Posts tagged ‘basswood’

14/11/2019

Review: Esteve Organic Eco-Series Jucar & Segura

****

The new Esteve Segura (left) and Jucar (right) models

Many of us guitarists are surprisingly old-fashioned, when it comes to the choices of timber used in our instruments. This is especially true for the oldest and most traditional of guitar instruments – the classical guitar. We tend to automatically associate South American mahogany and so-called ”Spanish” cedar necks, ebony fingerboards and bridges, spruce or cedar tops, and rosewood rims and backs with quality and traditional guitar-making.

Some of these legendary materials are becoming scarce, some even teetering on the brink of being seriously endangered. Even though the reasons for this are mostly not the fault of instrument makers, scarcity does raise material prices, and CITES inclusions make the exporting of and/or the travelling with such instruments a bureaucratic nightmare.

Luckily, an ever-increasing number of guitar manufacturers are reacting to these developments by introducing environmentally friendly alternatives using non-traditional wood species.

One very good example is the traditional Spanish guitar company Guitarras Esteve, whose brand-new Organic Eco-Series introduces three classical guitar models that are handcrafted using traditional methods in their Valencia workshop, but who feature innovative wood choices. The icing on the new series’ proverbial cake is Esteve’s new, environmentally friendly water-based open-pore finish.

That was more than reason enough for us at Kitarablogi.com to take two of the new Esteves for a spin. The Esteve Jucar (679 €) is a solid-top instrument, while the Esteve Segura (895 €) is an all-solid classical guitar.

Esteve Jucar

Esteve Segura

****

Fitting the ecological theme, Esteve has chosen to name its three Organic models after three scenic rivers that run through Spain’s south-eastern parts, near the Valencia region.

The Jucar has a solid top made from cedar, which is one of the traditional features of the instrument.

The back and sides are made from small-leaved lime (tilia cordata), which is a tree that grows abundantly in most parts of Europe. To give the Esteve Jucar a traditional look the lime plywood has been dyed a rich brown hue.

The neck has been crafted from an African mahogany substitute called okoume, which is found increasingly in many new acoustic string instruments.

The Esteve Segura is a very competitively-priced, all-solid classical guitar, which is also built with a cedar top.

The Segura’s back and sides are made from ovangkol, an African relative of rosewood. The neck has been carved from khaya, another proven alternative to genuine mahogany.

Photo courtesy of Guitarras Esteve.

As already mentioned in the introduction, the basic construction of the Organic Eco-Series follows Spanish guitar-making tradition, by making the neck joint the pivotal point of the whole building process.

The guitar’s neck isn’t glued into a neck block inside the glued body, almost at the end of the building process, like you see in many other acoustic guitars. Instead Esteve apply the Spanish Heel construction technique that glues the whole soundbox – top, back and rims – straight to the neck itself for superior vibrational transfer.

The most obvious sign that the Organic Series is using non-standard wood types is the look of the bridges and fingerboards. Instead of ebony or rosewood, both the Jucar and the Segura use wenge, a very hard and very lively looking African wood.

Esteve uses genuine bovine bone for the nuts and bridge saddles on both guitars.

While many entry-level nylon-string guitars these days sport stuck-on rosette decals, the soundholes on these mid-priced Esteves are adorned with genuine coloured wood inlays.

Here’s the rosette on the Jucar…

…and this is what the Segura’s rosette looks like.

Both models come factory-equipped with high-quality Savarez strings from France.

****

The Esteve Jucar and Segura both feature necks whose nut width has been toned down by a couple of millimetres. This might not seem much, but it makes the instruments noticeably easier to play. The neck profile, on the other hand, stays traditional, which means rather flat and slightly angular.

The amount of handwork going into the Organic guitars is noticeable in subtle individual differences in the feel of the necks, and in the set-up of the guitars.

Our review sample of the Esteve Jucar has a slightly flatter neck than the Segura. The neck also gains only a very little thickness going up towards the body.

The set-up is very comfortable (low E: 3.1 mm; high e: 2.7 mm), while offering a wide dynamic range without any fret buzz.

For some strange reason I prefer the lively look and brown hue of the Jucar’s lime body over the slight greenish tint of the all-solid ovangkol found on the Segura.

The Esteve Jucar has a clear and loud voice, and it offers a surprising amount of dynamic range for a classical guitar with plywood rims and back. There’s a slight, but very pleasant, low-mid bump that nicely fills out the Jucar’s bottom range.

