Archive for ‘klassikkomalleja’

17/10/2018

Testipenkissä: Vox AC30S1

”Älä muuta mitään. AC30 on sinun lapsesi, ja sen tarina tulee jatkumaan ikuisesti!”

Näin sanoi Voxin alkuperäisen emoyhtiön, JMI:n, perustaja ja pomo Tom Jennings hänen pääsuunnittelijalle, Dick Denneylle (kuvassa), joskus 1960-luvulla.

Jo ennen kuin Marshall-vahvistimien tuotantoa edes suunniteltiin, Voxista oli jo tullut ensimmäinen brittivahvistimien legenda. Alkuperäistä Vox AC30:tä kehiteltiin vuonna 1959 The Shadows -yhtyeelle, AC15-mallin isommaksi versioksi. Hank Marvinilla ja Bruce Welchillä alkoi nimittäin tulla vaikeuksia saada kitaransoittoansa kuulumaan, koska bändin (ja Cliff Richardin) yleisöt ja keikkapaikat kasvoivat yhä nopeammin.

Vox AC30:n ensimmäinen versio oli yhdellä 12-tuumaisella kaiuttimella varustettu kombo. Kun The Beatles -yhtiön kitaristit alkoivat käyttää AC30:tä vahvistin oli jo kasvanut kahdella 12-tuumaisella varustetuksi versioksi, jota Vox kutsui ”Twiniksi”. John Lennon ja George Harrison olivat myös ensimmäisten joukossa saaneet kombon (silloin) uusimman version Top Boost -piirillä. Maailmaa järisyttävä Beatlemania oli Voxille parasta mahdollista mainontaa ikinä.

Voxin AC30 Twinistä Top Boostilla tuli Vox Amplificationin lippulaiva, joka on edelleen yksi maailman ikonisimpia kitaravahvistimia. Kiitos tästä kuuluu myös kaikille näille kitaristeille, kuten Brian May (Queen), Rory Gallagher, Lenny Kravitz ja U2:n The Edge, joille AC30 on ollut ja/tai on edelleen oman soundin kulmakivi.

Alkuperäisiä AC30-komboja (ja niiden uudelleenpainoksia) arvostellaan usein niiden koon ja painon vuoksi. Joillakin alkuperäisillä 60-luvun versioilla on myös taipumus kuumentua liikaa, vahvistimen uumenissa sijaitsevien putkien takia. Tämän lisäksi kaikki alkuperäiset AC30:t on rakennettu ilman master volume -säädintä, minkä vuoksi kombon omia särösoundeja saadaan tuotettua vain silloin, kun styrkkari pyörii (lähes) täysillä volyymillä.

Onneksi Voxin nykyisestä mallistosta löytyy monta eri nykyaikaisia ja virtaviivaistettua AC30-versioita.

Upouusi Vox AC30S1 (katuhinta noin 780 €) pakkaa AC30:n parhaita soundeja helppokäyttöiseen, master volumella -varustettuun ja helpommin kuljettavaan muotoon.

****

Uusi Vox AC30S1 on firman hyvin suositun kiinalaisen Custom-malliston uusin jäsen.

AC30 Single -kombolla on edelleen klassisen Voxin ulkonäkö, mutta yhdellä 12-tuumaisella varustetun uutukaisen kotelo on hieman perinteistä kapeampi. Tämä versio painaa ”vain” 24,5 kiloa, mikä on peräti yhdeksän kiloa vähemmän kuin Custom-sarjan AC30 Twin (AC30C2).

Uudessa kombossa on yksi kanava kaksikaistaisella EQ:lla, sekä master volume -säätimellä.

Tämän Voxin sisäinen kaiku on digitaalinen mallinnus perinteisestä jousikaiusta.

Ihan niin kuin 60-luvun esi-isällä, AC30S1:llä on puoliksi avoin takaseinä.

Vox Custom -sarjan vahvistimet on suunniteltu nykypäivän sähköturvallisuusmääräyksien mukaisiksi. AC30S1:n tapauksessa tämä näkyy esimerkiksi helposti vaihdettavissa ja hyvin tuuletetuissa vahvistinputkissa, metallisessa turvaverkossa (joka estää suoran pääsyn kuumiin putkiin), sekä irrotettavalla sähköjohdolla IEC-liittimellä.

