Posts tagged ‘Floyd Rose’

31/03/2017

Review: Kiiras Instruments Ahti + Ukonkirves

Kiirassoitin – instruments from the Purgatory; the name alone makes pretty clear from the get-go that these aren’t your dad’s guitars!

Simo Iiskola, the man behind Kiiras Instruments, is a custom guitar maker (and drum builder!) from Central Finland. His main guitar line – the Katras Series (katras is Finnish for flock) – stands firm as a wholehearted manifesto to Metaldom, both visually and in terms of sound.

Kitarablogi got the chance to spend some quality time with two Kiiras Katras guitars – the Ahti and the Ukonkirves (prices starting from 1,495 €).

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The Kiiras Ahti (named after the Finnish water god) is a two-horned affair, looking like the wild love child of a Fender Strat and a Burns Bison.

The hand-distressed, rustic finishes on Katras Series instruments resemble the bark of the birch tree.

The reviewed Ahti was built using a three-piece alder body.

All Kiiras Katras guitars feature a three-piece body, with a wide central piece and two narrower pieces added on the sides.

The Kiiras Ukonkirves (ukon kirves is the Finnish equivalent of Thor’s Hammer) is a Flying V-shaped electric guitar.

The reviewed Ukonkirves uses ash for its body.

Both instruments feature a rib cage chamfer.

All Kiiras Katras guitars have five-piece maple and wenge necks with sturdy bolt-on joints.

The area around the bolts is dressed away for easier access to the top frets.

Simo Iiskola uses top-drawer Gotoh parts in black chrome, like the Gotoh SG381 machine heads on our review instruments.

The Gotoh Floyd Rose is a model GE1996-T.

The wenge fingerboard comes with 24 chunky jumbo frets.

Our vibrato-equipped review guitars feature a 16-inch fretboard radius, while stoptail-equipped Kiiras guitars usually come with a compound radius ’board.

The look on these Kiiras instruments is non-more-Metal, and the pickups have been chosen accordingly.

The Ahti comes with a pair of passive humbuckers – the Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) and Nazgûl (bridge)…

…while the Ukonkirves sports a sole Nazgûl humbucker in the bridge position.

The stainless steel pickup rings, switch plates and jack plates are all custom-made to fit the birch bark theme.

The Ahti’s controls comprise a three-way switch – giving you neck pickup, off [!], and bridge pickup – as well as separate volume controls for each pickup and a master tone.

The Ukonkirves makes do with two controls – volume and tone.

The electronics cavities look very clean, and they are shielded with conductive paint and a foil-lined wooden lid.

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Despite its ”distressed mythical old plank” looks, the Kiiras Ahti feels every bit the smooth, well-balanced, and comfortable custom-made guitar it is.

The flattish C-profile neck is fast, but chunky enough not to feel flimsy or uncomfortable. The frets have been seated and dressed with great care, although some might find the look of the fret ends a tiny bit scruffy. The important thing is, though, that the frets (and fret ends!) feel even smoother than the guitar’s cool satin finish!

The reviewed Ahti was set up for standard-C tuning. The set up was fantastic, offering a slinky, yet precise playing feel, coupled with an in-tune Floyd Rose.

Seymour Duncan’s Sentient and Nazgûl humbuckers are among the darkest and most brutal passive humbuckers offered by the company. Still, these pickups manage to combine brooding darkness with a very musical and rich top end. Sure, these humbuckers will kick your amp’s butt, but they don’t offer blunt power at the expense of great tone.

Here are two basic demo clips recorded with a Blackstar HT-1R:

I turned to a Metal expert for the demo track to do the guitar and the genre justice. My son, Miloš Berka, recorded the guitar tracks using his Atomic Amps AmpliFire amp modeller:

The Kiiras Ukonkirves is a great V-shaped guitar for the no-compromise, no-nonsense lead guitarist.

If you try to play a V-style guitar seated, you’re doing it wrong. This type of guitar is meant to be used standing up with a strap.

Just as on the Ahti, the feel and playability of the Kiiras Ukonkirves is fantastic, and its set-up (in D-standard tuning) was spot on!

It may all be in my head (or down to the tuning), but I feel the ash-bodied Ukonkirves sounds a tiny bit brighter than the alder-bodied Ahti:

Once again Miloš recorded the demo track using his Atomic Amps AmpliFire amp modeller:

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I’m sure some will find the looks of these two Kiiras Katras guitars a little bit too much of a visual statement. They’re entitled to their views, and won’t have any problems finding a black instrument.

There’s no denying, though, that both the Kiiras Ahti and the Kiiras Ukonkirves are about much more than just bold looks. These are excellent custom-made electric guitars, completely geared towards the needs of modern Metal guitarists.

Simo Iiskola’s Kiiras Instruments also offers plenty of custom options, from the pickups and electronics used all the way to different headstock shapes. If these guitars rock your boat, go check them out!

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Kiiras Instruments Ahti + Ukonkirves

Prices starting from 1,495 € (includes hard case)

Contact: Kiirassoitin

Demo Track composed, played and recorded by Miloš Berka.

Pros:

+ handmade in Finland

+ custom options available

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ finish

+ sound

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13/03/2017

First View: Kiiras Instruments

Demo Track composed, played and recorded by Miloš Berka.

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KIIRAS AHTI

• bolt-on Kiiras 5-pc. maple/wenge neck
• wenge fingerboard with 24 frets
• alder body
• Gotoh machine heads and Floyd Rose vibrato
• Seymour Duncan Sentient and Nazgûl humbuckers
• Schaller Security Locks
• case included

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KIIRAS UKONKIRVES

• bolt-on Kiiras 5-pc. maple/wenge neck
• wenge fingerboard with 24 frets
• swamp ash body
• Gotoh machine heads and Floyd Rose vibrato
• Seymour Duncan Nazgûl humbucker
• Schaller Security Locks
• case included

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Contact: Kiirassoitin

08/03/2017

Guitar Porn – Kiiras Instruments

Contact: Kiirassoitin

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07/03/2017

Tulossa *** Coming soon *** Kiiras Instruments

Contact: Kiirassoitin

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29/09/2016

Buying an electric guitar, part 1 – Make a plan, make a budget

So, you want to buy an electric guitar? Let Kitarablogi.com help you find the guitar that’s ”the right one” for you.

There are a few things you should think through in advance, before setting out to your local guitar shop.

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What guitar do I really want/need?

• The way you feel about a guitar’s looks and design can be an important factor in making a buying decision, and the same goes for the guitar your favourite artist plays. There’s nothing ridiculous in choosing an instrument for its looks, as there’s always a psychological component to how you approach a guitar. If you really dig the way an instrument looks, you will want to play it, and play it more often. This goes the other way, too – if you feel your guitar is ugly, playing it won’t be as much fun.

• Nevertheless, the most important criterion for buying your guitar should be the style of music you plan to use it for. Yes, theoretically you can play any guitar in any style – as Ted Nugent proves by playing loud Rock on an all-hollow archtop (a Jazz guitar) – but if you choose the ”right” instrument for a musical style, it will make things much easier.

Here are some examples of musical genres:

++ Modern Metal: As you’re dealing with large amounts of volume and gain, the best choice would be a solidbody guitar, equipped with humbuckers. Some prefer active pickups, while others like traditional passive designs more. Lead guitarists often go for a model equipped with a locking vibrato system, like a Floyd Rose.

LTD AJ-1 – body angle 1

Halla Custom SG – Floyd Rose

As many bands in this genre use lower than standard tunings, you could consider opting for a seven-string model (which offers an additional lower string), or even go full-out for a baritone electric.

++ Jazz: Most Jazz guitarists like to stay in the traditional sonic space offered by all-hollow archtops or semi-solid ES-335-type guitars. The preferred pickup choices are humbuckers and P-90s.

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++ Blues: Blues musicians use a wide variety of different guitars, depending on their personal taste. Here the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your chosen instrument, in order to express your feelings without being hindered by your guitar. Locking vibratos and active pickups are very rarely seen in Blues music.

Tokai ES-138 – body beauty

++ Country: Traditional Country guitarists tend to drift towards guitar models with a lot of chime and bite in their tone. Very often this means Fender-style single coils or a Gretsch guitar. Over the past couple of decades there’s been quite a lot of crossover from Rock into Country music, though, which has lead to more variety in the choice of instruments in this genre.

++ Classic Rock: Traditional 1970s Classic Rock is built upon humbucker-equipped solidbody guitars, which offer enough grit and output for this genre. Think Les Paul, SG or Telecaster Deluxe.

ESP USA Eclipse – body beauty

Tokai SG-75 – body angle

++ If this is going to be your first electric guitar: If you’re a beginner, we would suggest choosing a model that won’t confuse you with a large array of pickup- and switching-options. A non-vibrato bridge would also be a welcome feature, as vibrato bridges are generally harder to set up and keep in tune.

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Set yourself a budget and stick to it!

• It is important that you set yourself a budget for your guitar shopping. If you have a good idea of your target price range, you will be able to sift through all the different guitars on offer much more quickly, by leaving out any models that are too expensive (or too cheap). This will make choosing your instrument a bit easier.

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29/10/2015

Jam Track: Rock in Ab-major (122 BPM)

Halla Custom SG – Venla pickups

Halla Custom Instruments SG-Style

25/06/2015

Testipenkissä: Halla Custom Instruments SG-Style

Halla Custom SG – body beauty reverse

Halla Custom Instruments on pieni kitarapaja Tampereelta. Firma on erikoistunut custom-tilauksiin, joissa valmistetaan kaikenlaisia kielisoittimia asiakkaiden toivomuksien mukaan. Halla Customin vetäjä on soitinrakentaja-artesaani Ville Mattila. Mattila kuluu Suomen Soitinrakentajien Kiltaan.

Kitarablogi sai Halla Customilta oikean kaunottaren testiin. Kitara vaikuttaa ensisilmäykseltä kunnianosoitukselta Gibson SG:lle, mutta asiat eivät ole niin suoraviivaisia kuin miltä ne näyttävät!

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Halla Custom SG – full front

Kyllä tämä Halla Custom SG (hinta noin 3.000 €) on varsin henkeäsalpaava ilmestys. Se on turkoosinvärinen, uhkeanmuotoinen soitin, johon metalliosien kultainen hohto sopii kuin nakutettu.

Mutta tämän kitaran upea viimeistely (kovalla akryylilakalla) ei ole Halla Custom SG:n tärkein piirre: ”It’s an SG, Jim, but not as we know it!”

Halla Custom SG – back beauty

Tässä Halla Custom -kitarassa yhdistetään saumattomasti kahden klassikkokitaroiden ominaisuuksia – Gibson SG:n muotoiluun on sekoitettu reilusti Fender Stratocasterilta tuttuja piirteitä:

Vaikka tässäkin kitarassa on Gibson-klassikon virtaviivaistettu runko ja liimattu kaula (tosin paljon sulavammalla liitoksella), käytetään Halla Customissa Fenderille tyypillisiä materiaaleja – nimittäin vaahterakaulaa ja leppärunkoa – sekä täysipitkää mensuuria (25,5 tuumaa/64,8 cm).

Halla Custom SG – headstock

Floyd Rosella varustetulla Hallalla on kartiomaisesti muuttuva otelaudan radius (ns. compound radius), jossa otelaudan kaarevuudesta tulee sitä loivempi mitä lähemmäksi runkoa mennään. Reunalistoitettuun ruusupuisen otelautaan on asennettu 24 kullanväristä teräsnauha.

Kaksi grafiittitankoa kaularaudan vieressä lisäävät entisestään kaulan lujuutta.

Halla Custom SG – tuners

Laadukkaat, kullanväriset virittimet ovat peräisin japanilaisen Gotohin valikoimasta.

Halla Custom SG – Floyd Rose

Huippulaadukas Floyd Rose tulee sekin Gotohilta. Ruuvattavan vibrakammen istuvuutta säädetään nailonkauluksella ja pienellä kuusiokoloruuvilla.

Halla Custom SG – Venla pickups

Halla Custom SG -kitaraan on asennettu kaksi firman omaa humbuckeria. Halla Venla -nimiset kaksikelaiset ovat vintagea selvästi kuumempia tapauksia.

Halla Custom SG – controls

Neljä säädintä ja kolmiasentoinen vipukytkin – asetelma näyttää harmittomalta, mutta tähänkin on lisätty yksi herkullinen lisäominaisuus:

Tässä Halla Customissa on mukana passiivinen (= ei tarvitse paristoa) säröpiiri, joka laitetaan päälle kaulamikin tone-säädintä nostamalla.

