Posts tagged ‘Milos Berka’

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

04/06/2015

All Of Me (John Legend cover)

My son Milos has recorded this nice cover version of John Legend’s song ”All of me”.

15/05/2012

TC Electronic Röttweiler – sounds!

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Schecter Demon-7 played and recorded by Miloš Berka.

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21/11/2011

Turenki Tonefest 2011 – Finland’s Finest On Display

Yesterday Finland’s top luthiers got together for Turenki Tonefest 2011 at Turenki’s picturesque Vanha Asema.
Alongside the instruments and amps on display there was also live music (and even drums).

Turenki Tonefest really drew in the crowds! It was a great success that hopefully will be repeated next year.

photos: Miloš Berka

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Here I’m checking out some new Mad Professor pedals through a Mad Professor -amp. Tonefest’s organiser and Mad Professor main man Harri Koski is watching the proceedings.

The new Snow White -pedal must be one of the juiciest auto-wahs on the planet!

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You wouldn’t believe this, but let me tell you that the some of the best Selmer- and Maccaferri-style guitars you’ll find are made right here in Finland by AJL-Guitars in Kokkola.

Ari-Jukka Luomaranta also specialises in carved top jazz guitars.

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Anders Liljeström has managed to fill his brand-new Tvango-model with the soul of a big jazz box.

The pickup is Lollar’s version of the Gibson Charlie Christian.

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Amfisound are the guys to turn to if you want far-out finishes on no-compromise solidbodies.

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Soitinpaja JaSeSoi showed a very special mandolin at Tonefest. The three soundholes give the instrument a sweet and airy tone.

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Lottonen Guitars displayed a wealth of different models.

Juha Lottonen’s brand-new travel guitar features a full Gibson-scale and some ultra-cool looks.

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Olav Löf’s mid-sided acoustic has an octave g-string for 12-string style sounds.

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Sale Custom Guitars’s Rising Horse-model is not a million miles away from a certain Swedish-bloke’s favourite squeeze.

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Monster Amp and Visual Clone Guitars – something for the ears and the eyes.

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Finlandia Instruments’ stylish Byrdland-type model gave me a real buzz.

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Sadly Kitarablogi.Com didn’t get a good picture of Ruokangas Guitars’ new gold-top Unicorn Classic, so here’s one from their archives:

20/11/2011

Turenki Tonefest 2011

Tänään suomalaisen kitararakentamisen parhaimmisto kokoontui Turengin tunnelmallisessa Vanhassa Asemassa.
Laadukkaiden soittimien ja vahvistimien lisäksi tarjolla oli myös livemusiikki.

Turenki Tonefest oli suuri yleisömenestys – toivottavasti tavataan ensi vuonna uudestaan!

kuvat: Miloš Berka

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Tässä tsekkaan Mad Professorin uusia pedaaleja Mad Professor -vahvistimen läpi. Tonefestin vetäjä ja Mad Professorin puuhamies Harri Koski katsoo vierestä.

Uusi Snow White on tämän hetken mehukkaimpia Auto Wah -pedaalia!

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Maailman parhaat Selmer-tyyliset Gypsy Jazz -kitarat tulevat AJL-Guitarsilta Kokkolasta.

Niiden lisäksi Ari-Jukka Luomaranta on myös erikoistunut orkesterikitaroihin.

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Anders Liljeströmin upouudessa, kompaktissa Tvango-mallissa asuu suuren orkesterikitaran sielu.

Mikrofoniksi on valittu Lollar Pickupsin versio Gibson CC -mikrofonista.

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Amfisoundilla on aina esillä erittäin tuoreita ideoita viimeistelyissä.

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Soitinpaja JaSeSoin erikoinen mandoliini herätti huomiota – soittimella on kolmen ääniaukojensa ansiosta ilmavan kaunis ääni.

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Lottosella oli esillä laaja valikoima erilaisia kitaroita.

Kannattaa tsekata Juha Lottosen uutta, täydellä mensuurilla varustettua matkakitaraa.

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Olav Löfin kitarassa on 12-kieliseltä lainattu oktaavikieli g-kielelle.

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Sale Custom Guitarsin Rising Horse muistuttaa aika lailla Yngwien lempikitaraa…

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Monster Amp ja Visual Clone Guitars – iloa myös silmille.

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Hämeenlinnalaisen Finlandia Instrumentsin loistava Byrdland-tyylinen kitara teki minuun suuren vaikutuksen.

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Luonnollisesti myös Ruokangas Guitars oli paikalla. Kuvamme epäonnistuivat valitettavasti, minkä takia tässä on Ruokankaan oma kuva Unicorn Classic -mallista:

21/10/2011

Monster – or: the next Generation

The technical advances over the past 40 years are nothing but astounding.

My son Miloš recorded this cover version Paramore’s song Monster all by himself at home. And, to top it off, he’s even made a cracking video to go along with it.

He’s even borrowed my (souped up) Yamaha BB -bass and my Gibson Les Paul Junior for the occasion.   😉

I love it!