Posts tagged ‘Ibanez’

23/04/2018

Testipenkissä: Halla Custom Hallabird

Näin Halla Customin Hallabird-kitaran ensi kertaa vuoden alussa pidetyssä Tonefestissä, jossa se oli esillä soitinrakentaja-artesaani Ville Mattilan ständillä samantyylisen basson kanssa.

Siitä bassosta koko Hallabird-ajatus lähti alun perin liikkeelle. Ville oli rakentanut omaan käyttöönsä Gibson Thunderbirdiltä vaikutteita saaneen sähköbasson. Ville sai keikoilla niin paljon myönteistä palautetta uudesta bassostaan, että hän päätti tehdä samoilla designperiaatteilla myös sähkökitaran.

****

Halla Customin Hallabird (3,700 €; mm. kova laukku kuluu hintaan) on käsintehty kaula-läpi-rungon kitara täydellisellä natural-viimeistelyllä.

Kitaran kaula on kasattu yhdeksästä vierekkäisestä puurimasta, jossa afrikkalainen mahonki (khaya ivorensis) ja pähkinäpuu vuorottelevat. Kaulan perusrakenne on siis hyvin Gibson-tyylinen, mutta mensuurin suhteen Hallabird lähtee omille teilleen. Tässä custom-kitarassa on nimittäin erikoispitkä mensuuri (kielten soivan osan pituus), joka on 67 senttimetreillä kaksi senttiä Strato-mesuuria pidempi.

Kitaran tyylikäs ja solakka runko muodostuu kahdesta khaya-palasta.

Hallabird-mallin mustat metalliosat tulevat Gotohilta. Soittimen messinkisatula lisää avoimien kielten soittoon hieman diskanttia. En ole tähän mennessä koskaan kohdannut näin sulavasti muotoiltua messinkisatulaa.

Kaksisuuntaista kaularautaa pääsee säätämään tässä Halla Custom -kitarassa viritinlavalta.

Hallabirdin eebenpuiseen otelautaan on asennettu 24 kiiltävää Jescar Evo jumbonauhaa. Nauhatyön laatu on esimerkillinen. Tällaista laatua on miltei mahdotonta löytää edes kalliimmissa tuotantolinjan soittimissa.

Virittimien tavoin myös Hallabirdin tune-o-matic-talla ja palkkimainen kieltenpidin ovat laadukkaita Gotoh-osia.

Ville Mattila käyttää monissa Halla Custom -malleissa oman pajan mikrofoneja. Hallabirdistä löytyy kaksi P-90-tyylistä mikkiä, jotka on sovitettu taitavasti EMG-tyylisiin muovikuoriin. Yhteiskäytössä mikit toimivat humbuckerin tavoin. Mikrofonien kultaiset naparuuvit ovat hieno yksityiskohta, joka sopii hyvin yhteen mallin Jescar EVO -nauhojen ja afrikkalaisen mahongin kanssa.

Hallabirdin säätimissä piilee vielä yksi mielenkiintoinen yksityiskohta. Kitaran kolmiasentoinen vipukytkin ja myös sen mastervolume (ilman treble-bleediä) toimivat odotetusti, mutta toisen mustan nupin alta paljastuukin kolmiasentoinen kiertokytkin. Ville kutsuu tätä kytkintä impedanssikytkimeksi, joka vaikuttaa sekä kitarasignaalin diskanttipitoisuuteen että volume-säätimen käyttäytymiseen. Impedanssikytkimellä pystyy siis hienovirittämään volume-säätimen tuntumaa omaan musiikkigenreen ja vahvistimeen sopivaksi.

****

Halla Customin Hallabird on helvetinmoinen kitara. Ville Mattila on onnistunut luomaan sellaisen soittimen, joka näyttää samalla tutulta ja tuoreelta. Kitara on samanaikaisesti hillitty ja huomiota herättävä tapaus. Työnjälki on ensiluokkaista pienintä yksityiskohtaa myöten.

Pitkiä sessiot tai keikat eivät tunnu missään, koska Hallabird on niin kevyt. Non-reverse rungon ansiosta Hallabirdin tasapaino hihnassa on myös hyvin mukava, erikoispitkästä kaulasta huolimatta.

Kaulaprofiili on mukavan lihaksikas ja pyöreä, ilman että se tuntuisi kömpelöltä. Erinomaisen nauhatyön ja loistavan trimmin ansiosta kitaran kymppisetti tuntuu erittäin nopealta ja kevyeltä. Veikkaisin, että tällaisella setupilla monet soittajat eivät edes huomaisi testikitaran pidempää mensuuria. Asiakas pystyy kuitenkin tilaamaan oman unelmakitaransa omien speksien mukaan.

Hallabirdissä on tarkka, pianomainen atakki, sekä pitkä ja tasainen sustain. Kielten välinen erottelevuus on ensiluokkainen, jopa hyvin tiheitä sointuja soitettaessa. Soundissa on erinomainen balanssi lämmön ja avoimuuden välillä.

