Archive for tammikuu, 2011

30/01/2011

Who-tastic! Uusi Gibson SG Special ’60s Tribute

Lisätiedot

30/01/2011

Klassikkokitarat, osa 5: Gibson ES-335

Vuonna 1958 ilmestynyt ES-335 on yksi Gibsonin suurimmista myyntimenestyksistä ja firman toiseksi pisin yhtäjaksoisesti tuotannossa oleva sähkökitara (ES-175 jazzkitara on tullut ulos 1949).

Silloinen Gibsonin pomo Ted McCarty on sanonut useissa haastatteluissa, että ES-335 oli hänen mielestään hänen paras saavutus – sekä ergonomialtaan että soundiltaan.

ES-335:n ohut runko on valmistettu muotoon prässätystä vaahteravanerista. Vaikka kitaran ulkonäkö muistuttaa perinteistä jazzkitaraa, on malli kuitenkin lankkukitaran ja onttokoppaisen jazzmallin välimaastossa.

Puoliakustisen kitaran rungossa on nimittäin sustainea pidentävä, ja feedbackin ulinalta suojava keskipalkki, joka kulkee koko matkan kaulalta toiselle hihnatapille.

Keskipalkki mahdollistaa myös Gibson-lankkukitaroista tutun palkkimaisen kieltenpitimen käyttöä, mikä lisää hieman soinnin kiinteyttä.

Ontot sivuosat taas tuovat ES-335-tyyliseen kitaraan avoimemman keskialueen ja pyöreämmän atakin, jos vertaa vaikkapa Les Pauliin.

Verraten ison koppansa ansiosta perinteinen puoliakustinen ei ole ehkä sopivin valinta pienikokoiselle aloittelijalle (alle 160 cm), mutta muille suhteellisen kevyt ja hyvin balansoiva ergonominen malli sopii hyvin.

Gibsonin tytäryhtiö Epiphone on jo 1960-luvulla teyhnyt omia variaatioita ES-335 teemasta – esimerkiksi alkuperäismallia prameampi Sheraton (vaalea kitara tässä jutussa) tai pikkuhumbuckerilla varustettu Riviera, jolla on hieman kirkkaampi soundi.

Yllättävän edullinen Epiphone Dot Studio -malli taas on uudempaa tuotantoa, ja se tarjoaa ES-335:n konseptin sopivasti pelkistetyssä muodossa. Runko on tässä mahonkivanerista, ja kolmiasentoisen kytkimen lisäksi on tarjolla ainoastaan master volume ja master tone -säätimet.

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Itsekin pidän suuresti puoliakustisista kitaroista.

Tässä yksi kuva minun Epiphone Casinosta ja minun japanilaisesta Kasuga ES-335 -kopiosta (valmistettu joskus 70/80-luvun taitteessa):

Niiden soundeja voi kuunnella tässä.

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29/01/2011

Classic Guitars, part 4: Gibson SG

At the moment the Gibson SG is extremely popular – the trendiest model on the block.

Unbelievable as it may seem with hindsight, the SG was designed in 1961 as the Les Paul’s replacement. Ted McCarty and his team were eager to come out with a sexier, lighter and more practical electric guitar, in place of the then somewhat unpopular Les Paul.

Les Paul himself wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the new model, so he decided not to renew his endorsement deal in 1963. From that moment on the ”new and improved Les Paul Standard” became the Gibson SG Standard (SG = solid guitar). By the way, Gibson brought back the original Les Paul in 1969.

The main new feature of the SG was its sleek and curvy body, crafted entirely from mahogany. The glued neck joint was moved so that all of the guitar’s frets were easy to access.

Due to the new neck joint the front humbucker had to be moved a little towards the bridge for added stability, which in turn slightly thins out the pickup’s sound.

The SG’s thin and light body results in a fresher, more resonant and transparent tone, when compared to a Les Paul.

Thanks to its thin body, light weight and (normally) fixed bridge the SG is a fine choice for a first guitar. Only its very slight tendency towards neck heaviness can sometimes mar the nigh-on perfect picture.

As with all Gibson models, I’d advise anybody to purchase a quality gig bag or case with an SG-style guitar, to protect it against neck or headstock breakage.

Gibson’s Faded-series offers amazing value for money. These USA-made models offer less bling by doing away with the fingerboard binding, the large crown inlays and the regular gloss finish. But apart from the more modest visuals, the Faded-instruments are thoroughbred Gibsons.

28/01/2011

Hauska lisävaruste Gibsonille – Fun accessory for a Gibson

Get it HERE.

Avainsanat:
27/01/2011

Klassikkokitarat, osa 4: Gibson SG

Gibsonin SG on viime aikoina ollut kovassa suosiossa – se on tällä hetkellä trendikkäin sähkökitara.

