Posts tagged ‘soundeja’

20/05/2019

Testipenkissä: Tokai LSS-47C + LS-98S

On totta, että joidenkin mielestä kopiokitaroiden tekeminen ei ole kovin reilua toimintaa. Toisaalta on myös totta, että kopiokitaroille löytyy niin suuri kysyntä, että monet isot brändit ovat jo pitkään kopioineet itse itseään. Parhaat esimerkit tästä ovat Fenderin Squier, Gibsonin Epiphone, PRS Guitarin SE-mallisto ja Music Manin Sterling by Music Man -soittimet.

On myös olemassa brändejä, jotka tekevät hyvinkin laadukkaita kopioita klassikkosoittimista, kuten Greco, Nash Guitars, Rock ’n’ Roll Relics tai Maybach. Tunnetuin nimi kopiobrändien keskuudessa on varmaan Tokai, jonka laajasta tarjonnasta löytyy sekä edullisia kitaroita ja bassoja, sekä korkealaatuisia käsintehtyjä jäljennöksiä.

Tällä kertaa saimme testiin kaksi eri P-90-yksikelaisilla varustettua sähkökitaraa – edullisen Tokai LSS-47C:n (505 €) ja japanilaisen Goldtopin, Tokai LS-98S:n (1.276 €; kova laukku kuuluu hintaan).

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Kiinalaista Tokai LSS-47C:tä voisi luonnehtia erääksi best of -koipoksi 1950-luvun Gibson Les Paul Specialista. Kitaran peruslinja mukailee vuosien 1955-57 single-cut-mallia, keltainen väri tulee suoraan double-cut-versiosta (1958-60), ja kopion esikompensoitu palkkimainen talla on lainattu LP Specialin seuraajalta, SG Specialista.

Tokaissa runkoon liimattu kaula on veistetty kovasta vaahterasta, kun taas reunalistoitetun otelaudan puulajiksi on ilmoitettu (kestovärjättyä) jatobaa. Jatoba on eteläamerikkalainen puulaji, jota usein kutsutaan myös brasilialaiseksi kirsikaksi, vaikka todellisuudessa tämä puu kuuluu palkokasveihin. Viime aikoina jatobasta on tullut suosittu korvike CITES-listatulle ruusupuulle edullisissa ja keskihintaisissa kielisoittimissa.

Soittimen tasakanttinen runko on tehty mahongista.

Virittimet ovat hyvin toimivia Kluson-kopioita, kun taas tallaksi on valittu nykyaikainen versio Gibsonin 1960-luvun ”salama-tallasta”, jossa on kompensaatio ei-punotulle g-kielelle.

LSS-47C:n P-90-mikrofoneilla on mustat muovikuoret. Kitaran setti on päivitetty versio alkuperäisestä, jossa molempien mikkien käyttäminen samanaikaisesti mykistää ulkoisia häiriöääniä.

Ainoa, pieni kritiikin kohteeni on soittimen hieman liian isot, ja reunoissa pikkasen epäsiistit kolot mikrofoneille.

Kitarassa löytyy kolmiasentoinen kytkin, sekä kummallekin mikrofonille omat volume- ja tone-säätimet.

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Japanilainen Tokai LS-98S on erittäin laadukas ja pikkutarkka uudelleenpainos vuoden 1956 Les Paul Standardista, siis mallista, joka tunnetaan nykyään nimellä LP Goldtop. LS-98S:een valitut puut ja komponentit ovat kauttaaltaan korkealaatuisia, ja työnjälki on erittäin huolellinen.

Kitaran yksiosainen mahonkikaula on liimattu mahonkirunkoon pitkällä sormella (long tenon). Soittimen reunalistoitettu kaareva kansi on vaahterasta, kun taas sen otelauta on aitoa intialaista ruusupuuta.

Toisin kuin vuoden 1958-60 LP Standardeissa, joilla on tavallisesti punaiseksi petsattuja runkoja ja kauloja, Goldtop-malleissa on miltei aina ”luonnollinen” viimeistely (= ruskea tasoite ja kiiltävä lakka sen päällä).

