Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Been a while since I have posted and I thought it was time, the build is going well and I have some pics.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Smoke On The Water Instrumental Jam

Ive finally finished editing the footage I of the recent gig so I thought I would put up one of the songs.
You can find the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u78Ac0HyzKk
Listen to those awesome sax riffs!
Hopefully I'll finish editing "Wonderful Tonight" soon so I can put it up on the YouTube channel as well.

Upcoming Build

Been a bit since I've posted and I've got an exciting new project coming up: a custom build! I finally scraped together enough cash to afford the parts for my next project guitar. Since its my first build from scratch so I thought I would keep it simple and stick to a fixed bridge, with a "Black-Tusq XL Nut". Ive decided not to go crazy with the electronics (smaller cavity=more resonance) so the layout will be 2 humbuckers, 1 volume, 1 tone and a 3-way switch. Humbuckers will probably be mounted direct to the body however I've ordered mounting rings just in case.
There will be plenty of pictures and hopefully video's to document every step of the project.
I have 6 months to complete the build so there is no rush and since I have ordered a neck from Stew-Mac I will have plenty of time to make changes or maybe even have a go at building a neck from scratch.

For now I'll have to wait around 3 weeks for my "Planet Waves Pedal Board Cable Kit" to arrive however the parts for the project should arrive in a couple of days (thanks to Stew-Mac's excellent service).

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Back to the blog,
The gig with "Second Coming" went great: I played lead for wonderful tonight and the audience seemed to like it so we broke out into a instrumental jam of "Smoke On The Water".
I didn't really get to check out the gear everyone was using but I was given the opportunity to play through a Vox ToneLab EX. This was my first experience with multi effects and I was pleasantly surprised: With barely any time to setup or tweak my sound I had 2 basic clean tones assigned to Foot-Switch 1 and 2 while foot-switch 3 gave me a nice thick "Marshally" tone.

Another great feature of the ToneLab is the fact that the expression pedal's default setting is a volume pedal meaning live tweaking is as simple as lifting your heel an inch or so! This came in handy when I needed a bit of a boost for a riff or maybe back off a bit so the Sax wasn't overpowered.

After playing through the ToneLab EX Im sure that at some point in my life ill probably pick it up as a back up to my pedal board or maybe I could use it for traveling since its literally plug and play (just don't plug into the wrong countries power because it will play with your ToneLab in a bad way).

Thats it for now but I hope I will be able to get an in-depth look at Vox's ToneLab series.
If you want check out the ToneLab EX or the smaller ST go to: http://www.voxamps.com/us/pedals/tonelabex/


Friday, 22 July 2011


This post will not be a something that occurs regularly since this will mainly be about gear and stuff. Regardless I thought it was something worth blogging about. Tomorrow my uncle's band was kind enough to let me sit in for a song at their gig. Im quiet nervous about the whole thing since I am in India and none of my gear is with me. At least I have Whiskers with me. Speaking of Whiskers he will be requiring a refret very soon since most of the frets above the 12th on the high E string seem to be choked when I bend the string. not only that but the 21st fret is choking all the string at that position. To make matters worse ive forgotten the chord progression to "Wonderful Tonight" which ive only practiced with the band 3 times so far.
I pray that things will go well since I dont want to screw up the show for everyone since we are playing to a paying audience.
Anyway worst case scenario is that I run backstage in tears wishing I had a teddy bear, hopefully I wont have to resort to that.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

SKB Instrument Cases

Just wanted to give a quick shout-out to SKB since they have to be the best case manufacturer in the world. SKB are the best at what they do without a doubt.
Im not just saying that, all my electric guitars have SKB cases and they have been thrown around by airport baggage handlers who seem to be blind to the BRIGHT RED FRAGILE stickers that I plaster my cases with. Most of the guitars arrive at the destination in-tune.
Plus SKB's newer cases all come complete with TSA approved locked meaning you can keep thieves out but let Customs in (without drilling through the latch).
Not only do SKB build guitar cases, they also make military cases: if we are willing to put our axes into SKB cases the army can definitely rely on SKB for protection during transportation as well as in the field.
SKB also build pedal boards and sports cases.
Check Out SKB: "Here"

Whisker's new case:


Saturday, 25 June 2011

June 2011 Pedal Board

Black Jack Part 2 will happen in a couple of days till then im going to start adding the rest of the rig excluding the guitars.
So for now it'll be the two pedal boards and the amps.

