Posts tagged ‘Hipshot’

26/02/2019

Raato PenetRaatoR Multiscale == testi tulossa == working on a review

Contact: Raato Custom Guitars

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.

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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

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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!

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14/05/2014

Review: Amfisound Raudus Bass

Amfisound Guitars is a small company from the northern Finnish town of Oulu. Run by two master luthiers, Amfisound offers a surprisingly wide variety of different guitar and bass models, as well doing a lot of customising and repair jobs. Kitarablogi visited Amfisound’s workshop late last year – read all about it HERE.

Amfisound have introduced a new bass model recently, called the Raudus Bass, which is the subject of this review.

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Amfisound Raudus Bass – full front

The Amfisound Raudus Bass (prices for EU-customers starting from 2,520 €) clearly takes its inspiration from Fender’s classic Jazz Bass, but this new Finnish (passive) bass offers a number of modern updates and improvements. The easiest things to notice on first sight are probably the added 21st fret and the much deeper cutaway.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – full back

The Raudus sports a body made from Finnish alder and a bolt-on maple neck.

The neck comes finished in a very thin satin lacquer, while the body is gloss finished in a glorious tri-colour sunburst.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – headstock

Our review sample of the Amfisound Raudus features two differences to the basic model – different tuning machines and different pickups.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – tuners

This Raudus comes equipped with a set of Hipshot’s UltraLite tuners (additional charge: 50 €), which are built from aircraft-grade aluminium. The UltraLite machines work extremely smoothly and precisely, and they efficiently cut down on surplus headstock weight, which is a good thing on such a traditionally-inspired long scale bass, such as the Raudus.

The two-way truss rod is accessed from the headstock side of the neck.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – fretboard

The outstanding standard of workmanship displayed in the Raudus-model’s fretwork, is but one of many points bearing clear testament to the world-class standard of Finnish luthiery! This is genuine custom shop quality.

The fretboard is made of Indian rosewood, and it’s sporting 21 medium-jumbo sized frets.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – neck joint

Amfisound’s rounded body heel makes excursions to the dusty end of the neck very comfortable, indeed.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – bridge

The bridge is a quality copy of the original, late-Sixties Fender bridge – if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – pickups

The review sample comes with a set of Jarno Salo Pickups from Finland. The basic version uses Swedish Lundgrens.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – controls

This instrument offers you Jazz Bass-type controls – separate volume-knobs for each pickup, plus a master tone-control.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – electronics

Amfisound’s workmanship is spot-on and very crisp – even under the hood.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – body beauty 2

The list of available custom options from Amfisound is very long, and includes (in the Raudus-model’s case) an ash body, different bridges and/or tuners, as well as active Glockenklang-electronics (among other things). For more detailed information you should contact Amfisound’s Tomi or Sampo.

There’s also a five-string Raudus on offer, which is built with a longer scale of 35 inches.

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Amfisound Raudus Bass – beauty shot 1

Amfisound’s Raudus Bass is a real corker of an instrument, with its sound and playability second to none.

The flatter-than-vintage fingerboard radius (9.5″) gives the slender neck a suitably modern playing feel. Thanks to Amfisound’s exemplary fretwork, our review sample’s low action (E: 2.0 mm/g: 1.6 mm) was completely free of annoying fret buzz or string rattle.

I’m a devoted Jazz Bass-fan, which made me feel right at home playing the Raudus. Yes, it’s true that the Amfisound offers much better top fret access, but overall this new bass feels like a dear old friend.

And this bass’ sound is outstanding, too, dishing out oodles of classic, Jazz Bass-style tones.

Jarno Salo’s excellent pickups are singlecoil designs, with the bridge pickup being reverse-wound and reverse-polarity in relation to the neck unit. This means that using both pickups together gets rid of any possible electromagnetic hum and buzz (from transformers, lighting or displays).

In terms of sound, these Salo-pickups really give you all those classic tones you’d expect from a bass such as this.

Listen to these three audio clips. Each clip has the neck pickup first, followed by both pickups on, and the bridge pickup going last:

Amfisound Raudus Bass – back beauty 1

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Amfisound Raudus Bass – beauty shot 2

The Amfisound Raudus Bass is a very fine example Finnish luthiery, there’s no two ways about this. Finns must be very lucky to find such fine instruments right at their doorstep!

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Amfisound Guitars Raudus Bass

Prices starting from 2,520 € (EU-customers) & 2,032 € (outside the EU)

Hard case included.

Contact: Amfisound Guitars

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Pros:

+ Made in Finland

+ handmade 

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

04/04/2014

Testipenkissä: Amfisound Raudus Bass

Amfisound Guitars on kahden soitinrakentajamestarin yhdessä vetämä soitinpaja Oulun Haukiputaalta, joka tarjoaa erittäin laajan valikoiman omia soitinmalleja, sekä kattavat korjaus- ja kustomointipalvelut. Löydät Kitarablogi-jutun viime talven Amfisound-vierailusta TÄÄLTÄ.

Amfisoundilta on hiljattain ilmestynyt uusi bassomalli nimeltään Raudus Bass, jota on saatu nyt testiin.

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Amfisound Raudus Bass – full front

Amfisound Raudus Bass -mallin (hinnat alkaen 2.520 €) lähtökohtana on nähtävästi toiminut Fenderin Jazz-basso, mutta tämä uusi suomalainen passiivibasso tarjoaa monia nykyaikaisia päivityksiä, joita on esikuvasta turha hakea. Helpoiten havaittavissa ovat varmaan rungon huomattavasti syvempi soololovi ja otelautaan lisätty 21. nauha.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – full back

Raudus-basson runko veistetään suomalaisesta lepästä ja sen kaula on vaahteraa.

