Archive for ‘Music’

19/01/2015

Review: Vuorensaku T-Style Custom

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Vuorensaku T headstock – preview – mid

Vuorensaku is a guitar maker from the Finnish town of Jyväskylä. Luthier-Artisan Saku Vuori repairs and builds all types of string instruments. Vuorensaku also winds his own brand of custom pickups.

When it comes to handcrafted instruments, Vuorensaku isn’t relying on any specific range of models, instead this is a true custom workshop which makes one-offs according to its customers’ wishes.

Saku Vuori is a member of The Guild of Finnish Luthiers.

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Vuorensaku T-Style – full front – bgr

Saku sent us a recently finished solidbody electric for review – a very cool crossbreed of a Seventies Fender Telecaster Deluxe and a Fifties Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster. Vuorensaku’s guitars usually are designated by their serial number only, but for the sake of simplicity I will name this instrument the ”Vuorensaku T-Style Custom”.

Vuorensaku T-Style – full back – bgr

The T-Style Custom has been crafted from quality tonewoods:

The bolt-on neck has been carved from a piece of lightly flamed Canadian hard rock maple, and it features an Indian rosewood fretboard. The bound-top body consists of two pieces of very lightweight African mahogany. The centre glue line is virtually impossible to make out, thanks to Vuorensaku’s extremely crisp workmanship.

Vuorensaku T-Style – headstock – bgr

The Vuorensaku’s nut is crafted from genuine moose bone.

The fretboard comes with a modern, bend-friendly radius (9.5″) and sports 21 medium-sized stainless steel frets.

Vuorensaku T-Style – tuners – bgr

The T-Style Custom’s updated Kluson Deluxe-tuners may have that famous vintage look, but they work much more smoothly than their forebears from the 1950s.

Vuorensaku T-Style – back beauty – bgr

The neck joins the body in time-honoured fashion, using four wood screws and a rectangular steel plate.

Thanks to the T-Style Custom’s satin nitro-finish this instruments simply oozes with natural elegance, feeling very friendly to the touch.

Vuorensaku T-Style – bridge

Kluson’s fantastic Half-Size Tele-bridge is a clever way of bringing genuine Tele Twang to non-Tele guitars, as well as making it possible to use this type of bridge in combination with different bridge pickups.

Many guitarists still favour the (almost archaic) three-saddle Telecaster-bridge for its gorgeous tone, especially when it comes with three brass saddles (like this Kluson does). The threads for the intonation screws on the T-Style Custom’s bridge have been deliberately cut at an angle to improve the guitar’s intonation.

Vuorensaku T-Style – pickups 1 – bgr

Vuorensaku’s customer specified three Dog Ear-pickups for his dream guitar, so a set of said pickups was sourced from another Finnish maker – Rautia Guitars from Joensuu.

Veijo Rautia’s Dog Ear-set comprises a pair of splittable humbuckers for the neck and bridge positions, as well as a P-90-type singlecoil in the middle.

Vuorensaku T-Style – controls – bgr

The control panel has been turned the ”wrong” way around to facilitate easy master volume access.

Vuorensaku T-Style – electronics – bgr

Ingeniously, Saku Vuori has managed to fit all the necessary components into the guitar’s small traditional Tele control cavity:

The volume control comes equipped with a push/pull-switch for splitting the humbuckers. The five-way blade switch works like on a Fender Strat. As you can easily see from the photo the workmanship is very clean and the components are of top quality.

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Vuorensaku T-Style – beauty 2 – bgr

The Vuorensaku T-Style Custom scores top marks for workmanship and playability! Handmade instruments of such high calibre always possess that little something extra, a special feel that is nigh on impossible to find in a mass-produced guitar.

The T-Style Custom is a lightweight instrument. With a slippery nylon strap you might even notice a hint of neck-heaviness, but nothing a nice leather strap couldn’t get to grips with easily.

The fat C-profile of this Vuorensaku’s neck is just what the doctor ordered. The combination of this profile with the modern fretboard radius and the gorgeous fretwork, makes for a fantastic playing feel that’s fast and easy to control. The setup was superb with a set of 010s and a low action (low-E: 2.1 mm/high-e: 1.5 mm).

