Promotion Items

the KILN @Indiegogo
4hr Courses

Dear Friends, Guitaring Passionately has began its inaugural acoustic guitar making process in early 2017. Do stay tuned to the progress thru instagram and Facebook.

Check out our Price Busters

Learn practical guitar maintenance skills in our 4hr Courses. Brochure Download here

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jeff & Shun - Music For A Good Cause!

There are many charity events we have heard of and perhaps attended. It may be safe to assume that most people attend these events to demonstrate their support. While the generous ones give donation in monetary or in kinds, some give efforts and time. This time, I was roped in to help Jeffrey Yong to ensure a smooth presentation of this meaningful fund-raising event, i.e. Shun Ng in concert @ Methodist College Kuala Lumpur.

Jeffrey Yong is without a shadow of doubts a God loving and fearing man. He is the man behind this event. He attends the church services provided by MCKL. At MCKL he got to associate with refugees from Myanmar. These refugees are youthful individuals who have fled their country. The escape journey is literally deadly and the mortality rates are high. However the internal situations faced by these youthful Myanmar people were compelling enough for them to jump into the fire. If you’re thinking about some combat or thriller movies, add a few notches and that is what they are prepared to faced. Jeff feels for this group thus the idea of fund raising sets in and Shun was identified… the rest is history.

Personally I heard of these horrific stories from him for a while but it was totally different when I met the Myanmar people in person. Since the guitar-building course with Jeffrey Yong, we became friends and brothers in Christ. I have indeed learned a great deal from Jeff. I made regular visits to his workshop in Kuala Lumpur and many occasions I joined him in attending the church services at MCKL. The escaping stories shared by the Myanmar people were fearsome, horrific and unthinkable. Just when we think that in this modern civilized society, how could it happen? The predicament they faced to most people are unbearable but I was deeply moved by their faith for our Abba Father. Even in their darkest hours, they will still worship the Lord unfailingly.

Currently headed by Moey Yoke Lai, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) is a private educational institution. Methodist Council of Education founded MCKL in January 1983 by the. The Founder Principal was Mrs. F R Bhupalan. It provides quality education to the community. It reaches out to both locals and the needy foreigners. Below are a few pictures and the weblink:

The Campus view

Campus Building

Campus Life

Myanmar is a country in constant political turmoil as well as in a constant exodus. Many youths have made death-defying attempts in departing their home country to seek for greener pastures. Due to geographical reasons, Malaysia is one of such greener pastures.

MCKL started a voluntary community service project called the Ruth Education Centre. The centre aims to provide a temporal refuge to these Myanmar people who have successfully obtained protection from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The demographics are generally young personnel of varying ages. In Ruth Education Centre, they enjoy mutual support from each other, structured learning programs, decent meals and a shelter over their heads.

As for the journey from Myanmar to Malaysia is nothing short of harrowing. In brief, each one has to cross two borders, travel thousand of miles, and in conditions that are unthinkable to many fortunate youths who lead a regular life. Without divulging too much … the mode of transport is either taxi or van … each taxi will take 20 people … the rest of the story is up to your imagination.

It is time to share about the concert…

Shun Ng ( is known for his talent in funk/blues finger-style guitar playing, at least many people know him in this manner. However he is also a generous person who gladly devotes his time and utilizes his God given talent to benefit the needy ones. This time was no exception plus he was performing with a fractured right hand that was injured as a result of many hours of practices.

Jeffrey Yong ( needs little introduction. Likewise he is usually known as a Luthier who builds good guitars but his compassion persona is seldom displayed publicly. I am fortunate to have witnessed it through this event. Led by God, he decided to organize this concert to raise fund for the Myanmar people by involving Shun Ng. This match could not be better.

Jeff giving a short opening

The Myanmar people from Ruth Education Centre have put together a choir to present an cappella version of “How Great Thou Art”. It wasn’t about how professional and well rehearsed they were but the total devotion towards worshipping the Lord. Admittedly I have heard better-arranged versions but I have not heard one that was so passionately dedicated to the Lord. After I learned about their past experiences, it was not hard to understand their convictions and love for God. Urban dwellers like us often convince ourselves of the multiple options we could take to “be better” but very few actually remember the basics in life. In this concert, Shun has sung a song about the important things in our lives which points to the basic and necessities. Yet most urban dwellers suit themselves up with many accessories in their lives and passed them off as necessities. Isn’t it convenient?