Kaulaa viimeistellään ohuella, mattapintaisella lakkauksella, kun taas runko komeilee kiiltävässä, kolmivärisessä sunburstissaan.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – headstock

Testattu Amfisound Raudus on hyvin lähellä mallin perusversiota, lukuun ottamatta testisoittimen virittimet ja mikrofonit.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – tuners

Tähän Raudukseen on asennettu – maksullisena optiona (50 €) – Hipshotin höyhenenkevyet UltraLite-virittimet, joita valmistetaan lentokoneiden valmistuksessa käytetystä alumiinista. UltraLite-virittimet toimivat erittäin tarkasti, ja ne parantavat (alhaisen painonsa ansiosta) ergonomisesti rakennetun Raudus-mallin tasapainoa vielä entisestään.

Basson kaksisuuntaista kaularautaa säädetään kätevästi lavan puolelta.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – fretboard

Tämän Amfisoundi-soittimen esimerkillinen nauhatyö on vain yksi Rauduksen lukuisista kohdista, jotka kielivät suomalaisen soitinrakennustaidon huimasta tasosta! Tällaiseen laatuun massatuotetut soittimet yksinkertaisesti eivät yllä.

Otelauta on intialaista ruusupuuta, ja nauhojen koko on medium-jumbo.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – neck joint

Amfisoundin sulavaa ruuviliitosta käytetään luonnollisesti myös firman uudessa Raudus-bassossa.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – bridge

Fenderin alun perin kehittämä bassotalla on monien mielestä yhä se paras vaihtoehto.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – pickups

Testisoittimeen on asennettu suomalaiset Jarno Salo Pickups -mikrofonit. Perusversiossa löytyy ruotsalaisia Lundgren-mikkejä.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – controls

Säätimet toimivat Jazz-bassosta tutulla tavalla – kummallekin mikrofonille on oma volume-säädin, ja niiden lisäksi löytyy yhteinen master tone.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – electronics

Amfisoundin erittäin laadukas ja siisti työ on nähtävissä myös elektroniikkalokeron kannen alta.

Amfisound Raudus Bass – body beauty 2

Amfisoundin mahdollisien custom-optioiden lista on erittäin pitkä, ja se tarjoaa Raudus Bass -mallin tapauksessa mm. saarnirunkoa, erilaisia talla- ja viritinratkaisuja, tai vaikkapa aktiivista Glockenklang-elektroniikkaa. Tarkempia tietoja optioista ja niiden hinnoista saa ottamalla yhteyttä suoraan Amfisoundin Tomiin tai Sampoon.

Raudus-basso on myös saatavilla viisikielisenä versiona pidemmällä 35-tuumaisella mensuurilla.

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Amfisound Raudus Bass – beauty shot 1

Amfisoundin Raudus on kyllä upea ja kevyt soitin, jossa soitettavuus ja soundi ovat mielestäni prikulleen kohdallaan.

Otelaudan hieman vintagea loivempi radius (9,5 tuumaa) antaa solakalle kaulalle sopivasti nykyaikaista tuntumaa. Amfisoundin esimerkillinen nauhatyö mahdollisti testibassossa hyvin matalan kielenkorkeuden (E: 2,0 mm/g: 1,6 mm) ilman minkäänlaista räminää.

Koska olen vanha Jazz-basson fani, Raudus tuntui heti ensikättelyssä vanhalta ystävältä. Totta, ylimpiin nauhoihin pääsee Amfisoundilla alkuperäistä paremmin, mutta muuten ergonomia ja soittimen tuntuma on hyvin lähellä vanhaa klassikkoa.

Eikä Raudus jätä soundiltaan lainkaan toivomisen varaa, vaan tarjolla on erittäin maukas kattaus erilaisia klassikkosoundeja.

Alkuperäisten tavalla myös Jarno Salon mikrofonit ovat yksikelaisia, jotka on kuitenkin käämitty toistensa nähden vastasuuntaan. Tämä tarkoittaa, että yksikelaisten poimimat hurinat ja sirinät katoavat aina täysin, kun molemmat mikrofonit ovat täysillä.

Soundillisesti Salo-mikrofoneissa löytyy juuri se oikea ”vanhan liiton” meininki, joka sopii erittäin hyvin tähän perinnetietoiseen Amfisound-bassoon.

Tässä kolme esimerkkipätkää (järjestys jokaisessa pätkässä: kaulamikrofoni –> molemmat –> tallamikrofoni):

Amfisound Raudus Bass – back beauty 1

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Amfisound Raudus Bass – beauty shot 2

Testin perusteella voin vain todeta, että Amfisoundin Raudus Bass todellakin edustaa suomalaista osaamista ja laatua parhaimmillaan. Miksi mennä merta edemmäs kalaan, kun tällainen, käsintehty laatubasso löytyy Suomessa?

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Amfisound Guitars Raudus Bass

Hinnat alkaen 2.520 € (laadukas kova laukku kuuluu hintaan)

Lisätiedot: Amfisound Guitars

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Plussat:

+ aitoa suomalaista laatua

+ käsintehty

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

01/04/2014

Amfisound Raudus Bass – the video

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Lisätiedot: Amfisound

28/03/2014

Ensi viikolla: Amfisound Raudus Bass

Amfisound Raudus Bass – beauty shot 1

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Lisätiedot: Amfisound