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I Want Candy
Written by Peter

Musical instrument Guitar String instrument accessory String instrument Musical instrument accessory

For this, my second guest post for the Jemsite blog, I'd like to talk a little bit about my Ibanez Talman TC825FSL. This sparkly beauty was a Christmas present from Mrs I Heart Guitar in 2005. We were out and about pre-Christmas in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton, and we called in on Music Swop Shop, a secondhand store with more great gear than my tiny little mind can handle. Had a look a few cool things, including an Ernie Ball Music Man Axis, but when we stepped into the back room I saw two guitars that made my ears prick up: a Heartfield Talon and this Ibanez Talman. Now, the Talon was made by Fujigen, the same Japanese company that builds guitars for Ibanez. It was a sub-brand of Fender, and the Talon itself is basically a slightly tweaked Ibanez RG550. But I digress. Even though I'm interested in Heartfields, how could I concentrate on that guitar when this Talman was beckoning me?

Mrs I Heart Guitar, ever the good listener when I slip into a glazed expression and start talking guitar, asked me a few questions about the Talman - what it was, were they any good, stuff like that. Then told me she'd like to buy it for herself so I could teach her to play guitar. Awesome, I thought! I duly hoisted the guitar down off the wall and we took it to the counter, where we were informed that it came with a case. The case was festooned with many a sticker, and it was spray-painted with the name 'Candy,' so that's what we still call her today. Money exchanged hands and as far as I knew Mrs I Heart Guitar had just bought her first electric guitar. But it was all a ruse! I was carrying the guitar out of the store for her when she said "You'd better let me carry that ...I can't make you carry your own Christmas present." This is just one of the many many reasons I'm totally in love. Hehe.

This particular Talman was produced in Japan at that same Fujigen factory as the Heartfield Talon. Fujigen is the home of Jems, high-end RGs, Joe Satriani JS models and other cool stuff like that. The TC825 has two Ibanez Super 58 pickups, 5-way switching (there are single coil and parallel options in addition to the standard humbucker selections) and, coolest of all, a real Bigsby tailpiece. The body is alder and the sparkles are magnificent. This guitar is great for edgy overdrive and retro tones, and when I pile up the gain Candy sounds warm and musical, with a nice dulled pick attack. There's not very much sustain but she makes up for it with lots of character. When I play with a cleaner setting the sound remains quite complex, making Candy my first choice for times when a clean-toned guitar really needs to be the centre of attention, rather than buried somewhere in the mix. And she absolutely sings when played without a pick. You can hear her on the song 'Mistral' on my MySpace.

According to the book Ibanez: The Untold Story, Hoshino USA sales rep Brian Wood told a retailer the guitars were named after 'Skinny' Talman, a (fictional) bluesman who played slide guitar with his glass eye. The book goes on to say that one enterprising retailer was so taken with this fanciful story that they offered a charming bonus when a customer bought a Talman: a slide featuring an image of a glass eye.

The Talman name lives on in Ibanez's catalog in the form of various acoustic guitars, but this particular design, sadly, does not. If you can find a used one in good condition, they're great little players with lots of character. And I'd like to think the spirit of 'Skinny' Talman lives on inside each one of them.

Peter Hodgson is a guitarist and journalist who runs the popular I Heart Guitar blog out of Melbourne, Australia.
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