24/02/2017

Testipenkissä: Gurus Amps Sinusoid

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Italiasta on kovaa vauhtia muodostumassa eräänlainen Mekka meille kitaristeille, tai ainakin siltä vaikuttaa, kun tarkastelee saapasmaan alati kasvavaa ryhmää innovatiivisia vahvistin- ja efektipajoja.

Yksi todella kuuma nimi on Gurus Amps Faenzasta (noin puolessa välissä matkaa Bolognasta Riminiin). Gurus valmistaa sekä vahvistimia että efektipedaaleita – heidän analoginen, putkivahvistettu Echosex-viivepedaali on saavuttanut jo miltei legendastatuksen.

Gurus Ampsin Sinusoid (479 €) kuuluu samaan efektisarjaan, ja se on todella kiehtova yhdistelmä vanhaa ja uutta. Ison pokkarin kokoinen Sinusoid tarjoaa kaksi putkisoundilla höystettyä efektiä samoissa kuorissa– optisen tremolon, sekä aidon jousikaiun.

Sinusoid myydään ilman virtalähdettä. Pedaali toimii 9-12 voltin tasavirralla, ja virtajakin polariteetti on Boss-standardin mukainen. On kuitenkin tärkeää valita sen kanssa käytettäväksi astetta järeämpi virtalähde, sillä kyseinen Gurus-efekti on melko janoinen kaveri, joka tarvitsee toimiakseen 230-400 milliampeeria. Sinusoid toimi testin ajan ongelmattomasti Kitarablogin Cioks-pedaalilautavirtalähteen kanssa käytettynä.

Gurusin Sinusoid-pedaali on monofoninen tuplaefekti. Kitaran (tai kosketinsoittimen) voi liittää joko suoraan Sinusoidin tuloon, tai vaihtoehtoisesti pedaalin voi sijoittaa vahvistimen efektilenkkiin.

Remote control –jakin ansiosta Sinusoidin efektit voi kytkeä päälle ja pois ulkoisella kytkimellä, mikä mahdollistaa Sinusoidin sijoittamisen kauas muista efekteistä, mikä puolestaan voi auttaa häiriöäänten hillitsemisessä.

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Guru Ampsin Sinusoid on todella helppokäyttöinen:

Kummallekin efektille on varattu oma jalkakytkin, kaksi säädintä sekä (vanhoista putkiradioista tuttu) vihreä Magic Eye -merkkivalo.

Tremolopuolella merkkivalo ilmaisee vatkauksen nopeuden. Jousikaiun Magic Eye -valo taas ilmaisee Accutronics-jousitankille ohjattavan signaalin volyymitason, jota säädetään Volume-säätimellä. Volumen ”väärinkäyttö” on mahdollista, ja sen myötä Sinusoidilla voi tuottaa hyvinkin rapeita ja säröisiä Surf- ja Rockabilly-kaikuja.

Sinusoid on saanut nimensä laitteen muhkeasta, siniaaltoon pohjautuvasta tremoloefektistä. Intensityllä säädetään efektin voimakkuutta, ja siinä riittää säätövaraa lähes huomaamattomasta aina rajuun vatkaukseen. Myös Speed-säädin tarjoaa laajan säätövaran tremolon nopeudelle.

Tämä klippi esittelee Gurus Sinusoidin tremoloefektiä eri säädöillä. Testikitarana toiminut Fender Stratocaster oli kytketty suoraan pedaaliin:

Ensimmäinen ajatukseni oli ”Hullut italialaiset!”, kun kuulin että Sinusoidin uumenin on asennettu aito jousikaiku. Kaikua testattuani täytyy kuitenkin myöntää, että pedaalin herkulliset kaikusoundit voittivat minut nopeasti puolelleen. Sinusoidin kaikusoundi ei ehkä ole ihan niin vivahteikas ja tiheä, kuin esimerkiksi Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb -kombossa. Mutta täytyy muistaa, että tässä on kyse huomattavasti pienemmästä jousitankista, ja siihen nähden Gurus Sinusoidin tarjoama jousikaiku kuulostaa jopa hämmästyttävän hienolta:

Tässä on vielä yksi esimerkki, jossa hyödynnetään molempia efektejä yhtä aikaa:

Mainitsin aiemmin, että Sinusoid-pedaali toimii, kitaran lisäksi, myös todella hyvin koskettimien/synan kanssa. Äänitin siksi demobiisissä kitararaitojen lisäksi myös kosketinosuudet Gurus-pedaalin kautta:

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Gurus Sinusoid on vallan mainio laite, jos kaipaa omaan soundiinsa putkivahvistettuja, aitoja tremolo- ja jousikaiku-efektejä. Laite on helppokäyttöinen ja samalla myös suhteellisen kompakti.

Keikkaympäristössä täytyy kuitenkin tarkkaan miettiä Sinusoidin sijaintia pedaalilaudassa sähköisten tai mekaanisten häiriöäänten ehkäisemiseksi. Nimensä mukaisesti jousikaiku tuottaa efektinsä sähkömekaanisesti resonoivilla metallijousilla, minkä vuoksi kaikki kaikutankit ovat herkkiä tärinälle ja iskuille. Tavallisesti jousikaiku on sijoitettu turvallisesti kombovahvistimen pohjaan tai sille on jopa rakennettu oma kotelo. Gurusin Sinusoidin tapauksessa jousitankki on lattiaefektin uumenissa, ja laite kytketään päälle ja pois jalkakytkimellä. Jalkakytkimen ytimekäs käyttö ja/tai vahinkopotku laitteen kylkeen voi saada jouset rämisemään, mikä kuulostaa eriasteiselta ukkosen jyrinältä. Suosittelen siis solumuovikerroksen tms. asentamista pedaalin pohjan ja pedaalilaudan rungon väliin iskujen vaimentamiseksi.

Minun mielestäni Gurus Sinusoid -tuplapedaali on mainio valinta vintageen kallistuvalle soundiesteetikolle. Tiedän, että nykyään on tarjolla loistavia vintage-tremolon ja -kaiun mallinnuksiakin, mutta aitoja analogiefektejä arvostaville Sinusoid on juuri oikea valinta.

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Gurus Amps Sinusoid

479

Maahantuoja: NordSound

Plussat:

+ kaksi aitoa analogiefektiä putkivahvistuksella

+ tukeva rakenne

+ kompakti koko

+ soundien laatu

+ toimii efektiloopperin kanssa

Miinukset:

– jousikaikujen yleinen herkkyys tärinälle

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21/02/2017

Jam Track: U2-Style 80s Rock Ballad in G-Major (98 BPM)

20/02/2017

Comparison: Fender Japan ’62 Telecaster Custom vs Fender American Professional Telecaster

A short comparison clip of a Japanese Fender ’62 Custom Reissue (c. 1990) and a brand-new American Professional Telecaster. Both guitars were played through a Juketone True Blood tweed-style amp (volume at 7) and recorded with a single Shure SM57.

The order is neck pickup, both pickups, bridge pickup. The ’62 Reissue plays the first two chords for each pickup selection, with the Am Pro taking over for the second two chords.

19/02/2017

Fender American Professional Series – Now on SoundCloud

17/02/2017

Bluetone Fried Eye 2+2 Reverb – now on SoundCloud

Contact: Bluetone Amps

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16/02/2017

First View: Bluetone Fried Eye 2+2 Reverb

Bluetone Fried Eye 2+2 Reverb

• Handmade in Finland
• Two-channel valve amp
• Class AB
• 20-40 W
• 5 x 12AX7 plus 1 x 12AT7
• Two pairs of power amp valves – 2 x 6L6GC (Clean channel) and 2 x EL34 (Crunch channel)
• Switchable boost
• Switchable effects loop
• Switchable spring reverb
• Single Celestion G12 Neo speaker

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Demo Track
• Two rhythm guitars (Clean channel) – Gibson Melody Maker SG (left) and Fender Stratocaster (right)
• Lead guitar (Crunch channel) – modern Tele-type guitar

Contact: Bluetone Amps

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15/02/2017

Bluetone Fried Eye 2+2 ^^^ Testi tulossa! ^^^ Review coming soon!

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Contact: Bluetone Amps

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14/02/2017

Fender American Professional Series == Testi tulossa! == Review coming soon!

07/02/2017

Review: Gurus Amps Sinusoid

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Italy is fast becoming one of the top countries for tone hounds, thanks to the ever-growing number of cool Italian guitar amp and effects companies.

One such company is Gurus Amps from the town of Faenza, about halfway between Bologna and Rimini. Gurus makes both amplifiers and effect pedals, with their valve-driven Echosex analogue echo pedal probably being their best-known product.

Gurus Amps’ Sinusoid (price in Finland: 479 €) is another cool design, which seems both anachronistic and up-to-date at the same time. The Sinusoid is a paperback-sized effect pedal, offering you two valve-driven analogue effects in a very compact format — optical tremolo and genuine spring reverb.

The Sinusoid is sold without a power supply unit. This double pedal’s power input can handle DC between nine and twelve volts, and its polarity follows the well-established Boss-standard. Be aware, though, that this Gurus effect is relatively power hungry, requiring anything from 230 mA to 400 mA, which means running the Sinusoid off a professional pedalboard PSU is strongly advised. The effects unit worked fine with Kitarablogi’s Cioks PSU.

The Gurus Sinusoid is equipped with mono in- and outputs – you can plug your guitar (or keyboard) directly into it, or run the effects pedal in an effects loop.

The Sinusoid is loop-switcher-ready, sporting a remote control input jack in the upper left corner.

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Guru Amps’ Sinusoid is extremely easy to use:

Each of the two effects comes with its own footswitch, two control knobs, as well as a green ”Magic Eye” indicator.

On the optical tremolo side the indicator light gives you the speed of the tremolo effect. The spring reverb’s ”Magic Eye” tells you how hot you’re currently driving the reverb tank’s (manufactured by Accutronics, by the way) input stage (using the Volume control). It is possible to overdrive the reverb circuit, should you wish to achieve extreme Surf or Rockabilly effects.

The Sinusoid’s name has been taken from its very musical tremolo circuit, whose modulation uses a sinusoidal wave generator. The Intensity takes you from completely off to quite choppy, with an ample range provided by the Speed control, too.

This clip gives you an idea of the range of tremolo effects offered by the Gurus pedal, when plugging a Fender Stratocaster into its input:

My first thought at realising that the Sinusoid incorporates a genuine spring reverb was ”These Italians must be nuts!”, but I must confess that the pedal has quickly won me over with its classic tones. To my ears, the pedal’s spring reverb sounds a tad less dense, rich, and wet, when compared to something like a Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb. But when you remember that the Gurus Sinusoid is far smaller than a full-sized reverb tank, you will have to admit that the sound quality offered here is truly astounding:

Here’s a short clip of both effects running at the same time:

I already mentioned this before, but Gurus Amps’ Sinusoid also works very well, when used with a keyboard. This is why I’ve recorded the demo track’s keyboard and guitar parts using the effects pedal:

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In and of itself the Gurus Sinusoid works wonders in delivering genuine vintage-sounding tremolo and reverb effects in a compact and easy-to-use format.

There is one thing worth considering, though, and that is the effect’s working environment. Due to the way a spring reverb creates its magic – namely by means of vibrating metal springs – all reverb tanks are susceptible to mechanical shocks, at least to some degree. Normally, a spring reverb tends to be safely tucked away at the bottom of an amplifier cabinet, but the Sinusoid is meant to be mounted on your pedalboard and switched on (and off) by foot. Depending on your stage volume and/or the vivacity of your showmanship, accidentally kicking the Sinusoid (or switching the reverb on very forcefully) will inevitably lead to audible spring reverb rattling (sounds like distant thunder). I’d recommend using some type of shock absorption when mounting the Sinusoid to your pedalboard, if you want to minimise reverb rattling.

In my view, Gurus’ Sinusoid is a great two-in-one pedal that scores high in the vintage tone and coolness stakes. Sure, you can get nice-sounding digital models of tremolo and spring reverb effects for less money, but the Sinusoid is the real McCoy!

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Gurus Amps Sinusoid

479

Finnish distribution: NordSound

Pros:

+ two genuine valve-driven effects

+ sturdy built

+ compact format

+ sounds

+ remote switcher compatible

Cons:

– spring reverb susceptible to mechanical shocks

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06/02/2017

Review: Tokai Love Rock LS-100F Pearly Gates + LS-200F-5A

Tokai Guitars’ workshop in Japan will do the occasional special run of Limited Edition models that come with some features that differ from the regular models on offer. To our delight, we at Kitarablogi managed to get hold of two such special Love Rock guitars for this review.

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The Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates (price in Finland: 1,550 €; hard case incl.) is a factory-modded instrument for Billy Gibbons fans …

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… while Tokai’s LS-200F-5A (2,995 €; hard case and pickguard incl.) represents the maker’s take on the ”ultimate Love Rock guitar”. This Premium Series instrument shows off an AAAAA figured maple top, and a set of Seymour Duncan Custom Shop pickups.