The Myanmar People Choir during rehearsal

How Great Thou Art by the Myanmar people

Shun Ng has delivered an electrifying performance that left the audience yearning for more. The Myanmar people where absolutely in awe as they have never seen such style of playing even among them there are guitar players. At the end of the concert, the Myanmar people mobbed Shun; taking photos, signing autographs, etc. The Myanmar people expressions were totally authentic, no guards, no hidden agendas, they plainly wanted Shun to know that their joy was because of his performance. As a believer, I guess this is all about the simple yet important gesture of giving thanks to our Lord for all the things He has done and granted us freely.

Shun's new fans

Since I am on giving thanks, it is time to recognize those people whom have helped in one way or the other. Robert Schnöller who was in Kuala Lumpur attending the guitar-building course offered by Jeff Yong went along to help. Yujie James Loo who was also attending the same program as Robert was there to watch his guitar teacher’s performance who is incidentally Shun Ng. Ooi Boon Kim who has built several guitars with Jeff Yong came along to offer his assistance as well. Nicolai Gerebtzoff was there to facilitate the lightings and sound. Foo Kai Seong filled the role as the official camera crew of this event. Michael is a staff in Methodist College who was directly involved in facilitating this concert in terms of the usage of premises and also leading the Myanmar people’s choir. As well as the Myanmar people who have rendered their assistance for the event. They all made this concert a great one.

Shun's Family, a lovely one indeed

Shun’s family members, from right Ng Meixi, Alison Ling, Shun Ng, Ng Meizhi and John Ng, they have been very supporting throughout. Not forgetting two important individuals. Jeffrey and Shun for playing the critical roles in the success of this event. The Lord has indeed brought both of them together to bless those around them. How Great Thou Art …

In closing, associating with these Myanmar people has been the most rewarding part of my involvement in this concert. The experience has etched this statement in my mind, “Simple pleasures but never insignificant pleasures.”

Here're some concert pictures

Shun's guitars

Quiet moments ...

Foo, Boon Khim, Nic and Robert. They volunteered their time

Robert, Boon Khim and Shun .. all set to go

Foo Kai Seong, capturing video and audio

Moey Yoke Lai, the CEO of MCKL

Shun mingles with the crowd

Serenading to a couple 

In his own world
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Guitar Store LAUNCHED!

This is likely to be my shortest posting ...

The background to Guitar Store is all about guitar lovers and collectors. Through years of acquaintances I have come to meet guitar lovers of all shapes, sizes and colors. I am really fortunate to meet them and also their guitars. Even more so, some of them have entrusted me with their beloved guitars in repairs, restore and sales as well. For all these, I thank the Lord for His blessings ...

Singapore being a small country but the brand presence of exquisite guitars is certainly not small by any measure. Numerous pre-own guitars can be found on the local forums or classified advertisement medias. The pre-owned guitar market prices are much more competitive than the brand new ones. This has given opportunities to many guitar lovers to get their hands on their "dream guitars" that would have been otherwise unreachable.

A Kent Chasson Built, Cocobolo Back/Sides
Taken from:

Over the years, I have witnessed many fine guitars being placed on sales ad. They come and go pretty fast. It might be logical to think that good branded guitars will move fast but ... there are a myriad of factors that can enhance or diminish the sale opportunity. Here are a few I have personally learned through experiences that can lower the chances of a successful sales.
  1. Inadequate or inaccurate written information
  2. Unrealistic price point
  3. Poor visual quality
  4. This is a subjective one ... attitude of sellers and buyers
The Guitar Store is set up to sell guitars of course. However I think that taking good pictures of these lovely guitars is just as importance to other success selling factors. More than often, well taken guitar pictures can give hours of viewing pleasure to guitar lovers. It is not unusual for guitar lovers to kinda ogle at beautiful guitar pictures found in the internet.

Sell or not is one thing but I believe good pictures can accentuate the true beauty of each well-built guitar. It is only fair to the Luthiers who have built these guitars to put in adequate effort in capturing the beauty in still frames. While I have done my level best to capture the best sides of the guitars showcased in this store, I am no professional in photography. If you find my shots are not comparable to your personal liking, I apologize herein in advance. You're welcome to drop comments in my blog so that the pictures can become better over time.

I hope my blog's Guitar Store can become one of your frequent visited websites to view beautiful guitar pictures. If things get sold, it is a big bonus to me ... certainly to the willing buyers too.

Visit the Guitar Store by clicking:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Singapore Guitar Show Dec 2011

It was backed … two days at Suntec City, a display of various brands of handcrafted guitars, both local and overseas, to the local guitar community; it is the Singapore Guitar Show 2011 (

Day One of the Singapore Guitar Show

Tien Chor who volunteered to help

Playing guitar can be seen as a life long learning journey because nobody can claim full mastery. In this journey, we learn abundantly from any available knowledge sources that bombard us. We picked up both facts and myths as we learn more about guitars. With the internet, we can learn almost anything we can conceive of. While the information is easily accessible, the downside is the authenticity of it. Regardless if it is conscious effort or not, we learned from these many sources. Internally, we exercise personal evaluation on the information obtained or granted, and draw conclusions. By this process, we grow in wisdom and discernment. Did we? I had numerous interactions with the people at the show. Interestingly, it has prompted these thoughts; in any given learning settings, the absence of truth is quickly filled with assumptions. The assumptions solidified over time and when left unverified, they turned into pseudo facts … reversing these pseudo fact has proven to be difficult.

This observation was most interesting to me in the show. I think everyone has experienced it before. However, only some grew out of it. What might interest you at guitar shows?

In this posting, I try to do away with introducing every guitar maker, as it may be repetitive to do so. Instead lets’ discuss the interesting perspectives gathered from the people who turned up for this show. Anyway, I helped Terence Tan in organizing the show this year whereas I was an exhibitor in 2010.

These are the perspectives I have gathered ...

Heavy guitars, what about them? It was a common myth surrounding heavyweight guitars. It appeared that lightweight guitars were assumed to be good sounding guitars. While some guitar makers have consciously tried to reduce the weight of guitars, it wasn’t directly linked to tonal properties. Without a doubt, lightweight guitars were easier to handle. However to conclude that heavyweight guitars were less superior than the light ones were clear evidence of one’s failure to understand the principles of guitar construction. Invariably, to think that lightweight guitars will automatically produce good tone is all but truth. The great number of such claims I heard from the show participants didn’t surprise me.

Anyone who handles a Caldersmith guitar ( will immediately feel the weight of the guitar. It was comparable to the weight of a regular electric guitar. If one stuck to the myth, such guitars will be disqualified before they have any chances of showcasing their potential. The weighty feel of Caldersmith guitars were indeed unusual because most classical guitars are lightly built. For centuries, many luthiers learned from one generation to the next. I suspect the notion of building lightweight classical guitars was linked to the perceived social value of classical music. Caldersmith Guitars produces such lovely tone that resembles birds’ singing. The classical guitars were not only well made; their loudness was surely amazing. The saddle was sloped which unliked the regular classical guitars where the saddles were flat straight. A Caldersmith feels nothing like a classical guitar until you pluck the first note. When that note travels to one’s ear, the thick, mellow yet defined tone will immediately eliminate all doubts.

Caldersmith Guitars

The lovely ladies behind Caldersmith Guitars and I

Jeffrey Yong’s guitars ( are heavily built because his design principles of the soundbox were base on loudspeakers’ cabinet design. Well designed and built speakers were usually heavy in weight except for the new age designs type, e.g. Bose’s jewel cube speakers. Suffice to say that hi-fi enthusiasts will go for heavy speakers when given the options. In 2006, Jeffrey built a Monkeypod wood guitar and participated in a blind-listening guitar contest at the Guild of American Luthiers Convention 2006. It was heavy and unlike the conventionally built acoustic guitars. His entry has beaten all other guitars to emerge as the winning guitar. Since then, Jeff’s guitars have established their identity. By this measure, weight of the guitar was certainly not a determinant factor to quality as assumed by many.

