Posts tagged ‘ash’

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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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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22/09/2016

Review: Tokai TST-50-FS Modern

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The guitar maker Tokai is known worldwide for its high-quality versions of classic vintage guitars, and the instruments are loved and played by many.

But now there’s an interesting new model, devised by Tokai Guitars Nordic, called the Tokai TST-50-FS Modern (current price in Finland: 1,650 €; hard case included). This is an S-type guitar for the player who wants classic looks combined with modern features.

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Tokai’s brand-new TST-50-FS Modern is available in three different versions, which share the same basic build and features, but which differ in terms of finish and pickup choice.

The Modern is available in a traditional Three-Tone Sunburst

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… a beautiful Sienna Sunburst

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… and in a cool, dark Ebony Transparent.

The TST-50-FS’ body is made from two pieces of beautiful swamp ash, with a – near invisible – centre glue line.

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The new model makes it a jiffy to adjust the truss rod by moving the adjustment to the headstock side of the neck.

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The TST-50-FS Modern sports a high-quality set of Gotoh Magnum Lock locking machine heads, resulting in lightning-fast string changes and rock steady tuning stability.

The neck comes with a thin satin finish.

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We find a rosewood fretboard with a modern radius (9.5″), as well as 22 gleaming medium jumbo-sized frets (Dunlop 6105), making string bending much easier than on a vintage guitar.

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The bridge on the Tokai TST-50-FS Modern represents Gotoh’s view of the perfect updated Strat-style vibrato.

Gotoh’s 510T-SF bridge is a two-post affair made of steel. The height-adjustable posts can be locked inside the threaded ferrules to increase vibrational transfer into the body.

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In terms of its pickups, the Three-Tone Sunburst version is the most traditional of the new trio:

The neck and middle pickups are genuine single coils (Seymour Duncan SSL-1), while the bridge humbucker is Duncan’s vintage-voiced Model ’59 (SH-1B Zebra).

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The Sienna Sunburst-variant is completely noise-free thanks to its stacked-coil neck and middle pickups (Seymour Duncan STK-S4; aka Classic Stack Plus). The bridge unit is a hotter-than vintage, covered JB (SH-4).

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The hottest guitar in our trio is the TST-50-FS in Ebony Transparent, which comes with a pair of Hot Stack Plus pickups (STK-S7) and the sheer force of nature that is Seymour Duncan’s SH-14 Custom 5 humbucker.

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The Tokai TST-50-FS Modern is part of the brand’s Made-in-Japan Premium Series, and all three instruments are perfect examples of the excellent workmanship Tokai has to offer.

The new model comes with a rounded neck profile (Tokai call it ”Thin U”) that feels and plays like a dream. The modern fingerboard radius and excellent fretwork make string choking a thing of the past.

The vibrato feels very precise and stays in tune far better than any vintage-style vibrato bridge ever could.

The ash body, locking tuners and steel bridge give the TST-50-FS Modern a sparkling unplugged voice with a long and clear sustain.

Played with an amp the differences between the three versions become very clear:

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The Three-Tone Sunburst version gives you the tones you’d expect from a factory-modded vintage S-type.

Thanks to the vintage-style single coils – as well as the PAF-inspired bridge humbucker – you get a lot of clarity, dynamics and spank.

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I’d call the FS Modern’s Sienna Sunburst variant the ”LA Studio model”, which will deal with any musical situation by giving you a first-rate West Coast sound.

The stacked coil pickups are free from hum and buzz, and they give you a fine, slightly ”pre-compressed” sound that sits well in any mix. The JB-humbucker offers just the right amount of ”push” to complement the neck and middle pickups perfectly.

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If you look for an S-style electric that will take to high gain settings like the proverbial duck to water, you need look no further. The TST-50-FS Modern in Ebony Transparent simply loves gain and distortion, while still making a great figure when it comes to clean tones.

This is noise-free high gain heaven with a healthy dose of bottom end punch and a chunky mid-range.