P-90-tyyliset mikrofonit ovat oiva valinta, jos hakusessa on humbuckerin soundillinen leveys ja voima yhdistettyinä yksikelaisen mikin dynamiikkaan. Vaikka sen ulkonäkö on melko ”rock”, pystyy Hallabirdillä kuitenkin liikkumaan ongelmitta myös kantrimusiikin tai Jazzin piireissä.

Nämä kaksi ääniklippiä on äänitetty 1980-luvun Boss SD-1 säröpedaalilla ja Bluetone Shadows Jr. -putkikombolla:

Demobiisissä käytin komppikitaroissa 80-luvun Ibanez SC10 chorusta, sekä Morleyn M2 Wah -pedaalia soolo-osuuksissa. Vahvistin oli tässäkin Shadows Jr.:

****

Halla Customin Hallabird on hyvin kaunis ja erittäin hyvin soiva käsintehty sähkökitara, joka on suomalaisen kitararakennuksen huipputason loistokas hedelmä. Hallabirdin Rock-asenteen takana löytyy hyvin monipuolinen soitin vaativalle soittajalle.

Luonnollisesti, tällaisella huippulaadulla on aina myös hintansa. Mutta vastineeksi saa tässä aidon boutique-luokan soittimen, jonka takana seisoo osaava ja omistautunut käsityöläinen.

****

Halla Custom Hallabird
Käsintehty kaula-läpi-rungon kitara

3,700 € – hintaan sisältyy: kova laukku, boutique-luokan kitarajohto, laadukas hihna (Schaller-lukoilla), yksi ilmainen säätökäynti (6-12 kk jälkeen), sekä elinikäinen tekninen tuki

Lisätiedot: Halla Custom Instruments

Plussat:

+ suomalaista käsityötä

+ työnjälki

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

****

Halla Customsin Ville Mattila on Suomen Soitinrakentajien Killan jäsen.HmSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

20/03/2018

Review: Halla Custom Hallabird

I first saw the Halla Custom Hallabird at this year’s Tonefest, where luthier-artisan Ville Mattila displayed it alongside its bass brother.

It was actually the bass that served as the original impetus for the Hallabird. Ville had made a slightly Gibson Thunderbird-influenced bass for his own use. The bass got so much positive attention that Ville decided to put more bread on the water, which is why he developed a guitar model along the same design ideas.

****

The Halla Custom Hallabird (3,700 €; including case and more, see below) is a handmade neck-through guitar with a flawless clear finish.

The through neck is made from nine long strips of wood – African mahogany (khaya ivorensis) offset with walnut. While the neck construction follows Gibson’s lead, the Hallabird takes its own path when it comes to scale length. This custom guitar comes with an extra long scale length of 67 cm (that’s approximately 26.37 inches for our Imperial readers).

The streamlined body wings have been crafted from khaya, too.

The Hallabird comes equipped with black Gotoh-hardware. This guitar also sports a brass nut to insert a little brightness into the open strings. This is probably the smoothest brass nut I’ve seen in my guitar-playing life.

Access to the two-way truss rod is from the headstock end on this Halla Custom guitar.

Twenty-four gleaming Jescar Evo jumbo frets have been installed into the Hallabird’s ebony fingerboard. The fretwork is nothing short of excellent – this is one of the areas where a handcrafted guitar tends to outshine production models, regardless of their price.

Gotoh’s hardware is known for its consistently high quality, and the Hallabird’s TOM-bridge and stopbar are no exception.

Ville Mattila mostly uses his own pickups in his Halla Custom guitars. The Hallabird comes equipped with a pair of handmade P-90s, niftily placed inside EMG-style plastic covers. The pickups are reverse-wound/reverse-polarity, meaning they act as a humbucker, when used together. The pickups’ golden polepieces look great with the Jescar EVOs and the khaya mahogany.

The Hallabird’s electronics are a little bit different than what you’d expect, judging by the knobs. There’s a three-way toggle for pickup selection, as well as a master volume control (sans treble bleed). What looks like a tone control is in fact what Ville calls a three-way impedance rotary. While the rotary switch minutely changes the treble content of the overall signal, it clearly influences the volume control’s roll-off taper. This allows you to fine-tune the way the guitar’s volume control reacts to your playing style and your amplifier.

****

Halla Custom’s Hallabird is one heck of a guitar. It is one of these rare cases, where a new design manages to look classic and fresh at the same time. A guitar that is understated, yet flashy. The quality of workmanship is excellent down to the smallest details.

The Hallabird is very lightweight, making it an ideal choice for long sessions or gigs. Thanks to the guitar being a non-reverse design, the Hallabird balances very nicely despite its longer-than-usual neck.