Above you have a good view of the EHX Iron lung:

So as you can see im not running anything in the effects loop of the Bandit, That may happen later on in the evolution of my rig. But as of now id like to keep the routing relatively simple.
The chain is basically Guitar into the tuner which then runs into my SH-95 wah. The whammy is then placed after this and im only using the whammys wet signal out into my dirt boxes. Speaking of dirt, Im using the Digitech death metal (the cheapest) the most, the DS-1 for very few things. And the most expensive: MXR blue box the least. Just goes to show that you should never trust the media when choosing musical gear, I prefer to trust my own ear since it is MY TONE!
Anyway after the dirt section I use the BOSS super chorus to thicken up my distorted tone (also helps bring out those harmonics). The Chorus is permanently left on as it is a very transparent sounding pedal. The CH-1 actually relies on your guitar quite a lot so it sounds awesome with the thick mahogany of Black Jack. After the chorus I use the BF-3 mainly for Van-Halen stuff. The BF-3 is almost perfect except its sweep cant be slowed down to the same speed as the MXR version. It took forever to tap in the tempo so that it would sound a little less like a ray-gun.
NOTE: The BF-3 has a stereo output to split my signal into the VOX AC4-TV. This means that the VOX skips the delay and the scooped mids. This was perfect since the AC4 is a very midrange based amplifier. This compliments the scooped mids on my Bandit 112 so that I am still heard during band practice. The VOX is also effected by the EHX Iron Lung this means I can hear the guitar signal as well as the Vocoders effected signal.
The entire board except the iron lung, whammy and EQ pedals are powered by the Dunlop DC-Brick.
This means the entire setup is as quite as possible, A EHX Hum Debugger is likely to feature on this board soon.


Introducing: Black Jack

As I mentioned in the first post: I am going to catalog all the guitars I own then move on to the rest of the rig. Since you have already seen Whiskers I thought I would show off Black Jack.
Black Jack is actually the only guitar I have ever bought with my own money, all the other guitars I own are either gifts or hand me downs. Anyway Black Jack is an Epiphone Custom Shop Flying V.
It was built in Korea at the Saein factory in 2005, I know this from the serial number which can be traced at this website.

Here you can see Black Jack has a unique factory finish:

Everything on Black Jack is stock except for the bridge pickup which is a Seymour Duncan SH-1 or 59' PAF copy. At one point in Black Jack's life he had a Bigsby B5 vibrato installed with a Vibra-Mate mounting plate, This would have been fin except the Bigsby I recieved from ebay was a B500 licensed version which doesnt fit the vibra mate perfectly. This meant it was mounted crooked and caused tuning issues.

The Seymour Duncan 59':

As you can see the white finished pickups don't bear the Seymour Duncan name on the bobbin, however it is still engraved into the base plate:

As of now Black Jack is tuned a whole step down and functions as a backup for whiskers. I may sometimes use black Jack for slide since it has small frets and is setup with a moderately high action suitable for slide.

To end this post we have a gut shot of Black Jack:


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Floyd Rose Tremolo

In case you've resided in a 300w mega-stack-proof bunker for the last 30 years you will find that of the various tremolo systems out there, the Floyd Rose tremolo is by far the best. This is because of many essential construction points and revolutionary design breakthroughs:

1. The bridge plate itself is made out of hardened steel, this is important because the FR pivots on two pivot posts in the guitar which ensure that the bridge returns to "zero" (a balanced point at which tuning is standard and the bridge is resting at the same angle as the body).

2. The FR is a double locking system which means that the strings are locked at the saddle as well as the nut this eliminates the usual tuning issues which are often experienced with plastic nuts that bind the string or poorly grooved saddles.

3. The FR is quite a simple design which means less things can go wrong which is always a good thing.

Now there are many companies that use fake or "licensed" FR bridges which in the beginning work but the knife edges (the part of the bridge plate that rests against the studs) will soon wear out, This causes numerous setup and tuning issues. On Whiskers, luthier Simon Pinder installed a original German Floyd Rose. These are expensive ($170 US) but definitely worth it in the long run.

An excellent site for info on tremolos in general is Audio Zone DK (tremolo page) , that site has a section which covers everything from cleaning to repairing tremolo bridges.

Anyway getting back to the point, here are a couple of picture provided by Simon Pinder of the installation process (I messed up the positioning of the mounting stud holes).

Here you can see the shim he created for mounting the locking nut:

Simon Pinder filling my poorly positioned mounting stud holes, A quick tip: what Mr. Pinder does is collect broken drum sticks which can then be used as dowels.

Here we can see the studs finally positioned properly, It is important that these studs go into the guitar body perfectly straight, I suggest using a drill press or a jig for a hand-held drill.

Here is a final picture of the floyd rose installed with an EVH D-tuna:


Whiskers Hardare + Cavity

Finally got time to post the pics of Whisker's hardware and control cavity.

In this pic you can see the Shadow Electronics "Kill-Pot"
The nice and neat wiring wasn't done by myself but by master luthier Simon Pinder, Mr. Pinder is probably one of the best luthiers in the world and he also tackled my Floyd's installation which I personally managed to mess up.

Here you can get a good view of the Schaller locking tuners which work great except that the low E's locking system sometimes loosens itself since the string is thicker than the others, This isn't a problem just something to keep in mind.

After I finish posting about all the guitars I own I may start doing reviews or a rig rundown, something to look forward to.
Hopefully you followers (the few that I have) will spread this blog around and help keep it alive.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


At the start of 2009 my younger brother bought "Whiskers" a Yamaha erg-121 as a starter guitar, As I had hoped he soon got bored with it and the guitar became mine. Soon after I received official "ownership rights" to it I decided that I wanted it to become a custom project. Ever since I haven't stopped modding it and it has become my favorite guitar ever. If you are following this blog you will probably end up seeing this guitar on various occasions in a lot of my future posts, Every time a change is made to "Whiskers" I will post a pictures as well as a quick write up.

As of now I cant figure out how to add text boxes so ill have to do the captions up here:

1. The first Image is a horrible picture of the original guitar, The tuners are standard Yamaha, The Pots and 5-way switch are all Alpha and the bridge is a Yamaha knockoff of a Fender synchronized vibrato bridge. Surprisingly the thing kept in tune despite the cheap plastic nut and pot metal bridge.
Pickups consisted of two average humbuckers and a terrible single coil (both Yamaha).
-Overall a cheap guitar with excellent essentials but bad hardware.

2. The second picture shows "Whiskers" in its latest form, Original German Floyd Rose, Electronics consist of a Shadow SH-124 "Kill-Pot" and a "Black Ice" passive overdrive system from Stewart-Macdonald (Black Ice has been setup so that pulling the push-pull pot will result in variable overdrive with tone on 10, or flipping the mini toggle resulting in variable tone and full on overdrive). The output-jack has been replaced by a "Switch-Craft mono output jack". The pickups have been changed to Seymour-Duncan "Duncan Distortions" in both the neck and bridge, both pickups are connected to Seymour Duncan "Triple-Shot" mounting rings which eliminate the need for multiple push pull pots since the rings allow me to split coils as well as engage parallel wiring at the flick of a switch. The Duncan Distortion in the bridge is probably going to be switched out for a Dimarzio Tone Zone while the one in the neck will be switched for a "Fernandes Sustainer Driver".
The "Yamaha Single Coil" has been removed entirely since it was never being used. it is unlikely to ever be replaced since I rarely have a need for single coils and in the rare event that I do I always have the option of splitting the Duncan in the Bridge
Now to talk about hardware a little more: The tuners have been replaced by Schaller locking tuners which help save loads of time when restringing. In addition to this the nut has been replaced with an OFR locking nut. The strap buttons have been changed to Jim Dunlop Straplocks which in my opinion are the best on the market and have a much smaller profile than the similar Ernie Ball Strap Locks which also happen to be more expensive.

For pictures of the hardware and control cavity in detail please check back as it will feature in the next post.


Monday, 13 June 2011


In this post I would like to talk about the purpose of this blog.
Basically this blog will act as a museum for my guitar gear which also show my collections growth as well as allow me to look back on my rig later on in life. Basically this blog will act as a sort of diary of my setup. Although this blog is primarily for my own use I do appreciate follower comments and if enough people decide follow I may start posting reviews and discussion of gear that I own. So remember to tell your fellow gear heads if you do stumble upon this.
-Zubin Isaac