Tämän kitaran kaikki metalliosat on valittu Gotoh-malliston laadukkaammasta päästä.

LS-98S:n Tokai P-90 Mark II -mikrofoneissa on alnico-magneetteja. Alkuperäisen kaavan mukaan molemmat mikit on valmistettu täysin identtisillä spekseillä.

Laadukas kova laukku kuuluu LS-98S:n hintaan.

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Testissä käynyt Tokai LSS-47C on todella kevyt ja erittäin mukava soitin.

Kaulaprofiili on suhteellisen matala, mutta pyöreä D, siis juuri sitä mitä Gibson-slangissa kutsutaan vuoden 1960 profiiliksi. Kun tähän lisätään vielä otelaudan 12 tuuman radius, testikitaran kiitettävä nauhatyö, sekä pro-luokan säädöt, lopputulos on erittäin vaivaton ja bendauksille suotuisa.

Vaikka kyseessä on verrattaen edullinen soitin, kuulostavat Tokain mikrofonit yllättävän hyviltä. Niissä on juuri oikea annos purevuutta, voimaa ja basson lämpöä, että ne pystyvät tyydyttämään P-90-soundin ystäviä. Kaula- ja tallamikin keskinäinen balanssi on myös todella hyvä.

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Painonsa suhteen Tokai LS-98S on keskipainoisten kitaroiden tukevammasta päästä. Soittimen paino ei tässä vielä ole mielestäni ongelma, mutta tämän Tokain kyllä huomaa aina, kun se roikkuu hihnasta.

Työn laatu on yhdellä sanalla sanottu erinomainen. Se, että Tokain Goldtopin pyöreä C-kaulaprofiili maltillisella paksuudella on lähempänä vuoden 1959 LP Standardia, kuin hyvin paksua 1956 Goldtop -kaulaa, on varmasti enemmistölle vain hyvä asia.

Niin kuin monissa aidoissa, P-90-mikrofoneja käyttävissä LP Goldtopissa, myös Tokai LS-98S:n tapauksessa kaulamikrofoni soi selvästi kovemmalla kuin tallamikki. Tämä johtuu mikrofonien asennustavasta ja mikrofonikolojen syvyydestä – minkä takia kaulamikkiä ei pysty ruuvaamaan vielä syvemmälle runkoon – sekä siitä, että kaulamikrofonit sijaitsevat lähempänä kielten keskiväliä, jossa kielten liikerata on suurempi. Yleinen ratkaisu tähän Goldtop-ongelmaan/-ominaisuuteen on nostaa tallamikrofonin naparuuveja korkeammalle, sekä laittaa kaulumikin volume-säädin lukemaan 8,5.

Paksun vaahterakantensa ansiosta P-90-mikeillä varustettu Goldtop soi kirkkaammin kuin monet ehkä odottaisivat, etenkin tallamikin kautta. Tällä kitaralla kattaa laajan soundivalikoiman helposti ja suvereenisti, ja sopii lähes kaikkiin genreihin Jazzista ja Countrysta Bluesiin ja Rockiin.

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LSS-47C ja LS-98S antavat vastauksen kysymykseen miksi Tokai on arvostetuin klassikkokopioiden valmistaja:

LSS-47C on hyvin edullinen versio legendaarisesta LP Specialista. Tämä soitin ei ehkä ole riittävän tarkka jäljennös useimmille vintage-faneille, mutta sen soitettavuus on vaivaton ja kitaran soundeissa on runsas annos mojoa.

LS-98S taas on pro-luokan uudelleenpainos vuoden 1956 LP Goldtopista. Tämä soitin on mainio osoitus japanilaisesta tarkkuudesta ja työnjäljestä – tämä on kerrassaan upea kitara erittäin kohtuulliseen hintaan.