****

The neck on our sample of the Esteve Segura starts out with a tad more thickness at the nut, compared to the Jucar. It also gains a slight bit of additional girth on its way towards the neck heel.

The Segura’s set-up is also excellent (low E: 3.7 mm; high e: 3.1 mm), making it possible to take full advantage of the instrument’s wide dynamic range without any annoying fret buzz.

I just love the way both of these Esteves seem to breathe. This is quite likely the combination of quality workmanship and the new ecologically sound, ultra-thin finish. These new Organic Eco-guitars seem to want to make music with you willingly, you never get a sense that you have to fight and conquer the guitar.

It is always very educational, when you get to compare very similarly built guitars. The solid-top Jucar is a great guitar, offering exceptional value for the money, but the all-solid Segura clearly takes things up one notch further.

The Esteve Segura displays a big and dynamic sound, with the added volume and expanded low end that only a well-made all-solid classical guitar can offer.

****

It is great to see such a traditional guitar maker as Esteve take on the challenge to come up with high-quality alternatives to long-established wood choices.

In my view the new Organic Eco-Series models feature the right combination of traditional Spanish luthiery, ecologically-sustainable wood choices and modern non-hazardous finishes.

The Esteve Jucar and Segura take eco-friendly guitar-making out of the realm of the boutique builder or custom shop, making such instruments affordable to a much wider clientele, without compromising their playability or sound one iota.

****

Esteve Organic Eco-Series Jucar & Segura

Ecologically sustainable classical guitars

Esteve Jucar, current price in Finland: 679 €

Esteve Segura, current price in Finland: 895 €

Finnish Distributor: Musiikki Silfverberg

A big thank you to Vantaan Musiikki for the kind loan of the review instruments!

Pros (both models):

+ concept

+ materials

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ soundSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

12/11/2019

Now on YouTube: Esteve Organic Eco-Series Jucar & Segura

11/11/2019

Esteve Organic Eco-Series Jucar & Segura ** Testi tulossa ** Working on a review

Esteve Organic Jucar

Esteve Organic Segura + Esteve Organic Jucar

Esteve Organic Segura

****

Finnish distributor: Musiikki Silfverberg

Save

27/02/2015

Review: Music Man John Petrucci Majesty

Music Man Majesty – teaser

Dream Theater’s guitar wizard John Petrucci has a long and very fruitful association with Music Man. Over the years, the company has released several signature models, both US-made and as part of their less-expensive Sterling brand.

Last year Ernie Ball/Music Man have released a new top-of-the-line John Petrucci signature instrument – the Music Man Majesty (Majesty was the original name of the Progressive Rock band that became Dream Theater).

****

Music Man Majesty – case

The first thing that will strike you about the new package is the sensationally low weight:

When I went to pick up the Music Man Majesty for this review (from DLX Music Helsinki), I had to open the case and check, because I suspected the guitar was missing. No, it really was in there…

Music Man Majesty – full front – video

Music Man’s Majesty (current price in Finland approx. 3,900 €) is a modern top-drawer signature model, which conveys the artist’s clear vision of what his dream guitar should be like. This isn’t simply a souped-up classic model – Petrucci and Music Man started with a clean slate.

Music Man’s new signature model is a Neck-Through design with a two-octave mahogany neck, and a very smooth neck joint at the 23rd fret.

Music Man Majesty – beauty shot 2

The Majesty’s body, too, is highly sculpted – you could call it streamlined – and it fits the player’s body perfectly.

The body wings, made from basswood, are capped by a maple top. The area on the top, which forms a sort of shield or crest, may look like graphite weave at first glance. In reality, this is a translucent area of the maple top, and what you see is a laser-etched graphic design resembling the look of carbon composite.

The review guitar’s finish is called Arctic Dream, which is a matte finish changing from violet to a dark green hue, depending on how the light hits the body.

Music Man Majesty – tuners

Music Man’s classic four-and-two headstock sports a set of locking Schaller M6-tuners.

Music Man Majesty – headstock

Below the compensated – and self-lubricating nut – you can see the metallic Dream Theater-logo inlay.

Music Man Majesty – fretboard

The quality of the fretwork on the Majesty is outstanding. We can find 24 jumbo-sized, stainless-steel frets installed into the ebony fingerboard.

The shield inlays are in fact tiny mirrors.

Music Man Majesty – vibrato bridge

The floating vibrato bridge is Music Man’s own, cool design, which features steel saddles equipped with Fishman piezo elements for acoustic-style tones.

