Posts tagged ‘Blackstar’

10/03/2017

Review: Fender American Professional Series Telecaster & Stratocaster

It’s practically impossible to overstate the significance of Fender’s brand-new American Professional series of guitars and basses:
This isn’t just another new series among many others – the American Professional instruments are replacing Fender’s longest-running, mega-selling American Standard model range.

In addition to several Tele, Strat, Precision and Jazz Bass models, the American Pro range also includes modern versions of the Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars.

Fender’s American Pro instruments feature a multitude of improvements and updates over the American Standard models, but without doubt the most important upgrade comes in the form of the series’ V-Mod single-coils.

The V-Mod pickups have been developed by Fender’s electronics specialist Tim Shaw. The basic idea was to provide pickups that are tuned specifically for the position they are used in on the guitar. Shaw even went as far as harmonising the tonal response between the wound and plain strings inside each pickup, in some cases even using different magnets inside one pickup.

****

Depending on the chosen finish, the Fender American Professional Telecaster (price in Finland approx. 1,700 €; incl. case) comes with either an alder or ash body (as on the two-tone sunburst model reviewed here).

You can also choose between a one-piece maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard option.

The American Professional Stratocaster (price in Finland approx. 1,700 €; incl. case) uses alder for the body, and you can choose between one-piece maple necks and rosewood fingerboards, too.

After having used synthetic materials for a long time, Fender have now switched to genuine bone nuts on all their American Pro instruments.

The two-way Biflex truss rods have been kept over from the American Standards.

All Am Pro guitars come with modern tuners with staggered-height posts.

The fretboard radius is kept at 9.5 inches, which gives you an excellent compromise between a vintage Fender-feel and modern playability.

There’s been an important change regarding the fret material, though:

American Professional guitars come with a new fret type that is almost as tall as jumbo wire, but narrower than the frets on the discontinued American Standard models. Again, this new fret profile is meant to give you the feel – and the percussive attack – of vintage fretwire, combined with the bend-friendly height modern jumbo-sizes offer.

The Am Pro Telecaster’s bridge is a brand-new design, which is reminiscent of vintage-type Tele bridges, but includes a few contemporary improvements.

Tele anoraks will be pleased to see Fender reverting back to a three-saddle design using brass saddles. The new saddles sport machined slopes for better intonation adjustment.

For the most part, the sides of the bridge’s base late are lower than on a vintage-style Tele bridge to make fingerpicking easier. The rear-facing end is higher, though, and Fender even includes a short and snazzy bridge cover (not shown).

Why fix something that’s not broken?

The Am Pro Strat vibrato is basically the same well-designed two-point bridge we all know from the recent American Standard series Strats, sporting vintage bent-steel saddles, and a modern bridge plate and vibrato block.

The vibrato arm is push-fit.

The American Professional models feature a traditional four-screws-plus-tilt neck joint.

The Am Pro Strat’s deep contours make the guitar especially comfortable to play.

The V-Mod pickups on the Telecaster both use Alnico V magnets for the bass strings and Alnico II for the treble strings.

The bridge pickup is reverse-wound/reverse-polarity to give you a hum-free middle (both pickups on) setting.

The V-Mod set for the SSS-Strat is even more involved than the Tele’s set-up:

The neck pickup uses Alnico II magnets for the wound strings and Alnico IIIs for the plain strings, for a tight bass and warm trebles. The middle pickup comes with Alnico IIs for the bass strings and Alnico Vs for the top, which helps retain the sparkle and clarity in switch positions two and four. The bridge pickup has Alnico V magnets for all six strings.

The tone control set-up has been modified to include the bridge pickup as well, by having the neck and middle pickups share the first tone control.

****

Fender has given the neck profiles an overhaul, too, and this has clearly paid off:

The new, more oval C-profile feels fantastic, much better than the sometimes slightly generic feel of older American Standard necks. The neck is chunky without being fat or unwieldy.

The workmanship, the fretwork and the general set-up were very good, but for some reason the intonation was off on our test sample. Nothing a digital tuner and a screwdriver can’t fix in a matter of minutes, though…

I look for a woody and throaty basic voice in my Teles, and the new American Pro Telecaster delivers. There’s enough twang in here for Country and early Rock ’n’ Roll, but the sound always stays satisfyingly fat and chunky.

Tweed-style clean:

Tweed-style crunch:

British-style distortion:

The new neck profile also does its magic when it comes to the Am Pro Strat. This is one guitar that’s hard to put down!

You can only admire Tim Shaw for his dedication and perseverance in developing the Strat’s V-Mod pickup set.

Every now and then I tend to veer towards the cynical, when dealing with marketing hype and pickup esoterics. I mean, come on, most traditionally constructed Strats (and S-type guitars) sound like a Strat – bright, sparkly single pickup selections and hollowed-out in-between settings.

Fender’s V-Mod single-coils do clearly make a difference in my opinion. Firstly, the string-to-string balance for each pickup on its own is outstanding, both in terms of level and timbre. Secondly, the in-between settings sound extremely good, too, despite the fact that the V-Mod set mixes three different Strat pickups.

This results in a Stratocaster model with five equally great-sounding pickup selections.

Tweed-style clean:

Tweed-style crunch:

British-style distortion:

The demo track has Telecaster rhythm tracks coming from the left side of the stereo field, and Stratocaster rhythm parts coming from the right. On the first pass the lead guitar part is played on the Tele, for the second pass the Strat takes over.

****

In my view, the American Professional Telecaster and Stratocaster are very worthy successors to their American Standard counterparts.

These guitars will doubtlessly set a new standard for high-volume production line electric guitars, just as their predecessors have done since the late 1980s.

****

Fender American Professional Telecaster & Stratocaster

Approximate price: 1,700 € each (includes hard case)

Contact: Fender

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

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ neck profile

+ playing feel

+ updated hardware

+ V-Mod pickups

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

24/02/2017

Testipenkissä: Gurus Amps Sinusoid

****

gurus-amps-sinusoid-2-blog

Italiasta on kovaa vauhtia muodostumassa eräänlainen Mekka meille kitaristeille, tai ainakin siltä vaikuttaa, kun tarkastelee saapasmaan alati kasvavaa ryhmää innovatiivisia vahvistin- ja efektipajoja.

Yksi todella kuuma nimi on Gurus Amps Faenzasta (noin puolessa välissä matkaa Bolognasta Riminiin). Gurus valmistaa sekä vahvistimia että efektipedaaleita – heidän analoginen, putkivahvistettu Echosex-viivepedaali on saavuttanut jo miltei legendastatuksen.

Gurus Ampsin Sinusoid (479 €) kuuluu samaan efektisarjaan, ja se on todella kiehtova yhdistelmä vanhaa ja uutta. Ison pokkarin kokoinen Sinusoid tarjoaa kaksi putkisoundilla höystettyä efektiä samoissa kuorissa– optisen tremolon, sekä aidon jousikaiun.

Sinusoid myydään ilman virtalähdettä. Pedaali toimii 9-12 voltin tasavirralla, ja virtajakin polariteetti on Boss-standardin mukainen. On kuitenkin tärkeää valita sen kanssa käytettäväksi astetta järeämpi virtalähde, sillä kyseinen Gurus-efekti on melko janoinen kaveri, joka tarvitsee toimiakseen 230-400 milliampeeria. Sinusoid toimi testin ajan ongelmattomasti Kitarablogin Cioks-pedaalilautavirtalähteen kanssa käytettynä.

Gurusin Sinusoid-pedaali on monofoninen tuplaefekti. Kitaran (tai kosketinsoittimen) voi liittää joko suoraan Sinusoidin tuloon, tai vaihtoehtoisesti pedaalin voi sijoittaa vahvistimen efektilenkkiin.

Remote control –jakin ansiosta Sinusoidin efektit voi kytkeä päälle ja pois ulkoisella kytkimellä, mikä mahdollistaa Sinusoidin sijoittamisen kauas muista efekteistä, mikä puolestaan voi auttaa häiriöäänten hillitsemisessä.

****

gurus-amps-sinusoid-1-blog

Guru Ampsin Sinusoid on todella helppokäyttöinen:

Kummallekin efektille on varattu oma jalkakytkin, kaksi säädintä sekä (vanhoista putkiradioista tuttu) vihreä Magic Eye -merkkivalo.

Tremolopuolella merkkivalo ilmaisee vatkauksen nopeuden. Jousikaiun Magic Eye -valo taas ilmaisee Accutronics-jousitankille ohjattavan signaalin volyymitason, jota säädetään Volume-säätimellä. Volumen ”väärinkäyttö” on mahdollista, ja sen myötä Sinusoidilla voi tuottaa hyvinkin rapeita ja säröisiä Surf- ja Rockabilly-kaikuja.

Sinusoid on saanut nimensä laitteen muhkeasta, siniaaltoon pohjautuvasta tremoloefektistä. Intensityllä säädetään efektin voimakkuutta, ja siinä riittää säätövaraa lähes huomaamattomasta aina rajuun vatkaukseen. Myös Speed-säädin tarjoaa laajan säätövaran tremolon nopeudelle.

Tämä klippi esittelee Gurus Sinusoidin tremoloefektiä eri säädöillä. Testikitarana toiminut Fender Stratocaster oli kytketty suoraan pedaaliin:

Ensimmäinen ajatukseni oli ”Hullut italialaiset!”, kun kuulin että Sinusoidin uumenin on asennettu aito jousikaiku. Kaikua testattuani täytyy kuitenkin myöntää, että pedaalin herkulliset kaikusoundit voittivat minut nopeasti puolelleen. Sinusoidin kaikusoundi ei ehkä ole ihan niin vivahteikas ja tiheä, kuin esimerkiksi Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb -kombossa. Mutta täytyy muistaa, että tässä on kyse huomattavasti pienemmästä jousitankista, ja siihen nähden Gurus Sinusoidin tarjoama jousikaiku kuulostaa jopa hämmästyttävän hienolta:

Tässä on vielä yksi esimerkki, jossa hyödynnetään molempia efektejä yhtä aikaa:

Mainitsin aiemmin, että Sinusoid-pedaali toimii, kitaran lisäksi, myös todella hyvin koskettimien/synan kanssa. Äänitin siksi demobiisissä kitararaitojen lisäksi myös kosketinosuudet Gurus-pedaalin kautta:

****
Gurus Sinusoid on vallan mainio laite, jos kaipaa omaan soundiinsa putkivahvistettuja, aitoja tremolo- ja jousikaiku-efektejä. Laite on helppokäyttöinen ja samalla myös suhteellisen kompakti.

Keikkaympäristössä täytyy kuitenkin tarkkaan miettiä Sinusoidin sijaintia pedaalilaudassa sähköisten tai mekaanisten häiriöäänten ehkäisemiseksi. Nimensä mukaisesti jousikaiku tuottaa efektinsä sähkömekaanisesti resonoivilla metallijousilla, minkä vuoksi kaikki kaikutankit ovat herkkiä tärinälle ja iskuille. Tavallisesti jousikaiku on sijoitettu turvallisesti kombovahvistimen pohjaan tai sille on jopa rakennettu oma kotelo. Gurusin Sinusoidin tapauksessa jousitankki on lattiaefektin uumenissa, ja laite kytketään päälle ja pois jalkakytkimellä. Jalkakytkimen ytimekäs käyttö ja/tai vahinkopotku laitteen kylkeen voi saada jouset rämisemään, mikä kuulostaa eriasteiselta ukkosen jyrinältä. Suosittelen siis solumuovikerroksen tms. asentamista pedaalin pohjan ja pedaalilaudan rungon väliin iskujen vaimentamiseksi.

Minun mielestäni Gurus Sinusoid -tuplapedaali on mainio valinta vintageen kallistuvalle soundiesteetikolle. Tiedän, että nykyään on tarjolla loistavia vintage-tremolon ja -kaiun mallinnuksiakin, mutta aitoja analogiefektejä arvostaville Sinusoid on juuri oikea valinta.

****
Gurus Amps Sinusoid

479

Maahantuoja: NordSound

Plussat:

+ kaksi aitoa analogiefektiä putkivahvistuksella

+ tukeva rakenne

+ kompakti koko

+ soundien laatu

+ toimii efektiloopperin kanssa

Miinukset:

– jousikaikujen yleinen herkkyys tärinälle

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

07/02/2017

Review: Gurus Amps Sinusoid

****

gurus-amps-sinusoid-2-blog

Italy is fast becoming one of the top countries for tone hounds, thanks to the ever-growing number of cool Italian guitar amp and effects companies.

One such company is Gurus Amps from the town of Faenza, about halfway between Bologna and Rimini. Gurus makes both amplifiers and effect pedals, with their valve-driven Echosex analogue echo pedal probably being their best-known product.

Gurus Amps’ Sinusoid (price in Finland: 479 €) is another cool design, which seems both anachronistic and up-to-date at the same time. The Sinusoid is a paperback-sized effect pedal, offering you two valve-driven analogue effects in a very compact format — optical tremolo and genuine spring reverb.

The Sinusoid is sold without a power supply unit. This double pedal’s power input can handle DC between nine and twelve volts, and its polarity follows the well-established Boss-standard. Be aware, though, that this Gurus effect is relatively power hungry, requiring anything from 230 mA to 400 mA, which means running the Sinusoid off a professional pedalboard PSU is strongly advised. The effects unit worked fine with Kitarablogi’s Cioks PSU.

The Gurus Sinusoid is equipped with mono in- and outputs – you can plug your guitar (or keyboard) directly into it, or run the effects pedal in an effects loop.

The Sinusoid is loop-switcher-ready, sporting a remote control input jack in the upper left corner.

****

gurus-amps-sinusoid-1-blog

Guru Amps’ Sinusoid is extremely easy to use:

Each of the two effects comes with its own footswitch, two control knobs, as well as a green ”Magic Eye” indicator.

On the optical tremolo side the indicator light gives you the speed of the tremolo effect. The spring reverb’s ”Magic Eye” tells you how hot you’re currently driving the reverb tank’s (manufactured by Accutronics, by the way) input stage (using the Volume control). It is possible to overdrive the reverb circuit, should you wish to achieve extreme Surf or Rockabilly effects.

The Sinusoid’s name has been taken from its very musical tremolo circuit, whose modulation uses a sinusoidal wave generator. The Intensity takes you from completely off to quite choppy, with an ample range provided by the Speed control, too.

This clip gives you an idea of the range of tremolo effects offered by the Gurus pedal, when plugging a Fender Stratocaster into its input:

My first thought at realising that the Sinusoid incorporates a genuine spring reverb was ”These Italians must be nuts!”, but I must confess that the pedal has quickly won me over with its classic tones. To my ears, the pedal’s spring reverb sounds a tad less dense, rich, and wet, when compared to something like a Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb. But when you remember that the Gurus Sinusoid is far smaller than a full-sized reverb tank, you will have to admit that the sound quality offered here is truly astounding:

Here’s a short clip of both effects running at the same time:

I already mentioned this before, but Gurus Amps’ Sinusoid also works very well, when used with a keyboard. This is why I’ve recorded the demo track’s keyboard and guitar parts using the effects pedal:

****
In and of itself the Gurus Sinusoid works wonders in delivering genuine vintage-sounding tremolo and reverb effects in a compact and easy-to-use format.

There is one thing worth considering, though, and that is the effect’s working environment. Due to the way a spring reverb creates its magic – namely by means of vibrating metal springs – all reverb tanks are susceptible to mechanical shocks, at least to some degree. Normally, a spring reverb tends to be safely tucked away at the bottom of an amplifier cabinet, but the Sinusoid is meant to be mounted on your pedalboard and switched on (and off) by foot. Depending on your stage volume and/or the vivacity of your showmanship, accidentally kicking the Sinusoid (or switching the reverb on very forcefully) will inevitably lead to audible spring reverb rattling (sounds like distant thunder). I’d recommend using some type of shock absorption when mounting the Sinusoid to your pedalboard, if you want to minimise reverb rattling.

In my view, Gurus’ Sinusoid is a great two-in-one pedal that scores high in the vintage tone and coolness stakes. Sure, you can get nice-sounding digital models of tremolo and spring reverb effects for less money, but the Sinusoid is the real McCoy!

****
Gurus Amps Sinusoid

479

Finnish distribution: NordSound

Pros:

+ two genuine valve-driven effects

+ sturdy built

+ compact format

+ sounds

+ remote switcher compatible

Cons:

– spring reverb susceptible to mechanical shocks

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

01/02/2017

Working on a review +++ Testi tulossa +++ Gurus Amps Sinusoid

Gurus Amps Sinusoid

• valve-driven genuine spring reverb
• valve-driven optical tremolo
• runs on 9–12 V DC (230–400 mA)
• handmade in Italy

****
Demo Track

• All keyboard and guitar tracks recorded using the Gurus Sinusoid.
• Organ and Electric Piano played on a Korg SP-200.
• Rhythm Guitar – Fender Stratocaster
• Lead Guitar – Gibson Melody Maker SG
• Amp used – Blackstar HT-1R

25/01/2017

Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates – The Kitarablogi-video

tokai-ls-100f-pearly-gates-beauty-shot-2-blog

Contact: Musamaailma

Save

18/01/2017

More Sounds: Tokai Love Rock LS-100F Pearly Gates + LS-200F-5A

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

12/01/2017

Jam Track: ZZ Top-style 80s Disco Blues in Gm (114 BPM)

tokai-ls-100f-pearly-gates-teaser

Save

Save

09/01/2017

Testi tulossa –– Review coming soon –– Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates

tokai-ls-100f-pearly-gates-teaser

Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates

• Handcrafted in Japan
• Les Paul Standard replica
• Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickup set
• Case included

****
Demo Track

• All guitar tracks recorded with the Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates
• Amps used: Blackstar HT-1R & Juketone True Blood
• Effects used: Boss SD-1, Joyo Analog Chorus, Morley M2 Wah/Volume

Contact/Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

Save

Save

Save

18/10/2016

Jam Track: 12/8-Ballad in F# (99 BPM)

05/10/2016

Kun Shuffle iskee! +++ Shuffling into Wednesday morning!