Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fender Buddy Guy Signature Stratocaster

I love Buddy Guy...I love him to the core. I had the privilege of seeing him a few years back in Singapore, and he throws a real fun gig and shows everyone how the blues should be fun, and not just about broken hearts and "my baby leaving'". I feel Buddy Guy has influenced a great number of guitarist today, and has done a great deal for guitar players all over the world. 

I can't exactly remember which year it was, but it must have been four to five years ago that I first set my eyes on the Buddy Guy signature stratocaster. The first time I saw it was on a famous American online guitr store, where the red and white polka dot guitar was on sale, alongside the black and white polka dot one. At that time, the retail price was US$799 without shipping, and the site was willing to send it to Malaysia. I wanted the red and white one really badly (although I would've been immensely happy with a black and white one too), but the fear of customs tax, shipping cost and the condition of the guitar going through postage made me back out from the purchase. Fast forward to the year 2012, Christmas, and the Big guitar store in Malaysia decided to bring it in. 

I had seen this guitar a month before in that BIG shop, with a price point of RM3,200 (roughly US$1,000), I stepped back and figured I'd have to wait it out. Technically, I did.....for a month. I was on a whirlwind trip back to KL, when my musical bro decided to take me to the BIG shop prior to my flight. I had mentioned to him that I may do somethin "stupid" if he brought me in, and well, I guess I did. After going through the store and realising the sale was not up to mark - we bumped into the store manager, who recognizes me as someone who has bought a lot from them (I think the count is at least 12 guitars now), provided me with a nice discount on the guitar. The subsequent actions were a quick 10 step routine;

1. Ask what the discount was
2. Do the math - quick calculation of US price + shipping + tax versus price being offered
3. Test it
4. Get blown away by the testing
5. Ask if there's a new one or only piece
6. Look at musical bro and ask for opinion
7. Consider opinion
8. Do quick finances in head
9. Agree to purchase it
10. Payment

Below I unveil the Buddy Guy signature Stratocaster which has finally made it into my guitar arsenal;

Quick Facts:

Neck Material: Maple
Neck Profile: Soft V Shape
Fingerboard: Maple
Body Material: Solid Alder
Neck Pickup: Standard Single Coil Strat
Middle Pickup: Standard Single Coil Strat
Bridge Pickup: Standard Single Coil Strat
Bridge: Vintage bridge with vintage style tremolo arm

Make: Made in Mexico

A few years ago - about the time I was researching this guitar intensely - I came across an article of a reviewer who said that this is the "best Mexican made guitar" ever put out by Fender. I took those words to heart, and always wondered how it would feel like to play this guitar. A few years later, and now just 2 months ago, I finally found out how it felt. This guitar is fluid, plays like a dream, and yes, I do feel more comfortable on this than my American standard. I don't know whether it's the soft V shaped neck profile - but whatever it is, I just "feel" this guitar. The strat tones are glassy and poignant at the same time. Everything feels right, from the neck to body, and you can thoroughly enjoy yourself using this guitar.

Equipped with standard single coil strat pickups, I had a slight concern that these pickups were not "hot" enough - but boy was I wrong. The glassy tone is just right, but yet ready to attack when the overdrive is cranked up and the tone knob at 10. In recent time, I've been having some fun experimenting with tone and volume knob controls, alongside switching pickups quite often throughout one whole solo - and the result is a whole different world of colour when it comes to guitar tones. In any case, this guitar is very sensitive to tone change - be it between pickups, or on amp settings. Below you can witness a video of me playing this guitar on the Marshall OD1 channel, which pumps a slightly less overdrive compared to the OD2 channel. My overdrive knob is around 2-3 o'clock. The harmonics are pure and clear, and you can really feel the texture of the guitar.

Sound aside, this guitar has of course killer looks. Distinctive Buddy Guy polka dots, which just makes this guitar way more fun to play. It's a shame I never managed to get the red and white one, but hey, I'm not complaining with this one either! Check out the clip below for a sample of the tone;

Overall Rating: 9/10

I really love this guitar, and think it is brilliant. It's stage ready, studio ready and everything else + 1.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ESP LTD Jeff Hanneman JH-200 Digital Camo

The ESP LTD Jeff Hanneman Digital Camo (JH-200 DC) guitar is the "entry" level version of the range of Jeff Hanneman signature guitars from ESP. From its killer looks, classy looking hardware and devilish inlays, this guitar was built to play only one genre of music - and it would almost be insulting to the man himself if it were used for anything else. I purchased this guitar at a 40% discount, brand new out of the box - in one of those crazy sales in Jakarta (which I have aptly dubbed guitar heaven).

I am sure judging from the images of the guitar above, you would be inclined to do nothing but leave your distortion knob at 10, and to truly rock out with this guitar. With 24 jumbo frets, and extra thin neck, and a fast fretboard, this guitar will let you hit the solos you desire. Below some quick facts before the review;

Quick Facts:

Neck Material: Maple
Neck Profile: Extra Thin U-Neck Contour
Fingerboard: Rosewood (24 XJ Frets)
Body Material: Basswood
Neck Pickup: ESP LH-301 Humbucker
Bridge Pickup: ESP LH-301 Humbucker
Bridge: Kahler X-Tremolo

Make: Made in China

So in recent time I've been drawing the distinctions between Chinese made and Indonesian made guitars. In further re-iterating my assessment of this, I find China made guitars to lack attention to detail, and more often than not, the guitar will require some work before it is ready to be used to jam or to gig with. This guitar was no exception, as when I got it the action was a mile high against the bridge. The Kahler X-Tremolo looked really nice from a hardware perspective, however, looked absolutely confusing to work with. With no one who sold me the guitar knowing how to set-up this bridge, I took it upon myself to set it up - but more on that later. Anyway, going back to the comparison, the Indonesia guitars I have purchased recently (view recent posts) have actually been ready to go right from the box. More often than not the harmonics, the intonation and the action are all really low and ready to go. I've not had to set-up any of my Indonesian made guitars in recent time - but I've had to go through a lot of pains with my Chinese made guitars. To not speculate, I won't comment too much on the factory line-up and how the production lines may differ in terms of QC, however, the short version is, I am more impressed by guitars produced out of Indonesia, than China.

In going back to this particular guitar, the action was a mile high, and it wasn't until I finally found a manual online for a similar Kahler bridge, of which I applied the theories I felt were similar for all Kahler bridges, and attempted to set-up up the guitar - the result? Well, first time around the strings snapped! I attribute this to lowering the action and tightening the locks too soon, not allowing strings to stretch, and instead snapped it while bending a note. My next attempt was much better, as I then had to read up on how to re-string a Kahler, and in the mean time, decided to experiment on it. Essentially before you can reduce the height of the screws, it is important to unlock the nut at the back for each string place holder. Only then can the screws move up and down freely without injuring the strings too much and according to Gary Kahler - I was close to screwing up my entire bridge. After several other attempts, I've managed to bring the strings very close down, and have gotten used to adjusting the nuts. The guitar feels real good now, and this is something some experimentation will deliver to you. I've had to reset this guitar 3 times, to finally get to a point I feel most comfortable - and yet, I feel the G, B and E strings are a bit too high - something which I will eventually work on.

Sounds wise, this guitar is filled with a sonic tone to play metal. Rolling down the town does not give you much satisfaction, but at full blast, this guitar is meant to be shred upon. Shred upon I did, and I look forward to trying to record a metal track using it. Reaching the 24th fret is easy, and very convenient for any pentatonic run. The difference between neck and bridge pickups are very slight as both utilize the same stock ESP pickups. Changing pickups is something I would consider in the future, as I am not the largest fan of the LH-301s, but I do believe it provides a certain character to the guitar. The LH-301s masquerade as high output passives, which have quite a bit of mids and bass to it. It's not a bad pickup by any means, but it's difficult to get that sting at times. Do note though, this was tested on my CFX 30 Marshall amp, with distortion on 10, bass rolled to 7, mids at 5 and treble at 6.

I do enjoy the playability of this guitar after the set-up. Prior to the set up, I was ready to smash the guitar to bits with my fingers digging underneath the strings and the tone lacking. After the set-up, it's become very playable and I very much enjoy doodling on this guitar. It's a welcomed aesthetic addition to my collection, but at the same time its functionalities are apparent. I'll eventually update this blog post with a posting of me using it on a metal track - just gotta find that metal track first.

This guitar can be great, but at this point in time it's just "good". A bit more work and I think it'll be king - but at this juncture, it'll settle for a lower than desired score till it finds its optimized and maximized potential.

Overall Rating: 7.5

Here's the updated video after the set-up:


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine Rust in Peace

What can I say about this guitar? A guitar utilized by one of my heroes and inspirations, Dave Mustaine. A guitar fit to be described as the epitome of heavy metal guitars. One of which I have been eyeing for 3 years from a man who has fought through it all, and up till today produces some of the finest thrash metal music in history (unlike a certain other band he used to play for). An exquisite looking guitar, with fierce design and killer graphics, the Dave Mustaine VMNT Rust in Peace guitar was fit to destroy worlds - and that is exactly what Dave has been doing night in and night out by using this Korean made model on stage.

From the many videos seen of Dave playing on stage, and also interviews with Willy G, his guitar tech, there has been a lot of talk about Dave preferring the Korean made Deans simply because of its lighter weight and playability. Both the American and Korean DM models are equipped with active Seymour Duncan Livewire pickups - which are Dave's signature pickups. There are 8 incantations of the Dave Mustaine VMNTs, 5 of which comes with the Dave Mustaine Duncan Live Wires, 2 of them which come with Dean Active Pickups, and 1 of which comes with a set of DMT passives (the United Abominations VMNTX). How I understand it, the silver and black VMNTX guitars have been discontinued in favour of the guitars with album artwork as they have been much better sellers.

Quick Facts:

Neck Material: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Set Mahogany D-Shaped Neck
Fingerboard: Ebony (24 Frets)
Body Material: Mahogany
Neck Pickup: Dave Mustaine Duncan Live Wire Active Pickups
Bridge Pickup: Dave Mustaine Duncan Live Wire Active Pickups

Make: Made in Korea


I'll be honest, I really only bought this guitar because of its killer looks! I will not even kid you that I considered the sound. The only reason why I tested it at the guitar store was to make sure it worked! With that said, however, the DM Livewires are an amazing set of pickups. They are not as "clean" as EMGs, but it certainly gives you a high output tone fit for the thrash metal genre. The neck pickup is actually brilliant for soloing, and I enjoyed playing the solo to Symphony of Destruction on the neck setting simply because it sounded more crisp, cleaner and with a bit more depth to it. While the bridge pickup is equally as stunning tone wise, however, it's clear the bridge pickup is used very much for Dave's pentatonic style solos, which needs a thinner shriek which cuts through a lot of the rhythm playing. With that said, playing the intro to Washington is Next on the bridge pickup setting, with high gain is a hell of a thrill!!

I've had this guitar for a month now, and I have to say the build quality is excellent. A lot of care was taken into making this guitar to specifications, and the art looks simply beautiful (take a look at the photos above). It doesn't look like a cheap art sticker pasted on, and it certainly looks very well crafted and painted on the body. I took a lot of time to just stare at the guitar before plugging it in to play, and believe me you will too if you have this bad boy. To top it all off, this guitar comes with a custom hardshell case, which fits the VMNT body perfectly.

Rhythming on this guitar felt very natural, and the way the fins are designed outwards, made it a bit more natural to play this in comparison to my Michael Schenker V. A simplistic example of this is that when resting with the VMNT between my legs, I can actually see my fret board when I play - while the way the Schenker guitar is made, and where the jack plugs in - it makes it really difficult to view the fretboard while playing - so half the time I am playing on insticts more so than really seeing where I am going - which is not really that bad a thing after all. Intonation wise, this guitar plays well, with a slightly raised action. You may not get the pinch harmonics you desire because of how the action and intonation is set, but you hardly hear Dave Mustaine do any of those anyway. So I am guessing this was set very much to how Dave would use it for many of his songs.

