Posts tagged ‘särö’

29/03/2017

Now on SoundCloud – Source Audio FX

All guitar tracks recorded using the LA Lady overdrive, Gemini chorus and Nemesis delay pedals plugged into a Juketone True Blood valve amplifier (miked up with a Shure SM57).

• Guitar used: Fender Stratocaster

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01/03/2017

Tulossa *** Coming soon ** Source Audio

Contact: Musamaailma

13/09/2016

Tiistai on fuzzia täynnä! Guitar face galore!

Playing my Kasuga semi through an EH Nano Big Muff Pi, and making a few ”guitar faces” for good measure.   🙂

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Kasuga –> Nano Big Muff Pi –> Blackstar HT-1R –> Focusrite Saffire 6 USB –> Garageband

24/08/2016

Review: Bluetone Black Prince Reverb

The Bluetone Black Prince Reverb guitar combo sees the boutique amp makers from Helsinki branch out into a new and interesting direction.

Bluetone Crossroad head – 1

All the Bluetone models we have known thus far have been (and still are) produced as pure and genuine custom-made valve amplifiers.

This means that each new amp is ordered by the customer based on a certain Bluetone configuration on their website – like an à la carte-menu. The chosen model is then tweaked according to the customer’s wishes, and there are plenty of different options available – from the details of the amplifier’s internal specifications all the way to the type of finish of the cabinet and the font on the control panel.

Bluetone Crossroad – handwired board 3

Due to the nature of custom amps, such as these, every Bluetone Custom amp is built completely by hand, starting with a clean slate – meaning: an empty metal chassis, and an empty fibreglass eyelet-board.

The board is then riveted at the right spots to take all the necessary wiring and electronic components going into this specific custom order. Everything is soldered into place by hand (point-to-point).

This is a very involved and time-consuming process, requiring a steady hand and a keen eye, which of course is reflected in the price of a Bluetone Custom amp. The advantage of building this type of point-to-point amp is, of course, that it gives the customer free reign to have his dream amp built.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – hybrid PCB 2

Bluetone’s dynamic duo – Harry Kneckt and Matti Vauhkonen – have recently decided to launch a second model range alongside their strictly custom-made amps. The new range will include a few models that will be made and sold ”as is”, with only very limited options to choose from.

These new amps will be made using so-called hybrid boards.

Bluetone’s hybrid boards are very sturdy PCBs made of fibreglass, and are of a considerably higher quality than what you’d find in mass-produced valve amplifiers. Each component’s place on the hybrid is clearly labelled, and some of the ”wiring” is already incorporated into the board itself. In contrast to many mass-produced affordable amps, Bluetone’s new range will see all tubes and transformers mounted securely to the metal chassis (like on their custom-made amps, too), and not directly on the PCB (like on many affordable Far Eastern designs).

The rest of the building process is virtually identical to the more costly custom-made amplifiers – the components are fitted to the hybrid board by hand (from the top) and hand-soldered to the board. Thanks to the hybrid board the new amplifier range will be much easier and faster to produce, which will be reflected in the pricing of the new hybrid amps vis-à-vis the point-to-point custom orders.

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – front view 1

The first new Bluetone-combo is called the Bluetone Black Prince Reverb (approx. 1.500 €).

This compact and handy combo takes a lot of inspiration from Fender’s legendary ”Blackface” Princeton Reverb (version AA1164), but due to the Bluetone’s many refinements you can’t really call the Black Prince a straight copy.

In addition to the basic version in wine red tolex, you can also order the Black Prince Reverb in genuine tweed, or with an oiled cabinet made from mahogany (both at extra cost).

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – control panel

I very much like the businesslike and sober look of the Blacktone’s front panel. Everything is clearly labelled, which can be a great plus on a dimly lit stage.

The Bluetone Black Prince Reverb offers two different inputs for singlecoil and humbucker-equipped guitars (High and Low). The EQ-section is a three-band affair, with an additional Bright switch to liven up dull sounding pickups.

Even though the Black Prince Reverb is such a compact combo, it still featured both a genuine, valve-driven spring reverb and a tube tremolo.

Bluetone uses a post phase-inverter master volume in most of their designs, because it has the least negative impact on an amp’s tone and feel.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – back panel

There’s a Fender-style open back on the Black Prince.

The back panel sports outputs for additional speakers, as well as the jack for the combo’s two-button footswitch unit (included).

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – footswitch

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – back view

This is what the Bluetone looks like with the open back removed.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – valves

The Black Prince Reverb combo is an all-valve machine, loaded with the following tube types (from right to left):

The first 12AX7 is the combo’s preamp valve. The spring reverb circuit uses a 12AT7 and a 12AX7 valve. The 12AX7 works as the amp’s phase-inverter and tremolo tube.

The Black Prince leaves Bluetone’s workshop equipped with a pair of 6V6GT power valves, which will translate to about 20 watts of output. You can also re-bias this amp for a pair of 6L6GCs, which would boost the output to almost 30 watts.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – spring reverb

This combo’s short reverb tank is supplied by MOD.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – Warehouse Retro 10 speaker

Bluetone have chosen a Warehouse Guitar Speakers Retro 10-speaker for their new combo, even though this model is distinctly different from the old Jensen speakers in vintage Fender designs.

This choice is, of course, deliberate and based upon many listening tests:

The WGS Retro, which is made to withstand far more output than this combo can deliver, keeps the Black Prince Reverb’s tones clean and dynamic under all circumstances. This speaker’s British character also makes the Bluetone-combo sound larger and fatter than you’d expect.

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – pilot light from PS

Oh, boy, this is a sound you cannot get enough of! At least in my case only a minute or two of playing the Black Prince was enough to make me consider getting myself in debt.

It’s hard to put into words what that special ingredient is, but this is what a clean electric guitar should sound like! This combo sounds clean, fresh and dynamic, but never clinical, cold or brittle. There a good dose of chime, but it doesn’t hurt your ears. The bass strings sound big, but never mushy.

The sound of the short MOD reverb tank is surprisingly dense and complex, and there’s more than enough of it to satisfy Surf Music fans. The Black Prince Reverb’s tremolo works like a treat, too, offering you anything from slow and soft to machine-gun mania.

Here’s a clip, recorded with a Fender Telecaster, gives you an idea of the Bluetone Black Prince Reverb’s dry tone, as well as its spring reverb and tremolo effects:

The Black Prince also excels in keeping your guitar’s own character intact. These three clips feature a Fender Telecaster…

…an Epiphone Casino…

…and a 1970s Japanese ”lawsuit” copy of a Gibson ES-335:

This combo’s fantastic clean tone is a fantastic platform for pedal addicts. The demo track was recorded using an analogue chorus pedal, a tube screamer-type overdrive, as well as the amp’s built-in reverb and tremolo.

The rhythm parts were played on a Fender Stratocaster, while the lead was played on a Hamer USA Studio Custom:

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – power valves

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – front view 1

In my view, Bluetone’s Black Prince Reverb is a top-drawer choice as a combo for use at home or in the studio. It’s also great for smaller gigs, when too much noise on stage can be a problem, or you can mike it up for larger venues.

The Black Prince Reverb is a nicely compact boutique-grade valve combo offering fantastic cleans, as well as fine reverb and tremolo effects.

This amp hasn’t been spoiled by unnecessary ”tube voodoo” or distracting graphic. I’m all for the clean and understated looks this Bluetone has to offer!

This is a handmade, Finnish boutique combo, offered at a very fair price.

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb

1.500 €

Contact: Bluetone Amps

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Pros:

+ value-for-money ratio

+ handmade in Finland

+ workmanship

+ fine spring reverb and valve tremolo

+ sound

+ master volume-control

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22/06/2016

Testipenkissä: Bluetone Black Prince Reverb

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb -kitarakombo on uusi aluevaltaus helsinkiläiselle putkivahvistimien valmistajalle.

Bluetone Crossroad head – 1

Tähän mennessä kaikki Bluetone-mallit olivat puhtaasti kokonaan custom-periaatteella rakennettuja pelejä.

Se tarkoittaa, että firman sivustolta löytyy useita valmiita konfiguraatioita – ikään kuin à la carte -ruokalista – joista asiakas valitse hänelle sopivamman kustomoinnin lähtökohdaksi. Ja näitä lisäoptioita löytyy runsaasti – oman vahvistimen tarkoista sisäisistä ominaisuuksista kotelon viimeistelyyn ja säädinpaneelin fonttiin.

Bluetone Crossroad – handwired board 3

Tällainen valinnan runsaus tarkoittaa, että Bluetone custom-vahvistimen teko lähtee aina ns. tyhjästä pöydästä – sopivan kokoisesta metallikotelosta ja tyhjästä lasikuituisesta reikälevystä.

Reikälevystä tehdään ns. eyelet board lisäämällä oikeisiin kohteisiin popniittejä, joihin elektroniikan komponentit ja tarvittavat johdot juotetaan käsin kiinni (= point-to-point-rakenne).

Tämä on hyvin monimutkainen ja aikaa vievä prosessi, mikä näkyy luonnollisesti valmiin tuotteen hinnassa. Point-to-point-tekotapa kuitenkin antaa Bluetonen asiakkaille kustomoinnissa käytännössä vapaat kädet.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – hybrid PCB 2

Bluetonen johtokaksikko – Harry Kneckt ja Matti Vauhkonen – on hiljattain päättänyt laittaa firman custom-vahvistimien rinnalle uuden sarjan, joka tulee tarjoamaan muutamia ”valmiita” vahvistinmalleja, joille on tarjolla vain hyvin rajattu määrä valittavia lisäoptioita.

