Search Results for “Wilkinson”

01/10/2019

Testipenkissä: Arvo Guitars – Arvo

”Olisiko mahdollista rakentaa Suomessa käsintehty kitara sellaiseen hintaan, että tavallisella muusikolla olisi siihen varaa?”

Suomalainen kitaristi Petri Matero oli pohtinut tätä kysymystä jonkin aikaa, ennen kuin hän päätti ottaa asiasta selvää. Yhdessä Kanki Guitarsin Teemu Korven kanssa he alkoivat kehittämään Materon ajatusta eteenpäin. Pitkän suunnitteluprosessin ja useiden prototyyppien jälkeen, Matero, Korpi ja Juha Tolonen (Sveitsissä asuva suomalainen, jolla on siellä oma boutique-kitaroiden kauppa Captain Sounds) päättivät perustaa hanketta varten oman yrityksen – Arvo Guitars.

Leon hengessä, eli: ”Keep it simple!”

Arvo Electric Guitar -malli perustuu pitkälti Leo Fenderin oppiin selkeydestä ja suoraviivaisuudesta. Arvo-lankkukitara ei ole tarkoitettu boutique-soittimeksi termin varsinaisessa merkityksessä, jossa tarjotaan asiakkaille laaja valikoima erilaisia custom vaihtoehtoja kaulaprofiilista puuvalintoihin tai elektroniikasta viimeistelyihin. Arvossa alusta – siis kitara itse – pysyy muuttumattomana, ja asiakas saa valita kolmesta eri mikkityypistä (joilla on kaikilla samat humbucker-ulkoviivat), kiinteän tai vibratallan, sekä yhden neljästä värivaihtoehdosta. Pitämällä alustan standardisoituna ja tarjoamalla ainoastaan tarkoin rajatun määrän vaihtoehtoja soittimen hinta pysyy edullisena, suomalaisesta alkuperästä huolimatta.

Kitara palveluna, eli Arvo GAAS

Suomessa asuville Arvo Guitars tarjoaa vielä yhden yhtä nerokkaan kuin erikoisen lisäherkun – kitaran liisausta.

Arvo GAAS -niminen (Guitar as a service) palvelu mahdollistaa sekä kitaran ostamisen osamaksulla että soittimen käyttöä vuoden verran pientä kuukausimaksua vastaan. Kaikkia GAAS-palvelun yksityiskohtia kannattaa tsekata Arvo Guitarsin nettisivuilta.

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Arvo Electric Guitar -malli (testattu versio: 1.240 €) on minusta kaunis lankkukitara, joka näyttää samalla sekä tuoreelta että klassiselta.

Arvo Guitars pitää huolen kitaristin jaksamisesta pitämällä kitaran painon tarkoin rajoitettuna. Jokainen valmis soitin painaa vain noin kaksi ja puoli kiloa.

Poppelirungossa on edessä mukavuusviiste plektrakädelle. Kotimainen poppeli on hyvin resonoiva puulaji, joka on lisäksi suhteellisen helposti maalattavissa. Oman Arvon saa neljällä eri värillä – punainen, valkoinen, harmaa ja musta.

Ruuvikaulan materiaaliksi on valittu afrikkalaista mahonkia, ja se sai ylleen avohuokoisen natural-viimeistelyn.

Testatusta, varhaistuotannon versiosta löytyy Wilkinson-virittimet. ”Oikeissa” tuotantokitaroissa nähdään sitten Graph Techin Ratio-koneistot. Itsevoiteleva satula on Graph Techin Black Tusq.

Otelaudan materiaalina käytetään Arvoissa kaunista pähkinäpuuta. Nauhatyö on erinomaisen laadukas, ja esimerkiksi nauhojen päät on pyöristetty erittäin sulaviksi.

Kaikissa Arvo-kitaroissa on kaksi käsintehtyä mikrofonia. Soittimelle tarjotut kolme mikkityyppiä ovat kaikki humbucker-kokoisia, mutta mikkikuoren alla voi olla humbucker, P-90 tai Fender-tyylinen yksikelainen. Asiakkaalla on vapaat kädet omaan kitaransa haluamansa kombinaation valinnassa.

Arvo-mikkejä on myös helppo vaihtaa, koska ne ovat liitetty muuhun elektroniikkaan mikrofonikoloihin sijoitetuilla pikaliitimillä. Kieltenvaihdon yhteydessä pystyy ruuvaamaan mikrofonin irti, ja korvaamaan sitä toisentyyppisellä Arvo-mikillä hyvin nopeasti, ja täysin ilman juotoskolvin tarvetta.

Talla ja kieltenpidin näyttävät tavallisilta korealaisilta osilta, mutta ne tulevatkin Graph Techin uudesta ResoMax-sarjasta. ResoMax-osiin käytetään firman omaa erikoisvalmisteista metalliseosta, joka parantaa valmistajan mukaan soittimen atakkia, soittodynamiikka ja yleissointia. Kätevänä lisäominaisuutena löytyy pieniä magneetteja, jotka pitävät Tune-o-matic-tallan ja Stopbar-pitimen visusti paikoillaan myös kieltenvaihdon yhteydessä.

Arvon suunnitteluperiaatteiden mukaisesti soittimen säätimet ovat hyvin suoraviivaiset. Muovipaneelista löytyy Tele-mainen kolmiasentoinen kytkin, sekä master volume- ja master tone -säätimet.

Juotokset näyttävät siisteiltä ja elektroniikkalokeron foliosuojaus hyvin huolelliselta.

Topattu pussi kuuluu Arvon hintaan.

Arvo Guitars antaa alkuperäiselle omistajalle elinikäisen tuotetakuun. Lisäksi jokaisesta myydystä kitarasta menee 50 euron lahjoitus Pelastakaa lapset -yhdistykselle.

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Arvo Electric Guitar on todellakin erityisen kevyt lankkukitara. Hyvän suunnittelun ansiosta soitin ei kuitenkaan ole kaulapainoinen.

Arvon ulkonäkö on klassisesti hillitty ja myös kitaran kaulaprofiili on valittu huolella mahdollisimman yleispäteväksi. Kaulaprofiili on melko tuhti C, aika lähellä Gibsonin myöhäisen 1950-luvun kauloja, mikä on erinomainen valinta myös kitaran perussoundia ja pitkiä keikkoja silmällä pitäen. Otelaudan Gibson-tyylinen radius (12 tuumaa), sekä nauhojen mainio kapeahko ja keskikorkea olemus, tekevät Arvon soittamisesta helpon ja mukavan.

Arvo-kitaran laadukkaat, hyvin resonoivat puut, sekä soittimen Graph Tech -osat, ovat omiaan antamaan kitaralle vahvan ja kirkkaan akustisen äänen, sekä pitkän ja harmonisesti rikkaan sustainin.

Vahvistettuna iso osa soundista riippuu luonnollisesti omaan kitaraan valituista mikkityypeistä. Kahdesta humbuckerista saa kermaisen perussoundin, kun taas Fender-tyylisillä yksikelaisilla lopputulos on lähempänä Stratoa tai Telecasteria.