Uskomatonta kyllä, mutta SG syntyi vuonna 1961 uutena Les Pauli -mallina. Ted McCartyn tiimi halusi kevyemmän ja ergonomisemman kitaran, silloin epämuodikkaan, raskaan Les Paul -mallin tilalle.

Les Paul itse ei kuitenkin pitänyt uudesta nimikkosoittimesta kovinkaan paljon, eikä uusinut endorsement-sopimuksensa vuonna 1963. Silloin ”uudesta Les Paul Standardista” tuli Gibson SG -malli (alkuperäinen Les Paul -kitara tuotiin takaisin vuonna 1969).

SG:llä on ohut ja kurvikas mahonkirunko. Kaulan liimaliitos on muutettu niin, että kitaran kaikki 22 nauhat ovat rungon ulkopuolella, minkä ansiosta myös korkeisiin nuotteihin on helppo päästä.

Toisenlaisen kaulaliitoksen takia kaulahumbucker sijaitsee noin puolitoista senttimetriä lähemmäs tallaa, mikä ohentaa hieman mikrofonin soundia.

Ohuemmasta rungosta johtuen SG:n soundi on hieman raikkaampi, notkeampi ja jäntevämpi kuin Les Paul -mallin sointi.

Ohuen rungonsa, kevyen painonsa ja kiinteän tallansa ansiosta SG sopii hyvin ensikitaraksi. Ainoastaan lievä taipumus kaulapainoisuuteen voi joidenkin mielestä olla häiritsevä.

Suosittelen – niin kuin kaikkien Gibson-tyylisien kitaroiden kanssa – myös SG:n tapauksessa laadukkaan kuljetuspussin tai kovan laukun hankkiminen, ettei taakse kallistuva viritinlapa vahingoittuisi kuljetuksen yhteydessä.

Gibsonin Faded-sarja tarjoaa muuten USA:ssa valmistettuja soittimia yllättävän edullisesti. Gibson SG Special Faded – mallista puuttuu otelaudan reunalistoitus, upotukset ovat vaatimattomampia ja kitarassa on ohut mattalakkaus, mutta soitin on kuitenkin täysverinen SG.

25/01/2011

Epiphone Casino – lempikitarani

Omistamastani kitaroista Epiphone Casino on se jolla soitan eniten.

Mallilla on myös ollut tärkeä paikka Beatles-yhtiön soundissa Help-albumista eteenpäin – bändin kaikki kolme kitaristit omistivat kyseisen mallin. Paul McCartney on usein kertonut haastatteluissa, että Casino on hänen lempisoittimensa.

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Epiphone Casino ES-230TD on kitaran alkuperäinen mallitunnus, ja se oli firman vastine Gibsonin ES-330-mallille.

Gibson oli ostanut Epiphone-yrityksen 1950-luvun loppupuolella, ja siirtänyt tuotantoa oman tehtaansa läheisyyteen Kalamazoohon. Nykyään Epiphone on Gibsonin edullinen brändi, ja soittimet rakennetaan lähes kaikki Kiinassa.

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Oma Casinoni on varhaisen 2000-luvun tuotantoa Koreasta. Alun perin kitarassa oli kiiltävä viimeistely, mutta ystäväni Sebastian Bunge (Soundhaus Lübeck) muutti sitä hiekkapaperilla Lennon-tyyliseksi mattaksi asiakkaan pyynnöstä. Samalla hän vaihtoi soittimeen paremmat P-90 mikrofonit, jotka tulivat Göldoltä.

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Vaikka Casino näyttää samankaltaiselta puoliakustiselta kitaralta kuin Gibsonin ES-335/-345/-355, on sen runko kuitenkin täysin ontto (niin kuin myös Gibson ES-330:ssä). Rungosta puuttuu puoliakustisen kitaran keskipalkki vaahterasta, minkä takia Casinon mahonkikaula on liimattu vanerirunkoon jo 16:n nauhan kohdalla.

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60-luvun originaaleissa kaula on yksiosainen, mutta minun kitarassa on tyypillinen korealainen kolmiosainen kaula, yhdestä pitkästä osasta, johon on liitetty kaulan korko sekä viritinlapa (liitoskohta on hieman E-virittimien alapuolella).

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Ensimmäisillä Casinoilla oli – ainakin minun mielestä – kömpelön näköiset, leveät Gibson-tyyliset lavat. Vuonna 1965 muutetiin muotoa kauniimpaan tiimalasi-kaltaiseen tyyliin.