Acoustically, the Vuorensaku sounds just like the prime exponent of a Fender-type guitar it is – open and ringing.

Played amplified, the T-Style Custom offers a broader, much more diverse picture, which isn’t really surprising, as the Vuorensaku comes equipped with a completely different set of pickups, compared to your run-of-the-mill Tele. The guitar’s three pickups, five-way switch, and humbucker split gives you a very cool selection of different Gibson- and Fender-style tones.

I love this Vuorensaku to bits, but I found a small point to moan about, too. The bridge pickup’s signal level is noticeably weaker than that of the neck pickup. This isn’t due to any shoddy workmanship, though, but rather down to the Dog Ear-type of pickup mounting, and a phenomenon many Gibson- and Epiphone-owners are well aware of. It’s very hard for a reviewer to criticise a custom-ordered guitar, because there’s always the possibility that the guitar was meant to perform in this way. Still, if this were my instrument, I’d ask Saku Vuori to add a small plastic shim (1.5-2 mm) beneath the bridge pickup to raise it closer to the strings.

The Rautia Guitars Dog Ear-set sounds fantastic. Thanks to the moderate output of the humbuckers, there’s never any danger of the sound getting mushy or ill-defined. The ’buckers also sound great in split-mode, and combining the two humbuckers with a rude-sounding P-90 in the middle position can only be described as a stroke of genius.

This clip gives you an idea of the guitar’s sounds with the humbuckers split (starting with the neck pickup):

Here we have a similar clip featuring the full humbuckers:

And to round it off, here’s the audio from the You Tube-video:

Vuorensaku T-Style – body beauty 1 – bgr

What a guitar! The Vuorensaku T-Style Custom is another excellent example of the fantastic quality of Finnish guitar-making. Too bad the owner wants his guitar back…

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Vuorensaku T-Style Custom

Price range for a similar guitar: 2,500 – 3,000 €

A big ”thank you” goes to the promoter of the Rockkaamo Festival, Mr Jani Savolainen, for the loan of his guitar!

Pros:

+ Made in Finland

+ handcrafted

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

Cons:

– balance between neck and bridge pickup

Vuorensaku T-Style – body beauty 2 – bgr

16/01/2015

Testipenkissä: Vuorensaku T-Style Custom

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Vuorensaku T headstock – preview – mid

Vuorensaku on yhden miehen soitinpaja Jyväskylästä. Kielisoitinartesaani Saku Vuori korjaa ja rakentaa kaikenlaisia kielisoittimia. Tämän lisäksi Vuorensakulta saa myös käsintehtyjä kitaramikrofoneja.

Vuorensakulla ei ole valmista mallistoa, vaan yritys on aito custom-paja, jossa soittimet syntyvät käsityönä asiakkaiden toiveiden mukaan.

Saku Vuori on Suomen Soitinrakentajien Killan jäsen.

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Vuorensaku T-Style – full front – bgr

Sain Sakulta testiin hiljattain valmistuneen sähkökitaran, joka on erittäin puoleensavetävä yhteentörmäys 1970-luvun Telecaster Deluxesta ja 50-luvun Gibson ES-5 Switchmasterista. Soittimella ei ole virallista nimeä (vaan ainoastaan sarjanumero), mutta kutsun sitä tätä testiä varten Vuorensaku T-Style Customiksi.

Vuorensaku T-Style – full back – bgr

T-Style Customin perustana toimivat laadukkaat soitinpuut:

Ruuvikaula on veistetty miedosti liekehtivästä kanadalaisesta vaahterasta, ja otelauta on intialaista ruusupuuta. Kitaran reunalistoitettu runko taas on tehty hyvin kevyestä afrikkalaisesta mahongista. Runko on tehty kahdesta vierekkäisestä palasta, mutta liimasaumaa on miltei mahdoton havaita – erittäin tarkkaa työtä siis.

Vuorensaku T-Style – headstock – bgr

Vuorensakun satula on valmistettu aidosta hirvenluusta.

Otelaudan radius on nykyaikainen (9,5 tuumaa), ja siihen on asennettu 21 keskikokoista nauhaa ruostumattomasta teräksestä.

Vuorensaku T-Style – tuners – bgr

T-Style Customin nykyaikaisissa, kromatuissa Kluson Deluxe -virittimissä on vintage-tyylinen ulkonäkö, mutta ne toimivat huomattavasti sulavammin kuin 1950-luvun alkuperäiset painokset.

Vuorensaku T-Style – back beauty – bgr

Tässä kitarassa käytetään perinteistä Fender-kaulaliitosta neljällä puuruuvilla ja suorakulmaisella teräslevyllä.

T-Style Customin mattapintaisen nitrolakkaviimeistelyn ansiosta soitin näyttää (ja tuntuu) erittäin orgaaniselta ja aistikkaalta.

Vuorensaku T-Style – bridge

Klusonin loistava Half-size Tele -talla mahdollistaa perinteisen Telecaster-tallan yhdistämistä muihin soitintyyppeihin tai mikrofoneihin.

Monien kitaristien mielestä alkuperäinen Telecaster-talla kolmella messinkitallapalallaan on soundillaan yhä paras talla sähkökitaralle. T-Style Customin Kluson-tallassa tallapalojen kierteet on leikattu tahallaan vinosti, mikä auttaa kitaran intonaatiossa.

Vuorensaku T-Style – pickups 1 – bgr

Vuorensakun asiakas toivoi omaan kitaraansa kolmen mikrofonin Dog Ear -setin, ja sellainen löytyi toisen suomalaispajan, joensuulaisen Rautia Guitarsin, valikoimasta.

Veijo Rautian mikrofonisettiin kuuluu kaksi puolitettavaa humbuckeria (kaula- ja tallamikki), sekä yksikelainen P-90 (keskimikki).

Vuorensaku T-Style – controls – bgr

Käännetty paneeli helpottaa pääsyä volume-potikkaan.

Vuorensaku T-Style – electronics – bgr

Saku Vuori on onnistunut mahduttamaan kaikki komponentit perinteisen (ahtaan) Tele-koloon:

Volume-potikkaan on piilotettu nostokytkin humbuckerien puolitusta varten. Viisiasentoinen kytkin taas toimii Strato-tyylisesti. Kuten kuvastakin näkyy, työnjälki on erittäin siisti ja käytetyt osat erittäin laadukkaita.

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Vuorensaku T-Style – beauty 2 – bgr

Vuorensaku T-Style Custom -kitaran työnjälki ja soitettavuus on ensiluokkaista. Huippulaadukkaassa käsintehdyssä soittimessa on aina ”se jokin”, mikä on miltei mahdoton löytää suuren sarjatuotannon kitaroista.

T-Style Custom on hyvin kevyt soitin. Erittäin kevyen mahonkirungon takia on jopa huomattavissa lievä taipumus kaulapainoisuuteen liukkaan nylonhihnan kanssa. Nahkahihna tekee tästä taipumuksesta kuitenkin tehokkaasti lopun.

Tämän Vuorensakun lihaksikas kaulaprofiili (iso C) on juuri minun makuun. Yhdessä 9,5-tuumaisen otelautaradiuksen ja huipputrimmattujen teräsnauhojen kanssa, tästä muodostuu erittäin nopea ja tarkka soittoalusta. Kitara saapui testiin hyvin mukavassa trimmissä (matala E-kieli: 2,1 mm/korkea e-kieli: 1,5 mm).

Vuorensakun akustinen klangi on – yllätys, yllätys – hyvin Fender-mainen ja avoin.

Vahvistimen kautta soitettuna T-Style Custom -kitaran luonne eroaa luonnollisesti rivi-Telestä, koska Vuorensakun mikrofonivarustus on erilainen. Kolmen mikin, viisiasentoisen kytkimen ja humbuckerien puolituksen yhteispelistä saa yhdeksän hienoa laatusoundia Gibsonin ja Fenderin soundimaailmoista.