Testikitaraan oli asennettu kaksi P-90:tä, jonka ansiosta soundi menee samalla mehukkaan, mutta rouhean suuntaan, joka tuli tutuksi monesta The Who- tai Santana-klassikkobiisistä. Kaulamikrofoni on lämmin ja moniulotteinen, keskiasento tarjoaa loistavan (ja funkahtavan) komppisoundin, kun taas tallamikrofonista lähtee pureva soundi, joka ei kuitenkaan ole koskaan liian terävä.

Tässä on esimerkki Arvon puhtaista perussoundeista (äänitetty suoraan Blackstar HT-1R -kombon linjalähdöstä):

Demobiisiä varten mikitin kaksi täysputkikomboa (Juketone True Blood ja Bluetone Shadows Jr.) Shure SM57 -mikrofoneilla. Kaikki säröä tulee vahvistimista. Ainoa pedaali on biisin tremolo-osuuksissa käytetty uusi Bluetone Harmonic Tremolo.

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Minun täytyy nostaa hattua Petri Materolle ja Teemu Korvelle, koska heidän projektinsa on testin perusteella onnistunut täydellisesti! Arvo on käsintehty suomalainen sähkökitara rivimuusikolle ystävällisellä hinnalla.

Arvo Electric Guitar -mallin tarkoitus ei ole olla hienostunut boutique-kitara, jolla on henkeäsalpaavan kauniita loimupuita tai erittäin kallis mikitys ja elektroniikka. Arvo-kitara on tarkoitettu olla muusikon suoraviivainen, uskollinen ja laadukas työjuhta lavalla ja studiossa. Se on tehty soitettavaksi.

Itse asiassa pidin Arvosta niin paljon, että minun piti ostaa se.

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Arvo Electric Guitar

Perushinta: 1.240 € (topattu pussi kuluu hintaan); optiona Duesenberg Les Trem (+ 150 €)

Valmistaja: Arvo Guitars

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Plussat:

+ suomalaista käsityötä

+ työnjälki

+ nauhatyö

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

+ edullinen hinta**Save

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25/09/2019

Review: Arvo Guitars – Arvo

”Is it possible to produce a handcrafted Finnish solidbody electric guitar at a price most working musicians can afford?”

Finnish guitarist Petri Matero kept pondering this question in earnest for some time, before deciding to try to find out. Together with Kanki Guitars’ Teemu Korpi they started to develop the idea of an affordable Finnish guitar. After much brainstorming and a row of prototypes Matero, Korpi and a man called Juha Tolonen, who runs a boutique guitar shop in Switzerland (called Captain Sounds), pooled their resources and started a new guitar company – Arvo Guitars.

Back to Leo, or: ”Keep it simple!”

The Arvo Electric Guitar follows Leo Fender’s basic principle of keeping things simple. The Arvo is not meant to be a boutique guitar, offering a myriad of options for the customer to choose from. Instead, by offering only a limited number of finishes and pickup types (all built to the same physical size), the Arvo’s price tag is kept in check, despite it being a handmade instrument.

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The Arvo Electric Guitar (prices starting from 1,240 €) is a pretty instrument that manages to look fresh and classic at the same time.

To make the life of working musicians a little easier, Arvo Guitars are very particular when it comes to weight, making sure that the finished instruments come in at around a mere two-and-a-half kilos.

The front-contoured body is crafted from Finnish poplar, which is both resonant and relatively easy to finish. The Arvo is available in four colours – red, white, black and grey.

The bolt-on neck is made from African mahogany, and it has received a transparent, open-pore finish.

The review sample is a very early production model that has been equipped with a set of Wilkinson machine heads. The ”proper” production instruments will sport a set of Graph Tech Ratio tuners. The nut has been cut from Graph Tech’s Black Tusq, a self-lubricating material.

The fingerboard uses walnut, which is a cool-looking choice. The fretwork is nothing short of excellent, with special care having been given to smoothly rounded fret ends.

The Arvo comes with two handmade pickups. The offered pickup types are humbucker, P-90 and single-coil, all built into humbucker-sized casings. The customer can choose any pickup combination he or she needs to capture their individual tone.

Because the pickups are connected to the controls using quick connectors inside the pickup routings, it is possible to swap between different Arvo-pickups relatively easily. Just remove the strings, take out the disconnected pickup, connect the new pickup and drop it in.

The bridge and stopbar tailpiece may look like standard Korean versions of Gibson’s original Tune-o-matic set-up, but they are in fact Graph Tech’s improved ResoMax parts. Graph Tech’s ResoMax hardware is made from their own proprietary metal mix, which they claim is much more resonant than the standard Zinc-based material used normally. A nifty additional feature are tiny magnets that keep the bridge and tailpiece secured to their height-adjustment posts, even after you’ve removed the strings.

In keeping with the Arvo’s design ethos, the controls are very straightforward – a master volume, a master tone, and a Tele-style three-way blade selector, all mounted onto a large plastic plate.

The soldering looks very clean and the control cavity has received a thorough foil shielding.

A gigbag comes included with the guitar.

Arvo Guitars covers its instruments with a lifetime warranty granted to the original owner. An additional incentive comes in the guise of a 50 € donation for every guitar sold to the Finnish section of Save the Children.

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The Arvo Electric Guitar is really light as a feather, yet, thanks to its design, it doesn’t suffer from neck heaviness.

In keeping with the Arvo’s classic looks the neck profile has been chosen to appeal to a wide range of guitarists. The profile is a chunky C, quite close in spirit to a late-Fifties Gibson, and good for sustain and long playing sessions. The 12-inch fretboard radius, along with the well-chosen narrowish, but medium-height frets, make for a very positive playing feel that will make you want to keep on playing.

The Arvo’s high-quality, resonant woods and the Graph Tech-hardware combine to give the guitar a loud and strident acoustic voice and plenty of harmonically rich sustain.

Amped up, much of the tone naturally hinges on the pickup type you choose for your own guitar. You could go double humbucker for a creamy and powerful voice, or maybe drop in a bridge single-coil to do a Keef or an Andy Summers.

Our review sample came with a pair of P-90 pickups, which gives you plenty of that juicy, but gritty classic Townshend and early Santana vibe. The neck pickup is warm and multidimensional, the mixed position clucky, and the bridge pickup wiry, but never thin.

Here’s a clean clip recorded direct with a Blackstar HT-1R valve combo:

For the demo song I miked up my Juketone True Blood and Bluetone Shadows Jr. combos with a Shure SM57. No overdrive pedals were used. The tremolo guitar part uses Bluetone’s new Harmonic Tremolo pedal.

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In my view Arvo Guitars has achieved what Petri Matero and Teemu Korpi set out to do; here we have a handcrafted electric guitar, made in Finland, offered at a very reasonable price.

The Arvo Electric Guitar doesn’t want to be a boutique guitar that stuns you with its figured woods, its upmarket cosmetics, and esoteric pickups. This is a straightforward, high-quality tool for the working musician, meant to be played and gigged a lot.

Actually, I liked the review guitar so much that I had to buy it.

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Arvo Electric Guitar

1,240 € as reviewed (includes gigbag); Duesenberg Les Trem optional (+ 150 €)

Contact: Arvo Guitars

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Pros:

+ handcrafted in Finland

+ workmanship

+ fretwork

+ playability

+ sound

+ value-for-money**Save

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16/09/2019

Arvo Guitars – Now on Soundcloud!

