When was the last time
you heard a new sound?
The truth is, the world doesn’t need more guitars. There’s already so much. What a liberating thought – it has freed me to explore the unknown – new soundscapes and perspectives. That’s what the Valvebucker is about – it sounds unlike anything else. Most people will never want or need it. But those few whose lives the Valvebucker will change – you make it all worthwhile.
Juha Ruokangas – Master Guitar Maker
In our times, it is more challenging than ever before to become heard and recognized. You have it in you – but how to stand out from the crowd in this overwhelming flood of content?
Watch the Ruokangas YouTube channel Valvebucker Playlist – a collection of videos we’ve either filmed by ourselves or found online and wanted to share with you.
“I love the Valvebucker Mojo! This pickup/system is unique and doesn’t sound like anything else. If I had to sum it up with one word, it would be smooth as the Valvebucker is the smoothest sounding pickup I’ve ever experienced. It kind of reminds me of the difference between vintage Neve and SSL consoles of the day.
I especially like it for dialing in a big, clean tone with the selector switch in the middle position for my solo songs. The range from top to bottom for moving parts of bass lines against chord melodies etc is balanced and nothing “pokes out” too much – much easier to let multiple parts speak. Also, I love how complex, distorted chords with open tunings for slide sound.”
– Sonny Landreth
Its own animal…
I found that there is definitely a degree of detail and articulation and harmonically pleasing “juiciness” in the sound that makes this instrument (Duke w/ Valvebucker) its own animal…
Complex, distorted chords
I love how complex, distorted chords with open tunings for slide sound with the Valvebucker.
The Finer Resolution
The finer resolution, the richness, all the nuances of the sound – that to me, as a player, is the most significant thing about the Valvebucker system.
Doesn’t sound like anything else
The Valvebucker pickup system is unique and doesn’t sound like anything else. If I had to sum it up with one word, it would be smooth, as the Valvebucker is the smoothest sounding pickup I’ve ever experienced.
You cannot explain the Valvebucker. It is something you have to try and feel in your own hands. It’s a full-body experience.
Never heard something like the Valvebucker
I can play with it for hours and never tired and it sings with an incredible sustain and rich sound full of harmonics. Honestly never heard anything like that from any of my many guitars.
Like an angel
The Valvebucker can be gentle like an angel playing a harp as well so punchy like a hammer on an anvil or so much hard like a powerful hungry dog biting like hell.
Big, clean tone for my solos
The Valvebucker kind of reminds me of the difference between vintage Neve and SSL consoles of the day. I especially like it for dialing in a big, clean tone for my solo songs.
All that harmonic content makes the distorted sound very rich, multilayered.. like you would’ve already processed the sound to pop and shine in the mix. It’s really weird, cause all of this is happening at the very beginning of the chain. Very unusual!
I do think the Valvebucker is revolutionary. It sounds like having a beautiful mic right under my fingers and the instrument just rings with harmonics and amazing sustain.
Once I let go
Once I let go of the effort to find familiar voices I started to notice how each of the three sonic options from the Valvebucker pickup has its own compelling, dynamic, and expressive sound.
New Sonic Territory
The Valvebucker definitely opens up new sonic territory that players who love hi-fi sounds will want to explore, and this alone makes it worthy of investigation for anyone who thinks they’ve heard it all and can appreciate the possibilities that lurk in the melding of two very different audio technologies from the past.
The Valvebucker has an undeniable fidelity! Very impressive! The entire piece works extremely well as an overall entity.”
Notes hang on…
Another thing, which I didn’t necessarily expect or see coming, is that with Valvebucker, notes hang on for noticeably longer.
Much easier to let multiple parts speak
The range from top to bottom for moving parts of bass lines against chord melodies etc is balanced and nothing “pokes out” too much – much easier to let multiple parts speak.
I didn’t expect this
The dynamics and presence of the Valvebucker are like nothing I have heard. Each nuance of my playing is conveyed so well I feel so inspired in a way I didn’t expect. I have never had this feel and tone before.
Capturing sound, unspoiled
The conceptual theory behind the Valvebucker descends from studio technology rather than electric guitars. Think of tube microphones – the Neumann U47, with a sensitive capsule capable of capturing every nuance of human voice or other audio source. This rich, “unspoiled” signal is then amplified by tubes, right there at the source, inside the guitar. The result is a high fidelity signal that is exceptionally pleasing to the human ear. Exactly the same principles apply to the Valvebucker design.
Play, the highest form of research
Military spec precision
Too hot to handle?
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.
Is it the right thing for me?
The Valvebucker sound and feel don’t quite fit into any of the existing electric guitar archetypes – the S, T and what not. It is a new archetype of its own. Therefore, if you’re looking for better S-style (or one of the other classic) sounds, the Valvebucker most likely is not the best choice. If, however, you’re the curious type, open to explore new soundscapes and musical inspirations, you should definitely give the Valvebucker a try.
What music is it meant for?
The feedback from players has varied a lot, but a common thread appears to be that the Valvebucker can be a great choice for any playing style within “the dynamic range” of making music. If you want to dive a bit deeper and learn more about what the Valvebucker can mean for a professional musician, please take a moment and watch this video – player’s perspective – by Ruben Roeh. Thank you for your consideration.
Where can I try it?
The best way to enquire about testing a Valvebucker guitar or bass is to contact me personally. I will assist you to the best of my ability – you can always visit us in Finland, or perhaps one of our retailers has such an instrument available for testing – or maybe you and I can meet at a guitar show somewhere. The Valvebucker is handmade here in Finland, and the production is limited currently to 20 pcs a year. The Valvebucker is only available as a custom option for Ruokangas guitars and basses.
‘Sympathy’ by Earkraft
Antti Paranko – Guitars
Markus Setzer – Bass
Mikko Arlin – Drums
Music & Lyrics by Antti Paranko. Please listen with good headphones or speakers. Only Valvebucker® -powered stringed instruments were played on this recording.
Love or hate
The first time I plugged in the first Frankensteinish prototype of our tube pickup was an experience I will never forget. The sound was so… unexpected. I never thought an electric guitar could sound or feel like that. After over a decade of hard work we released the Valvebucker, and the reaction from the guitar loving community was… confusing, to say the least. A lot of players were curious – many fell in love with the idea – and at the other extreme people were shooting my invention down and laughing at it – without ever trying it. I thought it was great – if people love it or hate it so passionately, we must be onto something meaningful!
– Juha Ruokangas