Archive for ‘kitaraporno’

05/05/2017

Ensi viikolla ilmestyy Kitarablogin ukulelekatsaus

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28/04/2017

Ukulelen anatomia

Ukulele on pienikokoinen nelikielinen kielisoitin kitaraperheestä. Musiikkiistorian kirjoissa sanotaan, että havaijilainen ukulele kehittyi nykymuotoon 1800-luvun loppupuolella espanjalaisista ja portugalilaisista ”matkakitaroista”. Lähteestä ja näkökulmasta riippuen, soittimet saapuivat Havaijille joko Etelä-Amerikan kautta (vihuela) tai suoraan europpalaisten maahanmuuttajien mukana (machete tai braguinha).

1900-luvun alussa Yhdysvalloissa kasvoi kiinnostus Havaijin-saaria ja havaijilaista kulttuuria kohtaan. Vuonna 1915 alkoi erilaisten näyttelyjen ja kiertävien musiikkiryhmien kautta USAssa suoranainen Havaijibuumi. Etenkin ukulelellä vaikutti olevan erityisen suurta viehätysvoimaa ja soittimen kysyntä kasvoi räjähdysmäisesti.

Jostakin syystä ukulelen suosio ei loppunut muutaman vuoden jälkeen, vaan pikkuinen soitin teki onnistuneen hyppäyksen hula-hula soittimesta varhaisen jazzin ja vaudeville-viihteen soittimeksi.

Vasta 1960-luvun beat-, rock-, blues- ja folk-aallot veivät lopulta ukulelelta sen pitkän suosion.

Nyt näyttää kuitenkin siitä, että ukulele on tekemässä suuren comebackin. Aktiivisoittajia on tulossa koko ajan lisää. Myös monissa kouluissa oppilaiden ensisoitin on yhä useammin nokkahuilun sijaan ukulele.

Kuvassa (vasemmalta): sopraano-, konsertti- ja tenoriukulele, sekä guita(r)lele.

Alkuperäisestä sopraanoukulelesta kasvoi ajan myötä kokonainen soitinperhe. Sopraanon lisäksi yleisesti käytössä ovat konsertti- ja tenoriukulelet. Pikkuinen sopranino- tai tasku-ukulele on tarkoitettu lähinnä hauskaksi kuriositeetiksi. Baritoniukulele taas eroaa muista perinteisistä ukuleleista virityksen suhteen, sillä sillä on C-virityksen (g1-c1-e1-a1) sijaan sama viritys kuin kitaran neljällä ylimmällä kielellä.

Komppisoittajat suosivat yleensä perinteistä ”korkeaa” C-viritystä – myös tenoriukuleleissa – kun taas monesti melodiaa soittavat soittajat suosivat tenoreissa usein ”matalaa” C-viritystä (g-c1-e1-a1), jossa g-kieli on soittimen matalin kieli. Jotkut taas pitävät sopraanoukulelejään vanhassa (alkuperäisessä) D-virityksessä (a1-d1-fis1-h1).

Perinteisten kokojen lisäksi on markkinoilla vielä bassoukuleleja, joilla on paksujen kumimaisten kieltensä ansiosta sama viritys kuin bassokitaralla, sekä guitalele (tai guitarlele), joka on tenorikokoinen pikkukitara A-virityksellä.

Ukulelen perusrakenne on hyvin kitaramainen – soittimessa on kaula, nauhallinen otelauta, sekä ontto kaikukoppa.

Vintage-tyylisissä sopraanoissa on usein vain 12 nauhaa, mutta isommissa malleissa voi olla jopa 18 nauhaa.

Kitaratyylisen muodon lisäksi on myös tällaisia nk. ananasmallisia soittimia (ns. pineapple uke), joilla on hieman erilainen ääni.

Joissakin malleissa voi olla muotoon prässätty kaareva pohja, niin kuin kuvan taaemmassa soittimessa.

1900-luvun alussa kaikissa ukuleleissa käytettiin virittämiseen esim. monen jousisoittimen tavoin yksinkertaisia puutappeja, joissa puiden kitka piti kielet vireessä (kuvassa: ruskeat virittimet).

1920-luvulla ns. patenttivirittimet astuivat mukaan kuvaan. Myöskään näiden metallisten viritystappien sisällä ei ollut varsinaista koneistoa hammasratoineen, vaan nekin toimivat viritystapin, metalliprikkojen ja -jousien välisellä (säädettävällä) kitkalla.

Moderneissa soittimissa käytetään yleensä joko avoimia tai suljettuja kitaratyylisiä virittimiä.

Nykyisin markkinoilla olevissa ukuleleissä voi olla joko perinteinen talla, jossa tavallinen solmu pitää kielet paikoillaan, …

… tai sitten klassiselta kitaralta lainattu, hieman monimutkaisempi ratkaisu.

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24/04/2017

Ukulele Roundup 2017 – The Kitarablogi-video

21/04/2017

Ukulele Roundup 2017 – Now on SoundCloud

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20/04/2017

Ukulele-Porn

Baton Rouge V4-C Sun

Baton Rouge V4-T Sun

Flight GUT350SP

Flight NUS310

Koki’o U-LMHLMH-C Mahogany Concert

Koki’o U-LMHLMH-T Mahogany Tenor

Ortega RU5

Ortega RUMG

Tanglewood Cove Creek TU-2ST

Tanglewood Cove Creek TU-10

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31/03/2017

Review: Kiiras Instruments Ahti + Ukonkirves

Kiirassoitin – instruments from the Purgatory; the name alone makes pretty clear from the get-go that these aren’t your dad’s guitars!

Simo Iiskola, the man behind Kiiras Instruments, is a custom guitar maker (and drum builder!) from Central Finland. His main guitar line – the Katras Series (katras is Finnish for flock) – stands firm as a wholehearted manifesto to Metaldom, both visually and in terms of sound.

Kitarablogi got the chance to spend some quality time with two Kiiras Katras guitars – the Ahti and the Ukonkirves (prices starting from 1,495 €).

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The Kiiras Ahti (named after the Finnish water god) is a two-horned affair, looking like the wild love child of a Fender Strat and a Burns Bison.

The hand-distressed, rustic finishes on Katras Series instruments resemble the bark of the birch tree.

The reviewed Ahti was built using a three-piece alder body.

All Kiiras Katras guitars feature a three-piece body, with a wide central piece and two narrower pieces added on the sides.

The Kiiras Ukonkirves (ukon kirves is the Finnish equivalent of Thor’s Hammer) is a Flying V-shaped electric guitar.

The reviewed Ukonkirves uses ash for its body.

Both instruments feature a rib cage chamfer.

All Kiiras Katras guitars have five-piece maple and wenge necks with sturdy bolt-on joints.

The area around the bolts is dressed away for easier access to the top frets.

Simo Iiskola uses top-drawer Gotoh parts in black chrome, like the Gotoh SG381 machine heads on our review instruments.

The Gotoh Floyd Rose is a model GE1996-T.

The wenge fingerboard comes with 24 chunky jumbo frets.

Our vibrato-equipped review guitars feature a 16-inch fretboard radius, while stoptail-equipped Kiiras guitars usually come with a compound radius ’board.

The look on these Kiiras instruments is non-more-Metal, and the pickups have been chosen accordingly.

The Ahti comes with a pair of passive humbuckers – the Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) and Nazgûl (bridge)…

…while the Ukonkirves sports a sole Nazgûl humbucker in the bridge position.

The stainless steel pickup rings, switch plates and jack plates are all custom-made to fit the birch bark theme.

The Ahti’s controls comprise a three-way switch – giving you neck pickup, off [!], and bridge pickup – as well as separate volume controls for each pickup and a master tone.

The Ukonkirves makes do with two controls – volume and tone.

The electronics cavities look very clean, and they are shielded with conductive paint and a foil-lined wooden lid.

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Despite its ”distressed mythical old plank” looks, the Kiiras Ahti feels every bit the smooth, well-balanced, and comfortable custom-made guitar it is.

The flattish C-profile neck is fast, but chunky enough not to feel flimsy or uncomfortable. The frets have been seated and dressed with great care, although some might find the look of the fret ends a tiny bit scruffy. The important thing is, though, that the frets (and fret ends!) feel even smoother than the guitar’s cool satin finish!

The reviewed Ahti was set up for standard-C tuning. The set up was fantastic, offering a slinky, yet precise playing feel, coupled with an in-tune Floyd Rose.

Seymour Duncan’s Sentient and Nazgûl humbuckers are among the darkest and most brutal passive humbuckers offered by the company. Still, these pickups manage to combine brooding darkness with a very musical and rich top end. Sure, these humbuckers will kick your amp’s butt, but they don’t offer blunt power at the expense of great tone.

Here are two basic demo clips recorded with a Blackstar HT-1R:

I turned to a Metal expert for the demo track to do the guitar and the genre justice. My son, Miloš Berka, recorded the guitar tracks using his Atomic Amps AmpliFire amp modeller:

The Kiiras Ukonkirves is a great V-shaped guitar for the no-compromise, no-nonsense lead guitarist.

If you try to play a V-style guitar seated, you’re doing it wrong. This type of guitar is meant to be used standing up with a strap.

Just as on the Ahti, the feel and playability of the Kiiras Ukonkirves is fantastic, and its set-up (in D-standard tuning) was spot on!

It may all be in my head (or down to the tuning), but I feel the ash-bodied Ukonkirves sounds a tiny bit brighter than the alder-bodied Ahti:

Once again Miloš recorded the demo track using his Atomic Amps AmpliFire amp modeller:

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I’m sure some will find the looks of these two Kiiras Katras guitars a little bit too much of a visual statement. They’re entitled to their views, and won’t have any problems finding a black instrument.

There’s no denying, though, that both the Kiiras Ahti and the Kiiras Ukonkirves are about much more than just bold looks. These are excellent custom-made electric guitars, completely geared towards the needs of modern Metal guitarists.

Simo Iiskola’s Kiiras Instruments also offers plenty of custom options, from the pickups and electronics used all the way to different headstock shapes. If these guitars rock your boat, go check them out!

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Kiiras Instruments Ahti + Ukonkirves

Prices starting from 1,495 € (includes hard case)

Contact: Kiirassoitin

Demo Track composed, played and recorded by Miloš Berka.

Pros:

+ handmade in Finland

+ custom options available

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ finish

+ sound

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15/03/2017

Guitar Porn: Mayson Guitars M3/OCE

Contact: NordSound

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13/03/2017

First View: Kiiras Instruments

Demo Track composed, played and recorded by Miloš Berka.

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KIIRAS AHTI

• bolt-on Kiiras 5-pc. maple/wenge neck
• wenge fingerboard with 24 frets
• alder body
• Gotoh machine heads and Floyd Rose vibrato
• Seymour Duncan Sentient and Nazgûl humbuckers
• Schaller Security Locks
• case included

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KIIRAS UKONKIRVES

• bolt-on Kiiras 5-pc. maple/wenge neck
• wenge fingerboard with 24 frets
• swamp ash body
• Gotoh machine heads and Floyd Rose vibrato
• Seymour Duncan Nazgûl humbucker
• Schaller Security Locks
• case included

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Contact: Kiirassoitin

08/03/2017

Guitar Porn – Kiiras Instruments

Contact: Kiirassoitin

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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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