Music Man Majesty – pickups

The Majesty’s magnetic side comprises a pair of DiMarzio Illuminator humbuckers (John Petrucci’s signature pickups), installed straight into the body wood.

Music Man Majesty – piezo switch

Music Man’s Majesty comes with a very dedicated, special switching system; the technically-minded among you can take a look at the schematics:

Music Man Majesty – schematics

The three-way switch in the top horn lets the player select between piezo-only, magnetic-only, and piezo-plus-magnetic settings.

Music Man Majesty – controls

Beneath the strings you will find a second three-position toggle switch, that works as a pickup selector for the DiMarzios.

The control next to it is the volume control for the humbuckers. It also contains a push-push switch for engaging the Majesty’s active signal boost.

The second knob is a passive tone control, whose push-push switch works in the pickup selector’s middle position. ”Down” gives you the full sonic attack of two humbuckers, while the ”up” position switches off the outer coils of both pickups for thinner, more Fender-style sounds.

The third switch (near the output jack) is the volume control for the piezo signal. This knob sports a momentary switch, which allows you to reconfigure the output from standard mono – both the piezo and magnetic signals are sent to the same amplifier – to ”stereo”, enabling you to use a Y-cable to send the piezo’s output to a dedicated acoustic amp (or to a mixing console).

Music Man Majesty – trim pots

By using a tiny screwdriver you can adjust the active signal booster for the humbuckers, as well as set the maximum volume of the piezo signal, and the Fishman two-band EQ.

Music Man Majesty – back beauty

The Majesty’s active electronics are powered by a 9 V block.

****

Music Man Majesty – body beauty

Some ”signature models” are only for posing. Others are simply souped-up, or slightly tweaked, versions of classic guitar models.

Music Man’s Majesty is one of the few instances, when a guitar hero had very clear and strong views regarding the look, the features, and the sounds of his dream guitar. Petrucci and Music Man set to work, and no compromises were accepted.

The Majesty is a fantastic instrument, and each guitar leaves the factory set up to Mr Petrucci’s exacting specifications. You get the exact guitar the master himself plays on stage and in the studio.

As already mentioned, this guitar is extremely light and comfortable, and balances perfectly on a guitar strap.

The neck profile is a relatively thin D. The satin-finished neck feels very fast and friendly, without being insubstantial.

Thanks to the jumbo frets and the flat fingerboard radius (17″) the Majesty is very bend-friendly. The action is low, but completely free of fret buzz (low-E: 1.7 mm/high-e: 1.6 mm).

The Majesty’s floating vibrato works very smoothly, and has excellent return-to-pitch.

The piezo system works great! It gives you a credible ”acoustic” tone in the context of a Rock or Metal band, and also comes in handy to ”freshen up” the Majesty’s magnetic signal (the clip has the following order:  piezo –> piezo + coil split –> coil split):

Here’s an example of the clean magnetic tones you can get from this Music Man. The powerful DiMarzio Illuminators are loaded with ceramic magnets (neck PU –> both (full) –> both (coil split) –> bridge PU):

The Majesty’s coil split and active boost give you three different degrees of distortion without even stepping on a single pedal. This clip has the coil split first, followed by the full middle position:

The active boost on this Petrucci-guitar is a great addition to any guitarist’s tool-pack, used here on the bridge pickup:

And, lastly, the audio track off the Youtube-video:

Music Man Majesty – body beauty 2

****

Music Man Majesty – beauty shot

The Music Man John Petrucci Majesty is a top-grade signature guitar with an extremely wide array of sounds. In addition to the high quality and exemplary workmanship on display, the best thing about this guitar is that the Majesty’s features, its playability and its versatile sound also make it a great choice for many other guitarists, too.

****

Music Man John Petrucci Majesty

approx. 3,900 € (hard case included)

Finnish distributor: EM Nordic

A big thank you to DLX Music Helsinki for providing the review guitar!

****

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ finish

+ non-locking vibrato bridge

+ playability

+ versatile electronics and switching

+ sound

26/02/2015

Testipenkissä: Music Man John Petrucci Majesty

Music Man Majesty – teaser

Progressiivisen Rockin mestarilla ja Dream Theater -bändin keulakuvana tunnetulla John Petruccilla on jo pitkään ollut hedelmällinen suhde Music Manin kanssa. Firmalla on ollut jo pitkään useampi nimikkomalli valikoimassaan, ja myös Sterling-alabrändiltä löytyy Petrucci-malleja.

