Testipenkissä: Tech 21 Character Plus -sarja

Tech 21 NYC tunnetaan erinomaisista analogisista SansAmp-vahvistin- ja kaiutinsimulaatioistaan, jotka ovat tehneet kitaran (tai basson) soittamisen ilman fyysistä vahvistinta mahdolliseksi kauan ennen digitaalisten mallintajien tai impulssivastetekniikan tuloa. Tech 21:n huippukompaktien Fly Rig -multiefektien valikoima perustuu yhtiön SansAmp-teknologiaan, ja ne tarjoaa keikkailevalle muusikolle koko signaaliketjun, joka mahtuu kätevästi gigbägin sivutaskuun.

Tech 21:n uusi Character Plus -sarja lähestyy hyvin samanlaista teemaa hieman eri näkökulmasta. Jokainen neljästä Character Plus -pedaalista (369 €, kpl) tarjoaa kitaristille ajattoman, klassisen vahvistimen ja lattiaefektin yhdistelmän. Character-nuppi, josta nämä pedaalit ovat saaneet nimensä, antaa sinun mennä portaattomasti valitun vahvistimen useiden eri versioiden läpi, ja uutuuspedaalien kaksikanavainen olemus helpottaa esimerkiksi komppi- ja soolosoundin säätämistä etukäteen.

EQ-osio on jaettu kunkin pedaalin molempien kanavien kesken, mikä saattaa näyttää paperilla hieman rajoittavalta, mutta osoittautui melko ongelmattomaksi tosielämässä.

Character Plus -sarjassa on perinteiset jakit signaalin tuloa ja lähtöä varten, jos haluat käyttää efektin fyysisen vahvistimen edessä. Balansoidulla XLR-ulostulolla taas voi lähettää SansAmp-signaalin eteenpäin audiointerfacelle tai mikserille.

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Tech 21 Screaming Blonde on sarjan Fender-vaikutteinen tapaus. Kummankin kanavan Character-säädin pyyhkäisee läpi erilaisia Fender-tyylisiä soundeja – Tweedistä Blackfaceen – ja säätimellä on myös vaikutusta kanavan gain-rakenteeseen.

Scream-kytkin aktivoi Tube Screamer -tyylisen overdrive-särön, joka on optimoitu toimimaan saumattomasti Screaming Blonden vahvistinkanavien kanssa, minkä ansiosta tämä poljin on loistava valinta kaikkeen tanssibändistä Texas- tai Chicago-bluesiin.

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Tech 21 Mop Top Liverpool viittaa nimessään Beatlesiin, ja sekä nimi että timanttikangaskuvioinen grafiikka taas viittaavat Vox-tyyliseen SansAmp-piiriin. Toisin kuin muissa Character Plus -pedaaleissa, Mop Top Liverpoolista löytyy kaksi hieman erisoundista kanavaa. Tämä tarkoittaa, että pedaali mahdollistaa minkä tahansa tyypillisen AC30-äänen – Shadowsista aina Rory Gallagheriin tai Queeniin – varsinkin kun ylimääräinen Boost-osio on itse asiassa myös kaksi boosteria yhdessä pakkauksessa.

Vastapäivään kello 12 alkaen Boost-säädin lisää soundin runsaasti keskialuetta, kun taas myötäpäivään se lisää diskanttia signaaliin. Pari taajuudenvaihtopainiketta tekee Liverpool Mop Topista vielä entistäkin monipuolisemman.

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Tech 21 Fuzzy Brit vie asiat selvästi klassiseen Hendrix-soundin suuntaan, koska se sisältää kaksi Marshall-tyylistä kanavaa ja niiden lisäksi Fuzzface-tyylisen särön.

Character-säädin tarjoaa myös tässä joukon erilaisia, mutta yhtä klassisia versioita Marshall-murinasta ”Beanosta” aina ”Ladylandiin” ja 1970-luvun Metaliin.

Fuzz-piiri perustuu silikoni-Fuzzfaceen, mutta lisämausteena toimii tässä Tone-säätö, jonka avulla voit kesyttää liian terävää diskanttia.

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Tech 21 English Muffy vie asiat tiukasti 1970-luvun rock-alueelle, sillä pedaali tarjoaa klassinen Hiwatt-stäkin ja Big Muff Pi -särön yhdistelmä. Vaikka tämä pedaali on selkeästi suunnattu David Gilmour -faneille, se sopii erittäin hyvin mm. Who-tyylisen menoon.

