Posts tagged ‘uutuudet’

10/03/2017

Review: Fender American Professional Series Telecaster & Stratocaster

It’s practically impossible to overstate the significance of Fender’s brand-new American Professional series of guitars and basses:
This isn’t just another new series among many others – the American Professional instruments are replacing Fender’s longest-running, mega-selling American Standard model range.

In addition to several Tele, Strat, Precision and Jazz Bass models, the American Pro range also includes modern versions of the Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars.

Fender’s American Pro instruments feature a multitude of improvements and updates over the American Standard models, but without doubt the most important upgrade comes in the form of the series’ V-Mod single-coils.

The V-Mod pickups have been developed by Fender’s electronics specialist Tim Shaw. The basic idea was to provide pickups that are tuned specifically for the position they are used in on the guitar. Shaw even went as far as harmonising the tonal response between the wound and plain strings inside each pickup, in some cases even using different magnets inside one pickup.

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Depending on the chosen finish, the Fender American Professional Telecaster (price in Finland approx. 1,700 €; incl. case) comes with either an alder or ash body (as on the two-tone sunburst model reviewed here).

You can also choose between a one-piece maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard option.

The American Professional Stratocaster (price in Finland approx. 1,700 €; incl. case) uses alder for the body, and you can choose between one-piece maple necks and rosewood fingerboards, too.

After having used synthetic materials for a long time, Fender have now switched to genuine bone nuts on all their American Pro instruments.

The two-way Biflex truss rods have been kept over from the American Standards.

All Am Pro guitars come with modern tuners with staggered-height posts.

The fretboard radius is kept at 9.5 inches, which gives you an excellent compromise between a vintage Fender-feel and modern playability.

There’s been an important change regarding the fret material, though:

American Professional guitars come with a new fret type that is almost as tall as jumbo wire, but narrower than the frets on the discontinued American Standard models. Again, this new fret profile is meant to give you the feel – and the percussive attack – of vintage fretwire, combined with the bend-friendly height modern jumbo-sizes offer.

The Am Pro Telecaster’s bridge is a brand-new design, which is reminiscent of vintage-type Tele bridges, but includes a few contemporary improvements.

Tele anoraks will be pleased to see Fender reverting back to a three-saddle design using brass saddles. The new saddles sport machined slopes for better intonation adjustment.

For the most part, the sides of the bridge’s base late are lower than on a vintage-style Tele bridge to make fingerpicking easier. The rear-facing end is higher, though, and Fender even includes a short and snazzy bridge cover (not shown).

Why fix something that’s not broken?

The Am Pro Strat vibrato is basically the same well-designed two-point bridge we all know from the recent American Standard series Strats, sporting vintage bent-steel saddles, and a modern bridge plate and vibrato block.

The vibrato arm is push-fit.

The American Professional models feature a traditional four-screws-plus-tilt neck joint.

The Am Pro Strat’s deep contours make the guitar especially comfortable to play.

The V-Mod pickups on the Telecaster both use Alnico V magnets for the bass strings and Alnico II for the treble strings.

The bridge pickup is reverse-wound/reverse-polarity to give you a hum-free middle (both pickups on) setting.

The V-Mod set for the SSS-Strat is even more involved than the Tele’s set-up:

The neck pickup uses Alnico II magnets for the wound strings and Alnico IIIs for the plain strings, for a tight bass and warm trebles. The middle pickup comes with Alnico IIs for the bass strings and Alnico Vs for the top, which helps retain the sparkle and clarity in switch positions two and four. The bridge pickup has Alnico V magnets for all six strings.

The tone control set-up has been modified to include the bridge pickup as well, by having the neck and middle pickups share the first tone control.

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Fender has given the neck profiles an overhaul, too, and this has clearly paid off:

The new, more oval C-profile feels fantastic, much better than the sometimes slightly generic feel of older American Standard necks. The neck is chunky without being fat or unwieldy.

The workmanship, the fretwork and the general set-up were very good, but for some reason the intonation was off on our test sample. Nothing a digital tuner and a screwdriver can’t fix in a matter of minutes, though…

I look for a woody and throaty basic voice in my Teles, and the new American Pro Telecaster delivers. There’s enough twang in here for Country and early Rock ’n’ Roll, but the sound always stays satisfyingly fat and chunky.

Tweed-style clean:

Tweed-style crunch:

British-style distortion:

The new neck profile also does its magic when it comes to the Am Pro Strat. This is one guitar that’s hard to put down!

You can only admire Tim Shaw for his dedication and perseverance in developing the Strat’s V-Mod pickup set.

Every now and then I tend to veer towards the cynical, when dealing with marketing hype and pickup esoterics. I mean, come on, most traditionally constructed Strats (and S-type guitars) sound like a Strat – bright, sparkly single pickup selections and hollowed-out in-between settings.

Fender’s V-Mod single-coils do clearly make a difference in my opinion. Firstly, the string-to-string balance for each pickup on its own is outstanding, both in terms of level and timbre. Secondly, the in-between settings sound extremely good, too, despite the fact that the V-Mod set mixes three different Strat pickups.

This results in a Stratocaster model with five equally great-sounding pickup selections.

Tweed-style clean:

Tweed-style crunch:

British-style distortion:

The demo track has Telecaster rhythm tracks coming from the left side of the stereo field, and Stratocaster rhythm parts coming from the right. On the first pass the lead guitar part is played on the Tele, for the second pass the Strat takes over.

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In my view, the American Professional Telecaster and Stratocaster are very worthy successors to their American Standard counterparts.

These guitars will doubtlessly set a new standard for high-volume production line electric guitars, just as their predecessors have done since the late 1980s.

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Fender American Professional Telecaster & Stratocaster

Approximate price: 1,700 € each (includes hard case)

Contact: Fender

A big thank you to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the reviewed guitars!

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ neck profile

+ playing feel

+ updated hardware

+ V-Mod pickups

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09/03/2017

Fender American Professional Series – The Kitarablogi-video

Contact: Fender

19/02/2017

Fender American Professional Series – Now on SoundCloud

14/02/2017

Fender American Professional Series == Testi tulossa! == Review coming soon!

25/01/2017

Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates – The Kitarablogi-video

tokai-ls-100f-pearly-gates-beauty-shot-2-blog

Contact: Musamaailma

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18/01/2017

More Sounds: Tokai Love Rock LS-100F Pearly Gates + LS-200F-5A

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

09/01/2017

Testi tulossa –– Review coming soon –– Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates

tokai-ls-100f-pearly-gates-teaser

Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates

• Handcrafted in Japan
• Les Paul Standard replica
• Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickup set
• Case included

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Demo Track

• All guitar tracks recorded with the Tokai LS-100F Pearly Gates
• Amps used: Blackstar HT-1R & Juketone True Blood
• Effects used: Boss SD-1, Joyo Analog Chorus, Morley M2 Wah/Volume

Contact/Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

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03/12/2016

Testipenkissä: Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 Combo

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-top-logo

Kuvitellaan, että olemme läsnä Fender vahvistinosaston aivoriihessä lämpimässä Kaliforniassa, syksyllä 1966. Sessiossa on tarkoitus ideoida uutta vahvistinsarjaa.

Yksi osallistujista sanoo: ”Hei, tyypit. Jotenkin alkaa tympiä se, että teemme koko ajan vain vahvistimia country-kitaristeille ja tylsille viihdyttäjille. Miten olisi, jos tekisimme sarjan kitaravahvistimia, joissa olisi vähän enemmän ’munaa’ Blues- ja Rock-väelle? Kuulin pienestä englantilaisesta firmasta, joka rakentaa tuunattuja Bassman-kopioita, ja jengi tykkää. Meilläkin pitäisi olla tällaisia hot-rod-vahvistimia!”

Tällaista kokousta ei koskaan pidetty…

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fender-bassbreaker-18_30-front

Uusi Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 -kombo (suositushinta: 799 €) olisi voinut olla tämän kuvitteellisen aivoriihen tulos.

Fenderin Bassbreaker 18/30 on kuin se olisi ilmestynyt jostain rinnakkaistodellisuudesta, jossa firma olisi 60-luvun lopulla päättänyt valmistaa amerikkalaisia putkivahvistimia selvällä ”brittikorostuksella”.

Uutuus on kahdella 12-tuumaisella elementillä varustettu Fender-kombo uudella, tyylikkäällä Gray Tweed -päällysteellä. Kaiutinkotelo on rakennettu laadukkaasta koivuvanerista, minkä ansiosta isokokoisen kombon paino jää alle 23 kilon.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-top

Bassbreakerin mallitunnus ”18/30” viittaa siihen, että kombon kaksi kanavaa ovat käytännössä kaksi erillistä vahvistinta:

Ykköskanava (Channel One) perustuu Fender Blackface Deluxe -vahvistimeen, ja sen pääteteho on 30 wattia. Kakkoskanava (Channel Two) sen sijaan on kevyesti modattu versio hieman aikaisemmasta, ruskeasta Deluxesta. Kakkoskanavan pääteteho on 18 wattia.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-back

Uusi Bassbreaker on A/B-luokan täysputkivahvistin puolijohdetasasuuntajalla.