Viime vuonna ilmestyi uusin, kaikilla herkuilla varustettu nimikkomalli – Music Man Majesty.

****

Music Man Majesty – case

Ensimmäinen asia jonka huomaa, on varmaan koko paketin yllättävän alhainen paino:

Kun hain Music Man Majestyn testiin (Helsingin DLX Musiikilta) piti ensin tarkistaa, onko laukussa edes kitara, koska laukku tuntui tyhjältä. Kyllä, siinä se kaunotar oli…

Music Man Majesty – full front – video

Music Man Majestyn (hintaluokka noin 3.900 €) tapauksessa kyseessä on todellakin huippumoderni nimikkomalli, jolla on selvästi ihan omat näkemyksensä siitä, millainen nykyaikaisen sähkökitaran pitäisi olla. Majestyn suunnittelu lähti liikkeelle lähes tyhjältä pöydältä.

Music Manin uutuusmallissa mahonkikaula jatkuu yhtenäisenä läpi koko rungon (ns. Through-Neck), mikä mahdollistaa erittäin sulavan kaulan ja rungon liitoksen 23. nauhan kohdalla.

Music Man Majesty – beauty shot 2

Myös Majestyn runko on veistetty erittäin sulavaksi, minkä ansiosta se myötäilee täydellisesti soittajan kehoa.

Runko on tehty kahdesta lehmussiivestä, joiden päälle on liimattu suhteellisen ohut vaahterakansi. Kilpeä (tai vaakunaa) muistuttava, tumma keskiosa näyttää ensisilmäykseltä hiilikuidulta, mutta todellisuudessa vaahteran pintaan on poltettu laserilla grafiittia muistuttava kuvio.

Testikitaran viimeistelyn nimi on Arctic Dream, ja sen väri vaihtelee katselukulmasta riippuen syvästä violetista tumman vihreään.

Music Man Majesty – tuners

Music Man -viritinlapaan on asennettu Schallerin laadukkaita lukkovirittimiä.

Music Man Majesty – headstock

Kompensoidun satulan ja ensimmäisen nauhan välillä näkyy Dream Theaterin logo.

Music Man Majesty – fretboard

Majestyn nauhatyö on ensiluokkaista. Eebenpuiseen otelautaan on asennettu 24 jumbonauhaa ruostumattomasta teräksestä.

Kaikki otemerkit uudessa Petrucci-mallissa ovat pieniä peilejä.

Music Man Majesty – vibrato bridge

Music Manin omassa kelluvassa vibratallassa on teräksisiä tallapaloja, joihin on upotettu Fishmanin piezoelementtejä.

Music Man Majesty – pickups

Majestyn magneettiset mikrofonit taas ovat kaksi DiMarzio Illuminator -humbuckeria – John Petruccin nimikkomalleja, siis – jotka on asennettu suoraan runkoon ilman kehyksiä.

Music Man Majesty – piezo switch

Music Man Majesty -mallin kytkentä on hyvin erikoinen, mikä näkyy myös firman kytkentäkaaviosta:

Music Man Majesty – schematics

Yläsarvessa on kolmiasentoinen kytkin, jolla valitaan käytetäänkö ainoastaan piezopuolta, magneettimikrofoneja vai molempia yhdessä.

Music Man Majesty – controls

Kielten alapuolelta löytyy perinteinen kolmiasentoinen mikkikytkin DiMarzio-humbuckereille.

Ensimmäinen säädin on humbuckerien volume. Tähän potikkaan on piilotettu myös push-push-nostokytkin, jolla voi ottaa käyttöön Majestyn aktiivisen signaaliboosterin.

Toinen säädin on passiivinen tone-nuppi. Tässäkin säätimessä on push-push-kytkin, jolla kytketään mikkien uloimmat kelat pois päältä, silloin kun mikkivalitsin on keskiasennossa. Näin saadaan Music Manilta myös ohuempia, Fender-tyylisiä soundeja.

Jakkilähdön lähellä oleva, kolmas säädin on piezo-puolen volume. Tässä säätimessä on painokytkin, jolla voi valita, käytetäänkö kitaran lähtöä monona – jolloin sekä piezo- että magneettiset mikrofonit menevät samaan vahvistimeen – tai stereona (Y-johdolla), jolloin piezosignaalin voi kytkeä akustiseen vahvistimeen tai suoraan mikseriin.