Character-control vie sinut puhtaista soundeista (kello 7–10) rapeisiin rock-sävyihin (kello 11:stä ylöspäin). Korkeimmissa Character-asetuksissa mukaan kuvaan astuu vielä keskialueen boosteri.

Eri Big Muff -vuosikerrat voivat erota soundissa melkoisesti toisistaan, mutta Tech 21:n versio kuulostaa ainakin hyvin muhkealta ja kermaiselta.

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Demokappaleena Tech 21 English Muffylle soitin lyhyen instrumentaaliversion Whon klassikkokappaleesta ”Won’t Get Fooled Again”:

• Komppikitara (vasen kanava): Arvo Original, Channel A, ilman Fuzzia
• Komppikitara (oikealla): Kasuga (ES-335-kopio), Channel B, ilman Fuzzia
• Likki-kitara (vasen): Kasuga, Channel B with Fuzzilla
• Likki-kitara (oikea): Fender Telecaster, Channel B, ilman Fuzzia
• Soolokitara: Hamer USA Studio Custom, Channel A Fuzzilla
• Basso: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Kaiut ja delayt lisätty miksausvaiheessa

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Tässä on minun versioni Paul McCartneyn raga-vaikutteisesta kitarasoolosta Beatlesin kappaleessa ”Taxman”:

• Vasen komppikitara (Fender Stratocaster): Channel B ja Boost
• Oikea komppikitara (Gibson Melody Maker SG): Channel A ja Boost
• Soolokitara (Epiphone Casino): Channel B ja Boost
• Basso (Rickenbacker 4003): Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Kaiut lisätty miksausvaiheessa
• Lauluraidat äänitetty Shure SM57 -mikrofonilla

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Valitsin shuffle-bluesin Screaming Blonden soundin demokappaleeseen:

• Komppikitara (vasen): Arvo Original, Channel B, ilman säröä
• Komppikitara (oikea): Kasuga ES-335-kopio, Channel A, ilman säröä
• Soolokitara: Fender Stratocaster, Channel A säröllä
• Basso: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Kaiut ja delayt lisätty miksausvaiheessa

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Tässä on lyhyt instrumentaaliversio kappaleesta ”All Along The Watchtower” Jimi Hendrixin tyyliin:

• Komppikitara: Fender Telecaster, Channel A, ilman Fuzzia
• Puhdas soolokitara: Fender Stratocaster, Channel B, ilman Fuzzia
• Slidekitara: Strat, Channel B Fuzzilla
• Wah-kitara: Strat, Morley M2 Wah, Channel B Fuzzilla
• Basso: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI
• Kaiut, delayt ja tremolot lisätty miksausvaiheessa

****

Vietettyään jonkin aikaa tämän Tech 21:n SansAmp Character Plus -sarjan kvartetin kanssa, minusta tuntuu, että näiden polkimien pääjuttu on, kuinka hämmästyttävän hyvin ne toimivat. Saat erittäin käyttökelpoiset soundit käytännössä suoraan kädenkäänteessä. Character Plus -pedaalit eivät aseta käytännössä mitään esteitä soundin kuulemisen pään sisällä ja tämän soundin ”nauhalle” vangitsemisen välillä. Muutama pieni nuppien säätö ja olet valmis äänittämään.

Toki, jos haluat kokeilla erilaisia mikrofonityyppejä ja niiden sijoittelua, voit tehdä sen fyysisen vahvistimen tai digitaalisen mallinnusplugarin avulla, mutta aina on olemassa vaara, että saatat menettää ”luovan kipinän” ennen kuin kaikki on laitettu valmiiksi.

Tech 21 SansAmp Character Plus -sarjassa on kyse sujuvuudesta ja helppoudesta, erinomaisesta soundista tinkimättä.

Press Release: Ruokangas unveils Valvebucker® Mk2 – the second generation of the audiophile pickup for electric guitar and bass

The 1st generation Valvebucker was launched in 2019. It gained a lot of publicity at the time, being the
first and only vacuum tube powered active pickup system ever for electric guitars. The key Mk2
upgrades are:


• Available now for 4- and 5-stringed Ruokangas basses
• Available now for 7-stringed Ruokangas guitars
• Completely new visual design
• The redesigned floor unit features now a balanced output (works as a DI box) as well
• The floor unit is now always matched in colour with the instrument


And a quick recap of the Valvebucker key features:


• A sensitive magnetic pickup capsule, capturing the instrument sound in high fidelity
• Tube powered proprietary preamp circuit
• One pickup – but a wide variety of sounds
• Military grade triode and pentode NOS tubes with lifetime warranty
• A floor unit included, to connect the Valvebucker® -equipped included to the rest of your signal chain
• A 12VAC power supply included
• A 10-foot XLR cable included


The design architecture of the Valvebucker® circuit is noteworthy, making use of sweet spots found from
outside the typical operational points of vacuum tubes, by using relatively low voltages. The power
consumption of the Valvebucker® remains within the given values also during startup – an important
feature when using commercially available pedal power units. Every Valvebucker® unit is handmade and
finetuned individually in Finland. The Valvebucker® design team is: Lassi Ukkonen (the designer of the Simble Overdrive, etc), Jorma Kostamo, Jyrki Kostamo, Junnu Vuorela and Juha Ruokangas.


The Valvebucker® Mk2 is available as a custom option for Ruokangas guitars and basses, adding 2000€/US$2.200.00 to the basic cost of an ordered instrument. The Valvebucker is not available as an
aftermarket/retrofit product.


This is what Sonny Landreth says about his Valvebucker guitar:


”I love the Valvebucker Mojo! This pickup/system is unique and doesn’t sound like anything else. If I
had to sum it up with one word, it would be smooth as the Valvebucker is the smoothest sounding
pickup I’ve ever experienced. It kind of reminds me of the difference between vintage Neve and SSL
consoles of the day. I especially like it for dialing in a big, clean tone with the selector switch in the
middle position for my solo songs. The range from top to bottom for moving parts of bass lines
against chord melodies etc is balanced and nothing ”pokes out” too much – much easier to let
multiple parts speak. Also, I love how complex, distorted chords with open tunings for slide sound.

Review: Tech 21 Character Plus Series

Tech 21 NYC is known for its excellent analogue SansAmp amplifier- and speaker-simulations that have made playing guitar (or bass, for that matter) live without a physical amp possible, long before the advent of digital modellers or impulse response technology. Tech 21’s range of ultra-compact Fly Rig multi-effects builds on the company’s SansAmp technology to provide the gigging musician with a whole signal chain that fits in a gig bag’s side pocket.

Tech 21’s new Character Plus range approaches a very similar theme from a slightly different angle. Each of the four Character Plus pedals (current price in Finland 369 € each) offers the guitarist a timeless, classic amp and stomp box combination. The Character-knob, which is what gives the four pedals their name, lets you swipe through a wide variety of different permutations of the chosen amp, and the twin-channel layout makes it easy to dial in, say, a rhythm and a lead sound to switch between.

The EQ section is shared between both channels of each pedal, which may look a little limiting on paper, but proved to be pretty unproblematic in real-life use.

The Character Plus Series pedals each sport 1/4″ phone jacks for input and output, if you want to run the pedal as an effect in front of your physical amp, with a balanced XLR-output provided to connect the pedal to a mixing console or an audio interface.

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The Tech 21 Screaming Blonde is the series’ Fender-flavoured offering. The Character-control in each channel sweeps through different Fender-style sounds – from ”Tweed” to ”Blackface” – and also has a bearing on the channel’s gain structure.

The Scream switch activates a Tube Screamer-style overdrive that has been optimised to work seamlessly with the Screaming Blonde’s amp channels, making this pedal a great choice for anything from function bands to Texas or Chicago Blues.

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The Tech 21 Mop Top Liverpool references the Beatles in its name, and both the name as well as the diamond cloth pattern graphics hint at a Vox-style SansAmp-circuit. In contrast to the other three Character Plus pedals, the Mop Top Liverpool features two slightly differently voiced channels. This means that the pedal makes any typical AC30-sound available – from the Shadows all the way to Rory Gallagher or Queen – especially as the additional Boost-section is actually also two boosters in one.

Counterclockwise from 12 o’clock the booster adds a mid-range boost, while clockwise will add a treble booster to your circuit. A pair of frequency shift buttons makes the Liverpool Mop Top even more versatile.

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The Tech 21 Fuzzy Brit takes proceedings well and truly into classic Hendrix territory by bringing two channels of Marshall-style goodness and a switchable Fuzzface-type fuzz effect to the table.

Again, the Character control gives you a whole range of different, but equally classic, versions of Marshall-thunder from ”Beano” all the way to ”Ladyland”, and beyond.

The Fuzz-circuit is based on a silicon Fuzzface, but with the added advantage of a Tone-control, which lets you tame any excessive top end response.

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The Tech 21 English Muffy takes things firmly into 1970s Rock territory by featuring the classic combination of a Hiwatt-stack and a Big Muff Pi. Even though this combination is clearly aimed at David Gilmour fans, this hard rocking SansAmp also works a treat for Who-style power playing.

The Character-control takes you from clean tones (7-10 o’clock) to crunchy Rock tones (upwards of 11 o’clock) with the highest Character settings adding an upper-mid boost.

Different Big Muff iterations can vary quite considerably in sound, but the Tech 21 version sounds fat and creamy.

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As a demo song for the Tech 21 English Muffy I played a short instrumental version of the Who’s classic track ”Won’t Get Fooled Again”:

• Rhythm guitar (left): Arvo Original (Finnish guitar brand), Channel A, no Fuzz
• Rhythm guitar (right): Kasuga (ES-335 copy), Channel B, no Fuzz
• Lick guitar (left): Kasuga, Channel B with Fuzz
• Lick guitar (right): Fender Telecaster, Channel B, no Fuzz
• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom, Channel A with Fuzz
• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Reverbs and delays added during mix down

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Here’s my version of Paul McCartney’s raga-influenced guitar solo on the Beatles track ”Taxman”:

• Rhythm guitar left (Fender Stratocaster): Channel B with Boost
• Rhythm guitar right (Gibson Melody Maker SG): Channel A with Boost
• Lead guitar (Epiphone Casino): Channel B with Boost
• Bass guitar (Rickenbacker 4003): Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Reverb added during mix down
• Vocals recorded with a Shure SM57

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I opted for a Shuffle Blues to feature the Screaming Blonde’s sound:

• Rhythm guitar (left): Arvo Original (handmade Finnish guitar), Channel B, no OD
• Rhythm guitar (right): Kasuga ES-335-copy, Channel A, no OD
• Lead guitar: Fender Stratocaster, Channel A with overdrive
• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Delays and reverbs were added during mix down

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Here’s a short instrumental version of ”All Along The Watchtower” in the style of Jimi Hendrix:

• Rhythm guitar: Fender Telecaster, Channel A, no Fuzz
• Cleanish lead: Fender Stratocaster, Channel B, no Fuzz
• Slide lead: Strat, Channel B with Fuzz
• Wah lead: Strat, Morley M2 Wah, Channel B with Fuzz
• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI
• Reverbs, delays and tremolos added during mix down

****

After spending some time with this quartet comprising Tech 21’s SansAmp Character Plus Series, I feel that the main point behind these pedals is how amazingly well they work. You get maximum useable sound with practically no fuss whatsoever. The Character Plus pedals put virtually no obstacles between hearing the sound in your head and committing this sound ”to tape”. A few little knob tweaks and you’re ready to roll.

Sure, if you want to experiment with different microphone types and placements, a physical amp or digital modelling software will let you do that, but there’s always the danger you might lose the ”creative spark” before everything is set up.

The Tech 21 SansAmp Character Plus Series is all about getting things done, smoothly and easily, without sacrificing your tone.

Tech 21 Character Plus Series – the Kitarablogi videos

• Rhythm guitar (left): Arvo Original (Finnish guitar brand), Channel A, no Fuzz
• Rhythm guitar (right): Kasuga (ES-335 copy), Channel B, no Fuzz
• Lick guitar (left): Kasuga, Channel B with Fuzz
• Lick guitar (right): Fender Telecaster, Channel B, no Fuzz
• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom, Channel A with Fuzz
• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Reverbs and delays added during mix down
• Rhythm guitar left (Fender Stratocaster): Channel B with Boost
• Rhythm guitar right (Gibson Melody Maker SG): Channel A with Boost
• Lead guitar (Epiphone Casino): Channel B with Boost
• Bass guitar (Rickenbacker 4003): Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Reverb added during mix down
• Vocals recorded with a Shure SM57
• Rhythm guitar (left): Arvo Original (handmade Finnish guitar), Channel B, no OD
• Rhythm guitar (right): Kasuga ES-335-copy, Channel A, no OD
• Lead guitar: Fender Stratocaster, Channel A with overdrive
• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI
• Delays and reverbs were added during mix down
• Rhythm guitar: Fender Telecaster, Channel A, no Fuzz
• Cleanish lead: Fender Stratocaster, Channel B, no Fuzz
• Slide lead: Strat, Channel B with Fuzz
• Wah lead: Strat, Morley M2 Wah, Channel B with Fuzz
• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI
• Reverbs, delays and tremolos added during mix down

Preview: Tech 21 Character Plus Screaming Blonde

Here’s a short Blues demo of the Tech 21 SansAmp Character Plus Screaming Blonde. The Screaming Blonde offers two channels of Fender-type amp simulation and a switchable Tube Screamer-style overdrive.

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• Rhythm guitar (left): Arvo Original (handmade Finnish guitar), Channel B, no OD;

• Rhythm guitar (right): Kasuga ES-335-copy, Channel A, no OD;

• Lead guitar: Fender Stratocaster, Channel A with overdrive;

• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI

• Delays and reverbs were added during mix down.

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Find more info on the Tech 21 Screaming Blonde HERE.

Preview: Tech 21 Character Plus Fuzzy Brit

Here’s a short demo song based on Jimi Hendrix’ version of Bob Dylan’s song ”All Along The Watchtower”.

The Tech 21 SansAmp Fuzzy Brit combines Marshall-type amp simulation with a Fuzzface-style fuzz pedal.

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• Rhythm guitar: Fender Telecaster, Channel A, no Fuzz;

• Cleanish lead: Fender Stratocaster, Channel B, no Fuzz;

• Slide lead: Strat, Channel B with Fuzz;

• Wah lead: Strat, Morley M2 Wah, Channel B with Fuzz;

• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI

• Reverbs, delays and tremolos added during mix down.

****

You can find more info on the Tech 21 Fuzzy Brit HERE.

Preview: Tech 21 Character Plus English Muffy

Here’s a short instrumental demo based on the Who classic ”Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

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• Rhythm guitar (left): Arvo Original (Finnish guitar brand), Channel A, no Fuzz

• Rhythm guitar (right): Kasuga (ES-335 copy), Channel B, no Fuzz

• Lick guitar (left): Kasuga, Channel B with Fuzz

• Lick guitar (right): Fender Telecaster, Channel B, no Fuzz

• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom, Channel A with Fuzz

• Bass: Rickenbacker 4003, Tech 21 Bass Driver DI

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Find more info about the Tech 21 Sans Amp English Muffy HERE.

Tulossa Rockway-blogiin: Neljä Jet Guitars -mallia

Jet Guitars

JT-300 – perinteinen, Tele-tyylinen kitara

JS-300 – perinteinen, Strato-tyylinen kitara vintage-vibratallalla

JS-500 – Strato-tyylinen HH deluxe-malli nykyaikaisella vibralla ja lukkovirittimillä

JS-600 – Strato-tyylinen HSS deluxe-malli nykyaikaisella vibralla ja lukkovirittimillä

Kaikissa Jet-kitaroissa kaula on paahdettua vaahteraa.

Lisää infoa: Millbrook Musiikki

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• Komppikitarat: JT-300 (vasen kanava), JS-300 EHX phaserilla (oikea kanava), JS-300 Morley-wahilla (keskellä)

• Soolokitarat (Mad Professor Simble -säröpedaalin läpi): JT-300 (tallamikki), JS-300 (kaulamikki), JS-500 (kaulamikki), JS-600 (tallamikki humbuckerina)

• Vahvistin: Bluetone Black Prince Reverb

• Mikrofoni: Shure SM57

• Mikrofonivahvistin: Cranborne Camden EC2

Review: Farida Old Town OT-12 and OT-25

The world of steel-string guitars is dominated by Dreadnoughts. This is no wonder, as D-sized guitars are great all-rounders that can be used in almost all genres of music. The size that’s one size smaller – usually called an OM-, 000- or Grand Auditorium-guitar – as well as larger Jumbos are also widely available in most price segments.

Guitars with smaller bodies than Martin Guitars’ Size 000 are far harder to find in the lower and middle price ranges, because most brands see them as marginal products for a few specialist players.

This is where Farida Guitars’ brand-new Old Town series steps up to the plate. True, there are a couple of Gibson-ish round-shoulder Dreads among the models, too, but the main focus of the Old Town series is on small-bodies steel-string acoustics, in the style of classics from the 1930s and 40s. The good news for left-handers is that several models are available for southpaws, too, without an extra charge.