Etuaste on rakennettu kahden 12AX7-putken ympärille, kun taas pääte saa tehonsa neljästä EL84-putkesta. EL84 mielletään yleisesti brittivahvistimiin – perinteisesti Fenkuissa, kuten muissakin jenkkivahvistimissa, käytetään 6V6- tai 6L6-pääteputkia.

Takapaneelista löytyy lisäkaappilähdön ja linjalähdön (päätevahvistimen jälkeen) lisäksi myös jakki pakettiin kuuluvalle jalkakytkimelle.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-valves-and-speakers

”Brittipäätteen” lisäksi Bassbreaker 18/30 -kombossa myös kaiutinvalinta on ei-perinteinen. 60-luvun Fendereistä tuttujen Jensen- tai JBL-kaiuttimien sijaan uutuusvahvistimeen on asennettu pari 12-tuumaista Celestion V-Type -kaiutinta.

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fender-bassbreaker-18_30-control-panel

Ykköskanavan (”Blackface”) enimmäkseen puhtaita soundeja varten on varattu kolmialueinen taajuuskorjainosasto, kun taas kakkoskanavasta (”Brownface”) löytyy ainoastaan yksi Tone-säädin.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-angle-2

Tärkein asia ensin – Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 on uskomattoman kovaääninen! Kyseessä on aito non-master-volume-putkikone, joka liikkuu samassa teholuokassa esimerkiksi Marshall 1962 Bluesbreakerin tai Vox AC30:n kanssa.

Kerrostaloasuntoon 18/30 ei todellakaan sovi, koska kakkoskanavan herkulliset särösoundit heräävät henkiin vain kovalla volyymillä. Ja tämä vaikka kombo toimiikin silloin ainoastaan kahdella pääteputkella, minkä vuoksi teho laskee 18 wattiin ja päätevahvistimen puhdas headroom on hyvinkin rajallinen.

Jos Bassbreaker-mallisto kiinnostaa, mutta tämän kombon äänekkyys ei tunnu sopivan käyttötarkoitukseen, kannattaa kokeilla saman sarjan Bassbreaker 15 -komboa, jossa on mm. master volume -säädin.

Pienillä Volume-asetuksilla molemmista Bassbreaker 18/30 –kanavista saa puhtaita soundeja. Channel One on kaksikosta se helisevämpi ja kirkkaampi, kun taas Channel Two on hieman pyöreämpi ja rouheampi. EL84-pääteputkien ja Celestion-kaiuttimien ansiosta uutuuskombon perussoundi ei ole pikkutarkka kopio firman vanhoista klassikkomalleista, vaan todella herkullinen sekoitus 1960-luvun Fender-soundeista ja perinteisten brittikombojen keskialueen murinasta ja potkusta.

Tässä lyhyt pätkä puhtailla asetuksilla (molemmat volume-säätimet kello yhdeksän ja kymmenen välillä), vaahterakaulaisella Fender Stratocasterilla soitettuna:

Demobiisissä soi kaksi komppikitaraa – Gibson Les Paul Junior (Channel One, oikea stereokanava) ja Fender Telecaster (Channel Two, vasemmalta) – sekä Epiphone Les Paul Standard -kitaralla (vintage-tyylisillä EMG HZ -mikrofoneilla) soitettu soolokitara (Channel Two, volume-säädin kello kolme):

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Fenderin Bassbreaker 18/30 on oikein mainio ja kovaääninen putkivahvistin sellaisille Blues- ja Rock-kitaristeille, jotka tietävät miten non-master-volume-vahvistimien kanssa tullaan toimeen. Uudessa 18/30:ssa yhdistyvät 60-luvun Fender-kombojen parhaat ominaisuudet ja saman aikakauden brittiklassikkojen lihaksikkaan rouhea asenne.

Bassbreaker 18/30 -kombo ei sovi olohuoneen harjoittelukumppaniksi, ja myös kotistudioon se voi osoitauttua liian kovaääniseksi. Tämä on pro-luokan putkivahvistin, joka on tarkoitettu livekäyttöön sellaisissa paikoissa (ja bändeissä), joissa kitaristia ei alituiseen kehoteta soittamaan hiljempaa.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-logo

*****
Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 Combo

suositushinta: 799 €

Lisätiedot: Fender

Paljon kiitoksia DLX Musiikille testivahvistimen lainaamisesta! 