The neck profile is reassuringly round and chunky, without feeling clunky or unwieldy. Thanks to the outstanding fretwork the Hallabird came with a setup that made a set of 010s feel very slinky, even on the extra long scale neck. I’m quite sure many players won’t even notice the extra scale length, but if you wanted to order something more ordinary, I’m sure that Ville would happily oblige.

Acoustically, the Hallabird displays a piano-like attack with a long and even sustain. Note separation is excellent, even with complex chords, and there’s a great balance between warmth and clarity.

P-90s are a fantastic choice if you need humbucker-type power and girth, coupled to a single-coil’s dynamics. Even though its looks are probably a little ”too Rock”, the Hallabird can glide effortlessly into Country and Jazz mode, and then turn into a Rock machine at the proverbial drop of a hat.

These two clips have been recorded using a 1980s Boss SD-1 and a Bluetone Shadows Jr. boutique combo:

For the demo song I used a 1980s Ibanez SC10 chorus pedal on the rhythm guitars, and a Morley M2 Wah for the lead, through the Shadows Jr.:

****

Halla Custom’s Hallabird is a great-sounding and classy-looking guitar, made by somebody who clearly knows what he is doing. Don’t be fooled by the Classic Rock looks – this is a very versatile instrument for the discerning player.

Naturally, handcrafted quality like this never comes cheap. This is a true boutique guitar, made by a trained luthier-artisan highly dedicated to his craft.

****

Halla Custom Hallabird
Handmade neck-through electric guitar

3,700 € – includes hard case, high-end guitar cable, quality strap (with Schaller locks), one free setup (after 6-12 months of use), and lifetime tech support

Contact: Halla Custom Instruments

Pros:

+ handcrafted in Finland

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

****

Halla Customs’ Ville Mattila is a member of the Guild of Finnish Luthiers.HmSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

08/03/2018

Now on Soundcloud: Halla Custom Hallabird

Halla Custom Hallabird
Handmade neck-through electric guitar

• Made in Finland
• 9-stripe khaya/walnut through-neck
• khaya body wings
• long scale – 67 cm/ 26.37″
• ebony fingerboard
• brass nut
• 24 Jescar Evo frets
• two-way truss rod
• black Gotoh hardware
• two Halla Custom P-90 pickups
• three-way toggle, master volume, three-way impedance switch
Contact: halla.tv/

Amp used – Bluetone Shadows Jr.
Pedals used – 1980s Ibanez SC10 Chorus (rhythm guitars), Morley M2 Wah (lead guitar)
Mic used – Shure SM57

Save

08/06/2015

”Just one more!” – Living with G.A.S.

****

Just one more…pleeeeeeze!

einstein_guitar1

We’ve all seen the memes on social media, haven’t we? And let’s be honest – there’s plenty of truth in them!

Many – if not most – of us guitarists seem to have an annoying tendency to want to amass a wide selection of instruments and/or effect pedals and/or guitar amps for personal use. This gear lust, which often leads to crammed living conditions, empty pockets, and considerable trouble with our significant other, is generally known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome, colloquially shortened to G.A.S. (or GAS).

It seems that GAS has become ever more prevalent over the last couple of (or three) decades, but the roots of this problem reach as far back as popular music and the advent of mass media.

MM2015 – Schecter USA Sunset Custom

****

G.A.S. through the decades

The early days

Gibson Nick Lucas Signature

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly the onset of GAS, but many people would agree that Gibson’s Nick Lucas Special signature model (first released in 1927) played a crucial part.

Nick Lucas (1897-1982) was an accomplished guitarist and popular crooner, whose biggest hits (in the late Twenties and early Thirties) coincided with the popularity of the radio and the wider availability of phonograph records.

The Nick Lucas Special was Gibson’s first signature guitar, laying the groundwork for the endorsement deals we’re familiar with these days. Apart from riding on an artist’s popularity, a signature guitar also tends to suggest to the guitarist that, were he (or she) to play this particular instrument, some of the magic (as well as the technical prowess) of the endorsing artist might rub off. In short, the message is ”buy this guitar, and you will become a better and more popular player!”

As most male guitarists not only care for their playing technique, but also for the opposite sex, becoming more popular always sounded (and still sounds) like a good idea.

The Fifties and Sixties – the guitar boom

Squier Cabronita Telecaster – body beauty

During the first half of the 20th Century the guitar grew from a not-very-common, specialist instrument into a popular mainstream choice – not least thanks to Country music and the ”singing cowboys” featured on radio and records, as well as in the movie theatres.

But it was Rock ’n’ Roll that put the guitar in all its shapes on the top of the desirability list for masses of youngsters in the so-called Western World.

Yet, GAS wasn’t such a serious issue at that time, because musical instruments were outrageously expensive then, and some of the top US-brands almost impossible to get hold of in Europe.

