January 31, 2009

It has been guitar days for me. I went to Makati last December, and out of a generous honorarium from DepEd for an editing project, I acquired a new axe. I was looking for an Ibanez but found the Yamaha Crown with a price tag of PhP24, 500. I wanted to buy it but later changed my mind when I went into an RJ Guitar shop around Park Square. I instinctively picked up a 6-string RJ Ibanez type (with Floyd Rose) model with Mahogany body (blue finish) and rosewood/maple neck. I tested it and to my judgment, it sounded and felt better than the Yamaha. And it cost only around PhP10, 500 (the shop was on sale). A foreigner came in with his son and daughter. The son saw me doing the sound check and said ‘Whoa!’ when I made the guitar scream. I loved the axe and so I went to a nearby ATM and came back to the shop armed with cash. To my dismay, I learned that the foreigner had bought the guitar I tested including the reserve unit on display.

The salesman suggested that I try the 7-String Ibanez Type Shredmaster  (with Floyd Rose) model. “It suits you,” he said.

I tried it out and found the action to be too high. The salesman happened to be a guitar technician and so he did some adjustments. “Mas malalim and tunog,” he said as I tested the unit.

7-String guitars are used by progressive rock, shred and hardcore players. It really can go deep and visceral. But it can also scream. It renders thick slabs of legatos especially when the player uses a shred-level distortion source coupled with precise alternate picking. Switching the pick-ups on mid or low could also help deliver sharp and tight arpeggios usually done by sweep picking the fretboard. And so I did my legatos, arpeggios and taps. I was just happy that the unit cost only a thousand higher.

It was in January when I was working at the SM Mall of Asia and SM Lucena (SM City Naga will open this May) when I bought a set of 7-strings, guitar and string cleaners and a Super Chorus. I used to have other pedals but lost them when I was a student in Manila. Now I only have my Metal Zone, Turbo Distortion and the newly acquired Super Chorus. I still use my trusty Marshall Valvesate amp. It has been with me for 13 years. My old guitar, an ESP Voyager copy served me for 14 years. It only broke down when I brought home the Shredmaster. It seemed that my old axe just had to rest.