Kitarani on helpposoittoinen ja soundiltaan presiis mitä odotin. ”Minulla on tässä jotain, mitä voisi kiinnostaa sinua”, Sebastian sanoi – ja hän oli oikeassa! Soitin Casinon Soundhausissa Fender ’65 Deluxe reissue -kombon läpi, ja sointi oli juuri kuin Lennonin soundi Apple-talon katossa silloin tammikuun 1969 lopussa (OK, tiedän, että Johnilla oli Twin…).

Rakastan tätä kitaraa! Soitan Casinoni esimerkiksi tässä.

Yläoleva juttu on otettu minun toisesta blogista.

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Juttuni allaolevista kahdesta kaunottareista – Gibson ES-330L ja Epiphone Inspired By Revolution Casino – julkaistiin Riffi-lehden numerossa 4/2010.

25/01/2011

I Love My Epiphone Casino

One of my all-time favourite guitars is the Epiphone Casino. It is the ultimate Beatle-guitar – all three guitar-playing Beatles have owned and played this model. Paul McCartney still rates the Casino as his personal favourite.

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Originally called the Epiphone Casino ES-230TD it was the sister model to Gibson’s ES-330. Gibson had bought (the then US-firm) in the mid 1950s and produced Epiphone models alongside their own line in Kalamazoo (Michigan). Nowadays the Epi brand serves as Gibson’s cost-conscious line and the production has long been moved to the Far East (mostly China).

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My Casino is an early Noughties Korean-manufactured guitar. Originally a natural (gloss) finished model, it has been Lennon-ised by my friend Sebastian Bunge of Soundhaus Lübeck (Germany). He dulled down the finish (at which point the serial number went missing) and installed higher quality P-90 pickups made by Göldo.

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Although the Casino shares the double-cutaway thinline body of Gibson’s ES-335/-345/-355, it is nonetheless a completely hollow bodied model (like the ES-330). There is no maple centre block running the length of the plywood maple body, which is why the neck joint is at the 16th fret.

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While the originals had one-piece mahogany necks, my guitar comes with a three-piece neck. Basically, the neck is one piece, save for an added bit to make up the height of the neck heel, as well as the headstock, which is joined to the rest north of the saddle/wrist area (not scarf-joined beneath the 2nd fret!).

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While the first Casinos from the late 1950s/early 60s feature (rather ugly) wide Gibson-type headstocks, all post-65 models come with the much more distinctive Epi-hourglass design.

This guitar plays like a dream and sounds like it should. Sebastian pulled it out of its case and said ”I think you might be interested in this!” – damn right I was. He plugged the guitar into a Fender ’65 Deluxe reissue, and it sounded exactly like John on the Apple-building roof in January 1969 (OK, so John had played a Twin…).

I love this guitar. One example of myself playing the Epiphone Casino can be found here.

This post has been originally posted on my other blog in 2008.

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My review of these two beauties – the Gibson ES-330L and the Epiphone Inspired By Revolution Casino – can be found in Riffi Magazine’s issue 4/2010.

24/01/2011

Classic Guitars, part 3: Fender Telecaster

The Fender Telecaster is the model that put the solid body electric guitar on the map. Although quite a few inventors had dabbled with the concept of an electrically amplified solid body guitar from the 1930s onwards, Leo Fender and George Fullerton succeeded in starting a huge industry back in 1950.

The guitar we now know as the Fender Telecaster first saw light as a one-pickup guitar – the Esquire. The first Esquires had a small pushbutton next to the volume and tone controls, enabling the player to switch quickly between the normal bridge pickup tone and a boomy sound with the treble removed. A few weeks later the pushbutton was replaced with a three-way lever selector, which gave you the boomy tone, the normal pickup sound with tone control and a setting with the bridge pickup routed directly to the output jack for more treble.

At first the two-pickup counterpart retained the Esquire-moniker, before Fender hit upon a new name – the Broadcaster. In February 1951 Fender got a telegram from Gretsch – then a much larger company than Fender – informing them that they already had a trademarked drum-series called Broadkaster, and asking Fender to stop infringing on their trademark.

Time for a name-change, again. In the meantime Fender used up the old logo decals, modified by clipping off the Broadcaster-script. These guitars are now affectionately called ”Nocasters”.

In August 1951 the two-pickup Fender model finally became the Telecaster.

The Tele is a really straightforward instrument, put together from a slab body (no comfort contours here) and a bolt-on maple neck, sometimes augmented by a rosewood fingerboard.

The neck pickup has its own metal cover, while the bridge pickup is suspended in the box-like bridge.

The vintage-style Tele bridge is equipped with only three saddles, but these days many of the model’s versions feature modern six-saddle bridges. Anoraks can discuss one bridge type’s ”superiority” over another for ages on end – let me just state that the bridge saddles of different versions can either be made from brass, steel or die-cast metal, which all have differing influences on the respective guitar’s tone.

Since 1967 the three-way switch gives you either the warm neck pickup, the nicely broad and slightly hollow mix of both units, or the nasal, twangy and sinewy bridge pickup on its own. The bridge pickup sound quickly became the Tele’s calling card and it’s one of the mainstays in Country music. But this guitar is much more versatile than ”just” Country, and it is widely used in many music styles from Blues to Rock. Even some Metal guitarists have been spotted sporting a Tele, even though they usually have the original pickups exchanged for humbuckers.

In my opinion, the Telecaster is a fantastic guitar for a novice, if you can live with the edgy slab body. Leo Fender wanted to create a guitar that was easy to manufacture, easy to service and easy to repair. He envisaged a sturdy workhorse-instrument for the working musician.

Only very seldom does an inventor succeed so completely, as Messrs Fender and Fullerton have.

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23/01/2011

Classic Guitars, part 2: Gibson Les Paul

When Fender came out with its first creations – the Esquire and the Broadcaster (aka Telecaster) – in 1950, the small start-up from California was derided and its products put down as ”snow shovels” or ”toilet seats”.

But after a short while the Fenders started to get a following, especially among Country guitarists.

Gibson Guitar’s boss, Ted McCarty, decided something had to be done, unless they wanted to leave the whole marketplace to Fender without competition.

This ”something” became the world’s most successful signature model – the Gibson Les Paul Standard.

Les Paul was a huge guitar hero in the 1950s, who also did inventing as a sideline.

Naturally, Gibson decided to create a solid body guitar along their own design priciples, using a glued-in neck joint and a sandwich body with a beautifully carved top. The neck, as well as the back of the body, were made from mahogany, the bound fingerboard used rosewood and the carved top was made from maple.

The first version was equipped with two P-90 pickups, and the model’s top was painted in a gold metallic finish. The sound is somewhat softer that that of a typical Fender, but still surprisingly pokey and fresh.

It took Gibson until 1957 to hit upon the now classic combination of two humbuckers and a cherry sunburst top.

The updated Les Paul Standard sounds bigger and fatter, leading to the Blues Boom of the late 60s and the birth of Heavy Rock. Guitarists started to lust after the model’s ”endless” sustain.

The posher Les Paul Custom – available mostly in solid black or white – features more intricate inlays and binding, and has also been a favourite of a lot of Rock and Metal guitarists from Keith Richards and Randy Rhoads to the likes of Zakk Wylde and Matt Heafy.

The Les Paul’s non-vibrato bridge keeps tuning problems at bay, which is a great plus for a beginner. And the model’s shorter (than Fender) scale, as well as the flatter fretboard radius, make for much easier string bending.

On the negative side is the Les Paul’s higher weight, and Gibson’s back-angled headstock, which makes the guitars more prone to headstock breakage should they fall over. A well-padded gigbag, or better still, a quality case is a useful investment should you buy a Gibson-style guitar (most US-originals include a bag or case in the price).

23/01/2011

Classic Guitars, part 1: Fender Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster, in production since 1954, is without doubt the world’s best-selling, most copied and most versatile classic electric guitar.

Traditionally the Stratocaster features a bolt-on (screwed on, actually) maple neck. The very ergonomically designed solid body has originally been made of alder or ash, but these days woods like poplar, basswood or agathis are also widely used.

The Strat’s versatility is due mostly to it being a three-pickup guitar. The five-way blade switch offers each of the guitar’s three pickups on their own, or combinations of bridge-plus-middle and neck-plus-middle for more hollow, glassy sounds. The list of Strat-users is sheer endless, with name players such as Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Dave Murray, Eric Clapton or Ritchie Blackmore. There don’t seem to be any stylistic boundaries for this guitar model.

From a beginner’s viewpoint the Stratocaster’s wide availability – in original versions, licensed copies and other ”permutations” – as well as its modular nature make for a pocket-friendly price.

But there are also a couple of catches for the rookie guitarist, stemming from the model’s vibrato bridge. Most Strats leave the factory set up with a slight tip-up of the bridge plate. This enables experienced guitarists to use the vibrato to pull notes up as well as push them down. But this type of ”floating” set-up makes tuning an arduous process, and almost impossible for the inexperienced beginner to accomplish.

I’d advise any budding guitarist to ask the shop assistant for a quick change of set-up, before parting with their money. This should be a fast and (most likely) free-of-charge part of every instrument retailer’s service. Have them adjust the bridge so it lies flat on the body, and ask them to readjust the string action (string height) accordingly. This will make tuning noticeably easier.

Some players also complain, that a Stratocaster’s volume control is too close to the picking hand, leading to accidental changes in volume mid-song. On the other hand, others think the position of the volume control is perfect – horses for courses.

If you plan on using the Strat mostly for playing hard and heavy music, you might want to consider one of the models factory-equipped with one or more humbuckers.