Jeff and Rod

Jeff's collection

Steve and Jeff, both are happy men

Good materials make good guitars. Learning this notion was very common during the junior phase of playing and learning guitars. There were abundance literatures written about suitable woods for guitar building in the internet. However the commonly featured woods come from temperate regions and certain endangered species. As scarcity sets in, also due to excessive commercialization, it drives the prices of such materials upwards. As a result, the market prices of guitars made from certain rare or restricted woods increased tremendously. It is 101 consumer psychology; an exorbitantly priced guitar can’t be a bad one. There was another subjective factor that influenced the way we perceived the quality of a given guitar regardless of price, built and tonal properties, i.e. our personal preference. While this may cast doubt in every guitar’s worth but the assumption of good materials equal good guitars were overwhelmingly pervasive among guitar lovers. Therefore it was almost an instant agreement among guitar lovers to related good sounding guitars to good materials used. The presence of many guitars in the show have helped to debunk this myth.

Unshakable Perceptions; an ostrich that has its head buried thinks it is safe. Nothing can be further than the truth. The influence of literature was strong enough to convince many luthiers that instruments building woods were limited to a few species. Some have totally ruled out any woods not found in the commercial suppliers’ catalogues. Won’t we hear similar guitar tones regardless who builds the instrument as a result of such fixations? Some guitar makers will never use certain type of woods because they simple don’t believe in them … or such luthiers don’t believe in himself or herself? Guitar construction principles include selection of wood but it was not the prime principles of consideration. Instead attaining the mastery of the art and science in controlling the stiffness of the sounbox have greater significance than the frantic pursuit for the rarest wood on this planet. Before Jeff won the blind-listening guitar contest, nobody has heard of Monkeypod wood and much less to use it for guitar making. In fact many luthiers have explicitly undermined Jeff’s practices in using tropical woods. It table has turned after 2006.

Pushing the Boundaries. Classical guitars making was always guided by traditions. Any deviations from the advocated ways were strongly discouraged. However creativity is alive and it wants to change things. I met Rod Capper ( in this show. A great guy and he builds classical guitar. Immediately I noticed the elevated fingerboard in his guitar design. He shapes a piece of wood into a wedge and glued it between the neck and the fingerboard thus elevating the fingerboard (see picture). It improves playability by leap and bounce, noticeable sustain was achieved as well. However this feature was all but traditional … but his passion for building better guitars has overwhelmed the shackles of tradition.

Rod Capper and I

The elevated fingerboard design

A Rod Capper Classical Guitar

A Rod Capper Classical Guitar

In my best effort to illustrate the guitar show through this posting, I may miss certain exhibitors. Please accept my sincere apology in advance. Maestro Guitars has again showed their presence in the show. The guitars they have showcased were quality stuffs. The look, feel and tone of Maestro Guitars have surely progressed tremendously over the years. Worthy Guitars from Australia participated in the show for the first time. The man behind Worthy Guitars is David. A great guy to exchange ideas with and his guitars were very well built with great details and refinement. Another Australia guitar maker Scott Wise was also here for the first time. He has Ukeleles on display as well. Three handcrafted guitars brands came from Indonesia. They are Secco, Suwig and Prim’s Guitars. It was indeed the show’s honor to have their participation. Parekh Exports brought for the show a selection of instrument building woods. Not forgetting the local retailers that have faithfully supported the show, they are Tomas Music, MusicArk and Awe-In-One guitar picks. The show wouldn't been possible if not for the passionate support from Altas's team ( who has provided the wonder BOSE sound system for the performance segments. Thanks to Bobby, Wee How and Sean, they are wonderful to collaborate with.

This show has allowed me to meet new friends who are liked minded. I must say it was very rewarding for me personally. During the show, I have shared an invention of mine regarding dehumidifying of guitars. The responses were very encouraging. I received not only their attention, they freely gave their thoughts, suggestions and ideas in helping to augment the invention. I now look forward to the next show and also the progress of my invention.

Here’re more pictures

MusicArk ... Lance is setting up

David, the man behing Worthy Guitars

Suwig Guitar, Indonesia

Secco Guitar, Indonesia

Prim's Guitars, Indonesia

Maestro Guitars ... surely from Singapore

Tomas Music

An overseas performer

David and I
Thanks for reading!