Monthly Archives: February 2013

Review: Yamaha A1R and A3R

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

This review could have carried the title “Elegant Twins”, as both models from Yamaha’s brand-new A-series look very much alike.

The A-series looks like Yamaha’s answer to Taylor Guitars – it encompasses eight guitars in all, half of them Dreadnoughts and the other half in Grand Concert -size. All models feature a cutaway and a pickup system, as well as a new, organic-feeling type of matte finish rather reminiscent of some Taylors.

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The Yamaha A1R (current recommended price in Finland: 639 €) is the less expensive guitar of the two on review here. The model’s nicely grained sitka spruce top is solid wood, with the rosewood sides and back being made of veneer.

The A1R’s headstock has received a rosewood facing.

Yamaha uses the same type of sealed tuners on the bulk of their steelstring acoustics. The lower A-series models sport necks made from three long and narrow pieces of…

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Review: Warwick BC 40 and BC 150 bass combos

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

Warwick’s new BC-series of bass combo amps is a fruit of their collaboration with Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg. The basic idea was to transplant as many of the innovations of the top class Hellborg-series into a range of less expensive Warwick amps.

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The Warwick BC-40 (current price in Finland:170 €) comes from the smaller end of the BC-range. This 40-watter comes loaded with a 10-inch speaker and a two-inch treble horn.

The Chinese combo is sturdily built – the carpet-covered cabinet will surely take some knocks without any negative effects, and the speakers are well protected by a chunky metal grille.

The BC 40’s power switch and power cord connector have been placed in a surprising spot, near the bottom of the combo’s back wall. This isn’t Warwick trying to make life difficult for us bassists – quite the contrary! By placing the power transformers…

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Review: Walden G630CE + CD4040-CERT

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

Walden CD4040-CERT – logo

Amongst Chinese-made acoustic brands Walden is a special case. The company’s instruments aren’t just Walden-branded rebadged OEM-guitars, instead they are crafted at their own factory to their very own specifications and using their very own methods.

Walden’s main man is American luthier Jonathan Lee, who not only knows how to make fine acoustic instruments, but also affords special attention to things such as working conditions at the Walden plant, as well as environmental issues; or, as the man himself put it in a recent Guitarist-interview: “I want to go to bed at night and not wake up sweating about being a bad guy and getting kicked out of the gates by [Saint] Peter!”

Based on Jonathan Lee’s experience as a boutique builder, Walden Guitars feature an enticing mix of old-school and contemporary building methods: For example, all Waldens sport graphite (or fibreglass) reinforced bolt-on necks, as well as traditional…

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Review: Vox AC4 Blue

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

This is what it looks like – the brand-new Vox AC4 C1 Blue. I can already hear many of you thinking “What? Another AC4? Is it any different to the white AC4 TV?”

Granted, it is somewhat bewildering that Vox have several similarly named products in their range, so let me run you through the differences quickly:

At the moment of writing there are five different Vox AC4 valve amplifiers available. The Vox AC4 TV – which is available in three different guises – is the most affordable alternative, and aimed at the same market segment as ultra-compact modelling combos, such as the Roland Micro Cube.

At the other end of the price spectrum you can find the Vox AC4 HW, which is a very stylish hand-wired (HW) combo for the vintage fanatic. Just like the Sixties original, the AC4 HW is also equipped with a 12” Celestion…

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Review: Tokai TST-50 + Seymour Duncan Little ’59

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

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Finnish importer and retailer Musamaailma offer an in-house customising service, which is still a rather rare thing over here. For a fair price you can order your guitar with your choice of EMG- or Seymour Duncan -pickups. Musamaailma employ their own luthiers, so all this work is done professionally and in-house.

Kitarablogi got to try out the brand-new Tokai TST-50 -model (current price in Finland: 699 €), which is an addition to the brand’s high-quality Japanese line-up.

In our case the Tokai TST-50’s stock, singlecoil bridge pickup has been swapped for a humbucking Seymour Duncan Little ’59 (current price in Finland: 84,60 €), which promises authentic PAF-type tones from a Strat-sized unit.

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Tokai’s TST-50 gives more than a passing nod to traditional S-style guitars in an early Sixties vein:

The alder body has all the characteristic flowing curves and deep body chamfers, and it has been…

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Review: Tokai SG-75

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

Tokai SG-75 – body angle

Tokai Guitars’ SG-75 is the company’s top model in their line of Gibson SG copies – a carefully crafted, Japanese version of the American original from the 1960s.

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Tokai SG-75 – full front horizontal

The Tokai SG-75 (current price in Finland: 928 €) is based on the first version of the Gibson SG, which was introduced in 1961 as the new Les Paul Standard guitar. At that time the original Les Paul -range started showing seriously flagging sales figures, so Ted McCarty instigated a complete rethink of Gibson’s main solidbody model. The idea was to create a sleeker and lighter guitar.

Mr Paul wasn’t pleased with the result and didn’t renew his endorsement deal, which is why the new model was renamed the Gibson SG (= Solid Guitar) in 1963.

Tokai SG-75 – full back angle

Tokai’s SG-75 is a great recreation of the classic model, and stays very faithful to the original design, displaying exemplary attention to detail in the process.

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Review: Tokai AJB-55BB + Basslines SJB-3

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

AJB-55BB? Is this bass Tokai’s Big Brother -special edition? No!
The BB stands for “big blocks”.

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The Tokai AJB-55BB is a special edition run of the company’s Jazz Bass -inspired model with block inlays instead of the usual small dots. Finnish importer Musamaailma has equipped the test sample with a pair of Seymour Duncan Basslines SJB-3s, which promise a hotter-than-vintage output. As supplied, the whole package would set you back about 888 € here in Finland.

This Japanese bass is a streamlined beauty with a maple fingerboard and a tortie-type scratchplate (sometimes this model also comes with a three-ply black pickguard).

Even though the large block inlays invoke a Seventies-look, the Tokai’s deep body chamfers talke you back all the way to the Sixties-period Fender Jazz.

Tokai uses Gotoh-tuners with smaller diameter tuning posts on the AJB-55BB, compared to the usual Kluson- or Schaller-types on many other…

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Review: TC Helicon Mic Mechanic

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

A guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, a keyboarder – each is master of their respective on-stage sound. The singer, on the other hand, is pushed onto stage equipped with nothing else than a mere microphone, and he/she stands or falls at the mercy of the front-of-house engineer (in many small-scale gigs one of their bandmates). TC Helicon’s new Mic Mechanic pedal finally gives the singer his own set of tools for on-stage use.

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TC Helicon Mic Mechanic – in action

TC Helicon’s Mic Mechanic (current price in Finland: 169 €) is a guitar pedal -sized all-in-one toolbox for shaping your vocal sound. Mic Mechanic includes a high-quality mic preamp with switchable phantom-power, an adaptive (automatic) tone and compression module, adjustable chromatic pitch correction, as well as eight reverb- and delay-effects. A 12-Volt power supply is included in the box.

Mic Mechanic connections

All connectors have been placed at the unit’s front: An XLR-input, an XLR-output, the power supply…

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Review: TC Electronic Röttweiler + The Dreamscape

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

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TC Electronic’s Röttweiler-distortion (current street price in Finland 129 €) specializes in brutal distortion sounds, and doesn’t waste any time on sissy stuff.

The gain control takes you from quite a lot of distortion to complete über-Metal-mayhem – so don’t go looking for besuited and well-behaved Blues-tones here. The Voice-switch gives you two different shades of brutal: One selection is fatter in the mid-range for more classic Hard Rock and Metal stuff, while the other selection gives you the scooped out tones favoured in many contemporary styles. The pedal also offers bass and treble controls for fine-tuning your tone.

The TC Electronic Röttweiler is a brilliant tool for the Metal-aficionado, which turns any amp into a high-gain monster stack.

Here are three sound clips, which Miloš Berka recorded using a seven-string Schecter into a clean amp setting:

Röttweiler off

Röttweiler on, voice off

Röttweiler on, voice on

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Review: Tanglewood TW1000N

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

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Tanglewood Guitars combines British design with quality luthiery from Asia for a winning value-for-money-mix. Especially the brand’s acoustic guitars have won over many fans.

The Tanglewood TW1000N (current price in Finland: 721 €) is a real Dreadnought-beauty from the company’s Sundance-series, and features a solid spruce top mated to a laminated back and sides made of rosewood.

The bound headstock looks fashionably understated, sporting a rosewood veneer, as well as the company logo in abalone.

The nicely finished top nut is genuine bone.

A volute strengthens the area where the neck changes into the headstock. The gold-coloured tuners are sealed Grover Rotomatics.

The TW1000N’s neck is a one-piece mahogany affair, save for a small glued-on bit for the neck heel.

Tanglewood have added a nice little detail for the gigging guitarist – a second strap button.

The TW1000N has been generously endowed in the looks stakes, but always with good…

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