A blog whereby I motivate myself, and my readers, to punch me in the mouth.

  "Punchworthy feeds our deepest Freudian wishes!" --Entertainment

  "The consumate rocker's rocker. Charming, personable... a sucking void of inescapable inner turmoil."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

...like Ricky Martin.

So I'm sure some of you are wondering...


Some of you ...I'm sure... are wondering that.

So here's your de-briefing (from the looks of the above inquiries, it seems like you may need some new briefs, anyway):

APPEARANCE: The guitar is more beautiful in person than in the previously posted photo. It really doesn't look like it's been played much. Amazing for an instrument made in '95. Beautiful. And crazy orange.

TONE: Wowzers. I've got another guitar (Yamaha AES800) that has these same pickups in it, and they sound nothing like this. The difference between how they perform on a maple hollow-body and an alder solid-body is just.. amazing. This guitar/pickup combo makes my Delta do things that it never dreamed of before. It really does sound (dare I say it?) Vox-y. And I haven't done any amp modifications yet. The lead tones are great. Great, great, and great.

PLAYABILITY/SETUP/COMPONENTS: This is the spot where me and The Orange (let's call it that! "The Orange" ..I like it.) are going to have to find each other. As I told Deb, this is my theoretical dream guitar. "Theoretical" because it has all the features that I think I want.. but I have never spent a great deal of time playing a large, semi-hollow guitar with a Bigsby tailpiece.

I immediately discovered that I could pop the low E string out of the saddle when I put too much muscle into it. That is going to require a playing adjustment on my part. Also, the action is set way, way too low. In fact, after its freezing truck ride from Dayton, OH, the strings were buzzing like a hive of bees. It is equiped with 11's, and, in addition to raising the action, I think I'll probably go down to a 10.5. That should be enough to hold the Bigsby while giving me a little more bending room. The Bigsby trem is really nice, but I also want to adjust that to give myself a little more variation. The way it's currently set, you can't get much drop on the strings. Not that I want a ton, but I want more than I've currently got. It seems to stay in tune really well, btw.

The workmanship is really, really nice, with the exception of the volume and tone pots. I think that these are the exact same pots that are in my AEX502--a much, much cheaper guitar, and distant relative of the AES1500. I foresee these guys going away and being replaced with some higher quality components. I'm not buying a high-end guitar and then leaving cranky pots in it. All the other parts and pieces are good quality, and well put together, including the rubber-rimmed selector switch--often a weak point.

OVERALL: So all in all.. it rocks. It rocks, as Kirk would semi-endearingly say, "like Ricky Martin." It rocks a lot more like Brian Setzer, though, in reality. If Brian Setzer had FISTS OF STEEL!!! HO HO!!


'nuff o' dat.


At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Bill said...

Glad to hear you like it. Does it have the push/pull pots on the tone controls?

As far strings and action - 10.5's should be plenty stiff because it's a 25 1/2 inch scale. Standard tuneomatic bridge? Piece o'cake to mess with the action. As far as there not being enough downward tension on the tailpiece side, I don't know what to tell you. If you converted it back to a stop tail, it'd be easily adjustable. Bigsby's aren't known for their adjustability.

At 8:07 AM, Blogger caparoon said...

Yessir, it does. Those are really nice. Those pots are just a little crunchy, though. Not that they make noise, but they don't turn very freely. I think maybe they have some kind of rubber bushing in there, which makes them pretty tight.

They pop right up when you tap 'em, though. Very cool feature.

Standard tuneomatic. Actually another reason this previously-converted guitar is a good thing--the *real* 1500B's have a roller bridge. And all your serious Bigsby players agree that those guys are bad news. Rattly. Not solid enough.

I think the tension issue will be solved by going to a lighter guage string. It will allow it to sit more tightly in the string-notch on the bridge. The low E on the 11's is too fat, so it basically just sits in the top of that notch. The 1500 stoptail comes from the factory with 10's on it, if that give you any idea what Yamaha had in mind. I don't know about the 1500b, but I think it's the same story. Who knows, maybe I'll go all the way down to 10's.

Can't wait til you can get your hands on this thing, man. You'll dig it. : ]

At 8:15 AM, Blogger kirk said...

sounds like an awesome axe.
I have had that problem before with blueshawk with a bigsby, the E string popping out so I filed the notch out more and raise that side of the bridge seemed to work for me.
I think also you will be happy with 10s on that guitar but if you ever feel crazy try adjusting the neck and putting some 13s on that sucker, man it will really sing them, it will sound like a soulful black woman singing the blues.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger caparoon said...

This guitar.. not even set up properly.. (I think I'm just going to take it in to Corson's and have them do the setup.).. still sounds so good that's it's making me re-consider modifying my amp.

: ]

That's how good it sounds. It is one quality piece of gear.


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