Uutuusmalleissa voi virtaviivaistaa kokoonpanoprosessia käyttämällä elektroniikan alustana ns. hybridilevyä.

Bluetonen hybridilevyt ovat lasikuituisia, ja erittäin laadukkaita ja kestäviä, eikä niitä voi verrata massatuotannossa käytettäviin, heppoisiin piirilevyihin. Jokaisen komponentin paikka on tarkoin merkattu, ja monet osien välisistä ”johdotuksista” on hybridilevyssä jo valmiiksi olemassa. Uutuusvahvistimien putket ja muuntimet asennetaan kuitenkin edelleen tukevasti vahvarin metallikoteloon, eikä piirilevylle (niin kuin monissa halpavahvistimissa).

Muu valmistus tapahtuu uusissa malleissa ihan samalla tavalla kuin Bluetonen custom-peleissä – komponentit lisätään käsin (ylhäältä) hybridilevylle ja ne juotetaan käsin paikoilleen. Hybridilevyn ansiosta vahvistin valmistuu vain huomattavasti nopeammin ja helpommin, mikä tullaan näkemään myös hintaerona hybridilevy- ja point-to-point-mallien välillä.

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – front view 1

Ensimmäinen hybridilevyä käyttävä Bluetone-kombo on nimeltään Bluetone Black Prince Reverb (1.500 €).

Kätevän kokoisen, yksikanavaisen boutique-kombon inspiraationa on toiminut Fender ”Blackface” Princeton Reverb (versio AA1164), mutta Bluetone-vahvistimessa on niin monta parannusta, ettei Black Princen tapauksessa voi edes puhua kopiosta.

Viininpunaisella tolexilla päällystetyn perusversion lisäksi tarjotaan Black Prince -kombo (lisämaksua vastaan) myös aidolla tweed-kankaalla tai öljytyllä (täyspuisella) mahonkikotelolla.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – control panel

Tykkään itse kovasti Bluetonen hyvin asiallisen näköisestä etupaneelista, jossa jokainen säädin ja kytkin on selkeästi merkitty. Hektisissä live-tilanteissa selkeä etupaneeli voi olla kullan arvoinen.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb tarjoaa singlecoil- ja humbucker-kitaroille omat tulojakit (High ja Low). EQ-osasto tarjoaa kolme säädettävää kaistaa, sekä lisäksi Bright-kytkimen, josta saa tarvittaessa vielä enemmän eloisuutta preesensalueelle.

Vaikka kyse on melko kompaktista putkikombosta, löytyy Black Prince Reverbistä sekä aito, putkivahvistettu jousikaiku, että putkitremolo.

Bluetone käyttää vahvistimissaan aina PPIMV-kytkennällä (post phase-inverter master volume) toimivia master volume -säätimiä, koska tällä tavalla toteutettu master volume vaikuttaa vähiten vahvistimen soundiin.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – back panel

Black Prince -kombon takaseinä on Fender-tyylisesti avoin.

Takapaneelista löytyy lähtöjä lisäkaiuttimille, sekä liitin kombon mukaan tulevalle jalkakytkimelle.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – footswitch

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – back view

Tällainen on näky, kun takaseinä on irrotettu Bluetone-kombosta.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – valves

Black Prince Reverb on täysputkikone ja putkivarustus on seuraavanlainen (oikealta vasempaan):

Ensimmäinen 12AX7 on kombon etuasteputki. Kaiun send ja return toimivat yhden 12AT7- ja yhden 12AX7-putken varassa. Viimeinen 12AX7 hoitaa sekä vahvarin vaiheenkääntämistä että tremolo-efektin tuotantoa.

Black Prince lähtee Bluetonen pajalta kahdella 6V6GT-pääteputkella, jotka tuottavat noin 20 wattia lähtötehoa. Tätä komboa pystyy myös käyttämään – biasoinnin jälkeen – kahdella 6L6GC-putkella, jolloin lähtöteho nousee lähelle 30 wattia.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – spring reverb

Tämän kombon lyhyt jousikaikutankki tulee MOD:n valikoimasta.

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – Warehouse Retro 10 speaker

Bluetone on valinnut Warehouse Guitar Speakersin Retro 10 -kaiuttimen uutuuskomboonsa, vaikka tämä on ihan erilainen kaiutin kuin vanhoissa Fendereissä käytetty Jensen.

Valinta oli kuitenkin tietoinen ja monien kokeilujen tulos:

Tehonkestoltaan ehkä hieman ”ylimitoitettu” WGS Retro varmistaa, että Black Prince Reverbin soundi pysyy mahdollisimman puhtaana ja dynaamisena. ”Britti-soundiin” viritetty luonne taas tekee Bluetone-kombon soundista tukevamman ja isomman.