AC30S1:n etuvahvistin käyttää kahta 12AX7-putkea, kun taas päätevahvistimessa pyörii peräti neljä EL84-putkea.

Kombon kaiutin on 12-tuumainen Celestion VX, joka on suunniteltu varta vasten tälle vahvistimelle.

Takapaneelista löytyy lähtö lisäkaiuttimelle (16 Ω), sekä efektilenkin liittimiä.

AC30S1:n EU-versioihin on lisätty myös Eco-ominaisuus, joka laittaa kombon omatoimisesti pois päältä kahden tunnin tyhjäkäynnin jälkeen.

****

Upouusi Vox AC30S1 on selkeästi helpompi nostaa ja kuljettaa kuin perinteiset Twin-versiot, mikä on varmasti hyvä uutinen meille kaikille.

Nyt seuraa pieni varoitus:

Vaikka Voxin mainoskuvissa uutta AC30 Singleä esitellään monissa olohuone-tyylisissä tilanteissa, tämä kombo ei mielestäni ole oikea valinta olohuonekäyttöön. Vaikka tässä on kyseessä ”vain” yhdellä 12-tuumaisella kaiuttimella varustettu styrkkari, AC30S1:llä ei ole minkäänlaisia ongelmia tarjota henkeäsalpaavia volyymitasoja. Totta, tässä on master volume -säädin, mutta sen toiminta on – ainakin testiyksilössä – epätasainen juuri potikan alkumetreillä, jossa hypätään hiljaisuudesta lähes suoraan noin 30 prosentin teholle. Tämä vahvistin ei kuulu kerrostaloon tai olohuoneeseen, vaan se haluaa isoon studioon tai Rock-klubin lavalle.

Vaikka uutukaisen toimintasäde on hieman Twin-versiota kapeampi (koska kotelosta löytyy vain yksi kaiutin), Vox AC30S1:n soundit ovat kuitenkin täynnä ehtaa AC30-magiaa. Niin kuin AC30:ssä yleensä, puhdasta headroomia ei ole tarjolla niin runsaasti kuin esimerkiksi Blackface-tyylisissä Fendereissä. AC30:n juju on juuri sen tasaisesti kasvavassa reunasärössä, joka lähtee liikkeelle jo kohtuullisen pienellä gainella, sekä crunch-särön tiheydessä ja purevuudessa.

Tästä pätkästä saa hyvän idean AC30S1:n soundimaailmasta. Gain on säädetty täysille ja vahvistimen säröä ohjataan Fender Stratocasterin volume-säätimellä:

AC30S1:n digitaalisesti mallinnettu jousikaiku kuulostaa erinomaiselta – tämä on ehkä paras putkivahvistimen sisäinen digikaiku pitkään aikaan:

Demobiisissä soitan pätkiä neljästä Vox AC30:llä soitetuista klassikkobiiseistä – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), sekä ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (magneettisella Seymour Duncan SA-1 -mikrofonilla)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mikrofonit: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delay-efektejä on lisätty miksausvaiheessa:

****

Minun mielestäni uusi Vox AC30S1 on erinomainen lisäys firman AC30-valikoimaan. Uusi Single-versio tarjoaa miltei kaikkia klassisia Vox-soundeja hieman kompaktimmassa koossa.

****

Vox AC30S1

Katuhinta noin 780 €

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic

Kiitos DLX Musiikille testivahvistimen lainasta!

****

Plussat:

+ paino

+ laadukas digikaiku

+ efektilenkki

+ soundi

+ kovaääninen

Miinukset:

– master volume -potikan jyrkkyys

– kovaääninenSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

16/10/2018

Review: Vox AC30S1

”Keep it as it is. The AC30 is your baby, and it will go on forever!”

These prophetic words were spoken by Tom Jennings, the founder and head of Vox’ original parent company JMI, in the mid-1960s to his chief designer Dick Denney (pictured above).

Well before Marshall Amps arrived on the scene, Vox became the UK’s first legendary guitar amplifier brand. The original Vox AC30 was developed in 1959 as a larger version of the AC15 for the group The Shadows. Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch started having problems getting themselves heard over the ever-growing crowds they were drawing at ever-larger venues.

The first version of the Vox AC30 was a combo equipped with a single 12-inch speaker, but by the time the Beatles arrived on the scene the amp had evolved into what Vox called a ”Twin amplifier”, meaning a combo with a pair of 12-inch speakers. The Beatles were also the first band to receive AC30s with the company’s (then) new Top Boost -circuit. Vox couldn’t have dreamt up a more potent way of promoting their products than Beatlemania.

The AC30 Twin with Top Boost became Vox Amplification’s flagship product, which still stands today as one of the most iconic guitar amplifiers of all time. This is thanks in no small part to the great guitarists, such as Brian May (Queen), Rory Gallagher, Lenny Kravitz and U2’s The Edge, who made the combo a vital ingredient of their respective signature sounds.

Vintage AC30s (and faithful reissues) are often criticised for being quite large and heavy. Some 1960s examples also seem to have a tendency for overheating, due to the valve layout inside the chassis. Original AC30s also are non-master volume designs, which means that break-up and crunch sounds can only be had close to full volume levels.

Luckily, Vox’ line-up also includes more modern and streamlined AC30-versions.

The brand-new Vox AC30S1 (current Finnish street price around 780 €) takes everything that is great about the AC30, and puts it into a streamlined, master volume-equipped, and much more portable single speaker combo.

****

The new Vox AC30S1 is part of the company’s very successful Chinese-made Custom range.

The AC30 Single keeps the classic Vox look, but comes in a narrower cabinet. At 24.5 kg the newcomer weighs a good nine kilos less that the Custom Series AC30 Twin (AC30C2).

The new combo offers a single amp channel with a two-band EQ-section and a master volume knob.

The built-in reverb is digital, and modelled after a classic spring reverb.

Just like the classic Sixties design the AC30S1 also sports a half-open back.

Vox’ Custom Series amps have been redesigned and updated to comply with all necessary safety regulations for modern tube amplifiers. In the AC30S1’s case this means well-ventilated valves that are easy to access, a safety grill to prevent anybody from touching piping hot tubes, and a detachable IEC mains cord.

The AC30S1 uses a pair of 12AX7 valves for the preamp section, as well as four EL84s in the power amp.

The speaker is a 12-inch Celestion VX model, designed specifically for use in this combo.

The back panel offers an additional speaker output (16 ohms) and an effects loop.

EU-versions of the AC30S1 also come with a switchable Eco-function, which will turn the amp off automatically when left running unplayed for two hours.

****

The brand-new AC30S1 is noticeably easier to lift and carry than any of the regular Twin versions, which is great news for virtually any of us.

A word of warning first:

Despite Vox’ promo pictures showing the new AC30 Single in different living room set-ups, this isn’t really a combo for noodling on the couch. Despite being a single 12-inch speaker combo, the AC30S1 has no problem whatsoever in dishing out ear-shattering sound pressure levels. Yes, there is a master volume knob, but – at least on our review sample – the pot’s taper isn’t especially even, instead jumping rather abruptly from ”off” to something like 30 percent power. This combo doesn’t belong in a block of flats or in a sitting room, this amp belongs in a full-blown studio or on a club stage.

Despite the inevitably narrower throw of a single speaker (compared to a twin speaker set-up) the sounds gleaned from the Vox AC30S1 are pure AC30 magic. Typically, clean headroom isn’t available in Fender Blackface-style amounts. An AC30’s sound is defined by the smooth and steady break-up at comparatively moderate gain levels, and by the bite and density of its crunchy distortion.

Here’s an example of the range of textures you can get from the AC30S1 with its gain at full, while using a Stratocaster’s volume control:

The AC30S1’s digitally modelled spring reverb sounds terrific; probably the best onboard digital spring reverb I’ve heard in a long time:

The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Microphones used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Any delays were added during mixing:

****

In my view the new Vox AC30S1 is an excellent addition to the company’s AC30 range. This combo gives you virtually all of the classic Vox tones, but with far less bulk.

****

Vox AC30S1

Street price in Finland approx. 780 €

Distributor: EM Nordic

Thanks to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the review amp!

****

Pros:

+ lesser weight

+ high-quality spring-style digital reverb

+ effects loop

+ sound

+ high volume levels

Cons:

– master volume taper

– high volume levelsSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

11/10/2018

Vox AC30S1 – the Kitarablogi-video

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

****

The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

01/10/2018

First Look: Vox AC30S1

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

****

The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

27/09/2018

Testi tulossa – Review coming soon – Vox AC30S1

12/09/2018

Review: Green Guitars P-Bass

Green Guitars is a new Swedish brand that offers affordable and mid-priced electric guitars and basses, which are made in China. Green’s line-up even includes a few Korean Custom Shop models.

For the most part Green instruments are straight copies of classic models, but as a special feature some instruments are available with relic’d finishes. There’s also a choice of different pickups for many models.

****

Green Guitars’ P-Bass (current price in Finland: 375 €) is the brand’s own version of a 1960s Fender Precision Bass.

Our review instrument’s basswood body comes finished in a very pretty Sonic Blue.

One player-friendly change comes in the guise of a modern truss rod, which is adjusted from the headstock end. No need for taking the neck off on a Green P-Bass.

The bolt-on neck is made from maple, with the fingerboard being a slab of rosewood. The neck sports a thin satin finish.

The Green’s machine heads are modern updates of the classic open tuner theme, and they seem to be of very decent quality.

The bridge has been updated, too. The base plate is considerably thicker than on the classic Fender bridge. The bridge saddles’ height-adjustment screws run in grooves to prevent sustain-robbing sideways movement.

The Green P-Bass comes equipped with a Kent Armstrong split-coil pickup. This Far Eastern version uses a ceramic magnet stuck to the bottom of each half’s bobbins with soft steel pole pieces, instead of the separate slug magnets on original 60s Fenders.

****

Many P-bass copies in this price bracket deliberately use a different neck profile than the Fender original. A genuine Precision’s neck is relatively wide and a bit flattish at the top nut – some bassists like this, others don’t. Most affordable copies of this classic use a more middle-of-the-road, narrower C-profile.

I like a Precision-style bass to feel like a Precision, which is why I applaud Green Guitars’ decision to build their P-Bass with a traditional neck profile. This bass feels like it should.

The Green bass also wins me over in terms of its sound. I used my own 1976 Fender as a benchmark, and the Green P-Bass growls just like it should. The low register is punchy, and the top end is open, but never sharp or brittle.

The original Fender Precision is the classic of all classics; it was the first electric bass, and its sound is familiar to us all from thousands of recordings. I have chosen to record a little Motown-tribute as a demo song. The Green P-Bass went through a SansAmp Bass Driver and then into a Focusrite interface:

****

We could, no doubt, spend hours on end discussing the ethics and the raison d’être of copy instruments. The truth is, though, that there’s an abundance of affordable copies of classic designs on the market.

Green’s P-Bass is definitely worth trying, if you’re shopping for this style of bass in this price segment. This bass feels and sounds very much like the original classic that served as its inspiration. Judging by the review bass, Green’s workmanship seems very clean and crisp for the price.

****

Green Guitars P-Bass

375 €

Finnish distributor: Nordsound

Pros:

+ value for money

+ authentic neck profile

+ soundSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

27/08/2018

Testipenkissä: Green Guitars P-Bass

Green Guitars on nuori ruotsalainen brändi, joka tarjoaa sekä edullisia että keskihintaisia Kiinassa valmistettuja sähkökitaroita ja -bassoja. Mallistoon mahtuu myös muutama Etelä-Koreasta peräisin oleva Custom Shop -malli.

Suurilta osin Green-soittimet ovat kopiosoittimia, mutta yhtenä erikoisuutena voi mainita, että brändi tarjoaa joissakin malleissa myös relic-viimeistelyjä, sekä useita mikrofonivaihtoehtoja.

****

Green Guitars P-Bass (375 €) on firman versio 1960-luvun Fender Precision -bassosta.

Testisoittimen runko on tehty lehmuksesta, ja se on viimeistelty siististi klassisellaa vaaleansinisellä sävyllä.

Yksi soittajaystävällinen muutos Green P-bassossa on kaularaudan säätöruuvin sijainti viritinlavan puolella, jonka ansiosta säätäminen sujuu nopeasti ja helposti.

Ruuvikaula on veistetty vaahterasta, kun taas basson otelauta tehdään ruusupuusta. Kaulassa on satiinipintainen mattaviimeistely.

Greenin avoimet virittimet vaikuttavat laadukkailta.

