World Music Supply | DBZ Guitars

Hey guys, I know its been a long, long time, but Brian of the World Music Supply blog has made his return! I was finally able to move around things in my schedule to yet again reasonably accommodate the blog, so lets get down to business. I am here to today to talk about some awesome guitars we have right now from our good friends over at DBZ. We here at World Music Supply love DBZ Guitars. Its as simple as that. They are high quality guitars, made with high quality parts, with precision workmanship, what’s not to like?
DBZ BARFMPL-FR-NS Barchetta FM Plus Series Electric Guitar

First up on the block today are the Barchetta Plus FM Series, these guys are amazing. I’ve been a big fan of the Barchetta body style since I first saw them a year or so back, their sleek strat style body, with its futuristic carved top body, and the classic vibe of the 3×3 headstock. It all adds up to a very stunning looking guitar. Back in those days though, the only versions of this guitar that I had ever laid eyes on were red, black and gray. Don’t get me wrong, those guitars were beautiful, and they played like a dream, but these guitars though, with their abalone binding, deep flamed maple tops, and matching headstock, they’re just a whole other level.

now of course they still have all of the same appointments as their non flamed maple counterparts, the DBZ signature neck contour, the floyd rose, the DBZ signature pickups with a push pull knob, and that big metal badge on the headstock, all of it puts this guitar some where between a workhorse of a guitar, and a luxury art piece. Form and functionality in harmony.

DBZ BARFM-FR-TBK Barchetta FM Flamed Maple Top Electric Guitar

DBZ BARFM-FR-TBK Barchetta FM Flamed Maple Top Electric Guitar

Amplified, the flamed maple adds a tiny bit to the guitars overall tone, but the big difference in tone seems to come from the mahogany, as opposed to the alder bodies of the LT series I am so familiar with. The tone seemed to be a little thicker, with a much heavier lower midrange bark. Alder had a balanced and almost focused sound, but this guitar paired with its mahogany body and stunning flamed maple top, well… it really growls at you. Chording on it felt nice and smooth, with enough presence to make sure I was heard over even the most over the top of drummers, and single note lines had a ferocity to them, an attitude almost. Someone could make a career off of this guitar, carry it with them from day one, be the symbol their recognized for. That’s the kind of guitar this is, it’s a guitar that will leave an impression.

DBZ BARFMPL-FR-SF Barchetta FM Plus Series Electric Guitar

DBZ BARFMPL-FR-SF Barchetta FM Plus Series Electric Guitar

Overall score, easy 10 out of 10

Long time readers of the WMS Blog will know that when it comes to guitars I have two real weaknesses, Telecasters, and White Lespauls. I really don’t know why its these two guitar styles, but they’re really powerful to me. So when the DBZ Bolero Calavera made its way into the WMS offices I had to look at the thing. Just stare at it. Its just so flashy, with its stylized metal truss rod cover, the old DBZ signature tailpiece, and oh yea, the giant metal tramp stamp (that’s what they call it, not me) that’s anchored to the lower bout of the guitar.

DBZ BOLCAL-WH Bolero Calavera Series Single Cutaway Electric Guitar

DBZ BOLCAL-WH Bolero Calavera Series Single Cutaway Electric Guitar

Other than the unusual appointments at either end of the guitar, this is a fairly typical Bolero. Mahogany body, maple top, ebonized rosewood fretboard with 22 frets and their DBZB and DBZ5 Pickups. Their also given some cool Pearloid purfling around the body as well, which really makes this guitar stand out. It might feel like a normal Bolero, but when I was playing it felt so different, it was almost like the sheer attitude of the guitar, made it another guitar. Like when you listen to some really old classic rock, you know the guitarists really aren’t that good, but you can’t quit listening. Even though their entire education must have come from one or at the most two mel bay guitar method books, you’re just captured by that sheer attitude that is exuded from their guitar.

That’s how this guitar felt, I knew it sounded almost the same as the bolero, maybe a tiny, tiny bit different because of the chunks of metal on the guitar, but this guitar just made me want to play different. It made me really slam into the guitar, dig in with my pick. I was all power chords and grit, sure the clean sound is cool and jazzy, and the single note lines are fat and clear, but look at this thing, your likely never going to play a clean line on this guitar, and sure you might play a solo here and there, but most of the work on a guitar like this is going to be very power chord heavy.

I loved this guitar, if not for the fact that it is a fantastic guitar just like the standard Bolero, but also because of its really heavy attitude. It made me play different, act different, it made me really want to crank up my amp, make my neighbors angry. That’s what this guitar felt like, it felt like what we all thought Rock & Roll was when we were little kids.

Overall score 9 out of 10. Because even though it is almost perfect, it is for a certain kind of guitarist, and that isn’t everyone.

World Music Supply | Parker Guitars PDF Series

Hey guys, Brian from World Music Supply again, bringing you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. Today I got to check out something I have only dreamed of since I was say 13 or so, I got to review a Parker guitar. I remember when Parkers first started getting big, I had the joy of trying one out in a store, it was weird, but in the same way being weightless would be weird, cool but confusing. The body was so amazingly thin and light that had I not felt strings under my fingers I might not have known I was wearing a guitar at all. From its arrays of knobs and switches, its ability to sound like an acoustic with the flick of a switch, its weird knob behind the bridge that controlled the flat spring for the vibrato, heck even its shape was out of this world.

Everything on the guitar felt like it was from the future, from that strange looking asymmetrical vibrato that just didn’t seem to want to slip out of tune, the carbon glass fretboard, the stainless steel fret wire, the weird not really there headstock, according to the flyer attached to the guitar, even the body and neck woods were weird, something like a sandwich of hard super resonant woods, and soft absorbent poplar to help shape the sound into perfection. The guitar felt, and sounded downright amazing, but just like everything else on this guitar the price tag was outlandish, like vintage guitar outlandish.

Parker PDF Radial Neck Series Vintage Sunburst Finish

Parker PDF Radial Neck Series Vintage Sunburst Finish

So fast forward to today, when I got to sit down with a few, amazingly affordable new designs by Parkers, the most notable of which was the PDF105QVSB. The first super noticeable thing to me is they have modified the shape a tad bit to make it a little less outlandish looking, with a more standard profile with all of the same Parker flair. The Vibrato system has been redone, to have a more conventional spring arrangement, but it still has all of the bells and whistles of the old days, just without the big roller wheel on the back of the guitar. The Carbon glass fretboard has been replaced with Ebony, and the Materials of the body were a little easier to remember this time around too, as this guy was a good ol’ chunk of mahogany, granted carved down into a thinner profile quite like the older Parker models.

The PDF105 is also part of their radial neck series, which is designed to give a stronger, more musical connection to the body by eliminating the foot of the neck that connects to the body. This allowed the neck and the body to resonate a little more in tune with each other, resulting in more harmonic richness, and longer sustain of the fundamental. The PDF105 also features a Graphtech Ghost piezo system, which has down right fantastic sounding acoustic tones thanks to the Graphtech proprietary polymer that was designed just for them, with a built in compression, meaning they never clip or get fizzy like some piezo units. Lastly add in the fact that the PDF105 comes armed with Seymour Duncan humbuckers and you have a guitar that is just ready to take over your life.

Parker PDF Radial Neck Series Black Burst Finish

Parker PDF Radial Neck Series Black Burst Finish

Clean, this guitar sounds amazingly articulate, with lots of chime and snap, but it was still warm, and harmonically rich. The bridge pickup was bright, but still full sounding, it never lacked the character of a bridge pickup, but it was never too thin and bright, it just did what it needed to do. The neck pickup was smooth and rather jazzy, with a bit of pop-y snap to keep things interesting.

The acoustic tones through a PA speaker were just amazing; they were so close to a real acoustic guitar that it was jaw dropping. The slight compressing that the Graphtech saddles have built in, really do keep it from sounding like a Piezo, and it really, really does sound like a well mic’d dreadnaught. The illusion was daunted however by my constant use of the whammy bar, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

My real favorite tone of this guitar however was not the stellar clean sound, or the stunning acoustic sounds, it was the roaring electric tone. The shape of this guitar feels familiar but still a little ethereal, which makes you play just a little bit off from what you usually play. This tiny bit of vibe in the guitar really did a lot for me, and the vibe doesn’t stop with the looks, let me assure you of that. Cranked up through our test amp, the Marshall DSL40C, this guy was a beast! The bridge pickup was rich, and clear too, playing whole chords on even medium to high distortion settings were still articulate and full, never muddy or noisy. Single note lines rung out for what seemed like forever, and that snappy, punchy character that this guitar had when clean was amplified ten fold when distorted. Power chords had punch and attack, and single line sung out with force I couldn’t have imagined. The vibrato system might have changed from the original Parker design, but the bulk of what made it play like a parker is still there. I could swing it around for days and it kept coming up in tune.

I loved this guitar, it sounds great, it feels great and it looks like nothing else. Of course, I am sort of biased, as I did love the old Parkers too. For what its worth though, this guitar is geared towards more conventional guitarists, with a vibrato that actually is set up in a way most people will understand it, body wood that a guitarist can recognize, rather than a list of space aged composites and different layers of different density wood. This guitar is like a turbo charged sports car, its as much fun as a super car without the giant price tag. At the end of a day though, the fun factor of these new Parkers really does show, and I dare anyone to play one of these guys and not smile the whole time, the Parker PDF105 series earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | ESP Ltd VIPER 256

Hey guys its Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. In today’s blog I got to check out some cool goodies from our friends over at ESP.  We here at WMS have a special place in our cumulative heart for ESP, they’re cool looking, they don’t cost an arm and a leg, and they sound great no matter what you throw at them, and when it comes to guitars you just cant do better than that. So lets get down to business with the center piece of today’s review, the Viper256.

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar See Thru Black Cherry

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar See Thru Black Cherry

The Viper256 comes in two rather attractive finishes, the see thru black cherry, and my personal favorite, black with gold hardware; you just can’t get classier than that. This guitar is a work horse, a solid chunk of Mahogany, 24 big easy playing frets on a fast Thin U shaped Mahogany neck, topped with a nice looking Ebony fretboard. The Tonepros TOM bridge is nice, straightforward, easy to intonate and get working. The part that I really loved about the 256 is the ESP designed LH-150 humbuckers, they have a bold sound with lots of midrange and lows, with just enough high end cut to get you through the mix, but not treble-y enough to cut your head off. The LH-150’s are also coil-tappable by pulling up on the tone-knob, which means you get rich, full sounding humbuckers, and with a flick of your wrist, you have sparkly, shimmering single coils, amazing.

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar Black

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar Black

Clean, this guitar sounded very big, it really has a ton of low end body to it, which I love in a guitar, the mids were thick, and really filled out the area you would expect a guitar to, and the highs were just cutting enough to really sculpt the sound out, not too bright, it left enough room for a band, but more than filled out all of the area a guitar should. With the single coils engaged, you of course notice a tiny drop in volume which I compensated for with a little help from my Electro Harmonix LPB-1. The tone was slinky, it had a lot of Tele style tones to it, but without the high end twang you typically get from a Fender scale length, bolt neck guitar. This meant it had a lot of jangly, almost acoustic sounding vibe, and I really dug the funky kind of bite I could get out of it.

Distorted, this guitar was down right animalistic! The distorted growl of the bridge pickup was very rich, and had a great lead and rhythm tone to it, without having to fiddle with the tone or volume knobs, and I didn’t even have to mess around with any pedals, the bridge pickup was so balanced sounding that it just did everything. The middle position was a tad bit more tame sounding, with a warmer low end, and a little less high end cut, and the neck position had very warm, very bluesy tones hidden in it. Shred work was easy, the shorter 24.75 scale length and the big frets on an ebony board made this guy super fast. The single coil tone had quite a bit of vibe to it; it had that clarity of a single coil with a lot less hum, and not as much treble response. I personally loved this guitar, it looks cool, it feels nice, it plays great, and the sounds it made were pure rock star. I would have to be crazy to not award the Viper 250 a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | New and Improved Jackson 7 and 8 String Guitars

Hi everyone, it’s Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and do I have a treat in store for you all today! Today I am going to be talking about some of the new Jacksons that came out at NAMM this year, more specifically their new line of entry level seven and eight string guitars. Now they won’t be out on the market until the end of the month, but I got a chance to sit down, and quickly give these guys a once over just for you guys.

Jackson JS32-7 Dinky 7 String Electric Guitar Satin Black

Jackson JS32-7 Dinky 7 String Electric Guitar Satin Black

First up on the block today is easily the nicest, cleanest looking entry level seven string I have ever seen, the Jackson JS32-7 Dinky. Sure, it is an entry level guitar so the appointments aren’t stellar by any means. You have some nice high output Jackson made pickups an arched basswood body covered in a satin black finish, a comfy 26.5” scale length maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard with a consistent 16” radius. You also have 24 Jumbo frets and those cool Piranha fin inlays they debuted on the Slat series not too long ago. The stamped hard tail bridge is simplistic, but it would easily get the job done, nothing too complex.

Strung up with some lighter strings, the clean tone was tight and punchy, with lots of bright strat-y tones on the high strings and thick growl on the lows. The neck was surprisingly fast, my issue with seven strings is simply, I don’t own one, and I don’t really get to review enough of them to really get used to the girth of the neck. This guitar however, didn’t feel hugely different from a six string, sure there was that chunky low B down at the bottom, but my hand still fit the guitar perfectly well. The pickups were high enough output that even uncompressed there wasn’t a world of volume difference between all seven strings, and the dynamic range of the guitar was surprisingly wide as well. Clean tones rang out with plenty of snap and sustain, and of course the distorted tones were just brutal.

Sure it doesn’t do everything, and it doesn’t have a dozen different pick up combinations or special add-ons that make it into some dream machine of a guitar, but what it does have is a solid sound, and a comfortable feel. This guitar could easily be someone’s work horse, an affordable, no nonsense guitar, with enough muscle to get the job done in almost any situation in which you would need a seven string (which is getting to be more and more common nowadays) so for all of that, I would have to be crazy to award the JS32-7 anything less than a 10 out of 10.

Jackson JS32-7 Q Dinky 7 String Electric Guitar

Jackson JS32-7 Q Dinky 7 String Electric Guitar

Next up is the JS32-7 Q which is very similar to our last guitar, except for the fact that its basswood body is topped with a stunning quilted maple top, and the inclusion of the HT-7 fully adjustable bridge. Play wise, this did a bit for the playability, the bridge felt a little more comfortable, and the strat style 3 way switch was a nice change too, sure it might just be a tiny change, but I’m just sort of biased towards the strat/tele style switch. Sound wise, the guitar had more spank to it, with a brighter, glassier top end, and a little tighter sounding low end. But what this really does for the guitar is make it look a thousand times nicer, sure the simple matte black finish might do it for some people, but some of us guitarists getting into the extended range territory aren’t always going to be metal heads, so its nice to see a guitar that appeals to my aesthetic senses as well.

I liked this guitar, and the addition of the quilted top and beefier bridge were nice touches, but I cant say I found a world of difference between it and its more cost friendly sibling, so I am afraid I can only award the JS32-7 Q an 8 out of 10.

Jackson JS32-8 Q Dinky Trans Red 8 String Electric Guitar

Jackson JS32-8 Q Dinky Trans Red 8 String Electric Guitar

Last up for the day is the JS32-8 Q which is officially the first 8 string I have ever personally held. Until now, I have had admittedly had very little experience with this range of guitar, with the only one I have ever seen in person being Charlie Hunters fan fretted Novax, although I’m sure this guitar wasn’t meant for his style of music, this guitar was designed for forward thinking metal. As I’ve said before, I’m not the most metal of guitarists, and I’ve discussed before at how weird I felt on a seven string, so an 8 string felt as unfamiliar to me as a 6 string bass. So please take this review with a grain of salt.

The quilted trans red top was stunning, very rich, and very heavily quilted. The guitar balanced surprisingly well on a strap, and it wasn’t too heavy which impressed me. The pickups ultra high output pickups had a very deep, very dark sound when I played on the lower register, and simply sang on the high strings. The clean tone had a wonderfully wide range across the guitar, with dark short scale style bass tones on the one hand, and quasi strat tones on the other, a wonderful all in one style instrument. Playing thunderous rhythm parts was sort of simple after my hand got adjusted to the width of the guitar neck, which was pretty comfortable all things considered. The dark metal tone was apparent as soon as I kicked in some distortion, and dropping the tuning a step resulted in down right awesome sounding riffs. Its no wonder these things are popular all of a sudden.

Playing tapping riffs was probably the best part of my experience with the eight string, as I got to enjoy the extended range, without having to stretch my hand out so much. All in all, it was a fun experiment, and I could see how someone could get used to an instrument like this, all those extra notes, and the ability to play in the same range as a standard bass guitar was pretty fun, if a little intimidating. For the price this is going at, I was down right amazed at how good it looked, and at how great it sounded. There is just nothing else on the market right now that has this kind of bang for your buck attitude, and for that the JS32-8 Q earns itself a well deserved 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Takamine Pro Series

Hey guys its Brian from World Music Supply, sorry for yet another rather lengthy hiatus from the blog, what with all of these new products flying in after NAMM, its difficult to find time to even breathe, let alone sit down and review a guitar or three, just not enough hours in the day.  Well today I got a free minutes, so I used it  to look at a couple of cool guitars by way of our friends over at Takamine. Over the past couple of years Takamine has been more or less consolidating some of their higher end models to try and get a better, more applicable guitar into the hands of some of today’s most demanding musicians.

Takamine P1JC PRO Series 1 Acoustic Electric Guitar

Takamine P1JC PRO Series 1 Acoustic Electric Guitar

First up on that list is the Takamine P1JC, which is part of their Pro Series 1 level of guitars. The Pro Series is divided into different levels, to help really hone in what a guitarist needs, so that each series can really be just about what the guitar plays and sounds like, rather than having to worry about having a guitar of every type of tone wood in every series, or having to worry about different inlay work for one specific guitar, or different brands of tuners etc. because each series level is outfitted the same, the only thing that changes is the body style.

I picked what I consider the quintessential model from the Pro Series 1 Level, the Jumbo. I love the way Takamine does Jumbos, especially when they use warmer sounding tone woods like Cedar and Sapele, which long time readers will know, I simply adore. So maybe I’m a little biased, but when it comes to guitars, aren’t we all? The Cedar top on the P1JC was stunning, with tons of super tight grain, and a gorgeous orange hue to it. The sapele back and sides were rather nicely figured, and since they are within the same general family as mahogany, it had a similar bold, yet warm sound.

Combined together, these two tone woods, and the jumbo body generate a plethora of amazing sounds. With gigantic low end, a driving powerful midrange, and crisp, pristine highs, the P1JC was really something to behold. Fingerstyle lines really popped, with clear definition, but still lots of body to even single notes. Strummed, this thing was a cannon, it was amazingly rich in harmonics and sustain, with all of the tone you have come to expect from Takamine, oh and did I mention it was loud!

Plugged in, the Palathetic pickup and the CT4B II preamp come together to recreate the sound of the acoustic guitar with flying colors, and more so, this guitar almost sounds better through an amplifier, as the already harmonically rich sound of the Jumbo Cedar top is further enriched by the natural harmonics inherent within the preamp tube. The sound was clean, pristine, and amazing. The guitar is a little more prone to feedback than I am used to, but with a top carved so eloquently to resonate like this one does, it can only be expected to respond to harmonic feedback just as well, so a sound hole cover is a must.

For the first guitar I got to review in over two weeks, this one was a genuine treat. The tones were jaw dropping, the looks were subdued yet handsome, and the playability of the whole ensemble was just to die for. The P1JC easily snags itself a solid 10 out of 10.

Takamine P2DC PRO Series 2 Acoustic Electric Guitar

Takamine P2DC PRO Series 2 Acoustic Electric Guitar

The other guitar I got my hands on today was the P2DC which is part of the Pro Series 2. The construction between the Pro Series 1 and 2 at first seemed rather minuscule, the Series 1 has a Cedar top, while the 2 has Spruce. Now while the differences are small, the sounds are worlds apart. While the Cedar has that familiar old world warmth, and charm, the Pro Series 2 with its Spruce top had something else, something new. I love Spruce topped guitars, I do have a personal bias towards Cedar, but my main guitar on and off stage for years was a cheap no name Spruce topped guitar that I have put through its paces for close to 10 years now, so I know how Spruce tends to sound, but this guitar, it was so much richer.

The sound was crystal clear, big huge low end, mid range that had a depth to it that ate up a ton of frequencies, but left more than enough room for my voice to live within, and enough high end presence to bring the guitars jangly side out to the fore front. This guitar had a classy, very round sound to it, that took fingerstyle amazingly, with tons of definition between notes, with a brilliant warmth and harmonic richness that you just don’t usually hear with many spruce topped guitars.

Plugged in, this guitar has a very crisp sound, thanks in part to the palathetic pickups unique construction technique, but also thanks to the CT4B II Preamp which enhanced the pure sound of the guitar, with its added harmonic richness. The sound was as close to the true sound of this guitar as I think you can get without a microphone, all of the highs and lows recreated perfectly, and the mids were as close to the real thing as possible. The guitar wasn’t as prone to feedback as the P1JC, but I think it had more to do with the actual size of the guitar this time around, as it is slightly smaller and thus less prone to feedback than the jumbo, but still with the volume up much past 5 or 6 I had to put a sound hole cover in.

The P2DC seems perfectly suited for any job you would usually leave to a dreadnaught, be that studio work, stage work, or song writing, the bold, beautiful voice of the P2DC is second to none in its class. It easily deserves its score of 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Winter NAMM Day 1 and 2

Hey guys, its Brian here again with World Music Supply. Today I get to talk about some really cool stuff from Winter NAMM 2013, sadly I can’t really discuss how it sounds or feels, as I didnt get to go due to school. Instead our resident Web Designer, and my Supervisor Mr. Danny Dunn got to go out to California to enjoy everything from hanging out with Rock Stars, checking out new gear, being wined and dined by our sales reps, and the best part (in my eyes) not having to deal with this sudden cold snap here in Indiana. Sure hanging out with rock stars is cool and all, but 70 degrees sounds pretty good when your shoveling snow just to get out of your driveway, but I digress. So here it is folks, some of the cool new stuff you can expect over the course of the next year!

and so it begins

and so it begins

So where to start? Who has come out with the coolest new stuff so far this year? Well while I highly doubt these will production models, that award easily goes to the folks over at ESP. ESP has a habit of coming out with some jaw dropping pieces of gear, usually covered in clever graphics, or in outlandish shapes. I’ve seen everything from a guitar carved like the grim reaper, to guitars sporting graphics that are more at home in a comic book or a tattoo parlor than on the face of a Strat.

The Angel Guitar from ESP, you really can't get much more elaborate than that

The Angel Guitar from ESP, you really can’t get much more elaborate than that

Their graphic work is just amazing.

Their graphic work is just amazing.

Next up are some cool pieces from our buddies over at Charvel, who (much to my excitement) have come out with some new San Dimas, and Pro Mod style guitars, and of course they have gorgeous looking single cuts coming out too, with some very out there looking colors, and bindings, not to mention the cool multi colored humbuckers. 

I want all of them!

I want all of them!

looking fancy

Takamine was there too, and they brought along some of the finest pieces of Japanese luthiery I have ever seen, which is saying something. Granted a few of their finer pieces were kept in glass cases, but from what I was told, these things sounded absolutely amazing, even over the noise of a packed convention hall, these guitars just sounded fantastic.

Just Stunning

Just Stunning

The attention to detail was just amazing

Just amazing Luthiery

Just amazing Luthiery

Ovation brought out a few new things, and a handful of their finer pieces to the show. The carbon fiber topped mandolin was cool, and the new front soundhole design on the guitar right next to it was neat, although the top wood of that guitar caught my eye a little more than the new soundhole design. They also brought out the new versions of the Yngwie Malmsteen Viper, which is a fantastic design, although I wish they would bring back the original Viper myself, this new one looks like it would be a little more comfortable on stage if you play at the speed of sound like Yngwie, less guitar to get in the way of your picking hand.

no one does Carbon Fiber quite like Ovation

no one does Carbon Fiber quite like Ovation

The new soundhole design is almost as eye catching as that Koa top

The new soundhole design is almost as eye catching as that Koa top

Say what you will, but I want that Kaki King model

Say what you will, but I want that Kaki King model

So handsome

So handsome

There was plenty more to see from the show floor, but alas, that will have to wait for Monday, when I can bring you everything from tonight, and Saturday. I’m as excited as you all no doubt are to see what else is being released, and I can’t wait to see what twists and turns are headed our way from California. But for the time being, I hope you guys enjoyed this little glimpse into the weird world that is Winter NAMM, and I cant wait to share the rest with you next week.

one last thing, I really want the Vincent Price guitar from ESP, it’s just perfect.
   

That Gargoyle guitar stand is pretty wicked too

That Gargoyle guitar stand is pretty wicked too

World Music Supply | ESP Bela Lugosi Limited Edition Guitar

Hey guys it’s Brian from World Music Supply here once again, to bring you your usual dose of Guitar and Gear reviews. In today’s blog, I got a chance to sit down with, and look over another great piece from our friends over at ESP. Now typically, I wouldn’t do one brand for two blogs straight in a row, but today’s blog is all about one specific guitar, the Bela Lugosi Limited Edition Guitar.

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

Initially, we only had one of these, and it sold out so quick I didn’t even get a chance to get decent pictures taken of it, let alone do a proper blog about it. Let me be blunt, even though the guitar itself is a rather good guitar with some pretty standard, albeit very player friendly appointments, the big selling point for this is Bela Lugosi himself. Bela might not be a name that is known to anyone who isn’t either a film buff, or a horror movie fan, but he is the man who played Dracula in the early days of motion pictures, and the man who created the now rather stereotypical accent that Dracula has been known for all these years, even though it was just his natural accent.

Luckily for you guys, we received two of these guitars from ESP rather recently, when initially we had only been promised one. ESP only made 325 of these guitars for the entire world, and they only sent them to a few select stores, and artists world wide, lucky us. All of the art work was done by comic book artist Kerry Gammil, and is based on his artwork for the Tales of The Grave comic books, which to my understanding; uses Lugosi’s likeness with the permission of his estate. These guitars are just amazing to look at, as the graphics are vibrant, and really powerful, albeit sort of creepy to look at across the room.

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

Now that I’ve talked about it as a piece of art, lets move on to the fun part, talking about it as a guitar. The guitar itself features a pretty dense piece of alder, I say dense because it is a bit heavier than a typical alder guitar, the guitar isn’t heavy mind you just heavier than your typical alder bodied guitar. The neck is ESP’s Thin U contour neck, which has a nice even feel all along it, and would be just perfect for fast runs and quick riffs. The one thing that must be addressed is the absolutely brilliant inlay work on the fretboard, as it was fun to look at; It’s also perfectly smooth, and very, very cool. The hardware is pretty bare bones, with a string through body, a black TOM style bridge, and a single EMG 81 humbucker in the bridge.