The demo track features the trio in the following order: Sienna Sunburst –> Ebony Transparent –> Three-Tone Sunburst. Each guitar plays both the rhythm as well as the lead parts of its section:

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The new Tokai TST-50-FS Modern really made a big impression on me.

This is a fantastic alternative to the traditional, vintage-flavoured Tokai models. Both the playability and sounds this trio has to offer are top-notch, and I’m sure you will find your favourite modern S-type guitar from one of the three alternatives.

Tokai’s TST-50-FS Modern offers you custom shop quality at a very fair price.

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Tokai TST-50-FS Modern

1,650 € (hard case included)

Distributor: Musamaailma

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Pros:

+ value-for-money

+ workmanship

+ three different pickup configurations

+ playability

+ sound

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19/09/2016

Testipenkissä: Tokai TST-50-FS Modern

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Kitaravalmistaja Tokai tunnetaan laadukkaista klassikkokitaroiden uusintapainoksista, ja soittimet ovat löytäneet tiensä monen vintage-fanin käsiin.

Tokai Guitars Nordicin kehittämä uutuusmalli Tokai TST-50-FS Modern (1.650 €, sis. kova laukku) on sen sijaan suunnattu kitaristeille, jotka haluavat tuttua Tokai-laatua nykyaikaisilla ominaisuuksilla.

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Tokai TST-50-FS Modern on saatavilla kolmessa eri versiossa, joiden rakenteelliset ominaisuudet ovat samat, mutta jotka eroavat toisistaan värityksen ja mikrofonien suhteen.

Kitaran värivaihtoehtoina on Three-Tone Sunburst

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… vaalea Sienna Sunburst

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… ja tumma Ebony Transparent.

Kaikissa versioissa runko on veistetty kuvankauniista suosaarnista. Rungot on koottu kahdesta saarnipalasta, joiden (käytännössä näkymätön) liimasauma kulkee siististi keskeltä runkoa.

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Kaularaudan säätäminen on TST-50-FS-mallissa todella helppoa, koska säätöruuvi on sijoitettu viritinlavan puolelle.

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Tässä mallissa on erittäin laadukkaat Gotoh Magnum Lock -lukkovirittimet – kieltenvaihto sujuu nopeasti ja vire pysyy.

Kaulassa on ohut mattapintainen viimeistely.

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Otelaudan radius on selvästi vintagea loivempi, ja ruusupuuhun on siististi asennettu 22 medium jumbo -kokoista nauhaa (Dunlop 6105), minkä ansiosta venytykset vaativat vähemmän voimaa.

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Tokai TST-50-FS Modernin talla on huippulaadukas, Gotohin valmistama modernisoitu versio Strato-vibratallasta.

Gotoh 510T-SF -talla on valmistettu teräksestä ja se on veitsenterälaakeroitu. Vibraton tapit lukitaan kierreholkkeihinsa, mikä parantaa tallan sustainia.

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Three-Tone Sunburst -version mikrofonitarjonta on tästä kolmikosta se perinteisin:

Kaula- ja keskimikki ovat aitoja yksikelaisia (Seymour Duncan SSL-1) ja talla-asemasta löytyy Duncanin ’59-humbucker (SH-1B Zebra).

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Sienna Sunburstin mikrofonivarustus on täysin hurinaton, sillä kaula- ja keskimikrofonit ovat kahdella päällekkäisellä kelalla varustettuja Seymour Duncan STK-S4 -mikrofoneja (Classic Stack Plus), kun taas tallahumbuckerina toimii vintagea kuumempi JB-malli (SH-4 JB).

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Malleista lähtöteholtaan kuumin on Ebony Transparent -versio, joka yhdistää tehokkaat Hot Stack Plus -mikrofonit (STK-S7) Seymour Duncan SH-14 Custom 5 -humbuckerin tarjoamaan täyslaidalliseen.