Andy Babiuk’s fantastic book ”Beatles Gear” gives the reader a very good idea of how difficult it was for the guitarists of the late Fifties and early Sixties to even scrape together enough money to buy a single guitar (or amp). Owning multiple guitars was the privilege of the biggest stars only. Back in 1965 a new, baby blue Fender Stratocaster would have set you back around 3,000 euros in today’s money! This makes a current American Standard Stratocaster seem dead cheap at approximately 1,500 euros. And remember, back then there was no such thing as a quality (licensed) copy, and even substandard instruments from Eastern Europe weren’t really cheap (Harrison’s Czech-made Futurama cost him the better part of 1,200 euros in today’s money).

Still, young players were brand-conscious, at least to some degree, and lusting for the exact guitar they knew their idol was playing. Even if they couldn’t afford it…

They don’t make ’em like they used to

Les Paul Burst

The transition of the plain old ”used guitar” to the ”vintage guitar” we all know today got to a start in the late Sixties, mostly fuelled by the two best-known brands – Gibson and Fender:

When flagging sales of the Gibson Les Paul prompted the company to scuttle the model in favour of the instrument we now know as the Gibson SG, nobody could have foreseen that the move would lead to the first run on a discontinued electric guitar model ever. Caused by the exposure given to the ”out of print” Les Paul Standard by the new wave of Blues players, spearheaded by Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton, many serious guitarists started actively searching for used Les Pauls. The fact that Gibson chose to reissue the Les Paul in the late Sixties, but failed to sense that the crowd lusted for the double-humbucker Burst (instead of the Goldtop and the Custom), quickly turned the original Standards produced between 1958 and 1960 into the stuff of legend.

Both Fender and Gibson became parts of large business conglomerates before the Sixties were over, and a feeling started to seep into the guitar community that the earlier instruments were of a higher quality than those produced under the new managements.

Big in Japan

Tokai ES-162 – body beauty

The proliferation of reasonably well-made guitars from Japan – often dead-on copies of US classics – at reasonable prices was what truly kicked off the phenomenon we now call GAS.

For the first time amateur and semi-professional guitarists could afford to own more than a couple of guitars. Effect pedals, too, would start to benefit from Far Eastern efficiency and mass-production.

Many of the 1970s Tokai-, Ibanez- and Yamaha-guitars – as well as the earliest Roland/Boss-effects – are now considered vintage classics in their own right.

Tokai ATE-33N Thinline – body beauty 1

Licensed copies

Epiphone Casino – April 2012 – close-up

The Eighties finally ”sealed our fate”, when it comes to GAS.

Many large brands started to release official (=licensed) copies of their own instruments in the 1980s, with the rest following suit in the following decades. Brands like Squier, Epiphone, or Sterling make it affordable to hoard instruments that offer at least some of the clout of their famous, upmarket brethren.

Sterling SUB Ray4 – body beauty

****

The Five Types of GAS-sufferers

J Leachim Jazzcaster – body beauty

We are all different – we don’t all lust after the same guitars, and we don’t all accumulate gear for the same reasons or in the same way.

I think one could divide us Gassers up into five basic categories, according to how and why we ”simply have to have that guitar”.

1. The Fan

The Fan is a hardcore follower of one (or two) Rock bands (or guitar gods), and he (or she) focusses on acquiring as much of the gear used by their idol as humanly possible. The Fan hopes to come as close as possible to their idol’s famous guitar tone, and he/she wants to feel (and look) the way his (or her) idol does when playing those classic riffs and songs.

2. The Nostalgist

The Nostalgist comes from a similar place as the Fan, having a clear vision of what it is he’s looking for. But, instead of trying to relive a certain band’s or player’s tone, as the Fan does, the Nostalgist wants to reclaim the (his/her own?) past. The Nostalgist longs for the classic looks and tones gleaned off vintage equipment, the sounds of a cooler, more vibrant place than the current here-and-now. Some Nostalgists also buy all the stuff they wanted, but couldn’t afford to get, when they were young.

3. The Hunter and Gatherer

The Hunter and Gatherer simply loves to get new toys, especially when he can claim to have ”snapped up a real bargain”. These are the guys that constantly trail the Internet, on the lookout for something, anything really, that might whet their considerable appetite. Very often it doesn’t even matter if it is an instrument (or other piece of gear) the Hunter and Gatherer really ”needs”; as long as it’s cool and ”a bargain” it’s a viable acquisition.

4. The Specialist

The Specialist has a strong focus on one, two or three specific pieces of equipment, that he (or she) simply cannot get enough of. These are the guys who seem to have a perfectly good reason for buying several dozen Telecasters, or a whole flock of Fender Tweed-era amps – or maybe they zone in solely on gear manufactured during one specific year…

5. The Pragmatist

The Pragmatist comes over as very reasonable, even though he’s an addict like the rest of us. The Pragmatist tells his wife that he doesn’t yet own an archtop guitar with DeArmond pickups, but that he needs just such a guitar to complete his ”colour palette” or ”toolbox”. Some Pragmatists – like professional guitarists, studio owners, or guitar reviewers – can make a real art form of their Gassing, meaning it takes the unsuspecting wife years (if not decades) to see through this charade.

Fuzz 2015 – Nice, old Tellies!

Naturally, things aren’t always as clear cut in real life as they might seem on paper. Most of us GAS-sufferers tend to display a mixture of two of three of the above GAS-categories.

****

”You can’t play more than one guitar at a time!”

GJ2 Guitars – Concorde 4-Star + 5-Star

Does owning more than one or two guitars have real advantages? If you ask me, my answer would be a resounding ”yes and no”!

The ”yes” part of my answer has to do with the fact that playing guitar (or bass guitar) is always a tactile experience. Different instruments have different neck profiles, they have different overall dimensions, different actions, different fret sizes, different fingerboard radii, and they simply smell and feel differently.

This is probably the main reason why we don’t all play Line 6 Variax guitars. They might be decent instruments with an astonishingly realistic array of different tones, but they completely lack the important tactile element that is so crucial in inspiring you to come up with different licks and different ways of approaching the guitar as an instrument.

A big, fat Jazz box will make you play noticeably differently to a sleek Strat or SG, and the same holds true for the differences between, say, an ES-335 and a Floyd Rose-equipped Metal axe.

On the ”no” side of the equation, buying a new piece of equipment will surely inspire you, but it won’t automatically turn you into a ”better” guitarist. Even though it’s hard to admit, only regular practice will move you forward on the long and winding road to improvement.

Tokai SG-75 – body angle

****

Damned If You Do…

In a way, we’re extremely lucky these days. There has never been a better time to be a guitarist than now. There’s an abundance of cool gear available, and much of it at rather reasonable prices.

The downside to this is, of course, that it’s so much easier to become a gear addict, because the price tag doesn’t necessarily act as much of a threshold, anymore.

Still, I tend to see the positive side of things, because the affordability of decent equipment makes it much easier for guitarists these days to try out different stuff on their way to finding the gear that’s most suitable for the music they make.

The Valve Bimbo – with SG

02/12/2014

Review: JAM Pedals

JAM Pedals is a Greek maker of boutique effect pedals, whose products are now available in Finland, too (distributed by R-Jam Group).

JAM Pedals’ products are all-analogue, built by hand from first-rate components. Some models even rely on hard to come by NOS-chips and -transistors for their sound.

Most JAM-models can also be ordered in point-to-point versions, or with customised specifications and/or artwork.

All JAM Pedals come in hand-painted, unique designs, and are delivered with a cloth sack for storage, as well as a JAM-logo’d plectrum.

All the effects tested in this review run on a nine volt battery or a (Boss-type) power supply (not included).

****

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 + bag

JAM Pedals offers four different versions of its Tube Dreamer overdrive pedal.

Their compact Tube Dreamer 58 is the company’s take on the ultimate Ibanez Tube Screamer 808 pedal. The circuit is built around an original JRC4558D-chip.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 pic 1

The JAM Tube Dreamer 58 (current price in Finland: 185 €) wins you over with a healthy dose of that classic, creamy Tube Screamer mid-range. The TD58’s forte, though, is the vastly improved dynamic range of the JAM-model, and the more organic, amp-like overdrive structure, achieved by using three diodes for asymmetrical clipping.

This sound clip – like all the others in this review – has been recorded using a Fender Stratocaster and a Blackstar HT-1R valve combo:

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ and bag

The flagship model Tube Dreamer pedal is called the JAM Tube Dreamer+ (current price in Finland: 225 €), and is the deluxe version of the JAM Tube Dreamer 72, which is designed a ”secret chip”.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ pic 1

The Plus-version adds a high-gain-/boost-circuit (left footswitch) on top of the moderate-gain overdrive section (right footswitch).

The Tube Dreamer+ is shipped with the high-gain circuit adding only more gain to proceedings, but you can also adjust the high-gain circuit’s internal trimmer to deliver copious amounts of signal boost, whenever it is switched on.

In terms of its sound, the Tube Dreamer+ gives more than a passing nod to 1970s Blues Rock and Heavy Metal. Despite its high-gain boost, this JAM-model hasn’t been designed for contemporary Thrash Metal.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Red Muck + bag

JAM Pedals’ stompbox fuzz is called Red Muck, and it comes in a Soviet-inspired colour scheme, complete with hammer and sickle graphics.

Jam pedals – Red Muck pic 1

The starting points for the Red Muck fuzz’ (current price in Finland: 209 €) tone were the classic, early Big Muff -sounds.

JAM has refined the original fuzz character to come up with a much more versatile pedal. JAM’s Red Muck reacts extremely well to changes in the guitar’s volume knob settings, while the overall delivery is noticeably fatter and creamier, when compared to many other fuzz-effects. This pedal also takes well to full chords, and doesn’t mush up so quickly.

I have to admit that JAM’s Red Muck has quickly become my favourite fuzz box.

Listen for the tonal changes, as I slowly raise the volume control at the beginning of this clip:

Jam pedals – Red Muck pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Waterfall + bag

The JAM WaterFall (259 €) is a dual-function effect pedal, offering chorus and vibrato in one compact package.

Jam pedals – Waterfall pic 1

The two effects in the WaterFall have been designed around two legendary Panasonic-chips (the MN3101 and the MN3007), on which some of the earliest Boss modulation effects were also based.

The mini-switch on the right is for selecting the effect – chorus or vibrato (v) – while the switch on the opposite side lets you choose between a milder, vintage (-) version of the chosen effect, or its more drastic, modern counterpart.

The WaterFall’s chorus is simply superb, sounding very natural and musical:

Vibrato may not be the most-commonly used effect, but the WaterFall’s reading must surely be one of the sweetest-sounding there is:

Jam pedals – Waterfall pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Ripple + bag

JAM Pedals’ The Ripple (199 €) is an easy-to-use phaser. There’s only a single Speed-control for the effect, and that’s all.

Jam pedals – Ripple pic 1

This is one lush-sounding phaser – you can’t get more musical than this! The Ripple has a rich and organic tone, broadening your guitar sound, yet it never seems to usurp the show or hog the limelight.

Jam pedals – Ripple pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Delay Llama + bag

The Delay Llama?! The guys at JAM HQ sure do have a sense of humour!

JAM’s Delay Llama (265 €) is an analogue, lo-fi delay pedal in the spirit of the early Eighties.

Jam pedals – Delay Llama pic 1

The Delay Llama features a classic bucket-brigade circuit, which uses an updated version Panasonic’s legendary MN3205-chip. The maximum delay time offered is approximately 600 ms. An internal trim port allows you to adjust the maximum number of repeats available from the Repeats-control.

The Delay Llama will bring sonic fulfilment to fans of the BBD-sound – there’s plenty of grease on tap, and each new repeat degenerates noticeably from the one before. Factory settings even allow for the Repeat-control to cause infinite and distorting feedback loops, something for the fans of psychedelic and experimental music.

Jam pedals – Delay Llama pic 2

****

Jam pedals – teaser

In my opinion, these JAM Pedals offer the genuine boutique pedal experience at fair prices! They sound great, they look cool, their noise floor is low, and the pedals consume surprisingly little (battery) power. Give them a try!

****

JAM Pedals

effect pedals from Greece

Tube Dreamer 58 – 185 €

Tube Dreamer+ – 225 €

Red Muck – 209 €

WaterFall – 259 €

The Ripple – 199 €

Delay Llama – 265 €

****

Pros:

+ handmade

+ hand-painted

+ sound

+ low power consumption

20/11/2014

Testipenkissä: JAM Pedals

JAM Pedals on kreikkalainen boutique-luokan efektipedaalien valmistaja, jonka tuotteet ovat hiljattain rantautuneet myös Suomeen (maahantuoja on espoolainen yritys R-Jam Group).

JAM Pedalsin kaikki kitara- ja bassoefektit ovat analogisia, ja valmistetaan käsityönä laadukkaista osista. Joissakin malleissa käytetään jopa harvinaisia vanhoja (ns. ”new old stock”) siruja ja transistoreita.

Erikoistilauksesta saa myös point-to-point versiot firman pedaaleista, sekä customoituja efektejä.

JAM-pedaalien ominaisuuksiin kuuluu aina myös käsin maalattu kotelo, kevyt kangaspussi ja firman logolla varustettu laadukas plektra.

Nyt testissä käyneet pedaalit toimivat kaikki sekä 9 voltin paristolla että Boss-standardin mukaisella 9 voltin virtalähteellä (ei kuulu hintaan).

****

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 + bag

JAM Pedals tarjoaa neljä erilaista Tube Dreamer -säröpedaalia.

Kompakti Tube Dreamer 58 on firman edelleen jalostettu näkemys klassisesta Ibanez Tube Screamer 808 -pedaalista. Kytkennän perustana käytetään jopa alkuperäistä JRC4558D-sirua.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 pic 1

JAM Tube Dreamer 58 säröön (185 €) on saatu mukaan tuhdin annoksen vanhasta Tube Screamerista tuttua kermaista keskialuetta. TD58:ssa on kuitenkin parannettu roimasti pedaalin dynamiikka ja särön putkivahvistin-tyylistä soundia käyttämällä kolmea diodia, jotka tuottavat harmonisesti rikkaan asymmetrisen klippauksen.

