 1998 (and which is still kicking around, for all the others that have come and gone), back in the days before switchable wattage and when my old Fender Performer 1000 (now long gone) was just too loud when my parents were in, is solid, reliable, and has never let me down. It does everything an amp needs to do - picks up movement from the string via the pickups in the guitar, and turns them into a sound. Not many, likely, are going to choose that sound over a boutique tube amp sound, but what you're paying for there in the end in a tangible sense is the difference in the look of the amp, and the sound. I do think that the amp has something more of an effect on the sound than the guitar - 60/40, 70/30 amp/guitar? Maybe. With guitars, I don't tend to struggle to find a sweet spot. It helps that budget guitars are getting better all the time. Also, my aesthetic preferences swing firmly to Fender styles, and solid colours over 'natural' finishes. I dislike fancy woodgrain finishes and such. This does very much mean that I can find guitars that do everything I want in the Fender Mexican range, or equivalent. The only real limiting factor that often pushes me beyond budget is that many of the guitars I really like simply aren't available left-handed below a certain price. If I had a grand to spend on a guitar and an amp, I'd be looking at a guitar around £400-£450ish, and an amp in the region of £550-600. My current amplifier is a Vox Valvetronic AD120VT- the big, ol' blue cloth original with the 2x12", looks like an AC30. In due course I'm going to sell it on. Sounds fantastic, but I really only use one or maybe two of the Fendery sounds on it. As I don't these days play out (and much as I don't like to think it, probably never will again, now in my late forties), it's just not ideal for me any longer. I even have the rare VC12 footboard for it, which will also be sold. The plan is to replace it with a small tube amp. In an ideal world, I'd love a tweedy Fender Pro Junior type 15watter, but I know I need something smaller. I'm going to push the boat out and pick up one of these Supro 1watters in the nice tweed finish: In the event I ever played out again, I'll either look into the bigger version of this Supro, or I'll go the route of those pedal-amps. I'm about to embark on the task of selling off two third to three quarters of my guitars (I've owned around fifteen over the years, currently have about twelve), cutting it back to just the US Strat, the CIJ Tele.... and *maybe* the Epi Les Paul (though the Epi staying is predicated on not being able to sell it for a decent price, I'm really quite over Les Pauls tbh. Love the sound of them played by other people, but that sound, it turns out, only comes to my hands via a Tele....). I'm planning then on using some of the cash realised this way to pick up a few new guitars. The ones I have my eye on are a Godin 5th Ave archtop, Gretsch 5240, Fender Player Strat in Tidepool, Vintage V52, and *maybe* a Gretsch 2622 if I can get away with it.... I might actually reverse the Gretsch order, though, as the 2622 in gunmetal is really calling me. I'm seeing it with some red and white pinstriping on... I'd love one of the Tidepool Player P basses as well. Going to be keeping my Brandoni P Bass, which is a three toneburst with rosewood (matches my old US Strat nicely). Suffice it to say my "dream guitars" nowadays are all pretty much budget models. If we won the crazy-money lottery win thing, I'd maybe think about a couple of top end Gretsches from the 6xxx series, though even then I'd probably want the cheaper models if I ever did get into playing out again. TL/DR: I'm a total advocate of buying a decent guitar and a great amp.
  9. I tend to find if you want something that sounds classic and not too "metal", as a rule it's best to avoid anything sold as "distortion" and go instead for "overdrive". Over the years I've found quite a few I like, and of which any decent clone should do the job - the Ibanez Tube Screamer, the Klon Centaur, Danelectro did a nice classic overdrive in their range of metal-bodied pedals. About twenty years ago a friend and I went pedal shopping to find her a nice overdrive pedal. We tried everything on the market at every price, and eventually narrowed it down to the Boss Bluesdriver and the Marshall Bluesbreaker II. In the end she bought the Marshall because they both gave the same great sound she wanted, but the Marhsall was half the price. These days, I'm fond of the mini-pedals from the likes of Donner and TC electronics. cheap, solid, and so far (although I'm not taking them to gigs and stamping on them every night) completely reliable.
  10. Big money. It's interesting though that a lot of established companies who haven't gone for the retro trend before now (if this was just chasing what's popular on the market, they'd have done it a decade ago) are now it seems starting to bring out their own riff on the classic Fender designs. Personally, I think it's great. I really like how Ibanez have done a bunch of these that are very clearly Fender in their DNA, yet still very distinctly Ibanez' take on it. It seems to me that the Strat and Tele styles are now such established classics that it's like a dreadnought or a parlour guitar... I'm just not now someone who I think will ever drop GBP1600 and such on a guitar, BUT if I stumbled across a lefty of one of these models I'd definitely give it a go. I've always been impressed by the quality of Ibanez guitars I have handled, even if they aren't my bag in features / look. As to the trem, for me the true joy of a Tele, and what makes a Tele a Tele is the three saddle bridge and the pup mounted therein. I do like that they have thought to mount the pickup in a metal surround here. It's almost like a modern version of a Tele with a Bigsby, kinda, sorta. Not for me, but I can see it appealing to many folks. The fixed bridge version appeals more to me. Trems I like visually on a Strat or anything with a Bigsby, but actually using them I can take or leave. For whatever reason, finger vibrato seems to come more naturally to me.