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Tokai TST-50-FS Modern kuuluu valmistajan japanilaiseen Premium-sarjaan, ja testissä käynyt kolmikko on – jälleen kerran – täydellinen esimerkki japanilaisesta, erinomaisesta soitinrakennusosaamisesta.

Uutuusmallin pyöreä, mutta suhteellisen ohut kaulaprofiili tuntuu erittäin nopealta, ja nykyaikainen nauhoitus ja otelautaradius luovat kevyen soittotuntuman.

Vibratalla toimii sulavasti ja erittäin tarkasti.

Saarnirungon, lukkovirittimien ja teräsvibran ansiosta TST-50-FS Modernin akustinen ääni on hyvin raikas ja pitkällä sustainilla höystetty.

Versioiden väliset erot tulevat esiin vahvistimen kautta soitettaessa:

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Three-Tone Sunburst -versio antaa soittajalle aimon annoksen kustomoidun vintage-kitaran hehkua.

Aitojen yksikelaisten mikkien, sekä PAF-tyylisen tallahumbuckerin ansiosta vahvistettu ääni on tuore ja erittäin dynaaminen. Pletraniskujen naksahteleva luonne tuo väkisinkin mieleen vintage-Straton.

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Kutsuisin 50-FS Modernin Sienna Sunburst -kitaraa LA Studio -malliksi, jolla hoituu sessio kuin sessio aidolla länsirannikon soundilla.

Stacked coil -mikrofonit eivät hurise, ja niillä on oikein mainio, hieman ”esikompressoitu” soundi, jonka saa mukavasti istutettua miksaukseen. JB-humbucker on sekä teholtaan että soundiltaan oiva valinta näiden ”yksikelaisten” rinnalle.

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Jos etsit S-tyylistä kitaraa, joka tarjoaa loistavia high gain -särösoundeja, mutta joka samalla kuulostaa myös mehevältä puhtaasti soitettuna, Ebony Transparent on sinulle oikea valinta.

Tämä kitara tarjoaa hurinatonta high gain -meinikiä tuhdilla alakerralla ja herkullisella keskialueella.

Demobiisissä testikitarat kuullaan järjestyksessä Sienna Sunburst –> Ebony Transparent –> Three-Tone Sunburst. Samalla kitaralla soitetaan aina sekä komppiosuudet että soolo:

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Minun mielestäni Tokai TST-50-FS Modern lunastaa lupauksensa täydellisesti ja avokätisesti.

Uutuusmalli on huippulaadukas, nykyaikainen vaihtoehto vintage-tyylisille Tokai-kitaroille. Soittotuntuma ja soundi ovat enemmän kuin kohdillaan, ja jokainen meistä löytää varmasti kolmesta vaihtoehdoista sen itselleen sopivan.

TST-50-FS Modern tarjoaa custom shop -tasoista laatua reiluun hintaan.

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Tokai TST-50-FS Modern

1.650 € (kova laukku kuuluu hintaan)

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

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Plussat:

+ hinta-laatu-suhde

+ työnjälki

+ kolme mikrofonivaihtoehtoa

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

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14/09/2016

Now on Soundcloud: Tokai TST-50-FS Modern

Tokai TST-50-FS Modern

• Premium Series model

• Made in Japan

• Premium swamp ash body (two-piece, centre-joined)

• Rosewood fingerboard with 9.5″ radius

• 22 Dunlop 6105 frets

• Locking Gotoh tuners

• Two-post Gotoh vibrato

• Sienna Sunburst version: 2 x Seymour Duncan STK-S4 + TB-4

• Ebony Transparent version: 2 x STK-S7 + TB-14

• Three-Tone Sunburst version: 2 x SSL-1 + ’59

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The demo track has the three guitars in the order Sienna Sunburst –> Ebony Transparent –> Three-Tone Sunburst.

12/09/2016

Tokai TST-50-FS – the Kitarablogi-video

Uusi Tokai TST-50-FS on tällä hetkellä saatavilla kolmella eri mikrofonivarustuksilla:

Three-Tone Sunburst -versiossa on kaksi yksikelaista SSL-1-mikrofonia, sekä Seymour Duncan ’59 -humbucker.

