This time we’re in for a real treat:
We’ll take a closer look at master luthier Veijo Rautia’s handmade interpretation of a lesser known 1950s Supro-model – the Dual Tone. Mr. Rautia has included a handful of updates, which bring the playability of this guitar up to modern standards. In contrast to many lesser Supro-, Valco- and Airline-copies, the Rautia Guitars Dual Tone uses the correct type of pickups.
To people in the know Veijo Rautia is already a well-established name, rising to fame as the chief designer of the original Flaxwood models. These days Rautia focuses mainly on making pickups and custom-order guitars.
Rautia Guitars’ Dual Tone (approx. 2,500 €) is a very stylish singlecut electric guitar.
Its alder body is partly hollowed out for better balance and tonal resonance.
Old (wooden) Supros used a very idiosyncratic neck attachment.
Rautia’s solution feels far more stable, using four wood screws and separate washers.
Looking from the front, the Dual Tone’s machine heads seem to be traditional Kluson-copies.
In fact, Rautia uses a set of mini-sized, high-tech and ultra-light Gotohs, called Stealth tuners.
The Stealth set works great, and the tuners turn very smoothly.
As per original specs, Rautia’s Dual Tone uses a very shallow neck pocket, with the neck set quite some way into the body. This high neck joint makes it possible to use a jazz guitar style bridge on a guitar with no neck angle.
The Indian rosewood fretboard is bound. It sports 22 medium-sized frets and rectangular pearloid position markers.
The fretwork is excellent, as you’d expect on a boutique grade guitar such as this.
The Tune-o-matic bridge on the Dual Tone Style – made by Schaller – sits on an ebony foot.
Original Supro (and Valco) pickups look like humbuckers, but they are in fact a very special breed of singlecoil pickup.
(Photo courtesy of Rautia Guitars)
The Valco-pickup uses two alnico magnets mounted between two steel plates. One of these plates is L-shaped and serves as the mounting plate (and magnetiser) for the assembly’s single bobbin.
There are two volume and two tone controls on the Dual Tone.
Just as on the original model, the pair that is closest to the bridge deals with the bridge pickup (!), while the pair further away from the bridge is connected to the neck pickup.
The Rautia-model comes with a push/pull phase switch for the neck pickup.
Rautia Guitars’ Dual Tone Style is a lightweight electric guitar offering boutique grade playability.
The neck’s gloss finish is very thin, and doesn’t feel sticky at all. The neck’s C-profile is well-rounded and comfortable – not clubby or too much of a handful.
From a modern guitarist’s standpoint, the Dual Tone’s deep neck set makes it a bit more difficult to reach the top end of the fretboard than what we’re normally used to. Some players would also prefer a fixed bridge for fear of knocking the free-standing bridge out of place in the heat of the moment. Based on this test, though, I must state that I really enjoyed playing the Dual Tone, and experienced no problems whatsoever!
The clean tones on the Rautia Dual Tone are really very beautiful, open and bell-like. These pickups aren’t as sharp-sounding as your traditional Fender singlecoil, but they aren’t as cluttered in the mid-range as a Gibson P-90, either.
The pickups are played in the following order; neck PU –> both PUs (in phase) –> both PUs (out of phase) –> bridge PU:
Rautia’s Valco-type pickups also sound fantastic with some distortion. There’s ample grit for the guitar to cut through, without the Dual Tone ever sounding thin or brittle:
The demo track features two rhythm guitar track, both using the middle selection on the toggle switch, as well as the phase reverse switch.
The first lead guitar part uses the neck pickup, then you’ll hear both pickups together (neck phase reversed), and the last pass is played using the bridge pickup on its own:
It’s so easy to fall in love with such a fantastic instrument!
Rautia Guitars’ Dual Tone represents the best in Finnish craftsmanship. Veijo Rautia’s vast knowledge in the field of guitar pickups really shows, making this a guitar which plays and sounds like a dream.
This is a handcrafted guitar at a very fair price.
Rautia Guitars Dual Tone Style
Contact: Rautia Guitars
+ handcrafted in Finland
+ rare type of pickup
– vintage-style top fret access