I’m a fan of single pickup guitars, they have a raw-ness to them, they’re the meat and potatoes of what an electric guitar really is. No extra tones to jump to, no extra tricks, just you, a guitar, and your amp (and a couple of pedals for good measure). Now this being said, I have to admit I was a little confused by it only having a single EMG, as I’ve never played a single pickup guitar with EMGs and I honestly didn’t know how it would fare. So plugging this guy into our new test amp, the Marshall DSL 40C, and turning up the lone volume knob I was shocked to find that this guitar was pretty par for the course when it comes to single pickup guitars.

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

Sure it had a little more output, some extra power in the low and highs, and a little bit more attack to it, but this guitar still felt and played like a standard lone pickup equipped guitar, which I just loved. Clean the Bela Lugosi was a little menacing, the darker sort of cleans I’m used to from an EMG were no where to be found, this wasn’t a bad thing just not something I was used to, I blame this on the rather Spartan wiring scheme. The brighter clean tone sounded very strident and was useful on some slower passages, and had an almost country flair to them when I played up higher on the neck. Even on the clean channel, this guitar had a lot of sustain, and resonance to it. The fundamental of the strings stayed around for quite a while, and this mean that chords had an almost pad like quality to them.

This cool, long even sustain was even more evident when I switched over to the dirty channel of the amp, and really saw what this guitar was made of. The real power of this guitar, and I’m sure the real point of this beast, is to play heavy music. It is set up to be a straight ahead metal guitar, and its looks surely help to fuel this fire. The good news is, along with its big powerful sound, and its very bold image, this guitar also takes low tuning very well, I was able to get down to a C# with very few intonation issues. Playing in such low tunings is just too much on this guitar, and it was almost hard to resist playing brooding Black Sabbath style grooves, and big chugging BLS style rhythms as the feel of this guitar almost craves for horror movie style riffs played on it.

Sure you could play this guitar on just about anything if you really worked at it, but a guitar covered in zombies, bats, a hazy moon off in the distance, and the giant floating face of Bela Lugosi, with what could possibly be, one of the most powerful stares in history… it would be a shame to use this guitar for anything less than some properly horrifying music. Placing the guitar back into its equally impressive coffin case, with the silhouetted face of Bela himself, I am confident that this guitar will go down as one of my favorite to review, not only was it amazing to look at, and amazing to play, this guitar felt like it belonged to go somewhere, like it should belong to a rock star, not be sitting in a warehouse, being reviewed by me. This guitar feels fit for a rock star, and there are very few guitars that right away strike you with that feeling, and for that fact alone this guitar scores itself a solid 10 out of 10.

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

Esp Ltd Limited Edition BELA LUGOSI Electric Guitar

World Music Supply | ESP Guitars

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply again, bringing your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. Today I get to bring you a few gems from our friends over at ESP, what I love about ESP and LTD guitars are just how lead friendly they are. As someone who grew up playing metal guitar, and even though I have transitioned away from that style of playing and into less labor intensive styles of music, I still love the feel of a guitar with a thin neck, and nearly flat radius, and when it comes to big, thick metal lead tones, ESP has always been my go to brand. So think of the theme of today, as guitars crafted for metal, but with enough stylistic wiggle room to fit in well enough almost anywhere.

ESP Ltd M103FM See-Thru Black

ESP Ltd M103FM See-Thru Black

First up on the list for today is the M103FM-STBK, which is part of their Mirage series of guitars, which are your rather typical Super Strat affair. Shred friendly necks, nice flattened radius, bold sounding pickups, and of course that perfectly setup Floyd Rose Special tremolo. The LH-150 humbucking bridge pickup had a wonderfully full sound, with a rather nice low end to it, which is something I always look for in a bridge pickup, the LS-120 middle and neck pickups had a nice clarity to them, but still had a very full sound, more so than you typically find in single coil pickups.

To play this guitar is a thing of beauty, the neck is lighting fast, and the combination of a maple fretboard and a trans black flamed maple top is a true thing of beauty. The feel of the neck is perfect for those who need to play fast, with big tall frets, and a nice flattened out radius, not to mention the delivering big bends with the Floyd Rose. Clean this translates to a guitar that has a all of the spank and sparkle that you expect of a strat, but when you crank up the distortion this guitar becomes a thing of power! With fiery rhythm tones, that have all of the weight and girth you could ever need, and with enough punchy lead sounds, or if you switch to the neck pickup, glassy lead sounds to keep your lead work sounding fresh for years.

so what is the M103FM-STBK? Well to put it briefly, it’s a workhorse. This guitar has all of the tones you could ever need, a Floyd Rose, and a neck that is perfect for shred friendly guitarists, all at a price point that is more than accessible to the beginning metal guitarist, and this is why the M103FM-STBK earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

EC1000FR-STBLK

EC1000FR-STBLK

Next up is something a little less conventional than a super strat, a super LP, the EC1000FR-STBLK. This isn’t your average LP, this guitar comes armed to the teeth with all the appointments of a modern metal machine. Covered in a trans black flamed maple top, with plenty of abalone appointments, and not to mention the delicious black nickel hardware and the really cool Earvana Compensated Nut.

First off, this guitar does still carry a lot of the already amazing specifications of a standard LP, Mahogany body, Flamed Maple top, nice Thin U Mahogany Neck, but this guitar is definitely hotrodded. This all starts with the 24 fret neck, with 24 big XJ sized frets which are just great for lighting fast legato runs. You also get an amazing set of EMG pickups, with an 80 in the bridge, and a 60 in the neck. These pickups have a very big, full tone to them, with plenty of smooth clean signal, and enough output to drive even the heaviest of metal. Next you get the obvious addition of the black nickel Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo, with an Earvana compensated locking nut.

My understanding of the Earvana system is it slightly offsets the scale length of each string to help keep each string in tune better, and help eliminate the inherent intonation issues of the guitar. What this translated to, while subtle, was an ability to play in tune perfectly next to very unforgiving instruments. What I mean by this, is when you are a guitarist who only plays with other guitarists, if you’re slightly out of tune, its not too easy to notice, as it almost creates a chorusing or doubling effect, which your brain will translate as musical rather than an out of tune note. But, if you’re like me, and often play guitar next to a synthesizer, you know that if you are out of tune, you can’t try and hide it, because the keyboard can’t really be slightly sharp or flat, and your guitar can be.  

With these kinds of appointments, you would expect this guitar to play like a dream, and you would not be disappointed. The neck was perfect, thin and quick enough for super fast lead work, but still with enough meat left on it that I didn’t feel weird playing chords on it. The Earvana nut was a subtle improvement, but it made playing chords sound just a little bit sweeter, and when I played next to a keyboard on a synth pad, I noticed my guitar sounded a little more “on” than usual, almost like there were more riffs that worked with the chord than usual. All of my lead work sounded a little more alive too, thanks to the EMGs distinctive sound, and I wanted to keep playing longer, just because this guitar is so cool to look at, I just didn’t want to put it down.

At the end of the day, what more could you ask for? This guitar is everything you love about a standard LP, but with a dozen or so amazing additions to it’s already genius design that make it so much more to cherish. For the simple fact that they took one of the greatest designs for a guitar in history, and turned it up to 11, the EC1000FR-STBLK earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Washburn 12 String Guitars

Hey guys, it’s Brian again from World Music Supply. Sorry for the super long break between posts, what with the holiday shopping season, a lot of snow, and few other distractions, its been a little difficult to get back into the typical routine. But luckily for us all, I’m back and ready to bring you some brand new gear and guitar reviews just in time for the new year!

Washburn WJ45S12 Jumbo Acoustic 12 String Guitar

Washburn WJ45S12 Jumbo Acoustic 12 String Guitar

On Today’s agenda, I get to take a look at some new Washburn 12 Strings that just came in. First up is the WJ45S12, which is a 12 String version of the already popular WJ45. This guitar features a Solid Sitka Spruce top, and flamed maple back and sides, which greatly compliment its giant Jumbo style body. The first thing you notice about this guitar is just how good it looks. With all of the Abalone, the gold tuners, and of course the stunning flame on the maple back and sides, this guitar just looks amazing.

But looks aside, this is still a player’s guitar, with tones that just cant be beat. Twelve strings are a strange beast, with all of those octaves, and intonation abnormalities creating strange chorus effects, with almost piano like overtones, its amazing when you really think about it. This all comes at a cost though, as the guitar requires greater reinforcements to cope with the greater stresses, and occasionally this can lead to 12 strings sounding a little lifeless, and less organic then their 6 string counterparts. When it comes to the WJ45S12, this is just not the case at all.

Washburn WJ45S12 Jumbo Acoustic 12 String Guitar

Washburn WJ45S12 Jumbo Acoustic 12 String Guitar

This guitar sounds gigantic! It intonates surprisingly well, and the solid Spruce top has a very broad sound to it, with tons of highs and mid definition, but also a lot of very powerful low end to it too. The neck is surprisingly comfortable too, which while it is wider to accommodate the added strings, it is still thin enough to play comfortable chords, and even single note parts if you’re really careful with your picking technique. Trying to play quick lines on a 12 string is always a tricky affair, as the extra weight of the strings tends to get in the way of the speed of a fretboard, but thanks to the WJ45’s flat action, and its comfortable fingerboard radius, it is not only possible, but its also relatively easy on this guitar.

At the end of the day, the WJ45S12 is a simply amazing 12 string, even more so when you see just how little you have to pay to get these kinds of tones, and its because of that bang for your buck kind of power, that this guitar scores an easy 10 out of 10.

Washburn WD30S12 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Washburn WD30S12 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Next up is the WD30S12 and its sibling, the WD30SCE12. First off, the WD30S12 is a 12 string variant of the standard WD30, which features the unusual appointment of Tamo Ash back and sides, now why Tamo Ash is so rarely used is beyond me, because it looks and sounds amazing. The sound that Tamo Ash lends to a guitar is similar to Flamed Maple, but with a subtler, I would almost say softer high end to it, which really helps to even out the typically bright sound of a 12 String.

This guitar, like the last one, features an Alaskan Sitka Spruce top which has an amazingly clear and robust voice to the WD30, with plenty of clarity between all twelve of the strings. The bone saddle helped to improve this clarity as it was intonated surprisingly well, with very few of the typical intonation issues that plague 12 Strings. The neck on this one also had the same surprisingly thin and comfortable feel to it that the WJ45S12 had, which meant both easy chording, and even single note lines.

Washburn WD30S12 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Washburn WD30S12 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Far and apart, this guitar brought something new to the world of 12 String production guitars, it had a nice quality to it that we rarely see from others. The look and feel of it was astounding, and the handsome Tamo Ash back and sides was a nice touch as well. For all of this and more, the WD30S12 earns itself a deserved 10 out of 10.

Washburn WD30SCE12 Acoustic Electric 12 String Guitar

Washburn WD30SCE12 Acoustic Electric 12 String Guitar

Finally in today’s blog, is the WD30SCE12, which is an electric cutaway version of the WD30S12 we just looked at. I’ve always loved the idea of cut away 12 Strings, just the idea that you could climb all the way up to the 20th fret and enjoy that strange, mild chorusing that you can only get from a 12 string, especially from the octave strings, which have a very strange, and interesting sound to them up on the higher frets.

To these expectations, the WD30SCE12 did not disappoint. The Fishman Presys preamp had that tasty Fishman piezo tone, with lots of boom and low end, some nice midrange presence, and that nice sizzling piezo high end that I’ve come to love over the years. The sound of it through a good acoustic amp, or a PA cabinet is pretty close to the actual sound of the instrument, which even without EQ adjustments would cut through a band mix just fine, although I guarantee that you will need a sound hole cover as this guitar is very resonate, and very lively in front of a speaker.

Washburn WD30SCE12 Acoustic Electric 12 String Guitar

Washburn WD30SCE12 Acoustic Electric 12 String Guitar

The sound of this guitar on the upper frets is fantastic, with plenty of sparkle and jangle to keep your playing interesting and creative. The ability to play fingerstyle on this guitar is unmatched, as the added note definition thanks to the Fishman electronics and that perfect neck profile really lends themselves to that style of play. With the added harmonic content of the octave and doubled strings, the sound was just amazing, with an almost piano like texture.

Sure 12 Strings might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, and there is a little bit more to worry about than your average acoustic, what with all of those extra strings to tune, and that octave G string is always an issue for those who play lots of 12 string. But the rewards are worth it. That big, jangly sound of a 12 String guitar is something worth having at least once on every album, and it’s more than worth owning one or two just to keep around for color. When it comes to that kind of color instruments, with lots of wonderful tones to be pulled from them, the WD30SCE12 is definitely pretty high up on the list. For an instrument that many consider a one trick pony, the WD30SCE12 is wonderfully versatile. From Fingerstyle to Folk, and from classic rock, to modern, the WD30SCE12 easily won its rating of 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | The Washburn RX12 Series

Hey guys, Brian with World Music Supply here again, bringing you your typical dose of gear and guitar reviews, and today I get to bring you guys a review of a guitars that has just been flying off the shelves here at WMS, the Washburn RX12. The Washburn RX12 comes in two basic formats, the string thru version, which features chrome hardware and a vintage TOM style bridge, or the RX12 is also available in a Floyd Rose equipped version, which features black hardware.

The String Thru Washburn RX12 Electric Guitar

The String Thru Washburn RX12 Electric Guitar

The standard string thru model features Washburn designed humbuckers, a solid basswood body, a bolt on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard. Although its features sound rather blasé, it actually sounds really good. The humbuckers are surprisingly powerful, on a clean setting I actually really dug the sound of the bridge pickup, as it wasn’t super bright, but it had enough cut to do its job, and the neck pickup was fluty and warm, almost jazzy in the right light. The neck was thin, but not too thin, with enough girth to it to keep the guitar toneful, and to make chording a breeze. Turning up the dirt this guitar really started to sing, with big bold tones that sustained for days, with plenty of midrange cut and bite to it.

The plus of having a string thru body is that the added mass attached at the strings anchor point increases not only the sustain, but also the harmonic content of the strings as they are connected to a much more solid, stable base. This means that the RX12 not only has sustain for days, but when you crank up the volume, and turn up the distortion, this guitar has a very rich complex sound, which lends itself to everything from classic rock chording, to modern soloing. The String thru version is also available in a lot more colors than the Floyd Rose model, as it comes in black, white, red, and sunburst all of which are very classy, and attractive.

The Floyd Rose Equipped Washburn RX12FRMB

The Floyd Rose Equipped Washburn RX12FRMB

The Floyd Rose model, the RX12FR on the other hand is available in only one color at the moment , Metallic Black, which I lovingly keep calling “bowling ball black” as it has tiny, star like flecks of reflective material in it, which reminds me of a bowling ball far more than say, a motor cycle paint job, which I find attractive. I honestly love this guitar, its simple, its straight forward, and it sounds great. Now granted I might be biased, because as of a week ago, I actually bought and own one of these bad boys. The floating trem is perfect for any kind of hard rock styling, from Steve Vai style warble, Satriani screams, Dimebag dive bombs, to anything you can dream up. The sound of this guitar is a tad different as there is less mass to the guitar, and the bridge is made of different densities of steel, and has more moving parts than the string thru variant. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t sound amazing, because it does!

Clean, this guitar still has that same fluty, clear tone as the string thru version, but with a broader, more even sound. The sustain is surprisingly good, I say surprising as I suspected it would be less so. What with all the extra moving parts and less mass in the overall design, but the sustain was at least comparable to the string thru version. The harmonic content was different however, where as the string thru guitar sounded fuller, this guitar sounded much more focused, with a sound that seems more suited to lead playing, where the string thru seems more suited to rhythm work, as the Floyd Rose guitar seems to leap out of the mix and the string thru seems to sit in the mix far better.

A Myriad of Washburn RX12 Electric Guitars

A Myriad of Washburn RX12 Electric Guitars

What ever your need, and what ever your style there is an RX12 for you, and they have never been as affordable as they are right now. Their design is simple, and attractive, their sound is complex and dynamic, and their price is unbelievable. For all of these reasons, I have to give the RX12 series a deserved 10 out of 10.