Sienna Sunburst -mallissa on kaksi SD Classic Stack Plus -mikrofonia (hurinattomia, stacked-coil mikrofonia), sekä JB-humbucker metallikuorella.

Ebony Transparent -kitarassa taas on kaksi Duncanin Vintage Hot Stack -mikrofonia (hurinattomia) ja tallamikrofonina toimii saman firman Custom 5 -humbucker.

Kitarablogin testi on tulossa lähiaikoina!

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The new Tokai TST-50-FS is currently available with three different pickup configurations:

• The Three-Tone Sunburst version has a pair of SSL-1 single-coils and a Seymour Duncan ’59 humbucker.

• The Sienna Sunburst model comes with two noiseless SD Classic Stack Plus pickups, as well as a covered JB model.

• The Ebony Transparent guitar sports two noiseless Duncan Vintage Hot Stacks and a Custom 5 in the bridge position.

Watch this space for a full review in the very near future!

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08/09/2016

Upouudet Premium-sarjan Tokai-kitarat tulivat taloon!

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18/02/2015

Review: J. Leachim Guitars Jazzcaster

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J Leachim Jazzcaster – beauty shot – black

You could call J. Leachim Guitars Finland’s answer to Nash Guitars. Just like the American maker, JLG, too, don’t make their guitars from scratch, from the raw wood. Instead, J. Leachim assembles guitars from bought in unfinished necks and bodies, as well as parts and hardware sourced from a number of reputable sources. J. Leachim Guitars’ forte lies in their finish work, and the relicing of guitars.

J. Leachim’s main man, Jan Merivirta, supplied Kitarablogi.com with an example of his Jazzcaster model, which sports a pristine, “NOS” nitro finish.

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J Leachim Jazzcaster – full front – final med

The J. Leachim Guitars Jazzcaster (prices start from approx. 1,300 €; hard case incl.) is a very enticing mix of different classic guitars:

The Jazzcaster’s maple neck has been sourced from Northwest Guitars. It’s a Tele-style neck sporting jumbo frets, as well as a modern fretboard radius of 9.5 inches.

The Guitarbuild body has been crafted from very lightweight swamp ash. Filtertron-sized pickup routs have been added at the J. Leachim workshop.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – neck joint

J. Leachim Guitars clearly know how to use nitro lacquer properly:

The body has received an exquisite, thinly applied gloss finish in Surf Green, while the neck has been finished with a thin satin clear coat.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – headstock

The fretwork on the Jazzcaster is great. The rosewood fingerboard comes with 21 jumbo-sized frets.

The top nut has been carved from a piece of genuine bovine bone. Some may find the nut’s shaping a tad angular, but I don’t mind; it’s only cosmetics, after all.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – tuners

A nice set of lightly-aged Klusons takes care of tuning duties on this J. Leachim model.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – bridge

The Jazzcaster’s bridge and vibrato tailpiece have both been sourced from WD Music:

The vibrato is a version of the Fender Jazzmaster/Jaguar-vibrato, albeit without the original’s lock-off mechanism. The original locking mechanism is notoriously difficult to set up properly, so leaving it off is actually a good thing (in the view of most guitarists).

Many guitarists today dislike the original Jazzmaster-bridge, too, because the individual height-adjustment screws on the bridge saddles tend to work themselves loose with modern (light gauge) strings. Originally, this bridge – as well as the vibrato – has been designed to work with the stiffer string sets of the late 1950s (mostly 012 or 013 sets). With a set of 010s or 009s the Jazzmaster-bridge’s adjustment screws tend to rattle a lot.

Many modern makers – like J. Leachim Guitars – substitute the Jazzmaster-bridge with a Fender Mustang-bridge for this very reason. The Mustang-bridge is a direct replacement, and it uses differently sized bridge saddles to preset the fretboard radius permanently, so nothing can work itself loose and rattle.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – pickups

Gretsch Filtertron-style pickups are the ”in” thing at the moment.

J. Leachim’s Jazzcaster comes with a pair of TV Jones-pickups – there’s a vintage-type TV Classic in the neck position, and a more powerful Powertron model placed near the bridge.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – controls

The customer who ordered this particular Jazzcaster specified a reverse tone control (working clockwise), so this is what can be found on this instrument.

J. Leachim Guitars use a stereo phone jack, which keeps a firmer grip on the guitar lead’s plug, as well as making sure you always have a good connection to ground.

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J Leachim Jazzcaster – body beauty 2

In my view, the J. Leachim Jazzcaster very successfully blends the ergonomics of the Jazzmaster body with a Gretschy tone. Thanks to its very smooth Jazzmaster-vibrato, the JLG Jazzcaster has a more open sound than, for example, a Cabronita Telecaster.

The Jazzcaster plays like a dream, as long as you’re willing to live with the typical, well-known compromises of the Jazzmaster/Jaguar-vibrato.

With modern, slinky strings, big bends – especially, when played higher up the neck – can quite easily make the high e-string jump out of its bridge groove. In a way this isn’t so much a fault, but more of a feature of this vibrato system, because the strings cross the bridge at a relatively shallow angle. With the stiff string sets of the late Fifties the system works fine, but for huge Blues bends with a contemporary 010-gauge set you should maybe invest in an additional bridge roller.

I would like to see a smoother taper on the tone control, though. On the review instrument the treble roll-off was more a matter of on or off, with everything happening right at the end of of the knob’s travel.

The Jazzcaster has a beautiful acoustic tone, with a bell-like ring and an open, yet firm body.

TV Jones’ acclaimed Filtertron-style pickups seem like a perfect fit for this model, adding a good deal of chime and twang, without sounding too bright or biting. Being humbuckers, the TV Jones pickups are also immune against hum and buzz, unlike a traditional Jazzmaster’s singlecoil units, which are not a million miles removed from a Gibson P-90.

This clip gives you an idea of the J. Leachim Jazzcaster’s clean sounds (starting with the neck pickup):

When plugged into an overdriven channel, the Jazzcaster wins you over with a chunky, aggressive and compact voice, which is just the ticket for Seventies-style Rock or Punk. Famous Filtertron-users in the Rock genre include AC/DC’s original rhythm guitarist Malcom Young, and the Who’s Pete Townshend, who frequently used Gretsch guitars as his ”secret weapon” in the studio.

Here’s the track from the Youtube-video – ”Seabird Flavour (Homage to Peter Green)”:

There are three rhythm parts – left channel (neck pickup), centre (neck pickup), and right channel (both pickups) – as well as the lead part, which uses both pickups (and the vibrato tailpiece).

J Leachim Jazzcaster – body beauty

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J Leachim Jazzcaster – beauty shot 2

In my view, J. Leachim’s Jazzcaster is a beautiful, and very well-made, Fender-inspired guitar, with a sound that’s all its own. You could think the Jazzcaster was only for Jazz or Country, but in reality this fine guitar covers a much wider area of musical styles.

In any case, J. Leachim Guitars is yet another Finnish guitar brand worth keeping on your radar.

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J. Leachim Guitars Jazzcaster

Price approx. 1,300 € (incl. hard case)

Contact: J. Leachim Music

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Pros:

+ workmanship

+ finish

+ playability

+ smooth vibrato action

+ sound

Cons:

shallow string angle across bridge (read the review)

tone control could work smoother

13/02/2015

Testipenkissä: J. Leachim Guitars Jazzcaster

JLeachim 2

J Leachim Jazzcaster – beauty shot – black

Riihimäkiläistä J. Leachim Guitarsia voisi kutsua Suomen vastineeksi amerikkalaiselle Nash Guitarsille. Samoin kuin Nash Guitarsissa myös JLG:ssäkään ei rakenneta soittimia suoraan raa’asta puusta, vaan firmassa keskitytään puolivalmiiden runkojen ja kaulojen viimeistelyyn, osien relikointiin (jos toivottu), sekä kitaroiden kokoamiseen.

