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Date Created: 10/19/2010

Last Updated: 1/7/2011

Gitar Elektrik

Basically ade dua jenis electric gutiar: solid body and hollow body.

Gambar yang belah kiri ni solid body, yang belah kanan hollow body.

Well, aku takde experience sangat pasal hollow body ni. Yang aku tau cuma body dia hollow la. Of course la kan. Pastu dia usually ade "f-holes" macam violin. I think this type of guitar is favored by jazz or blues guitarists. Usually aku tengok orang main gitar ni sound dia clean, tak pon crunsh sket. Nothing heavy.

All I can talk about is solid body, since I know a little bit about that. And most of you are probably interested in that anyway.

Bile nak pilih electric guitar ni, ade beberapa benda penting yg kena consider. Antara soklan yg aku selalu terima ialah pasal bridge.

Bridge

Basically ade 3 jenis bridge: fixed, non-locking tremolo and locking tremolo.

Fixed Bridge

Fixed ni yg macam kat Les Paul atau Telecaster. Kalo tak sure rupa dia cammana, fixed bridge ni usually look very simple. And gitar yg bridge camni takde tremolo bar (but just because tak nampak tremolo bar doesn’t mean it’s fixed, since orang tu mungkin tak pasang tremolo bar dia). So gitar fixed bridge ni tak leh la nak buat effect "dive bomb" ke. But that doesn't mean it's bad. I heard that fixed bridge ni transfer vibration tali tu ke body gitar tu dengan baik, since from the string to the body is completely rigid. And bridge jenis ni tak yah pikir pasal bridge springs, that you have to worry about in other types of bridge.

Fixed Bridge

 

Non-Locking Tremolo

Non-locking tremolo ni macam kat gambar Strat kat bawah ni. Dia dipanggil non-locking sebab nut dia tu tak dikunci. Bridge camni cuma boleh tekan jek, tak boleh tarik. So it's one way. Maknanya bile main satu note, boleh tekan tremolo bar tu kasi pitch tu direndahkan and release bar tu kasi return to the original pitch, but tak boleh tarik tremolo bar kasi naik pitch (maybe boleh tarik sikit jek). And since gitar camni nut dia tak dikunci, so kalo pakai tremolo bar tu, tuning akan lari sket sebab tension tali ni dari bridge sampailah ke machine head berubah. But bridge jenis ni offers tremolo capability, and better sound transfer berbanding dengan locking tremolo. Lagi satu spring dia senang sket nak manage, because tension spring tu mesti lebih tinggi dari jumlah tension tali gitar ni (if it's strictly one way).

Non-Locking Tremolo System

 

Locking Tremolo

Locking tremolo, atau Floyd Rose is something else. Since aku selalu dapat soklan pasal bridge ni, and aku more experienced dengan bridge jenis ni, I'll talk more about it.

Locking Tremolo System

As you can see, nut dia lepas tuning kena lock pakai allen key. This ensures that bile pakai tremolo tu, tali punya tension hanya akan berubah dari bridge sampai ke nut jek. From the nut to the machine head tak berubah. That way, the tuning will be more consistent. So kalo pakai tremolo tu extreme gile pon the tuning will be ok. This kind of tremoly system is favored by more aggressive players.

Bridge dia pulak, as you can see, is more complicated than fixed bridge or non-locking tremolo system. Bridge camni dikira floating, sebab boleh tekan and boleh tarik. So, when you play a note, you can change the pitch up or down by using the tremolo bar. And bridge camni, since contact point dengan body gitar kurang dari jenis bridge yg lain, sound transfer to the body isn't so good. Sustain dia pon kurang sket since the bridge is not rigid.

But that's the least of the problem with this kind of bridge. Kalo nak bridge camni, beginners kena amik masa untuk belajar and biasakan dengan complications that comes with it. When all the strings are in tune, bridge ni mesti parallel dengan body guitar ni. That way you have clearance to push and pull it. So, nak kasi bridge ni parallel, spring kat belakang gitar ni mesti diadjust kasi tension dia sama dengan jumlah tension semua tali ni when in tune. Because of that, bile ko tukar gauge tali, ataupon nak guna alternate tuning without special devices (baca pasal Tremol-No dengan EVH D-Tuna kat bawah), you have to readjust the springs. So gitar camni tak praktikal kalo nak buat main macam-macam tuning (unless pakai special devices tu). Pick a tuning and string gauge, and stick with it. I don't find it so hard to adjust the springs because I've had this kind of guitar forever. But still, it's not worth the effort to play drop-D tuning or something (again, unless pakai special devices tu). Kalo ade banyak guitar that's fine. But dulu aku ade satu gitar jek, for like 10 years.