Arvo Guitars – Arvo 2 x P-90

• handcrafted in Finland

• Finnish poplar body

• khaya ivorensis neck, bolt-on

• walnut fretboard

• 25.5″ scale

• Wilkinson tuners

• Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece

• two humbucker-sized P-90 pickups

• three-way switch

• master volume, master tone

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Demo Song

• No overdrive pedals used!

• All guitar tracks recorded using a Juketone True Blood (Fender Tweed Champ clone) and a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo.

• ”Spaghetti Western” style guitar played through a Bluetone Harmonic Tremolo pedal into the Juketone combo.

• Microphone used: Shure SM57

08/04/2019

Review: Harjunpää Violinbirch A 011 + Vikingman A 025

To my knowledge there is currently only one boutique maker in Finland concentrating solely on electric basses – Harjunpää Bass from the small southern town of Nurmijärvi.

Harjunpää Bass is a special case among its peers, because bass builder Jouko Harjunpää isn’t a young luthier schooled at IKATA Institute, but a middle-aged entrepreneur and bassist, who is now fulfilling a lifelong ambition. His drive comes from his love of the instrument, of Finnish wood and of creating something beautiful by hand. Harjunpää’s idiosyncratic instruments are the results of an ongoing development and refinement process, and they can be enjoyed both as musical instruments and works of art.

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This review could have just as well been titled “The Sound of Birch”, because Jouko Harjunpää is a great fan of the different species and variants of Finnish birch wood. Both instruments tested – the blonde Violinbirch, as well as the dark Vikingman – have been made completely from birch, with the exception of their wenge top nuts.

The Violinbirch has been crafted in its entirety from curly birch, while the Vikingman sports a plain birch neck with a curly birch fretboard, mated to body made from birch burl and flamed birch.

As we’re talking about a one-man business, where instruments are made by hand, output is naturally limited. Jouko Harjunpää doesn’t like to apply the term ”price” to the amount of money changing hands between maker and customer. In his view the term ”starting value” would be more appropriate. The customer pays for the starting value, and then each bass value will start its own life, just like in the field of fine arts. The starting values for these basses are 2,500 euros for the Violinbirch and 3,500 euros for the Vikingman.

By pure chance both of the Harjunpääs tested are medium scale instruments (32 inches/81.3 cm), which are not all that common these days. A medium scale bass usually tends to sound similar in clarity and sustain to a long scale instrument, but the string action will feel a little more bendy, which suits some virtuosos.

Both basses feature full two-octave fretboards with expertly finished jumbo frets (Jescar 2.0).

In addition to their breathtakingly beautiful woods, and their compact bodies, both Harjunpääs have been built with Jouko Harjunpää’s special bolt-on neck joint. The Tuning Fork -joint uses a tempered steel plate, roughly shaped like a flattened tuning fork, that has been sunk into the neck’s butt end as an anchor for the joint’s six bolts. According to the maker, this steel plate makes the vibrational transfer between the neck and the body much faster than in a traditional bolt-on or set neck joint. The results are a clear and fast attack, a long sustain, and excellent string-to-string separation.

The Vikingman’s headstock is Harjunpää’s older design, based on the shape of the neck joint’s ”tuning fork”. Recently Jouko Harjunpää has come up with a very elegant and practical open headstock, which has been used for the Violinbirch model.

The machine heads are semi-open Wilkinsons.

Both basses sport top quality ABM-type bridges with lock screws for each bridge saddle.

Artesound pickups have been installed on both Harjunpää instruments:

The Violinbirch comes equipped with a Music Man-style large humbucker. The controls are passive and comprise master volume and master tone.

The Vikingman offers a pair of soapbar humbuckers connected to an Artesound active preamp. In addition to a three-way toggle, there are controls for master volume, bass, middle and treble (cut and boost).

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The workmanship on both Harjunpää instruments is excellent, and most prominent in the fretwork, finishing and playing feel. These basses are made with the beauty of the woods and the overall design front and centre, which sometimes calls for unusual solutions. Take the Vikingman’s bridge as an example – due to the body’s arching the back of the bridge doesn’t lie flat on the body, but has to be shimmed. At first this may look a little strange, but it doesn’t seem to have any negative impacts on the strength of the installation or on the sound.

Both instruments balance nicely in your lap. The long body horn on the bass side makes strapped on balance outstanding. The Vikingman is a tad heavier than the Violinbirch, but still what I’d consider a light bass.

There are differences in the neck profile and the sound of each bass:

The Violinbirch sports a muscular, slightly flattish profile with a nut width of 43 mm.

Played acoustically the Violinbirch’s sound is all about clarity seasoned with a nice dose of mid-range gnarl.

Through an amp the Violinbirch comes across with a strong voice with plenty of attitude in the middle register.

The Vikingman’s neck profile could be described as chunkier version of a Jazz Bass neck. The neck is very round at its narrow nut (35 mm), but it gets wider and much flatter as you go up towards the body.

The Vikingman’s acoustic voice is very clear, too, but here the general character is rounder, and fuller in the lower mids.

Artesound’s preamp delivers a moderate output, which is good news for clean headroom. Despite its fuller acoustic tone, the Vikingman sounds a little clearer than the more aggressive Violinbirch. Thanks to the excellent preamp you can access a wide range of different sounds on this instrument.

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Here is the demo song in audio form:

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If your central object of desire is a heavy relic reissue of a Fender Jazz, chances are you won’t fancy on of Harjunpää Bass’ idiosyncratically beautiful instruments.

Based on this review I can say that Harjunpääs are top drawer, modern basses, which offer the perfect balance between bass chunk and top end clarity. In my opinion Harjunpää basses are great-sounding Finnish works of art.

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Harjunpää Bass Violinbirch & Vikingman

Violinbirch – starting value 2,500 €

Vikingman – staring value 3,500 €

Pros (both basses):

+ handmade in Finland

+ Finnish wood (except top nut)

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ soundSave

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02/04/2019

Testipenkissä: Harjunpää Violinbirch A 011 + Vikingman A 025

Suomessa toimii tällä hetkellä minun tietääkseni ainoastaan yksi soitinpaja, joka on erikoistunut pelkästään sähköbassoihin – Harjunpää Bass Nummijärveltä.

Harjunpää Bass on monessa mielessä erikoinen yritys, sillä Jouko Harjunpää ei ole IKATA:ssa käynyt nuori rakentaja, vaan keski-ikäinen yrittäjä ja basisti, jolle omien soittimien tekeminen on sydänasia. Keskiössä ovat rakkaus bassoon, suomalaiseen puuhun ja omilla käsillä tekemiseen. Jatkuvan kehityksen kautta syntyvät yksilölliset sähköbassot, joita voi ihailla sekä soittimina että taide-esineinä.

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Tämän jutun otsikko olisi hyvin voinut olla “Kotimaisen koivun soundi”, koska Jouko Harjunpää on suuri eri koivun puulajien ystävä. Molemmissa testisoittimissa – vaaleassa Violinbirch-mallissa ja tummassa Vikingman-bassossa – vain satula on tehty toisesta puulajista (wengestä).