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Even though this isn’t an official signature model by any stretch of the imagination, Tokai’s LS-100F Pearly Gates is clearly modelled after Billy F. Gibbons’ main squeeze.

The solid figured maple top looks fantastic in its gloss brown Ice Tea Burst. The guitar comes with a set of Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbuckers.

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The Tokai LS-200F-5A has been built in an extremely limited edition (less than 20 guitars worldwide), with a whopping three instruments finding their way to Finland.

The LS-200F-5A isn’t ”just” a top-of-the-line instrument, it’s a thrilling experience. The flame on this guitar’s top is so deep you can lose yourself in it, and the instrument’s semimatte finish only accentuates its sensual qualities.

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Both models are equipped with top quality Gotoh machine heads.

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The fretwork is second to none. Both instruments sport a fret size that’s slightly larger-than-vintage.

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The bridges and tailpieces are also supplied by Gotoh.

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Seymour Duncan’s Pearly Gates set is a recreation of the slightly unusual PAFs found in Billy Gibbons’ legendary guitar.

For some reason Pearly Gates – a 1959 Les Paul Standard – comes with a set of humbuckers that offers a strong mid-range peak, while the bridge humbucker is clearly much louder than the neck unit.

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Tokai has ordered a batch of custom-made Seymour Duncan Antiquity-humbuckers for the LS-200F-5A.

The Antiquity is Duncan’s most faithful recreation of Gibson’s original PAF. The custom-version used here differs from the regular issue in two points – these humbuckers have not been aged, but look brand new, and both pickups come with four conductors to facilitate pickup splitting.

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The Japanese electronics inside the LS-100F Pearly Gates are of a very high standard.

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For the LS-200F-5A Tokai uses Orange Drop capacitors, US-made volume pots, and two ESP push/push tone pots for coil-splitting.

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Both models are sold with a top-drawer hard case.

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Our review sample of the Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates is a fine-playing instrument, with a nice, moderate weight, and a great neck profile, that’s rounded, but not too big (somewhere between a ’59 and a ’60 profile).

The Pearly Gates humbuckers deliver a good deal more output than a traditional PAF (or its copy), coupled with a very strong mid-range. Yet, despite this signature sound, the Pearly Gates set never feels one-dimensional, clunky, or hard-to-control. There’s ample top end and a great dynamic range.

This is what the LS-100F Pearly Gates sounds like played through a handwired Tweed Champ-clone set clean:

Overdriven and distorted tones clearly show off the signature pickup set’s Texan accent:

It’s fairly easy to coax artificial harmonics from this Tokai, if you’re into Billy Gibbons’ playing style:

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Tokai’s LS-200F-5A is too good an instrument to be locked away in a display case!

The LS-200F-5A is a surprisingly lightweight solid-body guitar. It plays at least as good as the LS-100F, but thanks to its semimatte finish one seems to make a more intimate connection with this fantastic guitar.

Seymour Duncan’s Antiquity-humbuckers really let the woody aspects of your guitar’s inherent tone shine through. These humbuckers have a clear, precise and dry (in a good sense) sound:

The coil-split option opens up a whole bag of additional tonal choices, whenever you look for more single-coil-type tones from this Love Rock:

Overdriven and distorted tones, too, will benefit from the possibility to drop the output level with the simple pressing of a button (or two):

The demo track features two rhythm guitar tracks, which were both recorded with split humbuckers. The first half of the lead part starts off with the split neck pickup, switching to the full unit for the second half of the song:

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Both the LS-100F Pearly Gates as well as the LS-200F-5A are prime examples of the kind of top grade workmanship that has made Japanese Tokais legendary.

The LS-100F Pearly Gates is a great choice for Blues- and Rock-inclined players, who thrive on chunky mid-range power and bags of sustain.

For an investment grade instrument Tokai’s LS-200F-5A is still rather affordable. This guitar will give you Japanese Custom Shop quality at a very fair price, but the edition is, indeed, very limited…

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Two Tokai Love Rock models

LS-100F Pearly Gates – 1,550 € (case included)

LS-200F-5A – 2,995 € (case included)

Pros (both guitars):

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

+ (LS-100F Pearly Gates only) Billy Gibbons signature humbuckers

+ (LS-200F-5A only) collectible

+ (LS-200F-5A only) coil-split

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