Untuk info selanjutnya pasal relationship between string gauge or alternative tuning and bridge setting, tengok artikel aku yang ni.

Satu lagi problem dengan tremolo ni berbanding ngan fixed bridge is that kalau bend satu tali, tali lain semua go out of tune sampai ko release bend tu. It's fine kalo nak main satu note at a time. Kalo nak bend dua tali skali gus, it's gonna sound bad. Tak pon kalo bend satu tali, main satu note, and nak capai note lain kat tali lain before releasing the bend, it's not gonna sound perfectly in tune too (unless you block the tremolo using Tremol-No).

Well, somebody recently brought up pasal device yg membolehkan kita tukar to drop D quickly (EVH D-Tuna). The thing about it is that kalo kat floating tremolo ni, first kena block dulu tremolo tu (pakai Tremol-No or something like that), kalau tak sume tali lari tuning. Kalau block tremolo, tak boleh tarik, it becomes a one-way tremolo. And then only boleh engage the device to lower the 6th string tension to make it a D instead of E. Kalau tak block dulu tremolo ni, the tension of the springs will be higher than the collective tension of the strings. That'll mess up the tuning of other strings.

Lagi satu special device untuk quickly switch tuning is Tremol-No. Aku baru tau actually, just a few minutes ago. :P So untuk pasal EVH D-Tuna tu, if you use it with Tremol-No, it's probably effective sebab device ni boleh block bridge tu, jadi macam fixed bridge. I haven't tried any of those products actually.

So basically, kalau nak tukar-tukar tuning tapi tanak readjust springs, kena pakai Tremol-No. Tapi pakai Tremol-No membuatkan bridge jadi one-way. And nak drop D dengan cepat, kena pakai Tremol-No tu dengan EVH D-Tuna.

Lagi satu pasal gitar camni ialah bile tukar tali, kalo tak perlu cabut semua tali skali gus, DON'T. Baik cabut satu tali, pasang tali baru, tune it. And then repeat for other strings. Let's say ko cabut semua tali tu, pastu tukar semua tali, tune the 6th String. Pastu tune the first string, pastu second string etc. By the time keenam-enam tali dah tune, the 6th string will be way too flat. You'll have to do it so many times until they converge, meaning that the tuning stays the same. Any kind of guitar pon kena buat camtu. But it's much harder dengan floating bridge ni.

Intonation pon leceh sket. Nak adjust intonation, kena longgarkan dulu satu tali tu, baru boleh access screw untuk tali tu. I don't wanna go too deep into this. Let's just say that it's not as easy as it is on a Strat.

The last thing pasal locking tremolo ni, kalau beli gitar yg murah tapi ade tremolo jenis ni, expect problems. The thing is tremolo camni complicated sket. You can't expect cheap guitars to be equipped with high quality bridge.

 

So kesimpulan pasal tremolo, takde satu pon jenis bridge that offers everything. Kalo ade dua gitar yg sama, satu non-locking satu lagi locking tremolo, the locking one will cost more, just because it's more complicated to make. But that doesn't mean it's the best for you. Kalo aku nak beli satu lagi gitar, it's gonna be a fixed bridge, because I wanna have one like that. Actually sebelum aku angkut JS tu aku memang plan nak angkut fixed bridged guitar. But because I love the JS so much I just had to get that one instead.

 

Pickup

Satu lagi soklan yg orang selalu tanye ialah pasal pickup. Generally ade dua jenis: Single coil dengan humbucking pickups. Single coil ni macam kat Strat dalam gambar kat atas. Humbucker ni macam dalam gambar locking tremolo tu.

Gitar Strat traditionally ade 3 single-coil pickups. Gitar jenis "super Strat" pulak, macam Ibanez RG sometimes ade dua humbucker jek, atau dua humbucker plus one single coil in the middle.