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Tokai Guitars LSS-47C + LS-98S

Tokai LSS-47 – 505 €

Tokai LS-98S – 1.276 € (kova laukku kuuluu hintaan)

Maahantuoja: Tokai Guitars Nordic/Musamaailma

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LSS-47C – Plussat:

+ paino

+ nauhatyö

+ soundi

+ hinta-laatu-suhde

Miinukset:

– pieni epäsiisteys mikrofonikoloissa

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LS-98S – Plussat:

+ työnjälki

+ viimeistely

+ soitettavuus

+ soundi

+ hinta-laatu-suhde+ value for money• Made in Japan
• Body: Mahogany
• Top: Maple
• Neck: One Piece Mahogany Set-Neck, Long Tenon
• Fingerboard: Rosewood
• Frets: 22
• Bridge: LS-VB, LS-VT Tailpiece
• Neck Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Bridge Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Electronics: 2x Volume, 2x Tone, 3-way Switch
• Inlays: Pearloid
• Pickguard: Cream
• Bindings: Cream, Body & Neck
• Headstock: Black with Logo Inlay & Gold Text
• Hardware Color: Chrome
• Color: Gold Top (GT)
• Case includedSave

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16/05/2019

Lue Rockway-blogissa: Akaasian lumous

Kolmen kokopuisen akaasia-/koa-ukulelen testi löytyy TÄÄLTÄ.

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13/05/2019

Edulliset T-tyyliset sähkökitarat tulossa Rockway-blogiin

• Vahvistin – Bluetone Shadows Jr.

• Mikrofoni – Shure SM57

• Klipit alkavat aina kaulamikrofonilla.

08/05/2019

Review: Tokai LSS-47C + LS-98S

While some may question the ethics behind copying classic guitar models, the fact is that there definitely is a market for such instruments. This is underlined by the licensed copies and sub-brands many well-known companies produce. There’s Fender’s Squier, Gibson’s Epiphone, PRS Guitar’s SE range and Music Man’s Sterling by Music Man, to name just a few.

Some companies have even made a name for themselves as makers of copy guitars, such as Greco, Nash Guitars, Rock ’n’ Roll Relics and Maybach. Probably the best known name in this field is Tokai, who make both affordable copies, as well as handcrafted high-quality replicas.

This time we’ll have a look at two different P-90 models – the affordable Tokai LSS-47C (current price in Finland: 505 €) and a Japanese ”Goldtop”, the Tokai LS-98S (1,276 €; case incl.).

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The Chinese Tokai LSS-47C could be seen as a ”best of” version of Gibson’s 1950s Les Paul Special. We find the general outline of a 1955-57 single-cut model, a yellow finish very reminiscent of the 1958-60 double-cut, combined with the pre-compensated bridge used on the follow up instrument, the SG Special.

The set neck has been made from hard rock maple, while the bound fingerboard is carbonised (dyed) jatoba. Jatoba is a South-American tree that is also called Brazilian Cherry, even though it actually belongs to the bean family of plants. Recently, Jatoba has seen wider use as a replacement for rosewood on many affordable and mid-priced guitars and basses.

The slab body has been crafted from mahogany.

While the machine heads are decent Kluson copies, the bridge is a lightweight lightning bar wrapover model, pre-compensated for modern string sets with a plain g-string.

The P-90 singlecoil pickups sit inside black soapbar covers. This is a modern set with reverse-wound/reverse-polarity pickups, which makes the middle setting hum-free.

My only small criticism would concern the slightly oversized and not super tidy pickup routs on the LSS-47C.

The passive controls comprise the classic Gibson set of a three-way toggle plus volume and tone controls for each pickup.

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The Tokai LS-98S is a high-quality replica of a 1956 Les Paul Standard, called the LP Goldtop these days. The woods and components chosen for the LS-98S are top grade and the attention to detail is stunning.

We find a one-piece mahogany neck, glued into the mahogany body with a long tenon. The guitar’s carved top is maple, while the bound fretboard is made from rosewood.

In contrast to post-1957 LP Standards, which usually come with the neck and body back dyed with red filler, most Goldtops sport a ”natural” look (i.e. brown pore filler).

