Thursday, 29 January 2009

Tea Water

Translated Ochanomizu, means "Tea Water". But those in the know, translate it as "Guitar City". If one is looking for a guitar in Tokyo, the "Disneyland" of guitar stores is in Ochanomizu.

After missing out on that Steve Vai JEM guitar, I still wanted to try those guitars out to see if I'd made a big mistake.

No one had the same model but I managed to find a secondhand JEM7VBK for 158,000 yen looking as good as new. It looked quite nice and felt good in my hands. The mirror scratchplate was easy to gather fingerprints, but it sure added that extra something along with the nice binding along the edges. It sounded better wound up with some distortion than clean, but better than I expected.

Just for comparison's sake, I thought to try the current JEM7VWK that Steve Vai uses on tour. It's has a different wood body and pickups. I'm not crazy about gold hardware. I have it on my Les Paul and strat, and it tarnishes pretty easily compared to chrome hardware. On this guitar it's probably too much bling too.

Having said that, the hotter pickups made it stand out a lot. Both clean and overdrive rang out nicely. Harmonics were plentiful. I like the sound of this guitar a lot. Just the style isn't my thing. I prefer the black or the mirror one I missed out on from America.

While I was in Ochanomizu I took the opportunity to try the Billy Corgan strat.

Overdriven it sounded very nice and had a great feel on the neck. It doesn't sound like a strat at all to me, but that isn't always such a bad thing. It's definitely a nice guitar to be rocking out on. It's matte black finish is great too. Anyone who's had a black guitar must know how much a pain in the butt they are to keep clean of fingerprints and smudges.

What I've been hoping to try out for a while now is an eBow. What's that?

It's a small device that you hold over a guitar pickup to create infinite, ringing sustained notes. The most obvious recorded example is U2's "With or Without You". I heard it was difficult to use, and after trying for about ten minutes I have to agree!


Something similar is the Fernandes sustainer pickup. Again I tried it out on one of the guitars, and it wasn't the most intuitive process either. Being explained the switches in broken English didn't help things either.

Probably a good idea though. For now I don't need another guitar, but it was definitely a fun day in Ochanomizu. It's been a while since I was there, so it was great to check it out once more.


Limo said...

I think you have enough guitars.

You should spend the money on your car :)

Limo said...

That comment was in jest ... and i think you should spend on whatever the fuck you like! Enjoy Tokyo Guitar prices! I enjoyed the used camera prices ;)

Jimmy In Japan said...

Yes, I have too many guitars.

When I get back home I think I'll probably sell my old Yamaha and Charvel guitars that I've simply don't use , because the Les Paul and Strat currently rock my world. Now all I need is some musos to gig with.

Used camera prices can still be not that far from the local New prices in Tokyo.