Tämä ääninäyte – kuten tämän jutun muutkin pätkät – on äänitetty Fender Stratocasterilla ja Blackstar HT-1R -putkikombolla:

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ and bag

JAM Tube Dreamer+ (225 €) on valmistajan lippulaivasärö, joka perustuu JAMin Tube Dreamer 72 -pedaaliin, jossa käytetään firman salaista sirua.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ pic 1

Plussaversio tarjoaa keskivahvan overdrive-särön lisäksi samassa kotelossa vielä yhden päälle polkaistavan high-gain-/boost-piirin (vasen jalkakytkin).

Tehdasasetuksissa high-gain puoli lisää signaaliin pelkästään säröä, mutta Tube Dreamer Plussan pienellä sisäisellä trimmerillä voi halutessa myös lisätä reilusti high-gain-särön volyymitasoa.

Soundiltaan Tube Dreamer+ nojaa vahvasti 1970-luvun mehukkaaseen Bluesrockin ja Heavy Metalin suuntaan. High-gain-puolestaan huolimatta tämä JAM-pedaali ei ole tarkoitettu nykypäivän Thrash Metal -soittajille.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Red Muck + bag

JAM Pedalsin fuzz-pedaalin nimi on Red Muck (punainen lika), vaikka se onkin hyvin siistin näköinen, neuvostoajan symboleilla leikkivä efektipedaali.

Jam pedals – Red Muck pic 1

Red Muck -fuzzin (209 €) lähtökohtana toimivat historian parhaat Big Muff -soundit.

JAM on kuitenkin jalostanut näistä alkuperäispedaaleja huomattavasti yleispätevämmän kokonaisuuden. JAM Red Muck reagoi esimerkillisesti kitaran volume-potikan kanssa, ja fuzz-efektin yleissoundi on täyteläisempi ja hieman kermaisempikin kuin monet muut fuzz-efektit. Tämä pedaali ei myöskään mene täysin tukkoon, silloin kun soittaa sointuja sen läpi.

Täytyy sanoa, että JAMin Red Muck on tämän testin perusteella noussut minun henkilökohtaiseksi suosikki-fuzziksi.

Tämän audiopätkän alussa avaan hitaasti kitaran volume-potikan:

Jam pedals – Red Muck pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Waterfall + bag

JAM WaterFall (259 €) on nyt testatun kuusikon monipuolisin efektipedaali, joka tarjoaa sekä chorus- että vibratoefektin samassa kuoressa.

Jam pedals – Waterfall pic 1

WaterFallin efektipiirit käyttävät varhaisista Boss-efekteistä tuttuja – nykyään legendaarisen maineen saaneita – alkuperäisiä Panasonic-siruja (MN3101 ja MN3007).

Pedaalin oikeanpuoleisella pikkukytkimellä vaihdetaan choruksen ja vibraton (V) välillä, kun taas vasemmanpuoleisella kytkimellä voi valita käyttääkö vahvemman nykytulkinnan tai miedomman vintage-tyylisen version (-) valitusta efektistä.

WaterFallin chorus on erittäin luonnollisen kuuloinen ja musikaalisella tavalla orgaaninen:

Vibratoefekti on ehkä hieman harvemmin käytetty efektityyppi, mutta WaterFall-pedaalin tulkinta on kuitenkin hyvin laadukas lajinsa edustaja:

Jam pedals – Waterfall pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Ripple + bag

JAM Pedals The Ripple (199 €) on erittäin helppokäyttöinen phaser-pedaali, koska sillä on ainoastaan yksi säädin efektin nopeussäätöä varten.

Jam pedals – Ripple pic 1

Samoin kuin WaterFall-choruksen kohdalla, voin myös The Ripple -phaserin tapauksessa vain todeta, että efekti toimii erittäin kiitettävästi hyvin musikaalisella tavalla. Phaser-efekti on täyteläinen ja soundia laajentava, ilman että JAMin pedaali kahmisi koko huomiota itselleen.

Jam pedals – Ripple pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Delay Llama + bag

Delay Llama?! Kyllä, JAMin tyypeillä on huumorintajua!

JAM Delay Llama (265 €) on analoginen lo-fi viive-efekti varhaisen 1980-luvun hengessä.

Jam pedals – Delay Llama pic 1

Delay Llaman kytkentä on rakennettu bucket-brigade-periatteella, jonka sydämenä toimii vanhan (ja legendaarisen) Panasonic MN3205 -sirun laadukas kopio. Pedaalin maksimaalinen viiveaika on noin 600 millisekuntia. Sisäisellä trimmerillä voi säätää toistomäärän ylärajaa.

Delay Llamalla on juuri se oikea BBD-soundi – se on likainen, ja jokainen toisto huononee entisestään hyvin herkullisella tavalla. Tehdasasetuksilla pystyy käyttämään Repeat-säädintä myös feedback-loopin aiheuttamiseen, mistä kokeellisen tai psykedeelisen musiikin ystävät varmasti iloitsevat.

Jam pedals – Delay Llama pic 2

****

Jam pedals – teaser

Nämä JAM-pedaalit ovat mielestäni todella loistavia, eikä edes ylisuurella hintalapulla pilattuja! JAM Pedals -efektit tarjoavat aidon boutique-kokemuksen: Niillä on loistava soundi, hyvin alhainen kohinataso, omaleimainen ulkonäkö, ja ne ovat sähköpihejä. Kokeileminen kannattaa varmasti!

****

JAM Pedals

kreikkalaisia efektipedaaleja

Tube Dreamer 58 – 185 €

Tube Dreamer+ – 225 €

Red Muck – 209 €

WaterFall – 259 €

The Ripple – 199 €

Delay Llama – 265 €

****

Plussat:

+ käsintehtyjä

+ käsinmaalattuja

+ soundi

+ vähäinen virrantarve

31/01/2012

NAMM 2012 – Ibanez Artcore AKJ-85

Kaunis uutuus Ibanezin Artcore-sarjasta on edullinen, mutta tyylipuhdas Jazz-kitara, AKJ-85.

Kaula on Artcore-sarjan tavoin veistetty kolmesta pitkästä palasta (vaahtera ja mahonki). Reunalistoitettu otelauta on palisanteria. Runko taas on rakennettu muotoon prässätystä vaahteravanerista.

Mikrofonia ovat Ibanez ACH1- (kaulan lähellä) ja ACH2-humbuckerit (puutallan vieressä).

****

Maahantuoja: Levytukku

08/11/2011

George Benson – loistava kitaristi ja kaunis kitara

George Bensonin biisi Breezin’ on mielestäni yksi onnistuneimmista crossovereista, jossa jazz- ja pop-musiikki elävät sulassa sovussa. Komppi groovaa ja melodia kulkee kevyesti – loistava.

Pidin myös aina George Bensonin kitarasta. Ibanez George Benson -malli (GB-10) on klassikko, ja se oli ensimmäinen kitara, jonka kokeilin nuorena soitinliikkeessä 1970-luvun loppupuolella. Se oli yksi ensimmäisistä japanilaisista kitaroista, jotka todistivat, että laadukas kitara ei välttämättä tarvitse tulla USA:sta tai Euroopasta. Erikoista GB-10:ssä on sen – perinteistä orkesterikitaraa nähden – pienempi runko.

07/11/2011

George Benson – cool crossover and nice guitar

George Benson’s track Breezin’ must be one of the most successful cases of a Jazz-artist crossing over into the Pop realm. The track grooves and the music seems to flow effortlessly – magic.

I always fancied his guitar, too. The classic Ibanez George Benson -model (GB-10) was the first electric guitar I ever picked up and played at my local guitar shop in the late Seventies. It was one of the models that proved that a Japanese guitar could really be a quality instrument. An excellent scaled-down take on the classic jazz guitar format.

12/08/2011

The Red Riddle – my Kasuga ES-335 -copy

Everybody has heard of Tokai, and there’s plenty of knowledge about Greco’s and Ibanez’ copycat instruments around.

The Kasuga-brand is a much rarer beast, even though the company produced many decent instruments (many of those were copies) between the mid-Sixties and the Eighties.

I own a Kasuga-version of Gibson’s classic ES-335, which was most likely produced in the late 1970s, judging by its main specs.

I found my Kasuga by chance in a flea-market in the early Nineties. The price asked was so low and the guitar so red, it was a no-brainer.  😉

The classic curves of a Gibson ES-335/345/355 are one of the prettiest guitar shapes, in my opinion.

In some respects this copy is a funny hodgepodge of different attributes lifted from different periods of the original’s lifespan. Additionally there are also some of Kasuga’s own details added.

Take the headstock, for example, which is the larger version, generally used for the bound headstock of the Gibson ES-355 model.

A previous owner had installed a brass nut – very much in fashion in the early Eighties. The extremely low frets are original, as are the large pearl inlays. The neck profile is a copy of Gibson’s 1970’s slim type.

The sealed tuners are of a make that I’ve never seen before or since. There’s the typical 1970s volute, meant to strengthen the neck’s wrist and the headstock.

Genuine mahogany has been used for the set neck.

One of the f-holes reveals the body’s five-ply laminate, which seems to be maple/mahogany/maple/mahogany/maple.

The Kasuga even mimics Gibson’s Seventies short centre block, that only starts at the bridge. The neck has its own little block. In this case the centre block has been fashioned from mahogany.

The electronics are high quality – the original pots all still work fine, as does the switch. I only had to replace the output jack some ten years ago.

Strangely enough the arch of the body is not as pronounced and graceful, as on the originals. The humbuckers are standard sized, but the bezels are wider than normal.

The body ears have been left completely flat on the Kasuga, while the original sports very attractive arching both on the top as well as the back. The ears are slightly pointed, as was usual in post-1964 Gibsons as well.

Here are some Kasuga soundbites:

Kasuga – neck PU

Kasuga – both PUs

Kasuga – bridge PU

Kasuga – plus lead