Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Guitar!! Music Man Stingray Bass

Well, I decided to see if I could get my awesome sales guy, Devin, at Guitar Center to take back my Schecter 5 string bass and swap it for an Ernie Ball Music Man 4 string Stingray. Luckily he was able to pull it off for me even though I was beyond my 30 day return time period. All I had to do was pay the difference on the Stingray.

The Music Man is a much better bass, as you might expect. ;) The resonance and tone is far superior to the Schecter and there is minimal buzzing. This thing plays like a dream and sounds so good plugged in. It has active treble, bass and mid knobs and a single bridge humbucker. Despite only having one pickup the controls on this thing allow for a surprising amount of different tones.

Like I said in my Schecter review a while back, this will mostly be used for my own personal recordings and for guest bass players that come over to jam. It's a pretty nice bass that should cover those functions adequately, I think.

All in all, this was a super upgrade and probably the bass guitar I should have gotten in the first place. ;)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Guitar!! EB Music Man Morse Y2d, De-Purple Burst

Finally, after more than 8 months Guitar Center called to tell me my Y2d arrived. I decided to get rid of my EBMM Petrucci because I never could really bond with it, or get the tremolo to stay in tune the way I thought it should. Boy am I glad I made this decision, because I have never played a better feeling neck than the one on the Y2d.

I originally ordered the guitar from my guy, Devin, at Guitar Center with the Floyd Rose option but it came with the Tune-O-Matic... not sure if that was a GC screw-up or an EB screw-up. Regardless, I wasn't too disappointed when I opened the case because I wasn't sure if I was even going to like the guitar since I'd never even laid eyes on one, let alone played one. As soon as I played the first note I was madly in love with this thing. ;) So much so, that I plan to keep it and order another one in Tobacco Burst with a Floyd.

Fit and finish is excellent. The only thing I needed to do (apart from putting my favorite EB Hybrid strings on it) was rectify a couple of string noise issues on the high E. The nut was causing the infamous "sitar" sound when playing the high E open. A very slight, careful adjustment to the front of the nut slot with 2000 grit sandpaper fixed that, no problem. Then as I began to play it more I noticed the same thing happening on the high E when playing above the 12th fret. Since this is a Tune-O-Matic style bridge I instantly knew the saddle slot needed a light sanding; after that, the problem was gone! ;) It now plays perfectly after some minor action, truss rod and intonation adjustments to compensate for the Hybrid string set I like to use. Man, this neck is ridiculously good!

The pickups sound great, and the overall tone I get from this guitar is very reminiscent of the Petrucci. Not surprising, since they use very similar pickups in the bridge. This guitar is brighter, however, which I am sure is due to the Poplar body wood and the "top-loading" Tune-O-Matic bridge. The sound is very defined with hot output, but still articulate. I really like that. You can play a chord with nice, fully saturated distortion and still hear every note in that chord.

The paint job is gorgeous and, as usual from EBMM, everything is perfect. Great fretwork, awesome neck profile, flawless binding and finish... a perfect 10! I can't recommend these models enough. If you are on the fence about buying one of these, just order it... you won't be sorry. ;)

Do YOU have a Y2d, or want one? Post a comment!

Friday, October 20, 2006

New Guitar!! Bought a Custom Shop '60 Relic Strat

Well, I walked into the local Memphis Guitar Center just innocently shopping for inexpensive stuff when I mistakenly picked up this Strat. I instantly fell in love with it and had to have it. I demo'ed it on a Savage amp in the "Vault" at Guitar Center and I was able to really tell a difference in the tone of this guitar versus my other Strats. It was both chimey and ballsy at the same time, and the neck and middle pickups were just insane with tone. Once I got it home and played it on my amp I was not disappointed.

This CS Strat is the 1960 Relic Stratocaster. Fender Relic guitars (also known as the "Time Machine" series) are "aged" by the Custom Shop to show years of wear and abuse. They really do a good job of this, and all the nicks, scratches and dings look believable and are placed logically over the areas of the body where you'd expect wear to appear on a guitar as old as one from the 60's. Another cool thing they did is coat it with a "thinskin" nitrocellulose lacquer (just like the originals back in the 50's and 60's), which is a natural type of lacquer that wears over time giving the guitar that cool look everybody loves. So this guitar will continue to "relic" the more I play it, which is neat. ;)

They send out these guitars from the factory strung with 10's. I normally play with a hybrid set on most of my other guitars that is a combo of 10's on the wound strings and 9's on the unwounds. I plan to continue stringing this guitar with a regular 10 set. I like the tone I get with 10's on it, and since it has the tight 7.25" radius, it further benefits from the slightly thicker strings which help reduce buzzing. The action is a tad higher on this one than I am normally used to, but I do plan to mostly play blues with it and the cleaner tones I'll be dialing in need to be as buzz free as possible. It's taking some time, but I am adjusting to the stiffer action and strings nicely. ;)

The pickups on these Strats are the 60's series which, quite frankly, sound amazing! I can really get a nice bell-like tone or a super growling, fat SRV tone depending on the pickup selected and my amp settings. Very versatile tonally. I can imagine playing everything from Surf and early rock to Funk and Blues with ease. A Strat like this is capable of it all. Check out a quick clip I did on the neck pickup. Not the most shining example of my playing, but you can at least get an idea of how it sounds. :) Amp used: '64 Fender Deluxe Reverb.

The frets are the thin and short vintage wire, which is admittedly not my favorite, but the extra roundness of the fretboard helps make chording easier... however, the roundness and low wire do add more friction when bending strings. I am considering changing this wire when it's time to do a re-fret. That will be a while from now, but nevertheless I'm thinking about changing it to something more like Dunlop 6105 (which is skinner than jumbo, but just as tall).

Fender also gives you a certificate with your Strat to prove authenticity. There are other goodies in the case (and it is a nice case, I might add!). They give you a guitar polishing cloth, a Fender cable, ashtray cover for the bridge, a 5-way selector switch in case you don't like the stock 3-way and some extra springs for those people who like to put telephone cables on their guitars. :)

I am very pleased with this Strat! More to come as I set it up and continue to break her in...

What do you think about CS Strats? Click Here to leave a comment.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Purchased Cubase and DrumaGog

Now that we had a new computer, mics and the FirePod to capture Jonathan's drums, we needed something to record them into and, finally, tweak the sounds of the kit. Since we are not lucky enough to have a great room to record in, nor the budget for thousands of dollars worth of microphones... we turned to the VST plugin, DrumaGog. :) I bought Cubase SE3 to record, edit and mix with, and soon I'll be purchasing the VST mastering plugin by Izotope called Ozone 3. Cubase is shown in the top right.

The results we are able to get with this basic off-the-shelf software and hardware is stunning. Using the DrumaGog triggering plugin, we can easily replace Jonathan's snare, bass drum and toms with real drum hits (recorded with high-end equipment in a great studio) while keeping the room mic tracks intact for cymbals and overall room tone/reverb. Check out this test clip of Jonathan playing a simple beat. We are still learning how to improve the sound with post EQ and more advanced use of DrumaGog, but for a first try this is impressive. DrumaGog is shown above.

Since I record mainly with Line 6 stuff (either my Pod XT or TonePort), mic'ing up and dealing with all that is not a problem for me. Still, it's not an easy thing to just get a great guitar tone with the computer, either. We have lots to learn about mixing and mastering. More clips and music to come as we get it written and recorded! ;)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bought a FirePod, Mics and Put Together a New Computer

Well, it was time to get rid of the aging computer I was using for my recording. The one I put together (or the one Nik put together, I should say ;) is really made up of some older parts from various computers. It's still a pretty decent machine, however. It's a rackmount dual AMD Athalon with a 10,000 rpm hardrive and 1.5 gigs of RAM... and the biggest thing... a dual monitor video card with two flat screens. Goes together well in the rack with the FirePod and my Rane headphone amp.

I also went ahead and bought a FirePod so we can start recording Jonathan's drums. We had a bunch of Shure SM57's between the two of us, plus Jonathan had a bass drum mic. So all we needed at that point were two decent condenser mics for overheads. I bought some lower-end AKGs for this purpose, and they sound fantastic!

The next step is to buy DrumaGog (more on that later), and start getting some music written and recorded!

Monday, August 07, 2006

New Guitar!! Bought a Bass Rig

I finally bought a bass rig. I don't really play bass, but I am learning. :) I bought it mainly for recording purposes and for the occasional impromptu jam when someone comes over that can actually play bass!

I thought it would be nice just have it so once Jonathan and I get some music down and find somebody interested in playing bass with us, that person can just come over without having to bring their rig with them. Convenience is key when you start playing with other musicians. ;)

The Schecter bass I bought is a 5 string, and it's pretty good. I really wanted a nice Ernie Ball, or Fender Jazz bass but I figured that this would be a great bass to learn on and later I can up the ante by buying a better one. The Line 6 Low Down amp is the LD175, 175 watt, 15" speaker model with tweeter horn that can be enabled or disabled. It's got about 5 bass amp models and some effects, and it's LOUD. :) The Schecter has passvie EMGs with active tone, bass and volume electronics. It's super easy to dial in a plethora of bass tones... everything from super "bassy" reggae sounds to super crisp funky stuff.

I have already gotten a lot of use out of it for recording roughs, and it's already been used a couple of times by some visiting bass players. So far it's been a great investment.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jonathan Brings Over His Drums

When I was about 17 I started jamming with one of my best friend's little brother, Jonathan Frangenberg, who was about 12 at the time. He was instantly a good drummer from day one and has only gotten better with time. He brought one of his drum kits over to keep at my house so we can jam and eventually write and record some music.

Jonathan has been in several bands, but most notoriously Mercy's Web. A Memphis, TN band that had a pretty good following and released a CD. Due to several reasons the band is not active at this time and Jonathan was looking for someone he could play with to keep his musical creativity going. We are looking forward to making music and hope to have some recordings to post here in the future!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ernie Ball Petrucci to be Replaced by a Steve Morse Y2D

Well, I tried to like the EBMM JP but I just couldn't ever get the trem to perform the way I wanted/expected it to. Seems like most people get those trems to work really well, but on this guitar it simply doesn't. The strings keep binding at the saddles and I just couldn't figure out how to fix it. Tried lube, replaced the saddles with GraphTechs, then went back to the old ones... nothing worked. So, it's gone! :)

I have a lovely Ibanez JPM 100 that is just as good (if not better) tone-wise and playability-wise... and that tremolo stays in tune! ;)

The Morse should be here sometime in October or November. It's a De-Purple burst with a Floyd. I'll be keeping the JP until the Morse gets here, at which point I'll be trading in the JP. Can't wait 'till it gets here!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

New Guitar!! Just Got a Tele!

About 2 months ago I ordered a new American Deluxe Tele with an Aged Cherry Burst finish at the local Guitar Center, and it finally came in! I went and picked it up this afternoon, and I must say that this is going to easily be one of my best guitars. Sometimes it can be hit or miss with mass produced guitars, but this particular tele has some of the best fret and nut work I have ever seen on a production model guitar (especially from Fender).

The sound of the noiseless pickups is phenomenal! You get the tele spank and treble without the crunchy hum and mud of the regular singles. Teles are monsters when played with excessive gain, so I can crank this thing up on my Malmsteen patch I have set on my Pod XT and easily get a great shred tone with it; and conversely, I can step on my fav blues patch and get that cool, "ice pick" Albert Collins tone... all from one guitar! ;)

It plays super smoothly, has the most level fretboard ever so I am able to get a nice low action without any "fret outs". The Deluxes come with some cool features, too. Contoured "rib cage" back, contoured neck heel, noiseless pickups, S1 Switching system, and body binding. It sounds as pretty as it looks! Da Vinci Code

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Ibanez JPM-P1 (Petrucci) Gets a Re-Fret

I finally got my JPM-P1 back from my luthier. He did a re-fret on it for me, and I must say the job is impeccable! ;) I was very pleased with the fret ends and nice even leveling and polishing he did afterwards.

I bought this guitar last year off eBay and got very lucky because it was in perfect condition. The only thing wrong with it were the frets, which had just worn down over the years from lots of playing. Considering this guitar is about 10 years old, it's miraculous that fret wear was the only major thing that needed to to be fixed on it. It was obviously played to death, but dings are very minimal and the trem is very clean with almost zero corrosion and spotting.

This guitar is one of my favs, and is certainly my most collectible guitar. It plays like a dream and sounds amazing.