My Ruokangas VSOP Jubilee guitar is sitting next to me...

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by BattleAngel, Nov 4, 2005.


  1. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    This fall marks 10 years of playing (I started playing in 1995). I've had a lot of loves in my life, but no passion has ever contested music for the most important non-parental influence on my life. Playing music has informed my humanity and continues to shape the way that I live. I've always fantasized about owning a truly exceptional custom made guitar and pairing it with an incredible rig and playing in an incredible band.

    It is my life's joy to tell you that the dream I had when I first started getting serious about the guitar has come true. I am playing and singing in the best band I can imagine (www.arizonatheband.com with many more soundclips to come), using an excallibur of guitars (http://members.aol.com/obsidiansw/arizona/vsopcustom) into a sweet, beautiful rig (Jamison 2x12 amp on full, various pedals).

    This guitar, the work of Finnish luthier/artist Juha Ruokangas, is the culmination of 10 years of dreaming. It is not enough to say that the guitar supercedes any fantasy I've ever had. It also is the musical instrument incarnation of the music created by my band, and the real world accompaniment to a character created in collaboration between Arizona (we have a song 'Jubilee' on our first record, which we're down to just 300 of) artist Deems (www.inaspoon.com) and Ruokangas. But enough; let me tell you about the VSOP Supreme (www.ruokangas.com; not sure if the finish/inlay of my guitar makes it count as a custom, but it is a representitive of Ruokangas' finest work)-

    [​IMG]

    Here she is, Jubilee. Ruokangas' take on the character differs slightly from Deems. Wheras Deems character (http://www.inaspoon.com/proganim.html) shows Jubilee bound by the character-in-black, Ruokangas' depicts Jubilee as slightly more mischevious all by herself. By the way, the character may look exactly the same in outline to the album cover, but there is actually a distinction in style between Juha's work and Deems'. Furthermore, Ruokangas' selection of materials for the inlay defies explaination- I have a post on here that shows the picture above, but the real life inlay is about 1000 times as cool as what you see her. Not only does it look 'that good' in person (the panel looks GORGEOUS against the spanish cedar back), but the colors and depth of the various pieces change so much as you look at them from different angles- the effect is beyond holographic. It is as if you are staring into and beyond the guitar. Really, I've always been an inlay nut, and I've never seen anything like this on a guitar.
     
  2. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    [​IMG]

    There she is from the front. In person, the darkness around the guitar is much less pronounced (a good, very very good thing, imho)- truly, again the coloring of this guitar under lights is an intense experience. In this picture, she looks pretty damn red. In person, there is a much more mellow appearance- imagine the image representing the very end of sunset as it goes into night, wheras under lights, the guitar looks like about 1/4 through dusk.

    The top is flamed arctic birch. The flame is not super "crazy" as in it doesn't look like a freak of nature wood super model, but it's absolutely psychotic looking up close. Character in spades, and classy as anything you can imagine.

    You know what? The guitar is calling to me. No more talky, more play-ee. I'll take some new pictures so I'm not just whoring out the old ones, and I think clips will come this week or next.
     
  3. JPERRYROCKS

    JPERRYROCKS Member

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    That's one of the classiest custom Strat style guitars I've ever seen. It's beautiful and very tastefull.
     
  4. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    Thanks a lot, amigo. I'm really excited about this guitar. I can't wait to show it off under stage lights. The amazing thing about this guitar is that it looks many, many times better than the pictures can show. Really reminds me how pointless staring at instrument pictures are when you should be playing the real thing. Every time I put this guitar down, I see the inlay on the back glowing at me and I think better of it...
     
  5. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    That is a wickedly beautiful guitar! What's the wood on the fingerboard? In fact, walk us through the features, what pickups are those?
     
  6. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    arctic birch on birdseye neck
     
  7. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    I'd never seen an arctic birch fingerboard before.

    The pickguard looks like the flame matches the top.
     
  8. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    I'm not completely certain, but I think that is the case w/ the pickguard. The pickups are the unbelievable P90 type Ruokangas pickup, made for them by Harry Haussel (sp?- see my other thread for info about HH) All of the usefulness and a lot of the harmonic-feedback juice of a humbucker, every tonal benefit of strat single coils with the fatness of a soapbar, very low noise and a ton of clarity. This is a very "hi-fi" sounding guitar- to the point where I'm actually not using a lot of dirt at all, going for a much more "proper" electric guitar sound then I have in years. Any real technical details, I cannot give you for I really don't know too much about all of that stuff (sorry if that makes me seem like a bumpkin, I just need the frets).
     
  9. Riscchip

    Riscchip Member

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    That arctic birch really has something going over maple in the looks department. It has an almost luminous quality to it. Might just be how he finishes the tops--I dunno, Roukangas is the only brand I've seen an arctic birch top on. Anyway, sweet guitar!
     
  10. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    I definitely think it's more eye catching than any maple I've seen. Anyone in the New York area can get in touch with me, I've got this one and Eero is right in the area to help with more.
     
  11. 2x6L6

    2x6L6 Supporting Member

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    That is truly one of the most beautiful instruments I have ever seen. You MUST take some more pics, and yes, clips would be good!!!
    Congratulations.
     
  12. eric102673

    eric102673 Member

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    I've seen a LOT of killer guitars before and this is right up there man. Super cool looking and if it sounds half as good as that, you done real good. :)

    -e.
     
  13. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    Thanks for all the beautiful words, guys. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most beautiful guitars I have ever seen in person, and sound/feel/vibe-wise, I've never played another boutique guitar that seemed as designed for inspired songwriting as this one. Looking at that amazing silky fretboard just makes me fantasize about all of the music that is hidden in this guitar. Can't wait to get it out.

    Btw, I'm just going to put up a quick teaser... this is not THIS guitar, but it is the Ruokangas I was using before this one... these are scratch vocals, and I think we may do the whole thing from scratch again as this session has sort of been a bust...

    http://members.aol.com/obsidiansw/arizona/splintering.mp3
     
  14. rjmmusic

    rjmmusic Member

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    Totally love that guitar. Nice vintage-y tones you're getting, too.

    I will own a Ruokangas one day... It'll be hard to decide between a Duke and a VSOP though. :dude
     
  15. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    The Duke is probably a monster... I've really got to give it a shot, but for me, it was a clear victory for the VSOP. It's simply the nicest strat style guitar I've ever seen, such a beautiful design.
     
  16. rjmmusic

    rjmmusic Member

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    The Duke is the only model I've played so far and I really like it. It's kind of like taking a Les Paul and changing all the things that I don't like about them. (I love how Les Pauls sound, but find them uncomfortable to play).

    Haven't tried a VSOP yet, but hope to rectify that at NAMM.
     
  17. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    wow, amazing looking axe.... it's like it was put together by an interior decorator, with all the right complimentary colors!!

    Dare I ask what that set you back??? How does our currency stack up with theirs???
     
  18. BattleAngel

    BattleAngel Member

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    Well, this guitar was certainly not cheap by any means; I've been saving up for a custom guitar for a long time and sold a couple of instruments to afford this guitar and a few other pieces of gear our band needed. Contact Eero at ruokangas for pricing for a ruo, my case was sort of special.

    I had bought that sunbursty Ruokangas VSOP supreme from the NAMM show that freaked everybody out, except at the last moment [literally, I had paid for the instrument] the dealer decided to sell the guitar to someone else without giving me even the courtesy of an eMail or phone call. Eero had contacted me to ask how I was liking the guitar, I told him of my situation, and within a week or so we were collaborating on ideas for this instrument. The guitar was built for me in a very timely fashion (actually I held *them* up at one point!), every detail I requested was executed perfectly, and the guitar was priced with consideration of the fiasco with the other guitar. The customer service for Ruokangas is amazing- Juha and I have exchanged great eMails and one of our outtakes from this session is called "Eeroplane" hehe.

    Tomorrow, we get down to the first extended solo section on any record from our band, and I'm going to put this guitar through a musical war. Stay tuned for the results :-D
     

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