We received two models for this review – a Martin Size 0-sized Farida OT-12 (423 €) …

… and a  Gibson LG-2-style Farida OT-25 (738 €). Both guitars come in a deep and rich sunburst finish.

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Farida’s OT-12 is an affordable Old Town-version of Martin’s classic Size 0 guitar. The set neck joins the body at the 14th fret. The body is 46 cm long, with its maximal breadth measuring on 34.3 cm, and a maximal depth of 10.8 cm. This means the OT-12 is larger than a genuine parlour guitar, but a small guitar nonetheless.

The guitar sports an X-braced solid spruce top, as well as a back and sides made from laminated mahogany. There’s a nato neck with an unbound acacia fretboard. The scale length is – as per original – a little shorter than on a typical D-sized guitar (24.7”/62.4 cm). There are 19 well-seated and nicely polished medium-sized frets on the fretboard.

The machine heads on the OT-12 are vintage-style, open three-on-a-plate tuners with faux ivory knobs. The top nut has been carved from genuine bovine bone, and it measures 44 millimetres breadth.

The bridge, too, has been crafted from solid acacia, and it comes equipped with a compensated bone saddle, which is an authentic choice. The factory strings are a high-quality D’Addario EJ-16-set (012-053).

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There is one Gibson steel-string model that was extremely successful in decades past, but which nobody seems to talk about anymore. I’m talking about the Gibson LG-2, that was renamed the Gibson B-25 in 1961. The same US-made model was also sold in the Sixties as the Epiphone FT-45 Cortez. T. Rex’ Marc Bolen was often seen playing this very model in the early Seventies.

Farida’s version of the LG-2 – the Farida OT-25 – is an all-solid instrument with an X-braced spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. The OT-25’s cubic capacity is very similar to a Martin Size 00 body, but the geometry is different. Instead of the wide shoulders and high waist of the 00, the OT-25 is shaped more like a figure eight, with its waist moved more towards the body’s middle lengthwise. The body’s length is 48 cm, its largest width 36 cm, and its largest depth measures 11.2 cm.

This guitar also sports a nato neck, but here the fingerboard has been made from South-American pau ferro. The scale length, number of frets, fret size and quality of the fretwork on the Farida OT-25 is identical to the OT-12.

The headstock shape, type of tuning heads and the top nut also correspond with the OT-12.

The bridge on this Farida has been carved from pau ferro, and it features a compensated bridge saddle made from genuine bone. The factory strings are a high-quality D’Addario EJ-16-set.

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I must say that I’m very impressed by the workmanship and quality displayed on the review samples of Farida’s Old Town series. It would be easy to mistake both of these guitars for much more expensive instruments.

I received both guitars straight from Vantaan Musiiki’s warehouse, still factory packed. I’m amazed by the high level of quality control at Farida’s factory – there were no sharp frets or other issues. I tuned the guitars up to pitch, and the action on both models came to rest at exactly what the quality control card read (low-E: 2.6 mm; treble-e: 2.1 mm), and the action stayed this way over the whole time I spent with the guitars.

Both Faridas feature a full and rounded C-profile neck. Playability is top notch, as both guitars offer plenty of scope to really dig in and make the most of each instrument’s dynamic range. Still, should you require a lower action, there’s more than enough height left in the bridge saddles to accommodate you easily.

The Farida OT-12 sits a little bit more ”into” the player’s body, due to its shorter scale and higher waist, than the OT-25.

The OT-12’s sound is clearly bigger than that of a parlour guitar with a nice amount of ”kick”. Naturally, there’s a great deal less bass frequency content here than in a Dreadnought-size guitar. Feisty use of a pick might even turn out a little harsh at times, but fingerstyle playing greatly benefits from the greater clarity – and tighter bass – of small guitars. The OT-12 never gets wooly or boomy, which is also a definite plus in the studio.

The sound of the Farida OT-25 is probably a bit more versatile, compared to the OT-12, because there is little bit more going on in terms of its low mids and bottom end. The sound is still punchy and tight, but there’s additional texture and complexity here. In my view, the OT-25 would be an outstanding choice as the trusty workhorse of a singer-songwriter, as well as a go-to instrument in the studio. This guitar has a beautiful tone, whether you use a plectrum or your fingers.

****

Farida Old Town

OT-12 – 423 €

OT-25 – 738 €

Finnish distributor: Musiikki Silfverberg

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ finish

+ playability

+ sound

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