Posts tagged ‘The Beatles’

11/10/2018

Vox AC30S1 – the Kitarablogi-video

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

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The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

01/10/2018

First Look: Vox AC30S1

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

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The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

09/11/2016

Review: Bluetone Shadows Reverb

For many guitarists the Vox AC30 is the greatest guitar amp ever made – bar none.

The combo was originally designed for the instrumental group The Shadows, but it became known worldwide as ”The Beatles Amp”. Over the decades, many other guitarists have favoured Vox’ best known design. Users include people like Brian May (Queen), Rory Gallagher and U2’s The Edge. Many Finnish Shadows-/Ventures-style bands (”rautalankka”) also favour the AC30.

Despite their legendary status, vintage Vox AC30s also do have their issues:

This large 2 x 12″ combo weighs quite a lot, making it a little hard to carry alone. Old Voxes also are non-master volume amps, which means that attaining natural distortion comes at the cost of serious sound pressure levels – often too much for small clubs and function gigs. Old AC30s also have all their valves – yes, also the power amp tubes – placed inside an almost completely closed metal chassis. This has led to vintage-Voxes getting an infamous reputation as relatively prone to catching fire.

vox-chassis-studiofreak-photobucket

(photo: Studiofreak/Photobucket)

Boutique amp makers Bluetone (from Helsinki, Finland) have recently come up with their special take on the beloved classic combo. Their new amp is called Bluetone Shadows Reverb, and it comes with a whole number of welcome improvements and modern features.

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bluetone-shadows-reverb-front-angle

Bluetone’s Shadows Reverb (reviewed version: 1,950 €) is a single-channel all-valve amp loaded with a genuine spring reverb. The combo represents the company’s view of what constitutes a perfect Top Boost-channel tone, all presented in a much more compact format.

The Shadows Reverb is a class AB amp, and it offers between 15 and 30 Watts of output power, depending on the setting of its built-in Variac.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-back-angle

The combo’s cabinet is made from high-grade plywood. The Shadows Reverb is a good deal smaller and less deep than its classic forebear from the 1960s.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-speakers

This reduction in heft is due mostly to the use of 10-inch Celestion Alnico Gold speakers in place of the AC30’s 12-inch speaker pair.

The speakers in the Shadows Reverb combo have been ”played in” for a number of hours (using an oscillator) to get rid of the typical tightness of brand-new Alnico Golds.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-power-amp-valves

This Bluetone-combo uses three 12AX7-tubes, and a single 12AT7 in its preamp section.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-premp-valves-transformers

The power amp runs on a quartet of EL84 valves. The Shadows Reverb is a cathode-biased valve amp, which means that replacing the power amp tubes doesn’t usually necessitate any rebiasing.

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bluetone-shadows-reverb-front-panel

Yes, the Bluetone Shadows Reverb is ”just” a single-channel combo, but it is far from a single sound guitar amplifier. In large part this is thanks to the brilliant modern features Bluetone has incorporated into this homage.

The Shadows Reverb offers you two guitar inputs – High and Low – for use with single coil- and humbucker-equipped instruments.

The preamp features a two-band Baxandall EQ-section – with typically interactive controls for Bass and Treble – as well as a three-stage Bass Cut rotary switch, which offers you two fatter alternatives to the famously bright and wiry Vox Top Boost sound.

The onboard spring reverb sounds fantastic and is a real treat to work with, giving you everything from completely dry tones to Surf Music antics.

The power amp section comes with three controls:

Cut allows you to make overall adjustments to the combo’s treble output.

Bluetone’s Master Volume-control is placed after the phase inverter, right at the end of the signal chain. This allows you to get juicy power amp distortion at low volume levels, and with only minimal changes in the amp’s tone.

As mentioned before, the Shadows Reverb comes with a built-in Variac circuit. Although the Variac also has a bearing on the combo’s output level, it works in a completely different way to the master volume, namely by dropping the voltage the power amp runs on. Turning the Variac down will result in a good deal less clean headroom and more power amp sag.

Due to large public interest, I had to return the Shadows Reverb much earlier than anticipated, but I still managed to record two different demo tracks with the Bluetone amp.

The first (clean) track features rhythm guitar tracks played on a Fender Telecaster (left channel) and a 1970s Japanese copy of a Gibson ES-335 (Kasuga; right channel). The lead guitar part was played on a Fender Stratocaster. All guitar tracks have been recorded with an AKG C3000 microphone placed approximately 80 cm from the combo’s front:

The second track (overdriven) has been recorded with a Stratocaster. The distortion comes from the Shadows Reverb (no pedals used), and all tracks have been close-miked with a pair of Shure SM57s:

bluetone-shadows-reverb-master-section

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Bluetone’s Shadows Reverb is an outstanding boutique amp take on the Vox AC30 motif. Like all other Bluetone amps, the Shadows Reverb is carefully handmade in Finland to the company’s strict quality standards. This results in reliable top-drawer tools for the musician, with extremely low levels of hiss and negligible AC hum.

I had a great time test driving this combo. The Bluetone Shadows Reverb simply delivers all it promises with style and panache. The combo weighs approximately half of the original classic (AC30s usually weigh between 31 to 36 kg, depending on their specific vintage and the speakers they come loaded with). The reduced size means you won’t be having any problems lifting this beauty into the boot of a small car, such as a Ford Fiesta.

Thanks to the additional features of this Bluetone combo – like the Bass Cut and the Variac – you will be able to enjoy the great sound of the Shadows Reverb anywhere you want, be it at home or on stage.

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Bluetone Shadows Reverb

Prices starting at approx. 1,700 € (reviewed version: 1,950 €)

Manufacturer: Bluetone Amps

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Pros:

+ handmade in Finland

+ size

+ weight

+ valve-powered spring reverb

+ Variac- and Master Volume-controls

+ sound

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04/11/2016

Testipenkissä: Bluetone Shadows Reverb

Monelle kitaristille Voxin AC30-kombo on se yksi ja ainoa varteenotettava kitaravahvistin.

Alun perin brittiyhtye The Shadowsia varten kehitetty AC30 tuli kuuluisaksi The Beatles -vahvistimena, mutta se on löytänyt tiensä monien erityylisten kitaristien backlineen. Tunnetuimpiin käyttäjiin kuuluvat mm. Brian May (Queen), Rory Gallagher sekä U2:n The Edge. Myös Suomen rautalankabändien keskuudessa AC30 kuuluu vakiovarustukseen.

Suosiosta huolimatta vanhoilla AC30-komboilla on myös huonot puolensa:

Isokokoinen, kahdella 12-tuumaisella kaiuttimella varustettu putkikombo on melko painava ilmestys. Vanhoissa Voxeissa ei myöskään ole master volume -säädintä, mikä tarkoittaa sitä että vahvistimen omaa säröä pystyy hyödyntämään asianmukaisesti vain isoissa keikkapaikoissa. Lisäksi vintage-Voxeissa kaikki putket – kyllä, myös pääteputket – on sijoitettu lähes kokonaan suljettuun metallikoteloon, minkä takia vintage-AC30:t voivat (käyttötavasta rippuen) syttyä palamaan herkemmin kuin moni muu vanha kombovahvistin.

vox-chassis-studiofreak-photobucket

(kuva: Studiofreak/Photobucket)

Helsinkiläinen vahvistinpaja Bluetone tarjoaa nyt oivan ratkaisun klassikkovahvistimen ongelmiin Bluetone Shadows Reverb -nimisen putkikombon muodossa.

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bluetone-shadows-reverb-front-angle

Bluetone Shadows Reverb (testattu versio: 1.950 €) on yksikanavainen, jousikaiulla varustettu täysputkikombo, joka lupaa aitoa Top Boost -soundia selvästi pienemmässä paketissa ja nykyaikaisilla ominaisuuksilla höystettynä.

Shadows Reverb on AB-luokan vahvistin, joka tarjoaa 15-30 wattia tehoa, riippuen Variac-säätimen asennosta.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-back-angle

Shadows Reverbin kaiutinkotelo tehdään vanerista, ja se on selvästi pienempi ja litteämpi kuin 1960-luvun esikuvansa.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-speakers

Pienempi koko on osittain mahdollistettu käyttämällä klassikkokombon 12-tuumaisten kaiuttimien sijaan 10-tuumaisia Celestion Alnico Gold -kaiuttimia.

Shadows Reverbin kaiuttimia on, siniaaltogeneraattoria käyttäen, ajettu sisään useamman tunnin ajan, minkä ansiosta on saatu vähennettyä uusille Alnico Gold -elementeille tyypillistä alkukireyttä.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-power-amp-valves

Tässä Bluetonessa käytetään etuasteessa kolmea 12AX7-putkea, sekä yhtä 12AT7:ää.

bluetone-shadows-reverb-premp-valves-transformers

Päätevahvistin tuottaa tehonsa neljän EL84-putken voimalla. Shadows Reverb on katodibiasoitu kombo, mikä tarkoittaa sitä, ettei pääteputkia yleensä tarvitse biasoida vaihdon yhteydessä.

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bluetone-shadows-reverb-front-panel

Vaikka Bluetone Shadows Reverb on ”vain” yksikanavainen kombo, sen soundimaailma on selvästi laajempi kuin uskoisi. Kiitos siitä kuuluu Bluetonen monipuolisille ominaisuuksille.

Shadows Reverb tarjoaa kaksi kitaratuloa – High ja Low – single coil- ja humbucker-mikrofoneja varten.

Etuasteesta löytyy kaksikaistainen Baxandall-EQ – interaktiivisilla basso- ja diskanttisäädöillä – sekä kolmiasentoinen Bass Cut -bassoleikkuri, joka tarjoaa aidon Vox Top Boost -soundin lisäksi kaksi hieman muhkeampaa vaihtoehtoa.

Reverb-säätimellä hallitaan kombon putkivahvistettua jousikaikua. Kaiun soundi on erinomainen, ja säätimen skaala yltää täysin kuivasta kaikuisaan Surf-vatkaukseen.

Päätevahvistimelle on varattu jopa kolme säädintä:

Cut-säätimellä voidaan säännöstellä kombon kokonaisdiskanttia.

Bluetonen Master Volume -säädin on signaaliketjun loppupäässä (vaihekääntäjän jälkeen), ja sen ansiosta voidaan tuottaa päätesäröä myös pienillä volyymeillä.

Shadows Reverbissä on myös kolmiasentoinen Variac-tehonsäädin. Variac toimii eri tavalla kuin perinteinen master volume -säädin, se nimittäin muuttaa pääteasteen sisäistä jännitettä. Tehoa laskettaessa päätevahvistimen puhdas headroom ja putkikompressio muuttuvat.

Testikombon palautuksen suhteen tuli ylättäen hieman kiire, mutta ehdin kuitenkin äänittää kaksi erilaista demobiisiä Bluetone Shadows Reverbillä.

Ensimmäisessä kappaleessa komppikitarat soitettiin Fender Telecasterilla (vasen kanava) ja vanhalla japanilaisella puoliakustisella (Kasuga, oikea kanava). Soolokitarana toimi Fender Stratocaster:

Toisessa biisissä särösoundi tulee pelkästään kombosta itse. Kaikki raidat on soitettu Stratolla:

bluetone-shadows-reverb-master-section

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Bluetone Shadows Reverb -kombo on erinomainen boutique-luokan muunnelma Vox AC30 -teemasta. Kuten muutkin Bluetone-vahvistimet, Shadows Reverb rakennetaan kokonaan käsin Suomessa tiukkojen laatustandardien mukaan, mistä kielivät mm. kombon erittäin alhainen kohinataso, sekä käytännössä olematon verkkohumina. Vahvistimen laatuun suhteutettuna pidän Shadows Reverbin hintaa erittäin reiluna.

Testikokemuksen perusteella voin vain todeta, että Bluetone Shadows Reverb lunastaa lupauksensa avokätisesti ja tyylikkäästi. Bluetone-kombo painaa lähes tarkalleen puolet vanhan klassikon painosta (AC30 painaa noin 31-36 kg, vuosimallista ja kaiutinvarustuksesta riippuen), ja sen pienempi koko tarkoittaa, että Shadows Reverb mahtuu helposti esimerkiksi Ford Fiestan takakonttiin (kokeiltu on).

Bluetonen lisäominaisuuksien – kuten bassoleikkurin ja Variacin – ansiosta Shadows Reverbin tarjoama soundikattaus on yllättävän laaja, ja kombon erinomaisista soundeista voi nauttia sekä omassa olohuoneessa että keikkalavalla.

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Bluetone Shadows Reverb

Hinnat alk. 1.700 € (testattu version 1.950)

Valmistaja: Bluetone Amps

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Plussat:

+ käsintehty Suomessa

+ koko

+ paino

+ jousikaiku

+ Variac ja Master Volume

+ soundi

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08/06/2015

”Just one more!” – Living with G.A.S.

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Just one more…pleeeeeeze!

einstein_guitar1

We’ve all seen the memes on social media, haven’t we? And let’s be honest – there’s plenty of truth in them!

Many – if not most – of us guitarists seem to have an annoying tendency to want to amass a wide selection of instruments and/or effect pedals and/or guitar amps for personal use. This gear lust, which often leads to crammed living conditions, empty pockets, and considerable trouble with our significant other, is generally known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome, colloquially shortened to G.A.S. (or GAS).

It seems that GAS has become ever more prevalent over the last couple of (or three) decades, but the roots of this problem reach as far back as popular music and the advent of mass media.

MM2015 – Schecter USA Sunset Custom

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G.A.S. through the decades

The early days

Gibson Nick Lucas Signature

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly the onset of GAS, but many people would agree that Gibson’s Nick Lucas Special signature model (first released in 1927) played a crucial part.

Nick Lucas (1897-1982) was an accomplished guitarist and popular crooner, whose biggest hits (in the late Twenties and early Thirties) coincided with the popularity of the radio and the wider availability of phonograph records.

The Nick Lucas Special was Gibson’s first signature guitar, laying the groundwork for the endorsement deals we’re familiar with these days. Apart from riding on an artist’s popularity, a signature guitar also tends to suggest to the guitarist that, were he (or she) to play this particular instrument, some of the magic (as well as the technical prowess) of the endorsing artist might rub off. In short, the message is ”buy this guitar, and you will become a better and more popular player!”

As most male guitarists not only care for their playing technique, but also for the opposite sex, becoming more popular always sounded (and still sounds) like a good idea.

The Fifties and Sixties – the guitar boom

Squier Cabronita Telecaster – body beauty

During the first half of the 20th Century the guitar grew from a not-very-common, specialist instrument into a popular mainstream choice – not least thanks to Country music and the ”singing cowboys” featured on radio and records, as well as in the movie theatres.

But it was Rock ’n’ Roll that put the guitar in all its shapes on the top of the desirability list for masses of youngsters in the so-called Western World.

Yet, GAS wasn’t such a serious issue at that time, because musical instruments were outrageously expensive then, and some of the top US-brands almost impossible to get hold of in Europe.

Andy Babiuk’s fantastic book ”Beatles Gear” gives the reader a very good idea of how difficult it was for the guitarists of the late Fifties and early Sixties to even scrape together enough money to buy a single guitar (or amp). Owning multiple guitars was the privilege of the biggest stars only. Back in 1965 a new, baby blue Fender Stratocaster would have set you back around 3,000 euros in today’s money! This makes a current American Standard Stratocaster seem dead cheap at approximately 1,500 euros. And remember, back then there was no such thing as a quality (licensed) copy, and even substandard instruments from Eastern Europe weren’t really cheap (Harrison’s Czech-made Futurama cost him the better part of 1,200 euros in today’s money).

Still, young players were brand-conscious, at least to some degree, and lusting for the exact guitar they knew their idol was playing. Even if they couldn’t afford it…

They don’t make ’em like they used to

Les Paul Burst

The transition of the plain old ”used guitar” to the ”vintage guitar” we all know today got to a start in the late Sixties, mostly fuelled by the two best-known brands – Gibson and Fender:

When flagging sales of the Gibson Les Paul prompted the company to scuttle the model in favour of the instrument we now know as the Gibson SG, nobody could have foreseen that the move would lead to the first run on a discontinued electric guitar model ever. Caused by the exposure given to the ”out of print” Les Paul Standard by the new wave of Blues players, spearheaded by Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton, many serious guitarists started actively searching for used Les Pauls. The fact that Gibson chose to reissue the Les Paul in the late Sixties, but failed to sense that the crowd lusted for the double-humbucker Burst (instead of the Goldtop and the Custom), quickly turned the original Standards produced between 1958 and 1960 into the stuff of legend.

Both Fender and Gibson became parts of large business conglomerates before the Sixties were over, and a feeling started to seep into the guitar community that the earlier instruments were of a higher quality than those produced under the new managements.

Big in Japan

Tokai ES-162 – body beauty

The proliferation of reasonably well-made guitars from Japan – often dead-on copies of US classics – at reasonable prices was what truly kicked off the phenomenon we now call GAS.

For the first time amateur and semi-professional guitarists could afford to own more than a couple of guitars. Effect pedals, too, would start to benefit from Far Eastern efficiency and mass-production.

Many of the 1970s Tokai-, Ibanez- and Yamaha-guitars – as well as the earliest Roland/Boss-effects – are now considered vintage classics in their own right.

Tokai ATE-33N Thinline – body beauty 1

Licensed copies

Epiphone Casino – April 2012 – close-up

The Eighties finally ”sealed our fate”, when it comes to GAS.

Many large brands started to release official (=licensed) copies of their own instruments in the 1980s, with the rest following suit in the following decades. Brands like Squier, Epiphone, or Sterling make it affordable to hoard instruments that offer at least some of the clout of their famous, upmarket brethren.

Sterling SUB Ray4 – body beauty

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The Five Types of GAS-sufferers

J Leachim Jazzcaster – body beauty

We are all different – we don’t all lust after the same guitars, and we don’t all accumulate gear for the same reasons or in the same way.

I think one could divide us Gassers up into five basic categories, according to how and why we ”simply have to have that guitar”.

1. The Fan

The Fan is a hardcore follower of one (or two) Rock bands (or guitar gods), and he (or she) focusses on acquiring as much of the gear used by their idol as humanly possible. The Fan hopes to come as close as possible to their idol’s famous guitar tone, and he/she wants to feel (and look) the way his (or her) idol does when playing those classic riffs and songs.

2. The Nostalgist

The Nostalgist comes from a similar place as the Fan, having a clear vision of what it is he’s looking for. But, instead of trying to relive a certain band’s or player’s tone, as the Fan does, the Nostalgist wants to reclaim the (his/her own?) past. The Nostalgist longs for the classic looks and tones gleaned off vintage equipment, the sounds of a cooler, more vibrant place than the current here-and-now. Some Nostalgists also buy all the stuff they wanted, but couldn’t afford to get, when they were young.

3. The Hunter and Gatherer

The Hunter and Gatherer simply loves to get new toys, especially when he can claim to have ”snapped up a real bargain”. These are the guys that constantly trail the Internet, on the lookout for something, anything really, that might whet their considerable appetite. Very often it doesn’t even matter if it is an instrument (or other piece of gear) the Hunter and Gatherer really ”needs”; as long as it’s cool and ”a bargain” it’s a viable acquisition.

4. The Specialist

The Specialist has a strong focus on one, two or three specific pieces of equipment, that he (or she) simply cannot get enough of. These are the guys who seem to have a perfectly good reason for buying several dozen Telecasters, or a whole flock of Fender Tweed-era amps – or maybe they zone in solely on gear manufactured during one specific year…

5. The Pragmatist

The Pragmatist comes over as very reasonable, even though he’s an addict like the rest of us. The Pragmatist tells his wife that he doesn’t yet own an archtop guitar with DeArmond pickups, but that he needs just such a guitar to complete his ”colour palette” or ”toolbox”. Some Pragmatists – like professional guitarists, studio owners, or guitar reviewers – can make a real art form of their Gassing, meaning it takes the unsuspecting wife years (if not decades) to see through this charade.

Fuzz 2015 – Nice, old Tellies!

Naturally, things aren’t always as clear cut in real life as they might seem on paper. Most of us GAS-sufferers tend to display a mixture of two of three of the above GAS-categories.

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”You can’t play more than one guitar at a time!”

GJ2 Guitars – Concorde 4-Star + 5-Star

Does owning more than one or two guitars have real advantages? If you ask me, my answer would be a resounding ”yes and no”!

The ”yes” part of my answer has to do with the fact that playing guitar (or bass guitar) is always a tactile experience. Different instruments have different neck profiles, they have different overall dimensions, different actions, different fret sizes, different fingerboard radii, and they simply smell and feel differently.

This is probably the main reason why we don’t all play Line 6 Variax guitars. They might be decent instruments with an astonishingly realistic array of different tones, but they completely lack the important tactile element that is so crucial in inspiring you to come up with different licks and different ways of approaching the guitar as an instrument.

A big, fat Jazz box will make you play noticeably differently to a sleek Strat or SG, and the same holds true for the differences between, say, an ES-335 and a Floyd Rose-equipped Metal axe.

On the ”no” side of the equation, buying a new piece of equipment will surely inspire you, but it won’t automatically turn you into a ”better” guitarist. Even though it’s hard to admit, only regular practice will move you forward on the long and winding road to improvement.

Tokai SG-75 – body angle

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Damned If You Do…

In a way, we’re extremely lucky these days. There has never been a better time to be a guitarist than now. There’s an abundance of cool gear available, and much of it at rather reasonable prices.

The downside to this is, of course, that it’s so much easier to become a gear addict, because the price tag doesn’t necessarily act as much of a threshold, anymore.

Still, I tend to see the positive side of things, because the affordability of decent equipment makes it much easier for guitarists these days to try out different stuff on their way to finding the gear that’s most suitable for the music they make.

The Valve Bimbo – with SG

01/08/2013

Uusi kirja: The Complete Höfner Violin Bass Story

Höfner Book 1

Hiljattain on ilmestynyt ensimmäinen vakavasti otettava kirja Höfnerin viulubassosta.

The Complete Violin Bass Story on Höfner-asiantuntijoiden – Steve Russellin ja Nick Wassin – huolellinen ja kattava historiikki Höfnerin klassikkobassosta.

Höfner Book 2

320-sivuiseen kirjaan on hyvin kirjoitetun tekstin lisäksi mahdutettu suuri määrä bassokuvia – skaala ulottuu tunnetuista varhaisen 1960-luvun viulubassoista…

Höfner Book 3

…ja 70-luvun malleista…

Höfner 4

…nykypäivän reissue-mallistoon.

Kirjassa on mukana myös Tommi Posan ottamia kuvia minun omasta 90-luvun Höfneristäni!

09/01/2013

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away – The Beatles

Lennon & Framus

03/12/2012

Bass Porn: My 1987 Rickenbacker 4003

Rickenbacker 4003 – beauty

My Rickenbacker 4003 is finished in silver, and sports the black hardware so common on 1980s Rickenbackers.

Rickenbacker 4003 – headstock

Rickenbacker 4003 – tuners

Old Rickies from the 1960s use Kluson tuners. Seventies models were most often equipped with Grover tuners. By the Eighties Rickenbacker had switched to Rickenbacker-branded Schaller tuners from Germany.

Rickenbacker 4003 – inlays

The original 4001 basses featured triangular ”shark-fin” inlays that went all the way from one edge of the fretboard to the other, effectively cutting the ’board into many pieces. The Rickenbacker 4003 has redesigned and slightly smaller inlays.

Rickenbacker 4003 – horns + pickups

Viewed from the top both singlecoil pickups seem identical.

Rickenbacker 4003 – neck pickup

While the units feature virtually identical polepieces and coils, they do differ in the details. The neck pickup is powered by a single, flat bar magnet stuck underneath the bobbin.

Rickenbacker 4003 – bridge pickup

The 4003’s distinctive bridge pickup tone of the Eighties model is produced by using a unique, thick rubber/ceramic-compound magnet that has a large gap (for the wiring) on the fingerboard-facing side. The hand rest has been removed by the previous owner.

Rickenbacker 4003 – bridge

The Rickenbacker bass bridge stands in its own recess inside the combined tailpiece and mute assembly.
In the Eighties Rickenbacker experimented with different tailpiece thicknesses, leading to quite a few bridge assemblies featuring two additional screws close to the ball ends. These factory-installed screws keep the – slightly too flexible – tailpiece from being bent out of shape by the string pull.

Rickenbacker 4003 – body binding + bridge screws

The body binding on Rickenbacker basses is usually glued to the body wings before the wings are attached to the through-neck.

Rickenbacker 4003 – full front

Rickenbacker 4003 – full back

Rickenbacker 4003 – glue line

Look closely, and you’ll be able to spot the glue-lines demarcating the through-neck.

Rickenbacker 4003 – jack plate

Rickenbacker used several different numbering schemes throughout the decades. In 1987 they introduced a new numbering system with a letter indicating the month of production (A = January) and a number standing for the year (0 = 1987). Additionally there are four numbers on the lower edge of the jack plate (digitally wiped from this photograph).
The Rick-O-Sound-output is for use with a Y-cable (stereo plug to two mono plugs), splitting the pickup signals for use with two amplifiers or for adding different effects to each of the pickups.

Rickenbacker 4003 – body beauty

This is what my own Rickenbacker-bass sounds like, when recorded using a SansAmp Bass Driver DI-box:

fingerstyle/neck PU

fingerstyle/both PUs

fingerstyle/bridge PU

plectrum/neck PU

plectrum/both PUs

plectrum/bridge PU

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Some Rick-tastic clips:

25/04/2012

Not again! Another Epiphone Casino photo

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The Epiphone Casino – a beautiful classic!

08/02/2012

”… Nowhere Man – in E!”