Posts tagged ‘Boss’

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.

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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

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25/01/2018

Testipenkissä: Tokai TJM-140

Tällä kertaa Kitarablogi sai hieman erikoisemman herkkupalan testattavaksi – Fender Jazzmasteriin perustuva Tokai TJM-140.

Kun alkuperäinen Jazzmaster ilmestyi vuonna 1958, Fenderillä oli tähtäimessä Jazz- ja Lounge-musiikin soittajat, joiden mielestä firman aikaisemmat mallit soivat aivan liian terävästi ja kantrimaisesti. Jazzmaster oli myös ensimmäinen Fenkku, jolla oli ruusupuusta veistetty otelauta (jotain, jota firman myyntitiimi oli jo pidemmän aikaa toivonut ulkonäöllisistä syistä).

Valitettavasti uuden huippumallin vastaanotto oli suhteellisen vaisu. Monille Jazz-kitaristeille myös Fenderin uutuusmalli näytti kielillä varustetulta leipälaudalta, ja alkuinnostuksen jälkeen monet sen aikakauden soittajista pitivät kitaran elektroniikkaa turhan monimutkaisena, mikä oli sääli.

Viime vuosina Jazzmaster-tyyliset offset-runkoiset kitarat elävät uutta nousukautta, minkä ansiosta myös Tokai on päättänyt julkaista oman versionsa kitarasta.

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Tokai TJM-140 Silver Star (testattu versio 1.495 €; perusversio 1.445 €) on hyvin laadukas japanilainen tulkinta Jazzmaster-teemasta, joka pysyy kaikissa pääasioissa uskollisena alkuperäiseen klassikkoon, muutamalla hyvin perustellulla nykyaikaisella parannuksella. Testiyksilöä on lisäksi kustomoitu testiä varten erittäin laadukkailla Seymour Duncan Antiquity -mikrofoneilla.

Tokai TJM-140:ssä elää vahvasti varhaisen 1960-luvun henki – tässä mallissa on alkuperäinen pieni viritinlapa, sekä ruusupuinen otelauta ilman reunalistoitusta ja pienillä pyöreillä otemerkeillä.

Olympic white -tyylisen viimeistelyn alta löytyy kurvikas leppärunko, kun taas mattaviimeistelty kaula on veistetty vaahterasta.

TJM-140:n kaularautaan pääsee kätevästi käsiksi lavan puolelta, mikä on erittäin tervetullut parannus.

Tokain laadukkaat Kluson-kopiot tulevat Gotohin valikoimasta.

Otelautaan on siististi asennettu 22 medium-kokoista nauhaa.

Leo Fender kehitti Jazzmasteria varten uuden vibratojärjestelmän. Jazzmaster-vibrassa (jota käytettiin myöhemmin myös Jaguarissa) on edestä runkoon upotettu veitsenterä-laakeroitu kieltenpidin, sekä erillinen talla, joka keinuu runkoon upotetuissa metalliholkissa hieman edestakaisin, silloin kun vibratoa käytetään. Tokai Silver Starissa käytetään järjestelmästä tarkkaa japanilaista jäljitelmää.

Jazzmaster-mikrofoneja voi hyvällä omatunnolla pitää Fenderin versiona Gibson P-90 -mikrofonista. Molemmissa mikkimalleissa on hyvin leveät, mutta suhteellisen matalat kelat. Mikrofonien magneettikenttien rakenteet kuitenkin poikkeavat toisistaan: Gibson käyttää P-90:ssä kahta pitkää ja matalaa harkkomaista magneettia kelan alla, kun taas Jazzmaster-mikissä on kuusi lyhyttä, kelan läpi menevää tankomagneettia.

Seymour Duncan Antiquity -setissä tallamikrofoni on kaulamikrofoniin nähden käämitty vastasuuntaan ja sen magneetit ovat ylösalaisin (reverse wound/reverse polarity), minkä ansiosta mikeistä muodostuu yhteiskäytössä humbucker.

Elektroniikan erikoisuus on Jazzmaster-kitaroihin lisätty erillinen ns. “komppi-piiri”. Kaulamikrofonin yllä olevalla liukukytkimellä voi kytkeä TJM-140-mallin ns. soolotilasta komppitilaan, jossa ainoastaan kaulamikki on päällä, ja sen signaali menee tällöin kytkimen viereen pleksiin upotettuihin volume- ja tone-säätimien läpi.

Soolotilassa taas kitaran soundia säädetään sen sijaan soittimen perinteisellä kolmiasentoisella kytkimellä, sekä master-volumella ja -tonella.

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Minun mielestäni jokaisen kitaristin pitäisi ainakin kerran elämässään kokeilla Jazzmaster- tai Jaguar-tyylistä kitaraa, niiden mukavan offset-rungon takia. Joidenkin mielestä näiden mallien epäsymmetrinen vyötärö ja pyöristetty olemus tuntuu jopa Stratoa mukavammalta.

Tokain TJM-140 on malliesimerkki mukavasta Jazzmaster-tyylisestä kitarasta. Testikitara on suhteellisen kevyt, kaulan ovaali C-profiili istuu todella hyvin käteen, ja kitara saapui testiin esimerkillisillä säädöillä.

Jazzmaster-vibrato tulee kuitenkin jatkossakin jakamaan käyttäjien mielipiteitä. Paikkaan työnnettävä vibrakampi ei ole aina niin toimintavarma kuin ruuvattava Strato-kamppi, ja se repsottaa myös melko löysästi mekanismissa. Jos taas on tottunut käyttämään nykyaikaisia 009- tai 010-kielisatseja vibrajärjestelmän loivasta kielikulmasta tallassa voi koitua ongelmia. Raskas plektrakäsi ja/tai isot bendaukset voivat johtua suhteellisen ohuilla kielillä siihen, että yksi kuin toinenkin kieli voi hyppiä välillä pois tallapalan urasta, mikä vaikuttaa sitten suoraan kitaran vireeseen ja soittotuntumaan.

Tokai TJM-140 Silver Staria ei oikein voi kritisoida vibraton toiminnasta, sillä kitaran tarkoitushan on olla tarkka kopio alkuperäisestä klassikosta. On kuitenkin tärkeää, että tietää näistä mahdollisista ongelmakohdista ja niiden ratkaisemisesta.

Helpoin tapa ratkaista Jazzmaster-vibran ongelmat on käyttää 1950-luvun kielikokoja – siis: 011- tai 012-satseja punotuilla g-kielillä. Jos tällainen tuntuu liian karulta voi vibramekanismin eteen helposti lisätä (ruuvaamalla) Whizzo Buzz Stop -nimisen Bigsbyn-kaltaisen rullan, joka lisää kielten alasvetoa, mikä pitää kitaran kielet paremmin talapalojen urissa. Jos lisärulla ei miellytä jostain syystä, voi myös korvata alkuperäisen järjestelmän Mastery-vibratolla ja -tallalla, jotka on suunniteltu nykyaikaisia kielisatseja varten.

Myös soundiltaan Tokai TJM-140 on erinomainen lajinsa edustaja. Antiquity-mikeillä kitara soi heleästi, mutta paljon lämpimämmin kuin esim. Strato-tyylinen kitara. Komppi-piiri leikkaa tahallaan kaulamikrofonin signaalista hieman diskanttia, mutta ilman että soundi muuttuisi mutaiseksi.

Tältä kuulostaa Tokai TJM-140 Bluetone Shadows Jr. -kombon ja Boss SD-1 -särön kautta soitettuna:

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Tokain TJM-140 on hyvin laadukas japanilainen versio Fender Jazzmasterista. Tokain soittotuntuma on erinomainen ja sen soundi ei todellakaan jätä toivomisen varaa. Alkuperäinen Jazzmaster-/Jaguar-vibra tulee varmaan jatkossakin jakamaan kitaristien mielipiteitä, vaikka Tokai-kitarassa on käytössä laadukas versio alkuperäisestä. Vibraton pehmeässä soundissa ei kuitenkaan ole mitään vikaa. Suosittelen koeajelua!

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Tokai Guitars TJM-140

Hinta Antiquity-mikeillä 1.495 €

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

Plussat:

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

+ omintakeinen vibrato

Miinukset:

– omintakeinen vibratoSave

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23/01/2018

Tokai TJM-140 – The Kitarablogi video

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

19/01/2018

Guitar Porn: Tokai TJM-140

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

10/01/2018

Tokai TJM-140 +++ Testi tulossa +++ Working on a review

Tokai TJM-140

Japanese copy of a Fender Jazzmaster. The test guitar came upgraded with a set of Duncan Antiquities.

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All guitar tracks recorded with a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo, a Boss SD-1 Overdrive pedal, and a Shure SM57 microphone.

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

25/01/2017

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

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

Contact: Musamaailma

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12/01/2017

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

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

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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

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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

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10/05/2016

Review: Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel logo

Bogner Amplification has recently added a new member to its Goldfinger-family of guitar amps. In addition to the two-channel Goldfinger 45, there’s now also a single-channel amplifier available, called the Goldfinger 54 Phi.

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full front

The basic idea behind the Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi combo (current price in Finland: 3.091 €) was to develop the most versatile single-channel valve amp possible.

The 54 Phi’s starting point was the Goldfinger 45’s clean Alpha-channel. The new model is concentrating mainly on clean tones, and it is meant as the ideal combo for guitarists who achieve most of their sounds with the help of effect pedals.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full back

In its combo version – the 54 Phi is also available as an amp head – weighs in at about 26 kilos.

The cabinet is made from pine ply and it sports an open back construction.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – Celestion G12

Bogner’s new tube combo comes equipped with a Celestion G12M-65 Creamback speaker, which combines a modern power rating with a classic, Greenback-type tonality.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – footswitch

A four-button footswitch unit is sold with the GF 54 Phi, and it gives us some hints regarding the combo’s versatility and features.

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel

Bogner’s Goldfinger Phi offers a lot of scope for adjustment, so that every guitarist can dial in the sound he or she wants. Due to its versatility the 54 Phi needs you to get familiar with all its features, before plugging your guitar in and wailing away.

Actually, you should start your sonic journey with this Bogner’s back panel! The GF 54 Phi comes with a slightly unusual split power amp that employs two pairs of power amp valves – a pair of 6V6s and a pair of 6L6s. Each pair can be switched on or off individually, while the front panel’s Hi/Low-switch makes it possible to use only a single power amp tube from each pair, in effect halving the combo’s output power. By using the Hi/Low-switch and the power amp switches you can choose from six power modes. The lowest alternative lets the Goldfinger Phi run at approximately nine watts (6V6, Low), while the highest power mode (6L6+6V6, Hi) will give you the combo’s full 66 watts of output.

As were talking about a valve amp here, choosing between pairs (or single) power amp tubes doesn’t only have a bearing on the 54’s power rating, but it also affects the amp’s behaviour, especially when it comes to clean headroom and power amp compression (sag). You need to find the ”right” tube and Hi/Low-switch mix for your own, personal tone.

The Gain knob is used to set the preamp gain, while Loudness is what Bogner calls their master volume controls. There are two signal boosts implemented in the Goldfinger Phi’s preamp, but their are placed at different points in the signal chain, which makes them work and sound differently. The adjustable Boost booster is placed in front of the Gain control, even making it possible to achieve some distortion, if necessary. Solo, in turn, is a fixed booster that sits right at the end of the preamp.

Bogner’s GF 54 Phi offers you two different EQ-configurations. You can choose from Bogner’s own, modern tone stack or switch to a vintage Baxandall EQ. Originally, the Baxandall circuit was designed for Hi-Fi equipment, but it found its way into some guitar amps from the 1950s and 60s. Due to the way a Bax EQ works, there’s a perceivable drop in volume when you switch over without readjusting the EQ controls.

The EQ-section is complemented by a separate Presence control, as well as two Expand-switches (one adding bottom end, the other treble).

It may come as a shock to some valve purists, but Reinhold Bogner has deliberately chosen a digital reverb unit for his 54 Phi. In his view this digital unit offers more depth of sound and lushness than the type of spring tray he’d be able to fit into the 54 Phi combo. The reverb type features a little bit of chorus-style modulation to liven things up even further.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – back panel

I’ve moaned about this before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not the biggest fan of Bogner’s downward-facing back panels. Unless you know the exact position of all connectors and switches by heart, you are forced to lie on your back to make sense of it all.

Be that as it may, the Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi’s back panel gives you a wide array of different options for getting the most from your combo.

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – teaser 2

I was only given a weekend to test Bogner’s new baby, which is why I didn’t have enough time to record more audio demos. I still managed to come up with two, stylistically rather different demo songs.

The first track was recorded with the 54 Phi combo running in in 9 watts power mode, which made it possible to achieve overdriven sounds without the aid of pedals, simply by running hot humbucking pickups into the Goldfinger. The lead guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Junior with the tone knob turned down halfway, while all backwards guitar tracks were played on a Gibson Melody Maker SG. I recorded the combo (in both demo songs) with a Shure SM57:

The second demo track was recorded with the Bogner running at full tilt (66 W), and with a Boss SD-1 overdrive and a Joyo JF-37 chorus pedal in front of the combo. All guitar parts are played on a Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid guitar with a neck humbucker and a Telecaster-type single coil in the bridge position:

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – front angle

Bogner’s Goldfinger 54 Phi is a prime example of the versatility and quality of sound a well-designed, single-channel valve amp can offer.

This is a combo for the sound aesthete, who wants to build a strong foundation for his or her sound, regardless of whether this tone comes from just the fingers or a range of effect pedals.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – logo

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54

3.091 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ versatile preamp

+ switchable power amp configuration

+ sound

29/04/2016

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – the Kitarablogi-video

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – body beauty 1

Contact: Flaxwood