Posts tagged ‘classic model’

30/10/2017

Now on SoundCloud: Tokai TST-50 Modern

Demo track recorded using Electro-Harmonix’ Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi and Nano Big Muff Pi pedals going into a Blackstar HT-1R valve combo. Additional effects added in Garageband during mixdown.

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

18/10/2017

Testi tulossa +++ Working on a review +++ Tokai TST-50 Modern

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

12/01/2017

Tiedote: Fenderin uusi American Professional -sarja on nyt saatavilla

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Upouusi American Professional -sarja on vanhan American Standard -sarjan perusteellisesti päivitetty seuraaja.

Ratkaisevin kohta uudistuksiin löytyy kitaroiden ja bassojen mikrofoniosastolta:

Fenderin oma mikrofoniguru Tim Shaw on kehittellyt jokaista mallia varten oman V-Mod-mikrofonisetin. V-Mod-mikrofonien erikoisuus löytyy tarkkaan valikoiduista magneeteista – esimerkiksi American Pro Stratocasterissa on eri alnicovahvuuksia mikrofonista toiseen, sekä yksittäisen mikrofonin sisällä basso- ja diskanttikielille.

American Pro Telecasterissa on vintage-tyylinen talla, jossa on kuitenkin kolme esikompensoitua tallapalaa.

Tällä hetkellä mallistosta löytyy American Professional Stratocaster, HSS ja HH Stratocaster Shawbuckereilla, Telecaster, Telecaster Deluxe Shawbuckereilla, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, neli- ja viisikieliset Jazz-bassot (myös nelikielinen nauhaton), sekä neli- ja viisikieliset Presarit. Myös vasenkätisiä versioita on tarjolla.

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29/03/2016

Press Release: Fender The Edge Signature Stratocaster & Deluxe Amp

The Edge Strat is engineered for top-notch performance with versatile tone and effortless playing. Unique features include a pair of special Custom Shop Fat 50s single-coil pickups with flat pole pieces, a DiMarzio® FS-1™ bridge pickup, upgraded quartersawn maple neck with “C”-shaped profile and 9.5” maple fingerboard, modern two-point synchronized tremolo bridge with pop-in arm and fully adjustable saddles. The Edge’s signature is also included on the front of the large ‘70s-style headstock.

The elegant guitar combines the classic curves, appointments and effortless playability of the Stratocaster with modern enhancements and materials to create a dream instrument for players and U2 fans alike.

edge strat front

The Edge Deluxe signature model is an updated take on the classic ’57 tweed Deluxe used to craft the Edge’s sonic identity. This amp also produces the tone and articulation of the vintage Fender Deluxe amps that are an important part of the artist’s complex multi-amp effects setup.

This 12-watt hand-wired amp features modified circuitry for tighter low-end response and high-impact tone, a 12” Celestion® Blue speaker, custom-tapered volume control and altered component values that tighten up low-end frequency response. The Edge himself also hand-designed the special grille logo badge, which distinguishes the traditional tweed amp as a distinctive tool for guitarists everywhere.

edge amp angle

30/11/2015

Tulossa keskiviikkona – Sterling Silo3 & Vox AmPlug2 Classic Rock

Sterling by MM Silo3 – body beauty 1

Vox AmPlug2 Classic Rock – angle 1

Vox AmPlug2 Classic Rock – red boost

Sterling by MM Silo3 – beauty shot 2

Lisätiedot: DLX Musiikki

25/09/2015

Review: Tokai Classic Series

Tokai Classic TE – headstock

Tokai Guitars has built its reputation on very well-crafted and vintage-correct copies of classic models. The original Japanese Tokai instruments from the Seventies and Eighties gave most US manufacturers a good run for their money, and in some respects Tokai’s – ahem – ”versions” were even better than some of the originals from that era.

Tokai’s top-of-the-line instruments are still made in Japan. The company’s Chinese output, though, makes it possible to own a genuine Tokai guitar (or bass), even on a tighter budget.

The idea behind the brand-new Tokai Classic series is to offer very reasonably priced guitars and basses, which combine a classic look with a few modern tweaks for easier playability.

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Tokai Classic TE – full front

Tokai Classic TE – full back

Kitarablogi received these three Tokai Classics for review:

A Tokai Classic TE (current price in Finland: 249 €) in a 50s-style two-tone sunburst finish…

Tokai Classic ST – full front

Tokai Classic ST – full back

…a creamy white Tokai Classic ST (249 €)…

Tokai Classic JB – full front

Tokai Classic JB – full back

…as well as a Classic JB bass (299 €) in a fetching three-tone sunburst.

Tokai Classic ST – headstock

Tokai’s Classic series features bolt-on maple necks.

On the TE and ST models the face of the headstock sports a gloss finish.

Tokai Classic JB – headstock

The JB bass’ headstock front has received the same thin satin finish as the neck.

All Classic instruments offer easy access to the truss rod at the headstock, so you won’t have to take off the neck to make adjustments.

Tokai Classic TE – tuners

There’s a set of very decent Kluson-copies installed on the guitars.

Tokai Classic JB – tuners

The Classic JB comes with a set of Schaller-copies, which are less massive than vintage-style Klusons.

Tokai Classic guitars – fretboard

The Classic TE and ST come with a flatter-than-vintage fingerboard radius and chunkier frets, which makes the playing feel much more modern and bend-friendly.

Tokai Classic JB – fretboard

The same goes for the Tokai Classic bass.

Tokai Classic TE – back beauty 2

All Classic series bodies are made of basswood, a proven tonewood with a sound similar to alder.

Tokai Classic TE – neck plate

The black plastic cushion beneath the neck plate protects the finish.

Tokai Classic TE – bridge

There are different versions of the three-saddle Tele-style bridge in circulation:

The Classic TE goes for the late-Sixties variety sporting three saddles with pre-set grooves for the strings.

Tokai Classic TE – back ferrules

The TE came strung the regular way, though the body, with the strings’ ball-ends anchored in ferrules. This setup is favoured by most Tele players.

Tokai Classic TE – additional bridge holes

Tokai’s Classic TE nevertheless offers an additional interesting feature:

It’s possible to string this guitar through the back of the bridge, too. This was a rare feature on original Fender Telecasters in 1958/59 that noticeably alters the feel and sound of the guitar.

Tokai Classic ST – bridge

At first glance, the bridge on Tokai’s Classic ST looks like a dead-on copy of a vintage Strat vibrato.

Tokai Classic ST – vibrato block

The vibrato block, though, isn’t as chunky as on the original. It’s about the same size as the block on a Floyd Rose vibrato.

Vintage-anoraks will sniff disapprovingly at the sight of such a block, claiming that it’s bad for the tone of the guitar. Let me tell you that the review guitar’s acoustic ring and sustain were actually quite healthy. So much for preconceptions…

Tokai Classic JB – bridge

The Classic JB sports a nice copy of a 1970s Fender bass bridge.

Tokai Classic TE – pickups

Most self-appointed ”vintage-gurus” will tell you to steer clear at all times of ceramic Fender-style singlecoils.

Traditionally, a Fender-type singlecoil is constructed from six small, cylindrical magnets, which are tapped into vulcanised fibre plates. Around this magnet core a coil of thin copper wire is wound to complete the pickup. In traditional pickups the polepieces you see are actually the top ends of the alnico magnets.

Tokai Classic ST – pickups

Tokai’s Classic series uses ceramic pickups, which are made a little differently. The polepieces aren’t magnets, but rather soft steel rods, which are in physical contact to a ceramic bar magnet (or sometimes two magnets) stuck to the bottom of each pickup.

Tokai Classic JB – pickups 2

When ceramic pickups first appeared on budget guitars in the Nineties, their sound was admittedly often very spiky, brittle and sharp. This gave ceramic singlecoils a bad name, which wasn’t all that undeserved.

But that was then, and ceramic pickups have been improved drastically since. Despite this, there’s still quite a lot of prejudice against this type of guitar pickup.

In the case of these Tokai Classic instruments, I’d suggest you approach their pickups with an open heart and open ears – you might be in for a positive surprise!

Tokai Classic TE – control cavity

The Classic series features electronic parts of inexpensive, but very decent quality. All the switches and controls work fine, and without any hiccups.

As you can easily see from this picture, the workmanship is very clean in the Classic TE.

Tokai Classic JB – control cavity

The rout for the Classic JB’s component cavity wasn’t quite as clean on our review sample. Luckily, this has no bearing whatsoever on the functionality of this bass guitar.

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Tokai Classic TE – body beauty 1

Tokai’s Classic TE is a very nice, well-playing Tele-style electric guitar.

Quite often, you will find uninspiring, flat and generic neck profiles on instruments in this price bracket.

The Classic TE is quite an exception, as it sports a comfortable, well-rounded and chunky neck, that still manages to stay on the right side of ”fat”. The fretwork is really great on our review sample. Combined with the bigger frets and flatter fretboard radius, this results in a slinky and bend-friendly playing feel.

Tokai’s Classic TE is no slouch in the sound department, either:

The neck pickup is warm and round, but never sounds boring or one-dimensional. The middle position of the switch will give you a cool, funky rhythm tone. The bridge pickup on its own offers enough twang for Country playing, and enough whack for the Classic Rock crowd.

Tokai Classic TE – body beauty 2

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Tokai Classic ST – body beauty 1

I’d never have thought an electric guitar costing only 249 € could be as utterly inspiring as this Tokai Classic ST!

The neck feels great with its oval C-profile. The fretwork and setup make this a real player’s guitar. The vibrato works well in a vintage-style way, and the ST’s acoustic tone is woody and dynamic.

The ceramic pickups on the Tokai Classic ST are a bit hotter than the alnicos on my 50s-style Fender Stratocaster reissue. They also have a bit more sizzle and bite, but in a good way, making this more of a ”Jimi Hendrix” than a ”Buddy Holly” guitar.

Tokai Classic ST – body beauty 2

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Tokai Classic JB – body beauty 1

Tokai’s Classic JB truly offers a lot of bass in a very pocket-friendly package.

The Classic JB will give you all the features you’d look for in a Jazz Bass-type instrument:

There’s the slender, distinctly tapered neck profile, the comfortable balance, and the wide variety (for a passive bass) of different sounds.

Tokai Classic JB – body beauty 2

This last clip lets you listen to the video’s bass and guitar tracks in isolation. During the first half all guitar tracks are played on the Classic TE, in the second half the Classic ST takes over:

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Tokai Classic TE – beauty shot 1

Tokai Classic ST – beauty shot 1

Tokai Classic JB – beauty shot 1

Tokai’s Classic Series may well prove to set a new standard for vintage-style instruments in this price range. The three reviewed guitars were well-made, well-playing instruments, and their sound was inspiring.

While the Classic series is aimed mainly at beginners, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the instruments crept up on pub or club stages!

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Tokai Classic Series

Tokai Classic TE – 249 €

Tokai Classic ST – 249 €

Tokai Classic JB – 299 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

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Pros:

+ value-for-money

+ playability

+ workmanship

+ sound

Tokai Classic ST – beauty shot 2

22/09/2015

Testipenkissä: Tokai Classic Series

Tokai Classic TE – headstock

Tokai Guitarsin maine perustuu firman erittäin laadukkaisiin ja tarkkoihin kopiosoittimiin. Japanilaisen Tokain ”versiot” klassikkosoittimista olivat 1970- ja 80-luvulla monessa suhteessa jopa parempia kuin saman aikakauden kitarat USA:sta.

Tokain parhaimpia sarjoja valmistetaan yhä Japanissa, pitkälti käsityönä. Firman kiinalaiset sarjat tarjoavat kuitenkin oivan mahdollisuuden omistaa aidon Tokai-kitaran tai -basson myös pienemmällä budjetilla.

Upouuden Tokai Classic -sarjan idea on tarjota edullisia soittimia, joissa vintage ulkonäköön on yhdistetty nykyaikainen soitettavuus.

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Tokai Classic TE – full front

Tokai Classic TE – full back

Kitarablogi sai kolme Tokai Classic -sarjalaista testiin:

Tokai Classic TE:n (249 €) Two Tone Sunburst -viimeistelyllä…

Tokai Classic ST – full front

Tokai Classic ST – full back

…kermanvalkoisen Tokai Classic ST:n (249 €)…

Tokai Classic JB – full front

Tokai Classic JB – full back

…sekä Classic JB -basson (299 €) kolmivärisellä sunburst-värityksellä.

Tokai Classic ST – headstock

Tokai Classic -sarjan kaulat veistetään vaahterasta.

TE- ja ST-mallissa viritinlavan etupuoli on viimeistelty kiiltävällä lakalla.

Tokai Classic JB – headstock

Bassomallissa koko kaulassa on ohut mattaviimeistely.

Kaularaudan säätäminen tapahtuu Classic-soittimissa lavan puolelta, ilman kaulan irrottamisen tarvetta.

Tokai Classic TE – tuners

Kitaroissa käytetään hyviltä tuntuvia Kluson-kopioita.

Tokai Classic JB – tuners

Classic JB:n lapaan on asennettu pienempiä Schaller-tyylisiä vintage virittimiä.

Tokai Classic guitars – fretboard

Classic TE:n ja ST:n otelautojen vintagea loivempi radius, sekä kitaroiden nykyaikaiset medium jumbo -nauhat, tekevät soittotuntumasta hyvin mukavan, etenkin kielten venytyksissä.

Tokai Classic JB – fretboard

Myös Tokai Classic -bassossa on sopivasti nykyaikainen soittotuntuma.

Tokai Classic TE – back beauty 2

Classic-sarjojen kokopuiset rungot valmistetaan lehmuksesta.

Tokai Classic TE – neck plate

Kaulalevyn alta löytyvä musta muovityyni suojaa soittimen viimeistelyä.

Tokai Classic TE – bridge

Tele-tyylisestä tallasta löytyy erilaisia versioita:

Classic TE:n tallassa on kolme tallapalaa, joissa on valmiiksi kieliuria.

Tokai Classic TE – back ferrules

TE:n kielet voi pujottaa rungon läpi, mikä on juuri se tapa, jota Tele-soittajat tavallisesti suosivat.

Tokai Classic TE – additional bridge holes

Tokai Classic TE:ssä on kuitenkin myös mahdollisuus kiinnittää kielet tallan takaseinään.

Se oli harvinainen ominaisuus vuoden 1958/59 Fender Teleissä, ja tämä kiinnitystapa muuttaa tuntuvasti kitaran soundia ja tatsia.

Tokai Classic ST – bridge

Tokai Classic ST:n talla näyttää edestä täydelliseltä vintage-vibran kopiolta.

Tokai Classic ST – vibrato block

Tallan metalliblokki on kuitenkin jonkin verran ohuempi kuin alkuperäisessä – se on hyvin samankaltainen kuin Floyd Rose -vibran blokki.

Vintage-hipsterit aloittaisivat blokin takia heti valittelun sen tuomasta ”huonosta” soundista, mutta ainakin testisoitimessa akustinen soundi ja kitaran sustain olivat hyvinkin kohdillaan.

Tokai Classic JB – bridge

Classic JB:n talla on hyvä kopio 1970-luvun Fender-tallasta.

Tokai Classic TE – pickups

Monet ”vintage-gurut” eivät koskaan koskisi sellaiseen Fender-tyyliseen soittimeen, jonka mikrofoneissa on alkuperäisestä poikkeava rakenne:

Perinteinen tapa rakentaa Fender-tyylinen mikrofoni on kiinnittää lieriömäisiä magneettipätkiä kahteen kuitulevyyn. Magneettirivin ympärille käämitään sitten mikin kela. Näissä perinteisissä mikrofoneissa näkyvät navat ovat mikrofonin magneetit.

Tokai Classic ST – pickups

Tokai Classic -sarjan soittimissa käytetään hieman edullisempia mikrofoneja, joissa on teräksisiä napapaloja, sekä mikkirungon alle liimattu keraaminen tankomagneetti (tai kaksi).

Tokai Classic JB – pickups 2

Kun nämä keraamiset mikrofonit ilmestyivät 1990-luvulla edullisissa soittimissa, niiden soundi oli eittämättä hirveän piikikäs ja korvia raastava. Mikkityyppi sai tästä (osittain oikeutetusti) huonon maineen.

Alkuajoista kehitys on kuitenkin mennyt hurjaa vauhtia eteenpäin, ja nykyisten edullisten keraamisten mikrofonien laatua on parannettu hyvin tuntuvasti.

Ainakin Tokai Classic -soittimien tapauksissa kannattaa lähestyä niiden mikrofoneja ennakkoluulottomasti.

Tokai Classic TE – control cavity

Classic-sarjan elektroniikka on laadultaan mukavasti asiallinen – kaikki säätimet ja kytkimet toimivat moitteettomasti.

Tokai Classic JB – control cavity

Testibasson elektroniikkakolossa työnjälki ei ollut ihan niin siisti kuin testikitaroissa. Tämä ei kuitenkaan vaikuta millään lailla soittimen toimivuuteen.

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Tokai Classic TE – body beauty 1

Tokai Classic TE on erittäin mukavan tuntuinen Tele-tyylinen sähkökitara.

Tämän hintaluokan soittimissa törmää melko usein sellaisiin kaulaprofiileihin, jotka tuntuvat kulmikkailta tai liian ohuilta.

Classic TE on tässä ilahduttava poikkeus, kitaran mukavan pyöreän ja lihaksikkaan kaulan ansiosta, joka ei kuitenkaan ole liian paksu. Myös TE:n nauhatyö on kiitettävällä tasolla.

Testisoittimen paino ja soitettavuus olivat siis kohdillaan, samoin kuin TE:n soundi:

Etumikrofoni on lämmin ja pyöreä, mutta kuitenkin eloisa, kytkimen keskiasennosta taas saadaan loistava Funk-soundi, ja tallamikrofonissa sekä Country-twäng että Rock-asenne ovat kohdallaan.

Tokai Classic TE – body beauty 2

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Tokai Classic ST – body beauty 1

Miten vain 249 euroa maksava sähkökitara voi ollakin niin inspiroiva kuin tämä Classic ST?

Kaula tuntuu erittäin mukavalta (C-profiili), soittotuntuma on kevyt ja vaivaton, vibratalla toimii hyvin (vintage-tyylisissä raameissa), ja akustisessa soinnissa on kiitettävästi dynamiikkaa ja ”puuta”.

Tokai Classic ST:n keraamisissa mikit ovat hieman kuumemmat kuin esimerkiksi vertailussa käytetyssä, vintage-tyylisessa Stratossa. Mikkien soundissa on myös hiukan enemmän preesensalueen purevuutta – soundi on siis enemmän ”Jimi Hendrix” kuin ”Buddy Holly”.

Tokai Classic ST – body beauty 2

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Tokai Classic JB – body beauty 1

Classic JB -bassokin tarjoaa paljon soundia hyvin kohtuuhintaisessa paketissa.

Tokai Classic JB tarjoaa kaikki ne ominaisuudet, joita vanha Jazz-basso fani soittimeltaan kaipaa:

Kaulaprofiili on mukavan solakka, soittimen balanssi on kohdallaan, ja basson tarjoama soundikirjo on passiivibassoksi laaja.

Tokai Classic JB – body beauty 2

Viimeisessä klipissä soi videon biisin kitara- ja bassoraidat ilman muuta taustaa (ensimmäinen puolisko: TE; toinen: ST):

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Tokai Classic TE – beauty shot 1

Tokai Classic ST – beauty shot 1

Tokai Classic JB – beauty shot 1

Tokai Classic -sarjasta voisi mielestäni helposti tulla uusi laatustandardi tämän hintaluokan soittimissa. Testisoittimissa laatu, soitettavuus ja soundi olivat enemmän kuin kohdillaan.

Vaikka Classic-soittimien kohderyhmä on selvästi aloittelijat, voi vanha kettukin saada paljon iloa näistä kitaroista ja bassoista!

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Tokai Classic Series

Tokai Classic TE – 249 €

Tokai Classic ST – 249 €

Tokai Classic JB – 299 €

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

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Plussat:

+ hinta-laatu-suhde

+ soitettavuus

+ työnjälki

+ soundi

Tokai Classic ST – beauty shot 2

22/01/2015

The Fender Telecaster – tone at the expense of intonation?

Why do we need intonation adjustment?

On string instruments, the fret spacing along the fretboard is calculated according to a mathematical formula. This formula is theoretical, though, and doesn’t take into account variables, such as string tension (tuning), string thickness (gauge) and string height (action). These variables make the actual pitch of a string, which is pressed down against a fret, deviate from the theoretically correct pitch. To compensate for this pitch offset, you need some sort of intonation adjustment that sets the correct intonation (or octave compensation) for each string.

Martin_D-42K_2006_brdt_opt

On acoustic guitars correct intonation is achieved by an angled bridge saddle, often carefully shaped to fine-tune the compensation further.

Jazz guitar bridge

Early electric guitars were basically modified archtop acoustics, which carried on using traditional rosewood (or ebony) archtop bridges with carved ”steps” presetting the intonation. Overall intonation adjustment was carried out by moving the whole bridge carefully closer to (or further away from) the neck.

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Fender 52 Reissue

The advent of the – much clearer-sounding – solidbody electric guitar necessitated a more precise approach to the problem of intonation adjustment.

52 Tele Bridge

Leo Fender’s novel Esquire/Broadcaster/Telecaster-bridge featured a mounting plate for the bridge pickup, as well as individual action adjustment for each string, and octave compensation in string pairs.

Fender_Custom_Shop_52_Telecaster_Nocaster_Blonde_R10539_1

Fender’s Telecaster bridge assembly plays a huge part in this model’s distinctive, twangy tone, laying the foundation for the model’s classic status.

close-up Fender bridge

brucke-und-ta

Over the course of the 1950s and 60s, Fender experimented with different saddles – smooth brass, smooth steel, threaded steel, and steel saddles with a single notch per string – but the basic, three-saddle formula stayed firmly in place. You got fantastic tone, but not perfectly spot-on intonation.

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70s Fender six-saddle

Twenty years after the original launch of Fender’s first solidbody electric, things had evolved.

In 1952 the original three-saddle bridge was less of a compromise, because the regular string sets of that time (012s or 013s) had a wound g-string. With a wound g-string the biggest step in intonation adjustment was between the b- and the g-string, and, as they were catered for by different saddles, a good, working compromise could be found.

By the late Sixties, ”slinky” string sets with plain g-strings had become the norm. This shifted the intonation step between the highest wound string and the lowest plain string onto a single, rigid bridge saddle (for the D- and g-string).

Fender retained the traditional three-saddle bridge on its standard Telecaster, but introduced six-saddle bridges on many of its new models in the Seventies. Pictured above is the six-saddle bridge from a (second version) Custom Telecaster (introduced in 1972).

Although this bridge finally offered perfect intonation, some players criticised this type of bridge for ”sounding” thinner (or brighter) than the original version. This might also have been due to changes in the precise specifications of the bridge pickup at that time, though.

Hipshot 6-saddle

Modern Fender 6-saddle

More recent six-saddle designs by makers like Hipshot, Gotoh or Fender are based on a thicker bridge plate. These are perfectly serviceable, modern designs, which offer precise intonation. Many Tele-anoraks still steer clear of these bridge types, however, because the more rigid bridge plate tends to tame the bridge pickup’s twang noticeably.

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Another approach to better intonation on a Telecaster is to keep the twang-enhancing three-saddle ashtray bridge in place, but modify the saddles.

Joe Barden angled

Pickup specialist Joe Barden came up with angled brass saddles in his design for the late Tele-master Danny Gatton.

Wilkinson

Graph Tech

Wilkinson’s and Graph Tech’s designs have two different, preset jump-off points per saddle – one for each string.

These three approaches (Barden, Wilkinson, and Graph Tech) work very well in providing good intonation, while keeping the Telecaster-tone intact, as long as you use string sets with a plain g-string.

pivoting brass saddles

Mastery stainless steel

If you want to retain your three-saddle twang, but want to have more freedom in choosing your string gauges, the best way to go are saddles with an angle adjustment. Good examples are Wilkinson’s replacement brass saddles (above), or this stainless steel Tele-bridge by Mastery.

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How come that the vintage-type Fender Telecaster, with all its intonation flaws, is still in production and still very successful? The answer is that people have always been creative in working out solutions to design shortcomings.

In the Telecaster’s case this means finding a way to ”sweeten” the guitar’s slightly flawed intonation.

Here are three (of a myriad of) possible approaches:

1.) The fifty percent approach

After you’ve put on a set of new strings, use your digital tuner to set the (12th fret) intonation correctly for both E-strings, as well as the g-string (I call them the most critical strings). Then tune your guitar by tuning the open E-strings and the g-string to pitch. The remaining three strings (A, D, and b) are then tuned, so that the pitch at the seventh fret is correct (giving you E, a, and f#).

The A-, D-, and b-strings will be a little off in their intonation going up (or down) from the seventh fret, but overall the pitch will be much sweeter, than if you had tuned these strings to their correct open string pitches. You can then fine-adjust your sweetening by ear, using first position chords as a reference.

2.) Tuner sweetening

After you’ve put on a set of new strings, use your digital tuner to set the (12th fret) intonation, so that each string pair is slightly off in an approximately even way. With the E- and A-pair this would mean that the E-string’s intonation comes out slightly sharp, while the A-string’s intonation is a tiny bit flat. The next pair would see the D-string a bit flat, while the (plain) g-string is a tad sharp. The last pair would have the b-string a bit sharpish, with the e-string a little flat. Then tune the guitar by tuning all strings, so the pitch is correct at the seventh fret.

Now all strings will be a little off in their intonation going up (or down) from the seventh fret, but overall the pitch will be much sweeter, than if you had tuned them to their correct open string pitches. You can then fine-adjust your sweetening by ear, using first position chords as a reference.

3.) Sweetening to the A

After you’ve put on a set of new strings, use your digital tuner to set the (12th fret) intonation, so that each string pair is slightly off in an approximately even way. With the E- and A-pair this would mean that the E-string’s intonation comes out slightly sharp, while the A-string’s intonation is a tiny bit flat. The next pair would see the D-string a bit flat, while the (plain) g-string is a tad sharp. The last pair would have the b-string a bit sharpish, with the e-string a little flat. Then tune your guitar by first tuning the open A-string to pitch. Next, tune all the other strings by ear, using the A-string as your reference:

• E-string at the fifth fret against open A

• D-string at the seventh fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

• g-string at the second fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

• b-string at the tenth fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

• e-string at the fifth fret against open A (or A-string 12th fret harmonic)

You can then fine-adjust your sweetening by ear, using first position chords as a reference.

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Remember, none of the above tuning tips is set in granite. Tuning and intonating a three-saddle Telecaster is a dark art, and most players have developed their own way of sweetening their guitar’s intonation. Let your ears be your guide!

Fender-American-Special-Telecaster-Olympic-White-Maple004

27/03/2014

Review: Vox Mark III + Mark V

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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Vox Mark -sarjan kitarat

Vox Mark III Teardrop – 355 €

Vox Mark V Phantom – 355 €

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic

Suuri kiitos DLX Musiikille testisoittimien lainaamisesta!

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Plussat (molemmat mallit):

+ ulkonäkö

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

+ topattu pussi kuuluu hintaan

Miinukset (molemmat mallit):

– eivät istu kovin luontevasti sylissä

Vox Mark III – Vox crest