The machine heads, the stopbar tailpiece and the tuneomatic bridge all come from Gotoh’s professional grade range.

The P-90s on the LS-98S are alnico-powered Tokai P-90 Mark II units. True to vintage specs the guitar uses identical pickups in both positions.

The LS-98S come in its own high-quality case.

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Our review sample of the Tokai LSS-47C is really light in weight and very comfortable to play.

The neck profile is a relatively thin D, or what Gibson fans would describe as a 60s profile. Combined with the 12-inch fretboard radius, the well-dressed frets and the excellent set-up, this makes the LSS-47C a really bend-friendly instrument.

Despite having a rather affordable pedigree, the pickups on this Tokai sound surprisingly good, offering the typical combination of grit, power and roundness so loved by P-90 fans. There is also a nice balance in output levels between the neck pickup and the bridge unit.

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In terms of its weight, the Tokai LS-98S lies in the heavier side of medium. The weight isn’t really an issue per se, but you sure notice it whenever you have this Tokai strapped on.

The workmanship is simply flawless and leaves nothing to be desired. The neck profile is much closer to a late-59 LP neck than the clubby profile of a genuine 1956 Goldtop, meaning we’re dealing with a very comfortable, rounded C of medium depth.

As on many Gibson originals from the early to mid-Fifties, the Tokai LS-98S’ neck P-90 sounds a fair deal louder than its bridge pickup. This is due to the way the identical units are suspended inside the body – which means the neck pickup can’t be screwed quite far enough into the body – as well as the neck unit’s placement closer to the strings’ mid-point. You simply have to adjust the neck pickup’s volume control to 8.5 to even out the signal levels.

The thick maple top makes a P-90-equipped Les Paul-style guitar sound brighter than you’d probably expect, especially with the bridge pickup selected. This guitar can really take you from warm Jazz to spiky Country, and on to Blues and Rock sounds, without the slightest problem.

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The LSS-47C and LS-98S give you a very good idea why Tokai is the top name in copy guitars:

The LSS-47C is a very reasonably priced version of a classic LP Special. It may not be ”vintage correct” in many of its details, but it plays and sounds very well, and gives you a lot of that classic flavour.

The LS-98S is a professional grade recreation of a 1956 LP Goldtop. Made with typical Japanese attention to detail, this is a stunning guitar at an extremely fair price.

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Tokai Guitars LSS-47C + LS-98S

Tokai LSS-47 – 505 €

Tokai LS-98S – 1,276 € (case included)

Distributor: Tokai Guitars Nordic/Musamaailma

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LSS-47C – Pros:

+ weight

+ fretwork

+ sound

+ value for money

Cons:

– pickup routs a little untidy

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LS-98S – Pros:

+ workmanship

+ finish

+ playability

+ sound

+ value for money+ value for money• Made in Japan
• Body: Mahogany
• Top: Maple
• Neck: One Piece Mahogany Set-Neck, Long Tenon
• Fingerboard: Rosewood
• Frets: 22
• Bridge: LS-VB, LS-VT Tailpiece
• Neck Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Bridge Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Electronics: 2x Volume, 2x Tone, 3-way Switch
• Inlays: Pearloid
• Pickguard: Cream
• Bindings: Cream, Body & Neck
• Headstock: Black with Logo Inlay & Gold Text
• Hardware Color: Chrome
• Color: Gold Top (GT)
• Case includedSave

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16/04/2019

Testipenkissä: Timbre Tones -mikrofoni

Puukuoriset Timbre Tones -mikrofonit (399 € + lähetyskulut) tehdään käsin Oulussa. Uuden mikrofonimerkin takaa löytyy oululainen pastori Janne Koskela, joka rakentaa vapaa-ajallaan kauniita akustisia kitaroita, sekä näitä Timbre Tones -mikrofoneja.

Timbre Tones -mikrofonin keskipisteessä on estetiikka – mikrofonin ulkonäkö pitää olla sopusuhteessa kauniin soundinsa kanssa.

Niin kuin kuvasta näkyy, Timbre Tones -mikki perustuu klassiseen lollipop-rakenteeseen, jossa pyöreä, mikrofonin kapselia sisältävä osa ikään kuin seisoo putkilomaisen rungon päällä.

Timbre Tonesin tapauksessa löytyy metalligrillin takana isokalvoinen elektrettikapseli kiinteällä herttakuviolla (Transound TSB-2555BXZ3-GP). Phantomsyötöllä toimiva etuvahvistin on FET-pohjainen ja rakennettu ilman sisäistä muuntajaa. Janne Koskelan mukaan elektroniikka perustuu Scott Helmken Alice-mikrofoniin, jossa esikuvana on toiminut modifioitu Schoepsin kytkentä.

Timbre Tones -mikrofonin idea ei siis ole keksiä pyörää uudelleen, vaan tässä käytetään hyväksi havaittua kapselia ja kytkentää, ja keskitytään komponenttien ja työnjäljen laatuun.

Asiakas voi valita oman Timbre Tones -mikrofonin kapselirenkaan puulajit mielensä mukaisesti, jotka sitten viimeistellään perinteisesti käsin pulituurilla (= spriipohjainen sellakkaliuos). Myös grillin kuvioita on tarjolla muutama eri, joista asiakas voi valita omansa.

Mikrofoni lähtee maailmalle omassa topatussa kartonkilaatikossa, ja pakettiin kuuluu T. Bonen mikrofonikehto.

Timbre Tones -mikki täyttää studiomikrofonille asetetut tekniset perusedellytykset kiitettävästi:

Timbre Tones on herkkä mikrofoni, mikä tarkoittaa, että se tarvitsee vain vähän vahvistusta miksauspöydän tai äänikortin mikkivahvistimesta. Tämä herkkyys yhdistettynä mikrofonin erittäin alhaiseen kohinapohjaan tarkoittaa, että signaali saadaan ”nauhalle” käytännössä ilman vahvistuksesta johtuvaa kohinaa.

Myös herttakapselin suuntautuvuudesta johtuvat anomaliat mikrofonille takaa tai sivulta tulevien vuotoäänien soundissa ovat Timbre Tones -mikrofonissa hyvin maltilliset.

Soundiltaan Timbre Tones -mikki onnistuu mielestäni täydellisesti. Tämä ei ole kliinisesti kylmä tai insinöörimainen mikrofoni, vaan sen soundi on ainakin yhtä kaunis kuin sen ulkonäkö. Bassorekisteri soi lämpimästi, keskialueelta löytyy kaunista hohtoa ja selkeyttä, ja diskantti lisää tähän vielä mukavasti kimmellystä.

Janne Koskela suosittelee Timbre Tones -mikrofonia erityisesti akustisen kitaran ja lauluäänen tallentamiseen, mutta testin perusteella Timbre Tonesia toimii myös mainiosti esimerkiksi kitaravahvistimen edessä.

Demobiisissä on mukana ääni- ja kehoperkussiota, pieni sheikkeri, kaksi akustista kitaraa, sekä runsaasti laulua:

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Minun mielestäni Timbre Tones -mikrofoni on todella positiivinen uusi tuttavuus. Tässä saa todella reiluun hintaan käsintehdyn, uniikin mikrofonin, jossa ulkonäkö on yhtä inspiroiva kuin Timbre Tonesin kaunis ääni.

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Timbre Tones -mikrofoni

hinta: 399 € (plus lähetyskulut; mikrofonikehto kuuluu hintaan)

Valmistaja: Timbre Tones

Plussat:

+ suomalaista käsityötä

+ ulkonäkö

+ soundiSave

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11/04/2019

Now on SoundCloud – Tokai LSS-47C + LS-98S

 

Tokai LSS-47C

• Made in China
• Body: Mahogany
• Neck: Maple Set-Neck
• Fingerboard: Carbonized Jatoba
• Frets: 22
• Bridge: LS-VBC Wraparound Tailpiece Bridge
• Pickups: 2 x P-90
• Electronics: 2x Volume, 2x Tone, 3-way Switch
• Inlays: Dots
• Pickguard: Three-Ply Black
• Bindings: Cream, Neck
• Headstock: Black with Logo Inlay & Gold Text
• Hardware Color: Chrome
• Color: Yellow (YW/C)

Tokai LS-98S

• Made in Japan
• Body: Mahogany
• Top: Maple
• Neck: One Piece Mahogany Set-Neck, Long Tenon
• Fingerboard: Rosewood
• Frets: 22
• Bridge: LS-VB, LS-VT Tailpiece
• Neck Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Bridge Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Electronics: 2x Volume, 2x Tone, 3-way Switch
• Inlays: Pearloid
• Pickguard: Cream
• Bindings: Cream, Body & Neck
• Headstock: Black with Logo Inlay & Gold Text
• Hardware Color: Chrome
• Color: Gold Top (GT)
• Case included

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Guitar tracks – signal chain: Simble Overdrive -> Bluetone Shadows Jr -> Timbre Tones mic -> Focusrite Saffire 6 USB -> Garageband

• Made in Japan
• Body: Mahogany
• Top: Maple
• Neck: One Piece Mahogany Set-Neck, Long Tenon
• Fingerboard: Rosewood
• Frets: 22
• Bridge: LS-VB, LS-VT Tailpiece
• Neck Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Bridge Pickup: P-90 MK2
• Electronics: 2x Volume, 2x Tone, 3-way Switch
• Inlays: Pearloid
• Pickguard: Cream
• Bindings: Cream, Body & Neck
• Headstock: Black with Logo Inlay & Gold Text
• Hardware Color: Chrome
• Color: Gold Top (GT)
• Case includedSave

09/04/2019

Demo Song: Timbre Tones Microphone

Demo Song

All tracks recorded with the Timbre Tones mic:

• hand, body and mouth percussion

• Gambian shaker

• acoustic guitars

• vocals

Info: Timbre Tones

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08/04/2019

Review: Harjunpää Violinbirch A 011 + Vikingman A 025

To my knowledge there is currently only one boutique maker in Finland concentrating solely on electric basses – Harjunpää Bass from the small southern town of Nurmijärvi.

Harjunpää Bass is a special case among its peers, because bass builder Jouko Harjunpää isn’t a young luthier schooled at IKATA Institute, but a middle-aged entrepreneur and bassist, who is now fulfilling a lifelong ambition. His drive comes from his love of the instrument, of Finnish wood and of creating something beautiful by hand. Harjunpää’s idiosyncratic instruments are the results of an ongoing development and refinement process, and they can be enjoyed both as musical instruments and works of art.

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This review could have just as well been titled “The Sound of Birch”, because Jouko Harjunpää is a great fan of the different species and variants of Finnish birch wood. Both instruments tested – the blonde Violinbirch, as well as the dark Vikingman – have been made completely from birch, with the exception of their wenge top nuts.

The Violinbirch has been crafted in its entirety from curly birch, while the Vikingman sports a plain birch neck with a curly birch fretboard, mated to body made from birch burl and flamed birch.

As we’re talking about a one-man business, where instruments are made by hand, output is naturally limited. Jouko Harjunpää doesn’t like to apply the term ”price” to the amount of money changing hands between maker and customer. In his view the term ”starting value” would be more appropriate. The customer pays for the starting value, and then each bass value will start its own life, just like in the field of fine arts. The starting values for these basses are 2,500 euros for the Violinbirch and 3,500 euros for the Vikingman.

By pure chance both of the Harjunpääs tested are medium scale instruments (32 inches/81.3 cm), which are not all that common these days. A medium scale bass usually tends to sound similar in clarity and sustain to a long scale instrument, but the string action will feel a little more bendy, which suits some virtuosos.

Both basses feature full two-octave fretboards with expertly finished jumbo frets (Jescar 2.0).

In addition to their breathtakingly beautiful woods, and their compact bodies, both Harjunpääs have been built with Jouko Harjunpää’s special bolt-on neck joint. The Tuning Fork -joint uses a tempered steel plate, roughly shaped like a flattened tuning fork, that has been sunk into the neck’s butt end as an anchor for the joint’s six bolts. According to the maker, this steel plate makes the vibrational transfer between the neck and the body much faster than in a traditional bolt-on or set neck joint. The results are a clear and fast attack, a long sustain, and excellent string-to-string separation.

The Vikingman’s headstock is Harjunpää’s older design, based on the shape of the neck joint’s ”tuning fork”. Recently Jouko Harjunpää has come up with a very elegant and practical open headstock, which has been used for the Violinbirch model.

The machine heads are semi-open Wilkinsons.

Both basses sport top quality ABM-type bridges with lock screws for each bridge saddle.

Artesound pickups have been installed on both Harjunpää instruments:

The Violinbirch comes equipped with a Music Man-style large humbucker. The controls are passive and comprise master volume and master tone.

The Vikingman offers a pair of soapbar humbuckers connected to an Artesound active preamp. In addition to a three-way toggle, there are controls for master volume, bass, middle and treble (cut and boost).

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The workmanship on both Harjunpää instruments is excellent, and most prominent in the fretwork, finishing and playing feel. These basses are made with the beauty of the woods and the overall design front and centre, which sometimes calls for unusual solutions. Take the Vikingman’s bridge as an example – due to the body’s arching the back of the bridge doesn’t lie flat on the body, but has to be shimmed. At first this may look a little strange, but it doesn’t seem to have any negative impacts on the strength of the installation or on the sound.

Both instruments balance nicely in your lap. The long body horn on the bass side makes strapped on balance outstanding. The Vikingman is a tad heavier than the Violinbirch, but still what I’d consider a light bass.

There are differences in the neck profile and the sound of each bass:

The Violinbirch sports a muscular, slightly flattish profile with a nut width of 43 mm.

Played acoustically the Violinbirch’s sound is all about clarity seasoned with a nice dose of mid-range gnarl.

Through an amp the Violinbirch comes across with a strong voice with plenty of attitude in the middle register.

The Vikingman’s neck profile could be described as chunkier version of a Jazz Bass neck. The neck is very round at its narrow nut (35 mm), but it gets wider and much flatter as you go up towards the body.

The Vikingman’s acoustic voice is very clear, too, but here the general character is rounder, and fuller in the lower mids.

Artesound’s preamp delivers a moderate output, which is good news for clean headroom. Despite its fuller acoustic tone, the Vikingman sounds a little clearer than the more aggressive Violinbirch. Thanks to the excellent preamp you can access a wide range of different sounds on this instrument.

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Here is the demo song in audio form:

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If your central object of desire is a heavy relic reissue of a Fender Jazz, chances are you won’t fancy on of Harjunpää Bass’ idiosyncratically beautiful instruments.

Based on this review I can say that Harjunpääs are top drawer, modern basses, which offer the perfect balance between bass chunk and top end clarity. In my opinion Harjunpää basses are great-sounding Finnish works of art.

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Harjunpää Bass Violinbirch & Vikingman

Violinbirch – starting value 2,500 €

Vikingman – staring value 3,500 €

Pros (both basses):

+ handmade in Finland

+ Finnish wood (except top nut)

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ soundSave

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06/04/2019

Review: Raato Custom PenetRaatoR 6 Multiscale

Kitarablogi jumped at the opportunity to take a new Raato Custom Guitars PenetRaatoR Multiscale 6 for a spin.

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The PenetRaatoR 6 Multiscale (prices starting at 3,270 €; this guitar: 3,900 €) is a handcrafted electric solidbody guitar, which offers each string its own scale length. Here the bottom E-string has a scale length of 27.75 inches, while the treble e-string’s scale is 26.5 inches. A previous review explains the ideas behind multi-scale guitars in more detail.

I must say that I rather like Raato Guitar’s crossbreed of Gibson and B. C. Rich elements, which make for a stylish instrument. The body’s core is crafted from basswood, with an added pear back and figured maple top.

This model’s neck consists of three long strips of wood – a centre piece of hard rock maple flanked on both sides by sapele mahogany.

The PenetRaatoR sport’s a very strong bolt-on neck joint using six screws and washers.

The neck has received an oil-and-wax finish. The body, as well as the headstock’s facing, have been bleached and finished with a thin satin lacquer.

One of the custom options on this PenetRaatoR is Raato Custom Guitars’ Lichtenberg Figure process used on the body and headstock face.

Putting Lichtenberg figures into wood is a relatively dangerous procedure (”don’t try this at home”), in which an electrical current is carefully used to produce lightning-like burns in the wood. You can take a look at the process in this Raato Guitars VIDEO.

Mika Ruotsalainen has gone even a bit further by filling the figures on the front with a gorgeous mixture of blue resin and holo-glitter flakes.

The PenetRaatoR 6 Multiscale’s fretboard is made of African ebony, and it sports two octaves’ worth of expertly finished jumbo-sized frets.

This guitar comes with glow-in-the-dark side dots – and company logo – made of Luminlay.

Locking Hipshot Grip-Lock machine heads make sure you tuning stays spot on, even in the middle of Metal Mayhem.

The well designed hardtail bridge is also a Hipshot product.

This PenetRaatoR comes with a pair of Bare Knuckle Pickups’ Nailbomb humbuckers with ceramic magnets. You can already guess from the name that these pickups are meant for all types of Hard Rock and Metal genres.

The review guitar’s controls are spartan and to the point:

We find a three-way toggle pickup switch, as well as a master volume control with an integrated push/pull-switch for pickup splitting.

This is what a boutique class control cavity should look like. The soldering is clean as a whistle, and the electric shielding is thorough.

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Despite Raato Custom Guitars’ PenetRaatoR 6 Multiscale being a rather large electric guitar, its weight is surprisingly moderate. The instrument sits comfortably in the lap, proving equally well-balanced hanging on a strap.

This guitar’s lucky owner (thank you for the loan!) has chosen an asymmetrical neck profile for his own Raato guitar. The neck, which is thicker on the bass side, fits very nicely into my own hand.

The workmanship on this guitar is top notch throughout. Take the fretwork on the PenetRaatoR, for example, that makes this instrument very fast and easy to play. The owner requested his guitar be set up for drop-C tuning.

Played acoustically this Raato displays a fast and precise attack followed by long and smooth sustain.

Bare Knuckles’ considerable expertise in the field of pickup making is clearly evident in the Nailbombs’ sounds, which is couples merciless power with a high degree of musicality. Yes, these are high-octane pickups, but one-dimensional there not.

Here’s a clean audio clip that starts off with the split settings (neck, both, bridge), before switching to the full humbuckers:

The Raato PenetRaatoR 6 Multiscale has been crafted to rock hard, and rock it does indeed:

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It is very clear to me, judging by this review, that Raato Custom Guitars stands for top class workmanship combined with a fresh and fearless approach, when it comes to body shapes and different finishes. PenetRaatoR 6 Multiscale is a fine example of what a boutique grade modern Metal guitar can be.

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Raato Custom PenetRaatoR 6 Multiscale

Prices starting from 2,890 € (traditional scale) and 3,270 € (multiscale)

Reviewed guitar: 3,990 €

Contact: Raato Custom Guitars

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Pros:

+ handmade in Finland

+ wide range of custom options available

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ soundSave

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03/04/2019

Bluetone Bugaboo Distortion – now on SoundCloud

All guitar tracks recorded through a Blackstar HT-1R’s speaker-emulated output.

• Rhythm guitars – Fender Stratocaster (left) & Gibson Melody Maker SG (right)

• Lead guitar – Hamer USA Studio Custom

Handmade by Bluetone Custom Amplifiers.

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