Happy New Year!

It’s the last few hours of 2015. Guitarbear wishes all a great 2016 ahead. Be blessed with health and joy!

PS: Off to catch the Sam Willows. Let’s hope I won’t be trampled by the crowd.:)


660 Guitars

Talk about a grand entrance.

An all aluminium body guitar. Wow.


660 Guitars are a new company founded by two dudes. Their range of guitars use high tech materials like metal and carbon fibre. Model names such as The Patriot (shown above), The Avaiator and The Cowboy do sound very cool.

Here’s the Aviator that’s got to be inspired by the venerable Flying V.


At the time of this blog entry, the Patriot will be launched soon at US$3400 retail. Would be fun to try one if you have the dough. 🙂

Here’s the video from 660 Guitars.

*photos from iguitarmag.com and 660 Guitars FB


Epiphone AJ220S setup

Had a chance to work on an entry level Epiphone AJ220S last week.


This is Epiphone’s entry level solid top with laminate mahogany back and sides. The shape is called advanced jumbo, hence the model name AJ220S. Looks pretty much like a slope shoulder dreadnought to me. The headstock is a bit longer than others and not so pleasing to Guitarbear’s eyes. 🙂

Back and sides are laminated mahogany with cream binding all around the body and fingerboard.


True to guitar forums and YouTube reviews, this guitar sounds pretty good for its price (just over $200 from Swee Lee).

Let’s give it a Bearclaw Special.

Fingerboard cleaning and nourishing. 

Kuma was here to oversee the work. Frets were a little tarnished and I gave them some rubbing with 0000 grade steel wool.


Overall body cleaning and shine

This guitar has a nice and thick pickguard with a metallic Epiphone logo. Rather cool looking.


The guitar had some buzzing so I added some relief to the neck. It is interesting to find this.


The truss rod cover is merely cosmetic. After removing it, it’s just… nothing!


Truss rod is actually adjusted via sound hole access. I adjusted to just under 0.3mm because I strum very hard.

Final tune up and we’re good to go.



Martin Dreadnought Junior Setup

Received this Junior for setup. The guitar was previously restrung by me to Elixir 12s and owner wanted to lower the action.


Nut height seems OK. But for some reasons, the neck seem a little too straight so I had to add a bit of relief.

I gave the truss rod a quarter turn anti-clockwise to loosen things up.

Relief at 7th fret was about 0.25mm. Probably good for a lady who doesn’t strum so hard. Measurements taken using a cheap feeler gauge.


String height at 12th fret (capo on 1st) was a hair over 1/8 inch. Some sanding required to lower the saddle height. Owner wanted something “not too low” so I went for just a hair over 7/64 inch.


Next came the Bearclaw Special. 

Fingerboard and bridge clean up. These are all richlite on the DJR, so it’s just soap and water for cleaning.


Pencil lead over nut slots and saddle. I also gave the saddle surface some sanding using super high grit sandpaper to smooth out the grooves cut by the strings. This eliminates binding and pinging.

Fitted in a set of brass bridge pins which I felt makes the heavily built Junior more responsive and “lively”.

Final tune up and we’re good.


Although this particular Junior was purchased in August, it is in immaculate condition. Makes me tear my hair out in buying the display piece a few weeks back myself.

Read about my story here:


Here’s a shot of both Juniors and you can see how dark my DJ is from being out in the open at the store. Of course there’s the funny tan line on most of my guitars. 🙂


Footnote: The DJR comes fitted with Medium 13-56 strings. Using 12s may make it easier to play, but I feel volume, projection and clarity is slightly compromised. Having said that, Guitarbear may try out some Elixir PB 12-53 on next string change. Ease of playing overrides the slight advantage in tone and volume.

Footnote: At the time of this blog entry, Citymusic is having their annual year end sale and the DJR is going for just slightly over $800 after a good discount. This is an absolutely great deal for an all-solid Martin with 1.75 inch nut width. Grab it fast.