RUOKANGAS GUITARS FINLAND

Two great shows in Finland at the weekend with Slade and Nazareth, the final shows in my calander before I take a break for Christmas.

Last summer I came across a guitar company called Ruokangas based in Finland. A picture of a particular guitar that they make, namely a Mojo made me contact them about an artist deal. Juha the MD and Luthier at the company came straight back to me with loads of info, and we discussed the possibility of hooking up and maybe making an order sometime in the future?
When I saw the Finnish dates come onto our tour dates I contacted Juha to invite him along to one of our shows. We instantly got on and he brought along a Mojo to show me his skills . . . . . Wow . . . . When it comes to guitars I take some impressing. I have to be turned on to an instrument in all dimensions, the look of it. the way it plays, and the way it feels. Ruokangas Guitars are quite special let me tell you. So here goes . . . . My review of the "Mojo" A "Mojo King" to be exact!

FIRST IMPRESSION
The Candy Apple Red colour looks stunning and I have to say Red would not normally be a colour I would go for, but this colour over the solid alder body is very nice.
Being based around a Telecaster I expected the guitar to be a little lighter? but it's certainly not heavy either.
The one thing that makes you stare at the Mojo is the fact that it looks so different, yet a shape we all recognise? The scratchplate that dominates the front of the guitar is probably the key here, it's shape almost Jazzmaster in a fashion but original too. The scratch plate houses two of the three pickups one being the Mojo P90 and the other a T-type pickup. The Bridge Pickup is housed in a steel case at the bridge position and is somewhat more powerful that a regular T-pickup of which the technical aspects I am a little unsure although I know it has some noise canceling capabilities. I only got to see it just before stage time, so I don't have all the info. A five way switch takes care of grabbing your selection of tones along with a series (Coil Tap) switch in the les paul position. Now I have to admit that I didn't have the time to sit with this guitar and plug it in before the show, but Juha made a suggestion that worked really well and I quickly addapted to the guitar and it's switching of pickups.

BUILD QUALITY
When you know guitars, you know what is good and what is bad . . . . The "Mojo" I had my hands on is top notch, boasting the best materials money can buy. When your looking at guitar that the guy sat next to you has bulit with his own hands, you can't help but accept the efforts that has gone into something that Juha hinges his reputation on. The Mojo oozes quality and he clearly has a passion, that is reflected in his instruments.
I was blown away by the feel and look of the neck, I think it was maple with a curly maple fretboard that just looks like marble and gives this guitar that real wow factor. The headstock is remarkbly original yet somehow stays retro to it's influence the Tele. Juha has sculpted the edge of the matching painted headstock with precision and you start to realise that nothing here is accidental, or an after-thought. He tells me that this is one of his trademarks !!

PLAYABILITY
The Mojo had a set of 10's fitted, which normally feel way to heavy for me as I use 9's, but i was surprised at the ease of how it played, It was set up perfectly and I instantly felt at home. It had a great acoustic quality and plenty of "twang" allowing chords to ring out, I was crying out to plug it in in!!!!

SOUNDS
I only used two of the three pickups on the songs I used the guitar on, so I can't make a review of all the sounds and tones on offer. I had intended to play the guitar on one song in the middle of the set, I played it on two and I used it for the encore, two more songs, So I think that tells you how good I thought it sounded. One of the band members looked over when I went into one of my big solos . . . . It got approval right there and then, onstage!!

VERDICT
The "Mojo" isn't cheap but like all things in life, "You get what you pay for"  . . . . I'm sure anyone buying a Ruokangas would do so because they want somethng special  and out of the ordinary.

Juha is a great guitar builder and now I'm glad to say, a friend too!



 

3 comments

  • Sue Goldup

    Sue Goldup kent

    Please can you let me know when you will be playing a concert in England as my husband and I are fans and alare always playing Smokie Music and have not seen you all since 2013 in Kings Lynn my email address is suegoldup@live.co.uk Regards Sue and Peter

    Please can you let me know when you will be playing a concert in England as my husband and I are fans and alare always playing Smokie Music and have not seen you all since 2013 in Kings Lynn my email address is suegoldup@live.co.uk

    Regards Sue and Peter

  • Mick McConnell

    Mick McConnell

    Hi Sue, personally I would love to play the UK on a regular basis and I think that we should, unfortunately; Smokie have no plans to tour the UK in the future. Check dates at the Smokie website. What I can tell you is that I will be doing two or three shows later in the year to support my new album, but those will be in small Blues Clubs, keep checking my website for details.

    Hi Sue, personally I would love to play the UK on a regular basis and I think that we should, unfortunately; Smokie have no plans to tour the UK in the future. Check dates at the Smokie website.
    What I can tell you is that I will be doing two or three shows later in the year to support my new album, but those will be in small Blues Clubs, keep checking my website for details.

  • Di Gray

    Di Gray Western Australia

    Mick I absolutely love Mojo, did you end up purchasing it and if so are you bringing it to West Aussie concerts. Would love to hear how it sounds Cheers Di xx

    Mick I absolutely love Mojo, did you end up purchasing it and if so are you bringing it to West Aussie concerts. Would love to hear how it sounds Cheers Di xx

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