Which one is better? It's a matter of need and taste. Single coil ni tone dia tend to be brighter and thinner. Kalo main clean or crunch, aku memang suka single coil. Humbucker pulak tone dia fat and heavy. That's my choice kalo main heavy rhythm or solo. Sometimes aku pakai single coil untuk sound heavy yg "hollow" sket, macam dalam video Seribu Tahun Takkan Mungkin tu. Dalam artikel aku pasal Pickups ade ade demo sket beza sound dia.

Oh, one thing about single coil is that it tends to be noisier than humbucker. Without going too deep into the physics, humbucker ni kedua-dua row magnet dia menyebabkan hum tu dicancel. That's actually why dorang invent "fake" single coil macam DiMarzio Area '58 aku tu. That way you get the low noise quality of a humbucker, and get the tone of a single coil.

Single coil ngan humbucker ni configuration pickup tu. There are also active and passive pickup systems. So basically, ko boleh dapat passive single coil, passive humbucker, active single coil, active humbucker. Nak tau pasal active and passive pegi tengok artikel Pickups tu.

So bila beli gitar, ko kena decide nak pickups yg cammana. Maksud aku, nak yg S-S-S ke, H-H ke, H-S-H ke etc. The thing is, lepas beli gitar tu, nak upgrade single-coil to a better single-coil, or upgrade humbucker dengan humbucker yg lain senang gak. But nak tukar single-coil to humbucker, or vice versa is a little more work.

 

Recommendation

Gitar ape yg aku recommend? Well, macam yg aku sebut kat atas, it depends on your needs lah. Kalau minat main style blues ke, maybe a Strat is a good idea. Strats are versatile enough that main rock pon sesuai. Kalau nak main metal ke, shred ke, it's probably better to find a guitar that's designed for that, yg ade humbuckers.

If you're looking for a Strat, aku suggest cari Squire. Squire is the cheaper version of Fender, owned by Fender. Of course Fender knows how to make good Strats, they invented it.

But kalo nak main rock, I think I'd suggest an Ibanez. Ye la, aku ade 3 Ibanez, I may be biased. But Ibanez is known to give you more value for your money. Ibanez takde legendary status macam Fender or Gibson, but they make pretty good quality guitars for reasonable price.

But the best suggestion I can give you is to try them. Survey gitar-gitar yg within your budget, try them. Aku memang pentingkan comfort. You have to feel comfortable playing the guitar. And you want to find something that makes you wanna keep playing. Sebab aku try la aku found out that Gibson Les Paul isn't really for me. Everybody loves that guitar. But bile aku try sendiri, I like something else better. Maybe someday I'll buy it for the sake of luxury, but it's not what I need right now. Macam yg aku sebut sebelum ni, it's not about what other people like. You have to like it. Consider la orang lain punya review, but remember that not every opinion is applicable to you. Selera lain lain.

Bab harga pulak, try to spend more than RM1000. Kalau ko absolute beginner, tak reti langsung main, you probably shouldn't spend that much. But kalo dah reti gak, please spend more than RM1000. It's really not much. Aku ulang balik ape aku sebut dalam first article in this series. Think about what you spend on other stuff. Ko ade BlackBerry or iPhone or other smartphones? How much are those? In 5 years are you still gonna use the same phone? Confirm tak. Sebulan bape ringgit abis kat bill? And phone mahal-mahal, bill tinggi sume, if you spend a lot of time with your phone, will you be a better, more charismatic speaker? I doubt it. But if you spend a lot of time on a good guitar, it is very likely that you'll be a better guitarist. Aku bukan nak masuk campur hal kewangan korang. Just pointing out something worth considering.

And aku bukan nak cakap jangan beli iPhone or something. If you like those stuff and you have the money, go ahead. You know your priorities. Nak tau aku pakai phone ape? Bertaun-taun aku pakai Samsung cabok yg dapat free with phone plan. Stok buat baling anjing punya (please don't abuse animals). Pastu taun lepas baru tukar Nokia 5310, tu pon dapat free gak. Can I afford the latest iPhone? Yes. Can I afford to switch from one cool phone to another every 6 months? Yes. But that's not my priority. I don't need to watch a movie on my phone, that's what my TV is for. I don't need internet everywhere I go, I'm at home a lot. I'd rather spend my money on good guitars. You don't have to follow me, follow your priorities. ;)

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