Halla Custom SG – control cavity

Myös sisäisesti Hallan työnjälki edustaa ehtaa custom shop -laatua, jollaista on lähes mahdotonta löytää ison tuotannon soittimista.

Asiantuntijat ovat varmasti jo huomanneet, että volume-potikoihin on myös lisätty treble-bleed kondensaattoreita.

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Halla Custom SG – body beauty 1

Tätä Halla Custom SG:tä on tilattu hot-rod Rock-kitaraksi, jossa on Gibson-kaltainen ulkonäkö, mutta Superstrat-tyylinen soundi.

Voin vain todeta, että tuli täysosuma. Tämä on suorastaan fantastinen ja erittäin inspiroiva soitin!

Jotkut Gibson SG:t voivat tuntua hieman hauraalta, ja monilla yksilöillä on sisäänrakennettuja vireongelmia soitintyypin erittäin pitkän kaulan takia. Halla Custom SG on täysin vapaa tällaisista ongelmista – soittotuntuma on (sanojen parhaassa mielessä) erittäin tukeva ja tanakka. Tämä kitara rokkaa!

Omistajan valitsema paksu kaulaprofiili, kaulan grafiittivahvennukset, Hallan Gibsonia paksumpi leppärunko, sekä Ville Mattilan osaaminen soitinrakentajana nostavat Halla Custom SG:n selvästi valtavirran yläpuolelle.

Testikitara oli säädetty omistajan toivomuksien mukaisesti Es-vireeseen ja se tuli hyvin matalalla kielten korkeudella. Soittotuntuma oli erittäin nopea ja vaivaton, ja kevyellä plektrakädellä kitara soi rämisemättä koko otelaudalla.

Myös soittimen Gotoh-floikka toimi kiitettävästi.

Halla Customin valmistamien Venla-mikrofonien soundi sopii täydellisesti rankempaan Rock- ja Metal-meininkiin. Mikrofonien lähtötaso on suhteellisen korkea, mutta – ihme kyllä – niiden soundi on silti vintage-maisesti avoin ja helisevä:

Halla-kitaran sisäinen passiivinen säröpiiri on erittäin kätevä lisäys, etenkin kun käytössä on yksikanavainen kitaravahvistin:

Tätä kitaraa on kuitenkin luotu rokkaamaan rankasti, ja niin se tekeekin selkeällä atakilla ja rouhealla äänellään:

Halla Custom SG – body beauty 2

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Halla Custom SG – beauty shot 2

Halla Customin SG on loistava esimerkki soitinrakentamisen erittäin korkeasta tasosta täällä Suomessa.

Tällaisella käsintehdyllä laadulla on luonnollisesti hintansakin, mutta vastineeksi saa tässä aidon custom-soittimen, joka on tehty kokonaan omien toivomusten mukaan.

Halla Custom SG – beauty shot 1

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Halla Custom Instruments SG-Style

Halla Custom -kitaroiden hinnat lähtevät noin 1.200 eurosta ylöspäin, riippuen kitaratyypistä, sekä soittimen varustelusta ja viimeistelystä. Testatun kitaran hinta olisi noin 3.000 €.

Lisätiedot: Halla Custom Instruments

Kiitokset menevät Make El Weirdolle (aka Mutantti Make) oman kitaransa lainaamisesta!

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Plussat:

+ käsintehty Suomessa

+ työnjälki

+ vireen pitäminen

+ kitaran säädöt

+ sisäänrakennettu särö

+ soundi

18/06/2015

Review: Halla Custom Instruments SG-Style

Halla Custom SG – body beauty reverse

Halla Custom Instruments is one of a number of cool small instrument makers in Finland. The company is run by trained luthier-artisan Ville Mattila and specialises in one-off custom electric and acoustic string instruments. Ville Mattila is a member of the Guild of Finnish Luthiers.

Kitarablogi received a stunning Halla Custom electric for testing. The guitar may look like a tribute to the Gibson SG, but there’s more to this Halla than meets the eye!

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Halla Custom SG – full front

Just looking at the Halla Custom SG (price approximately 3,000 €) I had to catch my breath. This is a turquoise bombshell of a guitar, with a healthy dose of additional glitz added by the golden hardware.