Violinbass-malli on tehty kokonaan visakoivusta, kun taas Vikingmanissä koivukaula visakoivuotelaudalla on liitetty koivupahkasta ja visakoivusta tehtyyn runkoon.

Koska kyseessä ovat yksilöllisesti käsintehdyt soittimet, ja yhden miehen paja, on tuotanto hyvin rajoitettu. Jouko Harjunpää ei haluaisi puhua soittimien hinnasta hintana. Hänen mukaan asiakas maksaa soittimen lähtöarvosta, jonka jälkeen harvinaisen käsintehdyn basson arvo lähtee elämään oman elämänsä, niin kuin esimerkiksi taide-esineissä. Näiden kahden soittimien lähtöarvot ovat 2.500 euroa (Violinbirch) ja 3.500 euroa (Vikingman).

Sattumoisin molemmissa Harjunpäissä on keskipitkä mensuuri (32 tuumaa/81,3 cm), jota näkee nykyisissä sähköbassoissa hyvin harvoin. Keskipitkä mensuuri soi yleensä lähes yhtä selkeällä äänellä kuin tavallinen pitkä mensuuri (34 tuumaa/86,4 cm), mutta kielet ovat hieman taipuisempia, mikä on joidenkin bassovirtuoosien mieleen.

Molemmat soittimet tarjoavat kahden oktaavin otelautoja, joihin on huolellisesti asennettu jumbokokoiset nauhat (Jescar 2.0).

Henkeäsalpaavien puuvalintojen, sekä hyvin kompaktien runkojen lisäksi, molemmissa bassoissa on luonnollisesti Harjunpää-soittimien soundin kulmakivi – Jouko Harjunpään itse kehittämä äänirautaliitos. Vastakappaleena kaulaliitoksen jämäkille pulteille toimii tässä kaulapuuhun upotettu, etäisesti äänirautaa muistuttava, teräslevy. Rakentajan mukaan tämä teräslevy siirtää kielten värähtelyä paljon vapaammin edestakaisin kuin perinteinen ruuvi- tai liimaliitos. Lopputuloksena kielet soivat pidempään ja soundi on hyvin erotteleva.

Vikingmanin viritinlapa on pajan vanhempi malli, jossa kärki esittää kaulaliitoksen ääniraudan muotoa. Harjunpää Bass on siirtynyt hiljattain Violinbirchilläkin nähtävään avoimeen malliin, mikä helpottaa soittimen virittämistä.

Puoliavoimet virityskoneistot tulevat Wilkinsonin tuotannosta.

Molemmissa bassoissa käytetään laadukkaita ABM-tyylisiä talloja lukittavilla tallapaloilla.

Mikrofonit tulevat Artesoundin valikoimasta:

Violinbirchiin on asennettu Music Man -tyylinen isokokoinen humbuckeri. Elektroniikka on passiivinen ja se tarjoaa master volume- ja tone-säätimet.

Vikingman taas tarjoaa kaksi soapbar-kokoista humbuckeria ja Artesoundin aktiivielektroniikka. Kolmiasentoisen mikkikytkimen lisäksi löytyy master volume, sekä kolmialueinen EQ (bass, middle, treble).

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Molemmissa Harjunpää-bassoissa on yhteistä erittäin laadukas työnjälki, joka tuntuu ja näkyy ehkä parhaiten viimeistelyssä, nauhatyössä ja soittotuntumassa. Näitä bassoja tehdään käsin selvästi puun ja ulkomuodon ehdoilla, mikä johtaa välillä epätavallisiin ratkaisuihin. Esimerkiksi Vikingmanin tallan takaosa ei istu kokonaan soittimen voimakkaasti kaartuvan rungon päällä. Tämä näyttää ensisilmäyksellä hieman mielenkiintoiselta, mutta ratkaisulla ei näytä olevan negatiivista vaikutusta kiinnityksen lujuuteen tai basson soundiin.

Molempien soittimien tasapaino on istuessa todella hyvä ja hihnalta roikkuen pitkien yläsarvien ansiosta erinomainen. Vikingman on pikkasen Violinbirch-mallia painavampi, mutta molemmat bassot ovat kevyttä sorttia.

Kaulaprofiilissa ja soundissa löytyy sen sijaan selkeitä eroja mallien välillä:

Violinbirchin kaulaprofiili on hieman laakea, mutta mukavasti lihaksikas ja harteikas tapaus 43 millin levyisellä satulalla.

Akustisesti soitettuna Violinbirchin soundi on hyvin erotteleva ja keskialueella on sopiva annos murinaa.

Vahvistimen kautta Violinbirchin soundi on vahva ja keskirekisterissä löytyy runsaasti asennetta.

Vikingmanin kaulaprofiili on kuin punttisalissa käynyt Fender Jazz -basson kaula. Kapean satulan kohdalla (35 mm) kaula on hyvin pyöreä, mutta profiilista tulee leveämpi ja laakeampi runkoa kohti mentäessä.

Myös Vikingmanin äänessä on runsaasti erottelevuutta, mutta tässä perussoundi on pyöreämpi ja alamiddlessä täyteläisempi.

Vahvistimen kautta Artesoundin aktiivielektroniikan signaalitaso on mukavan maltillinen. Vikingmanin perussoundi on basson akustisesta soundista huolimatta hieman kirkkaampi kuin passiivisessa Violinbirchissä. Kahden mikrofonin ja laadukkaan etuvahvistimen ansiosta soittimen tarjoama soundiskaala on erittäin laaja.

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Tässä vielä demobiisi audiona:

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Jos sydämesi lyö relikoidulle vuoden 1962 Jazz-basson uudelleenpainokselle, Harjunpää Bass -pajan omintakeisen kauniit luomukset eivät luultavasti ole sinun heiniäsi.

Harjunpää-bassot ovat tämän testin perusteella nykyaikaisia huippubassoja, joiden vahvuus löytyy soundin muhkeuden ja erottelevuuden esimerkillisessä suhteessa. Minun mielestäni nämä Harjunpäät ovat silkkaa soivaa suomalaista taidetta.

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Harjunpää Bass Violinbirch & Vikingman

Violinbirch – lähtöarvo 2.500 €

Vikingman – lähtöarvo 3.500 €

Plussat (molemmat bassot):

+ suomalaista käsityötä

+ suomalaiset puulajit (paitsi yläsatula)

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

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25/03/2019

Harjunpää Bass – now on SoundCloud

HARJUNPÄÄ BASS VIOLINBIRCH A 011

• body, neck and fretboard – Finnish curly birch (visakoivu)
• wenge nut
• 24 Jescar 2.0 frets
• six-bolt Harjunpääbass neck joint
• golden Wilkinson tuners
• golden ABM-type bridge
• Artesound MM-type humbucker
• passive volume and tone

HARJUNPÄÄ BASS VIKINGMAN A 025

• body, neck and fretboard – Finnish curly birch (visakoivu & koivupahka)
• wenge nut
• 24 Jescar 2.0 frets
• six-bolt Harjunpääbass neck joint
• chrome Wilkinson tuners
• chrome ABM-type bridge
• two Artesound Soapbar humbuckers
• three-way toggle switch
• Artesound active preamp – volume, treble, middle, bass

Contact: www.facebook.com/harjunpaabass/

DEMO SONG

All tracks recorded using a SansAmp Bass Driver DI.
Lead bass – Violinbirch (first half), Vikingman (second half)

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08/02/2016

Review: J. Leachim Guitars S&T-Style + Royal

JLeachim S&T – beauty shot 2

Jan Merivirta’s J. Leachim Guitars is still a young company, yet it already has managed to gain a reputation among guitarists.

Kitarablogi.com has had the pleasure to test drive two  J.L.G.-models – a heavily relic’d S&T-Style, along with a brand-new addition to the lineup, the semiacoustic Royal.

J. Leachim has also started to import Mojotone pickups from the USA, recently – in addition to the Mojotone-equipped review guitars, I received three further instruments carrying Mojotone pickups to try out.

JLeachim Royal – beauty shot 2

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JLeachim S&T – full front

J. Leachim Guitars have really made a mark with their heavily relic’d guitars and basses. It’s true, you can also order a ”mint” condition instrument from J.L.G., but many players have decided to go for the added mojo of a pre-worn guitar.

The J. Leachim S&T-Style (price approximately 1.600 €; includes a hard case and a custom-made leather strap) is such a mojo machine – a players solidbody electric, that combines a Stratocaster-type body with a Tele-style neck.

JLeachim S&T – headstock

JLeachim S&T – tuners

The S&T’s neck sports a relic’d satin finish, as well as a classy set of Kluson-style machine heads.

JLeachim S&T – Wilkinson vibrato

The guitar’s Wilkinson Vintage vibrato looks extremely worn, too.

This bridge is based on a vintage Fender bridge, but it features two practical improvements:

The vibrato arm is push fit with adjustable action, while the vibrato block has the string channels drilled so that they follow the octave compensation, which keeps the string pressure on the saddle uniform across all strings.

JLeachim S&T – back beauty

S&T-Style uses four vibrato springs for a very positive, muscular vibrato action that managed to stay on the right side of stiff.

JLeachim S&T – body beauty 1

The review guitar’s alder body looks like the guitar has been regularly used (and abused) on sweaty club stage for the last 50 years.

JLeachim S&T – plug receptacle

The Electrosocket jack receptacle keeps the Telecaster look, while offering much easier access for servicing and repairs that Fender’s original part.

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JLeachim Royal – full front

The J. Leachim Royal (1.600 €; includes hard case and certificate of authenticity) is a step in a new direction for J.L.G. – it’s a thinline semiacoustic guitar.

The body shape owes a lot to the venerable Telecaster, but this isn’t a straight copy, though, as it is built in an involved, multilayered fashion.

JLeachim Royal – headstock

The Royal’s one-piece bird’s eye maple neck is a true thing of beauty.

JLeachim Royal – Wilkinson tuners

The tuners are Wilkinson’s updates of vintage Kluson machines.

JLeachim Royal – bird's eye maple neck

Bird’s eye maple and abalone dots – sure looks like Custom Shop-luxury to me!

JLeachim Royal – bridge

The chunky bridge on the Royal is a quality piece of hardware, but probably not the best choice on this model. The thick base means that the bridge saddles have to adjusted quite low to achieve a comfortable action. This in turn results in the sharpish height-adjustment grub screws protruding quite some way above the top of the saddles. Shorter grub screws would make this guitar more comfortable for the plectrum hand.

JLeachim Royal – body beauty 1

The J. Leachim Royal’s body is made in the UK (in Nottingham) by a small company called Bodge Fabrications (pun intended!).

JLeachim Royal – Bodge body

The beautifully sculpted Bodge body is a layered affair made from walnut, maple, and mahogany. If you love nice woods, like I do, this body will sen shivers of delight down your spine.

JLeachim Royal – back beauty

The back of the body features a rib cage bevel for added carrying comfort.

JLeachim Royal – neck joint

The added maple block inside the neck pocket adds stiffness to the Royal’s neck joint.

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JLeachim S&T – beauty shot 1

J. Leachim’s S&T-Style is a very ergonomically sound instrument:

This guitar is lightweight, and sports a rounded 60s-style Tele neck that feels great. The fret-job is very smooth. This guitar is a fantastic player, and its vibrato works as smoothly as can be expected in a quality instrument in this price range.

JLeachim S&T – pickups

This S&T-Style came equipped with a Mojotone Rene Martinez Texas Strat pickup set. Rene Martinez was Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar technician, so it’s no wonder these pickups are specifically tailored to give you SRV-style tones.

The neck and (reverse-wound) middle pickup use Alnico III magnets for a bright sound with a sharp attack and a fantastically dynamic response. The bridge pickup is wound a little hotter and comes loaded with more powerful Alnico V magnets for a more muscular tone.

Here are two audio clips of the S&T-Style:

As a demo track I chose to record my own cover version of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar solo on David Bowie’s hit China Girl (all guitar tracks have been recorded with the J.L.G S&T-Style):

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JLeachim Royal – beauty shot 1

J.L.G.’s Royal is a classy newcomer in the company’s range of models.

The Royal is all about the feel and sound of wood. This is a guitar that’s very hard to put down once you’ve picked it up. The semiacoustic body adds a charming vocal quality to this model’s acoustic tone.

JLeachim Royal – pickups

This Royal comes with a Mojotone set of humbucker-sized P-90 pickups, which offer you a range of different sounds, from Jazz all the way to gritty Rock.

The neck pickups is built around an Alnico IV magnet, while the slightly hotter bridge pickup comes with an Alnico V magnet:

Carlos Santana used a P-90-equipped Gibson SG Special at the beginning of his career (for example at Woodstock), which prompted me to record a Santana-tinged demo track with the J. Leachim Royal:

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JLeachim + Mojotone – teaser

Additionally, I got the chance to check out these three Mojotone pickup sets:

JLeachim + Mojotone – pickups 4

A J.L.G. TeleGacy loaded with Mojotone’s ’59 PAF Clone Reverse Zebra humbuckers:

Fender Adam Clayton JB + Mojotone 70s Clone JB pickups

A Fender Adam Clayton Signature Jazz Bass with a Mojotone 70s Clone JB Set.

JLeachim + Mojotone – pickups 3

A J.L.G. TeleGacy with a pair of covered Mojotone ’59 PAF Clone humbuckers. This guitar sported push/pull-switches to split the humbuckers for single coil type tones:

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JLeachim S&T – body beauty 2

Finland really is blessed with a very diverse list of homegrown guitars, and J. Leachim is definitely one company to keep on your radar.

J. Leachim’s S&T-Style will make you boogie till the cows come home, and the company’s new Royal model is a beautiful new take on the Thinline Telecaster theme.

JLeachim Royal – body beauty 2

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J. Leachim Guitars S&T-Style + Royal

S&T-Style – 1.600 €

Royal – 1.600 €

Contact: J. Leachim Guitars

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Pros:

+ designed and hand finished in Finland

+ quality of finish

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

Cons:

– protruding bridge saddle screws (Royal only)

29/01/2016

Testipenkissä: J. Leachim Guitars S&T-Style + Royal

JLeachim S&T – beauty shot 2

Jan Merivirran perustama J. Leachim Guitars on vielä melko nuori yritys, mutta se on jo onnistunut nousemaan tietoisuuteen kitaristien keskuudessa.

Tässä jutussa testataan kahta eri J.L.G.-kitaramallia – reilusti relikoutu S&T-Style, sekä firman uusi, puoliakustinen Royal.

J. Leachim on hiljattain myös alkanut tuoda Suomeen huippulaadukkaita Mojotone-mikrofoneja USA:sta – testikitaroiden lisäksi sain vielä kolme eri Mojotone-malleilla varustettua soitinta kokeiltavaksi.

JLeachim Royal – beauty shot 2

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JLeachim S&T – full front

J. Leachim Guitarsin erikoisalaa ovat – usein hyvin rankalla kädellä toteutetut – Relic-viimeistelyt. Totta, firmalta saa myös täysin ”koskemattomia” soittimia, mutta moni kitaristi on valinnut relikoidun J.L.G.-kitaran juuri viimeistelyn tuoman mojon vuoksi.

S&T-Style (1.600 €; laukku ja custom-hihna kuuluvat hintaan) on juuri tällainen mojo machine – soittamista varten tehty sähkökitara, jossa yhdistyvät sulavasti Fender Telecasterin kaula ja Stratocasterin runko.

JLeachim S&T – headstock

JLeachim S&T – tuners

S&T:n relikoidussa kaulassa on mattaviimeistely, sekä laadukkaat Kluson-tyyliset virittimet.

JLeachim S&T – Wilkinson vibrato

Kitaran Wilkinson Vintage -vibrato näyttää todella kuluneelta.

Vibratalla on muuten tarkka kopio vahnasta Strato-tallasta, paitsi että vibrakampea työnnetään tallassa olevaan nylonkaulukseen, jonka ansiosta kammen istuvuutta on parannettu tuntuvasti.

JLeachim S&T – back beauty

S&T-Stylen vibratallassa käytetään neljä jousta, ja tuntuma on sopivasti jämäkkä, muttei liian jäykkä.

JLeachim S&T – body beauty 1

Soittimen leppärunko näyttää kuin sitä olisi käytetty jo ainakin 50 vuotta klubikiertueilla.

JLeachim S&T – plug receptacle

Electrosocket-jakkikupin ansiosta jakin huolto tai vaihto käy paljon helpommin kuin perinne-Teleissä.

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JLeachim Royal – full front

J. Leachim Royal (1.600 €; laukku ja aitoustodistus kuuluvat hintaan) on firmalle uusi aluevaltaus – se on thinline-tyylinen puoliakustinen sähkökitara.

Rungon muoto on eittämättä hieman Telecaster-tyylinen, mutta todellisuudessa sillä on taidokas, monikerroksinen rakenne.

JLeachim Royal – headstock

Royalin yksiosainen, linnunsilmävaahterasta veistetty kaula on erittäin kaunis.

JLeachim Royal – Wilkinson tuners

Soittimen nykyaikaiset Kluson-kopiot tulevat Wilkinsonilta.

JLeachim Royal – bird's eye maple neck

Linnunsilmävaahtera ja otemerkit abalone-helmiäisistä – tässä voisi jo puhua aidosta Custom Shop -meiningistä!

JLeachim Royal – bridge

Royalin tanakka talla on kyllä sinänsä erittäin laadukas valinta, mutta sen pohjalevy on niin jämäkkä, että tässä kitaramallissa tallapalojen korkeussäätöön tarkoitetut ruuvit jäävät törröttämään hieman liikkaa tallan yläreunan yli. Lyhyemmät ruuvit olisivat paljon mukavammat plektrakädelle.

JLeachim Royal – body beauty 1

J. Leachim Royal -kitaran puoliakustinen runko tulee pieneltä englantilaiselta soitinpajalta nimeltään Bodge Fabrications.

Tässä piilee brittihuumori, sillä sana bodge (kirjoitetaan myös botch) tarkoittaa ”möhliä”, ”hutiloida” tai ”toheloida”.

JLeachim Royal – Bodge body

Bodge-runko on nimittäin tehty erittäin huolellisesti ja kauniisti. Rungon rakenne on monikerroksinen, ja siihen käytetään pähkinäpuuta, vaahteraa, sekä mahonkia.

Rungon kansi on myös kaareva reunoissaan…

JLeachim Royal – back beauty

…ja sen kääntöpuolelta löytyy myös ns. mukavuusviiste.

JLeachim Royal – neck joint

Kaulataskuun liimattu vaahterapala lisää lujuutta Royalin ruuviliitokseen.

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JLeachim S&T – beauty shot 1

J. Leachim S&T-Stylen ergonomia on erinomainen:

Soitin on kevyt ja sen ’60-tyylinen pyöreä Tele-kaula istuu erittäin hyvin ainakin omaan käteeni. S&T:n nauhatyö on kiitettävällä tasolla. Soittimen tatsi on kohdallaan ja kitaran vibratalla toimii niin kuin pitää tämän hintaisessa laatusoittimessa.

JLeachim S&T – pickups

Tähän S&T-Styleen on asennettu Mojotonen Rene Martinez Texas Strat -mikkisetti. Martinez oli Stevie Ray Vaughanin kitarateknikko, ja hän on kehittelyt tätä settiä juuri SRV-tyylistä musiikkia varten.

Kaula- ja keskimikrofoneilla on Alnico III -magneetteja, jotta soundissa olisi kirkas atakki, sekä erinomainen dynamiikka. Tallamikrofoni on hiukan tuhdimpaa Texas-sorttia, jossa paksummasta kelasta ja voimakkaammista Alnico V -magneeteista lähtee isompi soundi.

Tässä S&T-Stylen ääninäyteet:

Demobiisiksi äänitin oman version Stevie Ray Vaughanin kitarasoolosta David Bowien China Girl -biisissä (kaikki kitararaidat soitettu J.L.G. S&T-kitaralla):

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JLeachim Royal – beauty shot 1

J.L.G. Royal on mielestäni upea soitin, ja J. Leachim Guitarsille onnistunut uusi aluevaltaus.

Puufaneille tämä on ihan vastustamaton sähkökitara, jossa soitettavuus ja ulkonäkö ovat erinomaisessa tasapainossa. Puoliakustisuus tuo mukavasti laulumaista klangia Royalin akustiseen sointiin.

JLeachim Royal – pickups

Royal-mallissa käytetään Mojotonen humbucker-kokoisia P-90-mikrofoneja, joista löytyy sekä Jazz- että Rock-tyylisiä soundeja.

Kaulamikrofonissa on Alnico IV -magneetti, kun taas tallamikissä käytetään Alnico V -magneettia ja hieman enemmän käämilankaa:

Carlos Santana käytti uransa alussa (esimerkiksi Woodstockissa) kahdella P-90:llä varustettua Gibson SG Special -kitaraa. Isona Santana-fanina minun piti luonnollisesti äänittää samantyylinen demobiisi J. Leachim Royalilla:

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JLeachim + Mojotone – teaser

Sain myös nämä kolme Mojotone-mikrofoneilla varustettua soitinta kokeiltavaksi:

JLeachim + Mojotone – pickups 4

J.L.G. TeleGacy Mojotone ’59 PAF Clone Reverse Zebra -humbuckereilla:

Fender Adam Clayton JB + Mojotone 70s Clone JB pickups

Fender Adam Clayton Signature Jazz Bass, jossa oli Mojotone 70s Clone JB -mikrofonit asennettuina:

JLeachim + Mojotone – pickups 3

J.L.G. TeleGacy kuorillisilla Mojotone ’59 PAF Clone -humbuckereilla. Tämän kitaran kytkennössä oli nostokytkimet volume-potikoissa, joilla saadaan mikrofonit puolitettua:

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JLeachim S&T – body beauty 2

Miksi mennä merta edemmäs kalaan, kun koti-Suomesta saa niin laadukkaita soittimia?