Pidän tästä Vuorensakusta kovasti, mutta löysin kuitenkin myös yhden kritiikkikohdan – tallamikrofoni on hieman hiljaisempi kuin kaulamikki. Tämä ei kuitenkaan ole laatuvika, vaan dog ear -kiinnitykseen liittyvä – ja monelta vanhalta Gibsonilta ja Epiphonelta tuttu – ongelma. Asiakkaan toiveiden mukaan tehtyä custom-soitinta on hyvin vaikea kritisoida tällaisissa asioissa, koska voi hyvinkin olla, että kitaraa on tarkoitettu juuri tällaiseksi. Jos tämä olisi minun soitin, pyytäisin kuitenkin tallamikrofonin alle noin kahden millin paksuisen muovilevyn, jolla koko tallamikrofonia saisi nostettua lähemmäs kieliä.

Rautia Guitars Dog Ear -setin soundi on vallan mainio. Humbuckereiden maltillisen tehon ansiosta soundi ei mene koskaan tukkoon. Mikrofonit kuulostavat hyviltä myös puolitettuina. Yksikelainen P-90-mikrofoni sopii soundiltaan ja teholtaan loistavasti settiin.

Tässä on audiopätkä kitaran soundivaihtoehdoista, silloin kun humbuckerit on puolitettu (alkaa kaulamikrofonilla):

Ja tässä samankaltainen pätkä täysillä humbuckerilla:

Lopuksi vielä You Tube -videon ääniraita:

Vuorensaku T-Style – body beauty 1 – bgr

Oli todella suuri ilo saada tutustua tähän Vuorensaku-kitaraan. Tämä soitin on jälleen yksi loistava esimerkki suomalaisen soitinrakennustaidon erittäin korkeasta tasosta. Valitettavasti minun on pakko palauttaa tämä kitara…

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Vuorensaku T-Style Custom

hintaluokka noin 2.500 – 3.000 €

Suuri kiitos Rockkaamo-festivaalin pääpromoottorille Jani Savolaiselle kitaran lainaamisesta!

Plussat:

+ kotimainen

+ käsintehty

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

Miinukset:

– kaula- ja tallamikrofonin keskenäinen balanssi

Vuorensaku T-Style – body beauty 2 – bgr

15/01/2015

Huomenna: Vuorensaku T-Style

28/11/2014

Grant Green – Live on French TV

grant green

31/07/2014

Leonardo Guzman – ”Cookieland”

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Check out Leonardo’s website HERE!

07/07/2014

Toivottaa hyvää kesälomaa! +++ Have a nice summer vacation!

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Tokai SG-75 – pickups

09/03/2014

Pave Maijanen @ Bulldog Bar Riihimäki 07.03.2014

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Illan houseband oli:

• Jan Lundqvist – rummut

• Osmo ”Moso” Liikanen – perkussiot

• Petri Lindberg – koskettimet ja laulu

Ilkka Esselström – kitara ja laulu

Martin Berka – basso ja laulu

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Pave Maijanen–Riihimäki–07_03_2014

12/02/2014

Review: Zoom H6

Zoom H6 – perspective 1

Zoom have released their new handy recorder flagship:

The Zoom H6 is a six-track mobile recorder with exchangeable microphone modules.

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Zoom H6 – package and case

Zoom’s H6 (rrp in Finland: 398 €) comes in its own carrying case.

Zoom H6 – the set

The package includes the H6 itself, two mic modules – the XYH-6 offering XY-stereo and the MSH-6 with an MS-stereo capsule – a foam windscreen, a USB-cable, four AA-size batteries and a 2 GB SD-card.

Also included is Steinberg’s Cubase LE audio-sequencer software.

h6n

At the moment the H6 is the only field recorder offering you different exchangeable mic and preamp modules.

In addition to the supplied XY- and MS-modules you can also buy Zoom’s shotgun module (SGH-6) or a module with an additional pair of XLR-/TRS-inputs (EXH-6).

Zoom H6 – accessory pack

For this review we were also supplied with Zoom’s accessory pack for the H6 (APH-6), which contains a furry windshield for outdoor recording, as well a USB-power supply and a remote control.

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Zoom H6 – XY-module

Except for its control panel the Zoom H6 is entirely covered in a non-slip rubbery coating, which also cuts down on handling noise during recording.

Zoom H6 – XY 90 deg

A typical Zoom-feature has been carried over into the recorder’s XY-module:

You can switch the stereo width of the XY-setup by turning the capsules. The options are the slightly narrower 90 degrees angle…

Zoom H6 – XY 120 deg

…and the wider pickup pattern of 120 degrees.

