Posts tagged ‘Gotoh’

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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27/01/2016

Review: Tokai Love Rock LC-107, LS-130F & LS-160

Tokai – badge

Kitarablogi’s year starts off with some really tasty guitars – three Japanese Tokai Love Rock models. Handcrafted Love Rocks just like these originally laid the foundation for Tokai’s legendary reputation as a maker of high-quality copies of vintage guitars.

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Tokai LC-107 – full front large

Tokai’s LC-107 (current price in Finland: 1.219 €) is the company’s gorgeous version of a Les Paul Custom.

The gold-coloured hardware fits our review sample’s tasty see-through wine red finish to a tee.

In terms of built, the Tokai LC-107 follows closely the original 1950s recipe of an LP Custom – unlike many recent original Gibsons:

The mahogany body is genuinely solid, meaning there are no hidden holes or pockets serving as weight relief. Tokai keeps the weight of their Love Rocks down by carefully selecting lightweight mahogany.

The LC-107’s curved top, too, has been carved from mahogany (!), just like Gibson did it in the Fifties.

There is one change, though, that Tokai made for environmental reasons:

The bound fingerboard is made from rosewood, not ebony.

Tokai LC-107 – back beauty

The multiply binding on both top and back add a nice dose of panache to the looks of the Tokai LC-107.

Tokai LS-130F – full front large

The Tokai LS-130F (1.514) is an LP Standard-type instrument with a thin satin finish.

The letter F in its name hints at the beautiful solid flame maple top of the LS-130F.

Our review instrument comes in a beautiful tobacco sunburst, whose edges may look brown at first glance, but actually turn out to be a dark, see-through violet, allowing you to see the chatoyant wood grain beneath it.

Tokai LS-130F – back beauty

The LS-130F’s neck and the back of the body have been finished in cherry red.

Tokai LS-160 – full front large

Due to the runaway popularity of tiger striped maple on Les Pauls, many younger guitarists might think that all Standards made between 1958 and ’60 have flame maple tops. Actually, there are many original ’Bursts that were produced with what is nowadays called a plain top.

Tokai’s LS-160 (1.773 €) is a stunning, top-of-the-line version of such a plain top LP.

Adding to the LS-160’s vintage-style prestige is this instrument’s nitrocellulose finish, taking this model’s specifications right back to 1958.

Tokai LC-107 – headstock

The headstock on the Tokai LC-107 sports plenty of inlay works, as well as multiple binding.

The tuners are modern sealed Gotoh heads.

Tokai LS-130F – headstock

The headstocks on both the LS-130F and the LS-160 follows the more restrained LP Standard pattern.

Tokai LS-130F – tuners

These two models come equipped with Gotoh’s quality versions of vintage Kluson tuners.

Tokai LC-107 – fretboard

The Tokai LC’s sports oblong position markers made from pearloid plastic…

Tokai LS-130F – fretboard

…while both LS’ come with crown inlays.

The fretwork on all three instruments is exemplary.

Tokai LS-160 – cutaway binding

All three guitars have long tenon neck joints, with a part of the neck extending into the neck pickup cavity.

Many players claim that this type of neck joint makes for better tone and sustain.

Tokai LC-107 – bridge

Tokai LS-160 – bridge

The tune-o-matic bridges and stopbars on all three models come from Gotoh’s Japanese hardware range.

Tokai LC-107 – pickups

The LC-107 comes with a pair of Tokai’s fabled PAF Vintage Mark II humbuckers.

Tokai LS-130F – pickups

The LS-130F and LS-160 have been equipped with a pair of Seymour Duncan ’59 Model pickups.

Tokai LS-130F – control cavity

The control cavities look clean and neat, displaying Japanese craftsmanship and parts, as well as thorough shielding with conductive paint.

Tokai Love Rock – case

Our review trio is sold with a nice Tokai hard case included in the price.

Tokai LS-160 – pickups

Tokai LS-160 – shroud

In order to protect the LS-160’s delicate nitro finish, this model is placed inside the case in its own velours bag.

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In terms of their playability, all three guitars – the LC-107, the LS-130F and the LS-160 – are all on an equally high level. In terms of their feel, though, close inspection reveals a few minute differences.

Tokai LC-107 – body beauty

The neck profile on the Tokai LC-107 is a medium-depth, well-rounded D-shape. LP fans would probably describe this neck as a ’59 Neck – meaning there’s enough meat on the bones for tone, but the overall dimensions are not unwieldy.

Tokai LS-130F – body beauty

Tokai’s LS-130F comes endowed with a 58 Neck, meaning the full chunky Monty. The fantastic matte finish makes this neck feel very ”fast”, despite its considerable girth.

Tokai LS-160 – body beauty

The LS-160’s neck profile is the slimmest neck of this trio. It’s what you call a 60 Neck – not as deep as a 59 Neck, and with an oval C-profile.

Despite the fact that all review instruments came strung with the same set of 010-strings, and notwithstanding identical setups (string height at the 12th fret: low E: 1.9 mm/treble e: 1.6 mm), Tokai’s LS-160 felt a little bit bendier than the LC-107 and LS-130F.

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Tokai LC-107 – beauty shot

Played acoustically, the Tokai LC-107 had a sweet voice with nice woody mids and a little helping of shimmering highs, which is most likely down to the all-mahogany body.

Tokai’s own PAF Vintage Mark II pickups are great remakes of Gibson’s fabled late-Fifties humbuckers. Their output levels are relatively low, keeping the tone dynamic and fresh:

Tokai LS-130F – beauty shot

Tokai’s LS-130F turned out to be a little shouter, when strummed unplugged. This guitar gives you that famous freight-train-jumped-off-the-tracks-at-full speed experience that so many LP players love.

Seymour Duncan’s ’59 Model humbuckers make the LS-130F sound a little bit bigger and broader, when compared directly to the LC-107:

Tokai LS-160 – beauty shot

Unplugged the Tokai LS-160 sits right between its cousins. It isn’t as vociferous as the LS-130F, but there’s a bit more presence than what you’d find in the LC-107.

What is surprising, though, is that the LS-160 has the most ”vintage-accurate” tone of this trio, when plugged into an amplifier, even though the pickups are exactly the same as in the LS-130F. The neck pickup is dipped deep in tasty cream, while the bridge pickup is more dynamic and a bit brighter than many would expect from an LP Standard. The end result is a very versatile clean tone:

The demo track keeps the same guitars on clean rhythm duty throughout (left channel: LC-107; right channel: LS-160). The riffs and lead parts, on the other hand, change – first up is the LC-107, then the LS-130F, and the last to go is the LS-160:

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Tokai LC-107 – flying – final version

Tokai LS-130F – flying

Tokai LS-160 – flying

Tokai’s LC-107, LS-130F and LS-160 offer you top quality for a very fair price. All three models are professional grade instruments that play like a dream and sound fantastic.

The LC-107’s woody tone makes it a good choice for Jazz- and Fusion-guitarists, but will work equally well in other genres, too.

Tokai’s LS-130F would be my choice for an all-rocking, all-riffing Love Rock. Put on your top hat and travel to Paradise City.

The LS-160 takes you all the way back to the vintage Les Pauls that have served as Tokai’s inspiration. This authentically minded vintage-style guitar is full of dynamic Bluesbreaker-mojo.

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Tokai Love Rock

LC-107 – 1.219 € (case included)

LS-130F – 1.514 € (case included)

LS-160 – 1.773 € (case included)

Pros:

+ Made in Japan

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

+ hard case included

12/01/2016

Testipenkissä: Tokai Love Rock LC-107, LS-130F & LS-160

Tokai – badge

Kitarablogissa uusi vuosi alkoi testien suhteen kolmella herkkupalalla, kun testiin saapuivat kolme Tokai Love Rock -kitaraa malliston kalliimmasta päästä. Tokain legendaarinen maine perustui alun perin juuri tällaisiin, Japanissa käsityöllä valmistettuihin, Les Paul -tyylisiin kitaroihin.

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Tokai LC-107 – full front large

Tokai LC-107 (1.219 €) on valmistajan upea versio Les Paul Custom -mallista.

Soittimen kullanväriset metalliosat sopivat hienosti testikitaran kauniisti läpikuultavaan, kiiltävään viininpunaiseen viimeistelyyn.

Tokai LC-107:n rakenne on – useista nyky-Gibsoneista poiketen – hyvin uskollinen alkuperäiseen LP Custom -reseptiin:

Rungon takaosa on veistetty mahongista, ilman että siihen olisi jyrsitty painoa vähentäviä aukkoja. Tokaissa soittimen painoa pidetään maltillisena valitsemalla vain kevyitä mahonkilankkuja kitarantekoon.

Myös LC-107:n kaareva kansi on tehty kokopuisesta mahongista (!), niin kuin 1950-luvun Customeissa oli tapana.

Vain otelaudan suhteen Tokai on muuttanut alkuperäistä reseptiä:

Ekologisista syistä LC:n otelaudassa käytetään ruusupuuta alkuperäisen eebenpuun sijaan.

Tokai LC-107 – back beauty

Rungon monikerroksinen reunalistoitus lisää LC-107-kitaran tyylikyyttä vielä entisestään.