  11. It was a long time ago, but if memory serves, I did both without any particular problem (save wait time from the US).
  12. My Epi LP is a 1998 Korean; back then the more traditional Gibson tuners were still on them. These Grovers were a common mod at a time (for "real" Gibson too, I seem to recall); Epiphone switch to them as standard across much of the range at some point after 2000 - I remember it being seen as an 'upgrade', if less traditional in looks. The Chinese factory opened in 2006, and production in China and Korea overlapped for a bit - I think the last of the Korean guitars were built by 2009. As you'd expect, a lot of the people who used to say the Korean Epiphones were rubbish imitations of the US guitars would now tell you that the Korean ones are the ones to seek out, and are far superior to the Chinese ones.... (I've seen similar over the years with varying production moves across Fender and Squier). There are any number of guitar forums online where you'll hear about one beating another. Best as I can make out, Chinese QC was spottier than it had been in Korea in the first few years, but they quickly got up to speed. Yours would have been a "Les Paul Standard" in Gold Top finish. Back in the day, there was much less distinction between different models, different tops and such ax there is now - mine was a Standard when bought, it would now be considered a "Plus Top" and a few quid more expensive for it. Very decent guitars; the HBs are a touch muddy for my tastes, and mine has the tone knobs whacked hard in the treble direction every time it gets plugged in. If I was going to get serious with it, I'd probably switch out the pups for HB sized p90s, add a Bigsby, and rewire the pots so as to have one master tone and a master volume alongside the individual volume for each pup, Gretsch style. As it is, I'm kinda over Les Pauls. I'm in two minds about selling it, but fi the suddenly started reaching £500, it's be out the door sharp... Long term, the interesting thing is what will happen with the value of guitars like yours and mine that have the older headstock. I don't think it will ever be collectable - just too many of them around - but I'm hoping the market price isn't forced down now that Epi have a design closer the Gibson (even if they still refuse to go the whole hog and put a proper Gibby shape on it).
  13. For electric, the first strings I bought were Ernie Ball Super Slinkys, but I learned over time I could never get on with nines - always snapped the high E. Spent several years playing nines with the high E switched out for a ten, before moving on to tens where I have stuck ever since. Ernie ball for years, though I've also bought D'addario, Rotosound, and a few no-names as and where price was better. On acoustic, I can't honestly remember what I bought last - I think it was D'addario? I bought Dean Markleys for the first few years, but some time in the... I think it was the late 90s? - they had a whole string of pretty sexist to outright misogynist ads they ran in the guitar press, particularly the US mags (the absolute nadir being one romanticising a rock and roll guy cheating on his wife on the road), which was enough to put me right off buying them again. In truth, I've never found any difference in my sound - or had any significant difference from brand to brand in terms of quality. Tuned in and stretched, they're all much of a muchness to me. I did like it when some had different coloured beads to distinguish which string was which at a glance; D'Addario I remember combining this with putting all the strings in a single baggie and a cardboard outer package, selling it as greener, alongside not acid-washing their strings. I think that was first seen in their ad campaign sometime in the late 90s, shortly predating the Gibson 'Smartwood' series, if memory serves. The big deciding factor for me with strings remains price. Typically go back to the EB all other things being equal, habit, I suppose, but there's nothing I'd pay more for. I also don't change my strings unless I break 'em or have had to remove them to give the guitar a good clean. At some point over the next couple of months my CIJ Tele 71RI is due a damn good clean, and that could well include changing the strings for the first time since I bought it in 2006.... My Squier bass still has its original strings that were on there when I bought it in 2001. In fact, of my three basses, I've never changed a string on any of them.... not even so much as bought a spare set. That would be different if I played out now, I'm sure, but my punk rock and roll band never happened, and I'm too old now to do more than regret the death of my rock star dreams. Bah humbug. As to whether string gauge makes a difference, I chanced across this video some time ago and found the experiment fascinating - not least after all these years of the received wisdom being that the heavier your strings are, the better your "tone". (Which seems to belong to the same set of mythologies that wank on forever about the tonal effect of the wood type in a Strat body, yet pay zero attention to the, uhm, plastic scratchplate which is the only thing the pick-ups are in direct contact with....): For those of us who play clean or with only a touch of traditional overdrive, I lean to the view that playing comfort is the most important thing; for those who like BRUTALZ METAL DIZTORSHUN, this could be a game changer in terms of having that bit of clarity in the sound.
  14. I've always been impressed with GFS pickups - https://www.guitarfetish.com - great range of different types, and a lot of fun, offbeat looking stuff that would really make a guitar look 'different' than anything you could have bought stock, if that also appeals. If I were to build another guitar in future, I'd be tempted to start with some of their 'kwik plug' pickups, as it would really make life simple if I wanted to chop / change / try something else later on. https://www.axesrus.co.uk have come a long way from their early days of being something of an electric guitar broker's yard. They used to stock GFS; they now I see have their own brand of pickups, also available in pre-wired plates. Made in the UK. I've bookmarked their 'late sixties' prewired plate for when I turn up the right Strat body and neck for my Black Beauty project. Bought a few bits from them back in the day, always decent stuff.
  15. When I first got interested in the idea of learning guitar - about three years before I actually got one(!), I bought the American "Guitar for the Practising Musician" here and there, mostly for things like a Ramones interview. Guitarist was the first UK mag I bought, in July(I think) 1992 - had Tony Iommi on the cover. I bought it for a few years every month, and The Guitar Magazine only occasionally, as the latter was a bit.... eh, I dunno, in those days a bit "ITV" by comparison. That said, it often had very cool stuff in it: I discovered Link Wray through TGM. Guitarist over time became a bit boomer / old fart / lifestyle for me: I got bored of the same parade of Establishment Guitar Heroes like Brian May being on the cover all the time; the reviews became dominated with high-end stuff I couldn't afford, many months any guitar reviewed under two grand was almost inevitably not available left-handed (especially if it was one I actually really liked), and I was never into the teaching bits in it. When they put a CD on the cover and took the price over a fiver, that was the end of it for me. I've still bought it once in a blue moon, but it's rarely one that attracts me now. Total Guitar was just never my bag. TGM over time evolved into Guitar Magazine as we've known it, and the quality really soared. I just a couple of days ago received in the mail a hard copy of their last two issues (I have another somewhere in the house I kept because my letter about Les Paul was printed in it; they made it Star Letter and I was sent a very nice gig bag as a prize; I asked for the bass version and it's now in my office with my Brandoni P bass in it). I'll be sure to savour them now... Hobby magazines do seem to have really suffered at the hands of the web. On the one hand I can see why, but I still mourn the passing of the physical. For kids who have grown up with digital, intangible stuff as a norm I doubt they will care. I suppose I could get used to the digital as long as I had control over it. I did try a couple of digital issues of Guitar, but you can only access them through a proprietary app. I've even seen other hobby mags where you can only access them on a website for as long as you subscribe to that website. I hate that model - I want to buy a copy of a thing once and then own it. Of course, Mrs Marlowe won't mind the digital shift and I do acknowledge that it might not be all bad going forward. I'm a diagnosed clinical depressive with anxiety issues; it's mostly under control these days, but it has in the past manifested in hoarding behaviour, the impact of which we're still dealing with as we clear out the flat. It's probably a good thing if my opportunities to amass more stuff in general are limited. There were two guitar mags around for a bit around twenty years ago that I really miss. One was called Guitar Buyer, and was founded on the principle that it was All Gear. No tutorials, just reviews, as well as the occasional interview with an artist or their tech, which was specifically about their stuff rather than anything more general. Then there was briefly What Guitar?, which would do fab review-types you never saw anywhere else. EVery month they had at least one thing they picked, like Teles or fuzz pedals or whatever - and did a shoot-out with ten of them across a price range. Fantastic way of getting an idea what was out there, the key differences, and what was worth looking into. Again, focused entirely on the gear. Neither of them lasted, I guess there's only so much new stuff a niche market over here wants to read about. I would still love to see a new guitar magazine that was more my bag than TG / Guitarist. Perhaps the answer is to do as The Chap: as they entered the era of magazines costing the price of a novel, they shifted to more of an 'event publication' and now go out quarterly instead of bi-monthly. It's something that I think works very well, makes it a novelty, and shifts away from that thing where at the end of two years at six quid a throw you've got a huge pile of mags you can't really keep, can't sell, and represent a fair whack of saving for one of the guitars you read about... I have a feeling Guitarist could go that way eventually, especially as its cover-price climbs ever higher. I see they don't even have a CD on the cover any longer (inevitably, it'll be on a website now I'm sure). Guitar, FWIW, have transitioned now entirely to their website, so the content is still there, albeit not really the same. I mean, you can take a tablet to the toilet, but it lacks that tactile thing, and for those of us who work on a screen all day....
  16. I was "The Extra Terrestrial".... What can I say, I was twelve...
  17. Sad to hear Guitar Magazine has closed its doors. Only Total Guitar and Guitarist left now. TG is a non starter for me; my all time favourite was 'Guitar Buyer' from about 30 years ago, all gear reviews and nothing else. Guitarist I bought years ago, but it all went too old fart and too expensive for me around the time they stuck a cd on the cover. Is this the end of the magazine as source of hobby info? Have to admit that much as I like having web info, it's really not the same...
  18. OP was "Posted September 18, 2019" so I'm guessing the project was completed long ago!
  19. For my money, the Tokais are at least as good as the Epiphone equivalent, with their higher end stuff as good as the equivalent Gibson, but more affordable. Depending on what you want, they're sometimes a "better" spec than the production line Gibsons. Some years ago, I was considering a white LP Custom type. At that point in time, the Japanese Tokai was 2/3 the price of the Gibson, plus it had the "correct" (per original Custom spec) *mahogany* top that Gibby didn't do (a few minor cosmetics aside in those days the only significant difference between the Custom and the Std were the pickups - and for a time even those were the same). To be entirely fair I've not compared the *latest* Epiphones (new headstock) against the Tokais, but at least before that the Tokais were actually visually much closer to the Gibson than the Epiphones, if that matters to you. FWIW, Tokais seem to hold their resale value pretty well in my experience, if that is part of your decision making process. They do seem to be much rarer now than they were at a time in the UK - I hear this is to do with the drop in value of the pound making them a lot more expensive than they used to be at UK prices. When I last looked at them (pre-plague) the Korean made Tokais were, to my judgment at least, a notch above the Epiphone brand, while the Japanese ones were at least as good as Gibson (subject to any personal preferences in specs). Even the export headstock (if you buy one made for the Japanese market, it's identical to the Gibson) was much closer to the Gibson than an Epiphone; I've mistaken Tokais for Gibbys at first glance, which - at least before the switch to the "almost correct" headstock couldn't be said for Epiphones. If that matters to you, of course: it may not. At the price of a Japanese Tokai now I might rather look at something from Gordon Smith, though again what Tokai offer is, I think, visually closer the Gibson if that is what you're after - YMMV.
  20. Not cheap, but still a significant differenced in price. You could buy this and a Player series Tele for the price of the US Acoustasonic. I think the Guitar Geek guy is right in that if they made a Squier version they'd have to compromise too much. Either that, or they'd end up with a Squier at the sort of price that most of the market would refuse to pay for a Squier. I think they could go a little cheaper, though, enough to make a difference if they dropped the Noiseless and gave it only the piezo and the acoustic modelling, though obviously that takes it in another direction than the original design concept.
  21. Interesting development on this one in the Player Series. (can't believe it's nearly three years since the originals came out, bladdy ell.... Course, it's longer than that since I was last in a guitar shop, between various life issues and the plague...) The Player version looks more interesting to me, though thus far no left handers (the Tele version alone in the US range is available left handed, the Tele model is the sole model so far in the MIM Player series, but no left handers, at least not yet). BIG win here is the switchable battery. Main limitation remains the Tele-type pup. I would be curious to see one without it.
  22. Yeah, it does seem to be the one big hole in their range.... I suspect they might do that in their custom shop version, but it's a stiff upcharge for "only" the colour. Still, props to them for doing left handers in their price range with a maple board.... for whatever reason, that seems to have been a rare option indeed in recent years. Really like their headstocks, though - especially the newer, smaller one for their T-types. There's something really nice about the mix of them being very obvious in what they are influenced by, and yet at the same time proudly their own thing. To boot, it's a much nicer alternative headstock shape than anyone else has ever come up with to avoid copying Fender's, and I very much include the likes of Suhr there.
  23. What effect does it have? What finish / wood are you using it on?
  24. TBH, the biggest thing the big money makers can offer me as things are now is typically a much better range of left handers. That has improved a lot in recent years - Fender have gotten much better in their Mexico range, in particular. Still a bit limited (none of the reissue Tele / Strat models are available left handed in MIM), but it is now possible to get a MIM P Bass, and even a reasonable range of both colours and *maple* boards left handed. Vintage are tempting me for a Tele, as I really like their V52 model with the new shape headstock; what holds me back much more with the Strat option is that they only have the left handers in a burst, though at a cheap enough used price I might be tempted to swap out the body, or have a respray... Big thing I need to do is try their necks. Much as I love my old US Std Strat (a 1994), that 43mm nut and flatter neck profile is noticeably less comfortable for me to play on than the 42mm nut MIM necks. (Money no object, I'd be very tempted to buy a Fender Clapton type neck for it.) Need to have a go on some Vintages to see how their necks feel. Have learned over the years - much to my surprise - that sometimes something that has a reputation for being a thicker neck works better for me.
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