Zoom H6 – left side view

The combined XLR/TRS-connectors have been placed on both sides of the H6. The Zoom offers switchable phantom power for condenser mics.

On the left side you’ll find the access to the SD-card, as well as the headphones output and the volume control.

Zoom H6 – right side view

In addition to the recorder’s mini-USB-port the right side is home to the Menu-button and the device’s nifty navigation toggle.

Zoom H6 – back view

This recorder runs on four AA-size batteries, and will run for approximately 20 hours on a fresh set of alkalines.

You can place the Zoom on most camera tripods, thanks to its standardised thread. There’s also the HS-1 hot shoe adapter available, which makes it possible to mount the recorder straight onto a camera.

The small monitor speaker isn’t particularly Hi-Fi, but it’s good to have it for quick checks.

Zoom H6 – line + remote

The unit’s line level output, as well as the connector for the optional remote control, has been placed on the bottom rim of the Zoom.

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The Zoom H6 can handle two audio formats:

Linear WAV-files offer you sample rates of 44.1, 48 or 96 kHz with 16 or 24 bits of resolution. When you choose WAV as your recording format the H6 works as a multitrack recorder, which makes it possible to do overdubs, and which allows you to mix the recorded tracks afterwards. You can do your mixdown internally, using the Zoom’s own Project Mixer, or by exporting the separate tracks to an audio-sequencer.

Another function that only works when you’ve chosen WAV as your recording format is called Backup Record. This nifty function records the input signal from the exchangeable module twice – one set of tracks uses your input gain settings and is routed to the L/R-track, as usual, while the second set is recorded with 12 dB of attenuation as the so-called Backup-track. The Backup-track is your safety in case your own settings were too hot.

The big advantage of using the H6 in MP3-mode is, of course, this mode’s greatly extended recording time, made possible by data reduction. The recorder lets you choose from many different recording quality settings between 48 and 320 kbps. When in MP3-mode you use the Zoom’s Monitor Mixer to mix all of the six inputs into one stereo file, which is the recorded. This means that, when recording using the MP3-format, the end result is always a single stereo file, instead of the separate tracks you get when running in WAV-mode.

Zoom H6 – MS-module

When you’re using the MS-module you can adjust the side-mic level, either before recording (WAV and MP3) or afterwards if you’ve recorded the module’s input signal using the Zoom’s MS-Raw-mode (WAV only).

More information on MS-stereo can be found HERE.

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Zoom H6 – level knobs

The Zoom H6 is very easy to use, because the signal routing is fixed:

The module’s output always goes to the L/R-track (stereo), while inputs one to four are routed to their corresponding mono tracks (1-4).

Zoom H6 – display

Beneath the Gain-controls there’s a row of track status buttons, as well as the recorder’s ”transport” buttons.

Zoom H6 – monitor mixer

The Zoom’s Monitor Mixer is where you adjust the signal levels and pan positions of all the signals for monitoring.

The Monitor Mixer window also shows you the status of each channel’s bass cut, compressor/limiter and phantom power.

Zoom H6 – menu view

This is what the Menu-view looks like.

Zoom H6 – project mixer

To mix down recorded tracks you use a different internal mixer, called the Project Mixer.

The Project Mixer allows you to adjust each track’s volume and pan position, as well as the playback pitch for each track (without changing the playback speed).

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Zoom H6 – top view

In my opinion Zoom’s H6 hits the bull’s eye:

The exchangeable mic modules give you an enormous amount of flexibility to tailor the recorder quickly to the recording situation you find yourself in. The H6 is easy to use, and the recorder’s sound quality is very, very good. Thanks to the built-in metronome and chromatic tuner it’s easy to make sure you play in time and in tune. I’ve also enjoyed the Zoom’s nice compressors and limiters, which work very musically.

To demonstrate the H6’s performance and sound I recorded a short song using the recorder’s overdub function. I used the X/Y-module (at 90 deg) to record the steel-string acoustic, and recorded two mandolin tracks and two vocals with my trusty Shure SM57.