J. Leachim S&T-Stylessa on mojoa vaikka muille jakaa, kun taas J.L.G. Royal on erittäin onnistunut muunnelma Thinline Telecaster -teemasta.

JLeachim Royal – body beauty 2

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J. Leachim Guitars S&T-Style + Royal

S&T-Style – 1.600 €

Royal – 1.600 €

Lisätiedot: J. Leachim Guitars

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Plussat:

+ sunniteltu ja viimeistelty Suomessa

+ viimeistelyn laatu

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

Miinukset:

– tallapalojen säätöruuvit (vain Royal-mallissa)

22/01/2015

The Fender Telecaster – tone at the expense of intonation?

Why do we need intonation adjustment?

On string instruments, the fret spacing along the fretboard is calculated according to a mathematical formula. This formula is theoretical, though, and doesn’t take into account variables, such as string tension (tuning), string thickness (gauge) and string height (action). These variables make the actual pitch of a string, which is pressed down against a fret, deviate from the theoretically correct pitch. To compensate for this pitch offset, you need some sort of intonation adjustment that sets the correct intonation (or octave compensation) for each string.

Martin_D-42K_2006_brdt_opt

On acoustic guitars correct intonation is achieved by an angled bridge saddle, often carefully shaped to fine-tune the compensation further.

Jazz guitar bridge

Early electric guitars were basically modified archtop acoustics, which carried on using traditional rosewood (or ebony) archtop bridges with carved ”steps” presetting the intonation. Overall intonation adjustment was carried out by moving the whole bridge carefully closer to (or further away from) the neck.

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Fender 52 Reissue

The advent of the – much clearer-sounding – solidbody electric guitar necessitated a more precise approach to the problem of intonation adjustment.

52 Tele Bridge

Leo Fender’s novel Esquire/Broadcaster/Telecaster-bridge featured a mounting plate for the bridge pickup, as well as individual action adjustment for each string, and octave compensation in string pairs.

Fender_Custom_Shop_52_Telecaster_Nocaster_Blonde_R10539_1

Fender’s Telecaster bridge assembly plays a huge part in this model’s distinctive, twangy tone, laying the foundation for the model’s classic status.

close-up Fender bridge

brucke-und-ta

Over the course of the 1950s and 60s, Fender experimented with different saddles – smooth brass, smooth steel, threaded steel, and steel saddles with a single notch per string – but the basic, three-saddle formula stayed firmly in place. You got fantastic tone, but not perfectly spot-on intonation.

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70s Fender six-saddle

Twenty years after the original launch of Fender’s first solidbody electric, things had evolved.

In 1952 the original three-saddle bridge was less of a compromise, because the regular string sets of that time (012s or 013s) had a wound g-string. With a wound g-string the biggest step in intonation adjustment was between the b- and the g-string, and, as they were catered for by different saddles, a good, working compromise could be found.

By the late Sixties, ”slinky” string sets with plain g-strings had become the norm. This shifted the intonation step between the highest wound string and the lowest plain string onto a single, rigid bridge saddle (for the D- and g-string).

Fender retained the traditional three-saddle bridge on its standard Telecaster, but introduced six-saddle bridges on many of its new models in the Seventies. Pictured above is the six-saddle bridge from a (second version) Custom Telecaster (introduced in 1972).

Although this bridge finally offered perfect intonation, some players criticised this type of bridge for ”sounding” thinner (or brighter) than the original version. This might also have been due to changes in the precise specifications of the bridge pickup at that time, though.

Hipshot 6-saddle

Modern Fender 6-saddle

More recent six-saddle designs by makers like Hipshot, Gotoh or Fender are based on a thicker bridge plate. These are perfectly serviceable, modern designs, which offer precise intonation. Many Tele-anoraks still steer clear of these bridge types, however, because the more rigid bridge plate tends to tame the bridge pickup’s twang noticeably.

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Another approach to better intonation on a Telecaster is to keep the twang-enhancing three-saddle ashtray bridge in place, but modify the saddles.

Joe Barden angled

Pickup specialist Joe Barden came up with angled brass saddles in his design for the late Tele-master Danny Gatton.

Wilkinson

Graph Tech

Wilkinson’s and Graph Tech’s designs have two different, preset jump-off points per saddle – one for each string.

These three approaches (Barden, Wilkinson, and Graph Tech) work very well in providing good intonation, while keeping the Telecaster-tone intact, as long as you use string sets with a plain g-string.

pivoting brass saddles

Mastery stainless steel

If you want to retain your three-saddle twang, but want to have more freedom in choosing your string gauges, the best way to go are saddles with an angle adjustment. Good examples are Wilkinson’s replacement brass saddles (above), or this stainless steel Tele-bridge by Mastery.

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p1_u2nu2p1fg_so

How come that the vintage-type Fender Telecaster, with all its intonation flaws, is still in production and still very successful? The answer is that people have always been creative in working out solutions to design shortcomings.

In the Telecaster’s case this means finding a way to ”sweeten” the guitar’s slightly flawed intonation.

Here are three (of a myriad of) possible approaches:

1.) The fifty percent approach

After you’ve put on a set of new strings, use your digital tuner to set the (12th fret) intonation correctly for both E-strings, as well as the g-string (I call them the most critical strings). Then tune your guitar by tuning the open E-strings and the g-string to pitch. The remaining three strings (A, D, and b) are then tuned, so that the pitch at the seventh fret is correct (giving you E, a, and f#).

The A-, D-, and b-strings will be a little off in their intonation going up (or down) from the seventh fret, but overall the pitch will be much sweeter, than if you had tuned these strings to their correct open string pitches. You can then fine-adjust your sweetening by ear, using first position chords as a reference.

2.) Tuner sweetening

After you’ve put on a set of new strings, use your digital tuner to set the (12th fret) intonation, so that each string pair is slightly off in an approximately even way. With the E- and A-pair this would mean that the E-string’s intonation comes out slightly sharp, while the A-string’s intonation is a tiny bit flat. The next pair would see the D-string a bit flat, while the (plain) g-string is a tad sharp. The last pair would have the b-string a bit sharpish, with the e-string a little flat. Then tune the guitar by tuning all strings, so the pitch is correct at the seventh fret.

Now all strings will be a little off in their intonation going up (or down) from the seventh fret, but overall the pitch will be much sweeter, than if you had tuned them to their correct open string pitches. You can then fine-adjust your sweetening by ear, using first position chords as a reference.

3.) Sweetening to the A

After you’ve put on a set of new strings, use your digital tuner to set the (12th fret) intonation, so that each string pair is slightly off in an approximately even way. With the E- and A-pair this would mean that the E-string’s intonation comes out slightly sharp, while the A-string’s intonation is a tiny bit flat. The next pair would see the D-string a bit flat, while the (plain) g-string is a tad sharp. The last pair would have the b-string a bit sharpish, with the e-string a little flat. Then tune your guitar by first tuning the open A-string to pitch. Next, tune all the other strings by ear, using the A-string as your reference:

• E-string at the fifth fret against open A

• D-string at the seventh fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

• g-string at the second fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

• b-string at the tenth fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

• e-string at the fifth fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

You can then fine-adjust your sweetening by ear, using first position chords as a reference.

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Remember, none of the above tuning tips is set in granite. Tuning and intonating a three-saddle Telecaster is a dark art, and most players have developed their own way of sweetening their guitar’s intonation. Let your ears be your guide!

Fender-American-Special-Telecaster-Olympic-White-Maple004

04/06/2014

Review: Italia Fiorano Standard + Mondial Deluxe

Italia Fiorano Standard – full front

The Italia Fiorano Standard (price in Finland approx.  640 €) is a beautiful thinline, double-cutaway semi.

The Fiorano’s body is made by routing large pockets into the front of a solid mahogany body. In contrast to Italia’s Rimini 6 or Mondial Deluxe models the Fiorano doesn’t have a full centre block, though, but features an opening in the block between the guitar’s pickups. The body is then finished by glueing on a bound spruce top.

Italia Fiorano Standard – headstock

Hard rock maple is used for the Fiorano Standard’s neck.

Italia Fiorano Standard – tuners

The modern tuning machines are embossed with the I-for-Italia logo, and work very nicely.

Italia Fiorano Standard – fretboard

The bound fretboard sports Italia’s stylish inlays, consisting of pearloid blocks and abalone dots.

Italia Fiorano Standard – body beauty 2

The Fiorano Standard’s neck is glued in at the 19th fret.

Italia Fiorano Standard – bridge

Great to see Italia using a modern version of the venerable Tune-o-Matic-bridge. The updated design does away with the annoying and ever-rattling piece of wire, used to keep the bridge saddles in place in the vintage version.

Italia Fiorano Standard – tailpiece

The snazzy chrome tailpiece adds its own bit of panache to this stylish semi.

Italia Fiorano Standard – pickups

As you might know by now, I’m something of a P-90 fan. The Fiorano Standard comes equipped with not one, but two of my favourite pickups. These are made by Wilkinson and come with chromed dog-ear covers.

Italia Fiorano Standard – controls

Like many of Italia’s models, the Fiorano also features a sping-suspended plastic tray as an unusual control cavity cover. The electronics comprise a three-way toggle, as well as master volume and tone controls.

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Italia Mondial Deluxe – full front

Italia’s Mondial Deluxe (price in Finland approx. 675 €) is a genuine semiacoustic hybrid, offering you a piezo-equipped bridge (and active preamp) for acoustic-style guitar sounds alongside its traditional magnetic humbuckers.

Thinline-type mahogany body is mated to a maple top, which sports a very fetching Rickenbacker/Mosrite-style German Carve -edge. The top’s edges have been left natural, constituting what is usually called ”fake binding”.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – back beauty

The Mondial comes with a set maple neck.

You can also see the quick-release battery compartment for the 9 V battery used to power the piezo preamp.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – headstock

Italia’s top nut is made from a self-lubricating material containing graphite.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – tuners

We find the same decent-quality tuners on Mondial Deluxe as on the Fiorano.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – fingerboard

Look at the all the nice hues of blues and greens in the guitar’s abalone dots!

Italia Mondial Deluxe – piezo bridge

The Mondial’s bridge may look identical to the Fiorano’s, but this here is a piezo-equipped model. There’s a thin lead going from beneath the bridge and through the maple top to feed the piezo signal to the preamp.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – tailpiece

”I” – stands for Italia…

Italia Mondial Deluxe – pickups

Two vintage-voiced Wilkinson WVC-humbuckers handle magnetic duties on the Mondial Deluxe.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – piezo EQ

The sliders on the guitar’s shoulder control the piezo side’s three-band EQ.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – controls

The magnetic signal is fed to a three-way toggle selector and master volume and tone controls.

There’s a dedicated volume control for the piezo signal, as well as a second output jack, enabling you to feed the acoustic side to a mixing console or a dedicated acoustic amplifier.

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Italia Fiorano Standard – beauty shot 1+

Italia’s Fiorano Standard is just the guiar for me. It is comfortably lightweight and balances nicely. Its relatively thin body sits nicely against your belly/ribcage, even without any contouring or bevels.

The neck has a nice, mid-depth C-profile, which will feel comfortable to most players. The Fiorano arrived extremely well set-up with a slinky action (E: 1.9 mm/e: 1.7 mm).

Even if you cannot expect a thinline guitar, such as the Fiorano Standard, to out-shout a fat Jazz guitar, the Italia’s spruce-topped mahogany body results in a warm and woody acoustic voice.

In my opinion, P-90s are the best choice for a guitar of this type, because their singlecoil construction makes for a more percussive and dynamic tone than what you’d get from a creamy humbucker.

Played into a clean amp channel you’ll get a nice, clucky attack and a open, yet strong overall voice, that will fit Jazz just as well as Brit Pop, Country, Blues or early Rock’n’Roll (why not add a Bigsby, perhaps?):

If you’re after warm, rich and dynamic dirty tones P-90s are just the ticket! The Fiorano Standard will work great for any Beatles-, Kinks- or Who-inspired player, as well as George Thorogood-style electric Blues:

Italia Fiorano Standard – beauty shot 2

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Italia Mondial Deluxe – beauty shot 1+

Italia’s Mondial Deluxe is a medium-weight instrument. The well-executed German Carve and very clean fake binding make this guitar look more expensive than it really is.

The neck’s D-profile feels really good. Thanks to its clean fretwork and fine set-up this instrument also plays great (E: 2.0 mm/e: 1.3 mm).

Unplugged, Italia’s Mondial Deluxe is rather quiet, but its fresh acoustic voice and clear attack bode well for things to come.

This hybrid’s piezo sound was the real surprise for me in this review. Italia’s piezo system simply sounds that good and genuinely ”acoustic”:

Naturally, it’s good to hear the Mondial’s magnetic side perform to equally high standards. This guitar’s vintage-voiced Wilkinsons do a fine job of translating the Mondial’s fresh unplugged voice into nice clean tones:

Switching over to the distortion channel will turn the Mondial into a Seventies-style Blues Rock machine:

Italia Mondial Deluxe – beauty shot 2

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Italia Fiorano Standard – body beauty 1

It’s nigh on impossible not to get a crush on these Italia-guitars: Both the Fiorano Standard and the Mondial Deluxe are distinctly different from the mainstream of guitars on the market, but their design idiosyncrasies  never get in the way of easy playability and great sound. If you want to steer clear of the usual copies, bust still look for a guitar with its own charm, you should definitely check out an Italia.

Italia Mondial Deluxe – body beauty 1

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Italia Guitars – Fiorano Standard + Mondial Deluxe

Fiorano Standard – approx. 640 €

Mondial Deluxe – approx. 675 €

Finnish distributor: R-JAM Group

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Pros (both models):

+ idiosyncratic design

+ workmanship

+ finish

+ playability

+ sound