Bluetone Black Prince Reverb (2021) – demobiisi – demo song

All guitar tracks recorded with a ribbon microphone.

• Lead guitar – Hamer USA Studio Custom

• Rhythm guitars – Gibson Les Paul Junior (left channel) & Fender ’62 Telecaster Custom Reissue (right)

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb

• Inspired by a Fender Blackface Princeton

• Controls for Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Reverb, Tremolo Speed, Tremolo Depth, Solo Boost, Master Volume

• Power amp comes with a pair of 6V6GTs (14-15 W); can run on other octal tubes also, like a pair of EL34s (28-30 W)

• Genuine spring reverb (switchable)

• Bias-modulated tremolo (switchable)

• Solo Boost (switchable)

• 12-inch Celestion Neo Creamback (other options available)

• Three-switch footswitch unit included

Testipenkissä: Bluetone Bluesmaster – suoraan asiaan

Tässä videossa ei ole käytetty efektipedaaleja.
Alkuperäinen Musicmaster Bass 1970-luvulta oli bassolle tarkoitettu harjoitusvahvistin.

Fenderin alkuperäinen Musicmaster Bass -kombo oli mielenkiintoinen tapaus. Musicmasteria oli ajateltu alkavalle basistille sopivaksi harjoitusvahvistimeksi, ja sitä myytiin jopa paketissa samannimisen ”halpabasson” kanssa. Kombo oli kuitenkin jonkinasteinen pettymys, sillä sen soundi oli suhteellisen ponneton ja potkuton.

Viime vuosina jotkut kitaristit ovat kuitenkin alkaneet nähdä Musicmaster-komboa edulliseksi mahdollisuudeksi päästä käsiiksi aitoon Silverface-soundiin. Totta, tämä kombo on varsin riisuttu ilmestys, mutta se on kuitenkin täysputkikone. Lisäksi se ei ole keräilymalli, minkä ansiosta Musicmasterin modaaminen omaan tarpeisiin ei tunnu lainkaan pahalta ratkaisulta.

Tästä ilmiöstä meidän stoori alkaa:

Suomalainen vahvistinpaja Bluetone on hiljattain alkanut valmistaa oman käsintehdyn ja parannetun version Fender Musicmasterista. Uutukainen on tarkoitettu nimenomaan kitaristille. Uuden kombon nimi on Bluetone Bluesmaster, ja sen hinta on – valituista optioista riippuen – jossain 960 ja 1.190 euron välillä.

Bluesmasterin signaalitie on periaatteessa sama kuin alkuperäisessä styrkkarissa, mutta muutamalla parannuksilla, kuten Low Cut -bassoleikkuri ja Bluetonen oma OPC-tehosäädin. Kolmiasentoisen OPC:n (Output Power Control) ansiosta Bluesmasterin lähtötehoa pystyy pudottamaan jopa vain kahteen wattiin, ilman että kombon soundi muuttuisi ratkaisevasti.

Koska alkuperäinen Musicmaster oli tarkoitettu halpavehkeeksi, Fenderin insinöörit poistivat kaikki ylimääräiset komponentit, jotka eivät olleet välttämättömiä saada bassosignaalia vahvistetuksi kaiuttimelle. Ehkä epätavallisin ratkaisu oli toteuttaa Musicmasterin vaiheenkääntäjää muuntajalla, kun se hoidetaan yleisesti putkella.

Niin kuin näkee kuvassa (yllä) Bluetone on käyttänyt samaa ratkaisua myös uudessa Bluesmasterissa. Putkien lisäksi – yksi 12AX7-putki (etuaste), sekä kaksi 6V6GT-putkia (pääte) – siellä näkyy kolme muuntajaa. Piennemmät niistä ovat vaiheenkääntäjä ja audiomuuntaja, kun taas se isompi musta kapistus on kombon sähkönsyöttöä varten.

Kitaristien suosituin modifikaatio vanhaan Musicmasteriin on alkuperäisen Fender-kaiuttimen vaihtaminen johonkin soundilta tukevampaan.

Bluetonen Bluesmasterissa on jo valmiiksi asennettu alkuperäistä laadukkaampi ämyri. Kymmenentuumainen Warehouse Guitar Speakerin G10C/S kuuluu WGS:n American Vintage -mallistoon, ja sitä tunnetaan sen selkeästä ja lämpimästä soundista. Tämä malli tykkää myös efektipedaaleista. Bluetone tarjoaa optiona myös toisentyypistä kaiutinta Bluesmasteriin (tsekkaa Bluetonen tuotesivulta).

Takapaneeliin on asennettu virtakytkimen ja pääsulakkeen lisäksi ainoastaan kolme kaiutinlähtöä.

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Vaikka Bluetone Bluesmaster -kombo voi vaikuttaa ensituntumalta hieman kuivakkaalta ja suorasukkaiselta, se lisää eittämättä jotain maagista lisämaustetta soundiin.

Vahvistin lisää nimittäin annoksen hienon musikaalista kompressiota jo puhtaaseen meininkiin. En puhu sellaisesta kompressiosta, joka puristaa nuottien atakkia kasaan, vaan tässä vahvistin ikäänkuin lisää nuotien häntäpäähän lisää eloa. Bluesmasterista saa näin enemmän sustainia vaikkapa puhtaaseen kantri- ja bluessoittoon, ilman että atakin napakkuus kärsisi tästä.

Koska Bluesmasterissa on kyse matalatehoisesta putkivahvarista ilman master volyymiä, kannattaa mielestäni ehdottomasti kokeilla rauhassa läpi minkätyypisiä soundeja saa aikaiseksi Volume-säätimellä, sekä vaihtamalla Low- ja High-tulojakkien välillä.

Bluetonen Bluesmaster-kombo ei tarjoa massivisiä määriä puhdasta headroomia, mutta sen sijaan siltä saa esillä todella herkullisia reunasärösoundeja, jotka reagoivat erinomaisesti soittajan dynamiikkaan ja kitaran volume-säätimeen. Kombo toimii hyvin myös efektipedaaleilla.

Volume-säätimen ”loppumetreillä” pikkukombosta lähtevät myös maukkaita särösoundeja. Huom: koska kyseessä on non-master volume kombo, Bluesmaster soi täydellä säröllä suhteellisen isolla äänellä, jopa kaksiwattisena, ja voi silloin olla liian äänekäs kerrostaloon.

Kaikki demobiisin kitararaidat on soitettu suoraan Bluetone Bluesmasteriin ilman pedaaleja. Kitararaidat äänitettiin Shure 545SD -mikrofonilla Cranborne Audio Camden -mikkivahvistimen kautta audiosekvensseriin.

• Komppikitarat: Gibson Les Paul Junior (vasen kanava), Fender Stratocaster (keskellä), Fender Telecaster (oikea kanava)

• Soolokitara: Hamer USA Studio Custom

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Uusi Bluetone Bluesmaster lunastaa kaikken mitä se lupaa. Minun mielestäni tämä on erinomainen Silverface-tyylinen putkikone blueskitaristille. Bluesmaster on käsintehty laatuvahvistin, joka tarjoaa rutkasti parempaa työnjälkeä kuin esikuvansa, ja joka on valmiiksi modattu kitaristille sopivaksi. Bluesmasterin ”riisuttu” olemus myös tarkoittaa, että soittimesi soundi pysyy mallikkaasti ehjänä matkalla tulojakista kaiuttimeen.

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Bluetone Bluesmaster

Hinta alk. 960 €

• Perustuu Fender Musicmaster Bass -kytkentään

• 10-12 W putkitehoa

• 1 x 12AX7; 2 x 6V6GT

• Volume- ja Tone-säädin, Low Cut -kytkin, sekä kolmiasentoinen OPC-kiertokytkin

• 1 x 10″ Warehouse Guitar Speakers G10C/S -kaiutin

Review: Bluetone Bluesmaster – Straightforward and to the point

No effect pedals were used on the guitar parts in this demo.
The original Fender Musicmaster Amp is a practice bass amp from the 70s and early 80s.

Fender’s original Musicmaster Bass amplifier was an odd concoction. The Musicmaster Amp was meant as a practice amplifier for beginning bassists – and sometimes even sold in a pack with the starter bass guitar of the same name – but it fell strangely flat of expectaions. The amp was underpowered and sounded flabby and uninspiring as a bass amp.

More recently, though, guitarists on the hunt for good bargains have come to realise that the Musicmaster Amp is a relatively inexpensive way to buy a genuine ”silverface” Fender. It’s a stripped-down valve amp for sure, but it still deliveres a lot of character, when used with an electric guitar. And because it isn’t a collectable Fender model, people feel free to modify the original for their own purposes.

This is where it starts to get interesting:

Finnish boutique amp maker Bluetone has released its own handcrafted and improved version of the Fender Musicmaster a few weeks ago, meant expressly for guitarists. This new guitar combo is called the Bluetone Bluesmaster, and it will set you back between 960 to 1,190 euros, depending on your chosen options and finish.

The signal path closely follows that of the original, but the Bluetone Bluesmaster adds such handy features as a Low Cut switch and the company’s own three-way rotary OPC-switch. The OPC-circuit (Output Power Control) enables you to drop the Bluesmaster’s output power from its full 10-12 watts down to something like 2 watts, virtually without any negative impact on the amplifier’s tone.

The original Musicmaster amp had been designed to reflect its low price tag. Fender’s engineers got rid of any components that weren’t strictly necessary to get the audio signal from the input to the speaker. Their most interesting – and quite unique, as it turns out – decision was to use an audio transformer for phase inverter-duties, instead of the much more common option of using a valve.

As you can see in the photo above, Bluetone has used the same basic design for the new Bluesmaster combo. Next to the three tubes – a single 12AX7 for the preamp, and a pair of 6V6GTs for the power amp – there are three (!) transformers. Two small ones for phase inversion and signal output, respectively, as well as a larger toroidal transformer for the combo’s power requirements.

The favourite modification on old Musicmasters is swapping the weedy-sounding original Fender for a beefier speaker.

The Bluetone Bluesmaster does this for you and comes workshop-equipped with a 10-inch Warehouse Guitar Speaker G10C/S. The G10C/S is part of WGS’s American Vintage range and is known for its clear, but round top end, as well as for its pedal-friendliness and smooth breakup. Other speakers are available as an option, too (see Bluetone’s website).

Apart from the power switch, the back panel offers a trio of speaker outputs.

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Although the Bluetone Bluesmaster seems very straightforward and upfront at the beginning, there really is some sort of magic tone thing going on with this all-valve combo.

The sound may seem a bit dryish at first, but you will quickly notice a very enticing dose of juicy compression, even on very clean tones. This compression isn’t the ducking type, well known from many master volume amps and distortion pedals, which ducks the note attack and squashes the whole signal. Here we have a Country- and clean Blues-friendly type of compression that seems to lift the sustain phase of each ringing note.

Because this is a relatively low-powered tube combo without separate gain and master volume controls, it really makes sense to experiment with the Bluesmaster’s High- and Low-inputs and the combo’s volume control, to get the full picture of what sounds you can glean from which combination of guitar and settings.

The Bluetone Bluesmaster doesn’t offer tons of clean headroom, instead it has that magic clean-but-breaking-up tone zone down to a tee. The combo also works well with effect pedals.

There are also some chunky overdrive and distortion voicings available in the higher reaches of the Bluesmaster’s Volume-control. You should be aware, though, that, this being a non-master volume combo, running this amp at full tilt even at only 2 watts of output might get you into trouble with your neighbours in a block of flats.

All of the demo song’s guitar parts were played through the Bluetone Bluesmaster without any effect pedals. The guitar tracks were recorded with a Shure 545SD going into a Cranborne Audio Camden preamp.

• Rhythm guitars: Gibson Les Paul Junior (left), Fender Stratocaster (middle), Fender Telecaster (right)

• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom

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The Bluetone Bluesmaster does what it says on the proverbial tin. In my opinion, this is a very nice and straightforward silverface-inspired Blues amp for guitar. The excellent build quality and very sensible modifications and improvements result in a quality tube combo that will surely give you a lifetime of aural pleasure.

****

Bluetone Bluesmaster

Prices starting from € 960.

• Based on a Fender Musicmaster Bass Amp

• 10-12 W of all-valve power

• 1 x 12AX7; 2 x 6V6GT

• Volume, Tone, Low Cut-switch, and three-stage OPC rotary switch

• 1 x 10″ Warehouse Guitar Speakers model G10C/S

Bluetone Bluesmaster – now on You Tube!

All guitar parts played through the Bluetone Bluesmaster all-valve combo, straight without any effect pedals.

All guitar tracks recorded with a Shure 545SD going into a Cranborne Audio Camden preamp.

• Rhythm guitars: Gibson Les Paul Junior (left), Fender Stratocaster (middle), Fender Telecaster (right)

• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom

****

Bluetone Bluesmaster

• Based on a Fender Music Master

• 10-12 W of all-valve power

• 1 x 12AX7; 2 x 6V6GT • Volume, Tone, Low Cut-switch, and three-stage OPC rotary switch

• 1 x 10″ Warehouse Guitar Speakers model G10C/S

Tulossa Rockway-blogiin: DiMavery ST-312 Satin Black

DiMavery ST-312 Satin Black

• solid ash body

• maple neck, bolt-on

• rosewood fretboard with red dot markers

• 22 medium frets

• black chrome hardware: vintage vibrato bridge & sealed tuners

• bridge humbucker plus neck and middle singlecoil pickups

• master volume and two tone controls

• gig bag included 

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Demo Song

This is a short cover of ”Wonderful Land” (Jerry Lordan) inspired by Mike Oldfield’s version.

All guitar tracks played on the DiMavery ST-312 through a Mad Professor Simble Overdrive and a Bluetone Shadows Jr. tube combo.

Finnish distributor: Discoland

Review: Farida Old Town OT-12 and OT-25

The world of steel-string guitars is dominated by Dreadnoughts. This is no wonder, as D-sized guitars are great all-rounders that can be used in almost all genres of music. The size that’s one size smaller – usually called an OM-, 000- or Grand Auditorium-guitar – as well as larger Jumbos are also widely available in most price segments.

Guitars with smaller bodies than Martin Guitars’ Size 000 are far harder to find in the lower and middle price ranges, because most brands see them as marginal products for a few specialist players.

This is where Farida Guitars’ brand-new Old Town series steps up to the plate. True, there are a couple of Gibson-ish round-shoulder Dreads among the models, too, but the main focus of the Old Town series is on small-bodies steel-string acoustics, in the style of classics from the 1930s and 40s. The good news for left-handers is that several models are available for southpaws, too, without an extra charge.

We received two models for this review – a Martin Size 0-sized Farida OT-12 (423 €) …

… and a  Gibson LG-2-style Farida OT-25 (738 €). Both guitars come in a deep and rich sunburst finish.

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Farida’s OT-12 is an affordable Old Town-version of Martin’s classic Size 0 guitar. The set neck joins the body at the 14th fret. The body is 46 cm long, with its maximal breadth measuring on 34.3 cm, and a maximal depth of 10.8 cm. This means the OT-12 is larger than a genuine parlour guitar, but a small guitar nonetheless.

The guitar sports an X-braced solid spruce top, as well as a back and sides made from laminated mahogany. There’s a nato neck with an unbound acacia fretboard. The scale length is – as per original – a little shorter than on a typical D-sized guitar (24.7”/62.4 cm). There are 19 well-seated and nicely polished medium-sized frets on the fretboard.

The machine heads on the OT-12 are vintage-style, open three-on-a-plate tuners with faux ivory knobs. The top nut has been carved from genuine bovine bone, and it measures 44 millimetres breadth.

The bridge, too, has been crafted from solid acacia, and it comes equipped with a compensated bone saddle, which is an authentic choice. The factory strings are a high-quality D’Addario EJ-16-set (012-053).

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There is one Gibson steel-string model that was extremely successful in decades past, but which nobody seems to talk about anymore. I’m talking about the Gibson LG-2, that was renamed the Gibson B-25 in 1961. The same US-made model was also sold in the Sixties as the Epiphone FT-45 Cortez. T. Rex’ Marc Bolen was often seen playing this very model in the early Seventies.

Farida’s version of the LG-2 – the Farida OT-25 – is an all-solid instrument with an X-braced spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. The OT-25’s cubic capacity is very similar to a Martin Size 00 body, but the geometry is different. Instead of the wide shoulders and high waist of the 00, the OT-25 is shaped more like a figure eight, with its waist moved more towards the body’s middle lengthwise. The body’s length is 48 cm, its largest width 36 cm, and its largest depth measures 11.2 cm.

This guitar also sports a nato neck, but here the fingerboard has been made from South-American pau ferro. The scale length, number of frets, fret size and quality of the fretwork on the Farida OT-25 is identical to the OT-12.

The headstock shape, type of tuning heads and the top nut also correspond with the OT-12.

The bridge on this Farida has been carved from pau ferro, and it features a compensated bridge saddle made from genuine bone. The factory strings are a high-quality D’Addario EJ-16-set.

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I must say that I’m very impressed by the workmanship and quality displayed on the review samples of Farida’s Old Town series. It would be easy to mistake both of these guitars for much more expensive instruments.

I received both guitars straight from Vantaan Musiiki’s warehouse, still factory packed. I’m amazed by the high level of quality control at Farida’s factory – there were no sharp frets or other issues. I tuned the guitars up to pitch, and the action on both models came to rest at exactly what the quality control card read (low-E: 2.6 mm; treble-e: 2.1 mm), and the action stayed this way over the whole time I spent with the guitars.

Both Faridas feature a full and rounded C-profile neck. Playability is top notch, as both guitars offer plenty of scope to really dig in and make the most of each instrument’s dynamic range. Still, should you require a lower action, there’s more than enough height left in the bridge saddles to accommodate you easily.

The Farida OT-12 sits a little bit more ”into” the player’s body, due to its shorter scale and higher waist, than the OT-25.

The OT-12’s sound is clearly bigger than that of a parlour guitar with a nice amount of ”kick”. Naturally, there’s a great deal less bass frequency content here than in a Dreadnought-size guitar. Feisty use of a pick might even turn out a little harsh at times, but fingerstyle playing greatly benefits from the greater clarity – and tighter bass – of small guitars. The OT-12 never gets wooly or boomy, which is also a definite plus in the studio.

The sound of the Farida OT-25 is probably a bit more versatile, compared to the OT-12, because there is little bit more going on in terms of its low mids and bottom end. The sound is still punchy and tight, but there’s additional texture and complexity here. In my view, the OT-25 would be an outstanding choice as the trusty workhorse of a singer-songwriter, as well as a go-to instrument in the studio. This guitar has a beautiful tone, whether you use a plectrum or your fingers.

****

Farida Old Town

OT-12 – 423 €

OT-25 – 738 €

Finnish distributor: Musiikki Silfverberg

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ finish

+ playability

+ sound

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