Posts tagged ‘new model’

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.

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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.

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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.:

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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.

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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

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Halla Customsin Ville Mattila on Suomen Soitinrakentajien Killan jäsen.HmSave

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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.

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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.

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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.:

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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.

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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

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

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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

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27/02/2018

Testi tulossa ++ Working on a review ++ Halla Custom HallaBird

Contact: Halla Custom Instruments

29/01/2018

Review: Bluetone Shadows Jr.

Following in the wake of their very popular Shadows Reverb combo, Finnish boutique makers Bluetone Amps have recently introduced a smaller sibling, called the Shadows Jr.

The Bluetone Shadows Jr. (combo starting at around 1,300 €) is a hand-built, all-valve guitar combo, whose sound is based on the classic Vox AC15. Instead of being a straight, slavish copy, though, the Shadows Jr. incorporates many of the up-to-date features that have made Bluetone such a well-regarded boutique maker.

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The Shadows Jr. has the clean and business-like looks that active players truly appreciate. You don’t want to be slowed down on stage by a control panel that’s hard to decipher. The Bluetone is clarity itself.

This is a single-channel all-valve combo running in Class AB mode giving you maximum output power at just over 10 watts.

The Shadows Jr. is designed around a trio of 12AX7 preamp tubes and a pair of EL84s powering the speaker. The combo’s power valves are cathode-biased, which means that swapping tubes won’t necessitate a trip to your friendly amp technician.

Bluetone is one of the very few amp makers who use torroidal power transformers. These doughnut-shaped devices (the black thing in the upper left corner) are lighter and more dependable than traditional transformer designs, and they offer more exact tolerances. As a valve amp is highly dependable on a stable and electronically quiet power supply for superior tone, Bluetone decided on using torroidal transformers early on, and they’ve never looked back.

The Warehouse Guitar Speakers Green Beret is an excellent choice for a strongly Brit-flavoured combo. Bluetone break in all of the speakers they use with low-frequency sine waves.

Despite being a compact single-channel combo amp (weighing only around 10 kg), the Bluetone Shadows Jr. offers an amazing amount of different clean and gain tones, thanks in no small part to the amp’s PPIMV master volume and the three-step OPC-switch.

PPIMV stands for ”post-power inverter master volume”, which is the preferred way of master volume design at Bluetone Amps, because it eats up the least amount of an amplifier’s tone, when in use. And if you turn the master volume knob all the way up, a PPIMV design makes the master volume ”disappear” electronically, making it completely transparent.

OPC, on the other hand, stands for ”output power control”. On the Shadows Jr. you have a choice of three settings, giving you 0.2, two or the full 10 watts of power, respectively. The magic of the OPC circuit is that it will turn volume levels down very noticeably without changing the tonal character of your settings, while also leaving almost all of the dynamics intact. Many lesser output power designs will turn a clean setting into an overdriven sound when you select a lower output level. The Shadows Jr. will sound almost the same on ten, two or 0.2 watts – the small tonal differences are the result of the speaker being driven differently. With the OPC at the lowest setting you will get approximately 95 percent of the full ”Shadows Jr. experience” at bedroom/apartment block volume levels. That’s fantastic!

The back panel gives you a choice of using the internal speaker or an external 4- or 8-ohm cabinet.

Bluetone have also included their tasty buffered, switchable effects loop with a dedicated volume control. When the loop is not in use, the circuit can also serve as a handy lead boost.

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Are you looking for a cool little tone machine with a strong Vox-y flavour, and no-compromise build quality? You should do yourself a favour and try the Bluetone Shadows Jr.

The Shadows Jr. ticks all the right boxes:

You get that classic clean tone with that sweet mid-range ”attitude”. A clean tone that is lively, but never glassy or brittle.

With the front-end volume near the other extreme you’ll get overdrive and distortion that is more gritty and dynamic – think later era Beatles, windmilling Townshend, or multilayered May – than creamy and compressed.

But don’t forget to check out the wide scope of break-up Blues and Rock ’n’ Roll sounds to be had between 11 and 2 o’clock on the volume (gain) control (depending on the guitar used). You’re in for hours of wailing soloing and chunky rhythms without ever needing an overdrive stompbox.

Here’s a Gibson Les Paul Junior on its own:

Demo track number one features two rhythm guitar tracks – a Fender Stratocaster (stereo left) and a Gibson Les Paul Junior (right) – as well as a Hamer USA Studio Custom on lead duty:

The second demo track features a Gibson Les Paul Junior (rhythm left), an Epiphone Casino (rhythm right), and a Fender Telecaster (lead guitar):

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The Bluetone Shadows Jr. is a fantastic little tone machine for the Vox-inclined player, who likes warm clean tones, dynamic break-up sounds, and gritty late-Sixties/early-Seventies dirt.

The build quality is miles ahead of any mass-produced guitar amplifier – this is a handcrafted boutique-grade valve amp. Modern additions like the PPIMV master volume, the OPC circuit, and the switchable effects loop, also raise this amp above any vintage-style copies.

For many the crucial question with low-wattage amps is volume. How loud is the Bluetone Shadows Jr?

Let’s just say that if you’ve only ever tried 10-watt tranny combos before you’re in for quite a surprise! These are ten (-plus) watts of British-style valve amp majesty, with every last ounce of loudness wrung out of the power amp and speaker.

With the OPC and the master on full, this little chap will easily get you into trouble with your neighbours in your block of flats on clean tones alone. If you don’t need 100 percent clean tones, the Shadows Jr. will easily get you through many rehearsals and gigs in small venues. And there’s always the option to stick a mic in front of the speaker.

So, don’t expect a Heavy Metal-type volume onslaught, but be prepared for some serious business.

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Bluetone Amps Shadows Jr.

Prices starting from 1,300 €

Contact: Bluetone Amps

Pros:

+ Handmade in Finland

+ Master volume

+ OPC

+ Effects loop

+ Sound

+ Value-for-money*****Save

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25/01/2018

Bluetone Shadows Jr – The Kitarablogi video

Bluetone Shadows Jr.

• Handmade in Finland
• All-valve Class AB single-channel combo
• 10 W, 2 W or 0.2 W of output power (OPC)
• Diode recitified
• Two-band EQ
• PPIMV Master Volume
• Built-in buffered FX loop/booster
• 3 x ECC83 (12AX7) & 2 x EL84
• One 10-inch WGS Green Beret speaker (25 Watts/8 Ohms)

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Demo Track

All guitars recorded with the Bluetone Shadows Jr. (no pedal effects used). Delay and reverb added during mixdown.

• Rhythm guitars: Fender Stratocaster (left channel) & Gibson Les Paul Junior (right channel)
• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom

Recorded with a Shure SM57.

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08/01/2018

Testi tulossa === Review coming soon === Bluetone Shadows Jr

Contact: Bluetone Amps

21/11/2017

Huomenna: Tokai TST-50 Modern

30/10/2017

Now on SoundCloud: Tokai TST-50 Modern

Demo track recorded using Electro-Harmonix’ Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi and Nano Big Muff Pi pedals going into a Blackstar HT-1R valve combo. Additional effects added in Garageband during mixdown.

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

18/10/2017

Testi tulossa +++ Working on a review +++ Tokai TST-50 Modern

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma