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?

1 comment:

lettertodev said...

Dude, this post is so interesting I have to do a paragraph-by-paragraph commentary. Yeah, it has been quite a while since we last sat down and do something like that. The last time, I guess, was visiting you in your newly renovated room and testing the AXL. My thanks to you for bringing over the two axes – one which is a day old in God’s possession – the honour and pleasure was indeed mine.

Our rigs I believe were quite standard. But it I guess the “monumental” moment was having the FZ3 and MT2 in action. Been a while since I heard them in action…….

Folks, if you are reading this, my musical brother here is exaggerating. I can play some blues but not good enough to take on any premier guys. I do know some theory, but that is all. I still got a long way to go. As long as Rock School still intimidate me, I still got loads and heaps to learn.

Dude, this is the first time I can get to analyse your techniques upclose. It’s actually quite technical what you did – Incorporating 2 pentatonic boxes together was smart and I still can’t get my third and fourth finger stretched and nimble like you. Your runs were flawless and remind me a lot of the great Zakk Wylde and your metal rhythm was tight. If you remember, I am always fascinated by your death metal rhythm.

Yeah, over the years, we did develop our very own style. There is so much contrast between what we played, but it came into perfect harmony in Dev’s Boogie. We may not be Rock School material – cos’ we are a class of our own…..(dude, please save the recording of your solo in the “Reprise” segment of the jam… there were some real wicked licks..)

I am still trying to figure out the S-65. I am glad the tone is as what you have described. Somehow, I still feel it is not suitable for live or even jam. But it is a great studio guitar and will always be the Big Brother of the lot, for being my first electric axe.

I am extremely delighted that you finally got a Telecaster. You truly deserve one. And being a true guitar player – research and research, test and test – you got the most unique (it’s black), versatile and the most “stupid” (stupid as in the meaning we always say “stupid), Telecaster I have ever heard. Unfortunately, once again, the Tele sounded more Strat than Strat. And this time, it’s your Tele (yours is more ridiculous because you have a 5 way switch)….and the neck…the neck…………….

I believe, if you think that my playing is good, it is because the two axes sounded phenomenally amazing. At this point I am still stunned by what I heard yesterday. A chameleon Telecaster which switches between a Strat and Tele at command, and a EPIPHONE (That’s right folks, EPIPHONE) SG classic reissue that…………………….that is simply pure magic!

Dude, thanks for bashing up the LP and Strat. You know me – guitars are meant to be whacked….You sounded really wicked on the Les Paul, once again with Zakk giving an approving nod. I enjoy the change with Strat as well, as you were more funky and bluesy. I guess it’s a result of your wide musical exposure to all style, which you have unknowingly mastered and able to summon at appropriate times.

Yeah, actually, I was bullshitting when I say the thicker string gives better and fatter tone. It’s because the Strat has small frets on it, and I need thicker strings to compensate the “feel” on the fingerboard. And 5-springs, helps the Strat to stay in tune. I bend a lot when playing, so having an axe that stays in tune helps.
Yeah dude, some of the jam sessions were truly inspirational and that was how Dev’s Boogie was born. And as of yesterday, I found it highly inspirational. Who needs Rock School…..

Dude, Monday or Tuesday is good…..