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.

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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 | Jay Turser 220 Serpent in Tiger Eye Finish

Hi everybody, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, and I have something awesome to talk about today. The awesome item in question is the Jay Turser 220Serpent Tiger Eye , this guitar is just stunning, with a top of gorgeous AA Flamed Maple, and a body of delightful looking figured mahogany. The Serpent comes stock with gold hardware, two equally gold vintage voiced humbuckers, a Graphtech nut, and all of it is binded with beautiful abalone all along the body and the headstock, but what really sets this guitar apart is the inlay work.

Jay Turser JT-220SERPENT-TE

Jay Turser JT-220SERPENT-TE

All along the rosewood fretboard, is an intricately inlayed abalone and mother of pearl scene of a Chinese dragon flying through clouds, with a yellow sun offset in the distance. I have never seen inlay work like this on a guitar that didn’t cost atleast a few grand, let alone on a guitar in this price range, this is just unheard of.  When these guitars first came in, I remember looking at them one by one, and seeing how all of the flames were just slightly different, some more pronounced with rather wide stripes, some far more “tiger” like with many dark and light stripes all running together beautifully. These guitars are all in a word unique gems, all with their own beautifully unique qualities, from the figuring of the mahogany back, the style of the tiger striping on the top, all of it is unique to the pieces of woods that were chosen for each individual guitar.

Plugging in to what is rapidly growing to be my favorite amp, the Randall RT503H, the Jay Turser showed its true colors. The clean tones had a nice vintage warmth to them, with clean tones that evoke an almost acoustic quality. The bridge tone is bright, but balanced enough that chording on it is never harsh or “quaky”. The neck humbucker had a nice jazzy tone, with a big body and when playing jazz lines, it had that nice ethereal dark quality that made octave runs just a delight to play. Turning up the gain stage on channel one, I got to that classic AC/DC level of gain, which this guitar quickly transformed into some amazing vintage tone. Sounding somewhere between Jimmy page, and Peter Frampton, this stage of the amp and this guitar worked perfectly. The medium jumbo frets are perfectly smooth, and playing lightning fast runs on this neck is easy as butter, even with the gorgeous fretboard inlay, you never lose your place thanks to the side markers, and amazingly, the inlays beauty is only slightly distracting while playing, only once making me want to quit playing so I could stare at the way the light refracted through the abalone Dragon.

Jay Turser JT-220SERPENT-TE

Jay Turser JT-220SERPENT-TE

Cranking the amp up however revealed a very modern sounding side to this guitar, with body and boldness that made the “vintage” title of the humbuckers a little misleading, I was able to play drop tuned riffs for close to an hour, never once thinking the guitar sounded odd, or out of line playing any of the more modern metal style material I threw at it. This guitar really is a machine, with even the highest of high notes cutting through with a body that was really amazing.

At the end of the day, this guitar has surprised me more than any other guitar I have played since this blog began. Sure it might not be the best at everything, its not going to find favor with super shredders, or more conservative guitarists who have a problem with delightful works of art occupying their fretboard, but this guitar has a tone that is really stunning, never sounding thin, or overly dark, always a perfect balance of modern and vintage tones waiting under my finger tips. As for the “serpent” artwork, with the abalone dragon flying across your fretboard, you are going to get noticed, I wasn’t lucky enough to get to take this guitar on stage with me, but I imagine that the reaction from a crowd to having a dragon flying across your guitar would be a good one. For all of these factors, the Jay Turser Tiger Eye Serpent scores a well deserved 10 out of 10.

Jay Turser JT-220SERPENT-TE

Jay Turser JT-220SERPENT-TE

World Music Supply | Washburn Guitars

Hey its Brian here from World Music Supply and I’m here to talk to you guys about some cool guitars from Washburn. Over the years Washburn has earned a reputation for cool guitar designs the world over, having crafted the custom guitars for artists like Paul Stanley of Kiss, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera, and even the likes of Bootsy Collins. When it comes to well made guitars, Washburn is one of the leading names in this day and age, and today we’re going to review three of these fantastic instruments, specifically the XMDLX2FRFPSB, the WMISTDLITECB, and lastly the XMPRO2USEPB.

The Washburn XMDLX2FRFPSB

The Washburn XMDLX2FRFPSB

First up to bat today is the XMDLX2FRFPSB, which while being just one of the many great guitars in the XM Deluxe 2 line, it is the only one in such a striking finish, I mean what more do you say about this finish, flamed transparent purple. No picture I take of it really does it justice, but wow, is this eye catching or what! The black hardware contrasts nicely, and gives it a very medieval feel to it, with its chunky black steel Floyd rose, and its royal purple coloring, this guitar is just something else.

Plugged in it’s the same story,  this guitar with its Seymour Duncan designed pickups, just sounds out of this world. Clean, this guitar had far more warmth and texture than any other strat style guitar in its price range. The tone had a fullness to it that you don’t get from many guitars in this price range, this is mainly thanks to its basswood body, and its beefy pickups. When I cranked the gain up on the amp however, this guitar just woke up. Suddenly, it was just singing, with a voice that evoked some of the greatest guitar legends of the 80s. all of that throaty sustain, and sweet bell like harmonics. Also, lets not forget that this guitar comes standard with a Floyd rose tremolo system, what that means is not only does this guitar have that thick 80’s style shred tone, but it has the hardware to back it up.

Within moments of cranking up the gain on this guitar, I was throwing down every great speed metal lick I could remember, with screaming harmonics, to dive bombs, to “beat it” style overly exaggerated vibrato. This guitar can do it all, is at a price that anyone can afford, and lets face it, it really has a look all its own, and it’s because of that fact that the XMDLX2FRFPSB gets a well deserved 10 out of 10.

The Washburn WMISTDLITECB Mighty Idol

The Washburn WMISTDLITECB Mighty Idol

Next up is the Mighty Idol WMISTDLITECB, which is a fantastic little guitar. I say little because it’s a LITE guitar, meaning Washburn has trimmed away as much of the bodies thickness as they can, while still retaining the natural tone of the instrument. This results in a guitar that has a brighter, quicker attack, and a weight that is a fraction of that of its non LITE brethren, while never being neck heavy, or thin sounding. Couple that with its Duncan USM Alnico pickups, and couple that with the coil tap switch and this is one Mighty Idol.

Plugged in the WMISTDLITECB has a smooth, resilient tone that has all of the warmth and body of a normal LP style guitar, but with a little more snap and shimmer to it than you would expect. Clean that translated to an almost acoustic quality, with very strat-y style colors available when you flick the coil tap. This all translated to smooth quick jazz tones, with all of the warmth and body of a big jazz box, just in a much smaller package. Thanks to its coil tap feature, it also has the capability of having great twangy tones, meaning you can do country style runs as well, which is always a handy thing to have in a guitar.

Distorted however, this guitar went from a good clean sound, to a great rock sound. Thanks to its thin body, it has a tone reminiscent of an SG, which means that this guitar has a lot of bark behind it, full of bold AC/DC style swagger and bite. What this means is this guitar has a lot of really vintage spark to it, playing it through a journey tune or two with the band, or a few back in black style riffs was no problem. Switching it into single coil mode, and I got a tone more reminiscent of a Jaguar, or mustang than a strat or tele, which is a good thing, as usually getting those short scale fender tones requires buying a much more expensive short scale fender. This all made playing a few of those shoe gaze style post-rock riffs a real joy, and also added up to a really unique guitar tone, a jaguar style tone locked away in a lespaul style body.

In short the WMISTDLITECB has a lot of real potential locked away in its tiny frame, from searing blues rock, clean country spank, big jazzy dancing, or even post-rock weirdness, this guitar has it all wrapped up in one simple package that is super easy on the eyes, and thankfully, the wallet. For this amazing ability, the WMISTDLITECB scores a 10 out of 10 for its jack of all trades style.

The Washburn XMPRO2USEPB

The Washburn XMPRO2USEPB

Last up for the day is the XMPRO2USEPB which is the most metal member of the XM PRO family of instruments. With its pearl black body, all black hardware, and its EMG 81/85 pickups this guitar is armed to the teeth so to speak. The longer Fender style scale length also means that this guitar can cope with lower tunings amazingly. I tested this guitar under two set-ups, one with standard .10 style electric guitar strings, all tuned up in standard, and a second review, with the guitar strung up in .13s tuned a step down.

Running clean and in standard tuning, this guitar has that nice warm, albeit dark tone that I have come to expect when it comes to EMG pickups. Granted, tweaking the amp a bit from my usual set up results in a nice, bright twangier sounding tone as well, but I am growing to like the warm rumble that I get from EMG pickups on my clean channel. It was great for doing jazzy style runs, and it warmed my country style licks right up. Just strumming the guitar resulted in warm bell like chords, with tons of string definition and body. Tuned down this guitar had great piano like sustain, with all of the snap, and brooding baritone esk sound that I wished it would.

Turning up the distortion a little, and this guitar came alive. Suddenly its dark clean tones, became monstrous distortion tones. Tuned in standard, this meant that I had the definition and body to comp anything from classic rock, to modern metal, all of it drenched in fiery distortion and perfect string to string definition. This fact is only expanded on when I dropped the tuning. Suddenly the guitar had a bark, and an attitude that really spoke, everything had its own unique sound, and this guitar really didn’t sound like any other metal guitar I have played before. It really had an attack and a clarity all its own. For this fact alone, the XMPRO2USEPB scores a perfect 10 out of 10.