Basson talla on hieman tukevampi versio Fenderin vintage-tallasta. Greenin tallassa on paksumpi pohjalevy, jossa on myös urat, jotka estävät tallapalojen sivuttaista liikkumista.

Green P-bassoon on valittu Kent Armstrongin suunnittelema presarimikki. Tässä Kauko-Idässä valmistetussa versiossa mikrofonipuoliskojen magneetit on kiinnitetty mikkikelojen alapuolelle. Perinteisissä Fender-mikeissä taas näkyvissä olevat navat ovat yksittäisiä pyöreitä magneetteja.

****

Monet tämän hintaluokan presarikopiot poikkeavat kaulaprofiilin suhteen alkuperäisestä Fender-bassosta. Alkuperäisellä Precisionilla on nimittäin satulan lähellä suhteellisen leveä ja hieman laakeakin profiili, joka on perinteisesti hieman jakanut basisteja. Monissa edullisissa kopiosoittimissa on tämän vuoksi alkuperäistä pyöreämpi ja kapeampi kaula.

Onneksi Green Guitarsin P-bassossa on perinteinen kaulaprofiili, joka on minusta tärkeä seikka, kun puhutaan presarin luonteesta ja soittotuntumasta.

Soundin kannaltakin Green-basso pärjää mainiosti oman 70-luvun Fenderin vieressä. Greenin ”versio” murisee ja murahtaa oikeaoppisesti ja diskantissa löytyy mukavasti avoimuutta.

Alkuperäinen Fender Precision on klassikkojen klassikko; maailman ensimmäinen sähköbasso, jonka soundi on tuttu tuhansista äänityksistä. Tällä kertaa päätin äänittää lyhyen Motown-tribuutin demobiisiksi. Green P-basso meni SansAmp Bass Driverin kautta suoraan äänikortille:

****

Kopiosoittimien järkevyydestä ja eettisyydestä voisi varmaan väitellä loputtomiin – tosiasia on kuitenkin, että niitä löytyy runsaasti markkinoilla.

Green P-Bass on omassa hintaluokassaan todella positiivinen tuttavuus. Tässä edullisessa soitimessa löytyy runsaasti aidon presarin tuntumaa ja soundia. Myös Greenin työnjälki on testiyksilön perusteella hyvin siisti.

****

Green Guitars P-Bass

375 €

Maahantuoja: Nordsound

Plussat:

+ hinta-laatu-suhde

+ kaulaprofiili

+ soundiSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

06/08/2018

Green Guitars P-Bass – Now on SoundCloud

Maahantuoja/Distributor: Nordsound

02/08/2018

Green Guitars P-Bass ++ Testi tulossa ++ Review coming soon

Maahantuoja/Distributor: Nordsound

06/02/2018

Review: Tokai TJM-140

We at Kitarablogi HQ received a very special instrument for review this time – the new Tokai TJM-140, which is based on Fender’s Jazzmaster.

When the original Jazzmaster was released in 1958 Fender aimed it squarely at Jazz and Lounge musicians, who had found the company’s earlier offerings much too bright and Country-sounding. The Jazzmaster also was Fender’s first model with a rosewood fingerboard, something their sales force had been requesting for years (for cosmetic reasons).

Sadly, the new model wasn’t received very enthusiastically. Most Jazz guitarists still felt that Fender guitars were nothing more than mere breadboards with strings, while others complained that the new control setup was too complicated. A shame, really…

Over the last years Jazzmaster-type offset guitars have definitely become en vogue again. Thanks to this trend Tokai, too, has decided to come up with its own version of this guitar classic.

****

The Tokai TJM-140 Silver Star (reviewed version: 1.495 €; basic model: 1.445 €) is a top-quality Japanese rendition of the Jazzmaster model, which stays faithful to the original classic in most respects, with a few modern improvements. The review sample has been customised further with a set of Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups.

Tokai’s TJM-140 strongly channels an early-Sixties spirit – this guitar comes with the original, small Fender-style headstock, as well as an unbound rosewood fretboard with small dot markers.

Beneath its classy Olympic White finish the curvaceous body is crafted from alder, while the satin-finished neck is maple.

Putting the truss rod adjustment at the headstock end is one of the welcome improvements on the TJM-140.

The Tokai sports a set of fine Kluson copies made by Gotoh.

This model comes with 22 medium-sized frets. The fretwork is very clean.

Leo Fender had a thing for vibratos, which he called tremolos. For the Jazzmaster he came up with a special new system. The Jazzmaster-vibrato (which was later used on the Jaguar, too) comprises a front-installed vibrato/tailpiece-combination, paired with a separate bridge. The bridge stands on height-adjustable poles inside long ferrules, and it rocks slightly back and forth during vibrato use. The Tokai Silver Star uses a well-made Japanese copy of the original system.

You don’t need to be a guitar expert to see that Leo Fender was aiming for a Gibson P-90-vibe with his flat and wide Jazzmaster pickups. Both the P-90 and Jazzmaster pickup have similar coils, but their magnetic structure puts them apart. Gibson’s P-90 uses two long bar magnets placed underneath the coil, either side of a metal spacer, to magnetise its pickup. Fender, on the other hand, uses six slug magnets, which also serve as the pickup’s pole pieces.

The pickups in Seymour Duncan’s Antiquity-set are reverse wound/reverse polarity, resulting in a hum-cancelling middle position on the toggle switch.

The special feature of Jazzmasters is the so-called rhythm circuit. The slide switch above the neck pickup switches between the lead and rhythm circuits. In rhythm, only the neck pickup is selected, with a slight treble roll-off and its own set of volume and tone control wheels.

The solo circuit uses the regular set of controls – a three-position toggle, plus master volume and tone. Each circuit works independently of the other’s settings.

****

In my view, every guitarist should try a Jazzmaster- or Jaguar-style guitar once in his/her life, just to experience that comfortable offset body. Some players feel that the offset waist of a Jazzmaster is even more ergonomic that a Strat.

The Tokai TJM-140 is a fine example of a Jazzmaster-style guitar. Our test sample is light in weight, the neck’s oval C-profile feels great in your hand, and the guitar arrived with an expert setup.

Still, the Jazzmaster-vibrato will continue to divide opinions for the foreseeable future. The push-fit vibrato arm isn’t as foolproof as the screw-in Stratocaster arm, and it tends to swing rather loosely, when not in use. With a contemporary string set of 009- or 010-gauge you will probably run into some problems sooner or later, due to the shallow string angle over the bridge. Forceful strumming and/or large bends tend to cause light string gauges to jump out of the bridge saddles’ grooves, spoiling your setup and tuning in the process.

You cannot blame the Tokai TJM-140 Silver Star for using a faithful copy of the original vibrato, because this guitar is meant to be a vintage-inspired instrument. Nevertheless, it’s important to know about any possible pitfalls and solutions.

The easiest way to get a Jazzmaster-vibrato to play nicely is to use the correct string gauges of the late 1950s – read: flatwound 011s or 012s with a wound g-string. If this seems unbearable there’s always the screw-on Whizzo Buzz Stop, a Bigsby-style roller that adds much-needed downward pressure at the tailpiece. Others like to take the far more drastic step of replacing the whole Jazzmaster-system with a Mastery-vibrato, a replacement made specifically for use with modern strings.

Tokai’s TJM-140 Silver Star nails the Jazzmaster tone like a champion. The Antiquity pickups give you lots of chime and sparkle, but the top end is much warmer than on a Strat, and there’s a nice dose of mid-range chunk. The rhythm circuit rolls off a little bit of the neck pickup’s treble, but still keeps things from going all dark and muddy.

Here are a few clips of the Tokai TJM-140, recorded with a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo, a Boss SD-1 overdrive and a Shure SM57:

****

Tokai’s TJM-140 is a pro quality Japanese version of the Fender Jazzmaster. The Tokai plays and feels great, and its sound really leaves nothing to be desired. The original Jazzmaster-/Jaguar-vibrato might become a deal-breaker for some, but I feel the original system adds a lot to this guitar’s sound and mystique. Tokai uses a high-quality copy of the original vibrato, which works as smoothly as it should. Taking this instrument for a spin is highly recommended!

****

Tokai Guitars TJM-140

Price with Antiquity pickups: 1.495 €

Distribution: Tokai Guitars Nordic

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

+ idiosyncratic vibrato system

Cons:

– idiosyncratic vibrato systemSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save