Saimme J. Leachimin pomolta, Jan Merivirralta, juuri valmistuneen Jazzcaster-mallin, joka on yksi firman ei-relikoiduista soittimista.

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J Leachim Jazzcaster – full front – final med

J. Leachim Guitarsin Jazzcaster (hintaluokka noin 1.300 €; kova laukku kuuluu hintaan) on mielenkiintoinen ja tutunoloinen yhteentörmäys eri klassikkokitaroiden aineksista:

Jazzcasterin kaula on Northwest Guitarsilta hankittu nykyaikainen Tele-kaula jumbonauhoilla, sekä (alkuperäistä hieman loivemmalla) 9,5-tuumaisella otelaudan radiuksella.

Erittäin kevyt suosaarnirunko tulee Guitarbuildin valikoimasta, ja siihen on lisätty J. Leachimin pajassa oikean mittaiset kolot Filtertron-tyypisille mikeille.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – neck joint

J. Leachimissä tiedetään ilmiselvästi miten nitrolakkaa käytetään oikein:

Rungon erittäin ohut, kiiltävä Surf Green -viimeistely on suorastaan herkullisen näköinen, kun taas kaulan satiinipinta tuntuu todella mukavalta.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – headstock

Jazzcasterin nauhatyö on kiitettävällä tasolla. Ruusupuiseen otelautaan on asennettu 21 jumbo-kokoista nauhaa.

Soittimen satula on aitoa naudanluuta. Satulan ulkoreunojen kulmikkuus on pelkästään kosmeettinen makuasia, joka ei ainakaan minua haittaa pätkäkään.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – tuners

Tässä J. Leachim soittimessa käytetään hienoja – ja kevyesti vanhoitettuja – Kluson-virittimiä.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – bridge

Jazzcasterin talla ja vibrato tulevat WD Musicilta:

Vibrato on firman versio Fenderin Jazzmaster/Jaguar-vibrasta. Tarkkasilmäinen lukija on varmaan jo huomannut, että tässä versiossa alkuperäinen lukitusnappi puuttuu. Monien mielestä tämä on kuitenkin hyvä asia, koska alkuperäisen Fender-vibran lukitusmekanismi on melko hankala säätää toimivaksi.

Nykykitaristeille alkuperäinen Jazzmaster-tallakin on usein harmaiden hiuksien aiheuttaja. Tallapalojen yksittäiset säätöruuvit toimivat nimittäin suhteellisen hyvin ainoastaan 1950-luvun paksuilla kielisatseilla. Kevyillä nykysatseilla pikkuruiset säätöruuvit alkavat usein löystyä omatoimisesti soiton aikana, ja räminä voi alkaa.

Helpoin lääke tähän ongelmaan on käyttää Jazzmaster-tallan sijaan Fender Mustang -kitaran tallaa – se on muuten samanlainen, mutta Mustang-tallassa otelaudan kaarevuutta kompensoidaan eripaksuisilla tallapaloilla.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – pickups

Gretsch Filtertron -tyyliset humbuckerit ovat tällä hetkellä erittäin ”in”.

J. Leachim Jazzcasteriin on asennettu kaksi TV Jones -mallia – vintage-tyylinen TV Classic on valittu kaulamikrofoniksi, kun taas tallamikrofonina toimii selvästi alkuperäistä tuhdimpi Powertron.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – controls

Tilaajan toiveesta tässä Jazzcasterissa on käänteisesti toimiva tone-potikkaa.

J. Leachim Guitarsin stereojakki pitää plugia tiukasti paikoillaan ja lisää maadoituksen toimintavarmuutta.

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J Leachim Jazzcaster – body beauty 2

Tämä Jazzcaster-kitara yhdistää onnistuneesti Jazzmasterin ergonomiaa ja soitettavuutta Gretsch-maiseen soundiin. Sulavasti toimivan vibran ansiosta J. Leachim -kitaran soinnissa on kuitenkin hieman enemmän avoimuutta kuin sellaisissa risteyksissä kuin esimerkiksi Cabronita Teleissä.