First, I mixed the song using the Zoom’s internal mixer, after which I exported the stereo file to Garageband, where I cut off the count-in and added a little bit of reverb:

I also tried taking the other route by exporting all the separate files from the H6 into Garageband, where I remixed the song using the original tracks:

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I used a series of sine-wave sweeps to give you an idea of the effect the side-mic level has on the stereo-width of the recorded material. The lower the side-mic level is, the narrower your stereo image gets.

Side-mic +6dB:

Side-mic -2 dB:

Side-mic -9 dB:

Side-mic -22 dB:

Side-mic off:

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Zoom H6 – perspective 2

I think Zoom’s H6 is a great field recorder and portable multi-track studio. The H6 works great to capture your song ideas or to for quality recordings of your band rehearsals or live gigs. The Zoom makes pro-quality recording on the road possible.

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Zoom H6

Finnish distributor: Studiotec

Zoom H6 – 398 €

APH-6 – 48 €

EXH-6 – 58 €

SGH-6 – 118 €

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Pros:

+ exchangeable L/R-modules

+ rugged build

+ colour display

+ Overdub-, Pre Record- ja Backup Record -functions

+ quality compressor/limiter-section

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17/11/2013

Guitar Porn – Turenki Tonefest 2013

Tonefest 13 – AJL

Ari-Jukka Luomaranta and a pair of AJL-Guitars’ XO-models.

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Tonefest 13 – Aurora

Aurora Guitars, and their slant on the famous Bigsby solidbody.

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Tonefest 13 – Bluetone

A tasty Bluetone Amps tweed combo.

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Tonefest 13 – Custom Sounds 2

Tonefest 13 – Custom Sounds

Custom Sounds display some of their custom-made pedalboards.

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Tonefest 13 – Finlandia

Finlandia Instruments’ Costellobird (on the right) is based on an old JAK model.

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Tonefest 13 – Halla

Tonefest 13 – Halla 2

A real eye-catcher from Halla Custom Instruments – a guitar with a body made from very rustic alder.

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Tonefest 13 – HOS

A futuristic-looking HOS Guitars model.

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Tonefest 13 – Ikaalinen 2

Tonefest 13 – Ikaalinen

These instruments were made by luthiery students at IKATA.

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Tonefest 13 – Jasesoi

Some of Soitinpaja JaSeSoi’s acoustic models.

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Tonefest 13 – Kalluste

Kalluste Guitars from Estonia.

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Tonefest 13 – Kitarapaja 2

Tonefest 13 – Kitarapaja

Swart amps and Fano guitars are among the brands displayed by Kitarapaja.

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Tonefest 13 – Koivisto

Koivisto Guitars with two electric models and an interesting lute-type design.

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Tonefest 13 – Monster 2

Tonefest 13 – Monster

Monster Custom Amps and Visual Clone Guitars – the cool factor is built-in.

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Tonefest 13 – Oakbridge

Tonefest 13 – Oakbridge 2

Oakbridge Instruments specialise in acoustic instruments.

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Tonefest 13 – Veijo Rautia

Tonefest 13 – Rautia 3

Tonefest 13 – Rautia 2

Veijo Rautia gives you lots of electric mojo with his custom guitars and pickups.

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Tonefest 13 – Romu

Romu Amps from Estonia

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Tonefest 13 – Markus Setzer

German master bassist Markus Setzer digs the new fretless version of the Ruokangas Steambass.

Tonefest 13 – Ruokangas

Tonefest 2013 – Ruokangas 2

Tonefest 13 – Setzer & Paranko

Antti Paranko and Markus Setzer in action with their Ruokangas instruments.

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Tonefest 13 – Tyyster

Tyyster gives you plenty of rootsy tone and cool retro looks from metal topped guitars.

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Tonefest 13 – Halme

Saturday saw lots of live action from Pauli Halme’s record release gig…

Tonefest 13 – Kela

…to Anssi Kela and Tuomas Wäinölä.

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Turenki Tonefest 2013 (16. + 17.11.2013)

16/11/2013

Turenki Tonefest 2013 – The Video

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Tonefest 2013 – Ruokangas 2

Turenki Tonefest 2013 (16. + 17.11.2013)

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