Music Man Majesty – trim pots

Elektroniikkalokeron kannen läpi voi säätää pikkuruuvarilla booster-toiminnon ja piezosignaalin tasoja, sekä Fishmanin kaksikaistaista EQ:ta piezopuolelle.

Music Man Majesty – back beauty

Majesty-malli saa tarvitseman virtansa yhdestä 9 voltin paristosta.

****

Music Man Majesty – body beauty

Joidenkin artistien ”nimikkomallit” ovat pelkästään mainoskuvia varten. Toiset nimikkomallit taas ovat kevyesti muunneltuja versioita jostain tietystä klassikkokitarasta.

Music Man Majesty sen sijaan on yksi niistä harvinaisista tapauksista, jossa kitarasankarilla oli erittäin selkeät näkemykset soittimen ulkonäön, ominaisuuksien, sekä soundien kannoilta, joita on sitten lähetty toteuttamaan ilman turhia kompromisseja.

Majesty on huippusoitin, ja jokainen yksilö lähtee Music Manin tehtaalta prikulleen samoilla säädöillä, joita John Petrucci itse käyttää.

Kuten jo mainittu, tämä kitara on ultrakevyt, ja se roikkuu hihnassa täydellisessä tasapainossa.

Satiinipintaisen kaulan profiili on suhteellisen ohut D. Se on siis melko nopealta ja mukavalta tuntuva tapaus, joka ei kuitenkaan ole vielä epämiellyttävän ohut.

Jumbo-kokoisten nauhojen ja loivan otelautaradiuksen (17 tuumaa) ansiosta kielten venytykset onnistuvat vaivattomasti.
Kieltenkorkeudetkin on säädetty melko matalaksi (matala E: 1,7 mm/korkea e: 1,6 mm), mutta kitara soi silti puhtaasti ja rämisemättä.

Majestyn kelluva vibra toimii mukavan sulavasti ja ilman vireongelmia.

Majestyn piezosignaali kuulostaa todella hyvältä. Se toimii hyvin akustisen kitaran sijaisena Rock-bändin kontekstissa, tai sitten magneettisen soinnin raikastajana (järjestys: piezo –> piezo + coil split –> coil split):

Tältä kuulostavat Music Manin puhtaat magneettiset soundit. Tehokkaissa DiMarzion Illuminator-humbuckereissa on keraamiset magneetit (järjestys: kaulamikki –> molemmat (täysillä) –> molemmat (coil split) –> tallamikrofoni):

Majesty-mallin humbucker-puolitus ja kitaran kytkettävä boosteri luovat pohjan kolmelle eri särösoundille, ja täysin ilman efektipedaaleja. Tässä soivat ensin puolitettu keskiasento ja sitten sama täysillä mikrofoneilla:

Petrucci-kitaran tehokas boosteri on oiva lisäys työkalupakkiin (käytössä tässä tallamikrofoni):

Ja viimeisenä vielä videon demobiisi:

Music Man Majesty – body beauty 2

****

Music Man Majesty – beauty shot

Music Man Majesty on erittäin laadukas ja todella monipuolinen nimikkosoitin. Laadukkaan toteutuksen lisäksi parasta tässä soittimessa kuitenkin on, että Majestyn kattavat ominaisuudet ja laaja sounditarjonta sopivat – John Petruccin ohella – varmasti myös monelle muulle kitaristille.

****

Music Man John Petrucci Majesty

Hintaluokka: noin 3.900 € (kova laukku kuuluu hintaan)

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic

Kiitos DLX Musiikille testisoittimen lainaamisesta!

****

Plussat:

+ työnjälki

+ viimeistely

+ vibratalla

+ soitettavuus

+ erittäin monipuolinen elektroniikka

+ soundi

25/02/2015

Music Man John Petrucci Majesty – The Kitarablogi-video

Testi tulossa huomenna…

The review will be out on Friday…

Music Man Majesty – pickups

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic

27/03/2014

Review: Vox Mark III + Mark V

****

Vox Mark III – headstock logo

Vox’ legendary Sixties guitars, the Mark III and the Mark V – aka the Vox Teardrop (Mark III) and the Vox Phantom (Mark V) – have made a comeback! These Brit Boom-guitars have claimed their place in history as the chosen axes of the Rolling Stones’ original lead guitarist Brian Jones (Mark III) and Tony Hicks (Mark V) of the Hollies.