Ergonomically, this guitar actually is "convenient" to play for a V, and its lightweight makes it all the better to stand up and to maneuver around. At times it makes you think that for the price you pay, you may be getting short changed in the wood department, but the richness of the tone and how boisterous it can sound will beg to differ. I do believe this was a "production triumph" for Dean in producing a light weight guitar, while maintaining a lot of depth in this solid body. I am sure Dave worked very closely with Dean to ensure the right specs were thrown in as Dave won't be caught dead with sub-par fire wood on stage. With that, I salute artists such as Dave Mustaine for using guitars of which they have their name on and do not cost more than US$2k! (hear that Satch? Vai?).

Overall Rating: 9

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ibanez PF Series Acoustic-Electric

This Ibanez PF Series Acoustic guitar is the "oldest" guitar in my entire collection, and essentially the second guitar I ever owned in my entire existence. Purchased in 2002 in Perth, this beautiful guitar was a present from my partner during our university days. I personally selected this guitar in a huge guitar mega-mart called Guitar World (nothing to do with the magazine) in Cannington, Perth. I remember walking into that store and being blown away by the sheer number of guitars they had hanging across all the racks. It was an amazing sight for a 21 year old who was just venturing back into the world of guitaring (yes, I gave up the guitar for almost a year - but that's another story). So I walked through the racks, stared at some of the "typical" natural finished acoustic guitars on the world, and didn't seem bothered. Then my eyes caught this beauty. At my age at 21, and Ibanez guitar seemed like the holy grail, and upon spotting this acoustic guitar, was blown away by the curves, texture, colour and design. I took it off the rack with the help of a "rocker" Aussie chap, who let me waste time strumming nothing but chords. He then said he'll sell it off for AU$500 bucks, which was AU$50 off the list price (at that time, MYR to AUD was close to 2.2). So after a few more quick strums, I decided with this guitar.

Up till now, I have not spotted the exact same model of this guitar anywhere else. I remember checking in the big guitar store in KL when I returned, and other places in Australia, but never ran into this model ever again. The versions I've seen were the scaled down electric-acoustics, which lacked the depth and tonal qualities of this one. To be honest, the sound from this guitar is "big", and sometimes, I forget how overwhelming the sound can be until I fire it up again. This guitar sounds great both plugged in or otherwise. It functions fantastically without being plugged up, offering enough quality to be heard stock - or when plugged up, the on-board EQ helps greatly in getting the right acoustic tone through the amp. I've played some other acoustic-electric guitars - more notably the "thinner bodied" Ibanez guitars - only to have a very "electronic" tone coming out of the amp. This baby sounds like an acoustic both ways.

With so much quality coming out of this guitar, it's no wonder it featured prominently in all acoustic tracks in my first and second album. My first EP had plenty of acoustic based rhythm playing, and it was all played on this guitar. It recorded great, with an instrument mic right up the body.

The only gripe I had about this guitar was that the strings it was shipped with was too thick for comfortable playing. The string gauge was thick, and I was stupid enough to continue playing on that string gauge for many years till I figured out that I could actually just get thinner acoustic strings! I used to end up with extremely sore fingers by the end of the sessions, but after a quick swap to 9-42s and everything worked out great. I won't trade this guitar for any other acoustic guitar. It packs too many memories and a great tone. Strum it once, and I'll be able to identify it.

Come to think of it, it's actually the 10th anniversary of owning this guitar. Happy anniversary Azalin!