But the fantastic paint job (using very hard acrylic lacquer) is only part of the story: ”It’s an SG, Jim, but not as we know it!”

Halla Custom SG – back beauty

The Halla Custom SG fuses design aspects from two classic guitar models – the Gibson SG and the Fender Stratocaster.

We find the classic lines and the set neck of an SG, but the Halla uses Fender-typical materials – namely a maple neck and an alder body – as well as a long scale (25.5″/64.8 cm).

Halla Custom SG – headstock

The Floyd Rose-equipped Halla comes with a bound rosewood fretboard with a compound radius and 24 gold-coloured stainless steel frets.

Hidden beneath the fretboard lie two neck-stabilising graphite rods, placed either side of the truss rod.

Halla Custom SG – tuners

The instrument sports a set of golden Gotoh tuners, as well as a neck wrist-strengthening volute.

Halla Custom SG – Floyd Rose

The Floyd Rose is a top-drawer Gotoh unit, which comes with a screw in vibrato arm. An adjustable nylon cuff lets you decide how loosely (or tightly) the arm stays in place.

Halla Custom SG – Venla pickups

The Custom SG is equipped with a pair of Halla Custom’s hotter-than-vintage Venla-humbuckers.

Halla Custom SG – controls

There’s a nice little twist to the seemingly standard four controls plus three-way toggle set-up:

This Halla Custom guitar features a built-in passive fuzz circuit, which can be activated using a push/pull-switch hidden in the neck pickup’s tone control.

Halla Custom SG – control cavity

You really get what you pay for with a Halla – quality components, ultra-clean workmanship and thoroughly applied foil shielding.

The eagle-eyed among you will surely have already spotted the treble-bleed caps on both volume pots.

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Halla Custom SG – body beauty 1

The Halla Custom SG was ordered by its lucky owner (a man known as Make El Weirdo) as a hot-rod Rock guitar with Gibson-esque looks, but a Superstrat sound.

What can I say? This is a fantastic guitar that ticks all the right boxes!

Some Gibson SGs can feel a little bit insubstantial, and many suffer from tuning problems due to their long necks. The Halla Custom SG has no such problems, this is a rock solid, chunky instrument.

The owner’s preference for a ”baseball bat” neck profile, this guitar’s thicker-than-a-Gibson alder body, and Ville Mattila’s considerable skills as a luthier take the Halla Custom SG to a different level altogether!

This Halla came tuned to E-flat, and set up with a very low action, as specified by the customer. The playing feel was extremely fluid, and with a light picking technique this Halla played buzz-free all across the fretboard.

The Gotoh Floyd Rose worked great, too.

Halla Custom’s own Venla-humbuckers are the bee’s knees for fans of the harder styles of Rock guitar. The pickups pack an enormous punch, but miraculously manage to sound as open and chiming as vintage, low-powered ’buckers:

Halla’s built-in passive fuzz is a fun little addition that’s more than a gadget, especially when you’re playing with a single channel amp:

But with a guitar such as this, you will surely spend most of your time enjoying its precise attack and chunky crunch:

Halla Custom SG – body beauty 2

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Halla Custom SG – beauty shot 2

The Halla Custom SG is a shining example of the high standards of luthiery in Finland.

Naturally, handmade quality such as this comes at a price. If you have the money, though, you should really ask yourself if you want to spend it on an off-the-peg, production line guitar, or rather on a special instrument made exactly to your own specifications.

Halla Custom SG – beauty shot 1

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Halla Custom Instruments SG-Style

Prices for Halla Custom guitars start from 1,200 €, depending on the guitar type and options chosen. A similar guitar like the reviewed instrument would cost approximately 3,000 €.

Contact: Halla Custom Instruments

Thanks to Make El Weirdo (aka Mutantti Make) for the loan of his personal guitar!

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Pros:

+ handmade in Finland

+ workmanship

+ tuning stability

+ set-up

+ built-in fuzz

+ sound

17/06/2015

Halla Custom Instruments SG-Style – SoundCloud

Contact: Halla Custom Instruments

11/06/2015

Halla Custom Instruments – guitar porn alert!

Halla Custom Instruments SG – teaser 3

Halla Custom Instruments SG – teaser 1

Halla Custom Instruments SG – teaser 2

Contact: Halla Custom Instruments