Plussat:

+ työnjälki

+ tyylikäs ulkonäkö

+ kotelo koivuvanerista

+ soundi

+ isotehoinen

Miinukset:

– isotehoinen

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23/11/2016

Review: Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 Combo

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-top-logo

Imagine a brainstorming session at Fender R&D in sunny California, sometime in late 1966. The brief of the day is to come up with a new guitar amplifier.

One of the guys speaks up: ”I’m kinda bored of sparkling TV cowboys and clean-cut entertainers. How about we design an amp for the Blues and Rock players? I’ve heard some little company in England has been doing a sort of Bassman-on-steroids thing, and it seems to catch on. We should try to come up with something that really rocks, too!”

In reality that meeting never took place, but what if it had?

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fender-bassbreaker-18_30-front

The new Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 Combo (list price in Finland: 799 €) could well have been the result of our imaginary R&D session.

The Bassbreaker 18/30 is like a visitor from a parallel universe, in which Fender has taken a turn in the mid-Sixties to design guitar amplifiers with a distinctly British accent.

This is a 2 x 12 Fender combo with a cool new trim, called Gray Tweed. The cabinet is built from birch ply, resulting in a combo with a still-manageable weight of just below 23 kg.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-top

The Bassbreaker 18/30’s model name hints at the fact that this amp features two different Fender designs in one package:

Channel One of this two-channel amplifier is based on a Blackface Fender Deluxe and gives you 30 watts of output power. Channel Two on the other hand has been lifted from the earlier brown version of the Deluxe combo, and puts out 18 watts.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-back

The Bassbreaker is an all-valve guitar amp with solid-state rectification, and it runs in Class A/B.

The preamp section is designed around a pair of 12AX7s, while the power amp uses a quartet of EL84s, instead of Fender’s more traditional 6V6 or 6L6 power tubes.

The back panel sports jack sockets for the channel-switching footswitch (included, as is an amp cover), external speaker cabinets, and a post power amp line level output.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-valves-and-speakers

In addition to the more ”British accent” of the Bassbreaker 18/30’s power amp valves, Fender has also opted for a pair of chunky 12-inch Celestion V-Type speakers, instead of the Jensen and JBL models the company favoured in the 1960s.

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fender-bassbreaker-18_30-control-panel

The 18/30’s Channel One – the Blackface channel – offers you a full three-band EQ-section for your clean tones, while Channel Two (”Brownface”) is more spartan with its single tone control.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-angle-2

First, let me stress that the Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 is really very loud! This is a non-master volume tube combo, which lies in the same ballpark as similar amps, such as the Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker or Vox AC30 combos, when it comes to sheer sound pressure levels.

The 18/30 really isn’t meant for living room use, because you need to raise Channel Two’s volume substantially, if you want to enjoy the combo’s tasty dirt. And this is despite the fact that this Bassbreaker combo shuts off two of its power tubes, whenever you engage Channel Two, in order to drop the amp’s headroom so it will distort earlier.

If high volume is an issue, but you still want a piece of that Bassbreaker action, I’d suggest you check out the Bassbreaker 15 combo, which comes with a master volume control.

At low volume settings both Bassbreaker 18/30 channels will give you clean tones, with Channel One having a brighter and more chimey voice, and Channel Two sounding a bit earthier. Thanks to the EL84 power amp, this isn’t your traditional Fender combo, but rather a mix of Fender character and UK-style mid-range growl and attitude.

Here’s a short clip of both channels set to clean (volumes between 9 and 10 o’clock) and played with a maple neck Stratocaster:

The demo song features two rhythm guitars – a Gibson Les Paul Junior (Channel One, stereo right) and a Fender Telecaster (Channel Two, stereo left) – and a lead guitar part, that has been played on an Epiphone Les Paul Standard with vintage-type EMG HZ-pickups through Channel Two (volume at 3 o’clock):

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fender-bassbreaker-18_30-angle-1

Fender’s Bassbreaker 18/30 is a great-sounding guitar combo for the Blues and Rock guitarist, who knows how to coax great tones from an in-your-face non-master valve amp. The 18/30 manages to combine the best aspects of 1960s Fender amps with the chunk and grit usually associated with British designs.

The Bassbreaker 18/30 is too loud to be used as a bedroom or home studio amp. This combo has been designed as a professional tool for the gigging guitarist, who doesn’t have to ”turn it down” all the time.

fender-bassbreaker-18_30-logo

*****
Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 Combo

MSRP: 799 €

Contact: Fender

A big thank you to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the review combo!

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ design

+ birch-ply cabinet

+ sound

+ high volume levels

Cons:

– high volume levels

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22/11/2016

Jam Track: Shuffle Blues in Bb (125 BPM)