Quick Facts (I don't really recall, but here goes from memory):

Neck: Mahogany
Fretboard: Rosewood
Body: Mahogany (Spruce Top)
Electronics: EQ/Pre-Amp
Pickups: Ibanez "under-saddle" pickup

Make: Made in China

Overall Rating: 9

Monday, January 30, 2012

Segue: "All You Ever Need"

On 29 January, 2012, my musical bro and I finally sat down after many, many months to have an electric guitar jam session. It was a special event as I was visiting him for CNY, and at the same time, was bringing over a newly acquired Fender Telecaster (a review on this later) for him to try out as I believe any Fender or Les Paul/SG guitar has to be tested by him. What begun as a casual jam session turned out to be an analytical exchange of guitar knowledge, studying of styles and appreciation for Fender and Epiphone (yes, EPIPHONE) guitars. This was the rig we used;

Musical Bro:

1. Squier S-65
2. Fender Stratocaster 1954 Classic Re-issue
3. Marshall Amplifier
4. Ibanez TS7
5. Boss FZ 5


1. Fender Telecaster Deluxe Blackout
2. Epiphone G-400 Custom Special Edition
3. Kustom Amplifier
4. Boss MT-2

We started our jam session at around noon and ended close to 2.15pm. 2 hours of solid jamming from blues licks to metal pentatonic runs - this was certainly an enjoyable session. Throughout the 2 hour session we traded licks with each other and begun analysing one anothers style. We've concluded that we are both not "Rock School" material at this point, but have over the years developed a solid style of play which mimicks some of our guitar heroes. My musical guitar bro is theoretically sound, understands the fretboard well, and moves through it a lot more fluid than I do. Steeped in blues influences such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray and some Gilmour thrown in, he's ready to take on any premier blues player this country has to offer. That's not to say he can't throw in some metal when required, but this guy is a blues master hands down. His weapons of choice? Well, a wicked Squier and a Fender Strat.

A lot can be said about the Squier. The tone is really "one of a kind", and it's hard to duplicate. An exquisite anniversary edition, this Squier was built like a tank, has a killer "SG" look, and is ready to rock out but also mellow down to some blues or jazz. With his TS 7 and FZ 5 in tow, musical bro was blistering through blues lead lines with such ease with this guitar. The tone is nice, round and fat (exactly what you want your one year old baby to be). Output is moderate, but is able to cut through with the right amount of mids. He had no issue cutting through my Tele's rhythm while using his TS 7.

However, it was the end of the 2 hour session which yielded the best line of the day, which spawned the title of this blog post. This stemmed from my musical bro plugging up an Epiphone G-400 Custom SG through to his Marshall and TS 7 - and the results were amazing. This guitar was recently re-set by a fellow Malaysian blues master, and I had been aching to give it a good whirl - and boy did musical bro give it a good work out! While the playing was equally as awesome, the tone which was produced by this Epiphone was exquisite. The neck produced a creamy rounded tone, while the treble produced the thinner "mono" type sound you'd use in classic 60s solos. Plugged through the Marshall the tone remained warm and the fuzz added a certain depth to the lead lines. Musical bro was impressed, and I was more than impressed with his playing which produced these exquisite tones. Prior to testing the Epiphone, he tried out the Telecaster and was equally happy with the 3 pickup configuration, the versatility of the tones produced by the 5-was toggle, and the weight of the guitar. This spawned the line "Dude, these two? All you ever need....."

While I am extremely happy with the tones they produced, he knows that I will beg to differ on these two being all I'll ever need (my guitar collection is up to 26 guitars now!). And furthermore, sitting in his house, he was kind enough to allow me to give his Les Paul and Strat a whirl, and boy are they fantastic pieces of wood. The LP was fitted with a beautiful pair of Seymour Duncan pickups (JB and 59). Soloing on the neck of the Les Paul is a joy, and the feel of the Les Paul is "full". That's the best way I can describe it. I feel really good playing the LP. His Fender on the other hand has recently been set up beautifully, and playing it was amazingly comfortable. I enjoyed the tones I could produce from the guitar, but up till now have no idea how he bends those strings with 5 springs hooked up to it! It sounds great, but I'm quite sure my fingers got real sore after trying to bend those strings lol. But it sounds great and I wouldn't want to change any of the set up for anything else. So dude, you know you have some awesome guitars too!

In conclusion, we realised we need to jam way more often than we have been doing so. We're trying to schedule in something the upcoming holidays - but we both agree that we need our fingers to recover from the soreness prior to anymore jamming! Age must be catching up....

Dude, next week Mon/Tues?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Epiphone Zakk Wylde Graveyard Disciple (Limited Ed)

Just when you thoughts I ran out of Zakk Wylde signature models, I present to you the Epiphone Zakk Wylde Graveyard Disciple guitar! A guitar which is ugly as hell, but superbly unique, with an amazing tone. This represents my fourth ZW signature guitar, and yup, you guessed it! It comes with a hand-signed certification from Zakk himself. It took me more than one year to track down this guitar, and I finally found it in an Epiphone dealer's store in Thailand. Prior to that, I had it on order from my "friend" who helped me acquire two other Zakk signature models. Word was that it was so limited (and this word came from Barb - Zakk's wife - in one of my conversations with her in Singapore) that Asia would see very few pieces, with most of it being thrown off to Japan. Luck would have it that I headed to the guitar store in Thailand by "accident". I was actually on a mission to visit another guitar store to acquire an old Nick Catanese Washburn guitar, which I passed on the last time I was there. However, as I was walking towards that particular guitar store, I stopped by the mall where this guitar store was hosted to "take a look".

Long story short, I saw this guitar on display at the store, and immediately ran in and hand gestured as much as possible to get to give it a test run. After giving it a good ol go, and realising how well the guitar was set-up and somewhat "seasoned" from all the testing (I reckon it's been at the window for more than a couple of months), I realised this playability of this guitar felt amazing. It squeals on both neck and bridge effortlessly.

After a quick test, and several discussions involving a calculator, I finally made the decision to purchase the guitar at a fantastic price below RM3k (where it was otherwise quoted closer to 4k in Malaysia). To top it off, I got a tax rebate at the airport, which made this superbly worthwhile.

To add to this already "lucky" story, I was absolutely worried on my flight back. I was on a MAS flight, which was one of those dinky 737-400s. Economy class tends to be absolutely full and I was very worried where I would stow my guitar - or perhaps be forced to check it in. Luck would have it that on my return flight, I was bumped up to business class! So I basically boarded first, had an entire to myself, and my guitar! So I returned feeling really happy and lucky!

Quick Facts:

Neck Material: Maple
Neck Profile: Slim "D" Profile
Fingerboard: Rosewood (22 frets)
Body Material: Mahogany
Neck Pickup: EMG-HZ
Bridge Pickup: EMG-HZ
Licensed Floyd Rose

Make: Made in China


I actually played this guitar consistently for 2 weeks in a row. I really really enjoyed the playability of the guitar, the tone was heavy, and there was something different about it in comparison to the other ZW models I had. The body was smaller in comparison to the Les Paul and the ZV, the mahogany body somehow made the attack brighter, and both bridge and neck pickups provided an energetic rhythm. Soloing on this guitar is very effortless, and the set-up when I received it made it very easy to shred up and down the neck. The SlimTaper "D" profile helps to hit the right notes quickly, and also to switch to rhythm very quickly. The string tension allowed for vibratos to be achieved very easily, and of course, this guitar was built like a tank.

It took me less than 1 minute to get comfortable playing this guitar. An extended "stand" pops out at the bottom which helps keep the guitar on balance on your lap. No issues of the guitar being too body heavy and falling off. In fact, I find this guitar way easier to balance and play than a Flying V guitar. With that said, I've not attempted to stand up and play this guitar yet - so I can't comment much on the playability of this guitar when standing up.

The pickups are what you would expect from the EMG-HZs. The recent set of EMG-HZs I've received on my ZV and Graveyard Disciple somehow has a harder attack than the ones equipped on my Korean made ZW Les Paul, which feels a tad more passive in comparison to these newer ones. This may have prompted Epiphone to begin equipping the ZW models now with active EMGs - but I'm not sure. In any case, this guitar was easily built for metal and to rock out. You can probably get away with some nice clean tones - but I'll be honest and say I've hardly played this guitar on clean, as I have no idea why anyone would want to play anything clean on this guitar! Just look at it and tell me if you're be doing any Tommy Emmanuel on it anytime soon.

Great guitar, pretty much one of a kind, excellent build quality out of the China Epiphone factory - which has been improving year by year. I was impressed on how well it was put together (although it is boasted that it was inspected in the US). Of course, with Zakk's personal guarantee as he has mentioned in many interviews that he ensures quality for any piece of wood which has his name on it. For sceptics, just tune in to a Guitar Player special on YouTube where he plays his signature Epiphone LP and still manages to have his tone coming out of those HZs.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Friday, January 20, 2012

Epiphone Zakk Wylde ZV (Bullseye)

I purchased this guitar in 2009 as part of my "golden ticket" to catch Zakk Wylde in person in Singapore. There's quite a story to this.

Sometime in July 2009, I decided to contact an online seller who was dealing with Dean guitars - amongst many other brands he was dealing with. I got in touch with him as I was interested in purchasing a Dean VMNTX United Abominations guitar - one Dave Mustaine signature guitar which I was trying hard to hunt down due to the looks and graphic painted on it. So this person was able to bring the guitar in, and I slapped on a deposit of RM200 to secure my interest. A couple of months later, I was contacted by said seller who said unfortunately he was unable to get the United Abominations version of the VMNTX, but was able to grab me the standard silver model. While I was tempted by this, I decided to tell him to hang on to my cash first, to see if he was able to swing it in a month or so. As I was in no rush, and wanted that specific guitar, I was willing to wait.

A month or so later, I was contacted back, and this particular seller apologised to me and said he was still unable to get the UA version of the guitar and asked if I wanted my money back. At this point, I had found out that Zakk Wylde was coming to Singapore for a Epiphone/Gibson clinic, and interesting luck would hae it that this seller was offering a "deal" where if you were to purchase a Zakk Wylde signature guitar, it would be delivered to you hand signed with a certificate of authenticity by the man himself. As this excited me so much, I decided to switch my deposit to the Zakk Wylde ZV guitar, in hopes of getting a signed version back. What took place after this was beyond my wildest dreams.

Essentially I was brought to a guitar store where I was to pay for my purchase, and there, I met a nice chap who deals with Gibson guitars. Several discussions later, and after pouring out my heart and soul over what a huge Zakk Wylde fan I am since 1996, I was then invited to "look them up" when I was in Singapore to collect my guitar. I had then also attempted to secure my entry to the guitar clinic by contacting the organizers. Little did I know, I ended up not really needing that confirmation.

Short version of the story, the night ended with me having sat in the VIP lounge with Zakk and Barb (his wife), having long conversations, got my Epiphone LP Bullseye signed, my Epiphone ZV signed, Sonic Brew and Stronger than Death CD signed, a photo with Zakk, sat at the front VIP row to watch Zakk's clinic, and sat right next to him having seafood dinner by the Indoor Stadium river. I would also a month later end up being an owner of a hand signed Gibson BFG model, which was signed on the same day as all my other guitars. November 30, 2009 will forever be one of the most amazing days of my life.

Quick Facts:

Neck Material: Mahogany
Neck Type: Set Neck
Fingerboard: Rosewood (22 Frets)
Body Material: Mahogany
Neck Pickup: EMG-HZ
Bridge Pickup: EMG-HZ

I've hardly touched this guitar also in fear of smearing the signature. I can only guess it sounds very much like the LPs only with a slight SG tone. I've tested it out for a short while just to make sure both pick-ups work. The HZs are pretty standard on most Epiphones, and they are high output passives, so I doubt you will have any issues with getting a solid tone out of it. Last I checked this guitar was discontinued by Epiphone - so I am guessing a review is a little pointless at this juncture anyway. But if it's one thing I know, whatever guitar Zakk puts his name on is going to kick some effin' ass.

Overall Rating: N/A