VIRTUOSITY REVVED UP
TO NEW HORIZONS
A virtuoso player needs a responsive guitar. It’s like driving a race car. You can take pleasure in cruising slow and easy, but when you step on it, it accelerates like a jet plane. This affects to the whole experience of playing the instrument, giving you a greater range to express yourself.
Juha Ruokangas – Master Guitar Maker
Aeon can well be described as a crossbreed between two of my earlier designs – and yet, it has a strong, unmistakable identity of its own. It is a guitar that allows you to expand your horizons and to learn more about yourself as a player.
One might think the arctic birch top and Spanish cedar body are there for the looks. Sure, they look pretty – but the underlying fact is that this combo of wood offers you such control over your tone, that it needs to be experienced to be fully understood.
MAKING THE AEON
Back in 2005, I was pointed to a new website everybody raved about – Guitar Shred Show. That was my first encounter with Mr. Fastfinger aka Mika Tyyskä. Ten years later our paths crossed again. 6 strings, 24 frets – the door to infinity. Those were Mr. Fastfinger’s words, as he told me I’m the chosen one to make him a guitar that will help him beat the Demon. What a wonderful journey it became for my whole team! More about the project on this Spotlight page.
Watch the Ruokangas YouTube channel Aeon Playlist – a collection of videos we’ve either filmed by ourselves or found online and wanted to share with you.
For a long time it felt like we were the only ones pushing on with thermally aged tonewood. That has changed completely. The ToneQuest Report magazine interviewed me in January 2006 and published an article that aroused a lot of interest and wide discussions in the North America, and eventually started quite a chain reaction.
Spanish cedar has played an essential role in my guitars throughout my whole career. When I started, it was a completely unknown material in electric guitars. Today, more and more younger builders and even some industrial manufacturers have picked my lead. I’m happy and proud to have been a pioneer on this field.
LAND OF FORESTS
When you sit in an airplane and see the aerial view over Finland, you understand what our country is made from. On average we have 16 persons living on each square kilometer of our land. That’s not very much people! Instead, our country is filled with forests and lakes. It’s a good place to be for a guitar maker who needs great material for his instruments and appreciates peace and quiet to get the job done.
My main guitar
My Aeon Artist and Deluxe are my main guitars. They make me play better – like the guitar was playing me!
I finally have an instrument which effortlessly and boldly goes by my command.
There are green guitars. But this one is truly green!
Like a grand piano
The Aeon reacts to different nuances just the way I want – every note is distinct like in a grand piano.
In Finland, guitar making is a matter of great pride. And they must be crazy proud of Ruokangas Guitars.
Not a toy
It’s definitely not a toy – but it makes me play like a child!
One prefers a shiny high gloss finish, while someone else wants to feel the wood texture right under the fingertips. There are many bad finish types available. I have taken the liberty to rule out all finish types that don’t work well one way or the other. I only offer good options, that allow the wood to vibrate – finishes that feel and look great.
It’s impossible to say that one of our neck shapes would be unambiguously better than the others. It’s a matter of taste. The neck can be flat, thick, round, wide, narrow – any of our neck shapes makes an excellent guitar. We offer only good options – for example, our flat profile is still rigid enough to not compromise the strength of the neck.
HIGH UP ON THE NECK
Neck-thru-body construction is quite unparalleled when it comes to reaching those highest notes. But I like a recessed bolt-on neck joint as well. It gives you great access too, and many players actually prefer to have that solid home base to calibrate the fretting hand positioning high up on the neck.
BUILT FOR LIFE
Our purpose is to create the ideal tools for your art of making music. To achieve this goal, each of our guitars is individually handmade to the highest standard by one of us, the Ruokangas team, using the finest materials in the world. No serial production methods or automated processes are involved in the making.
I often refer to great tone with attributes like ‘transparent’, ‘dynamic’ or ‘healthy’. The purpose of a magnetic pickup is not to do all the work, but to amplify the healthy sound in the most natural way – and if desired, we can then tweak a bit of this and that with the characteristics of the pickup.
I want the vibrato arm in my guitars to function smooth and precise, without slack. Gotoh has an ingenious proprietary mechanism for this – you push the arm into a snug nylon bushing in the body of the vibrato, and you can adjust the tightness of the arm with a little set-screw. Perfect.
The copper foil lining you can see inside the control cavities of our instruments is an enclosure you might recall from science class – the Faraday Cage. Its purpose is to block electric fields – a simple yet effective method that reduces unwanted interference and hum from the guitar signal.
MOOSE BONE NUT
I’ve experimented with a lot of materials, and always ended up to the same conclusion – the dense, consistent and naturally greasy moose bone is the best choice for the nut. It keeps the tuning best, breaks strings the least and outlasts synthetic materials or metals and most importantly.
One of the great challenges in my work is to be able to set my personal preferences aside, and to listen and understand the genuine needs of a demanding guitarist – and our greatest reward is when we succeed in catering to those needs.
GOES BY MY COMMAND
Finally I have an instrument which effortlessly and boldly goes by my command.
– Mika Tyyskä | Mr. Fastfinger Homepage
LET GO OF CERTAINTIES
Sometimes it feels “handmade” is a cliché – just an empty word. And maybe it is so in this modern world, saturated beyond tolerance with hollow advertisement. And yet, we have chosen not to have computer controlled speed or automated precision as our aid. Handmade – that’s us. This approach forces each one of us to stay alert and let go of certainties every day – and that’s where creativity begins.
– Juha Ruokangas