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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: Schecter Solo-6 Custom

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

These days Schecter seems to have a fairly Hard Rock-, Metal- and Widdlemeister-image, especially over here in Finland. It’s true that many of the company’s better-known models are fast Rock-machines equipped with active pickups, but there has always been a more classic side to Schecter, too. The first production models, for example, were Pete Townshend’s Tele-style guitars, and Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) also played a few Strato-type Schecters.

One of the current guitars, which follow classic lines, is the Solo-6 Custom.

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The Schecter Solo-6 Custom (current price in Finland: 915 €) is by no means a straight copy, still, it clearly draws some influences from Gibson’s Les Paul Custom: the mahogany neck – made of three long stripes in the Schecter’s case – is glued to a mahogany body with a maple top.

The “Custom” in the name points to this model’s multiply binding and ebony fretboard.

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Review: Roland G-5 VG-Stratocaster

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

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Roland’s brand-new G-5 VG-Stratocaster (current RRP in Finland: 1.583 €) is the result of Roland’s and Fender’s cooperation. The guitar offers the player the genuine “Stratocaster Experience”, as well as a wide variety of built-in, digitally modelled  guitar tones and virtual tunings.

From the front the Hecho-en-Mexico G-5 VG-Stratocaster differs only slightly from your basic Strat. Only the bright blue status LED, as well as the two small black rotary switches, hint at the digitally souped-up nature of this electric guitar.

The VG-Strat’s back sports two additional cavities on the back of its alder body. The larger one holds all the digital shenanigans (courtesy of Roland), while the smaller one is the battery compartment.

The G-5 uses an up-to-date Stratocaster-neck, which allows for truss rod adjustment from the headstock end.

The sealed Fender-tuners are a quality touch.

The neck joint, on the other hand, is executed in the most…

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Review: PRS Studio

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

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The PRS Studio -model, which was introduced last year, bundles all the improvements of the last few years in one single instrument. The Studio sports a long list of new – or improved – features, such as the Narrowfield-humbuckers.

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In Gibson-speak “studio” usually means a less expensive, slightly scaled-down model. In the PRS Studio’s case the word “studio” denotes a guitar that is meant to be very versatile.

The PRS Studio (current price in Finland around 3,000 €) is a set-neck electric guitar, with the company’s traditional 25-inch (63,5 cm) scale. A great-looking flame maple top comes as standard on the Studio. PRS offer several different colour finishes, as well as a choice between a wraparound bridge or a PRS vibrato.

Both the neck and the back of the body are crafted from top-quality mahogany. The Studio is offered with two new neck profiles: The fuller…

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Review: ML-Factory LP-style kit, self-assembled

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

This is a review of an electric guitar kit I have assembled myself:

I had ordered an LP-style kit from ML-Factory in Germany (the price is around 200 €, depending on the chosen model).

One of the most critical and tricky operations has already been executed in this kit – it comes with the mahogany neck already glued into the body.

If you stick to an easy-to-apply oil and wax finish, the assembly of a kit such as this is a nice project for one day (or, maybe better, one weekend). The only slightly more advanced step left to you would then be sinking the back plates into the routings in the body’s back.

I had decided to apply an Osmo Color wood wax finish to the kit, which, naturally, added a few days more to the process, due to wood preparation, masking, and drying times.

Interestingly, I found…

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Review: Manne Ventura Satin

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

Manne Guitars is a high-end guitar company from northern Italy, who isn’t afraid of doing things in their own special way.

Kitarablogi.com reviewed their bolt-neck model – Ventura Satin (current price in Finland: 1.855 €, comes with a pro-quality gig bag).

The Manne Ventura uses korina for the body. The neck features Manne’s special construction – maple with a centre strip of laminated beech. The long-scale instrument (64 cm/25.2″) has a Resin-F-fingerboard and Dunlop’s 6110 jumbo frets.

The Ventura Satin comes equipped with two powerful Manne-humbuckers with blade poles.

Both the volume- as well as the tone-control feature push/pull-switches, with the down position giving each humbucker wired traditionally, that is with the coils in series. The up position wires the coils in parallel, which results in a slightly brighter tone.

There were a few smudges of satin white finish on the black body binding of the review sample, which…

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Review: Hagström Viking Deluxe Baritone + Northen Swede

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

This time Kitarablogi.com takes a closer look at two Hagström models: The Viking Deluxe Baritone is a Far-Eastern-made baritone-guitar, made to please the friends of low riffage, while the brand-new Northen Swede is part of the company’s new high-end line, which is handmade in the Czech Republic.

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The Hagström Viking Baritone (current street price in Finland approx. 600 €) is the newest addition to the Viking-line. This long-necked beauty features the same stylish curves and semi-acoustic body as the rest of the Vikings.

The Canadian hard rock maple neck is glued into the body, which is made from flame maple plywood.

Hagström’s headstock simply oozes 1950’s glitzy panache, with its ultraclean binding and inlay work.

The top nut, on the other hand, is up to date, using self-lubricating, man-made Black Tusq.

Modern sealed Hagström-tuners keep things steady.

One of Hagström’s special features is their Resinator-fingerboard. Resinator is…

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Review: LTD MH-330FR + ESP Horizon FR-II SD

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

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ESP Guitars offer plenty of different guitar models for the modern Wunder-widdler. The most classic of these is probably the Horizon – a typical Superstr*t featuring two humbuckers and a Floyd Rose -bridge.

Kitarablogi.com selected two Horizons for this review:

The LTD MH-330FR, which comes with two active ESP-pickups…

…as well as the pukka ESP Horizon FR-II SD equipped with a pair of Seymour Duncans.

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The LTD MH-330FR (current price in Finland:489 €) is a sleek and stylish piece of work, with the Electric Blue finish adding its own bit of panache.

The same cool finish is also applied to the maple neck and the back of the mahogany body.

All of the MH-330FR’s hardware comes in black nickel, which shines in a smoky, dark-greyish way.

The capsuled Gotoh-style tuners are of decent quality. A volute strengthens the area underneath the top nut to…

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Review: ESP Eclipse II FM FT Distressed

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

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A pre-aged guitar – to some people it’s the daftest idea ever, while others think relicing imbues the instrument with its own type of charm.

But one thing is clear: artificial ageing is here to stay!

This time we will take a new-old ESP for a spin – the Eclipse II FM FT Distressed.

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The ESP Eclipse II Distressed (current price in Finland: 1.889 €) is a Japanese quality instrument treated to look and feel like a 50-year-plus veteran of the stage and studio.

The rather realistic impression is achieved not only by dings, dents and scratches, but also by using a laqcuer that looks old and sunken in.

The flip side of the Eclipse II Distressed’s body has also received lots of scratches and a bout of artificial belt buckle rash. The neck, though, has been left fairly clean.

The mahogany looks scrumptious, and the finish does its…

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Review: ESP Eclipse-I CTM

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

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ESP‘s Eclipse is one of the company’s most successful models, because it fuses effortlessly a classic outline with modern features.

The ESP Eclipse is available in many different variations, of which the ESP Eclipse-I CTM (current price in Finland: 1.668 €) is the series’ equivalent to the venerable Gibson Les Paul Custom.

A matte-black finish with a yellow-ish overcoat, multi-laminated binding, gold-coloured hardware, an ebony fretboard with large pearloid inlays, as well as a pair of EMG-pickups endow the Eclipse-I CTM with an extremely stylish look. This Japanese guitar is sold in its own high-quality case.

Sound-fetishists will be more than happy about the ESP’s genuine bone nut, as well as the vintage-style truss rod. This type of truss rod requires a much narrower rout compared to many modern designs, and removing less of the neck’s mahogany will most likely result in a fuller-bodied tone and stronger attack.

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