Heart Of The Forest

Finn’s magic

Journey of Surprises
Sometimes, the task of making a custom guitar turns out to be a surprising journey on more levels than either the maker or the client would ever expect. This one, a guitar named “Heart of the Forest” by the client, is one of those rare instruments.

Man of Mysteries
When Finn Windsval of Elding contacted me, I wasn’t quite sure what to think at first. “A man of mysteries,” I thought. He was not the easiest character to get to know. What I learned later down the road — my understanding slowly deepening, bit by bit, like putting together a challenging puzzle — was that I was in fact dealing with an extraordinary human being who might not be quite aware of just how extraordinary he is.

Unflinching Dedication
This special gift — Finn’s magic — is what drives Elding as well. It is rare to see such unflinching dedication to every single aspect of one’s art. And I don’t mean just the Elding music, but every facet of it you can imagine — from visual design to composition, from concept to macro detail, or from finding the right people to forging the right tools for the task.

Finn’s Vision
Finn’s input in having this guitar made was immeasurable. While he fully respected my knowledge and experience regarding the materials and construction principles, it was Finn’s razor-sharp vision of how this guitar should be that lit the way throughout the process — even if he didn’t perhaps fully realize it at every turn during the making.

I Can Only Make This Worse!
A great example is the raven inlays on the fretboard. Finn asked for my input, saying, “Could you please make me drafts?” As he said this, he attached his own draft — just a sketch for the sake of brainstorming, he said — which I looked at, thinking: “Man, I can only make this worse. It is ready!”

The guitar specifications

Aeon Custom
Finn’s custom guitar is based on our Aeon Deluxe model, with a few special twists. The materials are what you’d expect from us: a lightweight Spanish cedar body with an Arctic birch top (handpicked by Finn), and a thermally aged rock maple neck with a dark Indian rosewood fretboard.

The Headstock Origins
The headstock of the guitar—this is a shape that never became one of our standard designs with a designated guitar model. Instead, it has become commonly known as the “Kupiainen-style,” even though the origins of the design reach further back in history than our cooperation with Matias from Stratovarius. The first guitars featuring this 3+3 headstock were made for the three guitarists—Pirkka Ohlis, Matti Pasanen, and Henri Arola—of the band Dyecrest. My signature on the headstock, featured without our logo, is in fact a first of its kind—also a specific wish from Finn.

The Ravens
I cut the ravens out of Arctic birch by hand (as I do all of our inlays), following Finn’s original design as accurately as I could.

Hardware and Pickups
The guitar features locking 510-series tuners by Gotoh, a Schaller Hannes bridge, stainless steel jumbo frets, and a moose bone nut. The pickups are by Bare Knuckle—the Holy Diver at the bridge and VHII at the neck position. The sound of the guitar? Have a listen here.

In the next chapters, a few words by Finn Windsval himself. Enjoy!

Once but a sapling

A letter from Finn Windsval:

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone involved in the Ruokangas Guitars enterprise for the warm welcome. Visiting their workshop is always an electrifying experience Immersing oneself within the embodiment of their mastery of artisanship, passion and philosophy is uplifting in numerous ways. Atop of it all, Juha is a remarkable storyteller – it’s exhilarating when he elaborates upon all the various aspects concerning their endeavours. The coffee which they serve in the meantime is exquisite too!

My introduction to their craft initially occurred through renowned virtuoso Matias Kupiainen. Later on, I was delighted to see Mika Tyyskä and Mitja Harvilahti join their roster as well. I consider all three of them astounding musicians and fine gentlemen. Along with continuously offering an abundance of inspiration, they’ve also helped us out a great lot in our aspirations with Elding. Thus I deemed it fitting that there should be hints of their influence interwoven into the design of the guitar, as highlighted by Juha with the headstock example mentioned above. A modest, subtle way of paying tribute – but one nonetheless.

Its design was drawn from envisaging the turning of seasons in the Nordics. In this case: The display of the wilderness changing its robe from late summer to early autumn. Ruokangas’ signature Bad Absinthe burst finish combined with the golden highlights of the hardware is meant to signify that breathtaking transformation. Picture those leaves in the image below being touched by mellowing sunlight, for instance. While harnessing it from fantasy, I conceived the concept of the instrument as a sacred artefact kept hidden within a glade deep into the woods of the untamable north; the dwelling of a primordial spirit, residing in an inviolable sanctum.

In alignment with the guitar’s technical qualities, we hope for its enticing aesthetics to spread excitement throughout generations. The process of creating it in collaboration with the crew of Ruokangas Guitars amounted to a deep sense of gratitude and lots of joy, which we’re happy to share with you.

Since I personally cherish the element of mystery and wholeheartedly encourage pursuits of discovery in life at large, I want to keep certain constituents of our work somewhat enigmatic. We’d like to ignite a thrilling sensation by inviting folks to unravel- and tap into the genesis of what inspirits us for the benefit of themselves, as our stories unfold – pointing in various directions throughout the catalogue. However! Another one of many
noble beings who’s impact I wish to openly acknowledge right away, is an all-time favourite author and teacher of mine: Eckhart Tolle. The profound insight which he’s sharing, I perceive as invaluable. There’s symbolism incorporated in the design that relates to that wisdom; those who have read his books might spot the notions.

Here’s an excerpt, to stir your curiosity:

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant.
Let your awareness rest upon it.
How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being.
Allow nature to teach you stillness.“

I rejoice in contemplating, enveloping as well as reshaping the ideas of people whom I admire – alongside our personal reflections within the band. Then pouring them into the music that we make; which feels to us as if we’re partaking in expanding upon something essential and precious. Although we do churn through some abysmally dark subjects while conjuring material with our ensemble at times, I intended for our firstborn six string to represent the polarity of those – in stark contrast against such a background. Certainly, there’s something related to Taoism on display here.

Ideally, we’d love for our compositions to add to the counterweight of the corruption of malevolence in this world. Celebrating beauty, integrity and truthfulness surmounting conflicts and other hardships against daunting odds. Like manifestations of art keep on emboldening countless people across ages, we’d like for what we’re channeling to act as a torchlight amongst other efforts with such intentions; trying our best in helping out to illuminate a path to elevated awareness, consciousness and presence. We clearly believe that aiding our kindred in reclaiming faith in the future at this point in history is a pursuit worth committing to – for the benefit of all life.