Tokai LS-130F – full front large

Tokai LS-130F (1.514) on LP Standard -tyylinen malli satiinipintaisella viimeistelyllä.

Mallitunnuksen F-kirjain viittaa LS-130F:n kokopuiseen loimuvaahterakanteen (englanniksi: flame maple).

Testisoittimen liukuväritys on nimeltään Tobacco Sunburst. Viimeistelyn peittävän ruskealta vaikuttavat reunat ovat todellisuudessa tummaa violettia, jonka läpi pystyy näkemään kannen ”liekit”.

Tokai LS-130F – back beauty

LS-130F:n kaula ja rungon takapuoli ovat kirsikanpunaisia.

Tokai LS-160 – full front large

Vaikka monet kitaristit nykyään luulevat, että kaikissa vuosien 1958-60 LP Standardissa oli loimuvaahterakansi, todellisuudessa huomattava osa tehtiin niin kutsutuilla plain top-kannella.

Tokai LS-160 (1.773 €) on erittäin kaunis versio juuri tällaisesta plain top -kitarasta.

LS-160-malli tarjoaa kaikkien muiden laadukkaiden yksityiskohtien lisäksi vielä aidon nitrolakkauksen 50-luvun hengessä.

Tokai LC-107 – headstock

Tokai LC-107:n viritinlavassa on runsaasti upotuksia, sekä monikerroksinen reunalistoitus.

Virittimet ovat nykyaikaisia, suljettuja Gotoh-malleja.

Tokai LS-130F – headstock

LS-130F- ja LS-160-kitaroissa lavan koristelu on hieman hillitympi.

Tokai LS-130F – tuners

Näissä malleissa on laadukkaita kopioita 1950-luvun Kluson-virittimistä.

Tokai LC-107 – fretboard

Tokai LC:n neliskanttiset otemerkit ovat helmiäismuovista…

Tokai LS-130F – fretboard

…kun taas LS-malleissa on käytössä crown-muotoiset upotukset.

Nauhatyö oli kaikissa kolmessa soittimissa esimerkillinen.

Tokai LS-160 – cutaway binding

Kolmikossa on myös ns. long tenon -kaulaliitos, jossa kaulan mahonkinen osa jatkuu yhtenäisenä vielä kaulamikrofonin alle.

Monien mielestä tällainen lujempi liitos parantaa kitaran sointia ja sustainea.

Tokai LC-107 – bridge

Tokai LS-160 – bridge

Kitarakolmikon tallat ja kieltenpitimet tulevat Gotoh:n laadukkaasta, japanilaisesta mallistosta.

Tokai LC-107 – pickups

Tokai luottaa omiin PAF Vintage Mark II -humbuckereihin LC-107-mallissaan.

Tokai LS-130F – pickups

LS-130F- ja LS-160-kitaroihin taas on asennettu Seymour Duncanin laadukkaita PAF-tyylisiä ’59 Model -mikrofoneja.

Tokai LS-130F – control cavity

Takakoloissa on näkyvissä erittäin siistiä työtä, laadukkaita japanilaisia komponentteja, sekä huolellista häiriösuojausta grafiittipitoisella maalilla, sekä alumiinifoliolla vuoratulla muovikannella.

Tokai Love Rock – case

Testikolmikko myydään laadukkaassa Tokai-kotelossa.

Tokai LS-160 – pickups

Tokai LS-160 – shroud

LS-160:n nitrolakkauksen lisäsuojaukseksi löytyy tämän kitaran kotelossa vielä erillinen plyysipussi.

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Soitettavuudeltaan LC-107, LS-130F ja LS-160 ovat hyvin lähellä toisiaan, mutta vertailemalla löytyy kuitenkin todella pieniä eroja kolmikon välillä.

Tokai LC-107 – body beauty

Tokai LC-107:n kaulaprofiiliksi on valittu keskipaksu, tasaisen pyöreä D-muoto. LP-fanit puhuisivat tässä ’59-kaulasta – kaulassa on siis mukavasti ”lihaa luiden päällä”, mutta sen paksuus on vielä maltillinen.

Tokai LS-130F – body beauty

Tokai LS-130F taas tarjoaa kolmikon tuhdimman kaulaprofiilin. Tämän mallin mattaviimeistely tuntuu erittäin mukavalta.

Tokai LS-160 – body beauty

LS-160:n kaulaprofiili menee vuoden 1960 suuntaan, mikä tarkoittaa paksuuden kannalta hieman maltillisemmat mitat.

Vaikka kaikissa kolmessa kitarassa oli 010-satsin kielet ja identtinen kieltenkorkeus 12. nauhalla (basso E: 1,9 mm/diskantti e: 1,6 mm), oli LS-160:n soitettavuus vielä aavistuksen verran kevyempi kuin LC-107- ja LS-130F-malleissa.

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Tokai LC-107 – beauty shot

Akustisesti soitettuna Tokai LC-107:n äänessä oli mukava ripaus kuivuutta ja kauniisti kimmeltävä diskantti, mikä johtuu varmasti täysin mahongista tehdystä rungosta.

Tokain omat PAF Vintage Mark II -mikrofonit ovat laadukkaita uusintapainoksia 50-luvun humbuckereista. Niiden signaaliteho on maltillinen, minkä ansiosta soundi on dynaaminen ja avoin:

Tokai LS-130F – beauty shot

Tokai LS-130F on akustisesti soitettuna selvästi kolmikon kovaäänisin. Akustisesti tässä kitarassa on juuri se kiskoista-suistunut-tavarajuna-joka-lähestyy-kovaa-vauhtia-fiilis, josta niin monet LP-tyylisten kitaroiden soittajat tykkäävät.

Seymour Duncan ’59 Model -mikkien välityksellä LS-130F:n soundissa on hieman enemmän voimaa ja leveyttä kuin LC-107:ssä:

Tokai LS-160 – beauty shot

Akustisesti kokeiltuna Tokai LS-160:n ääni on jossain LC-107:n ja LS-130F:n välissä. Se ei ole ihan yhtä äänekäs kuin LS-130F, mutta soundissa löytyy hieman kirkkaampaa preesensiä kuin LC-107-mallissa.

Yllättävää oli kuitenkin, että testikitaroista LS-160 soi vahvistimen kautta selvästi eniten vintage-maisesti, vaikka kitarassa on samat mikrofonit kuin LS-130F:ssä. Kaulamikrofoni soi todella kermaisesti, kun taas tallahumbucker soi kirkkaammin kuin ehkä odottaisi LP-tyylisestä kitarasta. Lopputulos on tämän kolmikon monipuolisin puhdas soundi:

Demobiisissä puhtaat komppikitarat pysyvät muuttumattomina koko biisin ajan (vasemmalta: LC-107; oikealta: LS-160). Riffit ja soolo-osuudet taas on soitettu niin, että ensimmäisessä läpimenossa soi vain LC-107, toisessa vain LS-130F ja kolmannessa taas vain LS-160:

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Tokai LC-107 – flying – final version

Tokai LS-130F – flying

Tokai LS-160 – flying

Tokai LC-107, LS-130F ja LS-160 tarjoavat huikeaa laatua todella reiluun hintaan. Kaikki kolme kitaraa ovat pro-luokan laatusoittimia erittäin kevyellä tatsilla ja herkullisella soundilla.

LC-107:n pähkinäinen soundi tekee tästä soittimesta oivan valinnan Jazz- ja Fusion-kitaraksi, mutta se toimii todella hyvin myös muissa genreissä.

Tokain LS-130F on kolmikosta se koviten riffaileva ja rokkaava valinta. Sylinterihattu päälle, ja eikun menoksi Paradise Cityyn.

LS-160 taas on pikkutarkka ja herkullinen uusintapainos Bluesbreaker-tyylisestä vintage-LP:stä, joka tarjoaa hyvin dynaamisia humbuckersoundeja.

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Tokai Love Rock

LC-107 – 1.219 € (laukku kuuluu hintaan)

LS-130F – 1.514 € (laukku kuuluu hintaan)

LS-160 – 1.773 € (laukku kuuluu hintaan)

Plussat:

+ Made in Japan

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

+ laukku kuuluu hintaan

11/01/2016

Tokai Love Rock – The Kitarablogi-video

Tokai LC-107 – beauty shot

Tokai LS-130F – beauty shot

Tokai LS-160 – beauty shot

07/01/2016

Tulossa maanantaina: Tokai Love Rock

Tokai LC-107 – flying – final version

Tokai LS-130F – flying

Tokai LS-160 – flying

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

29/12/2015

Now on SoundCloud: Tokai Love Rock

Three LP-style Tokai guitars.
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Demo Track
• Clean rhythm guitars – LC-107 (left channel, both PUs) & LS-160 (right channel, neck PU)
• Riffs and lead parts sequence LC-107 -> LS-130F -> LS-160
• Riffs – left channel: both PUs; right channel: neck PU
• Lead parts – bridge pickup
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Amp used: Blackstar HT-1R

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

15/12/2015

Tulossa… +++ Coming soon… +++ Tokai Love Rock

Tokai LS-130F_SG_VF – beauty pieni

Tokai LS-130F_SG_VF – lapa pieni

Tokai LS-160BS – beauty pieni

Tokai LC-107S_SW – lapa pieni

Tokai LC-107S_SW – beauty pieni

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma