So yesterday we had a bit of a journey down to Birmingham to acquire some beasts of the multi-stringed variety. It was based around this
Unfortunately due to James' many issues with the NavFree app on the iPhone, he ended up in the arse end of nowhere before getting here, and had to leave almost as soon as he arrived. However, a few friends of mine came along and we turned it into a gear-based orgy.
So on this my friends Pete W (Peteus on here) and Pete F (Petef2007 on ss.org), who also happen to be the guitarist in my current band and my ex-band respectively (yeah, I decided I wanted to the same name for a guitarist, screw learning new names), came along down to Birmingham. We met up with my other friend John (who was the guitarist in my first band, now in a band called Haerken, who do medieval-themed Death Metal, really bloody good) there and enjoyed ourselves.
The first stop was Professional Music Technology in Birmingham. I'm not sure if it's still the case (I think it may well be actually), but this has been reported to be the largest guitar store in Europe. Based upon the back wall, I am inclined to believe them....
Complete with a cross
Too much motion blur on this, everything moves so fast in this place!
The place stocks loads of amps, guitars, has an upstairs entirely for guitars, the acoustic guitars and pianos are a separate part of the shop, and the entrance way also has some pedals, strings, straps, books, the lot. The place is HUGE. I lived in Birmingham for 3 years so I had gotten used to this place, but even now it still makes me open my mouth a little in shock at the size of the place...
Full length shot
One final shot
Here is one of the best guitars I've played in my life
I understand why people are raving about them on here. They feel great, they sound great (despite the actives, would sound better with something decent in ), and it just really surprised me how damn wonderful they are.
Nice looking PRS
An Opeth signature PRS, looks really gorgeous in person
Double-neck PRS Dragon. Yes, that does say £33,000. I know it's a show piece really, but it still annoys me how little of the price is the guitar itself
Pete W saw this bass, he's looking for inspiration for a guitar build he'll be doing (7 string F-shaped, theres a thread on it here)
Nice green on this bass, again more Pete W inspiration here...
After years of never finding an Ibanez I enjoyed playing, we found a few in one day. Certainly an enlightening day as far as guitar preferences go anyway. Here is the first one, a nice S7320 for a good price.
I was tempted to add this to the gear haul, but thankfully by the time we were done with the day it was too late to go back (good for my bank account). The neck on them feels great, and they sound really cool too. For the price of £360 I didn't think it was a bad deal
Pete W having a go
Pete W still having a go
John being a hipster, oddly enough all of these shared the same space as the Jacksons in the store. Some would say the Jacksons are out of place, I say everything else is out of place where the Jacksons are. Jacksons reign supreme
A really decent Ibanez Gio 6 string that Pete W and I had a go on. Pete is after a 6 string bass, so this might be the ticket, played and sounded really good
The only photo we got of James... (I hope I'm not ruining a future NGD thread for him with this)
We left PMT (ehehehe brilliant abbreviation) and made our way to the car park to fetch my new guitar from James' poor car that had to deal with being in every single town near Birmingham at some point in the day it seems.
On our way down we saw this...
Money was exchanged, our goodbyes were made to James so he could speed off, and I filled the rear.......of my car with this beauty
Can you tell I'm pleased?
Here it is in the case
After this, we had some food at an awesome Chinese place (near the strip club for those visiting Birmingham, giggedy), and then made our way to Guitar Guitar. This place has only opened fairly recently in Birmingham, so this was my first visit there too. John had to leave to prepare for unleashing the medieval torture on us all later.
We decided to give the RGA8 we saw a go in there.
We played through an Egnater Rebel, which was a nice little amp, and holds itself well at higher gain. Definitely sounds a lot bigger than its 1x12 size suggest.
Now as for our thoughts on the RGA8, these about sum it up
We have not played a guitar this bad that was new and for the amount they wanted for it. If it was £200? Maybe. Anything higher though? Overpriced. The thing was setup terribly, it was muddy as hell, felt like crap, the neck felt like it would snap if you so much as looked at it funny.
I really hope this was just a bad example of the guitar, because if this is what is put out there as a "budget" 8, then people are going to get put off of 8s really easily. I'd prefer to rip my own cock off and fuck myself in the ear with it than buy one.
Thankfully we played our 3rd Ibanez of the day that was good. Real good in fact. The S7320 played well, but the Xiphos and this are in another league.
Ignore the image name if you can see it, realised it was not the same guitar as I thought it was. Ibanez RG827QMZ, plays shockingly well, the sounds out of it are great, and overall just felt like a really solid and well made guitar.
The S7320 made me think Ibanez's weren't bad, this and the Xiphos have opened me up to even liking them now, thats one hell of a difference to how I used to think!
The PRSs on offer at Guitar Guitar
Shop floor at Guitar Guitar, some nice gear, nothing spectacular (although a lot of Egnater on show, so if you are interested they are there). They did apparently have a couple of Bogner amps at one stage (Ubershall Twin Jet and the Ecstasy), but they only had a single Bogner cab this time.
Another shot of the lovely Ibby
Some PRS (usual and SE's) on show
A few different Ibbys, RGA7, RGA8, the new S7, and an RG of some description? Not sure which one if I'm honest
Another shot of the S7
I also decided I couldn't visit a place and not get some muff while I'm there. So here is my muff.
After Guitar Guitar we went to see Haerken and a load of other bands play. Very impressive is all I can say, not a single band was bad, and the majority were all fantastic. Any single one of them could turn up on a stage in Sheffield (where I'm from) and blow the bands off stage, they were all that good.
The great thing with Haerken too is that they'll throw a load of inflatable weapons (swords and maces) and get everyone going to "war" rather than moshing. A lot less painful, less people falling over, and a bloody hilarious sight to see a room full of people beating the living crap out of each other with air-filled weaponry.
I'll give them a quick plug as they deserve it
Hærken | Facebook
It feels like it was another era when I was in a band with the bassist (Ben) and guitarist (John), they've gotten way further than we ever would have (played at Bloodstock this year, and now headlining notable shows all over).
Overall, a great day, good being around friends, and great gear obviously! It's a shame James couldn't stick round longer, but we'll get the UK Meet going for that!
It sounds great, it plays great, and I can't fault anything about it. The D-Activators are a lot better than I expected, and besides some grounding issues (I'll probably rewire it at some point this week), theres not a thing wrong with it.
The neck is chunkier than most Ibanez's I've played, more similar to my current crop of guitars (LTD, Jackson, Agile, BC Rich), which pleases me as I prefer it like that anyway.
There's not a lot else I can say, the strap I have stops it from neck diving, so all I can say is if you have a chance, BUY ONE!
A video to accompany the NGD (i.e. me playing the Xiphos). Horribly dark and I had hoped you could edit after with Vimeo, obviously not.
Includes Bloodbath (including using my Behringer HM2 clone), Immortal, my old band End Of Eternity, and my current band (just one of the solos)
I need to learn to do my videos during the day....
Gratutious muff shot
AND WE'RE DONE!