Jazzcasterin soitettavuus on ensiluokkaista, kun vaan ottaa huomioon Jazzmaster- ja Jaguar-faneille tutut rajoitukset:
Nykyaikaisilla (lue: ohuilla) kielillä suuret Blues-venytykset (etenkin ylänauhoilla) nostavat usein korkean e-kielen ulos tallapalan uralta. Tämä on enemmän ominaisuus kuin vika, koska Jazzmaster-vibra – jossa kielet menevät tallan yli suhteellisen loivassa kulmassa – on suunniteltu 1950-luvun lopussa käytettäväksi hiotun 013-kielisatsin kanssa. Isot bendaukset 010-satsilla onnistuvat tällä vibratolla esimerkiksi asentamalla vibratoon kieliä alas vetävän lisärullan.

Ainoa pieni kritiikkikohta koskee tässä kitarassa tone-säätimen toimintaa, jossa diskantin vaimennus tapahtuu vasta ihan liikeradan lopussa.

Jazzcasterin kaunis akustinen ääni on kellomaisen helisevä ja hyvin avoin, muttei missään nimessä liian kevyt.

TV Jonesin Filtertron-tyyliset mikrofonit ovat mielestäni todella hyvä valinta tähän malliin, koska ne lisäävät soundiin oman twänginsä, joka on kuitenkin vähemmän pureva kuin esimerkiksi perinteinen Telecaster-tallamikki. Kaksikelaisina TV Jonesit ovat myös hyvin immuuneja ulkoisia häiriöitä vastaan, jotka voivat olla tavallisissa Jazzmaster-mikrofoneissa oikea riesa.

Tässä esimerkkejä J. Leachim Jazzcasterin puhtaista soundeista (alkaen kaulamikrofonista):

Särön kanssa Jazzcasterista lähtee loistavan ärhäkkä ja sopivan kompakti ääni, joka sopii mainiosti jopa 1970-luvun Rockiin ja Punkiin. Tunnetuin Filtertron-käyttäjä Rock-piireissä on ollut varmaan AC/DC:n Malcom Young. Myös Pete Townshend (The Who) käytti 70-luvulla usein Gretsch-kitaroita Filtertron-mikeillä ”salaisena aseena” studiossa, juuri niiden erikoisen särösoundin takia.

Viimeiseksi vielä videon ääniraita – ”Seabird Flavour (Homage to Peter Green)”:

Biisissä on kolme komppikitaraa – vasen kanava (kaulamikki), keskellä (kaulamikki) ja oikea kanava (molemmat yhdessä) – sekä molempia mikrofoneja (ja myös vibratallaa) käyttävä soolokitara.

J Leachim Jazzcaster – body beauty

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J Leachim Jazzcaster – beauty shot 2

J. Leachim Jazzcaster on mielestäni hyvin kaunis ja laadukas Fender-henkinen kitara omalla soundilla ja virtaviivaistetulla elektroniikalla. Ensisilmäyksellä Jazzcasteria voisi ehkä lokeroida pelkäksi Jazz- ja Country-kitaraksi, mutta todellisuudessa kitaran soundilliset antimet kattavat huomattavasti laajemman kirjon musiikkityylejä.

J. Leachim Guitars on joka tapauksessa yksi suomalainen tekijä lisää, jota tästedes kannattaa pitää silmällä.

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J. Leachim Guitars Jazzcaster

Hintaluokka 1.300 € (sis. kovan laukun)

Lisätiedot: J. Leachim Music

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Plussat:

+ työnjälki

+ viimeistely

+ soitettavuus

+ pehmeästi toimiva vibrato

+ soundi

Miinukset:

– kielten loiva kulma tallan yli (katso teksti)

– tone-säätimen ”jyrkkyys”