But the best news is that these new versions come at quite affordable prices!

****

Vox Mark III – full front

The Vox Mark III (current price in Finland approx. 355 €) sports a symmetrical body, which calls to mind old lutes or the Greek bouzouki.

This reissue comes with a short 22-inch scale (610 mm), making it an ideal beginner’s instrument.

Vox Mark III – full back

The Teardrop is build from a basswood body and a bolt on maple neck. The fretboard is crafted from rosewood.

Vox Mark III – headstock

The new, smaller version of the legendary Vox-headstock cuts down on neck weight and thus improves the guitar’s balance.

Vox Mark III – tuners

The Mark III is equipped with a set of modern sealed tuning machines that sport off-white buttons.

Vox Mark III – vibrato

Both Voxes comes with a modern two-post vibrato bridge.

Vox Mark III – vibrato springs

Three springs are factory-installed, but you can find a fourth spring in the gig bag, should you desire a firmer feel.

Vintage-snobs probably will scoff at the narrow tremolo block used in this vibrato. There are claims that this type of block diminishes sustain, but on the other hand Floyd Rose systems also use narrow blocks and nobody’s complaining.

Vox Mark III – pickups

There are three singlecoil pickups mounted to the three-ply scratchplate, meaning we’re in for a nice, sprightly vintage tone in all likelihood.

Vox Mark III – controls

The traditional passive electronics comprise a five-way switch, as well as a master volume and a tone control.

****

Vox Mark V – full front

The basic ingredients for the angular Vox Mark V (current price in Finland approx. 355 €) are virtually the same as in the Mark III.

Vox Mark V – full back

There’s a rib cage contour in the Phantom’s basswood body, too.

Vox Mark V – headstock

Both Mark-models feature gloss-finished maple necks with truss rod access at the headstock.

Vox Mark V – vibrato

The vibrato bridge is surrounded the large pickguard of the Mark V.

Vox Mark V – frets

Both Voxes display very decent fretwork, which isn’t always a given in this affordable price bracket. The frets have been polished to a gleam and all ends have been rounded off carefully.

Vox Mark V – pickups

Vox Mark V Phantom is equipped with the same pickups…

Vox Mark V – controls

…and the same controls as the Mark III Teardrop.

Vox Mark III – gigbag

Both Vox Marks are sold with a nice gig bag!

****

Vox Mark III – beauty shot 2

The Vox Mark III is a very compact electric guitar, with our test sample also being nicely light in weight. Due to its very rounded body the Terdrop probably isn’t the most comfortable ”sofa guitar”, but on a strap everything feels hunky dory.

The whole vibe is quite reminiscent of, say a Fender Mustang, no doubt because of the Mark III’s short-scale, gloss-finished neck with its round D-profile. With the factory set of 010-gauge strings bending is very effortless. Our test sample’s very low – but buzz free – action (E: 1,6 mm/e: 1,3 mm) pays testament to Vox’ workmanship. Used in moderation the vibrato works decently, but don’t expect Floyd Rose-style return to pitch.

The Vox Mark III rings very nicely with a fresh and firm acoustic voice.

The clean tones of the Vox Teardrop works great in a Sixties-style poppy, jangly context or for funky workouts:

Add some overdrive for some nice, sinewy vintage Rock-sounds:

Vox Mark III – back beauty

****

Vox Mark V – beauty shot 2

The Vox Mark V doesn’t seem to want to fit in you lap – it takes a while to get comfortable, when playing sitting down. Our lightweight test samples’ strapped-on balance proved to be excellent, though.

In most respects the Phantom feels very similar to the Mark III, with its comfortable, vintage-style neck. Straight out of the gig bag our test sample’s intonation was a bit fruity on a couple of strings, but this was corrected in no time with the correct screwdriver. The action was set quite low (E: 1,6 mm/e: 1,1 mm) on the Mark V, too. And again, as with the Teardrop, the Phantom still rang nice and true without any rattling. Well done, Vox! Should you prefer a slightly firmer feel, I’d suggest moving up to a 011-gauge string set.

Both Voxes sound almost indentical – acoustically, as well as amped up.

This is the Mark V Phantom’s clean delivery, played through a small Marshall combo:

I really like the gritty and slightly rude Rock-sounds you can get from the Mark V:

Vox Mark V – back beauty

****

Vox Mark III – beauty shot 1

Due to their unconvetionally-shaped bodies, Vox’ Mark range always runs the slight risk of being regarded as mere ”poser guitars”, better suited to music videos that to actually making music.

This is far from the truth, though, because these new versions of the Mark III and Mark V really deliver nicely vintage-tinged sounds for the Pop, Beat, Blues, and Classic Rock genres. In view of their pocket-friendly prices, quality workmanship, quirky looks and great sounds, I can only applaud Vox for bringing back the classic Teardrop and Phantom models. Try one!

Vox Mark V – beauty shot 1

****

Vox Mark-series guitars

Vox Mark III Teardrop – 355 €

Vox Mark V Phantom – 355 €

Finnish distributor: EM Nordic

A big thank you goes to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the review guitars!

****

Pros (both models):

+ classic looks

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

+ gig bag included in price

Cons (both models):

– not the most natural ”sofa guitars”

Vox Mark III – Vox crest

27/02/2014

Testipenkissä: Vox Mark III + Mark V

****

Vox Mark III – headstock logo

Voxin 1960-luvun Mark III- ja Mark V -kitarat – jotka tunnetaan myös nimillä Teardrop (Mark III) ja Phantom (Mark V) – ovat jälleen saatavissa musiikkikaupoista. Brittiboomi-mallien tunnetuimmat käyttäjät olivat 1960-luvulla Rolling Stonesien Brian Jones (Mark III) ja Hollies-yhtiön Tony Hicks (Mark V).

Todella ilahduttavaa on, että uusi Vox-kaksikko on saatavilla erittäin maltillisella hinnalla.

****

Vox Mark III – full front

Vox Mark III (355 €) muistuttaa symmetrisellä rungollaan hieman kreikkalaista busukia.

Uusintapainos valmistetaan lyhyellä 22-tuuman (610 mm) mensuurilla, minkä ansiosta se sopii hyvin myös nuorten soittimeksi.

Vox Mark III – full back

Lehmusrunkoon ruuvattu kaula on veistetty vaahterasta, ja Teardropin otelauta on palisanteria.

Vox Mark III – headstock

Legendaarinen Vox-lavan uusi versio on hieman pienempi kuin alkuperäinen ja mielestäni paljon alkuperäistä kätevämpi.

Vox Mark III – tuners

Nykyaikaisissa suljetuissa virittimissä on valkoisia muovinuppeja.

Vox Mark III – vibrato

Vox Mark III on varustettu nykyaikaisella vibratallalla.

Vox Mark III – vibrato springs

Tehtaalta Mark III ja Mark V lähtevät kolmella jousella varustettuina, mutta topatussa pussissa on pakattu vielä yksi jousi mukaan.

Vintage-snobit eivät luultavasti tykkää tämän vibran ohuesta blokista, koska sanotaan, että sustainin kannalta massiivisempi on parempi. Toisaalta myös Floyd Rose -vibroissa käytetään vintagea ohuempaa blokkia.

Vox Mark III – pickups

Vox-mallin kolmesta yksikelaisista voi varmasti odottaa raikasta soundia kuuskytluvun hengessä.

Vox Mark III – controls

Elektroniikka koostuu yhdestä viisipykäläisestä kytkimestä, sekä master tone- ja master volume -säätimistä.

****

Vox Mark V – full front

Kulmikkaan Vox Mark V:n (355 €) perusresepti on periaatteessa sama kuin Mark kolmosessa.

Vox Mark V – full back

Myös Fantomin lehmusrunkoon on lisätty mukavuusviiste soittajan kylkiluita/vatsaa varten.

Vox Mark V – headstock

Mark-mallien kaulat ovat samanlaisia, aina kiiltävää viimeistelyä myöten.

Vox Mark V – vibrato

Mark V:ssa kolmikerroksinen pleksi ympäröi kitaran vibratallaa.

Vox Mark V – frets

Vox-soittimien nauhatyö on yllättävän laadukasta, kun katsoo Mark-mallien hintalappuja. Nauhat on kiillotettu ja niidet päät on pyöristetty huolellisesti.

Vox Mark V – pickups

Vox Mark V Phantom -kitarassa käytetään samoja mikrofoneja…

Vox Mark V – controls

…sekä samaa elektroniikkaa kuin Mark III Teardropissa.

Vox Mark III – gigbag

Topattu pussi kuuluu Mark-malleissa hintaan!

****

Vox Mark III – beauty shot 2

Vox Mark III on erittäin kompakti kitara, ja testissä käynyt yksilö mukavan kevyt. Rungon pyöreän muotoilun takia Teardrop ei ole ehkä maailman luontevin ”sohvakitara”, mutta hihnan varressa kitaraa on hyvin mukava kantaa.

Lyhyen skaalan ja kiiltäväksi lakatun, pyöreällä D-profiililla varustetun kaulan ansiosta tällä Voxilla on samantyyppiset vibat kuin esimerkiksi Fenderin Mustang-mallissa, ja tehdaskieliä (010-satsi) on erittäin helppoa venyttää. Vaikka kielet oli säädetty hyvin lähelle otelautaa (E: 1,6 mm/e: 1,3 mm), Mark III Teardrop soi puhtaasti ja rämisemättä. Vibratalla toimii maltillisesti käytettynä hyvin, mutta Floyd Rosen haastajaksi sitä ei tietenkään ole.

Vox Mark III:n akustinen ääni on hyvin Fender-mainen, mutta samalla kauniin lämmin.

Vox Teardrop -mallin puhdas soundi sopii vaikkapa rautalankaan tai funk-musiikkiin:

Säröpuolella homman nimi on Vintage Rock:

Vox Mark III – back beauty

****

Vox Mark V – beauty shot 2

Vox Mark V on sylissä hieman vastahakoinen tapaus, ja hyvän soittoasennon löytämiseen menee tovi. Kevyt testiyksilö roikkuu kuitenkin hihnassa todella hyvässä tasapainossa.

Phantomin soittotuntuma on erittäin lähellä Teardrop-mallia, nimittäin vintage-tyylinen ja mukava. Testiyksilössä intonaatio oli säädetty kahdelle kielelle hieman nuotin vierestä, mutta homma hoitui nopeasti ristiruuvarilla. Kitaran tatsi oli säädetty myös Vox Mark V:ssa hyvin kevyeksi (E: 1,6 mm/e: 1,1 mm). Jos haluaa soittotuntumasta vielä kiinteämmän, suosittelisin pykälän paksumman 011-satsin käyttämistä.

Molemmat Vox-kitarat kuulostavat miltei samalta, sekä akustisesti että vahvistimen kautta soitettuina.

Tällainen on Mark V Phantomin puhdas soundi pienen Marshall-kombon kautta soitettuna:

Mark V:n Rock-soundista löytyy mukavasti karkeutta ja asennetta:

Vox Mark V – back beauty

****

Vox Mark III – beauty shot 1

Vox Mark -mallien erikoisten runkomuotojen takia voisi helposti erehtyä lokeroimaan Teardrop- ja Phantom-kitarat pelkiksi ”musiikkivideo-kitaroiksi”.

Totuus on kuitenkin, että sekä Mark III että Mark V toimivat ilahduttavan hyvin Pop-, Beat-, Blues- ja Classic Rock -genreissä. Uudet Voxit tarjoavat roimasti vastinetta rahalle, koska niiden soitettavuus ja soundi ovat enemmän kuin kohdillaan. Suosittelen!

Vox Mark V – beauty shot 1

****

Vox Mark -sarjan kitarat

Vox Mark III Teardrop – 355 €

Vox Mark V Phantom – 355 €

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic

Suuri kiitos DLX Musiikille testisoittimien lainaamisesta!

****

Plussat (molemmat mallit):

+ ulkonäkö

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

+ topattu pussi kuuluu hintaan

Miinukset (molemmat mallit):

– eivät istu kovin luontevasti sylissä

Vox Mark III – Vox crest

24/02/2014

Tulossa – Vox Mark III & Mark V

Vox Mark series – teaser

****

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic

05/02/2014

”Pisara” ja ”Fantomi” tulivat takaisin – Vox Mark III ja Mark V

markiii_rd

markv_wh

1960-luvun legendaariset Vox III– (aka Teardrop) ja Mark V -mallit (aka Phantom) ovat tulleet takaisin, uusina edullisina versioina.

Kitaroissa on ruuvikaula vaahterasta palisanteriotelaudalla, sekä lehmusrunko. Molemmat mallit ovat lyhytskaalaisia (61 cm), ja niissä on kolme yksikelaista mikrofonia ja moderni Strato-tyylinen vibratalla.

Kitaroiden lisäksi Vox tarjoaa nyt myös lyhytskaalaisia Mark III ja Mark V -bassoja.

lg_markiii_bass_sf

lg_markv_bass_bk

****

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic