Review: Jericho Guitars Fusion

Usually, we get the products we review from the Finnish distributors, or directly from Finnish guitar- or amp-makers.

This time, though, I was approached by guitarist Jaakko Rytsölä. Jaakko had ordered a guitar for himself, liked what he got, and is now thinking seriously about importing this brand, in partnership with Espoo-based company Guitarworx.

Jericho Guitars – who are based in Plano, Texas – are a brand specialising exclusively in long-scale baritone electric guitars. Jericho use what they call a ping-pong manufacturing process: The raw tonewood is hand-selected at a wood supplier in British Columbia (Canada), and then sent to a manufacturer in South Korea for all the basic neck and body work. The half-finished guitars are then shipped back to Texas, where they are assembled and set up. According to Jericho, this process results in high-quality instruments with a player-friendly price tag.

Jericho have already caused quite a few waves with their Avenger model, which is squarely aimed at the Hard ’n’ Heavy crowd. Now the company has introduced a new model, called the Jericho Fusion. We received a preproduction version of the Jericho Fusion Black And Gold-version for review.

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Jericho Fusion – full front – smaller

The Jericho Fusion (price in Finland approximately 999 €) is a sleek and elegant baritone guitar, with a body outline that is based on the venerable Fender Telecaster.

The Fusion has a three-piece mahogany set neck, as well as a mahogany body with a contoured front.

The Fusion has a scale length of 26.9″, which means 68.3 cm in the metric system.

Jericho Fusion – back beauty

The body’s back features a generous rib cage chamfer.

Jericho Fusion – headstock

Jericho’s headstock design looks very nice, and offers almost straight string pull, which is a definite plus for tuning stability.

The Fusion comes with a self-lubricating black Graph Tech Tusq XL nut.

Jericho Fusion – tuners

A set of golden Grover Rotomatics keeps the tuning solid.

Jericho Fusion – fingerboard

The black ebony fretboard sports 22 medium-sized frets.

Jericho Fusion – bridge

The bridge is a chunky Hipshot design, constructed from a machined brass base and stainless steel bridge saddles.

Jericho Fusion – pickups

The Jericho Fusion comes equipped with a classic pair of Seymour Duncan humbuckers – a ’59-model in the neck position, and a Custom TB-5 at the bridge.

Jericho Fusion – controls

The guitar’s controls are configured in traditional Les Paul-style, giving you independent volume and tone controls for each pickup.

Jericho Fusion – control cavity NEW

A look under the hood reveals quality components and clean workmanship. Our preproduction review guitar has regular Les Paul-style wiring, but production models will come with push/pull-pots for splitting the humbuckers.

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Jericho Fusion – beauty shot 2

The Jericho Fusion is a great player. Actually – and this might come as a bit of a surprise – it is very easy for the guitarist to adjust to the longer-than-usual scale length. After a minute or two, you simply forget about the longer scale, and just get on with playing.

The guitar’s neck profile is a neither too slim, nor too fat, ”D”. Our review sample had a comfortable medium weight, and it came with a very low and slinky setup.

While Jericho’s Avenger was designed to be a balls-to-the-wall Metal-machine, the new Fusion model covers much more musical and tonal ground, thanks to its less powerful pickups. Don’t worry, the Jericho Fusion can do the head-banging stuff with aplomb, too, but this guitar also holds very lush clean tones in store, should you be so inclined.

Here’s a short clip of all three toggle switch settings (starting at the neck), played through a clean amplifier:

And here’s the audio track from the You Tube-video:

Jericho Fusion – body beauty

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Jericho Fusion – beauty shot – NEW

Jericho Guitars’ Fusion is a great-playing, versatile modern baritone electric. This guitar is well-made, no-nonsense tone machine for the player who wants to go low or even lower. Let’s hope that Jericho’s instruments will soon become more widely available in Finland.

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Jericho Guitars Fusion

Price in Finland: c. 999 €

Tiedustelut: Guitarworx

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Pros:

+ elegant design

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

Review: Tokai TTE-55

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Tokai TTE-55 – beauty shot

Tokai’s TTE-55 is the company’s newest made-in-Japan Tele-type guitar. The TTE-55 isn’t meant to be a dead-on copy of a Tele from a certain period, but rather something like a Tokai ”best-of-vintage-T” model.

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Tokai TTE-55 – full front

You can get the Tokai TTE-55 (current price in Finland: 848 €) with either a one-piece maple neck – as on our White Blonde review sample – or equipped with a rosewood ’board.

The finish of the hardware is dependent on the body’s colour – in our case here the Tokai sports gold coloured hardware, which embues this Tele with a good dose of Mary Kaye -style panache.

Tokai TTE-55 – full back

The 1950s-type neck is screwed to a Sixties-type, bound alder body.

Tokai TTE-55 – headstock

The fine Kluson-copies have one major advantage over more recent designs: The nifty safety posts prevent any sharp string ends from sticking out.

The neck’s silky-smooth satin finish is a much more modern feature, as are the 21 jumbo-sized frets. Top marks to Tokai for the quality of their fretwork!

Tokai TTE-55 – tuners

Timeless beauty – this is a sight I never tire of…

Tokai TTE-55 – bridge

Not all vintage Tele-bridges are the same – the originals went through several different incarnations between the Fifties and now, especially when it comes to the material chosen for the bridge saddles. Tokai’s TTE-55 sports brass saddles, which is the favourite choice for juicy tone among vintage-anoraks.

Tokai TTE-55 – pickups

You can’t get more classic than a Tele-type guitar’s pickup combination: The neck pickup is a narrow unit with its own shielding metal cover, while the chunkier bridge pickup hangs suspended from the bridge plate.

Tokai TTE-55 – controls

In 1967 the Tele’s switching was changed to the now-classic format of a three-way blade switch for neck/both/bridge-selection, coupled with a master volume and a master tone control.

Tokai TTE-55 – switch and pots

There’s plenty of quality on offer on the inside, too, with a VLX-switch and two GF-potentiometers keeping everything ship-shaped.

Vintage-freaks will dig the cloth-covered pickup leads.

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Tokai TTE-55 – beauty shot 2

Our test sample is of medium weight – not the lightest Tele ever, but still really comfortable.

The Tokai TTE-55’s neck profile is right down my alley, being a well rounded and full ”D”. There’s enough girth to support your left hand nicely, but not so much as to make the neck feel too fat or hard to play .

The neck’s contemporary finish and the modern fret size result in a very bend-friendly guitar with a great action (E: 1,9 mm/e: 1,7 mm).

There’s always a bit of compromise to deal with, when it comes to a Tele-type guitar’s intonation, due to the shared bridge saddles. But this hasn’t prevented this guitar type to become a true classic – the compromises one can deal with easily.

It’s build like a Tele, it looks like a Tele, and, yes, the Tokai TTE-55 also sounds like a Tele. The neck pickup’s tone is well rounded, with a charming amount of wood to its voice. Put the switch in the middle position, and you’ll be funking with Prince. And the bridge pickup on its own is bang on the money for all your Country-, Rockabilly- and Blues-needs.

Tokai’s TTE-55 is a great choice for virtually any musical genre, with the exception of Hard Rock and Metal.

In light of this review, I can only conclude that the Tokai TTE-55 is a top quality instrument, which offers a whole lot of Tele-goodness at a very moderate price.

Tokai TTE-55 – back beauty

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Tokai TTE-55

848 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

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Pros: 

+ value-for-money

+ workmanship

+ component quality

+ neck profile

+ sound

Cons:

– the traditional Tele-compromise when it comes to exact intonation

Testipenkissä: Tokai TTE-55

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Tokai TTE-55 – beauty shot

Japanissa valmistettu Tokai TTE-55 on firman uusin Tele-tyylinen kitara. TTE-55 ei ole yhden tietyn Tele-aikakauden jäljitelmä, vaan Tokain tyylikäs ”Best of” -ratkaisu.

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Tokai TTE-55 – full front

Tokai TTE-55 (848 €) on saatavilla joko yksiosaisella vaahterakaulalla – niin kuin White Blonde -värinen testiyksilö – tai palisanteriotelaudalla.

Rungon väristä riippuu myös metalliosien väri – tässä tapauksessa kaikki metalliosat ovat kullanväriset, mikä antaa soittimelle varsin juhlallisen ulkonäön.

Tokai TTE-55 – full back

1950-luvun tyylinen vaahterakaula on kiinnitetty vankalla ruuviliitoksella 1960-luvun tyyliseen, reunalistoitettuun leppärunkoon.

Tokai TTE-55 – headstock

Laadukkaiden Kluson-kopioden suuri etu on, että terävät kieltenpäät on upotettu turvallisesti viritystapeihin.

Mattaviimeisteltyyn kaulaan on asennettu 21 jumbo-kokoista nauhaa. Erittäin siisti nauhatyö saa täydet pisteet!

Tokai TTE-55 – tuners

Ajatonta kauneutta on aina kaunista katsella…

Tokai TTE-55 – bridge

Vintage-tyylisestä Tele-tallasta on olemassa muutamia eri versioita, mikä tulee tallapalojen materiaaliin. Tokai käyttää TTE-55-mallissaan Tele-fanien keskuudessa suosituinta vaihtoehtoa messinkitallapaloilla.

Tokai TTE-55 – pickups

Mikrofonivarustus on sekin jo pitkään ollut klassikko: kaulan lähelle on sijoitettu melko kapea, metallikuorella varustettu mikrofoni, kun taas leveämpi tallamikrofoni on kiinnitetty suoraan tallan pohjalevyyn.

Tokai TTE-55 – controls

Vuoden 1967:n kytkentä on Tele-tyylisissä kitaroissa se kultastandardi – kolmiasentoinen kytkin, sekä master volume ja master tone.

Tokai TTE-55 – switch and pots

Pölysuojattu VLX-kytkin ja laadukkaat GF-potentiometrit takaavat, että Tokain huoltoväleistä tulee tosi pitkät.

Vintage-fanit taas iloitsevat mikkijohtojen kangaseristyksistä.

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Tokai TTE-55 – beauty shot 2

Testisoitin kuuluu painonsa suhteen mukavaan keskikastiin – se ei ole raskas kitara, muttei myöskään erityisen kevyt.

Tokai TTE-55:n kaulaprofiili on suoraan minun henkilökohtaiselta suosikkiosastolta – se on pyöreä ja täyteläinen D-profiili. Kaulassa on juuri sillä oikealla tavalla paksuutta, joka tukee sopivasti vasenta kättä, olematta kuitenkaan liian paksu tai raskas soittaa.

Nykypäiväiset paksut nauhat, sekä kaulan satiinipintainen viimeistely, tekevät hyvin säädetyn (E: 1,9 mm/e: 1,7 mm) kitaran soittamisesta helppoa. Etenkin venytykset onnistuvat huomattavasti paremmin kuin pienillä vintage-tyylisillä nauhoilla.

Tele-tyylisen kitaran intonaatiossa on aina tietynlainen kompromissi, kun tallassa on ainoastaan kolme tallapalaa, mutta tämä ei estänyt, että tästä kitaratyypistä tuli klassikko. Kompromissin kanssa voi hyvinkin elää.

Se on rakennettu kuin Tele, se näyttää Teleltä, ja, kyllä, Tokai TTE-55 myös kuulostaa Teleltä. Kaulamikrofonin soundi on herkullisen pyöreä, mutta samalla myös notkea. Kytkimen keskiasennosta taas saa selville, mista Prince sai aikoinaan oman Funkynsä. Ja tallamikrofonin twang on herkkua Countryn, Rockabillyn ja Bluesin ystäville.

Tokai TTE-55 sopii loistavasti lähes kaikkiin musiikkityyleihin – ainoastaan Metal-osastolle en suosittelisi tätä vintage-tyylistä mallia.

Tokai TTE-55 – puhdas

Tokai TTE-55 – säröllä

Tämän testin perusteella voin vain todeta, että Tokai TTE-55 on hyvin laadukas ja perinnetietoinen Tele-tyylinen kitara erittäin kohtuulliseen hintaan.

Tokai TTE-55 – back beauty

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Tokai TTE-55

848 €

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

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Plussat: 

+ hinta-laatu-suhde

+ työnjälki

+ osien laatu

+ kaulaprofiili

+ soundi

Miinukset:

– perinteinen Tele-kompromissi soundin ja intonaation välillä

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