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – pilot light from PS

Voi pojat, tästä soundista voi tulla riippuvainen! Ainakin minun tapauksessani vain muutaman soinnun soittaminen riitti herättämään ajatuksia pikalainan ottamisesta.

On hyvin vaikea kuvailla tarkoin, mitä se on, mutta juuri tällaiselta puhtaan sähkökitaran pitää soida! Soundi on puhdas ja dynaaminen, mutta ei koskaan kylmä tai kliininen. Kombon sointi on kuulas ja raikas, muttei ärsyttävän terävä. Bassokielet soivat tukevasti, mutta ne pysyvät kuitenkin selkeinä.

Lyhyen MOD-jousikaiun soundi on yllättävän monitahoinen ja tiheä, ja sitä on tarjolla hyvinkin runsaasti. Myös Black Prince Reverbin tremolo toimii esimerkillisesti – tarjolla on kaikenlaisia tremolomuotoja kevyestä ja hitaasta hyvin nopeaan ja rankkaan vatkaukseen.

Tässä pätkässä esitetään Telecasterilla Bluetone Black Prince Reverb -kombon kuivaa soundia, sekä kombon kaiku- ja tremolo-efektit:

Black Prince säilyttää myös mallikkaasti eri kitaroiden soundillisia eroja. Näissä kolmessa pätkissä soivat Fender Telecaster…

…Epiphone Casino…

…ja japanilainen 1970-luvun kopio Gibson ES-335 -mallista:

Kombon erittäin terve puhdas soundi toimii myös todella hyvin efektipedaalien kanssa. Demobiisissä on käytetty – Black Princen oman tremolon ja kaiun lisäksi – analogista chorus-pedaalia, sekä Tube Screamer -tyylinen säröpedaali.

Komppikitarana toimii Fender Stratocaster, kun taas soolo-osuudet on soitettu Hamer USA Studio Custom -kitaralla:

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – power valves

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – front view 1

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb on mielestäni erittäin laadukas valinta koti- ja studiovahvistimeksi, sekä sellaisille keikoille, joissa ei tarvita lavalla suuria äänenvoimakkuuksia (tai joissa mikitys ja monitorointi toimii hyvin).

Black Prince Reverb on kätevän kokoinen boutique-luokan putkikombo loistavalla clean soundilla, täyteläisellä jousikaiulla ja tyylikkäällä tremolo-efektillä.

Vahvistinta ei ole pilattu lapsellisella putkivoodoolla tai sekavalla graafisella toteutuksella, vaan vankalla asialinjalla mennään – ja hyvä niin!

Tämä on käsintehty, kotimainen laatuvahvistin. Tämän valossa pidän Black Prince Reverbin hintaa jopa melko edullisena.

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Bluetone Black Prince Reverb

1.500 €

Lisätiedot: Bluetone Amps

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Plussat:

+ hinta-laatu-suhde

+ käsintehty Suomessa

+ työnjälki

+ jousikaiku ja putkitremolo

+ soundi

+ master volume -säädin

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21/06/2016

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – The Kitarablogi video

Contact: Bluetone Amps

13/06/2016

Now on SoundCloud: Bluetone Black Prince Reverb combo

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – teaser 2

• Handmade in Finland
• Approx. 20 Watts of output power
• Single-channel valve amp
• Three-band EQ with Presence switch
• Valve-driven MOD spring reverb
• Valve-driven tremolo effect with Speed and Depth controls
• PPI Master Volume control
• Single 10-inch WGS Retro speaker
• Four preamp valves (3 x 12AX7; 1 x 12AT7)
• Two power valves (2 x 6V6GT)
• Can also be run with two 6L6GC power valves (25-30 W output)
• More info at:
www.bluetone.fi/en/black-prince/

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Demo Track (inspired by ”I Wish It Would Rain Down” by Phil Collins)
• Rhythm Guitar tracks – Fender Stratocaster
• Lead Guitar – Hamer USA Studio Custom
• Joyo JF-37 Analog Chorus
• Joyo JF-01 Vintage Overdrive
• Recorded with a Shure SM57

Bluetone Black Prince Reverb – teaser

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10/05/2016

Review: Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel logo

Bogner Amplification has recently added a new member to its Goldfinger-family of guitar amps. In addition to the two-channel Goldfinger 45, there’s now also a single-channel amplifier available, called the Goldfinger 54 Phi.

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full front

The basic idea behind the Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi combo (current price in Finland: 3.091 €) was to develop the most versatile single-channel valve amp possible.

The 54 Phi’s starting point was the Goldfinger 45’s clean Alpha-channel. The new model is concentrating mainly on clean tones, and it is meant as the ideal combo for guitarists who achieve most of their sounds with the help of effect pedals.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full back

In its combo version – the 54 Phi is also available as an amp head – weighs in at about 26 kilos.

The cabinet is made from pine ply and it sports an open back construction.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – Celestion G12

Bogner’s new tube combo comes equipped with a Celestion G12M-65 Creamback speaker, which combines a modern power rating with a classic, Greenback-type tonality.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – footswitch

A four-button footswitch unit is sold with the GF 54 Phi, and it gives us some hints regarding the combo’s versatility and features.

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel

Bogner’s Goldfinger Phi offers a lot of scope for adjustment, so that every guitarist can dial in the sound he or she wants. Due to its versatility the 54 Phi needs you to get familiar with all its features, before plugging your guitar in and wailing away.

Actually, you should start your sonic journey with this Bogner’s back panel! The GF 54 Phi comes with a slightly unusual split power amp that employs two pairs of power amp valves – a pair of 6V6s and a pair of 6L6s. Each pair can be switched on or off individually, while the front panel’s Hi/Low-switch makes it possible to use only a single power amp tube from each pair, in effect halving the combo’s output power. By using the Hi/Low-switch and the power amp switches you can choose from six power modes. The lowest alternative lets the Goldfinger Phi run at approximately nine watts (6V6, Low), while the highest power mode (6L6+6V6, Hi) will give you the combo’s full 66 watts of output.

As were talking about a valve amp here, choosing between pairs (or single) power amp tubes doesn’t only have a bearing on the 54’s power rating, but it also affects the amp’s behaviour, especially when it comes to clean headroom and power amp compression (sag). You need to find the ”right” tube and Hi/Low-switch mix for your own, personal tone.

The Gain knob is used to set the preamp gain, while Loudness is what Bogner calls their master volume controls. There are two signal boosts implemented in the Goldfinger Phi’s preamp, but their are placed at different points in the signal chain, which makes them work and sound differently. The adjustable Boost booster is placed in front of the Gain control, even making it possible to achieve some distortion, if necessary. Solo, in turn, is a fixed booster that sits right at the end of the preamp.

Bogner’s GF 54 Phi offers you two different EQ-configurations. You can choose from Bogner’s own, modern tone stack or switch to a vintage Baxandall EQ. Originally, the Baxandall circuit was designed for Hi-Fi equipment, but it found its way into some guitar amps from the 1950s and 60s. Due to the way a Bax EQ works, there’s a perceivable drop in volume when you switch over without readjusting the EQ controls.

The EQ-section is complemented by a separate Presence control, as well as two Expand-switches (one adding bottom end, the other treble).

It may come as a shock to some valve purists, but Reinhold Bogner has deliberately chosen a digital reverb unit for his 54 Phi. In his view this digital unit offers more depth of sound and lushness than the type of spring tray he’d be able to fit into the 54 Phi combo. The reverb type features a little bit of chorus-style modulation to liven things up even further.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – back panel

I’ve moaned about this before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not the biggest fan of Bogner’s downward-facing back panels. Unless you know the exact position of all connectors and switches by heart, you are forced to lie on your back to make sense of it all.

Be that as it may, the Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi’s back panel gives you a wide array of different options for getting the most from your combo.

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – teaser 2

I was only given a weekend to test Bogner’s new baby, which is why I didn’t have enough time to record more audio demos. I still managed to come up with two, stylistically rather different demo songs.

The first track was recorded with the 54 Phi combo running in in 9 watts power mode, which made it possible to achieve overdriven sounds without the aid of pedals, simply by running hot humbucking pickups into the Goldfinger. The lead guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Junior with the tone knob turned down halfway, while all backwards guitar tracks were played on a Gibson Melody Maker SG. I recorded the combo (in both demo songs) with a Shure SM57:

The second demo track was recorded with the Bogner running at full tilt (66 W), and with a Boss SD-1 overdrive and a Joyo JF-37 chorus pedal in front of the combo. All guitar parts are played on a Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid guitar with a neck humbucker and a Telecaster-type single coil in the bridge position:

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – front angle

Bogner’s Goldfinger 54 Phi is a prime example of the versatility and quality of sound a well-designed, single-channel valve amp can offer.

This is a combo for the sound aesthete, who wants to build a strong foundation for his or her sound, regardless of whether this tone comes from just the fingers or a range of effect pedals.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – logo

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54

3.091 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ versatile preamp

+ switchable power amp configuration

+ sound

09/05/2016

Review: Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid, Liekki 290-T Classic & 57HM-H Master

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – headstock

This spring is bringing exciting news from Flaxwood Guitars – the Finnish maker has given its model line-up a thorough overhaul.

One important change sees Flaxwood rearranging their models into three distinct series:

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – flying

The (newly-expanded) Hybrid Series encompasses Fender-inspired electric guitars, which combine Flaxwood’s famous injection-moulded WFC-necks (Wood Fibre Composite) with wooden bodies.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – flying

Flaxwood’s bona fide classics – such as the Äijä, Laine or Rautia models – have now been grouped into the aptly-named Classic Series.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – flying

The brand-new Master Series is offering the guitarist ”factory customised” Flaxwood guitars. These models have received special finishes and/or hardware, in addition to pickup choices that differ from similar Classic Series instruments.

For this review we received one guitar from each series – the MTQ Hybrid (current RRP in Finland: 1.750 €), the Liekki 290-T Classic (current RRP in Finland: 2.054 €) and the 57HM-H Master (current RRP in Finland: 2.707 €).

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Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – beauty shot 1

The Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid is the company’s beautiful take on the Telecaster Custom theme, with its wood-composite Flaxwood-neck and a swamp ash body with a bound flame maple top.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – back beauty

The MTQ’s gorgeous Honeyburst finish shows off some luscious wood grain.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – Gotoh HAP tuners

The golden machine heads on the MTQ Hybrid are locking Gotoh H.A.P. units with height-adjustable tuning posts.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – bridge

The bridge is a traditional Tele-ashtray design, but it comes updated with six bridge saddles for perfect intonation and action adjustment.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – pickups

The MTQ’s pickups are made by Seymour Duncan:

The neck unit is a (PAF-style) Antiquity Humbucker, while the bridge single coil is a chunky STL-1B.

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Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – beauty shot 1

The Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic (liekki means flame in Finnish) is without doubt one of the best-known guitars from this Finnish maker. This slender and gracious f-holed beauty is offered in several cool finishes.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – back beauty

The Liekki 290-T Classic is an all Flaxwood-WFC instrument. This injection-moulded material – which was developed in co-operation with the University of Eastern Finland – is eco-friendly and fully recyclable.

The Flaxwood body is partially hollow, and capped from the back with a resonating back plate.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – neck joint

Flaxwood Guitars’ proprietary 3D neck joint is very smooth.

As you can see from this picture, newer Flaxwood instruments now sport a matte black neck, instead of the original, structured look of the early Flaxwood necks.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – headstock

The company uses it’s own compensated X-Tune Nut on all Classic and Master Series models. The X-Tune Nut will make open chords ring out much more in tune than most traditional guitars.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – vibrato

The Liekki’s 290-T-version comes equipped with Schaller’s ingenious LP Tremolo vibrato bridge.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – pickups

Two Seymour Duncan P-90-type pickups (SP90-1 Vintage Soapbar) have been installed on the Liekki Classic.

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Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – beauty shot 2

Flaxwood’s brand-new 57HM-H Master is a Metal guitarist’s dream machine.

The 57HM-H comes with a suitably moody matte black finish with golden pinstripes, Schaller Security Locks, and a pair of active EMG pickups.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – back beauty

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – body cavity

The 57HM-H Master’s battery compartment has been installed into the instrument’s back plate.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – headstock

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – bridge

The Gotoh hardware – locking tuners and a tune-o-matic bridge plus stopbar – has been finished in black chrome.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – pickups

EMG’s 57/66-set comprises a pair of alnico-loaded humbuckers, and promises to deliver an intriguing combination of vintage warmth with active punch and clarity.

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Even though Flaxwood Guitars’ brand philosophy is based on the ultra-modern use of injection-moulded WFC-composite material, there is still a surprising amount of traditional handicraft that goes into the making of each and every Flaxwood model. There isn’t a machine in existence that will churn out finished instruments from raw materials, you do still need lots of guitar-making skills to build a top notch instrument.

You can see and feel the touch of a craftsman when you pick up a Flaxwood guitar. Our review trio displayed excellent workmanship, and all guitars came with a top grade set-up.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – body beauty 2

Any old Telecaster lover will feel right at home with the Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid, because the most important design elements – like the vintage bridge or the control positioning – have been carried over from the classic to this new model.

The neck profile is slim and slightly oval, with a mere whiff of a V-neck’s spine along its back. The playing feel is fast, effortless and precise.

The tone of the Flaxwood MTQ doesn’t come as a surprise – this model offers an array of very tasty Tele-style sounds!

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – body beauty 1

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Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – body beauty 2

Flaxwood’s Liekki 290-T Classic is a lightweight and compact instrument that balances perfectly on a strap.

In addition to the three-way pickup switch, most Flaxwood models traditionally feature a single master volume control and two tone controls (one per pickup).

I can’t understand why Schaller’s excellent LP Tremolo isn’t used on more guitars as a standard feature. I can only applaud Flaxwood for featuring the LP Tremolo on several of their models!

The Seymour Duncan P-90s give you a wide range of different tones on the Liekki, from jazzy warmth all the way to gritty Rock.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – body beauty 1

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Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – body beauty 1

The Flaxwood 57HM-H is a fantastic addition to the company’s line-up in my opinion:

The playing feel of the 57HM-H is quite similar to the Liekki model, but the fatter frets and stable, non-trem bridge will be just the ticket for fans of detuned high-gain riffage.

The EMG 57/66-set is a great update on the US-maker’s original active humbucker recipe. There’s more than enough power and punch on tap, but you could never call these active humbuckers cold, clinical or sterile!

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – body beauty 1

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Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – beauty shot 2

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – beauty shot 2

It’s really great to see Flaxwood Guitars expanding their line-up further!

In my view the new three-tiered model range makes a lot of sense, making it easier to find the right Flaxwood for any player.

The Liekki 290-T Classic has become a genuine classic over the years, while the brand-new MTQ Hybrid and 57HM-H models further widen Flaxwood’s appeal to include both traditional and modern guitarists. A test drive is highly recommended!

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – beauty shot 1

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Flaxwood Guitars

MTQ Hybrid – 1.750 € (comes with a gig bag)

Liekki 290-T Classic – 2.045 € (comes with a case)

57HM-H Master – 2.707 € (comes with a case)

Pros:

+ made in Finland

+ workmanship

+ quality parts and pickups

+ playability

+ sound

02/05/2016

Testipenkissä: Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid, Liekki 290-T Classic & 57HM-H Master

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – headstock

Tämä kevät on Flaxwood Guitarsille tärkeää aikaa, koska joensuulainen valmistaja on perusteellisesti uudistanut soitinmallistonsa.

Tästedes Flaxwood-kitaroita tarjotaan kolmessa eri sarjassa:

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – flying

Laajentunut Hybrid-sarja koostuu Fender-tyylisistä soittimista, joissa Flaxwood-komposiitista tehdyt kaulat on liitetty ruuvaamalla puurunkoihin.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – flying

Meillä kaikille tutut Flaxwood-mallit – kuten Äijä, Laine tai Rautia – on nyt koottu uuteen Classic-sarjaan kevyesti päivitetyillä spekseillä.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – flying

Täysin uudesta Master-sarjasta löytyy ikään kuin ”valmiiksi kustomoituja” Flaxwoodeja, joilla on Classic-sarjasta poikkeavat mikrofonit, viimeistely ja/tai metallitavara.

Saimme testiin jokaisesta sarjasta yhden kitaran – MTQ Hybrid (suositushinta: 1.750 €), Liekki 290-T Classic (suositushinta: 2.054 €) ja 57HM-H Master (suositushinta: 2.707 €).

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Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – beauty shot 1

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid on firman todella kaunis tulkinta Telecaster Custom -teemasta, jolla on puukomposiitista valmistettu Flaxwood-kaula, sekä suosaarnirunko reunalistoitetulla loimuvaahterakannella.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – back beauty

Puiden syykuviot näyttävät hienoilta MTQ:n Honeyburst-viimeistelyn läpi.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – Gotoh HAP tuners

MTQ Hybridissä käytetään kullanvärisiä lukkovirittimiä korkeussäädettävillä viritystapeilla (Gotoh H.A.P.).

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – bridge

Tallan perusrakenne on vintage-tyylinen, mutta koska tämä Tele-talla on päivitetty kuudella tallapalalla kitaran hienovirettä pystyy säätämään tarkasti ja ilman kompromisseja.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – pickups

MTQ-mallin mikrofonit tulevat Seymour Duncanin valikoimasta. Kaulamikrofoniksi on valittu PAF-tyylinen Antiquity Humbucker, kun taas tallamikrofonina toimii Duncanin lihaksikas STL-1B.

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Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – beauty shot 1

Liekki 290-T Classic on varmasti yksi Flaxwoodin tunnetuimmista kitaroista – erittäin sulavalinjainen, f-aukolla varustettu kaunotar, joka on saatava useilla eri viimeistelyvaihtoehdoilla.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – back beauty

Liekki 290-T Classicissa puu on korvattu kokonaan kuitukomposiitilla. Kitaran runko on osittain ontto, ja sillä on Flaxwoodin tyypillinen resonoiva takakansi.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – neck joint

Flaxwood Guitarsin 3D-liimaliitos on erittäin sulava.

Kuten tässä kuvassa näkyy, käytetään uusissa Flaxwoodeissa alkuperäisen, strukturoidun näköisen Flaxwood-materiaalin sijaan kauloissa nykyään mattamustaksi värjättyä vastinetta.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – headstock

Classic- ja Master-sarjojen soittimissa käytetään firman omaa kompensoitua X-Tune-satulaa, joka parantaa tuntuvasti alanauhoissa soitettujen nuottien virettä.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – vibrato

290-T-versiossa käytetään Schallerin mainiota LP Tremolo -nimistä tallan ja vibraton yhdistelmää.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – pickups

Liekki Classicin mikrofonivarustus koostuu kahdesta P-90-tyylisistä Seymour Duncan -mikrofoneista (SP90-1 Vintage Soapbar).

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Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – beauty shot 2

Flaxwood 57HM-H on Master-sarjan upouusi metallimiehen unelmakone, jolla on mattamusta viimeistely (kultaisilla vauhtiviivoilla), Schaller-hihnalukot, sekä aktiiviset EMG-mikrofonit.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – back beauty

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – body cavity

57HM-H Masterin paristolokero on upotettu kitaran takakanteen.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – headstock

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – bridge

Sekä lukkovirittimet että mallin tune-o-matic-talla (ja sen kielten pidin) tulevat Gotohilta, ja ne on päällystetty mustalla kromilla.

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – pickups

EMG:n 57/66 -setti koostuu kahdesta alnico-magneeteilla varustetuista humbuckereista, ja lupaa vintage-tyylistä lämpöä yhdistettynä aktiivimikrofonien voimaan ja selkeyteen.

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Vaikka Flaxwood Guitarsin filosofia pohjautuu juuri nykyaikaiseen WFC-komposiitin käyttöön (ja ruiskupuristukseen), käytetään jokaisen Flaxwood-mallin valmistukseen myös hyvin paljon perinteistä soitinrakennusosaamista. Ei ole nimittäin vieläkin keksitty sellaista konetta josta pulpahtaisi esiin valmis laatusoitin, vaan käsityötä tarvitaan edelleen.

Soitinrakentajien kädenjälki näkyy ja tuntuu jokaisessa Flaxwood-soittimessa selvästi. Testikolmikon jokaisessa kitarassa työnjälki on erinomainen, ja soittimet saapuivat testiin loistotrimmissä.

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – body beauty 2

Vanha Tele-fani on heti kuin kotonaan Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid -mallissa, koska kaikki tärkeät elementit ovat tässäkin soittimessa paikoillaan, niin kuin esimerkiksi laatikkomainen talla, sekä perinteinen säädinosasto metallilevyllä.

Solakan kaulan profiili on mukavan ovaali, ja kaulan selkään on jätetty pieni aavistus V-profiilin ”selkärangasta”. Soittotuntuma on tarkka ja nopea.

Flaxwood MTQ ei sinänsä tarjoa varsinaisia yllätyksiä, vaan vakuuttaa täydellisesti Tele-maisilla laatusoundeillaan!

Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – body beauty 1

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Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – body beauty 2

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic on mukavan kevyt ja kompakti ilmestys erinomaisella tasapainolla.

Kolmiasentoisen kytkimen lisäksi löytyy Flaxwood-kitaroissa perinteisesti yksi master volume -säädin, sekä kummallekin mikrofonille oma tone-potikka.

Minun mielestäni on ihme, että todella laadukas Schaller LP Tremolo -järjestelmä löytyy niin harvassa kitarassa. Useisssa Flaxwoodeissa LP Tremolo on kuitenkin tehdasvaruste, ja erittäin toimiva sellainen!

Seymour Duncanin P-90-mikrofoneista saa hyvin monipuolisen soundikirjon lämpimistä jazzsoundeista purevaan rokkiin.

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – body beauty 1

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Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – body beauty 1

Flaxwood 57HM-H on mielestäni myös täysosuma:

57HM-H:n soittotuntuma on periaatteessa sama kuin Liekki-mallissa, mutta tämän kitaran tune-o-matic-tallan ansiosta matalat viritykset on selvästi helpompi toteuttaa kuin vibratolla varustetuissa kitaroissa.

EMG 57/66 -setti on amerikkalaisvalmistajan erittäin toimiva päivitys alkuperäiseen aktiivimikkikonseptiin – voimaa ja potkua löytyy vaikka muille jakaa, mutta näitä EMG-malleja ei todellakaan vaivaa lämmön puute tai liiallinen kliinisyys!

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – body beauty 1

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Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid – beauty shot 2

Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic – beauty shot 2

Todella ilahduttavaa nähdä, että Flaxwood Guitars on edelleen voimissaan!

Mielestäni malliston uusi kolmijako on looginen ja hyvin perusteltu toimenpide, joka selkeyttää Flaxwoodin kitaratarjontaa.

Liekki 290-T Classicista on tullut vuosien mittaan jo aito klassikko, kun taas MTQ Hybrid ja 57HM-H ovat mielestäni loistavia lisäyksiä suomalaisvalmistajan laadukkaaseen soitinmallistoon. Suosittelen lämpimästi Flaxwood-kitaroiden koeajoa!

Flaxwood 57HM-H Master – beauty shot 1

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Flaxwood Guitars

MTQ Hybrid – 1.750 € (topattu pussi kuuluu hintaan)

Liekki 290-T Classic – 2.045 € (kova laukku kuuluu hintaan)

57HM-H Master – 2.707 € (kova laukku kuuluu hintaan)

Plussat:

+ valmistettu Suomessa

+ työnjälki

+ laadukkaat mikrofonit ja osat

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi