Mitja Harvilahti of Moonsorrow - Epic Heathen Metal

Mitja Harvilahti / Moonsorrow

The V model... that doesn't exist

Not metal enough?

There’s no way around it – Finland is the land of metal. Wait, something’s missing… Ah – yes – the word ‘metal’ has to be sang… so the second syllable ends up in a piercing falsetto scream with pulsating vibrato..! 🤘

And yet… even if we have the Hellcat model in our selection… for many metal players, that’s just not metal enough. That’s why I designed a long time ago a V-shaped guitar, that for a reason or another has never ended up into our “official model selection”. Have to keep some aces up my sleeve, eh?

V-spotting…

That didn’t keep Mitja from approaching me, though! He had spotted one of the rare Ruokangas V’s someplace or another, and… Why don’t I let Mitja tell the story as it went:

It must be done!

“I had a chance to try a few Ruokangas guitars in the past, so it was clear to me that if I wanted a certain sound and feel, they would deliver! But… for my live use it had to be a V. I had a faint memory of seeing a Ruokangas V-shaped guitar somewhere, and after receiving a few photos from Juha we concluded that it must be done!

I want BIG dynamics

For my live and studio sound with Moonsorrow I want few things. First of all: BIG dynamics. I want the guitar to be very punchy and big sounding when played hard, never giving in when played with strong right hand technique. When playing live I like to use moderately low gain (for a metal band) from my amps and control the gain with how hard I hit the strings, so that the sound cleans up quite a bit when played softly. I also like my guitars to be very light weight and sound balanced in standard E tuning.

Juha concluded that Spanish cedar would be a great material for what I described.

A vintage soul

Although the design is very modern, I wanted it to have a vintage soul, so to say. I opted for a P90 in the neck position for great clean sounds and wrap-around bridge to further increase the dynamics and give it a more traditional “junior” look.

The guitar works exactly the way i hoped for! I’ve been now touring with it from the Caribbean heat to the Arctic weather and not even once I had to adjust its neck. It’s incredibly stable and very comfortable to play. Really next level craftsmanship and attention to detail!   –  Mitja

Epic heathen metal

About Moonsorrow

To conclude this article, I have here a quote from Wikipedia for those of you who wonder what Moonsorrow might be about. Well, here you go:

Established 1995

Moonsorrow is a Finnish pagan metal band formed in Helsinki in 1995 (Note from Juha – the same year as Ruokangas Guitars was formed!).

Musically, the band incorporates elements of black metal and folk metal in their sound. The band call their sound “epic heathen metal” and try to distance themselves from the term “Viking metal”. They have distanced themselves from other folk metal bands, emphasising that their music is pagan and spiritual and is challenging for its listeners, rather than happy or danceable.

The band members have varying levels of pagan belief but they draw on pagan spirituality for lyrics and inspiration.

The photos by Mikko Pylkkö and Elina Kankaisto (the testimonial photo – see below!). Thank you!!!

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